Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

The total value of all publicly traded cryptocurrencies may be at an all-time high, but trader confidence isn't keeping pace.

After rising more than 1,500% from just over $7bn on 1st January, the market is beginning to show signs that its rapid ascent in 2017 may be slowing.

According data from CoinMarketCap, the cryptocurrency asset class fell from a high of $117bn yesterday to just under $100bn today, a period in which more than 80 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies have seen double-digit declines.

While this decline may just be a speed bump in the world of cryptocurrencies, some analysts report it is sufficient enough that they are beginning to reassess their positions in light of recent activity.

Hedging for a crash?

Indeed, several traders spoke with CoinDesk about the strategies they're currently using to hedge against a potential decline in cryptocurrency prices, with some indicating they're employing simple strategies by reducing their holdings.

For example, Charlie Shrem, a bitcoin entrepreneur and over-the-counter (OTC) trader, is in this camp. He reported he's been buying more bitcoin lately, with "less than 10%" of his portfolio in alternative assets.

Marius Rupsys, a cryptocurrency trader and co-founder of fintech startup InvoicePool, took a bolder approach, telling CoinDesk he liquidated his entire cryptocurrency portfolio and has started shorting bitcoin, actively betting its price will go down.

Rupsys predicted:

"There should be larger correction at some point which will cause altcoins to fall and bitcoin to fall at the same time."

While several traders identified portfolio management and active trading strategies as ways to hedge against a cryptocurrency price crash, cryptocurrency trader Kong Gao offered a different solution.

One way to hedge against this decline, he said, is to begin mining on alternative asset protocols, and simply hold the coins they receive instead of selling them.

Irrational exuberance

Elsewhere, Rupsys spoke to how he believes the increasing price has been largely caused by highly optimistic newcomers, a prospect that leads him to believe the bull run could soon fade.

"Many of these new traders are retail traders that have little knowledge of crypto-assets or trading in general," Rupsys told CoinDesk.

He added, many people have contacted him interested in getting rich quick.

Tim Enneking, managing director of cryptocurrency hedger fund, Crypto Asset Management, also spoke to the exuberance in the market.

While cryptocurrencies have been experiencing sharp gains, they will reverse direction at some point, Enneking predicted. Crypto Asset Management has set up stop loss orders to liquidate positions in certain cryptocurrencies should these digital assets suffer an "abrupt crash", he said.

And according to Charles Hayter, co-founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange CryptoCompare, a crash is likely. The attention alternative asset protocols have gained lately have highlighted some of this overconfidence, he said.

While there may be no clear signs yet, Hayter is still putting his money where his mouth is, noting CryptoCompare is going so far as to reallocate its active positions in the market.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Charles Bovaird

David

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

 

Timothy Enneking started a cryptocurrency fund in 2014, when the market was almost exclusively bitcoin. That's no longer the case.

The 58-year-old money manager is now aiming to raise up to $400 million for the Crypto Asset Fund, a diversified pool of digital currencies and assets that he expects to be in the tens of millions of dollars by the end of this year. Enneking filed with the SEC on Monday.

With the soaring value of ethereum, Ripple XRP and NEM, the top 100 cryptocurrencies combined are now worth more than $98 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin accounts for 46 percent of the total. Enneking said just six to eight months ago, the total value was in the low teens and 85 to 95 percent was bitcoin.

"We can actually now apply much more sophisticated tools to a portfolio of investments," said Enneking, who started managing money in Russia in 2002 and is now based in San Diego. "I don't think the world has seen but the pointy end of the spear in terms of what's going to happen in cryptocurrencies."

Crypto Asset is a trading fund, so it's not for the buy-and-hold investor. Enneking said that the minimum investment for the fund is $25,000 and that most of the institutions that are approaching him have between $100 million and $2 billion under management.

What Is Blockchain

The craze around cryptocurrencies stems from growing adoption of blockchain, a distributed electronic ledger that makes all transactions trackable. Banks are using it for payments and back-office functions, while companies in digital music, ride-sharing and cybersecurity are starting to use blockchain for tracking, sharing or protecting assets.

It's still very early and speculators abound. Start-ups built on blockchain are creating their own crypto-tokens and selling them to investors and prospective customers in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Buyers can hold the tokens in the hopes of price appreciation or, in some cases, use them as currency in the company's ecosystem. For example, a cloud storage company called Storj sold tokens that customers can use to buy digital storage space.

Enneking said he participated in an ICO for INTCoin, which calls itself "a next-generation decentralized currency that takes advantage of blockchain capabilities for instant transactions with a minimum fee."

'Less regulation'

As for the Crypto Asset Fund's strategy, Enneking said he's broken the market up into six pieces, ranging from the "blue chips" valued at above $2 billion all the way down to the currencies with so little value that they don't trade. There are currently four cryptocurrencies that fall into the blue chips category — bitcoin, ethereum, XRP and NEM — and another 22 in his large-cap group with coins outstanding valued at $200 million or more, according to CoinMarketCap.

Enneking spends much of his time educating investors about the market and trying to get them comfortable with the idea that crypto is just like any other asset, except it's moving much more quickly and the regulators have yet to become a presence.

That's a big part of the risk.

"It's not nearly as different as the average fiat investor thinks it is," Enneking said. "It's better, faster and with less regulation, which isn't always good."

Ari Levy

Senior Tech Reporter CNBC

 

If you do not have $25,000 to invest, you could go to Trade Coin Club where minimum starting investment is 0.35 Bitcoin

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David

The new cryptocurrency gold rush: digital tokens that raise millions in minutes

The new cryptocurrency gold rush: digital tokens that raise millions in minutes

The new cryptocurrency gold rush: digital tokens that raise millions in minutes

 

New York City

About a dozen rain-soaked people were crammed between the revolving doors and security barriers in the lobby of New York University’s Stern School of Business as torrents pelted down outside. All desperately wanted in to the hottest ticket in town, one that promised to make some of them overnight millionaires, if not billionaires. Among them was Dan Morehead, a former Wall Street titan turned bitcoin investor, and a dentist working on a blockchain startup who had flown in from Seoul.

“I don’t really care that you overbooked, it’s not my problem! I don’t care about a refund,” one agitated man seeking entry barked at two T-shirt clad twentysomethings on the other side, one of them clutching a clipboard.

“You can be upset and raise your voice, but we can’t change anything,” one of the gatekeepers replied.

“We have three clients down there!” another man interjected.

The clipboard holder dutifully scribbled down names. When it was my turn, she said NYU wanted to clear out the huddled mass blocking the building’s entrance: “The auditorium holds like 470 people. We have more than 500 people down there right now. NYU is calling security.”

Inside, a conference called “Token Summit” was in full swing. The event was the first to focus on a rapidly snowballing phenomenon called cryptocurrency token offerings—a new fundraising method that allows companies to raise millions of dollars in mere minutes.

The cryptocurrency world has gone mad for token offerings. These launches, popularly known as ICOs or initial coin offerings, have already raised more than $150 million this year, according to research firm Smith + Crown. They are seen as a disruptive new mechanism that could displace traditional venture capitalists from the fund raising process—a view that’s been endorsed by a coterie of brand name VCs themselves—and remake the internet’s business model with decentralized applications and cryptocurrencies. Take an outfit known as Gnosis, a decentralized prediction market, which raised $12 million in under 15 minutes, valuing it at $300 million. Investors had invested based solely on a PDF prepared by its founders (recently a firm called Brave raised $35 million in 30 seconds).

As cryptocurrency prices exploded, ICO fever gripped the over 2,700 blockchain tech enthusiasts who descended on New York in late May for a series of back-to-back industry conferences. Rumors flew about the fortunes being made, as the cryptocurrency ethereum climbed from $127 per unit of ether at the start of the week to $228 by Thursday. The head of an ethereum app development shop was said to hold 6 million ether, meaning he went from being a mere millionaire on Monday to an ether billionaire, holding $1.4 billion worth of the stuff, three days later. “Out of the 2,700 attendees there were at least 500 millionaires, and between zero to five billionaires,” said one longtime observer of the cryptocurrency scene, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Why are tokens a big deal?

The oracles of Silicon Valley say token offerings could reinvent the “freemium” business model of the internet, upending the huge centralized services—think of Facebook or Google—that have emerged. Instead of enticing users with free services, paid for by venture capital, and then eventually turning a profit by showing ads to those users, tokens offer a direct channel for capital to flow between user and the technologist.

The user would pay for a token upfront, providing funds for coders to develop the promised technology. If the technology works as advertised and gains popularity, it should attract more users, thus increasing demand for the token offered at the start. As the token value increases, those early users who bought tokens will benefit from appreciating token prices. Each token offering has different rules around the total supply of tokens and when they are released.

“This is a ‘better-than-free’ business model, where users make money for being early adopters,” write Balaji Srinivasan and Naval Ravikant, a partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and the founder of investing platform AngelList, respectively. Ravikant has launched a platform called CoinList that will help accredited investors put money into token launches.

Token offerings could also correct an imbalance in the way financial rewards are distributed among technologists. Historically, the people who develop foundational technologies, such as protocols, have watched from the sidelines as others—firms that build the applications running atop those protocols—reap the riches. The Google search engine, for instance, is an application that trawls the world wide web, which is made up of a collection of open-source protocols. Yet it’s Google’s founders who are billionaires and not Tim Berners-Lee, who came up with the protocols that made not just Google, but the entire web, possible.

Cryptotokens could change that because protocol creators now have a way to be rewarded for the success of their technology, without having to create a hit application on top of it. “With tokens … the creators of a protocol can ‘monetize’ it directly and will in fact benefit more as others build businesses on top of that protocol,” writes Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures.

This is the argument behind the “fat protocol” investment thesis: the protocols of the past were “thin” and unable to accrue financial value. The application layer resting atop those protocols were the ones to reap the rewards. But cryptotokens could enable the protocols of today to become “fat”—creating more wealth and value than even the enormously successful applications of the past. “These new ‘fat protocols’ may eventually create and capture more value than the last generation of Internet companies,” Srinivasan and Ravikant write.

Venture firms who subscribe to this theory have wasted no time putting their money where their mouths are. This is why firms like Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz have backed funds like Polychain Capital, which invest exclusively in token offerings. While the tokens are being raised for digital services at the moment—things like storage, identity management, or chat room stickers—one can imagine them being used for offline products and services someday in the future, too.

Nor are tokens limited to new projects. The chat platform Kik, with 15 million monthly active users, launched its own token last week at the conference, in the hopes of seeding an “economy built around chat (pdf).” In practice this means Kik users can earn and spend on special stickers, images, or even entry to celebrity chat rooms using the chat app’s Kin token. Unlike traditional loyalty points issued by a merchant, however, the Kin tokens are decentralized because they are issued on top of ethereum (more on that below). The Kin digital currency could exist even if the chat app vanished after issuance—although it probably wouldn’t be used very much and would be worth little.

What are tokens, exactly?

At this stage, an explainer on what tokens are, exactly, is helpful. You can think of a token offering as a hybrid between a Kickstarter campaign and a stock market flotation. On one hand, the launch lets customers reserve a product or service before it’s completed and ready for the market—that’s the Kickstarter part. On the other hand, it also gives those customers a stake in the future of that product or service; if the service gains in popularity, the token should rise in price, enriching the original users, making it a lot like getting in on a hot IPO. However, one of those analogies puts token issuers squarely in the sights of securities regulators, so the distinction is crucial. More on that later when we discuss the legal gray area that tokens occupy.

Like the rest of the cryptocurrency industry, token offerings rely on a basic circular logic: A token has as much value as its users bestow on it, just as bitcoin rises in price so long as demand outstrips supply. But token boosters say their units of digital currency are different from bitcoin in one critical respect: they are programmable, and have been coded to perform various useful functions.

Tokens issued today are built atop ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency on the market. Ethereum is like bitcoin because it is a tradable digital currency, which is called ether. It’s unlike bitcoin because it was designed with its own programming language—a significant departure from, and its creators say, an upgrade over, bitcoin. This language allows people to write “smart contracts” or automatically executed agreements on ethereum. A bond, for instance, might automatically pay out its coupon, without the need for an intermediary or paperwork.

It turns out that ethereum’s programming language is powerful enough that coders can write smart contracts that issue new units of digital currency, bound by their own rules. This is what the tokens offered today are: a series of complicated ethereum smart contracts. The ethereum network itself is being used as a giant token-issuing machine. “Right now ethereum is a token factory,” says Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, a startup working on building tools for a decentralized internet.

The circularity of cryptocurrency economics is at play again here: Ethereum itself raised capital from its users by offering ether tokens in 2014, raising $18 million. The ethereum protocol then became a staging ground for experiments in token funding: A vehicle called the Decentralized Autonomous Organization managed to raise $150 million on the promise that it would be a new form of business structure, one that automated away managers using a combination of smart contracts and tokens. It was promptly hacked for millions and flamed out spectacularly.

An ethereum-based token is to ether as a concert ticket is to a US dollar, Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at the Coin Center think tank, suggests. “In the real world we often use all sorts of items rather like we use cash,” he writes. “We use tickets, coupons … and a variety of bearer instruments because they entitle the holder to different things.” These customized tokens can be traded on secondary markets, like exchanges, and have their own value, independent of the price of ether.

Orange groves and securities law

While the potential of token launches remains vague, though powerful, almost everyone I spoke to at the New York conferences agreed on one thing: The US government would crack down on the offerings eventually. No one seems to think the good times for ICOs will last.

The legality of tokens hinges on something called the “Howey test,” named after a Florida company in the 1940s that tried to raise capital by selling contracts against its citrus groves—a practice that the US Supreme Court ruled was similar to a stock offering. At the Consensus conference, the debate about whether or not ICOs were like citrus grove contracts was captured by an exchange between Van Valkenburg, who argued that tokens are like products and not securities, and Preston Bryne, a lawyer and founder of a blockchain company called Monax.

“It’s like buying gold … it’s not like buying a security in a gold mine,” said Van Valkenburg. Responded Bryne, “This is complete nonsense. Everybody knows what this is. It’s, in substance and form, the sale of investments that people are purchasing with expectation of profit at a later date.”

Of course, what really matters is the regulator’s opinion. The US Securities and Exchange Commission hasn’t weighed in on the matter yet. But an SEC official who spoke at the Consensus conference, Valerie Szczepanik, who heads its unit looking at blockchain tech, sounded a note of caution, according to Reuters: “Whether or not you are regulated by the SEC, you still have fiduciary duties to your investors. If you want this industry to flourish, protection of investors should be at the forefront.”

Token boosters await official intervention with a mixture of trepidation and relief. Take Stan Miroshnik, who was a veteran investment banker with Morgan Stanley in London. He now runs a firm called Argon that corrals big investors—like cryptocurrency “whales,” adventurous family offices, and hedge funds—into token launches to ensure they’re sold out.

When a group of coders wants to raise money for their project, Miroshnik hits Slack teams, Telegram groups, and gets press in the cryptocurrency trade media to rustle up business. “Having seen the technology boom in the 90s, this is just another emerging capital market,” he says. “It needs institutional grade providers like ourselves who come out of traditional investment banks. One day Fidelity is going to show up and say, ‘I want $4 billion of that token, help me buy it.’ You need someone who can, frankly, speak their language.”

For Miroshnik, the sooner the SEC steps in, the better. “I welcome it,” he says. “It would be helpful to figure out where the boundaries are.”

WRITTEN BY
Joon Ian Wong

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David

Will Investing in Cryptocurrency Make You Rich

Will Investing in Cryptocurrency Make You Rich

Will Investing in Cryptocurrency Make You Rich

 

Have you heard? Cyptocurrency is so hot right now. Bitcoin's price has been climbing for the better part of a year, topping $2,000 per coin for the first time in May, and rising to a record high above $2,500 — before dropping down just above $2,400 a coin as of Friday afternoon, per CoinDesk.

Those numbers mean nothing to you? This one might: If you had made a small investment in bitcoin back in 2010 — buying just $100 worth, when each unit was worth a fraction of a cent — your stash would be valued today at more than $70 million. Talk about an early retirement!

Even if you had been late to the party and bought bitcoin last year, you would be feeling pretty good. At one point, bitcoin prices were up roughly 180% for the year, as CNBC reported. Compare that with the broad stock market, which returned between 7.9% and 15%, depending on which index you look at.

Other cryptocurrencies have been on a tear as well. Ethereum, launched in 2015, is a software platform that has a cryptocurrency of its own, called "ether." Ether, or "ether tokens," hit a new all-time high Wednesday after climbing more than 35% in 24 hours, per CoinDesk. (There's also litecoin, which is similar to bitcoin but easier to obtain, more transactional, and seen as less valuable.)

So does that mean you should buy cryptocurrency today? Some say yes: One bitcoin proponent told CNBC he expects its value to keep rising and hit $100,000 within the decade. While digital currencies may seem alien now, it serves to remember that when Apple and other tech brands began gaining steam in the 1980s, people were skeptical anyone would have use for a personal computer. That story had a happy ending for early Apple investors.

Then again, hindsight can be 20/20, and just because an asset's price is going up doesn't mean it's actually getting more valuable. Just ask someone who bought U.S. real estate in 2007, or a tulip bulb during the infamous Dutch tulip bubble. If all that is driving prices to rise is hype, it's a good time to remember that what goes up must come down.

 

What are bitcoin and ether, exactly?

For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies like ether and bitcoin are digital forms of money that live online, embedded in algorithms that record their movements. Bitcoin was the first major cryptocurrency, invented by an anonymous hacker known as Satoshi Nakamoto, in 2008. In a paper about the technology, Nakamoto envisioned a "peer-to-peer electronic cash system" that would let people conduct business directly, without the need of any outside institution.

The idea can be an exciting one: No more bank fees, for one, and you wouldn't need credit cards or debit cards, either. You also wouldn't need central banks or treasuries, since the price of currency would be set on the global stage by computers. Proponents of bitcoin, and its underlying technology, blockchain, hope that it could make most middlemen irrelevant by making all transactions instantly trustworthy and automated by Bluetooth.

If you needed a ride somewhere? You'd just summon your self-driving car, it would automatically read your digital wallet and take its fee, and you'd get out. It's a future that could save billions in transaction fees, protect identities and be a whole lot more sanitary. But we're not there yet, not by a long shot.

Currently, the system of using bitcoin relies on programmers to record transactions and build out what's known as a blockchain in exchange for a small bitcoin bounty. That process is called "bitcoin mining," and anyone can participate, although the reward will diminish over time

 

The case for investing in cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has come a long way from bitcoin's roots as the shadow currency favored by criminals on the Silk Road. Skepticism over bitcoin reached a boiling point in 2014, when Mt. Gox, the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, abruptly declared bankruptcy after than $460 million in bitcoin essentially disappeared.

Despite a rocky start, bitcoin has arguably entered the mainstream. For one, you can actually use it to buy stuff now. Many retailers, like Microsoft and Overstock, have started accepting bitcoin directly, and for the retailers that don't — notably Amazon — proponents have found a workaround by buying gift cards with their bitcoin and making purchases that way.

"The vast majority of bitcoin proponents are now either in finance or government," said Ian Bogost, an author, professor and game designer who has written about bitcoin for the Atlantic. "And for them, the speculative aspect is like a repurposing. The speculatists couldn’t give a shit what they’re speculating on, what the object is. Just that there is the possibility of substantial gain."

Ironically, given its roots, many of bitcoin's recent wins have been thanks to governments. Most recently, Japan voted to make bitcoin an officially sanctioned currency, and other countries like Barbados are looking into whether they should start purchasing bitcoin of their own.

Interestingly, many fans of cryptocurrency argue that the real value might not be in the currency itself, but in the technology that enables it — ways to safely and securely move value, for example, or trustworthy ways to validate identity.

"Bitcoin basically operated in obscurity until 2012, when media began reporting on its pseudonymous payments on Silk Road and it hit $1,000 before crashing," said Amanda Gutterman, chief marketing officer of ConsenSys, a blockchain studio which builds products on Ethereum. "As interest picked up, there was a desire to create more sophisticated financial products."

Bitcoin started as an experiment in monetary theory, Gutterman said, but it has already started to inspire real technology. ConsenSys, for example, is working with the city of Dubai to leverage blockchain and make the city government paperless by 2020. Because it's easier to build products around, many experts believe Ethereum could soon supplant Bitcoin.

 

The case against buying cryptocurrency

While the price of cryptocurrencies might be going up, there are still a lot of reasons to be wary, not least because it's virtually impossible to determine what a fair price for bitcoin or ether might be.

Part of what makes currencies and other assets valuable is that they have a history of appreciation, which cryptocurrencies do not share. Then there's the fact that people don't exactly agree on what the rules for bitcoin should be. It's not really a currency, since currencies are backed by a government, which issues them. It's also not really like a stock, either — cryptocurrencies don't report earnings or generate profits, and earnings and profits are how people try to determine what a "fair price" for a given stock might actually be.

Now, a few people have developed formulas to figure out the fair price for bitcoin: The Financial Times spoke to one anonymous London financial analyst who developed a model for pricing bitcoin based on the assumption that its "core utility value" is as the currency for shadow markets. By comparing the total amount of money that's laundered around the world with the overall GDP, he estimates that bitcoin's current price is about 238% higher than it should be. Other skeptics say that bitcoin has no real underlying value at all.

Despite being embraced by corporations and governments, bitcoin is still associated with criminal activity: When the WannaCry ransomware attack hit computers all over the world in May, the hackers involved requested their bounties in bitcoin. That means that even as some governments embrace bitcoin, others are cracking down: In Florida, for example, the state legislature recently passed a law that would make it easier to prosecute criminals who use bitcoin for money laundering.

Somewhat paradoxically, these types of criminal activity might actually be part of what's making bitcoin more valuable at the moment. Confronted with a rise in bitcoin ransoms from hackers, Bogost noted that a very natural response for a company is to buy a little bitcoin in case it happens again.

Bogost said she fears that bitcoin is particularly susceptible to monopoly — as hackers have very successfully cornered the market in the past. "We’ve seen with these sort of ups and downs, these small groups of mostly Chinese pools end up with more than 50% of the capacity. And we don’t know anything about these organizations. Are they state controlled?" Bogost said. "The moment [there is too much consolidation in the mining pools] then effectively the platform is dead, at least as a currency."

Finally, there's the possibility people are unwisely romanticizing a future without middlemen. The people who lost their bitcoin in the 2014 Mt. Gox hack are still trying to get their money back, and are unlikely to. After all, when the value of your cash is held in anonymous, poorly-understood algorithms, it's hard to hold somebody accountable if you lose it.

If you still feel like investing a small amount of money in cryptocurrency, be sure not to dip into your emergency savings. It's rarely a good idea to buy something when its price is at its all-time high. And remember that there are a lot of horses in this race: In addition to bitcoin, ether, and litecoin there's also ripple, namecoin and peercoin.

 

How to buy and store cryptocurrency

If you have some "play" money and want to make a bet on cryptocurrency, you should absolutely feel 100% comfortable with the idea of losing all that money. Cryptocurrencies have crashed before, often, and probably will again in the future. They're also historically expensive — if you must buy some, you might be served by waiting a bit for prices to drop, so you're more likely to get a deal.

There are lots of ways to buy cryptocurrencies, and some countries have even set up ways to purchase them via an ATM.

Coinbase is one of the more well-known bitcoin brokers, and often recommended for beginners. Coinbase allows you buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by linking to your debit or credit card account. Business Insider reports that the mobile app is buggy, and banks will sometimes lock a card after making these transactions. To that end, BI recommends letting your financial institution know before trying to make a purchase.

There are a few other options, though they have less of a track record: Kraken is one reputable alternative; it has been around since 2011 and works with a wide range of traders and governments. There's also Gemini, but it is not yet available in every state.

Finally, because exchanges, even the largest ones, have crashed abruptly, it's also important to get yourself a safe place to store your bitcoin, in case your provider goes out of business or suffers a hack. These devices are often referred to as bitcoin "wallets." Ledger is a popular option.

by James Dennin

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David

Coinhako Adds Ether for Singaporean and Malaysian Wallet Users

Coinhako Adds Ether for Singaporean and Malaysian Wallet Users

Coinhako Adds Ether for Singaporean and Malaysian Wallet Users

 

Coinhako, a Singapore-based Bitcoin wallet supplier declared that it will include bolster for ether (ETH). Clients can now purchase, offer and store ETH in Singapore and Malaysia. Ether tokens are the local coin and installment asset of Ethereum, the decentralized blockchain stage to run savvy contracts not worked by any standardized bank or government. ETH has vaulted to second behind bitcoin in market capitalization and fame.

CoinHako.com is a bitcoin wallet benefit that expects to give simple and dependable access to bitcoin and ether for clients in Asia. The organization was the main bitcoin startup in Asia to be chosen by Silicon Valley-based hatchery Boost VC. The organization is accounted for to have prepared more than SGD $350 million in exchanges since its establishing.

The administration is privately based as it takes into consideration clients to purchase in Singapore and Malaysia with local cash, however it has made notification in the past they are hoping to extend to other Asian nations. This is, of course, I highly significant development in the Asian market.

With Ether gaining steam towards being next promising cryptocurrency, Coinhako’s move on the two auspicious countries will give them a mark to gauge the gains and friction in the Asian market. Ether has made great lengths in the past few weeks, breaking record with an all-time high value.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore has definitely been a front-runner in blockchain technology, one of the biggest trends in fintech along with cloud computing, mobile payments, biometrics, and big data. Interest for bitcoin, ether, and blockchain technology in Malaysia, however, has immensely increased since last year as industry players are eyeing the country’s remittance market. With the launch of its new mobile app last year and an upgraded website, Coinhako aims at expanding to up to five countries in Southeast Asia by 2018.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David

Cryptocurrency Bubble?

Cryptocurrency bubble ?

Cryptocurrency Bubble ?
 

Some credible sources are citing a possible "cryptocurrency bubble", as the prices of coins and tokens rocket and the fever for initial coin offerings (ICOs) continues unabated. All this stuff involves the technology known as blockchain, so it's all broadly related, but there are also certain distinct phenomena to consider.

On the one hand, we are seeing a massive increase in the price of Bitcoin, ether, Dash, Z-Cash, Monero, what have you.

Also surging is the ICO trend, which involves many new startups issuing and selling their own tokens (often oversubscribed with speculative buyers) as a way to crowdfund the building of yet another use-case focused blockchain system.

One theory behind the dramatic increase in the value of existing "altcoins", as in alternatives to Bitcoin, such as Dash or Litecoin, is that Bitcoin is approaching its limit and as a result users are now forced to pay increasingly high fees to use the Bitcoin network. Indeed, users are paying transaction processors additional Bitcoins to prioritise their transactions among the many thousands that are queued in a backlog, termed the 'mempool'.

Preston Byrne, COO of Monax and a fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, recently wrote about this: "The cryptocurrency market as a whole is interesting from an economic perspective in that it provides a perfectly transparent sandbox to see what happens when perfectly substitutable goods (Bitcoin clones) that accomplish the exact same thing (unregulated value transfer) in a fully automatic way (distributed state machines which require no human oversight) are placed in a position to compete.

"As far as an end-user of cryptocurrency software is concerned, whether a c-currency is $3000 in Dogecoin or $3000 in Bitcoin is immaterial; the shop round the corner prices its goods in USD/GBP/EUR, so as long as one coin or the other has sufficient liquidity to cash out, this means competition can occur on the basis of speed and transaction fees."

According to trading experts, the crypto ecosystem has been fleshed out lately with more cross pairs and on-ramps from the fiat world. There is a roll in roll out trade from Bitcoin to crypto and back as the markets inflate on both sides of the trade.

Charles Hayter, CEO, CryptoCompare, said: "Last year it was fairly easy to predict buying of Bitcoin through fiat and then into crypto. The cross pairs and markets have matured to offer direct Ethereum and Litecoin buying in a number of fiat pairs and this is increasing the options for traders to enter and exit positions. That said, Bitcoin is still the direct port in a storm for the entire industry.

"You are also seeing the arrival of new nations to the crypto sphere with their own bespoke approach to local regulatory issues et al – South Korea is a perfect case in point as they have taken the number three spot in terms on direct fiat to Ethereum trading.

Hayter said another interesting trend has been the dislocation of markets premia / discounts across pairs have widened. "This has been exacerbated by the Chinese regulatory issues as well as Wells Fargos hiatus on international transfers connected to Bitfinex and USDT. New markets tend to sit at premiums, as direct fiat flow spikes prices with exit routes from dead pools of money trading at a premium for exiting the exchange," he said, adding, "bubble – to an extent."

However, as far as ICOs are concerned, many prominent people in the industry believe this is fast becoming pure bubble territory and will end in tears (and probably some actions by the SEC). Someone who would go the record about token sales is angel investor and author William Mougayar, who is organising the Token Summit in New York on May 25.

He said: "In the history of technological cycles, if you follow economist Carlota Perez's thinking, nothing great happens without overshooting during the installation phase of a given technology, before moving into the adoption phase.

"We are clearly in the installation phase of cryptotech, and there is nothing we can do to prevent this overshooting from happening. It's just human nature at play.

"Of course there are ideas, protocols, start-ups and applications currently being launched that will not make it long term, but out of all this activity, some great ones will emerge."

Byrne of Monax has been as staunch a critic of ICOs as anyone ("the equivalent of selling people rows in a database"). But he concluded by saying that, amid all the froth, the way blockchains perform is truly impressive.

"Even relatively obscure systems with a fairly low level of developer input, such as Dogecoin, continue to survive and thrive under the circumstances. This is a ringing endorsement of blockchain technology as a very capable way of automating financial process flows with maximal security and minimal supervision.

"In the enterprise blockchain space we benefit directly from observing the failings and successes of public blockchain systems, which allows us to deliver more value to our clients in the permissioned/regulated applications they ask us to build. All in all, it's great," he said.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 


 

By Ian Allison

 

David

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, developers and investors, the first half of 2017 has been nothing but exciting. Very few people would have predicted the trends that we are now seeing today: a vibrant and rapidly growing altcoin market, massive all time highs for both Bitcoin and Ethereum and an initial coin offering (ICO) crowdfunding mechanism that is creating enormous investor hype.

Among all of this noise are a number of very interesting developments. These developments could indicate what’s to come in the second half of 2017, and this article aims to summarize events so far and what may be to come. Whatever your role in the cryptocurrency space, this piece should serve as some inspiration as to where to look next.
 

RIPPLE – BITCOIN FOR BANKS

The popularity of Bitcoin’s blockchain stems from its ability to circumvent banks and allow users to engage in peer to peer transactions without authority; creating an enormous array of applications for Bitcoin gambling and dark net markets, as well as limitless “white hat” models. This ideology is more powerful than ever today, but the introduction of Ripple in 2013 has demonstrated that banks themselves can be revolutionized by overhauling their systems to use blockchain-based payments.

Ripple is unlike most other cryptocurrencies, in that it operates on a private or “consortium” blockchain, whereby the nodes (transaction verifiers) are controlled by trusted financial institutions that have been vetted to join the network – on the contrary, anyone in the world is free to join and use the Bitcoin network. The Ripple tokens (XRP) power international transactions on the network, whether that’s fiat to fiat, crypto to crypto or a mix of the two – with currency exchange conversions happening on the fly. Ripple allows banks to reduce global (and domestic) payment times from days and weeks down to seconds, with layers of transparency that are unprecedented in the traditional banking sector.

Despite being a private blockchain, anyone in the world is able to purchase XRP, and with a fixed supply of 100bn, scarcity may play an important role in the future price of XRP. This scarcity has also been compounded by the founding team of Ripple agreeing to verifiably “lock up” well over half of that total supply – adding some predictability to the XRP price. This lock up time is possibly planned for extension, which – combined with the listing of XRP on major exchanges like Bitstamp, and Ripple’s partnership with Japan’s largest bank – has led to a meteoric rise in the value of XRP from $0.01 to $0.18 in a matter of weeks.

Over the past several months, it has become apparent that large financial institutions are leaning towards consortium based blockchains as opposed to the public ones offered by Bitcoin – although Ethereum may buck that trend as discussed below.
 

ETHEREUM – EEA AND DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP

Ethereum was the first blockchain to successfully convince investors that altcoins had a viable place in what was largely considered a Bitcoin-only ecosystem. Popular due to its built-in smart contract protocol, Ethereum is able to run computations that can transact value without middlemen. As a result, the project has led to the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) which connects dozens of businesses and academics who are rapidly researching and developing smart contract technology.

While a number of the projects being worked on are private forks of Ethereum – such as JP Morgan’s Quorum protocol – the interoperability with the main Ethereum chain, as well as the lessons being learned (and shared among EEA members and the open source community), is having profound effects on Ethereum as a whole.

The EEA is just one offshoot of Ethereum that has attracted enormous investment, however there are other developments which have led to a recent upsurge in the price of Ether, from $10 to roughly $90 at the time of writing.

ETHEREUM NAME SERVICE

In May 2017, the Ethereum Foundation (EF) launched the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). This protocol is analogous to the separate Domain Name Service (DNS), which ties domain names to i.p. addresses – making them more readable to human users. In a similar way, the ENS will tie long and unreadable smart contract or personal wallet addresses to a memorable “name” such as mywallet.eth. These names are currently at auction, and there has so far been $7m worth of bids, with exchange.eth receiving a massive $600,000 bid. Note that this is a proxy bid, meaning the winner would only ever pay a trivial amount more than the next highest bidder.

REDUCING MINER REWARD

A poll taking place on carbonvote.com has indicated that an overwhelming 99.73% are in agreement with a move to reduce the miner reward from 5 ETH per block to 2 ETH (with blocks continuing to be mined at roughly 15 second intervals). The motivation behind such a change is to reduce uncertainty about the future total ETH token supply, helping to drop ETH inflation from 13% to a figure that is more inline with Bitcoin’s 4% inflation.

PROOF OF STAKE

Proof of Stake (PoS) is an alternative consensus protocol to the Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism that was made famous by Bitcoin’s blockchain. In order to secure a blockchain, miners must be rewarded by processing valid transactions, and ignoring invalid transactions. In a PoW system, a miner must expend enormous amounts of energy (with a significant cost in doing so) to process a “block” of transactions and to earn their reward. PoW protocols are enormously inefficient, with huge energy requirements that are not inline with modern day environmental considerations.

Proof of Stake serves as an alternative consensus protocol that achieves similar levels of security, but requires “miners” (called validators) to stake value in the form of cryptocurrency – expending little to no energy at all. If the validator tries to game the system for their own advantage, they lose all of their staked value. Validators that act honestly are rewarded by receiving what is analogous to interest payments.

Ethereum plans to move from their PoW structure to a PoS one, and this move is pegged for the end of 2017/start of 2018. Such a change in protocol would lock enormous amounts of Ether in staking contracts, removing said Ether from the ecosystem and reducing circulating supply.

 

BITCOIN – SEGREGATED WITNESS AND THE LITECOIN TEST BED

Bitcoin has been unswayed by the incredible rise in altcoin market caps over the past 6 months and remains one of the best performing cryptocurrencies in the market. Having matured beyond the “pump and dump” phase, the currency has now established itself as the gateway into the world of crypto. Bitcoin is, in its current form, the ultimate store of value and medium for exchange when dealing with other currencies. All of this is despite major concerns over the currency’s ability to scale. Transaction fees have increased several fold, and the mempool (unconfirmed transactions) has seen enormous growth – leading to delays of several hours or even days.

Thankfully, Bitcoin’s little cousin – Litecoin – has played a vital role in abating fear amongst Bitcoin investors. Litecoin, whose market cap is a fraction of Bitcoin’s, has acted as a test bed for introducing Segregated Witness (SegWit) – a code change to help mitigate some of the scaling problems mentioned above. Litecoin’s activation of SegWit has given developers, users and miners renewed confidence in what this code change can do for Bitcoin, providing a “light at the end of the tunnel” on a 3 year long debate.
 

WHERE DO CRYPTOCURRENCIES GO FROM HERE?

Many early adopters have hailed blockchain technology as “the internet 2.0”. In past years, a number of key figures in the industry analogized the current state of blockchain to that of email in the 1990s, suggesting that what we see today is a fraction of what can be achieved with the protocol in the years ahead. That analogy, which was (and still is) heavily criticized by skeptics, is now becoming too obvious to ignore.

Rather than blockchains competing with one another, we are seeing interoperability take hold, and growth is practically ubiquitous amongst all majro cryptocurrencies. Smart contract technology is destined to have an enormous impact on a broad range of markets in the years to come, and the impact that blockchain-based banking will have on global economics is undeniable.

It is likely that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate until, in the same analogous way to the Internet, we experience a gigantic bubble. At what point the bubble bursts is an unknown, however – sticking with the analogy – it wasn’t until the Internet reached a value well into the trillions that the market crashed. Compare this figure with that of the blockchain market which is worth no more than $100bn and it seems that we may still be some way off. Despite what seems like an inevitable bubble, the very long-term outlook for blockchain users, investors and developers could not be brighter.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Author: Mark

 

David