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Cryptocurrency

Libra Cryptocurrency: Facebook Unveils Global Money

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  • Libra Cryptocurrency: Facebook Unveils Global Money

Facebook Inc has finally unveiled its much-awaited cryptocurrency on Tuesday.

The cryptocurrency called Libra will be managed by Libra Association, an independent group formed to ensure its transparency and evolve the new ecosystem.

According to Libra Association, global internet connectivity has empowered billions of people globally and with just $40 smartphone, people can access numerous information, high-fidelity communications, and a wide range of lower-cost convenient services.

While this connectivity has helped more people access the global financial system, 1.7 billion adults remained outside the financial system with no access to traditional bank. That is 31 percent of global population.

Again, for those who have access to financial services, transfers are slow and take an average of 3 to 5 working days for a single international transfer to be completed.

On cost, the company said it cost 7 percent on average to send money internationally and for unbanked, they pay $4 more to access cash. Meaning, more transactions are cash-based. To be precise, about 85 percent.

This explains why U.S. retail businesses lose an estimated $40 billion annually to cash theft.

According to the company, by addressing all the aforementioned, about $3.7 trillion will be added to developing economies and 95 million new jobs will be created. People’s earnings potential will increase by 20 percent while extreme poverty will drop by at least 22 percent.

Facebook and Libra Association plans to address these issues with Libra, a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that can empower billions of people.

The association on its new website said: “Moving money around the world should be as easy and cheap as sending a text message. No matter where you live, what you do, or how much you earn.”

What is Libra?

Libra, has explained by Investors King, is a stablecoin version of cryptocurrency built on blockchain technology.

Libra will be tied to a basket of fiat currency to regulate its movement and help eliminate challenges currently hurting Bitcoin and the rest of unregulated cryptocurrencies.

The team hope to push cryptocurrency to mainstream and allow comprehensive regulatory control while maintaining its unique decentralise nature.

Calibra, Libra Digital Wallet

Facebook established a new subsidiary, Calibra, to provide financial services that will allow people access and participate in the Libra network.

Like other cryptocurrencies, Libra needs a digital wallet, therefore the first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra. The digital wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app.

The company expects to launch the app in the first half of 2020, the same period Libra will be officially launched.

Libra Association said the service will eliminate financial bottleneck and reduce cost of global transfer, currently put at an average of $25 billion yearly.

All these, the association said it hopes to address with Calibra, a digital wallet that people can use to save, send and spend.

Libra Association

Members of the Libra association will be responsible for managing Libra Reserve and development of Libra Blockchain.

The Founding Members of Libra Association that will work together to finalise the association’s charter and become “Founding Members” upon its completion are, by industry:

Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft,
Mercado Pago, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital,
Union Square Ventures
Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Cryptocurrency

Ten Things You Should Know Before Buying Your First Cryptocurrency

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cryptocurrency investment - Investors King

If you just started paying attention to cryptocurrency and are wondering whether to invest, here are 10 things you need to know before buying anything.

Even if you’re an old pro, you probably know someone who’s curious because they heard on TV or at the bar that the price of some coin is surging and they can get rich quickly trading it. Please share this post with him or her.  

1. Don’t put in more than you can afford to lose

Crypto is riskier than many other investments. Nothing is guaranteed other than volatility. What’s more, it’s unregulated in most cases. There is no FDIC insurance for this stuff, nor is there a buyer of last resort. The prices of crypto coins swing wildly from minute to minute. While the market is basking in the glow of bull run, it has endured painful and protracted corrections and almost certainly will again.

Danger varies in degree. Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has been around for more than a decade and it’s significantly less likely to disappear than most other coins. But it’s not free of risk either.

Hence, don’t bet the proverbial farm, or your life savings, on any coin.

2. Research thoroughly

Before you invest a significant amount of money in any digital currency, spend hours upon hours researching the technology so you understand the value proposition and the risks. (“Someone else will buy it from you for a higher price” is not a value proposition.)

Read everything you can find on the topic. (CoinDesk’s Learn section is a fine place to start, and our Research Hub can be your next stop.) Lurk on community forums and developer mailing lists. Listen to podcasts. Borrow books from the library, not only about digital currency but related fields like cryptography, game theory and economics. Read CoinDesk and even some of our competitors.

Go to local meetups, if your area is no longer on COVID-19 lockdown. Ask lots of questions. If you don’t understand what you’re hearing, don’t be afraid to ask someone to explain. If it is still not making sense, don’t assume that’s on you; people could just be talking gobbledygook. The sincere ones will take the time to help, but even then be wary of people “talking their book” (telling you to buy what they own so the price goes up).

And even if you’re convinced, seek out skeptics (there is no shortage of them) and consider their arguments as well. Remember John Stuart Mill: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”

Once you think you’ve researched everything there is to know, do even more work. You’re probably not done yet.

3. Resist “fear of missing out”

If the only reason you’re investing in something is to avoid missing out, the only thing you won’t miss out on is losing everything.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a sure way to destroy whatever wealth you may have accumulated over the years. The problem is that it’s a gut reaction to something that should be researched first. Trading based on your gut will quickly lead to an upset stomach.

Know what you’re buying. Really know it. Going on a trading app and seeing a currency is up 30% or so over the past 24 hours isn’t research. It could be you’re the unlucky sap being sold a falling cryptocurrency.

Every coin has pumpers (shameless promoters), even bitcoin. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. This isn’t high school. Think for yourself and evaluate the case for an investment on the merits.

Research. Then research again.

4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Much like Wall Street, the U.S. Congress or the American Bar Association, crypto is rife with charlatans. There are more than enough people promising their project will be the one to overtake bitcoin. But is it? There’s only one way to find out: Research.

Buyer beware, but also borrower beware. Some crypto exchanges offer more than 100x leverage, meaning you can borrow up to 99% of the cost of an investment. This will juice your profits if a coin goes up in value, but if it goes the other way you could quickly be wiped out.

5. Don’t trust, verify

Scammers abound in this market. Just this past weekend, some rascals on Twitter took advantage of Elon Musk’s appearance on television’s “Saturday Night Live” to defraud people out of $100,000 worth of various cryptos with a bogus “giveaway.” Impersonating the comedy show’s Twitter account, the miscreants instructed their victims to send small amounts of crypto to verify their addresses. If they did so they would get 10 times the amount back.

That too-good-to-be-true proposition was a red flag. Read thisthis and this for more telltale signs.

6. Beware of ‘unit bias’

Just because a coin is trading around $1 does not mean it’s “cheaper” than bitcoin at $58,000. Not all coins are created equal.

There are literally thousands of cryptocurrencies, some of which seek to emulate bitcoin and some of which try to solve other issues. They all have varying levels of developer support and decentralization.

Determining the value of a coin means asking how and why was the coin created. What is its supposed utility? Who is working on it? How big is the developer community? How active is the repository on GitHub, where updates to the open-source software are usually logged? Like a building, a codebase requires maintenance, and neglect can leave a structure unsound.

Crucially, what is the coin’s security model – proof-of-workproof-of-stake or something else? If it’s the former, how does the hashrate compare to other PoW coins? If you don’t know what these terms mean, you’re not ready to invest.

7. Not your keys, not your coins

Cryptocurrency is a bearer asset like cash or jewelry, meaning the holder is presumed to be the rightful owner. Once it’s lost or stolen it’s gone.

That is why advanced users will advise you not to entrust the cryptographic keys to a digital currency wallet to a third party, such as an exchange, because these firms are largely unregulated in many places and may be subject to hacks or exit scams (absconding with clients’ money).

Decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms have fallen prey to numerous high-profile exploits over the past 10 months, and centralized platforms like Binance have been subject to their fair share as well.

However, safeguarding keys yourself, on a hardware device or even a piece of paper with the string of numbers and letters written on it, can be a nerve-racking business, and it’s easy to mess up. This is why even some experienced investors prefer to use third-party custodians.

Crypto is all about trade-offs. Do you trust yourself not to lose that piece of paper or forget the “seed phrase” (a password for a key that unlocks your crypto)? If not, you have to be comfortable with someone else storing your digital valuables, and history gives you every reason not to.

(To mitigate the risks, there is something called a multi-signature wallet. These can be configured so that, for example, both Bob and Alice must sign off on a transaction to release funds from a wallet, or either Bob or Alice can do so, or three of Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and so on. But yes, it’s complicated.)

Aside from exploits, exchanges may block you from withdrawing your funds at any time for a variety of reasons ranging from solvency issues to legal trouble. Even beyond that, some exchanges just don’t have the infrastructure necessary to remain up at all times – Coinbase and Robinhood, for example, often go down during periods of market volatility. If you aren’t running your own wallet, you can’t guarantee you have control over your coins.

That said, there are various reasons why you might want to use an exchange, so it’s important to check the user agreements and make sure you’re protected against different eventualities.

8. You can buy a fraction of a bitcoin (and most other cryptos)

You don’t need to buy a whole coin. Bitcoin, for example, is divisible to the eighth decimal. So if you’re curious about how this stuff works, you can purchase as little as $10 worth and just play around with it.

As billionaire Mark Cuban recently said on television of buying small amounts of dogecoin, “it’s a whole lot better than a lottery ticket.” Unfortunately, he also encouraged viewers to spend doge on merchandise without mentioning the tax implications (see below).

9. Understand the tax consequences

This is especially important in the U.S., for several reasons. First, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers crypto property, not currency, for tax purposes. The upshot is if you buy a coin for $1 and it doubles in value and you spend that extra dollar to buy so much as a pack of chewing gum, you are required to report that capital gain and pay tax on it. There is no “de minimis exemption,” despite the crypto industry’s lobbying efforts.

Also, centralized exchanges regularly send account information to the IRS. Sure, crypto isn’t as regulated as stocks or banks. However, the federal government is running a massive deficit and it won’t think twice about sending in folks with mirrored aviator glasses to visit you to ask about your crypto trades.

10. Buy using dollar cost averaging and don’t obsess about price

Go outside. Get some fresh air, exercise and sunshine. Spend time with your family. You can do all that AND invest in crypto.

The markets will fluctuate from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, but any crypto worth a damn, any investment of any kind worth a damn, is a long-term bet. If you want a dopamine hit, go for a run or watch an action movie.

What’s the best way to invest and not obsess? It’s using dollar cost averaging (DCA). Buy a set dollar amount of whatever crypto you like at regular intervals (Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Annually? You pick.) and don’t look at it.

If you have a long-term view, you’re not going to be pressured to sell or up your position based on short-term movements if you use DCA.

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Ethereum

ETH Surged Above $4K With Over $477B Market cap.

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The Ethereum price surged and crossed the $4,000 milestone. ETH is trading at $4,132 (as at the time of publishing), bringing its total market cap to more than $477 billion.

Ether, the second biggest cryptocurrency, has grown over 2,000 percent in the last year.

On May 10, 2020, one Ether token was worth $180. a year later, the crypto coin hits over $4,000 for the first time, a rise of over 2,100 percent. Though Dogecoin is sucking up most of the world’s cryptocurrency attention, it’s been a huge May for Ethereum already, as this new milestone comes just a week since the cryptocurrency coin hit $3,000 for the first time.

Ether is a cryptocurrency minted on the Ethereum blockchain. Bitcoin, the most known currency, is built on its own, separate blockchain. But while Bitcoin is more like gold, principally used as a speculative asset, Ether is used by cryptocurrency traders to buy and sell “altcoins”, such as Dogecoin. NFTs, tokens that authenticate ownership of a digital product, are notably bought and sold using Ether, not Bitcoin.

The Ethereum blockchain was founded in 2013 by Canadian-Russian programmer Vitalik Buterin when he was just 19 years old. Buterin has over 333,000 Ether tokens — it’s possible to see other traders’ portfolios if you have their wallet address — which at the current price values his holdings at over $1.36 billion.

The cryptocurrency has been growing rapidly over the past year, mostly over anticipation for its relaunch as Ether 2.0, but this latest rally is tied to the news last week that the European Investment Bank issued $120 million in bonds using Ethereum blockchain.

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Cryptocurrency

Ripple Sees Another Victory As Court Orders SEC to Give Ripple Internal Documents on XRP, Bitcoin, Ether

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Ripple

Ripple scores another in legal wrangling over SEC lawsuit as SEC now must disclose its confidential internal communications over XRP, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The SEC must produce communications with third parties, including external agencies and market participants, subject to a privilege assertion, according to Netburn’s five-paragraph ruling.

“Intra-agency memoranda or formal position papers discussing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP must be searched for and produced subject to a privilege assertion,” said the judge, adding that “Examples of such documents include Division reports, final reports of internal working groups, or formal position papers submitted to the Commissioners.”

However, she added, informal intra-agency communications such as emails would not need to be produced.

The judge also ruled that although such information may ultimately be privileged — meaning exempt from disclosure — associated information such as meeting dates and names of participants could be relevant and is discoverable. Any documents withheld on the basis of privilege must be identified on a privilege log, according to the ruling. The order also directed Ripple and the SEC to continue to meet and confer on the remaining issues in their letters.

“The Judge tried to bridge the gap by giving slightly more detail into the types of memoranda and position papers that need to be disclosed,” Jesse Hynes, general counsel at Gala Games

“It’s clear she still wants Ripple and the SEC to figure it out amongst themselves, which hasn’t had great success to date. I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes before the court again. This order, however, is definitely a win for Ripple.” Hynes added.

Why the ruling is significant
Last December, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple alleging that its sale of XRP was an unregistered securities offering worth over $1.38 billion. The SEC also named Ripple’s executive chairman Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse as co-defendants for allegedly aiding and abetting Ripple’s violations.

At the heart of the lawsuit is whether transactions involving XRP constitute “investment contracts” and therefore securities subject to registration under Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933.

Access to the SEC’s internal communications has been one of the most heated areas of contention between Ripple and the SEC in the litigation. Judge Netburn had, at an earlier discovery conference on April 6, ruled to grant “in large part” Ripple’s motion to compel the SEC to produce documents reflecting SEC’s prior statements and communications with third parties as well as internal documents discussing whether XRP, Bitcoin or Ether are considered securities.

However, Ripple and the SEC have been unable to agree on the documents to be disclosed under the order, with the SEC arguing that Ripple’s requests for internal documents were improper and irrelevant.

But the judge is now disagreeing with the SEC’s position.

“The discovery related to Bitcoin and Ether is relevant,” said Netburn at the April 6 hearing. “I think it is relevant to the Court’s eventual analysis with respect to the Howey factors, but I also think it is relevant as to the objective review of defendants’ understanding in thinking about the aiding and abetting charge or aiding and abetting count. I also think it is relevant to the fair notice defense that Ripple is raising.”

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