SparkleCOIN Is Using the Blockchain to Make Cryptocurrencies Accessible for Everyone 3 994

Cryptocurrencies, along with the broader implications of blockchain technology, are poised to disrupt core pillars of our modern economy. By scaling adoption of these digital assets, we can sustain levels of accessibility, liquidity, and security that society has never before seen in a fiscal system.

SparkleCOIN, a hot blockchain startup, is on a mission to accelerate this shift by developing a platform to support and foster the rise of cryptocurrencies into mainstream business and consumer markets. At a high level, they do this through the creation of the SparkleCOIN ecosphere, a collection of companies that leverage the blockchain to solve for three of the biggest problems in crypto today: accessibility, consumer demand, and convenience.

Accessibility

One systemic problem plaguing the “crypto-economy” is the inaccessible nature of most popular exchanges. Without access to consumer insights, most new coin offerings never reach “true levels of liquidity” because they do not have sufficient market exposure. And even those lucky enough to time and negotiate the exchange correctly, are often unable to transact with fiat currency. These are both limiting factors that will delay, and in the worst case, prevent adoption of a decentralized monetary network.

Thus, the SparkleCOIN team has created the VCoin Exchange, a component of the Ecosphere, which resolves many of these issues by providing an “instantaneous trading platform for SparkleCOIN to be traded with US Dollars, as well as Bitcoin and Ether.” This lowers the barrier to entry for new blockchain projects and makes it easier for different parties to participate in this growing matrix.

Consumer Demand

Another big technical obstacle, stagnating growth, is that the mass market consumer cannot easily and conveniently acquire and spend cryptocurrencies. They are bounded by the supply of potential outlets to transact their capital, and therefore, are less incentivized to acquire the coins in the first place.

VCoinMall, another piece of the SparkleCOIN ecosphere of companies, enables customers to shop (and spend cryptocurrency) with a number of the biggest and most trusted online brands and websites. Massive players, like Walmart, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Staples, are all bought into the network, effectively making it so any consumer can spend their currency wherever and whenever they like, without facing extremely high fees, security risk, and long delays. This “peer-to-peer e-tailer” is the first universal marketplace for customers to find retailers who accept cryptocurrency.

Convenience

The final, and perhaps most critical element of SparkleCOIN’s ecosystem, is the VCoin Exchange’s payment gateway which has the potential to become the Paypal/Stripe of the blockchain generation.

Currently, there are no convenient and inexpensive services which empower startups with the ability to accept cryptocurrency transactions. The modern, yet still friction-ful answer is to build out a cumbersome engineering organization that can, after thousands of lines of code, provide a work-around solution. This is inefficient, non-standardized practice is not seamless enough to scale and support a global economy. And, as startups are all about moving quickly, has prevented many companies from offering a cryptocurrency payment service to their customers.

With the VCoin Exchange integration, partner retailers can, in just a few taps, open their stores to begin accepting payments via cryptocurrencies. It hinges on their payment gateway, which automatically integrates with most, if not all, of the existing ecommerce platforms and networks. Rather than provide a bulky solution, SparkleCOIN focused on pillars of convenience and simplicity, which prioritize ease of integration to ensure all retailers will be able to quickly integrate. Over time, as major players begin to endorse this system, the VCoin Exchange plug-in will become the standard means of accepting payments due to network effects.

In today’s world, the benefits of technology are far outpacing the ability for society to keep up. There are tangible, solvable answers to many of the world’s biggest problems, yet we are lagging behind due to our inability to focus on what is really important.

SparkleCOIN, with the support of their growing community, is effectively bridging the gap between the benefits of frontier blockchain technologies, mainstream businesses (who run on legacy systems) and the general consumer public by “enabling secure B2B and B2C transactions.” This is an important step towards a fairer future.

Though SparkleCOIN’s efforts to introduce a blockchain monetary ecosystem may be just one, of the many necessary steps needed for society to begin embracing the benefits of blockchain (as well as other popular cryptocurrencies), it is important to recognize the inevitable effects of the first mover advantage. If executed efficiently, and at scale, SparkleCOIN could be able to secure key partnerships in the industry, thereby building a moat around their technology and solution for years to come.

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post on December 4, 2017.

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Starting her career on Wall Street at just 19 years old, Danielle went on to be one of the youngest equity traders in the industry. After a successful career in Financial Planning, she went on to found her media company What Vibes Your Tribe, which connects the worlds of digital marketing and public relations. Her experience in brand strategy along with successfully developing the thought leadership of C -level executives has played an integral part in her client's achieving prestigious awards such as Inc 500, Forbes Next Billion Dollar Startup, Entrepreneur 360 among other top level recognition.

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Freelance Terrorist Carried Out Hundreds of Bomb Threats in Exchange For Bitcoin 45 7071

An American-Israeli teen is sentenced to a decade in prison after a Tel Aviv court convicted him for a series of fake bomb threats he carried out in exchange for Bitcoin.

The 19 year old began making threats professionally at the age of 16. He is convicted only for crimes committed while over the age of 18. These include making false threats and reports, extortion, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit a crime.

While the Israeli courts withheld the defendant’s identity because some of his alleged crimes occurred while he was a minor, the Guardian identified him as Michael Kadar at the time of his arrest. He was originally indicted for over 2,000 bomb threats, carried out between 2015 and 2017.

Kadar Targeted Children and Jewish Community Centers

The targets of Kadar’s threats included Jewish community centers, the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, elementary schools, shopping centers, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, airports and airlines.

A threat to an El-Al flight resulted in the deployment of fighter jets for an escorted emergency landing; another threat to a Canadian airport left six people injured during emergency disembarkment; a Virgin flight dumped eight tons of fuel before landing because of a threat; and another threat went to a plane carrying the Boston Celtics.

Kadar also targeted Republican Delaware state senator Ernesto Lopez, who he threatened with blackmail and the murder of his daughter. After Lopez ignored the demands, Kadar ordered drugs to have sent to Lopez’s residence.

Dealing Terror From Mom and Dad’s Apartment

His reign of terror operated from his parent’s fifth floor apartment near the beach in a posh neighborhood in Ashkelon, about 30 miles south of Tel Aviv. But his threats landed in over a dozen countries, including Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Belgium, Australia, Norway, Argentina, Israel, the United States, and Canada.

“One can easily imagine the terror, the fear and the horror that gripped the airplane passengers who were forced to make an emergency landing, some of whom were injured while evacuating the plane,” read the verdict by judge Zvi Gurfinkel, “and the terrified panic caused when there was a need to evacuate pupils from schools because of fake bomb threats.”

The Judge also divulged Kadar’s fees for his services: $40 for a threatening phone call to a private residence, $80 for a bomb threat to a school, and $500 for an airplane scare. Kadar operated on the dark net and disguised his IP address, using a powerful self-installed antenna to tap into remote networks, and software to mask his voice. According to an indictment filed against him in Florida, he spent some of his calls going into graphic detail threatening the deaths of children in American Jewish centers.

A Small Fortune in Bitcoins

At the time of his arrest, Kadar had amassed around 184 Bitcoins for such services—about half a million dollars at the time, and closer to $680,000 today. He also dealt in bomb making manuals, drugs, and child pornography.

Kadar is the son of an American mother, and his father is an Israeli engineer, and has dual citizenship. The US Department of Justice has also indicted Kadar for 32 crimes, including hate crimes, cyberstalking, giving false information to the police, and making threatening phone calls to around 200 institutions. A separate indictment also accuses Kadar of threatening the children of a former CIA and Pentagon official with kidnapping and murder, and links him to over 245 threatening calls.

When Kadar was arrested, he tried to escape by grabbing a pistol from a police officer, but was wrestled to the ground. Thursday’s conviction follows a cooperative investigation by the FBI and Israeli authorities, who have not been able to recover Kadar’s Bitcoins.

Teen’s Mother Calls Conviction ‘Cruel’

Kadar’s mother spoke outside the courtroom after her son’s sentencing, saying “This is the most cruel, cruel thing in the world. I’m very sorry, but I am ashamed that the country acts this way.” She insisted that her son needed treatment, not prison.

In an earlier interview she told Israeli TV her sun was suffering from a brain tumor, which made school difficult for him. Because of this and his autism, Kadar was homeschooled.

Defense lawyer Shira Nir said these conditions made Kadar unfit to stand trial, as he could not distinguish right from wrong. A medical panel confirmed the defendant’s autistic condition, but concluded he was capable of understanding the consequences of his actions. Judge Gurfinkel said Kadar’s conditions were taken into account, lessening the sentence from 17 years in prison to 10.

Bitcoin Uses As Much Energy As Austria, Could Add 2°C to Earth’s Atmosphere 2,187 14286

Bitcoin mining, it turns out, damages the earth more than more traditional environmental assaults like actual mineral mining.

According to a paper published Monday in Nature Sustainability, the power-hungry Bitcoin mining process consumes more than triple the amount of energy needed to mine the equivalent amount of gold, more than quadruple what’s needed for copper, and more than double what it takes to mine platinum.

Other coins didn’t fare much better. By their measurements, Ethereum and Litecoin consume 7 megajoules of electricity to produce the equivalent of $1, the same energy expenditure as copper mining but more than that of platinum or gold. Monero eats up 14 megajoules to produce $1.

Naturally, these measurements refer to the notoriously variable dollar valuations of such tokens. “While the market prices of the coins are quite volatile,” write researchers Max J. Krause and Thabet Tolaymat, “the network hashrates for three of the four cryptocurrencies have trended consistently upward, suggesting that energy requirements will continue to increase.”

Bitcoin’s Growing Electricity Bill is Bigger Than Some Countries

We’ve long known that Bitcoin is unsustainable. In a 2015 article for Motherboard, Christopher Malmo pointed out that a single Bitcoin transaction used 5,033 times as much energy as a Visa swipe, and could power 1.5 American homes for a day.

The electricity used to crunch Bitcoin code—and its environmental cost—has been growing with its increasing popularity. Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index shows Bitcoin currently consuming 73.12 terawatt hours (or 263.232 billion megajoules) of electricity annually. To put that in context, it’s comparable to the amount of energy it takes to power Austria for a year.

That means there are 175ish countries on earth using less energy than Bitcoin (to say nothing of crypto on the whole), while 66 countries consume less energy per capita than one Bitcoin transaction (it takes 94 thousand kilowatt hours of electricity to mine a single Bitcoin).

Iceland, a major hub of Bitcoin mining farms, spends nearly as much energy on Bitcoin as it does powering its residential homes. In this case, the damage is mitigated because most of Iceland’s power comes from renewable energy.

Canada’s Bitcoin emissions are also on the lower end due to renewable energy sources. They’re using this to court mining companies from China, where mining emissions are about four times that of Canada’s. Montreal International attracts foreign investment by calling Quebec the land of “green bitcoin”. This has caught the eye of some Chinese mining companies looking to go overseas as the Chinese government has discouraged expansion and shut down some mining operations altogether.

Depending on Bitcoin’s growth, some have projected that it could use as much energy as the entire world by 2020.

Digital Currency Has a Real Carbon Footprint

Krause’s and Tolaymat’s research reminds us of the sobering reality that all this invisible wealth has real world costs.

For the 30 months they measured between January 2016 and June 2018, they estimate their four featured tokens collectively belched out at least 3 million tons of CO2 emissions, possibly as much as 15 million tons.

These findings follow another study, published last month, which determined Bitcoin alone could add two degrees Celcius to global warming within the next three decades. That’s enough to raise ocean acidity by 29 percent.

Solving Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption Crisis

So what is the solution? If the world were to switch to 100 percent renewable energy overnight, the problem would be moot. But we can’t hold our breath for that. There could be ways of incentivizing clean energy so greener mines reap more coins, or of implementing clean energy in other ways.

It’s also possible to adopt less computationally intensive mining algorithms so the mining computers don’t guzzle as much juice. This would disappoint a lot of old school Bitcoiners who have invested in hardware, but their feelings don’t really outweigh that 2 degrees celcius that everyone will have to live with (or die by).

Whatever the best solution turns out to be, something needs to change soon. Bitcoin is growing up, and it’s time for it to mature into something more sustainable.

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