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Mark Emem

Articles by Mark Emem

Japanese Bitcoin Exchange Goes Bust After a $700,000 Theft Coverup

January 23, 2020

Before Bitcoin firm CoinExchange closed its doors last year in October, an undisclosed theft had occurred a year prior.
The crypto firm said the closure was purely a business decision.
CoinExchange expressly ruled out a security breach as causing the closure. Was it an oversight or intentional cover-up?
Two hackers who stole Bitcoin worth approximately $700,000 from a cryptocurrency exchange have been arrested in Japan.
According to Japan Times, the suspects hacked Tokyo-based CoinExchange on October 29th 2018. The two hackers then transferred the funds to two accounts held on cryptocurrency exchanges located within and outside Japan. One of the suspects was an employee of the crypto exchange.
Cover-up or mere oversight?
While the report claims that Tokyo police

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Nicolas Maduro: You Can Now Buy Our Venezuelan Oil in Crypto Petro

January 3, 2020

2020 could be the year Venezuelan oil will be finally exchanged for the Petro crypto. The national cryptocurrency is yet to find a use outside its borders. U.S. sanctions are scaring would-be buyers with the number of oil barrels sitting in storage tanks growing by the day. Venezuela’s plans to sell its mineral resources for its cryptocurrency Petro will reportedly take off this year.According to the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the country’s oil will be sold in the national cryptocurrency. Other products including precious metals as well as industrial metals will also be sold in Petros.Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency already buying industrial metals Per El Nacional, the socialist pleader revealed that the South American country has already been selling iron and steel in

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Bitcoin Billionaire Tim Draper Might Not Invest in India Ever Again Due to Controversial Citizenship Law

December 23, 2019

Tim Draper has suggested he will not tolerate religious discrimination. The Draper Venture Network is currently invested in India. The venture capitalist earlier this year criticized a proposed cryptocurrency ban in the world’s biggest democracy. Bitcoin billionaire Tim Draper is not one to shy away from controversy. As protests escalate over India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Draper has warned that the new law could harm the subcontinent’s power to attract investors such as him. Per Draper, the actions of “India choosing one religion over another” could make him reconsider investing in the world’s second-most populous country. The bitcoin billionaire tweeted: India choosing one religion over another makes me seriously concerned about my plans to fund businesses there. Source:

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France Hates Facebook’s Libra So Much it’s Developing its Own Digital Currency

December 6, 2019

Trials for a French wholesale central bank digital currency will kick off next year.France is responding to the threat posed by Facebook’s Libra to monetary policy sovereignty.The EU country is hoping to be the first to issue a wholesale CBDC.Immediately after Facebook announced its plans for a global cryptocurrency, France emerged as one of the social media giant’s biggest opposition to Libra. One of the arguments that French officials put forward in their case against Libra then was that the private firm-backed cryptocurrency was an attack on the monetary sovereignty of nations. Now France has moved to respond to the threats posed to its monetary sovereignty by embracing blockchain technology to issue its own cryptocurrency.France to start CBDC trials in 2020 and beat Facebook’s Libra

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Japan’s Biggest Bank Pivots ‘MUFG Coin’ After Digital Currency Flop

December 5, 2019

MUFG has been touting a cryptocurrency for over a year now.The digital currency will be used in a mobile payment service.The service could be rolled out by the end of 2020’s first half.A much-publicized plan by Japan’s biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) to launch a cryptocurrency has been scaled back. The financial giant will instead use the digital currency in a mobile payments business, according to Nikkei Asia Review. The mobile payment service employing the MUFG Coin as the unit of transactions will be unveiled in partnership with HR firm Recruit Holdings.Through the service, users will be able to convert money held in their bank accounts into the MUFG coin. Recipients of the MUFG coin will then be able to convert the digital currency to the Japanese Yen or any other

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Bitcoin-Hating Trump is Standing in the Way of Bakkt CEO Becoming U.S. Senator

November 22, 2019

Bakkt CEO wants to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.
President Donald Trump has already signaled his preferred candidate and it’s not the CEO of the Bitcoin futures exchange.
Bakkt has been growing from strength to strength in recent weeks.
Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of bitcoin futures trading exchange Bakkt, is gunning to be appointed Georgia’s new U.S. Senator by the state’s governor. The only problem: President Trump has other ideas.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trump is pushing Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, to appoint U.S. House Representative Doug Collins to the seat. Loeffler filed her application to become Georgia’s next Republican Senator on Monday and is believed to be Kemp’s choice for the position. The Senate seat will be vacated by current Senator

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Bitcoin-Friendly Singapore Considers Approving Crypto Derivatives Trading

November 20, 2019

Singapore has released the consultation paper on the proposed Bitcoin derivatives.
Retail investors might not be allowed to trade in the crypto products.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore says the move is driven by demand.
Singapore’s central bank could soon authorize the trading of derivatives referencing cryptocurrency assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. As part of the preliminary plans being undertaken, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has released a consultation paper seeking views from interested parties.
Per the central bank, the move to license cryptocurrency derivatives stems from a demand for well-regulated crypto derivative products.
If the central bank goes ahead with the initiative, the crypto derivatives will only be based on payment tokens. To qualify for a

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Crypto Queen’s Brother Admits $4 Billion Onecoin Scam. His Reward? A US Passport

November 15, 2019

Of the estimated $4 billion generated from the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam, the founder took in more than an eighth of that. Bulgarian national Ruja Ignatova, the founder of OneCoin, has disappeared without a trace. Konstantin Ignatov’s testimony has been highly damaging to his sister and other OneCoin figures. The arrest of OneCoin leader Konstantin Ignatov earlier this year has proved to be a goldmine for prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Ignatov has offered intricate details on the $4 billion cryptocurrency scam that was started by his sister Ruja Ignatova, infamously known as the ‘Crypto Queen’. His testimony has not only implicated his sister but also other senior operatives of the criminal scheme. But this could come at a cost to his life and that of his nearest and

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Crypto Hits the Big Time After Coinbase CEO Makes Rising Star List

November 14, 2019

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been honored by Time magazine in the inaugural TIME 100 Next list. Four crypto and blockchain startups appeared in the 2019 CNBC Upstart 100. Startups featured on the CNBC list must have raised $50 million or less in VC funding. This has been a good week for individuals and startups in the crypto and blockchain space. Within a span of hours, players in the sector have been recognized by two mainstream media organizations – CNBC and Time magazine – over their potential to influence the future. Four crypto and blockchain startups were featured in the 2019 CNBC Upstart 100, a list of the world’s most promising startups to watch. At the same time, Coinbase Co-Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong made the inaugural TIME 100 Next list, joining about a dozen other

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Bitcoin Extortionists Hit Fortune-500 Mexican Oil Giant Pemex for $5 Million

November 13, 2019

Pemex is required to pay the Bitcoin ransom within two weeks or face paying double after. About 5% of the computers have been affected by the DoppelPaymer software. The oil giant’s billing systems are the most impacted and could lead to delays in paying salaries. The hackers who hit Mexico’s state oil giant Pemex earlier this week with ransomware are demanding hundreds of Bitcoin in order to provide the decryption software. According to Bleeping Computer, the ransomware used to target the Fortune 500 firm is DoppelPaymer. So far Pemex believes that under 5% of its computers have been affected by the ransomware. The oil giant’s billing systems have been the most impacted by the cyberattack and the department has now resorted to a manual workaround. In a tweet, the oil giant has stated

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China Guarantees Citizens On-Demand Anonymity With State Digital Currency

November 12, 2019

The digital currency will allow anonymity to users… but only to an extent. Analysts are predicting the government-backed crypto will be out early next year. Blockchain efforts by the People’s Bank of China have ramped up in recent weeks. China has brushed aside concerns that its planned government-backed crypto will be used to keep tabs on the activities of its citizens. Allegedly, users of the centralized digital currency will be guaranteed ‘controllable anonymity’ as long as they are not engaging in illegal activities. This is according to the head of the digital currency research institute at the People’s Bank of China, Mu Changchun. Speaking at a conference in Singapore, Changchun said they were not ‘seeking full control of the information of the general public’, per Reuters. Users

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Crypto Heist: Thieves Penetrate Bitcoin ATM Warehouse to Steal 85 Devices

November 6, 2019

Bitcoin ATMs stored in a warehouse in the Malaysian town of Seremban were stolen. The heist mimics bank robbers digging tunnels to get to vaults. The perpetrators are thought to have intended to put the crypto devices to their own use. The ‘greatest bank robbery in history’ according to the Guinness World Records involved the use of brains, brawn and no violence. This was the Central Bank of Brazil heist in Fortaleza. The gang rented out premises in a nearby building and dug a tunnel to get to the bank’s vaults. Once there they took away five containers filled with wads of cash. Now, the closest comparable we have in the cryptocurrency industry has occurred in Malaysia. According to the Sun Daily, a gang of five people stole 85 bitcoin ATMs by employing similar tactics. The

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Bitfinex Sparks Controversy Allegedly Manipulating $20,000 Bitcoin Price High

November 4, 2019

Bitfinex, which shares co-founders with the Tether stablecoin, is once again attracting controversy over the manipulation of the Bitcoin price.
Per a paper published by the University of Texas Professor John Griffin and Ohio State University’s Amin Shams, Bitcoin’s run to a record high near $20,000 in 2017 was caused by a single market whale.
Bitfinex whale manipulating Bitcoin price surges
Initially reported by Bloomberg, the paper, which is an update on an earlier one by the same authors, states that the single market whale operates on Bitfinex with the transactions relying on Tether:
“Our results suggest instead of thousands of investors moving the price of Bitcoin, it’s just one large one.”
The two academics based their study on transactions of Tether and Bitcoin between

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Pro-Bitcoin Jack Dorsey Invests in CoinList’s $10 Million Raise With a ‘Hell No’ to Facebook’s Libra

October 30, 2019

The funding round raised $10 million for the crypto startup specializing in token sales. The move comes months Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey launched Square Crypto. The startup could turn out to be a competitor to Cash app. Months after announcing a Bitcoin-focused initiative by the Square financial services firm (Square Crypto), Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is doubling down in the space by investing in token sales management platform CoinList. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dorsey recently participated in a funding round that raised $10 million for the crypto startup. This is Dorsey’s first investment in the cryptocurrency startup that is around two years old. The investment round was led by cryptocurrency hedge fund Polychain Capital. What exactly does CoinList do? On its website, CoinList

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Starbucks Will Accept Bitcoin in 2020, Thanks to Wall Street’s Bakkt

October 29, 2019

Bakkt’s consumer app trials to commence by mid-2020.
Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world by the number of outlets.
Bakkt wants to move beyond futures trading.
Months after Starbucks disappointed the crypto space by backpedaling on reports that it would be accepting direct Bitcoin payments, the coffee chain has been announced as the first launch partner of Bakkt’s upcoming crypto payments service.
According to the Bitcoin futures exchange founded by the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, testing of the crypto payments app and merchant portal will be done by July 2020:
“We’re now focused on the development of the consumer app and merchant portal, as well as testing with our first launch partner, Starbucks, which we expect in the first half of next year.”

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Billionaire Crypto Bull Warns of Bitcoin Price Spiral Near $6,500

October 25, 2019

The fall of the Bitcoin price to June lows on Wednesday may just be a harbinger of more pain to come for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and hodlers. According to the CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital Mike Novogratz, Bitcoin could drop to below $6,500, a level last recorded in May.
Bitcoin price in sideways movement with no direction yet
Given that the Bitcoin price was at around $8,000 before the midweek drop, this would represent a decline of nearly 20% from Wednesday. Currently, the leading cryptocurrency is ranging in sideway movements just below the $7,500 mark.
Bitcoin price chart | Source: TradingViewFollowing the drop in the Bitcoin price, the dominance level of the cryptocurrency relative to altcoins has fallen to 65.5%. As the leading cryptocurrency was surging to a

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Johannesburg Shuts Down Computers City-Wide After Bitcoin Ransomware Attack

October 25, 2019

Hackers have breached the computer network of South Africa’s commercial capital Johannesburg in an attempt to ransom the city for Bitcoin. Consequently, the city has shut down its website and suspended all e-services as a ‘precautionary measure’. At the time of writing the city’s website was still inaccessible.
The city of Johannesburg’s official web portal is down. | Source: Joburg.orgPer The Times, the group behind the cyber-attack is an outfit known as Shadow Kill Hackers. The group is demanding 4 Bitcoin – nearly $30,000 at the current Bitcoin price – by the close of business on October 28.
Pay us in Bitcoin or else…
In their ransom note received by several employees of the city, Shadow Kill Hackers claimed to have obtained valuable and confidential data from the city:

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Ban Begone? India’s Largest Bank Supports Heavy-handed Crypto Regulation

October 24, 2019

One of the world’s largest banks, the government-controlled State Bank of India, does not mind the heavy regulation of crypto in the country.
This is according to the bank’s chairman Rajnish Kumar. According to The Economic Times, Kumar has stated that regulation is necessary for cryptocurrencies to prevent their unlawful use:
“Let’s see. Because there’s a dark side of the internet also. There can be misuse of the digital currencies. That is why regulation is must.”
Bans, jail sentences, fines…

Currently, cryptocurrencies in India face severe restrictions. Financial institutions are, for instance, banned by the Reserve Bank of India from offering their services to crypto-related businesses and this includes cryptocurrency exchanges. Some cryptocurrency exchanges have had to shut

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Bitcoin Price Plunges $500 Within Minutes to 5-Month Low Below $7,500

October 23, 2019

The bitcoin price has plunged by nearly 10%  on Wednesday to fall near a 5-month low.
After flirting with a move to the upside above $8,000, the leading cryptocurrency dropped sharply below to just under $7,500.
Bitcoin price chart | Source: TradingViewOther major-cap cryptocurrencies also followed Bitcoin’s spiraling crash by falling between 4% and 9% in value. The most adversely affected were the Bitcoin variants – BCH and BSV.
Bitcoin trading near the ~$7,500 figure marks a low last recorded in June. Since the yearly high also registered in June, the crypto asset has now lost about 45% of its value. It has however nearly doubled in value since the start of the year.5
BSV Leads the Altcoin Bleed
Among the top-ten cryptocurrencies by marketcap, Bitcoin SV has fallen the most in

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UK Govt Official Swats Question on Proposed Crypto Derivatives Ban

October 22, 2019

The decision over whether to ban the sale of crypto derivative products to retail customers in the UK will be determined solely by the financial regulator. This was the message delivered by Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, in an answer to a question posed by the Member of Parliament for Shipley, Philip Davies.
Referring to a commitment by the Financial Conduct Authority to launch consultations to find out the implications of prohibiting the sale of cryptocurrency derivatives to retail investors, Glen indicated that it was up to the financial regulator to make the determination. The UK Treasury economic secretary said this while noting that the FCA “is operationally independent from government.”
UK Government Skirts the Question
Besides shifting responsibility for

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Ex-NBA Star Allegedly Dupes African Firm in $800,000 Bitcoin Scam

October 21, 2019

Ex-NBA star Isaac Austin has been accused of swindling a Ghanaian firm nearly one million dollars in a Bitcoin Scam. According to GhanaWeb, the former NBA player lured victims into investing their Bitcoin in an automated cryptocurrency trading program run by his firm, Isaac Edward Austin and Tudor Trust. On Austin’s LinkedIn page the ex-basketball player is listed as a trustee of the firm. Source: LinkedInHis Twitter account, however, makes no such mention. Ghanaian firm loses 75 Bitcoin to ex-NBA star Per the unnamed Ghanaian firm, 75 BTC were transferred to Austin as the trustee of IEA and Tudor Trust earlier this year. Under the agreement, Austin was to pay back the amount with each Bitcoin valued at $11,000, a total of $825,000 by July 3rd. According to another victim, the ex-NBA

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The Biggest Beneficiaries of the Bitcoin Ransomware Boom are Not Hackers

October 17, 2019

The more prevalent bitcoin ransomware attacks become, the merrier it gets for insurance firms that offer cyber-liability insurance coverage. The City of Baltimore has become the latest example of this emerging trend. According to The Wall Street Journal, city officials on Wednesday authorized the purchase of cyber-liability insurance coverage worth $20 million. The Maryland city will be covered under two plans by two insurance firms – Chubb Insurance and AXA XL Insurance. Chubb Insurance will provide an annual cyber-liability cover that will cost Baltimore $500,103 in premiums. AXA XL Insurance will also provide a similar cover but at a lower premium – $335,000. The total premiums will amount to $835,103, with an assessment being conducted yearly. Baltimore learns a lesson after crypto

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Bitcoin Blockchain Snoop Helps Feds Take Down World’s Largest Child Porn Site

October 16, 2019

U.S. federal prosecutors have indicted a South Korean national behind the world’s largest darknet child sexual exploitation site that was primarily funded using bitcoin. The website known as ‘Welcome to Video’ was being run by 23-year old Jong Woo Son. The South Korean national is currently serving a prison sentence in his home country for the same crimes. Per the unsealed indictment, Son was arrested in March last year. His website only dealt in child sexual exploitation videos allowing members to trade their content using bitcoin. It has since then been seized. Users Spread Across the World Other than the indictment of Son on nine counts, 337 users of the site in the U.S. and other parts of the world have also been arrested and charged. This includes users from 23 states and

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Scottish OneCoin Victim Turns Whistleblower, Receives Vile Death Threats

October 15, 2019

An investor in the OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme is facing death threats after publicly speaking out about her ordeal. Besides death threats, Jen McAdam has also been threatened with sexual violence, according to the BBC. As one of the tens of thousands of victims who lost money in the OneCoin scam, McAdam was most recently featured in a BBC investigative podcast, The Missing Crypto Queen. The podcast dug deep into the disappearance of Ruja Ignatova, the founder of the pyramid scheme. Since then she has been subjected to a ‘torrent of abuse’. Death and rape threats for victim Per McAdam, the threats are coordinated attacks instigated by OneCoin supporters. Most of the threats that McAdam has received have been posted on Facebook. In one threat posted late last month, the podcast was

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Singaporean Cryptocurrency Thief Racks Up $5 Million AWS, Google Cloud Bill

October 10, 2019

A Singaporean has been indicted in the U.S. on charges of stealing cloud computing power on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google to mine cryptocurrency. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington, Ho Jun Jia used the stolen identity and credit card information of a video game developer based in California and a Texan resident to open cloud services accounts with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Services. Ho also impersonated the founder of a tech firm based in India. A $5 million cloud computing bill in 5 months The Singaporean perpetrated the scheme between October 2017 and February 2018. In the five-month period, Ho is estimated to have ran up a bill of over $5 million. Some of the expenses were charged to the credit cards of his victims before

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UNICEF Guarantees Zero Fiat-Conversion for Your Crypto Donations

October 9, 2019

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has become the first UN agency to receive, hold and disburse aid in crypto. While the phrase ‘accepting cryptocurrency’ has become code for merely allowing payments or donations to be made in crypto while receiving dollars or other fiat currencies, contributions made to UNICEF will be held as crypto and distributed to beneficiaries without any conversion. This has been made possible through the establishment of the UNICEF cryptocurrency fund. UNICEF Aiding future leaders with crypto Initially, UNICEF will use the crypto donations to fund open source technology projects. These initiatives are meant to benefit children and young people across the globe. The Ethereum Foundation is expected to make the first contribution to the

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Bitcoin-Rabid Japan Gleefully Cheers Facebook’s ‘Killer App’ Libra

October 3, 2019

Facebook’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency are an indication that blockchain technology has come of age and is ready for prime time, especially in Japan. According to the chairperson of the Japan Security Token Association, Go Masuda, Libra is blockchain’s second “killer app,” after Bitcoin: “The industry lacked a good use case of blockchain technology. There have been no killer apps since bitcoin … the industry is now entering a new phase of commercial adoption.” With Japan being one of the most progressive countries with regards to crypto, it is no surprise that Libra has been received more warmly there than in other parts of the world. Libra crypto gets the love, or at least breathing space, in Japan While major countries in Europe, such as France and Germany, have been vocal in

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Trump Whistleblower’s $250K Legal Fund Wastes $10,000 GoFundMe Fee

October 3, 2019

One of the biggest advantages Bitcoin has over the traditional financial networks is the low transaction-fee model. This has been amply demonstrated amidst the ongoing furor in the U.S. over the ‘Ukraine Whistleblower’ as fundraising effort on GoFundMe gets underway. Less than a week since a complaint from an anonymous CIA agent alleged that President Donald Trump had sought foreign help in his 2020 re-election efforts, the GoFundMe page opened to assist in meeting the Whistleblower’s legal fees has raised over 80% of the targeted amount. Nearly 4% in GoFundMe fees for Ukraine Whistleblower If and when the target of $250,000 is reached, the whistleblower will receive less than 97% of the amount due to transaction costs and other fees charged by the fundraising platform. Fundraising in

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Expect Facebook to Ramp up Lobbying Efforts to Get Libra Cryptocurrency Off the Ground

October 2, 2019

As Facebook continues in the effort to launch its Libra cryptocurrency, the social media giant is likely to rely more heavily on paid lobbyists and the persuasion powers of its senior executives. Mark Zuckerberg prefers closed-door approach In a leaked audiotape of a Facebook town hall released by The Verge, the co-founder and CEO of the tech colossus Mark Zuckerberg took a swipe at public hearings on Libra and instead seemed to favor one-on-one engagements with decision-makers. While acknowledging that Facebook will continue engaging with authorities around the world publicly, the CEO also disclosed in the leaked audiotape that private engagements with decision-makers were more productive. Zuckerberg also seemed to reason that such private engagements were less likely to generate

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XRP Price Skates Against the Slide to Rise 7%

September 30, 2019

Amidst the crypto rout that has seen bitcoin hit three-month lows, the XRP price is swimming against the tide. In the last 24 hours, the no. 3 cryptocurrency has registered gains of 7%. Per CoinMarketCap, XRP has appreciated by roughly 7% to reach $0.2577 per coin, making it the biggest gainer among the top ten cryptocurrencies. XRP price chart. | Source: TradingViewDespite the jump, the XRP price is still below the monthly high of $0.3225 recorded on Sept. 18. The XRP price has also fallen by nearly 50% since the yearly high registered in June. Is XRP Being Boosted by Ripple’s Acquisition Spree? The XRP price rise coincides with Ripple announcing an expansion of its European operations. In a blog post, Ripple unveiled Monday that it was acquiring an Iceland-based cryptocurrency trading

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