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Facebook Plans to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ Currency in 2020

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Facebook

Facebook is finalising plans to launch its own crypto-currency next year. It is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020.

The social media giant wants to start testing its crypto-currency, which has been referred to internally as GlobalCoin, by the end of this year. Facebook is expected to outline plans in more detail this summer, and has already spoken to Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg met Mr Carney last month to discuss the opportunities and risks involved in launching a crypto-currency. Facebook has also sought advice on operational and regulatory issues from officials at the US Treasury. The firm is also in talks with money transfer firms including Western Union as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money.

How will Facebook’s crypto-currency work?

Facebook wants to create a digital currency that provides affordable and secure ways of making payments, regardless of whether users have a bank account.

The social networking site, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is hoping to disrupt existing networks by breaking down financial barriers, competing with banks and reducing consumer costs.

  • JP Morgan creates crypto-currency
  • Facebook bans all crypto-currency ads

Nicknamed Project Libra, Facebook’s plans for a digital currency network were first reported last December.

The project will see it join forces with banks and brokers that will enable people to change dollars and other international currencies into its digital coins.

A small group of co-founders are expected to launch the Swiss-based association in the coming weeks.

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Seoul to Release Native Cryptocurrency by November in Blockchain Smart City Transition

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Seoul

Seoul is nearing several significant milestones in its journey towards becoming a blockchain smart city, blockinpress reports. By November, it aims to have the following in place:

  1. Public services accepting Korea’s national blockchain ID system as valid documentation.
  2. A blockchain system for managing part-time worker labour contracts, insurance and work history.
  3. A native city-wide cryptocurrency, dubbed S-coin.

According to blockinpress, S-coins will be redeemable for rewards and given to citizens when they use public services and participate in citizenship duties, such as paying taxes and participating in public opinion polls.

Beyond that, the potential applications of a digital currency such as S-coin are almost limitless, as a way of shaping people’s behaviour and streamlining interactions in the smart cities of the future.

The value of S-coin

To understand the value of the S-coin – the real rather than speculative value – it’s important to understand that one of the guiding principles of Seoul’s smart city program is to put engaged citizens at the centre of everything. After all, a city (and the entire planet for that matter) is for the benefit of its inhabitants first and foremost.

A native cryptocurrency is an excellent way of incentivising desirable behaviour in an organic way.

As people have previously said, government incentives have historically been oriented almost solely around punishments. Citizens behave because they get punished if they don’t. But just about every piece of behavioural research on the planet says a combination stick and carrot approach is by far the best way to instil desirable behaviour in humans and other animals.

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Coinbase continues to explore support for new digital assets

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Coinbase Says

Coinbase’s goal is to offer support for all assets that meet our technical standards and which comply with applicable laws. Over time we expect our customers around the world will have access through Coinbase to at least 90% of the aggregate market cap of all digital assets in circulation. To make this vision a reality, we evaluate prospective assets against our Digital Asset Framework to assess factors like security, compliance, and the project’s alignment with our mission of creating an open financial system for the world.

Digital Assets Under Review

Today we’re announcing that we are exploring the addition of a range of new assets. As part of the exploratory process, customers may see public-facing APIs and other signs that we are conducting engineering work to potentially support these assets.

These new assets include, in alphabetical order: Algorand, Cosmos, Dash, Decred, Matic, Harmony, Ontology, and Waves.

Our decision to support any asset requires significant technical and compliance review and may be subject to regulatory approval in some jurisdictions. We therefore cannot guarantee whether or when any above-listed asset will be listed on a Coinbase product in any jurisdiction.

As per our listing process, we will add new assets on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, subject to applicable review and authorizations. The omission of assets from this publication does not disqualify any asset from active review and potential listing.

Our customers can expect Coinbase to make future, similar announcements as we continue to explore the addition of numerous assets across the platform.

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Iran Announces New Rules to Regulate Cryptocurrency Market

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Iran crypto

New rules have been introduced by the Iranian government for regulation of cryptocurrency market as more people become interested in mining digital coins as a way of accessing international currencies at the time US sanctions.

A bill ratified by the Iranian Cabinet and released on Sunday said that the government will not recognize as lawful any trade activity carried out inside Iran involving cryprocurrencies.

It said the government and the banking system would not view the digital coins as legal tender and the Central Bank of Iran would not guarantee their value.

However, the bill said mining digital currencies would be allowed inside Iran under certain conditions, including if miners obtain the approval of Iran’s industry ministry, do not mine the currencies inside a 30-kilometer boundary of all provincial centers except for the capital Tehran and the central city of Esfahan where tougher restrictions apply.

It said the miners should also observe rules set by Iran’s standardization and communications authorities for mining machines, adding that certain fees will be applied for the energy used for mining the currencies.

Discussing the fees, the bill said authorized mining farms should be charged for the electricity, or the natural gas used to generate electricity, based on prices applied for the export of energy from Iran.

It said mining farms would be taxed like industrial manufacturing units unless the owners return the money earned from the export of their digital currencies back to Iran’s economic cycle.

The bill said Iran’s ministry of industry shall be free to devolve its powers to authorities in special economic zones if foreigners want to set up mining farms in those areas.

The new rules comes more than a month after reports suggested that mining farms were mushrooming across Iran in places where subsidized electricity was on offer.

Authorities had hinted in the midst of a crackdown on those farms that they would recognize cryptocurrency mining as it could ease government’s access to sources of foreign currency at a time of US sanctions.

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PrimeXBT Meets Growing Demand for Bitcoin Margin Trading with New iOS App

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2121

Over the last few years, the popularity of margin trading in the crypto industry has grown extensively and blossomed into its own competitive space of well-established crypto exchanges all vying for a slice of the pie.

But one trading platform, again and again, stands out from the rest of the pack. PrimeXBT has repeatedly taken steps to improve its value proposition to traders in the market, offering advanced trading tools, and an ever-growing list of financial assets that include crypto, forex, commodities, stock indices, and more.

PrimeXBT Launches New iOS App Following Successful Android Launch

Ahead of even more features hitting the platform with a planned copy-trading module through a partnership with Covesting, PrimeXBT has rolled out the iOS version of their mobile app, following the success of the Android app release.

After the Android app released on the Google Play store, traders voiced their desire for PrimeXBT to launch an iOS counterpart, so iOS users could access the advanced trading platform while on the go from their iPhones and iPads. Apple devices are among the best selling smartphones and tablets on the market, with hundreds of millions of customers across the globe, many of which are PrimeXBT clients.

PrimeXBT quickly responded by providing traders with the tools they need most and launched an iOS app last week.

App Launch Represents Milestone Moment for PrimeXBT

The mobile app release represents a milestone for the brand – a culmination of months of work coming to a climax. PrimeXBT has expanded from five of the most popular crypto assets – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and EOS – paired against USD, to a full slate of crypto/BTC pairs, commodities, stock indices, and 18 of the world’s most popular forex currencies.

The company also secured a partnership with Covesting to bring its cutting-edge copy-trading technology to PrimeXBT through the Covesting module. Soon, traders will be able to launch their own fund, amass a following, and discover new income streams from their regular trading daily activities.

Through regular, impactful updates, listening closely to their client’s needs, and providing the most stable and secure experience in the Bitcoin-based margin trading space, PrimeXBT has seen its trading volumes surge, and new user registrations spike.

The boost is two-fold, PrimeXBT is gaining popularity through word of mouth over the trading tools, assets, and lucrative referral system, but also due to traders fleeing BitMEX over fears of shutdown or worse.

What to Expect from the PrimeXBT iOS Application

The PrimeXBT iOS app has all of the same features of the desktop experience with a slightly modified UI that’s just as simple-to-use an easy-to-understand. All available assets are included for trading at up to 100x leverage (up to 500x for forex trading), and performance can be tracked in real-time.

Traders will be able to do everything from read charts, to place and modify orders, set stops and take profit prices, and so much more.

The iOS app is available on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad. An Android app is also available on the Google Play Store. Both are offered to clients for free as a courtesy from PrimeXBT and a genuine urge to give their clients the best possible options for success.

Because Bitcoin-based margin trading has grown into a sort of industry and competitive space of its own, it demonstrates just how far ahead the trading platform is compared to the rest of the participants in the market.

How PrimeXBT’s iOS Stacks Up to the Crypto Competition

The main leaders in this area, are BitMEX, PrimeXBT, ByBit, and Deribit. Other platforms such as Poloniex, OKEx, and even the recent addition of merging trading on Binance, offer anywhere from 2% to 5% leverage, making them a poor option for those seeking more from a trading platform.

Out of the Bitcoin-based margin trading leaders, only PrimeXBT and Deribit offer iOS applications for their clients to manage their positions and portfolio while on the go. Oftentimes, during extreme volatility, mobile sites can be difficult to work with making a native iOS or Android mobile app extremely valuable to traders. But only PrimeXBT and Deribit make things easy for their clients.

But when comparing Deribit to PrimeXBT in terms of overall features offered, there is no competition. While Deribit may not lack an iOS app as the others do, they only offer Bitcoin trading – no additional crypto assets or financial assets are included for trading on the app, or on the platform at all for that matter.

Due to the clear advantage PrimeXBT has over the others, the addition of the iOS app is the metaphorical icing on the cake of an already attractive trading platform, designed for the world’s best and most profitable traders.

Conclusion

With PrimeXBT so far ahead of the competition both in terms of accessibility and purely from a features perspective, the trading platform becomes the most logical choice for traders seeking the most from their trading experience.

From advanced trading tools, an iOS app, to an unparalleled diversification opportunity, and so much more, PrimeXBT should be a regular part of any trader’s arsenal of profit-generating tools, and this new iOS app makes it even easier and faster to access those tools.

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Tezos (XTZ) is launching on Coinbase Pro

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Tezos

On Monday August 5, transfer XTZ into your Coinbase Pro account ahead of trading. Support for XTZ will be available in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, with the exception of New York State. Additional regions may be added at a later date.

On Monday August 5, 2019, we will begin accepting inbound transfers of XTZ to Coinbase Pro. We will accept deposits for at least 12 hours prior to enabling full trading.

Once sufficient supply of XTZ is established on the platform, trading on the XTZ/USD, and XTZ/BTC order books will start in phases, beginning with post-only mode and proceeding to full trading should our metrics for a healthy market be met. Support for XTZ will be immediately available in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, with the exception of New York State. Additional jurisdictions may be added at a later date.

Tezos is a cryptocurrency and decentralized computing platform. Its features include proof of stake consensus, formal verification (which lets developers verify the accuracy of their code), and the ability to let stakeholders vote on changes to the protocol.

Please note that XTZ is not yet available on Coinbase.com or via our consumer mobile apps. We will make a separate announcement if and when this functionality is added.

The Stages of the XTZ Launch

There will be four stages to the launch as outlined below. We will follow each of these stages independently for each new order book. If at any point one of the new order books does not meet our assessment for a healthy and orderly market, we may keep the book in one state for a longer period of time or suspend trading as per our Trading Rules.

We will send tweets from our Coinbase Pro Twitter account as each order book moves through the following phases:

  1. Transfer-only. Starting on Monday August 5, customers will be able to transfer XTZ into their Coinbase Pro account. Customers will not yet be able to place orders and no orders will be filled on these order books. Order books will be in transfer-only mode for approximately 12 hours. We will communicate the exact timing for this phase via Twitter closer to the date.
  2. Post-only. In the second stage, customers can post limit orders but there will be no matches (completed orders). Order books will be in post-only mode for a minimum of one minute.
  3. Limit-only. In the third stage, limit orders will start matching but customers are unable to submit market orders. Order books will be in limit-only mode for a minimum of ten minutes.
  4. Full trading. In the final stage, full trading services will be available, including limit, market, and stop orders.

One of the most common requests we receive from customers is to be able to trade more assets on our platform. Per the terms of our listing process, we anticipate supporting more assets that meet our standards over time.

You can sign up for a Coinbase Pro account here to start trading. For more information on trading XTZ on Coinbase Pro, visit our support page.

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Ethereum Classic Labs Formally Announces Accelerate Program

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Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic Labs Accelerate is focused on funding, educating and mentoring blockchain companies and communities that are building products and services on Ethereum Classic. The first Cohort occurred during the first quarter of 2019 and included 11 blockchain companies while our second Cohort will be announced in the third quarter of 2019.

The goals and objectives for the first Cohort were focused on infrastructure and tools to build decentralized applications. With impactful companies like Button and EtherNode, the first Cohort showcased great successes in the funding, mentorship, and development to advance the utilization, development, and adoption of Ethereum Classic. Accelerate is currently targeting two Cohorts per year, each having a different focus and theme.

Cohort I Highlights

ETC Labs Accelerate Cohort I was born at the beginning of 2019 with 11 blockchain companies and included a combination of funding, mentorship, facilities, entrepreneurship workshops, and development resources. ETC Labs Accelerate provided a structured curriculum that included messaging workshops, investor pitch preparation, core developer access, go-to-market planning, and business structuring for growth. Cohort I was also treated to special guest speakers from prominent legal, compliancy, entrepreneurship, investors, and product designers to give the Cohorts the resources necessary to structure, build and grow successful blockchain companies.

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Exchange Token BIKI Poised to Continue Upward Surge

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Bitcoin-29000

The first half of 2019 has seen good performances from platform currencies BNB, OKB and HT. Not resting on its laurels, the BiKi token (BIKI) reached a peak of 0.1394 USDT on July 5th, an impressive increase of 44 times over the course of 6 months, an indication of investor demand and recognition of the token’s value.

Primarily used to pay for services and fees when trading on the exchange, using BIKI grants the trader discounts over using other payment methods on the exchange.

BIKI follows the 4 principles of “daily buyback, quarterly burn, tokens in locked position, steady deflation”. This motto guides the platform’s goal of bringing value to BIKI through a three-step process.

Reduced Supply from Buybacks

BiKi.com has pledged to use 100% of its platform fees to repurchase and burn the token until it decreases to a supply of 100 million from its initial token issuance of 1 billion. BiKi repurchases tokens on a daily basis and burns them quarterly.

Currently, BIKI’s apportioned repurchase is five times that of BNB and HT, an indication of BiKi’s commitment to creating value for its platform token. It is also a statement of its ambitious positioning of BIKI against other platform tokens. BiKi’s scheduled coin burn on July 1st destroyed 70 million BIKI, a market value of approximately USD 7.5 million. To date, a total of 344 million BIKI has been cumulatively burned, which accounts for 34.4% of the total supply.

Lowered Liquidity from Locked-in Partner Positions

BiKi’s Community Partner Program requires its partners to lock in at least 30,000 BIKI for 1 year (with 10% interest) to be eligible for 60% cashback on trading fees as well as a host of bonus rewards, dividends and token airdrops. The program incentives invariably attract an influx of partner members which is a good source of investor traffic to the platform. The locked position also prevents extreme inflationary pressures on BIKI prices, preventing the formation of economic bubbles. According to reports, there are presently locked-in positions of more than 50 million BIKI, accounting for 15% of the overall circulation.

Both aforementioned steps are instrumental in reducing the total token supply in circulation, thereby increasing the token’s value and subsequently creating demand for it.

Blockchain Companies Biki

Increased Demand from Additional Use Case Scenarios

The value of a platform token is intrinsically and inextricably tied to the developments on the platform and BiKi is no different. BiKi has announced that it will launch a BIKI transaction pair in the future, whereby projects will then raise funds in BIKI instead of in ETH. This move once again increases demand and value for the token simultaneously.

While many other platforms regard the fees that platform currencies bring in as profits, BiKi has devoted 100% of its fees to buybacks in a bid to raise the value of its platform currency. High quality platform coins strengthen trading platforms and attract more users and investors to the platform.

Six months into 2019, BiKi’s unique set of implemented strategies has indeed given the token a strong start thus far. Decreased supply has inevitably increased demand, and the token has established a generally upward trajectory in value and looks poised to continue its upward surge. More users and investors on the platform results in more community partners (and in turn more referrals) who believe in the rising value of the locked-in BIKI token – a self-sustaining cycle that guarantees the vitality of the platform. All of this can only be good news for listed projects who can tap into the strong framework and growing user base of the exchange.

About BiKi.com

Headquartered in Singapore, BiKi.com is a global cryptocurrency exchange that provides a digital assets platform for trading more than 100 cryptocurrencies and 220 trading pairs. Since beginning operations in June 2018, BiKi.com is considered one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with an accumulated 1.5 million registered users, 130,000 daily active users, and daily trading volumes of USDT 20 – 100 million.

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BiKi.com Compares Favorably Against Top Exchanges Binance, OKEx and Huobi

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Exchanges

The numbers are in and fast-growing exchange BiKi.com is proving it is no flash in the pan. According to official reports, BiKi.com’s revenue figures in the second quarter exceeded USD 15 million, which is a 500% increase when compared to figures from the first quarter. This works out to one-eighth of leading exchange Binance’s reported Q2 revenues.

BiKi’s June trading fees is also currently 20% of OKEx’s. Its total registered users have now reached 1.5 million, with 130,000 daily active users, numbers which are comparable to top tier exchanges like Huobi. The trading platform now provides 220 trading pairs and ranks amongst the top 20 on exchange ranking sites such as  Feixiaohao and Mytoken.

BiKi.com has continued to forge an impressive progression since it began in June 2018 and this has attracted investments of nearly USD 10 million the past year from investment institutions and individuals the likes of Du Jun, Zhu Huaiyang (Genesis Capital), FBG Capital, and ChainUp.

Cryptocurrency exchanges generally operate within an extremely competitive environment and many exchanges undertake wash trading to maintain their competitive edge. BiKi.com claims it does not practice wash trading and attributes its success to two factors – project selection and how it gains and retains market share.

Project Selection

BiKi adopts an astute set of criteria when choosing projects to list and one of them requires that all listed projects have strong communities of token holders behind them. This is contrary to cryptocurrency exchanges who charge high listing fees and then have to rack their brains to bring in users to trade. As was the case with FCoin Exchange, the “Transaction Mining” mechanism devised by its team did indeed attract a huge user base within a short period of time. However, once the dividend period was over, it was simply a matter of time before its user base had all but dissipated.

BiKi chooses its projects wisely – listed projects on BiKi have large communities and frequent traders who possess diverse assets. Additionally, BiKi already has 5 Wechat community leaders with over 1 million followers who are community token holders and over 10 Wechat community leaders with over 100,000 followers, which contribute to 80% of the exchange’s traffic volume. By leveraging on the strengths of its projects and BiKi’s own strong Wechat communities, BiKi has managed to carve out a fast track to gaining liquidity and trading volume.

BiKi’s strategy of maintaining long term relationships with venture capitalists and investors ensures that BiKi has opportunities to either list top tier projects on a moment’s notice, or be the first exchange to list a certain project. As a result, BiKi’s users have access to a wide variety of high quality tokens to trade –  clearly a factor why BiKi has emerged as the industry dark horse.

Conversely, projects who list on BiKi see the exchange as a stepping stone to gain a new level of recognition in the industry. Listing on BiKi has become somewhat of a yardstick measure of project quality, aided in no small way by BiKi’s 130,000 daily active users who organically generate demand for their tokens.

Gaining and Retaining Market Share

The sustainability of an exchange is actually not dependent on its current profitability, but on its ability to retain its users and effectively recruit new ones. BiKi was the first exchange to acquire users through its ‘community fission’ model, which is a way of scaling communities using recommendations from present users to attract more users.

Blockchain projects cannot succeed without strong communities, and the network dynamics BiKi uses to acquire users are one of its core competitive advantages. Presently, BiKi has more than 200 official community groups, more than 100,000 community members, and is still growing at a rate of 300 new members per day.

Using its “Community Partners Programme” to attract new users daily, BiKi currently has over 1000 Community Partners and is increasing at a rate of 30 per day. BiKi’s targeted 10,000 Community Partners within 2019 is estimated to bring with them 500,000 new users to the exchange.

Similar to Chinese e-commerce platforms Yunji and Pinduoduo, BiKi’s Partner Program rewards Community Partners who introduce more active users to the platform. The ‘community fission’ model shifts the responsibility of customer acquisition to present customers themselves and its inherent network dynamics builds a base of new users that continues to ‘grow’ other users.

What is important to note, though, is that despite the program restricting the network to only two tiers of membership, the efficacy of this model speaks for itself – BiKi has managed to amass 130,000 daily active users and USD 15 million in Q2.

During a bear market, BiKi.com acquired 1.5 million registered users on the exchange, setting an industry precedent in user acquisition. BiKi’s strong base of relationships and users provides a clear value proposition that projects can tap into to reach their milestones. The exchange continues to welcome projects to join the growing community of choice projects currently listed on BiKi.com.

About BiKi.com

Headquartered in Singapore, BiKi.com is a global cryptocurrency exchange that provides a digital assets platform for trading more than 100 cryptocurrencies and 220 trading pairs. Since beginning operations in June 2018, BiKi.com is considered one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with an accumulated 1.5 million registered users and 130,000 daily active users, ranking within the top 20 exchanges globally.

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Props Launches the First SEC-Approved Crypto Token for Consumers

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Crypto Token

Props, a crypto token that enables apps to reward users and content creators with a financial stake in the network they engage with, is now available to millions of users, as the offering of Props has been qualified under Reg A+ by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.1 Props is the first consumer facing crypto token qualified by the SEC. Live video app YouNow announcing today at VidCon—the world’s largest video creator conference—that starting today, its content creators and other users may begin earning Props as a reward for common in-app activities that drive community engagement. In addition, 47 million registered YouNow users are now eligible to receive Props Tokens, in recognition of their lasting contributions to the network.

The Props team is building open source infrastructure for a network of apps capable of transparently and fairly rewarding those who help network growth.3 The Props platform abstracts the blockchain infrastructure for apps, enabling them to easily plug Props Tokens into any app4 and create their own token-based “loyalty program.” As more apps join the network, users will be able to use Props tokens to unlock additional benefits across apps.5 Users hold the Props they earn for those benefits, and enjoy the upside potential of owning a financial stake in the network.

“Online video content made by independent creators has become massively popular, but still lacks diverse ways for creators to turn their content to a meaningful source of ongoing income,” said top YouTuber and Props investor Casey Neistat. “I’ve been working with the Props team as we share a similar vision, to help creators find ways to earn more value off of their passion for making videos.”

On YouNow—the first app on the Props Network—users can earn Props Tokens by creating content, supporting their favorite content creators, and actively engaging with the app, just like they always have. Based on their Props holdings, users receive unique benefits on the app, such as a daily stipend of YouNow’s in-app currency, increased in-app status, exclusive virtual items and coming soon, discounts and other features.6

Following the SEC’s official approval of Props, another company announced today that its apps will join as a partner in the Props Network: SplitmediaLabs, makers of XSplit, a high-end software for game streamers with more than 13 million users. Henrik Levring, CEO of SplitmediaLabs said “By integrating Props into our apps, we become even more aligned with our loyal users. Our users can already start earning Props when they stream to YouNow from XSplit.”

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Cuba Studying Cryptocurrency as Part of Economic Crisis Measures

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cuba

Cuba’s Communist government said on Tuesday it was studying the potential use of cryptocurrency as part of a series of measures to boost its economy amid a deepening crisis exacerbated by U.S. sanctions. Cryptocurrency, which allows financial operations to be carried out anonymously, has been used in the past to get around capital controls. Cuba’s top ally Venezuela introduced a cryptocurrency last year aiming to avoid U.S. sanctions and weather hyperinflation, although it never properly got off the ground.

Cuba’s inefficient state-run economy is facing a crisis due to a sharp decline in Venezuelan aid, lower exports and the tightening of the decades-old U.S. trade embargo under President Donald Trump.

The new measures, announced on a roundtable on state-run TV by President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his government, will raise income for around a quarter of the population and deepen market reforms of one of the world’s last Soviet-style command economy’s started by the island nation’s previous president, Raul Castro.

The aim is to raise national production and demand in order to boost growth as U.S. sanctions target tourism and foreign investment. Diaz-Canel, working to establish his legitimacy after assuming the presidency in April 2018, said the government was working on the details of the implementation.

“We are studying the potential use of cryptocurrency … in our national and international commercial transactions, and we are working on that together with academics,” Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez said.

The most popular measure in the new package will likely be the hikes in some pensions and wages for workers in public administration, social services and state-run media, bringing the medium monthly wage in those sectors up to the equivalent of $44.5 from around $25 previously.

Many Cubans say the measure still will not be sufficient to breach the gap between salaries and the cost of living. Nonetheless it should boost purchasing power, as long as inflation is kept in check.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s an advance,” said Pavel Joaquin Hernandez, 46, a general practitioner who will go from earning the equivalent of around $40 per month to $64.

Cuban economist Omar Everleny said the raise was crucial given how demotivated workers were, with many emigrating.

“For the first time, (the government) is linking the fact that everything can be achieved if workers are motivated,” he said.

Gil Fernandez said the government was also broadening a series of measures aimed at decentralizing and thus improving state-run company performance and stimulating local production, substitution of imports and increasing exports. For example, he said, financial service companies would be established to provide cash in the face of opportunity more quickly than the centralized planning system.

The government would also expand a system allowing some companies to keep a percentage of the hard currency they earn in order to reinvest it immediately rather than have to apply for credit.

State companies, agricultural entities and other economic actors that supply a growing number of firms in the Mariel Special Economic Zone, a project resembling China’s first capitalist oasis, would receive a percentage of sales in hard currency, Gil Fernandez said.

The government was also studying how to allow the growing number of small private businesses to export through the state-run businesses, he said.

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