A small Bitcoin exchange based in Alberta, Canada, has gone offline. Before their Twitter page went offline, MapleChange had announced on Twitter that they “[had] no more funds to pay anyone back.”

In the way of an explanation, the exchange had, approximately one hour before deleting its Twitter page, said that a “bug” had enabled “some people” to withdraw all of the funds on the exchange. Educated readers may recall a time when Mt. Gox claimed similar problems. The handling of the two cases by their administrators was dramatically different. In the case of Mt. Gox, attempts were made to repair the damage, although they resulted in worse damage. They went so far as to near-nakedly manipulate the Bitcoin price in an attempt to recoup lost customer funds before anyone found out.

The MapleChange Twitter account possessed less than 2,000 followers.

By contrast, Coinbase has over 1 million followers on Twitter and lesser-known altcoin exchange C-Cex has nearly 100,000. In short, cryptonaughts are generally highly active on Twitter and the viewership on that platform is a semi-decent way to judge the popularity of a product or service in the space.

Experts, Customers Fear Exit Scam

bitcoin exchange hack
Source: Twitter

It’s been some time since we were able to report on a good old-fashioned exit scam. In the crypto space, we have primarily seen them in gambling, the dark web, and exchanges. The recipe is basic: gather trust of some clientele, get all their funds in one place, and run off with the money. It doesn’t actually matter the method by which you run off with the money, whether you claim a hack or simply up and disappear. The less-frequent (today) practice is precisely where the old wisdom of keeping one’s coins off exchanges and the like overnight comes from. You never know what’s going to happen next, and in cryptocurrency, you don’t have anything if you don’t have your own private keys. It’s just the nature of the thing.

Unfortunately, the MapleChange “hack” has all the signs of an exit scam.

For starters, there’s no need for the exchange to delete its social media pages or completely disappear in quite the fashion it has. There is no question that it is in debt to a number of depositors, gratefully a likely small number, but in business such things happen, and that’s what insurance or bankruptcy courts are for.

The short span of time between the announcement of the “bug” and the total disappearance of the exchange or its operators is another signal.

The domain itself, registered at GoDaddy by one “Flavius P,” is suspect. Most professional operations go to some lengths to be above board, especially those that handle other people’s money.

The timing of the problems is another significant factor in guessing that this is not a hack or a bug at all, but rather an elaborate, premeditated scam. As you can see by MapleChange.com’s recent traffic statistics, they were most probably doing more business over the last week than they had in recent times. If they are guilty of fraud, they struck early on a Sunday morning when they likely expected most clients to be sound asleep.

This story will be updated as new information becomes available. MapleChange representatives are welcome to reach out to CCN with more information.

This post is credited to ccn

A documentary film that profiles distributed ledger technology and counts an Ethereum co-founder as one of its executive producers had its theatrical release on October 26 in New York.

Written and directed by Alex Winter, Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain, runs for 84 minutes and covers subjects ranging from the history of Bitcoin to the promising use cases of distributed ledger technology. Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum as well as the founder of blockchain software technology firm ConsenSys, is one of the film’s executive producers.

Regarding Bitcoin’s history, the film credits the 2008 global financial crisis as the reason that triggered the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto to develop an open, decentralized ledger for transactions. Not everything turned out perfectly, however, and the documentary laments that BTC initially became famous for its use in illicit deals on the internet and alleges that this, unfortunately, earned the flagship cryptocurrency a perception and a reputation that it is still trying to shake off.

Good for Newbies

Critics have pointed out that the doc serves as a useful primer anyone is unfamiliar with blockchain technology. As The New York Times film critic Ben Kenigsberg writes, the film serves as a solid teaching aid:

“A hodgepodge of boosterish arguments for blockchain technology, ‘Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain,’ directed by Alex Winter (Bill of “Bill & Ted” fame), is not always a model of clarity, but it does a decent job of explaining the basic concept.”

Some of the contributions that blockchain technology can make to the world that the documentary film focuses on include combating identity theft and transforming power distribution by empowering micro-producers of power such as households who are able to generate solar power and sell the excess to the grid.

Ticket to Riches

But, for all the revolutionary potential of blockchain technology, Winter’s film concedes that what is drawing most people to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is the desire to strike it rich.

“Still, for most people in the world right now, the most exciting thing about blockchain is the prospect of making a fortune overnight,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. “In its closing scenes, the film’s narration acknowledges how attractive this field is to scammers and speculators.”

As previously reported by CCN, this is not the first documentary Alex Winter has directed focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Three years ago, the actor-turned-director made a 90-minute film Deep Web, which documented the arrest of Silk Road marketplace webmaster Ross Ulbricht. The film was narrated by Keanu Reeves.

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Berlin has become a hub for all things cryptocurrency and blockchain over the past couple of years. Berliners look set to keep the trend going thanks to an enthusiasm for digital currencies like Bitcoin.


Germany’s biggest city has long been on the radar for those interested in digital currencies and blockchain.

In 2013, the Guardian reported on enthusiasts in the southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg who were happily using Bitcoin in local shops that accepted the cryptocurrency.

At the time, leaders speculated how the district’s rebellious and critical mindset seemed to fit in well with an alternative system like virtual currencies.

Five years later, Berlin and has become a leader across Europe and the wider world in the blockchain and cryptocurrency fields.

A range of developers, entrepreneurs, and those interested in cutting-edge technology have given vibrancy to local crypto meetups. A growing number of start-up companies and talent are now considering moves to the German capital, especially in light of Brexit.

A Focal Point for New Technology

At the start of 2018, a lead developer of Ethereum, Fabian Vogelsteller, mentioned how

Berlin is the crypto capital of Europe if not the world.

Recent reporting from Deutsche Welle (DW) commented on how the city’s low cost of living and number of co-working spaces have drawn people to start working in the area.

Jazmine Zhang of LongHash Germany, a blockchain accelerator, noted how the diverse range of talent coming into Berlin has engendered a “very open ecosystem” during blockchain and crypto meetups.

Zhang said people in the city have a desire to “work together and partner with each other” since they share excitement about the cutting-edge technology.

Berlin’s rising notoriety across the cryptocurrency and blockchain world is in no small part to the profiles of a few entities who are associated with the city.

The Berlin-based EOS operating system now has a market capitalization of nearly $4.9 billion dollars.

Has Berlin’s Bitcoin Brigade Been Blinded by Bullishness?

Berlin is also a base of IOTA, who has built an IoT transnational settlement and has a market capitalization of $1.3 billion, according to DW. Co-founder Dominik Schiener said in March he was able to make connections from Berlin with a variety of companies who have worked on IOTA’s development.

IOTA has been working on opening up a set of offices across the globe to, in Schiener’s terms, now change the perception IOTA is a German cryptocurrency.

Pushing Forward 

The growth of the industry inside of Berlin and across Germany has led to more of a willingness to collaborate with government authorities.

Currently, a blockchain trade association called Bundesblog is collaborating with government officials inside the European nation to help promote the technology.

A couple of Berlin artists, Paul Kolling and Paul Seidler, have been presenting work related to a project that envisions a “self-owning, self-governing forest on the blockchain.”

Right now, the plans are just an artistic idea, but the end goal is to create a forest that can autonomously sell trees and eventually turn into a self-owned economic unit.

Do you have any plans to visit Berlin for blockchain and crypto? Let us know in the comments below!

This post is credited to bitcoinist

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning to investors against putting their money into initial coin offerings (ICOs) that are not recognized and authorized by the SEC. On Oct. 25, the Bangkok Post reported that the Thai market regulator has warned against investing in ICOs promoted through a plethora of online media, which the SEC has neither accredited nor acknowledged.

Scam ICO Advertisements on Social Media

The Thai SEC recently conducted an investigation after discovering that a number of unrecognized sales offering digital assets and cryptocurrencies were being advertised across social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube to Thai investors. The results of the investigation revealed the existence of nine such unregistered and unrecognized ICOs namely,

Every Coin, Orientum Coin (ORT Coin), OneCoin and OFC Coin, Tripxchain Coin (TXC Coin), TUC Coin, G2S Expert ICO, Singhcom Enterprise ICO, Adventure hostel Bangkok ICO, and Kidstocurrency ICO.

Related: Thailand Open for Business: 20 New Exchanges Aim to Establish Kingdom of Crypto

According to the SEC which is Thailand’s principal markets regulator, not one of these ICOs have approached the SEC to apply for any form of approval, which makes them a huge investment risk for people who may have already put their money into them. The SEC further revealed that the tokens and ICOs in question have not met any of the necessary requirements for registration, neither have they presented their smart contracts for assessment and approval by the regulator.

To further compound the high-risk factor presented by these offerings,  their disclosed information to investors which should serve as a basis for making investment decisions is inadequate, and there is no evidence that the cryptocurrencies being mooted have the requisite liquidity to trade on exchanges or be converted into cash. The implication of this is that investors buying into these cryptocurrencies with hopes of making a return on their investment may effectively be buying worthless faux-assets that cannot be traded for other crypto assets or cash.

Strong SEC Warning

According to the SEC, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has previously warned that OneCoin and all its affiliated businesses are not under any supervision, and a number of other jurisdictions have warned investors against OneCoin. The regulator described OneCoin and other ICO investment schemes modeled after Ponzi schemes as “opportunists with no details available on business plans, product, platform or credible management team”.

It will be recalled that in October 2017, the Thai SEC published its ICO regulatory guidelines, which it said were intended to strike a balance between promoting beneficial innovation and protection of investors.

An excerpt from the SEC’s ICO regulation guidelines reads:

“ICO fundraising needs to be done through an ICO portal approved by the SEC. The ICO acceptance criteria may include due diligence and screening of funders from dishonest people. The source code of the smart contract will automatically be enforced against the contract. After the sale, the SEC publishes a copy of the statement on the SEC website.”

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Investopedia recently used Coin ATM Radar, coinmap.org and other metrics to calculate the best cities around the globe to visit with Bitcoin.

You don’t have to be in London or New York to use or access your bitcoins.  ATMs are turning up in the most unlikely places, such as the sleepy Devon town of Kingsbridge in the South West of England, where just last month a Bitcoin ATM was set up in the corner of the town’s Tourist Centre.

The Prague subway now has ten new machines spread across its route and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), has clarified that banks in Germany now have the right to upgrade existing ATMs in the country to facilitate certain cryptocurrencies. With the last ATM count approaching 4000 worldwide, it won’t be too long before one is accessible wherever a traveller finds themselves.

So, until then, for the global traveller, where is the best place to cash out some BTC or buy dinner? The following breakdown includes Investopedia’s top dogs when it comes to accessing or spending your crypto funds. Here are the top ten based on Bitcoin accessibility and usability.

  1. The global base of mega crypto exchange Coinbase is San Francisco, not only home of the street tram and Fisherman’s Wharf, but also home to 177 Bitcoin-accepting merchants and 29 Bitcoin ATMs.
  2. Canada has a reputation for being crypto friendly, having been recently described as further advanced in cryptocurrency policy than its US neighbour. The coastal city of Vancouver boasts of 86 merchants accepting the digital currency as well as 48 Bitcoin ATMs around the city.
  3. Half a million Dutch households own crypto so it is unsurprising that Dutch capital Amsterdam is Bitcoin-friendly to the traveller. There are about 74 merchants around the tiny country, with a population under 800,000, accepting Bitcoin. Although ATMs are not yet patronized to the extent of some of its neighbours, approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands who invest in cryptocurrencies started doing so in 2017.
  4. Ljubljana, Slovenia with a tiny population of 272,000, Ljubljana has 51 merchants accepting Bitcoin and five ATMs.
  5. Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel’s financial center offers 58 merchants that are more than happy to take BTC and has 4 Bitcoin ATMs. Bitcoin is a fact of life in the country, and the government has acknowledged it as a taxable asset with investors purchasing gold and real estate with the flagship cryptocurrency, cherishing its anonymity.
  6. Along with Malta, Switzerland is Europe’s real crypto mover and shaker. Out of the world’s six biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) last year, four took place in Switzerland, according to Swiss financial watchdog, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). In Zurich 64 merchants take Bitcoin and eight ATMs serve a tiny population of 366,000. Bitcoin is now available as payment at 1,357 railway ticket kiosks around the alpine nation.
  7. Tampa, Florida may seem an unlikely place to find a community utilizing cryptocurrency but the city provides as many as 93 merchants accepting BTC. Also, a good scattering of 13 ATMs around the city means that travelers are never far from a source of cash.
  8. Both Venezuela and Argentina are in financial crisis. However traveling in Buenos Aires with Bitcoin is made easy with a huge 130 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 3 ATMs, although the government of Argentina has promised to swell those numbers over the next few years. In fact, with no intention of keeping things small, Argentina plans to become the world’s biggest player with pre-agreements to install 4,000 ATM around the South American country.
  9. New York usually does things big, hence 117 ATMs around the city, meaning that most areas of the city are covered whether up, mid, or downtown. 122 merchants also accept Bitcoin as payment. Wall St. has been making noises about crypto this year, so it shouldn’t be too long before banks update their fiat ATMs in America’s banking metropolis.
  10. The UK was quick to take to cryptocurrency; 88 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 74 ATMs around the busy and culturally diverse capital illustrate this enthusiasm. London made the news recently when a mosque announced that it had successfully reached and exceeded its target of donations over the Ramadan period – in cryptocurrency.

This post is credited to bitcoinnews

France’s Financia Business School, which offers post-graduate courses in financial and blockchain technology, now allows students to pay their fees in cryptocurrency. Since the institution introduced the measure, about half a dozen students have paid in BTC for the 2018 academic year.

Also Read: Okex Cryptocurrency Exchange to Delist 42 Trading Pairs

Cryptocurrency to Cut Transfer Costs for Foreign Students

A quarter of the Financia Business School’s enrolment is foreign, with many students having to shoulder complex and punitive money transfer costs. The acceptance of cryptocurrency for fees makes it easier for foreign students to cut these costs and transact with ease, said the Paris-based college.

French Business School Accepts Fees in Bitcoin for Blockchain Technology Courses

Students wishing to transact in BTC do so through Coin Capital, a startup specializing in digital assets and blockchain techology, which has entered into partnership with Financia Business School for support with fee payment processes.

Adam Hasib, a foreign student at the school, is an early adopter of cryptocurrency tuition payments. He acquired his first BTC last year, and relishes being able to register with the school while getting added value on his digital currency investment.

“I became interested in this technology early on and quickly became a staunch supporter of blockchain’s decentralized model,” Hasib told Studyrama, an online French education platform. “By June 2017, I had acquired my first bitcoins, which allowed me to pay the registration deposit at school … I just had to contact the administration to get the wallet address before [making] my deposit.”

Financia to Deepen Blockchain Offerings as the Technology Gains Global Traction

Financia Business School said it was committed to embracing emerging technologies within the financial sector, hence its early development of a blockchain curriculum. It is set to complement the cryptocurrency fee facility with a raft of blockchain-inspired administrative innovations.

These will include the creation of a token for the payment of services within the school and partner institutions; the launch of proof of concept around blockchain projects by and for students; and the reinforcement of courses on blockchain, initial coin offerings and other related issues.

Financia’s adoption of virtual currency fees could be the first of a wave as legacy institutions of higher learning continue to show interest in blockchain technology. In Britain, the London School of Economics recently launched a course titled “Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption,” while research in the U.S. last month revealed that 9 percent of U.S. undergraduates across the world have taken a blockchain-related class and 26 percent intend to.

French Business School Accepts Fees in Bitcoin for Blockchain Technology Courses

An August 2018 study established that among the world’s most prestigious higher learning institutions, Stanford University offers the most cryptocurrency and blockchain courses. The study also established that 42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one blockchain or crypto-related class.

This academic interest corresponds with a rapidly increasing industrial demand for blockchain and cryptocurrency talent. Research shows blockchain-related jobs in the U.S. rose 300 percent and 50 percent in Asia in the past year.

Would you pay your fees in cryptocurrency? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

This post is credited to news.bitcoin

Australia is proving that they are, arguably, one of the leading crypto-friendly countries out there. A system created by the country’s postal service is drastically streamlining the crypto exchange registration process.


Australia is definitely no stranger when it comes to blockchain adoption. From driver’s licenses to disability payments, the country is fully embracing the technology. Their interest in cryptocurrency is also quite positive, with platforms even available for residents to pay their bills.

Innovation Courtesy of the Australia Post Service

The next step, according to Micky, is to give potential crypto customers a simple way to sign up to exchanges and in doing so, open up the world of innovative disruptive technology to all. Ironically, this will be achieved via a very un-disruptive establishment – the Australia Post service.

The 200-year-old business created Digital iD. As the name suggests, it is a digital identity service that will allow its users to quickly sign up to a Bitcoin exchange. By cutting out actual identity documents, exchanges will be able to quickly verify customers and allow them to trade as soon as they’re vetted.

One such exchange, Digital Surge, is already making use of this revolutionary service and have only good things to say. The platform’s Director, Josh Lehman, elaborated:

Digital iD allows us to verify the identity of a prospective Bitcoin buyer in minutes, instead of the days it takes other exchanges. For the first time, an Australian can log on to a computer, punch in their driver’s licence or passport details, and be buying Bitcoin within minutes. We wanted to create an exchange that is safe, simple and quick to use, and Digital iD has enabled us to do that.

Hacker Hoodwinks House, Uses EOS Smart Contract Exploit to Steal More Than $240k from EOSBet Dice

Helping with Data Privacy Concerns

However, it’s not just about making the exchange application easier for those involved. It also allows people to only give the information that is required in certain situations, nothing more. This is becoming increasingly important in an age where data privacy is a real concern. Cameron Gough, who is the General Manager of Digital iD, explained:

Digital iD gives people more control over the personal data they share with organisations. For example, most people hand over their driver’s licence to prove they can legally go to a bar, but all that is needed is a name and birth date – not that information plus your full residential address.

The platform is also working with Coinjar and Coin Loft, both of which are Australian-based exchanges.

Disruptive technology is all about simplicity and efficiency brought about by removing intermediaries and time-consuming processes. This is exactly what Digital iD seems to be doing. Since providing a necessary service two centuries ago, the Australian Post is showing that they can not only adapt with the times, but can also embrace it to provide a necessary solution to a major issue facing exchanges today.

Do you think that Digital iD could be setting a trend for other crypto-friendly countries? Let us know in the comments below!

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry of Ukraine has initiated a “state policy” for the classification and legalization of crypto-related activities, Ukrainian state information and news agency Ukrinform reported Oct. 26.

The Ministry has reportedly issued an official press release stating that its purpose is to “create understandable conditions for conducting activities in the field of virtual assets and virtual currencies,” and to usher in “adoption of the concept of a state policy” for crypto.

To this end, it has proposed establishing legal definitions for key terms, including “virtual currency” (“cryptocurrency,”) “virtual assets,” Initial Coin (or Token) Offerings (ICOs or ITOs), cryptocurrency mining, “smart contracts,” and “tokens.”

Ukrinform reports the concept is expected to be implemented in two stages, and will be completed in 2021.

Although Ukraine has not until now regulated crypto, the first signs the country was on track to its legalization surfaced in mid-May, when a member of the parliament, Alexei Mushak, attached a copy of an apparent draft legislation document for crypto to his public Facebook page.

The document outlined that the legislation aims to create a “free and transparent” digital asset market, outlining rules for storing, using, and exchanging crypto, digital tokens, and smart contracts at a state, entity, and individual level.

In mid-September, the country’s parliament proposed a draft bill that, if signed into law, would levy a five percent tax on individuals’ and entities’ crypto holdings. For businesses’ crypto-related profits, it proposed the basic corporate and personal income tax rate of 18 percent.

An alternative bill proposing specific crypto tax exemptions and a slightly different definition of various types of crypto assets was put forward by a Ukrainian legislator in early October.

As of mid-October, a dedicated working group within the Ministry of Finance has reportedly been working to elaborate the framework for crypto taxation.

In parallel, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is considering a state digital currency tied to the local fiat currency, the hryvnia, which would be centralized and remain under government control.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

China is ready to establish its first blockchain security testing center – courtesy of an agreement signed between The National Computer Network Emergency Coordination Center and the economic development zone of Changsha, China News Service reported on October 24, 2018.

Security Testing Center to Be Launched in Changsha

As per the agreement signed, the proposed security testing center will be launched in the city of Changsha, the capital of China’s Hunan province. The blockchain testing center will play a pivotal role in regulating the nascent industry. It will also help in gathering data specifics and extract reports relevant to the blockchain industry in China.  Additionally, code review and risk control are also included under the scope of the testing center.

Wu Zheng, Secretary-general of National Committee of Experts on the Internet Financial Security Technology said:

“Whether or not blockchain technology is mature and stable, or the smart contracts being developed are safe are all critical factors that affect the adoption of blockchain technology and its applications.”

It is expected that the economic development zone of Changsha and the emergency coordination center will soon commence recruitment of DLT security companies to work on the initiative.

Per sources close to the matter, the security team has already designed an automated platform for verification of smart contracts to bolster their functionality and security. The platform aims explicitly to fill the loopholes found in many of the existing smart contracts.

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The security center is expected to generate thick revenue for the city of Changsha, as a representative of the economic development zone stated that annual output of RMB 500 million (approx. $71 million) within the first five years is highly likely.

China Emerges as a Hotbed for Blockchain

Notably, blockchain technology has been luckier compared to cryptocurrencies in China. Contrary to the sorry state of digital currencies in the country, DLT has piqued considerable interest from government authorities.

Similar to the development in Changsha, the Chinese city of Nanjing announced a massive $1.48 billion fund on July 25, 2018, in a bid to foster rapid development of the existing blockchain projects in the country.

Perhaps the biggest impetus for the homegrown blockchain industry came to the surface very recently, as the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published a draft policy framework on October 19, 2018, aiming to regulate DLT-based services in the country.

If implemented, the blockchain-centric policy will be the first set of regulations aimed explicitly at governing the Chinese blockchain industry.

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India’s Supreme Court, the country’s apex court, has directed the central government to present its official stance on cryptocurrency within two weeks.

In a telling move that seeks to end the ambiguity over the legality of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in India, the government has been ordered to release its report on the cryptocurrency sector by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has been inundated with multiple petitions filed by cryptocurrency exchanges and industry groups that have challenged a banking blockade enforced by the central bank in April, a crippling policy that has largely shuttered the domestic crypto sector.

While the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued multiple cautions against the use of cryptocurrency over the years (from as early as 2013), they aren’t illegal in the country.

As reported previously, the Reserve Bank of India has shunned responsibility when asked to provide clarity on the legal status of cryptocurrencies. It was a policy matter for the government, the central bank argued.

According to an Economic Times report on Friday, a legal counsel representing nine cryptocurrency exchanges demanded the government bring some clarity.

“We have got employees. There are jobs,” counsel Nakul Dewan for the sector argued, in the same week wherein the co-founders of India’s largest exchange, Unocoin were arrested for installing a cryptocurrency ATM in the city of Bangalore.

An advocate for the central bank countered by claiming that the authority was ‘only trying to discourage the use of cryptocurrencies,’ insisting it was ‘a policy decision’ for the government.

The legality debate at the Supreme Court may be nearing its end. After hearing the arguments presented, the Supreme Court’s bench of Justices has demanded the government place its position before the court in two weeks’ time.

This post is credited to ccn