$1 or 1BTC: College Survey Shows Shocking Lack of Bitcoin Education Among American Youth

Many recent polls and surveys have shown that millennials constitute the largest demographic to adopt Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. However, students at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) don’t seem to have gotten the memo as highlighted by a recent vox pop conducted in the school.

Apparently, there are college undergrads today who prefer to be given $1 as against receiving 1 BTC which is currently worth more than $8,000.

Bitcoin vs Dollar

I Choose the Dollar

In the video created and uploaded to YouTube by “Capital Creators,” college students at CU Boulder almost unanimously chose to be given $1 instead of 1 Bitcoin. The reason for their choice ranged from lack of understanding about BTC to lack of interest in cryptocurrency, and even the belief that the dollar was a more stable store of value.

Even the respondents who chose to accept BTC seemed only to be interested in Bitcoin because it is a regular fixture in the news. None of the participants had a cryptocurrency wallet and were not even aware of the process involved in receiving BTC transfers.

The Dollar Stability Myth

One constant that came up throughout the video was the dollar stability myth. One of the respondents when asked what her choice would be, quipped:

“I’d take the dollar because I know its value and it’s not going to change. It [the dollar] doesn’t depend on what other people do.”

The above statement is either an indictment of the American educational system or a lack of understanding of macroeconomics. Since the mining of Bitcoin’s Genesis block in January 2009, the dollar has lost 15 percent of its value and this is without accounting for the two percent inflation set by the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, BTC has risen from an obscure “Internet money” to become worth more than $8,000. Back in mid-December 2017, the top-ranked cryptocurrency almost eclipsed the $20,000 mark.

In the decade since Bitcoin came into existence, BTC has outpaced the dollar. The purchasing power of BTC is higher now than it was in 2009.

Perhaps some of the respondents conflated BTC volatility with lack of upward value over time. Within discrete periods, it may seem like Bitcoin experiences wild price swings but on an annualized basis, BTC ends up maintaining something close to a positive price trajectory.

Bitcoin Illiteracy Still High

At the heart of the sentiments espoused by the participating college students was the shocking Bitcoin illiteracy among what one would assume to be tech-savvy individuals. One respondent even said:

“Isn’t Bitcoin like a guy in a cave in Antartica? Doesn’t he run that [Bitcoin]?”

The above participant is on another end of the BTC illiteracy spectrum and shows the amount of work needed to be done to get the masses all caught up on the emerging digital landscape.

Back in December 2018, Blockonomi reported on a survey by trading firm e-Toro showing that people were clamoring for more cryptocurrency-related education. With responses like “Bitcoin is a guy in Antartica,” such drastic measures cannot happen soon enough.

Perhaps as a testament to the fact that ignorance more than anything is the biggest obstacle to adoption, once the respondents became the wiser as to Bitcoin’s price, all of them changed their minds and chose Bitcoin.

One participant did, however, stick to her guns, saying:

“If I were to invest, I’d invest in something other than Bitcoin.”

Well, BTC is the best performing asset of 2019 and has consistently outpaced the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. BTC is up more than 120 percent since the start of the year, adding over $2,000 to its price between April and May 2019 alone.

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Wall Street Bitcoin FOMO: Grayscale Gobbling Up 21% of Newly Mined BTC

wall street bitcoin gbtc

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is now buying up about 21 percent of newly mined BTC monthly suggesting increasing demand from Wall Street.

Insatiable Wall Street Appetite for Bitcoin

According to a Wednesday (May 29, 2019) tweet from Bitcoin analyst Rhythm, Grayscale bought more than 11,000 BTC in April 2019. With 54,000 BTC being mined per month, the largest cryptocurrency asset manager is buying up about 21 percent of the Bitcoin monthly supply.

This proportion represents a significant uptick in institutional BTC accumulation especially given the current price surge. It appears institutional interest is playing a leading role in the 2019 BTC price gain whereas the late 2017 bull market was most likely due to retail FOMO.

If Grayscale continues buying up BTC at the current rate every month then it could own 42 percent of the Bitcoin monthly supply post-2020 halving.

As reported by Bitcoinist on Wednesday, the GBTC premium now stands at about 37 percent of the retail spot market. Each share is currently worth 0.00098247 BTC which corresponds to about $11,600 for a whole Bitcoin.

With GBTC being eligible for some investment retirement accounts (IRA), the 37 percent premium might not constitute a significant bother for Wall Street and institutional buyers.

This insatiable institutional appetite seems to be mostly focused on Bitcoin. On Tuesday, Grayscale published an update showing that its BTC Trust was about 94 percent of its $2.1 billion asset under management (AUM).

Tuesday’s update also meant that its AUM had doubled in less than two months. Back in April, Grayscale announced that its AUM had crossed $1 billion for the first time since late 2018. Grayscale’s highest ever AUM was north of $3 billion during the bull market of late 2017.

Whales Accumulating BTC

In a related development, research published by cryptocurrency newsletter Diar shows that whale wallets were quietly accumulating BTC during the 2018 bear market.

Whale Wallets Accumulating Bitcoin During 2018 Bear Market

This conclusion comes from the increase in “Firm Size” Bitcoin address – wallets holding between 1k BTC and 10k BTC during the bear market period. According to the research, whales now hold $6 billion in BTC more than they did in August 2018 – corresponding to about 26 percent of the total Bitcoin circulating supply.

Earlier in May, Bitcoinist reported that the BTC “one percenters” were increasing their holdings with massive inflows and only a trickle of outgoing transactions. At the time, Bitcoinist even surmised that such outflows might even be attempts at breaking up their Bitcoin bags.

Will the increased institutional Bitcoin acquisition push the price to a new ATH in 2019? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @Rhythmtrader, @GrayscaleInvest and Diar

The post Wall Street Bitcoin FOMO: Grayscale Gobbling Up 21% of Newly Mined BTC appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Will Hit $30K by End of 2019

10 Reasons Why the FundFantasy ICO is Probably the Hottest Opportunity Around

Jehan Chu of Kenetic lays out three reasons why Bitcoin price will reach a new all-time high (ATH) of $30,000 before the end of 2019.

Three Reasons For a New ATH in 2019

Speaking to Bloomberg TV on Tuesday (May 28, 2019), the Kenetic co-founder highlighted three important factors that will drive Bitcoin to a new ATH.

First, Chu identified growing institutional Bitcoin adoption with many conglomerates developing products and services around BTC. In 2019 alone, firms like Fidelity and Microsoft have made massive announcements about plans to adopt BTC.

bitcoin price chu

Chu also highlighted the growing IPO investor fatigue as noticed in the recent offerings made by Uber and Lyft. According to Chu:

I think what we are seeing is a countercyclical argument with the recent disappointments of Uber and Lyft IPOs in the market. People are looking for a different type of tech story and one is perhaps accessible to all.

He isn’t the only one to predict a renewed interest in BTC on the back of a disappointing IPO run for established brands recently going public. Speaking to CNBC earlier in May, billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper said investors are becoming alive to the fact that even stocks of companies like Uber and Lyft won’t yield more than 10 or 20 percent.

Investors on the hunt for huge returns will have to look towards Bitcoin and other high performing cryptocurrencies.

Finally, the Kenetic chief pointed to the 2020 BTC halving as another factor that will drive up the price of BTC. One market analyst even has Bitcoin’s post-halving price at $55,000.

Bitcoin Doesn’t Need an ETF

Chu, however, downplayed the importance of a Bitcoin ETF, saying that there are already significant institutional BTC trading avenues set to go live. Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E-Trade are some of the firms that have already announced plans to offer BTC trading.

Commenting on the matter, the Kenetic co-founder quipped:

To be honest, I’m not waiting with bated breath for an ETF to be listed anytime soon. If it does, great but to be honest we are going to be getting major traction and major volume increase from people like Fidelity… All of these different factors are going to drive adoption whether the ETF comes tomorrow or in 10 years.

Earlier in May, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) once again delayed its decision on yet another BTC ETF filing. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has even come out too say investors need not hold their breath for an SEC-approved Bitcoin ETF happening anytime soon.

Do you think Bitcoin will reach $30,000 by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @charliebilello

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Google: Bitcoin FOMO Is Barely Just Starting Despite 130% Gain

google trends bitcoin

Even with Bitcoin gaining 130 percent since the start of 2019, global interest still appears to be tepid, according to Google search trends. 

Global Bitcoin Interest Still Low

Data from Google Trends show that global searches for Bitcoin are barely at the same level they were in May 2017. This trend is despite the fact that BTC is enjoying a bullish revival in 2019, with its price increasing by about 130 percent since the start of the year.

Bitcoin FOMO Yet to Kick in

On a short-term basis, Bitcoin interest as displayed by Google searches is actually on the rise. In mid-May 2019, interest in BTC reached a six-month high but has since declined a little bit.

Comparing Bitcoin’s stellar price performance in 2019 and the level of interest in BTC with search trends during the late 2017 peak period, it is reasonable to conclude that FOMO-driven BTC investment hasn’t reached significant levels.

One explanation for this relatively low-interest level might be the aftereffects of the 2018 bear market. Cryptocurrency prices plummeted across the market by more than 80 percent.

From a global point of view, BTC interest might seem muted. However, countries like Brazil, Colombia, Germany, and Argentina are showing significant Bitcoin FOMO.

Fundamentals Point Towards Long-term Bullish Pattern

The FUD-peddlers have, of course, not ceased to call any BTC breakout as another attempt to lure gullible investors into buying the top. Although, there seems to be graveyard-like silence from the BTC bashers ever since BTC surged past $8,000.

Even mainstream media outlets seem to be reluctantly acknowledging BTC and how the price has gained over the course of 2019. In terms of returns in 2019, BTC has outstripped mainstream markets like Oil, Gold, Commodities, S&P 500, Nasdaq, etc., by a huge margin.

The fact that FOMO is driving the current bullish run further solidifies the argument that BTC is a more mature asset now than in previous years. As reported by Bitcoinist, technical indicators point to a long-term bullish pattern for BTC albeit with a slight retrace before things truly take off.

Permabulls like Max Keiser even have a price target – $28,000 by the end of 2019, which would mean a new all-time high (ATH) for the top-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Keiser isn’t the only one who sees a new ATH for Bitcoin in 2019. Jehan Chu, co-founder of Kenetic says BTC will reach $30,000 before the end of the year. Chu’s forecast identifies rising institutional adoption, IPO investor fatigue, and 2020’s BTC halving as driving factors for Bitcoin reaching a new ATH.

What Bitcoin price level do you think would trigger the next FOMO wave? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Google Trends and Twitter @MarkYusko, @charliebilello

The post Google: Bitcoin FOMO Is Barely Just Starting Despite 130% Gain appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Cryptopia Bankruptcy Proceedings Hits Fresh Snag

Cryptopia’s trouble it seems is far from over. The New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange that suffered a hack back in January 2019 and is now in the process of declaring bankruptcy has come under threat from an Arizona company looking to terminate its business with the beleaguered exchange.

Such a move could scupper any hopes for a successful liquidation process further throwing the company into chaos. Cryptopia is the latest exchange platform in the industry to become defunct following an attack by hackers.

Cryptopia Hack

Arizona Company Could Delete Cryptopia Customer Records

According to Bloomberg, Cryptopia’s customer records were stored on servers belonging to a firm in Arizona. Reports indicate that the company is threatening to delete these records if not compensated to the tune of $2 million.

The company in question says it wants to terminate its agreement with the Cryptopia. Liquidators fear that inability to meet the company’s demands could prevent the liquidation process as the deleted information might be lost forever.

Attempts to Safeguard Cryptopia Customer Information

Grant Thornton, the company in charge of the liquidation process, on Monday (May 27, 2019) released an update stating that steps have been taken to ensure that customers’ data stored and hosted on serves with an Arizona-based company are safe.

According to the publication, the safety steps included filing for bankruptcy protection in a New York Bankruptcy Court an application for urgent interim relief.

Further explaining what the “interim order” meant for customers, the publication states:

“The interim order preserves the Cryptopia data, which includes a SQL database containing all account holders’ individual holdings of cryptocurrencies and the account holder contact details. Without this information, reconciling individual holdings with the currencies held by Cryptopia will be impossible.”

The liquidators also add that users would have to wait some months for the data recovery process and refunds and adds that steps are in place to resolve pending issues.

Final Curtain Call for Another Bitcoin Exchange

It seems Cryptopia has reached the end of the road, joining the likes of Mt. Gox and QuadrigaCX as defunct Bitcoin exchanges. The platform which began in 2014 hasn’t been able to recover from the hack it suffered in early 2019.

After an initial investigation from the police in New Zealand, the platform was given the all-clear. It resumed with a read-only version of its website but never truly got off the ground again.

Earlier in May 2019, Blockonomi reported that the company was going into liquidation with Grant Thornton appointed to oversee the process. Several reports at the time indicated that the exchange’s physical location in Christchurch had become a ghost town.

The risks associated with cryptocurrency exchanges cannot be over-emphasized and experts have constantly warned traders and investors to be careful. Cryptopia is not the first exchange to run out of business, and may not be the last.

Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, is also struggling to pay customers, after the demise of its CEO, Gerald Cotton. For QuadrigaCX, however, the situation is dicey, as the CEO died without leaving the keys of the cold wallets behind, thereby trapping users’ funds.

The platform went ahead to apply for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and was later advised to apply for bankruptcy.

Also, now defunct bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox., suffered a massive hack back in 2014 and is currently undergoing a rehabilitation program to settle affected users.

Blockonomi earlier reported that reports by CipherTrace reveal that the cryptocurrency sector lost nearly $2 billion worth of bitcoin and other virtual currencies to cybercriminals.

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Bitcoin Outperforming the Stock Market By a Whopping 10 Times in 2019

stock market quotes bitcoin

Getting towards the end of the first half of 2019 and Bitcoin has outpaced the stock market by almost 10 times.

2019 Scorecard: Bitcoin 111%; Stock Market 12%

Tweeting on Friday, Morgan Creek Digital CEO Anthony Pompliano noted that Bitcoin price 00 is up by about 111 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, by comparison, stocks have risen only 12 percent within the same period.

Between April and May alone, BTC has added $2,000 to its market price. Such is the extent of Bitcoin’s 2019 run that as eToro’s Mati Greenspan puts it:

At this point, a $200 move in the price of Bitcoin could easily lead to a move of $2,000.

Speaking recently to CNBC, billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper pointed out the emergence of investor fatigue for some of the companies like Uber that have newly gone public.

According to Draper, established brands going public aren’t going to experience massive price growths. Instead, Draper expects stock value increases between 10 and 20 percent.

Bitcoin bulls, however, don’t envisage any price fatigue for the top-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization. BTC has so far remained in close proximity to the $8,000 mark in May despite a few downward retracements.

BTC is a Great Diversifier

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday (May 22, 2019), Mark Yusko, the Managing Director of Morgan Creek Capital Management described BTC as a great investment portfolio diversifier.

As previously reported by Bitcoinist on several occasions many commentators have said that BTC ought to constitute at least one percent of every investment portfolio.

Yusko also espoused sentiments similar to Pompliano’s saying Bitcoin is a better investment bet than stocks. Back in early 2019, Yusko highlighted Bitcoin’s potential, calling it the greatest wealth opportunity of our time.

Stock Market Decline Imminent

Bitcoin’s stock as a great investment portfolio diversifier might come into even more significant prominence on the back of an imminent market decline.

According to Yusko, the Federal Reserve saying they are closer to slashing interest rates indicates the emergence of economic weakness.

Central banks across the world from Japan to Australia and even the European Central Bank (ECB) are also reportedly on course to adopt similar dovish monetary policies.

The historical precedence shows that rate cuts tend to lead to market weakness as seen in 2001 or even full-blown meltdowns like in 2008.

For people like Travis Kling of Ikigai Asset Management and Max Keiser, BTC represents a hedge against the fallback from such “irresponsible” central bank policies.

By how much do you predict that Bitcoin will outperform the stock market at the end of 2019? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @APompliano, @CNBCFastMoney

The post Bitcoin Outperforming the Stock Market By a Whopping 10 Times in 2019 appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Circle Warns US Cryptocurrency Laws are ‘Chilling Innovation’

chilling cold froze bitcoin cryptocurrency

Goldman Sachs-backed cryptocurrency startup Circle says lack of clarity from U.S. regulators about digital assets is hurting the country’s crypto market.

Regulatory Ambiguity Hurting US Cryptocurrency Market

In a blog post published on Thursday (May 23, 2019), Circle put forward its opinion about the current regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in the U.S.

According to the cryptocurrency startup, uncertainties caused by conflicting signals from regulatory bodies in the country are frustrating many stakeholders.

SEC bitcoin etf

For Circle, the major part of this frustration comes from the classification of virtual currency tokens as securities. As reported by Bitcoinist, Poloniex, a Circle-owned cryptocurrency exchange recently had to delist nine tokens for U.S. traders only.

On Wednesday (May 22, 2019), Bitcoinist also reported that Circle laid off about 10 percent of its workforce. The company blamed “restrictive” U.S. regulations as the reason for the decision.

“Sufficiently Decentralized” vs. Howey Test

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has consistently stood by its characterization of most cryptocurrency tokens as securities. This position comes from the Howey Test created in 196 as a guide to determine whether an asset is a security or not.

Critics of this approach like Circle say 20th-century laws are grossly inadequate to cover the many nuances of 21st-century technology. Then, there is also William Hinman’s (SEC’s Director of Corporate Finance) assertion that cryptocurency tokens in a “sufficiently decentralized” network do not represent a security.

Here lies the conundrum; Hinman’s speech back in June 2018 eliminated the second portion of the Howey Test – “reasonable expectation of profit derived from the efforts of others.”

However, the SEC’s current framework states that the first portion of the Howey Test – “monetary investment in a common enterprise,” almost always applies to all digital assets.

The US Risks Falling Behind

The so-called Hinman Test should have created a nuanced interpretation of the Howey Test for crypto tokens. However, it appears the “decentralization defense” may not suffice for cryptocurrency utility tokens.

The post by Circle sums up the bleakness of such an outcome in the excerpt below:

The foreseeable consequence of this is chilling innovation in the U.S. and nudging crypto projects toward jurisdictions with greater regulatory clarity—neither of which is good for U.S. business.

For its part, the company says it will continue to lobby Congress to enact laws that do not stifle innovation. Circle says it is also participating actively in getting key pieces of legislation like the Token Taxonomy Act passed into law.

Five of the top ten largest companies in the world are tech firms based in the U.S. that benefitted greatly from the loose regulations of the early 90s and 2000s.

If more nuanced regulations aren’t introduced in the U.S. the country may not be able to gain dominance in the emerging cryptocurrency landscape.

Do you think the U.S. will enjoy the same level of dominance in the crypto industry as it did in the tech sphere? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Bitcoinist and Twitter @nic_carter, @Poloniex, @charliebilello

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Japan FSA Set to Put Bitcoin Exchanges to Task Over Money Laundering

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan is set to introduce even more stringent regulatory measures for Bitcoin exchanges in the country. The move comes as the country’s top financial regulator tries to improve its anti-money laundering (AML) protocols with review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) set to happen later in 2019.

The FSA has a history of formulating robust regulatory provisions for cryptocurrency exchanges in the country making Japan one of the most regulated jurisdictions for virtual currency trading platforms.

Japan Crypto Money Laundering

Japan Readies Even More Stringent Bitcoin Exchange Oversight

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the FSA plans to increase its money laundering countermeasures with a particular focus on cryptocurrency exchanges. As part of its efforts, the Agency is set to inspect the AML protocols being used by Bitcoin exchanges in the country to see if they are in compliance with global best standard practices.

As part of the exercise, Japanese cryptocurrencies will be made to go through a rigorous vetting process with the FSA. These platforms will have to convince the Agency that they have taken the necessary precautions to prevent cases of money laundering.

This latest plan by the FSA could mean an even greater compliance burden for Japanese platforms. The country is already arguably the most regulated jurisdiction for Bitcoin exchanges in the world.

Back in 2017, Japan became the first country to create a regulatory structure for cryptocurrency exchanges. Some of the stringent measures introduced forced platforms like Binance and OKEx to less regulated climes like Malta.

Since 2017, the FSA has passed regulations on margin trading, security protocols for hot wallet and cold wallet storage. Given the recent emergence of suspected internally-orchestrated hacks, FSA has mandated platforms to revamp their internal security.

Japan Eager for Positive FATF Review

Japan’s financial regulator is taking these steps as part of efforts to obtain a favorable review from the FATF. The intergovernmental financial taskforce will inspect the country’s financial ecosystem in the fall of 2019.

Being the current chair of the G-20, reports indicate that Tokyo would consider it a total embarrassment if the events of 2008 repeat themselves. At the time, the FATF assigned the country its lowest AML rating, saying the country’s framework dedicated to combating money laundering and financial crimes was insufficient.

Commenting on the FSA’s commitment to getting a positive FATF review, an official of the Agency said:

“One company’s problem can’t help but affect the whole country’s evaluation. We’ll continue with the on-site inspections, and we’ll make sure everything is sound.”

In October 2018, the FATF adapted its longstanding AML protocols to cover Bitcoin exchanges as well. Reports indicate the FATF’s assessment of Japan’s financial sector will include cryptocurrency exchanges, hence, the need for the increased scrutiny. The FATF has consistently urged member nations to formalize their cryptocurrency regulatory structure with elements such as licensing and registration to make the monitoring process easier.

Cryptocurrency in Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

While the FSA prepares to put Bitcoin exchanges to task, there is actual evidence to show that cryptocurrency, in general, accounts for only a minute portion of money laundering and other financial crimes.

Earlier in the year, Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) released its money laundering report for 2018 which showed that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies accounted for less than two percent of all recorded money laundering cases. However, it is important to point out that the report showed a ten-fold increase in cryptocurrency-related money laundering.

In a separate report by Australia’s top consumer protection agency, cryptocurrency fraud only amounted to five percent of the total number of reported cases in 2018. Again, the report from Australia also showed that instances of cryptocurrency fraud grew between 2017 and 2018, in this case by 200 percent.

The post Japan FSA Set to Put Bitcoin Exchanges to Task Over Money Laundering appeared first on Blockonomi.

Mike Novogratz Sells His Stake in Crypto Startup Block.one for $71 Million

Novogratz Sets Next Target Price for Bitcoin at $40,000

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital has sold majority of its stake in cryptocurrency startup Block.one for $71 million – a 123 percent gain on its initial investment.

Massive Payday for Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital has sold most of its share in Block.one, receiving a $71.2 million payday which amounts to a 123 percent gain on its initial investment.

According to Novogratz, the massive returns already earned from the cryptocurrency merchant bank’s investment in the company was sufficient incentive to liquidate its holdings.

In an announcement published by Galaxy Digital on Tuesday (May 21, 2019), Novogratz also declared:

The acceptance of Block.one’s tender offer reflected a decision to rebalance the portfolio to maintain an appropriate level of diversification after the position increased due to its substantial outperformance relative to the remainder of the portfolio.

According to Bloomberg, Block.one is looking to buy back ten percent of its stock value. Early backers like PayPal’s Peter Thiel and others could earn as much as 6,567 percent in returns.

Back in July 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Thiel and Bitmain’s former CEO Jihan Wu invested in the cryptocurrency startup.

At the time of its seed funding round, the company was worth about $40 million but has since risen to more than $2.3 billion – an increase of more than 5,600 percent.

Peter Thiel Big Payday from Cryptocurrency Startup Block.one

Commenting on the buyback, Christian Angermayer told Bloomberg that he wouldn’t be selling his shares, saying:

Block.one is one of the most promising and best-positioned companies in the blockchain industry, and its success story is just beginning.

No word yet on whether Thiel and the other early backers will also cash in on their investments.

Block.one Recovers from 2018 Crypto Bear Market

Block.one’s growth is something of an outlier among the other cryptocurrency-related businesses following the 2018 bear market. Fresh from its $4 billion token sale, the company says its finances continue to be in a healthy position.

According to Bloomberg, the company issued a statement to investors back in March 2019 assuring them of the company’s finances. Block.one reportedly keeps most of its holdings in “liquid fiat assets” – like U.S. government bonds.

The 2018 price decline did affect its Bitcoin holdings. Insider sources say the company owns about 140,000 BTC and has almost fully recovered from the cryptocurrency price plummet of 2018.

Do you think Peter Thiel and the other will cash in on the massive returns too? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Getty Images, Shutterstock, Twitter @C_Angermayer

The post Mike Novogratz Sells His Stake in Crypto Startup Block.one for $71 Million appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Of Course, The IRS is Updating Its Bitcoin Tax Guidelines as Price is Rising

IRS bitcoin Crypto tax

With Bitcoin spiking more than 120 percent since the start of 2019, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says it is readying an updated set of guidelines to cover cryptocurrency taxation.

IRS Preparing Additional Crypto Tax Guidelines

In a letter to a bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen, the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig declared that clear-cut Bitcoin tax guidelines were a top priority for the agency. The letter was in reply to an April 2019 letter from the 21-member congressional coalition led by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).

An excerpt from the reply sent by Commissioner Rettig reads:

I share your belief that taxpayers deserve clarity on basic issues related to the taxation of virtual currency transactions and have made it a priority of the IRS to issue guidance. Specifically, your letter mentions (1) acceptable methods for calculation cost basis; (2) acceptable methods of cost basis assignment; and (3) tax treatment of forks. We have been considering these issues and intend to publish guidance addressing these and other issues soon.

IRS Readies Clear Guidelines on Bitcoin Tax

The timing of the IRS’ statement comes as Bitcoin in enjoying a stellar price run, having more than doubled since January 2019.

As previously reported by Bitcoinist on multiple occasions, there have been calls for a more definitive structure for Bitcoin taxation in the U.S. Several institutions and stakeholders have decried the ambiguous nature of the current IRS crypto tax framework developed in 2014.

Both the American Institute of CPA and the Treasury Department have previously called on the IRS to provide clear guidance on the Bitcoin taxation process. Many critics of the current framework say taxpayers bear too much of a burden trying to follow pre-emptive steps to avoid falling into the trouble of cryptocurrency-related tax evasion charges.

Bitcoin is Both Currency and Property

Back in 2014, the IRS chose not to recognize Bitcoin and other cryptos as currencies, characterizing them as property. Thus, their exchange falls under the purview of capital gains tax.

Fast-forward to 2018 and the IRS says cryptos are a digital representation of value akin to traditional fiat currency. This declaration opens the door to income tax considerations for virtual currency transactions.

Then there are also the implications of using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make purchases. Back in March 2019, Bitcoinist reported that the proposed Bitcoin for Starbucks coffee as part of the Bakkt–Starbucks agreement might bring up additional BTC tax filing palaver.

There are, however, stakeholders in the industry who believe cryptocurrency shouldn’t fall under government tax. Tweeting on Monday, Dovey Wan of Primitive declared that paying capital gains tax of cryptocurrency transactions was “a joke.”

Do you think taxes on cryptocurrencies are lawful? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Coincenter.org ,Twitter @CryptoTaxGirl, @DoveyWan, Shuterstock

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You Can Now Send and Receive Bitcoin on Whats App

whats app bitcoin

Whats App users can now send and receive Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) via the popular messaging platform thanks to the Lite.Im bot. The announcement is the latest attempt to simplify the cryptocurrency transaction process, bringing virtual currencies closer to the everyday person.

Sending Bitcoin on WhatsApp

In a tweet published by Zulu Republic on Sunday (May 19, 2019), the digital platform announced that its cryptocurrency messaging platform Lite.Im had introduced a simple way to send and receive bitcoin via WhatsApp.

All users have to do is add the Lite.Im WhatsApp bot and follow the on-screen prompts. There are numerous options for users apart from sending and receiving BTC and LTC.

The service also allows people to earn cryptocurrency via a referral program. There are also options that allow users to set their default coin, as well as select their preferred language and password.

Send and Receive Bitcoin via WhatsApp

Presently, the two default languages are English and Spanish. The service also supports sending and receiving Ether (ETH) and ZTX – the native token on the Zulu Republic platform.

Making BTC Transactions Easier

SMS-based cryptocurrency transactions introduce some simplicity into the cryptocurrency transaction paradigm, especially for less tech-savvy individuals. Lite.Im already has similar services for Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and SMS.

According to the company, “social messaging” is an important component of wider cryptocurrency adoption. WhatsApp alone has more than 1.5 billion users in virtually every corner of the globe.

With mobile money transactions becoming easier in places across Southeast Asia and Africa, there is the possibility of more unbanked and underbanked people getting greater access to payment channels.

In 2019 alone, there has been a slew of announcements from different establishments about plans to adopt Bitcoin. From trading desks to acceptance as a medium of exchange, the top-ranked cryptocurrency continues to dominate the news.

Many commentators in the industry say BTC is becoming a more mature asset class and looks well on its way to fulfilling the expectations of many early believers.

Competition for ‘Facebook Coin’

With Facebook having its own cryptocurrency plans, Lite.Im could potentially be seen as competition. There is no official word about the exact nature of the social messaging giant’s virtual currency ambition but rumors persist that it will be a “Bitcoin-like” cryptocurrency token.

Though it’s like FBCoin will be anything but. Luckily, you can already send bitcoin on Whats App.

What do you think about SMS and social media-based Bitcoin transactions? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @ztxrepublic and Bitcoinist

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Just 732,000 Bitcoin Addresses Own At Least 1 BTC

Bitcoin is piling in more than 732,000 addresses owning at least 1 BTC. Meanwhile, the top-100 BTC addresses are seeing more inflows that outflows of BTC.

Bitcoin Attaining SoV Status

There are currently 732,982 Bitcoin addresses that hold more than 1 BTC. Compared to the over 20 million known addresses, this figure represents a small amount of “whole bitcoin” owners.

The basic definition of money covers a unit of account, medium of exchange, and a store of value. There is hardly any doubt as to whether BTC satisfies the first two even if the mechanics behind its operation might not be efficient at times.

Bitcoin’s final hurdle is in being a store of value (SoV) putting it in the company of assets like gold and silver.

As reported by Bitcoinist, the top-ranked cryptocurrency’s current price trend still leads the stock-to-flow model, which as a $1 million per BTC price outcome.

It would seem that some investors are becoming wise to this possibility, buying and holding bitcoin in anticipation of a parabolic advance that takes BTC/USD valuation into the trillion-dollar (USD) region.

Data from BitInfoCharts shows that 60 percent of all BTC hasn’t moved in over 12 months. Many of these BTC addresses show a disproportionate level of inflows against outflows.

Every single top-100 address has added a significant number of BTC to their hoard with only a handful of accounts showing outflows. One could even consider those outflows as transfers to other addresses belonging to the same owner – spreading the stash around.

While some traders can skim profit off the top of any periodic surge, many seem to be in it for the long haul, truly believing Bitcoin to be a store of value.

There will only ever be 21 million BTC and these holders are gobbling up as much as they can. Considering the global population is roughly 7.5 billion, out of which 36 million are millionaires, it will become increasingly difficult in time for even wealthy people to own at least 1 BTC.

Top Bitcoin Addresses

Fresh Assault on $8,000

Meanwhile, fresh off the flash crash, BTC 00 is making another assault at the $8,000 price mark.  Bulls will be hoping for a sustained push above $8,100 with further sideways accumulation beyond what has so far proven to be a stubborn resistance point.

Any push towards the $9,000 price mark could definitively signal the end of 2018’s brutal bear market. Trading above $9,000 means an almost 50 percent recovery from the 80 percent decline suffered during the year-long bear market.

Technical and market fundamentals continue to look good for Bitcoin with a host of institutional adoption cases waiting in the wings.

You can check out the latest bitcoin price analysis here.

Are you aiming to hold at least 1 BTC before all 21 million are mined? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @Rhythmtrader and BitInfoCharts.com, Shutterstock

The post Just 732,000 Bitcoin Addresses Own At Least 1 BTC appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Inflation Bug Still a Danger to More Than Half of All Bitcoin Full Nodes

Eight months after the discovery of the inflation bug, more than half of the full nodes on the bitcoin network are still running client versions susceptible to the vulnerability.

Figures published by bitcoin core developer Luke Dashjr show that more than half of the full nodes in the bitcoin network are still running client software vulnerable to the inflation bug discovered in September 2018.

This revelation poses some danger to the network, as software vulnerabilities are a clear and present danger to the fidelity of bitcoin (BTC). Now that the top-ranked cryptocurrency is in the midst of a positive price run, it is perhaps important that steps are taken to eradicate the inflation bug problem for good.

Most bitcoin full nodes still vulnerable to the inflation bug

As reported by Cointelegraph on May 8, research by Dashjr shows that more than 50% of full nodes on the bitcoin network are still running software versions of the bitcoin client that are susceptible to the inflation bug.

However, from that time, the figure has fallen slightly from about 60% to 54%. This means that, in the last few days, some full nodes have upgraded to a more recent client software update.

Back in September 2018, developers first discovered the inflation bug — which, in theory, could allow miners to inflate the total bitcoin supply beyond the 21 million BTC by spending multiple unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs) in the same transaction.

Given the nature of the bug, the developers kept it a secret, quietly releasing a new version of the client. An excerpt from the September 2018 common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) report released by Bitcoincore.org reads:

“In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious Denial of Service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses, and other affected systems while delaying publication of the full issue to give times for systems to upgrade. On September 20th a post in a public forum reported the full impact and although it was quickly retracted the claim was further circulated.”

One key takeaway from Dashjr’s analysis is the total number of full nodes on the bitcoin network. Most bitcoin literature sources put the number of full-node numbers at somewhere approaching 10,000.

However, Dashjr opines that this number is closer to 100,000 and that the reason for this discrepancy lies in the fact that many sources only account for nodes actively listening on the network.

Called listening nodes, these full nodes have open port connections that can be probed. However, not all full-nodes are listening nodes; some, hidden behind firewalls or configured to not actively listen for new connections, don’t have easily discoverable open port connections.

The severity of the inflation bug

To understand the severity of the inflation bug, it is important to know the mechanism by which the problem could be exploited. This process would involve a summary explaining of the double-spend attack, the inflation bug itself and the problems that could arise if left unchecked.

Bitcoin’s early success lends itself greatly to Satoshi Nakamoto’s — the creator of bitcoin — brilliant solution to the double-spending problem that had prevented the successful deployment and implementation of prior virtual currency systems.

By creating an immutable ledger with nodes validating transactions, it became almost theoretically impossible to spend the same UTXO in two different transactions.

The severity of the inflation bug

However, what happens when, instead of spending the UTXO in two different transactions, a malicious actor tries to use one transaction to spend UTXO multiple times? Because of the way bitcoin is engineered to work, this action would mean creating new coins virtually out of thin air, thus inflating the total supply — ergo, the inflation bug.

Several successive updates to the bitcoin software have tried to improve the blockchain’s immunity to the first type of double-spend attack. However, by the Core 0.14.x version of the bitcoin software client, developers began to notice there was a possibility of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) vulnerability in the software client.

The bug allowed a malicious attacker to crash nodes running the 0.14.x software version by attempting to spend the same UTXO twice. In this iteration of the bug, the objective would have been to crash as many nodes as possible and not necessarily inflate the total bitcoin supply.

In trying to fix the problem, the next released update, 0.15.0, included features that inadvertently allowed a malicious attacker to double spend the same UTXO in one transaction. Instead of causing a system crash, this new bug caused older software clients to recognize such double-spend transactions as valid.

Upon discovery, developers again released a new version of software before announcing it to the wider cryptocurrency community. However, several months after the issue ought to have been solved, it appears that more than half the full nodes on the network are still running client implementations vulnerable to the bug.

Cointelegraph spoke with Dashjr about the implication of the inflation bug, to which the bitcoin developer replied:

“The inflation bug is in practice a network-wide risk. It would allow a 51% miner attack to cause inflation (something such attacks can't normally do). The inflationary chain would only be accepted by vulnerable nodes and light wallets.”

Expanding further on the dangers posed by the bug, Dashjr went on to say:

“It makes what was thought to be a full node, actually just a light wallet in that one respect. If more than a small minority use light wallets, miners get to make up the rules.”

All nodes have to do is upgrade

Whenever developers discover a bug of this nature, the solution is always to get nodes to upgrade to a newer version of software that hopefully has features that eliminate the problem. Sometimes, this process may lead to the emergence of another problem — as seen in 2018, when solving the DDoS bug caused the inflation bug to manifest.

When asked by Cointelegraph what should be done about the situation, Dashjr’s answer was simple and straight to the point:

“Everyone upgrading to a fixed full node.”

While this process is ongoing, does the bitcoin network face any credible risk stemming from the fact that half of the full nodes are vulnerable to the inflation bug? The answer to the question might lie in who really holds the true power in the network: miners or developers?

In 2018, bitcoin developer, Jimmy Song expressed the view that rogue miners trying to take advantage of the inflation bug would find it nearly impossible to succeed. For one, Song said that not every full node runs the bitcoin core, a large number prefer to deploy custom iterations of the bitcoin client.

The fact that some nodes do not run the core client already diminishes the attack because such nodes will reject the block containing the inflated UTXOs. If a significant number of miners reject the tainted block, then a chain split likely occurs.

Back in 2010, during the “value overflow incident” discovered in block 74,638, developers published a new update to the client in less than five hours, solving the problem. The block in question contained a transaction that created about 184 billion BTC for three addresses, with two addresses receiving 92.2 billion BTC and the miner responsible for solving the block getting 0.01 BTC.

The discrepancy only lasted for the next 53 blocks, and by block height 74,691, all traces of the value of overflow no longer existed on the network. Nodes that initially accepted the chain split with the tainted block soon began to revert to the chain split that didn’t contain the inflated block.

The same applies to the inflation bug: Once the split occurs, developers and others on the network would begin to notice, as Song explained in this excerpt of his blog post, which reads:

“Because of these irregularities, people on the network would soon have tracked this down, probably have alerted some developers and the core developers would have fixed it. If there was a fork, the social consensus at that point about which is the right chain would start getting discussed and the chain creating unexpected inflation would have likely lost out. If there was a stall, there likely would have been a voluntary rollback to punish the attacker.”

For Song, given the economics of the attack, it is unlikely that rogue miners would want to employ such a tactic. However, the bitcoin educator said that hackers working for countries with anti-bitcoin sentiments could exploit the bug to destroy the network.

Bitcoin is Front Running Stock to Flow Price Model at $7300

bitcoin price front runner

Despite dropping by about $1,000, Bitcoin is still way ahead of even some of the most optimistic price projections and detailed price forecast models. Here is a look at how Friday’s ‘flash crash’ hasn’t derailed Bitcoin in the long term.

Current Bitcoin Price Still Leads $1 Million S2F Model

Tweeting on Saturday (May 18, 2019) Bitcoin analyst “planB” showed how even at $7,300, BTC still leads the stock-to-flow (S2F) model about $1,000 on the road to hitting $1 million per coin.

PlanB’s S2F model posits that scarcity and value have a direct relationship with scarcity being a measure of stock flow (SF). The analysis also takes into consideration important parameters like Bitcoin block reward halving which occurs every four years until all 21 million BTC are mined.

According to the model, by the time of the next halving which is in May 2020, BTC’s SF should double from its current value of 25 to 50. This doubling would bring BTC’s SF closer to that of commodities like gold.

BTC permabulls like Max Keiser say Bitcoin has the potential to reach a fraction of the gold market capitalization, which is somewhere in around $8 trillion. The S2F model predicts that by 2020, BTC should have a market price of $55,000 based on an SF value of 50.

S2F hinges heavily on scarcity which for BTC takes on another dimension given that a portion of the 21 million total token supply isn’t even attainable since some BTC are forever lost.

Data from BitInfoCharts shows that there are about 16.82 million BTC held in dormant Bitcoin addresses. Between cumulated BTC dust and lost private keys, there are about 10.5 million BTC that haven’t moved in over a year.

16 Million Bitcoin Likely Lost

Perfect Pullback?

Before the Friday price drop, there had been the talk of a possible retracement in the BTC price action to the mid-$6,000 level. These predictions hinged on massive profit taking above $7,000, creating another entry point for a new BTC accumulation in preparation for a fresh upward swing.

In the short-term, there is an expectation that BTC might slip further downwards perhaps to the 50-day or 200-day moving average support levels. This puts a possible downward slide between $4,500 and $5,500.

However, such a move would mean breaking the $6,400 support level which characterized BTC trading for most of 2018. Only the fallout from the Bitcoin Cash civil war in November 2018 successfully took BTC below that price level.

Do you think the flash crash adversely affected Bitcoin’s parabolic advance? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @100trillionUSD and BitInfoCharts.com, Shutterstock

The post Bitcoin is Front Running Stock to Flow Price Model at $7300 appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

SEC Finally Coming for ICOs? Poloniex Delists 9 Crypto Tokens in the US

SEC crypto ICO poloniex

Rumors of an SEC crackdown are flying after Poloniex said it will delist nine crypto tokens including DCR for trading to U.S. customers.

No Longer Available to U.S. Cryptocurrency Traders

Poloniex has announced that it will no longer offer nine cryptocurrency tokens for trading to U.S. customers following reports of incoming regulations against unregistered security tokens. Meanwhile, opinions remain split as to whether securities regulations should apply to cryptocurrency tokens.

In a Medium post published on Thursday (May 16, 2019), Poloniex announced that it would no longer offer nine cryptocurrency tokens to its U.S. customers. According to the announcement, the move due to uncertainties over whether U.S. regulators would qualify such tokens as securities.

An excerpt from the post reads:

On Wednesday, May 29th, at 16:00 UTC, the markets for ARDR, BCN, DCR, GAME, GAS, LSK, NXT, OMNI, and REP will be disabled for Poloniex customers in the US. All assets remain available for trading to customers outside the US.

U.S. traders affected by the move will be able to withdraw these assets from Poloniex as long as the cryptocurrency exchange continues to list the same on its platform.

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire expressed frustration at the decision being as a result of “restrictive” U.S. cryptocurrency regulations. The Goldman Sachs-backed Circle acquired Poloniex back in 2018.

Allaire isn’t alone in condemning U.S. cryptocurrency regulatory policies especially regarding the classification of initial coin offering (ICO) tokens as securities. A group of U.S. Congressmen are even trying to pass the Token Taxonomy Act – a bill that would exempt crypto tokens from the definition of securities.

SEC Crackdown Looms For Crypto Tokens?

However, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has consistently maintained that most ICOs are securities.

The SEC has also continued its crackdown on unlicensed cryptocurrency security offerings with several fines and arrests. There are even reports that the Commission is gearing for a final assault on unlicensed token offerings in what may be a hammer blow to ICOs in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin entreprenuer, Ragnar Lifthrasir, cautioned his followers, saying:

Word on the street is that the SEC is finally, decisively, coming for ICOs. The Poloniex announcement by Allaire is the beginning. Bitcoin users not affected.

Apart from traders, such a move would also affect exchange platforms that have increasingly adopted a horizontal strategy by listing as many cryptocurrency tokens as possible.

Critics say real maturity in the market would hinge on a more vertical approach that prioritizes the quality of the tokens being offered rather than focusing on collecting huge listing fees from all and sundry.

With the considerable burden attached to abiding with securities regulation, it is not unlikely that many of these tokens would cease to exist. Such a situation might lead to the fulfillment of the altcoin extinction event as predicted by people such as Matt Hougan of Bitwise and Barry Silbert of Digital Currency Group.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin continues to be the darling of traders and institutions alike. In 2019 alone, several establishments like Fidelity Investments, TD Ameritrade, and Microsoft to mention a few have upped the ante in terms of their Bitcoin adoption drive.

Should all cryptocurrency tokens be exempted from securities regulations? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @Poloniex, @jerallaire, @real_vijay, Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Exchanges Experiencing Massive Withdrawals Despite 125% BTC Price Gain

While Bitcoin continues on its parabolic advance, market researchers say there is a difficult situation currently developing in major cryptocurrency exchanges that could soon have an effect on prices.

Large capital outflows currently occurring on platforms like Bitfinex are causing trading deficits that may begin to manifest in the Bitcoin market. Meanwhile, traders and analysts say that the top-ranked cryptocurrency is due a retracement after surging 125 percent since the start of the year.

Crypto Exchanges

Traders Making a Run on Bitcoin Exchanges

According to Bloomberg, traders are making a run on Bitcoin exchanges en masse, withdrawing large amounts in the process. London-based blockchain data platform TokenAnalyst say the trading deficit on prominent exchanges like BitMEX, Kraken, Binance, and Bitfinex stands at over $620 million in less than seven days.

Commentators, traders remain concerned over Tether (USDT) liquidity issues amid the recent revelation that Bitfinex and Tether covered up losses of about $850 million. Speaking on the issue to Bloomberg, John Griffin, Professor of Finance at the University of Texas declared:

Since Tether is insufficiently backed, it means that some of the reserves backing customer assets on exchanges are likely insufficient. So smart customers will not custody their funds on exchanges and pull their crypto off exchanges. This could put further upward pressure on Bitcoin prices as one would rather take fake money and exchange it to Bitcoin.

This assertion of traders pulling out of USDT markets in favor of holding BTC positions holds true given the emerging trend of market indicators highlighting Bitcoin as being in the overbought position.

Bitifinex alone has seen withdrawals of about $1.7 billion since the news of New York Attorney General (NYAG) charges against the company came to light. Bitfinex, however, announced that it had raised more than $1 billion from private investors and companies.

Bitcoin price

At the time, Bitfinex executives said the speed of the capital raising drive was proof that the company still had the overwhelming confidence of investors both within and outside the cryptocurrency industry.

Both Tether and Bitfinex have a history of controversy stemming from banking relationships, market manipulation, and liquidity. Tether still remains the dominant stablecoin despite its control of the stable currency market dropping to 75 percent in Q1 2019.

BTC Price Reversal Imminent

The current bullish sentiments in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market could be masking the massive capital outflows from cryptocurrency exchanges. However, this trend could further exacerbate the growing sell-side pressure which could cause a retracement in the BTC price.

Trend analysis from different analysts is beginning to point to the current parabolic advance as being too steep to maintain. The top-ranked cryptocurrency hasn’t been able to stay above $8,000 with each spike above $8,100 met by a downward trend reversal.

If more traders accumulating BTC at the moment decide to take their profits at the current level, then the massive sell-off could trigger a downward swing to mid-November 2018 levels. Some projections even have a much larger retracement for BTC to below $5,500 and $4,500 which correspond to the 50-day and 200-day moving average price levels.

For the moment, BTC is up more than 125 percent since the start of January 2019, adding more than $2,000 in May 2019 alone. The Bitcoin market capitalization has also grown to more than $140 billion which has pushed the total cryptocurrency market capitalization to almost $250 billion.

A retracement to previous support level could cause a cooling of the hype that has been building over the past few days. Bitcoin searches according to Google Trends had even reached a six-month high.

The post Bitcoin Exchanges Experiencing Massive Withdrawals Despite 125% BTC Price Gain appeared first on Blockonomi.

Bitcoin Could See Profit-Taking Pullback to Mid-$6K, CNBC ‘Experts’ Say

bitcoin price pullback

Panelists at CNBC say that Bitcoin price could be due for a pullback despite climbing more than 120 percent since the start of the year.

Third Time’s the Charm for Bitcoin?

After months of muted conversation around Bitcoin, CNBC analysts are now back in the saddle again, with cautiously bearish sentiments about BTC 00 as the cryptocurrency continues to enjoy a positive trajectory in 2019.

Since breaking above $8,000 Monday (May 13, 2019), the top-ranked cryptocurrency has seen two unsuccessful attempts at staying above $8,100. Anthony Grisanti of GRZ Energy told CNBC on Wednesday technicals are signaling a pullback at that level.

According to Grisanti:

We had rallied above [key resistance] but then failed on two different occasions. [Bitcoin] has doubled in the last five months so I would expect a bit of a pullback, and on the downside, there’s a very interesting gap there, from $6,870 to $6,425.

Profit Taking Above $7,000

For Grisanti, traders could be eying profit taking above the $7,000, especially those who bought the dip in mid-November 2018 or 2016 buyers who sold during the peak run of late 2018.

Grisanti opines that this mass profit taking could exert downward pressure on the Bitcoin price action. BTC enthusiasts will be hoping that the famed CNBC counter-indicator trend continues which would mean continued upward growth as against any price pullback.

Price Fatigue or Continued Parabolic Advance?

Bitcoin is no stranger to market corrections, especially after massive price gains. Thus, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility to see a price pullback.

However, average trading volume is still holding above $30 billion and the parabolic advance even looks steeper on the charts. If a pullback does occur, BTC could fall to the mid-$6,000 region as predicted by CNBC.

The next move for Bitcoin likely hinges on the establishment of a short-term top, which could be determined by whether or not BTC thoroughly breaks the $8,100 resistance level.

Maintaining $8.1k could mean a short-term top somewhere in the mid-$9k level. Failure to beat the $8.1k resistance might see Bitcoin retrace to previous support levels at the 50- and 200-day moving averages–$5,400 and $4,400 respectively.

On the flip side, positive developments surrounding BTC at the moment could prevent any price fatigue by encouraging more buying and hodling. Numerous commentators continue to point to the fact that BTC presents a more mature posture as an asset in its current run than at any prior period in its ten-year history.

Do you think Bitcoin will experience a pullback to the mid-$6,000 price level? Let us know your BTC price prediction in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @CNBCFuturesNow and @CryptoFib, Shutterstock

The post Bitcoin Could See Profit-Taking Pullback to Mid-$6K, CNBC ‘Experts’ Say appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Max Keiser Reaffirms $100k Bitcoin Price Prediction

max keiser bitcoin price prediction

Bitcoin permabull Max Keiser is doubling down on his $100,000 bitcoin price prediction as it reached a new ten-month high this week. The Wall Street veteran says the U.S. Federal Reserves policies will cause a chain of events that will cement BTC’s status as a store of value.

Bitcoin to $100,000

Speaking to Kitco News on Tuesday (May 14, 2019), Keiser said both medium and long-term technical and market fundamentals point to Bitcoin inching closer to a bull market.

Bitcoin up by 120 percent in 2019

The host of the Keiser report says the cryptocurrency hasn’t even begun to reach its potential, maintaining that his 2018 $100,000 per coin was still achievable.

BTC has added more than $2,000 to its price in less than a week in May 2019 alone. The $141 billion market cap asset has gained north of 120 percent since the beginning of the year with more than 83 percent of that growth occurring in April and May 2019.

Buffett Lacks the Smarts Needed to Understand Bitcoin

Keiser also used the opportunity to once more rip into nocoiners like Warren Buffett who continue to disparage BTC ironically calling it ‘rat poison squared.’

Recently, the Berkshire Hathaway chief described BTC as a gambling device. Keiser rebuffed Buffett’s position pointing out that BTC is on track to becoming a haven asset on par with gold.

That would mean BTC’s market cap reaching something along the lines of $8 trillion. Keiser’s bitcoin price prediction of $100,000 puts the BTC market capitalization at potentially $2.1 trillion given the cryptocurrency’s 21 million total supply.

Commenting on the obtuseness of Buffett and co, Keiser declared:

He’s [Buffett’s] too mired in his ways, he can’t adapt, he’s not agile, he hasn’t got the brain power for it [Bitcoin].

Keiser isn’t alone in suggesting Buffett’s disdain for BTC comes at least in part from a total lack of understanding. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao back in 2018 characterized the Berkshire Hathaway chief as being ignorant about cryptocurrencies.

The Fed Already Crapped the Bed

Keiser also touched on the Fed’s decision to go into quantitative easing, describing the move as being positive for Bitcoin. According to Keiser:

When the Federal Reserve bank signaled that they were going to permanent quantitative easing, I said look, that’s the bottom for bitcoin, that was about $3,200 on bitcoin, because they’re making it clear now that there’s going to be no accountability by the Fed. They’re going to print ad infinitum, ad nauseam, there’s going to be no rollback, no kind of attempt to balance their books.

Central banks around the world as also enacting similar policies with Travis Kling of Ikigai Asset Management calling them irresponsible. For James Turk of Goldmoney, investors will continue to pivot away from assets with counterparty risks into haven commodities like gold and Bitcoin.

Will Bitcoin reach $100,000 before the end of 2019? Let us know your BTC price prediction in the comments below.

Images via Tradingview, Kitco News, Twitter @FGMR, Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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Hacked New Zealand Crypto Exchange Cryptopia Goes into Liquidation

Cryptopia, the New Zealand-based Bitcoin exchange hacked in January 2019 is shutting down for good and going into liquidation. A couple of liquidators from Grant Thornton have already been tasked with the job of security assets belonging to stakeholders of the company.

Cryptopia joins others like Mt. Gox in failing to recover from a cyber attack. Meanwhile, experts continue to warn cryptocurrency traders to recognize the risks associated with participating in the market.

Cryptopia Hack

Bitcoin Exchange Placed in Liquidation

According to the NZ Herald, Russell Moore and David Roscoe of Grant Thornton will be in charge of overseeing the liquidation process. Cryptopia lost close to $23 million in cryptocurrency from the January 2019 heist.

An excerpt from a statement issued by Roscoe reads:

“We realize Cryptopia’s customers will want to have this matter resolved as soon as possible. We will conduct a thorough investigation, working with several different stakeholders including management and shareholders, to find the solution that is in the best interests of customers and stakeholders.”

The statement goes on further to say that a resolution to the matter might take months given the “complexities involved.” The liquidators say there are working with independent experts to ascertain the full extent of Cryptopia’s obligations to its creditors.

End of the Road for Cryptopia

The January 2019 hack appears to have impacted the platform significantly to the extent that it may not be able to recover. The top hierarchy at the company reportedly tried to downsize its staff strength but despite running a skeleton crew, Cryptopia couldn’t return to profitable business operations.

On Tuesday (May 14, 2019), the company informed shareholders of its decision to shut down. The Cryptopia premises in Sydenham, Christchurch is also under lock and key with reports saying the building looks like a ghost town.

As previously reported by Blockonomi, the platform had tried to resume services, starting in early March 2019 with a read-only website. At the time, users reported that they were being subject to a “haircut” on their cryptocurrency holdings as the platform tried to recover from the loss.

Another Cryptocurrency Exchange Forced to Shut Down

Cryptopia now joins Mt. Gox and QuadrigaCX to name a few, as cryptocurrency exchanges forced to shut down following financial difficulties. Back in 2014, the now-defunct Tokyo-based MT. Gox suffered a devastating hack of almost $500 million in Bitcoin and never recovered.

At the time, Mt. Gox was the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world but now is undergoing civil rehabilitation to pay off creditors affected in the hack. For QuadrigaCX, the situation is a little more bizarre.

Gerald Cotten, the CEO of the company passed away without handing over the keys to the platform’s cold wallets to his next-of-kin. Once Canada’s largest Bitcoin exchange platform, QuadrigaCX is also pursuing a similar course of action to Cryptopia.

Crypto Traders Need to Understand the Risks

Whether on account of hacking, unfriendly government policies, poor business practices or some other extenuating set of circumstances, cryptocurrency exchanges run the risk of going out of business.

For these reasons, many experts say traders need to exercise caution when trading virtual currencies on these platforms. The absence of deposit-guarantee by many exchanges means that traders run the risk of losing their investments should anything go wrong.

The establishment of trusted cryptocurrency custodians and insurers could go a long way in diminishing these risk factors. Fidelity Investments has plans to providing robust cryptocurrency custodial tools even as it gears up to begin offering Bitcoin trading to its institutional clients.

Cryptocurrency startups like Coinbase and Goldman Sachs-backed Circle also have their own custody platforms. Bakkt, the cryptocurrency derivatives platform owned by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) also reportedly wants to become a licensed virtual currency custodian.

The post Hacked New Zealand Crypto Exchange Cryptopia Goes into Liquidation appeared first on Blockonomi.

Stablecoins Beat Bitcoin, Says ECB Presidential Hopeful

Francois Villeroy de Galhau of the European Central Bank (ECB) says stablecoins hold more promise than Bitcoin. The ECB policymaker says fiat-pegged crypto will have a place in the legacy financial system.

We Prefer Fiat-Pegged Crypto

According to Bloomberg, Villeroy believes that cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat will be the ones to experience greater utility within the mainstream finance apparatus. Speaking in Paris on Tuesday (May 14, 2019), Villeroy, a frontrunner for the ECB Presidential seat opined:

The Bank of France is “observing with great interest initiatives in the private sector which aim at developing networks within which ‘stable coins’ would be used in transactions involving ‘tokenized’ securities or goods and services.” These are quite different from speculative assets like bitcoins, and more promising.

Of Course, Central Bankers Prefer Stablecoins to Bitcoin

Villeroy’s comments should come as no surprise as bankers haven’t hidden their dislike for Bitcoin and its ability to disrupt their stranglehold on global finance. The disintermediation of the payments system is in many ways an attack on their bottom-line.

Answering questions during the ECB Youth Dialogue on Wednesday (May 8, 2019), ECB President Mario Draghi described Bitcoin as not being a “real currency” but more like an asset, saying:

A euro is a euro – today, tomorrow, in a month, it’s always a euro. And the ECB is behind the euro. Who is behind the cryptocurrencies?

Draghi fails to mention that questionable monetary and fiscal policies which are often political have a negative impact on the purchasing power of fiat currency. One BTC will always be worth one BTC.

In February 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve did a complete 180 reportedly under duress from the White House to adopt a more dovish stance. Several commentators say quantitative easing and negative interest rates will put the mainstream market on the path of another major collapse.

$2,000 in Less than Five Days

While uncertainty reigns in the mainstream market, Bitcoin continues to rise even higher, adding more than $2,000 in price value in less than a week. BTC is up more than 120 percent since the start of 2019.

This recent parabolic advance has coincided with renewed institutional interest from brokerage giants and investment firms alike. TD Ameritrade, Fidelity Investments, and E-Trade plan to debut BTC trading for institutional clients.

Bakkt on Monday (May 13, 2019) announced that it would begin testing its physically-settled BTC futures contract in the summer. The company also says it is close to obtaining the green light from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Do you agree that the banking class is running scared of Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @ecb, wikimedia.org

The post Stablecoins Beat Bitcoin, Says ECB Presidential Hopeful appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Bitfinex Secures $1 Billion From Private Investors

bitfinex capital raise

Bitfinex, the embattled cryptocurrency exchange, says it raised about one billion in USDT from private investors even amid accusations that the company and Tether covered up losses to the tune of $850 million.

Bitfinex: Investors Trust us, We Need Not Brag

Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer (CTO) of Bitfinex announced the news via a tweet published on Monday (May 13, 2019). According to the tweet, the company raised one billion in USDT and its equivalent in the space of ten days from private companies and individual investors.

Ardoino said each participating firm invested at least $100 million while individual investors committed an average of the $1 million to the fundraising drive. The Bitfinex CTO said the swift nature of the capital raising project was a testament to the trust placed in the company by investors within and outside the industry.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows Tether’s market capitalization at $2.77 billion with a circulating supply of about 2.78 billion USDT.

In late April 2019, Bitcoinist reported that the New York Attorney General (NYAG) accused both Bitfinex and Tether of covering losses totaling $850 million. This revelation once again brought up questions about the company’s solvency and the degree to which USDT is backed by cash reserves.

After the news broke out, Bitfinex users understandably made a run on USDT with more than $165 million withdrawn within 24 hours of the NYAG accusations becoming public.

Tether Transactions Keep on Rising

Meanwhile, data from Coin Metrics shows that Tether transaction count continues to rise. Over a 7-day average period, the daily USDT transaction currently stands at 48,639.

Since the start of 2019, the average USDT transaction count has increased by more than 265 percent. Back in March 2019, Tether’s dominance of the stablecoin market dropped to about 75 percent.

USDT transaction count on the rise

In the wake of the recent accusation from the NYAG, the latest in a long line of controversies surrounding both Bitfinex and Tether, a few industry stakeholders called for exchanges to delist USDT.

Many who hold this opinion say the alleged financial malpractice by both companies is much worse than the antics of Bitcoin SV (BSV) proponents like Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre that led to some exchanges delisting BSV from their platforms.

Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong even tweeted that the market should pivot towards a more ‘trustworthy’ stablecoin like USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin created by Coinbase.

Do you think this development shows that investors still have faith in Bitfinex? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @paoloardoino @alistairmilne @MatiGreenspan and Coinmetrics

The post Bitfinex Secures $1 Billion From Private Investors appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

FinCEN Unveils New Bitcoin Guidelines: Here’s What You Need to Know

fincen bitcoin regulation

On Thursday (May 9, 2019), the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published new guidelines showing how anti-money laundering (AML) laws apply to Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency in general.

Mandatory KYC for P2P Bitcoin Trading Platforms

In a tweet published on Friday (May 10, 2019) notable cryptocurrency legal expert Jake Chervinsky provided a summary examination of the key highlights from the FinCEN guidelines.

The main purpose of the 30-page document is to provide regulatory clarity for cryptocurrency businesses in determining whether they are money transmitters under the Banking Secrecy Act (BSA).

According to FinCEN, Bitcoin peer-to-peer trading platforms like Localbitcoins are money transmitters. The regulatory watchdog characterized P2P exchanges as entities engaged in trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Thus, BTC traders on Localbitcoins who have dealings in the U.S. must perform mandatory know-your-customer (KYC) processes and abide by AML laws. This guideline also means unlicensed BTC P2P traders risk facing jail time if caught.

Back in 2018, Eldon Ross, a Pennsylvania native bagged a one-year prison sentence for running an unlicensed money transmission business (MSB) using BTC.

Pivot Towards STOs?

Another potential element of the new FinCEN guidance is as it relates to initial coin offerings (ICOs). For the longest time, many projects have tried to pass-up their offerings as utility tokens to avoid securities regulations but that could change.

According to Chervinksy, the new FinCEN guidance characterizes ICOs as money transmitters when the tokens offered aren’t securities. An excerpt from the document reads:

The seller of the CVC [Convertible Virtual Currency] is a money transmitter, acting in the role of administrator, because at the time of the initial offering the seller is the only person authorized to issue and redeem (permanently retire from circulation) the new units of CVC.

DEXes and DApps on Opposite Side of FinCEN’s Guideline

While the FinCEN document appears well-reasoned and firmly neutral as far cryptocurrency regulations go, there is, however, a bit of internal inconsistency.

This discrepancy applies to the mixed characterization of decentralized exchanges (DEX) and decentralized applications (DApps.)

It appears FinCEN doesn’t quite accurately grasp the fact that a DEX is a type of DApp. In the document, the financial crimes watchdog says DApps can qualify as money transmitters, if:

the DApp performs money transmission, the definition of money transmitter will apply to the DApp, the owners/operators of the DApp, or both.

However, the same guideline explicitly states that DEX (likely non-custodial exchanges) are exempted from money transmission laws.

What do you think about the new FinCEN guideline for the cryptocurrency industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @jchervinsky and @lex_node, Shutterstock

The post FinCEN Unveils New Bitcoin Guidelines: Here’s What You Need to Know appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

4 Examples Bitcoin is Now a More Mature Asset Than in 2017

bitcoin euro wallet

Remember when the slightest bit of negative or positive development would cause the Bitcoin price action to change drastically? Well, those days seem to be long gone leading many to opine that BTC is becoming a much more mature asset. Here are four examples that show BTC is no longer swayed by every bit of news that emerges in the market.

Bitcoin Shrugs Off Bitfinex-Tether Fiasco

At the back end of April, the New York Attorney General (NYAG) accused Bitfinex and Tether (USDT) of covering losses of up to $850 million. The revelation was the latest salvo in the long-running Tether/Bitfinex controversy.

When the news broke out, BTC dipped slightly as Bitfinex users understandably dumped USDT. In the past, a story like this would have had a catastrophic impact on Bitcoin’s positive market sentiment.

Instead, as swiftly as the dip occurred, BTC was back in the green and even moved beyond the $5,500 mark it occupied when the news broke out.

By May 1, 2019, as reported by Bitcoinist, Bitcoin had broken through $5,600.

Bitcoin Approaching $7,000

Exchange Hacks No Longer Tank The Market

Exchange hacks result in stolen cryptocurrency. This means market panic. Right? Mt. Gox in 2014 certainly put an end to that bubble. Well, these days, not so much.

Hackers have hit a few platforms since the start of 2019 but BTC has largely remained unaffected by such happenings.

Binance, arguably the golden standard of centralized exchanges today, got hit for $40 million in BTC with hardly a blip in the Bitcoin price.

In fact, the market became even more bullish; and it’s no coincidence that the thieves stole bitcoin only, by the way.

Why? Well, the CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, quickly realized that Bitcoin is the most immutable ledger after discussing the situation with experts. Thus, Bitcoin is the world’s most neutral financial network. This means no rollbacks, retries, bail-ins or bail-outs.

Notably, the blockchain reorg idea getting shot down so quickly, some have argued, was another bullish sign further confirming that bitcoin has no central authority.

CZ has since publicly apologized for bringing up the idea.

Institutions Are Entering Despite Anti-BTC Sentiment

There are also reports that major brokers and investment giants such as Ameritrade, E-Trade and Fidelity are set to offer BTC trading.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released an updated guidance sheet detailing that some cryptocurrency businesses are operating as money transmitters based on the country’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

Some of the platforms identified in the document include Bitcoin ATMs, mining pools, peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, cryptocurrency mixers to mention a few.

Such businesses would have to obtain money transmitter licenses and be compliant with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols.

Thanks, Bitcoin Naysayers For The Streisand Effect

In May 2019, the usual suspects like Nouriel Roubini and Warren Buffett have issued their familiar anti-BTC diatribe. Another Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz also called for cryptocurrencies to be shut down.

1_Y-ben sherman ban bitcoin

Then, what Bitcoinist senior market analyst Filb Filb called “the icing on the cake,” came on Friday. US Congressman Brad Sherman called, with blatant honesty, for a ban on Bitcoin fearing that it undermines the dollar’s hegemony on the world stage.

In other words, every country that’s not a fan of the dollar as the world reserve currency (think China and Russia), now have official confirmation from an American political that Bitcoin is a threat to this paradigm.

Russia, for example, is already rumored to be buying up billions in bitcoin to evade US sanctions and avoid relying on US-controlled gold markets.

Therefore, we are witnessing as Bitcoin is not only becoming a more mature asset class but one that may be entering the world of geopolitics.

Do you agree that Bitcoin is now a more mature asset? Share your thoughts below!

Images via Tradingview, Shutterstock

The post 4 Examples Bitcoin is Now a More Mature Asset Than in 2017 appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Coinome Becomes Latest Indian Bitcoin Exchange Forced to Shut Down

Bitcoin exchanges continue to shut down their services in India on account of the less than favorable operating conditions for such businesses in the country. Coinome, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the country recently announced that it would shutter its services come the middle of May 2019.

Meanwhile, despite months of legal ramblings, India appears no closer to definitively reaching a conclusion about cryptocurrency regulations. Regulators in the country continue to exhibit anti-cryptocurrency leanings in many of their policy declarations.


Bitcoin Exchanges Abandon Indian Market

In a tweet published on Thursday (May 9, 2019) Coinome announced that it would be pulling out from the Indian cryptocurrency market beginning on May 15, 2019. On that day, the company plans to suspend all deposits, withdrawals, and trading activities.

Consequently, the Coinome’s management is advising all its users to remove their funds from the platform as soon as possible. The company did not, however, announce if it had plans to move its business elsewhere.

An excerpt from the email sent to Coinome’s users by the platform as quoted by Quartz India, reads:

“India is currently going through uncertainty on crypto guidelines and regulations. The government of India has not yet taken a decision on the regulatory framework for crypto exchanges or wallets. Further, the supreme court is yet to act upon the public interest litigation (PIL) on (the) regulation of cryptoassets.”

Coinome isn’t the first Indian Bitcoin exchange to take such a course of action. Back in October 2018, Blockonomi reported that Zebpay, the country’s largest BTC exchange at the time was shutting down as well.

Since shuttering its India-based operation, the company expanded its services to Malta and recently, Australia. Back in March 2019, Coindelta also announced that it too was shutting down its business in the country.

India May or May Not Ban Cryptocurrencies

These platforms are exiting the country because the 2018 ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) forbidding commercial banks from providing banking services to cryptocurrency exchanges.

In the absence of bank accounts, many platforms are unable to service their business. The ban also drove BTC trading from online exchanges to peer-to-peer (P2P) and over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin trading avenues.

Several stakeholders challenged the legality of the RBI ban with a pending case currently before the Supreme Court. The apex court has yet to reach a decision with proceedings experiencing various delays from government institutions.

Commercial banks are also reportedly clamping down on customers who buy and sell cryptocurrencies. There have been reports of account closures and warnings from banks over such activities.

Meanwhile, recently, reports coming out of the country suggested that the government is getting close to banning virtual currencies entirely. According to the reports, a few government agencies are already in support of the plan which might be executed after the coming polls.

In the interim, the reports say state officials are weighing up whether to temporarily prohibit Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies under India’s anti-money laundering laws.

However, Zebpay CEO, Ajeet Khurana speaking during the launch of Zebpay Australia declared that reports about a possible blanket ban in India were preposterous. According to Khurana, none of the senior government functionaries he had interacted with ever hinted about such a drastic step being a possibility.

Recently, the RBI released its fintech regulatory sandbox, omitting cryptocurrency startups while including blockchain-based startups. As previously reported by Blockonomi, one of the major concerns for Indian regulators is the potential negative implication of cryptocurrency adoption on the monopoly of the Indian Rupee in domestic finance.

The post Coinome Becomes Latest Indian Bitcoin Exchange Forced to Shut Down appeared first on Blockonomi.

Facebook Unbans Cryptocurrency Ads to Clear Path for ‘FaceCoin’


Facebook is easing restrictions on certain cryptocurrency and blockchain-related content on its platform in a newly released policy update.

New Facebook Policy Update on Cryptocurrency Ads

In an announcement published on Wednesday (May 8, 2019) Facebook rolled back some of its more restrictive ad policies on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology content.

According to the new policy update ads pertaining to general cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related educational content no longer require pre-approval for publishing on Facebook.

An excerpt from the post reads:

While we will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, starting today, we will narrow this policy to no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency.

This update reverses the policy statement of June 2018 that required all cryptocurrency ads to obtain prior written approval before being published on the platform. However, the new policy update does not cover adverts that promote specific crypto products and services like exchanges, mining pools, cryptocurrencies to name a few.

According to Facebook:

This process will continue to take into account licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange (or are a subsidiary of a public company) and other relevant public background on their business.

The rollback, however, does not apply to initial coin offerings (ICO) ads and other complex financial products. According to Facebook, con artists can use such ads that promote potentially misleading investment ventures to defraud unsuspecting investors.

facebook zuckerberg

Facebook Seeking Positive Crypto Karma?

Facebook’s new policy update comes at a time when the social media giant is actively seeking to launch its own cryptocurrency. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is developing a blockchain platform called Project Libra which includes a stablecoin pegged to a basket of fiat currencies.

Facebook has tried to create tokens in the past for use on its platforms but with little success. Perhaps the pivot to a blockchain-based token might see the social media behemoth finally succeeding.

The timing of the policy update and the company’s drive to attract investments for its cryptocurrency plans might not be a coincidence. Some could argue that it would counterproductive to hold to anti-crypto policies while trying to create one’s own token.

Do you think this new policy update will endear the “cryptoratti” to the proposed FB Coin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via shutterstock

The post Facebook Unbans Cryptocurrency Ads to Clear Path for ‘FaceCoin’ appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Mike Novogratz: Bitcoin Will Triple in Price & Top $20,000 by 2021

Mike Novogratz believes Bitcoin is set to eclipse its all-time high (ATH) of $19,700 within the next year-and-a-half. The billionaire BTC bull and CEO of Galaxy Digital says the top-ranked cryptocurrency is recovering from its 2018 price slump and is gearing up for another bullish phase.

BTC is currently enjoying a stellar 2019, recently reclaiming the $6,000 price mark for the first time since November 2018. Many analysts believe BTC bottomed out during the mid-November 2018 price crash that saw Bitcoin almost fall below $3,000.

Bitcoin Price Gain

Bitcoin Will Triple in the Next 18 Months

Speaking to CNN at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the former hedge fund chief predicted that the price of Bitcoin will triple within the next 18 months. According to Novogratz:

“Out of the rubble, bitcoin has popped back up. It would take something like that to shatter this newfound confidence.”

Since the start of the year, BTC has gained over 65 percent as it continues to recover from the 2018 bear market. Most of Bitcoin’s 2019 gains have come between April and May 2019 where it has increased by almost 50 percent.

Bitcoin YTD Price Action

For Novogratz, BTC is currently on cruise control and would require a seriously catastrophic event to deflate its recent surge. On Tuesday (May 7, 2019), news emerged of hackers stealing $40 million from a hot wallet belonging to exchange behemoth Binance.

While the BTC price wasn’t affected by the news, the former Goldman Sachs investment banker says such happenings aren’t healthy for the market. Commenting on the issue, Novogratz opined:

“For institutions to feel comfortable, you’ve got to have a lot less of this. A little bit of guardrails can go a long way.”

Permabulls Forecast Massive BTC Price Surge

Novogratz isn’t the only one espousing bullish sentiment about Bitcoin. Since the turn of the year, several analysts and commentators have been calling another BTC bull run.

Many experts point to the improved technical and market fundamentals of BTC as a pointer to the impending price surge. In a 2019 market forecast published earlier in the year by Fudstrat, chief analyst and co-founder Tom Lee described BTC’s positive fundamentals as being part of the tailwinds that will drive its price even higher.

Peter Brandt a popular Bitcoin trader who accurately called the 80 percent crash of 2018 predicted that BTC could be set for another parabolic growth phase similar to late 2017.

Other BTC enthusiasts say the influx of institutional interest in Bitcoin will lead to another bullish cycle for the top-ranked cryptocurrency. Inside sources at Fidelity Investments said the company will soon debut Bitcoin trading to its institutional clients.

Fidelity could potentially be joining an expanding field of institutional BTC trading providers like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade. The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)-owned Bakkt is also taking significant steps to obtain approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to launch its physically-backed BTC futures contract.

Stock Market Meltdown Imminent

While the Bitcoin market continues to enjoy positive market sentiments, experts like Novogratz say there is an imminent meltdown in the stock market due to certain policy changes. Reports of quantitative easing and the lowering of interest rates by as much as a full percentage point is causing some concern among investors.

Bitcoin enthusiasts say such flawed fiscal and monetary policies solidify the need for BTC as a hedge against irresponsible banking practices. With the non-correlation of BTC to mainstream assets, they say holding investment positions in Bitcoin could protect investors from any shake-up in the stock market.

The post Mike Novogratz: Bitcoin Will Triple in Price & Top $20,000 by 2021 appeared first on Blockonomi.

Indian Tech Firm Helping Thai Banks Develop Blockchain Settlements Infrastructure

An Indian tech firm is currently developing a blockchain settlements layer for banks in Thailand. The infrastructure will enable the participating banks to form an interbank network that will allow payment settlements using a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Thailand is the latest in a growing list of countries actively developing financial protocols built on decentralized ledger technology (DLT). The news is yet another positive development for the Southeast Asian country in its quest to adopt cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Thailand Cryptocurrency

Blockchain Settlements Layer for Thai Banks

According to Business Insider, Indian tech firm, Wipro is building a blockchain settlements protocol for eight banks in Thailand. This settlements layer will allow the use of cryptocurrency in interbank transactions.

The blockchain infrastructure is part of Project Inthanon – Thailand’s CBDC pilot. Announcing the development in a statement published on Tuesday (May 7, 2019), Wipro said:

“Developed as part of the first phase of Project Inthanon, the solution will enable de-centralized interbank real-time gross settlement (RTGS) using wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to prove that the technology can perform key functionalities of payment and enhance efficiency.”

For Thailand, the introduction of a CBDC isn’t about creating a new national cryptocurrency but to optimize the efficiency of back-office operations in its banking sector. The overall goal is to reduce the cost of banking by replacing intermediary third-party protocols with trustless systems.

Thai banking regulators also hope the adoption of blockchain technology will improve the security of the nation’s banking infrastructure. Banks in Thailand have suffered data breaches affecting hundreds of thousands of customers.

If successful, the blockchain settlements layer currently being jointly developed by Wipro and R3 could see DLT being employed in Thailand’s interbank settlement infrastructure. Thailand is one of 40 nations actively trying to utilize blockchain technology across several industries.

Recently, reports emerged that Iran’s central bank was in partnership with Areatak, a Tehran-based blockchain startup to create a national DLT infrastructure for the country’s financial sector. Project Borna as it is called in Iran will see commercial banks and fintech startups offering competitive services on a blockchain layer being developed based on IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric.

Thailand Bullish on Cryptocurrency

The news of the blockchain-based interbank settlements layer comes at a time when Thailand is increasingly adopting the emerging digital economy. Since laying the legal and legislative groundwork in 2018, the Southeast Asian nation has continued to lead the way in creating an enabling environment for the cryptocurrency landscape.

As previously reported by Blockonomi, the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced updates to the country’s Securities and Exchange Act of 2019. This amended Act will see the inclusion of security token offerings in the primary market.

In mid-March 2019, the Thai Sec gave its approval for the first Initial Coin Offering (ICO) portal. Rather than clamping down on crypto commerce, Thai regulators continue to focus on building a robust legal infrastructure for blockchain businesses.

Meanwhile, India despite being open to blockchain technology continues to come down hard on cryptocurrency. Unlike other countries exploring CBDC’s the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shelved its own plans without issuing any details of the study conducted on the matter.

There are even reports that the government is looking to completely ban Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Back in 2018, the RBI prohibited banks from offering services to Bitcoin exchanges leading to the departure of many such companies. The RBI even excluded cryptocurrencies from its recently published fintech regulatory sandbox.

The post Indian Tech Firm Helping Thai Banks Develop Blockchain Settlements Infrastructure appeared first on Blockonomi.

WeChat Bans Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Transactions in Latest Policy Change

WeChat, China’s social media giant has banned Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment channels in a newly updated service policy document. The news will come as a blow to over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency traders and brokers who have relied on the service for their business.

The WeChat ban is the latest effort by Beijing to ban cryptocurrency trading in its entirety within the country. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market is currently enjoying a day of positive price growth with the majority of the top-100 coins posting 24-hour gains.


WeChat Bans Bitcoin

In a policy update published on Tuesday (May 7, 2019), the Chinese social media behemoth announced the ban on cryptocurrency payment channels. Merchants can no longer publicize any token issuance or even Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading activities.

WeChat users who fail to comply with the directive will have their accounts terminated. According to the announcement, the policy change comes into effect at the end of May 2019.

This development isn’t the first anti-Bitcoin action taken by the Tencent-owned social media platform. Back in August 2018, the company began delisting users for providing news and updates about the latest happenings in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry.

The censorship drive saw the WeChat accounts of popular news platforms like Caixin, Huobi Zixun, and Caijing to mention a few taken down from the platform. In its defense, WeChat did say some of the accounts were in violation of the country’s instant-messaging services laws.

More Liquidity Troubles for Cryptocurrency in China

Tweeting about the news, Dovey Wan, founder at Primitive and a noted trusted source for cryptocurrency news out of China decried the negative impact the move would have on Bitcoin OTC liquidity in the country.

Since the blanket ban on cryptocurrency trading by Chinese authorities in 2017, traders have been forced to depend on OTC platforms. These platforms utilize WeChat which has over one billion subscribers as a channel of communication.

Reacting to the news, Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao declared that the effects would only be temporary and that the market will come up with an alternative. Commenting further, Zhao said such restrictions usually forced more people into adopting cryptocurrency.

The Binance boss also teased the possibility that the decision from WeChat might have been coerced. Beijing has consistently made efforts to stifle all forms of cryptocurrency-related activities and have a history of censoring social media platforms.

China Leaving No Stone Unturned in Anti-Crypto Stance

The WeChat announcement is one of the many ramifications of China’s anti-Bitcoin stance. Back in September 2017, regulators banned ICOs before prohibiting cryptocurrency trading.

Exchange platforms based on the mainland has to move to friendlier jurisdictions as the government continued its clampdown. Several platforms initially moved to Japan making the country to become the de-facto trading hub in the Asian cryptocurrency theater.

Chinese authorities didn’t stop at banning local cryptocurrency exchanges. Back in August 2018, Blockonomi reported that regulators had blocked access to 120 foreign cryptocurrency exchange platforms.

In April 2019, reports emerged that Chinese authorities were looking to ban Bitcoin mining. As reported by Blockonomi, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) included cryptocurrency mining in a list of activities that should be eliminated from the country.

However, at the time, several commentators like Dovey Wan maintained that the news didn’t spell the death knell for Bitcoin mining in the country. According to Wan, the NDRC recommendation didn’t equate to immediate government action on the matter.

Despite clamping down on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, the Chinese government has consistently expressed a favorable disposition to blockchain technology. Several provinces and government agencies in the country have developed blockchain-based solutions.

The post WeChat Bans Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Transactions in Latest Policy Change appeared first on Blockonomi.

Ethereum Spikes 10% Amid ETH Futures Approval Rumors

cftc ethereum futures

Ethereum has spiked by about 10 percent over the last 24 hours following speculation that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) may be ready to approve ETH futures trading.

CFTC Open to Ethereum Futures Trading

Ethereum 00, the second-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization is currently trading at $175; a 10 percent spike in the last 24 hours. This surge comes amid reports that the CFTC might grant approval for an ETH futures trading product.

On Monday (May 6, 2019) a senior official of the Commission who wished to remain anonymous revealed that the CFTC is open to the idea of approving ETH futures trading. Such a move would Ether trading being made readily available to the broader institutional trading arena in the U.S.

Commenting on the matter, the anonymous source said:

I think we [the CFTC] can get comfortable with an ether derivative being under our jurisdiction. We don’t do bold pronouncements; what we do is we look at applications before us. If they [a derivatives exchange platform] came to us with a particular derivative that met our requirements, I think that there’s a good chance that it would be [allowed to be] self-certified by us.

Back in 2017, the CFTC approved Bitcoin futures trading contracts offered by CME and CBOE. These BTC futures trading products offered cash-settled futures contracts.

Ether futures has been a subject of discussion among market commentators since the emergence of CFTC-approved BTC futures. At first, a lack of consensus over whether ETH could be considered security tokens caused some delay.

In mid-2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cleared the air, saying it didn’t consider ETH to be a security.

At the time, Bitcoinist reported the CBOE President saying the SEC’s decision paves the way for the emergence of ETH futures trading.

Ethereum 10 Percent Price Spike

Green Day for Bitcoin and Altcoin Market

Elsewhere in the cryptocurrency market, Tuesday (May 7, 2019) is turning to be a green day for Bitcoin and altcoins alike. BTC is currently north of $5,900, up by more than four percent in the last 24 hours and looks set to break the $6,000 mark.

BTC last traded at $6,000 back in November 2018, before the price crash that saw it tumble to $3,100. The total cryptocurrency market capitalization has also grown by almost $10 billion within the last 24-hour trading period.

Do you think the approval of ETH futures will cause the price of Ethereum to reach a new all-time high? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @ICO_Analytics and Tradingview, Shutterstock

The post Ethereum Spikes 10% Amid ETH Futures Approval Rumors appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Fidelity Set to Roll Out Bitcoin Trading ‘Over the Coming Weeks’

fidelity bitcoin

In addition to launching a custody service, Fidelity Investments appears set to debut Bitcoin (BTC) trading for institutional clients. The news comes amid reports of Ameritrade and E-Trade quietly testing BTC trading on their respective platforms.

$2.4 Trillion Dollar Fidelity Targets Bitcoin Trading

According to Bloomberg, inside sources say Fidelity Investments plans to launch a Bitcoin trading platform. Reports say the service will cater to the firm’s institutional clientele and not be available to retail traders.

Commenting on the matter to Bloomberg, Arlene Roberts, a spokesperson for the company said:

We currently have a select set of clients we’re supporting on our platform. We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin.

Fidelity Investments with asset under management currently north of $2.4 trillion could potentially open BTC trading to its over 27 million customers. Such a move would provide further institutional exposure to the top-ranked cryptocurrency.

Back in 2018, the company announced the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets – a cryptocurrency custodial platform.

As reported by Bitcoinist on Friday (May 3, 2019), a research survey commissioned by the company also showed increasing institutional appetite for cryptocurrencies.

Mainstream Institutions Flock to Bitcoin Trading

Fidelity will be joining an increasing pool of institutional players beginning to offer Bitcoin trading. Within the last fortnight, reports emerged of prominent brokers like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade getting set to offer BTC trading services.

Among all three companies is about $4 trillion in asset under management and all of them want to go into the BTC trading business. Makes comments like “Bitcoin is a gamble” seem ill-informed at best.

Unlike E-Trade, Fidelity’s plans appear to be tailored towards institutional investors only. As reported by Bitcoinist E-Trade plans to roll out BTC and ETH trading to its over 5 million customers.

These reports come at a time when BTC is enjoying a positive run and potentially increases the optimism about the asset class. Bitcoin is up more than 50 percent since the start of the year.

The top-ranked cryptocurrency has followed its positive price run in April 2019 with a strong start to May so far. Even the Tether/Bitfinex $850 million case brought up by the New York Attorney General also hasn’t caused any significant dent to BTC’s upward momentum.

Will more investment firms and brokerages join the institutional Bitcoin trading bandwagon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @David_Kudla, Shutterstock

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