Thailand’s Democrat Party, the country’s main opposition party has become the first major political party in the world to carry out primary elections entirely on a blockchain. Using a live e-voting system powered by the Zcoin blockchain, the party successfully conducted its primaries which involved more than 120,000 voters between November 1 and November 9.
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Over the past two years, initial coin offering (ICO) projects in the crypto market have raised more than $30 billion. Yet, most ICO projects have little to show, especially pertaining to user growth, blockchain adoption, and overall user activity on decentralized systems. It Will Only Get Worse A handful of tokens have demonstrated success in
Shots were fired Thursday afternoon, as CCN received a press release from Calvin Ayre’s CoinGeek which contained some interesting words that are sure to heat up the discussion around the chainsplit and intentional hard fork in Bitcoin Cash. One of the quotes from Calvin Ayre elucidates his feeling that all is not well on the
SALT Lending, a cryptocurrency loan provider who raised tens of millions of dollars during through an initial coin offering (ICO) with support from crypto pioneer Erik Voorhees, has become the latest blockchain firm to attract the attention of US securities regulators. Crypto Loan Provider SALT under SEC Investigation The Wall Street Journal reports that the
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has issued a BitLicense to NYDIG Execution LLC, a subsidiary of New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG LLC). In a statement published this week, the regulator revealed that the crypto custodian had been granted a virtual currency license and a money transmission license. In addition, another NYDIG subsidiary, NYDIG
The leading crypto industry association in Crimea has proposed establishing an international training center to prepare experts from countries that have been placed under western sanctions. The idea is to use advanced technologies associated with cryptocurrencies to attract foreign investors to these jurisdictions.
As part of the initiative, the Crimean Republican Association of Blockchain Investment Technologies (Krabit) intends to launch an educational course that could become part of a university curriculum. Lecturers, including members of the organization, will train students from countries and territories that are currently subjected to economic and political sanctions imposed by foreign powers like the U.S.
Following the Maidan Revolution in February of 2014, which changed the geopolitical orientation of Ukraine, authorities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, where the Russian ethnic population forms a majority, held a referendum to join Russia. The proposal was supported by almost 97 percent of those who voted, over 80 percent of Crimeans, according to the Russian side. In March of that year, Crimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol became part of the Russian Federation.
The accession, which was not recognized by Kiev and a large part of the international community, led to economic sanctions for the territory that have curbed foreign investment. Numerous proposals have been made to circumvent these restrictions using crypto technologies. One of them recently came from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Crimea in the Kremlin, Georgiy Muradov, who said that a blockchain cluster and a cryptocurrency fund could soon be established in the Crimean special economic zone to attract investors. A plan to set up an assembling facility for mining equipment has also been discussed.
According to Krabit’s president, Roman Kulachenko, who spoke with Tass on the sidelines of the “Security. Crimea – 2018” forum, the republic is not the only affected entity that could take advantage of cryptocurrency technologies to evade sanctions. He mentioned Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two other pro-Russian republics in the former Soviet space that are facing similar problems. In his opinion, the educational center can help them successfully overcome some of the challenges. Other sanctioned countries, such as Iran, are also relying on Russian support to develop their crypto capabilities.
Kulachenko noted that crypto and blockchain technologies can be employed to create platforms that would allow foreign investors to anonymously operate in these jurisdictions. However, he also remarked that in order to do so, a proper regulatory framework for digital assets, smart contracts and blockchain technologies has to be developed and implemented. Russian government institutions have been postponing the adoption of such legislation for months, and according to recent reports from Moscow, the drafts that have been filed in the State Duma this past spring have been revamped and do not even mention cryptocurrencies, mining and smart contracts in their latest revisions.
TV Program to Educate the Public About Cryptocurrencies
Another educational initiative related to cryptocurrencies has been recently announced in Russia. Mir, an international broadcasting corporation with several Russian language TV channels, a radio station and an online outlet, is launching a new program that will inform viewers about digital coins, mining and other related technologies.
Mir was established by the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) back in the early ‘90s. Now it broadcasts in 23 countries, including almost all of the former Soviet republics, the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, Israel, and other countries with large Russian-speaking diasporas.
The producers of the TV show ,called “Visiting the Numbers,” want to explain to their audience in simple terms what blockchain means, how cryptocurrencies are mined and how to invest in digital assets. The weekly program, which will be broadcasted on the Mir and Mir 24 channels, will cover the most important developments and current topics in the crypto space for viewers in the CIS countries and around the world.
What do you think about the new Russian educational initiatives? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
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The arms race between hardware wallet manufacturers is showing no signs of abating. Every new device must be more secure, robust and impregnable than its predecessor to claim the bragging rights and earn the shekels of the crypto rich, to whom nothing but the best will do. The Cobo Vault is the latest hardware wallet clamoring to be the best device of its kind.
In a Post-Apocalyptic Society, Many Years From Now…
The year is 2140 and the last bitcoin has just been mined. Thanks to the nuclear war, the population has been reduced to a few hundred thousand hardy souls. Bitcoin is the world’s global reserve currency, only there isn’t much world left to fight over. Just some scorched earth, cockroaches and a handful of gunmetal grey objects jutting wilfully from the soil. These are Cobo Vaults, the last surviving hardware wallets in the galaxy.
Hyperbole aside, it’s too early to tell how the Cobo Vault will fare in the longevity stakes. What can be said, in the here and now, is that this is the largest and heaviest hardware wallet (HW) you are likely to own. The Vault has many properties, but portability isn’t one. Unlike, say, the Coolwallet, the Cobo Vault is not designed to leave your strongroom or bank vault. Which is a tougher ask than it might sound, because the Vault is the sort of device you want to show to all your friends. Do not be seduced by the sleek metal casing and seductively heavy touchscreen imploring you to Instagram this wallet. Those aesthetics are for you and you alone to admire. Good opsec is mindset, not a device.
Features and Benefits
If you’re confident that you can resist the urge to shout your ownership of the Cobo Vault from the rooftops, here’s what you can expect from the $299 device (which will retail for $479 once full production starts):
Air-gapped with no wifi, bluetooth NFC, or USB capabilities
Encryption chip with tailored firmware that meets BIP 32, 39, and 44
Supports BTC, ETH, BCH, DASH, LTC, ETC, TRX, and EOS plus ETH, TRX and EOS tokens
Military grade outer casing
Built-in self-destruct mechanism to protect private keys
Multi-coin and tokens with no storage or memory limit for coins
No physical points of attack
Water-resistant aerospace metal body
Magnetically detachable battery to avoid corrosion
The Cobo website is replete with video footage of a Vault being plunged into the water and presumably living to tell the tale. Its protective case can also support the weight of a tank, so we’re told. I wasn’t brave enough to test my review device in such a manner, as it wasn’t manufactured to final spec, but like the Cobo Vault, perhaps you’re made of sterner stuff.
Hands on With the Cobo Vault
The Vault is beautifully packaged, with build quality, design, and presentation that almost rivals Ledger, the experts at delivering immaculately packaged wallets. This is the sort of HW that unboxing videos were made for. A small instruction card guides users through setup, in between delivering stern warnings such as “the security chip will self-destruct if tampered with.” Because the Cobo Vault app has yet to be made available on the Google Play store, I had to install it using the link provided, prompting all kinds of scary warnings from Android:
Production versions will direct users to the Play or App stores, eliminating this heart-hastening step. After installing the app, you’ll need to power up the Cobo Vault, which means removing the battery compartment and charging it using the separate dock. After powering up the Vault, you’re directed to a page on the Cobo website to scan in the QR code and verify the device. Then, after opting to create a new vault using the touchscreen device, it’s time to note down your mnemonic, heeding the onscreen warning to watch out for “spying eyes or hidden cameras.” Entering the 24-word seed is confusing, as it is unclear that you’re meant to hit return after typing each word. There are still some elements of the Cobo Vault that could benefit from refinement, starting with mnemonic confirmation.
Once the seed has been recorded, it’s time for some more QR code scanning, this time to pair the Cobo Vault with the mobile app. When that’s been completed, the mobile app shows a perfunctory wallet screen. BTC and ETH are the only coins supported in the test version, but the full version will ship with support for all of the coins listed earlier including BCH and DASH.
A feature which now comes as standard on many HWs, the Vault included, is the ability to create a hidden vault. If the owner is forced to unlock their wallet under duress, they can reveal an address containing only a nominal amount of cryptocurrency. An unlimited number of hidden vaults can be created with the Cobo Vault, making it impossible for a physical attacker to tell for certain whether they’re being shown the real wallet. To verify that everything’s working correctly, I send a test BTC transaction to the Vault, and then send it on to a different address, using the Vault to sign the transaction using a QR code scan.
With most hardware wallets, the review ends once the mobile wallet and device have been paired, bitcoin address created and test transaction sent. But with the Cobo Vault, the real fun begins when you prepare to pack the device away. The body and battery are separated and slid into separate compartments in the protective case. The case holds the entombed sections snug, without so much as a rattle, no matter how vigorously you shake the ensemble.
One accessory that’s yet to be covered in this review is the mnemonic tablet and letter block that enables you to encase your 24-word seed in a metal holder that looks as robust as the protective case for the Vault itself. It would be nice if there was a means to easily separate the two halves of the tablet, so that the seed could be stored in two separate locations. If you do decide to affix the letters into the tablet, using the screwdriver and 282 letters provided, go ahead, but it might be wise to obfuscate one or more of the words. It might be wiser still to store your mnemonic tablet in a different location to your Cobo Vault.
The Cobo Vault is a solid piece of kit that’s likely to claim the mantle of Toughest in Class, at least within the sensibly priced wallet category. A few hundred bucks seems a reasonable outlay for a device that should, provided proper opsec is used, keep your cryptocurrency safe until time indefinite, or until you need to liquidate it at least. The software could and will be better in places, and the UX needs tidied up. Expect these niggles to have been resolved when the production version begins to ship.
The Cobo Vault will outlive you. The sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can accept your own mortality and the immortality of bitcoin.
What are your thoughts on the Cobo Vault? Let us know in the comments section below.
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A growing number of companies are entering the cryptocurrency space in Thailand. However, they have not applied for approval from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), prompting the regulator to issue several warnings against unapproved operators.
Since Thailand enacted its cryptocurrency regulations in May, a growing number of companies have been launching crypto exchanges and issuing tokens in the country.
Q Exchange, a joint venture between Thai and South Korean companies, has been promoting its services in Thailand with a plan to open the first “cryptocurrency bank” in the country, Channel 3 News reported. The company aims for its Thai operation to be the crypto exchange hub of Asean countries, the media outlet detailed, and quoted the company’s general manager explaining:
The goal is to open exchange branches nationwide of more than 30 branches in 2018 and increase to 70 branches in 2019.
South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange Coin25 announced on Tuesday that it has set up a subsidiary in Bangkok and “is operating more than 60 branches in Thailand and Laos,” Business Korea reported. However, this exchange only offers the trading of its own token.
Mrc Biz Ltd. has also been promoting an initial coin offering (ICO) in Thailand, the Thai SEC revealed on Friday. Another company, Corexfly, announced that it was launching an exchange in Thailand back in August. “Corexfly has concluded an agreement with Korean exchange B&C to establish Dabit exchange in Thailand,” the company’s website states.
Furthermore, South Korea’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Upbit and Bithumb, have also unveiled their plans to open exchanges in Thailand.
SEC Issues More Warnings
According to Thailand’s cryptocurrency regulations, companies wanting to conduct crypto business in the country must gain approval from the SEC, the main regulator of the country’s crypto industry. So far, only six crypto exchanges and one dealer have been temporarily approved while their applications are being reviewed.
The six exchanges are Bitcoin Co. Ltd. (Bx), Bitkub Online Co. Ltd., Cash2coins, Satang Corporation (Tdax), Coin Asset Co. Ltd., and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co. Ltd. (Seadex). Currently, Coins Th. is the only company that has been temporarily approved to operate as a cryptocurrency dealer. No approvals have been granted to new exchanges or token issuers.
The SEC has issued several warnings against unauthorized crypto businesses and tokens. Recently, it warned investors about Db Holdings Plc. and nine unauthorized tokens.
Q Exchange Ltd. also received a warning, the Thai SEC announced on Tuesday. The commission explained that while the company has not been granted approval, it has been advertising and soliciting customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The SEC has notified the exchange to stop advertising and selling investments in the country.
On Friday, the commission issued a warning against Mrc Biz Ltd. which has been promoting its ICO in Thailand without approval. The company has not submitted any applications to the SEC and has neither been approved to conduct crypto business nor issue tokens, the commission emphasized.
Rapee Sucharitakul, secretary-general of the Thai SEC, was quoted by Bangkok Biz News on Thursday saying that the commission expects the finance ministry to approve the applications of some companies to operate crypto businesses such as ICO portals, exchanges or dealers in December.
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What do you think of all these companies trying to enter the crypto space in Thailand? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Everyone’s heard of Litecoin. Not to mention its charismatic creator Charlie Lee who sold all his LTC at the end of last year. A surprise move. Yet one that was meant to remove any conflict of interest between his active social media presence and the price of the coin he created. But did you know