Kidnappers snatch a 13-year-old South African boy and demand his ransom be paid in bitcoins – CNN

Kidnappers snatch a 13-year-old South African boy and demand his ransom be paid in bitcoins – CNN

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) A group of South African kidnappers who snatched a 13-year-old boy as he played with friends have demanded a $120,000 ransom in bitcoin cryptocurrency, police say.
Police say Katlego Marite was taken by three men in a car as he played with two friends near his home in the eastern province of Mpumalanga. Police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi told CNN the incident in the coal-mining city of Witbank was over in minutes and the abductors seemed to make a beeline for Marite. Hackers hold hotel’s keys hostage for bitcoin ransom “It happened very fast and there was no struggle,” Hlathi told CNN. “His friends reported that these were full grown men who just went for him and grabbed him into the car and dropped a ransom note. They demanded that his parents should pay a ransom in bitcoins.” Read More Hlathi said the sum demanded was 15 bitcoins, which is roughly equivalent to $120,000 in cash. A copy of the ransom note was also posted on several social media accounts. The kidnappers warn the parents not to involve the police, saying: “We have your child. Your child will not be harmed if the following demands are met.” The note asks the boy’s family to pay 1 bitcoin by May 21 and the full amount by May 27. The family has yet to pay any of the ransom, Hlathi said. Bitcoin is a new currency that is not tied to any country or subject to regulation. Bitcoins are traded on exchanges and stored in virtual bank accounts called digital wallets. The ransom note also included information about a wallet to which to send the payment. Plz help find Katlego Marite aged 13.He was kidnapped Sunday, around 15h00 in Tasbet Park Ex1,Witbank, Mpumalanga, by a silver/Grey Toyota Corolla around my friends house well known to most as “Nkandla”.
Kindly call 0607388298
Please RT #countryDuty pic.twitter.com/mukQo0Mjw7
— B Suarez ??? (@Bonny_suarez) May 22, 2018 Hlathi said the case was puzzling as Marite’s parents are not wealthy and do not know what bitcoin currency is. “They are just in tatters right now,” he said. Inside the world of a Kenyan cryptocurrency miner He added that he was not aware of any other ransom demands for bitcoins or any virtual currency in South Africa. Although South Africa has a high crime rate, Hlathi said Witbank is a mining area where kidnapping is not frequent. In December, kidnappers in Ukraine received a ransom worth more than one million in bitcoins for releasing their victim — an employee of a British cryptocurrency exchange, according to a report from Reuters news agency .

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Kidnappers snatch a 13-year-old South African boy and demand his ransom be paid in bitcoins – CNN

Kidnappers snatch a 13-year-old South African boy and demand his ransom be paid in bitcoins By Stephanie Busari, CNN Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT) May 23, 2018
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds. South African schoolboy Katlego Marite, 13, was snatched by a gang in the eastern province of Mpumalanga on Sunday. The kidnappers are demanding a ransom be paid in bitcoin. Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) A group of South African kidnappers who snatched a 13-year-old boy as he played with friends have demanded a $120,000 ransom in bitcoin cryptocurrency, police say. Police say Katlego Marite was taken by three men in a car as he played with two friends near his home in the eastern province of Mpumalanga. Police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi told CNN the incident in the coal-mining city of Witbank was over in minutes and the abductors seemed to make a beeline for Marite. Hackers hold hotel’s keys hostage for bitcoin ransom “It happened very fast and there was no struggle,” Hlathi told CNN. “His friends reported that these were full grown men who just went for him and grabbed him into the car and dropped a ransom note. They demanded that his parents should pay a ransom in bitcoins.” Read More Hlathi said the sum demanded was 15 bitcoins, which is roughly equivalent to $120,000 in cash. A copy of the ransom note was also posted on several social media accounts. The kidnappers warn the parents not to involve the police, saying: “We have your child. Your child will not be harmed if the following demands are met.” The note asks the boy’s family to pay 1 bitcoin by May 21 and the full amount by May 27. The family has yet to pay any of the ransom, Hlathi said. Bitcoin is a new currency that is not tied to any country or subject to regulation. Bitcoins are traded on exchanges and stored in virtual bank accounts called digital wallets. The ransom note also included information about a wallet to which to send the payment. Plz help find Katlego Marite aged 13.He was kidnapped Sunday, around 15h00 in Tasbet Park Ex1,Witbank, Mpumalanga, by a silver/Grey Toyota Corolla around my friends house well known to most as “Nkandla”. Kindly call 0607388298 — B Suarez ??? (@Bonny_suarez) May 22, 2018 Hlathi said the case was puzzling as Marite’s parents are not wealthy and do not know what bitcoin currency is. “They are just in tatters right now,” he said. Inside the world of a Kenyan cryptocurrency miner He added that he was not aware of any other ransom demands for bitcoins or any virtual currency in South Africa. Although South Africa has a high crime rate, Hlathi said Witbank is a mining area where kidnapping is not frequent. In December, kidnappers in Ukraine received a ransom worth more than one million in bitcoins for releasing their victim — an employee of a British cryptocurrency exchange, according to a report from Reuters news agency .

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Bitcoin drops 9%, now back below $8,000

Bitcoin extended a two-week sell off Wednesday, falling below $8,000 to its lowest level since mid April.
The digital currency dropped 8.7 percent to a low of $7,512.43 as of 12:30 p.m. ET, according to data from CoinDesk.
All other major cryptocurrencies were also in the red despite bullish calls that prices would skyrocket after a week of major blockchain events in New York City.
Analysts at Fundstrat predicted bitcoin would rally as much as 69 percent as a result of “Blockchain Week,” yet the cryptocurrency has fallen about 13 percent since those conferences kicked off.
Some pundits pointed to regulatory news as the key driver of this week’s sell-off.
On Monday, regulators in the U.S. and Canada announced a widespread crackdown on some cryptocurrency investment schemes, led by the North American Securities Administrators Association. More than 40 state and provincial watchdogs are participating in what’s being called “Operation Crypto-Sweep,” which has triggered at least 70 investigations so far.
“This cleaned out a lot of the bad projects,” said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM, an investment firm focused on digital currencies. “That has people a little concerned, and is a short-term hit to sentiment.”
Long-term though, Kelly said it’s part of the maturation this market needs for institutional investors to buy in.
“The projects that they shut down they appear to be junk, they had a real reason to shut them down,” Kelly said.
Unlike stock markets, the nascent cryptocurrency market typically takes a few days to digest news before it triggers a sell-off, Kelly said.
This week’s crackdown comes amid growing attention in the U.S. to cryptocurrency scams by U.S. regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought several fraud cases against operators of initial coin offerings and last week launched a website to help investors recognize scams.
Bitcoin has lost nearly 40 percent of its value this year, after an epic 1,300 percent rise to near $20,000 in 2017.
The top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization also sold off significantly Wednesday. Ethereum dropped 13 percent, XRP was down 11 percent and bitcoin cash fell 14 percent.
Jack Tatar, co-author of “Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond,” said this sell-off could be a sign that a shakeout is coming for digital currencies.
“I think you’re going to start to see some consolidation around many of the smaller cryptoassets,” Tatar said. “That may not be a bad thing for the overall crypto community as I’m seeing more critical examination of altcoins, their utility and overall value.”

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Blockchain helps us take green power into our own hands – CNET

Blockchain helps us take green power into our own hands Forget bitcoin. Blockchain could help us earn a different kind of digital currency — with solar energy. by May 23, 2018 5:00 AM PDT Scott Barbour / Getty Images
This is part of ” Fight The Power ,” a series about the people, organizations and countries transforming the way we think about energy for the better.
One way to get a job with the company you think will help save the planet is to say you’ll work for free.
That’s what Canadian Meagan Cojocar told David Martin two years ago over coffee.
She was 21 years old.
The company was Power Ledger , co-founded by Martin. The tiny Australian startup was at the forefront of a trend in solar energy: using blockchain technology in solar energy trading. Power Ledger had pitched an app: If you have solar energy panels, you can download the app and enter a marketplace for selling excess energy directly to your neighbors. The kicker? You can set the price, instead of being ripped off by stingy power companies.
Blockchain was Power Ledger’s answer to keep people using green energy. It could be the future of distributed renewable energy, putting that power in the hands of the consumers.
Blockchain could help democratize solar energy. Ian Knighton/CNET All I understood was ‘more money’
Not a blockchain expert? Don’t worry. Cojocar says she “didn’t fully understand it” at first either.
To track the energy your solar panels produce, Power Ledger installs software that uses blockchain into your power meter. Blockchain is a technology that basically involves a ledger housed in more than one public computer. If one computer is corrupted, others have the original record.
The blockchain also keeps your power company accountable. Before you can trade energy with your neighbor, you need to buy “Sparkz,” a digital currency, from your power company, sold at a flat rate of 1 cent each. The Sparkz sit in your digital wallet and can be converted to Australian dollars whenever you want. By preselling energy, the companies can pay the operator who maintains the grid. Now Playing: Watch this: What the heck is blockchain? 1:49 Blockchain begins
Power Ledger’s origin story began a long time ago.
Martin, the co-founder, had been working in the solar energy business for 20 years. In 2005, while flying around Western Australia’s countryside for the government, connecting solar energy batteries to microgrids, he encountered a major problem: Cheaper batteries encouraged people to go off-grid, hiking up prices for everyone else. Electricity was already pricey, and with fewer people contributing to the grid, it grew even more expensive.
He crossed paths with Jemma Green , his future Power Ledger co-founder, through various solar energy conferences. She was a “disenchanted merchant banker” who’d moved back to Perth in 2013 after 11 years in the UK. Before her return, she took a hiking trip through Europe, Chile, Israel, Nepal, Machu Picchu and Patagonia. Those experiences inspired her: What if she could create her own eco village?
So she started working toward a Ph.D. in disruptive technology looking at peer-to-peer energy trading . She wanted to help the government incentivize the installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels on apartment roofs. She wanted to give people a way of earning electricity credit for the energy their panels store when they’re not at home.
Martin and Green realized they were looking at two sides of the same problem. She was trying to find a way to separate energy and its value. He was trying to find a way of encouraging people using solar to stay connected to the distribution networks.
The co-founders of Power Ledger: David Martin and Jemma Green. Startup Grind Local
Years passed. Then, in 2015, a former banking colleague of Green’s introduced her to some blockchain developers. It was a year before companies began popularizing the use of blockchain for applications outside cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
“I met them and asked them what can be done in electricity,” Green says.
She introduced them to Martin.
At first Martin didn’t see how the idea would work.
“One example we’d seen was where people had recreated a new network,” he says. “They’d wired up a bunch of apartments so they could trade amongst themselves. I looked at it and thought, why in God’s name would you rebuild the network? You’ve already got one. You’re duplicating it. The cost of doing all that is just daft.”
Then came the beer. Getty Images
That night he went out for beers with government workmates. He took a train home to the city of Cockburn, south of Perth, where a group of modern four-story units were sitting near the station, surrounding a piazza.
Martin stepped off the train. It was the middle of the night and he was standing there, looking down at the buildings. “Hang on,” he thought suddenly. “That’s how you do it!”
Martin could almost see the electricity system from above. The units were connected to the same ring main internal wiring network.
“So why rebuild the network — why not use the existing network differently?”
He called Green immediately. “I’ve realized how we can do this. We should do something about this. Do you want to form a company?”
They went on the road and met potential investors, but the response was lukewarm. After yet another disappointment, they stood in the car park outside one investor’s house, weighing their options. It was April 25, 2016 — Anzac Day, a national holiday.
“We said, ‘Well, look, what do you want to do?'” Martin recalls. “Do we do this ourselves? Do we crack on or what?”
The answer came easily. Martin and Green had the power to make a positive change in the world. They had to go ahead.
“The risks of doing nothing were too huge.”
Cojocar representing Power Ledger at Money20/20, a global event discussing the payments industry, at the end of 2017 in Las Vegas. Meagan Cojocar/Twitter How to make millions
A year later, Cojocar, who was about to invite Martin for that coffee, discovered Power Ledger didn’t even have an office yet.
She convinced the “down-to-earth” Martin that her bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Calgary, involving studies in oil and gas, could help the company. Work experience at Microsoft and Red Bull glowed on her CV.
Martin gave her the thumbs-up, but Green was yet to be convinced. Green set a task: a competitive analysis of all the other companies using blockchain. One “massive” document later, Cojocar became one of the first Power Ledger employees.
One of her first contributions involved a multimillion-dollar international coin offering (ICO) .
Power Ledger’s timing couldn’t have been better. In 2016, blockchain gained traction among companies that started investing big in distributed ledger technology.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which runs government renewable programs, and established energy company AGL Limited started to look into blockchain and peer-to-peer trading, with their first trial to take place in Melbourne . Sonnen , a German battery system maker, introduced its “virtual plant” with distributed battery storage.
Meanwhile, the smaller, barely known Power Ledger turned to the public. It launched Australia’s first-ever ICO, which is basically a form of crowdfunding using cryptocurrencies. People bought POWR tokens, kind of like shares, in Power Ledger’s blockchain. Its underlying blockchain technology is based on Ethereum , an alternative to bitcoin.
“It was insane,” Cojocar says, recalling how tiring the process was.
At the time, Power Ledger’s newest, cheapest employee had just returned to Canada to finish up her degree. “We would have to be working 24 hours — so the other analysts would work till like 9 or 10, call me, transition to me and I would work all day.”
In just six weeks, the team of six developers, including Cojocar, had raised AU$34.15 million.
Smart city: Photovoltaic panels cover rooftops, connected using blockchain technology. Power Ledger Why it may not work
Not everyone in the electricity industry believes in blockchain.
Dylan McConnell , a Ph.D. researcher at the Australian-German Climate and Energy College , University of Melbourne , says using blockchain could be no more than an excellent marketing ploy.
“There’s certainly a lot of buzz around it, but it’s not clear to me that there are good examples of how this can be implemented or what the value of it is in the electricity sector specifically.”
The researcher, who spent five years from 2011 to 2016 working for the Melbourne Energy Institute on resource and climate change issues, says blockchain addresses an issue the electricity sector doesn’t have.
“Blockchain is basically a better way of managing settlement between different participants. And that is just not an issue in the electricity sector.”
According to McConnell, that’s because the wholesale electricity market has a transparent system — websites like McConnell’s OpenNEM show generated data on a five-minute basis of the price of every single unit of every single power station.
“You can see everything at a very high degree of granularity.”
Melbourne startup GreenSync is one example of a company investing in peer-to-peer without blockchain. It launched its pilot phase of deX , or decentralized energy exchange, in February this year, through which anyone — including households, companies and utilities — can share energy. It has the backing of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which manages Australia’s largest gas and electricity markets and power systems, and has partnered with AGL Energy, among others.
McConnell says the main issue preventing the energy transition is policy.
“There’s this whole debate about having an energy policy — we don’t have any at the moment effectively. No one is building anything because there’s too much political uncertainty.”
The other issue is people “free-riding” the system. “A lot of the value that customer is getting is by not paying for services that they should be paying for like grid infrastructure. Because they’re not paying for it, that cost gets loaded up onto people that don’t have the solar PPA.”
He suggests social equity issues like this are too complex for startups to deal with.
“In effect, a lot of the innovative ideas and startups existing in this space actually might exacerbate this problem.”
Power Ledger goes to Thailand. Power Ledger The Power Ledger rises
Despite the maturity of the electricity business, Power Ledger’s innovation stood out to Cojocar. Her year-long work experience at Microsoft’s corporate office in Mississauga, Ontario, in 2013 revealed the nature of the “big company.”
“I found that the people I was working for weren’t overly passionate. It really made me not want to go the SAP, Microsoft, Apple , Google route, but rather the people that are still innovating.”
Power Ledger is finding success on a larger scale. After an initial trial in 2016 in a lifestyle village in Busselton, Western Australia, it successfully completed trials the same year at 500 sites in Auckland, New Zealand, including schools and community groups. Now it has two commercial developments in Perth and last year started government-backed trials with apartments in Bangkok and partnered with an IT company in India focusing on microgrids. CNET Daily News Get today’s top news and reviews collected for you.
Its latest deals have given it footholds in two huge energy markets: the US and Japan. It will deploy Power Ledger at Northwestern University buildings , near Chicago, and conduct another 10-home trial in Osaka, Japan, with one of the country’s largest power utilities.
“We want Power Ledger to be the ubiquitous energy trading platform used around the world,” Martin says.
He adds, on the issue of policy: “We’re doing trials to demonstrate the technology and justify a regulatory reform, but that’s going to take some time.”
Now, after two years of rapid growth and attention, the startup has an office. Analyst Cojocar says its 30 staff members sit together in one area, where they play music, use the messaging service Telegram to share articles and have “stand-ups” every week, at which they discuss what they’ve achieved.
“It’s so funny,” she says, looking back on the whole job-finding experience. “When you’re an undergraduate, you have all these options. I would never have thought I would want to be in a startup like this.
“With Power Ledger, every day is a different story.”
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The Finance 202: Banks give richly to three Senate Democrats who backed deregulation

May 23 at 7:54 AM Email the author Follow @ToryNewmyer THE TICKER
Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). (Greg Nash/ The Hill)
Banks aren’t the only ones newly flush these days. They secured a big win Tuesday on Capitol Hill as the House approved a rollback of banking regulations, sending it to President Trump’s desk.
The industry — which raked in a record $56 billion in profits during the first quarter of the year, up more than 27 percent from last year, the FDIC reported Tuesday — is sharing the wealth with Senate Democrats who lent crucial support to the package.
Specifically, three of the four top recipients of campaign cash from commercial banks this election cycle are Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee who worked with Republicans to forge the Dodd-Frank compromise . The three — Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Jon Tester (Mont.) — are all facing potentially tough reelection fights in the fall.
Through the first quarter of this year, bank employees and political action committees have handed those senators between $140,000 and $181,000 each, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s more than twice as much as the senators together collected from the same sources over the same period in the past election cycle (when they weren’t up for reelection).
More to the point, each has also collected about twice as much this cycle from those sources as Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, who is also running for reelection in a state Trump carried. But Brown has been an outspoken critic of the industry. When his talks with Banking Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on a regulatory relief measure broke down last fall, Crapo turned to Donnelly, Heitkamp and Tester, along with Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.).
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
At a minimum, the lopsided giving points to a schism in the party over how to approach the industry. The package could not have passed without the support of more moderate Democrats — first the four on the committee that helped write it, then 17 in the Senate who got it past the chamber’s 60-vote threshold. In the House on Tuesday, 33 Democrats crossed party lines to back it. Supporters from both parties frame the measure as a set of tweaks to free up lending by regional and community banks. Liberal Democrats called it a reckless giveaway to some of the same firms that precipitated an economic crisis less than a decade ago.
Aides to the three Senate Democrats receiving the most from the sector say they draw a line between Wall Street banks and more mom-and-pop outfits in their home states. “Jon has received more than 12 times the amount of money from Montanans than what he’s received from commercial banks,” Tester campaign communications director Chris Meagher said in an emailed statement, adding there is “little question he’s held Wall Street accountable.”
Donnelly communications director Sarah Rothschild noted the Indiana Democrat has been working on the issue “since he began serving in the Senate in 2013, and for him this always has been about needed regulatory relief for Indiana’s 154 credit unions and 103 main street community banks that have been inadvertently burdened by rules and regulations intended to hold Wall Street accountable.” A Heitkamp representative similarly noted the senator has been “working to provide targeted relief for small community banks, mid-sized banks, and credit unions across North Dakota and rural America” since joining the Senate five years ago.
In this May 7, 2009 file photo, SunTrust headquarters building is shown in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
While the measure inflamed the left, it also left some on the right frustrated it didn’t go further. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), who advocated a more wholesale gutting of the post-crisis regulatory regime, held up the package for weeks as he sought to broaden its scope.
“The bill leaves major pieces of post-financial crisis rules in place, and it does not touch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency created after the financial crisis,” my colleagues Erica Werner and Renae Merle write . “Former House Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of the 2010 measure’s authors, said that, although he would have voted ‘no’ on the new plan, it does not undo the rules he helped pass. ‘This is not a ‘big number’ on the bill,” Frank said in an interview. ‘It’s a small number.’ ”
Capital Alpha’s Ian Katz seconded that view in a Tuesday note. “We think the bill is positive for the small and mid-sized banks,” he wrote. “It does almost nothing for the giant firms.”
That said, the measure relaxes oversight for about two dozen firms with between $50 billion and $250 billion in assets, including SunTrust and American Express. And it exempts those with less than $10 billion from the Volcker Rule, which bars banks from making some risky bets with their own money. Pressure from an array of those firms helped dislodge the measure in the House. “This is what PACs are for,” one banking lobbyist says. “They say, ‘We’re with you; we support you.’ And they’re saying it more loudly now for these senators because they went out there and did something big. They delivered.”
You are reading The Finance 202, our must-read tipsheet on where Wall Street meets Washington. Not a regular subscriber?
SIGN UP NOW MARKET MOVERS Trader Lauren Simons works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
— Stocks slip. Reuters’s Caroline Valetkevitch : “U.S. stocks ended lower on Tuesday, weighed down by lingering uncertainty over the outcome of trade talks between the United States and China and declines in energy and industrial shares… Trump on Tuesday said he was not pleased with recent trade talks between the United States and China and earlier said there was no deal yet with China on ZTE Corp… Trump also said there was a “substantial chance” his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will not take place as planned on June 12… The industrial sector .SPLRCI dipped 1.3 percent, a day after posting its best percentage gain in nearly two months on the trade truce, while the energy index .SPNY also fell 1.3 percent.”
— Trucking signals inflation . CNBC’s Jeff Cox : “Investors and policymakers have gone looking for inflation over the past decade and largely have come up empty. It could, however, come barreling at them soon like an 18-wheeler. Multiple signs of inflation in freight-related industries are at or near historical highs, in what could be an early sign that price pressures are building and ready to reverberate around the economy… Recent readings show demand for vehicles skyrocketing, a sign that generally points to inflationary pressures building up in the supply chain.”
Fed minutes out this afternoon could offer inflation insight . “Divisions among Federal Reserve officials over the yield curve and inflation will be under scrutiny on Wednesday when the U.S. central bank releases minutes of its policy meeting at the start of the month,” per Bloomberg’s Christopher Condon . “While the Federal Open Market Committee left interest rates unchanged at the May 1-2 session, new information on how officials discussed those topics could help analysts gauge how many additional hikes are likely this year. The Fed lifted its benchmark rate in March and another move is widely expected in June. Odds are currently about split between the probabilities for three and four increases over the year as a whole, according to pricing of federal funds futures contracts.”
TRUMP TRACKER — Trump acknowledges NK summit could fall through . The Post’s David Nakamura and co. : “Trump acknowledged Tuesday that there is a “substantial chance” a scheduled summit with Kim Jong Un could be canceled, as top aides prepared to travel to Singapore for a crucial planning meeting this weekend with North Korean officials. Their trip comes less than two weeks after a North Korean delegation failed to show up for a similar planning meeting with U.S. officials in the island country, a failure that raised red flags at the White House, according to people familiar with the situation.”
— Navarro clashes with State over airline deal . AP’s Josh Lederman : “After striking a delicate deal with the United Arab Emirates this month on rules for airline competition, the Trump administration went to war with itself. It’s a story of how a wonky aviation pact became a bitter, lobbyist-fueled international incident when Peter Navarro, …Trump’s trade adviser, repeatedly contradicted the State Department’s carefully crafted script about what the agreement actually said. The Emiratis complained to the administration…
“In the airlines dispute, the most explosive issue was so-called Fifth Freedom flights, by which Emirati airlines fly directly from the United States to places like Europe, never stopping in the UAE. The major U.S. airlines loathe such flights, which compete with their own lucrative routes. Navarro has insisted that the deal includes a ‘freeze’ in such flights. The State Department, which overseas international civil aviation agreements, insists it does not. From the start, Navarro sought to exert influence over the negotiations, pushing for stricter limitations on Persian Gulf airlines.”
TRADE FLY-AROUND:
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)
— Lawmakers unite against ZTE deal . Politico’s Adam Behsudi : “Members of both parties on Tuesday stepped up their battle against a potential move by Trump to ease sanctions on Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE in a bid to strike a broader deal with Beijing on trade… The latest response came from the Senate Banking Committee, which approved an amendment that would bar the president from modifying any civil penalties against ‘Chinese telecommunications companies’ unless he could certify that the company has not violated U.S. law in the past year and is fully cooperating with an investigation… The provision was approved by a panel vote of 23-2 as an amendment to a larger bill that would overhaul the process the U.S. government‘s process for scrutinizing the national security risks of foreign investments under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.”
— Steel, aluminum tariffs against China still on . Politico’s Doug Palmer : “The Trump administration won’t lift new tariffs on steel and aluminum from China as part of a deal aimed at reducing the huge trade deficit with that country and addressing U.S. concerns about intellectual property theft, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Tuesday. ‘As it relates to China, the steel and aluminum tariffs will remain in force. Those were not part of our discussions,’ Mnuchin said before the Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee. The news should please steel producers and workers who support the increased protection. But it won’t help U.S. farmers because China has vowed retaliatory tariffs on about $3 billion of their exports because of the duties.”
— WH drives hard bargain with EU . WSJ’s Emre Peker : “Trump is weighing measures to cut European Union steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. by about 10%, in a sign the bloc’s concessions to secure tariff exemptions aren’t meeting White House demands, EU officials familiar with the talks said… ‘We are under the impression that somehow they want to limit steel imports to the U.S.,’ European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said of continuing negotiations with Washington before briefing EU governments. ‘Aluminum as well,’ she said, without providing details. The EU is still trying to figure out precisely what Mr. Trump wants ahead of his June 1 deadline , when the bloc’s temporary exemptions will expire, European officials said. Quotas are one idea floated by U.S. negotiators, but their scope and details aren’t yet clear, EU officials said.”
— NAFTA talks stall . WSJ’s Robbie Whelan : “Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement have reached a stalemate , with Mexico and the U.S. accusing one another of intransigence and inconsistency after missing a key deadline. The most troublesome points remain the rules governing auto production and the so-called America First provisions that President Donald Trump wants in any new deal, in a bid to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. These include removing the international arbitration panels that currently resolve commercial disputes and creating a sunset clause that would terminate the deal every five years. Both Mexico and Canada have described those measures as unacceptable.”
MELTDOWN WATCH:
— Cohen’s partner agrees to plea deal. NYT’s Danny Hakim, William Rashbaum, and Vivian Wang : “A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, … Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter.”
— Mnuchin: Treasury investigating leak of Cohen records . Bloomberg : “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that banking records of… Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen appear to have been leaked from a database maintained by his department. ‘Our inspector general is reviewing the issue of leaks. There is the appearance that some of the information may have gone out,’ Mnuchin told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. ‘There is no excuse whatsoever for anybody who has access to these important systems to release information on an unauthorized basis.’”
Treasury Department unveils sanctions on 5 Iranians Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the “United States will not tolerate Iranian support for Houthi rebels who are attacking our close partner, Saudi Arabia.” Politico Former Trump adviser heads effort to crack down on climate shareholder resolutions A former top energy and environment adviser to President Trump is leading an industry-backed effort to crack down on corporate shareholders’ resolutions on hot-button controversies like climate change. The Hill MONEY ON THE HILL Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks as House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) listens during a news briefing after a House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
— CFIUS bills advance . Reuters’s Diane Bartz : “Committees in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to approve bills aimed at tightening oversight of foreign investment to slow China’s acquisition of sensitive U.S. technology. The Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee approved laws that would strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews potential foreign investment to ensure it does not compromise national security… Congress is considering the bills to address Defense Department concerns that U.S. soldiers could some day face on a battlefield U.S. technology like robotics or drones that was acquired by foreign adversaries.”
— Ryan is losing his grip on the House. The Post’s Mike DeBonis : “Speaker Paul D. Ryan is losing his grip on the feuding House Republican conference just months before pivotal midterm elections, caught between dueling factions vying for power inside the party and facing scattered calls for his departure ahead of a planned year-end retirement. The unrest comes in the wake of a humiliating defeat for Ryan and other GOP leaders last week, when conservatives sank a farm bill amid a broader dispute over immigration policy, and threatens to spark months of bitter infighting as Republican lawmakers try to make the case that they should be returned to power in Washington. But there is no clear way out for the party. Numerous aides and lawmakers said Tuesday there is not a viable alternative to Ryan who can win enough support within the GOP for a clean transition before November — and there is little stomach at the moment for the messy battle that would ensue when Ryan departs.”
POCKET CHANGE Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
— Morgan Stanley eyes $1 trillion in asset management . Bloomberg’s Ben Bain and Sonali Basak : “James Gorman would like his asset management division to join the $1 trillion club. Morgan Stanley’s chief executive officer said he wants the unit to hit that level of client assets, in response to a question about his view on the next five to seven years at a conference hosted by the Investment Company Institute in Washington. The unit — the smallest of the bank’s three major divisions — had $469 billion in assets at the end of March. The asset-management industry has seen a wave of mergers as investors’ shift to passive strategies has put pressure on firms to increase scale and cut costs. Morgan Stanley’s business is smaller than those at rivals Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which both have more than $1 trillion, leading some analysts to question whether the firm should make an acquisition.”
— Has Spotify changed the IPO game? CNBC’s Bob Pisani : “When Spotify went public April 3, it attracted a lot of interest, and not just because the company was well known to the public. Instead of hiring underwriters to sell new shares to the public, Spotify went public on the NYSE in what is called a ‘direct listing.’ … By almost any standard, the IPO has been a success: After opening at $165.90 on April 3 (above the ‘reference price’ of $132 provided by Morgan Stanley), the stock has traded in a fairly narrow range. The fear that sellers would come out in droves and dump their shares has not materialized, as volume has not been particularly heavy… Is this a successful model for other unicorns on the 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 list announced Tuesday, like Uber and Airbnb or smaller companies? Perhaps, but only for companies that have a particular set of needs.”
— Lobbyists cash in on crypto. Politico’s Patrick Temple-West and Colin Wilhelm : “Bitcoin may end up being a bubble, but cryptocurrencies are fueling real revenue for Washington lobbyists. As digital currencies face a growing threat of government regulation, companies and trade associations are increasingly enlisting help from K Street. For the first time in their lobbying disclosures, three big trade groups have listed cryptocurrency as an issue: the Association of National Advertisers, the Investment Company Institute and the National Venture Capital Association. In an April 20 disclosure, financial services giant Fidelity said it is lobbying on Bitcoin and digital assets… The lobbying comes as the SEC and CFTC are weighing regulations for digital currencies. The CFTC on Monday published new guidance on virtual currency derivatives this week.”
Unemployment Rate Is Lowest in Years—and Many Americans Are Just Hanging On Many U.S. households remain in a precarious financial position despite unemployment falling to the lowest level in years, a new Federal Reserve survey shows. Bloomberg The Switch Amazon is selling facial recognition to law enforcement — for a fistful of dollars Amazon has been providing facial recognition tools to law enforcement agencies in Oregon and Orlando for only a few dollars a month, paving the way for a rollout of technology that is causing concern among civil rights groups. Elizabeth Dwoskin DAYBOOK Today
The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on the Government Accountability Office’s annual report. The House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections holds a hearing on “Regulatory Reform: Unleashing Economic Opportunity for Workers and Employers.” Coming Up
The Peterson Institute for International Economics holds a webcast on “What We Can Do to Make Open Economies Inclusive” on May 30. The American Enterprise Institute holds a conversation with former Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke on June 7. THE FUNNIES From the New Yorker:
A cartoon by @larskenseth. #TNYcartoons
A post shared by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons) on May 22, 2018 at 11:22am PDT
BULL SESSION Democrats hammer President Trump over ZTE reversal:
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the department’s inspector general is looking into the “appearance” of leaks related to Michael Cohen’s banking records:
From the Fact Checker: Has the administration obtained $2 billion for school safety?

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nChain Acquires Majority Stake in HandCash Wallet for Bitcoin Cash

nChain Acquires Majority Stake in HandCash Wallet for Bitcoin Cash News provided by 14:13 ET Share this article
LONDON , May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — nChain Group, the leading blockchain research and development group, has closed deal terms to acquire a majority stake in HandCash. HandCash is a Bitcoin Cash mobile wallet which uses near field communication (NFC) technology to make it as easy for users to send Bitcoin Cash to someone as if they were handing cash. The deal was made through nChain Group’s investment entity, nChain Reaction Ltd.
HandCash was co-founded in Spain by Alejandro Pascual Agut and Rafael Jiménez Seibane. With NFC technology, the mobile application allows mobile wallets to complete instant transfer of Bitcoin Cash funds with each other through “contactless” means once users’ mobile devices are in close proximity to each other (similar to contactless credit card and Apple Pay functionality).
HandCash co-founder Alex Agut explains: “Bitcoin was conceived to be peer-to-peer electronic cash. We wondered why Bitcoin was not being used like cash. That gave us the idea to create a wallet application that allows you to send Bitcoin in a way that resembles handing someone cash, by merely placing a sender’s mobile device close to the recipient’s device. That’s why we named our project HandCash. We also knew the application could only work on Bitcoin Cash, with its low fees and instant confirmations.”
HandCash also makes it easier to send Bitcoin Cash without having to ask for a complicated receipt address or even a QR code, as most current Bitcoin applications require. Instead, users can identify and send funds to each other using “handle” names. In addition, users can keep their funds safe with easy ways to back up their wallets on the cloud or inside any NFC chip.
HandCash also supports growth of Bitcoin Cash for merchant payments, with plans to create easy “contactless” payment mechanisms at the retailer point-of-sale. Its anticipated payment features will ignite greater merchant adoption of Bitcoin Cash.
HandCash co-founder Rafa Seibane remarks: “In addition to financial investment, nChain will provide us access to its research, intellectual property and deep Bitcoin Cash expertise. We believe this technical support will give HandCash advantages in becoming a leading Bitcoin Cash wallet and payment system.”
nChain Group CEO Jimmy Nguyen comments: “For Bitcoin Cash to grow, user interfaces need to become better and easier to use. We are impressed with HandCash and its vision for simplifying the Bitcoin Cash transaction process to a contactless approach. nChain is thrilled to support HandCash on its journey to make Bitcoin Cash wallets and payment systems easy to use around the world, and to ignite global adoption of Bitcoin Cash.”
nChain’s deal with HandCash follows just days after the May 15, 2018 protocol upgrade for the Bitcoin Cash network. This recent upgrade implements two key changes: Increasing the default size of blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain from 8MB to 32MB; and Restoring certain OP_Codes for advanced functionality.
The BCH 32 MB default block size is significantly larger than Bitcoin Core (BTC)’s small 1 MB block. This larger block size allows BCH network capacity to be over 8 million transactions per day, which is more than PayPal processes. This ensures usage of BCH can rapidly grow while maintaining the capacity needed to process greater transaction volumes, at fast speeds, but keeping fees very low. The upgrade validates HandCash’s vision in creating its wallet product for Bitcoin Cash.
Website: nChain.com Twitter: @nChainGlobal
ABOUT NCHAIN GROUP: The nChain Group is the global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies. Its mission is to enable massive growth and worldwide adoption of the Bitcoin network – focusing on Bitcoin Cash as the true Bitcoin. The nChain Group includes these business units: 1) nChain Limited – a blockchain research and development service provider in London, United Kingdom ; 2) nChain Holdings Limited – a intellectual property holding and commercialization company; 3) nChain Reaction – an investment entity which supports ventures that have Bitcoin Cash products or applications; 4) nCrypt – a Bitcoin wallet and exchange in Canada ; and 5) BMG Operations – a Bitcoin Cash mining operation.
View original content with multimedia: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nchain-acquires-majority-stake-in-handcash-wallet-for-bitcoin-cash-300652058.html
SOURCE nChain Group

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Bitcoin headed for $20,000 in six months, says CEO of cryptocurrency platform

By Aaron Hankin
Bitcoin futures show signs that sentiment remains high
Bitcoin, the world’s biggest digital currency on Monday, traded higher, punching above $8,500 in early action. However, the digital-currency market more broadly wasn’t faring as well, with most virtual assets kicking off the week in decline.
After reaching a weekend high of $8,575.99, bitcoin has retreated and a single bitcoin was last worth $8,468.71, down 1% since Sunday’s levels at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the Kraken exchange.
Despite the sluggish start to the week, sentiment remains high. The CEO of Atlas Quantum, one of Brazil’s largest crypto trading platforms, Rodrigo Marques, said in an email to MarketWatch that the move under $8,000 was an interim low for bitcoin, adding that he expects bitcoin to reach $20,000 in six months, recapturing levels it hasn’t approached since December.
Read:A recent shift in Uranus means big things for cryptocurrencies (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-are-buying-bitcoin-because-their-horoscope-said-so-2018-05-17)
In further positive news for bitcoin enthusiasts, futures trading showed most investors aren’t giving up on the No. 1 digital currency. “We saw many traders roll out from May to June over the past few days,” wrote Peter Lusk, senior instructor at the Cboe Global Markets Inc. “Rolling futures to a further-dated contract is typical when near-term futures move toward expiration.”
Holders of bitcoin futures could have opted to exit their position and settle.
Read:The advent of bitcoin futures sparked the selloff from $20,000, says San Francisco Fed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-advent-of-bitcoin-futures-sparked-the-selloff-from-20000-says-san-francisco-fed-2018-05-07)
What are altcoins and futures doing?
Altcoins, or those considered alternatives to bitcoin, have stumbled out of the blocks Monday. Ether is down 1.4% to $709.00, Bitcoin Cash has lost 4.4% to $1,242.60, Litecoin is off 3.1% at $135.86 and Ripple’s XRP coinlast traded at 69 cents, down 2.5%.
Futures are trading higher early Monday after the spot rally over the weekend. The Cboe June contract is up 3.1% at $8,515, while the May contract traded on is up 3.3% at $8,500.
CryptoWatch:Check bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices, performance and market capitalization–all on one dashboard (https://www.marketwatch.com/graphics/cryptowatch/#/)
-Aaron Hankin; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
1005ET

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CannaCoin Trading Down 15.9% This Week (CCN)

Posted by ABMN Staff on May 21st, 2018 // No Comments
CannaCoin (CURRENCY:CCN) traded 8.4% lower against the dollar during the 24 hour period ending at 16:00 PM E.T. on May 21st. One CannaCoin coin can currently be bought for $0.0478 or 0. 569 BTC on exchanges. Over the last week, CannaCoin has traded down 15.9% against the dollar. CannaCoin has a total market capitalization of $224,950.00 and approximately $995.00 worth of CannaCoin was traded on exchanges in the last day.
Here is how other cryptocurrencies have performed over the last day: Get CannaCoin alerts: Bitcoin (BTC) traded 1.2% lower against the dollar and now trades at $8,429.67 or 1. BTC. Ethereum (ETH) traded 3% lower against the dollar and now trades at $699.03 or 0.08313380 BTC. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) traded down 4.1% against the dollar and now trades at $1,243.97 or 0.14794100 BTC. Litecoin (LTC) traded 3.6% lower against the dollar and now trades at $134.74 or 0.01602450 BTC. Monero (XMR) traded 3.7% lower against the dollar and now trades at $196.69 or 0.02339180 BTC. Ethereum Classic (ETC) traded 2.6% lower against the dollar and now trades at $17.73 or 0.00210857 BTC. Bytecoin (BCN) traded down 5.7% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0090 or 0. 107 BTC. Zcash (ZEC) traded 6.9% lower against the dollar and now trades at $329.09 or 0.03913750 BTC. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) traded down 4.2% against the dollar and now trades at $53.77 or 0.00639495 BTC. Verge (XVG) traded 4.9% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0539 or 0. 641 BTC.
CannaCoin Profile CCN is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin that uses the Proof of Stake Velocity hashing algorithm. It launched on March 28th, 2014. CannaCoin’s total supply is 4,701,687 coins. CannaCoin’s official Twitter account is @CCNProject and its Facebook page is accessible here . The official website for CannaCoin is www.cannacoin.tech . The Reddit community for CannaCoin is /r/cannacoin and the currency’s Github account can be viewed here .
Buying and Selling CannaCoin
CannaCoin can be purchased on the following cryptocurrency exchanges: Cryptopia. It is usually not possible to buy alternative cryptocurrencies such as CannaCoin directly using US dollars. Investors seeking to trade CannaCoin should first buy Bitcoin or Ethereum using an exchange that deals in US dollars such as Coinbase , GDAX or Changelly. Investors can then use their newly-acquired Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy CannaCoin using one of the aforementioned exchanges. Receive News & Updates for CannaCoin Daily – Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and updates for CannaCoin and related cryptocurrencies with MarketBeat.com’s FREE CryptoBeat newsletter . «

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Photon (PHO) Trading Down 24.5% This Week

Posted by ABMN Staff on May 21st, 2018 // No Comments
Photon (CURRENCY:PHO) traded down 14.5% against the dollar during the 1-day period ending at 14:00 PM ET on May 21st. One Photon coin can currently be purchased for $0.0000 or 0. BTC on cryptocurrency exchanges including C-Patex and Cryptopia. Photon has a market capitalization of $831,325.00 and approximately $3,494.00 worth of Photon was traded on exchanges in the last 24 hours. During the last week, Photon has traded 24.5% lower against the dollar.
Here’s how similar cryptocurrencies have performed during the last 24 hours: Get Photon alerts: Bitcoin (BTC) traded down 1.6% against the dollar and now trades at $8,378.00 or 1. BTC. Ethereum (ETH) traded down 3.8% against the dollar and now trades at $693.96 or 0.08286720 BTC. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) traded 5.5% lower against the dollar and now trades at $1,222.10 or 0.14593400 BTC. Litecoin (LTC) traded 4.1% lower against the dollar and now trades at $133.95 or 0.01599550 BTC. Monero (XMR) traded 4.3% lower against the dollar and now trades at $195.31 or 0.02332200 BTC. Ethereum Classic (ETC) traded 3.5% lower against the dollar and now trades at $17.59 or 0.00210004 BTC. Bytecoin (BCN) traded down 2.4% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0089 or 0. 107 BTC. Zcash (ZEC) traded down 6.5% against the dollar and now trades at $327.97 or 0.03916400 BTC. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) traded 4% lower against the dollar and now trades at $53.64 or 0.00640509 BTC. Verge (XVG) traded down 4.6% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0536 or 0. 641 BTC.
Photon Profile Photon (PHO) is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin that uses the BLAKE256 hashing algorithm. It launched on February 21st, 2016. Photon’s total supply is 22,945,325,585 coins. The official website for Photon is www.photoncc.com . Photon’s official Twitter account is @PhotonCoin .
Photon Coin Trading
Photon can be traded on these cryptocurrency exchanges: C-Patex and Cryptopia. It is usually not currently possible to purchase alternative cryptocurrencies such as Photon directly using U.S. dollars. Investors seeking to acquire Photon should first purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum using an exchange that deals in U.S. dollars such as GDAX, Changelly or Gemini. Investors can then use their newly-acquired Bitcoin or Ethereum to purchase Photon using one of the exchanges listed above. Receive News & Updates for Photon updates for Photon and related cryptocurrencies CryptoBeat newsletter . «

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EDRCoin Price Reaches $0.0723 on Exchanges (EDRC)

EDRCoin (CURRENCY:EDRC) traded 0.6% lower against the US dollar during the 1-day period ending at 22:00 PM E.T. on May 21st. EDRCoin has a total market capitalization of $0.00 and $36.00 worth of EDRCoin day. One EDRCoin coin can currently be purchased for $0.0723 or 0. 871 BTC on popular cryptocurrency exchanges including Cryptopia, YoBit and CoinExchange. Over the last seven days, EDRCoin has traded down 19.5% against the US dollar.
Here’s how similar cryptocurrencies have performed over the last day: Get EDRCoin alerts: Qbao (QBT) traded down 0.7% against the dollar and now trades at $0.35 or 0.00004211 BTC. Bean Cash (BITB) traded 1% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0085 or 0. 102 BTC. Bitcoin Atom (BCA) traded 18% lower against the dollar and now trades at $1.04 or 0.00012474 BTC. Measurable Data Token (MDT) traded 3.3% higher against the dollar and now trades at $0.0611 or 0. 736 BTC. Pascal Lite (PASL) traded down 10.3% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0342 or 0. 412 BTC. X-Coin (XCO) traded 18.2% higher against the dollar and now trades at $0.0081 or 0. 98 BTC. High Voltage (HVCO) traded down 8.4% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0565 or 0. 681 BTC. Cybereits (CRE) traded 2.3% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0283 or 0. 340 BTC. Fonziecoin (FONZ) traded flat against the dollar and now trades at $0.0012 or 0. 13 BTC. PrismChain (PRM) traded flat against the dollar and now trades at $0.0011 or 0. 13 BTC.
EDRCoin Profile EDRC is a PoW/PoS coin that uses the SHA256 hashing algorithm. Its genesis date was January 26th, 2016. EDRCoin’s total supply is 3,407,292 coins. EDRCoin’s official website is www.edrcoin.cash . EDRCoin’s official Twitter account is @EDRCoinOfficial and its Facebook page is accessible here .
EDRCoin Coin Trading
EDRCoin can be purchased on the following cryptocurrency exchanges: Cryptopia, CoinExchange and YoBit. It is usually not presently possible to buy EDRCoin directly using US dollars. Investors seeking to trade EDRCoin should first buy Bitcoin or Ethereum using an exchange that deals in US dollars such as Coinbase , Gemini or GDAX. Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy EDRCoin using one of the aforementioned exchanges. Receive News & Updates for EDRCoin EDRCoin

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