A major museum in the U.S. state of Ohio is the latest place to accept payment in Bitcoin, partly as a way to encourage adoption and turn Cleveland into a crypto- and blockchain hub.


Science and technology continue to evolve and to a large extent, dictate how we run our lives through the conveniences and necessities that they offer. Disruptive technology like blockchain and cryptocurrencies are doing the same, providing a more efficient and streamlined approach to finances and data management.

In an example of how these two worlds are merging, the U.S. state of Ohio’s Great Lakes Science Center has announced that they will now be accepting Bitcoin as payment. According to Crain’s Cleveland Business, the museum and educational center will make use of BitPay to process these transactions from the 13th of November.

Cleveland to Host Upcoming Blockchain Event

The move comes just in time for the Blockland Solutions Conference, which will also be held in Cleveland. The event will be a way to showcase the benefits of blockchain which will be done through presentations and case studies. It is being organized by Bernie Moreno, a successful car dealership owner, and entrepreneur. His goal is to turn the city into a blockchain hub partly through the creation of a $150 million incubator.

The conference has attracted the attention and support of many big names in the disruptive industry. According to the event’s website, the impressive list of speakers includes IBM’s Vice President of Blockchain Technology, Jerry Cuomo; the founder of ConsenSys, Joseph Lubin and industry pioneer, Nick Szabo.

Suffice it to say, the conference is poised to attract quite a few industry enthusiasts and even potential investors. Great Lakes Science Center wants to be a part of pushing Cleveland to become a blockchain hotspot and part of this is accepting crypto payments. The center’s CEO, Kirsten Ellenbogen, explained:

There is a lot of excitement around the conference. Accepting bitcoin is just a small part of the momentum to grow a blockchain ecosystem in Cleveland.

LBN Beijing Sci-Tech Report Bitcoin

Bitcoin Acceptance Continue to Grow

However, the center’s acceptance of virtual currencies is also a testament to their own growth and desire to be on the cutting edge of this digital revolution. Ellenbogen added:

Last year we launched our mobile app that uses augmented and virtual reality to allow guests to experiment with flames in space and test spacecraft designs re-entering Earth’s atmosphere when they visit the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, and now they’ll be able to use their phone to pay for their admission using Bitcoin.

Great Lakes Science Center joins a growing list of establishments that are accepting cryptocurrencies as payment. Live Bitcoin News recently reported that Skoda Minotti, a U.S.-based business advisory firm, is also now accepting crypto payments. Acceptance is growing in the rest of the world as well with a French-based university accepting tuition in Bitcoin and a London brewery taking crypto payments.

Do you think that the Great Lakes Science Center will see an increase in visitors with their new payment option? Let us know in the comments below!

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U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been fined $1.1 million and sentenced to 15 months in jail for misappropriating Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reports Friday, Nov. 9.

The CFTC found out that Kim defrauded his employer, a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm, transferring approximately $601,000 worth amount of BTC and LTC to his own accounts in 2017. When asked about missing cryptocurrencies, Kim falsely claimed that security issues made him transfer digital currencies to several accounts. Shortly after, the misappropriation was discovered and Kim was fired.

Kim reportedly then defrauded private investors in order to return funds to his employer. According to the CFTC, he lured around $545,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from five individuals, falsely stating that he had left the company voluntarily to start his own trading company. Kim later lost all the investors’ funds following a high-risk bet.

Given the circumstances of the case, the CFTC has ordered Kim to pay $1.1 million in restitution to his company and customers. Moreover, the commission has imposed a permanent trading and solicitation ban on him.

In a separate criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Kim pleaded guilty to defrauding his employer and misappropriating private investors’ funds, and has received a 15 month sentence.

The CFTC Director of Enforcement, James McDonald, says the commission will continue to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the FBI in order to prevent crypto-related crimes.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, with operating an unregistered securities exchange. He agreed to pay up to $400,000 in fines for an 18 month operating period.

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Three Thai citizens who are currently being prosecuted for allegedly swindling $24 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) have pleaded “not guilty” in the Criminal Court of Bangkok, major Thai newspaper Bangkok Post reports Wednesday, Nov. 7.

During the hearings, Thai prosecutors accused the three defendants and six accomplices of defrauding 21-year-old Finnish investor Aamai Otava Saarimaa back in 2017. According to the investigation, he was persuaded to buy shares in Expay Software Co, invest in a gambling-focused crypto token Dragon Coin (DRG), and buy 500 million shares in DNA (2002) Co, which he consequently did by transferring crypto to the siblings’ wallets.

The prosecutors claim that after receiving the money, the Jaravijit family bought several blocks of land in Thailand. Saarimaa, in his turn, received no profit and later complained to the Thai Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

The three Jaravijit siblings, charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, have recently pleaded “not guilty.”

Two of the siblings, Jiratpisit (a Thai actor known as “Boom”) and Supitcha, were arrested in August and then released on bail of $61,000 each. Their elder brother, Prinya Jaravijit, managed to flee to the U.S. in an attempt to avoid the charges.

However, in October, the Thai CSD revoked the Prinya Jaravijit’s passport — making his stay in the U.S. illegal — in order to force his return. After arriving in Bangkok, Jaravajit was then detained without bail and is currently being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison.

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A high school Indian student got upset about losing his Bitcoins to a US scammer and made several calls to Miami airport with threats to blow it up.

An Indian teenager lost his Bitcoins to a US scammer and threatened to blow up the Miami airport because the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) refused to help him recover the lost investment, the local media outlet The Hindustan Times reports.

The high school student from the North India state Uttar Pradesh, whose name is not disclosed, borrowed $1,000 from his father with the aim to invest money in Bitcoin. His claims that he was a successful trader and made a whole bunch of money in just five months before he met a US guy on one of the online forums, who offered to boost his fortune. However, he disappeared once he got the Bitcoins from the trustful Indian teenager.

The boy first applied to the US FBI in hopes that the Bureau would help find the US-based fraudster recoup his Bitcoins. He got the FBI’s phone number on the Internet and made at least 50 calls between October 2 and October 31 to no effect. Disappointed by the FBI’s indifference and unwillingness to deal with his problem, the teenager started threatening to blow up Miami airport by bursting inside the terminal armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, grenades, and a suicide belt.

The schoolboy made the calls over the Internet using a fake identity and a fake e-mail ID, but the local police managed to track them anyway after the FBI asked India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) for assistance in finding the hoax caller.

The boy was charged under the Indian Penal Code and the IT Act, according to Uttar Pradesh state police chief.

While a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against him, he was not arrested as 18-year old Indians are not considered criminally liable. The local police will be investigating the case to decide the fate of the guy. However, the punishment is unlikely to be serious as police believe the schoolboy was not serious about his threats.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin scams are mushrooming, ripping the unsuspecting public off their digital possessions. Recently, 700 French investors lost about 31 million euro in a massive crypto scam.

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Several verified Twitter accounts have been hacked to impersonate Elon Musk today, Nov. 5, with one reportedly collecting almost $170,000.

After compromising verified accounts, scammers changed the profile name and picture in order to pose as the Tesla CEO. Scammers would then post in comment threads started by the real Elon Musk, so as to give the impression of legitimacy. Some of the scam tweets said that Elon Musk was conducting “the biggest” crypto-giveaway in the world for those who use “Bitcoic” (read Bitcoin), and provided a link to “participate” in the giveaway.

Screenshot of compromised Pathe UK account. Source: Business Insider

Screenshot of compromised Pathe UK account. Source: Business Insider

To skirt Twitter security measures, scammers subtly changed one of the characters in the name, while still maintaining a display name that appeared to be “Elon Musk” at a glance, preculding Twitter from automatically flagging the account.

Hackers reportedly compromised several different accounts, including those of film production firm Pathe U.K. and U.S. politician Frank Pallone Jr.

Daily Beast reporter Lachlan Markay reported that sources on Pallone’s campaign confirmed the account was hacked, albeit without any political goals saying, “Just looks like a Bitcoin Scam.”

He subsequently added that one of the BTC wallets used in the scams received $158,256 and that the payments “are still coming.” At press time, the address referred to by Markay had a final balance of 26.38 BTC ($168,930).

Pathe U.K. later confirmed that it had recovered control of its account and deleted the fake Elon Musk tweets.

Other high-profile individuals in the crypto and tech space have been similarly impersonated. In April, founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov tweeted a warning, telling his followers that the messaging app was experiencing downtime due to its server clusters overheating. Durov’s tweet drew attention to fake crypto giveaway scammers who posed as the Telegram CEO and claimed to offer crypto to users as a “thank you for [their] support.”

In January, Twitter saw an influx of Litecoin (LTC) founder “Charlie Lee” impersonators, with multiple imposters posing as the LTC creator and promoting a fake LTC giveaway. Most of the scammers were using Twitter handles with names very similar to the real Charlie Lee, @SatoshiLite, such as @SatoshiLitez and @SatoshiLitee_.

In September, Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat “annoying” cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter. Palmer replied almost immediately, urging Musk to reach out to him using direct messages. Later on, the creator of Dogecoin sent Musk a script that could purportedly solve the problem.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

Ledn Inc has become the first company to offer Canadian dollar loans to businesses or individuals accepting Bitcoin as collateral.

Founded by Bitcoin bull Mauricio Di Bartolomeo, Ledn is attempting to fill a gap in the market for Canadian citizens who need to borrow money but are unable to do so for whatever reason through the traditional banking sector. Bitcoin is a relatively popular investment choice for Canadians, with around 5% of the population reportedly owning the cryptocurrency.

The first of these loans have already been issued to Bylls, a Bitcoin payment processor operated by Satoshi Portal. Francis Pouliot, CEO of Satoshi Portal, explained that as a self-funded blockchain startup with profits in Bitcoin, it was never able to leverage capital for reinvestment as fiat-earning companies can. Using its Bitcoin funds as collateral for a loan means that the company does not have to sell its coins for new investment money. Using Bitcoin also to receive fiat credit also means it can avoid some of the price volatility of the cryptocurrency market.

There are some risks to this alternative loan method, however. One of these is custody issues; with no third party cryptocurrency custody service operating in Canada, Ledn is relying on cold wallets to store the funds which should theoretically make it impossible for hackers to gain access. If the loan recipient sends the Bitcoin to the wrong address they could also lose this money.

Market volatility means that margin calls are also a risk in the process, with assets potentially losing or gaining significantly in the space of hours, leading to difficulties between the two parties in terms of how much collateral needs to be sent. A sharp drop in the Bitcoin market could mean that the borrower no longer has enough to provide Ledn to get its loan.

Unchained Capital is a firm in the US that offers similar cryptocurrency-backed loans, although its target client is market investors.

Despite issues of volatility and custody, these emerging loans are offering a whole new way to do finance, recognizing cryptocurrency as a tangible asset that can be used and trusted. It brings a lot of potential for blockchain startups looking for funding but turned away from traditional loans because they do not operate primarily in fiat.

This post is credited to bitcoinnews

Multiple Amsterdam businesses received emails threatening them with hand grenades or shootings if they do not pay €50,000 in bitcoins to the sender, the NLTimes reported on Oct. 31.

Bitcoin ‘Terrorists’ Threaten Amsterdam Coffeeshops with Bullets and Grenades

Cyber terrorists are targeting Amsterdam, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin from multiple coffee shops and threatening them with live hand grenades and firearms if they don’t pay up.

The police have confirmed that that multiple reports of this email have been received and all are currently under investigation.

The threatening email, which is in possession of AT5, a local media outlet, was purportedly sent to at least three coffee shops and Club ABE on Amstelstraat. The first was reported in May 2018 by Club ABE, which disclosed an incident with a hand grenade tied to the club’s door in August 2017.

According to the broadcaster, the email read:

“You probably noticed how many entrepreneurs have had to close their doors recently by order of the municipality. To prevent you from being the next one, you must immediately take action.”

The writer instructs the entrepreneur to create an account on coinmama.com or coinbase.com, buy 50 thousand euros in bitcoin, and transfer it to a specific address.

Cyberterrorists Taking Advantage of Municipal Laws

The threats made by the group dubbed “the bitcoin terrorists” take advantage of the municipality of Amsterdam’s policy to close businesses after a shooting or an explosive was found.

However, Maurice Veldman, the lawyer representing several coffee shops in the city, told AT5 that owners are not impressed by the email and that these types of intimidation are not taken seriously and are very easy to make.

However, all of his clients were required to report the threats as they signed a covenant with the mayor stating that they are obliged to report everything related to safety. He also stressed that none of the coffeeshops paid the demanded amount and there have been no incidents.

The municipality of Amsterdam has also worked on changing its policy on closing businesses after a shooting or an incident with explosive. In September 2018, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema said that the city is gradually becoming more precise in the application of such measures.

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Bitcoin teller machine (BTM) operator Coinsource has just become the 12th crypto company to receive a license from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

The firm announced approval of the so-called BitLicense on Thursday, with the firm’s general counsel Arnold Spencer noting that it was the first granted to a bitcoin ATM provider to date. The company already has 40 BTMs in the state, having been operating under a provisional license pending full approval.

In a statement, NYDFS superintendent Maria Vullo confirmed the news, saying the license approval is “a further step in implementing strong regulatory safeguards and effective risk-based controls while encouraging the responsible growth of financial innovation.”

Receiving the BitLicense, Spencer told CoinDesk, “is a validation of our business model [and] our compliance model.”

He explained:

“It’s been a long, involved process. The initial application was [in 2015, and] since then what we’ve seen is a great deal of diligence on NYDFS’ part, really pushing us to both explain and in some cases improve our policies and procedures.”

These ranged from having a business disaster continuity plan to state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures, Spencer indicated. During the evaluation period, Coinsource grew from being an unaudited firm with three employees and a handful of BTMs to being fully audited and growing to more than 20 employees and over 200 machines.

“We’ve had 500 percent growth over three consecutive years in terms of machines, and we’ve had comparable growth in revenue until spring of 2018, when it slowed down substantially,” he said.

Compared with traditional exchanges, the firm’s BTMs are convenient and offer direct peer-to-peer transactions, Spencer said, adding: “We do our account opening and compliance in real-time.”

The machines’ speed comes from a proprietary system that Coinsource developed to conduct know-your-customer checks. Where a customer would have to send a crypto exchange bank details and other proof of identification, Coinsource only needs a driver’s license, a selfie and a cellphone number.

Coinsource also makes it easier for unbanked individuals to access cryptocurrencies, Spencer said, as they do not need to possess a bank account to purchase bitcoin and can pay with cash.

Going forward

At present, Coinsource customers can only buy or sell bitcoin through the BTMs – they can’t actually send funds to other wallets yet.

Spencer explained that this is by design, as allowing that would be facilitating money transmission, so “you have to have a money transmission license in both jurisdictions – where you’re starting the transaction and where you’re ending the transaction.

However, the company currently has money transmission licenses in 18 states, with pending licenses in another 15. Spencer anticipates that by sometime next year, Coinsource will have be licensed in all 50 states.

“At that point in time, we’d be in a position to have people deposit cash into machines and transfer bitcoin into a third-party wallet, provided both customers were registered,” he said.

Outside of the U.S., Coinsource plans to expand operations potentially to Japan, South Africa and Puerto Rico.

Of these, Puerto Rico is likely to happen first, with the company already having a money transmitting license for the territory.

“We have had preliminary discussions with regulators in Japan to use that as a springboard for Asia, and we’ve had initial conversations with bankers and regulators in South Africa, but that’s probably the furthest out in terms of development,” Spencer said.

Further, being incorporated in Argentina, Coinsource already has a base for Latin and South American expansion.

The addition of cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin across all the firm’s machines is also on the cards in the “near future,” but “that’s contingent, of course, on regulatory approval,” he said.

This post is credited to coindesk

A new report from climate change scientists has raised the alarm over Bitcoin (BTC)’s carbon footprint and its potential future impact on global warming, published on Nature.com Oct. 29.

The report extrapolates existing data for Bitcoin’s electricity consumption together with various projections for the cryptocurrency’s adoption in coming years.

According to the report, in 2017, out of a rough total of 314.2 billion cashless transactions, Bitcoin’s share is estimated to have been around 0.033 percent. While acknowledging that “accelerated growth” is common at the early adoption stage of new technologies, the report nonetheless claims that even if Bitcoin follows a lower-level “median growth trend,” it could come to equal the global total of cashless transactions “in under 100 years.”

Should this materialize, cumulative emissions of Bitcoin usage would “cross the 2 C threshold within 22 years” if its adoption rate is similar to some of “the slowest broadly adopted technologies,” or within just “11 years” if adopted at the fastest rate of adoption. The carbon footprint forecast assumes that the fuel types used to generate power today will remain “relatively fixed” in future years.

For Bitcoin’s current carbon footprint, the report references recent research from Digiconomist calculated “on the assumptions” that:

“60 percent of the economic return of the Bitcoin transaction verification process goes to electricity, at $0.05 per kWh and 0.7 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) emitted per kWh, [resulting in an] estimate that Bitcoin usage emits 33.5 metric tons of CO2e annually, as of May 2018.”

While refraining from predicting Bitcoin’s “fate,” the scientists suggest that economic logic will prompt miners to migrate to areas with low cost power supplies, therefore proposing that “electricity decarbonization could help to mitigate Bitcoin’s carbon footprint — but only where the cost of electricity from renewable sources is cheaper than fossil fuels.”

Should energy costs remain high, more efficient hardware may help reduce its footprint, the report concedes, yet advises against relying on “yet-to-be-developed hardware.” It instead proposes “simple modifications to the overall system, such as adding more transactions per block or reducing the difficulty or time required to resolve the proof-of-work” in order to “immediately” reduce Bitcoin’s electricity consumption.

Not all energy experts concur with the common perception that high energy consumption is an “Achilles Heel” for Bitcoin. A report published in August critiqued the exclusive focus on mining’s energy-intensivity, emphasizing the importance of where the energy is produced and how it is generated, arguing that “electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment.”

This post is credit to cointelegraph

An arbitration body in China has ruled that despite the country’s central bank’s ban on cryptocurrency trading, bitcoin should still be legally protected as a property with economic values, Shenzhen Court announced on their official WeChat account on October 25, 2018.

Chinese Court Confirms Bitcoin Protected by Law

The Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration published a case analysis on October 25, 2018, via WeChat, clarifying its ruling on an economic dispute that involved a business contract relating to possession and transfer of crypto assets.

According to cnLedger, a prominent crypto and blockchain Twitter account that focuses on Chinese developments, the court’s verdict indicates that Chinese law permits consumers to transact and own Bitcoin. The local source added that the Shenzhen body has ruled the crypto asset legal due to its inherent nature as “property” and its “economic value.”

However, despite the same court also ruling that Bitcoin isn’t and never could be considered a legal currency, the lawyers working on the case didn’t agree with imposing an outright ban on the coin.

According to the court’s detailing, the lawyers overseeing this case acknowledged that the use of BTC “can bring economic benefits to parties,” and as such shouldn’t be invalidated in bona fide transactions and legitimate use cases.

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And while many remain hopeful for Bitcoin’s future in China, it’s important to note that this case underwent proceedings in Shenzhen, one of China’s special economic zones, which may have skewed the results of the case in favor of crypto assets.

Case Analysis

The court’s ruling on the legality of cryptocurrencies comes in favor of an unnamed plaintiff in an equity transfer dispute, in which the defendant failed to return holdings of bitcoin, bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin diamond (BCD) as had been agreed upon in a contractual agreement.

According to the case analysis, the unnamed plaintiff signed a contract agreement with the defendant, which allowed him to trade and manage a pool of cryptocurrencies on the plaintiff’s behalf.

After the plaintiff said the defendant failed and refused to return the cryptocurrencies after an agreed deadline, the case was brought to the arbitrator, seeking the return of the assets along with interest.

The arbitrator said one main argument made by the defendant was that the ban from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) on cryptocurrency trading and ICOs means crypto transactions should be illegal in China, rendering the contract invalid.

However, the arbitrator disagreed, explaining that there is no law in China currently that prohibits the possession of bitcoin and its transactions between individuals.

The court said that the nature of the case wasn’t about the currency’s legality, but about the contractual obligation for returning cryptocurrencies, which does not fall under the cryptocurrency trading or initial coin offering categories outlined in the PBoC’s September 2017 ban.

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