EOSBet Unveils Bitcoin Betting and Account System

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After making history at the end of last year by becoming the very first blockchain-based casino to receive an official gambling license EOSBet decentralized application recently announced the next step in its journey toward mass adoption of crypto and blockchain. The platform has made its first big step in 2019 by launching a decentralized account system alongside a native bitcoin deposit and betting option.

After receiving its official gambling license, EOSBet became one of top-rated EOS dApps and it will be taking its proactive approach towards innovation into the future with its new and impressive betting option and its neat account system.

The EOS Account System

One of the biggest challenges experienced by users of blockchain technology is the numerous entry barriers that often come in the form of lengthy wallet setup processes among other things. The EOSBet system seeks to solve this problem by developing a system that allows users to deposit funds directly from any source thus eliminating the need for the use of any wallet or third-party software. Furthermore, the system will also cover all the blockchain costs for the players thus allowing them to enjoy the same gaming experience they would find at a tradition centralized casino on the decentralized one.

EOSBet’s account system, just like every other aspect of the platform, is decentralized and completely on-chain which means that all the actions are fully viewable on any block explorer. All the actions also eventually become part of the EOS blockchain and since the system is non-custodial, the players will always be in total control of their funds.

To make the experience even better, the EOSBet team chose to use a simple two-click sign up process that is not only very intuitive but also optimized to work seamlessly across a wide range of devices. With the new system, even people who do not have accounts with ESO can bet securely and get to participate in its very generous player rewards program.

Bitcoin Betting Is Officially Here!

While there have been a number of previous attempts at bitcoin betting with varying degrees of success, EOSBet has beat every other company to becoming the very first on-chain casino to natively accept bitcoin. As if that is not enough, the company plans to implement several other digital currencies in the near future. The betting platform works very well – all a player needs to do is to deposit bitcoin to their accounts, play instantly and then withdraw whenever they may wish to do so.

Both the betting option and the accounts system are slated to take the online gambling industry by storm and this is certainly going to play a huge role in the long-awaited mainstream adoption of digital currencies and blockchain. 2019 might be the year it finally happens.

Crypto Regulation: What Was and What Could Be

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2018 was without a big year for cryptocurrencies as a whole particularly because it saw through a number of developments that kicked off in late 2017. There has been an equal measure of ups and downs in the crypto space which, in one way or the other, have been key to the growth of the industry. Keeping all that in mind, one of the key considerations that many people had in the last year and are looking to improve upon is regulation. With more and more institutional investors streaming into the blockchain and crypto space, there has been an outcry for increased regulation which is expected to be a key driver of the crypto bear market of the past year.

Most of these investors also blamed the initial coin offering (ICO) market’s cool-down on potential threats. To put this into perspective, in October 2018, initial coin offering issuers collected close to $770 million, which is a 50 percent drop of what they raised in December 2017. Apparently, this slowdown was a result of continued pronouncements by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton that said ICOs are securities which imply that those that do not register with the SEC would face dire legal consequences.

What This year Holds

One thing that we can all agree on is that 2019 will certainly be the year that crypto regulation climbs to greater heights. In essence, this means that it is likely that various crypto regulations will become a defining move for such organizations as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as other financial bodies in all parts of the globe. While some crypto-related businesses may be reluctant to follow the SEC’s rules, existing regulations are already taking a massive toll on a number of crypto businesses and this is likely to increase further as the year progresses.

Regulation, as always, is always going to be double-sided phenomena. On one hand, existing and future regulations may inhibit innovation – some companies may close their doors and others may avoid starting up altogether. The main takeaway here is that we might go through a transition period where companies and businesses that are not able to play by the rules will be forced to step aside.

On the other hand, proving that cryptocurrencies do indeed have some legitimacy might actually be easier with more regulation in place. Already, the entry of institutional investors is starting to becoming a big deal for people who were skeptical of crypto. It is well known that the borderless and anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies makes them nearly impossible to control but with more regulation, reasonable solutions are certainly bound to be found.

Major U.S. Science Museum Now Accepting Payments in Bitcoin

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Bitcoin has made yet another step in the right direction towards mass adoption thanks to a museum located in Cleveland, Ohio that will be taking payments in crypto as from November 13. Great Lakes Science Center, the museum in question plans to use BitPay to process the BTC payments that it will be receiving from the visitors who will want to pay in BTC.

According to the Kirsten Ellenbogen, the museums chief executive, by accepting payments in BTC this early on, the institution hopes to facilitate the growth of the blockchain ecosystem. Moreover, there is much more optimism with regards to blockchain technology thanks to a number of promising developments. For instance, a Swiss luxury watchmaker known as Hublot successfully integrated the bitcoin and the blockchain to sell 210 pieces of its limited edition BTC-themed sports watch – the company made a whopping $5.25 million in revenue from the sales that were conducted solely through BTC with each piece fetching no less than $25,000.

The adoption of the digital currency as a means of payment comes ahead of the museum and education center’s inaugural Blockland Solutions Conference which is a four-day event scheduled for December 2018. One of the core agenda of the conference will be to explore and educate the attendees about the future of blockchain technology.

“There is a lot of excitement around the conference. Accepting bitcoin is just a small part of the momentum to grow a blockchain ecosystem in Cleveland,” Ellenbogen said.

Tried and Tested

Fortunately, the Great Lakes Science Center will not be venturing into unknown grounds since two other casinos in the United States – Museum of the Coastal Bend in Texas and St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida – have succeeded in integrating bitcoin as a payment system. When it kicked off the initiative in 2013, the Museum of the Coastal Bend’s officials were quite skeptical about anyone visiting and using BTC but they went ahead with it because there really wasn’t as much risk.

Five years down the line and bitcoin has become quite a big deal and is worth upwards of $110 billion. The digital currency is also considered to be a proper asset by mainstream institutions such as Nasdaq, Fidelity, ICE and even the New York Stock Exchange. The Great Lakes Science Center hopes to also tap into the ecosystem with its own set of unique offerings that will include the ability to purchase admission tickets to visit NASA’s Glenn Visitor Center.

All this will be possible through an app that the museum launched a year ago. The app utilizes augmented reality and virtual reality to allow visitors to experiment with various elements of space phenomena such as flames and space-craft designs when they visit the Glenn Visitor Center.

Such developments are clear proof that the integration of trusted or major digital currencies like bitcoin is the new trend in the global market.

US Legalizes Esports Betting, Approves Unikrn’s License

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Last Tuesday, Unikrn, a gaming operator known for its blockchain-infused esports betting projects, had its esports betting license approved by the Isle of Man, a move that has officially laid the groundwork for legal and regulated sports betting in the United States. Esports fans both within the United States and some other international markets will soon be able to bet on various esports events including tournaments and championship matches.

Unikrn, which is the world’s first betting platform to be built entirely on blockchain technology has had plans to merge real-money betting on competitive video gaming with crypto and blockchain technologies. The approval of its licenses by the Isle of Man is a huge step forward for the company and which has already moved fast to deploy its crypto esports gambling services in 20 different regions – the company began rolling out its online gaming products to the 20 countries as soon as the Isle of Man approved its license.

It plans to follow through by offering esports betting to European countries, South Korean and other Asian nations as well as parts of Latin America. In the US, the company will be offering several types of esports gambling services save for spectator betting which is yet to be legalized.

With the new products, the platform’s users in the countries where sports betting is legal will have the opportunity to bet on major esports competitions like the forthcoming League of Legends World Championship. Unlike traditional sportsbooks, Unikrn will be taking a unique approach that will be based on skill-based bets – this will allow the gamers to bet on their game performance for in games such as Player Unknown: Battlegrounds and Fortnite.

High Hopes Esports Betting Market

The approval of Unikrn esports betting license is certainly going to pave way for more companies to venture into the space – in fact, a number of esports betting platforms already exist but they have yet to be officially recognized by the Isle of Man. Still, the market is expected to significantly grow further from here on out. According to Rahul Sood, Unikrn’s CEO, the esports betting market could be worth $9 billion by 2020 if it’s nurtured properly.

“There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering,” Sood commented on his company’s approved esports betting license. “It’s huge.”

For the esports betting venture, Unikrn will also be featuring technology from Bittrex, a US-based asset trading platform. Bittrex’s technology will assist Unikrn in establishing a system for seamless crypto accessibility for the users of the gaming platform. The company’s in-house cryptocurrency, UnikoinGold (UKG) will be the primary token for esports spectator wagering in the 20 regions where Unikrn his set to begin operations.

Revolutionary BTC Sidechain, The Liquid Network, Goes Live

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For a while now there has been a lot of buzz regarding such developments as the Lightning Network, which scales up the bitcoin network so that it can keep up with digital currencies like Ripple and Tron. The Lightning Network, for instance, has shown a lot of promise and is expected to take off on a large scale pretty soon. In the meantime, Blockstream, a company that majors in blockchain development projects, is hell-bent on completely revolutionizing how the world’s oldest and most popular digital currency works.

On October 10, the company officially announced the launch of the Liquid Network, a project they are touting as an inter-exchange settlement network that connects digital currency exchanges, financial institutions, market makers and brokers from all around the globe. This comes in a little less than a year after Blockstream introduced the concept of the Lightning Network during the Blockchain Association of Canada’s Government Forum that was held in Ottawa.

What It Does and How It Does It

Well, unlike the famous Lightning Network which has also been all the buzz lately, the Liquid Network is a secondary layer that was built as a sidechain of bitcoin – the sidechain essentially qualifies to be referred to as an extension of the bitcoin blockchain. However, it is not exclusive to the bitcoin blockchain. This sidechain allows its users to swap coins from the main blockchain to its sidechain in a 1-to-1 parity, something that is usually aimed at tapping in certain features that the main network may be lacking.

In the case of the Liquid Network, the feature that is tapped in is incredibly fast transactions with the main focus being on enhancing the exchange of large sums between the crypto exchanges, market makers and the financers. As it turns out, the members of the Liquid Network will be the ones providing the liquidity because they will be the people responsible for keeping a balance of L-BTC which they would then allow their users to trade.

“The members of Liquid secure the network by running functionary servers that run the Liquid blockchain as well as maintaining the two-way peg to the Bitcoin blockchain,” Blockstream’s CSO Samson Mow said in a recent interview. “When someone wants to move BTC to the Liquid sidechain, they send it to a unique peg-in address. When someone is ready to move their money back to the Bitcoin blockchain, they can make a peg-out transaction that will tell the [Liquid members] to send Bitcoin to the desired address.”

What Next?

At launch, the Liquid Network project had a total of 23 partners who are now the so-called Liquid members. Blockstream hopes to expand Liquid’s membership moving forward and at the same time build out its services to include such things as Issued Assets (IA) which would include tokenized commodities, tokens, and even Ethereum.

In the meantime, the company will be focusing on extending the features of the Lightning Network to specifically ease its introduction and adoption in the global cryptocurrency community.

Japanese Regulators Ramp Up Scrutiny of Crypto Exchanges

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For quite some time now, Japan has been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency industry thanks to the innovators and forward-thinking stakeholders residing in the country who have quickly adopted the technology. Even though most Japanese citizens are all for the crypto revolution, the regulatory bodies in the country are taking a more cautious stance in a bid to protect the citizens from scams or hacks.

On that note, the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has reportedly introduced new screening requirement for cryptocurrency exchanges that are seeking approval to operate within Japanese borders. As reported by the Japan Times, the agency has “tightened its registration screening for cryptocurrency exchanges to see whether they are properly conducting risk management.”

As such, FSA’s focus extends beyond the registrant’s financial health and system safety measures to more explicit criteria such as the crypto exchanges’ links to antisocial groups and their decision-making process. The Japan Times further revealed that the agency will now have about 400 screening questions which is about four times the number they would ask in the past.

“It [FSA] now obligates applicants to submit minutes of board meetings so it can check whether enough discussions have been held about measures to sustain the company’s financial health and ensure the security of its computer system,” the sources told the Japan Times. “The upgraded screening process also regularly reviews the composition of an applicant company’s shareholders, while examining if an internal system is in place to check for links to antisocial groups.”

The FSA’s decree that the exchanges submit board meeting minutes is not only meant to ensure security but also confirm that the executive members of the company are proactively and legitimately involved in the various exchanges’ decision-making processes. In addition to this, the screening process will involve a regular review of the primary shareholders so as to “examine if an internal system is in place to check for links to antisocial groups.”

A Drawback?

Even though this will go a long way in filtering out scams and shady business, analysts are worried that the new regulatory move might end up hampering the development of the cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. However, there are close to zero other ways of handling the situation at the moment.

One of the factors that incentivized the FSA’s move was an inspection of Coincheck, a crypto exchange that was hacked in January, and 23 others. A report that was recently revealed by the agency cited “sloppy internal controls” and “lack of board meetings.” These findings were not very reassuring especially considering the fact that about 160  cryptocurrency exchanges are now interested in entering the Japanese market.

South African Tax Authority Drafting Tax Laws for Crypto

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Africa’s blooming cryptocurrency industry has been operating in a legal gray area, a situation that has left the traders, developers, enthusiasts, and investors to their own devices. However, recent developments in South Africa are beginning to build optimism on a future where crypto is regulated – a number of stakeholders in the crypto industry have expressed their belief that regulation is the key to the industry’s prosperity.

Earlier this year, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) announced that they would begin taxing income from crypto and it has made good on this promise and is now drafting a crypto tax law which will outline the virtual assets law thus effectively creating a framework for crypto revenue systems. Taxpayers in the country were told they are expected to include gains and losses from trading cryptocurrencies in the taxable income reported in the tax returns.

“In South Africa, the word ‘currency; is not defined in the Income Tax Act (the Act). Cryptocurrencies are either official South African tender nor widely used and accepted in South Africa as a medium of payment or exchange. As such, cryptocurrencies are not regarded by SARS as a currency for income tax purposes or Capital Gains Tax (CGT). Instead, cryptocurrencies are regarded by SARS as assets of an intangible nature,” reads an April statement issued by SARS.

“The onus is on taxpayers to declare all cryptocurrency-related taxable income in the tax year in which it is received or accrued. Failure to do so could result in interest and penalties.”

The draft of the crypto regulations on tax has exempted crypto from value-added tax (VAT), a move that has shown an element of leniency towards the budding industry. As quoted above, SARS believe that crypto transactions are separate from financial service transfers and this is what influenced the exemption of crypto from VAT.

Tracking Crypto Traders

SARS is reportedly working on ways of improving the tracking of cryptocurrency traders and their transactions in a bid to verify whether or not they are paying taxes. According to the authority’s commissioner, Mark Kingon, identification of the cryptocurrency traders is the main issue and therefore the most critical aspect of taxation when it comes to the crypto industry.

“The key thing is identifying people who are trading because it’s easy to say cryptocurrency gains must be deductible, but there are also those who lose. That’s why it’s important to identify the trader,” he said.

He also noted that despite the fact that they have procedures in place to identify traders, the issue was not entirely straightforward especially because a significantly large number of the South African crypto traders use foreign bank accounts while some conduct these transactions in other jurisdictions.

Crypto Exchanges “Crying for Regulation”, New Study Reveals

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It is nearly impossible to find an industry where a majority of the participants are wishing for the government to intervene, especially if it thrives off not being subject to influence by said governments. Well, according to a summary delivered by Mistertango, a crypto payment app, 88 percent of cryptocurrency exchanges want some kind of industry regulation introduced before something “potentially disastrous” occurs.

Yes, that is right. Contrary to popular belief, many of the major stakeholders of the crypto industry including a number of renowned exchanges believe that more regulation is necessary to ensure that the industry is safeguarded from volatility and manipulation.

Mistertango’s study involved 24 digital currency exchanges across Asia, South America, Europe, and Oceania, with 88 percent of the respondents expressing their desire for the introduction of more regulatory safeguards. They believe that the existing regulatory standards are not sufficient enough to safeguard against the illegitimate use of digital assets.

Fear of Being Squeezed Out of Operation

As reported by Mistertango, about a third of the cryptocurrency exchanges think that a major market crash is the biggest potential threat to the industry. While they did not elaborate on this, their responses to other questions asked during the survey pointed to their growing fear of being hounded out of the industry by regulated financial institutions.

To put this into perspective, 40 percent of the exchanges believe that reducing the barriers to crypto funding by banks and other regulated financial institutions will help in increasing general acceptance and subsequently, widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. Majority of the exchanges believe that crypto trades should be subjected to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) guidelines just as traditional financial institutions are.

“The industry is crying out for regulation and the response from partners has shown this,” said Gabrielius Bilkštys, business manager at Mistertango. “Uncertainty is the biggest fear, and regulation is critical to provide the stability we need. Unfortunately, there is no regulatory consensus – worldwide or otherwise. For cryptocurrencies to move towards the scale and ubiquity possessed by fiat currency, it needs cohesive, considered, and comprehensive regulation. Thus, regulation will be a catalyst, not an inhibitor to the crypto market’s development.”

Calls for Regulatory Reform

Even though calls for regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges are quite common, it is just now that news of stakeholders within the industry supporting such initiatives is arriving. In fact, many of them are beginning to take action. For instance, a number of Japanese crypto exchanges formed a self-regulatory body earlier this year in a bid to rebuild trust in the wake of the $350 million heist that involved Tokyo-based trading platform, Coincheck. Similarly, in South Korea, crypto exchanges have welcomed proposals for regulation of crypto trading by regulated financial institutions.

“It has been widely supposed that crypto companies want to avoid a regulated environment, but this is far from the truth,” Oleksandr Lutskevych, CEO of CEX.IO pointed out. “The industry is all too aware that regulation will lead to the maturity of the market and ensure businesses remain free from suspicion of involvement with illegitimate uses of cryptocurrency.”

Nasdaq Holds Closed-Door Meeting with Crypto and Fiat Firms

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Despite their obvious growth in popularity and real-world applications, cryptocurrencies have been lingering in the regulatory grey zone mostly because international regulatory bodies hold mixed opinions on the development of the rapidly growing industry as well the asset class. It would seem that the reputation of the entire cryptocurrency industry has been hopelessly tainted by issues pertaining to fraud and shady transactions, but everything is about to change for the better.

With a number of emerging regulation and institutional solutions, Wall Street is beginning to slowly warm up to the idea of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate digital asset class. One of the organizations championing the legitimization of crypto is Nasdaq who on July 27, 2018, held a closed-door meeting in Chicago with the heads of various cryptocurrency-based companies and other financial institutions to discuss the future of the sector.

Bloomberg reports that the agenda of the meeting was the examination of ways of enhancing the overall outlook of the crypto-business and exhibiting its potential to the rest of the world. They also, reportedly, discussed some of the actions that crypto-based companies must do in order to improve the reputation of bitcoin and other digital currencies

Nasdaq Is Optimistic About a Digital Economy

Nasdaq has already adopted an industry-forward stance as far as crypto is concerned – its CEO, Adena Friedman is already at the helm of a number initiatives designed to help cryptocurrency exchanges advance their security systems. Security will naturally be a key determinant of whether crypto is finally ready to take the next step forward towards legitimization.

The company also partnered with Winklevoss twins-owned Gemini, a digital asset exchange to monitor Ether and bitcoin trading using Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance systems. This was followed by an announcement that was made earlier this week disclosing that Nasdaq is going to be supplying five digital currency exchanges with market surveillance technologies.

Adena Friedman, who is at the helm of all these developments, has expressed a lot of optimism towards the development of a digital economy. In a May 7 CNN podcast, she noted that:

“How it evolves and which of the cryptocurrencies may or may not be the one that ultimately gets embraced, I think that really the jury is still out on that. But I do think the idea of a more globalized payment mechanism that is more efficient than what we have today allows for money to transfer across countries and certainly supports the Internet economy.”

She believes that cryptocurrencies are, without a doubt, the next logical step in the space of currency adding that the underlying blockchain technology will enable among other things more efficient value transfer. In addition to this, she has even said that Nasdaq would be willing to consider operating a cryptocurrency exchange once regulations settle and the crypto sector matures.

Bitcoin Crosses $8,000 Mark, Up 20 Percent in One Week

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Bitcoin’s price yesterday crossed the $8,000 mark for the very first time in over a month. This has already begun to spark speculations that this could be the return of the bull run that last year propelled bitcoin to its all-time high of almost $20,000. But, is it?

This recent rise in bitcoin’s price comes just after a week that saw it increase in value by about 20 percent following news that established financial institutions were eyeing the possibilities of venturing into bitcoin and cryptocurrency as a well as a ton of positive regulatory new from all around the world.

On the same note, bitcoins surge in value has been affecting many other aspects of the crypto industry including the so-called bitcoin dominance which rose to 47 percent this week, which is the highest it has ever been since December 2017 – bitcoin dominance is a measure of how much the total digital currency market is controlled by bitcoin.

What Is the Cause?

Many experts and crypto enthusiasts believe that bullishness around bitcoin can be attributed to the expected approval of a bitcoin exchange trade fund (ETF) that is currently being mulled over by the United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The ETF was filed by New York-based VanEck and a blockchain platform known as SolidX through the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE).

If this bitcoin ETF is approved, people will be able to buy bitcoin without having to deal with existing clunky exchanges that usually struggle with cumbersome regulation and lack of trust from the public. According to a report filed but the ICO Journal a week ago, given the rise in bitcoin’s price, it appears that the bitcoin ETF is likely to get approved.

“I would call [the likelihood of approval] 90% at this point. The crypto markets have moderated and regulators have watched the lack of drama surrounding bitcoin futures across several global exchanges,” one of the ICO Journal’s unnamed sources reportedly commented. “The price moderation and adoption of a peer product is what the conversations have centered around. In January we were justifiably concerned about a bubble and the harm a quickly approved product could attract speculators and create losses that led to significant lawsuits. Now, those factors seem to be mitigated significantly.”

Global Regulatory Developments

Investors have also been quite keen on global regulatory news and this might also have something to do with the surge in bitcoin’s value. For instance, South Korea last week set up a government department that is tasked with creating policy initiatives around cryptocurrencies and financial technology.

“Regulation is moving in apace with positive murmurings from governments as they understand the opportunities and risks, and how to tailor their approaches — South Korea being the latest to give another tacit nod,” Charles Hayter, chief executive of digital coin comparison site CryptoCompare, said in an email on addressed to CNBC.