OpenLedger CEO Ronny Boesing on BitShares Future and Platform’s Links in Belarus

Ronny Boesing, founder and chief executive of OpenLedger, a Denmark-based decentralized conglomerate offering a cryptocurrency trading platform and a number of other blockchain-based services, nurses big ambitions regarding the future of the company saying that one day it will be a household name along the lines of Amazon, Alibaba, Google and Apple.

Boesing’s predictions, whom ForkLog met on the sidelines of the recent BlockShow Europe 2018 conference in Berlin, are quite specific.

“OpenLedger Decentralized Trading Platform (DTP) will be among the top five exchanges in the world within three years. With our constantly increasing recruitment of skilled IT professionals, our blockchain as a service business will be among the top five providers in the world within five years and named frequently as the service provider used in major projects worldwide within 10 years,” he says.

Moreover, as Ronny Boesing firmly believes, within two years OpenLedger Decentralized Business Solutions Platform (DBP) will have established multi-lingual, multi-currency, multi-business, multi-signature platform using the company’s own blockchain solution.

“It will be scalable to accept practically any challenge and will be the one blockchain built for global acceptance,” he added.

ForkLog: How did it all start with OpenLedger? Many people remember that at some point you were working under CCEDK name.

Ronny Boesing: Indeed, we started back in May 2014 as CCEDK which stood for Crypto Coins Exchange Denmark. CCEDK managed to attract close to 8,000 registered users trading an average daily volume of some $1m before it changed its name to OpenLedger DEX in October 2015. At that stage our revenues were mainly based on the transaction fees as well as our consultancy work. All this is changing fast now because of the radical technology involved.

ForkLog: What is today’s situation with OpenLedger? Do you have any announcement to make?

Ronny Boesing: I think when it comes to OpenLedger DEX, a decentralized trading platform that we are operating, it’s mostly about stabilizing what we achieved last year and adding a lot of new features. We did it in recent months and will be doing in the coming months. For example, we will see a ShapeShift-like bridge connecting all the gateways OpenLedger is operating and a mobile application. We will also see a fiat gateway added, initially in the form of fiat entering OpenLedger user account as BTC. After that it will be up to the user to convert BTC to Bitshares, Ether or any other asset.

In terms of our Blockchain-as-a-Service offering we have a white label solution for the trading platform, that’s a new service for us and it will be added in June.

ForkLog: A few months ago a formal partnership between OpenLedger and Aetsoft, a blockchain company from Minsk, Belarus, was announced, with your company moving to the Hi-Tech Park in Minsk. How did that link materialize in the first place?

Ronny Boesing: Joining the Minsk Hi-Tech Park is a very important development for us. The technology development behind OpenLedger was originally outsourced to Minsk in Belarus where an old friend of mine Nick Grebenkine already had a small team of developers in his company, Aetsoft. CCEDK, and then OpenLedger, was a major client for Aetsoft but earlier this year, after a successful collaboration, OpenLedger became Aetsoft’s part-owner.

Now, the legal, business development and finances for OpenLedger remain in Denmark, while all the tech staff and marketing and sales roles are run though Aetsoft in Minsk. We now have over 65 of our IT-professionals based over there working on BaaS, and being official partners with Minsk Hi-Tech Park puts us in a very strong position to offer easy access to all blockchain solutions.

ForkLog: What’s your overall impression with today’s regulatory environment in Belarus after they signed a decree aimed at further developing the digital economy.

Ronny Boesing: The bill was designed to create conditions under which world-class IT companies would come to Belarus to work on developing new products and technologies that would be in demand worldwide. It also provided clear support for blockchain development and created a favourable tax regime for income generated by blockchain and cryptocurrencies. These legal certainties, in an otherwise uncertain world, added to the attractiveness of Belarus.

I think it’s only the beginning and by the end of the year we will probably see a lot of ICO’s coming out from Belarus.

ForkLog: Apart from OpenLedger DEX, what other projects you are currently working on?

Ronny Boesing: We also plan to be an accelerator and an incubator for many projects. The decentralized business platform that we expect to introduce to the world around October this year will be a combination of our own blockchain solution and a Dapp store, and these two things will allow us to offer any business worldwide to actually enter into the blockchain space on their own using all these features and options. So basically anything you can imagine in terms of decentralized trading platform, smart contracts and the rest.

I want people to move from being ‘I know nothing about blockchain’ – to becoming the generation that says ‘I don’t know much about blockchain, but I do use it every day.’

OpenLedger’s marketing team has also helped more than 10 initial coin offerings (ICOs) successfully complete their crowdfunding campaigns, raising in excess of $90m. Some successful ICOs included Crypviser, Karma, Scorum, and Sola Foundation.

ForkLog: Why did OpenLedger DEX choose BitShares?

Ronny Boesing: The main reason was BitShares market pegged assets (MPA), also called smartcoins or stablecoins, and user issued assets (UIA) – bespoke tokens that can be traded. These were considered an important part of the future growth of ecosystems working entirely on the blockchain and of the monetary system as we know it.

I believe there was, and still is no alternative established trading platform to BitShares network, with its Graphene Blockchain technology able to handle a scalable demand with collateralised assets backed by the core token of the network.

ForkLog: BitShares and Graphene technology creator Daniel Larimer is also known as a creator of the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) consensus algorithm, co-founder of the blockchain social platform Steemit, and CTO of the “smart contract” blockchain EOS. How strong the latter two are BitShares’ competitors from the performance point view?

Ronny Boesing: Daniel is in many ways the Einstein of crypto. I said that back in 2015, and I believe my admiration of his technical skills has only increased since then.

However, what we are trying to do is a fully established and a fully usable blockchain solution in form of BitShares, and this solution has worked since 2015. I also want to point to the fact that BitShares blockchain is the one producing the most blocks of all blockchains, 25 million so far, and the one producing the most transactions per day, 1.5 million transactions a day.

As for the competition, Steemit could be considered our rival number one. There are also other Graphene blockchains competing in terms of number of transactions per day. However, BitShares is also the quickest of all blockchains to produce transactions.

In the development of our future trading platform we combine EOS features and options as well since EOS can be considered an upgrade of the Bitshares technology and Graphene in general.

ForkLog: So what does the future hold for BitShares?

Ronny Boesing: I firmly believe that BitShares will be one of the first due to their already tested financial trading platform, as well as any offspring from that same technology.

I see many blockchains with great potential. The biggest challenge is to get that potential to real life use, though, and blockchain able to deliver a product, to make a difference to global sustainability, will be revolutionary. We will see some of the first proofs of these in 2018 and 2019, so it is an exciting time we live in.

Andrew Asmakov

Bitcoin Core Version 0.16.1 Released

Bitcoin Core 0.16.1, a new minor version including new features and performance improvements, has been officially released, according to an announcement made on Friday, June 15.

“This is a new minor version release, with various bugfixes as well as updated translations”, the official announcement reads.

The latest Bitcoin Core version also removed miner block size recalling the deprecation of the “-blockmaxsize” option for miners to limit their blocks’ sizes in version 0.15.1. Miners now should apply “-blockmaxweight” option if they want to limit the weight of their blocks.

Additionally, the upgrade affected wallets which were created in 0.16 and later.

“Wallets created in 0.16 and later are not compatible with versions prior to 0.16 and will not work if you try to use newly created wallets in older versions. Existing wallets that were created with older versions are not affected by this,” the release says.

The previous Bitcoin Core client version was released February 2018, and provided full support for Segregated Witness (SegWit) technology.

Ethereum Not a Security, SEC Official Says

The world’s second largest cryptocurrency ether jumped alsmost 9 percent Thursday, June 14, after a key a top Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official made it clear that it is not a security.

According to William Hinman, head of the Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC, Bitcoin and Ether are not securities. Nevertheless, many, but not all, ICOs are securities and will come under the regulatory control of the SEC and relevant securities laws, CNBC reports.

“Central to determining whether a security is being sold is how it is being sold and the reasonable expectations of purchasers,” William Hinman said in a speech at the Yahoo All Markets Summit: Crypto conference in San Francisco.

ETH rose almost 9 percent to a high of $523.55, according to CoinMarktCap data. Its price has struggled along with other cryptocurrencies this year, and has dropped about 35 percent since January. By press time, ETH saw correction back to just under $500 levels.

Hinman said the primary issue in determining whether cryptocurrencies and ICOs were securities was the expectation of a return by a third party, specifically whether there was a person or group that sponsored the creation and sale of the asset, and who played a significant role in its development and maintenance. For purchasers of the asset, the key is whether they are seeking a return on the investment.

If there is a centralized third party, along with purchasers with an expectation of a return, then it is likely a security, Hinman said.

He also gave examples where cryptoassets would not be considered securities and would not come under the purview of the SEC.

Hinman specifically said that bitcoin is not a security because it is decentralized: there is no central party whose efforts are a key determining factor in the enterprise. In addition, ether is also not a security because the ethereum network is also decentralized.

Hinman did not address the securities status of other cryptocurrencies, notably Ripple (XRP), which is the subject of a lawsuit alleging that it is a security, noting only that,

“Over time, there may be other sufficiently decentralized networks and systems where regulating the tokens or coins that function on them as securities may not be required.”

Regarding ICOs, Hinman also acknowledged that some digital assets could be structured more like a consumer item than a security, particularly if the asset is purchased for personal use and not intended as an investment. He seemed to imply that these types of offerings — an investment in a book club, or a golf club membership, for example — were likely not securities.

Hinman defended the SEC’s strict interpretation of securities laws, noting that, “There is excitement and a great deal of speculative interest around this new technology. Unfortunately, there also are cases of fraud.”

Hinman acknowledged that there may still be some confusion over how to determine if any cryptocurrencies and ICOs are securities and that his office was willing to help:

“We stand prepared to provide more formal interpretive or no-action guidance about the proper characterization of a digital asset in a proposed use,” he added.

ItBit Adds Four New Cryptocurrencies After Getting NYFDS Regulatory Approval

Bitcoin exchange itBit announced it has received approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to add four major cryptocurrencies to its trading and custody services.

In addition to BTC trading, the platform will now be offering services for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Stellar (XLM).

According to the company’s CEO Charles Cascarilla, the addition of these four crypto assets is “an important milestone for itBit as we create a broader platform for crypto asset investors.”

“We are committed to the growth and evolution of this ecosystem and DFS approval allows us to offer more trading and custody services across a wider range of crypto assets,” he said in the press release.

The newly added assets will have custody, escrow and over-the-counter (OTC) services available immediately. The press release notes that itBit is the “first NYDFS-approved Trust company to offer trading and custody services for crypto assets,” and the first to receive approval to trade Stellar in New York.

The move potentially clears the way for more exchanges to list Stellar, a factor that could help boost the cryptocurrency’s price.

Coinbase, the leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, which currently offers trading in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin, announced earlier this week it would add Ethereum Classic to its offerings, sending the price of that digital currency soaring 20%.

ItBit has also been the target of multiple regulatory probes in the U.S. in recent months. The platform was one of the exchanges that received a questionnaire as part of the New York Attorney General’s cryptocurrency trading platform probe in April, and has also fallen under the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) crypto probe as one of the exchanges on which CME Group bases its Bitcoin futures trading.

In a rebrand back in 2016, the company shifted to the name Paxos, while the itBit brand was kept solely for its exchange business. ItBit still operates as a separate division from others that take a focus on advancing private blockchain projects such as Bankchain.

Last month, Paxos closed a $65 million Series B funding round led by existing investors including Liberty City Ventures, RRE Ventures and Jay Jordan.

NYDFS simultaneously announced that it had awarded a BitLicense to Xapo, a Bitcoin storage company with an underground vault in the Swiss Alps—only the sixth BitLicense granted since the certification was invented three years ago.

Xapo President Ted Rogers said:

“We are very pleased with the approval of Xapo’s BitLicense application. It is the end result of much hard work, not just by Xapo personnel but by the DFS and its staff.”

Lucky number 6: ORCA Makes Crypto to Fiat Withdrawal Under Six Seconds

Instant crypto withdrawals are now a reality. The bridge connecting cryptocurrencies with regular finance is being built brick after brick. Fintech start-up ORCA has presented their technological case for the community during a live event streamed online. ORCA completed a transfer from a cryptocurrency exchange straight to user’s bank account in 6 seconds.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article

ORCA broadcasted a live demonstration from ISM University of Management and Economics Innovation base in Vilnius. The event has also been streamed on ORCA Youtube channel. Lithuanian financial sector representatives, other startups gathered together to witness how ORCA technical solution works in real time.

The demonstration was opened by Laurent Bourquin, Chief Operating Officer of ORCA and former investment bank analyst who presented the changing landscape of global finance.

“The whole banking sector is being disrupted <…>. A couple of years ago it had been inconceivable to think that a start-up can enter the closed market of retail and investment banking and take over a part of its market share,” – claimes L. Bourquin.

According to Bourquin, new fintech startups are challenging banks by providing cheaper and more efficient services, and Open Banking is already making it’s way to Europe while other countries are closely watching how it develops. Moreover, cryptocurrencies are becoming a mass phenomena encompassing attention of individual as well as institutional investors.

Natan Avidan, co-founder and CEO of ORCA Alliance, gave a broader presentation about ORCA and what problems it aims to solve. ORCA is a financial management tool oriented for cryptocurrency users which connects various financial accounts through their APIs.

N. Avidan said that mass cryptocurrency adoption would be reached only if the market becomes more user-friendly, facilitating ease of access to technologically uneducated users.

Natan Avidan, ORCA Alliance CEO

One of the solutions being built by ORCA is the ability to withdraw cryptocurrencies from exchanges directly to user euro accounts instantly. Presentation of the aforementioned technical solution to the public and cryptocurrency community was the reason for ORCA’s event.

The technological case itself was presented by Dmitrij Radin, Chief Technological Officer of ORCA, with the help of a vending machine which helped to verify that funds were received. The transfer took only 6 seconds, ten times shorter than was initially expected.

ORCA’s solution is set to relieve loads of issues tormenting cryptocurrency adopters. ORCA is building an Open Banking platform that will make everyone’s banking experience convenient and simple. Users will be able to connect, track and manage their financial accounts from European banks, e-money institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, and wallets. ORCA is providing an all-in-one banking solution.

“At the core, ORCA is a consumer application, and we are well aware that mass adoption can be reached only through practical use cases and convenience benefits. Instant crypto withdrawals are just a stepping stone towards our goal albeit an essential one,” – added ORCA Alliance CEO Natan Avidan.

More information about ORCA: orcaalliance.eu

Coinbase to Add Support for Ethereum Classic (ETC)

Coinbase announced on Tuesday morning in a blog post that it is now starting the engineering work to integrate Ethereum Classic with its services. A further date for formally launching the trading of ETC on Coinbase will be announced on Sept. 5, the company said.

As part of this process, Coinbase users can expect to see public-facing APIs and other signs that the asset is being added. When Coinbase reaches the final testing phase of technical integration, which is expected to occur over the next few months, the Coinbase team will publicly announce a launch date for trading.

What Ethereum Classic support means for Coinbase Products

Coinbase Custody — the Custody team is planning to add support for deposits and withdrawals of Ethereum Classic.

Coinbase Markets — the Markets team is planning to add trading support for Ethereum Classic. ETC books will open in post-only for a minimum of one hour. If sufficient liquidity is established, trading will then be enabled on Pro and Prime.

Coinbase Pro (GDAX) — the Pro team is planning to add trading support for Ethereum Classic. Note that customers who previously had an Ethereum Classic balance on the platform as a result of the 2016 Ethereum hard fork and did not elect to withdraw their funds prior to January 2017 will receive a corresponding Ethereum Classic credit.

Coinbase Prime — the Prime team is planning to add trading support for Ethereum Classic. Note that customers who previously had an Ethereum Classic balance on the platform as a result of the 2016 Ethereum hard fork and did not elect to withdraw their funds prior to January 2017 will receive a corresponding Ethereum Classic credit.

Coinbase Asset Management — any asset listed on Coinbase Markets will be added to Coinbase Index in accordance with the Coinbase Index methodology. Coinbase Index Fund will rebalance to include Ethereum Classic.

Coinbase — Coinbase will list assets only after they are listed on Coinbase Pro and Prime. After evaluating factors such as liquidity, price stability, and other market health metrics, Coinbase may choose to add Ethereum Classic to the Coinbase platform. The team reemphasizes that Coinbase Markets, Coinbase Pro, and Coinbase Prime will likely have more assets listed on the platform than the Coinbase platform, i.e. listing on Coinbase Markets does not guarantee to list on Coinbase.

Following the news that it is being added to Coinbase the price of ETC surged for 25 percent on Tuesday.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows that the price of ETC started to jump around 01:30 UTC on Tuesday, after Coinbase first tweeted out the announcement at 01:18.

It has further surged from $12.88 to as high as $16.15 at around 2:00 UTC, reflecting a 25 percent gain in just half an hour.

Binance Eyes Euro Trading Pairs This Year

Binance, one of the world’s most popular and most successful cryptocurrency exchanges, plans to offer traders the ability to trade cryptocurrencies for euros with other fiat currency trading pairs in the works.

According to Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng, the company will allow euro trading later this year from its Malta operations. The exchange plans to add other fiat currencies, but no specific details are provided at this moment, Bloomberg reports.

Launched in July 2017, Binance made a $150 million profit in the first quarter 2018, with daily trading averaging between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion, Zhao said. The company has 9 million users, he said, compared with more than 2 million at the start of the year.

Zhao also revealed that Binance will soon receive an exchange license from Jersey in the Channel Islands, and plans to open an office there with as many as 100 staff. The company is also in talks with authorities and banks in Taiwan.

Today’s announcement follows the exchange’s relocation to Malta earlier this year. This tiny island country in the Mediterranean is considered one of the world’s most cryptocurrency-friendly locations from a business perspective.

The exchange recently invested in Malta-based chiliZ, a blockchain esports company, to bring blockchain technology to the gaming industry. Besides, Binance is set to launch a $1 billion fund for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology startups.

Bobby Lee: Blockchain Only Suitable for Crypto, Not Real World Activities

Bobby Lee, co-founder and former CEO of the oldest Chinese bitcoin exchange BTCC, was one of the keynote speakers at BlockShow Europe 2018 in Berlin in the end of May. As he already did it on previous occasions in the past, Bobby Lee was expressing his exceptionally critical views on today’s financial system and the role bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could potentially play in the future.

According to Mr Lee’s LinkedIn profile, previously he was the CTO of SMG BesTV New Media, the largest IPTV operator in China with the most subscribers globally. He moved to Shanghai in 2007 and started off at EMC’s China Center of Excellence, as Director of Software Engineering, with responsibilities for Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage.

Since early 2010’s Booby Lee was a vocal speaker for Bitcoin also running arguably one of the biggest bitcoin exchanges on global level. Things changed last year when Chinese government announced a series of crackdowns on crypto activities in general.

In his live Q&A session during BlockShow Europe 2018, where Forklog’s Andrew Asmakov was present, Bobby Lee discussed issues ranging from the Chinese government influence on the industry to more specific questions regarding blockchain as a conception.

Thus, speaking about why Bitcoin should be taken into account by any shrewd investor and what is needed to enhance its mass adoption, Bobby Lee said:

“Many people are asking what is crypto, why it is a new asset class, why it is an information based class, how it is different from bare assets like gold, how it is different from securities and traditional market. This is the book I am going to write later to address a more general audience and to give it an understanding what is Bitcoin, what is its impact and how it really gives you freedom. So that’s what is really important: education and knowledge.”

According to Bobby Lee, this will take time, though.

“We are now only in the tenth year and only a hundred million people understand it. So it will take time to get to one billion people and so on. And then there’s another aspect which is price and how it is forming. Today Bitcoin is over $7000, and there is around $150 bln worth in bitcoin in circulation, something that is known as market cap.

So what is happening is that with only $100 to $200 bln worth in bitcoin you can’t do much. But when one day all the biggest companies all over the world will do the global commerce in crypto, like increasing this number to 1 per cent, 5 per cent, 10 per cent, 50 per cent, things will change. It’s already happening on individual level, I am personally doing my payments in crypto as do other people in companies in the industry. But the question is when traditional companies start, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a movie theater, or a doctor’s office, or an airline. It will happen in 5, 10 or 20 years, it is a big time range, but it is ok.”

After that Booby Lee discussed a broader range of issues in the crypto industry

Question: There was time when additional e-commerce payments were just becoming a thing and people were pretty afraid of putting their credit card details, and today we don’t even question it. And the same, I think, is with cryptocurrencies, it’s a financial step, and a lot of companies are trying to build an ecosystem of partners, not just other blockchain companies but rather traditional companies, companies that already have good market share or a good standing. So what do you think the community needs to do to engage further with traditional companies and to potentially overcome the negative narrative in the mainstream media towards cryptocurrencies?

Bobby Lee: I don’t think about telling the traditional companies that they should be using crypto because the message never sounds genuine, it always sounds fishy. It’s all about having trust and ultimately they don’t have it, and everything just sounds wrong. But what I think will happen is that one day all these traditional companies will wake up and choose to use crypto because the alternative, which is the traditional money, is unbearable.

As a businessman running a company, BTCC, for all these years I’ve encountered more and more trouble with existing financial system. I am talking about everything from personal accounts to suspicious activity reporting, and more and more innocent people are being trapped by these money laundering laws. The bankers are even asking you questions when you send money to your own account that happens to be in a different country. Listen, it’s my money, I should buy a house or a car there. Apparently, they are either jealous or they suspect me of doing something illegal, which I’m not doing since I pay my taxes.

So when innocent people and innocent companies are being pressed by these high anti money laundering officials, it becomes all too inconvenient with all those payments not shown up because the traditional bank wires are so error prompt. So I think the traditional fiat money system is nearly at its few last breaths and more and more companies will realize that should have crypto on their balance sheet.

Question: China has always been an important player the crypto industry but your government has been pretty tough in its approach to it in the past 18 months. ICO’s were banned, many companies left the country, and there are even rumours of mining operations being possibly closed down. Taking all this into account, what role China will play in the future of the industry?

Bobby Lee: Yes, there was a crackdown since last September and the official policy today is that China doesn’t welcome any crypto activity like exchanges, payment providers or even conferences. The reason for this is that China is a central authoritarian society and they want to ensure peace and harmony. And it’s not just physical peace and harmony but also financial peace and financial harmony. They don’t want to lose money, they want people to have save investments, they don’t want any riots or street protests when people lose money in certain projects. So in order to minimize that, in order to reduce the potential society unrest they outlawed the ICO fundraising and did other things.

However, there is nothing permanent under the moon, and it could be five years, it could be five months, it could be fifty years or several decades, but I think that one day China will reverse its course on this ban on crypto. There are two sides to the whole story: some people want this tough stance to last for long time, other people want it to be overturned.

Question: Do you share the optimism expressed towards a possibility of the Chinese ICO ban being lifted at some point and exchanges going back home, as some of the local media reported?

Bobby Lee: Once in a China we had one child per family policy, and forty years later it was lifted.

Question: Recently it was announced that BTCC is about to launch a new exchange with its own token. What are the reasons behind this decision?

Bobby Lee: I think you are talking about BTCC Exchange so I need to clarify my role. I am a co-founder of BTCC and BTCChina and I’m very happy to have run them, but I am no longer CEO. We sold the company to the investment firm form Hong Kong in January this year. So there’s new management and they are the ones who are going to launch the new exchange.

I hope one day I will be able to tell you more about this but today I cannot comment on this.

Question: Still, there is an enormous amount of companies around running ICO’s and even exchanges issuing their own tokens simply anywhere it can be done. What do you personally think of this ‘tokenization’ model hype?

Bobby Lee: Overall I am not supportive of this model, I don’t like this tokenization concept. I think it gives a wrong impression of the incentives of the founders of a company and the users, it sort of mixes the incentives. I personally prefer a more traditional model: I founded the company, I sold the company, I worked with investors and I am myself an investor.

Unfortunately, I didn’t go in detail to see what each exchange, be it Binance or any other exchange, offers, but overall if it is a utility token I am not in favor of it, if it is true equity token then I think it can work. But as you know the challenge of equity tokens is regulation and jurisdiction because if, for example, I am an American citizen I cannot buy equity tokens.

Question: What is the current situation with the bitcoin mining industry in China. Are fears that it will be a subject to more crackdowns justified?

Bobby Lee: The thing is mining in China is still allowed by law, it’s not something that is forbidden at all.

As everywhere else, In China there are things that are allowed by law and there are things that are not allowed by law, but there’s also a large grey area that is not specified. So Bitcoin mining is in that grey area, but at the same time something that is allowed by law is not enforced, and the same is true to things that are not allowed. So there are things that are illegal but people still do that sending things to the grey area.

As for bitcoin mining in China there’s nothing against it written in the laws, but what isn’t allowed is stealing electricity. If you steal electricity it doesn’t matter what you actually doing, bitcoin mining or anything else, it’s illegal. If you steal electricity to put it into your mining machine someone will come and enforce the law.

Question: If Chinese authorities find a reason to actually ban mining, does BTCC have a Plan B?

Bobby Lee: At the moment BTCC is an international company based in Hong Kong, and as it was before, the company is not involved into actual mining activities. BTCC offers a mining pool, and people have to understand that running a mining pool and mining crypto is two different activities. When you are involved in mining you are investing in hardware, you purchase ASICs or whatever and just mine coins; with mining pool we just offer a software platform where miners can exchange information.

Question: Let’s talk a little broader about the whole ecosystem. There are plenty of people who consider starting their own projects and trying to bring something new and innovative. And even though things are changing pretty fast, there should probably be some general principles the people who launch projects should stick to. What would be your advice to those who want to give it a try?

Bobby Lee: Today, in 2018, there are too many founders both in crypto industry and non-crypto industry that are doing fundraising and trying to put blockchain wherever they can. And my opinion after having this experience for the last seven years is that blockchain is actually not suitable for any real world activities. This might sound like a very controversial statement, but what I’m talking about is that I am only negative for blockchain for real world. I am positive for blockchain for cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain is great because it’s immutable, meaning that it cannot be changed, and decentralized. It is also a ledger containing a record of data, and what people often forget is that data has to be publicly verifiable. If data can’t be verified publicly it is called private data, and most blockchain projects today, most ICOs, what they put on blockchain is just private data, a private database. I’m not against databases like airline miles which is great for customers, but that is not blockchain. So if you want to use blockchain with general data base that would mean that we’ve lost our ability to be intellectually honest, and I don’t want people to be intellectually dishonest with me.

Question: Then, we all these statements about blockchain changing the future, how it can actually change the future?

Bobby Lee: It can change the future through cryptocurrency when the information is purely mathematic and you don’t need to prove opinions and subjective data. So today when I see all these so called blockchain projects and people ask me to be their advisor I always say ‘No way’. Be intellectually honest with me, tell me that you are doing a database project, and maybe after that I will say ‘Yes’.

Question: What’s your opinion on the so called stable coins like USDT and their recent followers?

Bobby Lee: I haven’t studied stable coins too deep and I’m afraid I’m not educated enough to comment on this.

Question: There was a recent study by some Chinese state authority, a kind of a cryptocurrency rating that saw Ethereum being placed on top of the list. Bitcoin, the first and the oldest, was at number 13. What was all that about, who actually needed this sort of thing and what for?

Bobby Lee: To be honest I don’t know who did this, and I’m not sure about the possible reasons behind.

Question: Some members of the community weren’t too happy with some of your views regarding Bitcoin Cash splitting off the original chain last year, and, since there’s always a certain rationale behind entrepreneurs’ motives, what side in this ongoing blocksize increase debate are you actually on?

Bobby Lee: Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), they are both my children, I love them both.

Exclusive: Konstantin Gladych of Changelly on Platform’s Upcoming Integrations, Atomic Swaps and the Future of Bitcoin Market

FokLog spoke to Konstantin Gladych, CEO and co-founder of Changelly, during BlockShow Europe 2018 in Berlin, where he took the stage to talk about centralized and decentralized exchanges.

Changelly is an instant digital currency exchange that rapidly drew attention of the community and, despite some heavy criticism for their KYC policy and allegedly hostaging some of the clients’ funds, already boasts, according to the company, over 1.5m users.

Calling himself a blockchain maximalist, Konstantin is also acting as an advisor for Cindicator, hybrid Intelligence for financial markets, and Genesis Vision, the platform for the private trust management market. Apart from that, he is also CBDO at Atomic Wallet, and at some point in the past Konstantin advised for MinerGate mining pool.

ForkLog: Hello Kostantin, let’s first talk about Changelly project itself. How did you come to the idea of creating a platform like this, specifically that by that time ShapeShift, which offers pretty much the same functionality, had already been around?

Konstantin Gladych: Yeah, that’s true. Shapeshift started about two years before us, and when we actually entered the market, which happened about three years ago, we saw that ShapeShift was the only company and we understood that we could build the competition.

Also at that time I was advising for MinerGate mining pool, which was a huge mining pool focused on Monero and other CryptoNight currencies like Bytecoin, and we saw that people still needed an option to exchange their mined coins to Bitcoin. So we got our first customers from MinerGate and after that we decided to open the service to a lot more customers. We also partnered with CoinMarketCap, it’s our biggest affiliate partner, and we also offer exchange option via a few wallets.

I have full respect to ShapeShift and for what they are doing, but what we actually realized that even if you use ShapeShift it’s not a so smooth process. Maybe we are doing pretty similar exchange product now with similar customers, but what we also understand is that only market competition can drive services so that they become better for customers.

So what we have today on Changelly is that there are no amount restrictions, you can exchange huge volumes. Our biggest transaction ever was 500 BTC and we processed it really smoothly, in half an hour or so, and that’s the main competitive advantage for us.

ForkLog: What are the weak points of platforms like yours?

Konstantin Gladych: In comparison to classic exchanges like Binance is that there you can do a deposit and after that you can trade using different algorithms. Maybe the weak points are the slippage and the rates as you don’t have fixed rates, like people are buying Ethereum or Litecoin and they should wait for confirmations and the currency price is going up.

So maybe I can assume that’s not even a weak point but rather a functionality we offer.

ForkLog: You have mentioned exchange option in some wallets. As it was reported earlier, there are such partnerships with Freewallet, Jaxx, and Breadwallet to name a few. Do you actually have any plans regarding any hardware wallets  integrations like Ledger or Trezor?

Konstantin Gladych: Recently I’ve spent a week at Consensus 2018 and at the breakfast with Ledger president [Pascal Gauthier – ForkLog] we discussed possible integrations, so let’s say yes, at some point Changelly will be integrated with Ledger.

Also we have partnership with Trezor guys, but unfortunately Trezor is much smaller than Ledger.

ForkLog: During your talk on stage you have mentioned atomic swaps saying that you are a big fan of them. At the same time there is widespread opinion that atomic swaps could literaturely be a threat to platforms like Changelly and their business models.

Konstantin Gladych: I don’t think so, even if I love atomic swaps they are pretty slow and it’s not so perfect experience if you want to exchange funds. It’s more expensive than Changelly. If you are talking about the smaller transactions, it’s a better option for you to use Changelly or ShapeShift or any other similar service. If you are talking about larger transactions, especially for OTC-trading, and you want to do it trustless and truly anonymous atomic swaps is the only way to do that.

But, again, you have to wait for confirmations and you have to make four transactions and it’s more expensive than even bitcoin transactions. You should wait for other side that should be online and it’s mostly like LocalBitcoins experience. And they are also unavailable for high-frequency trading.

Anyway, I think the both markets will co-exist.

ForkLog: With Bitcoin and other cryptos falling so heavily down after the December 2017 historical heights, what’s your take on the current situation on the cryptocurrency market in general? How do you see the mid-term and long-term future for Bitcoin and the whole ecosystem?

Konstantin Gladych: Markets are always growing by the waves and now we are expecting the next wave. The market is really flat now, the last month and the previous month there was pretty similar exchange volume. Surely, it’s less than in the December when it was absolutely crazy. It all depends on regulation actually. I know that Goldman Sachs applied for BitLicense, and we should expect the next wave when they go with the product for institutional investors. Coinbase is also working on such products, so you have to prepare for the next way.

Also, if you see the Mt Gox crash, it took the market a few years to recover, but now I believe it will take half a year, one year, but not more.

Konstantin Gladych was interviewed by Andrew Asmakov

NON central CONF Comes to León, Spain to Celebrate the Spirit of Blockchain and Decentralization

The NON central CONF will convert León, Spain, during the 23-24 June weekend into a meeting place of great international specialists within a playful environment promoting connections between different international communities.

The name of the event is not coincidental, it is central NON, because León is not a usual place for holding this type of event. And it is NON CONF because the event arises from the invitation to meet León Blockchain HUB to 200 the most renowned national and international specialists, whom they have met in two years of travel through different countries and events. Once gathered, taking advantage of the enormous knowledge about this technology treasured by the guests, this knowledge is shared through the celebration of different talks and panels of specialists.

There are many facts that make this event a NON CONF, to put a small example, all information about income and expenses of the event is publicly accessible and updated in real time online, or the fact of that none of the speakers pay or are being paid to be present at the conference.

The date of celebration is not coincidental either, since it coincides with the night of San Juan, in which a renewal ritual is traditionally implied, in this sense the organization is working in building a very special symbolism in the so-called Campfire and Night of SanJuanToshi Nakamoto.

The invitations to the so called speakfriends, outstanding professionals from various fields of blockchain technology, were launched on May 1st, and the agenda is being prepared based on availability to attend of the invitees. The group of Speakfriends who will attend, unless specific unforeseen modifications, is already published on the event’s web-site.

Among the multitude of speakers that make up the program of the NON central CONF, there are real personalities within the international ecosystem that are not even mentioned because it would be impossible to make reference to everyone, and everyone does an exceptional job.

Those who are somewhat familiar with this new technology will immediately recognize people and projects of great importance in the international blockchain community, which will be present in León. Just to name a few: Eduardo Antuña and Jordi Baylina from Giveth.io, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof (Bitnation Pangea), Gordon Einstein (CKR Law), Luis Vaello (Bitnovo), Enrique Melero (Helvetia Fintech), Álex Casas (Shelpin), Alejandro de la Torre (BTC. com), Vlad Dramaliev (Aeternity), Marina Solanas and Sebastián Valdecantos (Waba Network).

On the other hand, and in compliance with the foundational aims of the association, in parallel to the talks given on the main stage with popular prices in the so-called “NON TICKETS”, there will be an open and free program aimed at all the curious who want to learn more about this fascinating technology.

On Saturday 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and within the program of San Juan festivities, a day of introduction to Blockchain will be given in which they will learn from the philosophical and economic bases up to some of the programming principles on which Blockchain is based.

For those who have already learned on their own, and have an interest in the talks on the main stage, the organization has put up for sale the tickets with which the event will be collectively paid together with the contributions of the different sponsors and donors who have wanted support the celebration of this event in León, the various sponsors and their contributions are public as well as the entire budget and accessible through www.noncentralconf.com.

The central NON CONF is the second edition of the conference cycle started in Santander last January with the I Northern Spain Blockchain Conference. The collective InNorthVation, has its origin in the meetups of Santander, Bilbao, Asturias, Valladolid and León that decided to organize this meetings, as a showcase for projects and initiatives born outside the areas where entrepreneurship and innovation are usually concentrated, and to be able to create meeting and collaboration points between professionals from geographically close areas, with a view to the creation of innovation ecosystems for decentralization, which may be more similar to those existing in areas of greater economic concentration, and suppose an engine of development for cities in which it seems that the starting line for innovation and entrepreneurship is painted a bit more far.

In the case of León, the organization takes advantage of the enormous touristic potential of the province, cradle of first parliamentary courts and the Holy Grail, and 2018 Spanish gastronomic capital to offer the community an unforgettable weekend in which sharing knowledge, meet with old friends and make new friends, and enjoy the charms of a city that it has been working for two years to become a knowledge and innovation hub for decentralization.

The NON central CONF is not for profit and wants to be inclusive allowing all interested parties to attend with reduced and reasonable prices to cover the costs of the event. During the past weeks the budgets and financing were closed and the prices of the tickets were published, the cheapest, which includes access to conferences and coffee breaks, 42 € the rest of tickets will have that price, plus the cost of the meals, and drinks that includes each of the options. At the opening of the ticket sales and for a time to be determined, only cryptocurrencies will be accepted for the purchase of tickets.