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Crypto Users Increased to 35 Million in 2018

As we approach the new year, it’s time to reflect on all that happened in 2018. In the cryptocurrency sector, there were a few ups and downs, more so than in 2017, the year the crypto boom took flight. But while various companies (and coins) had their share of plunges, the number of crypto users in 2018 doubled.

Well, almost.

Crypto Users in 2018

On Wednesday, December 12th, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance published a study detailing the number of ‘verified’ crypto users the sector gained in 2018. The figure was over 15 million (17 million, to be exact).

The study also said the number of ID-verified crypto users came close to doubling in the first three quarters of the year. It went from 18 million to a whopping 35 million.

Despite the 2018 crypto market decline, which caused many to run in the opposite direction, the Cambridge Centre study puts the future of crypto in an optimistic light. In fact, Bloomberg, when analyzing the study, concludes that even though the market declined in 2018, the increase in crypto users is evidence that an eventual recovery might be on the way. Bloomberg also believes the study indicates that most crypto users are “still speculators and long-term investors.”

>> Ethereum (ETH) Constantinople Hard Fork Nears and ETH Hacks Rise

Should We Believe the Crypto Study?

Crypto 2018 was a rollercoaster ride. Some lost hope, others did not. Cameron Winklevoss, a co-founder of Gemini, described the year well in a tweet:

One thing, however, that we can take away from the Cambridge study is that it’s not just business clients who are investing in cryptocurrency. Instead, it’s individuals, like consumers, retail investors, and anyone “seeking a better investment or payment alternative.”

As long as there’s an audience seeking these market changes, it’s likely crypto 2019 will see continued user growth; even if the prices of coins plunge from time to time (looking at you, Bitcoin).

What do you think?

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Orbs Blockchain | Raises $15 Million With Kakao’s Help

South Korean app provider, Kakao, has helped to raise over $15 million in cryptocurrency for Orbs, a hybrid blockchain platform.

Orbs Blockchain Raises $15 Million

Kakao joined the fundraising venture through its investment arm because it “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups and Orbs is a good example.

It also builds on the pair’s existing partnership; Orb already partners with Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary, Ground X. The two companies develop blockchain applications, along with researching and developing projects.

The latest investment will “focus on helping Orbs further the protocol’s development and growth.”

On the investment, Daniel Peled, Orbs CEO and Co-Founder said:

“With Kakao’s consumer applications counting more than 50 million active users worldwide, the investment in Orbs represents a significant endorsement of the long-term potential of our technology.”

About Orbs Blockchain

But what exactly is Orbs doing? How is it innovative?

According to its website Orbs is “a public blockchain to complement base-layer protocols.”

Describing itself as a “universal and scalable second layer for decentralized applications with the liquidity of a base layer,” Orbs is a hybrid public blockchain that proves performance without compromising security.

Raising Funds

The startup raised approximately 139,000 Ether and 892 Bitcoin. This amounts to around $15.4 million USD at the time of writing.

>> Is Bitcoin ABC the Real Bitcoin Cash? OKEx Thinks So!

Orbs is planning on putting the cash into further research and development of its core technology.

Peled explained further:

“A lot of the funds have been used for R&D and research, and one of the other verticals that are very important is obviously to enable the growth of the ecosystem around the infrastructure […] The test product is already live, and people can use the APIs and we’ve released a testnet version.”

The fundraiser has been running throughout 2018, and the company has been clever with its raised cryptocurrency. To avoid market decline (and 2018 has been one big decline!) Orbs has been converting some of its cryptos along the way into fiat currencies.

Orbs’ mainnet is scheduled to go live in April 2019.

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Ethereum (ETH) Constantinople Hard Fork Nears and ETH Hacks Rise

Two days ago, brand new code was released on GitHub that had a Constantinople activation time within it. The post reads that Geth, or ‘Go Ethereum,’ is a special release and a hard fork will take place on the Ethereum (ETH) mainnet at block 7,080,000. This new hard fork is expected to take place around January 16th, 2019.

Ethereum (ETH) Constantinople

Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, re-tweeted the tweet above on December 7th. Ethereum core devs agreed to finally launch the Constantinople hard fork on that day. Constantinople comprises separate Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). These separate proposals are geared towards softening the transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

This change is long-awaited, and something Ethereum developers have been planning for years. PoS would fundamentally change Ethereum (ETH) by means of a host of new upgrades. PoW has been under strong criticism as it has been known to be far less energy-efficient than PoS.

Due to the fundamental change in the Ethereum blockchain, all nodes must either update with the entire system or carry on running as a separate blockchain. A trial run of the hard fork was run on Ropsten back in October, and a consensus issue was found. This is what caused the delay in the hard fork until late-January.

>> Blockchain Start-Up Orbs Raises $15 Million With Kakao’s Help

Back on December 10th, Buterin went on one of his famous multi-tweet Twitter rants. In this particular 15 tweet rant, he discussed non-financial applications of blockchains.

The Ethereum co-founder believes that PoS and sharding will make blockchains thousands of times more efficient.

Ethereum Hacks

On the same day of the Twitter rant, ZDNet released a report on the increase of hacks targeting Ethereum. Recently, hackers have begun scanning the network and are identifying mining rigs and Ethereum wallets with an exposed port 8545. By doing this, hackers can gain control of the mining rig or crypto wallet and direct funds elsewhere.

It seems hackers aren’t concerned with the dropping price of Ethereum (ETH).

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Bitcoin ABC Listed as Real Bitcoin Cash by OKEx

OKEx has officially taken sides in the Bitcoin Cash hash war. According to an official statement made by the Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange today, it will list Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash (BCH) ticker.

Bitcoin ABC Wins with OKEx

The statement reads:

“We will change the ticker of Bitcoin Cash ABC from BCHABC to BCH, and that of Bitcoin Cash SV from BCHSV to BSV at 5am Dec 13, 2018 (CET, UTC +1). At the same time, spot trading of BCHABC and BCHSV will also be suspended. All remaining balance of the original BCH will be settled, and the asset will be removed from your account.”

The Bitcoin Cash hard fork split took place on November 15th and caused a lot of drama within the cryptocurrency community. In addition to the drama, coins began falling at a rapid rate as investors lost confidence.

From the beginning, Bitcoin ABC has been supported by a number of the major cryptocurrency exchanges. Bitcoin ABC is led by Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com. The more conservative upgrade to the Bitcoin Cash protocol was supported by Coinbase, Binance, and Bitmain from the beginning. Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by the Winklevoss twins, also voiced it would only support Bitcoin ABC.

>> Denmark Crypto Taxes: It’s Making Sure You Pay Em!

Its competitor, Bitcoin SV, was founded by Craig Wright. Bitcoin SV was the more radical protocol upgrade and increased the block size of BCH from 32MB to 128 MB. Craig Wright named the upgrade Bitcoin SV or ‘Satoshi’s Vision’ because he believes it is what the original Bitcoin (BTC) was meant to be. Wright has claimed in the past that he is the originator of the Bitcoin whitepaper released in 2008 and has been called ‘Faketoshi’ by the crypto community.

Bitcoin Cash ABC has claimed victory. CoinMarketCap, the world’s most used cryptocurrency index, has even kept Bitcoin ABC’s movement under the original Bitcoin Cash (BCH) ticker. Sorry, Faketoshi.

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Denmark Crypto Taxes | It’s Making Sure You Pay Em!

There’s no getting around Denmark’s tax agency, Skattestyrelsen, so don’t even try. The agency is pursuing Denmark crypto taxes with vigor and is leaving no stone left unturned!

Denmark Crypto Taxes

Skattestyrelsen has confirmed that approximately 2,700 individuals owe taxes on Bitcoin gains, according to a release it made earlier.

These individuals reportedly bought and sold Bitcoin via a Finnish cryptocurrency exchange between 2015 and 2017. However, they have yet to declare any profits or losses on their tax documentation. Whoops!

It’s now an agency priority to chase down these people and make them pay their dues.

Tax Director Karin Bergen commented:

“Right now we are identifying the individual citizens and keeping the new information up to those we already have […] If something does not match, we will contact them and ask for more information. However, how many people it is and what it may mean, it is still too early to say.”

Denmark Crypto Taxes: Tip-Off

But the agency didn’t just unearth this news. Rather, it received a tip-off believed to have come from the Finnish tax authorities. It is still unknown which exchange is involved, but LocalBitcoins has been touted as a potential, as it is one of the biggest international P2p Bitcoin trading platforms around.

It also just so happens to be Finland-based.

The platform recently brought in limited Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer processes for “high volume” account holders.

>> Blockchain Phone: Will Samsung Enter the Ring? Trademarks Say Yes!

Tip of the Iceberg

The 2,700 individuals purchased $7.55 million worth of Bitcoin and sold $8.05 million worth. Bergen believes that figures like these are “probably just the tip of the iceberg.”

She continued:

“The knowledge we gain about data mining, segments and methods in general will make us wiser in the area and benefit from our guidance and control work.”

The attitudes in Denmark towards cryptocurrency are mixed. The country is moving towards adoption with a total of 1,500 restaurants accepting Bitcoin via an online portal. However, not paying your Denmark crypto taxes may create a few sour faces towards the digital asset.

America faces similar issues regarding crypto taxes. Tax agency Credit Karma reported that fewer than 100 people out of 250,000 declared any gains or losses on cryptocurrency in 2018.

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