January 2018: Cryptocurrency Bloodbath 643

Mere weeks after Bitcoin peaked at close to $20,000 in December 2017, a widespread crash brought the crypto top dog and rest of the cryptocurrency market, down to its knees. While Bitcoin was already on a steady decline since reaching its all-time high valuation, the magnitude of the situation worsened on January 15, 2018, as other major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin followed its lead.

It wasn’t just the major cryptocurrencies that declined by a significant percentage. Hundreds of other altcoins also saw their upward momentum reverse almost overnight. The cumulative market cap of all cryptocurrencies also briefly dipped below $500 billion. Only a month ago, that figure was closer to $800 billion and well on track to cross the trillion dollar threshold for the first time.

Several reasons have been attributed to the cryptocurrency market’s sudden downturn. A day before the crash, several media outlets reported that some Asian countries were going to impose heavy regulations on digital currencies and initial coin offerings. Considering that South Korean exchange Bithumb and some Chinese investors make up a large share of the total cryptocurrency trading volume, news of a possible ban potentially scared off many of the newer investors.

Yet another plausible reason for the decline could have been the rumors suggesting that China was seeking to ban cryptocurrency mining operations in the country. After all, it is quite an open secret at this point that the electricity consumption due to Bitcoin mining alone surpasses that of several developed nations combined. Despite the rumor turning out to be reported as false a few days later, it was simply a case of too little, too late.

The digital currency community is also speculating that Wall Street may be to blame for the largely sideways movement of the market. On December 12, 2017, CBOE began trading Bitcoin futures for the first time in the history. Furthermore, its rival, CME Group, also the owners of the largest futures exchange in the world, had its first contract expire on January 26, 2018.

In the futures market where the best prediction wins, stability is key. Crypto, on the other hand, has been known to be anything but stable. Consequently, some believe that Wall Street whales manipulated and distorted the market as per their preferences.

While none of the aforementioned reasons may have indeed been responsible for the sharp decline in prices, it would not be surprising if they were at least partially to blame. With a largely stagnant price, the digital currency market is no longer offering either the thrill of fast-paced price swings, nor the ability to easily make thousands of dollars in a day. The Bitcoinprice cryptocurrency newsletter, however, makes it a point to report such fluctuations in price.

Even though the correction may seem like a bad thing and, for some people, may appear to signal the end of cryptocurrency trading as we know it, the sudden dip in prices may have been warranted and in fact, necessary for a host of different reasons. Chief among these would be the fact that Bitcoin’s bull run from $9,000 to $20,000 was without much resistance and alarmingly quick. While rapid growth in price and valuation is not unprecedented, especially for older cryptocurrencies, typically, in the past, every time Bitcoin reaches a new milestone, the market tends to correct itself in response.

A correction in the cryptocurrency market is as important as it is for most other asset classes in the world of finance. That said, even though nearly half a month has passed since this correction or crash, Bitcoin and the rest of the market has not yet resumed its ascent towards new peaks. There is no doubt, that at some point, news of Bitcoin will hit mainstream media yet again.

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Covalent Taps IBM Blockchain to Help Track the Carbon Impact of its AirCarbon-based Fashion Goods 3886

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Covalent, a fashion brand recently launched by Newlight Technologies, today announced that Covalent is using IBM Blockchain technology on IBM LinuxONE so consumers can track the carbon footprint and supply chain of its sustainable, AirCarbon-based fashion accessories, from eyewear to handbags. Purchasing sustainable products is a growing motivation for consumers. A recent study by IBM showed 57% of consumers surveyed were willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Covalent’s products, which can be purchased on its website, are made with AirCarbon, a biomaterial made by microorganisms that is meltable and can be used as an alternative to fiber, plastic and leather. Because it is made using renewable power, AirCarbon is certified as carbon-negative by the Carbon Trust, meaning it reduces the amount of carbon in the air.

In addition to being part of a new category of “regenerative” products emerging that can have a positive impact on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, Covalent’s AirCarbon-based products provide a new level of traceability through the application of IBM Blockchain technology. Often, when consumers buy products labeled as sustainable fashion, they cannot see a verified record of how the product was made or how it affects the environment. Covalent’s products bridge that gap with a blockchain-based number that can be used to show the steps in the production process for that specific product as well as its third-party-verified carbon impact so customers can view impact the product is having on the environment.

A unique 12-digit number printed on each Covalent product, known as the “Carbon Date,” represents the time when the AirCarbon used to create that specific product was created. The number can be entered into Covalent’s website to trace the steps that went into creating the product. The supply chain journey that brought each product to life is stored in an immutable record on the blockchain and stretches from when the AirCarbon was formed and molded into a handbag to who independently verified its carbon footprint and when it was moved to a stockroom.

“Our goal was to give people the information they need to decide what kind of impact they want to make,” Newlight CEO Mark Herrema said. “With IBM Blockchain and LinuxONE technology, we can now provide visibility into not only the steps used to make each Covalent product, but also the carbon impact that each specific product has on the environment. For us, that’s important, because it helps make tangible the unique pathway that led to the creation of that product.”

By working with IBM Business Partner Cognition Foundry, a services provider and systems integrator, Covalent is able to host its IBM Blockchain solution on IBM LinuxONE, a highly secured server for mission critical workloads and that provides scalability and resiliency, including the industry’s first and only FIPS 140-2 Level 4 certified Hardware Security Module (HSM).[1]

“Blockchain’s ability to foster trust gives Covalent’s customers a better understanding of how their products were made,” said Alistair Rennie, General Manager of IBM Blockchain. “In turn, Covalent can create a better customer experience, and a better opportunity for consumers to understand how their choices impact the environment. This is another great example of how blockchain is supporting our mission of using technology for good.”

AccuChain Secures Investment from Vertex Partners 4375

AccuChain, Inc. today announced that it has received an investment from Vertex Partners Inc. in Tokyo, Japan. This investment will accelerate development of AccuChain’s Human Resource technology software. The funding also demonstrates Vertex Partners’ long-term vision and commitment to launch AccuChain in Japan and other countries in SE Asia. AccuChain is developing a resume validation and recruitment platform. This innovative platform will allow individuals to create their own validated resumes and enable HR departments to find the best qualified candidates.

Vertex Partners, a business development firm, reveals that there is a growing need for AccuChain in SE Asia. Junichi Yukihira, Co-founder of Vertex Partners Inc., said “It is very exciting and also significant for us to have the opportunity to participate in the AccuChain investment this time. We highly value the potential of AccuChain’s HR solutions based on AI/machine learning and blockchain technology, and as their business co-creation partner, we are now working together to develop markets in Japan and other Asian countries. We are confident that this investment will strengthen our relationship.” Hiring in SE Asia demonstrates a growing need for qualified candidates. AccuChain will reduce bad hires using validation methodologies, immutable records, matching of jobs to qualified candidates and uncovering false information.

AccuChain CEO, Tim R. Connelly adds “The Vertex Partners investment demonstrates the importance both of our organizations see in next generation HR recruitment software. The combined resources of our companies will make a positive difference in the successful launch of AccuChain in Japan and then SE Asia.” AccuChain is working to improve their hiring process, and create a new standard for applicants’ digital resumes. The technology will help reduce fraudulent resumes.

Stratis Brings Blockchain as a Service to All Businesses via Its C# Native Platform 4965

Stratis was created for a simple purpose – to provide enterprises with blockchain as a service (BaaS) solutions, designed to implement complex blockchain architecture within mainstream coding languages, used by everyday companies away from the crypto niche. It does this through cloud solutions, support for C# and .NET application building, alongside tool customization via its open source protocol. The result of this? Stratis unlocks the power of blockchain technology for mainstream businesses, and unlocks the mainstream market for the blockchain industry – two powerful combinations.

Enterprises that find themselves relying on the Stratis tool set will access a less expensive and less complex blockchain building framework. Companies no longer need to purchase and manage their own full nodes, nor do they need to build a blockchain infrastructure from scratch – something which is niche and represents a huge barrier to entry by setup cost to all but the largest of companies. Moreover, businesses in need of smart contract support will be pleased to find that Stratis supports virtual machines via Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Stratis – Tailored with Perfection

Stratis holds several key values that make it an optimal choice for blockchain operations – decentralization, privacy, scalability, practicality, accessibility, reliability, security, and performance. To better understand this, Stratis blockchains run a number of cloud-based full nodes, so decentralization is assured. Privacy is guaranteed – through cryptographic encryption, all transactions and communications remain private. Stratis is also keen on providing an adaptable degree of scalability, achieved through the means of intuitive sidechain usage.

Companies looking to leverage the power of smart contracts must know that Stratis is the only platform providing support for C# execution, so developers can efficiently code self-enforcing programs utilising their existing development tools and existing knowledge of a rich and versatile programming language. Stratis is also working on facilitating cross-chain communication between contracts running within Stratis’ ecosystem and those deployed on the Ethereum blockchain, hence increasing their suitability for today’s interconnected world.

STRAX Swap on Binance

In September 2020, the team introduced STRAX, a more powerful protocol designed to flawlessly integrate within the platform’s existing business model. Previously-minted STRAT tokens have been swapped to STRAX tokens on a 1:1 basis via Binance. Following the shift, Stratis will introduce a series of other advanced features, such as the STRAX SideChain, Stratis InterFlux, SegWit support, cold-staking, the DeFi app library, IoT development tools, and many others.

Since STRAX is based on the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, network participants can receive token-based rewards in exchange for staking their STRAX tokens. Stratis is well-aware of the security risks posed by hot wallet storage, so the team has decided to use cold-staking for ideal token security.

2021 – The Year for Stratis & BaaS

In Q1 2021, Stratis will launch the Unity Development Kit (allowing the integration of NFTs and decentralized identities within the gaming ecosystem), the DeFi Software Library (a catalogue of C# standardized smart contracts), the Stratis DAO (a means of funding next-gen developments via voting), the Stratis System Contracts (introducing on-chain logic and simplifying user-driven processes), and the mobile wallet featuring token support (supporting tokens issued on the Cirrus Sidechain).

In Q2 2021, Stratis will launch the Python Development Kit (allowing Python coders to build on Stratis), the IoT Development Kit (meant to introduce Stratis solutions to IoT hardware), a new version of Proof-of-Stake (boasting improved security and additional features), Stratis Oracles (a distributed means of accessing off-chain data), and Dex Mobile Support (allowing mobile trading of SRC20 tokens).

In Q4 2021, Stratis will launch Ethereum Interoperability (known as InterFlux, this will enable usage of wrapped STRAX tokens on the Ethereum chain), alongside the STO & Digital Asset Platform (providing the tools needed to manage token offerings).

Kim Dotcom’s Next-Generation Content-Monetization Service K.IM Announces Bitcoin Cash Integration 5734

Dotcom, whose website Megaupload was once the 13th most popular site on the Internet and responsible for 4% of all Internet traffic, said K.IM turns “digital files into file shops. Users can use our service to package a file that they want to sell into an encrypted container file and then they can place it anywhere on the Internet. Customers who want to access the content inside the encrypted container can make a payment using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin Cash.”

Asked why he was excited about K.IM and Bitcoin Cash in particular, Dotcom said that while Bitcoin (BTC) has been a great tool for asset storage, Bitcoin Cash is “great for payments” for services like K.IM and offers new financial opportunities for consumers, vendors and investors. Kim had the following to say about the crypto market:

“My opinion is that crypto use is on the rise and BCH is in a good position to accumulate market share. For me it’s simple: The more users you have the more value you have.”

“The winners in the crypto race will be decided by vendors and users. Focus on the fundamental question: What do vendors and users want? Low fees, fast transactions, high security and ease of use.”

He went on to say that Bitcoin Cash was currently “undervalued” and that the “upside potential for those who missed the BTC train” is enormous. Bitcoin.com Founder and friend of Dotcom, Roger Ver, said that Dotcom has “always been ahead of the rest of the market and that people should pay attention to his predictions.” He went on further to say:

“When you look at interest in BTC these days, a lot of it comes in trying to chase its historic investment gains. As long as the price keeps going up, there is going to be a lot of interest. But what happens when people want to start actually using it to pay for things? They will discover the limitations of Bitcoin and look for an asset that can be both an investment and a true peer-to-peer payment system like Bitcoin was originally meant to be. That’s what Bitcoin Cash is.”

SwiftPass and Wallyt to Partner with Findora on Payments Network 7043

Findora announced today that the company will integrate their solutions with SwiftPass, a leading mobile payments service provider in Asia, and Wallyt, a Hong Kong based Fintech that provides international mobile payments and open banking solutions. Findora is a blockchain network that leverages zero-knowledge proof technology to ensure privacy for financial transactions while remaining auditable. Findora supports confidential transaction processing, verification and asset issuance for any cryptocurrency or financial asset, such as equities, derivatives, debt and cash.

“Among its peers, Findora has a unique approach to financial systems, with a balance between transparency and privacy for building a large-scale transaction network. We are excited to partner with Findora and, together, provide more Fintech solutions,” said CEO of Wallyt, Tong Liu.

Wallyt’s global presence and SwiftPass’ expansive platform and user base are ideally suited for Findora’s confidential ledger. The use of Findora is expected to provide enhanced data safety and privacy for the financial institutions and other clients they serve.

“Findora Development Foundation is excited to partner with two dynamic platforms in Wallyt and SwiftPass, in the constantly evolving Fintech and payments sector. The Findora blockchain’s unique approach to combining cryptography and blockchain will help Wallyt and SwiftPass achieve both confidentiality and auditability,” said F.I.R.S.T. Director of Findora Foundation, Paul Sherer.

MEG Announces Purchase Agreement for 2,000 Units of D1, BYD’s Custom Electric Ride-hailing Vehicle 8041

Ideanomics (NASDAQ: IDEX) (“Ideanomics” or the “Company”) announces that its Mobile Energy Global (“MEG”) and its contracting entity Qingdao Chengyang Medici have signed an agreement with Meihao Chuxing, a joint venture between BYD and Didi, to purchase an initial 2,000 units of model BYD D1. The ride-hailing vehicles are intended for deployment in multiple cities within China, with deliveries expected to begin in H1 2021.

“The D1 is a very thoughtfully designed ride-hailing EV and is a culmination of the latest design and technology to bring drivers and their customers an enjoyable travel experience. We are very pleased to work with Meihao Chuxing and BYD to promote the sales of the D1,” said Alf Poor, Ideanomics CEO. “Supported by a viable government subsidy program, the proliferation of EVs in China is a testament to the value that public and private partnerships can bring to large scale global challenges. We look forward to developing these types of partnerships and the rollout of more innovative vehicles like the D1 to our taxi and ride-hailing customers.”

Meihao Chuxing (Hangzhou) Automobile Technology Co., Ltd. was established in 2019, though a 65/35 joint venture between BYD and Didi with BYD having controlling interest. Launched in November 2020, model BYD D1 was jointly developed by BYD and Didi as the world’s first custom-built, all electric car for ride-hailing. The vehicles feature L2 Assisted Driving system, are linked with a fleet management system that helps large fleet operators track and optimize operational status, real-time energy management, as well as a myriad of other safety and comfort features. BYD D1 is equipped with its latest Blade Battery (LFP chemistry) with a range of 418 km (260 miles) and can reach top speeds of 130 km/h (81 mph). Didi Chuxing is deploying and promoting the ride-hailing service in a number of Chinese cities. Passengers can order the customized ride-sharing service via the Didi app.