Cryptocurrency news roundup, March 18, 2018
This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments.
Binance is offering $250,000 for information that leads to hackers’ arrest
As covered by DeepDotWeb last week, cryptocurrency exchange Binance – which often sees trading volumes above $2 billion – had to thwart a large scale theft attempt that saw hackers manipulate the market to then try and cash out. While the attack wasn’t successful, the cryptocurrency exchange decided it wasn’t acceptable, and started offering the equivalent of $250,000 in its BNB token for information that may lead to the arrest of the hackers who targeted it.
The information needs to be disclosed to authorities, and the bounty can be split if more than one source is used to capture the hackers. The exchange also allocated $10,000,000 to reserves for future bounty rewards. Binance called on other exchanges to join its initiative.
HBO’s John Oliver did a cryptocurrency-themed episode
Popular HBO comedian John Oliver recently did an episode on cryptocurrencies in his show “Last Week Tonight.” During the episode, John Oliver shared his take on Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, blockchain technology, and EOS in particular. The show was respectably accurate when it came to Bitcoin and blockchain technology, taking into account it is a mass media program.
During the segment, John Oliver addressed the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s bad apples, including pump and dump schemes, ICO scams, and even Bitconnect. At the end of the segment, he warned his viewers they need to careful, as he noted that investing in a cryptocurrency may be like investing in Google when it was in its early days, or on Google Glasses – a project the search giant discontinued.
Here’s the full episode:
Google to ban cryptocurrency, ICO-related ads in June
Google is reportedly cracking down on cryptocurrency-related ads, as it is updating its policy on financial-services-related content. The search giant is removing all ads that relate to ICOs, cryptocurrency wallets, or offer trading advice, according to CNBC. This means even legitimate companies won’t be able to advertise their services, and the policy will roll out in June 2018. The move is similar to one made by social media giant Facebook.
Speaking to CNBC, Google’s director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer stated:
- “We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”
Lightning Labs launched a beta version of Bitcoin’s lightning network on mainnet
San Francisco-based Lightning Labs recently announced that the Lightning Network has officially been released to be used on mainnet. This is notably the Lightning Network’s first official release on mainnet, although it’s still a beta version of the open-source development team’s software. This is seen as an important part of Bitcoin’s development, as it will allow daily cryptocurrency payments to be moved off of the cryptocurrency’s main blockchain and into the Lightning Network, a second-layer technology.
The Lightning Network notably allows for payments to be made instantly at almost no cost. Speaking to CNBC, Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark stated:
- “If Bitcoin is like a decentralized savings account, Lightning is a decentralized checking account where users can send money instantly.”
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro claims Petro pre-sale raked in $5 billion
Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro recently claimed that the pre-sale of the country’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR), has netted the government a whopping $5 billion, as it has recorded over 186,000 certified purchases. Maduro further revealed the money will be used to “service everything our country needs,” as it is part of a “wider economic solution” the Venezuelan government put together to come out of one of the deepest recessions ever. The Petro is notably a controversial cryptocurrency, as Venezuela’s opposition-run congress and national assembly have spoken out against it, and US officials have warned those investing in it may be violating sanctions imposed on the country.
Thailand moving to regulate, tax cryptocurrencies
The Cabinet of Thailand reportedly provisionally passed two royal decree drafts that aim to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country. The goal of these decrees, according to Thailand’s deputy PM, is to establish rules that will protect investors looking to get in on the cryptocurrency space, and potentially bring taxation on capital gains made from cryptocurrency investments. The tax rate is yet to be determined, but should be between 10 and 15 percent.
Bitcoin at $7,919 after falling from a weekly high of $9,800
The cryptocurrency market is still bearish, as most cryptocurrencies are in the red. Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, is currently down by roughly 7 percent in the last 24-hour period. The cryptocurrency fell from a weekly high of $9,800 to, at press time, $7,919, according to data from CryptoCompare. Its market cap is at $134 billion, while its dominance is at 42.9 percent.