Feb 132018

The Governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, said in front of the parliament members last Tuesday that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to the Yen and won’t pose a danger to existing standard payments in the near future.

Haruhiko Kuroda

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda (pic: wikimedia commons)

“For the time being, the digital coins are generally used for speculative trading rather than making payments”, said the governor adding that the Bank of Japan keeps an eye on the cryptocurrency market to ensure they do not “erode public trust” on existing settlement systems the bank currently oversees.

“Cryptocurrencies aren’t legal tenders and don’t have assets to back up their value… Some people say they should be described as crypto-assets, not cryptocurrencies,” said Kuroda.

A survey conducted by John McAfee revealed that 58% of over 45,000 poll participants see cryptocurrencies more as an investment than a means of payment. However, this figure is expected to change once the virtualcoin market has matured and then increasingly more financial transactions will be done in Bitcoin, Ethereum and their alternatives.

So far, Japan is known to be one of the most crypto friendly nations in the world as cryptocurrencies have been regulated by the government and increasing number of shops and businesses in the country accept Bitcoin and other altcoins as a means of payment.

Feb 122018

The Historic Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany, is home to the oldest unopened bottle of wine in the world. The content of the Speyer wine bottle remained remarcably untouched for 1,693 years.

oldest wine bottle

Römerwein von Speyer – world’s oldest wine bottle (pic: CAROLE RADDATO)

The one-and-a-half-liter sealed vessel, which is also called Römerwein aus Speyer, was appareently buried in the tomb of a Roman noble dicovered near Speyer in 1867. Researchers estimate it dates back to 325 AD.

The wine was most likely made from local grapes that were planted during the Roman times. There are other plants whose identity has not been revealed, probably used for taste or preservation. The liquid inside can not really be called wine as it looks more like a mixture of a solid, dark mass and a whitish liquid, according to the photograph. However, even the survival of this residue is unprecedented.

It is a bottle that was hermetically closed with a hot wax seal and a thick layer of olive oil that prevented evaporation of the contents.

But can you drink what’s left? At a microbiological level, yes. Researchers are pretty sure the content will not kill you, though the wine will not taste good. Of course, this is a hypothetical answer, as the museum does not want to open the bottle, not even for research purposes.
Photo credit: CAROLE RADDATO/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Feb 122018

South Korean officials have confirmed that a cyber attack occurred during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympic Games. The hack attempt hit a number of systems, but fortunately no critical element became inoperable.

Pyeongchang 2018

Winter Olympics venue in Pyeongchang (pic: Pyeongchang2018)

The organizers did not want to clearly say who carried out the attack, but there are two primary suspects: North Korea -the historic enemy-, and Russia -the country excluded from the 2018 Winter Olympics because of its intense doping program.

Internet and TV-related systems were reportedly affected by the attack, but organizers say critical infrastructure wasn’t compromised.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are held in Pyeongchang, just 80 km from the North Korean border, and everyone has initially turned eyes on the northern neighbour famous for its long streak of IT attacks.

Another suspect possibly linked to the hack is Russia, the country that did not get the permission to take part in the Games with its standard team due to a doping program involving many athletes.

However, Russian athletes who could prove they were not part of the state-run doping plan were allowed to compete in Pyeongchang.

Feb 112018

Harunustaspor, a sports club competing in the regional amateur football league Sakarya First Division Group B in Turkey, acquired a player using cryptocurrency Bitcoin, a football’s first.

football bitcoin payment

Celebration after football’s first official bitcoin payment (pic: cnnturk.com)

According to local media outlets, 22-year-old Omer Faruk Kiroglu has accepted an offer of 0.0524 Bitcoin (about 431 euros) and 2,500 Turkish Lira (534 euros).

“We did so to be known to the world. This transfer has become the first of this kind in Turkey and even in the whole world. If such a trade was made by professionals, it would have been widely advertised on television. However, as amateurs, we were the first to do it and we are proud of that,” said club’s president, Haldun Sehit.

Omar Faruk Kiroglu was delighted with this experience. “I’m a man open to new things. For me it is a historic moment, as it is for the whole soccer world,” he added.

Feb 112018
Cryptocoins - an "ecological disaster," BIS chief says

Central banks need to be prepared to intervene and counteract the risks created by digital currencies, such as bitcoin, which have become a “combination of speculative bubble, pyramid scheme and ecological disaster,” said Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), according to The Wall Street Journal. “There are strong arguments for […]

Feb 112018
VirtualCoin market will collapse and then strengthen, Ethereum co-founder says

The crypto market will grow stronger only when all alternative coins having “no substance” and now competing with Bitcoin, will fail. This is the opinion of Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of one of the most successful virtual coins, Ethereum. In a recent interview with CNBC, Hoskinson said that, from his point of view, a “consolidation” […]

Feb 112018
VIDEO: Russian passenger airplane crashed near Moscow killing all 71 aboard

A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people on board crashed near Moscow shortly after taking off from Domodedovo airport, informs Russian news agencies. The Antonov An-148, a 7 year old aircraft with registration number RA-61704, was owned by the Russian company Saratov Airlines and operating flight #6W703 bound to Orsk, an city in the Urals. […]

Feb 102018
Arizona residents could pay taxes with cryptocurrency

The Senate of the US state of Arizona passed a bill a few days ago which aims at enabling people to pay their taxes using cryptocoins. The bill, which was approved by a 16-13 margin, could allow taxpayers to make use of their digital coins such as ethereum, bitcoin or ripple, to pay “tax and […]

Feb 102018
Cryptocurrency and ICO at center of ESMA supervisory priorities in 2018

European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) summarized its primary areas of interest for the coming year in a work agenda revealed on February 7. One of the 2018 missions is to watchdog the evolution of financial innovations, which includes among others also the trendy cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. ESMA stated: “Monitoring developments in financial innovation, […]

Feb 102018
Facebook bans cryptocoin ads due to high scam probability

Facebook has announced its decision to ban all adverts that refer to bitcoin, cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO), thus trying to combat scams and fraud, informs Techcrunch. The social network claims that such cryptocoin ads promote deceptive commercial practices including as examples: “Start binary options trading now and receive a 10-risk free trades bonus“, […]