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For the first time in history, the Bitcoin holdings of a nation is greater than Gold reserves: Bulgaria, $2 vs $1.8 Billions

Bulgaria has been covertly stockpiling Bitcoins, so much so that their BTC reserve has surpassed its gold holdings. Back in May 2017, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) issued a press release that the country has over 200,000 BTC (around $2.1 billion) as opposed to just 40 tons in gold (around $1.8 billion). The release stated:

“It was determined that the members of the organized crime group invested the money obtained from these illegal activities in bitcoins, around 200,000 being discovered in the virtual space.”

The investigators determined that they had precisely 213,519 BTC. Strangely enough, the Bulgarian Government has remained relatively silent regarding their alleged holdings. There have been several rumors floating around about these mysterious Bitcoins. One of these rumors stated that the Bulgarian Interior Ministry sold the stash to fund a new air force squadron. Various crypto media outlets immediately trashed this. The Government’s continued reluctance to reveal the Bitcoin addresses hints that they are likely still in control of the Bitcoin holdings.

For the first time in history, the bitcoin holdings of a nation state have surpassed their gold reserves, and it happens to be Bulgaria.

The country is believed to hold more than 200,000 bitcoins, now worth about $2 billion, while their gold reserves of 40 tones are worth only $1.8 billion.

Making it the first time a nation state has more value stored in bitcoin than in gold reserves.

That’s per a May 2017 press release by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) which announced in a headline: “More than 200,000 bitcoins in value of 500 million USD found by the Bulgarian authorities.” They further said:

“With SELEC’ support, the Bulgarian authorities successfully finalized the joint investigation…

The organized criminal group consisted in Bulgarian nationals having connections in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Romania and Republic of Serbia.

The modus operandi used was recruiting corrupted Customs officers in all involved countries with the purpose to infiltrate a virus in the Customs’ computerized systems. Once the virus installed, from distance, the offenders were able to finalize various transports, as in the Customs’ system appeared that the cargo was already checked and passed.

The Bulgarian authorities have searched more than 100 addresses, suspects and vehicles. A large quantity of money was seized, as well as equipment, devices for communication, computers, tablets, bank documents, etc…

It was determined that the members of the organized crime group invested the money obtained from these illegal activities in bitcoins, around 200,000 being discovered in the virtual space.

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Procedure on the way to end Federal Reserve and return to the Gold Standard ! President Trump meetings continue

As President-elect’s Donald Trump’s transition rolls on, more and more attention is being paid to possible selections for a variety of high-ranking positions and meetings that might help decide these appointments.
On Monday, Trump will meet with John Allison, the former CEO of the bank BB&T and of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.
There have been reports that Allison is being considered for Treasury secretary.

Trump’s has on the campaign trail questioned the future of the Federal Reserve’s political independence, but Allison takes that rhetoric a step further. While running the the Cato Institute, Allison wrote a paper in support of abolishing the Fed.

“I would get rid of the Federal Reserve because the volatility in the economy is primarily caused by the Fed,” Allison wrote in 2014 for the Cato Journal, a publication of the institute.

Allison said that simply allowing the market to regulate itself would be preferable to the Fed harming the stability of the financial system.

“When the Fed is radically changing the money supply, distorting interest rates, and over-regulating the financial sector, it makes rational economic calculation difficult,” Allison wrote. “Markets do form bubbles, but the Fed makes them worse.”

Allison also suggested that the government’s practice of insuring bank deposits up to $250,000 should be abolished and the US should go back to a banking system backed by “a market standard such as gold.”

Allison also argued for higher capital reserves of up to 20% of assets at banks. On the other hand, he also argued that the government should repeal three of the broadest banking regulations.

“We should raise capital standards, but it is even more important to eliminate burdensome regulations — including Dodd-Frank, the Community Reinvestment Act, and Truth in Lending,” Allison wrote. “About 25 percent of a bank’s personnel cost relates to regulations. Banks cannot pay the regulatory costs and have high capital standards.”

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The Social Dilemma – The Official Trailer – Cloud Breaking Big Tech Companies – Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc.

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Denmark propose the use of Blockchain Platforms for fighting against corruption on government and institutional levels

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark published a report explaining the use of IT technologies and services including blockchain, e-governance, big data, and crowdsourcing to fight administrative, or day-to-day, corruption as well as political corruption.

Presented during the International Anti-Corruption Conference, or IACC, the report emphasizes the use of blockchain as a technology that will build a more transparent governance and transaction system, further adding that it will also give individuals greater rights over their own data.

According to the report, blockchain can be used as a potential anti-corruption tool as it has the ability to store records immutably and transparently. A public database such as blockchain also provides every individual equal access to the data stored in the ledger, thus allowing individuals to claim their rights over aid, land and money without depending on any middlemen.

The report further says that blockchain “reduces or eliminates the need for institutions” such as banks, land registries, accountants, registry of births and deaths, and vehicle registration whose main job is to validate transactions.

The technology would help entities efficiently and securely share resources with people without formal identities or bank accounts, the report adds.

The public sector may also use blockchain to secure records and certificates from any alterations and use blockchain’s ability to trace all activities to reduce the chances for corruption.

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Farmers Could Soon Be Hedging Their Risks With Decentralized Weather Data

Farmers are likely the hardest hit by weather unpredictability. For many, severe weather conditions can lead to the loss of their livelihood, or even starvation. Although farmer insurance has been around for decades — if not centuries — according to Jha, it is unaffordable for the vast majority:

“If you had less than two hundred thousand dollars in premium to spend, you actually had no real access.”

Arbol blockchain infrastructure. Source: Arbol.

Jha claims that Arbol both lowers the entry barrier and makes hedging less expensive. With blockchain, settlements and payouts can be instant, whereas in the centralized world, participants may have to wait weeks, if not months. 

Farmers can hedge against various adverse weather conditions having a negative impact on their crops. They can buy a hedge — for example, if a temperature in their region reaches a critical level, which will trigger an automatic payout. By adding Chainlink’s oracalized weather data feeds, the company’s platform has become more decentralized and resilient. 

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Online voting platform security and decentralization, global, regional & local solutions to elections

According to a June 7 paper from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Michigan, Democracy Live’s popular online voting platform, OmniBallot, is vulnerable to vote manipulation. Many states have tried OmniBallot, which uses Amazon Web Services to lock in votes, but it has faced security issues. A more decentralized online voting is part of the solution to protect ballots, the researchers say. 

Cryptographic end-to-end verifiability plays a key role

The researchers believe that a decentralized approach in which a voter does not need to trust a particular client device or official election software or servers is essential for secure remote voting. 

As a solution, the researchers put forward an end-to-end verifiability protocol like cryptographic E2E-V. They say such a protocol would allow each voter to independently check whether their vote is correctly recorded and included in the election result. They emphasis that: 

“Although experts hold that E2E-V should be a requirement for any Internet voting system, they simultaneously caution that “no Internet voting system of any kind should be used for public elections before end-to-end verifiable in-person voting systems have been widely deployed and experience has been gained from their use” 
Online voting platform vulnerability

Studies found out that the OmniBallot platform’s simplistic web-based approach system and its extensive usage of third-party services and infrastructure is putting voters’ privacy and vote accuracy in jeopardy. 

OmniBallot reportedly has no intention to seek any decentralized solution. The protocol it uses provides no way for anyone to verify that accuracy of the ballout sections. This will lead cyberattackers to gain control of the platform and change recorded votes without anyone even noticing.

In order to make votes more accessible to all, OmniBallot has turned the traditional voting of letting voters print ballouts and returning it through the mail to allowing voters to return their ballouts online. This web-based system handles blank ballot delivery, ballot marking, and online voting. 

As Cointelegraph reported previously, Congress is looking into developing a blockchain-based end-to-end encrypted system to allow remote Senate voting

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ECB official says the central bank is working on a ‘retail’ digital currency, floats decentralized token model

The European Central Bank is working on a “retail central bank digital currency” as part of an investigative task force, according to a member of its Executive Board.

Yves Mersch, who also serves as vice chair of the ECB’s Supervisory Board, made the remarks during an early-morning keynote address for CoinDesk’s Consensus 2020 conference. In a published version of his speech, Mersch talked about the task force and the work it is conducting, mostly notable the retail CBDC versus a “wholesale” focused one.

Mersch acknowledged that such work is taking place against the backdrop of an economy in which the vast majority of euro area transactions – some 76% – are in the form of cash. And to that end, “[t]he ECB’s debate on CBDCs is therefore mainly analytical,” he noted.

“The lack of a concrete ‘business case’ for a CBDC at present should and does not stop us from seriously exploring the optimal design of a CBDC so that we will be well prepared should we ever take a policy decision to issue a digital currency,” he went on to say. “To this end, we have set up a task force on a CBDC within the Eurosystem
— Citește pe www.theblockcrypto.com/linked/64692/ecb-retail-central-bank-digital-currency-token

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Buffett ‘Killed His Reputation’ by Being Stupid About Bitcoin ! His Company Reported $50 billions Q1 loss

On May 2, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported a $50 billion Q1 loss, with Buffett admitting a major investor mistake. Keiser subsequently argued that the legendary 89-year-old investor “killed his reputation by being stupid about BTC.”

He tweeted on May 3:

“Now that Buffett is out of the game and stock buybacks are rightly being called out as fraudulent, investors will ask… If Buffett was dead wrong about so much, was he also wrong about #Bitcoin and Gold? ANSWER: YES. Buffett killed his reputation by being stupid about BTC.”
Keiser further tweeted that it is time to leave Buffett in the past, outlining that millennials and Gen Z should look to Bitcoin. The Bitcoin bull also highlighted that Buffett “was already way overrated,” as he missed not only Bitcoin investment, but also gold, Apple and Amazon.

Pomp says that Buffett has enough cash to “buy every Bitcoin” in the circulating supply

By the end of March, Buffett’s Berkshire had a record $137 billion in cash and equivalent instruments. Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, tweeted on May 2 that Buffet is able to buy all circulating bitcoins with that amount. Pomp said:

“Warren Buffett has $137 billion in cash. That is almost enough to buy every Bitcoin in the circulating supply.”

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Facebook Libra 2.0 Explained in 5 minutes, planned for World Payments Systems Disruption in 5 years

What is Libra

Libra is a permissioned, blockchain-based stablecoin payment system.

The Libra payment system will support single-currency stablecoins and a multi-currency coin (LBR) that will be a digital composite of some of the single-currency stablecoins available on the Libra network.

All Libra coins will be fully backed by cash & cash equivalents and short-term government securities held by a geographically distributed network of custodian banks.

History

Libra’s origins can be traced back to 2017 when Libra co-creator and Calibra head of strategy, Morgan Beller, became the first person at Facebook’s secret blockchain initiative. Month’s later, CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his desire to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of” cryptocurrencies in his New Year’s resolution post.

On May 8, 2018, Facebook Vice President David Marcus announced that he would be moving from Facebook’s Messenger division to lead Facebook’s blockchain initiative, kicking the initiative into high gear. By February 2019, there were more than 50 engineers working on the project.

In May 2019 it was confirmed that Facebook planned to launch a stablecoin backed by multiple currencies as part of a payments network designed to enable billions of users to make online purchases and transfer money between each other.

Announcement

On June 18, 2019 Facebook officially unveiled Libra: it’s permissioned blockchain-based payment system. It’s token, Libra, would be a stablecoin fully backed by a basket of fiat currencies and government securities, held in the “Libra Reserve.” Facebook also announced that it would develop a digital wallet for the project under its new subsidiary called Calibra, led by Libra co-creators Morgan Beller, David Marcus and Kevin Weil.

The Libra blockchain and Libra Reserve would be governed by the Libra Association: a Swiss based membership organization responsible for the governance of the Libra network and development of the Libra project. The 27 members planned to invest $10 million a piece to receive Libra Investment tokens and become validators of the Libra network.

Although the project would be permissioned at launch, the association aimed to begin transitioning to permissionless governance and consensus within five years.

Regulatory Pushback

Libra received immediate pushback from regulators around the world who expressed concerns over privacy and the potential challenge to various nation’s monetary sovereignty. As a result, just one month after the project was announced, Facebook assured that Libra would not launch until all regulatory concerns were fully addressed. Facebook executives proceeded to go through a series of hearings and meetings with US Congress and various governments in an attempt to alleviate regulatory concerns.

In September 2019, it was reported that the Libra reserve basket would consist of 50% US dollars, 18% Euro, 14% Japanese Yen, 11% Pound sterling and 7% Singaporean dollars. This US friendly composition wasn’t enough to quell anxieties and regulatory pressures persisted. In October 2019, PayPal became the first company to walk away from the Libra Association, with several other high profile founding members following suit, including Visa and Mastercard.

In January 2020, it was reported that the Libra Association was weighing a shift to a multiple stablecoin framework with each backed by their own individual currencies. This differed from their initial approach of a single stablecoin backed by a composite basket of fiat currencies.

Libra’s Revised Plan

On April 16, 2020 Libra unveiled its revised plan. As rumored, Libra transitioned to a framework featuring multiple single-currency stablecoins, in addition to its multi-currency Libra coin. Under the new model, each single-currency stablecoin will be backed by its respective fiat currency and government securities – i.e. the US dollar stablecoin will be backed by a reserve of US dollars and US government securities.

The multi-currency Libra coin on the other hand would be a composite of some of the single-currency stablecoins available on the Libra network. This differs from the initial proposal for a standalone currency backed by a basket of various fiat currencies and government securities sitting in a single reserve. The new Libra Coin proposal looks less like a currency and more like the SDRs maintained by the IMF. Libra Coins represent a claim on stablecoins held in various reserves within the network. This is one step removed from representing a direct claim on multiple fiat currencies and government securities sitting in the Libra Reserve.

According to the revised white paper, these changes were made to address policymaker’s key concerns. The revised plan further includes a more comprehensive compliance framework, the abandonment of plans to transition to a permissionless system and plans for strengthening the Libra Reserve design. Also to the delight of policymakers, t will allow for easier integration of central bank digital currencies to replace corresponding single-currency stablecoins.

According to the head of policy for the Libra Association, Dante Disparte, the Libra network is working toward a late 2020 launch.

Go Deeper

To learn more about Libra’s roadmap, regulatory history, team and participating organizations, the Libra Coin, launch, consensus and emission, underlying technology and governance, read our full Libra profile page.
— Citește pe messari.io/article/libra-2-0-explained-in-5-minutes

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MyEtherWallet to Offer ‘.Crypto’ Blockchain Domains to 1 Million Users

Unlike with traditional domain registration, custody of the domain is tied to the specific wallet and is not controlled by any centralized entity.

The .crypto domain is based on Unstoppable Domains’ smart contracts on Ethereum, which are responsible for assigning the domains and looking up the addresses.

It is separate from the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), which assigns .eth domains, but the functionality is similar. Unstoppable Domains can tie the .crypto domain to an Ethereum wallet, making it possible to send money to human-readable addresses.

Building an uncensorable web

The company is also pushing the .crypto domain as an uncensorable alternative to existing web addresses.

Since it falls outside of the traditional domain name infrastructure, normal browsers cannot open .crypto websites. As reported by Cointelegraph in March, the Opera browser entered into a partnership with Unstoppable Domains to accept blockchain-based domains. 

Opera nevertheless only holds 2.2% of the global market share. For Chrome users, Unstoppable Domains released a browser extension.

The company stresses that blockchain domains are not going to make the web uncensorable by themselves, but they help users bypass restrictions when publishing content.
— Citește pe cointelegraph.com/news/myetherwallet-to-offer-crypto-blockchain-domains-to-1-million-users