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Collider Labs Raises $1M to Invest in Blockchain Startups

The venture builder is seeking to invest in early-stage startups with a focus on transparency, privacy and “fairness.”

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Collider Labs has raised $1 million to be invested in early-stage blockchain and cryptocurrency startups.

In an announcement Thursday, the venture builder said the raise had brought on board several notable limited partners including Efficient Frontier CTO Alon Elmaliah and Follow [the] Seed Founding Partner Andrey Shirben.

Collider provides funding and liquidity and actively participates in building up startups alongside their communities and founders, according to the firm’s founding partner, Avishay Ovadia.

The company is actively seeking to invest in early-stage blockchain and crypto startups globally, with a focus transparency, privacy and “fairness.”

Collider “is a venture builder that somewhat resembles an accelerator” Ovadia said. With some “key characteristics” that differentiate it from a typical accelerator.

Venture builders, also known as startup studios, pair with early-stage startups and utilize their own ideas and resources to, if all goes according to plan, construct viable enterprises.

According to Ovadia, Collider forms partnerships with founders, invests in teams and works alongside them as what he calls “Investors in Residence.”

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/collider-labs-raises-1m-to-invest-in-blockchain-startups

Blockchain

Malta’s Pivots to Becoming a Fintech Haven

Crypto enthusiasts and industry observers alike are asking what happened after the joyous announcements and parties. A better question would be to ask what happened before all that. In short, there is an essential mismatch between the original vision in 2017 and the original actions taken in 2018. To see the mismatch, ask yourself a … Continued

The post Malta’s Pivots to Becoming a Fintech Haven appeared first on BeInCrypto.

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The Malta “Blockchain Island” story that captured crypto-loving hearts in 2018 came to a sudden end in early 2020. The announcement by the Maltese government that it is pivoting to becoming a fintech center is only the most direct message this year of the failure by the government to square the circle of cryptocurrencies and the legacy system. Other signs, mostly confined to the banking sector, confirm the change.

Crypto enthusiasts and industry observers alike are asking what happened after the joyous announcements and parties. A better question would be to ask what happened before all that. In short, there is an essential mismatch between the original vision in 2017 and the original actions taken in 2018. To see the mismatch, ask yourself a question: “Why would I brand a coin haven, ‘Blockchain Island’?”

One of six

BeInCrypto asked Steve Tendon, who coined the phrase “Blockchain Island” in 2017, about the mismatch. He replied that cryptocurrency was only one of the six main points underlying the blockchain concept. These points were:

  • Public registries/services on the blockchain;
  • R&D, education and innovation with and on the blockchain;
  • Appoint a blockchain regulator and create a regulatory infrastructure;
  • Regulate cryptocurrencies/tokens, including exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICO);
  • E-residency and digital identity (of individuals and legal entities) on the blockchain;
  • Smart governance.

However, the focus quickly fell upon cryptocurrency. On Feb. 23, 2017, at the CEPS Ideas Lab conference, Malta’s then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claimed that “Europe should become the bitcoin continent.” Tendon notes in his Chain Strategies blog post on Malta’s course that:

“A lot of work had to be done to refocus the project on the idea that blockchain technologies, and not cryptocurrencies, had to take center stage.”

Moves to realize the non-crypto aspects of the vision commenced. The Ministry of Education and Employment announced in 2017, that it would put academic records on blockchain. The fanfare was minimal.

Pivot I

Despite the attempt to keep to the original script, though, the allure of crypto proved overwhelming.

The idea was simple, if you believed Muscat. In 2018, Malta would pass three laws designed to set the country up as “Blockchain Island.” In the face of ever-tightening regulation in the United States and in particular Asia, the vision of a crypto haven would catch the attention of many companies in the industry. In the short term, it worked.

The three laws, passed on July 4, 2018, were met with great acclaim in the industry. These laws were:

  • Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA Act);
  • Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS Act);
  • Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act).

Commercial confirmation of Muscat’s vision came as well. Binance, the largest trading platform in the world, at the time, landed in Malta precisely because of fears of regulatory issues in Hong Kong, after being banned in Japan early in 2018. Shortly afterward, Binance’s main competitor on the exchange markets, OKEx, followed suit.  

However, cracks began to appear, once implementation met bureaucratic and commercial realities. Incoming companies wrangled with bureaucratic issues. But at the heart of the matter was banking. It became very difficult for crypto startups to be banked in Malta.

Banking their replacements – not

Malta’s efforts ran into a commercial snag: banks were in no hurry to service blockchain and crypto-oriented companies setting up shop on the island. The irony of banks refusing to open accounts for companies who are setting up an alternative to banks seems to have been lost, but the problem is real enough.

Malta’s largest banks, HSBC and Bank of Valetta, are under direct European Central Bank (ECB) scrutiny due to their market share. However, smaller banks trying to fill the gap in the local market soon learned to fear getting caught up in money laundering schemes and becoming the next example of what happens when banks go bad.

Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has launched investigations into — and recommended that the ECB revoke the licences of — a few banks that catered to igaming and financial services, but also engaged in suspicious transactions. These moves by the MFSA occurred while Malta faced attention from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL). 

MONEYVAL’s committee visited Malta in November 2018 as part of their review of the country’s status in implementing anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) measures.

MONEYVAL found Malta’s AML/CFT implementation to be spotty, especially in terms of investigations and enforcement. After an unimpressive 2019 follow-up visit, MONEYVAL gave the country a year to clean house or be placed under even greater monitoring measures.

Malta’s investigations into Pilatus Bank and Satabank were attempts to signal to all that the government could flex its muscles. Gaining bank accounts as well as licences would be an uphill battle. Tendon told BeInCrypto that reputational risk could well have taken its toll in this matter.

Pivot II

Physical events in Malta also had a bearing on the course of the would-be crypto haven. PM Muscat was linked substantially with the now infamous “Panama Papers” leaks by murdered journalist Daphne Anne Vella. Muscat, who had won a second term in the July 2017 general election, was forced out of office due to the ensuing scandal. He resigned effective Jan. 13, 2020.

The new government of PM Robert Abela is progressively moving Malta’s stance away from the previous emphasis on crypto-focused companies and toward a more nuanced return to Tendon’s original idea. The government introduced a regulatory sandbox for fintech companies in July 2020.

A full 70 per cent of the companies, which flocked to Malta at the beginning of the crypto haven phase, failed to file for full licensing. Malta is not begging them to return, and the new government gained attention by reporting to media that anchor Binance was not Malta-licensed in financial services terms.

Onward to 2021

Maltese regulators have been busy in fall 2020. At the end of October, VAIOT, a developer of AI-powered digital services, successfully registered its white paper with MFSA and thus became the first project regulated under the VFAA.

On Nov. 24, Crypto.com gained both a Financial Institution License and a Class 3 Virtual Financial Assets License. 

Despite the twists and turns of Malta’s journey, the essential, blockchain regulatory structure remains for the government to build upon. As Tendon told BeInCrypto: “The MDIA act and the ITAS act are still two ground-breaking laws that would serve as the basis for a ‘blockchain’-focused agenda.”

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James Hydzik is a finance and technology writer and editor based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is especially interested in the development of regulation in the face of increasingly rapid technological change. He previously covered the CEE region for Financial Times banking and FDI magazines. An ardent believer in gut renovating eastern Europe one flat at a time, he currently holds more home renovation gear than crypto.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/maltas-pivots-to-becoming-a-fintech-haven/

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Blockchain Voting is Possible: Dispelling Myths & Fears

Part of the motivation for this discussion stems from a clearer picture of the problems that we hope to move away from — namely, voter suppression, low turnout, and slow and costly election infrastructure. This past year, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, has taught us that we must be prepared to exercise democracy through any … Continued

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Many of us in the field of digital voting have noticed a drastic shift in public discourse throughout this past year. Supporters and skeptics alike have become increasingly vocal, and it seems more and more people are forming an opinion on the topic. The question is shifting away from whether or not digital voting will become widespread in the next decade and instead rests on how this shift will happen.

Part of the motivation for this discussion stems from a clearer picture of the problems that we hope to move away from — namely, voter suppression, low turnout, and slow and costly election infrastructure. This past year, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, has taught us that we must be prepared to exercise democracy through any and all conditions.

Beyond this reaction to the problems inherent in our current voting systems, however, is a vision of an entirely different governance model with deeper citizen participation and engagement.

What if blockchain voting could enable us to self-organize in a democratic and participatory manner at a larger scale than ever before? With secure, anonymous, universally-verifiable, and extremely user-friendly voting from a mobile phone, such a shift is possible.

Debunking blockchain voting myths

Unfortunately, fear of blockchain voting systems is at an all-time high. Many critics, including authors of a recent paper from the MIT Medialab’s Digital Currency Initiative, point to very real problems with the technology that will have to be addressed. But many also inflate these problems, fall into common misconceptions, and mistakenly declare blockchain voting irredeemable.

Let’s break down some of these myths.

Blockchain voting can’t be anonymous

Myth

One of the most prevalent myths about blockchain voting is that it precludes voter anonymity. For a system, which relies solely on blockchain, this is true. And anonymity is certainly a challenge.

Reality

But as my colleagues and I at the digital voting project Vocdoni point out in our reply to the aforementioned MIT paper, this requirement is achievable. The technology for breaking the link between a voter and their individual ballot, while preserving verifiability, already exists (with some room for improvement).

Blockchain voting can’t be as secure as paper-ballot voting

Myth

Skeptics of blockchain voting systems tend to point out the vulnerabilities of closed-source solutions which rely on blockchain but include centralized, trusted components. They also point out other weaknesses like hardware vulnerabilities.

Reality

There’s no reason a blockchain voting system can’t be fully open-source, publicly auditable, and distributed among trustless decentralized components. As mentioned above, this technology already exists and provides complete verifiability for each vote from the time it leaves a voter’s phone to the publishing of results.

One of the ongoing challenges to the security of such a system is users’ phones themselves. Many point out that it’s impossible to verify that a device is uncompromised, and this is technically true.

Mitigation measures such as encrypted and separated storage, multi-factor authentication, and password keylogger protection significantly reduce the attack surface, but any mobile solution would ultimately rely on the security of the underlying operating systems. This is something to be improved upon, not to be cast away as hopeless. With each mitigation measure attacks become more difficult to employ and less scalable.

Blockchain voting brings more coercion and vote buying

Myth

As elections go digital, the potential for coercion and vote buying increases dramatically. Attacks become easier to scale and automate. Many believe that this problem is inevitable and indefensible.

Reality

While coercion and vote buying are major issues, there are several innovations that could mitigate or eliminate the threat.

First, a system could allow voters to amend their votes during an election period (before votes are counted). Someone who is coerced into voting a certain way could later change their vote.

Second, vote verification could be designed to allow users to prove they own a certain vote only until an election ends, at which point anyone could generate a proof for any vote. This would make it much more difficult for users to prove their vote to a nefarious outside party.

And third, ongoing efforts are promising: while it is not yet implemented, research shows theoretical backing for a design, which would anonymize the content of each ballot, effectively making it impossible for a voter to prove their vote in exchange for a reward.

Political challenges

Perhaps the greatest roadblock to the adoption of blockchain voting is its human component. News media has a tendency to over-state the risk of fraud in our current systems, and this would only increase with further digitization.

Early-adopters of the technology would take a huge reputational risk. Furthermore, the potential democratization of governance that makes blockchain voting so inspiring might be the very reason many governments shy away from it.

This challenge can only be tackled through persistent advocacy for better democratic methods. We must highlight the power of blockchain voting to enable a participation model that goes far beyond sparse general elections.

The good news is that there are already several national and local governments, such as Switzerland and Estonia, with extensive records of successful digital voting processes. And we believe this trend will grow in the coming years. We need to make sure that — as the use of digital voting expands — it is done with the best technology available.

What’s Next?

Blockchain voting is certainly an uphill battle. Each of these concerns is a mix of real-world challenges and widely-held misconceptions that need to be teased out from each other and addressed.

But we believe that we have solved the core issues at hand, and what we need now is time, iteration, and testing. Just like paper-ballot voting systems, which initially had to overcome many of the same problems, blockchain voting must evolve and improve over the course of its use.

It cannot be overstated that there are challenges inherent in any digital voting system, and blockchain will never be an easy, catch-all solution. Rather than shying away from this difficulty, in a world where digital voting is likely inevitable, we should design systems with our aspirations in mind.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of BeInCrypto.

Written by Nate Williams, a recent graduate and full-stack developer at Vocdoni, an e-voting project built on open source technologies including Ethereum, zk-SNARKs and IPFS.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/blockchain-voting-is-possible-dispelling-myths-fears/

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Blockchain

Chinese Banks Suspend New Gold Trading Accounts Creation Amid Price Slump

Commercial banks in China are suspending the creation of new gold and precious metal trading accounts amid massive volatility in the market. Positive coronavirus vaccine trial news has seen a pivot from haven assets to riskier investment instruments causing a significant decline in precious metal prices. Chinese Banks Wary of Gold Price Volatility According to … Continued

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Commercial banks in China are suspending the creation of new gold and precious metal trading accounts amid massive volatility in the market.

Positive coronavirus vaccine trial news has seen a pivot from haven assets to riskier investment instruments causing a significant decline in precious metal prices.

Chinese Banks Wary of Gold Price Volatility

According to a Reuters report on Nov. 27, major Chinese banks are suspending the opening of new gold trading accounts beginning from Saturday (Nov. 30). The suspension reportedly covers both over-the-counter and mobile banking channels.

Earlier in November, some banks in the country issued warnings about impending restrictions on forex and precious metals. At the time, palpable concerns raged about the possibility of the US election fallout causing significant disruptions in the global market.

In a statement on its website, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China declared:

Affected by the global epidemic situation and the international political and economic situation, international and domestic precious metals price continued to show volatility, market risks, and uncertainties increased.

Friday’s announcement does not affect customers with existing gold trading accounts. However, the banks are warning investors to be wary of the current volatility in the market.

The gold price has been on the decline since the start of November, dipping by more than 8%. As of press time, gold futures are down to their lowest level in over five months with spot price dropping below the $1,800 price mark.

Back in early August, gold reached an all-time high (ATH) price of $2,060 per ounce. However, good news on coronavirus vaccines dampened investor optimism in haven assets triggering a significant price tumble.

Like gold, Bitcoin (BTC) is also experiencing price struggles after failing to break its ATH earlier in November. The largest crypto by market capitalization has seen over $3,000 shaved off its 2020 price high.

As previously reported by BeInCrypto, BTC is hunting for a support level following multiple rejections at the $17,500 price band.

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Osato is a reporter at BeInCrypto and Bitcoin believer based in Lagos, Nigeria. When not immersed in the daily happenings in the crypto scene, he can be found watching historical documentaries or trying to beat his Scrabble high score.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/chinese-banks-suspend-new-gold-trading-accounts-creation-amid-price-slump/

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NANO Rejected but Could Attempt Another Breakout Soon

Despite the sharp drop, the price already found support and is expected to soon create a higher low and begin moving towards the resistance levels outlined in the article. Long-Term Breakout The NANO price followed a descending resistance line from May 2019 until recently. On Nov 21 the price began an upward move and broke … Continued

The post NANO Rejected but Could Attempt Another Breakout Soon appeared first on BeInCrypto.

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The Nano (NANO) price broke out from a long-term resistance line on Nov. 24. The price was rejected shortly afterwards and has been decreasing since.

Despite the sharp drop, the price already found support and is expected to soon create a higher low and begin moving towards the resistance levels outlined in the article.

Long-Term Breakout

The NANO price followed a descending resistance line from May 2019 until recently. On Nov 21 the price began an upward move and broke out above this line three days later, reaching a high of $1.51.

However, the price was rejected at the $1.45 resistance area. A long upper wick appeared and the price fell back below the descending resistance line. It is possible that NANO now follows an ascending support line (dashed), which in turn would create a symmetrical triangle pattern. However, the line has not been validated a sufficient number of times.

Technical indicators are ambiguous, and fail to give a clear indication of the trend. While the MACD & RSI are increasing, the Stochastic Oscillator has made a bearish cross.

If the price breaks out, the next resistance area would be found at $2.05, the top of the descending resistance line and 0.5 Fib retracement level of the most recent decrease.

NANO Chart By TradingView

Cryptocurrency trader @GolrishBeck tweeted a NANO chart, which shows that the price has broken out from a long-term descending resistance line. While that was true in the beginning of the week, the decrease that transpired on Nov 26 put the breakout in doubt by creating the aforementioned long upper wick.

Source: Twitter

Re-Test Of The Breakout Level

The daily time-frame shows that despite the drop, the price has returned and validated the breakout level at $0.96 as support by creating a long lower wick. The level is also the 0.618 Fib retracement of the entire upward move, increasing its significance.

Furthermore, technical indicators are bullish, and the daily RSI has generated hidden bullish divergence. This suggests that the price will move upwards and possibly make another attempt at breaking out.

NANO Chart By TradingView

The shorter-term chart shows that the price already made an attempt at moving upwards but was rejected by the 0.5 Fib retracement level and has decreased.

In order for the trend to be considered bullish, NANO has to clear the 0.5-0.618 Fib resistance between $1.20-$1.26, or create a higher low and some type of bullish structure.

Short-term indicators support this possibility since both the RSI & MACD are increasing.

NANO Chart By TradingView

Wave Count

Since the aforementioned Nov 24 high, the price seems to have completed an A-B-C downward structure (orange). The move transpired in three waves instead of five, so the NANO price has not begun a new bearish impulse (period highlighted in red).

Therefore, what will follow now is either a new bullish impulse or a corrective B wave (white). At the time of writing, there is not enough information to determine which will occur.

However, since the decrease transpired in three waves, the ensuing move would be expected to reach the 0.9 Fib level of the decrease even if it is not the beginning of a new impulse. This would take the NANO price back towards $1.45.

Until the structure starts to develop, we cannot determine if it is a new bullish impulse.

NANO Chart By TradingView

Conclusion

To conclude, if it has not already done so, the NANO price is expected to soon reach a bottom. Then, it will begin to move upwards towards the $1.45 resistance area and possibly higher.

For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin analysis, click here!

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency trading carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. The views expressed in this article do not reflect those of BeInCrypto

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Valdrin is a cryptocurrency enthusiast and financial trader. After obtaining a masters degree in Financial Markets at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics he began working at the Ministry of Economic Development in his native country of Kosovo.
In 2019, he decided to focus full-time on cryptocurrencies and trading.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/nano-rejected-but-could-attempt-another-breakout-soon/

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