Kashkari: Federal Reserve Doesn’t Need to Protect Investors

Another Federal Reserve president has spoken out on interest rates. Neel Kashkari says there is no need for interest rate hikes right now but that the US Federal Reserve does not exist to protect investors.

Though the stock markets are exhibiting “nervousness,” says Kashkari, investors have to figure out what to do next.

We are not here to protect investors from losses. This is a capitalistic economy we live in and if investors take risks, they should bear the consequences of those risks.

But, says the Minneapolis Federal Reserve chief:

We pay attention to the stock market.

No Reason to Apply Economic Brakes

Kashkari, echoing Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic’s recent comments, believes it’s time to stop interest rate hikes:

I don’t see any reason that we need to tap the brakes pre-emptively on the economy, let’s let the job market continue to strengthen and wages and inflation pick up and we can always raise rates then.

Bostic said last week that, amidst uncertainty:

The appropriate response is to be patient in adjusting the stance of policy and to wait for greater clarity about the direction of the economy and the risks to the outlook.

After a slew of interest rate hikes in 2017 and 2018 and a declining equities markets at the end of 2018, the US Federal Reserve took the pressure off the markets early this January. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said:

We will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves.

The markets responded, with five days of consecutive gains.

S&P 500 (Blue) Dow Jones Industrial Average (Red) and Nasdaq (Yellow) Performance Over the Last Year | Source: Trading View

Federal Reserve United and Independent

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida has since said the Federal Reserve could be “very patient.”

Kashkari’s comments on investors come in defense of US President Donald Trump’s attacks on the central bank. He says the Federal Reserve is “united” in its independence and focus on data.

Federal Reserve Chair Powell knocked back Trump’s criticisms as the market struggled in late 2018, saying he would not resign. The Federal Reserve is an independent body, and despite Trump’s comments, he cannot fire Powell or force him to quit.

With further interest rate hikes in the near future now very unlikely, investors appear more confident despite other concerns. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 141 points or 0.59%.


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Author: Melanie Kramer  
Image Credit:  Featured Image from Flickr/ProPublica

Greek Supreme Court is Violating Alleged Bitcoin Launderer’s Rights, Lawyer Argues

The lawyer representing the alleged former operator of now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, has accused the Greek Supreme Court of “grossly violating” his rights, major Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported Nov. 19.
39-year old Russian national Vinnik, a.k.a “Mr. Bitcoin,” was indicted by U.S. authorities and detained in Greece on July 25, 2017 on criminal charges of fraud and laundering up to $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) via BTC-e.

Russia and France have since both sought the defendant’s extradition in regard to a further series of fraud allegations. When a Thessaloniki court ruled in support of Vinnik’s extradition to France this summer, he appealed against the decision at the Supreme Court.

As TASS reports, Vinnik’s lawyer Zoya Constantopoulous has this week accused the Supreme Court of failing to provide translations of court documents at her client’s request, in what she has argued is “a violation” of his rights:

“As of November 17, [Vinnick] did not receive an official translation of the documents of the French extradition request […] these documents were not translated into Russian, they have no seals or signatures.”

The lawyer further accused the Greek judiciary of discrimination on political/national grounds, claiming that the court would not have similarly treated “any Greek or EU citizen.”

Vinnik’s legal representatives reportedly consider that his extradition to France will result in his further extradition to the U.S. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a comment this July accusing the Greek authorities of “continu[ing] to complicate relations with Russia,” and requesting that Russia’s extradition request be given priority over that of France.

TASS states that a decision over the conflicting extradition requests will likely be settled by the Greek Ministry of Justice, or the country’s leadership.
Following the closure of BTC-e in July 2017, the U.S. has been seeking a penalty of $110 million from BTC-e and another $12 million from Vinnik for his alleged role in the exchange’s anti-money-laundering (AML ) violations.

As he continues to publicly defend his innocence and rebuff that he was ever an operator of BTC-e, Vinnik has further been prompted to deny involvement in the 2011 Mt. Gox hack in response to crypto security experts’ claims he had a direct relationship to the incident.

A New York Times report this fall indicated that BTC-e is suspected of handling funds used by a Russian military intelligence unit, which U.S. investigators have accused of hacking Democrats’ emails ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.


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Author: Marie Huillet
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CHINA, RUSSIA, USA IN RACE TO USE BLOCKCHAIN FOR MILITARY OPERATIONS

A number of defense officials and armed forces across the globe are starting to look into blockchain’s potential in areas related to military activity.


Militaries across the world are always looking for cutting-edge technologies to get a leg up on the competition. Blockchain is certainly not escaping scrutiny.

Officials inside of defense agencies are particularly interested the technology’s distributed consensus and anonymity capabilities.

NATO has been looking into blockchain’s use cases in regards to military logistics and procurement, and are also studying how it could mesh together with other cutting-edge concepts like the IoT.

So far, the United States, Russia, and China seem to express the most interest in researching how blockchain can be used for purposes related to the military, general national defense, and for cyber-related endeavors.

A CHANGING MILITARY LANDSCAPE

In the United States, entities related to the military have been looking into blockchain for a while. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Section 1646 calls for the assessment of blockchain for military employment purposes.

Recently, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command said they were looking into blockchain to help keep tabs on aviation parts, which could help lower the costs of operating and maintaining military aircraft.

Others speculate the technology could be rolled out by the Department of Defense (DoD) to manage nearly $100 billion dollars’ worth of inventory.

A Government Accountability Office report from 2015 specifically highlighted issues with the DoD’s systems for tracking and delivering supplies, something which blockchain has partially helped solve in other (non-military) areas, like the palm oil industry.

Besides the United States, Russian military officials have also been exploring use cases for blockchain.

Russian news sources in June wrote about the creation of a military research lab inside of the country dedicated to studying how blockchain can be used to detect and possibly counter cyber attacks.

About two months later, Russian news outlet TASS reported on how blockchain might find its way into the Russian Defense Ministry if they manage to:

Quickly introduce Russian cryptographic algorithms into the international standard of blockchain.

THE RISE OF BLOCKCHAIN IN CHINA

Chinese officials are well-known for their ‘Blockchain not Bitcoin’ mantra, having gone to great efforts to stifle the cryptocurrency market while keeping a more optimistic eye on blockchain.

So far, the number of authoritative material linking Chinese military officials with blockchain-related research is slim, but there have been some articles pointing out why officials should pay attention to the technology.

One, published in 2016, advocated for blockchain to be used by Chinese defense and security officials for a variety of tasks, including for the storage of weapons lifecycle information and for general logistical improvements.

One of the article’s researchers, Dr. Zhu Qichao, is a Director at the National University of Defense Technology and a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Writing in RealClear Defense, Wilson VornDick ruminated on the possibility of how blockchain could also be used in China to

Secure sources of public opinion, ostensibly to the detriment of any adversarial counter-information operations.

He specifically noted how “public opinion warfare” is in line with the nation’s Three Warfare strategy. (The other two are legal warfare and psychological warfare).

A 2017 article found in PLA Daily also suggested the idea of blockchain being used in areas related to public opinion warfare.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock


 

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Author: KEVIN O’BRIEN
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80% of Americans are Aware of Bitcoin, Study Reveals

Millennials are more optimistic about the chances of cryptocurrency being widely accepted, and nearly half of who think this would prefer using cryptocurrency over the U.S. dollar, according to a recently conducted consumer survey on awareness of and attitudes about cryptocurrency.

Nearly 80% of Americans (79%) are aware of at least one type of cryptocurrency, according to the study by YouGov Omnibus, a research firm that conducts online nationwide surveys.

Bitcoin leads the field in terms of awareness, with 71% of participants recognizing it by name. The next closest contender, Ethereum, garnered 13% recognition. The survey, which was fielded on Aug. 29 and 30, listed 16 cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, Dash, Ripple, Monero, Cardano, Stellar, NEO, EOS, NEM, Dogecoin, Midseason/SafeCoin, Lisk and Storjcoin X.

Cryptocurrency awareness was higher among men than women for nearly all types of cryptocurrencies mentioned. Twenty-seven percent of women were unfamiliar with any cryptocurrency, compared to 16% of men.

More than a third (36%) of all respondents said they believe cryptocurrencies will become widely accepted for legal purchases in the next 10 years. Millennials, more than any age group, were more likely to believe this (44%), compared to 34% of GenXers and 29% of baby boomers.

A nearly equal number (34%) said cryptocurrencies are not likely to be widely accepted in 10 years.

Millennials More Likely To Use Crypto Than Dollar

Among those believing cryptocurrencies will become more accepted, millennials are nearly evenly split between using cryptocurrency in place of U.S. fiat (48%) and not doing so (50%). This makes them the most likely group to use cryptocurrencies in place of the U.S. dollar.

More than a third (36%) of all respondents who think cryptocurrencies will become more accepted said they would be more likely to use a cryptocurrency in place of U.S. fiat. The majority (57%), however, said they would not choose to use cryptocurrency over the U.S. dollar.

Also read: Global blockchain adoption still low, Gartner survey finds

Usage Remains Low

A hefty 87% of those who are aware of bitcoin have not used it in any way. Nearly half (49%) of those who are aware of it said they were glad not to have purchased it and have no plans to do so. Fifteen-percent said they regretted not buying bitcoin at an earlier time, but think that time has passed. People 35 to 54 years of age were more likely to express this sentiment, as 21% of them said they wish they had purchased bitcoin, compared to 11% of those 55 years of age and older.

The perception of cryptocurrency’s use for illicit activity continues to cloud the way many people view it. A quarter of the suvey respondents said they believe cryptocurrencies are more often used for illegal purchases, compared to 17 who think they are more often used for legal purchases and 19% who say they are used both legally and illegally.

Hispanic Americans more often believe cryptocurrencies are used for legal purchases.


Source
Author: Lester Coleman
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California Is Open to Allowing Crypto Political Donations

Candidates for public office in California may soon be able to accept cryptocurrencies as donations.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission met on Thursday to discuss a number of election issues facing the Golden State, including whether candidates for public office can accept cryptocurrencies as part of campaign donations.

Ultimately, the commissioners didn’t make a decision to adopt any of the proposed amendments during the hearing, acknowledging that they don’t understand the issue fully. Back in 2014, the Federal Election Commission ruled that federal election law allows for candidates to accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as an in-kind donation.

During the hearing on Thursday, chairwoman Alice Germond indicated that a set definition for a “cryptocurrency” is needed, remarking:

“I would be inclined to think that bitcoin is a thing that is not U.S. money but is more like a currency, like the euro. But I would like to hear more to develop my thinking on this.”

More time to study

A public comment from Nicolas Heidorn – policy and legal director of the nonpartisan political advocacy organization California Common Cause – suggested allowing cryptocurrency donations until the commission has further studied the matter. In the end, the commissioners disagreed with the idea.

Commissioner Allison Hayward, in particular, pushed back against the idea of banning cryptocurrencies as donations outright, saying that she would like to gather more information before making a decision

“I think cryptocurrencies are obviously new and designed to be confidential but the blockchain technology I think might ultimately be a very robust tool in tracing activity,” Hayward said, adding:

“I don’t think we’re there yet, but I would hate for something we do to forestall that later on. I don’t know what that would be but … blockchain might be a very useful tool for us and I’d hate to prevent that.”

Commissioners Brian Hatch and Frank Cardenas both said they disagreed with the concept of an outright ban, but in the case of Hatch, the issue of fraud remains a paramount one. He raised the prospect of a candidate claiming a crypto-donation that came from within the state, when, in reality, it actually had a different point of origin.

The commissioners came to a brief agreement that a cap of roughly $100 per donation may be appropriate for this year’s midterm elections. The commission would then be able to continue studying the matter in 2019, when there wouldn’t be an immediate election to consider.

However, this suggestion was not formally adopted during Thursday’s meeting. The commission will meet again next month to discuss the issue.


IZX

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U.S. Blockchain Spending in 2018 Has Already Eclipsed All of Last Year

KPMG released its bi-annual “The Pulse of Fintech” report detailing a large increase in blockchain business spending in 2018.

LIONBIT

Blockchain Moves Beyond Experimentation

KPMG, one of the largest tax advisory service firms in the world, reviewed spending for businesses around the world for the report., which showed a large uptick in large investor interest (such as venture capital) in Q1 and Q2 2018. However, the report pointed out that these investors showed more activity in more mature companies and consortia, rather than new entrants in the space, such as startups.

The report states:

“Investor interest in blockchain was not limited to one jurisdiction. Good sized funding rounds were seen during the first half of the year, including $100 million+ rounds to R3 and Circle Internet Finance in the US and $77 million to Ledger in France. The US was particularly active on the blockchain front, with total investment in the first half of the year already exceeding the total seen in 2017.”

Though Asia has stood out in overall fintech spending (outside of blockchain), the United States still maintains a leading position for blockchain investments in specific.

As CCN reported, Bitmain, a juggernaut in ASIC mining rigs with strong roots in China, is making plans to expand into Washington state and Texas. Despite the seemingly drawn-out discussions involving cryocurrency regulation, especially at the SEC, the United States still has attractive regulations for businesses, both mature and startups.

AVINOC

Additionally, despite the ongoing crackdown on initial coin offerings (ICOs) that don’t follow securities regulations, the report stated that ICOs continue to draw interest and investment globally. Notably the report mentioned the company behind the EOS coin as a large investment recipient: “During Q1’18, Cayman Islands-based Block.one raised $4 billion through an ICO.”

[Editor’s note: The EOS crowdsale technically raised $4 billion over the course of a calendar year, but startups are often said to have “raised” the funds during the month in which their ICOs wrapped up.]

As CCN reported, since the launch of the EOS mainnet, the project has run into issues involving centralizition and its guiding constitution. Much of the early funding mentioned in The Pulse of Fintech was raised before the mainnet launch, though EOS creator Block.one has raised additional funds since then.

Outlook for the Rest of the Year

Fintech funding (not just blockchain investments) overall already exceeds all of 2017, and is on pace to pass 2015’s peak. That totals to $57.9 Billion already spent in the first half of 2018. This is good news for blockchain technology as investors see growing potential in the fintech industry.

With the report’s focus on the new field of regulation technology (regtech), finance interoperability, and supply chain management, blockchain technology should continue to stand out for new investment dollars for the foreseeable future.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Jack Mathis
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Lawmakers to Discuss If Crypto Is ‘The Future of Money’ Next Week

Cryptocurrencies will take center stage once again on Capitol Hill next week.

The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee announced Thursday that it would host a hearing titled “The Future of Money: Digital Currency” on Wednesday, July 18.



Though the Committee, headed by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, has yet to announce a full list of participating witnesses, CoinDesk confirmed that the event will be livestreamed on its website.

Past hearings by the Committee have seen lawmakers discuss cryptocurrencies through the lenses of terrorism financing and fraudulent investments, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

That being said, it seems the topic of next week’s hearing is more geared towards debating the utility of cryptocurrencies as a form of money.

It is a timely topic in light of an increasing interest in cryptocurrencies as a potentially useful monetary tool for governments and more specifically, central banks, around the world. In March, the Bank of International Settlements, what some consider as the central bank to central banks, argued cryptocurrencies backed by central banks could in fact fuel faster bank runs during periods of financial instability.

Other countries including Canada, Finland and South Korea have weighed in on the matter, though responses have been mixed with trepidation.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author Christine Kim 
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Cryptocurrencies To Benefit as Trump’s Trade War Intensifies

The US is set to impose additional tariffs against multiple countries in the coming days. The latest one is set to go live today which will impose additional tariffs of $34 Billion for products imported from China. China has also threatened to retaliate by adding tariffs of $34 Billion on American imports. To this, Trump has vowed to add $200 Billion tariffs if it happens.



US’s trade war is not just with China. Trump has also threatened the EU with more Tariffs. If that goes through, the EU is already ready with a new set of duties for American products worth approximately 18 Billion Euros.The US has already imposed additional taxes on Indian products. India has now responded with $231 Million tariff hike on 30 US products.

The global economy is at a low, with multiple currencies at their lowest point. Indian Rupee, for the first time in 5 years fell down below Rs. 69 last week. Chinese Yuan has also taken a substantial hit. Yuan has fallen down by 10% since April 2018 after Trump announced the tariffs. Shanghai Stocks have also gone down by 25% in 2018 alone.

Cryptocurrencies thrive when countries battle uncertain economic policies. Bitcoin saw a significant uptick when Brexit happened last year. Similarly, Chinese traders flocked to cryptocurrencies when the Yuan was devalued a few years ago. However, this time around the Chinese government has banned the trade of cryptocurrencies. But the trade still continues, in a peer-to-peer, OTC manner instead of exchanges.

As The US goes on a trade war with multiple countries, the value of national currencies are expected to come down, including the US dollars. Investors are going to look for alternate ways to store their wealth. Traditionally, precious metals like gold and silver have been used. But acquiring gold is not easy. Once acquired, it is even harder and expensive to securely store them.

Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin is often referred to as digital gold. It is scarce. The total supply of Gold is unknown. But the total supply of Bitcoin is fixed at 21 Million. Securing Bitcoins is also as easy as securing a tiny hardware wallet. It takes a good while to move Gold from one country to another. Bitcoin, on the other hand can be sent instantly for a tiny fee. Just last week, $500 Million worth Bitcoin was transferred for just $2!

Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. So we may not see investors go full on cryptocurrencies yet. However, smart investors with an appetite to diversify have been actively investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is set to increase as economic instability impacts multiple countries from the trade war that the US has just started.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Vignesh S
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