Ethereum Developer Sues CasperLabs, A Blockchain Company With Ties To Former U.S. Presidential Candidate Brock Pierce

Vlad Zamfir, an ethereum developer who is working on an alternative blockchain called casper, is suing CasperLabs, a blockchain research and development company backed by cryptocurrency investor and former U.S. presidential candidate Brock Pierce.

Zamfir has accused Switzerland-based CasperLabs of using casper in marketing materials for CasperLabs in a way that might mislead potential investors ahead of an imminent fundraising, scheduled for the coming three days.

Pierce, who’s understood to be an investor in the CasperLabs token sale scheduled to take place between March 23 to March 26, took a run at the White House as an independent last year—a bid he has said was preparation for another in 2024. Pierce’s venture capital company DNA Fund is also an investor in CasperLabs, along with billionaire cryptocurrency investor Tim Draper and crypto fund Digital Strategy.

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Zamfir, who filed the lawsuit against CasperLabs in California last week, began working with the company in February 2019, joining as lead architect. However, Zamfir quit CasperLabs in October 2019, claiming the company didn’t meet promises to fund his casper blockchain research and was “misleading” investors.

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“CasperLabs vigorously disputes the trademark claims made by Vlad Zamfir in the lawsuit he filed in San Diego,” a CasperLabs spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “CasperLabs prides itself on its innovation, and it will not shy away from this litigation. We have a duly registered trademark on “CASPER” in the U.S. and will be responding to Mr. Zamfir’s lawsuit shortly in court. In the meantime, we remain focused on Casper’s upcoming mainnet launch and other company milestones as we continue to support the growth of Casper’s global community.”

Representatives for Pierce failed to respond when asked for comment.

CasperLabs’ planned token sale has a fundraising goal of $21 million, adding to at least $30 million raised by the company since 2019. A source close to the company described Pierce as a “token holder” ahead of the sale.

CasperLabs has said it plans to use the funds it’s raised to build a scaleable so-called proof-of-stake blockchain, which allows holders of its cryptocurrency to help secure its network.

Last October, CasperLabs announced that it has raised $14 million in a private token sale, with crypto fund Digital Strategy leading the sale that involved Consensus Capital, Hashkey Capital, and RockTree Capital. In 2019, CasperLabs completed a funding round worth $14.5 million.

“The team at CasperLabs has built an essential blockchain platform for real-world applications without sacrificing the essential components of usability, cost, decentralization, or security,” Draper said last year via Twitter following an undisclosed investment by his venture capital firm Draper Goren Holm.

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Bitcoin is a Substitute for Gold, Not the Dollar, Says Fed Chairman Powell

After dismissing bitcoin’s chances of challenging the US dollar as a medium of exchange, the Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, said that the cryptocurrency could be a substitute for gold.

He also doubled-down on Fed’s previous stance on potentially launching its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) by saying that there’s no need to rush it or be first on the market.

Bitcoin Substitutes Gold, Not USD

During an online conference held by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Powell reiterated his previous stance that bitcoin fails to serve as a store of value and medium of exchange due to its enhanced volatility.

As such, he believes that all cryptocurrency assets remain a speculative form of investment that won’t replace the dollar but has the chance to do so with gold.

“They are highly volatile and therefore not really useful stores of value, and they are not backed by anything. It’s more a speculative asset that’s essentially a substitute for gold rather than for the dollar.”

Jerome Powell. Source: Barrons
Jerome Powell. Source: Barrons

Previously, the sixteenth and current chairman of the Fed said in 2019 that bitcoin hasn’t reached mass adoption but noted that some investors tend to use it as a store of value – as an alternative to gold.

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No Rush on CBDCs

The realm of launching a CBDC is a hot topic among central banks around the globe. China is arguably the most advanced nation on this matter as the People’s Bank of China has carried out several trials in which it provided citizens with millions of dollars to test the payment mechanism.

On the other hand, the US Federal Reserve has been somewhat negligent. Powell used the moment to assert that there’s no rush for the central bank and promised transparency during the development stages:

“To move forward on this, we would need buy-in from Congress, from the administration, from broad elements of the public, and we haven’t really begun the job of that public engagement. So you can expect us to move with great care and transparency with regard to developing a central bank digital currency.”

He added that the US doesn’t have to win the race in terms of fast launch. Instead, the world’s largest country by nominal GDP has to make it right.

Featured Image Courtesy of BusinessInsider

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FATF Recommends Heightened Restrictions On Virtual Assets And Service Providers

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has updated its “Guidance for a risk-based approach to virtual assets and VASPs.” Previous FATF guidance, released in 2015 and updated in 2019, has recommended regulating virtual assets in a similar way to traditional finance, mandating customary KYC/AML laws that affect most financial entities.

The new updates would alter this dramatically, encouraging heightened restrictions and surveillance on virtual asset service providers, or VASPs. The latest guidance includes expansion on what constitutes VASPS, and could potentially be interpreted as including Lightning Network node operators. This type of categorization would require participants to collect vast amounts of information on the activities of others, and could essentially prohibit KYC-free use of decentralized networks.

FATF is an intergovernmental organization tasked with developing policies that combat money laundering and financial crimes. Although FATF guidance is not legislative, it establishes the practices to which its member financial entities are expected to subscribe. The updated guidance places emphasis on transactions with non-obliged entities, i.e., private bitcoin wallets.

The guidance includes “denying licensing of VASPs if they allow transactions to/from non-obliged entities,” indicating a serious intention to place surveillance regulation around the transaction flow of virtual assets.

It goes on to recommend, “placing additional AML/CFT requirements on VASPs that allow transactions to/from non-obliged entities.”

The document also suggests that VASPs be regulated under The Travel Rule for all transactions. The Travel Rule, which only applies to regulated entities in the United States, would force custodians and exchanges to survey and report any transactions done by their customers. This could be extremely problematic for non-custodial liquidity providers like node operators.

It is increasingly clear that regulatory entities want greater control and transparency over the inherently decentralized world of virtual assets. By releasing updates which focus on centralization, the FATF fails to address the gap between regulation and reality, as the decentralized nature of the virtual asset industry naturally circumvents many of the described regulatory guidances. The FATF is accepting public comments until April 20, and the current document remains a draft. 

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Rico Nasty Releases NFT: ‘It’s Like the New Stock Market, But for Art’

In brief

  • Rico Nasty is releasing an NFT.
  • It’s a looped animation that references her “OHFR” music video.
  • In an interview, Rico spoke with Decrypt about the promise and pitfalls of NFTs.

This past Friday, the rapper Rico Nasty announced her entry into the world of NFTs—non-fungible tokens, the blockchain-based digital collectibles that have been uniting art and crypto over the past few months.

Rico, known for her catchy hooks and aggressive flows, is auctioning off a looped video of a black-and-white hammer on the NFT marketplace SuperRare. It’s tied to “OHFR,” a single from her recent album Nightmare Vacation, and was created by Don Allen III, an artist and animator who’s worked with NFTs in the past. The purchaser will also receive a physical version of the prop hammer from the song’s music video.

Speaking exclusively with Decrypt, Rico said that she was excited about NFTs as a financial investment. “You could literally buy something and own it forever,” she explained. “It’s like the new stock market, but for art. I might make $500 tonight, but two or three years from now, shit… I think that’s what makes it hopeful.”

The market for NFTs has never been hotter, though it’s not clear if it will stay that way; these crypto collectibles have been around for years, but it’s only in the past few months that crypto millionaires have started snapping up GIFs and other image files at auction for millions of dollars. 

The digital artist Beeple just sold an NFT for $69 million in a Christie’s auction. And musicians like Grimes, Kings of Leon, Yaeji, Toro Y Moi, Jacques Greene, and Mura Masa have all released NFTs in recent weeks.

But there’s been backlash, too, as critics target crypto art’s ecological footprint (the songwriter Jacob Collier recently canceled his NFT plans for that reason). 

Rico told Decrypt she hadn’t heard about the environmental impact of NFTs, but said it sounded “really fucked up.” 

Rico and Don Allen III will be speaking about NFTs on Monday evening on Clubhouse.

“Like any new technology, it has an opportunity to be used for good and an opportunity to be used for evils,” Allen said. “My hope and expectation is that as more engineers see successful economies growing from crypto, it will inspire them to come into the space and innovate in the areas that need fixing.”

Rico concluded that progress tends to come with a price: “People said a lot of shit about cars using gas, and now we have electric ones…  There’s always going to be a bad side to everything. Nothing’s perfect.”

She added: “The future is the future and—I hate to be so blunt, but: aren’t we all gonna die anyway?”

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Three Altcoins Have Entered Very Interesting Buy Range, According to Crypto Analyst Michaël van de Poppe

Crypto analyst Michael van de Poppe is pulling back the curtain on three crypto assets that he says are presenting great buying opportunities.

In a new video, Van de Poppe tells his 44,400 YouTube subscribers that he’s definitely keeping an eye on Swipe (SXP) against Bitcoin.

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He says that while SXP/USD is trading at record highs, the SXP/BTC pair is still carving a bottom.

“Swipe is still lying on the ground in the Bitcoin value, so perhaps the USD value is accelerating definitely from here or already looking at new all-time highs. If you’re comparing those to the Bitcoin value, you can see that it’s still down 87% of the value currently, which means that there’s still lots of upwards room to gain. There are some critical resistance zones, but the more important part is that it’s just on the floor in general on the Bitcoin pair…

Given the fact that Swipe is testing the 6,500 satoshi level (0.000065) for the fourth time already, it’s likely or very likely that we’re going to make that break to the upside and run towards 10,000 satoshis (0.0001) . 

Most likely we’ll see a sideways action, but if we are getting towards 10,000 satoshis and flip the previous 6,500 level for support, I’m assuming we’re starting to accelerate towards the second breaker. Once we get above 16,000 satoshis (0.00016), I’m assuming that we’re going to see anything towards this range again (0.0004).”

The second coin on Van de Poppe’s radar is Kyber Network (KNC/BTC), which he says is following the footsteps of Swipe against Bitcoin.

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“We are facing resistance at this 5,400 satoshis level (0.000054) and we’re looking for some slight consolidation before continuation. As long as it stays above this area here, everything is fine. If we’re breaking the 5,400 level, we are looking at 8,300 (0.000083) as the next resistance zone and most likely to watch 11,500 (0.000115)…

As for Litecoin (LTC), Van de Poppe highlights that it’s still going down because of the strength of Bitcoin but he identifies a key level for the ninth-largest crypto asset.

“So 3,900 [satoshis] has to flip for Litecoin and at some point these other coins will start to make their moves right now: EOS, Litecoin, XLM, XRP, NEO, all those altcoins are still waiting for their momentum… I’m looking for that flip of 3,900 satoshis (0.000039) for Litecoin on the Bitcoin pair quite similar to all of those other projects as well.”

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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

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Streaming tokens surge as Bitcoin price drops to the $54,000 support

Bitcoin (BTC) bulls faced strong headwinds on March 22 that quickly dampened any attempt at a breakout above the $58,000 level despite comments from United States Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell which called the top cryptocurrency a “substitute for gold.”

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView show that traders made several attempts to push BTC above $58,000 over the past two days only to be rejected, with Monday’s failure resulting in a pullback to the $54,000 support level.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

On-chain analysis shows that while BTC price struggles to climb back above $60,000, whale wallets have been in accumulation mode over the past 30 days indicating that some of the wealthiest Bitcoin holders still see more upside for the current bull market.

Mainstream cryptocurrency adoption gains traction

The macro picture for the cryptocurrency sector continues to improve as the globally recognized TIME magazine revealed that it is looking for a CFO who is comfortable with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as the publication has begun exploring the creation of one-of-a-kind non-fungible tokens based on some of its most iconic covers.

Now that blockchain technology has evolved to the point where it can handle processes like video and music streaming, platforms with a first-mover advantage in those sectors have seen their prices breakout over the past few months as mainstream audiences are increasingly exposed to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Theta (THETA) and Theta Fuel (TFUEL) have taken the lead when it comes to blockchain-based video streaming with the dual token system enjoying astronomical growth in 2021 that continues to push its price to new all-time highs.

THETA/USDT vs. TFUEL/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Audius (AUDIO), a music streaming platform, has also rallied strongly over the past month as its price increased from $0.356 on Feb. 28 to a new all-time high at $2.05 on March 16.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for AUDIO on March 1, prior to the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. AUDIO price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ score for AUDIO was in the green late in February and hit a high of 68 on March 1, roughly 24-hours before the price began to increase by 400% over the next two weeks.

Following the price peak on March 16, AUDIO price and its VORTECS™ score experienced a pullback that lasted several days. The VORTECS™ score then turned green again and reached a high of 71 on March 20, roughly 15 hours before its recent price rise.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Other notable altcoin performances on March 22 include Augur (REP), which has seen its price increase 30% to a multi-year high of $39.30, and XRP, which spiked 20% to an intraday high at $0.60 as members of the XRP army look to get the token relisted on exchanges that suspended services in response to th actions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.746 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 59.8%.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.