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Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:29:05 AM
Crypto Winter Survivor: Inside Nvidia’s Difficult Relationship With Mining -  On Feb. 14, California-headquartered gaming and computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia reported full-year revenue gains >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:19:16 AM
Major Crypto Exchange OKEx Adds Four New Margin Trading Pairs -  Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added four new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, according to a press >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:54 AM
Fintech Company TrueDigital Appoints Former Bridgewater Associates Executive as CEO -  New York-based fintech company TrueDigital Holdings (TDH) announced the appointment of former Bridgewater Associates >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:29 AM
CEO of Japanese Finance Giant SBI Vests His Crypto Industry Hopes in Ripple and R3 -  Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO and representative director of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has singled out Ripple (XRP) >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:02 AM
MIT Technology Review: Although Touted for Security, Blockchain Is Still Hackable -  MIT Technology Review magazine has published an article today, Feb. 19, arguing that security-touted blockchain tech is >> full details
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:41:13 PM
Japan’s Number Two Bank by Assets Completes R3 Blockchain-Based Trade Finance Trial -  Japan’s second-largest bank by assets, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), has completed a proof-of-concept (PoC) >> full details
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:40:46 PM
Blockchain Startup Takes on Mainstream Crowdfunding Sites to Cut Number of Failed Projects -  A startup says crowdfunding sites have a trust problem, with projects failing and contributors refusing to invest again. >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:47 PM
Crypto Assets to Be Regulated Differently in the US, Potential Impact on Industry -  The United States government could regulate crypto assets and tokens differently than stocks and traditional assets by altering the >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:32 PM
Russian Finance Ministry Considers EAEU Digital Currency ‘Inevitable’ Due to US Sanctions -  Russia's Ministry of Finance (MinFin) believes that the creation of a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-backed digital currency is inevitable >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:02 PM
Chinese Fintech Incubation Zone Officially Begins Operations in Guangdong Province -  The Chinese fintech incubation zone located in the Guangdong province has officially started its operations, Chinese news outlet Chinese >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:29:51 PM
US Telecoms Giant Comcast to Make Blockchain Software Available in 2019 -  American global telecommunications conglomerate Comcast aims to make its blockchain initiative Blockgraph commercially available >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:29:31 PM
United States: Wyoming Targets Land Records in Blockchain Project With Overstock -  Wyoming has continued its blockchain integration via a new partnership with online retailer Overstock targeting land records, >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:29:23 PM
Irish Red Cross Partners on Blockchain-Powered App to Bring Transparency to Donations -  A Dublin-headquartered startup has teamed up with the Irish Red Cross to use blockchain technology in a new app that improves >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:14:35 PM
Parity Launches Beta Version of Tool Stack for Building Blockchains -  United Kingdom-based blockchain infrastructure provider Parity has launched a beta version of Substrate, its tool for creating customized >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:14:23 PM
Report: ConsenSys to Lay Off up to 60% of Its Staff -  Blockchain software technology company ConsenSys may reportedly be making significant cuts to its staff, technology news outlet >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:13:59 PM
China: Media Alliance to Use Blockchain Technology for Copyright Protection -  A media copyright protection alliance has been established in Beijing to provide copyright protection services using blockchain technology >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:11:35 PM
70% of Respondents Prefer Being Gifted Money in Digital Currency, Survey -  The Bank of England’s survey asks participants to choose their preferred way to receive money as a Christmas gift, showing the >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 10:33:45 AM
Following Crypto Mining Crash, GPU Producer Nvidia Worst Performer in S&P 500 -  The drastic decrease in crypto mining profitability has hit graphics processing unit (GPU) producers like Taiwan-based Nvidia hard. >> full details
Updates: Jul-23-2018 11:40:44 AM
Lufthansa, SAP Competition Seeks Ideas for Blockchain in Aviation -  Lufthansa has partnered with software giant SAP to launch a blockchain competition seeking ideas for blockchain applications in the airline industry.>> full details
Updates: Jul-23-2018 11:40:08 AM
G20 Eyes October Deadline for Crypto Anti-Money Laundering Standard -  G20 member countries are looking at an October deadline for reviewing and implementing a global AML standard on cryptocurrency assets.>> full details
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latest updates from Crypto Winter Survivor: Inside Nvidia’s Difficult Relationship With Mining
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:29:05 AM
On Feb. 14, California-headquartered gaming and computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia reported full-year revenue gains in 2018, despite being one of the companies worst hit by the cryptocurrency market dip and subsequent lack of demand for mining components.

The firm’s main products include graphics processing units (GPU), among others, which became widely purchased by miners during the crypto boom of 2017 — as a result, the firm’s revenue started to correlate with the crypto market condition (at least to some extent), which resulted in a few shake-ups.
 
latest updates from Major Crypto Exchange OKEx Adds Four New Margin Trading Pairs
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:19:16 AM
Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added four new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Feb. 19.

OKEx, the third-largest crypto exchange by trade volume, has announced the listing of Bitcoin SV (BSV), QTUM, DASH and NEO against Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether (USDT) on margin with a 3x leverage option.

Last month, OKEx added seven new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, including Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), EOS (EOS), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP), as Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 3.

As Cointelegraph wrote on Dec. 4, the digital asset exchange OKEx had earlier launched a derivative product, dubbed a “perpetual swap,” that supports BTC/USD with up to 100x leverage. In January, the exchange noted that the newly added contracts would only support up to 40x leverage, as opposed to today’s press release noting a 3x leverage option.

Also in December of last year, Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex launched margin trading for stablecoin Tether (USDT) against USD, as Cointelegraph reported on Dec. 22.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph wrote that major United States exchange and wallet Coinbase has acquired a blockchain intelligence startup, dubbed Neutrino, underlining that the new deal is aimed at helping add more cryptocurrencies and features to Coinbase services.
 
latest updates from Fintech Company TrueDigital Appoints Former Bridgewater Associates Executive as CEO
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:54 AM
New York-based fintech company TrueDigital Holdings (TDH) announced the appointment of former Bridgewater Associates chief operating officer Thomas Kim as its new CEO through a post on its website on Feb. 19.

Before his time at Bridgewater Associates, which had almost $125 billion assets under management in 2018, Kim worked at now-defunct global financial services firm Lehman Brothers in charge of the Townsend Analytics Electronic Trading franchise.

According to today’s post, Kim will manage TrueDigital’s existing initiatives, such as the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) swaps planned for this year. In January of this year, blockchain platform Qtum also announced that it was introducing Bitcoin atomic swaps to its mainnet infrastructure.

TrueDigital’s announcement states that TrueDigital launched Signature Bank’s blockchain-based payment infrastructure earlier this year, which was approved by the Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) in December 2018.

The aforementioned payment platform also attracted a “significant number of institutions within the first 30 days of operation,” according to the announcement.

As Cointelegraph reported in March of last year, TrueEX — whose affiliate is TDH — partnered with a blockchain tech company led by Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys, to create a benchmark rate for the price of Ethereum.

In early December 2017, CBOE had launched the first Bitcoin futures contracts, with CME Group launching the second around a week later.
 
latest updates from CEO of Japanese Finance Giant SBI Vests His Crypto Industry Hopes in Ripple and R3
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:29 AM
Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO and representative director of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has singled out Ripple (XRP) and blockchain consortium R3 as reasons to remain optimistic about the future of the crypto industry — bear market notwithstanding. Kitao made his remarks during an interview with Japanese crypto news outlet Coin Post on Feb. 18.

SBI Holdings is an active partner of Ripple via their joint venture, “SBI Ripple Asia,” established to promote the use of XRP in Asian financial markets back in 2016.

In his interview with Coin Post, Kitao underscored that the protracted crypto market slump is not to be thought of as an end to the industry, and that SBI has been working intensively to foster the adoption of XRP among financial institutions.

He affirmed that the real demand for the asset’s use in cross-border remittances and settlement is already underway and will continue to burgeon— pointing to Santander’s use of Ripple’s blockchain-powered xCurrent and RippleNet platforms for international payments as an exemplary, high-profile case.

Aside from predicting that Ripple’s still-fledgling market capitalization would eventually grow to be a global standard, Kitao also made positive remarks in relation to enterprise blockchain consortium R3 — of which SBI is a member, as well as reportedly being the largest outside shareholder — as well as the R3 Corda settlement platform.

Alluding to the now-resolved legal disputes between R3 and Ripple, Kitao said he had encouraged the two former ostensible rivals”to cooperate on a joint venture, and was bullish on the potential impact of “Corda Settler” — R3’s universal payment settlement platform, which unveiled XRP as its first supported crypto in December.

Among the rest of his wide-ranging remarks, Kitao said he judged the “temperature of institutional investors [in regard to crypto] to be extremely hot,” noting that surveillance and real-time data on the crypto markets are improving, as well as clearing services.

Kitao said he hoped that Japan would spearhead cryptocurrency regulation and act proactively ahead of other global markets, such as the United States. He noted that SBI was awaiting more legislative clarity from the Japan’s watchdog, the Financial Services Agency, before launching its own crypto fund for institutional investors.

As previously reported, the past couple of years have seen SBI pursue multiple ventures in the crypto sector, including its own exchange — VCTRADE — alongside a series of investments in businesses developing crypto infrastructure and services. It also has its own blockchain initiative S coin platform, which it trialed for retail payments in September 2018, integrating R3 Corda technology.

In January, SBI published its nine-month financial report, which identified the implementation of R3 and Ripple technologies as a major part of its strategy.

In October 2018, SBI and Ripple’s XRP-powered payments app, MoneyTap, went live for account holders at selected Japanese banks — with the eventual ambition of including a consortium of 61 institutions (representing over 80 percent of all of Japan’s banking assets) in the service.
 
latest updates from MIT Technology Review: Although Touted for Security, Blockchain Is Still Hackable
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:02 AM
MIT Technology Review magazine has published an article today, Feb. 19, arguing that security-touted blockchain tech is still vulnerable to hacks. The magazine is fully owned by the United States Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In the recent article, the MIT Technology Review stressed that blockchain technology represents a complex economic system that depends on unpredictable human behavior.

As such, the Review pointed out multiple security breaches that have been increasingly emerging in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms since the inception of crypto, citing a number of incidents including the recent double spending vulnerability that was found on a major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase on Jan. 7.

The Review has further enumerated a number of conditions that make blockchain technology vulnerable, including both unintentional bugs in the system and the human factor. The magazine wrote:

“In short, while blockchain technology has been long touted for its security, under certain conditions it can be quite vulnerable. Sometimes shoddy execution can be blamed, or unintentional software bugs. Other times it’s more of a gray area — the complicated result of interactions between the code, the economics of the blockchain and human greed.”

The Review has further cited numerous bounties — programs provided by blockchain and crypto companies that allow white hat hackers get rewards by reporting a certain blockchain flaw on a given platform.

According to TheNextWeb, white hat hackers earned $878,000 in total by reporting crypto bugs in 2018.

Recently, Coinbase handed out a $30,000 reward for reporting a critical bug on its system, which is the largest crypto bounty ever given out by the exchange on HackerOne.

Previously, the MIT Technology Review had argued that blockchain technology will finally become common in 2019, considering the technology a disappointment of 2018.
 
latest updates from Japan’s Number Two Bank by Assets Completes R3 Blockchain-Based Trade Finance Trial
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:41:13 PM
Japan’s second-largest bank by assets, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), has completed a proof-of-concept (PoC) using blockchain consortium R3’s Marco Polo trade finance platform. A press release confirmed the PoC completion on Feb. 18.

SMBC, which is the only Japanese bank participating in Marco Polo, said it had partnered with Japanese multinational Mitsui & Co. to enhance efficiency in trade processes.

“[The] PoC was conducted between SMBC and Mitsui & Co. which aims to improve productivity in its trade operations, by testing modules such as Receivable Finance and Payment Commitment (Payment Undertaking),” the release explained, adding:

“SMBC expects to commercialize Marco Polo in the first half of (the financial year 2019) after verification of the PoC.”

Launched in 2017, Marco Polo is a joint venture between R3 and Irish tech firm TradeIX targeting trade finance utility using distributed ledger technology.

Leveraging R3’s Corda technology, a total of 15 consortium member banks are currently participating in the Marco Polo consortium, including ING, NatWest and BNP Paribas.

In May last year, Thailand’s biggest bank, Bangkok Bank, also joined the initiative with an eye to streamlining trade finance.

R3 is a New York-based group of businesses, banks and other entities founded in 2014 as a distributed technology company. At its launch in September 2015, it had a total of nine members. This January, R3 announced the launch of its Corda Network, with the consortium now made up of over 300 members.
 
latest updates from Blockchain Startup Takes on Mainstream Crowdfunding Sites to Cut Number of Failed Projects
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:40:46 PM
A new blockchain platform is vowing to take on established crowdfunding sites — and argues that their lack of accountability means greater numbers of projects fail to deliver what they promised.

Pledgecamp says its approach involves offering transparency through the form of smart contracts — and ensuring that entrepreneurs and the platform they host their projects on are equally invested in a campaign’s success.

One of the startup’s features is known as Backer Insurance. Instead of funds being released in full as soon as a target is met, project creators must propose “clear development milestones” before contributions are made. An escrow wallet then ensures that funds are unlocked gradually — with supporters given the sole right to monitor how their investments are spent, vote on whether a milestone’s objectives have been fulfilled satisfactorily, and decide if the next phase of the project should begin.

According to Pledgecamp, blockchain is the only way to deliver this concept, as it removes centralization and gives power to those who have put their funds at stake. The company’s white paper explains: “Instead of requiring teams of lawyers, creating smart contracts is essentially free, judgment is automated, and enforcement is guaranteed.”

The level of Backer Insurance associated with a project can be decided upon by the campaign creator — and those who volunteer more of the funds to be protected in Backer Insurance subsequently benefit from lower listing fees.

Tackling a trust problem
Pledgecamp maintains that its solution is necessary because of flaws that exist in the services offered by current mainstream players — Kickstarter and Indiegogo among them.

PLEDGECAMP IS AVAILABLE HERE
The startup cites research that suggests as many as 85 percent of campaigns end up delaying delivery, while up to 14 percent fail altogether. Pledgecamp also highlights statistics released by Kickstarter itself that show that only a third of those who contribute to a crowdfunding campaign on the website end up doing so again. According to the blockchain platform, this amounts to a “trust problem” that needs to be addressed if the industry is going to thrive — enabling businesses to secure funding away from financial institutions and validate their product ideas.

The startup argues many crowdfunding sites have failed to innovate and offer technical features that benefit entrepreneurs and contributors alike. Pledgecamp says its ecosystem will offer resources for project creators in a “secure and decentralized way” — and give them the chance to hire skilled workers who can help them achieve their goals on a temporary basis in their “gig economy.”

Moderation is also going to be a major factor in Pledgecamp’s offering — and in the spirit of decentralization, this vital role will lie with users. Those who contribute by curating campaigns and removing those that violate the platform’s Terms of Service will be eligible to receive a proportion of the listing fees generated by each successful project. While Pledge Tokens are the platform’s main cryptocurrency, moderators who stake their Pledge Tokens into Camp Shares are eligible to participate in this moderation role, as part of the ecosystem’s two-token economy.

A-list advisers
Pledgecamp’s advisers include Randi Zuckerberg — who formerly led marketing at Facebook, the social media giant founded by her brother Mark. She is joined in this capacity by Matt Curcio, the vice president of data at Ripple.

A limited token sale begins on Feb. 18 and runs for 30 days. The startup is designing the platform in partnership with MetaLab, which has helped well-known products such as Slack and Coinbase. The launch is scheduled in full toward Q3 of 2019. In the run-up to this launch date, it plans to create a Knowledge Center for project creators, implement the website’s user interface, and complete work on the platform’s back-end and smart contract functionality.
 
latest updates from Crypto Assets to Be Regulated Differently in the US, Potential Impact on Industry
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:47 PM
The United States government could regulate crypto assets and tokens differently than stocks and traditional assets by altering the existing regulatory framework on securities.

On Dec. 22, CNBC reported that two congressmen — Warren Davidson and Darren Solo — have introduced a bipartisan bill entitled “Token Taxonomy Act,” in an effort to prevent over-regulation in the cryptocurrency space.

"In the early days of the internet, Congress passed legislation that provided certainty and resisted the temptation to over-regulate the market. Our intent is to achieve a similar win for America's economy and for American leadership in this innovative space," said Davidson.

When passed, what sort of impact could the bipartisan Token Taxonomy Act have on the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector?

More clarity, exactly what the industry needs
In a statement, the Blockchain Association — a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit trade association that represents many of the biggest companies in the cryptocurrency industry such as Coinbase, Circle and Digital Currency Group — said that the bill provides a definition to crypto assets and digital tokens that exclude them from being recognized as a security.

Throughout the past two years, many blockchain projects have left the U.S. market to pursue token sales in regions like Switzerland and Singapore, which have lenient and flexible policies regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs).

By providing a clear guideline on the regulatory nature of tokens and digital assets, the bill encourages blockchain projects to remain within the U.S. market and contribute to the growth of the local cryptocurrency and blockchain sector.

The vast majority of token sales and ICO projects — apart from a select few like Telegram that have reportedly conducted a private token sale with the approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — have disallowed investors in the U.S. to participate in token sales due to the ambiguity in existing securities laws.

Even projects such as 0x (ZRX) that have been listed by a U.S.-based strictly regulated cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which clears the project from being considered a security, did not allow investors in the country to contribute to the ICO.

“With these terms clarified, we can police bad actors while encouraging the good ones, giving US-based innovators the framework they need to build next-generation technologies and services here rather than doing that valuable work overseas,” the Blockchain Association said.

The bill also offers clarity on the taxation policy surrounding cryptocurrencies for the first time in the market’s history, eliminating the friction between blockchain networks and users.

Currently, users in the U.S. are required to declare capital gains taxes on all cryptocurrency transactions — small or big — because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States federal government has recognized cryptocurrencies as a form of property.

Although the bill does not aim to alter the recognition of cryptocurrencies as a property, it imposes an exemption for capital gains taxes on transactions that do not exceed $600, deeming them as tax-exempt exchanges.
 
latest updates from Russian Finance Ministry Considers EAEU Digital Currency ‘Inevitable’ Due to US Sanctions
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:32 PM
Russia's Ministry of Finance (MinFin) believes that the creation of a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-backed digital currency is inevitable due to the United States’ sanctions. Major Russian media agency Rambler reported MinFin’s comments on Friday, Dec. 21.

MinFin reportedly sees an opportunity for launching a digital currency backed by countries in the EAEU by 2020 or 2021, as deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev revealed. The Eurasian Union was established in 2014 and includes five member countries: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

The announced digital currency project will be most likely implemented without using blockchain technology, Moiseev stated, as reported by major Russia’s news agency TASS.

According to Moiseev, the EAEU-backed single currency will be developed analogous with the European Currency Unit (ECU), the unit of account used by the European community before it was replaced by the euro (EUR) back in January 1999.

Launched in 1979, the ECU represented a combination of the currencies of the European Community states, with its rate depending on a weighted average of the participating currencies.

As the article notes, the idea of a common EAEU digital currency is supported not only by the participants of the economic union, but also some other, unnamed countries that are major trading partners of EAEU countries.

MinFin’s deputy finance minister has noted that turning to the creation of Eurasian currency is “inevitable” due to an increasing number of sanctioned companies. Moiseev continued:

“We hear promises of new upcoming sanctions. Accordingly, we have to react by building secure international payment system that are not based on the U.S. dollar.”

In November 2018, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Financial Markets revealed that a tentatively planned state-backed stablecoin would be an encrypted equivalent to the Russian fiat ruble.

Recently, Russia’s deputy prime minister, Maxim Akimov, announced that the existing draft on crypto regulation would not be changed, despite having been sent back to its first reading at the beginning of December.

The crypto bill entitled, “On Digital Financial Assets,” has raised some questions by some local legal entities about its effective in the space, as key terms such as “cryptocurrencies” and “mining” were removed from the text.
 
latest updates from Chinese Fintech Incubation Zone Officially Begins Operations in Guangdong Province
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:02 PM
The Chinese fintech incubation zone located in the Guangdong province has officially started its operations, Chinese news outlet Chinese Software Developer Network (CSDN) reports Dec. 21.

According to the article, the zone — which officially opened Dec. 20 — has a total area of 120 square kilometers and already hosts the headquarters of over 20 companies. The zone and its administration will reportedly offer the companies project financing, office space and policy guidelines, and will overall “promote the transformation and application of technological achievements.”

CSDN notes that the Guangdong financial high-tech zone will “focus on the major needs and major pain points of the financial [industries] encouraging blockchain and other technologies in finance, manufacturing, trade.” The zone will begin with fostering pilot projects, and then will move forward in order to “culvative a group of blockchain financial technology enterprises and innovation teams.”

In November, the “Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Dawan District Blockchain Alliance” had been established to promote innovation and sustain the development of blockchain tech. CSDN mentions the three districts as areas for expanding the use of the technology.

China, which has long been cracking down on cryptocurrency by banning both domestic and foreign exchanges, and even crypto-related social accounts, seems to be heavily investing in blockchain technology. As Cointelegraph reported this week, a media copyright protection alliance has been created in Beijing to provide copyright protection employing blockchain technology.

Also in December, Shenzhen, a major city in the Guangdong Province and home to the first economic special zone in China, announced that it will use blockchain technology for electronic tax invoices.
 
latest updates from US Telecoms Giant Comcast to Make Blockchain Software Available in 2019
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:29:51 PM
American global telecommunications conglomerate Comcast aims to make its blockchain initiative Blockgraph commercially available in 2019, according to a press release published Dec. 21.

“Comcast is currently working with NBCUniversal to test Blockgraph’s capabilities with plans of incorporating it into its addressable offering in early 2019,” states the release.

Comcast is a global media company founded in 2001, that provides cable television, Internet and telecoms services. Comcast is purportedly the second largest broadcasting company in the world in terms of revenue and largest TV company in the United States. The company’s consolidated revenue for the third quarter of 2018 was $22.1 billion.

According to Comcast, its Cable Advertising division initiated the next phase of its Blockgraph platform — a product designed to secure personal data and share information — which will subsequently lead to the project’s launch in 2019. Comcast is working on the project with other industry players like mass media conglomerate Viacom and advertising sales firm Spectrum Reach, among others.

Blockgraph will purportedly provide an “identity layer” for the TV industry, by means of which media companies can share non-identifiable audience data. The peer-to-peer platform aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of TV marketing and advertising. President of Spectrum Reach David Kline commented:

“It’s imperative that the use of data prioritizes the privacy of consumers’ personal information. Blockgraph’s technology offers enhanced security and privacy protections by allowing all players within the TV ecosystem to directly share insights derived from anonymized and aggregated information.”

Comcast has been maligned in the American media for being a de facto monopoly in many regions, and has even been called the “Worst Company in America” by some publications. Earlier today, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit against Comcast Corporation/Xfinity, alleging that it has charged customers more than it promised, in addition to charging for unordered services and products.

In addition to its own products, Comcast has supported other blockchain development projects. In March, New York-based blockchain startup Blockdaemon closed a $3 million venture capital seed round led by the telecoms giant. The funds were set to be used to “enhance infrastructure options, and to help customers run multi-tenant networks across all sorts of different blockchains.”
 
latest updates from United States: Wyoming Targets Land Records in Blockchain Project With Overstock
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:29:31 PM
Wyoming has continued its blockchain integration via a new partnership with online retailer Overstock targeting land records, a press release confirmed Dec. 20.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with administrators in Teton County, Overstock subsidiary Medici Land Governance will seek to develop and release a “blockchain-based land records and information platform” next year.

“We are proud to see Wyoming lead the way in implementing cutting-edge technologies, such as blockchain, into existing markets like land registry,” Sherry Daigle, Teton County’s county clerk commented. She added:

“With Medici Land Governance’s expertise, we can create a reliable property registry system in Teton County with hopes to expand into other Wyoming counties.”

The move is the latest in an increasing number of blockchain hook-ups involving Wyoming, which has forged a progressive stance on the technology in recent months.

Caitlin Long, the former Morgan Stanley senior executive turned cryptocurrency advocate, praised lawmakers’ decision to continue expanding the use of blockchain at state level.

“It’s exciting to see Wyoming adopt blockchain technology to register and validate property ownership,” she added in the press release, noting:

“This is yet another example of Wyoming blazing blockchain trails.”

Long is also cofounder of lobby group the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.

The register will provide tamper-proof records of various land-related data stretching back to 1996, and will include “mortgages, release of liens, and other similar documents.”

Governments have sought to save on paperwork and cut costs while improving security and transparency with such implementations, with Sweden among those beginning to use a related concept in 2018.

In March this year, Wyoming passed a bill to exempt certain kinds of cryptocurrency from money transmission laws, something the United States could soon replicate at national level.
 
latest updates from Irish Red Cross Partners on Blockchain-Powered App to Bring Transparency to Donations
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:29:23 PM
A Dublin-headquartered startup has teamed up with the Irish Red Cross to use blockchain technology in a new app that improves transparency for charitable donations. The partnership was reported by local daily broadsheet The Irish Times on Dec. 19.

The startup, dubbed AID:Tech, is partnering with the Red Cross for use of its consumer-oriented mobile app “TraceDonate,” which has been designed so that donors know exactly how their contributions to charitable causes are being spent.

By improving transparency around the distribution of charity, the app aims to boost trust and engagement in social causes. It allows retail or institutional users to donate peer-to-peer to an individual beneficiary, an NGO or to specific charitable appeals.

Through the shared ledger, AID:Tech’s partners — including governments, NGOs and development agencies, as well as donors — can monitor transactions in real time, view their contribution histories, and stay informed about live charitable campaigns.

Liam O’Dwyer, secretary general of the Irish Red Cross, told The Irish Times that the partnership with AID:Tech provides the organization with an opportunity to “further promote transparency in the [charity] sector,” and to serve as a “benchmark for the donation process.”

Ahead of the development of its mobile app, AID:Tech reportedly deployed blockchain to deliver international aid to Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon as early as 2015. It has also developed a blockchain-based application, “Transparency Engine,” which integrates a digital identity solution with blockchain technology for a wider range of entitlements, including welfare, remittances, donations and healthcare.

According to The Irish Times, the startup raised an estimated €1 million ($1.1 million) in investment this year — which included the backing of Enterprise Ireland, an Irish state economic development agency, and SGInnovate, the venture capital arm of the Singaporean development authority. The investments reportedly represented the first injection of capital into the blockchain sector from both state-backed entities.

As previously reported, blockchain’s potential to underpin fairer and more equitable aid distribution has been recognized by leading world organizations, including the United Nations, who used the Ethereum (ETH) network to distribute aid to Syrian refugees in 2017.

Just this week, top crypto exchange Binance’s philanthropic arm, the Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) opened a new fundraising channel on its own blockchain-powered donation platform.
 
latest updates from Parity Launches Beta Version of Tool Stack for Building Blockchains
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:14:35 PM
United Kingdom-based blockchain infrastructure provider Parity has launched a beta version of Substrate, its tool for creating customized blockchains, according to a press release published Tuesday, Dec. 18.

The release states that Substrate is designed to provide “maximum technical freedom” while creating blockchains. It supports multiple programming languages, users can make their own consensus mechanisms, and it is compatible with most existing consensus algorithms.

Parity is also going to add more consensus mechanisms in subsequent releases, making them hot-swappable and allowing users to switch between different mechanisms without a hard fork.

The beta version of Substrate is licensed under the GNU General Public License, but in order to provide maximum developer freedom, the tool’s repository will be moved to an Apache 2.0 license. Parity will also offer professional help to organizations that are considering building apps with Substrate.

Parity’s founder Gavin Wood, who also co-founded Ethereum, says that Substrate has used all of the lessons learned in building the Ethereum ecosystem and Polkadot — a protocol that allows users to link different types of blockchains. Wood first announced the launch of Substrate at the Web3 Summit held in Berlin in October, where he stated that the tool “will be a turning point” in the transition to a “multi-chain world.”
 
latest updates from Report: ConsenSys to Lay Off up to 60% of Its Staff
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:14:23 PM
Blockchain software technology company ConsenSys may reportedly be making significant cuts to its staff, technology news outlet the Verge reported Dec. 20.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, the Verge reports that ConsenSys is spinning out startups it previously backed, some of them without financial support. This will reportedly impact the ConsenSys’ workforce, especially its internal incubator Consensys Labs. The source said that the number of employees to be laid off could be anywhere between 50 and 60 percent of ConsenSys’ 1,200 person workforce.

According to the source, ConsenSys Labs is also being reorganized and will subsequently cease to be an incubator, and instead will operate as a more traditional investor.

The report comes after a ConsenSys letter to staff, in which the company announced its plans to streamline and toughen its business style amid an increasingly “crowded” competitive blockchain space.

Company CEO Joseph Lubin reportedly said then that “we must retain, and in some cases regain, the lean and gritty startup mindset that made us who we are.” While the company plans to reassign staff from shuttered projects to other initiatives, Lubin reportedly “did not rule out layoffs.”

ConsenSys reportedly did not deny upcoming layoffs and said that it is discussing the situation with every project to “determine a path forward, whether that will be internally as a part of ConsenSys 2.0, or as an external entity.”

“The world has not collapsed as [Lubin] planned, and so he needs to pivot his company because it was orchestrated for a vision only where Ethereum would be $10,000,” the source reportedly said.

Ethereum (ETH) and other major cryptocurrencies crashed on Nov. 14, with seminal cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) dropping below the $5,600 price point for the first time in 2018.

Earlier today, crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital said in a note to clients that short rallies like the current one are what happens “before a real rally ensues.” Galaxy Digital concluded that the recent “short” crypto rebound “has more legs” than people realize, citing upcoming involvement in the industry by institutional players.
 
latest updates from China: Media Alliance to Use Blockchain Technology for Copyright Protection
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:13:59 PM
A media copyright protection alliance has been established in Beijing to provide copyright protection services using blockchain technology, according to the Chinese state-owned International Finance News on Dec. 19.

The newly established alliance — the "China Financial Media Copyright Protection Alliance" — involves more than 30 major financial media outlets such as International Finance News, Economic Information Daily, China Business News, Beijing Business Daily, and the Daily Economic News, among others.

The alliance aims to provide “reasonable authorization systems, improving authorized transaction mechanisms, strengthening industry copyright self-discipline, and developing copyright cooperation in the industry.” Qi Huisheng, secretary of the former Communist Party group of the China Association of Journalists said:

"Reporters and newspapers should establish copyright awareness, solve common problems in copyright protection through technology and other means, and actively communicate with relevant technical teams to protect original copyright..."

International Finance News reports that the alliance will use blockchain technology “to provide original authentication and copyright protection for original works.” The Alliance aims to use the technology to “embed the unique identifier ‘DNA’ in the article.” So long as the article maintains a 70 percent similarity, whether it is transferred through social media or various websites, the “DNA” can be purportedly traced back to the original:

“...once an infringement is discovered, the technology platform will immediately obtain evidence.”

In June, an association of more than 100 mainstream media outlets established the “Global Media Blockchain Alliance” in Hong Kong, aiming to provide high-quality information about the blockchain industry to the public, and create a “healthy public opinion environment.”

Last month, 54 different Chinese companies covering blockchain technology in finance and trading established the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Dawan District Blockchain Alliance. The new group will purportedly promote innovation and jointly develop blockchain technology within the country.
 
latest updates from 70% of Respondents Prefer Being Gifted Money in Digital Currency, Survey
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:11:35 PM
The Bank of England’s survey asks participants to choose their preferred way to receive money as a Christmas gift, showing the options cash, bank transfer, gift voucher and digital currency. At press time, 8,230 people have responded and 70 percent of them have chosen digital currency.

Cash is in second place, with 21 percent of respondents indicating it as a their “favorite way to get” money as a gift. Bank transfers and gift vouchers are currently the least popular forms, chosen by 7 percent and 2 percent of respondents respectively.

Last month, a similar survey was conducted by former United States Congressman, Ron Paul, who asked Twitter users Nov. 15 how they would prefer to receive $10,000. Paul’s twist was that the hypothetical gift would have to be left in the form in which it was received for ten years. The results posted that 50 percent of respondents prefer Bitcoin (BTC), with gold somewhat close behind at 37 percent.

Back in November, Mati Greenspan, a senior analyst at the U.K.-based trading platform eToro, did his own Twitter survey asking “What’s your favorite crypto?” Results showed that 46 percent of the 28,189 respondents chose Ripple (XRP), while Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) came in second and third place, chosen by 31 percent and 9 percent respectively.
 
latest updates from Following Crypto Mining Crash, GPU Producer Nvidia Worst Performer in S&P 500
Updates: Dec-23-2018 10:33:45 AM
The drastic decrease in crypto mining profitability has hit graphics processing unit (GPU) producers like Taiwan-based Nvidia hard. In Q4 2018, the firm experienced a massive sell-off of its shares, cutting the stock price by 54 percent and making it the worst performer in the S&P 500, CNBC reports on Dec. 21.

From 2016 to September 2018, Nvidia’s market value markedly increased from $14 billion to $175 billion as demand for its GPUs in artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrency mining grew. In May, the firm reported its profits from crypto mining for the first time while forecasting a two-thirds drop in sales to miners for Q2.

Nvidia initially forecasted insignificant crypto mining-related sales in Q3, while the quarterly report in November revealed that GPU sales for blockchain-related applications had all but disappeared. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said that the company’s “near-term results reflect excess channel inventory post the cryptocurrency boom, which will be corrected.”

The disappearance of crypto-related sales has left the company with a “crypto hangover,” according to Huang. The cryptocurrency frenzy drove up prices for Nvidia’s GPUs, but once that demand disappeared, prices did not decrease quickly enough to attract customers who were waiting for more affordable cards.

In addition to the decrease in crypto mining sales, Nvidia’s data center segment failed to meet Wall Street expectations, even though revenue grew by 58 percent, per CNBC. Today, Nvidia stock is down 4.09 percent, closing at $129.57.

Chip stocks overall have performed poorly this year. The PHLX Semiconductor Index, which tracks major hardware producers like Nvidia and Advanced Micro Systems (AMD) is down 20.37 percent over the last three months. AMD’s share price is down 45.42 percent over the same period.

The post-mining boom hardware glut has seen a notable drop in prices. AMD’s popular Radeon RX580 graphics processing unit (GPU), which has been widely used by crypto miners, is now being sold for $180, down 67 percent from a peak average price around $550 in February 2018.

Decreased profitability in the current bear market has caused some miners to leave the business. Some mining firms in China have been selling off dated hardware that has reached its shutdown price by the kilogram in order to mitigate their losses. According to local reports, earnings from mining are no longer enough to cover electricity and other associated costs.
 
latest updates from Lufthansa, SAP Competition Seeks Ideas for Blockchain in Aviation
Updates: Jul-23-2018 11:40:44 AM
Major airline Lufthansa has partnered with software giant SAP to launch a blockchain competition aimed to boost blockchain adoption in the airline industry.

Announced Friday, the Aviation Blockchain Challenge seeks "groundbreaking ideas" for blockchain applications that can advance the airline industry and lead on to pilot programs assisted by Lufthansa and SAP.

The initiative comes as a response to the limited efforts being made currently to explore potential use cases for blockchain in the aviation industry, the two firms said in the announcement.

"While many industries have found their first use cases, the impact on the aviation sector is not noticeable yet. We want to change that together with SAP and see substantial potential in our industry to utilize blockchain and other plays of decentralized networks," Lufthansa said.

Specifically, the competition is looking for concepts for blockchain applications in three major areas: flight booking/purchasing and loyalty programs; internal data processing; and supply chain use cases involving third party suppliers.

Blockchain startups whose ideas are eventually selected will potentially be able to advance to pilot projects and launches of minimum viable products using SAP's blockchain-as-a-service platform, launched in June.

With an initial submission deadline of the end of August, Lufthansa said the final pitches for the best ideas will take place in Germany in October later this year.
 
latest updates from G20 Eyes October Deadline for Crypto Anti-Money Laundering Standard
Updates: Jul-23-2018 11:40:08 AM
G20 member countries are now looking at an October deadline for reviewing a global anti-money laundering (AML) standard on cryptocurrency, a document shows.

According to a statement issued on Sunday, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 member countries hosted a meeting during the weekend and reiterated their position on a plan for "vigilant" monitoring of cryptocurrencies.

The member countries further called on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – an intergovernmental body formed to fight money laundering and terrorist financing – to clarify how its existing AML standards can apply to cryptocurrency within three months.

"While crypto-assets do not at this point pose a global financial stability risk, we remain vigilant. ... We reiterate our March commitments related to the implementation of the FATF standards and we ask the FATF to clarify in October 2018 how its standards apply to crypto-assets," member countries said in the document.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the G20 initially asked for an AML standard on cryptocurrency from the FATF in March, as part of its wider push for global regulatory recommendations on the issue.

Last month, it was reported that the FATF is planning to develop binding rules of AML for the world's cryptocurrency exchanges, following a February report that the agency would step up its scrutiny effort over crypto money laundering.

Early last week, the Financial Stability Board, an organization focused on analyzing and making recommendations to the G20 on global financial systems, presented several key metrics for monitoring crypto assets ahead of the weekend meeting, in a response to the G20's request in March of this year.
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