Category Archives: News

Insightful ICO? Telecom Giant Telenor Wants to Disrupt Media with Tokens

Telcos use ICO to raise Capital !
Telcos use ICO to raise Capital !

A product within telecommunications giant Telenor is hoping the technology behind initial coin offerings (ICOs) can help it disrupt the media business model.

Central to the Norway-based firm’s exploration of the tech is its partnership with data distribution startup Hubii, which launched an ICO this week using the ethereum blockchain. Both companies believe the project will bring benefits: providing a way to create a decentralized, autonomous marketplace of content that can be sold across different platforms, as well as helping Telenor thwart a long-standing hacking problem.

The firms are also interested in how they could directly interact using smart contracts powered by ethereum, instead of via the pesky media companies now increasingly viewed as middlemen.

In conversation with CoinDesk, Telenor’s head of business development at WowBox, Ketil Hoigaard, described the news app could stand to benefit from lessons learned from the Hubii Network ICO.

Hoigaard said:

“Using technologies like blockchain to deliver these services is [the] key to succeed, to be honest, because I think [blockchain is] what’s coming to all these verticals as a tool, a platform, to help deliver content to the end users in an easy way across borders.”

ICO interest

While Hoigaard is studying the ICO to glean insights for WowBox, he said, the project could signal to the larger company how blockchain could be useful in the business.

“It’s still very early. If Hubii succeeds, and I think and hope they will, I think that is five magnitudes larger, using blockchain in WowBox is more to understand and see opportunity,” he said.

Opportunity that already other areas of Telenor are looking into. For instance, Mark Briscombe, head of business modelling at Telenor has formally joined Hubii Network’s impressive advisory board, which includes former Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger and John Paton, the former CEO of Digital First Media.

In that role, Briscombe not only provides business advice to Hubii, but also seeks to learn from the startup’s recent token sale.

And according to Hoigaard, Briscombe has been “talking about staffing up a team” to help WowBox understand the benefits of blockchain.

The unusual partnership between the startup and the incumbent has the telecommunications company moonlighting as a media outlet, serving local news content from Hubii’s approximately 560 third-party content creators to 50 million users each month.

But matching all that content to the best-suited audience, across multiple national borders in Southeast Asia (where the project has so far been implemented) – and doing so in real time – has provided quite a technological hurdle.

Hoigaard, who called the process a “nightmare,” now hopes the ICO will help Telenor figure out how to more seamlessly manage content creation and distribution, while also eliminating middlemen to get cheaper content for its news app, WowBox.

The middlemen the companies are trying to disrupt (as in other similar attempts to reimagine media with blockchain) in this process would appear to be the publishers themselves.

As news and video consumption increasingly comes to users via algorithms, media companies that pay reporters, bloggers and videographers a salary stand to be increasingly marginalized by self-executing smart contracts written on a blockchain.

Hubii Network value flow

By moving the functions of a traditional media house to a system operated using blockchain tokens and smart contracts, both Hubii and Telenor hope they can make money and cut costs by paying the creators for their content directly.

“I really want the original content and to use it as I want, in my context,” said Hoigaard.  “And we are willing to pay for it, because we know the users will be there.”

A secure token

However, Telenor’s exploration of blockchain technology goes beyond the Hubii partnership.

Already, Telenor issues tokens from a traditional, centralized database to its WowBox customers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. But they have proved easy to hack. When Googling “WowBox tokens,” three of the four most-watched videos show how to hack the app to receive unlimited tokens.

In this way, Hoigaard remarked that he sees a public blockchain with a tradeable token as an elegant solution:

“We are looking into using a blockchain and our own tokens for our millions of users. They will then get the actual token, on a blockchain, instead of just a database.”

From there Telenor hopes it can grow the program without roadblocks, and the company very much sees expansion on the horizon.

According to Hoigaard, of the 15 countries Telenor serves, Bangladesh, India and Thailand have “innovation houses [that] are looking into blockchain.”

Vietnam Is Preparing to Legally Recognize Bitcoin

Vietnam and Legal Bitcoin - Soon !
Vietnam and Legal Bitcoin – Soon !

Vietnam’s prime minister has approved a plan that could see the country formally recognize bitcoin as a form of payment by 2018.

According to regional news services VNA, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has tasked Vietnam’s central bank as well as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Safety, to draw up a legal framework around cryptocurrencies.

An assessment for how the government should approach this process is due to be completed by August of next year. Once that is concluded, it’s expected that drawing up the legal documents required to recognize cryptocurrencies under a regulatory framework will be completed by the end of 2018.

In tandem, officials will also begin work on a tax treatment for cryptocurrencies. According to VNA, a system governing how cryptocurrency users will be taxed in Vietnam is slated to be in place by June 2019.

If approved, the move would signal that leaders in Vietnam are moving away from the more cautious viewpoint expressed in 2014, when central bank officials warned consumers about the risk of cryptocurrencies.

China’s New Fundraising Rules Could Lead to ICO Investigations

Here we go again another ...Ponzi
Here we go again another …Ponzi

New rules being developed by the Chinese government against illegal financing may be used to crack down on initial coin offerings (ICOs).

A draft of the regulations has been released by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, the executive Branch of the Chinese government. Officials are soliciting public comments over the next month before officially commencing the legislative process.

Though broadly focused on a range of fundraising activities, the fifteenth article of the draft ruleset identifies cryptocurrency-based funding efforts as potential targets for investigations.

The text states:

“If the department overseeing illegal fundraising activities found a fundraising without proper permission, or a fundraising that violates the relevant provisions of the State, and if one of the following circumstances is found, the department shall launch an administrative investigation. Other relevant departments shall cooperate with the investigation.
….
(2) to raise funds in the name of issuing or transferring equity, raising funds, selling insurance, or engaging in asset management activities, virtual currency, leasing, credit cooperation and mutual funds…”

The draft outlined that the government shall establish an interdepartmental committee to combat illegal fundraising. It also clarified, for the first time, that participants of illegal fundraising shall be responsible for their own losses.

There are currently two laws dealing with illegal fundraising in Chinese crime law system. The crime of fund fraud, which used to be punishable by death, now carries a maximum sentence of life in jail. The other one – the crime of illegally absorbing public deposits – carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The new regulations also come amid a public outrage on pyramid selling scams. Last month, several college graduates were found dead after being imprisoned and assaulted by members of a pyramid selling organization in Tianjin, China.

Ledger Nano S Review – Bitcoin Wallet

Recently I attended the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami. Ledger, one of the leading hardware wallets manufacturers were selling their merchandise at the event and I decided to finally do my Ledger Nano S review which I have postponed far too long.

So I bought myself a specially engraved Ledger Nano S created just for the conference and today I’m testing it out for the first time. If you’ve been an avid reader of 99Bitcoins you probably know I’m a long time fan of TREZOR, Ledger’s main competitor. But I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Ledger Nano that I decided to do a TREZOR vs Ledger type of comparison.

my Ledger Nano S

Before I begin my review a quick word about Bitcoin hardware wallets. Hardware wallets are probably the most robust form of security you can have for your Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency. They allow you to send and receive Bitcoins on any computer, even one that is compromised with malware, with the knowledge that your transaction will still go through as intended. For more information about Bitcoin wallets in general watch out latest Bitcoin Whiteboard Tuesday episode.

The way the hardware wallets achieve maximum security is by storing your private key and signing your Bitcoin transactions offline so someone trying to “hack” your wallet remotely won’t be able to do so. Most hardware wallets also use a second screen / device to verify actions on your wallet such as signing transaction. This way, if a hacker gain control over your computer, he still can’t do any harm since he requires access to the physical device connected to your computer as well.

I’ve reviewed the former Ledger model, the Ledger Nano in the past. Back then I concluded that the added protection that a TREZOR wallet gives you with it’s second screen protection is superior to the Ledger Nano. However the Ledger Nano S now features a second screen feature as well. So this comparison is going to be interesting.

Design and user interface

Design-wise the products are pretty much the same. Both are small and compact, however the Ledger Nano S does have a slight advantage in the sense that its metal casing makes it more durable in my opinion (and also a bit sexier). Both wallets will both fit pretty easily into your pocket or hand as can be seen below.

Ledger Nano S vs TREZOR

The way the Ledger Nano S works is pretty similar to any hardware wallet. When you first set it up you will choose a PIN to protect the device from unwanted access. Later, you will receive a 24 word seed that will be used to create your private keys (this is what’s known as an HD wallet, more on that here). This seed should be written down in a safe place and NOT on your computer, as whoever knows this seed has control over your Bitcoins. A good suggestion would be to write this seed down using a Cryptosteel device.

The Ledger Nano S has two buttons that allow you to control it. The initial set up of the device is pretty simple and takes about 3 minutes. Most of the time is spent on writing down your seed.

This seed creation is one of the places where the second screen comes into play. If your computer is compromised a hacker will be able to see the seed if it’s displayed on your screen. This is exactly why the seed words are shown on the small device screen that is tamper-proof, so you know that only you see your seed.

Once the device is set up, all that’s left is to install an app that allows you to interface with the device (i.e. send and receive Bitcoins).

Ledger Nano S buttons

The app I used is a Chrome extension that gives you the following functionalities:

  • General account details
  • Sending Bitcoins from your hardware wallet
  • Generating your Bitcoin address to receive Bitcoins
  • Settings for your app (e.g. exchange rate, language, etc.)

The app is pretty similar to the one TREZOR uses although it has a sleeker design.

Ledger chrome app

The interface (as shown above) is pretty intuitive and doesn’t require any manual to get the hang of it. Also you can rename accounts and don’t have to call them in general names like “account #1”. TREZOR allows this as well but requires you to connect a Dropbox account.

The Ledger Nano S can also use existing Bitcoin wallets instead of the current chrome extension interface. Such wallets include MyCellium, Electrum, Bitgo, GreenBits, Copay and MyEtherWallet.

Here’s a complete review of how the device works done by BTC Sessions on YouTube:

Support of altcoins

The Ledger Nano S includes Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic companion apps, and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Here are the current altcoins supported:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum / Ethereum Classic
  • Litecoin
  • Dogecoin
  • Zcash (z-addresses are not supported)
  • Dash
  • Stratis

You can send and receive payments, check your accounts and manage multiple addresses for each currency from the same device.

TREZOR on the other hand recently announced that they have partnered with MyEtherWallet to support Ethereum on their device as well. Other currencies supported through TREZOR are Dash, Zcash and Litecoin (via Electrum LTC).

Company reputation

Ledger was founded in 2015 in France. The company has since gained substantial traction in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency sphere and has grown to be a worthy competitor to SatoshiLabs (the creators of TREZOR). TREZOR on the other hand has been in the market since 2014.

Both Ledger and TREZOR use open source code for their apps, and both have demonstrated excellent customer support and stability in the past few years. Even though TREZOR is the more mature and respected company, it’s hard to say the Ledger falls behind.

Price tag

The Ledger Nano S sells for €58 (about $65) while the TREZOR sells for $99. This makes the Nano S a more attractive bargain since their features are almost identical. One can argue that the TREZOR can also act as a password manager but I’m not sure how useful this feature is at the moment.

So who’s the winner?

In all honesty, I think the Ledger Nano S wins due to the lower price. But both companies created a great product. The Ledger Nano S seems to have the upper hand in design and usability, while TREZOR’s reputation has more impact in the community (although not by much). Since most of us are price sensitive in this case the price tag tips the scale towards Ledger.

Personally, I use a TREZOR, mainly because when I first started using hardware wallets Ledger wasn’t around yet. Today I think I may start using both, storing some of my funds on a TREZOR and some on a Ledger. I have to say that the progress Ledger has made in the past year is truly impressive, and there product shows it.

https://www.ledgerwallet.com/products/ledger-nano-s

Raft of AML violations lands bitcoin exchange a $110M fine

U.S. regulators slapped the bitcoin exchange BTC-e with a $110 million fine for a slew of alleged financial crimes from facilitating dark net drug sales to financing public corruption.

One of the site’s operators, a Russian national, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested in Greece this week and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network assessed a $12 million penalty against him for his alleged role.

BTC-e is one of the world’s virtual currency exchanges by volume and has conducted over $296 million in bitcoin transactions, Fincen said Thursday. The company facilitated ransomware, computer hacking, identity theft, tax refund fraud schemes and drug trafficking, the agency said.

Fincen Acting Director Jamal El-Hindi
Making an example

The fine against BTC-e “should be a strong deterrent to anyone who thinks that they can facilitate ransomware, dark net drug sales, or conduct other illicit activity using encrypted virtual currency,” said Fincen’s acting director, Jamal El-Hindi.

The fine was the Treasury’s first action against a money-services business located in a foreign country, and the second against a virtual currency exchange. (Ripple was the first in 2015, but its six-figure fine pales in comparison to BTC-e’s.)

It was also the second action this week by a U.S. regulator in the cryptocurrency space. The Securities and Exchange Commission released an investigative report on Tuesday that concluded certain so-called initial coin offerings are subject federal securities laws, potentially cooling a white-hot funding market for startups and software developers.

The BTC-e action “should be a strong deterrent to anyone who thinks that they can facilitate ransomware, dark net drug sales, or conduct other illicit activity using encrypted virtual currency,” Fincen’s acting director, Jamal El-Hindi, said in a press release.
BTC-e failed to obtain required information from customers beyond a username, a password and an email address, Fincen said. It also did not prevent money laundering, as users openly and explicitly discussed criminal activity on BTC-E’s user chat, and gave advice on how to process and access money from illegal drug sales from dark net markets like Silk Road, Hansa Market and AlphaBay, the agency said.

From 2011 to 2014, BTC-e processed transactions totaling 300,000 bitcoin stolen from another bitcoin exchange, the now-defunct Mt. Gox, Fincen said. It also concealed its geographic location and its ownership, violating U.S. anti-money-laundering laws and regulations, the regulator said.

As of Thursday morning, the BTC-e site was down; a maintenance situation was cited.

Fincen worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California on assessing the fine. The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, the FBI, Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security conducted the criminal investigation.

Tezos’ $232 Million ICO May Just Be The Beginning

Bitcoin tokens sit next to a collection of U.S. one dollar. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

So far, 2017 is shaping up to be a historic year for the crypto space with nary a dull moment. If you’ve been moving around in cryptocurrency circles, you probably already know that there’s value to be found in rebelling against conventional wisdom. Bitcoin was built on a foundation that rebelled against fiat currencies and centralized financial authorities. We’ve seen the bust and boom cycles of Bitcoin – and the cryptocurrency has proved that it can survive alongside fiat currencies. We have also seen the rise (and occasional fall) of dozens of other cryptocurrencies. Now, braver folks are venturing beyond the shores of traditional cryptocurrencies to seek their fortunes in the “new way to invest”—Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

See The Emperor’s New Coins: How ICOs Are Fueling A $100 Billion Bubble.

An ICO is simply a process by which cryptocurrency startups raise funds for new ventures. ICOs are similar to crowdfunding, except that they are almost always designed to raise funds for cryptocurrency projects, that might not be eligible for the capital-raising process of banks and venture capitalists. During an ICO campaign, enthusiasts and potential investors will buy some of the tokens of the new cryptocurrency project. Just yesterday, Tezos announced the largest ICO to date, raising $232 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) coins, making it the largest ICO to date. Tezos is just a part of the current wave of interesting companies who have already been through or are currently in the process of an ICO.

Meet some other interesting ICOs:

Augur

Augur is created to be a decentralized prediction market where people can bet on the possible outcome of events – a betting/forecasting platform of sorts. Augur has practically created a betting platform where you can bet on “everything from elections to the destruction of our solar system.” if your forecast/prediction is correct, you’ll earn rewards in the form of Augur’s Reputation (REP) tokens. Augur’s ICO helped the firm to raise more than $5.2M in a token sale, with $2.5M in the first three days. Augur has already rewarded its early investors as its REPs currently trade around $26 and the price may continue to rise as more people come on board to the betting platform.

Chronobank

Chronobank is another cryptocurrency startup that has found a way to fund its business by holding an ICO. Chronobank is simply the Uber of recruitments as it works on creating an ecosystem where freelance projects are bought and sold with cryptocurrency. When the ICO ended, ChronoBank had raised a total of $5.4M collected in seven cryptocurrencies and USD. Chronobank now has a market capitalization of more than 5,400BTC. The firm’s CEO, Sergei Sergienko notes that “we have the funds we need to launch a successful platform and forge the relationships to make ChronoBank a major disruptive force in the recruitment industry”.

Agrello

Agrello is yet to hold its ICO, however, it has the potential to become one of the biggest success stories in the cryptocurrency world for smart investors. Agrello is simply a platform for building legally binding smart-contracts, using AI without having any prior legal skills or knowledge of coding. The Agrello token is called Delta Δ and it is being offered with Tier 1 at 0.0001Ƀ, Tier 2 at 0.00011Ƀ, Tier 3 is set at 0.00012Ƀ, and Tier 4 is set at 0.00013Ƀ.

One of the key factors that hint at the potential success of Agrello, is its application across a wide range of industries. For instance, Agrello recently inked a partnership deal with Finnish manufacturing giant INCAP, to provide smart agreement prototyping for INCAP’s labor management process. Agrello also has a deal with ViewFibn to develop a digital identity engine.

New investment vehicles arrive

Investing in the cryptocurrency market sounds simple enough by buying cryptocurrencies at a low price and selling them off at a higher price. Sophisticated investors may also consider putting their money into ICOs in much the same way that traditional investors look for promising IPO in stocks.

However, as the cryptocurrency markets start to mature, new kinds of investment vehicles and opportunities are coming to the limelight. One of these investment vehicles is the cryptofund, which can be likened to a hedge fund owning different sorts of cryptocurrencies. A cryptofund is simply a portfolio that seeks to make gains by trading cryptocurrencies — some cryptofunds might also be engaged in the mining of cryptocurrencies.

If you want to gain a diversified form of exposure into the cryptocurrency market, cryptofunds can provide you with a smart tool to access these markets. For instance, eToro’s CryptoFund, provides access to six unique cryptocurrencies in order to offer a balanced exposure to the cryptocurrency market. The diversification of the fund allows investors to be uniquely positioned to record gains across multiple cryptocurrencies and it protects them against massive losses in any single cryptocurrency.

If you would like to invest directly in startups operating in the cryptocurrency market, you may want to consider investing in Pantera Capital. The firm seeks to provide VC funding to startups working in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. By investing with a firm such as Pantera Capital, you’ll get a chance to profit from price gains in cryptocurrencies and profit from the success of the firms behind such cryptocurrencies.

The prospects of cryptofunds going forward

Cryptocurrencies, tokens, and ICOs are already an integral part in the fast-growing decentralized economy. I strongly believe that ICOs are here to stay and we will continue to see growth and depth in the quality of ICOs and their ability to provide startups with much-needed funding. For one, the decentralized nature of ICO’s makes them open to regular investors and accredited investors. More so, the paradigm shift from traditional institutional financing to crowdfunded opportunities, that will help spread the word about blockchain technologies and ingrain cryptocurrencies, deeper into the economic fabric of the global financial markets.

Kowloon Bitcoin Meetup – Hong Kong July 25th

Kowloon Bitcoin Meetup

  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017

     to 

  • Crescent Moon

    2-16 Hop Kwan Street, Tai Kok Tsui (map)

  • Bitcoin Accepted! 
    We meet once a month at The Crescent Moon (yes, they accept Bitcoin!) to hang out, chat and connect.

    The Crescent Moon is located in Tai Kok Tsui, about 5-10 minutes from Olympic Station or Prince Edward.

Bitcoin loses momentum on BTC1 deployment day

Bitcoin loses momentum on BTC1 deployment day

Bitcoin decreased over 6% but remained above $2,150 as the virtual currency’s community faces a large scaling debate. Traders remained cautious as the Bitcoin community is entering a period of uncertainty until August 1.

The deployment day for SegWit2x, which is also known as BTC1, starts on July 14. This update would enable more transactions on the network, but it would also increase the capacity of a single blockchain, a move opposed by some miners. Volatility is to be expected following the SegWit2x deployment, but the modification should have a positive long-term impact on the cryptocurrency as it will alolowe cheaper transactions and exponential speed.

Bitcoin decreased 6.18% to $2,186.5 at 7:01 pm CET. The cryptocurrency remains 126.4% higher since the beginning of the year.

Meet The Man Traveling The World On $25 Million Of Bitcoin Profits

Mr. Smith, a Bitcoin millionaire many times over, requested that I change his name and hide his face for this story. Shutterstock

Last month, I found myself sitting next to a multimillionaire in the 56th-floor Horizon Club Lounge of the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong. He made no attempt to hide the fact that he was swimming in cash; I just wouldn’t have guessed he had made it all from Bitcoin. This is how he did it.

Mr. Smith—who asked me to conceal his real name—has been traveling the world in ultra-luxurious style for the past four years. He only flies first class, stays exclusively in 5-star suites, and hasn’t cooked since Thanksgiving. In the past thirty days he’s visited Singapore, New York City, Las Vegas, Monaco, Moscow, back to New York City, Zurich and now Hong Kong. “Never a dull moment,” he says, lifting his glass of champagne in a Gatsby-esque salute. Then he shared his story.

After finishing college in 2008, Smith landed a respectable job as a software engineer for a large technology company in Silicon Valley. He was a good employee, close with many of his co-workers. It was through one of these “equally geeky” friends in July 2010 that Smith first heard about Bitcoin, shortly after its first major price increase, when the cryptocurrency appreciated tenfold from $0.008 to $0.08 over the course of five days. Smith’s response, though intrigued, was measured: “That price jump really got my attention, but I still waited a few more months before investing. I wanted to learn more about the underlying technology first.”

By October 2010, Smith was ready to jump in. “I had no idea how much to invest, but I was getting paid pretty well at the time, so I decided on $3,000.” He paid just over $0.15 per Bitcoin, giving him slightly under 20,000. At the time, expecting any sort of return was a moonshot; even in Silicon Valley, simply mentioning “Bitcoin” was enough to raise eyebrows. The cryptocurrency hummed along fairly quietly, and though Smith would check on the price every couple of months, he assures, “I knew from the very start that I was playing the long game. I wanted to see how high it could go.”

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong Horizon Club Lounge

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong

This is where I met Mr. Smith, at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong Horizon Club Lounge.

For the next three years, Smith worked his day job and largely forgot about his investment, until Bitcoin’s price leaps started making more mainstream news in 2013. “I couldn’t believe how quickly it was appreciating,” says Smith, speaking very quickly now. “It started rising by 10% or more every day. I was nervous, and excited, and terrified and confused all at the same time.” When the price hit $350, more than two thousand times what he paid for it, Smith sold 2,000 of his early stock; when the price hit $800 just days later, he sold 2,000 more. Just like that, Smith had landed upon a windfall of $2.3 million. “It was absolutely insane,” he says. “I quit my job and left on a round-the-world trip the following week.”

Just then, Smith’s girlfriend—a London-based photographer who accompanies him on about half of his travels—joined us. “He’s constantly talking about Bitcoin,” she said, shaking her head. “If he starts talking about it, he’ll never stop. Ever.” We’d been on the topic for over an hour at this point, but my curiosity was far from satiated.

I urged Smith to show me some proof to back up his claims; after all, he could just be a smooth talker with some family money to vaunt. After going through several rounds of security checks on his iPhone and requesting that I hand him my phone at the same time—“NFC scares me more than it should”—he turned it to me with his Bitcoin wallet exposed. Lo and behold, I saw what he had promised: a balance of 1,000.00 BTC, worth $2.6 million as of this writing.

Everything checked out: here was a man who had truly become filthy rich from Bitcoin, the proverbial Bitcoin millionaire.

Where did the rest of his 20,000 Bitcoins go? Smith walked me through a series of recent selloffs because, as he says, excessive speculation has pushed the price to an unsustainably high level. It was clear that he had a lot of thoughts on the notion of a current price bubble, but I decided to push for what I was really curious about instead: how much has he profited from Bitcoin overall? The answer came without any hint of hesitation or arrogance.

“$25 million, give or take.”

$25 million from an initial investment of $3,000—those are the sort of returns that make a Bitcoin millionaire. Of course, Smith still owns 1,000 Bitcoins, which he plans to sell, “When the price reaches $150,000,” a million-fold appreciation from his original buy-in price. “I really do think it will get there, he says confidently, “But a lot of governments and companies will have to be on board, first. No amount of speculation in the world will push it that high.”

When I ask Smith why he chose to sell when he did, and whether he’ll feel remorse if the price jumps tenfold again, he shakes his head. “I have everything I’ve ever dreamed of now. I fly all over the world visiting friends, I do whatever I want with my time and I never have to worry about money for the rest of my life. I’d be an absolute fool not to cash out now.”

Smith is the epitome of new money, a millennial millionaire with no reservations about flaunting his wealth. It’s been four years since he left his regular life in Silicon Valley behind, and in that span he’s been traveling non-stop. Even still, I have a strong feeling that whether he’s got millions in the bank or not, Smith will never find himself without a place to sleep.

If you can bring entertainment to people’s lives, you become special. And once you’ve built up that level of social capital, no matter how much money you have, you can always rest easy knowing friends will invite you over, serve you dinner and sit down on a couch to listen to your stories.

Jordan Bishop is the founder of Yore OysterHow I Travel and STORIED, the creative agency that empowers brands and individuals to tell transportation stories that engage and inspire.

Need Business Cards in Hong Kong ?

Barclays has spoken to regulators about bringing bitcoin ‘into play’

Barclays’ says talks with Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority says use of crypto currencies is ‘not ready for prime time, we’ll get there soon’

 PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 June, 2017, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 June, 2017, 5:26pm

 Barclays has been in discussions with regulators and financial technology – or fintech – firms about bringing cryptocurrencies like bitcoin “into play”, the bank’s U.K. chief executive told CNBC on Monday.

Ashok Vaswani revealed that the banking giant has met with Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog to talk about how to make bitcoin safe in response to a question about whether Barclays could support bitcoin.

“We have been talking to a couple of fintechs and have actually gone with the fintechs to the FCA to talk about how we could bring, the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play,” Vaswani told CNBC at the Money 20/20 fintech conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Obviously (it’s) a new area, obviously an area we’ve got to be careful with. We are working our way through it.”

Vaswani did not expand on to what extent Barclays could be involved with bitcoin. Barclays has recently been involved in the digital currency space. Last year the bank partnered with social payments app Circle. The start-up, which received a license from the FCA last year, allows users to send money to each other in messages, and supports bitcoin. Barclays provided Circle with an account to store sterling, as well as the payments network to transfer money.

Banks have typically been very cautious of being associated with any companies involved with bitcoin due to the cryptocurrencies bad reputation as being used to buy illegal items on the so-called “dark web”.

But the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap has seen rising retail investor interest, as well as a major rally since the start of the year that has seen its price hit record highs. Even though the price has pulled back in recent days and there is still volatility, regulators are becoming interested in bitcoin, which is lending legitimacy to the digital currency.

For example, Japan made it legal for merchants to begin accepting bitcoin as payments and Russia is also looking at ways to regulate it. The FCA in the U.K. has been cautious on bitcoin, however.

Chris Woolard, the FCA’s executive director of strategy, said that there needs to be caution from institutions dealing with bitcoin.

“We don’t prohibit regulated firms from engaging in digital currency trading, nor do we prohibit banks from offering banking services to deal with currency firms that use [blockchain]. I am not saying that we view digital currencies as an inherently bad thing… but we do have to exercise a degree of caution,” Woolard said at a recent event, according to website Financial News.

While bitcoin has garnered plenty of interest recently, the banking industry is focused on using the technology that underpins it called blockchain. This is a distributed public ledger of activity on the bitcoin network. Banks see blockchain-like technology being applied to areas of their businesses from trading to money transfers. The promise is cost savings and faster processes.

Barclays and a number of other banks have been trialing different use cases for blockchain technology. Last year, the U.K. bank tested derivative trading using blockchain technology. Still, the industry admits it is early days and more work needs to be done to integrate this into everyday processes in banks.

“(We’re) working on it, (it’s) not ready for prime time, we’ll get there soon,” Vaswani told CSC