Connect with us

News

Why Litecoin’s Creator Is Buying Into a Bank (And How It Could Go Wrong)

Published

on

capo and lee

One of the most unusual and potentially transformative deals in the cryptocurrency space started as an argument on social media.

Back in April, Charlie Lee, the creator of litecoin, was exchanging barbs on Twitter with Derek Capo, the CEO of payment processor TokenPay. But their fight quickly turned into a friendly exchange of direct messages, in which the two crypto enthusiasts realized they shared a common problem: In a word, banking.

Both the Litecoin Foundation, the non-profit that promotes the sixth-largest cryptocurrency and where Lee is a managing director, and Capo’s Virgin Islands-based startup had encountered difficulty securing bank accounts – a longstanding problem for the industry.

“We had lots of trouble” on that front, Lee told CoinDesk.

Capo elaborated: “Some banks, they close down bank accounts if they get a whiff of anything to do with crypto. We saw a lot of competitors with similar offerings get cut off because they didn’t own the bank and they didn’t have control.”

But Capo was working on a solution for TokenPay by trying to buy a bank. And he realized this plan, if successful, could address another problem for Lee.

“Why don’t we talk about having a litecoin debit card so that you’ll have a real solution?” Capo recalled telling him. “Because, you know, they had been trying very hard to have a litecoin debit card… I said, why don’t we talk?”

That is how the Singapore-based Litecoin Foundation ended up owning 9.9 percent of WEG Bank AG, an until-now obscure German financial institution, in a surprise transaction revealed this week.

But the foundation didn’t put money in; TokenPay previously acquired the stake and traded it to the non-profit in exchange for future technical support. TokenPay also acquired another 9.9 percent (the maximum allowed in Germany without prior regulatory approval) of WEG and is seeking the green light to buy up to 80 percent. (The price was not disclosed.)

If all goes according to plan, not only will TokenPay and the Litecoin Foundation have a reliable banking partner, they would also transform WEG into an on-ramp for consumers worldwide who want to trade fiat for cryptocurrency or pay for goods and services with crypto.

But owning a bank, by itself, won’t necessarily solve crypto’s banking problem, according to compliance experts who’ve worked in both fields. Even if the regulators bless the pending takeover, Capo and Lee may face new challenges operating in a heavily regulated industry where “coin” is frequently treated as a four-letter word.

The roadmap

Undaunted by regulatory hurdles, Capo and Lee have ambitious plans to usher in a new wave of crypto banking services.

Stepping back, while transacting in cryptocurrency may be frictionless, converting from dollars or euros to crypto and back is anything but. Buying crypto through an online exchange can mean registering a credit card with an exchange platform, then waiting days, sometimes longer, to complete the transaction.

Meanwhile, most of the merchants that accept crypto are wary of the price volatility and generally rely on a payment processor like BitPay to convert it to fiat. All these options incur processing fees along the way.

That’s why Capo wants to offer crypto debit cards and the ability to convert litecoin to euros directly through a traditional bank account, to make it a smoother experience for crypto users transacting in a fiat-dominated economy. He hopes to offer such services within nine months of receiving regulatory approval for the acquisition.

“Connecting cryptocurrency to fiat rails is very useful,” said Lee, who told CoinDesk he aims to join the WEG board as the Litecoin Foundation’s representative (a move that would make him possibly the first person to simultaneously hold the titles of “cryptocurrency founder” and “bank director”).

“We will have a say in influencing the bank to work on crypto projects,” he said.

Eventually, after tackling debit cards and payment processing, Capo and Lee plan to integrate banking services directly with TokenPay’s decentralized exchange (DEX) platform, eFin, which offers peer-to-peer trading between cryptocurrencies.

If traders pass all the know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) demands for a crypto bank account, they will be able to seamlessly cash out TokenPay’s own token, known as tpay, from the exchange as fiat, plus buy or sell cryptos like litecoin without delay.

“eFin will have LTC. We will help them with it technically,” Lee said. “And they will also airdrop [eFin] tokens to litecoin users.”

In addition to the promise of technical expertise and litecoin’s relatively stable popularity among cryptocurrency fans, Capo said he gave the nonprofit equity in the bank based on Lee’s massive online following, a marketing boon, and professional connections.

“Litecoin has a very influential leader, someone who’s been around for a very long time,” Capo said in describing Lee, an alumnus of the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

Challenges ahead

Yet even if they obtain a banking license, Capo and Lee are not guaranteed unlimited liquidity.

Located in the town of Ottobrunn (population: 21,378), WEG was previously a property management bank that offered loans to housing associations. After TokenPay acquires a majority stake, the plan calls for the bank’s CEO, Matthias von Hauff, to stay involved as WEG transitions to a retail bank with more consumer-facing products and services.

But such a tiny institution likely would likely rely on outside organizations – larger global banks, the German central bank, or SWIFT – to be able to move large amounts of fiat around the world, according to Simon Taylor, a former Barclays banker and co-founder and director of the U.K. fintech advisory firm 11:FS. If those partners became squeamish about crypto in general, they could cut off WEG’s access to fiat, Taylor cautioned.

“The really, really big banks tend to be the ones that connect you through the global corridor to the U.S. dollar, they’re the ones that get the big KYC fines,” Taylor said, adding, with regard to the WEG acquisition plan:

“I don’t think it’s going to achieve what they want it to achieve. I get the temptation to buy a bank. But buying a bank doesn’t give you what you think it gives you.”

Joe Ciccolo, president of the compliance service provider BitAML Inc., said regulators would probably expect extra diligence on WEG’s part if it were to become a crypto-focused bank.

“On its own, running a bank and implementing AML anti-money laundering] across a broad range of products and services is difficult to begin with,” Ciccolo said. “This is going to be a much higher barrier to entry than one would associate with traditional AML.”

The idea of integrating a decentralized exchange into a bank gave Ciccolo the most pause. He described DEXs as “nails on a chalkboard for regulators,” who have taken years to wrap their heads around bitcoin. If Capo and Lee plan to pull this off, Ciccolo said, it will require significant investment in educating regulators on an ongoing basis and constant communication with larger banks.

Acknowledging the challenges, Capo said the first and most costly step of converting WEG into a crypto-savvy bank will be restructuring all of its KYC and AML processes to create a new crypto-centric model.

“We’re being conservative because we want to build this bank so it will be around for a long time,” he told CoinDesk, concluding:

“The infrastructure is there, we just might have to potentially modify it for crypto-based services.”

Image via Consensus 2018

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Snake Safety While Hiking – How to Protect Yourself

Published

on

Snake Safety Tips

Hiking is a great way to exercise, get out into nature and breathe the clean air and take in an adventure. But when this adventure stops you in your tracks, and it will, if it’s a snake, you had better be prepared.

While a snake encounter is highly unlikely, and a snake bite is even more unlikely, there are some things you should know before stepping into those woods.

DIY Research

If you’re in unfamiliar territory, especially in certain times of the year, you may want to do your research on what native snake species you may encounter. While there are venomous and nonvenomous kinds of snakes, you’ll want to find out what lurks in your neck of the woods. The most common venomous snakes in the United States include coral, water moccasins, copperheads, and rattlesnakes. A park ranger or local guidebooks should easily tell you what to look out for.

Hiking Times Matter

Snakes are cold-blooded animals and seek heat typically during early morning and late evening. During the day, they are typically found under rocks, leaves, and timber trying to seek protection from the midday hottest heat.

If you hear or see a snake, remember, they are just as afraid of you as you are to them. Step away and do not engage to get any closer. They will be set to defend themselves however they see fit to.

Safety Tips For Your Safety:

Give snakes space. 

Allow space between you and the snake. Do not startle it by moving quickly. If the snake doesn’t move, give it a few minutes and walk around it slowly. If you must on a narrow path, stomp your feet to get the snake to move. Rule of thumb, stay at least twice the body length away, as striking distance is half its body distance.

Watch where you step in the wild.

Just always be aware of your surroundings and your footing. Snakes are very good at hiding under things, camouflaging them from the naked eye.

Use protective clothing.

Feet, ankles and lower legs are the most bitten areas on the body from a snake. Wearing long pants and having good hiking shoes should always be a prerequisite to a good, safe hike.

Use trekking poles to maneuver overgrown trails.

These come in very handy when you approach an overgrowth area of greenery. You never know what may be in that so using your trekking pole to comb through first is highly recommended. Never poke or prod a snake with anything, especially these poles.

Also Read: 6 Awesome Camping Hacks Explained

If Case Of A Snakebite:

First and foremost, do not panic. Try to determine the species of snake that bit you. If possible, take a picture for identification. If nonvenomous, usually the most that you will need to do is wash the site and put an antiseptic on it. If you have a first aid kit handy, the alcohol wipes would suffice. If in fact a venomous bite, do not make a tourniquet or try to suck out the venom from the wound. Instead, relax to slow the blood flow and heart rate from spreading the venom to other parts of your body. Getting to the nearest medical facility as soon as you can, with an accurate description of what kind of snake it was, is crucial.  

Much of snake safety is common sense. Never hurt or harm nature unless in a dire event that would call for it. Nature should be looked at, admired, and be left alone. Enjoy your hike!

Attention: If you are into hunting you might want to check out E2 Armory, they carry some of the highest quality AR 15 Parts in the market.

Continue Reading

News

Why You Should Choose An AR-15 For Your Home Defense – “Stopping Power”

Published

on

By

AR 15 lower receiver for sale

Choosing a reliable home defense tool is no small feat. In this article we are going to go over a little bit about the stopping power between three famous subjects of interest when it comes to home defense. An AR-15 Rifle, Handgun, & Shotgun. Handguns are rather weak in comparison to rifles and shotguns, also should you remove all of the hype and drama, what they really do is make holes.

An attacker may not stop until enough holes are created to create blood pressure reduction or until some thing structural or”electric” is sufficiently damaged.

Do some folks cease their malicious activity after being shot once? Sure. Do others continue to struggle after absorbing pistol, rifle, and shotgun rounds? Sure. There are also many factors at play to forecast what’s going to stop a determined aggressor. With that being said, the probability of a quick stop and drop from a round varies mathematically for ARs, handguns, and shotguns.

AR Rifle Round Damage

ARs shoot mild and fast bullets and rely upon velocity to incapacitate. When there are not any guarantees, a small and light bullet moving close to 3,000 feet per minute tends to inflict more fight-stopping damage than a heftier handgun bullet travel in the 1,000 feet per second range. Studies have proven approximate one-shot stop speeds at approximately 60 per cent – near double that of handguns. Mathematically, a normal 55-grain AR bullet delivers about 1,200 foot-pounds of energy. Hold this thought for a hot second.

Find a reliable AR-15 lower receiver for sale here.

Handgun Round Impact

Based upon caliber, single-shot quit prices are from the 30 to 40 per cent range, and generally it requires two point something rounds to incapacitate according to average historical data. Require”average” info for what it is worth — your possible situation might or might not be”average.” About energy, handguns provide 400 foot-pounds of electricity, give or take based on grade.

Shotgun Round Impact

Much like rifles, shotguns often have far better one-shot prevent documents. From limited historical study, shotguns strategy 70 percent success for single-shot ceases. A 12-gauge shotgun load will deliver 2,500 foot-pounds of energy, over six times that of an ordinary handgun.

Having considered the numbers most people will agree that if you were suddenly in a situation to protect your life and even that of your families an AR-15 would be your bread and butter. It’s mildly aggressive 1,200 ft/lb of energy and extensively controllable recoil make it a swift and efficient intruder stopper. If you’re looking to lock and load be sure to check out Ormond Arms here you can find products from a magpul site to an AR 15 lower receiver for sale.

Continue Reading

News

The Importance of Eating The Vegetables

Published

on

Importance of Eating The Vegetables

Welcome to our “Eat More Vegetables” issue. The idea is simple. We want to inspire you to love produce. How? Delicious recipes! Some of my favorites from this issue: the zucchini rollatini with smoked mozzarella (yum!), the fennel broiled with Farm and Judith Fertig’s grilled beets with raspberry-thyme sauce. And then there’s the Israeli story focused on the first meal of the day, jammed with—you guessed it—vegetables. If I could, I’d munch the crispy artichokes over labneh every single morning and follow it up with a sabich, an Israeli pita sandwich with roasted eggplant and piles of fresh parsley. I promise, you are about to eat very well!

This is our fourth year riffing on this “eat more vegetables” theme. To me it’s fun! (Though my view is admittedly a little warped. I lust for all produce!) We also do this annual issue because it’s anobvious way to help all of us eat a little healthier. But the past few weeks I started wondering, is it really so obvious? Yes, at the moment, more than half of Americans say they want to consume more vegetables. And simultaneously, going plant-based only, aka vegan, is gaining steam like never before.

But as these plant-power trends keep growing, the contradictory rumble of alarming ideas about the danger of vegetables keeps breaking through. Just as we were wrapping up these pages, two separate people brought up the book The Plant Paradox, in which the author warns that vegetables contain unsafe compounds called lectins that are making us sick. One asked if I thought the concept was bunk and the other told me that he’d read it and found out kidney beans were likely poison! The next day I got an email from my gym suggesting I do a nutrition challenge. I would log what I ate and get deductions for, among other things, beans of any sort and the poor maligned potato. That afternoon, I got a call from a writer telling me that he had gone vegan the week before and was planning to eat that way for an entire year. The purpose: he wanted to see if a 100% plant-based diet could improve his cholesterol enough that he wouldn’t need to start popping statins. So which is it? Are plants the enemy or the savior?

Also Read: How to Stay Healthy from Head to Toe

These conversations were reminders that nutrition can be confusing. In this digital age it’s hard to know which ideas are backed by solid science and which are sketchy at best, dangerous at worst. This is in part why we asked investigative journalist Patrick Clinton to write about whether the vegan diet is the healthiest possible way to eat. To get to the punch line: yes, it’s pretty clear, according to a preponderance of studies, that if not the single healthiest diet, it’s among the healthiest, when done right. But Clinton’s piece also brings up some of the over-the top claims being tossed around by some vegan-advocacy organizations, such as “eating an egg a day equals smoking 5 cigarettes a day.” Clinton helps put these alarmist theories in perspective.

Since we are doing an entire issue trying to get you to eat a more veg-focused diet, you can guess where Eating Well lands on the question of whether we should be worried about eating plants. Nope! We’re not. But where are we on the question of whether we should all go 100% vegan? We’re not there, either. We love it all. We believe in pleasure… pleasure mixed with a dose of balance and good sense!

Bonus: Behind the Emerald Curtain

Green juice isn’t a new concept, but drinking straight-up celery in the name of better health? We look at the science.

MEET THE LATEST MIRACLE CURE GONE VIRAL.

Proponents say slugging entire glasses of juiced celery lowers blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, improves digestion and fends off inflammation, anxiety and even certain cancers. (And this is the abridged list of claims.) But what makes celery juice so special?

The most popular explanation for its purported healing powers is that celery contains a cluster of sodium believed to strengthen the electrical impulses between neurons, improving brain function; to increase stomach acid, aiding digestion; and to break down the cell membrane of pathogens, destroying them on contact. And the only way to get a big-enough dose is to drink an entire head of celery.

Also Read: 8 Keys to Set Health Goals and Achieve Them

The problem: No data supports that this sodium cluster exists, let alone has any benefits. “This is snake-oit salesmanship of the worst kind,” says Rachete Pojednic.

Ph.D., Ed.M., an assistant professor of nutrition at Simmons University. She adds that there’s also no reason to think sipping celery is healthier than crunching it whole. We love celery-it is a vegetable-but juicing it strips out the fiber.

Some evidence suggests that compounds like anti-oxjdants and phytochemicals in celery may tower blood sugar and cholesterol-in theory. The science has been conducted in petri dishes and rodents and is far too early to apply to humans. And, in excess, it could cause skin reactions or interact with prescriptions.

Is Vegan Really thee Healthiest Diet?

Some of the things you read about this plant-based diet would have you believe that the omnivores among us are doomed to extinction (or at least disease). So before we start Eating-well and all, let’s separate the solid science from the hype.

One of the most important forces reshaping the American diet is the quest for a magic bullet: a d simple all-powerful something that we can X eat (or avoid) to find ourselves instantly slim, healthy, beautiful and wise. Kale, ‘ acai, alkaline water, gluten-free, anything— we’re ready to believe.

Lately, veganism—avoiding all animal products, including eggs, dairy and honey—is the bullet of choice among the glamorous. Gwyneth Paltrow, the celebrity health queen, is unsurprisingly vegan. So’s Venus Williams. And Beyonce has periodically cut out animal products in preparation for concerts to give her more energy, and urged her Instagram followers to do the same.

But some advocates are spouting “facts” about veganism and health: They declare that the World Health Organization (WHO) said eating meat is as carcinogenic as smoking. (It isn’t, and the WHO didn’t.) Or that eating an egg a day contributes as much to cardiac disease as smoking five cigarettes a day. (Totally overblown.) These claims paint a portrait ofveganism as the only truly healthy diet, and that anything else as just slow poison.

OK, but is veganism really the dietary be-all and end-all? Look into the individual claims and you’re likely to come away confused. Some research (well, the single paper that I was able to find) links eggs to increased arterial plaque. But others, including one gigantic Chinese research .

Project, suggest that eggs may reduce heart disease risk. Science as a whole does a good job of figuring out the world. Individual studies, however, are often wrong-as much as 40 percent of the time. If you want to know what science says about a huge multifaceted question like diet and health, you have to look at a lot of science.

So what does a lot of science say about veganism?

Before we answer, let’s stop and acknowledge a couple of things: First, health isn’t the only, or even the primary, reason to go vegan. Ethical and environmental concerns are enough on their own to make someone choose the plant-based path. Two topics deserving of their own articles, so we won’t get into them here.

Second, eating vegan doesn’t automatically mean you’re eating well. Nutter Butters are vegan. Not to mention unfrosted Pop Tarts. And even a junk-free vegan diet raises health concerns.

The healthiest thing you can consume is good information.

With new trendy diets emerging all the time, it’s hard to know what information is real and what is fluff. That’s why our eCornell-affiliated Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program is so valuable.

We aren’t selling a diet; we’re sharing scientifically based insights to help people better understand nutrition and take full control of their lives.

How to Become a Legal Citizen of the United States?

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 StarkJournal