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Updates: May-4-2018 08:24:27 PM
Arizona's Bid to Accept Crypto for Taxes Suffers Setback -  Arizona's crypto tax bill no longer enables the Department of Revenue to collect taxes in cryptocurrency, but rather directs it to conduct a study. >> full details
Updates: May-4-2018 08:23:57 PM
CFTC Officials Want Close Cooperation With SEC on Crypto Rules -  Two members of the U.S. commodities regulator spoke at a conference. One stressed enforcement, the other working with the industry. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:33:36 AM
Sony Eyes Blockchain Use for Digital Rights Data -  Sony believes a blockchain can be used as a digital rights management solution by storing ownership information. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:33:08 AM
CBOE Saw Its Highest-Ever Bitcoin Futures Volumes Yesterday -  Bitcoin futures contracts saw a spike in trading volume Wednesday, according to data from both CBOE and CME. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:32:46 AM
Ripple Says Sales of XRP Cryptocurrency Rose 83% In Q1 -  While XRP's price has fallen since the end of the year, Ripple's sales of the cryptocurrency are stronger than ever.>> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:31:53 AM
Romania's Oldest Bitcoin Exchange Is Shutting Down Next Week -  BTCxChange announced it was closing its platform on May 1, and advised customers to withdraw all funds before then. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:31:29 AM
Crypto Mining Made Up 10% of AMD's Revenue in Q1 -  While AMD sees demand for GPUs to process blockchains falling this quarter, CEO Lisa Su believes the technology will have a long-term impact. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:28:36 AM
OmiseGo Hits Two-Month High Amid Exchange Listings -  OmiseGo's OMG token is reporting double-digit gains today, possibly due to new listings on Asian exchanges and news of an airdrop. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:28:09 AM
BBVA Issues $91 Million Loan Using Two Blockchains -  Spanish banking giant BBVA has completed a pilot that issued a $91 million corporate loan using two different blockchain technologies. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:27:47 AM
Samsung Sets Q1 Profit Record with Crypto Mining Boost -  Samsung has seen record growth in quarterly operating profits an increase driven in part by strong demand for cryptocurrency mining chips.>> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:27:18 AM
Bitcoin Risks Deeper Pullback After Drop Below $9K -  After hitting a one-week low today, bitcoin risks a deeper pullback if support at $8,459 is breached, the technical charts indicate. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:26:23 AM
IBM Partners with Jewelry Industry on Hyperledger Supply Chain Project -  IBM has teamed up with major jewelry businesses to bring transparency to the industry's supply chain with blockchain technology. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:25:54 AM
Parity Says 'No Intention' to Split Ethereum Over Fund Recovery -  Parity Technologies has said it has no plans to move forward with a code change that would result in an ethereum blockchain split. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:25:23 AM
Coincheck Owner Monex Plans Proprietary Blockchain, ICO -  The new owner of Japan's Coincheck exchange, Monex Group, says creating its own blockchain with an ICO to follow is on its radar. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:24:43 AM
Barclays, Goldman Champion ISDA Standard for Blockchain Derivatives -  U.K.-based bank Barclays is pushing hard for a data standard for derivatives, as a foundation for that market to adopt distributed ledger technology. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:24:12 AM
Binance Exchange Denies Sequoia Allegation of Exclusivity Breach -  Crypto exchange Binance has denied an allegation that its founder breached an exclusivity agreement with VC firm Sequoia Capital.>> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:23:41 AM
SBI Backs Token Exchange Templum's $10 Million Funding Round -  Japanese investment giant SBI Holdings has added an initial coin offering (ICO) platform startup to its cryptocurrency portfolio company. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:23:10 AM
The 17 Millionth Bitcoin Is About to Be Mined -  Barring an unforeseen event, the 17 millionth bitcoin is likely to be mined in the coming day, data from Blockchain.info shows, a development >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:22:02 AM
Crypto Exchange Gemini to Monitor Trading Using Nasdaq Tech -  Gemini plans to monitor its exchange for potential illicit activities using Nasdaq's SMARTS Market Surveillance technology. >> full details
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:20:44 AM
Fitch Ratings: Blockchain Is a Potential 'Game-Changer' -  Fitch Ratings published a report Wednesday noting that blockchain can be a long-term solution to issues facing the insurance industry today. >> full details
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latest updates from Arizona's Bid to Accept Crypto for Taxes Suffers Setback
Updates: May-4-2018 08:24:27 PM
Arizona's cryptocurrency tax payments bill was passed by the state's House of Representatives, but with a caveat: it is now almost completely different.

Public records show that the Arizona House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1091 on April 30 by a 43-14 vote. That comfortable passage aside, the measure is now starkly different from the one originally submitted - and later passed - in the Arizona Senate.

Now, the two chambers enter talks to reconcile the differences, with lawmakers from the House and the Senate being named to undertake the task.

By far the biggest change is that the mandate aimed at Arizona's Department of Revenue - which would have cleared the way for it to accept cryptocurrency as payment for tax liabilities - has been walked back.

If implemented as-is, the House version would merely require the Department to study the issue and that it "may develop, adopt and use a payment system that enables the immediate remittance and collection of tax in real time at the point of sale, including payments of additional amounts after audit."

As the bill explains further:

"The Department shall study whether a taxpayer may pay the taxpayer's income tax liability by using a payment gateway, such as bitcoin, litecoin or any other cryptocurrency that uses electronic peer-to-peer systems. The Department shall study the conversion of cryptocurrency payments to United States dollars at the prevailing rate after receipt and shall study the process of crediting the taxpayer's account with the converted dollar amount actually received less any fees or costs incurred by the Department for conversion."

The bill does not define when this study would begin or how long it might take for the results to be compiled into a report. It is further unclear whether Arizona would allow its tax officials to collect payments using cryptocurrencies at a later date.

Senator Warren Petersen's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
latest updates from CFTC Officials Want Close Cooperation With SEC on Crypto Rules
Updates: May-4-2018 08:23:57 PM
Two officials at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) spoke about regulating cryptocurrencies this week, stressing the need for cooperation between their agency and another powerful U.S. regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Addressing the FIA Law and Compliance conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, commissioner Brian Quintenz spoke out about "an effort that is underway at both the SEC and CFTC to coordinate and harmonize regulatory oversight."

Quintenz did not focus on cryptocurrencies specifically, but when he did talk about them, the emphasis was on "fraud, market manipulation and disruptive trading involving virtual currency."

He reminded the audience that the CFTC has set up a special task force "to prosecute fraud in this evolving asset class," and stressed the importance of cooperating with the SEC so as to "ensure that differences in product nomenclature do not enable bad actors to slip through jurisdictional cracks."

Examples of recent cooperation between the SEC and CFTC include the cases against the alleged My Big Coin and CabbageTech cryptocurrency scams, according to an annotated transcript of Quintenz's remarks.

Commissioner Rostin Behnam, who spoke Thursday morning, struck a much softer tone on cryptocurrencies. He noted that CME Group and Cboe's introduction of bitcoin futures required a "hard and fast introduction" to bitcoin and blockchain technology.

He expressed concern that cryptocurrencies could present a threat to financial stability, if not now then down the line. He urged regulators - who often find themselves "scurrying to keep pace with swift innovations" - to act before that threat appears.

Behnam acknowledged that not everything in the cryptocurrency markets is a fraud and said that policy should "reflect an understanding of FinTech and address the concerns and needs of all stakeholders."

The commissioner was skeptical of the cryptocurrency industry's attempt to craft its own regulations, since "their motives may be too focused on supporting industry growth." Even so, he welcomed market participants to help craft policy:

"Let's work together, have an honest conversation, and seek solutions that focus on an inclusive regulatory landscape."

He added: "Whatever your issue, my door is open."
 
latest updates from Sony Eyes Blockchain Use for Digital Rights Data
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:33:36 AM
Japanese technology giant Sony is looking at using blockchain to store digital rights data.

In an application published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Sony explains that current digital rights management (DRM) solutions that aim for interoperability "may not be very reliable and rely on one unique point of failure. If the rights locker provider or system goes out of business or otherwise fails, the user loses all the acquired content."

A blockchain could store the required identification information to ensure users could watch the products they purchase, according to the filing.

DRM systems refer to technologies that limit access to copyrighted materials only to those who purchase access. Sony cites UltraViolet, a cloud-based locker for digital rights, as one example.

The application was filed jointly by Sony and subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the document specifically cites movies as an example of the type of media the system could be applied to.

However, Sony also argues the blockchain-based system could manage rights to "various types of content or other data, such as movies, television, video, music, audio, games, scientific data, medical data, etc."

The application describes several potential implementations of the technology. In one, each user's rights are encoded on a dedicated blockchain. This ledger begins with a genesis block, which stores identifying information about that user. When the user acquires rights to certain content - by purchasing a movie download, for example - those rights are committed to the blockchain.

Concurrently, a "DRM computer system would verify the rights in the blockchain and then decrypt the media when needed. This computer system can take different forms, including a "DRM agent" residing on a user's device, according to Sony.

As previously reported, Sony has been looking at other applications of the technology, including as a means to authenticate user data and manage education data.
 
latest updates from CBOE Saw Its Highest-Ever Bitcoin Futures Volumes Yesterday
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:33:08 AM
Two major markets for bitcoin futures contracts saw a major boost in volume on Wednesday.

Available market data shows that CBOE saw its highest-ever volume for bitcoin futures since it first debuted the contracts back in December. 18,210 contacts for the May futures were traded, along with 703 for the June contract and 87 for the July contract. No volume was reported for the exchange's August-dated contract.

CBOE Options Institute senior instructor Kevin Davitt, in a social media video posted on Thursday, said that "[the] average daily volume (ADV) runs about 6,600 in XBT Bitcoin Futures. Yesterday's volume was nearly three times ADV."

He went on to explain:

"Yesterday was the highest daily volume for bitcoin futures since their introduction here at CBOE nearly five months ago. The lead month May futures traded 18,210 contracts, and across the term structure a total of 19,000 bitcoin futures traded here yesterday. The previous high-volume session was January 17 with just less than 15,500 contracts traded."

Wednesday's volume was an outlier among the past several days, as well as the results seen during Thursday's session. On Monday, XBT Bitcoin Futures traded at 3,881, rising to 6,653 on Tuesday. On Thursday, volume was reported at 5,634 contracts as of press time.

CME, according to market data, also saw a big trading day on Wednesday.

The exchange saw the volume of its bitcoin futures contracts market double on Wednesday from the day before, shooting past 11,000 contracts. Unlike CBOE, it was CME's April 2018 contracts which saw the bulk of the spike, according to its website.

The spike in January's volume coincided with the expiration of the first set of contracts, Davitt said. However, Wednesday's volume did not, nor did it have a 15-20 percent range in futures Davitt would otherwise have expected, he added.

"We will certainly be watching to see if this is a volume aberration or if more and more institutional types are moving into crypto," he said. However, he noted that "the overall bullish sentiment continues in XBT Bitcoin Futures."
 
latest updates from Ripple Says Sales of XRP Cryptocurrency Rose 83% In Q1
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:32:46 AM
San Francisco startup Ripple Inc. is reporting an uptick in sales for a cryptocurrency core to its product suite.

According to a post on the firm's site, released Wednesday, the company sold $167.7 million worth of XRP in the first three months of 2018, an increase of 83 percent compared to the previous quarter and of 2,400 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Ripple has long been closely associated with the open-source XRP Ledger, a technology on which it has built tools aimed at enterprise businesses.

The company further said direct sales of XRP totaled $16.6 million - a decline of 17 percent compared to the previous quarter. Programmatic sales of the cryptocurrency more than doubled, on the other hand, rising from $71.5 million to $151.1 million.

Tom Channick, Ripple's head of corporate communications, told CoinDesk that XRP sales "exceeded our expectations."

He added:

"As a company, our strategy remains focused on signing up customers to use our technology and moving those customers into production. If we continue to do that, we will fix how money moves around the world."

The total volume of XRP traded globally also increased markedly in Q1: volumes grew 68 percent to reach $160 billion for the period.

XRP's clout relative to the total cryptocurrency market grew in Q1, with its share of overall market volume growing from 5.3 percent at the end of 2017 to 6.9 percent at the end of March.

As for its share of total cryptocurrency market value, the report notes:

"While the total market capitalization of all digital assets was the same on both November 24, 2017 and March 31, 2018, XRP's share of that market capitalization doubled, rising from 3.56 percent to 7.57 percent - a continuation of a trend that first began in 2017."

XRP's price took off in late 2017, rising from less than $0.25 at the beginning of December to a peak of $3.84 in early January. The token's subsequent fall was just as steep, and within a month, it was trading at just under a dollar. At the time of writing, 1 XRP is worth around $0.82.

Ripple's first-quarter report also addressed the negative influence that a global regulatory crackdown, combined with uncertainty about the future, has had on cryptocurrency prices. It did not specifically reference Ripple's own regulatory questions, however, including whether XRP is a security.

Ripple markets XRP and other solutions to banks as a means to increase efficiency and reduce cost in payments, particularly those transacted across borders. The cryptocurrency has attracted a devoted following, but also a fair amount of criticism too, including questions about its degree of centralization and the pace of adoption.

Ripple has issued quarterly XRP reports since Q4 2016, when it sold $4.6 million XRP directly to institutions.

David Schwartz, the startup's chief cryptographer, explained programmatic sales on Reddit in November, saying:

"This is done by third parties that Ripple employs to use agreed algorithms to execute sales, usually by market making that is biased in favor of a net sale. Ripple does not have direct control over these sales and cannot adjust their timing on a short-term basis."

Direct sales, by contrast, are conducted by XRP II, LLC, a registered and licensed money service business. The main buyers, the company has stated in the past, are financial institutions.

Ripple placed 55 billion XRP in escrow accounts in December "to create certainty of XRP supply at any given time." The company released around 300 million of these XRP in Q1, which it says "are being used in a variety of ways to help invest in the XRP ecosystem."
 
latest updates from Romania's Oldest Bitcoin Exchange Is Shutting Down Next Week
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:31:53 AM
Romania's BTCxChange announced it was closing its platform earlier this week.

In a notice dated April 22, the nation's oldest cryptocurrency exchange told its customers to withdraw all of their remaining funds from the platform, which had already suspended most of its operations - including the ability to trade between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies like the Romanian leu - earlier this year.

The notice said:

"We inform you that starting from 1st of May 2018, our platform will be closed. Operations stopped back on 1st of February but you still could stock your bitcoins on our platform."

Earlier this year, the exchange's chief executive, Max Nicula, said the startup's bank accounts had been shut down, and it would no longer able able to process fiat trades, Cryptoninjas reported.

This marks the third time the exchange has said that it would close. In September 2016, the company announced it would possibly be sold, and prepared for a closure at the time. At the time, the startup's owner, Horea Vuscan, said he wanted to retire, and placed the exchange up for sale, as previously reported.

Before then, the exchange asked its users to withdraw all their funds after its team lost access to their servers in September 2014, less than a year after it first opened.
 
latest updates from Crypto Mining Made Up 10% of AMD's Revenue in Q1
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:31:29 AM
Cryptocurrency mining demand accounted for as much as 10% of AMD's first-quarter revenue this year, according to the chip maker.

"The strength in Radeon products was driven by both gaming and blockchain demand. We believe blockchain was approximately 10% of AMD revenue in [the first quarter of] 2018," chief financial officer said Devinder Kumar during an earnings call on Wednesday after AMD revealed that it made $1.65 billion in first-quarter revenue, a 40% increase year-over-year.

Kumar noted that the combined gaming and blockchain demand contributed to a 95% boost year-over-year for its GPU and computing markets. That said, Kumar indicated that the company believes that it will see a "modest decline in graphics [revenue] due to blockchain."

All in all, AMD anticipates less than 10% of its 2018 revenue will come from cryptocurrency miners.

"Based on the strength of our business momentum, for the full year 2018, we now expect revenue to increase by mid-20s[%] over 2017, driven by the ramp of our new products. Blockchain revenue to be mid to high-single-digit percentage of revenue for 2018," he said during the call.

Looking past the figures, however, CEO Lisa Su struck a somewhat optimistic tone for AMD's prospects in the blockchain infrastructure sector.

She remarked:

"I do think the blockchain infrastructure is here to stay. I think there are numerous currencies. There are numerous applications that are using the blockchain technology. We don't see a significant risk of secondhand GPUs coming into the market. I think what you find is that, one, there are number of different currencies, and, two, a lot of these users that are buying GPUs these days are actually buying them for multiple use cases, both commercial and consumer."

"They're not necessarily buying just for mining," Su continued. "I think, most people are comparing sort of this blockchain time period to the last one which was a couple of years ago and I think there are a couple of important differences. I think the first one is that there are multiple currencies and multiple applications that are being used. And what we've seen is that people who are mining do go from one currency to another depending on what's happening."

The only unknown factor at play involves retail sales, as Su said it was "hard to tell" whether retail sales go toward gamers or miners. But even there, AMD believes it has a close approximation of the demand.

"I think the breadth of the blockchain applications and also the breadth of the customer base give us that belief," she later concluded.
 
latest updates from OmiseGo Hits Two-Month High Amid Exchange Listings
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:28:36 AM
OmiseGo's OMG token is reporting double-digit gains today, figures that throw shade on the rest of the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market valuation.

Having clocked a two-month high of $20.67 earlier today, OMG is now changing hands at $18.20 on Bitfinex - up 15 percent in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, OMG's BTC-denominated exchange rate jumped to a seven-month high (highest since Sept. 30) of 0.0023466BTC.

The price rise may be associated with the OMG's listing today on Bithumb, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. The token was alo listed on Zebpay, one of India's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, yesterday.

According to the chart analysis, though, the outlook will remain bullish as long as prices hold above $14.40.

Daily chart

The bullish triangle breakout indicates long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change and has opened the doors for a retest of the record high of $28.50.

It's worth noting that the bullish breakout is matched by a 415 percent spike in 24-hour trading volume. So, the rally looks sustainable. Further, the momentum studies are biased to the bulls too, with both the 5-day moving average (MA) and the 10-day MA trending north.
View

OMG will likely take out the immediate resistance at $20.83 (Feb. 28 high) in a convincing manner and could rise to $28.50 (record high) in the near-term.

Only a daily close (as per UTC) below $14.40 (April 21 low) would signal bullish invalidation. Meanwhile, a drop below $12 would signal a bullish-to-bearish trend change.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to remove a link to a fraudulent website that was misrepresenting OmiseGo in an effort scam users. CoinDesk regrets the error.
 
latest updates from BBVA Issues $91 Million Loan Using Two Blockchains
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:28:09 AM
Spanish banking giant BBVA has completed a pilot that issued a 75 million ($91 million) corporate loan using two different blockchain technologies.

According to a report from the Financial Times on Thursday, the bank's latest exploration of the technology focuses on the entire issuance process, including negotiation of terms and signing the corporate loan. The system used for the trial is based on both a private digital ledger and the public ethereum blockchain.

The report said that, as as a first step, the pilot requires both the borrower and the bank to start terms negotiation on a privately held distributed ledger that simultaneously updates the transaction's progress on both sides.

As such, BBVA claims the system can reduce the negotiation phase from "days to hours," following which the completed contracts are moved onto the ethereum blockchain for immutable record keeping, the report said.

The latest experiment expands BBVA's existing work in applying blockchain technology across a range of its business operations.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the bank has already tested a blockchain solution for paperless trade transactions between Europe and Latin America. And in October of last year, it moved to use distributed ledger technology to match the foreign exchange between itself and its Mexican subsidiary.

BBVA is not the only established financial institution investigating the technology's potential to streamline loans transactions.

Recently another two European banking giants - Credit Suisse and Dutch bank ING - also announced the completion of a live $30 million securities lending transaction based on a blockchain application co-developed with enterprise blockchain consortium R3.
 
latest updates from Samsung Sets Q1 Profit Record with Crypto Mining Boost
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:27:47 AM
Samsung Electronics has reported 58 percent year-on-year growth in its operating profits for Q1 2018 - an increase driven in part by strong demand for cryptocurrency mining chips.

During a financial earnings call on Thursday, Robert M. Yi, Samsung's executive vice president of investor relations, said the profitability increase seen in the firm's semiconductor business played a significant role in setting a new quarterly operating profit record of 15.6 trillion Korean won ($14 billion).

Yi explained the phenomenal rise, saying:

"In the semiconductor business, the earning increases significantly year over year thanks to favorable market conditions driven by strong demands in server and graphic card memories as well as earning improvement in both the System LSI and Foundry businesses led by an increasing demand of chips used in flagship smartphones and cryptocurrency mining."

While Samsung did not disclose precise figures for the mining chip side of the business, the positive figures follow a February confirmation from the tech giant that it was now producing 8nm and 11nm processors to meet growing market demand from the cryptocurrency mining industry.

Samsung's expansion into cryptocurrency mining also adds to the regional competition in the sector, with Taiwanese chip maker TSMC also reporting similar growth in mining chip demand during its own recent earnings call.

Looking ahead, Samsung forecast that the demand for mining processors will continue to expand in Q2, while the earnings of its LSI and Foundry businesses may decrease due to slowing demand for smartphone components.
 
latest updates from Bitcoin Risks Deeper Pullback After Drop Below $9K
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:27:18 AM
After an overnight drop, bitcoin looks to have found acceptance below $9,000 and risks a deeper pullback, the technical charts indicate.

The cryptocurrency hit a one-week low of $8,652 on Bitfinex earlier today and is now trading at $8,700. The 10-percent decline from the weekly high of $9,767 on Wednesday has neutralized the immediate bullish outlook.

Further, the failure to hold above the key technical levels - descending (bearish biased) 100-day moving average (MA) of $9,126 and the double top bearish reversal neckline of $9,280 - will be discouraging for the bulls.

However, only a break below $8,459 would signal a short-term bearish reversal and open the doors for a deeper sell-off.

Daily chart

BTC created a bearish outside-day candle on Wednesday (trading range was wider than Tuesday's high/low), which, as per textbook rules, is a sign of sudden bearish reversal. That said, traders and analysts usually want to see negative price action on the following day, before calling a bearish reversal.

Accordingly, only a close (as per UTC) today below the key support of $8,459 (April 15 high) would confirm a short-term bullish-to-bearish trend change and open doors for a deeper pullback.

However, BTC is showing signs of a negative follow-through, as currently it is trading under the previous day's low of $8,765 - though the downside is capped by the ascending (bullish) 10-day moving average at $8,706 and the gradually ascending (bullish) 4-hour 50-day MA.
4-hour chart

BTC may regain some poise if the bulls manage to defend the 4-hour 50-day MA in the next few hours. On the other hand, a failure to hold above the bullish 4-hour 50-day MA and 10-day MA would boost the odds of sustained drop below $8,459.
View

Confirmation of a bearish outside-day reversal would open up downside towards $7,823.

A daily close (as per UTC) below that level would signal a violation of higher lows and higher highs pattern (bullish setup) and would also mean the long-term descending trendline breakout has failed. In such a case, BTC could revisit the April 1 low of $6,425.

Bullish scenario

BTC will likely revisit $9,280 if the bulls manage to defend the 4-hour 50-day MA and 10-day MA in the next few hours.

Acceptance above $9,280 would expose the 200-day moving average, currently located at $9,853.
 
latest updates from IBM Partners with Jewelry Industry on Hyperledger Supply Chain Project
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:26:23 AM
IBM is collaborating with jewelry industry leaders to create a cross-industry supply chain tracking platform, the tech giant announced on Thursday.

Powered by a permissioned blockchain built on Hyperledger Fabric, the TrustChain initiative will facilitate the tracking of diamonds and precious metals as they advance from mine to market.

The consortium comprises a variety of industry businesses, with U.S. jewelry retailer Helzberg Diamonds, precious metals refiner Asahi Refining, jewelry manufacturer Richline Group, independent third party verification firm UL and precious metals supplier LeachGarner as members.

TrustChain will kick off by tracking six styles of gold and diamond engagement rings on the system.

Transparency and trust are at the core of the Initiative, IBM general manager of blockchain services Jason Kelley told CoinDesk in an interview, due in no small part to consumer demand for corporate responsibility and ethical consumption.

"Consumers now have a high demand for trust in what they're buying," he said, noting that statistics show that most consumers - especially millennials - will pay more for brands and products that are sustainable.

However, Kelley said businesses stand to benefit from the initiative too. He compared the project to IBM's other supply chain initiatives for the food and shipping industries, for which blockchain pilots have rapidly reduced the amount of time required to track the origin of a product.

In the jewelry industry use case, businesses will be able to share data with one another in real time, streamlining the steps of the supply chain and reducing redundancy.
 
latest updates from Parity Says 'No Intention' to Split Ethereum Over Fund Recovery
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:25:54 AM
Parity Technologies issued a statement Thursday stating it has no plans to move forward with a code change that would result in an ethereum blockchain split.

Named EIP-999, the contentious code change would recover the $264 million lost due to a code fault in Parity wallets in November 2017.

Signed by co-founder of the company Gavin Wood and co-founder and CEO Jutta Steiner, the statement emphasizes that the company has "no intention to split the ethereum chain," but rather, plans to "work with the community to find a path forward."

The statement continues:

"We have all dedicated a great deal of time and effort to developing the ethereum ecosystem and have no intention of harming what we have helped build."

Part of an ongoing debate on the fund recovery, EIP-999 has been a point of division within the ethereum community, with developers warning that the polarized sentiment could result in a split.

Speaking in the statement, Parity said it is "deeply sorry" to the users that lost money as a result of bugs, continuing that it believes that those who have lost money, do "have a case for attempting to recover the property."

Disagreement as to whether funds lost due to bugs on ethereum should be recovered has been ongoing for several months. Last week, developer Alex Van de Sande warned in a developer meeting if the current recovery attempt was implemented, "it will generate a contentious hard fork."

Speaking in the statement, Parity said that the company has implemented more robust security practices since the fund freeze last year, including an improved development process for smart contracts, and a partnership with auditing firm Trail of Bits.
 
latest updates from Coincheck Owner Monex Plans Proprietary Blockchain, ICO
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:25:23 AM
Monex Group, the Japan-based online brokerage firm that recently acquired cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, said it is eyeing the development of its own blockchain platform, with an initial coin offering to follow.

In its latest financial filing dated April 26, the firm, which also has U.S. and Asia-Pacific divisions, said its Japanese arm will spearhead the planned blockchain push.

Monex stated in the filing:

"Japan segment will use blockchain technology for the aim of executing all the trading of financial products and every financial transactions in safety and at low cost. Creating our own blockchain and its ICO are in the scope."

While no further details were provided on the blockchain plans, the company also detailed for the first time Coincheck's financial standing after it was notably hit by a major hack and subsequently bought out by the brokerage.

Monex Group disclosed in today's filing that the exchange platform is reporting a 6.3 billion yen ($57 million) pre-tax profit for the fiscal year ending March 2018, after deducting an "extraordinary loss of 47.3 billion yen ($432 million)."

Although Monex did not reveal what led to the loss, Coincheck has previously promised it will refund investors around $420 million for holdings lost in the January hack.

As reported by CoinDesk, Coincheck confirmed on Jan. 26 that around 530 million NEM token had been stolen from its platform, which at the time were worth around $530 million.

Soon after the incident, the platform announced it would compensate each stolen token at a rate of $0.81 per token - an amount near $420 million.
 
latest updates from Barclays, Goldman Champion ISDA Standard for Blockchain Derivatives
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:24:43 AM
Blockchains and smart contracts were supposed to fix the inefficiencies and slash the costs of derivatives trading, but two years since such promises came in vogue, a foundational issue has yet to be ironed out.

Before banks and traders can rely on a distributed ledger technology as the vaunted "single record of truth," there first needs to be better standardization. Yet as it stands, they use a hodgepodge of data structures and formats to track the life cycle of trades, reflecting in part the variety of regulatory requirements imposed after the 2008 financial crisis.

Simply put, without a common language, there's not much to be gained from having a common ledger.

Now, the financial world's blockchain evangelists are pinning their hopes on a broader industry effort to harmonize the way data is presented and reported, regardless of the platform used. Known as the common domain model (CDM), it was proposed by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) in May of last year and has the support of blockchain tech startups such as R3 and Axoni.

But perhaps the biggest champion of CDM as the key to making blockchain a reality in the derivatives space is Barclays.

The U.K.-based bank recently set up an internal CDM adoption working group, and will be presenting its vision for how smart contracts can be combined with the concept Thursday at ISDA's annual meeting in Miami, Florida.

It's a pivotal time for the project, as ISDA is expected to release the first iteration of the blockchain-compatible version of CDM early this summer.

Sunil Challa from the business architect team at Barclays was emphatic about hitting the reset button.
 
latest updates from Binance Exchange Denies Sequoia Allegation of Exclusivity Breach
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:24:12 AM
Zhao Changpeng, the founder of Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, has denied an allegation that he breached an exclusivity agreement with a noted VC firm while negotiating over a potential investment.

In a blog post published Thursday, Binance issued a response to a report yesterday which revealed that Zhao is currently facing a lawsuit filed with the Hong Kong High Court by venture capital giant Sequoia Capital.

As reported yesterday, the case stems from the collapse of negotiations for an investment in Binance by Sequoia. After the talks fell through, the VC firm brought the lawsuit against Zhao, accusing him of breaking an exclusivity agreement by talking to another potential investor IDG Capital in December last year.

"Mr. Zhao denies all of Sequoia's allegations relating to the present dispute. As the substantive issues in dispute between the parties are subject to confidential arbitration proceedings, Mr. Zhao will make no further comment on the matter," the company said.

While a previous Hong Kong court order has temporarily barred Zhao from talking to other potential investors, Binance suggested that the court may have now be having second thoughts on whether the order should have been issued.

The post continued:

"Sequoia obtained an ex parte injunction without notice against Mr. Zhao at the end of December 2017. After a hearing attended by both parties' legal representatives in April 2018, the High Court of Hong Kong has now determined that this injunction should not have been granted, as it had been improperly obtained and constituted an abuse of process by [Sequoia]."

Although it did not offer any details on the next stage of the lawsuit, the exchange said Sequoia has been ordered to pay Zhao's costs in relation to the legal proceedings.
 
latest updates from SBI Backs Token Exchange Templum's $10 Million Funding Round
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:23:41 AM
SBI Holdings, the venture capital arm of Japanese financial giant SBI Group, has added a stake in token trading platform Templum to its cryptocurrency portfolio companies.

New York-based Templum announced Wednesday that it had gotten backing from SBI, thereby completing a $10 million round of financing. In October, the startup revealed that it had raised $2.7 million in funding from a group of investors that included Raptor Group, Galaxy Investment Partners, Blockchain Capital and firstminute.capital.

Templum is seeking to build a regulation-compliant platform for the sale and trade of digitized assets and securities. According to Templum, the new fund will be used to further develop its services and alternative trading platform.

The new round comes months after the startup has acquired Liquid Markets Group's broker-dealer and alternative trading system Liquid M Capital LLC. At the time, it also unveiled its board of advisors, which includes Troy Paredes, a former commissioner for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The new investment also marks the latest move by SBI to further diversify its group of cryptocurrency portfolio companies. The Japanese financial giant announced that it had acquired a stake in a Taiwan-based crypto hardware wallet maker, CoolBitX, in March.

As of now, SBI Holdings has already set foot in a range of businesses within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, including ICO platforms, wallet services, and cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as a joint venture with Ripple focused on cross-border remittances.
 
latest updates from The 17 Millionth Bitcoin Is About to Be Mined
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:23:10 AM
Bitcoin's limited supply is about to get a bit more limited.

Barring an unforeseen event, the 17 millionth bitcoin is likely to be mined in the coming day, data from Blockchain.info shows, a development that would mark yet another milestone for the world's first cryptocurrency. That's because as per bitcoin's current rules, only 21 million bitcoin can ever be created.

Stepping back, the milestone, the first million-bitcoin marker to be crossed since mid-2016, is perhaps noteworthy as yet another reminder of the technology's core computer science achievement - digital scarcity created and enabled by shared software.

In short, bitcoin's code, since cloned and adapted by scores of other upstart cryptocurrencies, ensures that only a set number of new bitcoins are introduced to its economy at intervals. Miners, or those who operate the hardware necessary to track bitcoin's transaction set, are rewarded with this scarce data every time they add new entries to the official record.

Still, there's a lot of variability in the process.

Of note is that it can't be precisely predicted when the 17 millionth bitcoin will be mined or who will mine it, due to the many minute variances that are created in keeping a common software in sync. That said, there's a relative predictability. Each bitcoin block produces 12.5 new bitcoin, and as bitcoin blocks occur roughly every 10 minutes, about 1,800 new bitcoin are created each day.

As such, it's perhaps best to view this event as a "psychological barrier," Tetras Capital founding partner Alex Sunnarborg told CoinDesk, one that is interpreted differently by different communities.

Sunnarborg, for example, sought to stress that another way to interpret the result is that 80 percent of all the bitcoin that will be ever created have now been mined. In other words, only about one-fifth of the eventual supply remains for miners and future buyers.

Others see the milestone as one that's ripe for appreciation of the technology and its achievements.

"I think it is awesome," Tim Draper, the venture capitalist who bought millions of dollars worth of bitcoin seized by the U.S. government at auction in 2014, said of the coming milestone.
 
latest updates from Crypto Exchange Gemini to Monitor Trading Using Nasdaq Tech
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:22:02 AM
Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced Wednesday that it is partnering with Nasdaq to monitor trading activities on its platform.

Gemini will use Nasdaq's SMARTS Market Surveillance offering to automatically detect any possible price manipulation or other illicit activities, according to a Wednesday's announcement.

Nasdaq currently uses this technology to monitor its marketplaces for abnormal activity. Part of the system compares historical trading data with real-time activity to look for "unusual trading patterns that could be potential breaches of exchange trading rules and practices," as Nasdaq explains.

The cryptocurrency exchange will use it to monitor its major trading pairs for bitcoin and ether, particularly the crypto-to-crypto pairings and those involving the U.S. dollar. Additionally, any suspicious activities tied to bitcoin futures contracts will also be sought out.

Gemini chief executive Tyler Winklevoss said the move is part of the exchange's efforts to maintain a fair market. He explained:

"Since launch, Gemini has aggressively pursued comprehensive compliance and surveillance programs, which we believe betters our exchange and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole ... Our deployment of Nasdaq's SMARTS Market Surveillance will help ensure that Gemini is a rules-based marketplace for all market participants."

Stepping back, Gemini has been making efforts in recent weeks to expand its exchange. In March, the company announced it may add additional cryptocurrencies - naming bitcoin cash and litecoin in particular - to its platform later this year.
 
latest updates from Fitch Ratings: Blockchain Is a Potential 'Game-Changer'
Updates: Apr-27-2018 03:20:44 AM
One of the "Big Three" credit rating agencies thinks blockchain is a "game-changing technology."

Fitch Ratings touted the potential uses for blockchain within the insurance industry in a report published Wednesday, saying "insurance is fertile ground for blockchain's capabilities."

In particular, the company sees blockchain as a tool for streamlining the transactions companies conduct while simultaneously reducing instances of fraud, according to a press release posted alongside the report, which wasn't publicly available as of press time.

Those benefits are likely to be felt in the long-term - sometime in the next three to five years - whereas the short-term implications are likely to be minimal. As well, the tech is unlikely to impact the credit ratings of affected firms before that time, according to Fitch.

As Fitch explained:

"Efficiencies and cost reductions could be achieved by reducing the need for reconciliation and audits, automating certain processes and improving access to data. Estimates of the potential savings for the global (re)insurance industry from Pricewaterhouse Coopers and B3i, an insurance industry trade group focusing on blockchain, range from 15 percent to 30 percent of annual current expenses."

That being said, the company also noted that "the uncertainties around this nascent technology remain pronounced." In particular, it is unclear how widely blockchain technology will be adopted, and whether the pay-offs of using a platform built around the tech will outweigh the initial investment.

"There are numerous legal, regulatory and security issues that need to be addressed to facilitate wide-scale adoption," Fitch wrote, adding that: "...the ultimate viability of the technology for the insurance industry will depend on a select group of industry leaders adopting blockchain to gain competitive advantages."
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