mercredi 16 octobre 2019

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

A poll conducted among university students in China indicates that many of them see a bright future for cryptocurrencies in their country. A quarter of the respondents said they would seek employment in the industry that deals with digital assets and related technologies. Approximately one in 12 students already owns digital coins.

Also read: Ukraine in a Rush to Legalize Cryptocurrencies Under Zelensky

17% of Polled Students Have Had Investments in Crypto

China has a mixed attitude towards cryptocurrencies in general. On the one hand, the government in Beijing effectively expelled coin offering projects and major exchanges out of the mainland. On the other, the crypto mining industry is allowed to thrive in certain regions in the country with cheap, abundant energy in optimal climatic conditions. Plans for a digital yuan are also moving forward with the People’s Bank of China recently hiring six crypto experts.

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

Unlike authorities, however, the Chinese people have been embracing decentralized currencies with much less hesitation and for obvious reasons – not only the utility they bring but also their censorship resistance. The poll confirms that the young and tech savvy have predominantly positive expectations about the future of the crypto space and are the most eager adopters. Over 8% of Chinese students currently own some cryptocurrency, while another 9% had previously invested in digital assets.

The survey has been conducted by Panews among attendants of 131 colleges and universities in 26 Chinese provinces, the crypto news outlet 8btc reported this weekend. The majority of the respondents, over 77%, are undergraduates, with the rest being graduate students. Most of them are specializing in the fields of economics, management, and engineering but there are also some who study literature, for example.

27% of Future Graduates Want to Work in the Crypto Industry

It’s worth noting that almost 27% of the students in the survey indicated they would seek employment in the growing blockchain industry in the future. Media remains the main source of information about the crypto space and nearly 40% of the students describe media reports as influential. Despite that, close to a quarter of the participants admit they don’t know anything about blockchain. 22% acknowledge that the coverage in mainstream media is mostly negative, while 17% claim they hear more positive news.

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

The authors of the study point out that crypto-related educational courses are still rare in Chinese higher education institutions. At the same time, the level of awareness about cryptocurrencies is relatively high, with 67% of those polled stating they know bitcoin. Around 15% admitted they hadn’t heard anything about the digital currencies ethereum, neo, and Facebook’s Libra project. Just seven of the respondents knew all entries in a list of 11 crypto terms like “mining,” “stablecoin,” and “hash value.”

Although the People’s Republic approaches cryptocurrencies with caution and has already tried to limit their spread in Chinese society and economy, Beijing has not turned a blind eye to the development of decentralized coins. For instance, the country’s Center for Information and Industry Development publishes regular crypto rankings evaluating various projects in the space based on their own logic. If you want to learn how the global market evaluates cryptocurrencies, you can always check their current price and cap at markets.Bitcoin.com.

Do you think the young generations in China will tip the scales in favor of cryptocurrencies? Share your opinion in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin sink as buying pressure fades

A number of technical indicators estimated that the entire market was susceptible to a downturn. Now that the bearish outlook seems to be validated, here is where Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin could be heading next.

Bitcoin

Over the last three weeks Bitcoin has been consolidating between $7,800 and $8,550. But, on Oct. 11 this cryptocurrency went through a bullish impulse that pushed it to $8,815. Some of the most prominent analysts in the crypto community saw this upswing as a postive sign. However, the buying pressure behind it was not strong enough to support the bullish move and Bitcoin went back into the $750 trading range where it was trading at.

Based on its 1-day chart, Bitcoin’s upward momentum was contained by the 200-day moving average. This moving average served as strong resistance and the price rejection let an evening star candlestick pattern form.

This is considered a bearish reversal formation that occurs at the top of an uptrend. Evening stars are composed of three candlesticks: a long green candle, a short candle, and a red candle. The combination of these three candlesticks indicated that BTC was losing its bullish momentum and was likely to reverse.

Bitcoin indeed pulled back into the no-trade zone where it had been consolidating. Now, this cryptocurrency seems to be on its way down to test the $7,800 support level once again.

Breaking below this level of support could trigger a sell-off that takes BTC to around $6,900 or $6,300. Such a steep decline will confirm the 31.50 percent drop estimated by the descending triangle that developed between June and September.

Nonetheless, a spike in volume around the $7,800 support level could allow BTC to rebound to $8,550. This hypothetical rally could take this crypto to finally break above the 200-day moving average and surge to $9,500 or even $10,000.

BTC US dollar price chart
BTC/USD by TradingView

Ethereum

Ethereum was contained within an ascending parallel channel on its 1-day chart since Sept. 26. Every time it reached the bottom of the channel it bounced off to the middle or the top. But, when it reached the top it fell back to the middle or the bottom.

However, ETH is now breaking out of the ascending parallel channel, which appears to be part of a major bear flag that was forming since mid-September. This is considered a continuation pattern that developed after the 31 percent plunge this crypto experienced from Sept. 20 until Sept. 26, known as the flagpole—which was succeeded by the recent consolidation period, known as the pennant.

If this bearish formation is confirmed, it is likely that Ethereum will end up moving in the same direction of the previous trend—predicting a 24 percent drop from the breakout point (determined by measuring the height of the flagpole). Such a retracement could take this cryptocurrency down to $138.

Although the outlook for ETH is currently bearish, a series of support points could prevent it from a further decline. On its way down, these are the price levels that could act as barriers stopping the fall: $169, $157 and $147. If these price hurdles fail to act as support points, then this cryptocurrency could soon be worth $138.

Nevertheless, if Ethereum is able to regain the $177 level as support the chances for a swing high increase. In fact, a spike in volume could invalidate the bearish outlook taking Ethereum to test the next resistance levels at $184, $195 or even $207.

ETH US dollar price chart
ETH/USD by TradingView

Litecoin

Like Bitcoin, on Oct. 9 Litecoin broke out of the no-trade zone where it was trading since Sept. 24. But, the bullish momentum was not supported by the necessary volume to allow a higher push to the $64 resistance level. As a result, LTC pulled back below $57.70 and is currently trading around the $53 support level.

Based on the 12-hour chart, the Bollinger bands began squeezing on Oct. 4. Squeezes are indicative of periods of low volatility and are typically succeeded by periods of high volatility. Now that LTC appears to be breaking below the lower Bollinger band, the high volatility expected could turn into a strong downward move.

If Litecoin is able to successfully close below the $53 support level, the bearish scenario could be validated. If so, then this cryptocurrency could test the next levels of support that sit at $49 and $44.  Conversely, a spike in volume with a clear break above $57.70 could take LTC to $64 or even $71.

LTC US dollar price chart
LTC/USD by TradingView

Overall sentiment

As seen in this technical analysis, the lack of buying pressure did not allow Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin to reach higher price levels. As a result, these cryptocurrencies began depreciating over the last few hours adding credibility to the bearish scenarios previously explained. If the sell-off continues and Bitcoin breaks below $7,800 it is extremely likely that the entire market will follow through. Thus, it will be wiser for traders to wait for further confirmation in order to avoid trying to catch a falling knife.

The post Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin sink as buying pressure fades appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Rare Joint Statement From U.S. Regulators Proves Crypto Centralization Is Here

Rare Joint Statement from U.S. Regulators Proves that Centralization of Crypto Is Here

The U.S. SEC, Fincen and CFTC issued a rare joint statement Friday addressing regulation of “activities involving digital assets.” Citing crypto’s perceived role in money laundering and terrorism, the regulatory power trio prescribed stricter adherence to anti-money laundering (AML) policies and know your customer (KYC) protocols. The statement is a highly visible product of the new crypto reality: for many, it’s no longer about Satoshi’s vision, but regulated, de-clawed digital assets for the obedient masses.

Also Read: Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Centralization of Decentralized Money

For all the bluster about “Bitcoin revolution” that pervaded the cryptosphere not so long ago, permissionless money, along with calls for death to central banks, the once roaring lion of crypto opinion now seems to have been transformed into a skittish, whimpering kitten. Bitcoin maximalism has brought with it the unthinking zealotry common to religious fanaticism, and those who want to moon lambo as fast as possible are happy to hear about government adoption and approval even if it means sacrificing core utility.

Let’s be clear, Bitcoin as a technology cannot be centralized if people don’t want it to be, but if they fail to use freely, it can indeed be neutralized as such. It’s not a silver bullet or standalone cure-all. Bitcoin requires human action.

In their joint statement, the U.S. regulatory groups assert:

The leaders of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Agencies”) today issued the following joint statement to remind persons engaged in activities involving digital assets of their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

In and of themselves, such prescriptions for adherence to regulation are nothing at all new. Taken with the cropping up of new international regulatory bodies, calls for globalized tax regulations, and increasing talk of the necessity of KYC/AML policy, however, and a new picture emerges. One of an already operational crypto surveillance state. The polar opposite of what Bitcoin was designed to create.

Rare Joint Statement From U.S. Regulators Proves Crypto Centralization Is Here

The World Financial Dragnet

Major financial and economic regulatory bodies are becoming less and less confined to their own respective nations. The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) is a coalition formed in 2018 by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) consisting of the IRS and related agencies from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the U.K. The coalition was created in part to help fight “the growing threat to tax administrations posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime and to make the most of data and technology.” The J5 maintains:

[We are] are committed to combatting transnational tax crime through increased enforcement collaboration. We will work together to gather information, share intelligence, conduct operations and build the capacity of tax crime enforcement officials.

The existence of the J5 also makes another recent story all the more pertinent — the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) call for a unified taxation approach. As the OECD’s recent proposal maintains: “In a digital age, the allocation of taxing rights can no longer be exclusively circumscribed by reference to physical presence. The current rules dating back to the 1920s are no longer sufficient to ensure a fair allocation of taxing rights in an increasingly globalised world.”

In other words, major corporations and their digital revenue may soon be taxed internationally, regardless of physical presence in a country. This could make practices like relocation to avoid harsh economic conditions or sanctions less efficacious or outright impossible. With the current state of rampant KYC/AML requirements for individual users of centralized exchanges, one wonders how long it will be until individuals are taxed similarly on their own digital assets via similar “guidelines.” The proposal states openly:

Once it is determined that a country has a right to tax profits of a non-resident enterprise, the next question is how much profit the rules allocate to that jurisdiction.

Rare Joint Statement From U.S. Regulators Proves Crypto Centralization Is Here

A Decentralized Pushback

Not everyone in the crypto space is standing in wide-eyed wonder at Bitcoin’s supposed acceptance from the “big boys” of Washington and Wall Street via vapid talk about the importance of blockchain and sensible regulation. Bitcoin was explicitly created to be a P2P cash system that was open to everyone. Cropping up in the face of the growing global dragnet are peaceful, permissionless solutions such as decentralized exchanges, peer-to-peer trading platforms, and privacy protocols.

What first gave Bitcoin its value and meteoric rise to success was its decentralized, permissionless financial power. Heading right back to the same dying, unethical system cryptocurrency advocates were seeking to escape in the first place, and begging for its acceptance, is ultimately a dead end. Contrast this with the powerful adoption of crypto now happening worldwide in spite of obstacles, and there’s no need to “fight” the powers that be, per se. With enough people simply using crypto as cash peacefully, regardless of politicians’ scribbles, the old castle is set to fall under its own weight once a critical mass is achieved. Now that’s something Satoshi, surely, could be proud of.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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You can now pass on crypto with Casa’s new Bitcoin inheritance service

Inheriting Bitcoin has now become a feasible reality, thanks to a new service launched by crypto custody startup Casa. The inheritance service and protocol, called Casa Covenant, allows users to securely pass on their Bitcoin holdings through estate lawyers.

Casa offers a solution to the question of what happens to your Bitcoin holdings after you die

What happens to your crypto holdings after you die isn’t a pleasant thought to have, but it’s one that crypto custody startup Casa set out to answer. The company, known for its Bitcoin multisig key security and Lightning Bitcoin nodes, debuted a platform that helps users pass on their Bitcoin holdings in a secure way.

In an Oct. 16 tweet, the company announced the launch of Casa Covenant, a Bitcoin inheritance service and protocol.

According to the company’s blog post, three things can happen to your Bitcoin holdings after your death. The first, and probably the worst option, is that your private keys die with you and your Bitcoin holdings are lost forever.

The second, slightly better option, is that you share recovery instructions for your holdings with an heir. While the funds can be easily recovered, they can also be easily stolen, making this a risky option. Another option is using a custodian to manage your private keys, but this option also carries significant risk. Casa also noted that not many custodians have inheritance protocols in place, which makes the whole move obsolete.

Bitcoin inheritance made safer with multisig

These are just some of the problems the company set out to solve with Casa Covenant. To make the process as seamless and secure as possible, Casa spent 10 months creating an inheritance protocol.

According to the company’s blog post, they created a set of steps that users of their Keymaster custody service can work into their will. Casa integrated multi-signature technology with the existing legal system infrastructure that deals with estate planning.

The inheritance process is simple—it adds an optional 6th key to Casa’s 3-of-5 Key Shield. That means that three out of six keys can be used to recover a user’s funds. The 6th key is held by the user’s estate lawyer.

As one of the three recovery keys is held by Casa, the company said that the third “safe key” has to be kept in a deposit box under the client’s name. This will allow the executor of the will to access it with a court order and keep it safe from theft.

However, the company said there are still a lot of things that need work, which is why Covenant will not roll out for all Casa’s customers at once. Casa Diamond members can now join the waitlist for the inheritance service, which will be added to other membership levels in the future.

The post You can now pass on crypto with Casa’s new Bitcoin inheritance service appeared first on CryptoSlate.

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal

The initial coin offering may have all but died, but the ICO scammer marches on regardless. Whereas legitimate projects have to wrangle with all kinds of challenges including the strength of the market, generating value for investors, creating a real product and actually delivering on the promises they make, the soulless scammer is unencumbered by technical constraints, work ethic or any sense of decency.

Also read: Bitcoin’s Smallest Unit ‘Satoshi’ Added to Oxford English Dictionary

How Do You Kill That Which Has No Life?

Much like the humble cockroach, there are few conditions in which the ICO scammer cannot operate. Even with peak ICO and token mania well behind us, scammers persist. There are a few things guaranteed to make scammers scatter, however, including legal action, regulatory enforcement, and of course, unwanted press. The following ICOs have all been branded scams, despite their orchestrators noisily protesting their innocence.

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal

Karat Gets Stick

Blockchain may be a fertile soil for the germination of new ideas, but it is also a dumping ground for risible concepts and con artists who obfuscate their true intentions. One idea that has been floating around the crypto bowl for some time now is of a gold-backed cryptocurrency. Karatbars is a prime example of the gold-backed fad and one which has drawn some serious questions lately.

In 2018, the German firm launched Karatgold Coin (KBC) after an ICO that reportedly raised $100 million. To follow that first fundraiser, Karatbars is now looking to conduct another ICO in 2019. This time the company claims to be creating the Karatbank Coin (confusingly also KBC) for its cryptocurrency bank in Miami, leading the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) to open an investigation into the company which is still ongoing.

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal
Seems legit.

In a video on the Karatbars homepage, Dr. Harald Seiz introduces himself as “the visionary and founder of Karatbars” which is enough to raise an eyebrow if not a red flag. A Youtube video on April 2019 titled ‘Karatbars Harald Seiz To Create 20K Millionaires by 2021!’ is enough to raise greater suspicion still. Products on the Karatbars site include gift cards, credit cards and actual paper money, all of which can be sold with affiliate marketing. Regulators in the Netherlands called this gold buying and selling system ‘multi-level marketing,’ while Namibia was plain enough to call it a ‘pyramid scheme.’

What of the gold itself on which the entire Karatbars concept is built? Independent researchers have failed to verify the existence of the goldmine which the company claims to own. While cynical minds have often claimed that a goldmine is simply a hole in the ground owned by a liar, in the case of Karatbar, not even the hole exists.

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal
Like Steven Seagal, ICO scammers are Hard to Kill – but most lack the star’s charm and charisma.

When Mountie?

In March, Canadian police froze the accounts of Kevin Hobbs and Lisa Cheng, whose company Vanbex raised $22 million in 2017 from the sale of the Etherparty (FUEL) token. Despite claims that FUEL would be used to create a smart contracts ecosystem, no such thing ever materialized, with court documents claiming there was no intention to ever develop this dream world.

The colorful past of Hobbs gave added interest to the matter, with the company founder reported to have past convictions for drug possession and money laundering. In a twist which sounds like a plot point straight from an episode of Breaking Bad, Hobbs claimed his newfound wealth came not from misappropriated company funds, but from gambling winnings of around $60,000 a month. Put another way, when you have the gambling skills of Hobbs, the house always loses.

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal

Records produced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) show that the Vanbex ICO was completed on Aug. 17, 2017. Hobbs then withdrew around $5.5 million from OTC trading desk Cumberland, with the first of the transactions occurring just four days later on August 21. From there it is alleged that Hobbs and Cheng went on a luxury spending spree. The fraud investigation continues, although no charges have as yet been brought, but that has not prevented investigators from freezing the duo’s bank accounts and seizing personal items including two Range Rovers and a Lamborghini.

In Canada they claim the Mounties always get their man, and although you may know precisely when they’ll come calling, revving around in a high-powered sports car is a surefire way to land in their crosshairs. When Mountie? Shortly after ‘When Lambo?’

That’s a Scam

In April, one of the biggest scams of the year was ended when Korean police arrested 12 people on suspicion of stealing $18.7 million from elderly investors through a ponzi scheme called M-Coin. Perhaps the most interesting part of the story, however, is that the investigators were first alerted to the crime with the aid of an artificial intelligence designed to scour the internet for keywords and phrases. Once the authorities were alerted, the criminals were duly tracked down and arrested. This means that artificial intelligence is now officially smart enough to know a scam when it sees one, even when human intelligence isn’t.

ICOs Are Dead But ICO Scammers Are Immortal

A Fantasy Market

Not all ICO misadventures reach the heights of M-Coin, FUEL or Karatbar, but those who believe more modest indiscretions may go unnoticed would do well to heed the story of adult content marketplace Fantasy Market. Its founder Jonathan C. Lucas raised a mere $63,000 before being hauled up by the SEC this September. According to SEC litigation, “Lucas made numerous materially false statements in a whitepaper and online to induce investors to participate in the ICO.”

It added: “Lucas claimed that a “working-beta” version of the company’s adult-entertainment platform existed when one did not, presented a fictitious management team, and misrepresented his own experience.”

Following the SEC findings, Lucas agreed to pay back $15,000 to resolve claims, pending court approval. The irony is that although Lucas persuaded investors to buy into a completely Fantasy Market, the even greater fantasy was believing that he could get away with it.

Why do you think so many people are taken in by ICO scammers? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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80% of Crypto Trade Volume Tracked by Blockchain Surveillance

80% of Crypto Trade Volume Tracked by Blockchain Surveillance

Ever since governments worldwide started showing adversity toward cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, a few startups have dedicated their business model to blockchain surveillance. Two weeks ago, Chainalysis revealed the company is monitoring 21 different tokens that stem from Ethereum. On Tuesday, the firm Ciphertrace announced that it’s now tracking 700 cryptocurrencies providing “visibility into 87% of the global trading volume.”

Also read: Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

Chainalysis Now Tracks 21 Popular ERC20 Tokens

Blockchain surveillance teams have been ramping up operations in order to appease governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide. On October 3, blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis told the public that the company was now tracking ERC20 tokens like maker (MKR), dai (DAI), and Basic Attention Token (BAT). Chainalysis’ cofounder Jonathan Levin said that regulators and investigators were interested in monitoring these tokens since they started being used in illicit and fraudulent activities. For instance, in September 2017, the ERC20 exchange Etherdelta was hacked for thousands of dollars when a hacker used a malicious code injection attack and drained ERC20 tokens from people’s wallets. Two years later, burglars robbed the trading platform Cryptopia’s ETH and ERC20 tokens stealing more than $16 million.

80% of Crypto Trade Volume Tracked by Blockchain Surveillance

Chainalysis stressed that lots of businesses have been showing interest in investigating the ERC20 landscape, so the company built ERC20 support in a “matter of weeks.” The firm detailed that over 130 customers in 35 countries use the company’s system to monitor digital currency transactions. The ERC20 support added 21 well known tokens to the Chainalysis framework. By the end of the year, the company says it will be tracking a total of “39 ERC20 tokens in addition to nine other cryptocurrencies — covering 90% of the market by trading volume.” Chainalysis emphasized that the ERC20 support is also available for Chainalysis Reactor, the company’s investigation product.

“[Chainalysis Reactor] is already being used by law enforcement to investigate hacks and other illicit activity across blockchains,” the firm explained in a blog post.

80% of Crypto Trade Volume Tracked by Blockchain Surveillance

Ciphertrace Combs 700 Blockchains, Accounting for 87% of the Cryptoconomy’s Global Trade Volume

The blockchain surveillance company, Ciphertrace, has also increased its monitoring and the business now tracks 700 different cryptocurrencies. Ciphertrace believes it is one of the world’s “most comprehensive” cryptocurrency intelligence teams out there and the latest update was considered a “giant leap.” Digital assets being monitored include LTC, USDT, BCH, ETH, BTC, and ERC20 tokens as well. “[The infrastructure] provides visibility into 87% of global trading volume with hundreds of millions of attribution data points,” Ciphertrace disclosed. The company’s announcement added:

The Ciphertrace platform maintains the industry’s most accurate pool of attribution data. This includes 522 million attribution data points — such as account type, account holders, contract types, contract owners and other metadata — on cryptocurrency addresses.

80% of Crypto Trade Volume Tracked by Blockchain Surveillance

Various government agencies worldwide have been utilizing Blockchain forensics for quite some time and the business model has become very profitable. In the U.S. alone, the IRS, DEA, ICE, FBI, and other three-letter agencies continue to hire firms like Chainalysis, Elliptic, and Ciphertrace. All of these crypto surveillance companies believe the software deployed has powerful de-anonymizing capabilities that can help financial institutions and government agents discover illicit behavior. Ciphertrace divulges that the company leverages monitoring schemes like advanced APIs, interactive visualization, a graph database, and pattern recognition in order to de-anonymize digital currency transactions.

What do you think about Chainalysis tracking ERC20s and Ciphertrace monitoring 700 cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Chainalysis, Ciphertrace, Fair Use, and Pixabay.


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21 remaining firms become official Libra members after Visa, Stripe, PayPal, and others pull out

The head of Libra, Facebook’s controversial cryptocurrency initiative, has stated the project will continue to develop its planned “new global currency” despite having lost a quarter of its backers, including Stripe, Visa, PayPal, and Mastercard.

Speaking on Bloomberg Television Tuesday, David Marcus assured that Libra intends to recruit new members to replace those that said they would withdraw from the Libra Association, the Switzerland-based nonprofit established to govern the cryptocurrency.

Regulators turning up the heat

Libra—which according to its backers will focus on “building a better payment network, broadening access to essential financial services, and lowering costs for billions of people who need it the most”—has for months been criticized furiously by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, who have said the coin could undermine anti-trust laws, privacy, and challenge the monetary authority of nation-states.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra whitepaper reveals blockbuster partnerships
Related: Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra whitepaper reveals blockbuster partnerships

Facebook has stood vehemently behind the plan since unveiling it in June, however, and seemingly in response lawmakers have in recent months turned their attention to Libra’s inaugural members in an apparent bid to bring the project to a grinding halt.

Their strategy seems to be working. Last week, Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe announced their withdrawal after two U.S. Senators issued each of the payments firms an impassioned letter requesting they abandon Libra, suggesting the companies could face regulatory scrutiny if they participated in the operation of the cryptocurrency.

Libra signs and seals its remaining members, but a bumpy road lies ahead

David Marcus’s announcement came shortly after Booking Holdings Inc., the company behind Booking.com, Kayak, and Priceline, reportedly became the last company to eject itself from the venture, and the Libra Association formalized its leadership structure in an official charter.

21 companies signed on to become founding members of the organization, who will govern the Libra network and run validator nodes should the coin be launched as per the terms of its whitepaper. The departure of PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe, in particular, however, may weaken Libra’s evidently tenuous standing with regulators, while creating potential future competitors.

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