Category Archives: News teaser

Bitcoin Is Pervasive In Medical Tourism

Bitcoin is increasingly being used for payments in various sectors of the tourism industry. Now, as medical tourism is booming, the cryptocurrency is also becoming popular in this multi-billion dollar sector.


Bitcoin and the Medical Tourism Boom

For some time, travelers and tourists have been using Bitcoin to pay for flights, accommodations, and car rentals.

Now, medical tourism is growing exponentially. According to economics professor Marc Pilkington, medical tourism is a $100 billion global market industry comprising 11 million medical tourists annually. The yearly growth is around 25% worldwide.

And, many medical tourists are paying with Bitcoin when traveling abroad to receive medical treatments, such as health check-ups, organ transplants, cancer treatments, and orthopedic, dental, and cosmetic procedures.

According to the MedicalTourism Magazine, the medical tourism’s growth drivers include:

  • Aging population
  • Increase in degenerative diseases
  • Lack of access to quality healthcare services
  • Rising healthcare costs
  • Long wait times
  • Ease of travel

Now, a rising number of the institutions that provide treatment and services to medical tourists are using blockchain technology and accepting payments in Bitcoin.

A Fortune article entitled “The Rise of Medical Tourism Accepting Crypto Currencies” estimates that medical tourists will increasingly use cryptocurrencies. According to the article:

All in all, medical tourists are likely to increasingly use cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. For a growing percentage of the rich and super-rich and many less wealthy individuals and families, there are distinct advantages of using cryptocurrencies.

Medical Providers are Accepting Bitcoin

Presently, thousands upon thousands of merchants are already accepting Bitcoin. Now, medical and health service providers are also accepting the digital currency.

For example, Dr. Edward Domanskis, who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, specializes in face and body rejuvenation. Dr. Domanskis accepts Bitcoin as payment for cosmetic plastic surgeries. His central office is in Newport Beach, California, and he also manages satellite offices in San Francisco, Miami, Anguilla, and EU. In a press release, Dr. Domankis said,

Bitcoin should work for my plastic surgery practice for it will allow my far-flung patient population to pay for my services easier. I like to be in the forefront of new technology and developments.

The Columbus Medical Center (CPMC), based in Columbus, Georgia, started to accept Bitcoin in September 2017. When making the announcement, Dr. Eric Codner, the lead doctor at CPMC, stated:

Using Bitcoin for your purchases returns power to the consumer by allowing payment through a decentralized currency that cannot be manipulated by any bank or government.

Likewise, hair care clinics in several European capitals accept Bitcoin payments. For example, the London based Vinci Hair Clinic started accepting Bitcoin in December 2016.

Healthcare services based in Canada also accept payments in Bitcoin. For example, Ask the Doctor offers online healthcare services to patients worldwide. This service provider began receiving Bitcoin payments in October 2016.

The use of Bitcoin will most likely continue to expand within the tourism industry. Due to Bitcoin’s borderless nature, it greatly facilitates payments for tourism, medical tourism, and healthcare services throughout the world.

What are your thoughts about Bitcoin becoming the primary currency of the medical tourism industry? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay, AdobeStock

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Over 860,000 Have Signed Up to Mine the Venezuelan Petro

President Nicolas Maduro announces that 860,811 young people have registered to mine the Petro, the new national cryptocurrency of Venezuela.


Paper Virtually Worthless

Economically, Venezuela has been in terrible shape for a number of years. The failed socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have destroyed the national economy, caused massive hyperinflation, and led to a humanitarian crisis where food and medicine are in short supply.

In such times, many have turned to mining Bitcoin in order to survive, but such individualistic practices are not supported by the national government. Maduro declared last December the creation of a national cryptocurrency called the Petro, and he recently announced that 860,811 young people have registered to mine the new virtual currency.

Mandatory Registry and the Creation of the Petro

It was just last month that Bitcoin miners had to join an online registry in order to legally keep mining. Some argued that the registry offered legal protection to miners. However, some cynical folks thought that such a registry would just serve to give the state a list of names and places to keep tabs on and, possibly, eventually confiscate mining tech. There have been quite a few reports of police and government authorities seizing mining computers and using them for their own gain.

Into the economic maelstrom of woe came a new hope. President Maduro announced in December 2017 the creation of the Petro cryptocurrency. This new virtual currency would allow the country to help negate the effects of US-led sanctions and would be based on the country’s stock of gold and diamond holdings, as well as over 5 billion barrels of oil. In his announcement of the Petro, Maduro said:

Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency … the ‘petro’, to advance issues of monetary sovereignty, make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade … This is going to allow us to move toward new forms of international financing for the country’s economic and social development.

Crude Oil to Support Venezuela’s Petro Cryptocurrency

Tapping the Youth

It appears that Venezuela is going full-bore on mining Petro. Supposedly 860,811 young people have signed up to begin mining the cryptocurrency. The government seems focused on incorporating young people into the project, probably due to their increased familiarity with the crypto world. These young people are going to be tasked with setting up mining farms.

Of this project, President Maduro notes:

We are going to call them, a special cryptocurrency team, to set up mining criptomenoda farms in all the states and municipalities of the country.

So it appears that the government will be setting up their own mining farms. One wonders how many confiscated computers are being used for such an endeavor. Of the over 860K signups, it’s reported that 300,000 are already in “productive tasks,” whatever that means. It would be interesting to see how many of the over 860K signups also appeared on the mandatory registry list.

What do you think about the Petro mining project? Will the coin achieve any level of value? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Shutterstock

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Criminals Have Found an Alternative to Bitcoin

Many people believe that Bitcoin is the preferred currency of criminals, but experts think that criminals are dropping Bitcoin for other digital currencies.


The Rise of Privacy Coins

In the last couple of years, deep web markets have risen in popularity. The major appeal of such darknet markets is the ability to obtain illegal goods like drugs and weapons in an anonymous way. But the recent technological advancements of law enforcement agencies has made purchasing goods on the darknet riskier.

Silk Road was once the most popular and widely used darknet market. The FBI was able to shut down Silk Road in 2013 after extensively analyzing Bitcoin transactions. Some experts believe that law enforcement agencies are able to track Bitcoin transactions that are involved in criminal activities. Many cryptocurrencies have now been developed that exclusively focus on the privacy aspect. Currently, the most popular privacy coins are Dash, Monero, and Zcash. A recent article by The Age mentioned that Europol has released a report regarding the rise of privacy coins in the criminal world.

Ditching Bitcoin for Privacy Coins

Many darknet markets have decided to no longer accept Bitcoin as a payment method after concerns of tracking possibilities from law enforcement agencies. Blockchain analysis companies like Chainalysis are now able to track illegal activities like money laundering or drug trading. The article by The Age also reports that darknet markets are not the only ones that use privacy coins for illegal activities. Many ransomware attacks have stopped accepting Bitcoin and only request anonymous coins like Monero.

Many analysts are concerned that companies and law enforcement agencies may target privacy coin users even though they are not involved in any illegal activities. A core developer at Monero, Riccardo Spagni, stated the following regarding these concerns:

As a community, we certainly don’t advocate for Monero’s use by criminals. At the same time if you have a decentralised currency, it’s not like you can prevent someone from using it. I imagine that Monero provides massive advantages for criminals over bitcoin, so they would use Monero.

Many institutions, companies, and law enforcement agencies have tried to track privacy coins without much success. Still, it’s not the fault of these privacy coins if criminals decide to use them. It’s like blaming the dollar bill when someone buys some illegal drugs from a pusher on a street corner.

What are your thoughts on the rise of privacy coins? Do you think that more people will start using them instead of Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Pexels.

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Poland: New Central Bank Website Says Bitcoin is ‘Not Money’

The Poland central bank has appeared to sponsor a national campaign discouraging citizens from using cryptocurrencies, telling them they are “not money.”


Virtual Currencies ‘Not Money Within Meaning Of Law’

A dedicated website, which translates as ‘beware of cryptocurrencies,’ features multiple sections warning users about perceived dangers of non-fiat-based financial instruments.

“Virtual currencies are not money,” the lead heading of the website states, followed by:

cryptocurrencies are not currencies.

The contact details of the site’s publishers refer users to the Polish central bank, suggesting a concerted official effort on behalf of lawmakers to present Bitcoin and altcoins as being in a legal gray area.

“Cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, digital currencies are not ‘electronic money’ within the meaning of the law,” it is claimed.

It is a digital representation of a contractual value among its users, which is not issued and guaranteed by any central bank in the world (eg Polish zloty is issued by the National Bank of Poland).

Australian Banks Block Bitcoin Exchange Payments… Again

While authorities in Europe have issued multiple strongly-worded warnings about alternatives to their various national currencies as Bitcoin gains in value, Poland appears to be the first state to set up a dedicated portal against it.

Earlier this month, Denmark’s central bank chief decried Bitcoin as “deadly” and told the country not to use it.

Reacting on social media, Bitcoin users were bearish about the Polish discovery, one Reddit commentator describing the website as the “next phase” in central bank crackdowns on cryptocurrencies.

Australia Latest Country to Push for National Cryptocurrency

At the same time, investors across the world in Australia have begun reporting instances of banks blocking their accounts after they attempted to send funds to legal cryptocurrency exchanges.

The practice has been sporadically reported throughout the past few years in various countries, with banks remaining silent on the impetus behind the seemingly random blocks. As local news media outlet Sydney Morning Herald reports today, the latest spate involving Australian institutions is no exception.

“We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you, but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry,” the publication quotes Coinspot, one of the exchanges affected, as stating.

What do you think about Polish and Australian banking reactions to cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Estonia Is One Step Closer to Creating a Digital Nation

Estonia is well on its way to realizing its dream of building a global nation supported by its e-Residency program and its own cryptocurrency.


Digital currencies have definitely taken 2017 by storm. Massive price increases, mainstream adoption and just an overall interest in the benefits of blockchain technology have been some of the key highlights of this year.

It’s not just investors hoping to capitalize on these benefits though, governments can also see the advantages to having a cashless financial system.

Bragging Rights for the First State-Run ICO

Bragging Rights for the First State-Run ICO

Estonia had previously announced its plan to develop its own cryptocurrency, the Estcoin. In addition, the country has plans to launch an ICO for its crypto. If successful, it will be the world’s first state-approved and supported ICO.

According to Futurism, the Estcoin would support the country’s e-Residency initiative, which is a project aimed at creating and fostering a global digital nation. Kaspar Korjus, who is the program’s managing director, explained that essentially, anyone in the world who has Internet access can become a “digital citizen” of Estonia. In addition, these citizens can set up and run their business in the country.

Since its launch, the e-Residency initiative has received over 27,000 applicants from more than 140 countries. In addition, 4,272 companies have been registered.

A Multi-Faceted Token

According to Korjus, the state-operated Estcoin token would have varied uses. He explained:

The community Estcoin would be structured to support the objective of growing our new digital nation by incentivizing more people around the world to apply for and make greater use of e-Residency. This includes encouraging investors and entrepreneurs to use e-Residency as their platform for trusted ICO activity.

These tokens, which cannot be traded, can also be used to facilitate electronic signatures, and for log-in purposes. Even though its value will be connected to that of the euro, it is by no means a substitute for the country’s fiat currency.

Vitalik Buterin, who is the co-founder of Ethereum, gave his opinion on the matter:

[I]f these estcoins are issued on top of a blockchain (they could possibly be issued in multiple formats at the same time, nothing wrong with this) then it would become easy and convenient to use them inside of smart contracts and other applications.

Estcoin Is Part of the Bigger Picture

Estcoin Is Part of the Bigger Picture

Even though countries such as Russia, Israel, and Dubai have plans to launch their own state-controlled digital currencies, Estonia seems to have a clear picture in mind, not just in creating a useful crypto, but incorporating it into a new era in the digital revolution.

Do you think Estonia will succeed in creating a digital nation? Will the Estcoin help with this vision? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, e-resident.gov.ee

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Everything You Need To Know About The New Poloniex Verification Policy

Poloniex just reported that it’s going to require verification for legacy accounts. Here’s what’s what you need to know: 


On December 27, 2017, cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex released this press release. The release outlines that fact that the company will soon start requiring that every account held on its platform is verified and that, to this aim, will start removing accounts (so-called legacy accounts) on an as-yet-undecided date.

Here’s Poloniex’s official statement on the development:

We have recently completed a major upgrade to our customer identification and verification systems. As a result, we will soon require legacy accounts to become verified through the latest version of our verification portal.

What Does This Mean for Account Holders?

Anyone that set up an account with Poloniex this year should have no issues. Recently created accounts had to undergo the verification process as part of the initial setup process and – as such – already comply with the company’s verification policy.

If you set up an account prior to the verification system being put in place, however (and, as a result, are an as-yet unverified account holder), you’re going to need to get the account verified if you don’t want to lose access to it and whatever coins you hold on the platform in that account.

The verification process is relatively simple and falls in line with the same sorts of processes being used by the bigger name exchanges in this space (Bittrex, Binance, etc.) and also with the vast majority of the exchanges and financial institutions in the more traditional financial world – forex exchanges, stock brokerages, that sort of thing.

Poloniex User Verification

What’s This All About?

It’s part of what’s called Know Your Customer (or KYC) legislation, which is a set of rules and processes that dictate how a business needs to identify and verify the identity of its clients. The rules vary from country to country (readers that want some country-specific clarification should check out the Wiki here) but across pretty much every country that employs KYC it basically involves making the customer prove who they say they are by way of a photo identification and address check, that sort of thing.

When Will it Go into Effect?

As yet, Poloniex hasn’t confirmed the data on which it’s going to shut down the non-verified account. However, as per the PR outlining the news:

The exact date for this deadline will be announced in Q1 2018. While you will be given advance notice before this requirement goes into effect, we encourage you to verify your legacy account now to avoid any potential interruptions in your ability to trade on the platform.

In other words, if you’ve got an unverified account with Poloniex and you don’t want to risk losing it, it’s best to act as soon as possible.

What do you think of this development? Is it an inevitable consequence of scale? Let us know below!


Images courtesy of Poloniex

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Crypto Pundit John Mcafee Hacked but Hodling

The markets have shown declines across the board this morning, possibly due to a sell-off during the Asian trading session following government regulation in South Korea. Bitcoin and all of its brethren slid overnight by an average of around 12%, and only Ripple seems to have survived.


News can be a big influence on the nascent cryptocurrency market, as can social media, such as Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. One such crypto aficionado who has taken to social media in recent weeks to air his views is outspoken British-American computer programmer and businessman John McAfee.

Hodl or Die

In an article on MarketWatch, Bitcoin bull McAfee remained confident and told those holding the digital currency to keep doing so, despite it shedding 40% off its record high in the past two weeks. McAfee, who founded the self-named anti-virus company in 1987, took to Twitter, where he has been spending a lot of time lately, and posted:

For you who are long term investors like myself: (those who always make the most returns), BITCOIN is still the crypto giant. It is at a low price, and will never be cheaper. It will be ten times this price in 2018. Remember – it has the lowest circulating supply of any coin.

Known his for candid comments, McAfee stated at the end of November that he would eat his own manhood if a Bitcoin was not worth a million dollars by 2020. He has since become quite a character in the crypto sphere.

Hacked Off

In an ironic twist, the former cyber security chief found himself at the wrong end of the digital divide today when his Twitter account was hacked. McAfee has been using the account to post daily altcoin recommendations, which have largely resulted in somewhat predictable pumps and dumps. Critics have labelled this as market manipulation, but in an unregulated market such as crypto, anything goes. McAfee recently changed the daily coin recommendation to a weekly occurrence.

The hackers had started to post their own coin recommendations using McAfee’s account, which had over half a million followers at the time. Coins pumped during the incursion were BAT, NXT, and Siacoin.

He replied with the following post after users started posting screenshots onto social media:

Urgent: My account was hacked. Twitter has been notified. The coin of the day tweet was not me. As you all know… I am not doing a coin of the day anymore!!!!

In an attempt to extricate himself from the digital abyss, McAfee did post the following:

Though I am a security expert, I have no control over Twitter’s security. I have haters. I am a target. People make fake accounts, fake screenshots, fake claims. I am a target for hackers who lost money and blame me. Please take responsibility for yourselves. Adults only please.

What the hack does is highlight the nature of things in crypto land. It will hopefully serve as a warning that nobody, not even the ex-boss of a cyber security firm, is immune. Take care of your coins!

What are your thoughts on John McAfee: crypto legend or market manipulator? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Twitter/@officialmcafee and Wikimedia Commons.

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BitPay Backpedals on Payment Limits

Online Bitcoin payments provider BitPay announced last week that the minimum accepted payment would be $100. This was in response to escalating Bitcoin transaction fees during the big sell off. However, just two days later, the provider backpedaled to restore the previous minimum of $5.


Last week saw Bitcoin’s biggest selloff this year, even bigger than the Chinese ICO ban in September. The crypto coin dumped 40% of its value in a matter of days, and the digital avalanche took most of the altcoins with it. When mass selling occurs, the exchanges get overwhelmed and transaction speeds grind seemingly to a halt. Conversely, the cost of sending or receiving Bitcoin escalates.

BitPay Responds

According to reports, the initial decision was explained on BitPay’s blog:

The Bitcoin network has been seeing record transaction volume in the last few weeks. This growth has also led to record network congestion and record-high bitcoin miner fees. Bitcoin miner fees are now more than $30 per transaction on average. To protect purchasers and to continue to offer service for Bitcoin payments, we are now requiring a new invoice minimum payment amount of $100 on all BitPay invoices.

Frustration reigned as traders tried to sell off their Bitcoin amid a market slide. However, the ‘hodlers’ were the victors as the coin has since rebounded back up to $15,000.

Backtracking

As the markets settled, the payments provider retracted the limit, returning it to its previous level of $5. In an updated post on Saturday, it stated that payment protocol improvements facilitated the implementation of the lower limit:

Our recent Payment Protocol improvements to the BitPay payment experience have effectively eliminated these payment mistakes. This has allowed us to make $5 or greater invoices available once again. Many invoice payments under $100 may still be uneconomical for bitcoin purchasers due to high bitcoin network fees. However, they again have the option to send these smaller payments if they choose.

To lower costs even further, BitPay is working towards implementing SegWit to their network:

We will be working in the coming months to implement Segregated Witness (Segwit) in various parts of our platform. Segregated Witness reduces the size of bitcoin transactions, allowing for an average bitcoin miner fee reduction of over 40%.

Users are urging the rapid implementation for fee reduction, but BitPay has still not made the change four months after it has been activated on the Bitcoin network.

Are you a BitPay user? Were you impacted by the $100 minimum that was in place for two days? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 


Images courtesy of PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Bitcoin Price Drop Is ‘Very Healthy’ – Fundstrat’s Tom Lee To Bloomberg

Analyst Tom Lee has described Bitcoin’s price “consolidation” as “very healthy” in fresh comments to mainstream media.


‘The Smallest Bubble I Know’

Speaking to Bloomberg December 22 as Bitcoin continued a 30% pullback to sub-$13,000 lows, Fundstrat Global Advisors’ head of research said the biggest cryptocurrency “had been following network value” for several years.

“If you look at the number of wallets and transaction activity per wallet, that explains 94% of the move of Bitcoin in the last four years,” he told the network’s Daybreak: Americas segment.

Lee’s comments provide a refreshing contrast to the ocean of bubble warnings to surface in non-cryptocurrency media outlets in recent weeks.

As Bitcoin prices continued to surge towards $20,000 and then correct downwards, warnings to investors combined with public criticism from Bitcoin Cash altcoin proponents to generate an overall sense of instability.

These warnings, Lee says, point not to prudence but to ignorance.

“If anyone says that Bitcoin is trading on pure speculation, they haven’t done their work,” he continued, citing research compiled by Fundstrat in recent months.

…If someone says Bitcoin’s a bubble, it’s the smallest, least-held bubble I’ve ever met.

Blodget: Maybe It Does Have Value

Bitcoin is currently trading at around $14,250, quelling volatility which had expanded during last week’s downward trend.

Meanwhile, Henry Blodget, the Business Insider CEO who earlier this year said Bitcoin has “no intrinsic value” and that investors should “put down the Kool Aid and walk away,” has led a more nuanced mainstream commentary on cryptocurrency prices, away from pure bubble speculation.

“Bitcoin can have a glorious future and change the world, and this run in particular could be a massive bubble and it could go back to $100 a coin,” he said in comments this week in which he likened the current situation to the dotcom boom.

These things are not mutually exclusive; it can be both.

What do you think about Tom Lee’s Bitcoin price opinion? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of blockchain.info, cnbc.com

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Morgan Stanley Analyst: True Price of Bitcoin Could Be Zero

In a recent report sent out to clients, Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette cautioned that the “true” value of Bitcoin might actually be zero.


Zero. Zip. Nada.

The report, titled Bitcoin Decrypted, discussed the difficulty in ascribing value to the digital currency, noting that it behaves like neither a currency nor a store-of-value commodity like gold, silver, etc… Examining several key factors, Faucette points out:

  • Bitcoin can’t be valued as a currency because it has no associated interest rate;
  • It may be likened to digital gold but, unlike gold itself, which is used in electronics, jewelry, etc.., Bitcoin has no inherent use*;
  • While it is technically a payment network, Bitcoin is difficult to scale and charges no transaction fee*;
  • Bitcoin’s average daily trade volume over the last 30 days is only $3 billion* compared to $5.4 trillion in the FX market;
  • The estimated daily purchase volume for Bitcoin is less than $300 million compared to Visa’s $17 billion

Bitcoin acceptance among Top 500 eCommerce Retailers

All of these facts, according to Faucette, underscore the fact that the digital currency has “virtually no acceptance, and shrinking.” In fact, he provides a handy chart (above) to illustrate his statement. Because of this, he maintains that “If nobody accepts the technology for payment then the value would be 0.”

Hold On There, Speed…

I hate to burst your bubble, Mr. Faucette, but some of your facts are…shall we say…less than factual. Mind you, I am no financial analyst, but then you don’t need to be to pick out these errors.

FACT 1 – Bitcoin has no inherent use

This one is a little tricky to refute, but I’ll give it a go. Playing devil’s advocate, let’s say that Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency has no inherent use. It’s underlying architecture, the blockchain, has a wide range of applications. I know…”But blockchain and Bitcoin are two separate things…” True, but without the blockchain, we wouldn’t have Bitcoin to begin with, so one could conceivably argue that – in this instance – they are two sides of the same coin.

Bitcoin has other uses too – especially in a socioeconomic sense. Consider the current economic conditions in Venezuela and Zimbabwe. These people have been utterly failed by their respective governments. Inflation is through the roof, their native currency has about as much value as one-ply toilet paper, and people – families – are starving. So where are they turning? Bitcoin. People are mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies so that they can survive. That’s pretty useful if you ask me.

Starving Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin Mining in Desperation

FACT 2 – Bitcoin charges no transaction fee

Um…hello? There is absolutely a transaction fee, and right now, we’re paying it out the wazoo. It’s part of those “scalability issues” you mention in your research report. Now, if by transaction fee, you mean a centralized service provider collecting a fee that goes into its own coffers, then I guess maybe you’re technically correct, but you’ve still missed the point. Kind of like tech support at a software company whose name will not be mentioned here.

FACT 3 – Bitcoin’s average trade volume over the last 30 days is only $3 billion

What rock have you been living under? Go look at the historical data for the last 30 days on CoinMarketCap. It’s okay. I’ll wait. Second column from the right. The one labeled Volume. If you take the average of all 30 days, as of this writing, it works out to $11.8 billion – just a wee bit more than your $3 billion estimate.

Bitcoin average 24hr trade volume

I respect your experience and your financial acumen, Mr. Faucette, and it even looks like we both believe in the same old adage, “Forewarned is forearmed,” but if you’re arming your clients with inaccurate information, what purpose does it serve?

What do you think of Faucette’s claims? Could the true value of Bitcoin actually be zero or is this just more wharrgarbl? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Morgan Stanley, Reuters

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More Altcoins Coming to Coinbase Says CEO Brian Armstrong

Coinbase has come under fire in recent weeks for slow transaction times, nonexistent support, and multiple server outages under high traffic. The US-based exchange even suspended trading when things really got lively during Litecoin’s romp to the top a few days ago. However new things could be coming to Coinbase in 2018.


In an interview with CNBC, Coinbase CEO and co-founder, Brian Armstrong, discussed how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are becoming the next generation stock market. He first went into brief details on a new service which will allow traditional investors and institutions to buy and store cryptocurrencies securely:

Coinbase Custody is seeking to become the first qualified custodian for institutions that are looking to store digital currency.

Altcoin Additions

The interesting part came next when he started talking about altcoins. As the crypto market becomes “Stock Market 2.0” he said that Coinbase plans to expand its altcoin listings in 2018.

The ones that are the most exciting to us that we have on the platform today are bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin, but there’s many more that are going to be added to the platform in 2018 and I think this is going to be a really exciting space for all kinds of institutional investors to make money.

When questioned about SEC regulations, he said that they have stayed out of adding any ICOs on the platform to date because of that regulatory uncertainty. There is a cautious approach to the area and a number of factors are considered before they add a new asset to the platform. These include regulatory risk, diligence on the team, security audits on the coin, and the customer demand. Finally, Armstrong added that Coinbase is looking to provide a safe place where customers can have assets that they trust and participate in this market.

Pick Your Poison

Speculation is all that we currently have on what particular altcoins will be added to Coinbase. It is likely they will come from the top of the market capacity charts, which tend to be the most popular coins by demand. So in 2018 will we be seeing Ripple, NEO, IOTA, and Bitcoin Cash listed on Coinbase – or will they be selecting Dash, Monero, Nem, and Bitcoin Gold – or maybe all of the above?

Give us your thoughts on what may be coming to Coinbase in the comments below.


Images courtesy of CNBC, Coinbase via Glassdoor

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Bitcoin Won’t Back down as China Continues Its Offensive

This year saw Bitcoin break records, and it also saw one of its biggest supporters continue their clampdown efforts to aggressively regulate it.


As Bitcoin continues to grow in both popularity and price, terms like “clamping down” and “regulation” are getting thrown around more frequently by some countries.

Some of this may stem from fears that the cryptocurrency may replace their own controlled and centralized fiat currency. Some governments feel that crypto will pave the way for an increase in money laundering and other fraudulent activities financed by digital currency.

Where Is the Love, China?

One such country is China, who seem to have a love-hate relationship (currently set to hate) with Bitcoin. During their honeymoon phase, Chinese authorities were hesitant but accepted Bitcoin in all its decentralized glory. Investors in the country were looking forward to putting their money into something that wasn’t controlled by the iron fist of the country’s heavily regulated financial industry.

Excerpts from the MIT Technology Review state that, in 2013, more Bitcoin wallets were downloaded by computers located in China than in all of the countries in the rest of the world combined. That year also saw $35 million in Bitcoin being moved around the Chinese exchange on a daily basis. As of September this year, more than two thirds of bitcoins were mined in China.

In fact, there was a time that China encouraged mining, especially in areas where there was a surplus of hydroelectric power. Even though China seems to be calling a timeout on their Bitcoin relationship, the mining sector didn’t get the memo, resulting in concern that the country will have too much power over this and blockchain technology.

Bitcoin did, however, offer a way for its holders to sidestep the country’s strict capital controls. China’s concern at how much of their currency was leaving the country resulted in them setting a limit of $50,000 worth of yuan outflow per person per year. With Bitcoin, holders could buy the crypto in yuan, sell it on a US exchange and then withdraw the dollars. China attempted to stop this by prohibiting financial institutions from transacting with Bitcoin exchanges.

However, Bitcoin fever had taken root, and holders found a loophole around this. They used vouchers to buy the currency on exchanges and even sent money to the personal bank accounts of exchange employees. These exchanges would also get their turn on the chopping block, but we’ll get to that.

Bitcoin’s popularity continued to grow throughout the world, and especially in China. In fact, last year saw most of the world’s Bitcoin trades being in yuan. Then 2017 happened. From the beginning of this year, the currency has grown by over 1000%, really turning up the heat for regulation-happy countries.

2017: China’s Year of Regulation

September this year saw China step up their regulation, or perhaps clampdown, game by banning ICOs in the country. This move may have caused anger in the hearts of crypto enthusiasts, yet the country’s own crypto community took it in stride.

China did seem to have a good reason though. Technology Review reports that the consensus was that nearly 90% of ICOs in China were run by fraudsters. Because Bitcoin interest was running high, everyone wanted to get in on the action, including inexperienced investors. Easy pickings for ICO scammers.

Da Hongfei, founder of NEO, which is also known as the ‘Chinese Ethereum,’ understood the ban. This understanding came after driving on Germany’s famous Autobahn, a highway system in Germany that has no speed limit. He says driving here is possible as:

They have good-quality roads, they have a very strict test for a driver’s license. Everybody is obeying the traffic rules, and they have very good-quality cars.

He added:

If we don’t do a speed limit in China, or even maybe the United States, that would be a disaster.

This would be a great comparison, if China’s actions didn’t essentially close the ICO highway. Perhaps it could be a temporary ban as the country works on regulating the process. This is a sentiment shared by industry experts.

Lu Bin, CEO of Shanghai-based startup, Andui, held his ICO in August this year and raised more than $20 million. However, all of that money had to be returned once the ban was in effect. Surprisingly, Bin took the same stance as the authorities and felt that the ban was more of a protective measure against fraud. He is now raising capital through private investment and is optimistic about the future of crypto in China. He said:

We are believers. We believe the Chinese market is eventually going to open.

He added that if cryptocurrency reaches its goal of mainstream adoption, China would not want to miss that particular train.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be applying their own regulations by possibly enforcing start-ups to register with the SEC before conducting their ICOs.

Exchanges: You’re Next

Next in the line of regulatory fire by Chinese authorities were exchanges. Bobby Lee, CEO of BTCC, which is China’s longest running exchange, knew that the end was nigh, especially after authorities explicitly stated that exchanges needed to close. As with most people in China’s crypto community, Lee took it quite calmly. He thought:

Ah, finally, the party’s over. The party has to end sometime.

However, the allure of Bitcoin is one that cannot be denied. Crypto enthusiasts found a loophole around this ban as well. Currency holders have turned to decentralized peer-to-peer trading marketplaces. One such platform, LocalBitcoins, has seen a massive surge in yuan transactions, with the last week of November seeing nearly ¥140,000 traded.

Holders have also started trading on the Telegram messaging app. Even though said app is blocked in the country, it can be accessed through VPNs. Overseas-based exchanges are also an option, as is using the WeChat messaging app, even though the latter is monitored by authorities.

Blockchain Without the Bitcoin

China is, however, well aware of the benefits of blockchain, the technology supporting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Ben Koo, an engineering professor at Tsinghua University, had this to say:

The central government wants to use blockchain to ensure the trustworthiness of public and administrative data, but they don’t want people to print their own money.

China may have hopes of launching their own virtual currency in a bid to replace Bitcoin. However, according to Bobby Lee, it would be a completely different animal than Bitcoin. He went on to add:

It’s going to be a controlled, centralized currency that happens to be digital; it happens to have some encryption technologies in it.

According to Lee, if it will be controlled by the same regulations as the country’s fiat currency, then it won’t be truly free, unlike Bitcoin.

China’s Attempts Have Not Ended Bitcoin

After the country’s ICO ban, the price of Bitcoin did drop. However, it has more than recovered in the interim. It reached the $20,000 mark on some exchanges. It seems to have a knack for getting back up, with a vengeance, after it’s been knocked down.

In a way, the fact that China deemed Bitcoin worthy of any type of regulation may have worked in the currency’s favor. Yan Chen, CEO of NBL, a service for storing cryptocurrency wallets, had this to say:

When China started regulating Bitcoin, it sent a message that China takes this currency very seriously. The market sees that Bitcoin is something that governments are afraid of, so it must be really powerful.

It does seem as if all of China’s efforts to control the currency has been in vain, probably due to the fact that by its very nature, it cannot be controlled. Bobby Lee added:

Bitcoin itself did not break after China banned it. Every time you try to whack Bitcoin and it doesn’t die, it becomes stronger.

Perhaps the next step for China should be to follow the example of Japan and support Bitcoin as a legal tender. Or, they can continue to believe that the currency is dying while the rest of the world hops on that very lucrative Bitcoin bandwagon.

Do you think that China will continue its crypto crackdown? Do you think it will make a difference to the popularity of virtual currencies? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

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HealthHeart CEO: ‘With the Promise of Blockchain Tech, I Decided to Stop Complaining and Work to Improve Healthcare’

Bitcoinist sat down with HealthHeart CEO Mark Rudnitsky to discuss how his company is revolutionizing the way Electronic Health Records (EHR) are kept. Through storing EHR on the blockchain, with a development focus on health care providers themselves, HealthHeart aims to help make patient records both secure and flexible enough to meet the demands of the cutting edge developments being made in holistic healthcare.


HealthHeart CEO Mark Rudnitsky

HealthHeart CEO Mark Rudnitsky

Bitcoinist: What is your experience within in the EHR industry?
MR: I worked for Epic Systems Corp directly after getting my Master’s degree from Georgetown. While there, I was a member of the Chronicles database team, which was responsible for maintaining the integrity of the patient records we stored. I also worked closely with the Resolute Hospital Billing team and participated in several go-lives and upgrades for our customers.

Bitcoinist: What made you decide to develop HealthHeart?
MR: I wasn’t – and still am not – happy with the lack of security built into most EHRs. Epic’s security team was excellent, but when dealing with millions of lines of 40+ year old code, there’s only so much they could do. So many security vulnerabilities and bugs existed in critical code that I was shocked Epic wasn’t regularly sued for their part in breaches and data theft. Security through obscurity isn’t good enough when patients’ lives are on the line. With the promise of blockchain tech, I finally decided to stop complaining about it and actually work to improve healthcare.

Bitcoinist: What are the biggest shortcomings with the current crop of traditional EHR offerings?
MR: Security, like I mentioned above, is horrible throughout the industry. The deluge of news regarding patient data breaches and ransomware attacks makes that obvious. Beyond that, EHRs tend to be bloated, providing too much functionality, to the point where something as simple as printing a document can take 10 clicks. I remember that before a customer site visit, the customer liaison always made a point of reminding us to always teach customers about new shortcuts or ways to navigate through the software. That always struck me as odd – if your software was actually intuitive and easy to use, why did I keep having to keep re-teaching experienced users the most basic of functionality?

Bitcoinist: How is HealthHeart different than traditional EHRs?
MR: Besides the security benefits of the blockchain, we’ve made sure to engage medical professionals in the design and building of our software from day one. They have the final say in what workflows are most useful, what we should focus on in our next dev cycle, even what color we use on a given screen. This software is by them, for them. Other companies have medical teams, but never before has an EHR been built from the ground up with such input from real providers. Finally, our software is cheaper to implement by a wide margin, making it affordable for all but the smallest clinics.

Bitcoinist: Is HealthHeart HIPAA-compliant?
MR: Of course! There are certain features we’re building that aren’t, such as interacting with patients on social media of their choosing, but we’re actively working on ways to either make that data HIPAA compliant or to avoid any disclosure of sensitive information.

Bitcoinist: How will HealthHeart benefit healthcare providers?
MR: By making software that puts the provider first, we actively encourage providers to integrate our EHR seamlessly into their daily work. We’re not developing a product and saying “Hey, you need to use this as-is”, like certain other companies. It’s designed around their specific workflows. What they need is exactly where they need it, when they need it. That’s something that’s never been done on such a massive scale, before us.

Bitcoinist: How will HealthHeart improve patient care?
MR: If providers help design our software, it’s intuitive for them to use. They know it like the back of their hand, which means less errant clicks and mistakes. Providers don’t have to spend as much time learning software as before, which means there’s more time to take care of patients. The patient record is intact and immutable, so that means patients will never have part of their record go missing, or have incomplete histories. Behaviors that could harm patients, such as drug-seeking behavior, doctor shopping, and failure to abide by medical advice, are all noted in the blockchain and visible to providers so that appropriate steps can be taken to help them.

Bitcoinist: You actively consult with an advisory board of healthcare providers – can you tell us more about that?
MR: We’ve been engaging with practicing medical professional since the beginning. They steer the design of our software, telling us what works, what doesn’t, what’s missing, and other invaluable feedback. We show them everything – mock-ups and demos, papers and documentation. Nothing is hidden from them since the HealthHeart EHR is for them. We can’t improve without their feedback, so we try to be as transparent as possible and implement as many changes as they recommend.

Bitcoinist: At a time when investors are looking for more than just a concept, will you be providing a working demo of the platform?
MR: We hope to have a full working alpha build in the first half of 2018. Of course, development schedules being what they are, we can’t give a more specific time than that. We’ll actively be posting updates on social media, and hope to have at least a video demo online shortly.

Bitcoinist: What future features/integrations are you planning for your platform?
MR: Right now, we’ve seen a lot of interest from podiatrists, so we expect to work closely with podiatrists we know to build custom-tailored modules for podiatry work. Due to some feedback from an orthodontist we know, we also hope to spend time developing integrated 3D modeling functionality into our software. We’re even working on a module for smart tattoos! There’s a lot of functionality we want to build, so just keep following our project and we’ll make it public as we do it!

Are you confident in your health provider’s record keeping? Would you be more confident if they were managed on the blockchain?  Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of HealthHeart, Shutterstock

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Two of the Big Four Accounting Firms Now Accept Bitcoin

In their quest to gain supremacy in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, PwC, and KPMG) are focusing their strategies and shaping their services to better respond to their customers’ demands. And, as a testament to Bitcoin’s status as an increasingly mainstream financial asset, PwC is following EY’s lead in accepting payments in Bitcoin.


PwC Hong Kong Accepts Bitcoin

Bitcoin and its blockchain technology are becoming so pervasive throughout business, finance, and industry that corporations, no matter how big or small, cannot avoid doing business that is, either directly or indirectly, related to Bitcoin and its technology.

The Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, PwC, and KPMG) affirm the cryptocurrency’s worthiness by embracing it and continuously adapting their services for new business models, such as crypto exchanges, crypto funds, and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

For example, PwC offers its advisory services to help startups, financial, and technology companies to take advantage of Bitcoin’s blockchain technology. Consistent with this outlook, the PwC office in Hong Kong is now accepting payments in Bitcoin. The Wall Street Journal reported:

PwC in Hong Kong said that it accepted the payment because it is increasingly working with startups in the city involved in cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the open-ledger technology that processes bitcoin transactions by logging them on a public record.

In a September 2015 paper entitled “Money is no object: Understanding the evolving cryptocurrency market,” PwC had already acknowledged that “Bitcoin has demonstrated its value.”

The Wall Street Journal quotes Raymund Chao, chairman of PwC Asia-Pacific, who said:

It is also an indication that bitcoin and other established cryptocurrencies have now developed into more broadly accepted forms of settlement.

The Big Four Are Full Steam Ahead on Bitcoin’s Technology

The other Big Four firms (Deloitte, EY, and KPMG) are also eager to keep up with the transformations driven by Bitcoin and its blockchain technology. For example, to promote Bitcoin’s adoption, EY made available ATMs at the World Web Forum for donations to Avatar Kids in January 2015.

Subsequently, as of January 2017, EY became the first of the Big Four to accept Bitcoin for its services. According to an EY press release:

EY is digitalizing itself – starting in 2017, it will be possible to pay invoices from EY Switzerland in Bitcoin, employees will receive a digital wallet, and a Bitcoin ATM will be put into operation in the main building.

Deloitte also concurs with the belief that Bitcoin’s technology is creating amazing opportunities. Accordingly, a Deloitte article states:

Although this electronic currency was originally viewed with quite some skepticism, the underlying technology is now being seen as an innovation that is creating a revolutionary range of opportunities.

Bitcoin-friendly Deloitte has been actively involved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem for a long time. Moreover, a Deloitte report acknowledges Bitcoin’s virtues as a vehicle for payments, in spite of its volatility. Deloitte personnel are already making use of a BTM and paying for their meals with Bitcoin at Bistro 1858, both located in Deloitte’s Toronto office.

KPMG is also providing advisory services related to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, such as blockchain solutions and ICOs. Recently, in November 2017, KPMG joined the Crypto Valley Association as a first partner. The Crypto Valley Association’s mission is “to take full advantage of Switzerland’s strengths to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem.”

Also, KPMG recently joined the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA) as a corporate member. WSBA fosters the adoption of blockchain technology across financial markets.

The Big Four group comprises the four largest providers in the world of audit, taxation, advisory, actuarial, management consulting, and corporate finance and legal services. They provide audit services to most of the public companies in the world, as well as many private companies. In fact, the Big Four offer auditing services to 99% of the FTSE 100 companies. Therefore, the involvement of the Big Four in the cryptocurrency industry is substantial evidence of Bitcoin’s significance in today’s corporate world.

Do you think that the fact that the Big Four firms are accepting Bitcoin will accelerate Bitcoin’s rate of adoption? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy Shutterstock, PwC, and Twitter/Deloitte.

The post Two of the Big Four Accounting Firms Now Accept Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

FinTech Wunderkind The NAGA Group AG Continues to Disrupt Financial Markets

FinTech company The NAGA Group AG aims to bring the advantages of financial technology to the masses through the first blockchain-based ecosystem for decentralized trading, investing, and education in financial markets, virtual goods, and cryptocurrencies.

[Note: This is a sponsored article.]


The NAGA Group AG is a German technology company whose mission is to “[identify and build] disruptive business models” and disrupt they have. After conducting one of Germany’s fastest recorded IPOs in the past 15 years, NAGA was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in July, whereupon they saw a share price increase of 400% in less than three months.

Considered one of the top traded retail shares in Germany, NAGA’s current market cap exceeds 300 million EUR ($348 million USD). NAGA is the first publicly traded company to follow up a successful IPO with a token sale and, unlike the majority of other token sales, has an existing product already generating millions of dollars in annual revenues.

NAGA Ecosystem

The NAGA ecosystem is an ambitious project that brings together NAGA’s core offerings – SwipeStox, Switex, and the NAGA wallet – to create a single platform that makes buying and selling stocks, cryptocurrencies, and virtual goods safer, more transparent, and more accessible to everyone.

SwipeStox

SwipeStox is social trading at its best. It combines the features of social networks like Facebook and Twitter (chat, channels, video, follow and watch, etc…) with a robust trading platform. Designed to take the confusion out of trading, SwipeStox lets users copy and share stock trades with a single click.

SwipeStox

Some of SwipeStox’ features include:

  • Copy Trades
  • Auto Copy
  • CYBO robo-advisor
  • Protector
  • News Feed
  • Social features

In addition, users who choose to share their trades with the larger community earn a generous bonus, paid directly to their account, any time another user copies one of their trades. In an interview with CNBC, CEO Benjamin Bilski stated that there are users who are making $10 – $15,000 per month just from having their trades copied by other traders on the platform.

Launched in 2016, SwipeStox currently has tens of thousands of active users and a total trade volume to date of over $49 billion. The SwipeStox app is available for both Android and iOS devices and there is a web-based interface as well.

Switex

Currently in alpha, Switex will be the first independent, safe, and legal virtual goods exchange platform.  Users of the platform will be able to buy in-game virtual items both from other gamers and directly from the game publishers themselves. Switex is not just for gamers, however. Practically any virtual item – concert tickets, movie tickets, e-gift cards – can be bought and sold in the marketplace.

Switex

Any item entering the Switex system will be secured against fraud and scamming as the legitimacy of the items, their origins, and the sellers’ right to sell will all be verified. Furthermore, Switex’ fully integrated clearance and settlement system will automatically transfer goods to the buyer upon purchase, ensuring a seamless and safe transaction for both parties.

NAGA Wallet

The NAGA wallet plays a central role in the NAGA ecosystem. First and foremost, it is a secure multi-currency wallet that allows users to deposit and exchange cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies. Second, it serves as a central hub, pulling together SwipeStox, Switex, and any future projects into one easily accessible dashboard interface. Users will be able to invest in stocks, trade virtual goods, manage crypto portfolios, facilitate transfers of funds, and more.

NAGA Wallet

Some of the key advantages of the NAGA wallet include:

  • Connects to leading cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Direct integration with SwipeStox and Switex user accounts
  • Lowest foreign exchange and transaction fees
  • Decentralized and risk-free storage
  • Dedicated NGC bonus wallet inside the NAGA wallet where users will earn a percentage-based bonus per transaction volume on both Switex and SwipeStox

Currently, the NAGA wallet can be funded with BTC, ETH, LTC, and DASH. Users preferring FIAT currencies can fund their wallet using a credit card or bank transfer.

NAGA Token Sale and Pre-Sale

NAGA will be launching its token sale in two stages – the Pre-Token Sale and the main Token Sale. The exchange rate for NAGA Coin is 1 NGC = $1 USD. Investors can purchase tokens using BTC, ETH, LTC, and DASH. For those wishing to use FIAT currency, EUR and USD are also accepted.

  • Token Name: NAGA Coin
  • Ticker Symbol: NGC
  • Token Price: 1 NGC = $1.00
  • Min. Cap in Tokens: 1 million NGC
  • Tokens Available for Sale: 220 million NGC (pre-sale and token sale combined)
  • Minimum Purchase: 10 NGC
  • Maximum Purchase: 10 million NGC
  • Accepted Currencies: BTC, ETH, LTC, DASH, EUR, USD

Token Pre-Sale

  • Start Date: November 20, 2017 (00:00 CET)
  • End Date: November 27, 2017 (23:59 CET)
  • Max Cap in Tokens: 20 million NGC
  • Sale Bonus: 30%

Token Sale

  • Start Date: December 1, 2017 (00:00 CET)
  • End Date: December 15, 2017 (23:59 CET)
  • Max Cap in Tokens: 200 million NGC

For more information about The NAGA Group AG, please visit their company website. You can learn more about the NAGA ecosystem and token sale at nagaico.com and by following them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BitcoinTalk, and Telegram.

What facet of the NAGA ecosystem do you think will be of most interest to users? To investors? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of The Naga Group AG

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DreamTeam Creates the First and Largest Recruitment and Management Network for eSports Players

DreamTeam builds a platform to provide a clear and transparent way to create teams and offers the fastest and easiest way to grow from amateur to novice and, if desired, to professional player.

[Note: This is a sponsored article.]


Esports is Changing the Way We Look at Competition

The growing popularity of Esports isn’t something people can deny anymore. Over the past few years, view counts have skyrocketed, with the biggest tournaments touting million-dollar prize pools and reaching $100M in 2017. Many large events are held in stadiums that are fully packed with thousands and thousands of fans traveling from all over the world to cheer on their favorite team. In 2018 the Esports gaming market revenue is projected to be almost $1Bn. Massive amounts of investment are being poured into the industry, building vital infrastructure and creating top-notch marketing campaigns to legitimize the scene further and cement it as a real form of entertainment for people all over the world to enjoy.

Parallels can be drawn between the traditional sports and the new world of competitive video gaming. The regular sports media & sponsorship revenue is over $90Bn, and the Esports has a meager $0.4Bn. But if you look at the audience size the divide is not as large – Sports has a 5Bn audience and Esports – 0.4Bn. This means that the ARPU in regular Sports is around $18 and in the Esports it is only $1. All of this data makes DreamTeam believe that the current Esports industry is a high-potential market with a limited growth due to the unstructured and insecure market conditions.

DreamTeam eSports

Notably, there is a surge in young aspiring players that are watching their heroes compete on stage, and new role models are created in front of our eyes. It’s becoming a common dream for these fans to make it into the professional scene and leave their mark on the game they love. However, building up the experience and skill required to compete in this highly competitive world comes with its challenges. Let’s take the #1 esports, League of Legends, as an example. Over 250 million people play it, and they are willing to create or join a team. But there are only 100 Esports clubs in this game, whereas, in football, there are 300 million players globally in 300,000 clubs.

One of the reasons for such a disparity in the ratio of players to clubs in Esports is the barrier to entry when it comes to building and managing a team. Globally there should be at least 50 million teams active now, but that’s not the reality. There are only 1 million teams. Some basic services have been offered with the intent to provide a place for amateur teams to practice together, play against other teams with similar skills, and grow overall as a unit.

Other sites have built analytical tools that make the strategical aspect of the game much easier to grasp. But all of them are mostly amateur effort, and no single comprehensive platform answers the most pressing questions competitive players have, like: where can I find a team? How do I become a pro? Where can I find other teams to practice with? How do I manage my team? Where can I analyze team data?

DreamTeam is an all-in-one solution that answers all of the above question and more. The platform offers every gamer a fast-track to creating a team and the easiest way from novice, to amateur and, if desired, to professional gamer. And the DreamTeam will create a multi-billion dollar ecosystem around the DreamTeam Token that secures and structures the industry and skyrockets its growth. 

How DreamTeam Builds a One-of-a-kind Platform on Blockchain and Smart Contracts Technology 

DreamTeam is an infrastructure project for the Esports and Gaming ecosystems. It is solving the problem of 250M gamers who want to build, grow, manage and monetize their teams. Teams, gamers, and coaches can get paid salaries and bonuses of all types (team to player, team to coach; player to personal coach and so on) using the platform in a fast and secure way. The platform provides a single solution to all these needs securely and professionally, that is easy for a common gamer to comprehend.

With the unlocking of blockchain and smart-contracts technologies, DreamTeam is set to build a one-of-a-kind platform and payment gateway for players, teams, tournaments, and sponsors, and becomes the only all-in-one platform where you’ll be able to find sponsorships & media right sales, prize money, salaries and player transfers. All of this is currently unavailable in one single place, but the DreamTeam will unite all Esports businesses under one roof.  The beta version (https://dreamteam.gg) was launched in mid-October and has already reached 1 user/minute registration rate.

Moreover, application of smart contracts will ensure proper salary and tournament prize money payouts for all users without the participation of third parties. Teams can set their KPI’s for the team manager and team coach, and they, in turn, set personal KPI’s for each player. Then, after a period of time (e.g., after a month), everyone is auto-checked by smart contracts and depending on the results, all participants of the process receive their salary and bonuses. The same goes for tournament prize payout, a smart contract is signed before the tournament start, and after the tournament and every team will immediately receive a payment according to their placement results. Through smart contracts, the signing process, execution control, and payments are all done exactly as predefined. For this very reason, DreamTeam Tokens and blockchain technology are applied.

Who are the People behind DreamTeam

Who are the People behind DreamTeam 

The Crew behind DreamTeam.GG project has built a platform that in its Beta stage can already streamline the entire process of recruitment and team management for players, and help people achieve their dreams.

CEO & Founder of DreamTeam is Alexander “ZeroGravity” Kokhanovskyy – he’s got 17 years of experience in the Esports industry. His expertise in the esports and gaming market inspired the DreamTeam project and helped it come to life. He built Na`Vi (Natus Vincere) – one of the most popular and successful Esports teams in the world. And in 2016 he became the Co-Owner of ESForce – the 3rd biggest Esports entity funded by the USM Holdings (shareholder of Mail.ru, VK .com, Megafon) with $100M of investments in the last round.

DreamTeam Partners and Advisory Board will consist of Esports industry leaders and crypto/investments professionals that are willing to give a hand and share their insights on the ways DreamTeam can develop. The detailed list of our partners and advisors will be available in the upcoming days as DreamTeam is currently in the process of signing agreements. As of now, DreamTeam can share its strategic partnership with ESL & StarLadder, top organizers of esports events in the world. On a legal side, DreamTeam is working with Cooley and Latham & Watkins legal firm to ensure complete adherence to the corresponding laws.

Combination of years of professional background in esports with a systematic approach to connecting players with similar skill-set and provision of straightforward tools to create teams are unlike anything else offered in the esports. DreamTeam is aiming to provide a completely secure experience for all players.

Possibilities for Investment

Investors and players alike can get in on this project at an early stage, test the platform and new features and invest in its development in the upcoming presale and sale. DreamTeam Token presale starts on November 13th and is aimed at large volume investors with a minimum of $50K per transaction. The first and second sales are open to the general public, and the investment starts just at 0.1 ETH and will take place on November 20-24th 2017 and in January 2018.

You can find more information about the project, token sale, and bonuses for early investors on the DreamTeam website at https://dreamteam.gg.

How do you think DreamTeam’s recruitment platform will contribute to the mainstream legitimizing of professional eSports gamers? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of AdobeStock, DreamTeam

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Why VPNs are Important and How Privatix Looks to Revolutionize the Industry

VPNs have become increasingly important in providing encrypted data transfers, and Privatix is looking to fundamentally change the industry with a blockchain-based VPN network allowing people to buy and sell bandwidth.

[Note: This is a sponsored article.]


Protecting Yourself in a Digital World

We live in a world where our entire lives are online. Everything from your shopping cart and pictures to friends, to more sensitive information such as bank account passwords and credit card information is on the internet somewhere and, as a result, cyber security and protecting your personal information should be at the top of everyone’s priority lists when accessing the web. Cyber criminals have the ability to find out a plethora of information about you just by finding your IP address. Your name, address, and even the sites you visit and applications you use can be tracked.

VPNs, or virtual private networks, have seen huge technological advancements in recent years as internet users strive to protect themselves online. For those that don’t know, a VPN is a service that allows users to create a more secure and encrypted connection to any of the sites they use on a daily basis. It was originally developed to allow remote workers to connect securely to their firm’s own private network but has expanded to a wide variety of use cases.

Why Use a VPN?

Everyone who uses a VPN regularly has their own reasons to do so, but there a bunch of applicable reasons to use one, even if you are a user without much sensitive data. When using a VPN, all the data received and sent out is encrypted. It shields it from not only criminals, but also all third parties such as internet service providers. Another popular aspect is the fact that, while using a VPN, you have full anonymity while browsing websites. VPNs also give you the ability to view sites and other services that would normally be blocked on whatever network you’re using. While for people living in countries where the government is hands off about internet traffic, this seems trivial, but for people living in countries where their access is restricted, this can be an important ability to have.

While VPNs solve a multitude of problems, they don’t come without some of their own. First off, if you’re using free VPN software, it often offers slower connections and data caps. Some restrict from what country you can connect to, only offering some countries. Other VPNs solve these issues but those often require a monthly paid subscription.

The Distributed Network Solution

Privatix, an established and well-known VPN provider, is looking to change how people secure themselves online. They are building the world’s first blockchain-based VPN network running on the Ethereum network. It will run as a decentralized, autonomous, and peer-to-peer internet bandwidth exchange, with users being able to sell their unused bandwidth to others while they’re not using it.

With around 90% of the world’s prepaid internet traffic remaining unused most of the time, the opportunity to sell parts of it is an incredible concept. Sellers can use the platform to sell their unused bandwidth while clients can come along and purchase the exact amount of data they need to use. The costs of this system are miniscule compared to traditional systems, with sellers making money and clients saving hundreds every year. The marketplace is not only targeted at consumers but also at enterprise as well. Companies can build their own personal VPNs upon the Privatix network.

The network will also have the ability to act as a content distribution network, or CDN. Currently, costs are sitting around $0.15 per gigabyte. But using the Privatix network, prices could be cut by upwards of six times. Companies such as Netflix or Hulu could save millions yearly with a network such as this, which would in turn save the end user money.

People will be able to have access to a free, reliable, and fast VPN by simply sharing their bandwidth with others and buying bandwidth from others. Or they’ll have the opportunity to make a little bit of spending money by renting out the idle potential traffic.

The network will run on via a native cryptocurrency token called the Privatix token, which will be able to be exchanged for other digital assets. The coin is being distributed via a token sale, with people looking to back the project able to contribute to the project by participating. The token sale is actually live as I type, and more information can be found at https://privatix.io/#tokenSale


Images courtesy of Privatix.

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Built-in Arbitration System is the Hallmark of Confideal

Technological innovation has helped fuel the current massive amount of global trade. With a click of a mouse button and an online video conference, trade deals can be hammered out with each participant never even having to leave their own office, much less their own country.

[Note: This is a sponsored article.]


However, those who regularly traffic in international trade are not yet taking advantage of all that blockchain technology has to offer in the form of smart contracts. Confideal is a blockchain-based, integrated platform for making secure international contracts that aims to help businesses and individuals engage in commerce while saving both money and aggravation. While such a construct is a boon to every businessperson, the hallmark of Confideal is its built-in arbitration system.

Large Volume of Trade Leads to Lots of Disputes

Large Volume of Trade Leads to Lots of Disputes

The amount of international trade is staggering and is estimated to be somewhere between $15 and $20 trillion USD per year. Real estate investment across national borders is on a far less scale, but that market is still expected to reach roughly $1.4 billion USD by the end of 2017. These numbers showcase that international deals are made every minute of every day.

With such a high volume of trade, it’s a certainty that some disputes will arise from a dissatisfied party. This then leads to arbitration, which is often expensive and time-consuming. It normally takes at least 6 months for an arbitration process to be completed, and the average cost is an eye-opening $2.5 million USD. Such circumstances mean that additional time and money is lost for both parties while the arbitration process drags along.

To counter this situation, Confideal has created a revolutionary approach to international trade by hardwiring in a comprehensive arbitration system into the very DNA of the smart contract that secures the original trade agreement entered into by all parties.

The arbitration system in Confideal begins with the creation of the smart contract that uses the Ethereum blockchain. The user creates the smart contract by laying out monetary sums, dates, and terms. Other contract data is stored in a unique hash function that is created.

An important part of this smart contract is the designation of an arbiter in case something goes wrong with the trade agreement. Both parties then have to agree to this contract, which is signified by them signing it with their unique keys. The money that is being paid by one party to the other is then held in escrow by the contract, in either ETH or Confideal tokens (CDL), and is then automatically paid out when the smart contract conditions are fulfilled.

The Nuts and Bolts of Arbitration in Confideal

The Nuts and Bolts of Arbitration in Confideal

At the heart of the arbitration system on Confideal are the arbiters themselves. The arbiters on the decentralized blockchain-based platform are qualified, third-party legal professionals or firms who have submitted the necessary documentation in order to have their status on the platform confirmed. Information on arbiters is viewable by users of the platform, such as the arbiter’s location, experience, specialization, language proficiencies, and so on.

All arbiters are ranked by their rating on Confideal, and this rating is comprised of objective and subjective factors. The objective factors for an arbiter include the number of disputes they have resolved, the speed of their responses, and the completeness of the information they have disclosed about themselves. Subjective factors for an arbiter’s rating include items such as votes given to them by CDL token holders.

Overall, 70% of an arbiter’s rating is based on objective factors while the remaining 30% is derived from subjective factors. In addition to their rating, those who have their transaction mediated by an arbiter can vote to like or dislike them. The number of likes and dislikes is clearly shown to users, who can then use this information, which does not factor into the actual rating, as another subjective measure of the arbiter’s work on the platform.

If a dispute arises, the arbitration system built into Confideal comes into play. At this point, the dispute can follow one of two routes: arbitration or mediation. In both cases, the arbiter will go over all the pertinent details of the smart contract and examine all of the relevant documents in order to come to a conclusion. It must be stressed that all parties to the smart contract agreed to the choice of arbiter when the contract was created.

Arbitration is the more protracted process as it does have a legal basis and the decision made by the arbiter can be used in national courts of law for further enforcement by bailiffs. All arbitration on Confideal conforms to UNCITRAL international arbitration regulations as well as national laws. When the arbiter makes their decision, the process then moves to the court system for final resolution.

The quicker route for resolution on Confideal is mediation. In mediation, both sides of the transaction agree to the arbiter making their decision and then enforcing it, which is done by releasing the funds held in escrow within the smart contract in a manner that the arbiter deems fit. This approach is easier and quicker as it does not adhere to the strict regulation of national or international laws as it instead just requires the agreement of the interested parties.

In this way, the entire arbitration process, from beginning to end, is housed entirely within the Confideal platform, allowing for faster, and far less expensive, resolution. For their impartial efforts, arbiters are given up to 10% of the value of the smart contract under their purview.

Speeding Up the Arbitration Process with Confideal

Speeding Up the Arbitration Process with Confideal

Current arbitration in international trade is costly and time-consuming, but Confideal has created an innovative approach that makes the entire process easier and more streamlined. Every smart contract that users enter into has an impartial, third-party arbiter that every signatory has agreed to in case things go sour. These arbiters are legal professionals and firms who have proven their credentials and been accepted by Confideal. The entire arbitration process is quick, smooth, and far less costly as it is done in-house on the platform with an arbiter who has already been chosen and has all the necessary information at their beck and call.

An integral feature of the arbitration system on Confideal is that users have full access to the information that they need, such as an arbiter’s rating and likes/dislikes, to make an informed decision when choosing one. With Confideal, there’s no need to waste time and money searching for an avenue for a dispute’s resolution as the entire transparent process is already set up and ready to go from the signing of the smart contract.

For more information about Confideal, please visit their website or chat with the team on Telegram.

How important is a built-in arbitration process to the mainstream adoption of smart contract usage in the business world? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Confideal, Shutterstock

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Jamie Dimon: ‘Governments Will Crash Bitcoin’

Even though Bitcoin has been rapidly rising in the last days, Jamie Dimon thinks that the decentralized cryptocurrency has no future.


Does Bitcoin Have a Future?

Many experts and analysts were very skeptical with the sudden price surge of Bitcoin. The popular cryptocurrency had a very impressive price surge this week. Bitcoin hit a new all-time high of $5,835 and a market capitalization of $97 billion. Financial analysts like Novogratz believe that this is just the start. According to the hedge fund manager, Bitcoin could easily hit the price of $10,000 in 6 to 10 months. But JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon believes that the price of Bitcoin doesn’t matter and that it will fail. In a recent conference, Jamie Dimon argued that people who invest in Bitcoin will “pay the price for it one day.” He further stated:

The only value of bitcoin is what the other guy’ll pay for it. Honestly I think there’s a good chance a lot of the buyers out there are out there jazzing it up every day so that maybe you’ll buy it too, and take them out.

He also remarked:

I quite mean that by the way. People are very good at manipulating the press these days and getting news out. Every day, you have CNBC, nonstop bitcoin — Who cares about bitcoin? The world economy’s so big, JPMorgan alone, $6 trillion, we move all this money, and bitcoin in total, all these currencies, $50 billion dollars, maybe a billion dollars trades a day.

This isn’t the first time that the JPMorgan CEO commented about the digital currency. Back in September, he called Bitcoin a “fraud” and “tulip mania 2.0.”

Jamie Dimon

Governments will crash Bitcoin

In the last couple of months, more and more governments have taken a stance regarding Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs. The most effective measures were taken by the Chinese government. According to an article, Chinese regulators forced several cryptocurrency exchanges to shut down their operations until a proper regulatory framework is introduced. Jamie Dimon believes that regulations will just be the start. Governments are going to effectively crash Bitcoin since they can not properly control the currency.

What are your thoughts on Jamie Dimon’s statements? Do you think that Bitcoin will be crashed by governments? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons

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Hackers Breach Amazon Cloud to Mine Bitcoin

According to a recent report by security intelligence group RedLock, hackers were able to breach into the Amazon Cloud services of two companies in order to mine Bitcoin.


Amazon Cloud Used for Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining

In a recent article, Business Insider reported that hackers were able to hack into the AWS cloud services’ infrastructure of two companies in order to mine Bitcoin. According to the security firm RedLock, the two affected companies were Aviva and Gemalto. The security firm was somewhat surprised by the hack since the hackers didn’t target any sensitive data of either company. The hackers were only interested to access the Amazon Cloud servers in order to mine cryptocurrencies by executing a bitcoin mining command.

The report further states:

Upon deeper analysis, the team discovered that hackers were executing a bitcoin mining command from one of the Kubernetes containers. The instance had effectively been turned into a parasitic bot that was performing nefarious activity over the internet.

Hackers are usually known for breaching into digital enterprise infrastructure in order to steal sensitive data like social security numbers, credit card numbers, emails, passwords etc.

Cryptocurrency Mining Boom

Bitcoin mining

Cryptocurrency mining has become a very competitive industry in the last couple of years. After the market capitalization “exploded” in 2017 and reached the record-breaking sum of $176 billion, more and more companies started mining cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and Ethereum received the most attention from miners, as both reached their all-time high price of $5031 and $400 respectively.

The Bitcoin mining difficulty increased by almost 10 million Th/s from last year and Ethereum managed to reach a daily hash rate of 100,000 GH/s. The Ethereum hash rate might not stay this high for very long, since the Ethereum development team is planning to transition the Ethereum protocol from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, effectively disabling Ethereum mining for cryptocurrency miners. Expert and analysts expect that current Ethereum miners will point their hash power to the next profitable cryptocurrency.

Do you think that more hackers will try to gain access to hardware in order to mine Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Blockchain.info, Pixabay, iStockPhoto

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Bitcoin Strikes Gold? Gold Dealer Sharps Pixley To Accept Payment In Bitcoin

London bullion dealer Sharps Pixley announced on Tuesday that it will allow customers to buy precious metals including gold and silver through the virtual currency.


Digital Gold For Actual Gold

Bitcoin, which has also been fondly called ‘digital gold’, has seen its dollar value more than tripled since the beginning of the year. Although it still remains highly volatile, as evidenced by its fall from a high of $5000 to a low of $3000 earlier this month, Bitcoin is undoubtedly the world’s most popular cryptocurrency and has an ever-increasing user base. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the intermingling of the highest performing asset class with what has traditionally been regarded as the safest and most stable investment asset. Bitcoin and its underlying Blockchain technology have been used by pioneers and leaders of the precious metals industry in the recent past in various parts of the world.

Sharps Pixley

Sharps Pixley is a well-respected bullion dealer based in London that established in 1778. Last year, they launched Britain’s first showroom that made gold coins and bars available to private investors in London’s elite district of Mayfair. The bullion broker said they would accept Bitcoin as payment for gold and other precious metals. This payment service, which would be offered through BitPay, would provide customers with “greater choice” to invest in more stable assets.

Sharps Pixley CEO Ross Norman said:

It is our view that many investors in Bitcoin would like the option of holding intrinsic value in a traditional safe haven asset like gold; and be able to switch across in a simple and cost effective way. That avenue is now open to them.

Despite their rich history, Sharps Pixley has demonstrated that they stay abreast of the latest developments in the world by adopting Bitcoin.

Giles Mable, a Business Development Director at the London based dealer, said:

We are bridging the gap between the world’s oldest currency and its newest, offering new and existing customers the means to exchange and diversify digital currency for a real, tangible asset which they can store and trade at Sharps Pixley.

This outlook comes as a refreshing change in a time where the old guard of finance and traditional investments has come out with scathing criticism of cryptocurrencies due to fears of being rendered obsolete by it.

What do you think about Sharps Pixley’s move to accept Bitcoin as payment? Do you think they have tapped into a small yet beneficial niche of investors? Does this bode well for the crypto-community’s long-term future? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of

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South Korean gaming giant Nexon acquires Korbit for $80 million, $150 million valuation

South Korea has had Bitcoin fever in the past few weeks, and the fire just continues to be fueled. Top exchange Korbit has been acquired by gaming company giant Nexon for 91 billion Korean won.


The Growing South Korean Market

South Korea has been disrupting the charts when it comes to cryptocurrency trade volume, and the old money is noticing. Many companies in South Korea are hopping aboard the train, investing heavily in the nation’s crypto sector. Bithumb, a Korean exchange, is actually at the top of the charts right now in terms of total trade volume. With this increasing demand, more and more exchanges are popping up taking advantage of the increased interest.

Another Korean-based exchange known as Korbit is quickly climbing the ranks as well, recently joining the top 15 exchanges globally. While the company is still new and is a long way behind Bithumb, it is recording more trade volume on certain digital currencies. And some bigger corporations in the region are trying to get in early.

Nexon is a gaming company that was founded in the mid 1990’s and is a global leader in MMORPGs and other mobile games. At the beginning of the decade, they moved their corporate headquarters from Seoul to Tokyo, Japan, which also happens to be one of the first nations to declare Bitcoin as legal tender.

Nexon Acquires Korbit

They purchased Korbit earlier this week for just around 91 billion Korean won, worth roughly $80 million USD. The details of the purchase is that Nexon bought 65% of Korbit’s shares and took over all managerial operations. Nexon commented on the agreement, saying they hope to diversify their business model, along with restating their confidence that blockchain technology will continue to grow and become more and more mainstream.

Do you think South Korea will continue to become a crypto-giant? Do you think this is the end of the money trail? Let us know in the comments below!


Pictures courtesy of  Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons.

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Bitcoin – The Millennial Retirement Nest Egg

With a surge in the popularity of cryptocurrencies among the youth, many are now investing in Bitcoin with a view to saving for retirement. This shift away from traditional retirement is well illustrated by the success of a company called Bitcoin IRA, which allows investors to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using their IRA or 401(k) accounts.


Bitcoin Over Banks

What was once a vision is not now far away from being a reality. The world looks set to embrace a future of a cashless society thanks to the stunning impact of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. While mainstream celebrities like Floyd Mayweather and Paris Hilton are now lapping it up, there remains a small yet hugely loyal cryptocurrency community – one that has seen the revolutionary power of Bitcoin and the like.

Most of these users are from the young generation that is disillusioned with the legacy social and financial institutions that have frankly betrayed them, be it the church, the government, or banks. Student loans leave them in a never-ending spiral of debt, and the tanking economy leaves them jobless. Add a culture of heavy spending owing to the rise of consumerism to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

It would make sense, therefore, that saving for retirement has become a thing of the past for many millennials. The loss of faith in oppressive status quo systems has further been confounded by ever-rising inflation which renders fiat currency useless, as is the case in Venezuela. Cryptocurrencies, specially Bitcoin, have benefited from this due to their decentralized nature which eliminates a lot of the problems associated with state backed fiat currency.

Millennials To HODL?

Early adopters of Bitcoin have made a killing and there is an ever-increasing realization within the Bitcoin community that they are sitting on a gold mine. Those who mined or backed it in its nascent years are now bonafide millionaires, acquiring riches that will last a lifetime. With Bitcoin gaining adoption and momentum in several countries and getting embraced by Wall Street by the number, millennials are looking at it the way their predecessors one looked at gold.

A lot of young techies are living solely off of cryptocurrencies and shunning banks altogether. What is interesting now is that millennials are turning to Bitcoin to plan for life after retirement.

Roshaan Khan, a 20-year-old senior at Virginia Commonwealth University who made a 40% return on his cryptocurrency investments, told Forbes:

All of my net worth is in cryptocurrencies because I see them as the best way to escalate my ability to be financially secure and pay off my student loans. I like the idea of decentralization, the fact that there’s a lot less corruption and political ties. That idea appeals to me … Not having to go through banks. Having financial control over our lives again. Maybe it’s because I’m just getting my feet wet, but it excites me more than anything else.

Khan is not the only one; people from various backgrounds and fields are putting all of their eggs in their crypto-basket. A 24-year-old musician from Norway might not have much in common with a tech-worker in Silicon Valley, but there are plenty such young people around the world who are connected by their crypto-destiny: pulling off the incredible act of investing and living solely off cryptocurrencies. By treating them as a small part of a diversified portfolio, cryptocurrencies can fill the high risk, high return segment.

Like any investment, there always is that chance that it might crash completely, but there is also the chance that it takes the world by storm and keep growing exponentially. For young people, the risk of failure is low because they have plenty of years to make up for it. With a glass half full outlook on life, taking a chance on Bitcoin has the potential to completely change one’s life.

Bitcoin IRA

While there are many skeptics who refuse to advocate Bitcoin as a long-term investment tool, most recently JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, it hasn’t deterred tech entrepreneurs from collaborating with their financial counterparts to launch crypto-focused investment tools. First movers always have a higher chance of sustainable success and it is no wonder that cryptofunds – think mutual funds for cryptocurrencies with big market caps – are making waves by combining the new and old guards of the financial world.

With the retirement strategies of millennials changing, companies are having to rely on technology to attract younger investors. One such company, Bitcoin IRA, allows users to invest in Bitcoin and Ethereum using their IRA or 401(k) accounts. Users can also invest in an IRA or a Roth IRA with Bitcoin just like any traditional IRA.

It seems that the people have spoken: Bitcoin has taken its first baby steps towards replacing fiat currency for long-term saving purposes.

What do you think about using Bitcoin as a retirement investment tool? Do you think it is better to treat it as a long-term investment asset or as liquid currency? Would you invest in a cryptofund or Bitcoin IRA in lieu of fiat currency? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Unsplash/Jay Castor

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Action Packed Weekend of Major League Soccer Ahead as Atlanta United Wrap up the Sunday Roster, FC Dallas at Home in Major Clash, Orlando City Looking to Upset DC United

Following an exciting Sunday of MLS soccer showcased last weekend where 12 goals were scored between 8 sides in total, fans of all sides have their expectations sky high.


Last weekend New England got the better of Orlando City, thrashing the visitors with a staggering four to null. Having had a positive game day, Kamara bagged a hat-trick with goals scored in the 26th, 75th and 89th minute. Once Kamara’s ravishing performance manifested itself, teammate Bunbury carried on till the very last minute to get the fourth goal in the second minute of extra time.

DC United vs Orlando City

DC United vs. Orlando City

After a weak performance from Orlando last weekend, they will be looking to redeem themselves against DC United, again having the disadvantage of being away from home. We’re expecting a strong opening from Canadian forward Laric, so far bagging a moderate 10 goals this season. Recovering from 4 losses out of their last 5 games paired with a miserable draw, Orlando are under serious pressure to perform against DC United this weekend. Odds are competitive but definitely shy of confident betting when looking at Orlando.

On the other hand, DC United are coming off a 3 win streak, looking to make it a 4th by burying Orlando. While DC have not been known to be the ultimate goalscorers this season, including three shy wins of 1-0 against the Colorado Rapids, Atlanta United and New England, the team as a whole have been consistent in their own unique way. We wouldn’t be surprised of coach Olsen decides to put his team in a highly defensive formation, mainly opening on the counter windows of opportunity.

DC are currently 11th in the Major League Soccer table with 28 points, exactly 3 points behind Orlando. Will Orlando stop the downfall and carve the path to redemption? We are calling it a 1-1 draw in this instance, seeing as it’s highly unlikely to see more than 2 goals from both sides combined.

Atlanta United vs. FC Dallas

Atlanta United vs. FC Dallas

Atlanta United are finishing the weekend of action by welcoming FC Dallas in their home stadium of the legendary Bobby Dodd. With an impressive capacity of just over 55,000 fans, the home crew are in for a treat. Atlanta United have had an average record in their past 5 games, bagging 1 win, 1 loss and 3 draws. Sure there are improvements to make, but the team still have a chance to finish the season on a consistent note with a current 6th place with 36 points.

Playing catch up with the New York Red Bulls, we feel that the best way to there is enough motivation for the home side to pull a 2-1 win out of the bag and close the gap. We believe Martinez or Villalba have a great chance of opening with a competent goal, both currently on 9 and 10 goals this season respectively. Odds for a sneaky coin bet of this sort would show promising returns alongside a 2-1 end result stake.

Other Major League Soccer Matches This Weekend

The full list of Major League Soccer Matches this Saturday and Sunday are as follows:

  • Chicago vs NY Red Bulls
  • Toronto FC vs San Jose
  • NYC FC vs Portland
  • DC United vs Orlando City
  • New England vs Montreal
  • Minnesota United vs Philadelphia
  • Houston Dynamo vs Colorado
  • Vancouver vs Real Salt Lake
  • Colombus vs Sporting KC
  • Atlanta United vs FC Dallas

Feeling lucky? For the best odds in town, visit SportsBet.io. They offer an easy to use interface that is lightning fast and the most flexible Bitcoin betting options. You can wager as little as 0.1 mBTC all the way up to 100 BTC. Sign up today for exclusive welcome offers and other bonus promotions.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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AIMwise takes on challenges of unregulated ICO market

Aimwise, a company based in China, is aiming to develop a platform with which companies can launch their own ICOs, and give the community a higher level of trust when it comes to these funding techniques.


ICOs Break Record After Record

2017 has truly been the year of the ICOs, with dozens of decentralized blockchain based projects using the method to crowdfund their companies. Some of the more popular ones have been able to raise millions and millions of dollars for their respective projects, more than most could even dream about getting from traditional venture capitalist funding. While the system has been pulling in huge amounts of money, this level of financing can begin to attract malicious actors.

The worry facing many at the moment is than when they invest in an ICO, what guarantee do they have that it’s not just a quick exit scam? In the heavily unregulated world of crypto it is a very valid concern. By design digital currencies have no leader or central party, so who could an investor appeal to if their funds were stolen?

Solutions to the current issues

Aimwise aims to provide some method to the madness that is the current world of ICOs. Their goal is to develop a platform that has a multitude of uses for average investors looking to get into the crypto game. Though means of a ICO hosting platform, users will be able to launch their own funding projects using Aimwise. Along with the hosting platform, an incubation system will be put in place to facilitate online discussion and market research of the teams putting their products on the platform. Their hope for the incubator is to have it be a primary source of community feedback and user driven ideas.

The community along with a third party elected review agency can add legitimacy to the different companies. The companies can disclose information and the community can review based on the info. However, companies are incentivized to reveal more about the project sooner rather than later, as the system will give discounts on hosting costs to those ICOs that release more information up front.

Prominent contributors and well deserving moderators will be paid for their efforts in the platform’s native AIM tokens.

Perhaps the most original feature of the platform is the Portfolio Management Service. It gives users an opportunity to use automated fund management solutions. The algorithm takes input from a number of tweakable parameters to tailor a custom investment strategy fitting the desired risk/return ratio, time horizon, token price etc.

Aimwise is set to launch their own ICO come September, and their end goal of the project is to have a fully decentralized platform for developers to raise funds to make their ideas become reality.

How do you think Aimwise will affect the market? Do you think their solutions will become a new industry standard? Let us know in the comments below!

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What Can I Buy for Bitcoin… Like, If I Had All of Them?

Another day, another dollar, another All Time High in both price and market cap. It’s all starting to get a little bit… meh. Well, as “meh” as it can get, knowing that our magical imaginary money is suddenly worth even more.


I could write yet another article, quoting a few figures, then padded out with a bunch of conjecture as to what happens next. But instead, I’m going to put on my big dreamer’s hat, and imagine what I could do with all of it.

First, the Figures

Well, what did you expect? If I don’t quote them then we can’t make a comparison.

Bitcoin hit a record high of $4483.55 on Tuesday. It dipped a bit, later in the day, even dropping back below $4000 for a short while, before rallying back to around $4150. This means our market cap reached $73.5 billion dollars at one point.

Bitcoin Prices 8-15-2017

That’s a Lot, Isn’t It?

Yep. And trying to imagine that amount by drawing comparisons with normal stuff, would be like… well, let’s try it and see.

With cars, you aren’t even touching the sides. The world’s most expensive production cars come in at under $5m. Imagine 15,000 Koenigsegg CCXR Trevitas. Doesn’t help, does it? Even taking classic cars is only better by a factor of ten. 2,000 1962 Ferrari 250 GTOs at $38.5m a piece?

Real Estate Then? Yachts?

Real Estate Then? Yachts?

The most expensive home in the world cost a cool $1 billion dollars. Although at 27 stories it’s more of a skyscraper than an average family home. And you’d have to move to Mumbai to take up residence.

If you don’t need the whole building and prefer Monaco to Mumbai then $335 million will buy you a new penthouse in the Tour Odeon. So 220 penthouse apartments of 3000 square meters each? Nah.

Whilst we are in Monaco, the most expensive private yacht in the world was $4.5 billion. It isn’t that big really (30.5m), but it’s made of gold, so that doesn’t really help us to visualize. Abramovic’s Eclipse, at number two, is over 5 times bigger, but only $1.9 billion. 38 massive superyachts? Are we getting close yet?

Help Us Out Here

I can’t. The most expensive private island I can find is only $160 million for 110 acres of Thailand.

For that kind of money, we are talking about big corporations. A few days ago Bitcoin could have bought you PayPal.

Today’s high puts us just a shade short of Adobe ($73.6 billion) and Netflix ($73.8 billion).

By World Bank figures, Bitcoin’s market cap is more than the GDP of Oman… and they’re floating on oil!

Please Just Give Me Something I Can Relate To

Okay, how about this. If rumor is correct and Satoshi has 1M bitcoin, that makes him now richer than Donald J Trump.

Although, of course, Trump’s accounts are the only secret bigger than Satoshi.

What would you buy if you had all the bitcoins? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, CoinMarketCap

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For the first time ICOs were able to raise more money than VCs

In the last couple of months, projects that had ICOs have managed to collect the impressive amount of $1.7 billion.


Giving the Market Confidence

Since a long time now, ICOs have been attracting a lot of attention from investors, startups, entrepreneurs, and regulators. One of these regulators is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which recently published an official report, explaining its official stand on initial coin offerings. According to the official report, initial coin offerings that give tokens in exchange for money are regarded as securities and thus should be properly regulated. In the past, most projects have bypassed this ruling by simply barring U.S. citizens from participating into their ICOs. But with this new ruling by the SEC, startups can implement necessary regulatory measures and allow U.S. citizens to contribute into their ICOs.

ICOs: The New Tech Gold Rush?

ICOs: The New Tech Gold Rush?

It’s no secret that ICOs are able to attract a huge amount of money from investors worldwide. From a couple thousand dollars to hundreds of million dollars. The amount that ICOs are able to raise isn’t the only interesting aspect of them, it’s also the incredibly short timeframe in which they are able to raise that much money. A good example for this is the TenX ICO, which was able to raise the impressive amount of $34 million in 7 minutes!

Giving VCs a Run for Their Money

Giving VCs a run for their money

In the last couple of years, the amount that venture capital firms have invested in blockchain and Bitcoin related startups has steadily risen. According to a Zerohedge article, this year alone the total amount of VC investment in the blockchain space has hit the $1.7 billion mark. But in the beginning of the summer, blockchain startups were able to raise more money with ICOs than angel and seed investments from VC firms. The recent hype around ICOs has pushed many blockchain projects to raise money through their own ICOs, instead of seeking funding from angel investors and VC firms.

But what are venture capitalists supposed to do if they can’t beat ICOs? It’s simple, they join them.

Most notable example is the Tezos ICO, in which famous venture capitalist Tim Draper is involved. Many VCs see the process of fundraising through ICOs as the future of the startup scene, and many new hedge funds are popping out now that specialize on ICOs.

What are your thoughts on this ICOs gold rush? Do you think that future blockchain start-ups will choose and ICO over a VC investment? Let us know in the comments below!


Image courtesy of Pexels, Pixabay

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Starving Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin Mining in Desperation

Many people in the troubled South American nation have turned to Bitcoin mining in a desperate attempt to fend off starvation and keep their families alive.


The once thriving South American nation of Venezuela has been sliding into an economic apocalypse over the last few years. The socialist regime of Hugo Chavez has been followed by current President Nicolás Maduro, and the economic policies put in place has transformed a country with more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia into a literal hell on Earth.

Inflation is rampant as prices for consumer goods have skyrocketed a whopping 741% from early 2016 to early 2017. Experts expect the rate of inflation to actually hit 1600% later this year.

Into this maelstrom steps an unlikely hope for the masses: Bitcoin. Many starving Venezuelans are now mining the digital currency in order to just survive.

Starving Venezuelans turn to Bitcoin

A Desperate Situation

To call the current economic and social climate of Venezuela dire is an understatement. Food is becoming increasingly nonexistent. Demand has far outstripped supply as hundreds of thousands of individuals line up for just the mere chance of getting some basic necessities. Mobs of people have crossed the border into neighboring countries in order to scavenge food, and starvation has become the new norm. A full 3/4th of the country lost weight last year due to lack of food.

The current crisis is further worsened by the continuing power grab by President Nicolás Maduro and his allies. A new constitutional assembly has been formed, declaring itself the superior governing force to all other governmental bodies. This assembly, under the control of Maduro, removed the country’s chief prosecutor (who had been opposing Maduro), created a “truth commission,” and pledged support and solidarity with Maduro. So far, at least 124 people have been killed protesting over what has happened to Venezuela.

Venezuelan protests - Juan Barreto/AFP

Bitcoin Mining Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death

Into this awful situation comes an unlikely savior in the form of Bitcoin. The Atlantic is reporting that many desperate Venezuelans have turned to mining bitcoins in order to feed their families. This unlikely scenario has come about due to one mitigating factor: electricity in this impoverished nation is essentially free as a result of the central government massively subsidizing it.

Cheap power has allowed people to operate Bitcoin miners without the usual accompanying cost. Reports have stated that successful Bitcoin miners can earn up to $500 a month, which is enough to fully feed and supply a family of four. As the country’s cash currency is essentially worthless, many businesses and people are now using bitcoins to exchange goods and services.

However, there is a fly in the ointment. President Maduro has begun cracking down on Bitcoin miners, calling them “capitalist parasites.” Yet trading bitcoins is still allowed. This has led to a number of miners being arrested on flimsy charges, which can occur as there are currently no cryptocurrency laws in Venezuela.

One miner was detained for 14 weeks, and other mining rigs have been seized by the authorities. Of course, it is widely believed that the police and government officials are using the seized rigs to mine their own bitcoins.

Venezuela police arrest Bitcoin miners

Yet a desperate people will continue to look for new ways to survive. As the authorities have focused so much attention on Bitcoin, many people have begun mining for Ether instead. In an interview with The Atlantic, a Venezuelan miner said:

Mining ETH or bitcoin is pretty much the same principle: using free electricity to generate cash. But ETH mining is more affordable—all you need is free software and a PC with a video card. Any police officer is easily fooled into thinking your ETH miner is just a regular computer.

While quite a few still scoff at the possibilities offered by cryptocurrency, the reality is that it provides an economic avenue that’s open to everyone. In the case of Venezuela, it’s also literally the difference between living or starving to death.

How do you feel about the role of Bitcoin in helping to keep people fed in Venezuela? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Bloomberg, Juan Barreto/AFP, William Urdaneta/Reuters

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HBO Hackers Demand Over $6 Million in Bitcoin Not to Release Files

Popular premium cable television company HBO has stayed in the headlines this past month as their flagship show, Game of Thrones, began its seventh season in July.  But while Queen Daenerys attempts to conquer Westeros, HBO is under attack on a different front.


Stealing GoT Spoilers

At the end of last month, HBO announced that they had experienced a cyber attack. The hacker, or hackers, have boasted that they have managed to steal just around 1.5 terabytes of data including the full written scripts to future Game of Thrones episodes. Other shows produced by HBO, such as Ballers and Room 104, have had entire episodes stolen and may be published online in the coming days.

Stealing GoT Spoilers

Yesterday, the hacker going by the pseudonym “Mr. Smith” released the newest batch of files taken from HBO’s servers. It included scripts from five future Game of Thrones episodes, including the newest one from last Sunday (if you haven’t seen it, see it) along with thousands of emails from the inbox of Leslie Cohen, HBO’s VP of film programming. In addition to company files, the stars of Game of Thrones have also had personal information leaked, such as phone numbers and addresses.

The War Against Digital Piracy

HBO has long been fighting the war against digital piracy, and Game of Thrones has only made matters worse. The show is beloved by people worldwide, with mainstream media giving their weekly weigh in every time a new episode is released. But the fact that it is HBO exclusive is limiting the number of people who have access to the series. Many want to watch the show to see what all the buzz is about but don’t necessarily want to pay for full HBO when all they really want is to watch one thing.

This isn’t the first time GoT was in the spotlight of piracy either. Back in 2015, Game of Thrones entered its fifth season. Just as the season kicked off, four of the ten episodes planned for the following months had already been released online. According to data collected by TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones held the crown of the most illegally downloaded show in 2014, a total of 8,100,000 estimated downloads. Not only that, but it beat out #2 The Walking Dead by a staggering 3,300,000 downloads.

In a video clip meant for Richard Plepler, HBO’s chief executive, “Mr. Smith” threaten further leaks of information unless a ransom was paid. While an exact number was not given, they demanded Plepler’s “six-month salary in bitcoin,” implied to be at least $6 million. No further word has been given by HBO on their response to the threat.

Do you think HBO will pay up to keep their most popular series secret? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of  IGN.com, TorrentFreak, HBO

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Po.et Partners With Blink To Automate Licensing Digital Content To Major Media Companies

The prominent blockchain-based digital asset management startup Po.et has announced its partnership with the global content studio Blink.


Proof of Existence 2.0

Po.et is a very young blockchain startup that aims solve multiple problems in the digital content industry. The Singapore and Los Angels-based project utilizes blockchain technology in order to create a platform that makes publishing, licensing and distribution of digital assets easier.

The Po.et platform would essentially use blockchain technology and smart contracts to eliminate the middle man and thus, allow content creators to directly sell their digital assets to publishers, without having to pay enormous transactions fees. It’s worth to note that Po.et’s platform includes a digital media licensing market, which would allow publishers to directly select digital assets that fit their territory.

Currently, the Po.et project is planning to host its initial coin offering with the help of Moscow-based startup, Zerion. Interested contributors can invest into the token sale with an invite code that can be obtained through the official po.et website.

Partnership with Blink

Po.et partners with Blink

In an official press release, Po.et announced that the international content studio Blink has partnered with the young startup to efficiently track licenses with the help of blockchain technology.  According to the press release, Blink’s customers include prominent corporations like Google, Airbnb, ESPN, and more. In the article, the CEO of Blink, Matthew Craig, stated following about the partnership:

The unwieldy process of managing licenses and copyright terms for the large volume of content produced by Blink is simply a fool’s errand – our clients want a better solution that creates transparency and accountability at every stage of licensing and our artists deserve it. This partnership is a critical step forward for licensing and will allow Blink to continue servicing the insatiable market for original content at scale,

Konstantin Richter, responsible for the Business Development of Po.et also added:

This partnership allows us at Po.et to envision a complete marketplace where freelancers can get hired, protect their work and get rewarded for it in a proactive manner. The Blink participation will help us to ensure we develop the right blockchain utilities to serve their needs,

With the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts, Po.et will be offering an extremely useful tool that will save publishers and content creators from a lot of “headaches”.

What are your thoughts on the Po.et and Blink partnership? Do you think that Po.et will become a successful platform? Let us know in the comments below!


Image courtesy of Po.et, Pexels, Shutterstock

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