Libra and Privacy: Is Facebook Trying Too Hard?

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook… It was once a social media platform meant to give old friends an opportunity to reunite, but now, whenever you look up cryptocurrency news, it seems to dominate the field.

Facebook and Crypto: Still a Strange Match

The company has announced its Libra Network for the first half of 2020, which will allow users to pay for goods and services with a new cryptocurrency through any website that offers Facebook login options. The company’s recent association with Cambridge Analytica has put its reputation in jeopardy, and many people seemingly lost trust in the venture following the 2018 Senate grilling of Mark Zuckerberg.

Since then, the company has desperately tried to rid itself of the image people currently have of it, but it seems to be taking things a little too far. Recently, David Marcus – the leader of Facebook’s digital wallet division and a former executive at PayPal – stated that people who don’t seek to trust the company can easily use “competitors.” He then says that there will be “plenty of competition” out there.

This seems easygoing and straightforward at first glance. The problem is, what company would willingly say that customers should use the products of their competitors? This seems like an over-the-top maneuver to potentially divert people from associating Facebook with Cambridge Analytica. Yes, there is competition out there, but companies aren’t supposed to acknowledge it. If they want customers to stick around, they usually behave as though they’re the only venture that can satisfy their needs.

Facebook isn’t doing that. Instead, it appears to be playing a game of reverse psychology. By acting like it doesn’t care, that’s supposed to make us care, but this is an old tactic that’s relatively easy to see through. Facebook is desperate to shed its current reputation; this is understandable, but wouldn’t just reworking itself from the ground up and being completely honest with people be the best route? Something that tells us that while competition is out there, Facebook would really like us to give it a “second chance?”

Will Libra Be Very Different?

This wouldn’t be difficult for executives. In fact, the company presently has many analysts vouching for it and what it can do. Popular financial “know-it-all” and television host Jim Cramer recently had some positive things to say about Facebook, commenting that its new Libra Network and cryptocurrency will be “anti-Facebook” in that it will focus primarily on hardcore privacy settings. He comments:

It’s private. You can’t crack it. The transactions will be private and that is anti-Facebook.

That’s a huge plus, and one that users probably won’t take lightly. People are likely more forgiving than Facebook is giving them credit for, so given its current financial status and all the work it’s done to become more privacy-based, a little more direct humility might serve it better.

The post Libra and Privacy: Is Facebook Trying Too Hard? appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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Will Facebook and Libra Be Bigger Than Bitcoin?

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg says he’s hoping Facebook Coin will one day be superior to bitcoin.

Facebook Is Leading, but Bitcoin Is Still the Boss

Bitcoin is the granddaddy of all crypto, and never likely to be rivaled in terms of market cap, widespread popularity or adaptability. While Facebook Coin is an ambitious feat, bitcoin is still king and likely to remain so for some time.

Nevertheless, Zuckerberg seems hellbent on making Facebook the head of the financial arena. Where the idea originally comes from is questionable, considering this is a 360 degree turn for what could once be deemed the largest social media platform in the world. The company has done wonders when it comes to hooking up old friends and relatives, but finance? Really? What makes Facebook think it can suddenly dominate the global monetary infrastructure with virtually no experience?

Interestingly, Facebook’s level of naivete when it comes to financial policy seems to be working in its favor. The company has already garnered millions of dollars in support from varying business partners and has experienced booming stocks as the result of its announcement. Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets claims:

We view Facebook’s introduction of the Libra currency as a potential watershed moment for the company and global adoption of crypto. In terms of scale and importance, we believe this new financial infrastructure could be viewed similar with Apple’s introduction of iOS to developers over a decade ago.

While financial players in America are relatively enthused about Facebook entering the crypto space, those in Europe are less than thrilled. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has commented that Facebook’s Libra Network must not become a sovereign currency. He has also warned citizens that Facebook’s financial services should not replace the use of traditional fiat.

Zuckerberg has been pushing the notion of trust ever since the company’s association with Cambridge Analytica. A portion of the currency’s whitepaper explains how the currency will be supported:

To help instill trust in a new currency and gain widespread adoption during its infancy, it was guaranteed that a country’s notes could be traded in for real assets, such as gold. Instead of backing Libra with gold, though, it will be backed by a collection of low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks.

Libra Will Be Treated Like All Other Crypto

U.S. regulators seem to agree that what Facebook is doing is somewhat revolutionary. However, they aren’t willing to take any chances, and state that Facebook will not be privy to any “special privileges.” David Marcus, head of the company’s blockchain program and former exec at PayPal, states:

It is very clear people don’t want their financial data from an account to be comingled with social data or to be used for other purposes.

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Facebook Says Privacy Is Its Biggest Concern

After much deliberation regarding Facebook Coin, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of the social media platform, is asking users to trust the company to “keep their money safe.”

Facebook Is Focused on Privacy and Safety

He is busy asserting Facebook’s privacy concerns and is telling users that they need not worry, as the Libra Network will keep everyone’s financial information secure. A segment of the present Libra user agreement states the following:

Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook, Inc. or any third party without customer consent. For example, Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook, Inc. family of products. The limited cases where this data may be shared reflect our need to keep people safe, comply with the law, and provide basic functionality to the people who use Calibra.

Zuckerberg is likely addressing these concerns because of last year’s hit-and-run with Cambridge Analytica, a scandal that has arguably rocked the reputation once held by the social media company. Zuckerberg was grilled by Senate members when it was discovered that his company had been selling the private data of customers to third parties for advertising purposes without their knowledge or consent. Facebook lost several users following the news.

Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook is now looking to take a far more private approach, and that the Libra Network is an important step in that direction. He comments:

This is an important part of our vision for a privacy-focused social platform – where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately, from messaging to secure payments. Privacy and safety will be built into every step. For example, Calibra will have a dedicated team of experts in risk management focused on preventing people from using Calibra for fraudulent purposes. We’ll provide fraud protection so if you lose your Libra coins, we’ll offer refunds. We also believe it’s important for people to have choices, so you’ll have the options to use many other third-party wallets on the Libra network.

Info Will Only Be Used for Legal Purposes

What it appears to come down to is that Facebook will not use people’s financial information for advertising purposes, but the company may use it to comply with specific legislation and regulatory maneuvers. The terms and conditions of Libra say:

Calibra will use customer data to facilitate and improve the Calibra product experience, market Calibra products and services, comply with legal and regulatory obligations, and ensure safety, security and integrity. We may also use customer data to conduct research projects related to financial inclusion and economic opportunity with, for example, academic institutions and NGOs, though any published results will only contain aggregated statistics.

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How Crypto Casinos are Helping Players Go Private

Online privacy has been a hot topic of late. Consumers are right to be concerned about the growing collection of their personal data and the growing threat of what this means in terms of surveillance. Large tech firms have been the key culprit and advanced technology means that any web user should be aware of the threat of hackers.

Online casino players have long been wary of how their data is used online. Luckily the blockchain has provided solutions to make their gaming more anonymous and secure.

Appeal of Crypto

Online gamers were some of the earliest adopters of cryptocurrencies. Many of the largest online gambling sites started accepting Bitcoin a few years ago and cryptocurrency-only casinos soon began cropping up.

CryptoSlots, one such crypto-based casino, was launched in mid-2018 by established gaming provider Slotland Entertainment. Their growing membership includes both those who are crypto-savvy and those who are newcomers to crypto, seeking greater privacy & security. Their transactions are all direct from player to the casino and not made vulnerable by the interference of a middleman.

Privacy of Monero

Although Bitcoin was the first crypto to be adopted and retains the largest hold in the gaming market, altcoins that offer even higher levels of privacy have been readily adopted by players and casinos alike.

In light of this, CryptoSlots started accepting Monero as a payment method in January of this year. On the Monero blockchain, addresses are obfuscated so transactions cannot be linked to individuals. Their gameplay is private from start to finish.

‘We want to give players as much anonymity as possible,’ said casino manager Michael Hilary. ‘And Monero offers completely untraceable transactions.’  At this crypto casino deposits are instant and withdrawals are processed the following working day.

Personal Information

Upon registering on many casinos, it is often demanded that players fill in lengthy online forms supplying personal information. The process is off-putting not only because of the cumbersome task but also because of the potential lack of security in sharing personal data from the outset.

At CryptoSlots, players need only supply an email address to sign up and from there can anonymously play. It is quick, it is secure, and it makes playing online a lot more fun.

Players can take advantage of exclusive 133% Welcome bonus on their initial deposit by contacting Support redeeming WELCOME133 bonus code, with the full Welcome Bonus package spanning over the first three deposits.

Image by Joachim Kirchner from Pixabay

 

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Tron (TRX) Price Testing Major Hurdle: Bulls Eyeing Upside Break

  • Tron price remained well above the $0.0300 level and recently traded higher against the US Dollar.
  • TRX price traded above the $0.0330 resistance, but it is facing a solid resistance near $0.0340.
  • There is a key bullish trend line forming with support near $0.0322 on the 4-hours chart (data feed via Bitfinex).
  • The price is currently correcting lower, but it is likely to break the $0.0340 resistance in the near term.

TRON price recently climbed higher and tested key resistances against the US Dollar, but declined vs bitcoin. TRX price must stay above $0.0320 to climb further above $0.0340 and $0.0350.

Tron Price Analysis

After setting above $0.0300, there was a steady rise in TRON price against the US Dollar. The TRX/USD pair traded above the $0.0320 resistance level to enter a positive zone. Moreover, there was a close above the $0.0325 level and the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). The price even traded above the $0.0335 level, but it struggled to gains strength above the $0.0340 level.

A swing high was formed at $0.0341 and the price recently corrected lower. It broke the $0.0330 level and the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement level of the last wave from the $0.0307 low $0.0341 high. However, the price remained well bid above the $0.0325 level and the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). Additionally, the 50% Fibonacci retracement level of the last wave from the $0.0307 low $0.0341 high seems to be acting as a support.

There is also a key bullish trend line forming with support near $0.0322 on the 4-hours chart. Therefore, the price remains well supported near the $0.0325 level. If there is a downside break below $0.0322, the price could move back in a bearish zone.

On the upside, the main resistance is near the $0.0340 and $0.0341 levels. If there is an upside break above $0.0340, the price is likely to surge above the $0.0350 resistance. The next key resistances are near $0.0365 and $0.0372.

Tron Price Analysis TRX Chart

The chart indicates that TRX price is trading nicely above the $0.0325 support and the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). Therefore, there are high chances of more upsides above the $0.0340 and $0.0350 resistances. Only a close below $0.0322 and the 55 simple moving average (4-hours) is likely to set the pace for more losses in the near term. The next main support is at $0.0300. An intermediate support is the 76.4% Fibonacci retracement level of the last wave from the $0.0307 low $0.0341 high.

Technical Indicators

4 hours MACD – The MACD for TRX/USD is slowly losing momentum in the bearish zone.

4 hours RSI – The RSI for TRX/USD is currently near the 50 level, with a bullish angle.

Key Support Levels – $0.0325 and $0.0322.

Key Resistance Levels – $0.0340, $0.0350 and $0.0360.

The post Tron (TRX) Price Testing Major Hurdle: Bulls Eyeing Upside Break appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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Interest rate decreases are a cure in search of an ailment

A question I got last week from the radio audience asked if interest rates needed to go down. In brief, my answer was, and remains, no. It is hard to find a metric by which the economy is not doing at least reasonably well. That is, as long you believe deficits do not matter. I happen to believe they do matter and that fiscal policy is a problem of epic proportions with no sign of resolution.

Enter the President with his rhetoric against the Fed and little to no understanding about monetary policy goals, targets, and well anything else, based on his Twitter feed and public remarks. The press releases from the White House claim economic performance under President Trump is already the greatest in history. So what exactly is the rationale for rate cuts. First a comical answer and then what I suspect is the real reason.

The comical answer

The White House approach to the economy seems to be what I call the movie theater popcorn approach. No longer can you buy a small, medium, or large popcorn. Now the sizes are large, super sized, and monstrous buckets of popcorn. Of course these are just small, medium, and large by a different name. So what is better than historic growth? Maybe we should call it pre-historic growth!

While growth is good claims of historic growth are always open to skepticism, criticism, and are falsifiable generally. This is not to say that growth is bad, just that it does not need to be historic to be good.

My suspicion about the real answer

Unfortunately this answer is not a joke. There are three parts to this. The President’s business experience involved typically significant amounts of debt financing. As a result he favors lower interest rates in general and thinks that this helps the business community as a whole. The problem with this is in an environment with low unemployment, and in many cases more job openings than unemployed individuals to fill the openings, lowering interest rates creates little short-run economic benefits. Longer term this could encourage some capital formation, though that is somewhat debatable given the disincentive to save when rates are low.

The second part of this answer is that the President and his advisors equate policy success with stock market performance. This is not a policy performance metric I like because there are too many factors that can influence equity prices beyond the policy instruments. Lower rates, all other things equal, will increase expected stock prices. Lower rates discourage investment in bonds. For example the 10 year Treasury note has been trading around 2% for some time. Who gives up money for 10 years for a mere 2%? People put more funds into equities (increasing demand for equities) and therefore prices and index values rise.

Third, the President feels like rates increasing from historic lows hampers his ability to take hard lines on trade policy. The fact that his trade policy increased costs and ate up significant amounts of the tax reductions to parts of the income distribution is not a welcome outcome for sure. The cost increases are a form of price increase (inflation) and the Fed naturally raises rates to deter inflation expectations. So the outcome of this trade policy (I use the term loosely) is predictable increases in rates.

Downsides

The downsides to all this are unclear because much of the research is ongoing. Do low rates increase income or death inequality? It seems like they might since savings vehicles at the low end of the income distribution are more limited. If you are not in the market you are likely missing out on the principle benefit of the low rates.

Summing up

I avoid the expression conclusion here because there are not really conclusions possible yet. I think an inability to generate outcomes desired through fiscal and trade policy leave the administration looking for scapegoats on this front. A better solution is better fiscal policy and control of debt and deficits. It is also to encourage Americans to save more (consume less). That is not a politically feasible suggestion and has not been for decades it seems. As a result we are left with a policy entity coming under intense political pressure to accommodate other policies failing to yield the desired outcomes and a failure to recognize the suggested policies can, and likely will, create reinforcing negative outcomes.

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Europol Targets Illicit Crypto Activity with New Game

The European law enforcement agency Europol has developed a new “game” that shows its agents how to trace illicit digital currency transactions.

Europol Makes Crypto Its Number One Target

Many are still under the impression that cryptocurrencies attract malicious behavior and similar problems, and to an extent, they’re right. Many a time have currencies like bitcoin and now Monero – a digital asset popular amongst thieves for its quasi-anonymous properties – been tied to illicit purchases on the black-market involving drugs, firearms and other illicit items.

Monero has even given rise to a whole new type of thievery known as crypto-jacking. The process involves a hacker (or hackers) taking over a person’s computer without their knowledge or permission. They use the computer to mine cryptocurrencies – usually Monero – and earn a serious profit while the original computer owner earns nothing (unless you count the high energy bills they receive at the end of each month).

It’s an ugly and unfair sight, and one that’s occurring more often, but Europol is looking to put a stop to such problems with a rather unique approach. The game was unleashed at this week’s sixth Cryptocurrency Conference, which was hosted at Europol’s official headquarters. Set to launch in October, the game is among the first “law enforcement training opportunities on cryptocurrency and investigation using gamification,” according to a press release submitted by the agency.

The game basically offers agents real-time virtual training in uncovering malicious actors in the cryptocurrency space. While it sounds like fun, it’s a serious sign that regulation is becoming the new norm, and anyone who doesn’t play by the rules should probably be running scared right about now.

For example, Live Bitcoin News recently reported that Europol had seized Bestmixer.io, a cryptocurrency “mixing” company that the agency believes may be guilty of laundering as much as $200 million in dirty crypto funds. In addition, the Wall Street Market – an illicit, black market ring that users say scammed them out of as much as $30 million – was also taken down.

Not as Anonymous as You Think?

We are now entering an era where platforms or companies that engage in illegal activity or perform “questionable acts” with cryptocurrency are likely to be targeted and seized by authorities. Crypto can be traced; despite the allegedly anonymous qualities of bitcoin and other competing coins, every transaction is recorded via distributed ledger, meaning there’s always a record that those in charge can refer to if they’re looking to take someone (or something) down.

This doesn’t mean that crypto is a shady industry. It just means that there are bad actors out there that valid users need to watch out for. Europol, if anything, will likely bring about a new level of legitimacy to the crypto arena by removing those who would seek to do dirty deeds with digital currencies.

The post Europol Targets Illicit Crypto Activity with New Game appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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stableDEX.io: A Stablecoin Exchange that will Revolutionize the Crypto Trading Industry

Cryptocurrencies have been a booming industry for the past several years and there seems to be more potential for this industry in the future, especially due to the growing acceptance and continued developments like the introduction of stable coins which address and solve the issue of excessive volatility and market inefficiencies in the crypto space. Better technology and platforms like stableDEX, which will be fully operational in less than a month, are expected to revolutionize the industry and make it a better place for traders, crypto enthusiasts and everyone involved in the financial markets.

The stableDEX platform offers a 100% decentralized peer to peer trading environment. By using stableDEX the users retain full custody and control of the assets within their wallet. The platform offers most of the stablecoin pairs that are currently traded and many more asset-backed tokens will be listed ongoing.

stableDEX will offer many tools to assist and support the trading community. Margin Trading to increase the transactional capacity, automated trading for the traders using algorithms with top speed execution. Asset Manager tools to enable decentralized 3rd party trading. stableDEX has its own platform currency called the STDEX token that can be used to pay transaction fees and services at a discount and earned by executing orders on stableDEX.

stableDEX is developed to offer digital assets to the trading community in a professional manner.  Tools and features are designed for institutional trading, products are selected with a focus on stability and multiple services are offered to the community. stableDEX will be one of the most important gateways on the road to mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.

The STDEX token Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) will be hosted by ExMarkets which is one of the major launchpad providers for IEO’s.  Many are looking forward to the upcoming IEO starting on the 4th of July and lasting maximum 1 week until the 11th of July 2019. Only 5 million STDEX tokens (5% of the total token supply) will be offered at a 50% discounted price of USDC 0.50 during this period. ExMarkets is excited to host this IEO and also to provide an excellent interface where the clients can open accounts to participate in the stableDEX IEO.

To join the stableDEX IEO,

Register on exmarkets.com here:  https://exmarkets.com/page/stdex-ieo
Read the Whitepaper: https://stabledex.io/download/Whitepaper.pdf
Join the official telegram community: https://t.me/stabledex

 

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South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges On Thin Ice

South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges will be held fully responsible for any hacks or malicious activity that result in lost or stolen coins.

Cryptocurrency Owners Could Have It Easier

This is a big sigh of relief for most cryptocurrency holders within the nation. They now have some security when it comes to the storage of their coins. If the exchanges are ever hit with cyberattacks and coins are stolen, they will ultimately be replaced.

This is certain to be a challenge for most of the exchanges within South Korea in the sense that they will now have no choice but to boost their security settings. If they don’t want to be responsible for potentially thousands or millions of dollars in losses, they’ll have to do all they can to keep safety to a maximum. Otherwise, they’re going to wind up shelling out a lot of money to make up for the losses.

This is a solid way to keep hacks low and exchanges on their toes. No doubt this little tactic is likely to spread to other countries that also serve as cryptocurrency havens, such as Singapore, Japan and China. Japan, for example, already holds the record for the two largest cryptocurrency thefts in history, between Mt. Gox in February 2014 and Coincheck in January 2018. Together, roughly $1 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen through these hacks, and the exchanges are still in the process of reimbursing affected clients.

Ultimately, Japan got the FSA – Financial Services Agency – involved, which did an evaluation of several exchanges throughout the nation. The time had come for several exchanges to either put up or shut up, meaning it was their job to instill the best security tactics they could and keep their customers’ assets safe. If they couldn’t do this, they would be forced into suspension or permanent shutdown.

South Korea Is a Good Place to Start

For the most part, the FSA has made a huge difference in Japan, but the problems and threats associated with hacks and cyberthefts still remain, which means more steps need to be taken if clients are going to be protected. What we’ll likely see in the coming year or two are several other cryptocurrency exchanges – in Asia and beyond – instill similar tactics. This will ultimately work to legitimize the industry even further, and cryptocurrency could garner a reputation as being among the most solid investment platforms around.

Though not comparable to the likes of Mt. Gox or Coincheck, South Korea still has several “embarrassing” hacks in its past, including Bithumb in 2018. The exchange was attacked by malicious actors who ultimately stole more than $30 million in digital funds from the platform. Perhaps in some cases, it’s best to start small, which is what makes a country like South Korea a prime instigator of what could potentially be a long-lasting and international form of regulation.

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Bitcoin Is Back Up; Is Facebook to “Blame?”

Bitcoin is back above the $9,000 line and trading for just over $9,200 at press time.

Bitcoin Is Moving Back Up

While this was discussed yesterday, the currency ultimately fell back down into the $8,000 range briefly during the day’s latter half, suggesting that $9,000 resistance was still too much for the asset to handle. For the most part, $9,000 has been somewhat of a problem for bitcoin over the past several weeks. It has surpassed the mark twice only to fall back down, but this time, that resistance appears to have been broken for good.

News came about this morning that bitcoin is back above $9,000, and this time around, it’s staying there. It’s risen from yesterday and sticking to the same bullish guns it’s been touting since early April of 2019.

Analysts vouching for the coin say bitcoin’s price rise has a lot to do with Facebook’s entry into the cryptocurrency space. As we all know by now, Facebook is developing two major additions to the monetary space. The first is a digital currency it’s calling Facebook Coin. Users will be able to utilize the currency to make payments for both goods and services through the social media platform. In addition, Facebook Coin is slated to be a stable currency, meaning it’s tied to USD and less prone to the volatility and price swings one often sees with mainstream forms of crypto such as Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin.

However, Facebook is also developing what it’s dubbed the “Libra Network,” which will allow users to pay for items with Facebook Coin through retailers’ websites that have Facebook login options. The system will be a massive payment network that’s likely to spread through multiple states and countries and give Facebook status similar with popular credit cards such as Amex, Mastercard and Visa.

Bitcoin is up by approximately 150 percent since early April of this year, but its behavior is rubbing off on several additional coins. Ethereum, for example, is now trading for 5.5 percent higher over the last 24 hours, while Litecoin is up by an even five percent.

A Safe Way to Store Money?

Speaking with Bloomberg, Brett McGonegal – CEO of Capital Link International – claims:

The simple fact is that in a time when people are looking for some sort of haven or some hedge, money has found its way to [bitcoin]. The inflection point in any major play to a nascent asset class is the attachment point to institutional money. If institutional money starts to touch bitcoin, that’s when you go much higher.

In other words, many are beginning to see bitcoin as a solid investment, particularly institutional players. The days of viewing bitcoin as unsafe or weak are coming to an end. It’s now comparable to stocks, gold and other mediums in which people seek to store their cash.

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