Elon Musk’s outbursts are his pushback against the status quo, ex-colleague Reid Hoffman says

The Twitter outbursts of Elon Musk are due to frustrations with what he sees as shortsighted views about the progress he’s making with Tesla, former …

The Twitter outbursts of Elon Musk are due to frustrations with what he sees as shortsighted views about the progress he’s making with Tesla, former colleague Reid Hoffman told CNBC on Tuesday.

Musk is focused “three, five, 10 years into the future,” said the LinkedIn co-founder, who worked alongside Musk at online payments system PayPal. “Part of his grit, part of his determination to get to that long future is to push back.”

Just days after settling Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges and just hours after a federal judge asked both sides to justify the agreement, Musk mocked the agency in a tweet lat week, calling it “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.”

The SEC was going after Musk for alleged false statements in the now-infamous Aug. 7 tweet about having “funding secured” to possibly take the company private. The idea was abandoned on Aug. 24.

Prior to the take-private debacle, Musk had been acting erratically for months.

Following a bizarre Aug. 16 interview with The New York Times, Musk’s actions were under scrutiny again last month after he appeared to smoke marijuana and drink whiskey during comedian Joe Rogan‘s podcast.

Back in May, Musk rudely cut off analysts on Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call. He later apologized for that on the second-quarter call in August.

Shares of Tesla were up 3.2 percent Tuesday. But the stock has tanked more than 17 percent this year, and more than 25 percent over the last 12 months.

Appearing on “Squawk Box,” Hoffman conceded that Musk should perhaps find a different outlet for his outbursts. “I think it needs to be a different pattern than those tweets.”

Along with Musk, billionaire Hoffman is a member of the “PayPal Mafia,” a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since founded and developed their own tech companies. Hoffman is now with the Greylock Partners venture capital firm.

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Bitwala Partners With Visa-Backed Solaris on Blockchain Bank Account

Blockchain startup Bitwala is aiming to launch Germany’s first “blockchain bank account” – and it’s struck a strategic partnership with Berlin-based …

Blockchain startup Bitwala is aiming to launch Germany’s first “blockchain bank account” – and it’s struck a strategic partnership with Berlin-based fintech company solarisBank in order to pull it off.

Built as part of solarisBank’s “Blockchain Factory” initiative, the partnership will enable Bitwala to offer banking services by way of solarisBank’s German banking license, spokesperson Roman Kessler told CoinDesk.

The goal is to launch the service in mid-November, and Bitwala hopes to cater to those who already hold cryptocurrencies. Bitwala raised €4 million in new funding last month to support its efforts.

Thus far, according to the company, 35,000 users have pre-registered for the upcoming service.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Kessler stressed that “we are a blockchain banking service” and not a bank. That said, Bitwala hopes to get there one day, and is planning to seek a German banking license of its own next year.

Bitwala’s partner has some notable backers, including Spain-based BBVA and card provider Visa. SolarisBank closed a €56.6 million Series B funding round earlier this year, according to TechCrunch, having been founded in 2016.

Kessler explained two aspects of solarisBank drew Bitwala to it: the “fantastic technical platform that allows” any company the ability to easily “go in and plug your use cases” into the solarisBank API, and the regulatory access vis-a-vis its banking license.

Indeed, solarisBank positioned itself as a possible partner for the crypto-industry through its Blockchain Factory effort.

And the solarisBank partnership helps Bitwala avoid some of the regulatory pitfalls it’s encountered in the past. In January, Bitwala was one of several cryptocurrency companies affected when Visa Europe closed the account of its debit card issuer.

“We are very proud to partner with solarisBank as we launch our new product. Their technical services and regulatory umbrella enable Bitwala to be fully compliant with German banking requirements while offering a reliable user experience,” Jörg von Minckwitz, president of Bitwala, said in a statement.

Bitcoins and euros image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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ToneTag CEO Sounds Off On Payments At The Speed Of Sound

FinTech firm ToneTag said earlier this month that it has linked with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).








Talk about cashless and contactless. How about payments made at the speed of sound — to be specific, using encrypted sound waves to make offline payments? Sound is the ancient method of communication, of commerce, where a promise to sell or buy in days of old would be — and was, and sometimes still is — conveyed by voice, of course, and proximity between buyer and seller.

Now, it’s not the sound of voice that carries commerce. It’s sound waves emitted by phones.

In sound-based payments (done in the modern age), sound waves transmit payments data and do not need to rely on the vagaries of the physical environment — such as smartphones or even electricity — that set the stage for other types of contactless transactions.

FinTech firm ToneTag said earlier this month that it has linked with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The latter will deploy sound-based contactless payments.

The FinTech firm which offers software that enables sound-wave-based payments is used by investors such as Amazon, Reliance Capital and Mastercard. Through the partnership between ToneTag and First Abu Dhabi Bank, customers of the bank are able to pay using their PayIt app and make the payments from their mobile phone. The relationship is one that enables payments to go digital globally, and yet not be dependent on specific hardware, QR codes or even the internet.

In an interview with PYMNTS, ToneTag CEO and Co-founder Kumar Abhishek said the use of sound-based payments helps solve a problem faced by retailers and their customers, who are used to dealing in cash: They have “to struggle to find the exact change to complete a transaction.”

Even in the movement away from cash transactions and toward contactless payments (notably in ToneTag’s home market of India), constraints emerge. The fact remains that the consumer base in India contains 800 million mobile phone users. Only 200 million of that tally, said Abhishek, have smartphones. Of that number, he said only 6 million phones are near-field communication (NFC)-enabled.

“In such a scenario, a vast majority of 1.3 billion Indians can’t access pre-existing digital payment systems,” he told PYMNTS, “and fewer still can access the evolving developments or leading technologies which make payments easier.”

On the other side of the commerce equation, merchants may find it inconvenient to invest in complex payment systems, especially in the event that access to the internet is inconsistent. Embracing sound-wave-based technology to facilitate payments, said the executive, enables both payments and proximity engagement services across any device in a manner that remains “independent of the instrument of infrastructure.”

He said that, thus far, ToneTag’s tech has reached 50 million consumers, with the number expected to touch 100 million users within the next quarter. The larger addressable markets include person-to-merchant payments at $224 billion, and merchant-to-merchant transactions at $176 billion.

The adoption comes, he said, as sound which travels at 767 miles per hour (MPH) effectively addresses these challenges associated with QR codes and NFC. “While QR code scanning requires a working phone camera, NFC [hardware] works only on smartphones,” he said.

In broad terms, audio signals make their way between merchant’s machines (such as a ToneTag “pod”) and the customer’s phone (possibly a feature phone), and a “tone tag” carries an encrypted code that is valid for a set length of time. The audio signal alerts the consumer to authenticate the transaction, say, with a PIN code.

Use cases that might see early adoption, including digital toll collections, are slated to reach $2 billion, the CEO said. Other nascent areas, such as the emergence of smart parking, could be greenfield opportunities. But, of course, it is retail in general that will prove to be the most promising for sound-wave-based payments. After all, he said, the retail market in India alone may touch $1 trillion in 2020.

When asked about the mechanics, Abhishek said ToneTag has partnered with issuers and acquirers, which in turn enable the technology inside merchant terminals to enable sound-based payments.

“ToneTag, being a B2B company, does not have direct interaction with [end] customers,” he said.

Inevitably, as with any novel conduits to payments, the conversation turned to security. Abhishek stated that sound-based payments are conducted through multi-layered encryption and time-based, one-time password features, among other attributes. As the executive told PYMNTS, “end-to-end encryption of the transaction data, even before the information leaves the source device and the decryption key or code, is available only with the bank or wallet partner.”

Ideally, he said, sound-wave-based payments will “allow customers to pick up products and walk out of retail stores, their payments being conducted automatically via sound wave and their phones. We aim to explore the transport and consumer-internet sectors in the future.”

Ethereum (ETH) Daily Price Forecast – October 9

Yesterday, October 8, the price of Ethereum was in a bullish trend. The digital currency had a marginal price movement. The bears erased the …

ETH/USD Medium-term Trend: Bullish

Resistance Levels: $260, $280, $300

Support Levels: $200, $180, $160

Yesterday, October 8, the price of Ethereum was in a bullish trend. The digital currency had a marginal price movement. The bears erased the marginal price increase. The purported bullish movement was resisted and price fell to its previous level at $229. Later it commenced a range bound movement.

If the bears continued its bearish movement, the digital currency will fall to the critical price level at $200. Meanwhile, the MACD indicator indicates that price is in the bullish trend zone. The MACD line and the signal line are above the zero line which indicates a buy signal. In addition, the price of Ethereum is above the 12-day EMA and the 26-day EMA which indicates that price is in the bullish trend zone.

ETH/USD Short-term Trend: Bullish

On the 1-hour chart, the price of Ethereum is in a bullish trend. The ETH price is ranging above the $220 price level after its fall from the high of $231. The Relative Strength Index period 14 is level 59 which indicates that price is in the sideways trend zone.

The views and opinions expressed here do not reflect that of BitcoinExchangeGuide.com and do not constitute financial advice. Always do your own research.

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IMF Issues Stark Warning Over Bitcoin And Crypto ‘Rapid’ Growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the “rapid growth” of bitcoin and cryptocurrency assets could create “new vulnerabilities in the …

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the “rapid growth” of bitcoin and cryptocurrency assets could create “new vulnerabilities in the international financial system,” as the world’s banks adjust to the recent bitcoin and blockchain boom.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, including Ripple Lab’s XRP token, ethereum, litecoin, EOS, and stellar, are being examined by the traditional financial system to gauge how they might be integrated as both investment tools and ways to move money across borders more quickly and cheaply.

Excitement around how bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies, based on the blockchain distributed ledger, has propelled the price of many major cryptocurrencies to stratospheric highs over the last 12 months. Last year, the bitcoin price ballooned from less than $1,000 at the beginning of 2017 to almost $20,000 in December.

The bitcoin price has since fallen sharply back, currently trading at around $6,500, and dragging many of the biggest cryptocurrencies with it — many of them recording 80% declines from their peaks.

A sticker with a bitcoin logo is seen on a street lantern in the center of Bucharest, Romania on October 6, 2018. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Cybersecurity breaches and cyber attacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disrupt the flow of goods and services. Continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system,” according to the fund’s latest World Economic Outlook report, out today.

Financial regulators around the world are trying, with mixed success, to get a handle on the bitcoin and blockchain phenomenon.

Last month the UK government branded the world of cryptocurrency a “wild west” and suggested oversight of the burgeoning industry be handed over to its primary financial services industry, the Financial Services Authority.

In February the IMF chief Christine Lagarde said international regulatory action on cryptocurrencies is “inevitable” and that the IMF’s concerns over cryptocurrencies stem largely from their potential use in illicit financial activities.

“An indiscriminate rollback of post-crisis regulatory reform and oversight—both domestically and internationally—could encourage excessive risk-taking, leading to a further buildup of financial vulnerabilities,” the latest IMF October report also warned.

Some banks are considering implementing Ripple Labs new xRapid service, which handles cross-border transfers using the digital XRP token and is designed to work as a bridge between different currencies around the world, allowing payment providers and banks to process faster cross-border transactions. Earlier this year Ripple Lab’s chief executive Brad Garlinghouse boasted there would be “dozens” of banks using xRapid by the end of 2019.

Elsewhere, many big investment banks, including the likes of New York-banking giant Goldman Sachs, are experimenting with bitcoin products to allow clients to participate in the cryptocurrency market without having to deal with often clunky and relatively unregulated bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Meanwhile, a report out last month from cybersecurity firm McAfee found that cybercriminals are ratcheting up efforts to target devices with cryptocurrency malware. Christiaan Beek, the lead scientist and senior principal engineer with McAfee Advanced Threat Research, said that in the past few years devices like internet routers have emerged as possible targets for so-called cryptomining.

Approximately $1.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in the past two years, according to McAfee.

This isn’t the first time the IMF has warned over risks from bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The IMF’s stability report last week said:

Despite its potential benefits, our knowledge of its potential risks and how they might play out is still developing. Increased cybersecurity risks pose challenges for financial institutions, financial infrastructure, and supervisors. These developments should act as a reminder that the financial system is permanently evolving, and regulators and supervisors must remain vigilant to this evolution and ready to act if needed.

The 2017 bitcoin bull run catapulted bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into the global spotlight.CoinDesk

The IMF also said in its October World Economic Outlook report that the global economy is now expected to grow at 3.7% this year and next year, down 0.2 percentage points from an earlier forecast in April, as the U.S. and China ramp up their ongoing tariff fight.

Earlier projections now appear to be “over-optimistic” given that risks from “further disruptions in trade policies” have become more prominent, said Maurice Obstfeld, IMF chief economist, in a prepared speech.

The fund also cut its forecasts for global trade volume, with the total goods and services flow is expected to grow by 4.2% this year and 4% next year — down 0.6 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively from earlier estimates.

The fund said in the report that the downward revisions were notable in several countries: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Iran and Turkey — many of which have been experiementing with cryptocurrencies.

Emerging economies as a whole have experienced larger volumes of capital outflows as investors shift their money out, often using bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to dodge capital controls, on the back of the U.S. raising interest rates.

Countries such as Argentina and Turkey have been among the most troubled, with their currencies crashing to all-time lows against the greenback amid questions over their governments’ economic management.

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