Simon Dixon (CEO & Co-founder of BnkToTheFuture) will discuss the latest events in Japan and the new game of cat and mouse between privacy centric crypto developers and dat hungry regulators. Source
There has never been a shortage of cryptocurrencies, tokens, and assets on the market. As this list continues to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for projects to stand out. pEOS is a very interesting offering for users who are looking into privacy-oriented projects. There are some interesting features worth taking note of, although that doesn’t necessarily mean this particular project will succeed in the long run.
Using the EOSIO Blockchain
As the name somewhat suggests, pEOS is a direct extension of the EOS cryptocurrency and blockchain project. The reason for this approach is because its developers are confident EOS has the best technology in terms of regular use, yet it does require some extra bells and whistles to make the currency private. To do so, the team has taken several key elements from Monero, which is widely considered to be the leading privacy-oriented cryptocurrency on the market today.
By doing so, the pEOS team allows users to make untraceable and private transaction, which is the main objective of this particular project. However, instead of using a completely new blockchain to achieve this goal, the project simply uses the EOSIO blockchain. Designing a new chain from scratch for this project is still an option being explored, but it seems unlikely that will happen anytime soon. Especially in terms of transaction limitations and interoperability concerns, going with the EOSIO offering seems to make a lot more sense.
Competing With the big Guns
It is rather apparent pEOS will have its work cut out to rival existing privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies. Monero, ZCash, and Dash have all made their mark on the cryptocurrency industry so far, yet most of the projects which came after have struggled to remain relevant for more than a few months. Whether or not pEOS will face a similar fate, is difficult to predict, although the reliance on EOS’ blockchain will certainly allow for some interesting use cases. That includes smart contracts, which can create some peculiar use cases.
Interestingly enough, the team feels now is a good time to launch a new privacy coin. The likes of Monero and ZCash have attracted a lot of negative attention in the past few months, which could see these currencies removed from several big exchanges in the months and years to come. Since most of these currencies are not too popular on decentralized trading platforms as of yet, pEOS can offer some stiff competition in that regard. Especially when considering how decentralized exchanges already use EOS technology, it seems logical to assume this token will make its way to those platforms as well.
Is it User-Friendly?
When it comes to privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies, they do not necessarily provide a user-friendly approach. It is very different to get involved in privacy coins compared to traditional offerings. In the case of pEOS, the token will be useful for EOS users, as they can transact them in a normal way as well as send funds to private addresses. Smart contracts offered by this project will have a public address, but one that isn’t related to any EOS public account.
In terms of verifying transactions, receivers can determine if transactions are for them through the view key. Every private transaction will also come with its own private spend key, which can only be used one time. This also ensures all information is kept private between sender and receiver, with no information being visible to others. Combined with ring signature technology, it will be very difficult to identify these transactions now or in the future.
According to the information provided to us, there is a fixed maximum supply of 1,250,000,000 pEOS tokens at all times. With the majority of tokens being distributed on a 1:1 basis to EOS holders based on a blockchain snapshot taken on February 15, 2019, those users should receive their tokens shortly. It is now up to wallet developers to build support for this privacy token, although it should not be overly difficult to do so. 50 million tokens are reserved for marketing, whereas 200 million tokens are used for the future development of the project.
Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.
“That is what really drew me to Bitcoin, because it had this property that means that, no matter how many people want to use Bitcoin we’re not going to make more than 21 million. Deal with it.” — Saifedean Ammous
Interview Location: Skype
Interview Date: Monday 15th, July
When landing in the world of Bitcoin there are many concepts down the rabbit hole to get lost in, from technology to economics there is a wealth of information available. Within the world of economics, many will discover the theory of Austrian economics for the first time.
Those who believe in Austrian Economics believe in free markets, the gold standard and minimal government intervention. So where does Bitcoin fit into this? Could it be the perfect tool to facilitate a free market Could it even become an improved and new gold standard?
To find out more, I sat down with Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard and an Associate Professor in Economics at the Lebanese American University. Having recently launched his online academy it was a great time for Saifedean to teach me more about Austrian Economics and catch up on our mutual love for Liverpool FC. We discuss:
Is Austrian Economics the only economic model that Bitcoin fits into?
Is taxation theft?
What makes a market a free market?
What is money and is Bitcoin money?
Will fractional reserve banking occur with Bitcoin?
Will central banks adopt Bitcoin?
Will improved monetary policy kill Bitcoin?
Will Liverpool win the Premier League in ‘20?
This episode is also on:
If the 2017/2018 cryptocurrency boom was altcoin season, then 2019 undoubtedly belongs to Bitcoin (BTC). The world’s biggest crypto is currently enjoying its highest level of market dominance in over two years. On the other hand, Ethereum has been progressively losing market share over 2019. The numbers demonstrate that BTC is still the most trusted of cryptocurrencies, which is underscored by the record levels of institutional investment currently flowing in.While this may not be great news for Ethereum and other alts, it’s excellent news for the projects involved in the Bitcoin ecosystem. RSK is one example. At the end of this month, the Bitcoin-based smart contract platform is due to issue a new release, dubbed Wasabi.This upcoming release is the culmination of several critical developments for the project since its launch in January 2018. With BTC grabbing an even bigger slice of market share, and the crypto community increasingly focused on decentralized finance (DeFi,) the timing couldn’t be better.Recent and Upcoming DevelopmentsEthereum and EOS tend to be the smart contract platforms that grab the headlines. However, the team at RSK has been making substantial headway in its platform development over recent months, with plenty more planned over the upcoming year.Built as a side chain of Bitcoin, RSK connects to the Bitcoin blockchain via a two-way peg. The platform uses its own coin called Smart BTC (SBTC) which is tethered to the price of Bitcoin. Because the side chain is merge mined with the Bitcoin blockchain, it effectively benefits from much of the same security of Bitcoin.In November last year, the company was acquired by RIF Labs which launched the RSK Infrastructure Framework, a continuation of the work started by the original development team. RIF outlined its plan to roll out five protocol updates in phases over time. The acquisition was a critical milestone, as RIF committed to developing open-source infrastructure that could, in time, be extended out to other blockchain platforms.In early 2019, it became the most secure smart contract platform in the world, beating out the competition with hashing power of over 35%.
While Bitcoin has always come under fire for its slow processing speed, RSK has proved its ability to handle speeds of up to 100 transactions per second. However, to further enhance speed and scalability, the project launched a third-layer solution called Lumino in May this year. Lumino operates on a similar concept to the Lightning Network, allowing individuals to open payment channels for near-instant, off-chain settlement. Transactions are recorded on the main chain once the channel is closed.Now, the company is set to release the Wasabi upgrade on July 31. The update features important performance and storage improvements, new native contracts, and general security improvements and bug fixes.Standing Up to the Competition Given the choice in smart contract platforms in 2019, it’s worthwhile considering why developers would choose RSK over the competition. Ethereum may have been the first blockchain to bring smart contract capability to the world; however, its struggles with scalability are seemingly endless. There is still no confirmed release date for the long-promised Serenity/ETH 2.0 upgrade. RSK allows dApp developers to write smart contracts in the Solidity smart contract programming language while offering superior transaction speeds compared to Ethereum.Furthermore, operating as a sidechain of the Bitcoin blockchain means enjoying all the security benefits that a truly decentralized blockchain can bring. EOS provides high throughput, but with only 21 block producers operating its delegated proof-of-stake protocol, the platform is frequently criticized for not being truly decentralized.Taking on the DeFi and Interoperability ChallengesThe SWARM partnership marks two critical steps in RSKs journey. It’s the first of many collaborations designed to position the project as a DeFi platform of choice. The DeFi space has tended to be dominated by Ethereum. Now, RSK’s efforts provide an unprecedented opportunity for DeFi developers to leverage the long-standing trust and security of the Bitcoin blockchain.Secondly, it demonstrates a clear commitment to enable Bitcoin’s interoperability with other blockchains. Interoperability is a crucial challenge over the next year or two, as enterprise adoption will hinge on whether blockchains can communicate with one another. IOV Labs, the company behind the project, is firmly committed to addressing this challenge with the Risk Infrastructure Framework.The competition among blockchain development platforms has never been hotter. Of course, there doesn’t necessarily have to be only one winner. However, those that will be successful in the long term are the ones that are laying the groundwork now, developing the technology and partnerships that mean sustainability in the future. Against all the odds, Bitcoin has thrived through its first ten years, and its dominance is only becoming more prevalent. RSK has every opportunity to leverage Bitcoin’s strength, along with its own competitive advantages to pull ahead of the crowd.Image by xresch from Pixabay Source
Tensions in the Middle East are revealing the extent of U.S. shale’s global influence. In early May, the price of Brent crude—the global benchmark—was around $70 a barrel. Since then, it has fallen roughly 10%.
In that time, Iran has stepped up disruptions of tankers in the Persian Gulf, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seizure of a British-flagged ship on Friday, following repeated attacks on vessels crossing the key waterway. Crude production in Venezuela and Iran—both under U.S. export bans—has declined by a combined 2.1 million barrels a day in the past year.
And OPEC and its Russia-led allies have made a major decision to continue export cuts well into 2020.
These events have yet to have a sustained effect on oil prices. Historically, rising concerns over global oil supply have tended to send Brent prices soaring. But U.S. production has been cushioning the blow with a surge in oil exports, report the Journal’s Benoit Faucon, Costas Paris and Ryan Dezember.
The muted reaction signals that the market believes the U.S. will pick up the slack in the event that war breaks out in the Middle East, RBC Capital Markets’ oil analysts said in a note to investors Sunday.
“Oil prices have become a broken barometer for gauging the rising pressure in the region and are now much more of a lagging risk indicator,” RBC said.
— John Simons, London Energy Editor
Tensions in the Middle East supported oil prices on Monday.
Brent was trading up 2.05% at $63.74 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. WTI futures were up 1.67% at $56.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Overall, U.S. oil prices have risen by 25% this year, but investors are not buying shares in the energy companies behind the rally, writes Ryan Dezember.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Video Shows Capture of British Tanker
Video: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has released footage showing some of its forces boarding the British tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Tensions Rise After Iran Captures Foreign Tanker
Ships plying the Strait of Hormuz are getting caught in the middle as Iran pushes back against U.S. sanctions, raising the risk of direct military confrontation, writes Sune Engel Rasmussen.
A British-flagged oil tanker Iran seized on Friday became the latest casualty of an Iranian response to perceived aggression from the West.
The Iranian seizure came a day after the U.S. Navy said it had shot down an Iranian drone over the Persian Gulf—which Iran denied.
The U.S. has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy since President Trump withdrew unilaterally from the 2015 international nuclear deal last year. Washington has also initiated a military buildup in the Persian Gulf, including an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force.
The U.S. has been pushing for countries that buy and sell Middle East oil to help protect the region’s waterways. The moves by Tehran and Washington increase the chance of an escalation of hostilities in the region, according to experts.
Iran’s Tanker Seizure Puts U.K. in the Hot Seat
Britain’s decision to detain an Iranian vessel off the coast of its overseas territory of Gibraltar earlier this month is dragging the country deeper into an escalating crisis between Iran and the West, report Max Colchester and Benoit Faucon. The U.K. government warned of a robust response but the crisis comes at a delicate time for the British government as it seeks to maintain good relations with the U.S. and the European Union amid preparations to leave the EU later this year.
Red Hot Shale Boom Shows Signs of Cooling
Shale drillers have little incentive to boost activity, even as oil prices are back on the rise. The number of active oil rigs in the U.S. fell to a 17-month low recently, according to oil-field-services company Baker Hughes, the latest sign that investor pressure to reduce spending has been a drag on U.S. production growth.
Neighbors Fight Over Water to Be Sold to Oil Firms
A fight over water resources is pitting Clayton Williams Jr., a former oil man, against his neighbors, writes Christopher M. Matthews.
Mr. Williams wants to pipe as much as 25 million gallons a day away from his family property in Texas and sell it to entities including oil companies.
The plan has riled farmers and ranchers that depend on income from selling their water to oil producers. Desert towns like Fort Stockton, near the Williams farm, fear their water sources will dry up.
Firm Contests Natural-Gas Waste in Texas
A pipeline company is challenging Texas’ practice of allowing energy firms to set unwanted natural gas on fire, in a case that could test state limits for how much of the fuel can legally go to waste, writes the Journal’s Rebecca Elliott.
U.S. drillers have unlocked massive quantities of natural gas as a byproduct of the shale boom and Texas has allowed them to freely burn off vast volumes as area pipelines fill up. The process is known as flaring. Now, the pipeline operator Williams Cos. is challenging a shale producer’s ability to burn all the gas it uncovers.
•Startups and big manufacturers like Airbus are retrofitting planes with electric-powered motors. (WSJ)
•The S&P 500 stocks Wall Street analysts have the most confidence in are concentrated in the oil and gas industry. (MarketWatch)
• Latin America’s national oil companies are unprepared for the looming energy transition. Here’s why. (The Economist)
•Decentralized renewable energy is helping solve both Africa’s electrification and high unemployment problems. (Quartz)
•The case for funding clean energy research and development in the U.S. (Vox)
Big Number: $400 million
That’s almost how much capital North American energy producers have raised by selling new shares, compared with $6.5 billion raised last year, according to Dealogic. Investors have become more skeptical of shale firms amid geopolitical uncertainty and turbulent oil prices, writes Stephanie Yang.
What We’re Watching
• The House Committee on Energy and Commerce holds a hearing on ways to decarbonize America’s economy on Wednesday.
–Correction: An earlier version of the Energy Journal, published July 8 reported incorrect dates that ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and Exxon planned to announce their second-quarter earnings. In fact, ConocoPhillips reports second-quarter earnings July 30. Chevron and Exxon Mobil are scheduled to report on Aug 2.
Reporter’s Notebook: Saudi-Iranian Secret Handshake
In recent months, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at odds in the oil market and in the broader world of geopolitics. The Kingdom has backed a U.S. push to punish Iran for its involvement in Middle East politics. Regional tensions escalated on Thursday when the U.S. said it had downed an Iranian drone and after Iran captured a U.K.-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. The incidents have the potential to bring more heartburn between Iran and Saudi Arabia—which needs the key waterway to export its oil. But as its relationship with Saudi Arabia in OPEC shows, Iran often manages disputes with caution, writes the Journal’s Benoit Faucon.
Ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries earlier this month, Tehran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh had warned that if Riyadh continues to strike backdoor oil deals with Moscow, “OPEC is going to die.”
Yet, upon entering the gathering at the group’s Vienna headquarters, Mr. Zanganeh raced toward his Saudi counterpart Khaled al-Falih and shook his hand, to the surprise of other delegates present in the room. Suheil Mazroui, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, felt left aside and moved to greet the Iranian too.
The men “wanted to send a clear message that they belonged to the same organization and should leave politics aside,” one of the witnesses said.
Still, after several rounds of negotiations, Mr. Zanganeh frustrated the rest of the room by constantly blocking a Saudi-championed alliance with Russia. “If you force me out, I will get out,” he threatened. It took a private meeting in a small side room for the Saudi and the Iranian to agree on guarantees that the new coalition would not replace OPEC. “It’s always the same: [Mr. Zanganeh] comes in angry and he leaves smiling,” said one attendee.
— [email protected]
Q&A: SAS Flies Toward Green Horizon
SAS Head of Sustainability Lars Andersen Resare, in front of an airplane at Arlanda airport in Sweden. PHOTO: SAS.
Scandinavia’s SAS became the world’s first airline to give passengers a way to travel between Copenhagen and Tokyo with a shortcut over the North Pole in 1957. Now it wants to lead the aviation sector in the adoption of biofuels, says Lars Andersen Resare, the carrier’s head of sustainability.
The move is part of the Sweden-based company’s plan to lower its carbon emissions, according to Mr. Resare, who spoke to the Journal’s Neanda Salvaterra.
The transportation sector accounted for 24% of carbon emissions from fuel combustion in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. SAS wants to reduce its emissions to below zero in the next three decades and exclusively use so-called green diesel on all domestic flights by 2030.
Mr. Resare views the firm’s mission as urgent. The carrier recently reported a decline in earnings for the second quarter of 2019, partly reflecting a decline in domestic demand, as Swedish consumers travel less or choose other modes of transportation due to concerns about global warming, says Mr. Resare. Edited excerpts:
Q:What’s the aim of SAS’s biofuels program?
A: We want to purchase fuels with lower greenhouse gas emissions. We have worked together with some of the energy suppliers in our region like Air BP (the aviation-fuel division of BP). As of today [out of our total fuel consumption] we use under 0.1% of biofuels. We have a goal [by] 2030, we want to use approx. 18% to 20%. We have also pursued a partnership with Preem [a Nordic refiner.] They are going to expand their green diesel production capabilities and use cooking oil to produce fuels to get something around 200,000 cubic liters of jet fuel by 2023. That’s a big production increase from what we have today.
Q:How do you foresee public sentiment on climate change affecting your industry?
A: If we don’t reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from our operations, we will not have license to operate going forward in connection to all the targets in the Paris agreement. We operate in a market where the general public awareness is high.
We anticipate that we will have net negative emissions by 2050. We need to do this and if we don’t, it will probably be so expensive to emit greenhouse gases that we can’t handle it and it affects the price so much that our customers won’t be able to buy our product. So it’s all about future-proofing our business.
Q:What policies could help SAS’s push to reduce its carbon footprint?
A:We have a lot of national and regional legislation covering emissions and they are typically not aligned. We have a passenger tax in Sweden and Norway where there is no incentive to reduce emissions. They are the same whether or not we have an aircraft from the 1950’s flying on fossil fuel or a new aircraft flying on 50% biofuels. These kind of economic measures have to be aligned in order to steer towards lower emissions. We don’t see that right now. Unfortunately, we just see that we have a number of different taxes and duties, and they are typically set per passenger and per flight and if they cover carbon emissions than they should of course be lower.
We want to be your first energy read of the week. This newsletter is a production of the global WSJ energy team, which is made up of a dozen editors and reporters in Houston, New York, London and Dubai. Send feedback to John Simons and Neanda Salvaterra at [email protected].
Bitcoin Futures Introduced To Bakkt As Exchange Seeks To Further Crypto Trading For Institutional Investors
Crypto trading is a fast growing industry across the world and exchanges are making moves to accommodate digital assets in their offerings. As more exchanges avail crypto trading to the public, the industry could receive a much needed boost.
As crypto trading continues to grow, Bakkt has announced that they are commencing user acceptance testing for the Bitcoin futures contracts on the exchange. The user acceptance testing process will start on the 22nd of July. Bakkt is a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange, an American firm that also owns the New York Stock Exchange. The Chief Operations Officer of Bakkt, Adam White, said that the company’s Bitcoin futures will be listed and traded on ICE Futures U.S. The futures will also be cleared at ICE Clear U.S.
Crypto markets need to improve a few things
As pointed out by White, institutional investors have had minimal participation in crypto markets. When compared to other financial markets, digital asset exchanges receive little attention from institutional investors. White believes that this is because the current infrastructure does not encourage investor participation. He says that there should be the establishment of clear regulatory guidelines and infrastructure improvement before investors can be attracted to the markets.
The COO also pointed out to the fact that digital asset exchanges have lower trading volumes and insufficient liquidity. Transparency in the prices of offering is another challenge and this is fueled by a lack of proper regulatory structures. Institutional investors are not provided with proper trading tools when they engage with digital assets and all these factors are detrimental to the growth of crypto trading.
In a bid to solve the challenges that crypto exchanges are facing, Bakkt is looking to provide compliant financial products. The compliance will be achieved by offering regulated custody as part of their Bitcoin futures contracts. Bakkt also has intentions to build an infrastructure that can be trusted by traders while providing a seamless global network that can be used to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies. If Bakkt makes good on their promise, Bitcoin trading will receive a much needed boost as more institutional investors can participate in its trade.
At the company’s trading desk, there will be a listing of daily settlement Bitcoin futures contracts. Using this, traders will be able to engage in same day market transactions. Additionally, there will also be monthly Bitcoin futures contracts listed on the trading desk. These will enable trading in the front month and across the forward pricing curve.
Bakkt will offer investors physically settled daily futures contracts for Bitcoin. Reports suggest that these contracts will be on offer for investors in over 30 countries around the world. Traders will have to go through strict KYC and AML checks before they are able to engage with the Bitcoin futures contracts offered by Bakkt. The launch of the products offered by Bakkt is only waiting for the green light from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).