Crypto community remembers Hal Finney’s contributions to blockchain on his 65th birthday

The cypherpunk was one of the first people besides Satoshi Nakamoto to mine Bitcoin blocks, and reported many of the early bugs.

It’s been more than ten years since computer scientist Hal Finney became the recipient of the first transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain, and his impact on crypto as a technology is still felt today.

Finney was one of the first people to respond to Satoshi Nakamoto’s post on the cypherpunks mailing list, with some in the space still believing he was one of the pseudonymous individuals behind the creation of Bitcoin (BTC).

The legendary Bitcoin pioneer would have turned 65 years old today, had he not passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS — in 2014.

Prior to his death, Finney posted on the Bitcointalk forums about his early experiences with the cryptocurrency. He described mining several blocks on the BTC network as a relatively simple process in 2009, capable of being completed with a CPU rather than a GPU.

“When Satoshi announced the first release of the software, I grabbed it right away,” he said. “I think I was the first person besides Satoshi to run Bitcoin. I mined block 70-something, and I was the recipient of the first Bitcoin transaction, when Satoshi sent ten coins to me as a test. I carried on an email conversation with Satoshi over the next few days, mostly me reporting bugs and him fixing them.”

Finney was a well known cryptographer who worked for the PGP Corporation — later acquired by Symantec — in the development of software allowing users to encrypt emails and files. Even though one of his last messages said he was “essentially paralyzed,” Finney used an eyetracker system to write code aimed at beefing up the security around crypto wallets.

Finney is survived by his two children and wife Fran, who today posted a photo of the Bitcoin pioneer running through a neighborhood in the 1980s, an image retweeted by cryptographer Adam Back. Before his diagnosis, Finney was training to run a full marathon.

Prior to his death, Finney and his wife Fran worked to raise awareness and fundraising for ALS. Since his departure, Fran Finney has continued her husband’s legacy, working together with the Golden West chapter of the ALS Association.

Continue reading

Our Man in Shanghai: Coinbase listing scorned, graphics cards seized, nostalgia coins rule

Coinbase and cryptocurrencies viewed cynically on Chinese social media, and news of a large mining GPU smuggling bust in Hong Kong.

It was a relatively quiet week in China’s blockchain space as events were overshadowed by the surge in the BTC price and the Coinbase direct listing in the U.S. Many locals reacted with surprise to the news, showing that exposure to cryptocurrencies is still relatively isolated in the world’s most populous country.

Many netizens responded skeptically to the Coinbase story, with news aggregation account “Jiemian” on Weibo calling Bitcoin a scam, highlighting its connection to terrorists, and encouraging investors to stick to China’s A-shares. (For a quick comparison, the Shanghai composite index is down 2.13% this year, while Bitcoin has a YTD return of over 116%.) Jiemian has over 10 million followers on Weibo, but caters to a more traditional audience. The takeaway here is that despite China’s aggressive adoption of DCEP (Digital Currency Electronic Payment, also known as the digital yuan), other digital payments, and internet technology, cryptocurrency acceptance remains relatively isolated.

Some experts on China’s blockchain industry spoke to Cointelegraph regarding DCEP on April 10th, discussing how the digital yuan has affected the space. Kevin Shao, co-founder of Bitrise Capital, summed up the situation by stating that “overall, China’s digital currency still serves the central bank’s monetary policy and monetary functions.” It’s safe to say that the rapid DCEP advancement has little cross-over with the country’s active blockchain space, and probably will remain independent for the foreseeable future.

While all that was going on, volumes were spiking on cryptocurrency exchanges around the world. Huobi, China’s largest exchange by liquidity, experienced a wave of trading on more established tokens. The top seven most traded on Thursday were BTC, DOGE, ETH, XRP, FIL, TRX and BCH. All of these projects have roots in previous bull runs, showing that nostalgia is not lost on Chinese investors.

Graphics cards seized by Hong Kong Customs

Customs in Hong Kong have busted a smuggling operation involving nearly 300 graphics cards, which are suspected to be Nvidia CMP 30HX models and worth about 2 million RMB, or $300,000. There were no labels on the front of the graphics cards, and this particular model comes without a video output port, and is built exclusively for cryptocurrency mining. According to a source, this is the first time that Hong Kong Customs has seized graphics cards smuggled for the purpose of mining.

The state of media blockchain content

Finally, in policy news, The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued standards for blockchain-related media content. The standard system is intended to promote healthy and sustainable content pertaining to the use of blockchain in industries such as auditing systems, business processes, food safety and management. The State Administration is very proactive with its standards, detailing how technologies, trends, and other themes should be portrayed in the media.

This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.

Continue reading

Brazilian Stock Exchange approves two new crypto ETFs in Latin America

The Brazilian Stock Exchange (B3) approved the first crypto ETFs in Latin America and leading to a new milestone for the market.

The Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission, or CVM, approved two cryptocurrency ETFs this week — one 100% Bitcoin and the other composed of five cryptocurrencies, in addition to Bitcoin (BTC).

For QR Asset Management, manager of the Bitcoin-only ETF, the product could accelerate the launch of a similar product in the United States, since the CVM, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, are part of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, or IOSCO.

Both ETFs will be traded on the Brazil’s Stock Exchange, or B3. According to Brazil Journal, two of the country’s main banks, Itaú and BTG Pactual, have already stated to offer Hashdex’s ETF to their customers.

The QR ETF will trade on the B3 with the ticker QBTC11, while the one from Hashdex will have HASH11 as its ticker. ETF HASH11 trading is expected to start this month, while QBTC11 ETF is expected to begin in Q2 2021.

In the case of QR ETF, the index used to calculate the price of Bitcoin will be the Chicago Commodities Exchange.

Fernando Carvalho, CEO of QR Capital, holding company of QR Asset, sees this movement as an important milestone for innovation in the Brazilian capital market. In internal communication with Cointelegraph, he said:

“Our ETF, to be traded with the QBTC11 ticker, is a milestone in the Brazilian market. The asset ends up acting as a double hedge, as it is a digital commodity and at the same time, it is traded in dollars on the world market. Its price is unrelated with other asset classes, which means that it is increasingly being adopted by large managers and investors within diversified portfolios.”

Hashdex’s ETF will replicate the Nasdaq Crypto Index (NCI), an index developed by Nasdaq and Hashdex. In September 2020, the Brazilian Hashdex got approval from the Bermuda regulator and together with Nasdaq, approved the world’s first Bitcoin ETF — the Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index ETF.

Beyond Brazil, the only other country to approve its own Bitcoin ETFs is Canada.

NCI consists of six cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), Stellar (XLM), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Chainlink (LINK), and is rebalanced quarterly.

Custody of Hashdex’s assets is made by companies such as BitGo, Coinbase, Fidelity and Gemini, which are all mediated and regulated in the USA.

Continue reading

Tezos Ties-Up with Wolfram Blockchain Labs to Simplify Smart Contract Deployment

Wolfram Blockchain Labs (WBL) and Tezos are forging a full integration of Tezos into Wolfram Language and Wolframalpha. The integration gives easy access to developers that want to interact with the Tezos blockchain and their smart contracts. WBL-Designed Oracle Expands Tezos Developers’ Computational and Analytical Capabilities Amid the accelerating race to simplify smart contract deployment, […]
Continue reading

Topps Garbage Pail Kids Blockchain Collectibles Can Be Found at Target and Walmart

Topps Garbage Pail Kids Blockchain Collectibles Can Be Found at Target and WalmartThe popular trading card company Topps has just launched the “2021 Garbage Pail Kids Food Fight” series today, and the trading card packs are being sold at Target and Walmart stores. Not only will the Garbage Pail Kids (GPK) series provide people with collectible cardboard trading cards, Topps has also inserted blockchain-based rare code cards, […]
Continue reading