Ep177: US-Russia Proxy War in Syria, Onecoin is a Scam, and Scaling Sidechains

Dubai wants all government documents on the Blockchain by 2020. The United Nations is testing blockchains for funding and remittances. Onecoin is a scam and Bruce Fenton is concerned that its crash could stir up a call for crypto regulations. More scam wallets take down from the Apple Store. Darren calculates the half-life of Swiss francs given the negative interest rates. The US is engaged in a proxy war with Russia over regime change in Syria. Scaling bitcoin conference has no mention of blocksize increase. Augur ICO raises $5.3 Million. Randy attends the New Hampshire State House Cryptocurrency Commission.

All this and more on episode 177 here on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016!

We’ve written out short overviews of the topics discussed on today’s show below; be sure to listen in to the whole podcast to get more information, insights, and thoughts on each of them from JJ, Darren, and Randy!

Direct Download – Neocash Radio Episode 177 (MP3)

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Dubai Wants All Government Documents on Blockchain By 2020
The Crown Prince of Dubai announced a plan to have all government documents secured on a blockchain by 2020.

Dubai’s blockchain strategy is projected to generate 25.1 million hours of economic productivity each year by increasing automation and reducing redundancy, all while reducing CO2 emissions. The Dubai government also plans to open its platform to to other cities and nations, offering a potential international network that would allow travelers to cross borders and conduct global commerce much more easily.

Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies could help remittance markets

United Nations Lab Testing Blockchain for Remittances
The United Nations has an Alternative Financing Laboratory launched last year. Among other things the lab is looking at microfinance, remittances, and more. Of interest to us is the use of blockchains to exchange funds. The United Nations Children’s Fund is looking for someone to head up a blockchain solution.

Check out our recent video—“Decrypting Bitcoin: The Blockchain Technology Explained”—for more information on remittance payments (money sent home by workers in other countries) and how cryptocurrency can help revolutionize them!

Bruce Fenton and More declare that Onecoin is a scam
Cointelegraph interviews Bruce Fenton about Onecoin. Bruce adds his voice to many more about how Onecoin is a ponzi scheme. There is no evidence of a blockchain, wallet, or any bit of code one could examine. They had a recent launch event in Thailand at which 8400 people attended and watched a video about the company, experts have viewed the video and warn that it is fake.

A group made up of crypto developers, business people and more released a statement about Onecoin on Github: “There is no evidence that there really is such a Blockchain by any readable definition.”

More scam wallets taken down from the Apple Store
Reddit users reported that two wallet apps on the Apple Store—”Ocean” and “AlphaWallet”, both from publisher “Bit Coin”—were fraudulent and likely designed to steal BTC from users’ wallets. They’ve since been removed from the Apple Store, but please remember to only use TRUSTED wallets from trusted sources when using cryptocurrencies. (Check out the Basic Bitcoin Security Guide from Reddit for more best practices securing your funds.)

Swiss National Bank can lower negative interest rates even further if needed, President Jordan says
Swiss president Thomas Jordan said the Swiss National Bank can cut interest rates deeper into negative territory if needed. The SNB has held its deposit rate at minus 0.75 percent for nearly two years. “We have still some room to go further if necessary,” said Jordan.

Analysts think the SNB—which has the most severe sub-zero interest rate of any major central bank—could cut its interest rate to as low as minus 1.25 percent according to a recent Bloomberg survey.

U.S. & Russia are fighting a proxy war in Syria(Aleppo image via NBC News: “Bombs in Syria Kill Children the Most, Researchers Say”)

JJ has this report on the US-Russia-Syria situation:
Syria is nothing more than a proxy war between the US and Russia. The US is arming and backing the Rebel contingent, creating an army of paid mercenaries, in some cases with help from Saudi Arabia. Some of these rebels have joined ISIS, which is fighting right along with the rebels, giving more credit to the idea that the US created ISIS in the first place. These state-sponsored rebel groups have taken parts of the city of Aleppo and air strikes are cutting off some residents from humanitarian aid.

The Assad Government is backed by Russia with outright payments and agreements to rebuild infrastructure. Russian strikes have been made against rebel groups including those backed by the US, much to the dismay of US Military Special Forces caught up in the middle.

Syria is one of the few nations left on the original Axis of Evil list created by US warmongers. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya have been scratched off the list and the US foreign policy doesn’t seem to have shifted. Russia has made it clear that they do not support regime change in Syria.

Capturing Aleppo is critical to the rebel efforts in Syria. They have seemingly put all their eggs in this one basket and if this fails again it may be several years before the next attempt can be made. This current battle for Aleppo has been going on since 2012. Without Russian support US backed forces may have already taken the entire city but it appears that Assad may come out on top as Russian Air Power has devastated rebel held parts of the city. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Russia has moved more anti-aircraft batteries to the Assad-controlled Syrian region of Latakia.

As we bring the scope back to look at the region and world, with half of the city of Aleppo homeless NATO commanders are claiming that Assad and Russia are ‘weaponizing’ migration to destabilize other countries. The US is upset with Russian meddling and has cut ties with Russia over Syria and has named Russia as the culprit behind the DNC hack that exposed heir-apparent Hillary Clinton. The Obama Administration pointed the finger at “Russia’s senior-most officials” and vowed to avenge the attack in a “proportional” response, as if cyberwar can be met out in milligrams. The barbs go back and forth with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the USA for the escalating problems in the Middle East.

Nuclear war hype has hit the airwaves as American media seeks to make the case for more violence. Russia has suspended a nuclear research agreement with the US and terminated another regarding research reactors. As if to ratchet up the posturing both the US and Russia have run nuclear weapon test drills. 40 Million Russians took part in a various civil defense drills earlier in October. Tensions between the US and Russia are worse than during the cold war due to a lack of clear boundaries and limits.

Scaling Bitcoin conference: sidechains, Segwit, Lightning Network, and Mimblewimble, but no blocksize increase

Scaling Bitcoin 2016—a conference for the BTC development community to “discuss how to safely scale and decentralize the Bitcoin protocol”—was held this past weekend in Milan. Much of the conference, however, instead focused on scaling sidechains and drivechains among other types of second-layer overlays rather than actually increasing the Bitcoin block size or other on-chain improvements. Little attention was reportedly given to newer ideas like Bitcoin Unlimited, though Roger Ver co-hosted an unaffiliated “free speech” party at a Milan hotel the first night of the conference.


The Lightning Network was discussed at length, with deeper looks at Onion Routing—”privacy-preserving, decentralized micropayments distributed through a set of Onion routers”—and BitFury’s “Flare” protocol as possible ways to route the LN payment layer. Still, the Lightning Network won’t be scalable until the release of Segregated Witness (Segwit), which Blockstream’s Greg Sanders reports is “activated on testnet, and it’s close to deployment on mainnet.”

Of interest to many was Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra’s presentation on Mimblewimble, a proposed sidechain that can effectively merge all transactions in a single block while hiding amounts, increasing privacy and fungibility. Mimblewimble can also greatly decrease the amount of data that Bitcoin nodes have to store by canceling out matching inputs and outputs over time.

Augur prediction market

Augur ICO raises $5.3 million, REP coins now available on exchanges
Prediction market Augur hosted an ICO and raised over $5.3 million. The REP tokens are now available through Poloniex, Bittrex, Kraken and ShapeShift, though their value has fallen from a high of around $13 at the beginning of the crowdsale on October 4th to a low of $5.51 earlier today.

Reporters with REP tokens vote on the outcomes of Augur prediction markets that have reached their expiration dates in order to resolve the market. Ownership of Augur REP tokens grants the right to be paid in exchange for providing information to Augur. Reporters are paid for their labor with market trading fees, and can lose up to 20% of their reputation tokens if their reports are found to conflict with the final consensus.

NH State House Crypto Commission Member to File Bill Repealing Lone Regulation of Cryptocurrency
Randy attended a meeting of the state Cryptocurrency Commission at the New Hampshire Legislative Office Building last week along with Free Talk Live co-host Ian Freeman and several other local activists. Thanks to their testimonies, NH state representative Barbara Biggie stated that regulation will “snuff […] the cryptocurrency industry in New Hampshire and around the country,” adding that she thinks the government “should stay out of it right now, regulating-wise.” Rep. Biggie will be sponsoring a bill to repeal the lone existing regulation on Bitcoin in NH, which authorizes the banking department to license businesses as “money transmitters” who transmit “convertible virtual currency.”

NH banking department representative Maryam Torben-Desfosses claimed that the industry representative from cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex “wanted” regulation, though FTL’s Ian Freeman and NH state representative John Hunt were quick to correct her: he said he “expected” regulation.

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