Category Archives: altcoin

‘Nothing Finalized’: South Korea Gov’t Ministries Diverge Over Crypto Ban Proposal

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Mass confusion after reports broke that South Korea is planning to ban cryptocurrency trade in the country, local reporters call fake news, say “nothing is finalized”

Conflicting reports today, Jan. 11, have led to confusion after a South Korean minister announced plans of a bill intended to ban cryptocurrency trading in the country.

According to Reuters, South Korean officials are working on documentation that will make it illegal to trade virtual currencies on local exchanges.

The country’s Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the decision comes in the wake of discussions and agreements between governmental departments, including its Finance Ministry and financial regulators.

Reuters reported that Sang-ki announced the ban in a press conference, stating:

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges.”

However, South Korea-based Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young reported on his personal Twitter today, citing local sources, that the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance does not agree with the proposal from the Ministry of Justice to ban cryptocurrency trade in the country. Young reports that a final decision has yet to be made.

South Korea Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MSF)
“We do not share the same views as the Ministry of Justice on a potential #cryptocurrency exchange ban.”
MSF is upset MoJ released premature statement.
Massive confusion.https://t.co/anbsOJz1KX

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) 11 января 2018 г.

As reported on Dec. 25, South Korea set up a task force to create legislation for the rapidly growing crypto market in the country. Contrary to an outright ban, the body plans to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges as legitimate financial service providers, and ban foreigners and underaged investors from trading on South Korean exchanges.

FUD leads to sell-off

The popularity of cryptocurrency trading in South Korea has seen the price of virtual currencies trading far higher than exchanges in different countries.

Nevertheless, the minister’s remarks led to a sell-off of cryptocurrency. The Bitcoin (BTC) price in South Korea plunged 21 percent down to $17,064. This lower BTC price in South Korea is still far higher than the average Bitcoin price on CoinMarketCap ($13,501 at press time), which excludes South Korean exchanges, due to the divergence in prices of cryptocurrencies in the country.

As of late December 2017, South Korea accounts for up to a fifth of global cryptocurrency trade.

‘Raids’ on exchanges embellished

Reuters also reported Jan. 11 that South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange operators were “raided” by police and tax authorities amid allegations of tax evasion this week.

According to Reuters, an official from the popular South Korean exchange Coinone said authorities regarded exchange operators in a negative light:

“Local police also have been investigating our company since last year; they think what we do is gambling.”

Once again, word from correspondents inside South Korea is that the reports of a “raid” are not accurate, and have been embellished by mainstream media outside the country.

Cointelegraph’s South Korea correspondent this time retweeted CNBC’s Cryptotrader host Ran Neuner, confirming that the so-called “raids” on exchanges were actually just routine visits from tax authorities. Young notes that local media are calling the “raid” an “unexpected friendly visit”:

Fake News Reuters claiming South Korean #cryptocurrency and #Bitcoin exchanges were raided by police.
While local reporters and other media outlets are reporting it was an unexpected friendly visit.
Raid means something completely different @Reuters https://t.co/0c9NOApSKY

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) 11 января 2018 г.

Another South Korea-based trader noted on Twitter that the situation was a result of confusion both on the part of authorities and the exchanges themselves, who are reportedly willing to comply if given applicable legislation is put into place:

“There’s a lot of confusion on all sides, gov. and exchanges.”

On the fiat side of things, on Jan. 7 local South Korean media reported that the country’s authorities were planning to probe six major banks to look for alleged money laundering linked to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Crypto Card Issuers Seek Solutions in the Wake of a European Ban

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Crypto Card Issuers Seek Solutions in the Wake of a European Ban

Intervention by Visa spelled an end to European crypto debit cards for the majority of customers on Thursday. Around a dozen crypto companies were affected by the shutdown, which instantly wiped out their services across Europe. Issuers such as Bitwala, Tenx, Bitpay, and Xapo were left high and dry after a Visa subsidiary stopped processing payments. Two of the companies affected have since spoken to news.Bitcoin.com, revealing their plans to find an alternative solution.

Also read: Visa Veto Leaves Several European Cryptocurrency Cards Locked Out

Crypto Card Holders Are Locked Out

On Thursday, news.Bitcoin.com reported on a sudden crackdown on crypto cards within Europe, orchestrated by Visa subsidiary Wavecrest. The report explained how “the prepaid cards, which have become extremely popular in the crypto community, provide a means of indirectly paying for goods and services using cryptocurrency.”

Bridging the gap between fiat and crypto is one of the biggest challenges cryptocurrency platforms face. Hybrid cards, which allow a debit card to be funded with crypto and then used to make purchases in the local fiat currency, were seen as a smart solution. That all changed this week when hundreds of thousands of European crypto-holders found their cards had been rendered useless.

Crypto Card Issuers Seek Solutions In the Wake of a European Ban

Tenx was one of those companies affected by the ban. The company’s co-founder, Dr. Julian Hosp, told news.Bitcoin.com that around 200,000 customers had been impacted, but signaled that a resolution is on the horizon:

Tenx was prepared for this, as the company has recently entered partnership  with a new card issuing partner and is in the process of getting the new cards live to replace the old ones as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Tenx customers will be able to withdraw their funds from their accounts as of Monday evening (January 8), while they await developments.

Dr Hosp also appeared on a live Hangout on Saturday to explain more about the current situation. The company’s co-founder seems upbeat, telling news.Bitcoin.com of plans to introduce a “live virtual currencies card” and obtain a banking licence for better fiat currency integration.

The Hunt for a New Issuer

Wirex is another crypto card firm that finds itself without a payment processing partner after Visa slammed the door. The company claims to be Wavecrest’s largest client, with over one million customers – most of whom don’t use crypto cards, it should be noted. Nevertheless, the effects of the Visa veto were still dramatic: around 600,000 Wirex plastic or virtual card holders were left without service after the ban.

Crypto Card Issuers Seek Solutions In the Wake of a European BanInterestingly, Wirex CEO Pavel Matveev asserts that Visa are blameless in this, insisting that the blame lies solely with Wavecrest. He told news.Bitcoin.com: “Wavecrest have been violating Visa rules for months…it’s 100% Wavecrest’s fault and they knew it was coming a couple of months ago.”

Like Tenx, Wirex is confident the situation won’t leave its European customers serviceless. Pavel says they have four alternative issuers to choose from, one of which is based in Europe. “For us,” he said, “it’s a question of switching issuer and re-issuing cards, so it’s just a temporary problem; but for a lot of companies it’s the end of their business – they don’t have an alternative issuer and finding one plus integration might take anyway from 6 to 18 months”.

Who’s to Blame?

Crypto Card Issuers Seek Solutions In the Wake of a European BanSome in the cryptocurrency community were swift to point the finger at Visa in the aftermath of the ban, though there is no evidence as yet that the order came from up high. Given that it processes more than 100 billion transactions a year versus bitcoin’s circa 130 million, it’s premature to assert that Visa is feeling threatened by cryptocurrency. Whatever bitcoin is, be it a store of value or a medium of exchange, it is not, as yet, a Visa killer. Nor is Visa, or its subsidiary Wavecrest, a crypto killer.

It seems likely that the majority of European card issuers will be able to resume service in the near future. Customers will be wary, though, of putting all their faith in one crypto card, in the knowledge that a repeat of the Wavecrest incident could see service suspended at any time.

Do you think Visa are culpable, or was this matter none of their doing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tired of those other forums on the subject of Bitcoin? Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

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Coinbase Announces They Will No Longer Accept Deposits from Nationwide Bank

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Coinbase will no longer be accepting deposits from Nationwide bank. The move comes due to the bank’s SEPA processing being handled by German bank Commerzbank, who has a new companywide policy of not dealing with money related to Bitcoin.

The Coinbase website has announced that they will no longer be accepting deposits from Nationwide Bank. Nationwide’s line on events appears to be that it is their SEPA payment processing, handled by Germany’s Commerzbank who have been associated with a company-wide policy of refusing to deal with transactions related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Bitcointalk forum user micalith posted the message he received when trying to facilitate a transfer using Nationwide:

Nationwide Bank’s correspondent bank for SEPA transfers is Commerzbank – please note that Commerzbank has adopted an internal policy and no longer allows transfers related to Bitcoin.

Online Reception and Reports

Initial outrage was first stoked on Reddit where users reacted to the news with indignation and outright hostility alongside other users reporting that they had also faced problems when depositing from Nationwide Bank via SEPA, although others who used debit cards in the UK reported that their payments had been successful, at least in the past. Some users suggested that Nationwide Bank users should switch banks.

Similar reactions abound on Twitter as well:

@CoinbaseSupport I paid in 3 separate payments to my @coinbase account using nationwide, as soon as i try to send a SEPA to verify a withdrawal you now claim not to accept payments from nationwide. Easy in, impossible out. How do i get my money back?

— Christy Nevin (@ChristyNevin) December 31, 2017

@coinbase I urgently need clarification on when a withdrawal from my GBP wallet will reach my account. You have taken a €1 SEPA payment from me which @AskNationwide has charged me £9 for. You are now claiming you do not accept Nationwide deposits. Whats going on?

— Tom Farmery (@TomFarmery1) December 31, 2017

@AskNationwide Why can i no longer use Coinbase with my Nationwide account? 😡I don’t understand what it is to do with you guys what i spend my money on. Been with nationwide since i was old enough to have a bank account, time to change i think.

— Simon Jordan (@shime553) January 5, 2018

Commerzbank Bank

Crypto Bank ICO

Commerzbank is Germany’s second-largest bank after Bavaria-based BayernLB. Their refusal to deal with Bitcoin is perhaps not surprising given the establishment’s conviction of laundering hundreds of billions of dollars over more than a decade for Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar.

The Justice Department said Commerzbank used non-transparent methods. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell stated:

Commerzbank committed these crimes even though managers inside the bank raised red flags about its sanctions-violating practices. Financial institutions must heed this message: banks that operate in the United States must comply with our laws, and banks that ignore the warnings of those charged with compliance will pay a very steep price.

This stance taken by Commerzbank has not stopped the bank from appropriating the very same Blockchain technology which drives Bitcoin for themselves. Bitcoinist previously reported on Commerzbank and other European banks joining IBM’s blockchain initiative last year.

Do you bank with Nationwide or Commerzbank? Will you continue to bank with them in light of their anti-bitcoin policies? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of AdobeStock, Pixmedia, Coinbase

The post Coinbase Announces They Will No Longer Accept Deposits from Nationwide Bank appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Bitcoin Gold Price Weekly Analysis – BTG/USD Showing Positive Signs

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Key Points

  • Bitcoin gold price is moving nicely and is forming support around the $210 level against the US Dollar.
  • There is a major bearish trend line forming with current resistance at $270 on the 4-hours chart of BTG/USD (data feed from Bitfinex).
  • The pair has to move above the $270 and $290 resistance levels to move back in the bullish zone.

Bitcoin gold price is slowly gaining pace above $220 against the US Dollar. BTG/USD must clear the $270 and $290 hurdles to gain traction.

Bitcoin Gold Price Support

There was a sharp downside move in bitcoin gold price from the $420 high to $192 low against the US Dollar. Later, the price formed a decent support base and moved above $200. It has formed a good base above the $200 level and is currently trading in a range above $200-220. It recently succeeded in breaking the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last drop from the $420 high to $192 low.

However, there are two important resistance forming on the upside at $270 and $290. Both acted as a major barriers for more gains. Moreover, there is a major bearish trend line forming with current resistance at $270 on the 4-hours chart of BTG/USD. The trend line resistance is above the 100 simple moving average. The current price action is positive above $240. Therefore, there is a chance that BTG could move above $270. However, the $290 resistance is the next barrier along with the 50% Fib retracement level of the last drop from the $420 high to $192 low.

Bitcoin Gold Price Weekly Analysis BTG USD

A proper close above the $300 level is required for buyers to gain momentum. As long as the price is below the $300 level, there can be more ranging moves between $220-290.

Looking at the technical indicators:

Hourly MACD – The MACD for BTG/USD is slightly in the bullish zone.

Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for BTG/USD is moving higher toward the 70 level.

Major Support Level – $220

Major Resistance Level – $290

Charts courtesy – Trading View, Bitfinex

Bitcoin Cash Reddit Tip App Users Hacked for Thousands

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Bitcoin Cash Reddit Tip App Users Hacked for Thousands

An ongoing investigation has revealed multiple allegations that hot wallets from users of popular subreddit r/btc were hacked through Tippr, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin cash (BCH) stolen. Early theories assumed this to be a new low in the so-called Civil War between supporters of bitcoin core and BCH. 

Also read: African Central Banks Urged to Ditch Dollar and Buy Bitcoin

Bitcoin Civil War Might’ve Gotten Uglier

Using a previously unknown third-party vulnerability, users of Reddit’s increasingly popular subreddit forum, /r/btc, a discussion board which often features positive comments by bitcoin cash supporters, were hacked for thousands of BCH.

Reddit is a news aggregator fueled by subreddit discussion boards which fill every kind of topic niche. It is owned by media conglomerate Advance Publications, and is routinely in the top ten most visited websites.

Bitcoin Cash Reddit Tip App Users Users Hacked for Thousands

The attacks were seemingly so base, early thinking went toward an inside job. Perhaps a rogue Reddit admin had snatched bitcoin cash, came an initial theory. In the final month of last year, /r/btc’s moderator and a user who happened to work in the malware field were made vulnerable and hacked. For about half an hour, the subreddit itself was redirected to r/bitcoin. And then a half dozen other bitcoin cash-favoring forum users were compromised, especially those tipped through Tippr.

The conspiracies began. Obviously, bitcoin core supporters had taken to ire, doing so as a new low. They might hate bitcoin cash, but no one turns down free money.

50,000 USD of BCH Flowed Through Tippr in December

Tippr is a bot used on Reddit for the purposes of tipping users in BCH. Tippers send the bot a deposit, and then comment, noting they’re using u/tippr. An example might be: “Great point u/tippr $3.” The bot will chime in, confirming the tip. The recipient must have a BCH wallet, and then message the bot in return, listing the BCH wallet address and include the amount. The bot dutifully answers in confirmation, and so the recipient can now access funds. Estimates in the upwards of 50,000 USD worth of BCH has flowed through the bot in December of last year. The culprit evidently was tracking such public posts, causing Tippr to go dark, pending results, as the developer learned of the investigation.Bitcoin Cash Reddit Tip App Users Users Hacked for Thousands

The attack came as a reset from Reddit in email form. Immediately another email confirmed the password change…even if the email hadn’t opened for whatever reason. “My email provider is a very large provider with a name we all know,” a hacked user explained. “Logging is provided and there was no suspicious activity on my email account. My email account also has 2FA. The emails sent by reddit (first one ‘click here to change your password’ second one ‘your password has been changed) were unopened in my inbox.’”

Whatever the case, this does appear to be something of a new kind of attack allowing access to Reddit accounts, a vulnerability hitherto unknown. It now could at least be plausible NEITHER a Reddit employee was on the make or a dastardly bitcoin core jihadist was involved. 

It turns out one or the other might’ve been sufficient but not a fully necessary condition to launch the attacks. Tippr is the common denominator, and where there is money to be taken no other motive need be ascribed. Tippr is used not only on Reddit forums but also on Twitter.

Bitcoin Civil War’s Alleged New Front: Bitcoin Cash Users Hacked for Thousands

Conspiracy Sufficient But Not Necessary

The bot’s creator, Rob Danielson, mused it was probably “someone [who] realized they had an opportunity to make a quick buck.” Through private messaging via Reddit, accounts gave up as much as $4,000 total worth of bitcoin cash. Once the incidents were discovered, Mr. Danielson disabled the bot for Reddit.

For its part, Reddit is pointing fingers at its automated email subcontractor Mailgun. Though the number of users impacted was roughly a dozen, someone could gain access to resetting emails through Mailgun, a potentially huge problem for Reddit going forward. The hacker could not access Reddit proper nor a user’s email account, they claim. Reddit has since dropped Mailgun in favor of its own server. Mailgun believes “less than 1% of our customer base was potentially affected.” Tippr is now available again on Reddit.

Bitcoin Cash Reddit Tip App Users Hacked for ThousandsA Reddit engineer did finally respond to multiple requests by users for public comment. “Thanks for reporting – we’re not ignoring. This was reported privately via security at [Reddit] and we’ve been investigating.”

Moderator of /r/btc, Bitcoinxio, noted Reddit maybe “needed a kick in the butt after all this publicity about the hacks in the past couple days, but we’ve been telling them about the hacks now for some time,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the other hacks are related in some way or there are other exploits which they haven’t even investigated because they are ignoring our concerns and just shrugging them off.”

What are your thoughts on the bitcoin cash hacks? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, Reddit, Tippr.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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Stellar Rockets into the Cryptocurrency Top 10 After Tripling in a Week

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Stellar Rockets into the Cryptocurrency Top 10 After Tripling in a Week

2018 is still in diapers and yet the cryptocurrency top 10 is already looking very different to last year. Gone are the likes of dash, replaced by coins that have never reached these heady heights before: tron and stellar. The latter peaked at number six this week after tripling in value in seven days from a low of 32 cents. Stellar now boasts a $13 billion market cap. After lying low for the first three years of its existence, stellar is riding high and attracting widespread media attention.

Also read: Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low

From a Ripple to a Rocket

Stellar is described is an open-source project with a “distributed, hybrid blockchain”. It “exists to facilitate cross-asset transfers of value, including payments. The Stellar Network forms “an open, global financial network where all actors – be they people, payment networks, or banks – have equal access”. If that sounds a lot like Ripple, that’s because it is: Stellar is Ripple’s sibling, having been created by Ripple cofounder Jed McCaleb after he left the company. McCaleb is also famous for having sold Mt Gox to Mark Karpeles in 2011. Stellar was initially a fork of the Ripple protocol, before later being extensively rewritten.

Stellar now boasts a $13 billion market cap. After lying low for the first three years of its existence, stellar is riding high and attracting widespread media attention.

Lumens (XLM) are the currency that power the Stellar Network, which boasts transaction times of under five seconds. The network has a fixed inflation rate of 1% per year. Like Ripple, Stellar’s targets are financial institutions and corporations, and the company has already inked deals with IBM and Deloitte; the latter is classified as a partner. Stellar’s goal, like that of many cryptocurrencies, is to become the web’s go-to payment solution. Low fees and fast transaction times are its two biggest claims, although the same can be said of many altcoins.

Billions of Lumens Shining Bright

In 2017, 29 cryptocurrencies exceeded bitcoin’s 1,600% gains, and stellar was one of them. Its value has grown an astonishing 28,000% in the space of a year. In the past 24 hours, $800 million lumens were traded on exchanges. The token reached an all-time high of 90 cents this week and is currently trading for around 75 cents.

Stellar Rockets Into the Cryptocurrency Top 10 After Tripling in a WeekSome commenters see Ripple and Stellar as locked in a battle for supremacy, enacting their own version of Bitcoin Core vs Bitcoin Cash. Given the similarities between Ripple and Stellar, including their shared codebase, people, and target audience, these comparisons are inevitable. In terms of developing relationships with banks and other financial institutions, Ripple is streets ahead, but Stellar has the upper hand in other areas.

For one thing, it’s not hoarding 60% of the total supply to itself. Ripple, on the other hand, still holds 55 billion XRP. The total number of coins in existence on each network is very similar though, standing at 100 billion ripple and 103 billion stellar. 17.8 billion stellar are in circulation right now, two billion of which were awarded to Stripe in 2014 in exchange for a $3 million loan. If Stripe still has them, those lumens are now worth billions.

Despite Stellar’s interstellar ascent, not everyone is convinced by the cryptocurrency.

Stellar now boasts a $13 billion market cap. After lying low for the first three years of its existence, stellar is riding high and attracting widespread media attention.

How Centralized is Stellar?

Like Ripple, Stellar uses a network of trusted validator nodes. While anyone can host one, the Stellar Network relies on approved nodes which have close ties to Stellar. As a consequence, stellar is not a true decentralized currency. Generally speaking, the closer a cryptocurrency is aligned with institutional investors, the more centralized it is by design. For what it is worth, Stellar is at least less centralized than Ripple.

It is debatable whether Stellar is worth its $13 billion market cap, but then the same could be said of many cryptocurrencies lurking in the top 10, including Ripple, Tron, and Cardano. In an irrational market, assets are worth whatever the next buyer’s willing to pay for them, and right now that figure is higher than the one before. If Ripple can become a $3 coin, there’s no reason why Stellar can’t continue on its rocket ride to infinity and beyond. After months of bitcoin dominance, altcoin season has returned, and it’s the penny stocks of the crypto world that are shining the brightest.

Which project do you prefer – Stellar or Ripple? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coincodex.

Need to know the price of bitcoin? Check this chart.

The post Stellar Rockets into the Cryptocurrency Top 10 After Tripling in a Week appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Suspended Not Abandoned? Jeff Garzik Is Reworking the Segwit2x Code

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The controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x may have been officially called off this August, but that doesn’t mean its former lead developer is giving up on plans to keep its codebase alive.

In fact, Jeff Garzik, better known as the CEO of blockchain startup Bloq, now believes his prior work could be revived in a way that promotes interoperability between the increasingly fragmented set of protocols bearing the bitcoin name (see: bitcoin, bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold). And in a new interview, he revealed that he is working on forthcoming updates to the software, called BTC1, with this goal in mind.

While he admits he’s not sure how successful the effort will be, Garzik nonetheless framed it as one aimed at unifying a bitcoin developer community that saw no shortage of infighting in 2017.

Garzik told CoinDesk:

“I hope that bringing multiple chains together in one software will, in some small way, bring multiple developers from multiple communities back together.”

Still, the development is notable given the software’s history in achieving the opposite.

After all, the BTC1 code is most associated with Segwit2x, a failed attempt by business and miners to change the rules of the bitcoin protocol. Forged at a meeting in New York in May, the agreement called for the block size parameter to be raised to 2MB, while also pushing for an upgrade called Segregated Witness, designed to both improve and expand bitcoin’s block size.

However, while SegWit was enacted, the block size increase, formally coded in BTC1, was officially called off not weeks before it was supposed to go live amid significant pushback and criticism from developers.

‘Bitcoin cousins’

But while a handful of new cryptocurrencies have been created out of new bitcoin software versions over the past few months, Garzik stressed that the goal of the new BTC1 iteration is not to create a new currency.

“It’s not a new chain. That’s the key innovation of BTC1,” he told CoinDesk.

Instead, Garzik’s concept relies on developing a new version of the Bitcoin Core software – the most popular implementation of bitcoin – though one in which the code can support multiple different cryptocurrencies. In this way, BTC1 will follow whatever changes are added to Bitcoin Core.

Garzik went on to compare the software to ethereum, which allows new cryptocurrencies to be issued on its blockchain, something that’s possible on top of bitcoin, though perhaps not as easy as it is on competing protocols.

“The focus will be on multi-coin support of ‘bitcoin cousins,’” he said, defining “cousins” as coins with software that shares 97 percent or more of the code with the original bitcoin software the Core developers manage.

With BTC1, as Garzik envisions it it, users won’t have to download one litecoin node, one bitcoin node and one bitcoin cash node. Rather they just download one BTC1 full node and it supports all of the chains simultaneously.

As far as what coins (of the more than 1,300 total coins that have sprung up over the years, many with code nearly identical to bitcoin’s) will be supported by BTC1, Garzik plans to be choosy, at least at first, adding only “successful” networks that have attracted significant attention from users. In his eyes, at least so far, litecoin, zcash, and maybe bitcoin cash meet these criteria.

He added:

“Since six bitcoin forks were created in December alone, it’s not realistic to support all of them.”

And he’s being strict with this stance, arguing for neutrality, saying that it even applies to United Bitcoin, a recent bitcoin fork for which Garzik serves as chief scientist.

“I would like to see United Bitcoin adopted, but by my own metric, it’s not there yet,” he said.

Beyond the coin

Garzik also plans to take the idea beyond cryptocurrencies.

Taking inspiration from Red Hat, a Linux company that Garzik worked at for more than a decade, he sees Bloq using the new BTC1 software to bridge the corporate and open-source worlds. Just as the open-source software Fedora feeds into the Red Hat product, Garzik believes an open-source BTC1 software can feed into Bloq.

In this way, Garzik claims Bloq developers won’t be the only developers working on BTC1. Garzik plans to open development up to anyone that wants to participate, including a “handful” of developers that worked on Segwit2x.

Although this idea sounds very different from the code’s original intent, Garzik argues this was always his plan – to move the BTC1 software forward whether Segwit2x succeeded or not.

He said:

“BTC1 was always supposed to be longterm. Segwit2x was always supposed to be a one and done. And BTC1 was always supposed to be the entity that continued even after Segwit2x’s success or failure.”

Yet, the new iteration of the codebase also has benefits for Bloq – which recently announced it’d be launching a cross-blockchain cryptocurrency called metronome – as well.

According to Garzik, many of the software implementations that forked off bitcoin, especially older coins, have vulnerabilities within them because they aren’t as heavily developed as bitcoin, for instance. These bugs can cause serious issues for Bloq’s current enterprise customers, and so the company would benefit from having open-source code that supports the development of different cryptocurrencies simultaneously.

To that end, Bloq and some of its customers (which will be announced in the next 60 days) are funding at least 50 percent of BTC1’s future development, Garzik said. Interoperability between coins is something many crypto enthusiasts are interested in, envisioning a future which Garzik calls a “multi-coin universe.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Bloq and helped organize the Segwit2x agreement. 

Jeff Garzik image via TEDx video

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Strong Cryptocurrency CFD Volumes Bring Record Revenues for Plus 500

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Strong Cryptocurrency CFD Volumes Bring Record Revenues for Plus500

The latest trading update from Plus 500 reveals a growing appetite for cryptocurrency exposure among contract-for-difference (CFD) traders.

Also Read: Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low

Plus Bitcoin, Plus Ripple, Plus500

Strong Cryptocurrency CFD Volumes Bring Record Revenues for Plus500Plus500 Offices in Haifa

London Stock Exchange AIM-listed online brokerage Plus 500 (LON: PLUS) has announced it achieved record quarterly revenues in the final quarter of 2017 on the back of strong trading volumes in cryptocurrency CFDs. The Israel-based group also revealed it has seen increased interest throughout the year in the cryptocurrency category which it first introduced back in 2013.

Asaf Elimelech, Chief Executive Officer of Plus 500, commented: “We are pleased to announce another strong period in both revenues and profits. Momentum in the business has continued to be strong with increased interest in our cryptocurrency CFD offering and record new and active customer numbers, demonstrating our ability to serve our customers’ trading needs through product innovation and technology leadership.”

Investors Are Happy

Strong Cryptocurrency CFD Volumes Bring Record Revenues for Plus500About 246,000 new traders joined the platform (up from 104,432 new clients in 2016) during the year which saw bitcoin rise from under $1,000 to over $19,000, another record for Plus 500. As a result, the company’s board now anticipates yearly profits for 2017 will beat previous market expectations. Following this report, the stock price of the brokerage jumped by over 20% on Wednesday and over another 6% on Thursday, completing a 192% surge compared with January 4, 2017.

While cryptocurrency CFDs can expose brokers to major risks, requiring them to carefully manage their leverage, both traders and investors seem eager to have a relevant offering  on the platforms. For example, The stock price of fellow online brokerage Gain Capital increased by about 26% after it announced last month that it was adding new bitcoin derivative instruments to City Index, its UK FCA regulated brand.

Why are some traders attracted to CFDs instead of just buying the underlying cryptocurrency? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

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South Korea Law Firm Fights New ‘Unconstitutional’ Crypto Trading Regulations

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Seoul-based law firm files an appeal against recent crypto trading regulations in South Korea, calling them “unconstitutional”.

Seoul-based law firm Anguk Law Offices announced Tuesday that it had filed a constitutional appeal on Dec 30 over the South Korean government’s recent cryptocurrency trading regulations, calling them an “infringement of property rights”, The Korea Times reports.

The appeal argues that the latest government regulations of cryptocurrency trading released last week, which seek to make trading of virtual currencies in South Korea non-anonymous, are “unconstitutional”.

Anguk Law Offices argues that since cryptocurrency is not officially considered a currency or financial instrument in South Korea, there is not an applicable financial law in place to govern the trading of them.

Jeong Hee-chan, a lawyer at the law firm, told reporters that the status of virtual currencies — whether it’s property, a commodity, or another kind of asset — must be decided before regulations are put in place:

“We agree that regulations are necessary. But regulation should come after related laws are implemented. The petition is also a request for the government to respect people’s property rights and introduce regulations after reaching a social consensus.”

Recent regulations

On Dec. 28, the South Korean government announced its plans to ban the use of anonymous virtual accounts for cryptocurrency trading in an effort to “curb virtual currency speculation”, local news agency Yonhap reported.

According to The Korea Times, most crypto exchanges in South Korea currently use virtual accounts linked to their bank accounts, as they make it easier for exchanges to manage clients’ money.  

Starting as early as Jan. 20, clients will have to use only real-name bank accounts and accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges must have matching names in order to be used for deposits and withdrawals, the publication reports.

FOMO-drive “cryptocurrency mania” in South Korea was credited with Ripple’s notable growth in the past week, which propelled the altcoin to become the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Bitcoin, Why You Should Own a Bit

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The crisis of 2008, which nearly crippled the financial world, was a loud and clear warning that our financial system had become a house of cards. Its integrity depended on the continued solvency of over-leveraged financial institutions.

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Article

At the time, I was working as a Senior Data Architect in the trading room of one of Germany’s biggest banks. It was there that we witnessed up close the freezing of accounts, ATMs shutting down and credit cards deactivated. It became clear that owning physical gold and silver – not gold derivatives – was one of the few ways to reliably protect one’s wealth in such a crisis.

After the 2008 experience, I could never fully trust this financial system again as there was no guarantee that the system could be bailed out again by governments in the next crisis.

Satoshi Nakamoto, the alias used by the anonymous developer of bitcoin, must have had a similar experience, as it galvanized him/her to present a concept for a peer to peer payment model that could elegantly solve the too big to fail bank dilemma.

Satoshi’s original bitcoin white paper made it clear that Satoshi was a superb system architect who had a financial risk modelling background with an interest in complexity theory and a drive to make the world a better place.

Satoshi had embedded the text, “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”, in his bitcoin genesis block (the block that started the bitcoin blockchain). It was the headline of The Times back in 3 January 2009. This was a strong indication that Satoshi’s blockchain was indeed a response to the fragility of our financial system. His decision to remain anonymous made sense in light of the enormous special interest that his design could threaten, if it ever were to be widely accepted.

Bitcoin could have easily been discarded and faded into obsurity. Yet almost nine years later, Satoshi’s theoretical alternative is published on all financial news channels and has surpassed 315 Billion USD in capitalization as of 18 December 2017. Needless to say, I feel a strong connection to Satoshi’s motives and I admire his work, the significance of which I will try to explain in this article.

Bitcoin – World’s First Trustless Ledger

In its essence, bitcoin is just a distributed ledger which allows bitcoin entries to be reliably sent from one address (akin to an account) to another without requiring a central bookkeeper. Satoshi’s key innovation was that he solved the “double spend problem” – essentially how to keep users from cheating by spending or copying the same bitcoins over and over in the absence of a central bookkeeper to prevent it.

Satoshi’s genius was inventing and combining the proof of work system, which requires the solving of mathematical riddles to make it expensive to cheat, the majority consensus rule to discard cheaters and the use of distributed computing encouraged via bitcoin mining to obtain the processing power to run it all.

When people refer to the “blockchain”, they refer to this trustless ledger implementation that was made possible by those three key innovations. Satoshi then used “bitcoin” or “BTC” as the unit of account of his trustless ledger and mathematically limited the number of bitcoins that will ever be created to 21 million, of which about 4 million have not yet been “mined”.

Because the code running bitcoin has been made public for everybody who can read code to check (open source), the system is transparent and therefore generates the trust needed for it to take off. In essence, bitcoin rules are very clear, trustworthy and remarkably simple. Open sourcing also meant that countless other entities were able to easily copy the bitcoin code and made their own version of it often hoping for quick overnight riches via, sometime questionable, ICOs.

Bitcoin can withstand systemic shocks that the financial system cannot

Bitcoin and other well designed distributed ledger systems such as Ethereum are inherently stable systems in that they can react well to systemic shocks. If a third of all processing (mining) nodes, for example, were to be wiped out due to an external event, transaction fees would increase to incentivize the creation of new nodes, which would bring the system back into balance. More importantly, wiping out these nodes would not cause any data to be lost or cause other nodes to fail as they are not directly dependent on each other to function.

Our financial system, on the other hand, has become increasingly unstable as each bank is dependent on other banks via their leveraged derivative exposures which can be hundreds of times higher than the bank’s reserves. Thus, it just takes a few banks to become insolvent for the whole banking system to be threatened via a financial contagion.

The system is like a seriously ill patient that needs to be rescued periodically with increasingly expensive bailouts and kept alive with cheap money. We can keep it going a while longer, but at some point, it is just not worth subsidizing this system anymore as bureaucracy, outdated legacy IT systems and special interests block the sweeping reforms necessary to truly change it.

On the other hand, as distributed ledgers mature they will gradually replace these old systems. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), our auditor and one of the Big Four accounting companies, for example has started accepting Bitcoin as payment for their advisory services and there is growing consensus that blockchain queries could be used in place of bank statements in the future.

Satoshi’s bitcoin is indeed changing the world, making many people rich in the process and setting the stage for a shift of power away from centralized “too big to fail” banks towards distributed peer to peer systems such as bitcoin.

Physical Crypto Storage

Crypto storage has unique challenges – see how materializing Private Keys eliminates digital theft.

Bitcoin’s Monetary Characteristics

Bitcoin has become an increasingly popular method of exchange that is universally accessible, given an internet connection, and is extremely resilient and durable to disruption due to its distributed nature.

Bitcoin also has a pretty clearly defined price – 18,818 USD per BTC at the time of writing – and each bitcoin is divisible into one hundred million satoshis. So, for example, 0.02 Bitcoin is equivalent to 2,000,000 satoshis. These, along with trust, are key characteristics of money.

Furthermore, unlike most crypto currencies the issuance of new bitcoins is clearly defined in code and will be capped just short of 21,000,000 BTC by around 2140, therefore creating code enforced scarcity that makes it deflationary in nature.

This deflationary tendency means bitcoin is likely to appreciate over time, especially compared to FIAT currencies like the USD whose monetary base was increased by 450% over the last 9 years. Of note might be that bitcoin’s capitalization has now significantly surpassed the value of Australia’s M1 money supply of 357 Billion AUD – about 274 Billion USD.

Bitcoin vs. Gold and Silver

Bitcoin is similar to physical gold in that there is a limited amount, it can be held directly without intermediaries (possessing private key vs. holding a bar) and both are independent of the financial system. Both will do well when the next crisis occurs.

Of course, there are drastic differences. Gold and silver require physical storage and have a 5,000-year history of being a reliable store of value with nearly universal acceptance while bitcoin is literally just a ledger entry on a distributed network that has been invented nine years ago.

Sometimes being ethereal has advantages however, and we see bullion and bitcoin as complementary stores of value, each having their own strengths. This is why we have been making a market for converting bitcoin to gold or silver and vice versa for the last 2 years.

Over the long term it makes sense to own a bit of both crypto and bullion. Silver in particular is historically undervalued versus gold, as thesilver to gold ratio is near 80. So diversifying some of the massive crypto wealth gains into silver would be a prudent valuation move.

Bitcoin is here to stay

Bitcoin’s capitalization recently surpassed 315 Billion USD and the US, European and Asian media coverage has gone in overdrive these last few months as prices soared. However, the vast majority of people do not actually own any bitcoins and many of those who do are not intent on selling any of it.

Therefore, while bitcoin’s meteoric price increase definitely fulfills the price appreciation portion of being in a “bubble”, there seems to be plenty of hopeful buyers out there who have not bought any yet. Since a bubble will burst only once we run out of buyers there likely is still a long way to go.

Moreover, unlike the Tulip mania which the current bitcoin situation is sometimes mistakenly compared to, bitcoin is providing a truly resilient alternative to our fragile financial system and fulfills the requirements for a store of value, unlike tulips.

Bitcoin’s value will ultimately be determined by how popular it becomes as Metcalfe’s Law of Network Effects is likely to apply to bitcoin. Once bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies stop appreciating most people will not dump them the way tulips were dumped, instead they will regard them as a natural store of value.

I suspect that the transition in adopting bitcoin and other quality cryptocurrencies will accelerate further. Therefore, it is increasingly important to look beyond wallet user interfaces, understand how these currencies work and how to store them securely as over 25%* of bitcoins are believed to have been lost or stolen since it’s inception.

Consider buying a tiny bit of bitcoin and keep it for the long term, if you do not own any. If it fulfils its potential, your small investment can become quite substantial, if it crashes the loss will be small. If, on the other hand, most of your wealth is in crypto currencies, consider diversifying a bit into the stability of physical gold and silver.

For an analysis of crypto storage risks and how these can be addressed have a look at the Gregersen-Gono Standard whitepaper.

Industries and Blockchain 2017

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From economical efficiency, enhanced security, faster transaction speed and raising capital via ICO in 2017, Blockchain technologies began to pave the way to the future.

The first Blockchain system-Bitcoin-saw astronomical returns of over 1,300 percent in 2017. As we progressed through 2017, Blockchain technologies became hard to ignore and more of the corporate world took an interest in Blockchain technologies. In 2017, the NYSE filed for two Bitcoin ETFs with the SEC, the CBOE became the first institutional investor to launch a Bitcoin futures market and CME group followed suit a week later doing the same. But it is not only large exchanges interested in getting some skin in the Blockchain game, a multitude of industries have been interested in incorporating Blockchain technologies to make their businesses more economically efficient.

The increasing interest around Blockchain technologies in 2017 led the CTFC to release a Primer on Virtual Currencies which acknowledged that Blockchain technologies can be used by governments, financial institutions and cross-industries to optimize everyday operations via a Blockchain system.

Use cases

Blockchain technologies can be used as a store of value, in trading and payment transactions, and to transfer and move money either domestically or international at a faster speed and a lower cost than the traditional financial institution or intermediary is able to–just to name a few use cases.

Blockchain technologies have been revered for their cost-cutting, security enhancing, speed enhancing capabilities. A Blockchain system is a distributed ledger secured by a cryptographic proof of work/stake. Viz, powerful computers crack algorithms that encrypt the transaction data into each block. When a computer is able to crack the algorithm, a block full of relatively recent transactions is added to the chain, a copy of the updated ledger that has the new block is broadcasted to the other nodes–any computer connected to the network–and the nodes update themselves on the networks transaction history. If an updated ledger is broadcasted that a majority of the nodes on the network are not in consensus with, then a node will not update to retain that copy of the ledger because it is not a truthful and honest representation of the transaction data.

Record keeping

The cryptographically secured Blockchain and the system of node consensus is believed to produce a more accurate copy of the ledger than the current system of centralized record keeping is capable of.

In Blockchain: An Emerging Solution for Fraud Prevention Jun Dai, a computer scientist at California State University Sacramento argues that “altering or deleting information in the companies accounting systems, changing electronic documents, and creating fraudulent electronic files were the main methods to conceal frauds.”

In industries like accounting where human workers handle and manage tasks such as verifying records and confirming the truthfulness of transactions, it is possible that human error or individuals with ill incentives manipulate records or create fraudulent records that are not an accurate representation of transaction history.

That is why record-keeping industries like the accounting industry have been attracted to  Blockchain technologies; the Blockchain network is secured by cryptography and verified by a network of computers–not human workers. Because of this, Blockchain technologies allow a nearly tamper-proof record to be created and allows individuals to transact peer to peer without having to put their trust in a third party to honestly facilitate their transactions.

Blockchain technologies allow business operations to take place without the use of a middleman–something that was not feasible before the invention of Blockchain technologies unless individuals transacted in cash; but even cash is becoming inefficient to manage and transact with.  It is unnecessarily costly to operate a business, financial institution, or financial intermediary where human workers are doing jobs that computers are capable of handling faster, more efficiently, and with less error than human workers.  

When human workers carry out operational tasks for business, the business must pay costs associated with owning or renting infrastructure, electric, gas, and the water expense concurrent with operating infrastructure, employees salaries, paper for printers, etc. If intermediaries were able to invest or save the money that they have to put towards operating or paying for a service that can be automated by computers, it is possible for a business to become more economically efficient.

A system secured by cryptography that only needs to connect to the Blockchain network to operate can effectively diminish some of the costs associated with running a business. Blockchain technologies are capable of reducing the amount of human workers needed, reducing salary costs, eliminating the need for a business to own/rent and operate infrastructure, and making the record of data kept by the business less susceptible to fraud and manipulation.

But the Blockchain does not only allow businesses to operate over a more efficient, economical, and secure system; in 2017 we began to see Blockchain technologies change the way that businesses raise capital.  

Capital raising

An ICO– Initial Coin Offering— is a method of crowdfunding a business can use to raise capital by selling the right of ownership or royalties to a project to investors. ICOs are often likened to IPOs–Initial Public Offerings–in which businesses raise capital by selling shares of ownership in the company to investors. However, it is far easier for a company to launch an ICO than an IPO. This makes ICO an attractive option for start-ups looking to get off the ground, and gives Blockchain technology the ability to change the process of raising capital.

To launch an ICO, all a company needs to do is bring the project to a respectable technological checkpoint, publish a white-paper, and announce the date they plan on holding their token sale. No underwriting or government approval needed, compared to an IPO, in which an investment bank underwrites a business, then files with the SEC and then has to wait for the SEC to evaluate their business before the SEC finally announce an IPO date for the company.

Digital revolution, age of the Internet

Similar to the idea that offices had of going paperless to become more efficient, cut costs and enter the future by aligning themselves with the digital revolution, businesses and governments have their eye on Blockchain technologies because they seem to be leading the corporate world into the digitized future.

The economical efficiency, increased transaction speed and cryptographically secure features of Blockchain technology make Blockchain technology an attractive upgrade for businesses who incur a hefty operating cost from processes that an automated machine can handle more efficiently.

Blockchain opportunities for industries

2017 was really the first year we saw Blockchain technologies flood the mainstream’d public. Before that, only the crypto-community was concerned with Blockchain technologies. And unlike the mainstream’d public, the crypto community valued these technologies more for their utility than their speculative aspect. But nevertheless, Blockchain technologies made a positive first impression on the mainstream media in 2017. With wide adoption by businesses interested and capable of using Blockchain technologies to optimize their operations, and both the retail and institutional investor enticed by the return on investment of Blockchain technologies, it is safe to say that Blockchain technologies will be here to stay for 2018.

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference in Gibraltar: Experts to Discuss Industry Present and Future

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The conference will bring together about 300 participants: entrepreneurs, investors, developers as well as lawyers, financial experts and marketing specialists engaged in the digital currency and blockchain sector. Presentations will be divided into several sections.

Organizer

The Gibraltar event is one of 20 conferences held by Smile-Expo across the globe in 2018. Previous year, the international company organized two conferences recognized as the CIS largest ones: Bitcoin & Blockchain Conference Moscow and Bitcoin & Blockchain Conference Kiev. In total, they brought together 3500 attendees. In 2017, 13 other conferences of this series took place in Russia, Europe and Central Asia.

Gibraltar: focus areas

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Gibraltar will involve 12 speakers from various countries. According to organizers, the list of speakers is constantly enhanced, and headliners – globally renowned blockchain experts – will be announced pretty soon. The following speakers have already confirmed their participation:

Kambiz Djafari, CEO and co-founder of Edgecoin.io. His presentation “What is a token economically” is dedicated to the impact of tokenization on the society in 2016-2017 and possible changes in 2018. The expert will also delve into the classification of tokens and the use of ERC20 standard through the example of famous projects.

Mohammed Tayeb, co-founder of Medchain. The expert will focus on a single application area of blockchain – healthcare. His presentation will explain how blockchain can improve medical services.

Bogdan Maslesa, founder of Universal Crypto. He will speak about the role of blockchain in the society of the future and explain why IT specialists should learn more about the technology today.

Juan David Mendieta Villegas, Head of Keyrock, will talk about the creation of a blockchain infrastructure: how did they manage to establish more than 150 cryptocurrency exchanges and 1200 tokens in just two years, and what to expect in the future.

Christopher Emms, CEO at TokenKey, will tell how to create a successful token sale: present your product to investors in the best possible way and conduct an ICO campaign without typical errors.

Other activities

Besides speakers’ presentations, guests will be able to enjoy a range of other interesting activities. One of them is an exhibition of blockchain innovations. Its participants will show blockchain-based software and applications as well as cryptocurrency industry equipment.

All exhibitors will be engaged in the pitch session (a series of brief presentations), introducing their own projects and explaining their prospects for investors. More information about projects will be available at company stands in the exhibition area.

The conference will also include a panel discussion involving several experts who will express their opinion on critical issues. Topics and discussion participants will be posted on the website in advance.

Why Gibraltar?

In October, Gibraltar authorities announced the legislative rules for blockchain companies and cryptocurrency exchanges, introducing a project of the corresponding law.

The regulation in this sector is suggested to encourage innovations. The introductions will become effective in January 2018.

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Gibraltar is aimed at revealing legislative novelties, answering related questions and helping the blockchain community to organize the work efficiently according to the new rules.

More project news can be found on the website of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Gibraltar.

Beyond Bitcoin: How Technical Features are Fueling Altcoin Adoption

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Cryptocurrency’s bold march toward mainstream adoption is well underway, evidenced by skyrocketing market caps, and media saturation. It is now clear to all but the most stubborn of critics that cryptocurrency has a permanent place in global economics, and thus the race is now on to determine which platforms will emerge as the most popular. Although Bitcoin is receiving the most attention, altcoins are moving forward as well. Increasingly crypto investors are giving priority to technical qualities as they choose which coins to buy. Those cryptos perceived to be most useful, or most efficient, are rapidly becoming major players in the crypto space.

Presently, crypto is primarily adopted as a store of value rather than as actual currency to be spent. Nevertheless, mainstream adoption will involve mass transfers, and successful cryptos will need to process thousands of transactions per second. Most platforms, including Bitcoin, cannot currently handle this level of traffic. A few can, however, and investors are taking notice. The most notable of these cryptos is Iota, which due to its unique architecture is (in theory) infinitely scalable. Iota also can be transferred without network fees. Despite being available on only a handful of exchanges, Iota’s value has soared in recent weeks, moving from $1.43 on December 1 to over $5.00 today. Iota is now the sixth most valuable crypto by market cap, with a total value of over $14 billion dollars.

Iota Price December 1-20Iota Price December 1-20

Vertcoin is another crypto that has enjoyed substantial value growth due to technical advantages. Vertcoin is very similar to Bitcoin, with a notable exception being resistance to ASIC mining. This quality makes it more appealing to small-scale and beginning miners. However, its most significant advantage is its inclusion in plans for atomic swaps with Litecoin and, presumably, Bitcoin. This development, currently being tested, will enable near instant transactions across blockchains. Thus, once active, Vertcoin will be a viable substitute for any BTC or LTC transaction. This fact has pushed Vertcoin from $1.00 on October 1 to $9.00 on December 20.

Vertcoin Price October 1-December 20Vertcoin Price October 1-December 20

Among the most substantial cryptos to be boosted by perceived technical advantages is Verge, which is similar to Monero in that its focus is on anonymity. Verge claims faster transaction times and greater scalability, and was recently endorsed by John McAfee. The result has been an astounding 1,200 percent increase in value during December, presently reaching a high $.065.

Verge Price December 1-20Verge Price December 1-20

Many other cryptos are experiencing similar growth based on the notion that they are better suited for mass use. EOS and Cardano, for example, are seen by many as superior to Ethereum, and have soared in market cap. Dash has enjoyed big gains based on its long-held claim to be more useful than Bitcoin, and Raiblocks has emerged from relative obscurity because, like Iota, it can be used without fees.

Bitcoin developers have, of course, sought to upgrade the platform to compete with altcoins. Upgrading the network has, in fact, been a source of great contention between miners and developers for over two years. SegWit, and the upcoming Lightning Network promise to make Bitcoin more competitive, but it remains to be seen if these advances will enable Bitcoin to remain the flagship cryptocurrency long-term. Even with these upgrades, crypto advocates universally agree that Bitcoin’s greatest asset is its name recognition, and the fact that it remains the primary gateway for purchasing cryptocurrency with fiat. As more cryptos become commonly known, and more fiat exchanges adopt altcoin options, it is quite reasonable to assume that Bitcoin will decline in importance.

The fact that better designed altcoins are gaining market share is a reflection of the fact that the blockchain revolution underway is not limited to Bitcoin adoption. Rather, it is a movement that promises to radically improve many aspects of global economics, logistics, and management. Bitcoin was never intended to be the only cryptocurrency, but rather it was a proof-of-concept network, designed to demonstrate distributed ledger technology. In that sense, it has been a tremendous success. Competing altcoins with improved features are a natural progression of Bitcoin’s mission. In fact, the blockchain revolution would be a failure without them. 

Crypto investors are certainly wise to consider the advanced features of many altcoins, but there is still significant developments ahead that will affect all cryptos. It remains to be seen how cryptocurrency will ultimately be balanced against fiat on a global scale. There are also many more technical developments that have yet to be released. Thus, although digital assets are certain to become commonly owned over the next months and years, which specific platforms will find common usage is still very much a matter of speculation.

Feature image via BigStock. Charts via Coinmarketcap.

Bitcoin Cash Embassy to Open in Limassol, Cyprus

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Bitcoin Cash Embassy to Open in Limassol, Cyprus

With the launch of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) by Coinbase and Gdax, the adoption of the cryptocurrency is likely going to accelerate further. To help local users, developers, and investors meet and discuss this, there is going to be a new bitcoin cash community center in Cyprus.

Also Read: Thomson Reuters Adds Bitcoin Cash to Eikon Platform

Cash Island

Bitcoin Cash Embassy to Open in Limassol, CyprusLimassol’s First Bitcoin ATM

Limassol, Cyprus’ second city, is getting its first bitcoin cash embassy to open in early 2018. The venue will serve as an open community center where people can talk about the cryptocurrency, participate in free discussions and attend regular meet-ups with industry experts. It will be hosted by Hello Group, the fintech company which launched the city’s first bitcoin ATM a month ago.

Cyprus is an ideal location for cryptocurrency to take hold. The island servers as a regional offshore financial center for many companies from Europe, Russia and the Middle East that need cost effective solutions to transfer money across borders. Individuals are also more prone than others to see the benefits of a currency only they hold the keys to, especially with the memory of the 2013 EU ‘bail-in’ crisis still fresh. As evidence for this, the country’s University of Nicosia was the first academic institution in the world to offer a MSc in Digital Currency.

Simply Better

The main reason supporters are excited about bitcoin cash is because businesses are opting to accept it, as it is superior in performance in terms of speed and cost. One example of this comes from the founder of Goldmoney who said today he hopes the company adds BCH soon after waiting 10 hours for a BTC transaction to confirm.

Bitcoin Cash Embassy to Open in Limassol, Cyprus

Many advocates also consider BCH to be more faithful to the very idea of cryptocurrency. Yoshitaka Kitao, President & CEO of Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, recently commented: “The vision of the original Bitcoin white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto calls for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. That is a powerful vision, and SBI Group will devote resources to enable a future world where Bitcoin Cash is used globally for daily payments.”

Why do cryptocurrencies even need embassies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Bitcoin Cash Embassy to Open in Limassol, Cyprus appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Manila to Host Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines

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Philippines is a pioneer in the digital assets regulation

At the end of November 2017, the Philippines` Securities and Exchange Commission announced its intention to introduce cryptocurrencies in the legal field. This means that soon the state can become one of the pioneers in the field of regulating digital assets. Legislative security will positively affect the popularity of the Philippines in the crypto community.

Participants are crypto industry professionals

Crypto experts from all over the world will take part in the event: representatives of financial institutions, bankers, entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, developers of blockchain solutions, startups and professional traders.

Guests will enjoy not only the conference, but also an exhibition

The event takes place in the format of a conference + exhibition, which simplifies the search for potential business partners. Within the conference, speakers will discuss legislative changes in the field of cryptocurrencies and tokens in the Philippines, share the experience of preparing a startup for the ICO, advise which digital assets should be invested in the new year and tell about the benefits of blockchain for business.

Representatives of the international crypto community will gather in the exhibition area: suppliers of mining equipment and farms, crypto exchanged, blockchain projects and investment funds.

The organizer of the event is Smile-Expo, the company that conducts events of the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference network in 15 countries of Europe and Asia.

Venue: Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, Manila.

Follow the news on the official website of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines.

PIN Community Pioneering Sharing Economy 2.0

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Soon, Dubai will be the first city in the world to have self-flying taxis and Robocop. There is no more befitting place than Dubai to talk about advanced technologies and impactful projects.

On December 13th, 2017, in a joyous event, PIN Community gathered 100 leaders from 20 countries at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai to share about the technologies of the future – Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), and Big Data – and how they all come together to enable and strengthen a “Sharing Economy 2.0″ within their PIN Platform.

Jimmy Robinson – the Dubai representative of PIN Community – was welcomed to talk  about the PIN Community and its roadmap on combining all 4 discussed elements (Blockchain, A.I., Big Data, and Sharing Economy) into its products including the Collaborative Investment & Saving Portal, Direct Ad-Network, PIN Auction, and PIN Pay. It also showcased its current progress of registering more than 40,000 users from 20 countries after merely a week, before proceeding to share about its presale schedule and exciting promotions.

In the quest of searching for advanced technologies and talented teams around the world, PIN Community found DropDeck.io, which was nominated as a promising candidate for what PIN Community was looking for so that the PIN Community can grow stronger. While PIN Community is poised to have the largest homogeneous community in the crypto space to promote the Sharing Economy 2.0, DropDeck.io has the strongest potential in using AI, Big Data and Blockchain to make Sharing Economy 2.0 much stronger. DropDeck is a one-stop shop for funding businesses worldwide, or simply a better AngelList.

In order to combine these strengths and create the strongest sharing community in the crypto space, PIN Community was announcing their acquisition of DropDeck.io, which will be added to their PIN Platform where PIN holders can spend their PIN tokens on fundraising startups and SMEs around the world, fostering innovation worldwide. The strong, homogeneous and wealthy community of PIN Community can generate data in higher volume, velocity and veracity, enabling the development of Automated Funding to be accelerated. An A.I. engine will be integrated with PIN Platform’s products such as the Collaborative Investment Platform, Direct Ad-Network, and Marketplace to bring more values to PIN holders.

With new strengths added day by day and a huge community, PIN Community (pincoin.io) will contribute to establishing a strong, sustainable ecosystem around the PIN token, and bring wonder to Dubai. While our Presale has already started on December 15, 2017, the Public Crowdsale will start on January 12, 2018 and “Active Sharing” on February 15, 2018.

Ethereum Price Technical Analysis – ETH/USD Consolidating Below $730

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Key Highlights

  • ETH price is struggling to gain traction and is consolidating below $730 against the US Dollar.
  • There is a broad contracting triangle forming with support at $650 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD (data feed via SimpleFX).
  • The pair might continue to trade in a range above $650 and with resistance at $730.

Ethereum price is moving in a range against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ETH/USD has to move above $730 to gain traction in the near term.

Ethereum Price Range

There was a decent price action in ETH price above $600 against the US Dollar. The price traded higher above $700 on a couple of occasions, but failed to gain momentum. There were failures near $730 and $720. It recently traded as high as $730.58 from where it corrected lower. It moved below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $611.11 low to $730.58 high. There was also a close below $700 and the 100 hourly simple moving average.

Later, the price recovered and settled above the 100 hourly SMA and $700. It seems like there is a broad contracting triangle forming with support at $650 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD. The pair is trading in a broad range with resistance at $730 and support above $650. An intermediate support is around the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $611.11 low to $730.58 high. On the downside, the triangle support holds a lot of importance along with the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $611.11 low to $730.58 high.

Ethereum Price Technical Analysis ETH USD

If the pair continues to rise toward $730, it would be interesting to see the next move. Either ETH/USD will break $730 and move higher or it will move down back toward $660.

Hourly MACD – The MACD is slightly placed in the bullish zone.

Hourly RSI – The RSI is moving higher toward the 50 level.

Major Support Level – $650

Major Resistance Level – $730

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not guaranteed, does not purport to be comprehensive and is strictly for information purposes only. It should not be regarded as investment/trading advice. All the information is believed to come from reliable sources. NewsBTC does not warrant the accuracy, correctness, or completeness of information in its analysis and therefore will not be liable for any loss incurred.

Published by

Aayush Jindal

Aayush has spent over a DECADE as a financial markets contributor and observer. He specializes in market strategies and technical analysis, comes with an IT background. He possess strong technical analytical skills and is
well known for his entertaining and informative analysis of the currency, commodities, Bitcoin and Ethereum markets. He is a software engineer by profession, loves blogging and observing financial markets.

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FLUX Global Gaming Ecosystem – Player-Owned Gaming Platform Builds Strong Loyalty

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The creation of a universal gaming platform on the Blockchain will turn gamers into competitive players and investors.

Gamers are a rather fickle lot: two-thirds of them will abandon a game within 24 hours. With hundreds of mobile games being launched daily, independent game developers need every marketing advantage they can get. A new mobile gaming platform on the Blockchain has created a novel solution for a gaming environment – a win-win model.

The FLUX global gaming ecosystem, recognizing that ownership is the ultimate motivational tool to develop loyalty,  makes all players investors. The FLUX platform adds plenty of rewards and other incentives to further motivate game developers, players, traders and streamers to promote the platform.

Sharing the revenue pie

Once in a game, game hosts have only hours to convince players to stay. Of those who do remain, on average only four percent of them are left in three months. FLUX gamers will be motivated to jump to another game on the FLUX platform since they receive a cut of the overall platform revenues. Additionally, FLUX investors who stay in the game and refer new players receive a share of the new recruits’ revenues. With all FLUX investors motivated to increase revenues, the cost of customer acquisition and player churn are lowered.

Game developers can crowdfund their game ideas on the platform. These game ICOs provide gamers a stake in the future success of a game, and another strong incentive to stay with a game. The model supports early game development by allowing developers to immediately withdraw ICO funds during crowdfunding to develop and market their games at specific stages, including game creation, MVP and the first pilot game.

Developing a competitive platform

The best online gaming retention tool is to turn gamers into competitive players. Once they have invested in developing skills, the cost in the loss of potential winnings is high if they move to a new game in which they have to develop skills and reputation.  The FLUX model has been designed to motivate competitive players to stick around and improve their skills. One way the platform accomplishes this is by removing the commissions on competitive games.

No fee is charged for developers to upload competitive games or for in-game purchases made over mobile devices. On non-competitive games, a two percent commission is charged. For all games, each time a player places a bet, a commission of one to seven percent applies. The low fees are made possible by replacing intermediaries in transaction management with smart contracts that directly facilitate transactions between platform participants.

Leveling the playing field

On the FLUX platform, independent game developers have more marketing muscle to take on the big gaming titles. Older games have built loyal followings. In addition to vested player skill, rewards and incentives help to retain players. The FLUX platform builds marketing power in numbers. Players are motivated to stay on the platform and promote it because, as owners, they will benefit from any increase in the value of the tokens.

As always, there is room to out-compete the big game titles by offering more enticing rewards and incentives, and FLUX seeks to compete on incentives, too. By referring players to the platform, gamers receive commission on all future revenues. These in-community incentives increase actions taken to promote the platform and thus significantly lower player acquisitions costs for developers.

Players can earn more tokens in games and tournaments, and trading on the FLUX store. Streamers earn rewards for broadcasting games.

The FLUX ICO (FLUX)

Gamers can invest in the FLUX platform by buying FLUX tokens during its upcoming initial coin offering in December. Investors can buy FLUX coins at a discount by participating in the pre-ICO on Dec. 1 before the launch of the first stage of the ICO on Dec. 10.  The minimal cap is 5,000 ETH, and each ETH is worth 600 FLUX tokens.  

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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4NEW TOKEN: AFTER MARKET PRICE SUPPORT AND LIQUIDITY

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Most Altcoins are failing. Many are outright fraudulent others have poorly designed business plans and strategic ideas on how best to get coin adoption widely accepted. All are attempting to emulate the success of Bitcoin, however, few have figured out the secret recipe. What makes the recent price hikes in Bitcoin feasible and sustainable, is the tidal wave of buying demand being realized with a limited and finite supply of bitcoins, as cryptocurrencies, a digital asset, enter mainstream.

This tidal wave has people looking to diversify into other currencies so as to enjoy similar  success in identifying the next bitcoin. It is important to note that in a crowded crypto-space it is not easy to identify or filter good coins with real potential from good marketed coins which tend to fizzle upon listing on exchanges.

What is lacking within cryptocurrencies currently, is institutional support, that is anticipated to change overtime though. In conventional offerings such as Initial Public Offerings (IPO), once a company lists its shares on an exchange they are usually supported by Market Makers. These include the likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase. In fact, exchanges like New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq require that each IPO have at least 3 or 4 market makers. The role of the Market Maker is to purchase shares when no one else will purchase them in a marketplace. Similarly, they also have to sell shares when no one else will sell shares in the marketplace. This is why an IPO, prior to listing focuses on who the underwriters are and their credit worthiness to support the market making function of an offering on an exchange.

In a peer to peer decentralized system, this function is currently lacking. Consequently, most ICOs upon listing fizzle to nothing because nobody is actually focused on price support or stability.

So how does offer price support and stability to a coin without a conventional market maker in a peer to peer decentralized system?

Our research desk came across one offering, namely 4NEW. The entire business model of 4NEW is reverse engineered for aftermarket price stability and liquidity in its coin, deprived of market makers. For example, 4NEW, which has raised 30+ Million USD in institutional funding to build a Waste to Energy plant from traditional / conventional funding avenues, recently launched its crowd-sale for a $9.5MM hard cap limit with 7 days remaining to the end of their ICO.

The Waste to Energy plant not only solves two social concerns, waste surplus and energy shortfall, however it also ensures widespread coin adoption. All future sales generated from the Waste to Energy plant will be transacted over the 4NEW blockchain with the ability to make and accept timed payments between businesses. The FRNCoin (4NEW’s cryptocurrency) will have a strong foundation of demand baked into the coin, offering pricing stability and consistent liquidity in the coin. In addition, like any successful cryptocurrency, 4NEW has observed swift adoption of its coin well in advance of the launch of its first plant.

Starting 2018, the coin is slated for acceptance in the following industries, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Health Insurance, Telecommunications, Credit Card processing and Money Transfer services. This pattern of adding new participants is expected to continue at a feverish pace through 2018.

When consumers purchase the FRNCoin to avail the goods and services offered by these businesses, an organic demand will be generated in the coin that is not focused on speculative trading of the coin. This organic demand will bring new liquidity into the marketplace for the coin, offering price support. That means, there will always be consumers making a market in the coin, replacing the market making function offered by institutions. Conventional institutional support is not suited for a peer to peer decentralized system, it has to be peer to peer market making that supports the price that is not engaged with the coin in speculative trading. Ironically, bitcoin enjoys this exact same feature, thus it is compared to gold in many instances.

As 4NEW continues to add more business consumers to its coin, a Top-Down approach to widespread utilization will begin. This will permeate through to the masses overtime, which will lead to another successful cryptocurrency very similar to Bitcoin. The only difference between Bitcoin and 4NEW is actually the adoption approach. Bitcoin experienced a Bottom-UP strategy, therefore more grass roots approach. That usually takes longer to attain, however it is also responsible for the masses to have awareness and widely accept cryptocurrency today. Like its predecessor, 4NEW will also act like a store of value overtime, however, its adoption approach is Top-Down approach. The credibility of this offering is further cemented by their recent affiliation with the Imperial College of London, a 110 year academic institution with a pedigree track record.

While there can be no assurances of the future or outcomes, however, this coin has a strong probability of being one of the lasting examples of the future success stories within the crypto community.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent the views of NewsBTC or any of its team members. NewsBTC is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in Sponsored Stories/Press Releases such as this one.

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 12/08/2017 – Riding on Small Dips

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Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price has been on a tear and seems unstoppable in its climb.
  • Price has barely retraced from its rally, but potential dips on short-term time frames can be spotted.
  • But with bitcoin price surging to unprecedented levels at an unprecedented pace, there’s a rising risk of a tumble as it goes.

Bitcoin price is once again setting new records but the chance for sharp profit-taking moves is building as it climbs.

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is above the longer-term 200 SMA across all time frames, indicating that bullish momentum is very strong. The gap between the moving averages has also been widening to reflect strengthening bullish pressure.

On the 15-minute chart, it can be seen that bitcoin price is trading above an ascending trend line. Price has just made another bounce to new highs but might be due for another dip soon.

Stochastic is indicating overbought conditions once more and is starting to turn lower, possibly drawing some sellers back in. RSI has a bit more room to climb so bitcoin price might break out of the tiny consolidation to set new highs yet again.

Market Factors

Anticipation is building up over the launch of CBOE bitcoin futures, drawing an influx of demand from retail and institutional investors. Apart from that, the fact that bitcoin is hogging the financial headlines once more on its stellar climb has drawn more market interest.

Of course, as it establishes one new high after another, bitcoin price is seen as being more and more vulnerable to a crash. Nonetheless, price seems indifferent from these naysayers and continues climbing, especially as there seems to be no catalysts that could lead to unwinding.

CME and Nasdaq are also prepping to launch their bitcoin futures products soon, which means more availability and higher volumes. In the past, this has consistently led to strong gains and this phenomenon could carry on until the situation changes.

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Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not guaranteed, does not purport to be comprehensive and is strictly for information purposes only. It should not be regarded as investment/trading advice. All the information is believed to come from reliable sources. NewsBTC does not warrant the accuracy, correctness, or completeness of information in its analysis and therefore will not be liable for any loss incurred.

It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude

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In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the 1940s Christmas classic, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is the guiding force of a small-town bank, who ends up sacrificing his own dreams for the betterment of his community.

Ultimately, facing financial ruin, he begins to question what it was all for. That is when his friends appear, one by one, with a flurry of donations, reminding him of how he touched each and every one of their lives, and Bailey realizes he is a rich man after all.

Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos recently found himself at the center of a similar outpouring of gratitude. The author and public speaker has spent the last five years of his life traversing the globe and educating people about Bitcoin. But, as it turns out, he hadn’t exactly made himself rich along the way.

WIth the price of bitcoin soaring into the $16,000s, a grateful community has decided to give Antonopoulos’s fortunes a karmic boost. A spontaneous giving spree, fueled by social media, is under way. Thus far, more than 100 BTC, valued at over $1.7 million has been sent to his bitcoin address. One individual alone sent an eye-popping 37 BTC, worth $500,000.

Along with the money, people are tweeting under the hashtag #ThankYouAndreas and reminding Antonopoulos of the many ways he made a difference in their lives.  

“Words are my craft but tonight I am speechless,” the author of Mastering Bitcoin tweeted last night.

Never a Rich Man

Antonopoulos became involved with Bitcoin in 2012. He has written two books on the subject, describing in detail the technical rules governing Bitcoin in a way that a novice could understand, and has given more than 200 talks (many of them free) about Bitcoin.

It is easy to imagine that someone who knows so much about Bitcoin might have found a way to profit from it. A small investment in the virtual currency five years ago, when bitcoin was at around $6, would have netted the Bitcoin writer a humongous profit. (Bitcoin is currently listed at $16,000.) But Antonopoulos wasn’t really a speculator.

Indeed, as investor Roger Ver pointed out in one of his tweets, if Antonopoulos had put more money into bitcoin early on, he would have been a lot better off financially.

But Antonopoulos was too busy, too obsessed with spreading his vision of a world free from the strictures of legacy banks and payment systems. He wanted people to understand the technology and to appreciate its promise.

That early obsession, as he described in a recent blog post, led him to undo a lifetime of savings and eventually fall into credit card debt as he tumbled down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. He lived paycheck to paycheck for years until becoming debt-free at the end of 2016. Those bitcoins he’d collected and earned had to be cashed out along the way to support him and his family.

I did invest, Roger. Then I sold in 2013 to pay my rent. I didn’t have disposable income to work for two years without pay and invest at the same time. I should’ve gone into more debt, but that would have been irresponsible towards my family who I supported

— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) December 5, 2017

Because most people were not aware of Antonopoulos’s earlier struggles, some were puzzled when he recently began putting videos of his talks on Patreon, a membership platform that allows users to collect monthly subscription fees for services.  

“I’m not a bitcoin millionnaire [sic],” Antonopoulos responded to one follower on Twitter. “My supporters on Patreon, many at $5/month, make it possible for me to work with independence.”

Developer Adam Back quickly responded with the suggestion that “if ‘sign guy’ can get a meaningful start from tips, we should try [to] find a way for the community to fund @aantonop to a hodlers position.” And the community agreed.

Shortly thereafter, his number of Patreon supporters began to rise, and donations started to pour into Antonopoulos’s bitcoin address.

In addition to the funds that accumulated, accolades began to pour in from supporters far and wide on Twitter, Reddit and Patreon. Many credit him for getting them into Bitcoin in the first place, for helping them to understand it and for inspiring them to pursue careers in the space.

“I don’t know anyone as authentic, well-intentioned and universally respected in the industry,” wrote entrepreneur Ryan Selkis in a tweet.

“@aantonop is by far the BEST advocate and most eloquent speaker on #bitcoin. His speeches had a HUGE influence on me,” wrote investor and author Brian Kelly.

“The community raised over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin in a matter of hours for Andreas from all over the world, which beautifully shows the power of Bitcoin itself, actually,” wrote Erik Voorhees, CEO at cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift.

For Antonopoulos, the outpouring of support has been no less than overwhelming.

“I am going offline for a few days. I need time to process everything that happened,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “If you sent me a message in the last 48 hrs, thank you. If I don’t respond for a week or so, I apologize.”

[embedded content]

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Insurance About to Make a Big Jump into Crypto World: InsurePal ICO Starts on January 16

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Insurance is one of the sectors that are not usually a part of blockchain discussion. One of the reasons is the industry is so tightly regulated that not many businesses can compete, as they have to undergo severe legal and financial procedures to prove their models` sustainability.

The other is its organizational structure, as it is an industry controlled by big corporations with rigid structure, meaning the entry point is extremely high. And the later, but certainly not the least, is the challenge of how to effectively apply blockchain in insurance. It is not easy to come up with a disruptive new insurance structure than can work as an agile self-adjusting platform, store information the ledger, offer cheaper insurance and attract masses, all at the same time.

However, InsurePal is set to do everything mentioned above. The distributed insurance platform has reinvented the science of social proof to work similarly as a third-party deductible in banking. This means that the policyholder will be able to lower the price of his premium with the help of his trusted contacts. In other words, his endorsers also accept financial responsibility in case the policyholder makes at false-claim.

The simplest application of social proof would be in motor insurance, as explained in their whitepaper: John`s best friend Mary knows his driving habits and therefore endorses him. For that, she gets and immediate bonus, whilst John ends up with a cheaper premium. If nothing goes wrong, that is pretty much it. However, if John files an at-fault claim, Mary is the one held liable.

Therefore, social proof is peer pressure put to good use: it motivates beneficiary behavioural patterns and changes groups, and even society for better without aggressively invading privacy. And, blockchain`s immutable record is an impeccable way to store the social proof into the ledger. As such, it can serve as an important sing of one`s diligence and can be used to gain benefits across various insurances and even across different industries.

One of the InsurePal`s most exciting use cases is definitely the insurance of blockchain business transactions. The team is convinced this type of insurance will bring in the missing trust among all the stakeholders and serve as an additional boost of the rising decentralized economy. Certainly, the platform also promises many interesting features to incentivize both, the engaged crypto users and those who have not yet meet with the world of crypto.

InsurePal team is 30 members big, comprised of experienced and renown insurance professionals and blockchain, IT and communications experts with a track record of successful projects; a PoC published on GitHub and, what is rare but very promising, an innovative solution that was filed for patent protection in US and worldwide. For more information, please visit their webpage or read their whitepaper and mark January 16 as the starting day of their crowdsale.

Ripple Price Technical Analysis – XRP/USD To Decline Further

Source

Key Highlights

  • Ripple price is struggling to remain above the $0.2400 support and moved below $0.2380 against the US Dollar.
  • This is a major bearish trend line forming with resistance at $0.2450 on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair (data source from Kraken).
  • The pair might decline further and it could even test the $0.2300 support in the near term.

Ripple price is under pressure against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. XRP/USD might extend its decline and trade towards $0.2300 or $0.2200.

Ripple Price Resistance

There was no major upside move in Ripple price above the $0.2500 level against the US Dollar. The price struggled to remain above the $0.2500 level and started a downside move. During the downside move, there was a break below a couple of important supports such as $0.2450 and the 50% Fib retracement level of the last upside wave from the $0.2200 swing low to $0.2670 high. The worst part was a close below $0.2450 and the 100 hourly simple moving average.

It seems like the price could continue to move lower towards $0.2300 in the near term. The next major support is near $0.2316 and the 76.4% Fib retracement level of the last upside wave from the $0.2200 swing low to $0.2670 high. However, there are chances of it declining back towards $0.2200 in the near term. On the upside, there is a major bearish trend line forming with resistance at $0.2450 on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD.

Ripple Price Technical Analysis XRP USD

The trend line resistance near $0.2450 is also around the 100 hourly SMA. Therefore, any major recovery should be limited by the $0.2450 level in the short term.

Looking at the technical indicators:

Hourly MACD – The MACD for XRP/USD has now moved from the bullish to bearish zone.

Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for XRP/USD is now well below the 50 level and heading down.

Major Support Level – $0.2300

Major Resistance Level – $0.2450

Charts courtesy – Trading View, Kraken

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not guaranteed, does not purport to be comprehensive and is strictly for information purposes only. It should not be regarded as investment/trading advice. All the information is believed to come from reliable sources. NewsBTC does not warrant the accuracy, correctness, or completeness of information in its analysis and therefore will not be liable for any loss incurred.

Presenting InsurePal: Distributed Social Proof Insurance

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The insurance industry is flooded with a lot of problems, right from issues of identification to poor segmentation, privacy invasion and filing false claims. But those issues will be a thing of the past soon. InsurePal is a new insurance platform, changing the tide with modern and affordable solutions by leveraging the blockchain technology. Apart from ensuring that the insurance of your car or your house is hassle-free, it also insures your blockchain business, to help maneuver your way through the turbulent new technology. The amazing part? The entire system makes use of social proof from your peers. See the Whitepaper.

Putting social proof to work

Who knows you best? For the first time, an insurance will rely on peer to peer assessments and will also give incentives for this kind of valuable information as they are difficult to determine just with research or intellect. Social proof is a psychological system being leveraged by InsurePal so that your guarantee for cheaper premium is done not by your insurer, but by your friend, your family member or your neighbor, etc. It reduces the identity verification time of the individual and helps fast track insurance claims for both businesses and individuals, but most of all, it promises to reduce insurance costs for all of you who behave responsibly.

With social proof, your best friends will be able to confirm you are a safe driver and your potential business partners will be able to know for sure whether you can be trusted or not by relying on your Social Proof Trustscore rating. The fact is we use social proof in different situations every day: but now, our own diligence when assessing our social network will be used to give a more objective insight into one`s character and the best part, it will also be rewarded.

Insurance of tomorrow by harnessing the power of blockchain technology

In addition to the already known segments of insurance, InsurePal aims to intervene into a completely new insurance segments of life and business. The traditional insurance sector usually doesn’t offer niece coverage as it represents too big of a risk for their cumbersome structure. On the contrary, InsurePal is building a blockchain-based self-adjusting agile platform that will be able to use the mechanics of social proof for different segments of the already existing and also completely newly created insurance products.

So, how can you get a cheaper car insurance? Your friend Mary knows you are a safe driver who hasn`t had an accident in years. She can help you lower your costs by making a social proof guarantee for you. That means she will also be financially responsible in case you make at fault claim. InsurePal will give her an immediate incentive, and you will end up with a much cheaper insurance. Now you are all set and if you really are a responsible driver, neither of you has nothing to worry about!

What about securing blockchain transactions? This is a part when it gets really interesting! There are plenty of you out there who already do business online, trade in crypto or are at the moment seriously thinking about it. Now, you can make sure your business arrangements are secure. You and your business partner can sign up a smart contract in which you define the key parameters you have to abide prior making the transaction. So, if the other person breaches the agreement or something goes fishy, you still receive a financial compensation, collected from InsurePal and the other person`s social network. And the other side? Their Social Proof Trustscore reduces significantly and is visible to all the InsurePal network, clearly signalizing they are not trustworthy business partners.

InsurePal’s to launch pilot insurance in the UK

Historically, Great Britain is a cradle of insurance, making it one of the most challenging markets to penetrate. It is also a country where people, especially the young, pay enormous prices for car insurance. In fact, their insurance is usually more expensive than the price of their car.  All in all, a total of 30 million personal cars were insured, which saw 3 million qualified drivers getting peer-to-peer insurance. InsurePal is certain that if their platform works there, it can pretty much work anywhere!

InsurePal’s primacy with patented solution and tokenization

So instead of going around gathering data from unreliable (yet extremely expensive) sources, InsurePal’s platform leverages the social proof data without aggressively invading one`s privacy. Even more, the platform is to store an individual`s social proof on the distributed ledger, giving the users plenty of possibilities to receive additional benefits, incentivize their activities and transfer the social proof information to other entities. It is expected the insurance economy on blockchain will rapidly grow. For that, InsurePal is already making strategic partnerships for arbitrage and identity protection to make this a reality without ever compromising individual`s privacy.

Even more, insurance is one of the most tightly regulated industries. That is why not many businesses cannot practice it. Insurance companies need a legal approval that their insurance model withholds even the darkest possible predictions so they can be able to pay out all the premiums and claims. And, InsurePal is planning to obtain all the necessary licenses in UK and Europe or make important strategic partnerships that will enable the social proof insurance be used anywhere in the world. Even more, the social proof in insurance is so innovative that they have filed for a patent protection in the US and worldwide.

The ICO that will change the way you insure

Since InsurePal is revolutionizing the entire insurance industry with the blockchain technology, participating in the crowdsale will put you in a position to being part of the system that will help individuals and businesses use the blockchain to insure themselves and their businesses.

Become a member of InsurePal to build the blockchain-based, peer-to-peer insurance market.

Participate in the crowdsale here.

Or become social with us: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, BitcoinTalk.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent the views of NewsBTC or any of its team members. NewsBTC is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in Sponsored Stories/Press Releases such as this one.

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Drivechain Team Submits Two Sidechain-Related BIPs

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TheMerkle Drivechain Bitcoin Sidechains

Scaling Bitcoin is still a very talked-about topic in the developer community. On-chain scaling isn’t the approach most people are willing to explore right now. Instead, we see initiatives such as Drivechain focus on bringing sidechain technology to Bitcoin in the future. Two new proposals have been submitted to make this change occur sooner rather than later.

Will Bitcoin Ever get Sidechains?

The big question is, as it has always been, how Bitcoin will scale in the future. The integration of Segregated Witness hasn’t introduced many positive changes so far. This is mainly due to so few service providers having integrated this scaling solution so far. It is doubtful any major improvements will happen in this regard, although one never knows for sure what the future holds.

Regardless, there are still a few other options waiting to be explored. The Drivechain project has been of great interest to a lot of Bitcoin community members. This project aims to introduce sidechains, which can solve the majority of Bitcoin’s scaling problems and even introduce some innovative features to the ecosystem as a whole. 

Two new BIPs proposed by the Drivechain team relate to sidechain technology and mainly focus on gathering feedback for the code in its current form. After all, the project has been in development for nearly two full years, yet very few people had actually seen any of its code until a few weeks ago. With things finally heading in the right direction, we may finally see Bitcoin integrate sidechains.

One of these proposals focuses on a concept known as hashrate escrow. This is somewhat similar to 2-of-3 multisignature escrow, where the third party is a set of Bitcoin miners. However, miners can only sign transactions by directing hashpower to them for a specific amount of time. It’s an interesting approach which may be of great use to the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole.

The second proposal involves something known as blind merged mining, which allows for the mining of extension blocks or sidechains. Miners would not have to perform any validations on the blocks themselves, which is rather interesting. As its name suggests, this process spans two or more blockchains, which is an interesting way to reuse hashpower to secure other chains. This proposal is well worth checking out, as it solves some of the more common problems associated with merged mining as we know it today.

Whether or not Bitcoin’s developers will approve the concept of sidechains remains to be seen, though. So far, this concept has received a lot of pushback, as it may eventually introduce new vulnerabilities to the Bitcoin network. This is why we need reviews of all the code written to date, which is exactly why the Drivechain team has shared these BIPs with the rest of the community.