Month: March 2017

El Salvador is First Nation to Ban Gold, Metals Mining

El Salvador will prohibit gold and other metal mining after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday for the ban. Environmental activists say the country is the first in the world to ban metal mining.

Related: How to Start Your Own Gold Dealer Website



El Salvador’s delicate environment was cited as being unable to sustain metal mining operations, and legislators from many parties approved the ban, supported by the popular Roman Catholic Church. Proponents said a ban would proect the country’s supply of clean water.

“Today in El Salvador, water won out over gold,” tweeted Johnny Wright Sol, a legislator from the center-right Arena party.

Around the world, some bans on cyanide use to extract gold from low-grade ore exist, and Costa Rica has a national ban on open-pit gold mining.

Researchers Discover Way to Make Gold & Silver Nail Polish

Researchers believe they have discovered a way to add gold and silver to nail polish to create a durable, tined and perhaps even antibacterial nail coloring, extending the precious metals’ ancient uses for fashion in the form of jewelry.

Related: World’s Second Largest Gold Coin Stolen From Berlin Museum


The research, published in the ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, highlights how modern techniques depend on pigment powders and additives. Scientists, investigating nano-particles in polishes, discovered they can make nail polish more durable, in the case of silver nanoparticles, treating fungal toenail infections.

To break silver, gold and platinum alloy, they shot lasers into gold in short bursts for periods of fifteen minutes. They learned that this resulted in colored, transparent polishes with a metallic sheen. Researchers used laser ablation to create a master batch of metal nanoparticles in ethyl acetate, a polish thinner, which could then be added to individual bottles of polish.

Blockchain Personalities Speak out on Hard Fork

21.co used the 21.co/blockchain list to survey influential individuals in the blockchain space. “The list includes Bitcoin Core developers and Bitcoin Unlimited supporters, as well as a host of investors, executives, and founders,” writes 21.co on its Medium account. 

Related: Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity Says Bitcoin is Under Attack

The survey turned up aggregate numbers on “what this sector of the community thinks,” as well as responses from people who wished to be cited, as well as those who wished to be quoted anonymously. The overwhelming number of people surveyed reporting using specifically Bitcoin.

When the company asked about “small blocker” and “big blocker” sympathies – a framing many take issue with – the company found ‘A plurality of responding influencers were sympathetic to the big-block camp. However, as we will see in the next section, even most “big-blockers” were not in favor of the Bitcoin Unlimited fork.’ The company also probed what applications people felt were most useful to them.

“Most of the major applications of digital currency seem to get people excited,” 21.co wrote. “It’s interesting that store-of-value and permission-less payments are still seen as the killer applications by many in the venture-backed community relative to non-currency-based blockchain applications. This is somewhat at variance with the tone of some media coverage over the last 1–2 years.” Most of those surveyed – 70% – do not want Bitcoin Unlimited activated. Conversely, most respondents noted they wanted Segwit activated.

A year ago, we had no implemented mechanism for scalability. Today, we do and it is ready now: segregated witness. This is just the first step in a long line of work to do. But we need to take the first step as well as set a roadmap for future steps. The time is now.

Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo

 

 

 

Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Raises $10.4 Million in Series A

Digital currency exchange ShapeShift, based in Switzerland, raised $10.4 million in capital from U.S. and international venture capital investors to fund its future expansion. The firm, owned by libertarian and former bitcoin gambling site SatoshiDice administrator Erik Voorhees, allows cryptocurrency users to instantly exchange digital currencies like bitcoin for other altcoins without needing to open an account nor the need for fiat currencies like US dollar, euro or Chinese yuan.

Related: Shapeshift Among Bitcoin’s Best Affiliate Programs



According to the digital currency exchange, the company has grown on average of 48 percent monthly since it launched just three years ago.

The Series A funding, led by Berlin’s Earlybird, also included investors like Lakestar, Access Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, and Blockchain Capital.

ShapeShift already had backing by FundersClub and Digital Currency Group. Erik Voorhees, who has been very successful in Bitcoin, also devoted funds.

The funds will mostly go towards further expansion, the company said. Considerable money might go towards security, as the company did once suffer a hack perpetrated by an inside source, according to an internal investigation.

“When we started ShapeShift, a future world of natively digital assets was very theoretical,” Voorhees said in a statement of the Series A funding. “Yet this world is quickly arriving; one in which millions of forms of digital value, from access keys to tokenized derivative contracts to video game items, will trade between people and machines all over the world, every second of every day.”

More than 40 digital currencies and assets – like bitcoin, ethereum, dash, litecoin, Augur and Monero – are traded on the ShapeShift platform. These assets may be traded for another.

“ShapeShift’s team built a compelling crypto exchange engine which can be easily integrated into third-party products,” said Christian Nagel, partner at Earlybird.

The investment into ShapeShift could signal a second wave of venture capital investment into the digital asset space. (big bank and multinational tech companies investing in blockchain, aside) While the first wave saw VC’s focus on Bitcoin, this second wave, it might be argued, will see a movement into the digital asset space – that is, ‘altcoins’, as cryptocurrency enthusiasts call them for shorthand.

Photo: Erik Voorhees

You Can Now Own a Pair of 24k Underwear

 

Australian underwear brand aussieBum wants your butt to feel like…a million bucks. Towards that end, the company has created a pair of men’s underwear worth $14,695. The company even sold a pair, though that guy wishes to remain anonymous has followed the brand since 2001, according to aussieBum’s press release.

RELATED: Victoria’s Secret Angels Prep for Fashion Show



Now underwear collectors can own a pair of 24k Gold underwear, made out of 24k gold yarn developed in Germany and knitted in Queensland. Designed by company founder Sean Ashby, and made in Sydney, Australia, the company hopes the 24k pair will add to its success – the press release says the company sold more than one million pairs of underwear and swimwear around the world.

“If you doubt yourself, wear something else,” he says.

Gold Investment is Still on the Rise

For the fourth straight year, gold investment will increase in 2017. Global political and economic factors have driven to increased gold demand despite the fact that the yellow metal has yet to reach once more its highs of fall 2011.

“There has been a return of opportunistic generalist investors who had exited gold in late 2011 and early 2012,” New York-based CPM Group said in its Gold Yearbook 2017.

Related: How to Start Your Own Gold Dealer Website



CPM projects investment in gold bullion to be 17.6 million ounces in 2017. 2016 saw 17.4 million ounces of gold bullion purchased, which was the highest since 2012 – just after the peak – when 29.2 million ounces were purchased.

CPM, which reseraches commodities, conjectured global gold coin demand to be 7.5 million ounces in 2017, an increase over 2016’s 7 million ounces – also, the highest since 2013.

“Most long-term gold investors do not seem to expect the world’s financial and political systems to collapse. Rather, they see them as facing major structural problems that will not be easily resolved or repaired in any short period of time,” CPM said. “In the near- to medium- term as it is becoming clearer to (shorter-term investors) that, while there may not be a collapse in the financial system, clearly the present interest rate environment, global economic growth profile, levels of unemployment and underemployment, and political turmoil globally are all factors that warrant owning at least some gold as a portfolio diversifier.”

CPM, furthermore, cited convoluted policies from Trump’s administration for more sideways precious metals prices in 2017.

World’s Second-Largest Gold Coin Stolen from Berlin Museum

Thieves in Berlin stole the world’s second-largest gold coin from a Berlin museum using a rope, a foldout ladder and a wheelbarrow. The heist took place right by Angela Merkel’s inner-city apartment, to boot. 

Related: The IMF Says Donald Trump is Good for the American Economy



The Big Maple Leaf coin is one of five such gold commemorative coins made by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007. They weigh 100kg, and their diameter is 53cm and a thickness of 3cm. Its value is estimated at nearly €3.8m (£3.3m).

The coin was on loan to the Bode Museum from a private collection of a German property investor. The coin was at one time the heaviest on the planet. The “Australian Kangaroo One Tonne” gold coin in 2011.  The Big Maple Leaf has been on display at the museum since 2010, encased in a bullet proof cabinet at the museum on Berlin’s museum island, located along the Spree river in the Mitte district. On the walls outside the museum in neo-baroque design advertised its current show Muse macht Moneten (or “Be creative and get rich”).

Between 3:20am and 3:45am, two thieves entered the museum via the third-floor window at the back of the 113-year-old building.  The placed a ladder on elevated tracks on S1 railway between the last train on Sunday and Monday morning.

Berlin-coin-879294

The window led the thieves into the security guards’ changing room. They smashed their way into the bulletproof cabinet with a tool like a sledgehammer and used the same route to get out with the coin. The thieves used a wheelbarrow to push the coin 100 meters along the tracks and across a bridge over the river to Monbijou Park, where they dropped the coin while abseiling down to the ground.

They then entered their getaway car. A burnt-out Mercedes found in a parking garage might be related to the theft, but police had yet to confirm this.

A member of Bode Museum’s security staff noticed at 4am. Police are unsure how such a high-end heist could be pulled off so easily.

“Some elements of this story raise questions, and we are currently asking those questions,” police spokesperson Winfried Wenzel said.

Angela Merkel’s apartment is only a “stone’s throw” from the window through which the thieves entered. CCTV cameras and the security system may have been disabled.  Police were using footage from nearby stations and municipal buildings.

Many believe the coin has already been melted down, an act police call “hardly insurmountable in technical and logistical terms”.

The gold, at melt value, is currently worth  $4,300,000.

Images: Royal Canadian Mint, Express

Jewish Center Bomb Caller Tried to Use Bitcoin to Hide Identity

Bitcoin and Google Voice helped to make the suspected arrested Thursday for his wave of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers virtually untraceable over a period of month, as first reported The Daily Beast.

Related: Dark Web Gun Runner Overdoses in Front of Court to Try and Avoid Sentencing



As unfolded other Bitcoin criminals, like the Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht, one small slip-up led authorities to the possible bomber.

Michael Kaydar, 19, is suspected of phoning in over 100 bomb threats to JCCs and Jewish day schools in 33 states since January. Most of the calls came two weeks ago. Police believe he might have made similar threats in Israel, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

FBI traced Mr. Kaydar’s phone calls back to a service called SpoofCard. The service allows users to mask their caller ID so phone calls come from a anonymous number not tied to nay identity.

Unless the FBi sends the company a subpoena, as happened in this case. The New Jersey-based TelTech handed over the number, which was tied to a disposable Google Voice line used with an alias.

Server logs from TelTech and Google didn’t help, but did demonstrate the suspect routed internet connection through proxy servers overseas. The caller’s voice was anonymous as Spoofcard’s voice changing option made him sound like a woman.

The perpetrator paid for the Spoofcard in Bitcoin.

The bomb threats, amde in six waves, led to evacuations at Jewish centers and day schools.

Ultimately, the bomb “hoaxer” neglected to route his internet through a proxy server, leaving a real IP address from Israel where Kayday allegedly used a giant antenna pointed out a window in his home.

It turns out, he is Jewish, and there’s yet to be a motive. His lawyer said a brain tumor since age 14, which affects his behavior, aqccording to the lawyer.

The U.S. Justice Department has yet to say if Kaydar will face U.S. charges andpossible extradition. Attorney General Jeff Sessions commended the FBI and the Israeli National Police for the arrest.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans,” he said, “and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

Undercover cops and domestic abuse victims to conceal number from an ex use SpoofCard and services like it

In 2007 a gang of hone hackers out of Texas used the service in a “swatting” campaign against their enemies. They would spoof a victim’s phone number, call the police and claim to be holding hostages. Police would storm the victim’s house, guns drawn.

“SpoofCard is aware of the investigation regarding phone-based bomb threats to schools and organizations,” the company wrote in a statement. “We take great pride in the fact that for over 10 years we have helped people protect their privacy and that we have always held a consistent position against any misuse of our services. When requested, we comply quickly and responsibly with lawful requests from all levels of law enforcement, and we have built specific tools to prevent abuse.

 

Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity Says Bitcoin is Under Attack

“To the BU folks threatening a 51% attack: Imagine a decentralized identity client, running an SPV that blocks BU, shipping to 1 billion PCs,” tweeted Daniel B, Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity, essentially representing a weighing in on the block size debate. 

Related: Bitcoin Mining isn’t totally unheard of on Global US Armed Force Bases

He then continued: “BU degrades security and decentralization – if decentralized identity takes off, implementing UAs will be responsible for protecting users.”

He championed increased distribution. “Decentralization is the most critical attribute of decentralized identity, thus *any* mod that degrades it (BU or otherwise) is unacceptable,” he tweeted.

He does believe that there should be nothing stopping BU from developing. “Devs are free to produce harmful plugins & browsers are free to block them – same goes for chain protocol mods & decentralized identity UAs,” he opined on the popular social media platform which boasts more than 300 million accounts.

He added: You have every right to develop any code you wish, but you have no right to force customers to use it or their User Agents to accept it.

In a blog post entitled, “The Web Beyond: How blockchain identity will transform our world,”

He wrote: “With a global blockchain of identity, we can dramatically transform almost every product or service that relies on interactions between living, non-living, and intangible things.”

Americans Don’t Necessarily Believe Government Statistics (Especially Republicans)

Partisanship determines how people see CBO and government output on government statistics, including the jobless rate and even the Census according a new survey by YouGov. U.S. citizens pick and choose what they believe. Republicans are generally more skeptical of the government. Democrats and Republicans, to be sure, have similar reactions on other government stats.

Related: Donald Trump Said He’d Consider a Gold Standard


A majority of Democrats believe most government statistics are reliable, but less than half of Republicans think so; 42% of Republicans, on the other hand, believe few or no statistics provided by government.

For instance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million would lose health insurance under the Republican plan. Neither Democrats nor Republicans believed the government numbers, as 46% of Democrats believed more people will lose health insurance and 46% of Republicans believed fewer people will lose health insurance.

YouGov1

Both parties believe the Census Bureau undercounted how many U.S. in 2010, and many doubt numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, suggesting the agency under-reports the true numbers.
Many Republicans believe the crime rate has increased over the last twenty years. The government says they have decreased.

Republicans and Democrats are both likely to believe government statistics when it comes to warming global temperatures — pluralities in both parties say the NASA and NOAA reports are correct.

YouGov2

However, while three in four Democrats say human activity is the cause, only 29% of Republicans believe this so.

Not much has changed since YouGov did the same survey in January 2015, when 45 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Republicans saw all or most public statistics as reliable and accurate.

YouGov3

The data is similar to a trend detected by a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll released last fall in which more than 4 and 10 Americans were found to somewhat or completely distrust the federal government economic data.

Nearly half of Americans, and a supermajority of Trump voters, don’t believe unemployment rates, inflation numbers, household spending figures, health insurance coverage rates, gross domestic product growth and other stats.

Image: Shutterstock

11 Killed in Gold Mine Accidents in Central China

(GoldSilverBitcoin) – 11 people were killed in accidents in two neighboring gold mines in central China’s Henan province on Friday.

The thick smoke engulfed a pit at the Qinling gold mine, run by the China National Gold Group in Lingbao City. Twelve workers and six management staff were trapped inside, as reported by Xinhua on Saturday.

Related: How to Start Your Own Gold Dealer Website


Seven bodies were retrieved by rescue workers on Friday night. Ten people were taken to hospital and are recovering. One failed to respond to treatment. Another body was retrieved on Saturday afternoon.

In a neighboring gold mine on Friday afternoon, a similar accident took place, reported by Xinhua based on reports by the provincial work safety administration.

Six workers were trapped and four had been rescued. The other two were found dead later in the evening.

“Industrial accidents are common in China,” reports Ryan Woo for Reuters. “Anger over lax standards is rising after 30 years of breakneck economic growth marred by incidents from mining disasters to factory fires. Earlier on Saturday, an operation platform collapsed at a power plant in southern China, killing nine people.”

Chicago Cubs Wear Gold Trim on Uniforms to Commemorate World Series Title

(GoldSilverBitcoin) To commemorate their 2016 World Series title – the first in 108 years – the Chicago Cubs will sport a uniform with gold for their first two home games of 2017. The first two games take place on April 10 and April 12 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gold trim will wrap the C on the classic Cubs hat as well as the logo on front of their uniform. The names and numbers on back of the uniforms will also feature gold. The Cubs are not…

Related: How a Bitcoin Accepting Securities Lawyer Profited from the Cubs World Series Game 7 Victory 



The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals also wore gold touch for their first games after their first Series titles in 2014 and 2015.

In case you missed it, Kyle Schwarber posed as a model for the uniforms this past January.

 

Pound Might Collapse by the End of the Year, says Deutsche Bank

Deutsche bank heads believe Britain could soon pay for leaving the European Union (EU). The bank has issued a startlingly pessimistic outlook for 2017, reporting they believe the pound could fall to $1.06 against the dollar by the end of the year. 

But that’s not all, as reported by Express. According to Deutsche Bank, the pound could reach parity with the euro, representing a 15 percent decline against the dollar and euro. “We do not see sterling (currently) fully pricing a hard Brexit outcome,” said Deutsche bank in a 45-page report about Brexit. “Combined with limited adjustment in the UK’s current account deficit and slowing growth, we see further downside, and forecast $1.06 in by year-end.”



George Saravelos, Deutsche Bank’s global co-head of foreign exchange, said the pound could fall 16 percent – that would be to $1.05 – due to the “incredibly complicated” exit of Britain from the European Union. This week, the sterling traded at approximately $1.25 against the dollar.

Despite Deutsche Bank’s stormy prediction in Britain, the massive bank just announced it would open a new branch in London. Even as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley said they would begin moving jobs.

Dave Mirra’s 24K Gold Bike Auctioned for $50,000

Dave Mirra’s 24-karat bike – which he rode in the X Games – was for sale on eBay for $50,000 but did not sell. It’s likely still available. It’s for sale by the guy who bought it from Dave Mirra. 

Related: There’s a Cryptographic Treasure Hunt for Gold Art Objects in a Small English Town
“This is a bike that I bought directly from Dave Mirra after doing a polishing restoration article on it in BMX Plus Magazine years ago,” reads the ad. “I have owned this bike for years. The bike is real 24 carat gold plated for him by Haro for the X Gamrs. After almost a year went by as I was restoring his Dyno Slammer. I asked him why he never wanted the bike back he said he would pick it up in a few months and it wasn’t really one of his favorites since he crashed on it in his first run in X Games at Staples Center in Los Angeles where he couldn’t even make his second run. On that note I asked if he would ever consider and selling it and he said of course I would sell it to nobody but you Mark and we made a deal and that’s how it went down that I made payments over several months to him.

DavidMirra24k

The ad continues: “It made him happy to see me bring it all over to shows and have everybody ride it and send Dave the fun pictures and that’s what really made him happy seeing his friends and fans on it. This bought to the continuation of this bike touring with me and his life for him through what I did with it… Now I can no longer do that with him gone. It’s a sad thing to look at on a daily basis chained with a 20 ton chain.”



Mirra believes “it’s time for me to let this prize of a bike or Holy Grail go to a good home, collector or a museum of some sort for the world to display.”

The bike has been unaltered. “When I originally got this from him it did have pitted surface rust on the bottom and the rear hoop wheel which was change sometime in the X Games contest and the tear in the seat was also there no it has damaged change this bike in any manner shape or form besides what are your sins gold-plated Hutch trickstar this is the Holy Grail and truly missed.. I am doing the right thing I don’t need any negative publicity or feedback this is my property and I’ll do as I please with it if it brings over x amount of dollars I would like to select a possible place to leave some funds that will help. THIS IS A PICK UP ONLY SALE WITH CASH.”

A-Mark Precious Metals CEO Sells 3,300 Shares of Stock

A-Mark Precious Metals CEO Gregory N. Roberts sold 3,300 shares of the company’s stock on Thursday. Sold at $17.66, the overall sale totaled $58, 094.96. A-Mark Precious Metals Inc sales, which trade 0.35% during midday trading Thursday, reached $17.45.

Related: Spanish Government Limits Cash Withdrawal 1,000 Euros

Overall, 23,027 shares of the company traded hands, and the company’s 50 day moving average ended the day at $19.22. It’s 200-day moving average is $17.67. A-Mark Precious Metals Inc’s twelve month low of $14.02 and 12-month high of $22.00.



A-Mark’s market capitalization is $122.69 million. A-Mark’s net margin is 0.10%.