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Updates: May-9-2018 10:39:23 AM
SEC Commissioner Cautions Against 'Blanket' ICO Classification -  U.S. Securities Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce advocated against blockchain sandboxes and 'blanket' classifications of ICOs.>> full details
Updates: May-9-2018 10:38:47 AM
Winklevoss Brothers Win Crypto Exchange Patent -  Winklevoss IP, the company owned by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has been awarded with a patent that aims to settle ETPs holding cryptos.>> full details
Updates: May-9-2018 10:38:22 AM
Facebook's David Marcus to Lead New Blockchain Research Unit -  Facebook is reportedly launching a team dedicated to blockchain technology, which will be spearheaded by Messenger's vice president David Marcus. >> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:43:34 PM
Circle Adds Monero to Crypto Investment App -  A week after adding zcash, Circle's trading platform Invest is adding monero. >> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:43:14 PM
Thailand's Top Exchange Plans Blockchain Funding Market -  The Stock Exchange of Thailand unveiled a crowdfunding platform built on blockchain technology to widen the access to capital funds for startups.>> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:42:48 PM
Bitcoin Looks for Price Support After Failed $10K Crossover -  Bitcoin is reporting losses today but only a break below $8,650 would signal a bull-to-bear trend change. >> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:42:07 PM
Startup That Puts Diplomas On the Blockchain Raises $3 Million -  MIT-linked startup Learning Machines has secured $3 million in seed funding to put digital diplomas on the blockchain >> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:41:29 PM
Iceland's Missing Bitcoin Miners May Be In China -  Icelandic police think Chinese authorities may have discovered where its 6,000 missing bitcoin mining computers have gone.>> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:40:37 PM
Meetup's Crypto Secret? Scams Are Running Rampant -  Long-running groups using the popular social network are finding that separating education from financial advice isn't as easy as it sounds.>> full details
Updates: May-7-2018 07:40:05 PM
Code Is Law - But It's Not the Only Law for Blockchains -  It's the combination of internal and external rules that ultimately dictates how blockchain-based platforms will operate, says Primavera De Filippi.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:32:05 PM
These Crypto Assets Are Pushing the Market Back Toward $500 Billion -  The crypto markets continued to build on April's gains this week, with alternative cryptocurrencies like nano, VeChain and bytecoin leading the way.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:31:38 PM
Arizona Lawmakers Strip Crypto Mentions From Tax Payments Bill -  Arizona Senate Bill 1091 has been passed by the House and Senate - but no longer mentions cryptocurrencies anywhere.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:31:13 PM
Virgin's Richard Branson Warns on Bitcoin Scam Sites Using His Name -  The British tycoon published a post Thursday warning the public to ignore bitcoin scams promoting themselves using his image.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:30:44 PM
Police Mandate Use of Blockchain Hotel Registry in Indian City -  Police in the Indian city of Vizag have ordered hotels to deploy a new blockchain security solution.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:30:05 PM
Venezuelan President Launches Cryptocurrency-Funded Youth Bank -  Venezuela is reportedly launching a youth bank to be funded by the state's controversial cryptocurrency, the petro.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:29:26 PM
12 Chinese Banks Say They Deployed Blockchain in 2017 -  Nearly half of the 26 publicly listed banks in China said they deployed blockchain applications in 2017.>> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:26:36 PM
Fraudsters Take Aim at Investors in Controversial KodakCoin ICO -  KODAKCoin's backers are calling a crypto exchange's ICO launch claims "fraudulent." >> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:26:07 PM
California City's Blockchain Token Is Definitely Maybe Happening -  The "labyrinth" of city politics defies easy interpretation, but it seems that Berkeley is actually on its way to issue on a bond on the blockchain. >> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:25:40 PM
'Belligerent' Crypto Miners Prompt Power Utility to Beef Up Security -  Chelan County's Public Utilities District is enacting new security measures to protect employees from bitcoin miners. >> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:25:07 PM
JPMorgan Seeks Patent for Blockchain-Powered Interbank Payments -  A patent application by JPMorgan Chase suggests putting financial transaction information on a distributed ledger. full details
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latest updates from SEC Commissioner Cautions Against 'Blanket' ICO Classification
Updates: May-9-2018 10:39:23 AM
Peirce went on to argue in her ICO-focused speech that "open communication" between regulators and those they regulate is possible without a sandbox, and instead advocated for a "lifeguard" approach in which the regulator "watches over what is happening, but she is not sitting with sandcastle builders monitoring their every design decision."

Peirce did, however, acknowledge that sandboxes have been successful for some regulators, including those in the U.K., the U.A.E. and Singapore.

Blockchain sandboxes have become increasingly popular amongst global regulators, and advocates argue that they are a means of satisfying regulators without quashing innovation. Lithuania, Bermuda and Malta are among other countries experimenting with the idea.

In another notable part of the speech, the Commissioner broke with SEC Chairman Jay Clayton's statement at a U.S. Senate hearing in February in which he stated, "I believe every ICO I've seen is a security."

Contrarily, Peirce remarked: "Given the undeveloped nature of this area, I am wary of any blanket designation for all ICOs." She instead suggested that regulators "evaluate the facts and circumstances of each offering."

The Commissioner also addressed the potential for regulation to impact innovation and argued that the classification of tokens as securities, for example, could create boundaries for innovation.

"They will, over time, come to look more and more like securities and securities offering. Innovations that might otherwise have occurred that don't fit within that 'security' framework may never come to fruition," she told event attendees.

Additionally, Peirce expressed regret that the SEC has largely communicated with ICO issuers via its Division of Enforcement and cautioned that the Commission should not lead "with its enforcement powers." She also suggested that the SEC set up a website to field questions and comments on ICOs, tokens, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
 
latest updates from Winklevoss Brothers Win Crypto Exchange Patent
Updates: May-9-2018 10:38:47 AM
Winklevoss IP, the company owned by Gemini founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has been awarded with a patent claim that aims to settle exchange traded products (ETPs) holding cryptocurrencies.

The company outlined a system that can execute transactions for ETPs holding cryptocurrencies "such as bitcoins ... ripple, dogecoins ... ether" as well as BBQCoin, among others, according to patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday. The company first filed the application in December of last year.

ETPs, which include exchange-traded-funds (ETF), are a type of security whose prices derive from other investment instruments they are tied to, which in the Winklevoss case, would be cryptocurrencies.

The patent reward is notable as it provides a glimpse into the Winklevoss brothers' continuing efforts to push forward the trading of cryptocurrency-related ETFs after having met hurdles from U.S. regulators.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected the brothers' last bid in March 2017 that sought to list a bitcoin-tied ETF on the Bats BZX Exchange, citing risk associated with the trading and regulatory uncertainty.

Currently, the SEC has yet to green-light any bitcoin-related ETFs on exchanges. And in January this year, several firms that were proposing a rule change to the SEC had also withdrawn their filings per requirement by the securities regulator.

Today's patent reward also comes just a month after the Winklevoss IP won another patent claim for strengthening cryptocurrencies' transaction security that could be used in the Gemini exchange, as previously reported by CoinDesk.
 
latest updates from Facebook's David Marcus to Lead New Blockchain Research Unit
Updates: May-9-2018 10:38:22 AM
Social media giant Facebook is launching a team dedicated to exploring blockchain technology.

The initiative will be spearheaded David Marcus, who has served as the company's vice president for its Messenger app division. Marcus is a former president of PayPal.

"After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge. I'm setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch," Marcus wrote in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

A report from Recode indicated that while the team will have fewer than a dozen people, it will feature engineering and product staff from Facebook's Instagram unit as well.

Although it remains unknown at this stage the exact work to be carried out by the new team, the news marks a notable move by the social media giant.

It also follows a remark made by the ex-PayPal president - who joined the board of directors of crypto exchange Coinbase last year - that Facebook Messenger is open to the idea of embracing cryptocurrency payments once the blockchain community can "fix all the issues."

The formation of Facebook's new blockchain team follows a platform-wide ban on cryptocurrency-related ads, with the social media company cciting concerns that users had been exposed to fraudulent ICOs and cryptocurrency schemes.
 
latest updates from Circle Adds Monero to Crypto Investment App
Updates: May-7-2018 07:43:34 PM
Blockchain startup Circle is adding the privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero to its Invest application, the company announced Monday.

Just one week after the payment platform announced it was adding zcash to its trading app, the company added monero, according to a blog post. As with the other tokens available on the app, users will be able to purchase or invest the cryptocurrency.

In addition to the privacy coins, Circle Invest offers bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, ethereum classic and litecoin.

In the post, Invest senior product manager Rachel Mayer wrote:

"Last week, we welcomed zcash to the coin family on Circle Invest. Today, we continue to grow our coin collection by supporting monero as our new listed crypto asset. This brings our investable crypto assets to a total of 7 coins, making Circle Invest one of the only platforms you can invest instantly and seamlessly in the widest breadth of coins by using your bank account."

Future updates will include information on "how we think about adding assets into our products" and more new features, the post concluded.

The Invest app is a digital investment product that features zero commissions, as previously reported. While a preview indicated Ripple's XRP might be a supported cryptocurrency, so far it has not made it onto the platform.

A Circle Invest executive did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
latest updates from Thailand's Top Exchange Plans Blockchain Funding Market
Updates: May-7-2018 07:43:14 PM
Thailand's national stock exchange has launched a new blockchain-powered component for startups.



The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has launched a crowdfunding marketplace that is built on blockchain technology in a bid to widen the access to capital funds for domestic startups.

According to an announcement from the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) on Friday, the new service, dubbed LiVE, uses blockchain to enable peer-to-peer trading in an effort to help startups access new capital from investors, including those drawn from the venture capital and institutional investor worlds.

SET officials said that so far, eight companies have joined the blockchain platform, with another 50 companies scheduled to participate in the initiative.

SET's President Kesara Manchusree said in the announcement.

"'LiVE' platform will be a key mechanism to help drive forward Thailand's growth especially enabling startups and SMEs to have more financial accesses through crowdfunding. Businesses can utilize LiVE to promote to a wider target group while using [the] partnership to expand [our] customer base."

The launch follows a year-long technological development process. As CoinDesk previously reported, the SET began planning to build a crowdfunding platform for startups in March of last year. At the time, the SET said that over 600 companies had shown interest in joining the blockchain-powered marketplace.

Meanwhile, other stock exchanges in the world, such as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, are also looking to blockchain as a means to develop securities markets for smaller businesses.
 
latest updates from Bitcoin Looks for Price Support After Failed $10K Crossover
Updates: May-7-2018 07:42:48 PM
Bitcoin's (BTC) pullback in prices over the weekend has dampened the immediate prospects for the bulls, the technical studies indicate.

Having witnessed a bullish pennant breakout last Friday, the cryptocurrency looked set to scale the $10,000 mark in a convincing manner over the weekend.

However, the bullish move unexpectedly ran out of steam at $9,990 at 13:00 UTC on Saturday, according to Bitfinex, and had retreated to $9,258 earlier today.

As of writing, bitcoin is changing hands at $9,400, representing a 2.67 percent drop from the previous day's close of $9,658.

While the pullback is not good for the bulls, only a drop below $8,650 would give the bears the upper hand.
 
latest updates from Startup That Puts Diplomas On the Blockchain Raises $3 Million
Updates: May-7-2018 07:42:07 PM
Learning Machine, the blockchain startup co-developed a system for putting digital diplomas on the blockchain with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has raised $3 million.

The seed funding round was led by PTB Ventures with additional involvement from Omidyar Network and Learn Capital. The funding comes months after MIT unveiled that it had partnered with Learning Machine on the digital diploma initiative, which is based on the open-source Blockcerts standard.

Last fall saw other academic institutions and organizations launch their own Blockcerts-based pilots, including the University of Melbourne and Malta's government. That software tool, according to Learning Machine vice president of business development Natalie Smolenski, can be used to link academic certifications to different blockchains - including bitcoin and ethereum - with the goal of eliminating degree forgery.

The startup hopes to allow clients to use any blockchain they want she said, noting that some customers might prefer a public chain versus a private one.

"Right now in part I think because blockchain technology is still relatively new, there are a lot of high or strong emotions about which blockchain is better than another and blockchain has kind of engendered these fierce loyalties," she said, adding:

"We don't want to pick winners with blockchain. We do generally recommend users pick blockchains with a proven record but ultimately you don't want to prescribe to customers which blockchain they should use. If they have strong feelings about ethereum, they should use ethereum; if they have strong feelings on bitcoin, they should use bitcoin; if they have strong feelings on a private blockchain they should use a private blockchain."

Smolenski went on to predict that educational institutions will increase their use of the technology - adding that she hopes they will learn toward tapping open-source projects.

"This is the future," she told CoinDesk. "By 2020 most institutions will be using blockchains in some way, shape or form and the question we have to answer right now is are the solutions going to be open-standard or are they going to be proprietary?"
 
latest updates from Iceland's Missing Bitcoin Miners May Be In China
Updates: May-7-2018 07:41:29 PM
Iceland's 600 missing bitcoin mining machines may be in China, local news reported last week.

According to RUV, Icelandic police have sent Chinese authorities an inquiry after the latter country confiscated 600 mining computers. Police in the Tianjin area reportedly seized the machines after detecting unusually high electricity consumption, per Xinhua News.

The Chinese news agency explained that this may have been the "largest power theft case in recent years," noting that eight high-power fans were also confiscated. The individuals running the mining farm short-circuited their electricity meter, thereby avoiding receiving a bill for the energy used to power the miners.

Left untouched, the meter would have recorded "hundreds of thousands of yuan" in bills, Xinhua reported.

However, it is unclear whether the machines seized in China have any relation to Iceland's "Big Bitcoin Heist." As previously reported, the machines were stolen across several incidents during December and January, and officials have so far had no luck in locating them. A $60,000 reward is offered by the machines' owner for any information which could lead to the computers.

The alleged mastermind behind the thefts is set to be extradited to Iceland from the Netherlands, where he was arrested after escaping a low-security prison and fleeing to Sweden.

As previously reported, Sindri Thor Stefansson reportedly took a taxi to a nearby international airport and flew out of the country on an aircraft which also carried the nation's prime minister.
 
latest updates from Meetup's Crypto Secret? Scams Are Running Rampant
Updates: May-7-2018 07:40:37 PM
The line between crypto education and self-promotion has blurred.

And nowhere is this more evident than on social media, where imposters are everywhere and scams are rampant. But as crypto Twitter devolves into all-out chaos, a similar deterioration of discourse is playing out on another popular site for crypto enthusiasts - Meetup.com, the startup acquired by co-working giant WeWork for $20 billion in 2017.

Take James Moreau's experience. The founder of the Worcester Ethereum Meetup had a self-proclaimed blockchain expert interrupt one of his recent meetings focused on how to use cryptocurrency wallets by passing out flyers for a crypto accounting service. Thinking it was inappropriate, Moreau stopped the solicitation but was later horrified to discover the accountant didn't actually have any experience reporting crypto assets.

Yet, some of the more inexperienced group members had been quick to take the stranger at her word.

And Moreau felt some responsibility, not only for their potential wasted time but also the fact that should any of those members purchase her services, and then have problems later because she, in fact, didn't know what she was doing.

This experience displays just how difficult it's become to run a Meetup group related to cryptocurrency or blockchain, and moreover to educate in any form in the space.

"Around a month or two ago, I started noticing the same type of spam you'd see on Twitter," Moreau said, listing questionable exchange links, giveaways and phishing scams among the culprits he sees on Meetup.

He continued:

"I've deleted the comments and blocked the users, but they keep coming."

Meetup's policy currently forbids groups that offer "specific advice or services in areas that require a licensed professional," including law and finance, as well as groups that promise "financial gains." But when it comes to the nascent cryptocurrency space, it can be tricky to separate education from blatant scams and misinformation.

So far, Moreau has dealt with about a half dozen problematic posts and direct messages, but he can't be sure how many scammy direct messages have been sent to the 97 members of his Worcester group.

"I have people in my groups that are new and don't know what a scam looks like in this space," he said, describing newbies punch-drunk on headlines about quick riches as a ripe target for opportunists.
Online solicitation

And what's more problematic is when users directly solicit others via the comments section of Meetup groups.

For instance, a Meetup user calling himself "Stellar Lumens" promised users of the platform an "invite bonus" of lumens, the native cryptocurrency of the stellar protocol, even following up with people on Facebook before Meetup shut down the solicitor's account.

Zac Freundt, community manager at the Stellar Development Foundation, told CoinDesk the team routinely reports such scams on Meetup and other social media platforms.

While this bad behavior appears far less common on Meetup.com, Moreau said reporting scams (which the company has encouraged him to keep doing) is taking up a lot of his time.

As such, he isn't sure whether he'll keep using the platform if the problem persists. In his eyes, some of the responsibility lies with the platform itself.

"It's a paid service, so I feel like there should be some level of service," he told CoinDesk, adding:

"I'm thinking about whether Meetup is a good platform for me to organize around anymore, then again, I don't know what my options are otherwise."

Meetup did not reply to requests for comment.

Currently, Moreau is hoping to address some of the issuers by exploring an option to review prospective members before allowing them to join the group.

Lawson Baker, a former attorney turned founder of the cryptocurrency consulting firm RelayZero, echoed Moreau, saying Meetup.com should deal with these scammy and spammy issues, whether through moderation policies or other solutions.

Although, the moves of platforms like Facebook, which banned all advertisements related to cryptocurrency, are also not the best solution.

"It's a fine line to walk between censorship and consumer protection," said Moreau. "Somebody sharing their opinion about cryptocurrency could be misconstrued as spam or financial advice. I don't know what the best solution is yet."
In-person pumps

It's not only online where dodgy promotion happens.

Going one step further from Moreau's example, a Stellar Meetup in San Francisco in April left Baker feeling uneasy.

During that Meetup, hosted by Boris Reznikov, director of partnerships at Stellar, the co-founders of real estate startup Slice not only talked about what the company's aims were but also offered a guide to buying "slice" tokens and referred to upcoming portfolio options.

The event's comment section is full of people posting links to similar blockchain projects and asking about free lumen giveaways.

According to Freundt, "Our meetups are purely focused on educating the public about the technology and use cases of stellar. We do not offer any investment advice."

But Baker said the Slice executive's presentation kind of was.

"They put all the disclaimers that this was not a solicitation. Even though, honestly, that's basically what they are doing," he told CoinDesk.

On the other hand, though, startup pitches and discussions about what crypto assets have real long-term value are a normal and much-needed part of the cryptocurrency community.

But Baker said organizers of these events have to be careful and vet guest speakers diligently.

"There's always bad actors, and then there's a whole bunch of stuff that is just really bad projects. Sometimes it's hard to identify that in a three-minute talk on why you should invest in it," Baker said.

As such, Hannah Rosenberg, co-organizer of the Bitcoin & Open Blockchain Meetup group in Chicago, which has more than 2,550 members, takes a more stringent approach.

"We don't do ICO stuff," Rosenberg told CoinDesk, adding:
 
latest updates from Code Is Law - But It's Not the Only Law for Blockchains
Updates: May-7-2018 07:40:05 PM
A blockchain network is a complex system that involves a variety of actors that cannot be trusted. Its protocol is designed to ensure that every actor has an incentive to cooperate and that the costs of defection are higher than the potential gains.

Yet, like other complex systems, blockchains are made of many different parts, interacting with one another in ways that are difficult to predict - and therefore difficult to govern or regulate.

It might be possible to regulate the actions of each individual part. But as the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, governance cannot be achieved without a proper understanding of the various components that constitute that whole, and the power dynamics that subsist among them.

This post provides an overview of the multiple layers of governance affecting blockchain-based systems. It distinguishes between two distinct governance structures: on-chain governance by the infrastructure and off-chain governance of the infrastructure - each model incorporating both endogenous and exogenous components, which contribute to varying degrees to the overall governance structure of a blockchain-based network.
Layers of governance

If we look at the first post of this blockchain governance series, we see that most decentralized blockchain-based applications have their governance split into different layers, each one interacting with the other:

The Internet protocols layer: e.g., the TCP/IP protocol
The blockchain layer: e.g., the ethereum protocol
The decentralized app (DApp) framework: e.g., DAOstack
The DApp layer: e.g., Sapien

Each layer implements its own governance structure, which may affect or be affected by that of the other layers. The design and implementation of these multiple layers involve several individuals, but chances are they come from different communities that may or may not communicate with one another.

Specifically, bottom-layer communities often implement their own governance structure with little to no regard for the governance system implemented on the upper layers. And yet in doing so they ultimately dictate how applications from the upper layers will operate.

For instance, DAOstack, a project I am involved in, is a DApp framework (Layer 3) built on top of the ethereum blockchain. It is therefore subject to the governance rules of that specific blockchain-based network.

Yet DAOstack also implements its own protocols that determine how people interact with the platform, and how they can create new decentralized organizations on top of it. An application (like Sapien) deployed on top of DAOstack will, in turn, have its own governance protocols specific to that DApp (Layer 4).

Accordingly, any blockchain-based application is subject first to its own governance rules, but is also indirectly affected by the rules of the platform on which it operates: the ethereum blockchain that ensures the proper execution of relevant smart contracts (Layer 2), and the internet network that makes everything run (Layer 1).

The governance of each layer can be distinguished into two separate components:

governance by the infrastructure
governance of the infrastructure.

These two mechanisms co-exist more or less peacefully and both contribute to regulating a particular platform or infrastructure according to their own - sometimes divergent or contradictory - set of rules

Depending on the focus of analysis, these two mechanisms can be regarded as either endogenous to a particular community or exogenous to that community.

Endogenous rules are elaborated by the community and for the community: they are a community's attempt at self-governance through a set of self-imposed rules (e.g., the hipster's dress code).

Exogenous rules are established and/or imposed by a third party that is external to the community, but nonetheless have the ability to influence it through a set of rules that community members are required to abide by (e.g., school uniforms).
Modes of governance

Governance by the infrastructure refers to hard-coded rules embedded into a technological platform. It generally focuses on the process of rule enforcement rather than rule-making (at least with regard to the elaboration of the initial set of rules).

In the case of ethereum, for example, endogenous rules refer to the blockchain protocol and consensus algorithm (Layer 2). From a DApp's perspective, endogenous rules include decision-making procedures and technical rules embedded in the relevant smart contracts (Layers 3 and 4) - whereas the underlying ethereum protocol qualifies as exogenous. A variety of other exogenous rules also exist, like the TCP/IP and other Internet protocols that make it possible for people to find and connect to the blockchain-based network (Layer 1).

When these rules are endogenous to a blockchain-based network, we refer to governance by the infrastructure as "on-chain" governance. These rules are encoded directly into the blockchain-based network, which guarantees their execution in a secure and decentralized manner.

Sometimes, on-chain governance rules also specify procedures to amend themselves: just like we can make laws that stipulate how to make, amend or repeal laws, we can design protocol rules that define the procedures to make, amend or repeal other protocol rules.

Take Tezos, for instance: a self-amending blockchain, where people have the ability to change the protocol rules - including the rules to change the rules!

Governance of the infrastructure refers to all forces that subsist outside of a technological platform, but nonetheless influence its development and operations. These rules operate at the social or institutional level rather than at the technical level.

Endogenous rules comprise rules, social norms, customs, and other governance structures developed or endorsed by a particular community with a view to facilitating coordination within that community.

For instance, developers in open source communities codify rules and procedures to decide on developing and evolving an open source software project. Peer-review usually enforces these rules, although the community might also implement formalized mechanisms of enforcement and oversight. Failure to follow these rules might lead to exclusion from the community or other forms of social punishment.

In a blockchain-based network, we often refer to governance of the infrastructure as "off-chain" governance because the governance rules subsist and operate outside of the blockchain infrastructure. As opposed to on-chain governance rules, these rules are not automatically executed: they require a third-party authority for enforcement or oversight.

For most blockchain communities, endogenous rules include all rules and procedures used to decide which changes to implement in the protocol, including the decision to fork. In bitcoin, these are done via the Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIP) - an informal mechanism by which people can propose new features and improvements to the bitcoin protocol.

Ethereum implemented a similar system for people to submit Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP), an informal procedure by which people can suggest or request changes to the ethereum protocol or code. However, none of these procedures are binding. The developer community evaluates these proposals and decides whether (and how) they should be implemented into the code base - along with the various problems that this might entail.

To the extent that these proposals get accepted and implemented into the code, governance of the infrastructure has the ability to affect governance by the infrastructure. In other words, because off-chain governance is generally geared toward changing the rules of the underlying blockchain protocol, it has the power to modify the structure of on-chain governance.

Exogenous rules neither stem from the community nor are chosen by it, yet they have the ability to influence the activities thereof.

For instance, although they do not apply directly to blockchain-based networks, national laws can impact the operations of such networks. Of course, because laws are inherently territorial, if violated, they can only be enforced by the national court system within the scope of a particular jurisdiction. Yet as soon as we start dealing with real-world assets (as opposed to pure digital assets), the rule of law will necessarily come into play, potentially countering the rule of code.

Perhaps the clearest illustration of the tension between endogenous and exogenous rules comes from the recent discovery of child pornography imagery and links encoded into the bitcoin blockchain. Hosting this type of content is illicit and national laws stipulate that such harmful content should be taken down.

Yet according to bitcoin's endogenous rules, the blockchain is immutable: nodes cannot arbitrarily delete or modify the content that has been recorded onto the blockchain.

The same tension exists between blockchain's immutability and Europe's right to be forgotten, which entitles people to request the removal and deletion of specific information concerning them, if such information is deemed irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.

Governments or other regulatory authorities impose these exogenous rules to ensure public order and morality. Their goal is to promote the interests of specific communities or the public at large - sometimes at the expense of the interests and norms of other communities.
Putting it all together

Today, most of the discussion about on-chain and off-chain governance is mainly looking at endogenous rules. Yet, it is the combination of endogenous and exogenous rules that ultimately dictates the manner in which blockchain-based platforms will operate.

Before we can begin to understand blockchain governance, we need to adopt an ecosystemic approach, looking at the various forces that might affect the operations of these platforms, and how they interrelate with one another.

As a result, we cannot focus only on endogenous rules and forget about exogenous rules. That would be like trying to understand people independent from their social context, analyzing a cell without looking at the body in which it lives, or disregarding the whole for its parts.
 
latest updates from These Crypto Assets Are Pushing the Market Back Toward $500 Billion
Updates: May-4-2018 08:32:05 PM
The cryptocurrency markets continued to build on April's gains this week, with alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) leading the way.

Notably, the combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies rose back above $460 billion today - the highest level since March 6, representing a week-on-week increase of 15.8 percent.

Out of top 25 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, 23 are reporting gains on a weekly basis, and names like nano (NANO), VeChain (VET) and bytecoin (BCN) are topping the list.

Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is reporting 8.5 percent appreciation, largely due to Thursday's bull pennant breakout.

Meanwhile, other bigwigs like Ripple (XRP), litecoin (LTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) are reporting 11 percent gains. Ethereum's ether token (ETH) rose above $800 for the first time since early March and has witnessed an appreciation of 23 percent.

Moving forward, the cryptomarkets will likely remain bid as bitcoin is eyeing a big bullish break above the $10,000 mark.
 
latest updates from Arizona Lawmakers Strip Crypto Mentions From Tax Payments Bill
Updates: May-4-2018 08:31:38 PM
UPDATE 4 May 19:00 UTC: Representative Jeff Weninger told CoinDesk that there were insufficient votes for the bill with the cryptocurrency language included. Because Arizona's legislative session ended on May 3, there are no plans to propose a future bill at this time.

Arizona's long-in-the-making cryptocurrency tax payments bill has been further stripped down - so much so that it no longer mentions the technology at all.

The final version of Senate Bill 1091 does not mention cryptocurrencies in any way, despite three previous versions of the bill all specifically including cryptocurrencies as a possible payment method, public filings show. The version of the bill approved by both the House of Representatives and the State Senate does say that the Department of Revenue "may develop, adopt and use a payment system that enables the immediate remittance and collection of tax."

It goes on to explain:

"The Department of revenue may design, develop and provide for trial demonstrations of the adaptation, application and use of technology to enable immediate remittance and collection of transaction privilege tax payments, at the option of the taxpayer, at the point of sale and for payments of additional amounts after audit."

However, it is unclear whether this technology refers to cryptocurrencies or a traditional banking system.

The bill originally sought to enable Arizona's Department of Revenue to collect cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, for tax payments. The bill was introduced in January and quickly passed through several committees before being referred to the House, as previously reported. Committees in the House similarly approved the bill's passage, but it stalled at the beginning of March.

Representative Jeff Weninger, one of the bill's cosponsors, later told CoinDesk that the bill was being modified to become more neutral. While the original version specifically mentioned bitcoin, the new version was supposed to be "agnostic" about which cryptocurrencies could be collected, he explained.

Following the revamp, the bill was approved by the House Rules Committee and sent up to Ways and Means.

However, a new version was passed by the full House at the end of April. Rather than enabling the Department of Revenue to collect taxes through cryptocurrencies, the bill directed the Department to study "whether a taxpayer may pay the taxpayer's income tax liability by using a payment gateway." Possible gateways included bitcoin and litecoin, among other cryptocurrencies.

Senators Warren Petersen and David Farnsworth and Representative Jeff Weninger, the sponsor and cosponsors respectively, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Representative Travis Grantham could not be reached.
 
latest updates from Virgin's Richard Branson Warns on Bitcoin Scam Sites Using His Name
Updates: May-4-2018 08:31:13 PM
British business tycoon Richard Branson spoke out Thursday about the rash of bitcoin scam stories that have used his name to lure victims.

"I have written several times warning people about the growing problem of fake stories online linking me to get-rich-quick schemes, fake pages, misleading ads, false endorsements and fake binary trading schemes," Branson wrote in a blog post.

"While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine bitcoin developments," he continued, "I absolutely do not endorse these fake bitcoin stories."

Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, whose portfolio of over 400 companies includes the airline Virgin Atlantic. He has promoted bitcoin and blockchain technology in the past, including through an annual private island summit of industry participants.

Branson singled out one scam - Bitcoin Trader - in particular. CoinDesk visited a site advertising the scheme, which poses as a CNN Tech article, complete with the outlet's logo and formatting - if not its copy-editing.

"560 Thousand British Quit Their Jobs After Richard Branson Invests Heavily In New Bitcoin Financial Tech." the headline reads, and the fake article is falsely attributed to a real CNN tech writer.
 
latest updates from Police Mandate Use of Blockchain Hotel Registry in Indian City
Updates: May-4-2018 08:30:44 PM
Police in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have ordered hotels to deploy a new blockchain security solution developed by local startup Zebi.

According to a Medium post from the startup published last Friday, the product merges blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to securely store data about hotel guests, and aims to both bring convenience to customers and to help prevent criminal activities.

The data collected is compared with the police database of criminals, missing persons and so on to ascertain whether the guest has any criminal background.

Zebi said that the solution - dubbed Zebi AI Chain - has already been integrated across over 200 hotels, including The Park, Taj Gateway, Novotel in Vizag, the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh known for its "Fintech Valley" ecosystem.

Dr Fakeerappa Kaginelli, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Vizag region, confirmed that the use of the solution has been made mandatory for all hotels in the Vizag city limits.

He told Coindesk today:

"All hotels are directed to enter their check-in particulars on real-time basis without fail and they are adhering too ... 230 hotels are entering their guest particulars through this tech web page."

The initiative collects real-time date from hotel check-in desks in order to provide "real-time surveillance over criminals and their anti-social activities," he said. "No criminal activities as such are reported to date."

Under Indian law, hotels must provide guests' personal data to the police on a daily basis.

"Generally, they do it manually, leaving scope for misuse during transportation and storage of papers. Time to process the documents too is long," said Babu Munagala, Zebi's founder and CEO, according to the Hindu Business Line.

The posts states that the "private and sensitive" data of hotel guests is immutably stored in the Zebi AI Chain system, adding that visitors are asked to give permission for access to the data.

Nagesh Kumar Venkata, assistant front office manager of The Park hotel, was quoted as saying that local police previously had to visit the hotel on a regular basis to ascertain the status of tourists and their backgrounds. "Now it is not necessary," he said.

Looking ahead, Zebi further says it is preparing for "full-scale deployment across all the hotels in India."
 
latest updates from Venezuelan President Launches Cryptocurrency-Funded Youth Bank
Updates: May-4-2018 08:30:05 PM
Venezuela is launching a youth bank to be funded by the state's controversial petro cryptocurrency.

Announced Thursday by the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, the country will set up a bank for students and young people that will begin its operations with 20 million petros, according to news source Telesur.

Speaking during a youth ceremony in the state of Aragua on Thursday, Maduro said that close to $1.2 billion-worth of the cryptocurrency would be given to the new institution to get it up and running, and that the bank would support "productive initiatives."

During his speech, Maduro also said that every university should have a mining farm to produce cryptocurrencies in order to strengthen the economy of Venezuela.

Launched in February 2018, the petro is a national oil-backed cryptocurrency developed by the government of Venezuela under the direct orders of the president. The move has been widely condemned as away to avoid U.S.-led sanctions against the Latin American country.

Even the country's own opposition-led congress has condemned the petro, saying before its launch that it was "illegal" and merely borrowing against the country's assets.

Soon after the launch of the petro pre-sale, President Maduro further announced that he plans a second cryptocurrency to be backed by the nation's gold reserves.
 
latest updates from 12 Chinese Banks Say They Deployed Blockchain in 2017
Updates: May-4-2018 08:29:26 PM
Nearly half of the 26 publicly listed banks in China say they deployed blockchain applications in 2017, according to a report.

Chinese banking industry news source CEBNet said Friday that, among the 26 Chinese banks, 12 of them disclosed in their annual filings that blockchain applications were adopted for various use cases over the last year.

The 12 institutions include major state-owned commercial banks such as the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agriculture Bank of China, as well as other privately held ones, including China Merchants Bank and other city-level entities.

The applications that have been adopted range from using blockchain technology to issue invoices and cross-border loans to ID authentication processes.

For example, according to the annual filing from the Agriculture Bank of China, the state-owned entity has developed a decentralized network to offer unsecured loans for agricultural e-commerce merchants that it said offers an automatic loan issuance process.

Similarly, China Construction Bank also disclosed in its financial statement that it has launched a blockchain-based platform that provides cross-bank and cross-border loan issuance for small businesses. The bank further boasts that the platform has so far processed transactions that worth a total of 1.6 billion yuan, or $251 million.

Taking another approach, Bank of China said that it has completed testing for a distributed IT infrastructure to be deployed across its branches for further development of a blockchain-based digital wallet.

The banks' en masse move to adopt blockchain comes at a time when the country's banking regulator has also praised the benefit of applying the technology in the financial sector - especially when it comes to improving the efficiency of loan issuance.

Recent patent applications, as reported by CoinDesk, also indicated that China's state-owned banks have been exploring ways to use blockchain technology to solve data storage issues and to streamline certificate authentication processes.
 
latest updates from Fraudsters Take Aim at Investors in Controversial KodakCoin ICO
Updates: May-4-2018 08:26:36 PM
A representative for the company behind the long-in-the-making KODAKCoin initial coin offering (ICO) has accused a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange of fraud after it claimed it would host the token sale.

According to a page on the Hong Kong-based exchange LBank.io, the platform's ICO section says it is about to open the KODAKCoin token sale on Friday, May 4 at 20:00 Beijing time, or 12:00 UTC, which will end at the same time on May 11.

But the platform behind the digital rights management-focused coin first unveiled in January says that isn't true.

In an email response to CoinDesk's request for comment, a spokesperson for KODAKOne called the information "neither authentic nor accurate."

"It has come to our attention that more than one fraudulent websites have been promoting the sale of KODAKCoin. All factual information regarding the availability of an ICO to accredited investors will come directly from KODAKCoin and its authorized representatives."

The rep went on to say:

"To clarify, WENN Digital is only offering the SAFTs and the underlying KODAKCoin in exempt transactions to 'accredited investors. Offers and sales of the SAFTs and the underlying KODAKCoin outside the United States will also be made in accordance with the laws and regulations of the relevant jurisdictions."

The KODAKCoin sale was expected to begin at the end of January but was instead delayed for what was initially said to be several weeks.

Most recently, WENN Digital, KODAK's partner in developing the cryptocurrency, is pitching the sale to be conducted by way of Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs), which brands the coin to be a utility token and can only be sold to "accredited investors."

According to LBank.io's token sale page, would-be investors can purchase KODAKCoin at a 1:1 ratio with tether or USDT, the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency tied to crypto exchange Bitfinex. The exchange's page claims that there is a funding hard cap of 8,000 ETH.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows that the LBank.io is currently the ninth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume in the world, with over $421 million worth in transactions during the past 24 hours.

While LBank.io has not yet responded to CoinDesk's requests for comments, its website indicates that the firm was founded in 2017 and is currently based in Hong Kong
 
latest updates from California City's Blockchain Token Is Definitely Maybe Happening
Updates: May-4-2018 08:26:07 PM
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the city council of Berkeley, Calif., took a step toward approving the issuance of a blockchain-based "microbond."

Ben Bartlett, the vice mayor and council member who spearheaded the initiative, told CoinDesk by phone on Thursday: "It's happening. We passed it."

But the actual decision taken by the vote is a bit more convoluted.

According to Berkeley's city clerk, the council decided to "refer to the 2018 prioritization process to direct the City Manager to produce a report outlining steps required if the City were to implement a Pilot Project for the Community Microbond Initiative within 90 days."

Another member of the city council, Susan Wengraf, cautioned that "this action does not imply approval at this time."

But according to a council member who preferred not to be named, the proposal is moving at a rapid clip through the "byzantine labyrinth" of city government.

"This is a really big win," the member said, explaining that the strong support signaled by five of the nine council members Tuesday means that, rather than taking a decade, the project is likely to progress rapidly.

Bartlett says that he faced considerable opposition to his blockchain-based municipal bond going into the meeting, with only two members in favor. But his pitch for low-denomination bonds, tokenized on a distributed ledger, found fertile ground.

Currently, he says, costs imposed by financial intermediaries force municipal bond issues to be large and drive the minimum a person can invest up to $5,000 or even $100,000. "No one can buy them," says Bartlett, adding, "they're not targeted to specific needs for neighborhoods and communities."

He believes that blockchain technology could allow for tokenized bonds selling at $5, $10 or $25 each, while simultaneously increasing transparency:

"Blockchain allows us to really disintermediate that process and make bonds more affordable for communities and for people."

'Hyperlocal' uses

Among the projects he thinks Berkeley could fund using the bonds are a homeless shelter, an ambulance or an individual fire truck - "hyperlocal activities," in other words.

The world is watching, Bartlett added.

His office has "calls coming in from literally every continent." And his plans for blockchain-based municipal finance go beyond Berkeley, as a recent Medium post seemingly suggests.

But Bartlett has very little to say about the technical details of the plan. He declined to discuss what network the bonds would be issued on - a freestanding blockchain, Hyperledger, bitcoin, ethereum - or even whether the blockchain would be open or permissioned.

"I can't speak to that," he said. "We'll see what the best proposal that comes in from the market is."

The city, he continued, will solicit contracts for the project and "vendors will do every step of this process."
 
latest updates from 'Belligerent' Crypto Miners Prompt Power Utility to Beef Up Security
Updates: May-4-2018 08:25:40 PM
A public utility in one of the U.S. hot spots for bitcoin mining is adopting new security measures in light of harassment suffered by some of its employees.

The steps are being taken by the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) in Washington County - as previously reported, the area has attracted a number of bitcoin miners because of its abundant access to hydropower sources. Yet "confrontations" between staffers and would-be mine operators, as first reported by The Wenatchee World, have sparked a drive to add new cameras, install security panels and institute other actions.

On Monday, Chelan County PUD director of corporate security Rich Hyatt briefed the district's commissioners during a meeting, attributing the moves to "belligerent behavior by impatient cryptocurrency miners" who are reacting poorly following a moratorium imposed on new bitcoin mines.

Hyatt explained:

"Some of the things we're doing internally, we've got a lot of business security measures, at [headquarters] we've [installed] a lot of security panels, we've increased the camera coverage. We've also designed and are going into the construction phase for a very small store front lobby that would give employees a lot more security without having personnel or customers being able to walk right into their work area. We're monitoring those areas."

He also described new measures being taken to dissuade unauthorized bitcoin miners from setting up facilities, saying his office was making agreements with the chief of police, the county sheriff and the county prosecutor to investigate and potentially prosecute repeat offenders.

"We ... have an agreement with those agencies that we could use [them] as the mechanism that when we prepare a case and gather the evidence and establish probable cause, we can take that case through their detectives and that can help the county for prosecution considerations," he said.

The agency has also trained its personnel on how to deal with potentially hostile people by installing panic buttons for front-line staff and adding security officers able to spot "negative body language," he said.
 
latest updates from JPMorgan Seeks Patent for Blockchain-Powered Interbank Payments
Updates: May-4-2018 08:25:07 PM
JPMorgan Chase is seeking to patent a system for using distributed ledgers as a way to facilitate and reconcile financial transactions, newly-released filings show.

In a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday (which was originally submitted last October), JPMorgan outlined a system that uses distributed ledgers to record payments being sent from one bank to another using a peer-to-peer network. According to the bank, the tech's use would provide "a unique system for recording transactions and storing data."

The ability to replicate that data on the ledge across a public or private distribution network offers another benefit, the filing notes.

JPMorgan goes on to explain:

"In one embodiment, a method for processing network payments using a distributed ledger may include: (1) a payment originator initiating a payment instruction to a payment beneficiary; (2) a payment originator bank posting and committing the payment instruction to a distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network; (3) the payment beneficiary bank posting and committing the payment instruction to the distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network; and (4) the payment originator bank validating and processing the payment through a payment originator bank internal system and debiting an originator account."

A blockchain could improve upon existing systems by allowing real-time settlement more cheaply and quickly than is possible at present, according to the bank.

"For a cross-border payment to be made from a payment organization to a payment beneficiary, a number of messages must be sent between the banks and clearing houses involved in processing the transaction. This often results in a slow transaction, as there are may be delays in service due to correspondent banking, messaging networks, and clearing intermediaries in the payment flow," the application explains.

It's perhaps unsurprising that JPMorgan would seek a patent for its blockchain-related work in the area of interbank payments. The bank launched a platform for just that kind of service, built on ethereum-offshoot Quorum, days before it filed the patent application.

"Blockchain capabilities have allowed us to rethink how critical information can be sourced and exchanged between global banks," Emma Loftus, head of global payments and foreign exchange for JPMorgan Treasury Services, said at the time.
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