Forget oil, Russia goes crazy for cryptocurrency

Forget oil, Russia goes crazy for cryptocurrency

Forget oil, Russia goes crazy for cryptocurrency

 

MOSCOW (AFP) – Standing in a warehouse in a Moscow suburb, Dmitry Marinichev tries to speak over the deafening hum of hundreds of computers stacked on shelves hard at work mining for crypto money.

"The form of currency we are used to is about to disappear," predicts the 42-year-old entrepreneur, who also works as President Vladimir Putin's adviser on internet matters.

Marinichev is one of Russia's leading crypto-businessmen at the helm of operations in this facility larger than a football pitch located in a former Soviet-era car factory, which collects virtual money on the accounts of its clients.

Individuals, or firms like Marinichev's, provide the computing power to run the so-called blockchain which records the world's virtual money transactions. In return for providing that service they receive virtual money, of which bitcoin is the most popular, as payment – a process bitcoiners call "mining".

Mining farms like this represent a growing craze in Russia for bitcoin and other virtual currencies not backed by governments or central banks that are increasingly used for goods and services on the internet.

The hunt for virtual currencies is accessible "to anyone who may be hardly familiar with computer science," Marinichev said. "It's no more complicated than buying a cellphone and connecting to a mobile network." The practice has become so popular in Russia that computer stores in the country have run out of graphic and video cards developed for gamers but are used by bitcoin miners to boost the processing power of their home computers.

Marinichev this week unveiled a more sophisticated setup, inviting investors to pitch in US$100 million to join a mining club and develop a Russian mining chip called Multiclet through his startup.

"The explosion of virtual currency value has made mining profitable enough to make it a professional activity," said Sergei, a 29-year-old computer scientist who runs half a dozen graphics cards plugged into the electrical grid of the company where he works.

He launched his mining operation in March, when the value of bitcoin and its main competitor ethereum, created by Russian-Canadian Vitalik Buterin, reached record heights on the currency's exchange.

Since the beginning of 2017, bitcoin has quadrupled in value, surpassing US$4,000 at the weekend, while ethereum experienced a rise of 4,500 per cent to hit a record of US$374 in June, later falling to US$268 in August.

While the assembly of a mining operation is easy enough, it consumes a large amount of electricity, which can reach the equivalent of several households' needs.

"All my friends who were interested in Bitcoin or ethereum built their devices and plugged them into their corporate networks, and I did the same," Sergei said. "Others cut into the municipal electrical cables."

Russia has a competitive advantage as an environment for mining, as Marinichev points out in a brochure for prospective investors: electricity here costs just 1.3 US cents per kilowatt hour while long winters save money on cooling systems.

Authorities in Russia were long suspicious of virtual money but have now come to recognise it as a force. A new bill is set to be debated this autumn which aims to regulate the possession and creation of crypto currency in the country.

The legal foundation for virtual money has so far been non-existent in Russia and it is associated with illicit activities like hacking and used to purchase drugs on the dark web.

"There is now an understanding at the highest level in the country that virtual currencies are not an absolute evil but a possible good, especially for the economy," said Marinichev.

Putin in early June even held a meeting at an economic forum with Buterin, the 23-year-old creator of ethereum, who lobbied the Russian president to expand the currency's use in Russia.

Last year, Russia's largest banks tested the platform for some of their transactions. The country's central bank even pondered development of a "national virtual currency".

Though at all-time-high in August at US$116 billion, the global cryptocurrency market is still quite young, volatile and prone to speculation.

Bitcoin, for example, lost almost a third of its value between mid-June and mid-July, before gaining it back over the course of a week. Since then, it has been regularly breaking records.

"The rush to virtual money is not a fad or a fleeting phenomenon. The virtualisation of our lives is a market process that has gone on and will continue," Marinichev said.

In a sign of the times, several cafes and restaurants in Moscow this summer began to accept payments in virtual currencies.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Source: The Straits Times

David

Bitcoin Price in Tulip Bubble, Claims BBC Tech Correspondent

Bitcoin Price in Tulip Bubble, Claims BBC Tech Correspondent

Bitcoin Price in Tulip Bubble, Claims BBC Tech Correspondent

The bitcoin price has set numerous records in 2017, prompting a wave of critics to forecast that “The bubble will burst!”.

On August 14, BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones became the latest in a long line of mainstream financial analysts and reporters to compare the rise of bitcoin to 17th-century Dutch Tulipmania. As he stated on Twitter:

“Yes, tulip bulbs are now selling for $4000 and we were told that was a bubble when they hit $100..

10:07 AM – Aug 14, 2017”
 

The Tulip Bubble

The tulip bubble, which took place from 1634-1637, was sparked when a non-fatal virus infiltrated the Dutch tulip crop. This virus resulted in a variety of beautiful petal patterns, and tulips–which were already rare in Holland–grew in value according to the scarcity of their patterns.

Demand exceeded supply, causing prices to skyrocket and speculators to begin buying tulip bulbs as investments. Tulipmania became so pervasive that people even traded their homes and life savings for tulip bulbs. At one point, tulip prices increased twenty-fold in a single month.

Eventually, early investors began selling their tulips to secure their profits, creating a chain reaction of decreasing tulip prices as people rushed to sell before the price went down further. Soon, people began to panic sell, causing the price to crash and the Dutch economy to sink into a depression.

 

Is Bitcoin a Digital Tulip Bulb?

Tulipmania is the quintessential example of a price bubble, and cryptocurrency critics have lobbed this analogy at bitcoin for years. Whenever the bitcoin price breaks through a new barrier, they rush to explain to mainstream news outlets that the bubble is going to burst, killing bitcoin once and for all.

The implication behind this analogy is that, like 17th-century Dutch tulip bulbs, bitcoin has little or no inherent value and derives its price entirely from speculation. It is true that bitcoin, like any asset, has experienced price bubbles in the past and will continue to see them in the future. It is also true that some people invest in bitcoin on speculation alone, without understanding or believing in the potential of its underlying technology.

But where the tulip bulb comparison diverges from reality is that bitcoin has recovered from multiple market corrections, despite naysayers’ predictions to the contrary. Moreover, what critics disingenuously refuse to admit is that cryptocurrency has a myriad of use cases, and more are being developed every day. Tulip bulbs have a limited, well-defined use case, and that use case did not justify its rapid (and localized) price increase. Bitcoin adoption, on the contrary, is a global phenomenon fueled by a truly revolutionary technology.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrpreneur

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth

David

Understanding Cryptocurrency – How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

Understanding Cryptocurrency - How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

Understanding Cryptocurrency – How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

 

Cryptocurrencies have caught on in the mainstream and have made thousands of people millions of dollars. The most recent boom of Bitcoin now means that if you had invested just $500 8 years ago, you would now be a multi-millionaire. This meteoric rise in the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap has drawn a lot of attention. However, to the everyday man who is used to dealing with hard cash and actual value, cryptocurrencies can seem like an unknown and often unintelligible world. With terms like hash rates, data mining, market capitalization, and ultimately the fear of instability, there’s a little bit of a harsh learning curve to the technology.

In this article, I’m going to try to give a beginner’s guide to cryptocurrencies, explain how they work, what moves the prices, and whether you should invest.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are essentially digital mediums that can be exchanged, just like government currencies, that use cryptography, or digital security measures, to secure the exchange of digital information and control the creation of new units. Explained even more simply, cryptocurrencies are digital coins that fluctuate in value similar to stocks with their exchange being backed by digital security measures.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies or money that is then exchangeable for physical money, like dollars. They’re comparable to how most apps have some form of digital money, like “orbs” in a mobile game that cost some amount like ” $10 for 1000 orbs.” In this instance, each in-game “orb” would be worth 1/1000th of a dollar. Even though these orbs are just data on your mobile device or on some server, they have some inherent worth equatable to dollars. In an extremely general context, this is what a cryptocurrency is.

So, how do they work?

In essence, cryptocurrencies provide a viable method of owning a unique digital currency which presents some ever fluctuating value. Each coin or currency, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, are fully self-contained digital systems that both track and control each unit of cryptocurrency.

Each individual coin of a cryptocurrency acts like data moving through a network. Some cryptocurrencies can be valued as small as just 1 cent and others as big as 1 billion dollars. Some currencies are controlled by one entity, which is referred to as a centralized currency, and others are controlled by the public, which are decentralized. There are positives and benefits to each variation, but the stress should be placed on the fact that no cryptocurrency is identical to the next.

What drives them?

One of the most prominent aspects of cryptocurrencies is the fact that there isn’t a third part that verifies the transaction of crypto coins. To avoid this, cryptocurrencies use timestamping methods to verify each transaction. Bitcoin, which is the most popular crypto and largest by market cap, uses a proof-of-work scheme, which is commonly referred to as mining. In essence, mining Bitcoin means tasking a computer with solving some complex problem. When the problem is solved, the computer account is rewarded with a portion of Bitcoin relative to the amount of work it put in to solve the problem. This verification network gives Bitcoin value and backs up transactions. By having this in place, someone couldn’t just write code and give themselves x amount of bitcoins.

In many ways, cryptocurrencies are like stocks. Positive news about a certain coin’s security or general acceptance can drive the price up. The same is inversely true if coins are deemed unuseful in certain applications. Part of what has played into Bitcoin’s rise is that many retailers accept Bitcoin as currency. This makes the cryptocurrency easily translatable to physical value, thus influencing the price per Bitcoin accordingly.

The true answer to what drives cryptocurrencies is obviously much more complex due to the number of factors that go into the “value” of a currency.

Should you invest?

The answer to this question is likely the same for whether you should invest in stocks. While cryptocurrencies have experienced astronomic growth in recent years, these gains aren’t necessarily guaranteed to continue. You should only invest in cryptocurrency if you are willing to take on some risk. With that said, there are currencies that are more stable than others.

Litecoin, which is often regarded as the silver to Bitcoin, has been found to be a very stable currency of growth in recent months. Whereas Bitcoin, currently trading at all time highs, is known to make corrections of 30%, represents a large loss if you were to invest now.

The volatility of cryptocurrencies presents opportunities for day traders, and the significant long term growth of cryptos present great opportunities for long term investors.

You should do a significant amount of investigation into what cryptocurrency you want to invest in, just like any stock, before you buy. Buying can be done on many secure mobile apps or other online platforms. A quick Google search of where and how to buy cryptocurrencies can yield you with this information with ease.

To summarize, cryptocurrencies are often decentralized digital currencies that draw value from security, anonymity, and authentication measures that fluctuate much like stocks that can be traded and exchanged for “true value” currencies. While it may still sound hard to understand, a little bit of research into crypto can go a long way. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and while awareness of them is growing with the general public, people with actual knowledge about how they work is still very small. By taking the time to research and understand, you present yourself with an opportunity to excel in a technologically growing industry.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: TREVOR ENGLISH

David

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash?

t's not outlandish to think that our current financial system will soon be replaced by cryptocurrency, and the shift will bring about some big changes to the global economy.

THE FLIPPENING

For a time, Bitcoin seemed unassailable in its dominance of the cryptocurrency market, being the first digital currency to really take root and establish itself in the mainstream. Since then, a host of worthy competitors have emerged, and there’s a real possibility that the balance of power could flip.

Many who have been regularly following developments in the cryptocurrency market refer to the tipping point where one digital currency supersedes another as “the flippening” We almost saw this occur in May 2017, when Ethereum’s market cap approached Bitcoin’s amid a surge in popularity.

When individuals have significant amounts of money invested in one cryptocurrency over another, it’s no surprise that tensions run high when they go head to head. However, these squabbles over which coin is best might be distracting us from a more pressing issue.

Some observers would argue that the true flippening isn’t a case of competition between two different forms of cryptocurrency at all. The sea of change yet to come could have more far reaching consequences, if and when digital currency as a whole becomes more popular than conventional fiat currency.

NEW MONEY

There would be some major advantages to an all-cryptocurrency future: its value can’t be manipulated as easy as fiat currency, and it lends itself to the concept of universal basic income. In fact, several different programs, such as uCoin and Cicada, are already using cryptocurrency to distribute UBI.

In a future where our transactions with shops and services are likely to be handled by automated systems, cryptocurrency removes many of the intermediaries that would take their own cut. There are many benefits for the individual, but the flippening stands to pose some major challenges for the global economy in its current form.

Should cryptocurrency manage to jump ahead of fiat money in terms of usage, cash won’t be able to close the gap. That’s the trick to the flippening — once changeover takes place, the losing party loses value and can’t do anything about it.

If everyone begins using cryptocurrency, infrastructure would need to be developed with that in mind. It might not take too long for cash to become incompatible. At this point, it remains to be seen whether established financial institutions could pivot to that new status quo in time.

At the highest level, governments will be hit hard, as they will no longer exercise the same level of control over the country’s currency. The idea of printing more money has been raised time and time again in response to financial turmoil, but that option disappears once currency has to be mined.

The flip from fiat money to cryptocurrency is a very real prospect, and it could well change the face of how our society spends and saves.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Brad Jones

 

David

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

A new report, published by the N8 Policing Research Partnership, states that law enforcement faces various challenges when it comes to cryptocurrencies and that, although these challenges are mostly driven by the lack of knowledge and tools, they would be lessened if bitcoin were categorized as cash. This would facilitate seizures in the cryptocurrency, which the report states facilitates money laundering and criminal activities.

The report starts by associating bitcoin with cybercrime, using WannaCry’s global ransomware campaign and its effects on the NHS as an example of how bitcoin facilitates criminal activities. According to the report, cryptocurrencies facilitate criminal transactions and crimes. It reads:

“Cryptocurrencies (mainly Bitcoin) have become a popular choice of criminals. They are facilitating criminal transactions and also crimes such as money laundering, extortion (following data breaches), blackmail (the threat of DDOS attacks) and fraud.”

It even states that cryptocurrencies such as monero and bitcoin have become a popular choice for criminals, adding that according to Europol 3% of all money laundering globally is now done through cryptocurrencies. Notably, back in July a report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and Council found that terrorists and criminals are rarely using cryptocurrencies, although it added that the lack of regulations pose the threat of them being misused.

Notably, N8’s report recommends the U.K. Home Office, an organization that oversees law enforcement agencies in the country, to classify bitcoin as a form of cash, to make it easier to seize the cryptocurrency. It states:

“A recommendation has also been made to the Home Office regarding a potential legislative amendment to categorise bitcoin as cash for the purpose of cash seizure legislation”

Moreover, as a result of its research, it found that U.K. law enforcement has significant knowledge gaps when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and as such a training program is recommended to improve development.

The report also says that bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain technology, poses “some potentially interesting opportunities for investigators”, and therefore it is essential to adopt a strategic training approach to law enforcement in the country.
 

How researchers got to their conclusion

As part of the report two scenarios were conducted: one in which researchers purchased items from dark web marketplaces using bitcoin and monero, and then executed a mock warrant, and a sextortion scenario in which officers analyzed transaction data on the blockchain to then execute a mock warrant and seize bitcoins.

It found that the lack of regulations for bitcoin ATMs in the U.K. is a vulnerability that can help criminals launder money. Regarding exchanges, it noted that these have been attempting to comply with international money laundering standards, conducting KYC (Know Your Customer) checks. It adds that further industry collaboration is needed as criminals can still bypass these checks.

Finally, the report notes that a number of tools are available for law enforcement to trace bitcoin transactions in the blockchain, but adds that these require knowledge and expertise. Some companies offer user-friendly alternatives, but access to these alternatives is limited in the U.K.

Whether the U.K. Home Office will approve legislation that will categorize bitcoin as cash is unclear.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Francisco Memoria

 

David

Crypto Asset Firm Launches Investable Index for Top 30 Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Asset Firm Launches Investable Index for Top 30 Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Asset Firm Launches Investable Index for Top 30 Cryptocurrencies

One of the cryptocurrency world's more tenured fund managers is launching two new products aimed at bringing the emerging asset class mainstream.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Tim Enneking's Crypto Asset Management is today releasing a new product called CAMCrypto30 – a cryptocurrency index designed to mirror the 30 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. In addition, the firm also announced a new, investable share class for the fund, which will track the cryptocurrencies listed in the index.

If successful, the index could one day be used as a shorthand for discussing cryptocurrency market movements, providing a reference point akin to an equity index. As indices are standard for traditional asset classes, this would allow investors to better analyze and track performance relative to other asset classes in their portfolios.

Index tracking products, such as the new share class, are designed to allow investors to gain broad exposure to an asset class while diversifying their holdings within it.

CAMCrypto30, which was constructed to resemble the Russell 2000 and FTSE 100 indices, is weighted by market cap.

Enneking told CoinDesk:

"We've used those two indices as our model because they are the closest to what seems to be appropriate in the crypto space. Not only is there no real index – there is certainly no investable index."

Unpacking the product

So, what's available today? For one, the index itself, which is separate from the investment vehicle, now has its own website.

An embeddable widget has also been made public for third-party websites to track CAMCrypto30 index data. (Notably, the index will be rebalanced monthly to better track the fast-moving cryptocurrency world, instead of being rebalanced quarterly, as is more typical with equity indices).

Otherwise, investors in the Crypto Asset Management fund are now able to participate in three separate fund classes, each of which provides exposure to a different type of investment.

The new index-tracking I-Class joins two other existing cryptocurrency fund classes: an L-Class, which is used to generate exposure to short-term lending rates, and a T-Class, which is a trading class.

All three classes are issued by two open-ended funds: a U.S.-based master fund, which is structured as a Delaware LLC, and a Cayman Islands-based feeder fund, primarily for international investors. The former, called Crypto Asset Management LLC, is open to accredited investors in the U.S., and is subject to a $25,000 minimum investment.

All Class-I shares, which track CAMCrypto30, have a fee structure of 2.5 percent on funds committed, but fees are not charged on returns, since there is no discretionary management involved in tracking the index.

 

David Ogden
Entrpreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Ash Bennington

David

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

The Technology Behind Cryptocurrencies

 

The creation of Bitcoin back in 2008 fueled the exponential growth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, facilitating the creation of a rich diversity of coins and applications that many would deem revolutionary. Those who invested in cheap coins at the outset are reaping huge returns on their capitals, dwarfing the average returns one can acquire in the stock markets. Think about it; if you had bought $1,000 worth of Bitcoin in 2010, you’d be worth a staggering $35 million now. The possibility of earning colossal returns has attracted many to the arena, and this begs a crucial question: Is the hype on cryptocurrencies warranted or it is just a game of Russian Roulette?

The birth of Bitcoin – the first digital cryptocurrency that is decentralized by design – gave rise to a technology with the potential to redefine the very fabric of our status quo. This technology is called the Blockchain, which underpins Bitcoin’s protocol.

“Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments.” — Leon Luow, Nobel Peace Prize nominee

Blockchain is essentially a distributed, digital ledger where every transaction is broadcasted publicly and recorded chronologically. The database is ever growing, expanding in tandem with the amount of transactions made on the network. The decentralized nature of Blockchain technology ensures that transactions are immutable and thus immune to change, offering full transparency for each and every transaction. Add to that the traits of increased security, higher efficiency, error-resistant and reduced transaction costs, it leaves no doubt as to why many are excited about Blockchain’s possible use cases. The utility of Blockchain technology is endless, with an ever-growing list of governments, industries and companies looking to further explore its usage.

Hotbed for Money Making

The birth of a revolutionary technology would always entail those looking to capitalize on its profitability. Blockchain is no different. Investors, traders and speculators can get in on the action by buying cryptocurrencies, which are digital currencies manifesting as variant applications of the Blockchain technology. There are over 900 coins available, with each offering a slightly different approach to solving a range of problems. Many early adopters have made a great sum of money, by buying the coins cheaply at its outset and realizing them much later on. Based on the statistics provided by ICOSTATS, the return on capital of 40 cryptocurrencies since their inception stands at a staggering 6703%! In order for you to earn similar rates of returns in the stock market, it will take you approximately 957 years.

These stellar returns inevitably attract many who are looking to earn multiples over their capital. Given the extreme technicality of cryptocurrencies and the underlying Blockchain technology, many do not fully understand the fundamentals of what they’re investing in. The immaturity of the current infrastructure – stemming from the relative infancy of the cryptocurrency industry — results in an inefficient price discovery mechanism, thereby creating an extremely volatile market environment. This poses huge risks for those looking to invest in a comprehensive list of coins.

Simply entering the market with the hopes of massive short-term gains without understanding the coins and their technology is akin to playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette. The radical volatility of the coins’ prices may significantly put your capital at risk. Just to draw a picture, Bitcoin’s price lost 40% of its value in a matter of days in December 2013, and at the start of this year, Bitcoin lost approximately 34% of its value in a week. While this can spell doom for many, there are those that find gratification by profiting from the intense gyration of prices.

The Verdict?

Nine years after Bitcoin kickstarted the technological revolution, the ecosystem centered around Blockchain technology has flourished and is looking ever so promising. New coins solving real world problems are launched at a tremendous pace, with new functionalities and applications pushing the boundaries of this nascent technology. With increasing user adoption and a keen interest by nations and corporations, it is only a matter of time before Blockchain technology becomes ubiquitous in our lives.

A flip side of this emergent technology is the great risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, especially for those with a short-term horizon and an absence of understanding in the coins they have invested in. Truly, the extraordinary volatility unique to cryptocurrencies creates a superficial impression of high stakes gambling in the eyes of many. Armed with the right understanding and knowledge of Blockchain technology, you would begin to appreciate its innate beauty.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Aziz Bin Zainuddin

David

Fidelity now allows clients to see digital currencies on its website

Fidelity now allows clients to see digital currencies on its website

Fidelity now allows clients to see digital currencies on its website

Fidelity Investments has started allowing clients to use its website to view their holdings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies held through digital wallet provider Coinbase.

Fidelity Investments has started allowing clients to use its website to view their holdings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies held through digital wallet provider Coinbase, the company said on Wednesday.

The initiative, previously tested with the Boston-based money manager's employees, is a rare example of an established financial services company warming up to cryptocurrencies.

Starting Wednesday, most Fidelity clients will be able to authorize Coinbase, one of the largest crypto-currency exchanges in the United States, to provide the fund manager with data on their holdings.

Through the experiment, the company said it aims to learn more about digital currencies, which have been proliferating since the creation of Bitcoin, the oldest and most valuable of these assets.

Coinbase enables users to buy and trade Bitcoin as well as competitor virtual currencies Ethereum and Litecoin.

"This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them," Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at Fidelity Labs, the company's innovation unit, said in an interview.

Bitcoin hit a record high on Tuesday, with one unit of bitcoin trading at above $3,400 on Coinbase.

The currency's rise in value is not a driving force behind the initiative, Stern said, noting that the integration is part of Fidelity's wider efforts around cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology blockchain.

Many large financial institutions around the world have been investing in blockchain over the past two years, in the hopes that it can help them slash costs and simplify some processes. Blockchain is a shared ledger of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet rather than a central authority.

However, most established financial firms have shied away from associating themselves with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, because the sector remains largely unregulated.

Fidelity's Chief Executive Officer Abigail Johnson announced the company's intention to launch the Coinbase integration at an industry conference in May.

At the time Johnson also revealed that Fidelity had been accepting bitcoin payments in its cafeteria, but said the experiment had highlighted the technology's flaws as a means of payments.

"But I am still a believer – and it's no accident that I'm one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services firm that hasn't given up on digital currencies," Johnson said at the time.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Source: Reuters

 

David

Changes in European regulations may impact Bitcoin

Changes in European regulations may impact Bitcoin

Changes in European regulations may impact Bitcoin

Some researches were stating that nearly a half of the bitcoin transaction is somehow related to various gambling activities. The reasons behind this are quite simple, the bitcoin provides a greater anonymity for the players and low transaction costs. However, the popularity of the bitcoin in the iGaming sector seem to become even greater this year.

Considering the fact that Poland, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and a few other major European markets are making it unfavourable for the operators to serve the customers via a locally regulated company and illegal to operate without one, the bitcoin casinos may become the best possible substitution in such markets. You may already see some of the popular Bitcoin casinos being listed at the various rating websites. While these websites are still listed in the bitcoin category, BTC casinos may soon take the largest slice of the market share. Let’s check a few European countries one by one to see the possible arguments.
 

Over 250 domains are banned in Poland

Polish government has set a deadline to ban all of the domains of the unregulated gambling companies by the 1st of July 2017. Now over 30 days have passed since then and we can conclude that this practice has been quite effective in terms of cleaning up the Polish market. Until now, it was announced that such gambling giants as 888 casino and poker, Pinnacle betting, Bet365, William Hill and other well known betting and casino operators have stepped out from Poland. Historically, some of the countries were putting such harsh restrictions on the gambling operators that only the richest ones could stay, yet this is not the case in Poland. The government has simply put a very high tax rate (12% on turnover), which already makes it quite risky for any gambling company to operate. And as a cherry on top, the Polish Ministry of Finance requires a company to apply for the local license with its locally established entity that employs local staff too. As a result, only a few unregulated operators are continuing serving the Polish players by offering their services while some subdomains.

We can clearly see an opportunity here for the bitcoin. While the number of competitors have decreased dramatically, generating profits is still not so easy for the locally regulated companies. Also, regulated companies are less likely to compensate their affiliates well or even at all. This is where bitcoin casinos and betting operators may take action and serve Polish customers with having no fears of being blocked by the payment system provider.
 

Czech Republic taxes the highest

Similar to Poland, Czech Republic has introduced a way to the gambling operators to get regulated and has required Internet Service Providers to ban the IPs of the unregulated entities. Instead of taxing the turnover, Czech Republic has decided to implement two types of taxation. Firstly, each of the games that uses randomly generated way of identifying a winner will be taxed at the 35% from the grosh gaming revenue. Even though such a tax rate is already one of the highest in Europe, Czech authorities will still charge a 19% income tax on top of that.

Again, most of the online gambling operators have decided to quit their operations. Needless to say, the bitcoin casinos and betting companies will be able to serve the clients in Czech republic without any local regulation, and this way they could save up quite a lot when compared to the regulated companies.

 

Summing it up

The EU governments are looking into tightening the screws in the iGaming sector. Ultimately, the government has two preventing measures in its disposal: blocking the operator’s IP address and requiring the payment systems to block the operator’s accounts. While the first block can be easily bypassed by various subdomains, avoiding the block on the deposits may be very challenging for the gambling companies that use fiat currencies. However, the bitcoin here seems to be the ultimately answer, and such a large forecasted demand on the cryptocurrencies may send the Bitcoin to the new heights.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

 

Author: Nick James

David

EVERYONE IS CRAZY FOR ETHEREUM, BUT BITCOIN IS STILL THE BEAST TO BEAT

EVERYONE IS CRAZY FOR ETHEREUM, BUT BITCOIN IS STILL THE BEAST TO BEAT

EVERYONE IS CRAZY FOR ETHEREUM, BUT BITCOIN IS STILL THE BEAST TO BEAT

We’ve come a long way in the eight years since Bitcoin’s original release. Back in 2009, when the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto launched the cryptographically verified digital asset, it was just a curiosity. With time, though, new uses have been found for it, from buying drugs, to transferring money near-instantaneously across the globe. Its value has peaked and troughed to reach considerable worth today – right now, a single Bitcoin is worth almost $2,800, close to its record high of $2,964.
 

The success of Bitcoin has inspired many imitators. That includes the classics, like Litecoin and Dogecoin, along with more contemporary and serious alternatives, like Ethereum and Zcash. They’re all subtly different, and often more volatile, than their Bitcoin foundation.

 

There’s now more than 900 cryptocurrencies in the wild. While many of them hog attention with their potential for larger earnings on less upfront investment, differing features, or philosophy, their futures still rest in the hands of that cryptocurrency created way back in 2009.
 

They are all built off the same core technology as Bitcoin, and susceptible to the same whims of human nature.
 

Bitcoin: The foundation and face of cryptocurrency empires

 

“Bitcoin underpins and backs up the entire crypto economy. When Bitcoin falls, the rest fall, when Bitcoin rises, the rest rise,” the host of the Bitcoin News Show, Vortex, told Digital Trends. “The alt coins are simply an extension of Bitcoin, most of them are even based on its source code.”
 

“Nothing like bitcoin could ever emerge again as the path to its inception is absolutely unique.”

There’s many “alt coins,” most with a unique spin. Some use different cryptographic hash functions, others build in smart contracting functionality, while others look to be more centralized. Yet at their core, they are all built around similar technology to Bitcoin, which is partly why their pasts and futures have been, and are, so dependent on the first mainstream cryptocurrency.
 

“Bitcoin will remain the digital gold that backs up the entire crypto-economy,” Vortex told us. “Nothing like bitcoin could ever emerge again as the path to its inception is absolutely unique. It was created anonymously with no pre-mine, no intent for profit, no attachment to any corporation, and essentially donated to the community by its founder.”
 

Although there have been some stumbling blocks over the years, with minor changes required to keep Bitcoin functioning as it should, it’s organic growth, and the lack of a desire to drive profit for its creators, that make Bitcoin so unique.

A quick look at the value charts shows that Bitcoin is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Its value was, at the time this article was published, four times greater than the nearest competition. That suggests a confidence in the long-standing currency that is far grander than its contemporaries.

Part of that comes from its very value, which makes large fluctuations in its worth less likely. It’s a sturdier investment than many other currencies – though that doesn’t mean it isn’t susceptible to fluctuation. Its price today is close to double what it was at the start of the year.

Bitcoin also acts as the face of the industry. It’s the original, most publicized, and close to a household name. That means first time investors are likely to consider it over other, more obscure investments. In turn, this popularity gives Bitcoin influence over its competitors. When the world sees Bitcoin doing well, other currencies usually benefits, too.

 

“The entire cryptocurrency market often moves up or down based on what’s happening with Bitcoin,” said Stewart Dennis, CEO of cryptocurrency email system Bitbounce. “If Bitcoin’s value continues to appreciate, that bodes well for the future of other currencies.”

A fork in the road?

 

Predicting the future appreciation of Bitcoin is difficult. As we have seen over the past couple of years, it can tumble back down following major world events. China’s decision to ban financial institutions from using Bitcoin in 2013 saw the currency nearly halve in value over a few weeks. Hacks of major Bitcoin exchange services, and speculative bubbles, have led to other temporary downturns in its fortunes.

Of course, there’s always the competition looking to use one of these disruptions to make an attempt on the crown. The latest is Bitcoin Cash, a “hard-fork” from Bitcoin, designed to offer larger capacity than its predecessor to reduce transaction fees. Does it stand to find success as an alternative top-tier currency where others have failed?

“Anyone at any time can fork Bitcoin as it is open source,” Vortex told us, dismissively. “This is what Litecoin and many other coins did. They forked Bitcoin, tweaked a few things, and called it something else.”

The only difference with Bitcoin Cash, he claims, is that it’s the first currency to attempt to use the original Bitcoin name. Although Bitcoin Cash has quickly become one of the more valuable cryptocurrencies ($400 at the time of writing), Vortex points out that it does not have much support.

“It only has two developers [and] is highly centralized and controlled. The core [Bitcoin] developers want nothing to do with it,” he said.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s assume Bitcoin Cash is successful, or some major calamity caused Bitcoin to fail and fall from grace. What would happen to the market then?

“If Bitcoin were to fall, faith in crypto itself would be lost for many years, at least as a store of value,” Vortex told us. “As a currency however, it would still flourish. Gold is what made and broke nations for thousands of years. Digital gold, or Bitcoin, is what will make or break nations for the next thousand years.”
 

Others, like BitBounce’s CEO, believe that the market itself would recover much more quickly, and that some other coin that would pick up the reins where Bitcoin left off.

“A [Bitcoin] calamity would cause other cryptocurrencies to lose significant value in the short-term,” he said. “But in the medium to long term, it could create an opening for currencies such as Ether to become the most valuable cryptocurrency.”
 

Predicting the future with Bitcoin’s past

Although Bitcoin’s future remains a little uncertain, we can draw something from its past. As the cryptocurrency with the greatest longevity and the most proven track record, we use it to get an idea of what may happen to its younger competitors as they grow and mature.

At the time of writing, Ethereum is one of the more popular, vogue currencies, and in terms of its market capital, is second only to Bitcoin, even if it does trail it by a significant margin. Though it has suffered a recent downturn in value, it reached a new high less than a month ago, peaking just shy of $400 per Ether.

If we look at a graph of its growth and fall and compare that to Bitcoin’s earliest peaks in 2013, the similarities are hard to ignore. The only difference is that Ether has yet to recover in quite the same manner as Bitcoin. While there are no guarantees of such a thing happening, Bitbounce’s Dennis believes it will soon.

“Bitcoin has repeatedly appreciated to an all-time high and then corrected to a lower price for a while, before eventually reaching an even greater high. I see similar trends with other younger currencies,” he told DigitalTrends.
 

Indeed, Dennis sees those currencies one day even eclipsing that of Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin is still important because it started everything and has the widest adoption. However, Bitcoin’s dominance has been fading. Before too long, I expect other currencies to become even more valuable, and have greater adoption than Bitcoin.”

Vortex, however, disagrees. While he believes that Bitcoin will continue to underpin cryptocurrencies and even worldwide economies in the forseeable future, the outcome of other currencies is far less certain.
 

“Nothing is predictable,” he said, but reiterated that Bitcoin’s fortunes will be reflected in those of others currencies.

While he does see that any sort of success in Bitcoin cash would be a potential indicator for more hard-fork currencies being created in the future, “that trick only works a few times” and will ultimately just bring more attention to the original currency that started it all. Bitcoin.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

 

Author: Jon Martindale

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