Monero Fixes all Bulletproof Protocol Vulnerabilities Found in Second Security Audit

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Monero security concept

QuarksLab, a security research company entrusted with auditing Monero’s Bulletproof protocol, announced its findings Oct 22, 2018. Eight Critical issues, along with two medium-impact vulnerabilities, and 20 low-impact concern/vulnerabilities were found. Monero is believed to have already initiated corrective measures to patch the highlighted issues.

Second Audit of Monero’s Bulletproof Protocol

This was the second of the two audits commissioned by the Monero Research Lab, with support from the Open Source Technology Improvement Fund (OSTIF), the Private Internet Access,  and the Monero community. The primary objective of both audits was to gain in-depth insights into the Bulletproof protocol from a security standpoint.

The first audit was conducted in July 2018 by Kudelski Security. In its report, the security firm concluded that Bulletproof’s code was largely clean, although it carried four low severity bugs that were quickly patched. The report further stated that despite a number of “informational issues,” the C implementation that Monero derived from the original Java code was more or less suitable to use with some minor tweaks.

The audit by QuarksLab was led by three senior engineers who examined Monero’s implementation of Bulletproof.

For the uninitiated, Bulletproof is a zero-knowledge proof (ZK-Snarks) related improvement protocol first proposed in Dec 2017. Moero claims that Bulletproof enables smaller, cheaper, and faster transactions while simultaneously enabling it to scale in a significantly more efficient manner. One key idea behind the Bulletproof protocol is to cryptographically verify the authenticity of a proof without disclosing its value or any sensitive information.

The Findings

Among the most critical issues detected during the audit was a denial of service vulnerability that could potentially enable an attacker to remotely crash Monero nodes. This puts the network in danger of large-scale DoS attacks.

Additionally, the same vulnerability could be potentially exploited to perpetrate 51% attacks and forced chain splits, leading to double-spends. Interestingly, Monero Research Lab and QuarksLab, along with the other stakeholders agreed to temporarily halt the release of the report as this issue affected live codes. According to OSTIF, the Monero XMR network has since got rid of this vulnerability.

QuarksLab noted in its report:

“Four major vulnerabilities can be triggered by untrusted inputs to the proof verification function. Besides allowing to produce wrong output values, they could be the first steps towards making a verifier accept a false proof:

“Three medium vulnerabilities in deserialization procedures (including an improper size validation) were also found. Because deserialization occurs on untrusted inputs, under control of an attacker, the bugs can lead at least to exceptions and potential denials of service.”

QuarksLab also made several recommendations to improve code practices, and by extension, the robustness of the Monero code, to ensure heightened performance, reliability, and security.

Meanwhile, the geekier among you dying for a peek into the full report, here you go: Monero Bulletproof protocol audit report [PDF]

Monero Fixes all Bulletproof Protocol Vulnerabilities Found in Second Security Audit was originally found on [blokt] – Blockchain, Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

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Ross Barkley Must Capitalise on Maurizio Sarri’s Good Faith

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For Ross Barkley, it has been a year of frustration. A January move to Chelsea that promised so much did not, at first, take off, and he was left to mull over his career choice. He made just four appearances for his new club last season and appeared alienated, disillusioned.

In football, though, things change quickly. Chelsea have a new manager, a new way of playing; it has clearly proved beneficial for Barkley. Already this season he has made eight Premier League appearances, scoring twice, including the late equaliser against Manchester United on Saturday.

Maurizio Sarri has not awarded Barkley a place in the team out of blind faith, though. There has been a noticeable, tangible improvement in the midfielder’s game this season, perhaps inspired by the Italian coach.

The inconsistencies that plagued his game, for now, appear to have been addressed: he has not been guilty of repeatedly losing the ball, of being overly ambitious with his passes. He has, it seems, matured.

It would be premature to suggest that Barkley is now the finished article. There are still improvements to be made, things to prove. He has only started three Premier League games and he began the season inauspiciously. In recent weeks, though, things have been promising.

Barkley himself has admitted as much. “I’d probably say it’s been the best ten days of my career,” he said after his goal against Manchester United. “I got a couple of goals and couple of assists and played well for England. It just shows to myself that hard work does pay off in the end.

“Getting in the England side and getting in two good positive performances there and today with my first goal at Stamford Bridge was fantastic for me. I believe that I am a better player now. I’ve matured, I understand the game much more, which can be natural as you grow up.”

It is easy to forget that Barkley is still only 24. He was propelled into the limelight as a youngster while at Everton, partly because he offered something different: a midfielder with technique and guile, who could score spectacular goals and create chances from very little. There was, from an English perspective, a desperation for a player of his type.

The hype clearly had an effect. A dip in form at Everton led to a loss of confidence. When Chelsea signed him in January the prevailing sentiment was one of surprise. And Barkley played in a manner that suggested he did not feel worthy of a place in Antonio Conte’s side.

The self-belief is slowly returning. Barkley has all the attributes required to excel in team coached by Sarri: he can pass forward quickly through the lines and press and harry with the required energy.

The best example of this was in Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat of Southampton earlier this month, a game which Barkley started. It was, perhaps, his best performance since his arrival at the club. He was energetic and disciplined off the ball and intelligent on it, creating Eden Hazard’s opener and scoring the third.

More of this will be needed if Barkley is to truly establish himself as the player many expected him to become. So far, his career has been a story of unfulfilled potential, of frustration and inconsistency. But he is proving himself increasingly useful to Sarri.

“I understand the game. I am at a big club now with a lot of expectation and fantastic players around me, and my performances are showing it,” Barkley said. “As the season goes on I’m playing against big teams. We have got a lot of competition in our squad and when you get your chance you have got to take it. I believe that that I am doing the right things.”

Such confident talk is promising for both player and club. It is promising, too, for Gareth Southgate and England, who will no doubt be watching his development closely.

The future is still bright for Barkley, but this time he must make his opportunities count.

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The post Ross Barkley Must Capitalise on Maurizio Sarri’s Good Faith appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower

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LSE_Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced the federal corporate profit tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Adding in state profit taxes, the overall U.S. tax rate went from 39 percent, one of the highest rates in the world, to 26 percent, about the average rate abroad. The implications of the new law for U.S. competitiveness depend on how these statutory tax rates compare with the actual rates faced by U.S. and foreign companies. To address this question, this post presents new evidence on tax payments as a share of profits, as well as analytical measures of tax impacts on profitability. We find that the U.S. effective tax rate was already below the average rate abroad prior to enactment of the TCJA, and that it is now well below the rate in most countries.

Statutory vs. Effective Tax Rates

Prior to enactment of the TCJA, the U.S. statutory tax rate on corporate profits was the highest among the world’s twenty largest economies (see chart below). Corporate tax rate data compiled by the accounting firm KPMG show the United States as having the fourth highest tax rate out of more than 170 economies. Many observers argued that the high U.S. tax rate was a hindrance to economic performance, discouraging investment in productivity-enhancing activities and providing an incentive for U.S. firms to shift operations to lower-tax jurisdictions.

LSE_The U.S. Had the Highest Statutory Corporate Tax Rate Prior to Reform

The TCJA goes a long way toward aligning U.S. statutory corporate tax rates with rates abroad. With the federal rate now at 21 percent, the overall U.S. tax rate stands at 26 percent, about the weighted-average rate for large foreign economies.

But were the actual tax rates faced by U.S. corporations prior to the new law really as high as a focus on statutory rates would imply?

Business taxes raise the rate of return needed for a project to go forward. The marginal effective tax rate (METR) measures the size of this effect: how much higher a project’s return must be to break even. A break-even project has an expected payoff just high enough to cover the required return to investors, physical depreciation costs, and any resulting tax liabilities. The theoretical underpinnings of the METR were formalized in the 1960s by Hall and Jorgenson, and the concept remains a staple of the corporate tax literature.

A numerical example will help in interpreting our results. Suppose investors require a risk-adjusted real return on a project of 5 percent, but tax costs boost the needed return to 7 percent. Then the METR for the project is (7 – 5)/7 = 28.6 percent.

Two aspects of a country’s tax code are important in METR calculations: the tax rate and depreciation schedules. Deductions for depreciation allow firms to exclude some of a project’s payoff from taxable income. In fact, given immediate deductibility (expensing), the payoff on a break-even project is entirely shielded from taxation. Short of that, the effective tax rate can be dramatically lowered if depreciation deductions can be taken early in a project’s life rather than spread out over many years. Our analysis relies on detailed depreciation schedules assembled by the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation.

METRs also depend on a number of economic parameters, including investors’ required real rate of return, corporate borrowing rates, the inflation rate, physical depreciation costs, and the mix between equity and fixed-income financing. Our parameter choices are outlined in the notes to the table below, and are similar to those in earlier cross-country studies of corporate tax rates. In addition, aggregate METRs depend on the breakdown of new investment spending between machinery and structures, since the two are subject to different physical and tax depreciation rates. We treat new investment projects as involving a 65 percent outlay on machinery and a 35 percent outlay on structures, consistent with the composition of tangible fixed investment spending in the United States over the past decade. Results for machinery and structures are presented separately below.

We find that the U.S. marginal effective tax rate was already somewhat below rates in other large economies prior to enactment of the TCJA. As can be seen in the table, the estimated METR for the United States was just 10.8 percent versus an average of 13.8 percent for the remaining members of the global top twenty economies. With the enactment of the TCJA, the estimated METR for the United States is just 3.6 percent, the second lowest in this group.

Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower

The low aggregate METR for the United States reflects exceptionally favorable tax treatment for machinery investments. Prior to enactment of the TCJA, 50 percent of new machinery expenditures could be written off immediately and most of the rest could be deducted from income over the first three years of a project. The result was an estimated METR for machinery of just 4.9 percent. Under the TCJA, 100 percent of most machinery investments can be expensed. In essence, the U.S. tax code now subsidizes machinery investment, with the METR at -3.8 percent.

However, expensing for machinery expenditures is slated to be phased out in stages beginning in 2023. By 2027, the U.S. METR for machinery should stand at 14.6 percent, still below most other large economies.

U.S. tax treatment for business structures is much less favorable. Depreciation deductions for most such investments are spread out on a straight-line basis over thirty-nine years, sharply reducing their present value. This left the U.S. METR for structures at 21.6 percent prior to enactment of the TCJA, the highest rate among the twenty largest economies. The rate currently stands at 17.3 percent, still among the highest in this group. The METR for structures is set to rise somewhat over the next decade, as TCJA provisions limiting interest deductions increasingly take hold.

Tax Payments as a Share of Economic Profits

Marginal effective tax rates provide a useful analytical benchmark for assessing how the tax code affects the returns to new capital spending. Ultimately, however, what matters to international investors is the share of investment returns actually collected as taxes.

Previous attempts to address this question have generally relied on the net income line item from corporate financial statements as a measure of investment returns. This measure is subject to two important limitations. First, accounting standards differ widely across countries, making it difficult to measure returns on a consistent basis. Second, net income typically includes equity income and capital gains from ownership stakes in other companies, raising the possibility of double-counting and muddying the implications for returns to firms’ own business activities.

These difficulties can be sidestepped by turning to consistently defined national accounts data on economic as opposed to accounting profits. The United States is one of the few major economies that reports corporate profits as part of its regular GDP release, but profits for most other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries can be derived from the components of value added. Economic profits are equal to value added from current production less compensation of employees, depreciation costs, net interest and rent payments, and taxes on production net of subsidies. A new working paper by Tørsløv, Wier, and Zucman is one of the few international studies that also relies on a national accounts measure of profits.

Given data limitations, the results here are for the nonfinancial corporate sector, which represents about 85 percent of the overall corporate sector in most OECD countries. The non-OECD countries in our original sample do not report the relevant data.

We find that U.S. corporate tax payments were relatively low prior to enactment of the TCJA. As can be seen in the chart below, taxes amounted to 20.5 percent of nonfinancial profits in 2017 (the blue bar) versus an average of almost 28 percent for the rest of the economies in our sample (gold bars). The United States was in fact the median country: Six countries had higher profit tax shares, often substantially higher, while six countries had somewhat lower tax shares.

Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower

To gauge the likely effects of the TCJA, we rely on Congressional Budget Office projections of corporate profits and federal profit tax revenues over the next decade. (These projections include estimates of what tax revenues would have been absent the new law.) We then adjust these projections to take account of the typical weight of the nonfinancial sector in total corporate profits and profit tax payments.

These adjusted projections imply that tax payments will come to 15.2 percent of U.S. nonfinancial profits in 2018 (the black dashed line), one of the lowest shares in our sample. (Data for the first half suggest that the U.S. tax share might fall even more sharply in 2018, perhaps to as low as 13 percent.) As temporary provisions of the TCJA expire, however, tax payments will begin to rise again. Our projections place the share at 18.6 percent in 2027 (red dashed line), not quite 2 percentage points below its 2017 value.

Conclusion

This post finds that effective profit tax rates in the United States were already relatively low prior to enactment of the TCJA, and that they are now even lower. The years ahead will tell whether this reduction provides a meaningful boost to business investment spending.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.


Higgins_matthewMatthew Higgins is a vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this blog post:

Matthew Higgins, “Tax Reform and U.S. Effective Profit Taxes: From Low to Lower,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), October 22, 2018, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2018/10/tax-reform-and-us-effective-profit-taxes-from-low-to-lower.html.

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Bitcoin Price: Brian Kelly and Tom Lee Maintain Bullish Sentiments Despite Current Sideways Price Trend

Despite the continued sideways price trend, two Bitcoin bulls, Brian Kelly and Tom Lee still believe that the top-ranked cryptocurrency will finish 2018 on a high note. For Kelly, an avalanche of institutional interest is incoming, while Lee maintains that BTC will reach his $25,000 price forecast.


“Institutional Herd” incoming

Speaking recently to CNBC, Brian Kelly declared an imminent massive influx of big-money players into the cryptocurrency market. The BKCM LLC founder went on to say:

I can tell you from the conversations that we’ve had, for our crypto hedge fund, that the institutional herd is starting to enter this market.

Kelly referred to recent significant developments on the institutional adoption front including Fidelity and Yale. According to Kelly, these recent happenings indicate a positive shift towards an increased mainstream presence in the cryptocurrency industry which would be the catalyst for tremendous growth starting next year.

The BKCM chief also highlighted the importance of Fidelity’s recent foray into the market. Kelly pointed out that the move had the potential to answer some of the nagging issues working against mainstream adoption which is robust custodial tools. Commenting further, Kelly said:

Custody has been a very big hurdle. And having somebody like Fidelity put their stamp on it and say yes, this is a new asset class and we’re going to custody this – and I believe they even said they may have some insurance. So that is a step closer.

$25K Bitcoin Price

For Tom Lee, the present market is overly bearish and that many traders seemed desperate for BTC to bottom out before becoming bullish. Speaking exclusively to Twitter user ‘BlockchainChick,’ the Fundstrat co-founder declared that BTC was currently under its 200-day moving average.

According to Lee, based on historical trend, BTC would only increase 50 percent over the next six months. Explaining his analysis further, Lee said:

We [Fundstrat] just published a report this week that pointed out to our clients that when Bitcoin is under its 200-day, it only goes up 50% of the time in the next six months. But when it’s above its 200-day, it is up 80% of the time. So, the trend implied by the 200-day is obviously very important.

Despite the current situation, Lee still holds to his $25,000 price prediction. For Lee, when the BTC mining break-even cost reaches $8,000 to $9,000 by the end of 2018, the price of the asset will rise accordingly.

Do you share the bullish sentiments espoused by both Brian Kelly and Tom Lee? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Images courtesy of CNBC and Twitter/@BlockchainChick)

The post Bitcoin Price: Brian Kelly and Tom Lee Maintain Bullish Sentiments Despite Current Sideways Price Trend appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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Cryptocurrency Mining Operation in Iceland Addresses Industry’s Electricity Usage Concerns

The cryptocurrency mining industry gets a lot of attention lately. Its perceived energy usage remains a topic of substantial debate. Icelandic farmers may have come up with a viable and sustainable solution in this regard. Several initiatives show how this business can be accommodated without any side effects.


A Different Take on Cryptocurrency Mining

The reports condemning cryptocurrency mining and its electricity use are growing in number. A lot of experts have different views on this business model and how it affects communities and even cities. In Iceland, several Bitcoin mining firms are in operation today. All of them rely on the country’s abundance of renewable energy. At the same time, even that approach may not be entirely sustainable.

To counter this problem, local farmers have come up with a new solution. Especially smaller operations can benefit from this approach in its current form. One small cryptocurrency mining operator pays neighboring farmers for their excess geothermal energy. Moreover, she installs the mining hardware to use excess power for other uses, such as heating. The conditions in Iceland are unique, as they allow for such business models to thrive.

The excess geothermal energy can be converted to electricity. With this electricity, her mining units can heat up stables and other storage spaces remaining empty otherwise. It is a business model which creates a win-win situation for all parties involved. For the mining operator, it removes any concerns regarding the scaling of her operation at her own farm. A very unorthodox business model which seems to work out quite well so far.

Scaling the Model Beyond Small Farms

This particular business model can be lucrative under the right conditions. However, it is not necessarily a concept which can be taken to the next level with ease. There are plenty of farms with geothermal energy across Iceland, but not every owner will approve the idea of having a cryptocurrency mining operation generate heat on their premises.

Convincing farmers is still an issue, even for this small mining operation. Installing strange and noisy machines in their barns is a very alien concept. A lot of people are still unfamiliar with cryptocurrency mining despite its popularity growing significantly. At the same time, those who take advantage of the opportunity appear to be happy with the business deal. How long this “peaceful” situation remains in place, is unclear.

Ventures like these show cryptocurrency mining is an evolving industry. Rather than disrupting power grids, enthusiasts and companies are looking for more sustainable solutions. Conditions in Iceland are unique in this regard, which allows for out-of-the-box thinking. Solving cryptocurrency’s ecological “problems” will not happen overnight. Even so, it is not the most harmful mining industry in the world today.

Do you think that this solution can be scaled to work for larger crypto mining operations? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of ShutterStock

The post Cryptocurrency Mining Operation in Iceland Addresses Industry’s Electricity Usage Concerns appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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Johnny Depp Dives into Cryptocurrency with Partnership Deal

Johnny Depp is entering the cryptocurrency ecosystem by partnering with TaTaTu, a social entertainment platform.


A number of celebrities have attached their names to cryptocurrency projects over the last few years. Most of the time, they do not turn out well. The most recent example is that of Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled being sued for promoting an ICO that turned out to be a scam. That being said, the latest project to bring a celebrity on board appears legit, raising $575 million in a pre-sale earlier this summer. That particular project is TaTaTu, and they’ve brought aboard a huge Hollywood star, Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp Goes Crypto

TaTaTu is a social entertainment platform managed by Andrea Iervolino and is cryptocurrency-centric. The platform uses tokens, which are traded on the Liquid exchange, to pay users and creators.

The platform is busy creating fresh new content, as well as buying properties outright. It is developing a biopic on Lamborghini that stars Antonio Banderas and Alec Baldwin. The platform recently bought a documentary on William Friedkin, the director of film classics like The French Connection and The Exorcist.

The partnership between Depp and TaTaTu entails that each partner will create new film and digital content in conjunction with the other. Iervolino will do so through his AMBI Media Group while Depp will work under his Infinitum Nihil production company. The two sides originally came together in a movie, Waiting for the Barbarians, that stars Depp and is produced by AMBI.

Will Depp Fully Commit?

This is an interesting partnership. The details of how much content each side has to produce and by when have not been released. Still, it is exciting to have someone as famous as Johnny Depp getting involved in a cryptocurrency-focused platform.

This deal is good for both sides. TaTaTu gets a lot of promotion by having Depp join the program. He’s one of the world’s most recognizable Hollywood stars. As for Depp, he gets a new revenue stream that he’s sorely in need of. He has been involved in a long-running lawsuit with some ex-lawyers/managers, which came about after he apparently blew through the $650 million he had earned during his career (most of which was from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies).

Johnny Depp could definitely use the money from his new partnership with TaTaTu.

Both sides seem to be enthusiastic about the partnership. Andrea Iervolino says:

Johnny has the ability to conceptualize material in a way that few can, and is unburdened of conventional industry formulas that dictate the projects that get made, traditionally. As we make strides to embrace disruptiveness, Johnny will be a key collaborator with us and we are tremendously excited to back his visions and instincts on stories to bring to life.

For his part, Depp said:

In this era of democratized entertainment, I admire the imaginative ethos of Andrea and look forward to collaborating together in a liberating, progressive manner that will befit the principals of our respective entities.

Hopefully, this will be a productive partnership for everyone. Still, the track record for celebrities and crypto is not great. Ghostface Killah, one of the Wu-Tang Clan, had his cryptocurrency drop in value by 96% after its launch back in January.

What do you think about Johnny Depp getting involved in cryptocurrency? Will it turn out well? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and YouTube/@TaTuTu.

The post Johnny Depp Dives into Cryptocurrency with Partnership Deal appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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DigitalMint to Launch More Crypto ATMs in United States as Acceptance Increases

The prevalence of crypto ATMs shows that interest and acceptance are definitely increasing. DigitalMint is hoping to grow this with their cash-only crypto purchasing services.


After Bitcoin’s major price run last year, cryptocurrencies gained a lot of interest in the world. More and more people wanted to buy virtual currencies but were unsure how to do it. Entering into this decentralized industry required the assistance of centralized tools like ATMs, which are popping up all over the world.

Live Bitcoin News reported on how crypto ATMs have been recently launched in the U.S. states of Minnesota and Utah. Countries in economic distress, like Argentina, also seem to be turning to cryptocurrency as an alternative to its own unstable currency. Greece is another country keen on crypto ATMs as is India, even though the latter is still unclear on the legalities of the industry in the country.

According to the Sioux City Journal, a Bitcoin ATM and teller company, DigitalMint, is capitalizing on this trend by opening a retail outlet in the Idaho city earlier this month. The company already opened a store last year, bringing its tally up to 17 in the U.S. state. The company has a total of 170 locations in over 19 states with a potential 100 more establishments on the way.

The Gemini Dollar is backed on a 1-to-1 ratio by U.S. dollars.

The Benefits of Using Cash

These locations are usually set up inside existing places like EZ Money Check Cashing establishments, whose employees will be able to assist clients hoping to purchase crypto with their cash. The reason that cash is king is two-fold. The unbanked population does not have debit- or credit cards and it is unfair on them not be a part of the crypto revolution just because of this.

However, the usage of cash is not completely altruistic. It also protects DigitalMint against losses caused by chargebacks or transaction reversals on customers’ credit cards. The president and co-founder of DigitalMint elaborated on why cash is preferred by the company:

Bitcoin is irreversible by nature. If I send Bitcoin from my wallet to your wallet, that transaction irrefutable on the open-source blockchain. You can go on the open-source ledger and you can read that the transaction happened, and I can’t charge that back. Cash has the same exact property.

Crypto Adoption on the Rise in New Jersey

Crypto Acceptance on the Rise

The introduction of ATMs in the industry gives people a safe way to be a part of the ecosystem and the fact that they are being launched all over the world shows that interest is definitely gaining momentum. However, it’s not just interest that is increasing, acceptance is as well.

More and more retailers around the world are accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method. In fact, there’s a craft beer brewery in London that only allows payment in crypto, no cash. It also has a beer whose price is dependent on London’s Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index. Hopefully, they won’t use the same price metric for Bitcoin. Can you imagine how much a pint would have cost during Bitcoin’s bull run last December?

The more interest in crypto, the more companies in the industry have to do to open the adoption doorway to average people who are unfamiliar with the market. This includes giving people more opportunities to purchase crypto as well as educating them on the scams that go along with it, just as institutions had done when digital banking was introduced for fiat currencies.

While cash may be king now, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are waiting in the wings, getting ready to knock fiat off its throne and introduce financial inclusivity to the masses.

Do you think we’ll see more ATMs popping up all over the world? Do you make use of crypto ATMs? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

The post DigitalMint to Launch More Crypto ATMs in United States as Acceptance Increases appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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Digital Fiat Wallet Neteller Launches Cryptocurrency Exchange Service

Users of the Neteller digital wallet and payments service provider will now be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly from the wallet.


Buy and Sell Cryptos with Neteller

Neteller, a leading online money transfer service provider, has launched a feature using which users of the digital wallet will be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies from within the wallet itself. In a press release published Friday by parent company PaySafe, the company announced:

As of today, NETELLER users can buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies via a recognised cryptocurrency exchange including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin, purchased using any one of 28 fiat currencies available in the NETELLER wallet.

For customers of the e-wallet, this new offering will provide a convenient way to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. They would not need to open an account on a cryptocurrency exchange, and existing customers do not need to complete any additional verification.

Currently, users can buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin and pay with any of the 28 supported fiat currencies and 100 alternative deposit methods. The feature has been enabled by integrating with an as yet “recognized cryptocurrency exchange.”

Skrill, another similar service owned by Paysafe, already integrated the feature in July of this year. The move apparently was well received by the users.

Lorenzo Pellegrino, CEO of Skrill, Neteller and Income Access, commented:

The large amount of investment in technology and overall innovation in cryptocurrency has led to the rapid evolution of this space. As cryptocurrencies are increasingly embraced by businesses and consumers alike, this is an industry where we continue to strengthen our presence.

He added:

As digital finance leaders, we believe we can play a significant role here and create value for both the industry and consumers. Connecting the dots between cryptocurrencies and traditional money in an efficient and user-friendly way is needed for cryptocurrencies to gain real traction amongst consumers. At Paysafe, we are in a great position to facilitate that through our leading digital wallets and other payment products.

The Process to Transact and Fee Structure

Users looking to buy any of the supported digital assets, need to log into their Neteller account and then select the “Crypto” option. From the next screen, users can complete their transaction by specifying the amount of the cryptocurrency they intend to buy.

Transaction fees for both Buy and Sell orders are 1.5 percent when transacting in either Euro or USD and 3 percent when using other currencies.

The new service is currently available in ten countries and the company plans to roll it out in 50 more within the next few months. Also, the option is right now available only on the web app, though the company has said that it will add the feature to Neteller mobile app soon.

While the adoption of cryptocurrencies for payments may still be slow, but with mainstream e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller adding support for the digital assets, accessibility, and convenience for digital wallet users should no longer be a deterrent to trade.

Do you think with e-wallets adding support for cryptocurrencies, more merchants will start accepting payments in them? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Neteller

The post Digital Fiat Wallet Neteller Launches Cryptocurrency Exchange Service appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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The Economy Was Up But I Lost Thousands…and So Did You…

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This last year, you earned $60,000 at your job, made $5,000 in the stock market, but……you lost $8,000 and you didn’t even know it! Kind of hard to believe, right? That you lost $8,000 and you didn’t even realize it? Believe it or not, it happens to almost all of us. Heck, I’m super frugal and I lost $2,000! “How?” you might ask. Depreciation. How much do you think you’re losing to depreciation?

By the end of this article (and after inputting your info into my new tool), you’ll know exactly how much you’re losing to depreciation!!

How Much Are You Losing to Depreciation?

So first things first…what really is depreciation?

According to The Street…

“When something depreciates, it reduces in value.”

It really is as simple as that. You buy something, you have it for a while, and you’re forced to sell it for less than you paid for it because it has depreciated in value.

So what are some of the top things that you buy that depreciate in value? And, how much is this impacting your overall net worth? Continue reading below and be sure to fill out the depreciation calculator (click the link to download the Excel file, open up the download, and fill out the Excel sheet!) to see how much you’re losing to depreciation!

how much are you losing to depreciation

1) Your Car

This is the one everyone thinks of when the word “depreciation” is uttered – and it’s because it’s one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make that goes down in value.

According to Trusted Choice, if you buy a new car…

  • It will depreciate by 11% immediately once you drive it off the lot
  • You’ll lose 20-25% by the end of year 1
  • It’s value will dive by 46% by the end of year 3
  • And, after 5 years, your new car will have depreciated by 63%

Ouch!

Buy a car for $30,000 and it will only be worth $11,000 after just 5 years. That’s a loss of $19,000 due to depreciation!

How much are you losing to depreciation on your car?

Want to know how much you’re losing to depreciation on your car? Here are some good rules of thumb:

  1. If you just bought your car brand new, here’s your formula… (Purchase price) * (20%) = your vehicle depreciation this year
  2. If your car is between 2 and 10 years old… (Your car’s value) * (15%) = your vehicle depreciation this year
  3. If your car is 11 years or older, depreciation is very small and basically negligible

If you don’t want to think too hard about this, just feel out the depreciation calculator tool!

Related: How Many Retirement Years Will That New Car Cost You?

2) Computers, Televisions, and Cell Phones

Ahh electronics. We all love them for the entertainment they offer us…but we should loath them for how much they cost us over time.

You may not realize it, but computers and electronics attack your wallet from two different angles:

  1. First, the industry finds better and better ways to put these machines together each year, which translates into a cheaper product
  2. Just like anything else, a used computer or TV will be worth far less than a new one

Because of the double-hit to your electronic’s value, instead of seeing depreciation of 15%-20% like on your car, you’ll experience a depreciation rate of 50% every year. Buy a computer for $1,000… one year later you can probably sell it for $500, the year after that $250…etc. etc.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your computer, cell phones, and televisions?

  • First, list out all your computers and televisions and write down what you paid for them.
  • Then, take 50% off the purchase price every year you’ve owned each item.
  • Finally, take the current value for each and subtract it from the prior year value.  Total up all your depreciation amounts and record that as your “Computer and television depreciation expense”.

3) Timeshares

Have you recently purchased a timeshare? I’m sorry to tell you, but your timeshare is depreciating as well…

It’s not because the building you own a portion of is going down in value, it’s because the resale market is flooded with them and there aren’t nearly as many buyers as there are sellers. Plus, maintenance costs on timeshares notoriously skyrocket with each passing year, making them less and less desirable for a second-hand buyer.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your timeshare?

As a rule of thumb, your timeshare will lose 50% of its value with each passing year. So, just like with computers and TVs, just write down the purchase price for year one and cut that value in half with each passing year. Then take the prior year number and the current year number and subtract them. THAT’s the depreciation dollar amount for your timeshare.

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Sell Your Timeshare

losing to depreciation4) Guy Toys – Quads, Snowmobiles, Watercrafts…

All these guy toys have motors in them…which means they pretty much depreciate like cars. Here’s the recap on that:

  • 11% depreciation minutes after the purchase
  • Lose 20-25% by the end of year 1
  • The value dives by 46% after just 3 years
  • After 5 years, depreciation goes down 63%

As a general rule of thumb, these toys will go down in value by 20% in the first year and then 15% every year after that until the 10 year mark.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your toys?

I’m guessing that you’re catching onto this process by now. List out all your toys, then:

  • If your toy is less than 1 year old, take 20% of the purchase price – that’s your loss due to depreciation
  • If you have toys that are older than 1 year, but newer than 10 years, write down 15% of the current value on each of them
  • And, if your toys are 10+ years old, don’t worry about it. The loss due to depreciation is negligible.

5) Video Games

My wife thinks video games are a waste of time. For the most part, she’s right. But on top of that, they’re a waste of money too!!

The popular site, “Which”, discovered this quite a few years ago when they conducted an experiment of their own. They bought a brand new Xbox game for $60, opened it, and then tried to sell it soon after as a pre-owned game. Guess how much money they recouped? $22. They basically lost $38 overnight just by tearing off some cellophane.

On average, video games will lose 70% of their value immediately after purchase. Then, they’ll depreciate about 10% each year after that.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your video games?

  • How many brand new video games did you buy this year? And at what total price? Take that number times 70%.
  • Of all the rest of your games, what’s the total resale value today? Take that value and multiply it by 10%.
  • Add the two values together for your total video game depreciation this year.

6) Jewelry

A diamond ring might be a great investment…but as an investment in your future spouse and certainly not the ring itself. Most people don’t realize it, but the mark-up on jewelry is tremendous – often 100%-200%. This of course means that if you ever try to sell your engagement ring, necklace, or diamond earrings, you’ll likely only get a small fraction of your initial purchase price back.

Believe it or not, but the initial depreciation rate is much like a video game — at 70%. Buy a ring for $1,000 today, walk out of the store, then try to sell it back to them…they might give you $300 for it. Each year after that, assume it’s worth 5% less than the year before.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your jewelry?

  • How many dollars worth of jewelry have you purchased this past year? Multiply that amount times 70%.
  • Total up the current value of all your jewelry (remember, the value has gone down substantially over time) and multiply that amount times 5%.
  • Add the two values together for your total jewelry depreciation on the year.

7) Other Media – Books, DVD’s, CD’s…

Dang, it just seems like everything drops in value like a rock doesn’t it?? That’s why you’ve got to be careful what you buy and how much of it you get on a monthly basis.

Books, DVD’s, and CD’s – they are no exception to this depreciation game. While I couldn’t find any exact depreciation percentages online, I’ve read quite a few comments like, “I’ve spent thousands of dollars…and my collection is probably only worth a couple hundred at this point.”

Let’s face it, nobody wants a bunch of books, DVD’s or CD’s crowding up their houses anymore. They can instead buy whatever they want online, get it instantly, and avoid the mess. For that reason, your media purchases are worth 75% of what you paid for them immediately after you walk out of the store. And, every year after that, they drop another 50% a year.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your books, DVD’s, and CD’s?

  • How many dollars worth did you buy this past year? Multiply that times 75%.
  • What’s the current value of all your books, DVD’s, and CD’s? Multiply that amount by 50%.
  • Add up these two numbers to get the depreciation total of your “other media”

Related: Free Stuff at the Library You Never Knew Existed

8) Clothing

I really hope you like your clothes, and that you end up wearing them for a long time, because they’re basically worthless the moment you leave the store with them.

I mean think about it:

  • You have a specific design style, others may not
  • You wear a specific size, many others wear a different size
  • What’s in style today is completely out of style two years from now. Even if it fits, no one is going to want to wear your stuff.

How much are you losing to depreciation on your clothing?

Your clothing is basically worthless just months after you buy it, but I’ll throw you a small bone here.

  • If your clothing is less than one year old, consider it 90% depreciated.
  • Beyond that, its value will depreciate by 75% each year.

Related: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe to Save Money

How Much Are You Losing to Depreciation and What Should You Do About It?

So after filling out the spreadsheet, how much are you losing to depreciation this year? $1,000? $5,000? $10,000??? Did your loss make you throw up in your mouth a little? Mine did, and it’s probably small in comparison to most!

What is your depreciation amount in comparison to your income? As a rule of thumb, I’d like to see your depreciation total less than 5% of your yearly earnings. So if you earn $100,000 a year, you should target losing less than $5,000 to depreciation.

  • If you’re losing less than 5% a year, then I wouldn’t sweat your number at all. Maybe your loss is $50,000 but you earn $1,000,000 a year…then you’re still fine!
  • If, however, you’re losing more than 5%, then it’ll be pretty tough for you to get ahead financially.

What Can You Do If You’re Losing Too Much to Depreciation?

If you’re losing too much to depreciation (more than the advised 5%), then the first area I would look into is your car – it’s likely pretty new and is the largest part of your depreciation number. Either sell the car and buy something that’s less expensive, or commit to hang onto it for 10+ years (that way, you’ll save yourself from that ‘new car’ depreciation again).

Beyond your car, take a look at your next biggest number – maybe it’s jewelry. Ask yourself, “Is it really worth the big hit to my net worth?” Likely, the answer is no…

If you want to get ahead, stop buying things that will put you behind! If you follow through with this, you’re chance at wealth will rise exponentially.

Are you ready to take YOUR stand against depreciation?

The post The Economy Was Up But I Lost Thousands…and So Did You… appeared first on Life And My Finances.

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Crypto.com’s MCO Visa Cards Begin Shipping to Singapore, MCO’s Price Spikes 17%

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Monaco logo

The MCO Visa Card, a prepaid debit that that provides a range of facilities to its users starting from free ATM withdrawals to competitive interbank rates has begun shipping to customers in Singapore from Monday, October 22. The cards don’t come with any monthly or annual fee. Following the news, MCO received a boost in price as it spiked up by 33% but currently stands up 17.3% for the day.

Shipping Begins to Singapore

The prepaid card range provides high-end metal cards to customers along with several perks. They work similar to most credit cards, offering airport lounge access on some cards, tap-and-pay functions, free ATM withdrawals, and more reasonable interbank rates. The card can be received via a wallet app that creates reservations for the users after a three-minute customer onboarding process. Once received, the wallet allows users to manage their cards, see their transactions and even freeze or unfreeze their cards with a simple tap.

Customers in Singapore will be the first to receive these cards in the world. The connected wallet will allow users to buy, sell, send and store cryptocurrencies while tracking their usage. Users will also be able to spend fiat currency converted directly from cryptocurrencies without involving any exchange fee.

Crypto.Com CEO Applauds the Community

Co-founder and CEO of crypto.com, Kris Marszalek acknowledged all stakeholders in the project saying:

“We are thankful for the support of all our partners and our community. During this process, our team has grown tremendously and worked incredibly hard to achieve this milestone. This is an important step towards our mission of accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.”

The card comes with several offers for users. For instance, it provides 2 percent cash back on purchases made via the card. It also has a peer referral program called Platinum Referral Reward Program which provides an up to $10,000 sign-on bonus for each cardholder. The Crypto Wallet Cashback offer provides up to 1 percent cash back on crypto transactions, like exchange and purchase of digital coins in the MCO wallet.

Known earlier as Monaco, the company recently rebranded to Crypto.com to highlight its growing business model and its expanding reach into the overall crypto markets.

Crypto.com’s MCO Visa Cards Begin Shipping to Singapore, MCO’s Price Spikes 17% was originally found on [blokt] – Blockchain, Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

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