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Venezuela Offers India 30% Discount on Oil Via Petro Cryptocurrency

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In an effort to boost adoption of its petro cryptocurrency, Venezuela is offering governments a huge discount on oil. Case in point: Caracas has reportedly offered the government of India a 30% discount on oil purchases made through the state-backed petro coin.

Steep Discount

According to various reports, India has been offered a large discount on Venezuelan oil paid for by the petro cryptocurrency. The petro is supposedly backed by Venezuelan crude, with one unit of the digital currency pegged to one barrel of oil. At the time of writing, the Indian government has not indicated whether it will accept the offer.

India’s oil imports from the South American country has fallen to the lowest in over five years. Imports averaged about 300,000 barrels per day between November 2017 and February 2018 which represents a drop of around 20% from year-ago levels. The five-year average is around 440,000 barrels per day.

Supply disruptions are largely to blame for the sharp drop-off in sales to India. The combination of lower production and obligations to other countries leaves fewer cargo avaiable. Venezuela is obliged to supply Russia and China with the lion’s share of its output to pay back existing debts.

Venezuela’s oil production plunged last year to the lowest in decades as Maduro’s socialist government contended with quadruple-digit inflation, a contracting economy and social unrest.

Petro Cryptocurrency

Roiled by a multi-year economic crisis, Venezuela is looking to harness the petro as a tool for economic growth. According to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the state-backed cryptocurrency has generated more than $3 billion in sales. He recently announced that the Central Bank of Venezuela will receive about a third of the proceeds.

Analysts have speculated that petro proceeds are a way for the Maduro government to sidestep U.S. sanctions against the socialist regime. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month prohibiting Americans from participating in the petro sale.

Venezuela’s opposition-led congress has deemed the petro illegal and a “fraud” that is being used by Maduro to further his own interests.

Though Venezuela is the first country to issue a state-backed cryptocurrency, several others are considering a similar project including Russia (see: Cryptoruble), Kazakhstan and Estonia. Many  proponents of blockchain technology believe that the concept of a state-run cryptocurrency is contradictory in nature since it lacks the fundamental component of decentralization.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 769 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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WikiLeaks Exposes Craig Wright’s Lies as Nakamoto Saga Hits Peak ‘Faketoshi’

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The comedy of errors that is Craig Wright’s attempt to convince the world that he is Satoshi Nakamoto took another turn this week, when WikiLeaks dropped a batch of documents showing his dishonest retrofitting of Bitcoin documentation.

WikiLeaks vs Craig Wright

Wright released a Medium post last week where he told the world once again that he was the real Satoshi Nakamoto. In the post he also gives some more vague reasons as to why he just won’t move some of Satoshi’s BTC from his original address. And more importantly, he took time to take a swing at WikiLeaks.

I do not like Wikileaks, and I have never been a fan of Assange’s methods. More importantly, I am strongly opposed to criminal markets and bucket shops. Ross Ulbricht and others like him are criminals.”

Fast forward a few days and WikiLeaks responded. This batch of documents was released to Github on February 11th, and announced via Twitter with the following message:

Craig S. Wright is a proven serial forger of documents claiming that he is the inventor of Bitcoin. He has been repeatedly caught. This has been independently verified by WikiLeaks at the time of his first claim and subsequently.”

The documents show evidence of Craig Wright’s long history of forgeries and lies, including his failed attempts to fake blog posts by the original Satoshi, and thwarted attempts to fake PGP keys, public keys, and contracts and emails.

Project BlackNet

Screenshot of Craig Wright’s tweet.

The comedy stylings of Craig S. Wright got even more surreal on Feb 10th, when he released this screenshot of a paper he supposedly submitted to the Australian government in 2001.

The paper, titled ‘Project BlackNet’, details you know what… Craig Wright’s early sketchings of his ideas for Bitcoin, nearly a decade before Bitcoin was invented.

Within hours of the claims, inquisitive internet detectives had taken them apart, and supplemented their takedown with multiple examples of photographic evidence, like this one which showed Wright’s amateurish attempts to echo the writing style of Satoshi Nakamoto based on the Bitcoin whitepaper.

Side-by-side comparison of Wright’s paper and the original drafts.

But what Wright didn’t seem to realise was that an earlier draft of the Bitcoin whitepaper was already in existence, from around August 2008. In the end, Wright’s forgery contained all the changes and rewrites present in the October 2008 version, meaning his plans were doomed from the start.

Why Does He Persist?

Speculation as to why Craig Wright continues to push the idea that he is Satoshi Nakamoto proves to be varied. Without delving too deep into the personal life of Craig Wright, many have accused the Bitcoin SV backer of attempting to ease his own financial worries by drawing investors towards ‘Satoshi’s Vision’.

Others say this is just another chapter in the long history of Craig Wright’s obsession with fortune and fame. To borrow a turn of phrase from a humble redditor: ‘This is peak Faketoshi’.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 144 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Electric Minerals: Tesla, Chrysler Feel the Heat as African Nations Demand Bigger Cut

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Officials from mineral-rich African nations met with representatives from the ‘big mining’ industry at the Mining Indaba investment conference in Cape Town this week, with each hoping to make headway amid newly-simmering economic tensions.

Those tensions have been fuelled by a realization on the part of certain African nations that they now hold all the cards when it comes to producing minerals essential for the manufacture of electric vehicles.

As such, countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia have demanded a bigger piece of the pie from mining companies, so much so that the CEO of multi-billion dollar mining company, Barrick Gold, has already labelled the situation ‘untenable’.

This economic standoff threatens to makes itself felt in the U.S, where both political and financial pressure has already hit electric car manufacturers hard – in the balance books and on the assembly lines.

Africa Wakes Up

Electric cars use almost ten times as much copper as conventional cars – 185 pounds compared to around 18 pounds. The amount used in the production of electric busses is a staggering 800 pounds.

Zambia recently raised taxes on copper by 5%, and announced plans to add a further 10% if (when) the price of copper exceeds $7,500 per tonne. Currently, a tonne of copper costs $6,200 on the world market.

When Barrick Gold CEO, Mark Bristow, called the situation untenable, he was referring specifically to demands made by Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Tanzanian government is currently attempting to squeeze a $190 billion tax payment from gold mining company, Acacia. Meanwhile, the DRC continues to flex as many muscles as it can, safe in the knowledge that the modern world relies on its cobalt and tungsten.

With western nations, and particularly the eurozone, making strong commitments to converting to green energy in the coming decades, electric car firms now find themselves being pushed and pulled in several directions.

On the one hand, they must innovate quickly enough to keep pace with government fuel efficiency targets; while on the other they must balance the environmental and financial cost of acquiring the minerals required to make their machines more efficient.

Playing Hardball

Both Tanzania and DRC refused to send any delegates to the Cape Town conference; instead choosing to dig their heels in and stick to their guns.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, was present at the conference, and as custodian of Africa’s second largest gold reserves, Addo spoke up in favour of African nations getting the best deal possible. He said that international companies should no longer expect any special relationships or deals from African nations, and that:

“…The people of Africa do not have to be poor for others to be rich.”

Major mining companies voiced concerns that they would be forced to shut up shop and find somewhere else to mine for minerals. Some have even gone so far as to begin exploring new ways to make electric vehicles which don’t rely on Africa’s conflict minerals.

Tesla Effect

Tesla’s Elon Musk has been very vocal about the fact that his company has to move away from reliance on the ‘Blood Diamond of Minerals’ (cobalt), and that the next generation of Tesla vehicles would not use any at all. Last year he tweeted:

“We use less than 3% cobalt in our batteries & will use none in next gen…”

Last year, an analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, Caspar Rawles, described how cobalt use has already been greatly reduced by the likes of Tesla and Panasonic – but that they may have reached a ‘bottom’. He said:

“Tesla uses a formulation called NCA (nickel, cobalt, aluminum) that is already very low-cobalt. Over the last six years, Tesla and Panasonic [which supplies batteries to Tesla] have reduced cobalt dependency by about 60 percent already. That’s already very low. We think it’s going to be difficult for them to go much lower because you run into engineering problems.”

New Sources?

Cobalt isn’t a problem in itself, it just so happens that some of the most mineral-rich nations also happen to be mired in decades-old conflicts and civil wars. And those are often exacerbated, not helped, by the influx of foreign money.

But in 2017, Tesla made moves into the small Canadian town of Cobalt – which has, as it happens, a huge supply of… cobalt. As quoted in Bloomberg, Roger Bell, director of mining research at London-based firm Hannam & Partners, said:

“Anybody who has cobalt outside the DRC is in a better situation because carmakers are very worried about their supply chains.”

Within months of the move into Cobalt, two cobalt mining companies saw their stock rise from between 90% and 600% – purely on speculation, and despite having zero revenue at the time.

Breaking the reliance on African minerals is a major goal for global manufacturers, and Tesla’s Conflict Minerals Report from 2017 aimed for the same:

“Tesla does not and will not accept human rights abuses in our supply chain. While Tesla’s responsible sourcing practices apply to all materials and supply chain partners, we recognize the conditions associated with select artisanal mining (ASM) of cobalt in the DRC.”

Tesla published the names of all of their supply chain interactions in the report, and filed it with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the same year. Tesla has been one of the ‘cleanest’ operators when it comes to conflict minerals, but its two rounds of worker layoffs at the end of last year – including over 50% of its delivery force – highlights the difficult industry it finds itself in.

Fiat Chrysler Coughs Up

Italian-American car company Fiat Chrysler recently felt pressure from the other side of the fence, when it was forced to pay a $77 million fine for failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements in the United States.

The FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) stock price sunk 15% in the past week, and is only now starting to rebound. A gap between financial targets and economic reality caused the stock price to drop, and FCA continue to lobby the Trump administration for a relaxing of fuel economy laws. Fiat Chrysler say the laws target them unfairly due to their cars increased default size and bulk compared to cars in the general market.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 144 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Altcoins

EOS Price Analysis: EOS/USD in Danger of Moving Back to $1 Territory, Despite Dominating Tron in DApps

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  • The EOS price is trading down some 3% in the early part of trading on Wednesday.
  • The EOS/USD daily chart view can see somewhat of a bearish flag formation, subject to an extended breakout south.

Recent Price Behavior

The EOS price on Wednesday is seen nursing some sizable losses of 3% at the time of writing. EOS/USD is currently stuck between a tough acting area of supply and a comfortable demand zone. It is being forced to range-trade, which has been the case since 11th January. The high of the range is noted at $2.60, with the low down at $2.19.

This is the tightest and longest range that EOS/USD has traded within since October 2018. The previous range stretched between 16th October to 5th November 2018, and came just before the heavy bear market of mid-November.

EOS Dominating Tron in DApps

EOS is pushing ahead of the Tron network with regards to dApps usage, according to a recent report produced by Weiss Ratings. Tron has been known to dominate within this field, given its exponential growth and being able to maintain that pace. However, numbers certainly do not lie in terms of the EOS dominance of late.

Weiss Ratings pointed out that, “EOS has a dApp called Dice, and it’s beating another dApp, TronBet by about 60% in volume and 30% in transactions. People shilling Tron need to understand that EOS is still way ahead.”

Looking at data via Dapp Radar, of course numbers are always fluctuating. However, at the time of writing, EOS’ Candybox DApp is still currently dominating in terms of users. In the last 24 hours, this was seen at 7.3K despite falling some 4.24%. In addition. EOS has a DApp known as Dice, which is completely dwarfing Tron’s transactions, as it boasts a huge $4 millio within the last 24 hours.

Ethereum Falls Out of the DApps Competition

The interesting point, above all noted, is that Ethereum is now out of the picture. In an area where the network once heavily dominated, Ethereum is just now nowhere to be seen. Ethereum did have a chunky presence back in 2017 with regards to DApps, however there is much fiercer competition now, as clearly detailed above.

Technical Review – EOS/USD

EOS/USD daily chart.

In terms of the technical outlook, it does appear to be stacked in the market bears’ favor for now. Price action via the daily chart view has formed somewhat or a bearish flag formation. This comes after the heavy drop on 10th January, when EOS/USD started to then move into a range-bound formation. However, this price behavior formed this flag, which is subject to an extended breakout to the downside.

A breach of the lower demand area, $2.30-$2.19, will likely invite a fresh wave of selling pressure. Eyes would ultimately be on a retest of the December low area, $1.85, down to $1.55, the low from 7th December.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 123 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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