Weekend Roundup: Estonia’s LHV Bank Talks Blockchain Tech, 62% of New Millionaires Are from Asia
Weekend Roundup from Cointelegraph.
On June 2, the USA Freedom Act that legalizes and simplifies the collecting of phone metadata for the NSA passed the Senate.
Meanwhile Skype continues to collect voice, chat, video and other data, and deliver it to the Five Eyes international spy coalition.
"Previously released documents from the Snowden archive describe enormous efforts by the NSA during the last decade to get access to voice-over-internet content like Skype calls, for instance. And other documents in the archive chronicle the agency’s adjustment to the fact that an increasingly large percentage of conversations, even those that start as landline or mobile calls, end up as digitized packets flying through the same fiber-optic cables that the NSA taps so effectively for other data and voice communications."
Cointelegraph reviewed three of the most promising alternatives to Skype that guarantee end-to-end encryption and greater privacy for users: Tox.im, Bleep and Silent Circle.
"With the rise of government monitoring programs, Tox provides an easy to use application that allows you to connect with friends and family without anyone else listening in. While other big-name services require you to pay for features, Tox is totally free, and comes without advertising."
With the accelerating pace of innovation in mobile communications and FinTech, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to not only leapfrog the U.S. and Europe by 2019, but also integrate millions of unbanked people into the global economy.
"The Asia-Pacific region is becoming the center of wealth and has unprecedented access to technology. This plays right into the hands of fintech companies who are springing up in China and the rest of region using the preferred tools of their rich new client base to give them low cost, transparent access to the capital markets."
Cointelegraph spoke to Michaela Juric, a.k.a. “Bitcoin Babe,” about her achievements, dreams and her views on women in the Bitcoin community.
"By being Bitcoin Babe, I am really playing into that behavior so that it some could see it as "trolling" of sorts. Taking the cliché of what these people say, owning it and making it my own, and then throwing it back in their faces."
In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Rain Lõhmus of Estonia’s LHV Bank, talks about experimenting with the blockchain via colored coins, bitcoin-based certificates of deposit, and the country’s attitude toward technology and innovation.
"We believe blockchain technology is a great innovation commanding certain unique characteristics compared to ordinary centralized databases. Hence, the blockchain is potentially more suitable for some (this does not mean all) banking and finance related applications. All Estonian government and finance infrastructure relies heavily on public-key cryptography, hence it is a natural step to investigate and test different variations of that."
Adam Back, the British cryptographer who invented both Hashcash and proof-of-work systems used by Bitcoin, has called for an open deliberation on the Bitcoin block size debate.
BitFury and the Georgian Co-Investment Fund have partnered to support victims of the Tbilisi, Georgia flood. At least 12 people were killed, buildings were damaged and roads swept away, according to a release.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has launched Edge Fund, a seed-stage initiative focusing on emerging areas of technology, most particularly virtual reality, drones, blockchain applications, computer vision, digital health and mobile marketplaces, the company said in a blog announcement.
Bitcoin analytics and security firm Elliptic has announced a new interactive visualization of the historic and real-time flow of the bitcoin ecosystem. "The idea [is] that the underlying technology can deliver a whole suite of ground-breaking real time AML compliance products," they said in an announcement.
New Bitcoin ATMs
Last week, Greece welcomed its very first bitcoin ATM in the city of Acharnes. The machine, a one-way Genesis Coin bitcoin ATM, is located at Orizontes Bookstore, Ioannou Thivaiou 20, and is operated by EasyBitLLC.
Other bitcoin ATMs were installed this week throughout Europe, notably in Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
On June 15, a new two-way BitAccess BTM was set up at Taboo Bar, 12 Place du Marche, in Montreux, Switzerland. Operated by Swiss company SBEX, the machine charges a fee of 5% of the Bitstamp value and is limited to 500 CHF or 400 EUR per day for unverified users.
In Austria, a one-way General Bytes bitcoin ATM was installed at Gretel Cafe, Mariahilferstrasse 92, in Vienna. Operated by Coinimal GmbH, the machine charges 4% of Bitstamp, and is limited to 100 EUR per transaction for users with no account.
In Slovenia, a two-way Genesis Coin launched at mobile phone store GSM servis in the city of Ljubljana. Located on Nove Fužine 47, the machine charges 5% per transaction and is limited to 10,000 EUR per day.
In Chicago, a two-way BitXatm was installed on June 15 at 40s TF, 2665 N Clark St. The machine is limited to 9,999 USD.
In Kyoto, Japan, a two-way BitXatm launched at Standalone kiosk, 4-1 Saiintatsumichō.
The bitcoin price rose significantly this week, moving from 230 USD/BTC as of Monday, to up to 250 USD/BTC on Thursday, according to Blockchain.info.
Overall, the bitcoin price rose by 6% this week, and has broken above significant levels with force, suggesting that a change in trend could be underway.
As we wrote in our price alert on Wednesday:
"This is a positive start to what could possibly be a change in trend. In this area, waiting for price to resolve to the upside or downside is best.
It’s highly likely that a pullback should occur and if it’s a good one — meaning that the price tests it and doesn’t break down — a new trend may indeed be upon us, effectively reversing the current bear market."
Meanwhile, the number of transactions per day reached an all-time high on June 18, with 133,747 transactions, continuing the long-term uptrend.