PwC Partners With BitFury to Create Blockchain Accelerator in Russia

Big four consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has partnered with mining and blockchain software company Bitfury Group to create a blockchain accelerator for businesses in Russia, according to a PwC press release today, Dec. 13. The release explains that PwC has already used Exonum — Bitfury’s open source framework for building blockchain applications — for educational courses and seminars. According to the release, the main goal of the new accelerator is to meet the “current needs” of the consulting giant’s enterprise clients in Russia. Victor Nelin, an IT consulting manager at…

Number of Crypto Users Nearly Doubled in 2018, Study Says

Cryptocurrency gained 17 million “verified users” this year, according to a study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Dec. 12. According to the study, data show that in the first three quarters of 2018 the number of ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled, climbing from 18 million to 35 million. Total crypto users, number of account and verified individuals. Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance According to a Bloomberg analysis of the study, the growth of the user base this year while crypto markets decline “could signal that an…

Opera Releases ‘Web 3-Ready’ Android Browser With Ethereum, DApp Support

Opera has launched its “Web 3-ready” browser for Android, with crypto wallet integration, support for Ethereum (ETH) and interactions with decentralized applications (DApps). The launch was announced at the Hard Fork Decentralized event in London Dec. 13, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph. Charles Hamel, product manager of Opera Crypto, has outlined that the new product aims to remove the “friction” involved in “using cryptocurrencies online and accessing Web 3 via special apps or extensions,” in a bid to make the emerging technologies more “mainstream.”   Hamel explained…

UAE Exchange, Ripple to Launch Blockchain Remittances to Asia by Q1 2019

United Arab Emirates-based UAE Exchange has partnered with Ripple to launch blockchain-based cross-border remittances to Asia by Q1 2019, Reuters reports Dec. 13. According to the report, UAE Exchange, a part of payments and foreign exchange company Finablr, is among the key players in the Middle East region, which sees high levels of remittance inflows from expatriate workers. As Reuters notes, Asia was one of the largest recipients of the $613 billion in remittances estimated to have been sent globally in 2017. While remittances are at present largely sent via foreign exchange…

PAX Stablecoin Exceeds $5 Billion in Transactions in First 3 Months

U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin Paxos Standard (PAX) has exceeded $5 billion worth of transaction volumes, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Dec. 13. As reported, PAX is an Ethereum (ETH) blockchain-based stablecoin, backed 1:1 by the U.S. dollar, which sealed regulatory approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) in September. According to Paxos — the blockchain trust company that issues PAX — the coin has as of today has been used in $5,245,958,124.65 worth of transaction volumes, with a market cap of over $174 million…

Gov’t Report Recommends $570 Million Blockchain Investment

French political deputies want to spend €500 million (about $569 million) on state-level blockchain deployments over the next three years, local daily news outlet Les Echos reported Dec. 12. Citing a report published Wednesday, the publication said both blockchain and cryptocurrency interaction was high on the agenda of two members of parliament (MP), who are pushing the initiative forward in an effort to make France a “Blockchain Nation.” The politicians are also looking to play an active role in fostering Bitcoin mining in the country. “2018 was the ‘year zero’…

Venezuela Converts Pension Bonuses into State-Issued Crypto Petro

Venezuela has automatically converted pensioners’ most recent monthly bonus into its national oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR), according to a report from English-language politics blog Caracas Chronicles Dec. 12. First launched as a pre-sale in February, the controversial Petro has been in circulation as one of Venezuela’s two official currencies as of August 20: the second being a rebranded fiat currency, the Bolívar Soberano (Sovereign Bolivar, or Bs.S.), which is indexed to the Petro. According to Caracas Chronicles, pensioners’ recent government payouts Dec. 7 arrived initially in Bs.S. to pensioners’…

Ethereum Hacks on the Rise Again as Price Remains Below $100

A fresh wave of hacks targeting Ethereum (ETH) holdings continues, despite the altcoin’s price trailing at 18-month lows, tech magazine ZDNet reported Dec. 10. Citing research by cybercrime monitoring company Bad Packets LLC, the publication revealed that the downturn in ETH/USD has failed to stop malicious parties attempting to steal funds from miners and investors. Scanning the network, hackers are trying to identify mining rigs and wallets with an exposed port 8545, which ultimately allows them to gain control and redirect ETH funds elsewhere. “Despite the price of cryptocurrency crashing…

Bitcoin Price Consolidates Sub-$3.5K With Bulls and Bears in Stalemate

Bitcoin (BTC) is consolidating below $3,500 for the third day straight. The challenge now is to gauge whether the bulls or the bears will win out in the coming days. As discussed yesterday, the leading cryptocurrency could soon see a corrective rally if prices manage to clear the crucial resistance at $3,633 (the high of an “inverted hammer” candle on the 3-day chart) by Friday’s UTC close. The bull case is also bolstered by bitcoin’s 14-week relative strength index, which is reporting oversold conditions for the first time since January…

This New Lightning Wallet Allows You to Receive Tips Without Running a Node

A new program to set up Lightning Network micropayments, tippin.me, has recently entered beta testing. The developer for this project described some of its details on a Reddit thread to the r/Bitcoin subreddit. The dev says that it “allows you to receive tips (micro-payments) over the Lightning Network, anytime, anywhere, without needing a LN node,” by means of “a simple web custodial wallet.” Upon signup, tippin.me “gives you a personal tippin’ link to be shared that contains a fresh QR Invoice with an undefined amount to be paid. If anyone…