How Ripple and XRP are Powering Frictionless Payments in Mexico?

Bitso, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Latin America, is using Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) to provide frictionless cross-border payments and other financial services across the Latin American region.

Bitso and Ripple: Collaborating to Create a Faster, Cheaper Cross-Border Payment Solution
World Bank data shows that as of 2017, over 1.7 billion adults worldwide remain unbanked. And, about half of the people in Latin American and the Caribbean are either under or unbanked. That is, these people do not have a bank account or financial institution.

With this challenge in mind, the founders of Bitso envisioned how to facilitate financial inclusion through digital asset technology to the unbanked people of the region.
As a result, Bitso, in partnership with Ripple, is providing digital asset technology and offering On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) services in the region.
ODL is a way of executing cross-border payments, or remittances, using the RippleNet network, and thus bypassing the traditional financial system.
As Bárbara González Briseño, Head of Finance at Bitso, explains, to make cross-border payments from the United States to Mexico, for example, the dollars are converted into XRP digital coins. Then, these XRPs are sent into Bitso in Mexico, where they are immediately exchanged for Mexican pesos.
Briseño claims that Bitso has “the world’s largest liquidity of Mexican pesos to digital assets.’’ Briseño adds, “ODL is amazing. The transaction happens instantly, is much more cost-effective, and you know exactly when the recipient receives it.”
Bitso Expects to Increase by Ten Times Its Share of the Latin American Market in 2020
Bitso and Ripple are already changing how cross-border payments are made in the region. In effect, since July 2019, Bitso reports having seen a significant increase in adoption and the volume of transfers through this technology.
The cryptocurrency exchange reckons that with more than 11 million Mexicans living and working in the U.S., the remittances markets between these two countries is worth USD $35 billion a year. Bitso reports,
“In 2019, Bitso gained 1.5% of that market and aims to increase its share by ten times that in 2020, by leveraging ODL, while also expanding to other valuable corridors across Latin America.”
What do you think about Bitso and Ripple’s partnership? Lets us know in the comments below. 

Images via Shutterstock, Global Finex Database

Could Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Be Replaced By a Bitcoin Detractor?

jack dorsey bitcoin

If anti-Bitcoin billionaire Paul Singer manages to have Jack Dorsey replaced as head of Twitter by a Bitcoin non-believer, it could have huge implications for cryptocurrencies.

Removing Bitcoin Advocate Dorsey Could Damage BTC Adoption
While voicing concerns about Dorsey being the CEO of two public companies, Twitter and Square, Paul Singer is pressing to replace Bitcoin-friendly Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter.
Singer is an avowed Bitcoin detractor, so it would not be surprising for him to try to place an anti-Bitcoin agent as the head of Twitter.
Removing Dorsey from Twitter would deprive Bitcoin of one of its best advocates and promoters in the tech industry. As a result, Bitcoin’s adoption rate could slow down.

Contrary to Dorsey, Singer is a Bitcoin critic. In January 2018, he publicly displayed his dislike for cryptocurrency,
When the history is written, cryptocurrencies will likely be described as one of the most brilliant scams in history.
Singer Nominated Four Directors to Twitter’s Board
Singer is an investor with a net worth of USD $3.5 billion. He founded his hedge fund firm Elliot Management. Now, he is pushing to have Dorsey replaced as head of Twitter. Bloomberg reports,
Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has taken a sizable stake in Twitter Inc. and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, according to people familiar with the matter.
Towards this end, according to Bloomberg sources, Elliott has already nominated four directors to Twitter’s board. These sources also explained that only three seats are becoming available at this year’s annual meeting. However, Elliott wished “to ensure that it nominated enough directors to fill all three seats or any other vacancies that may arise.”
On the other hand, Dorsey believes in Bitcoin. Although he has not yet integrated the leading crypto into Twitter, he promotes the adoption of the cryptocurrency. He is convinced that Bitcoin will eventually be widely accepted.
Therefore, he reckons, there is no need for Twitter to create a proprietary cryptocurrency like Facebook’s Libra.
I think open internet standards serve every person better than ones controlled or started by companies
Dorsey: Bitcoin Will Be the Single Currency in the World
Indeed, Dorsey is a Bitcoin visionary, who according to The Times, predicted in 2018, that “Bitcoin will overtake the dollar in importance as it becomes the single global currency of the internet within a decade.”
Faithful to his vision, Dorsey has incorporated Bitcoin into Square, a U.S. financial services and mobile payment company.
Specifically, Cash App, the mobile payment service developed by Square, generates revenue from Bitcoin and five other separate sources:
1. Instant Deposit
2. Cash Card
3. Business Accounts
4. P2P transactions funded with a credit card
5. Bitcoin
6. Interest on customers’ stored balances
Thus, Bitcoin is one of the key Square revenue generators. For example, last year, a company letter reported that of the total revenue of USD $135 million, of which USD $125 million was Bitcoin-generated.
Now, shrugging off coronavirus concerns, Square remains bullish. Indeed, Square shares were up as much as 10% on February 27, 2020, after the company reported fourth-quarter cash earnings per share of 23 cents on total revenue of USD $1.31 billion versus expectations of 21 cents and USD $1.19 billion.
Moreover, according to CNBC, Square emerges as a coronavirus hedge while other payment stocks such as Mastercard, Visa, and American Express are experiencing one of their worst trading weeks in history.
But regarding Twitter, Bloomberg writes that Dorsey has focused too much on its core service while neglecting innovation. So, Dorsey’s replacement may wish to bring new technologies to update and enhance Twitter. But, will the next boss work for the long-overdue integration of Bitcoin into the platform?
If Jack Dorsey is removed as Twitter’s CEO, how do you think this will impact Bitcoin adoption? Let us know your comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Asia.Nikkei.com

Should Millennials Invest in Bitcoin for their Retirement?

millennials retire on bitcoin

As the global pension crisis worsens, millennials, are looking at novel retirement strategies, to protect their retirement security. Will bitcoin serve the purpose?

Millennials’ Financial Situation Is ‘Relatively Dire’
Baby boomers, and then Generation X, popularized inflation-ridden investments and various retirement schemes that now are in crisis.
Generation X had less money than baby boomers. And, in turn, millennials have even less. Thus, compared with their parents, their retirement prospects are becoming increasingly alarming. According to the Washington Post,

“Millennials haven’t hit the 35 mark yet — that won’t happen until about 2023 — but their financial situation is relatively dire. They own just 3.2 percent of the nation’s wealth. To catch up to Gen Xers, they’d need to triple their wealth in just four years. To reach boomers, their net worth would need a sevenfold jump.”
In fact, millennials are already concerned about their retirement prospects. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), half of the millennials doubt they will be able to retire when they want to. And, as they will live longer than their parents, they worry about outliving their retirement savings. And the NIRS adds,
“More than ninety percent agree that the nation’s retirement system is under stress and needs reform. Given that this generation has witnessed their parents struggle to make ends meet during retirement, their concerns about achieving retirement security—even though decades away — are warranted.”
Indeed, Raoul Pal, CEO, and co-founder of Real Vision, in his video The Coming Retirement Crises, warns that millennials will not be able to fulfill the American Dream of retirement.
Tim Draper: Millennials Should Invest in Bitcoin
Consequently, many are advising millennials to look at retirement schemes that differ from those of their parents’ generation.
For example, billionaire Tim Draper recommends to the younger generation that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are keys to a successful retirement. While accusing the banking industry of putting millennials in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, Draper told Fox Business, “Cryptocurrency is the key to a successful retirement savings plan.”
In effect, many young people are already doing so. As Rachel Wolfson writing on Bloomberg put it,
“Interestingly enough, though, one of the main reasons millennials are investing in cryptocurrencies is to save for retirement funds.”
Most notably, millennials can already invest their Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in an IRA. Bitcoin IRA allows the transfer of an IRA or 401K fund to a Bitcoin IRA.
These Bitcoin-based instruments seem to be gaining traction. In January 2020, Bitcoin IRA announced,
“[Bitcoin IRA] exceeded $400 million in cryptocurrency transactions after launching their 24/7 self-trading crypto IRA platform one year ago.”
Do you think Bitcoin will soon become a mainstream retirement investment opportunity? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, The Washington Post

Hurry Up and Regulate Crypto, FSB Chair Urges World Leaders

Hurry Up and Regulate Crypto, FSB Chair Urges World Leaders

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is asking global finance ministers to step up their efforts in creating regulatory frameworks for crypto and other innovative digital payment systems.

“Pressures That Can Lead to Market Fragmentation Exist”
Crypto assets and their underlying blockchain technology have already disrupted the financial world to a great extent. As a result, world business leaders are now panicking as they fear that digital technologies are gaining such a moment that could eventually shatter the financial markets as we know them.
This week, Randal K. Quarles, Chair of the FSB and Governor and Vice Chairman for Supervision of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is pleading to regulatory bodies to step up their focus on the impact of crypto on the banking industry.
Indeed, Quarles points out that regulators are failing to catch up with the swift developments occurring in the payment industry. In a letter dated February 18, 2020, addressed to finance ministers and G20 central bank governors, Quarles wrote,
Technology is changing the nature of traditional finance; the non-bank sector has grown, and requires deeper understanding and coordination among the supervisory and regulatory community. Pressures that can lead to market fragmentation exist. Concurrently, important supervisory and regulatory issues require attention.
Quarles highlights the speed of technological advances occurring in the crypto payments sector and the advent of stablecoins. And he ensures the FSB’s resolve “to quicken the pace of developing the necessary the regulatory and the supervisory responses to these new instruments.”
In his letter, Quarles promises to issue a draft report on these regulatory issues in April 2020.
Cross-Border Payment Crypto Assets Pose Highest Threat
Moreover, Quarles believes that crypto tokens used as payment substitutes might become globally systematic “not least because they may fill needs not met by existing cross-border payment systems.”
Aware of the importance of implementing efficient and inclusive payment services for global growth, Quarles informs that the Saudi G20 Presidency has already asked the FSB to take the lead and prepare a roadmap to improve cross-border payment systems.
How do you think regulators can effectively get up to speed on cryptocurrencies? Let us know your comments below.
________________________________________________________________________________
Images via  WSJ

Bitcoin to Become Superior to Gold After 2020 Halving

bitcoin better than gold

After the second halving in 2016, Bitcoin’s price skyrocketed. So, will the third halving, scheduled to occur in May 2020, repeat the same?

A Pre-Halving Bitcoin Price Rally Is Already Underway
A Bitcoin halving occurs every four years. At each halving event, the BTC generation algorithm cuts the block reward by half. As a result, Bitcoin is inflation-resistant — because only 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined. The last coin will be created around the year 2140.
Thus, the implications of Bitcoin’s next halving could be significant. History might repeat itself, or something unexpected might happen.
Some experts estimate that after the upcoming halving, miners will continue to profit, but only if Bitcoin maintains a price range of $12,000 – $15,000. Others claim that a pre-halving BTC rally is already underway with billions of dollars pouring into the crypto market.
Mike Co, writing for The Coinbase Blog, argues optimistically about the cryptocurrency’s future after the May 2020 halving, by describing Bitcoin’s superiority over gold and fiat currencies.

Since August 1971, when the dollar ceased to be pegged to gold, Co says, “the dollar’s value has declined, and gold has risen from a fixed $35 per ounce to over $1,500 today.”
Thus, if scarcity makes gold superior to the dollar, then Bitcoin is far superior to gold. Co explains,
“Gold’s scarcity has been the foundation for a total market cap that exceeds $7 trillion, with demand by global financial institutions, individuals, and central banks. Now, imagine for a moment that there was a base metal as scarce as gold with one special property:
[Bitcoin] can be transported over a communications channel.”
Coinbase: After Two BTC Halvings, Hash Rate Is Reaching All-Time High
Miners secure Bitcoin by validating and timestamping each transaction, which requires computing power. But after May 2020, new coin issuance will drop from 12.5 to 6.25 new bitcoins. Having fewer coins available to mine could certainly discourage miners from spending more computer power. However, Co explains,
“The economics of Bitcoin tend to be resilient and self-balancing. After two halvings in the past that limited rewards to miners, mining power (aka hashrate) has recently reached all-time highs. Or, in other words, as bitcoin’s supply has edged toward its 21 million limit, network security has increased in parallel.”
Moreover, halving helps Bitcoin to increase its superiority over gold in many other ways. For example, Co ascertains that nobody knows precisely how much gold has been extracted. But anyone with a basic computer can at any time independently verify the entire Bitcoin supply in existence.
“Bitcoin Is a Store of Value to Rival Gold in the Digital Age.”
Moreover, it is difficult and expensive to verify gold’s purity. But the cryptocurrency can easily be verified by running a full node. Co underscores this BTC advantage,
“Imagine if a gold purity machine could simultaneously verify a public record of all gold transactions ever made in history. Currently, there are over 52k nodes operating in 96 countries to verify Bitcoin’s network.”
Next, Co details Bitcoin’s advantages over gold in terms of accountability, low fees for cross-border transactions, privacy, portability, divisibility, and scarcity.

During the last decade, the cryptocurrency’s value has risen significantly. And now, both assets are safe havens from fiat currency devaluation. Co concludes,
“Armed with a myriad of technological advantages, accelerating development, and maturing global market, Bitcoin is a store of value to rival gold in the digital age.”
How do you think the third halving will impact BTC’s value? Let us know your comments below.

Images via The Coinbase Blog, CoinMetrics, TradingView The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

New Microsoft Browser Combats Crypto Mining Malware

microsoft browser blocks crypto malware

To protect users from unintentionally downloading crypto mining scripts, Microsoft is releasing its new Edge browser, which is designed to block this type of malware.

Microsoft Edge’s Blocker Is Superior to SmartScreen
Microsoft recently released the first full version of its chromium-based browser Microsoft Edge with several design improvements. For example, it brings new security features to protect users from automatically downloading unwanted apps, such as adware and other malicious programs that harm a user’s PC.
Aware of “the increasing threat of cryptocurrency miners,” the new Microsoft browser has been designed to block this type of malicious scripts.

Crypto mining malware comprises software programs and malware components programmed to seize a computer’s resources and use them for cryptocurrency mining, such as Bitcoin, without the computer owner’s consent. Don Sharp, writing for Windows Report, explains,
Microsoft Edge users will soon be able to navigate the web without the risk of unintentionally downloading crypto miners. This feature targets the ‘less reputable’ sources that infect sites or online ads with crypto-mining code, which executes stealthily after loading in the victim’s browser.
Eric Lawrence, Microsoft Principal Program Manager, claims that the new Microsoft Edge blocker will be superior to the cloud-based anti-phishing and anti-malware SmartScreen and SafeBrowsing blockers. Lawrence tweeted,
Base SmartScreen and SafeBrowsing both block malware. The feature shown here goes further by optionally blocking downloads that contain potentially unwanted (but not technically malware) code– think a utility app that also bundles in a crypto miner or notification spammer.
Microsoft is already encouraging users to migrate towards its new browser.
Cloud Infrastructure a Big Target for Crypto Mining Attacks
Crypto mining attacks have been on the rise for several years, alarming security experts. For example, for 2020, the Cyber Security Report underscores that crypto mining attacks will dominate the cyber-criminal activity.
In particular, the report concludes, this year, cloud infrastructure will be a big target for crypto mining attacks. Nevertheless, cyber-attacks involving crypto mining threaten the whole cyber spectrum.
Kobe Bryant’s Wallpaper Used For Crypto Mining Malware
Most recently, on January 30, 2020, the Microsoft’s security intelligence unit reported that cybercriminals installed a Monero cryptocurrency mining malware in a wallpaper of the late basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.

Microsoft Defender SmartScreen blocks the website hosting the coin miner. Microsoft Defender ATP detects the malicious HTML file as Trojan:HTML/Brocoiner.N!lib (SHA-256: 86031a7d35968a1ff1f20441afce6eee504cdb98c1fbee9a4708ad989a5f2269)
— Microsoft Security Intelligence (@MsftSecIntel) January 30, 2020

The malicious script specifically mentions CoinHive, which is an in-browser crypto mining program. Hackers used to prefer CoinHive to mine Monero coins maliciously.
Sharp, although welcoming Edge’s new security features, warns Windows 10 PC users,
While the ability of Edge to detect and thwart crypto miners is welcome, users should still watch out for non-browser-based ways to infect a Windows 10 PC with such code.
How effective do you think the new Microsoft Edge security feature will be in blocking crypto mining attacks? Let us know your comments below.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @MsftSecIntel The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Bitcoin Cash Dev Tax Could Have Serious Impact on Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin cash centralized

Miners claiming to represent the majority of Bitcoin Cash’s (BCH) hash rate intend to implement a plan to tax other miners in the community. Most remarkably, this tax could also affect all cryptocurrencies that share the SHA256 algorithm, including Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash Miners to Be Subject to a 12.5 Percent Tax
The plan, under the name of Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash, is becoming a heated topic of discussion among the crypto community. Taxes are never welcome. But the miners advancing the plan believe the funds from the tax would help ensure that BHC remains a strong and vibrant cryptocurrency.

According to the plan, miners would be subject to a mandatory tax of 12.5 percent, for a six-month trial period. On January 22, 2020, in his article announcing the proposal, Jiang Zhuoer wrote,
To provide this funding, we intend to direct 12.5% of BCH Coinbase rewards to a fund that will support Bitcoin Cash infrastructure. This funding will last for six months, and it will provide significant and much needed support to the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.
To avoid free riding and the tragedy of commons, the Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash will allow miners to orphan BCH blocks that do not adhere to the plan.
The Entire Set of Sha-256 Mining to Bear the Cost Under the Plan
Most notably, this tax could also impact the Bitcoin (BTC) ecosystem, argues Deribit in a recent blog post. Because BCH and BTC cryptocurrencies are very similar and both use the SHA256 algorithm, Deribit’s believes miners from the BCH network will migrate their machines on to the Bitcoin network to avoid the tax.
Hypothetically speaking, this could have a dramatic effect on Bitcoin’s difficulty, which in turn would make mining that much harder for smaller operators.
Before the tax, BCH contributed around 2.6% to the SHA256 reward pool. After lowering this by 12.5%, it will then contribute 2.275% (2.6% * 0.875). As a result, only 2.275% of SHA256 hashrate should be allocated to BCH as well. Therefore, some number of BCH miners who are still cashflow-profitable will reallocate their hashpower to BTC and BSV.
Deribit continued,
Their entrance will make difficulty on BTC and BSV go up and difficulty on BCH go down. If difficulty increases at equal price + hashing capacity, the ROI of all SHA256 miners goes down. We can thus see the cost of the tax is born by all SHA miners equally, making the least profitable SHA256 miners go out of business, not the least profitable BCH miners.
Roger Ver Changes His Mind on Dev Tax
According to the Bitcoin Cash announcement, the plan is supported by key personalities of the crypto ecosystem, such as Jiang Zhuoer, Jihan Wu, and Haipo Yang. However, voices of discord are now rising.

Notably, Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver appeared to be a supporter of Zhuoer’s announcement at first. However, now, Ver seems to have changed his mind and rejects the plan. On January 30,  2020, Bitcoin.com stated,
As it stands now, Bitcoin.com will not go through with supporting any plan unless there is more agreement in the ecosystem such that the risk of a chain split is negligible.
What do you think of BCH’s proposed Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash? Let us know your comments below.
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Images via Shutterstock The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Binance Pledges $1.5 Million for Coronavirus Victims

binance helping coronavirus victims

Bitcoin exchange Binance is leading the charity effort to provide support to coronavirus victims by pledging $1.5 million.

Binance Leading the Effort to Help Coronavirus Victims
The new virus Coronavirus has already infected thousands of people and, as of this writing, claimed 56 deaths in China. Moreover, concern grows as the epidemic spreads all over the world. Indeed, confirmed cases of people infected are reported in Europe, the Americas, and other regions of the world.

For #Wuhan, not realistic to do crypto to end beneficiaries.
Binance pledged 10m RMB ($1.5m USD) to help #coronavirus victims.
We didn’t make any announcements. But BCF/Binance team has been busy for the last few days.
Still need help to arrange logistics locally.🙋‍♀️ https://t.co/UH6FXgVSrX
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 25, 2020

Due to the gravity of the pandemic outbreak, Binance decided to lead efforts to help Coronavirus victims. On January 25, 2020, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted that his firm pledged 10m RMB, approximately US$ 1.5 million, to help victims of the pandemic.
Zhao also pointed out that he was proud of his team’s charity efforts. And he added, “[I] hope we can do our part to help people get better soon.”
Donating Bitcoins Improves Tax Benefits
Bitcoin has demonstrated itself to be a useful currency for helping victims of natural disasters. For example, after Puerto Rico suffered devastating natural disasters, Coinbase CEO Bryan Armstrong launched a crypto-focused fund to raise USD$ 1 billion.
Indeed, Bitcoin has long been considered the currency for charity. As Connie Gallippi, the Executive Director of BitGive, put it,
“Bitcoin allows BitGive to confirm remote transactions, significantly lower transfer fees, provide transparency in real-time, execute cryptographically-secured transactions and obtain fast settlements.”
Additionally, many donate Bitcoin because of tax benefits. As the New York Times earlier reported, donating with Bitcoin “can be tax advantageous, and the technology the currency is built on could make it easier to see how a donation is being used, forcing charities to become more transparent.”
Consequently, an increasing number of charity-focused organizations, such as Save the Children, the Red Cross, Greenpeace, and United Way, are accepting donations in Bitcoin and making use of blockchain technology to increase efficiency.
What do you think is the likelihood of Bitcoin becoming the primary currency for charity donations? Let us know in the comments below!

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @cz_binance The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

New York Crowned the World’s Crypto Litigation Capital

new york nyc Bitcoin regulation

New York, the financial capital of the world, is also becoming the capital of blockchain litigation activity, according to a financial services law firm Murphy & McGonigle report.

Two Times More Blockchain Cases Than Any Other Venue
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are increasingly attracting the attention of large law firms all over the world. In the U.S., since 2018, Murphy & McGonigle has been maintaining a Blockchain Litigation Database, which records the number of incidences of litigation involving the blockchain sector.
Specifically, the database captures cases involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain-centered companies, mining companies, crypto-investment platforms, exchanges, Initial Coin Offer (ICO) issuers, and consultants.
Upon analyzing and interpreting these data, on January 22, 2020, Murphy & McGonigle released the second annual Blockchain Litigation Year in Review Report. The report identifies the 2019 top five trends related to litigations involving the crypto space in the U.S. marketplace. Most notably, it reveals that during 2019, the higher number of cases involving blockchain-related cases were concentrated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The report describes,
Perhaps unexpectedly for a new industry that is global and decentralized, the SDNY has more than twice as many blockchain cases as any other venue. Perhaps this statistic reflects SDNY’s status as a hub of financial services litigation given cryptocurrency’s growing role in capital raising

The Incidence of Litigation in New York Reflects the City’s Status as the Hub of Financial Services.
So, the other five critical findings identified in the Blockchain Litigation Year-in-Review Report include:
1. The Southern District of New York (SDNY): More Blockchain Litigation Than Any Other Venue
2. The SEC Remained Active, with High Profile Enforcement Activity
3. Regulatory Enforcement Actions Drop Off
4. American Courts Issued Rulings that will Impact the Blockchain Industry
5. The SEC’s “Path to Compliance” is a Road Less Traveled
Of Course it’s New York
According to Daniel Payne, member of the Tech & Blockchain Practice and architect of the Blockchain Litigation Database, it is not surprising that an emerging industry, which is both global and decentralized, would see litigation budding in the Big Apple, and he adds,
Given cryptocurrency’s growing role in capital raising, the incidence of litigation in New York reflects the city’s status as the hub of financial services.
While the report does not specify that New York is the world’s leading blockchain litigation spot, the United States is renowned for being a serious hotbed for crypto regulations and lawsuits. With this in mind, it’s more than likely that New York is the world’s crypto lawsuit capital.
Why do you think the number of Blockchain-related litigations is higher in New York? Let us know your comments below.

Images via Shutterstock Murphy & McGonigle The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

PlanB Reasserts S2F Reliability as a Bitcoin Price Forecaster

planb bitcoin s2f model correct

In his latest article, PlanB has re-affirmed the reliability of his Bitcoin-Stock-to-Flow model (S2F) to forecast the Bitcoin price trajectory. He also asserts that BTC markets are reasonably efficient, and they see risks that are not in the price data.

PlanB: Markets Are reasonably efficient
In his article of January 17, 2020, PlanB makes a case for his S2F as a reliable Bitcoin price forecast tool against the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), and the classic risk and reward model.
The S2F model, introduced in March 2019, is based on Nick Szabo’s premise of “unforgeable scarcity,” which PlanB describes,
“S2F is a measure of scarcity. The power-law relation between S2F and bitcoin price over time captures the underlying regularity of bitcoin’s complex dynamic system of network effects as described by Trace Mayer.”

Trace’s Bitcoin network effects include 1. Speculation, 2. Merchants, 3. Consumers, 4. Security, 5. Developers, 6. Financialization, and 7. World Reserve Settlement Currency.
On the other hand, EMH stems from the British-Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek’s premise that “markets are information processing systems, delivering the best possible price discovery.”
Moreover, PlanB uses Nobel prize winner Eugene Fama’s theory of efficient markets to classify EMH in three categories:

Weak EMH: historical price data is already priced in and cannot be used to make profits. Technical Analysis (TA) and Time Series Analysis (TSA) do not work.
Semi-strong EMH: public news from media outlets like MSNBC, Bloomberg, WSJ, and research companies is already priced in and cannot be used to make profits. Fundamental Analysis (FA) does not work.
Strong EMH: even inside information cannot be used to make a profit, because all information is already priced in.
PlanB concedes that most investors and economists view modern financial markets as reasonably efficient. They accept weak and semi-strong EMH but reject strong EMH.

PlanB’s take is that markets are reasonably efficient since easy arbitrage opportunities are impossible, and he suggests, “Following EMH, the S2F model should be priced in because it is based on publicly available data (S2F).”
The Bitcoin Market Seemingly Overestimates Risks

Next, PlanB uses the above chart to explain the risks and returns of a Bitcoin investment, among traditional assets such as bonds, gold, and stocks.
After sizing the chart to a 1% BTC plus 99% cash investment, PlanB observes that this BTC investment would show an 8% return and 1% risk. Therefore, in such an investment, he reckons, “you can’t lose more than 1%, even if bitcoin drops 99% because you only invest 1%.”
As a result, defying economic orthodoxy, PlanB deduces that the market senses risks that are not in the price data. However, he affirms, from an EMH and risk and returns perspective, these risks should be considered in the data. PlanB identifies the following possible risks:

Risk that bitcoin dies• Risk of governments making bitcoin illegal and prosecuting developers
Risk of fatal software bugs
Risk of exchange hacks
Risk of 51% attacks by centralized miners
Risk of miner death spiral after halving
Risk of hard forks

Thus, the father of the S2F tool concludes that the market has seemingly overestimated these risks and that “Bitcoin really was a great investment opportunity, in line with the S2F model.” PlanB writes,
“My conclusion is that bitcoin markets are indeed reasonably efficient and price[d] in the S2F model, but also overestimate risk. Therefore, I prefer using the S2F model over a classic risk & return model to forecast future bitcoin price.”
PlanB also contends that several analysts have verified the cointegrated S2F model, confirming the trustworthiness of its Bitcoin price forecasts. If so, then, as earlier reported by Bitcoinist, PlanB’s prediction still holds: Bitcoin price should be above USD $100,000 by the end of 2021.
What do you think of the S2F model for forecasting the Bitcoin price trajectory? Let us know your comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, PlanB The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Crypto Mining Malware ‘Dominates’ Cyber Criminal Activity, Report

Crypto Mining Malware 'Dominates' Cyber Criminal Activity, Report

Just like any other industry, the crypto industry is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks in 2020, according to a Check Point Research‘s cybersecurity report.
Cloud Infrastructure a Big Target for Crypto Mining Attacks
In 2019, no organization, regardless of its size, was excepted from cyberattacks. Cybercrime is lucrative and, therefore attractive for unscrupulous individuals. Researchers estimated that for 2018 cybercrime rates generated US$1.5 trillion.
Bitcoin is resilient because of the randomness of the data exchanges within its blockchain, and the use of sturdy encryption. Consequently, the blockchain and the data cannot be duplicated or infiltrated through malware or other malicious technology. Nonetheless, transactions occurring around the blockchain are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
For example, for 2020, the Cyber Security Report underscores the threat to cloud infrastructures related to cryptomining attacks. Although the value of cryptocurrencies declined in value last year, cloud infrastructures present a massive target for cryptomining malicious campaigns.

Cryptomining malware is defined as software programs and malware components programmed to take over a computer’s resources and use them for cryptocurrency mining without a user’s permission.
Ransomware Exploits Becoming More Sophisticated
Ransomware is another threat that became more sophisticated and targeted in 2019. In the first half of 2019, compared to 2018, there was a 50 percent increase in attacks by mobile banking malware. In effect, according to the report, “27% of all organizations globally were impacted by cyberattacks that involved mobile devices.”
The report describes the malware that specifically exploits Bitcoin over any other crypto. For example, Glupteba includes a Command and Control address update mechanism through public Bitcoin lists. Glupteba is thus used to distribute a browser stealer or router exploiter. Cryptoloot is also used to perform online mining of Monero coins when an intruder visits a web page without the user’s authorization. Moreover, Danabot is a banking Trojan that targets Windows platform, that it is also used to steal browser passwords and wallets.
Researchers also highlight how hackers have used Ryuk ransomware to extract large payments in Bitcoin from their victims.
The range of cyber threats is becoming more extensive and more sophisticated. Thus, the report recommends that to stay ahead of criminals and avert cyberattacks, not merely detect and remediate them, organizations need to implement a proactive battle plan and keep threat intelligence up to date.
“To prevent zero-day attacks, organizations first need incisive, real-time threat intelligence that provides up-to-minute information on the newest attack vectors and hacking techniques. Threat intelligence must cover all attack surfaces, including cloud, mobile, network, endpoint, and IoT, because these vectors are commonplace in an enterprise.”
How do you think cybersecurity threats will affect the crypto industry in 2020? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Check Point Research The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Winklevoss Twins Launch Own Crypto-Asset Insurance Unit

Winklevoss Twin says Bitcoin has boundless capabilities

Today, the Winklevoss twins launched their own insurer to enhance coverage for Bitcoin and other crypto-assets.

Winklevoss Twins Cover Their Assets
According to most experts, lack of insurance and proper custody services are hampering the mass adoption of crypto assets.
So, to address this issue, the Winklevoss twins launched a captive insurance company, Nakamoto, Ltd. (Nakamoto). The purpose of Nakamoto is to insure crypto assets covered by Gemini Custody. At the launch, Cameron Winklevoss stated,
Insurance is one of the main barriers to crypto mass adoption. Gemini has created a captive insurance company to address this. Obtaining meaningful insurance in the crypto industry remains a challenge, and our captive will help to increase our insurance capacity and move the industry forward.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’s purpose is to provide $200 million in insurance coverage through Gemini Custody. According to the announcement, this coverage represents “the largest limit of insurance coverage purchased by any crypto custodian in the world.”
Nakamoto, Ltd. (Nakamoto) is a captive insurance company, which operates under a license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA). On the other hand, Gemini operates under the regulations of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
According to the International Risk Management Institute, a captive insurer is an insurance company that is wholly-owned and controlled by its insureds. Its primary purpose is to insure the risks of its owners. Its insureds benefit from the captive insurer’s underwriting profits.
The effort to launch Nakamoto involved the work of two global leaders in insurance and broking, Aon plc, and Marsh.
New York Times: Lack of Custody Services Are holding Back Crypto Investments
Another issue mentioned as hampering investments in the crypto market is lack of custody. According to The New York Times,
The lack of back-office services like custody offered by major financial firms has been one reason that large investors across the world have held back from involvement in the highly volatile but potentially lucrative emerging asset.
To respond to this challenge, Fidelity announced that it is enhancing its custody services in Europe. Specifically, as the NYT reported, on January 15, 2020, Fidelity Digital Assets announced it will be the custodian for bitcoin held by the London-based cryptocurrency investment firm Nickel Digital Asset Management.
Do you think that providing proper insurance and custody services will facilitate Bitcoin’s mass adoption? Let us know your comments below.

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eToro Plans to Launch Its Own Debit Card in 2020

eToro Plans to Launch Its Own Debit Card in 2020

eToro, a platform that enables its customers to invest in the assets they want, from stocks and commodities to crypto-assets, plans to launch a debit card within this year while expanding its operations in the US, South Africa, and Hong Kong.

Expanding Services to Customers in Over 100 Countries
Rumors had persisted for a while that eToro was about to launch its own debit card. Now, in a recent interview with Globe’s Roy Katsiri, eToro confirmed that the company is indeed planning to launch a debit card this year.  According to Katsiri, eToro co-founder and CEO Yoni Assia said,
The card will expand the financial services that we currently provide to customers from over 100 countries around the world.
Based on the premise that “the total value of the cryptocurrency market grew 54% to $193 billion in 2019, with bitcoin accounting for 68% of it,” eToro expects that its debit card will help further enhance its customer experience for its 12 million users.
In its efforts to streamline operations, eToro’s leadership believes the debit card will further provide its customers with a convenient way to withdraw and spend their funds. In this connection, eToro boasts, “to be one of the few companies in the world in which the customer can both buy bitcoin on the platform and transfer it to his wallet, and also trade in shares.”
eToro Plans To Allow US Customers to Trade Crypto-Assets and Shares
In its pursuit of growth and innovation, in November 2019, eToro announced the acquisition of Delta. Delta is a crypto portfolio tracker application that allows users to track Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and thousands of other altcoins. Delta was eToro’s second acquisition in 2019.
Additionally, eToro plans to expand its activities in all the countries in which it operates. For example, the company started its operations in the US in 2019, and it already plans to expand its operations there. According to Assia,
Today, we offer US customers only trading in cryptocurrencies, but in the future, we’ll expand our activity there to trading in shares. In addition to the 42 US states in which we’re active, we’re planning to expand to other states, including New York.
How do you think eToro’s debit card will impact Bitcoin’s adoption? Let us know your comments below.

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CFTC Hunts Down Multi-Million Dollar Crypto-Ponzi Scammer

CFTC Hunts Down Multi-Million Dollar Crypto-Ponzi Scammer

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and South Korean regulators continue investigating the UK-based company Control-Finance Ltd, and its principal, Benjamin Reynolds, for a $147,000 Ponzi scheme involving Bitcoin. Regulators have so far failed to locate the defendants.

CFTC: Defendants Exploited Public Enthusiasm for Bitcoin
Regulators allege that the defendants’ illegal trading activities resulted in the defrauding of its customers for thousands of bitcoin, worth millions of US dollars.
In the U.S., the case is under the circuit of the CFTC Division of Enforcement’s Virtual Currency Task Force. Moreover, FinanceFeed reports that The CFTC has learned that the Ulsan District Prosecutors’ Office, South Korea, is also investigating these defendants. Specifically, according to a CFTC press release, dated June 18, 2019,

Bitcoin trading company Control Finance Limited and its founder Benjamin Reynolds, are said to have misappropriated 22,858.822 bitcoin – worth over £166 million – from more than 1,000 customers through a pyramid scheme. pic.twitter.com/jg9eslTRFi
— London Academy of Trading (@LATlondon) June 21, 2019

The Complaint charges the defendants with exploiting public enthusiasm for Bitcoin by fraudulently obtaining and misappropriating at least 22,858.822 Bitcoin—worth at least $147 million at the time—from more than 1,000 customers.
Control-Finance built a complex pyramid to entice customers and conceal their fraudulent scheme, under what they called the Control-Finance “Affiliate Program.”
Defendants Misappropriated the Bitcoins for Their Own Use
The defendants marketed and concealed their fraud through an elaborate pyramid scheme they called the ‘Control-Finance Affiliate Program’. This program promised its “Affiliates” payments in Bitcoin, including referral profits, rewards, and bonuses. The CFTC explains,
The defendants used a website and accounts at popular social media sites to fraudulently solicit customers to purchase and transfer Bitcoin to them. The defendants induced customers into transferring Bitcoin to them by falsely representing that they employed expert virtual currency traders who earned guaranteed daily trading profits on all Bitcoin deposits.
The defendants are also said to have fabricated and posted weekly false “trade reports,” to make customers believe that their deposits in the crypto market were successful. In fact, the defendants made no trades on their customers’ behalf, and therefore, earned no profit for them, according to the CFTC complaint.
CFTC Asks Court for a Sixty-Day Extension to Serve Notice on Defendants
Around September 10, 2017, defendants precipitously shut down their website and suspended all payments to customers.
Despite their numerous efforts, American and Korean regulators have been unable to locate Benjamin Reynolds.
The Control-Finance’s certificate of incorporation dated September 8, 2016, indicates the company director’s address as 12 Richmond Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England M1 3NB. However, as FinanceFeeds reports, this address does not exist.
As a result, this has forced the CFTC to file, on January 3, 2020, a motion with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, as reported by FinanceFeeds, requesting the following:
1. authorizing service of process on Defendant Benjamin Reynolds by publication in The Daily Telegraph, and
2. extending for sixty days the time limit by which the Commission must effect service on Reynolds and Control-Finance.
How do you think fraudulent schemes impact Bitcoin’s adoption? Let us know your comments below.

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Is Bitcoin Resilient Enough to Take on Cyber Threats in 2020?

bitcoin cyber threat proof

Experts predict that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will gain momentum in 2020 and therefore will become increasingly pervasive in all industry sectors.
There will also be an explosion of cybersecurity threats targeting all verticals worldwide next year, they say.

Bitcoin Transactions and Data on the Blockchain Are Safe
Just like other industries, the crypto industry must also prepare to respond to the ever-changing crypto-security threats. Bitcoin’s resiliency resides in the randomness of the data exchanges within the blockchain, and the use of strong encryption.
As a result, the blockchain and its data cannot be duplicated or infiltrated using malware or other malicious technology. Nevertheless, transactions executed in the periphery of the blockchain are less resilient to cyberattacks.
Indeed, every industry is under threat. A FitSmallBusiness.com report underscores that “preparation is the only way to handle the types of yet-to-be-defined problems that will hit millions of businesses in 2020 and beyond.”
The Five Greatest Cybersecurity Threats
The report concludes that the most frustrating factor is that “hackers’ tactics are constantly evolving and adapting,” complicating the implementation of adequate security controls.
FitSmallBusiness.com identifies the five greatest cybersecurity threats to businesses, summarized as follows:
1. Corrupting Government. Microsoft-sponsored research indicates that there were 800 political cyberattacks in 2019. And, for 2020, “the politically-targeted cyberattacks will continue in full force.”
2. Exposing Healthcare. According to the Center for Strategic Studies and International Studies (CSIS), cyberattacks are also concentrating on the healthcare industry, which is rich in personal information and health data. Protenus points out that there were 32 million breached patient records in the first half of 2019, which is double the total for all of 2018.
3. Breaching Social. Social media platforms have become so widespread that they are also massive targets for hackers. In effect, a Bromium report highlights that already, “20% of organizations are infected by malware from social media connections.”
4. Targeting New Tech. The advent of 5G in 2020, among other things, will provide new opportunities to hackers. The FitSmallBusiness.com report, citing CheckPoint conclusions, indicates,
“The reason 5G will make everyone more vulnerable to cyberattacks is that it enables such a diverse range of devices, making it difficult to create and provide security measures that can serve all.”
5. Hacking Your Home. As your home gets smarter, it becomes more vulnerable to cyberattacks. The FitSmallBusiness.com report warns, “While the technology was created to simplify our lives, devices like the Google Home and Amazon Echo are turning into smart spies.”
Digital Money Forum: 2020 Will See New Currencies Work Alongside Traditional Counterparts
The end of paper cash is coming. Crypto assets will gain momentum in 2020. As a result, Bitcoin will become even more pervasive in every business. Hence, the crypto industry must also enhance cyber-security awareness. In this regard, The Digital Money Forum predicts,
“This will be the year where you’ll see new currencies working alongside traditional ones, and new asset classes born as the digital tokens go mainstream.”
How do you think cybersecurity threats will affect Bitcoin in 2020? Let us know in the comments below.
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BigTech Companies See Bitcoin Technology as Empowering

Bigtech companies say Bitcoin is empowering

Social media giants are no longer opposing the power of decentralization and bitcoin technology. Instead, they are embracing it to solve the problems of a centralized Internet and put the power back in people’s hands.


Bitcoin Decentralization ‘could unload some of their burdens.’

Since Bitcoin’s inception, many in the financial and technology sectors saw Bitcoin and its blockchain technology as a threat. And, their first reaction was to oppose it vehemently.

Inevitably, however, the concept of a decentralized Internet triggered by Satoshi Nakamoto is now increasingly driving technological innovation in all industrial and financial sectors.

For example, social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter are no longer fighting the advent of cryptocurrencies and the idea of decentralization. On the contrary, to varying degrees, they are embracing it.

According to Nathaniel Popper, author of Digital Gold: A History of Bitcoin, these social media giants now intend to use decentralization to overcome some of their industries’ challenges. Popper writes,

A decentralized internet was hailed as a way to dethrone Twitter and Facebook. But to the tech giants, the idea could unload some of their burdens

Jack Dorsey: “Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions.”

On December 11, 2019, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey spelled out in a thread of Twitter the new challenges that centralized solutions fail to meet. One of the main problems that Dorsey points out is how to deal with misleading and fake news effectively. In this regard, Dorsey concludes,

Finally, new technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there

Consequently, and believing that Bitcoin will become the global currency of the Internet, Dorsey launched a division to develop decentralized standards for social media.

On the other hand, although Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is under pressure to better police and prevent the spreading of false stories on its platform, he has focused more on the creation of the cryptocurrency Libra.

But, to combat fake news, for example, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is expanding its fact-checking program globally. This program uses fact-checking organizations from all over the world to identify and rate misinformation on the Instagram and Facebook platforms.

But what about Facebook? As of this writing, there is no information as to whether Facebook plans to use a permissionless blockchain to solve its most pressing challenge. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg believes in the power that decentralization offers. Early this year, Zuckerberg stated,

I believe very strongly in trying to decentralize and put power in individual’s hands

What do you think of the social media giants’ trend of embracing Bitcoin’s technology to decentralize the Internet? Let us know your comments below.

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Images via Shutterstock

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Billionaires Buying Bitcoin: Bill Pulte Announces 11 BTC Purchase

billionaires buying bitcoin

The number of billionaires holding Bitcoin continues to grow. The latest magnate to go public with his BTC purchase is the philanthropist Bill Pulte, who now wants to promote the benchmark crypto’s adoption.


Billionaire Bill Pulte: “Cryptocurrency can help the world’s poorest.”

Bill Pulte is the head of Pulte Capital Partners, one of the directors at Pulte Homes, and the inventor of Twitter Philanthropy. He is also the grandson of the billionaire founder of the home-construction giant PulteGroup (PHM), which boasts a market cap of $10.9 billion.

Now, like many other billionaires, Pulte is joining the crypto community. In effect, on December 12, 2019, he announced that he had bought 11 BTC.

Through social media, Twitter, in particular, Pulte promotes the welfare of the poor. He claims to have a million followers, which he refers to as teammates.

Pulte wants to change the world. And, using BTC could certainly prove an effective way to instill change. Indeed, Pulte asserts,

“Cryptocurrency can help the world’s poorest…especially those who are “unbanked” … as a philanthropist, I, therefore, want to promote adoption. Leave a comment [on] why you need Bitcoin and I’ll pick one person to send some satoshis to … Yes, this is real.”

Bitcoin Is transforming Philanthropic Work

For some time, Bitcoin has been used for charitable purposes. Indeed, many donors benefit from the cryptocurrency’s versatility. For example, Bitcoin helps donors to make their philanthropic work more effective, improve transparency, and enhance tax benefits.

Thus, a growing number of charity organizations, such as the Red Cross, Save the Children, United Way, and Greenpeace, are accepting Bitcoin and making use of blockchain technology to become more efficient. Unicef also accepts Bitcoin and Ethereum.

BitGive, for example, is a worldwide philanthropic organization that uses Bitcoin to better serve its beneficiaries. BitGive’s mission states, “Leverage the power of Bitcoin and blockchain technology to improve public health and the environment worldwide.”

Executive Director of BitGive Connie Gallippi, explains:

“Bitcoin allows BitGive to confirm remote transactions, significantly lower transfer fees, provide transparency in real-time, execute cryptographically-secured transactions, and obtain fast settlements.”

Purchasing only 11 bitcoins could be just the start. Pulte might soon see the value of Bitcoin for his philanthropic work. And most likely, he will start buying more coins, eventually joining the long list of billionaires holding Bitcoin, which includes Blythe Masters, Dan Morehead, Tyler, and Cameron Winklevoss, and Michael Novogratz.

What do you think about billionaires buying Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @pulte, BitGive

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Blockchain To Ensure ‘Ethical Provenance of Gold’, Protect Miners Health

bitcoin blockchain gold miners

The global luxury jewelry industry and the mining industry are exploring blockchain technology to improve efficiency, tracking of materials, and enhancing transparency. Most importantly, the aim of using blockchain technology includes protecting miners’ health and the environment.


NYT: “Blockchain Is a Growing Niche Within the Global Jewelry Industry”

The World Gold Council indicates that the extraction of gold by artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASMG), includes ills ranging from funding and participation of illegal armed groups and the use of mercury in the environment.

In this connection, the jewelry and mining industry expect to use blockchain technology to ensure the ethical provenance of gold extracted by ASMG.

Undoubtedly, Bitcoin’s blockchain technology can bring the security, assurance, transparency, and immutable trust required to track gold from the mine to the jewelry customers while protecting the health of miners. Geneva Abdul of The New York Times explains,

“Even though blockchain relies on trust — it is only as good as the quality of the information going in — the system also would paint a digital picture for consumers. It would tell them not only where the gold was mined, but also who did the work, what their working conditions were, and how much they were paid.”

Blockchain is already disrupting the almost $280 billion global jewelry industry. As Jorgen Sandstrom, Head of the Mining and Metals Industry, World Economic Forum, points out,

“The integration of blockchain technology into the jewelry industry is an increasing trend.”

Small‐Scale Gold Mining Is the Largest Mercury Polluter

Besides, human rights violations and environmental concerns plague ASMG operations. Most detrimental to human health and the environment is the use of mercury.

Indeed, artisanal and small‐scale gold mining is the largest source of mercury pollution on the planet, according to Dr. Louisa J. Esdaile and Dr. Justin M. Chalker.

As a result, in 2013, the United Nations declared the Minamata Convention on Mercury to protect humans and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and its compounds.

On the other hand, last October, the World Economic Forum’s mining and metals industry group, which comprises seven leading metal and mining companies, agreed to join efforts to explore how to use blockchain technology to improve transparency, efficiency, tracing of materials, and reducing emissions.

What do you think of using blockchain technology in the jewelry and mining industry? Let us know your comments below.


Image via Shutterstock

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Crypto Mining To Revive Abandoned Town in California

crypto mining to revive ghost town in california

Visionaries bought Cerro Gordo, a remote 150-year-old ghost town in California. They plan to convert the abandoned mining town into a crypto and blockchain haven.


Bringing New Mining to A 150-year-old Mining Town

Two investors bought the Cerro Gordo town for $1.4 million, in mid-2018. A CNBC report describes it as a 22-building, 150-year-old ghost town, located approximately 200 miles north of Los Angeles, California. Cerro Gordo lies near Death Valley National Park, edging the Inyo Mountains of the Owen Valley.

Two young entrepreneurs bought the town, as CNBC reported: Jon Bier, owner of the public relations and communications agency Jack Taylor PR. And, Brent Underwood, host and founder of hostel HK Austin in Austin, Texas. Brent is also a partner at the creative advisory and marketing firm Brass Check.

The entrepreneurs’ goal is to convert Cerro Gordo into a modern travel destination while preserving the feel of the old mine town. Of course, tourists will be able to make payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Indeed, Taylor and Brent’s vision includes incorporating Bitcoin and its blockchain technology to make Cerro Gordo a haven for the crypto community, where visitors can trade goods and services.

The entrepreneurs are also planning to set up a crypto mining center in an old mine shaft, which is about 1,100 feet deep.

Moreover, Taylor and Brent plan to introduce innovative water conservation technology and obtain the necessary energy from solar and other renewable sources of energy.

Investors Still See Crypto Mining as Lucrative

Despite Bitcoin price fluctuations and the fact that more than 80% of the coins have already been mined, entrepreneurs still see crypto mining as a lucrative business. In this regard, abandoned and remote areas of the world seem to be the focus of visionary investors.

For example, last year, BitRiver launched a mining farm near Bratsk, Siberia. Now, BitRiver has become Russia’s largest Bitcoin mining facility. In this undertaking, Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, combined crypto mining technology with one of the largest Soviet-era aluminum plants.

Similarly, as Bitcoinist reported, Dmitry Marichinev’s Russian Mining Company (RMC), in an effort to increase Bitcoin mining across Russia, has explored the Nadvoitsky Aluminum Smelter (NAZ) in Karelia.

Converting old aluminum plants into crypto industry hubs is also of interest in the U.S. Last October, Bitmain, the operator of the largest cryptocurrency mining pools of the world, launched a 50MW mining farm in Rockdale, Texas. Bitmain’s purpose is to make this farm the most significant mining facility in the world. According to the press release of October 21, 2019,

Construction of the initial 25MW of the mining farm, on a 33,000-acre site owned by Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa, began in 2018 as part of the company’s ongoing plans to build the world’s largest cryptocurrency mine.

What do you think of converting an old mining town into a crypto mining center? Let us know your thoughts below.


Images via Chris Dunn, Twitter: @dezertmagazine

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Bitcoin-Based IRA Investments to Break $1 Billion Soon

Bitcoin IRA pension product to hit $1 Billion Soon

The pension crisis is deepening across the world. As a result, Bitcoin-based retirement products are now taking center stage. Most notably, the Bitcoin IRA, which is already processing over $350 million.


Investor Sentiment Is Bullish on Bitcoin

The pension crisis is spreading all over the world. In many countries, retirees are seeing their pensions reduced by government ruling, by inflation, or by diminishing bond yields.

Indeed, current negative bond yields can no longer provide the returns needed to fulfill the promises made to retirees.

In the U.K., academics are on an eight-day strike to demonstrate their rejection of pay cuts and “increased pension costs or deteriorating conditions.”

In the U.S., according to the Los Angeles Times, industrial conglomerates, such as General Electric, “are ending ‘salary style’ pension schemes,” afflicting thousands of employees.

Investor sentiment regarding the future of the crypto market and retirement Bitcoin-based solutions, however, is bullish. This is the sentiment Chris Kline, Chief Operating Officer at Bitcoin IRA, expressed in an interview with LearnBonds.com.

Bitcoin IRA allows the transfer of an IRA or 401 K retirement savings plan to a Bitcoin IRA.

Klein claims that Bitcoin IRA has already processed over $350 million in investments in the last 12 months. When LearnBonds asked him about the possibility of Bitcoin IRA reaching investments for $1 billion and attracting 10,000 clients shortly, Klein replied,

Most certainly. Our upcoming product rollouts and major crypto events like Bitcoin halving, China’s federal cryptocurrency, and Facebook’s Libra on the horizon we see the future as very promising for our company and all crypto investors.

IRA Financial Digital Retirement App

In response to the pension crisis, innovative companies are stepping up to offer Bitcoin-based solutions.

IRA Financial, a leading provider of self-directed retirement plans, joined efforts with Gemini Exchange, to launch an IRA Financial digital retirement app. This solution allows investors to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with no need of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a third-party broker. According to the press release of November 25, 2019,

This will bring the cost of investors’ crypto transactions down significantly, as the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) will be opened directly with Gemini Exchange in the name of the IRA. As a result, the investor can trade cryptocurrency with a charge of one percent, far less than the cost associated with a third-party broker.

At the launching of the digital product, Adam Bergman, President of IRA Financial, stated,

It is our strong belief that the best and safest way to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with IRA funds is with our digital solution.

He added,

Our new digital Bitcoin solution will do for IRA cryptocurrency investments what online brokers did for equities.

Do you think Bitcoin will ever become a mainstream retirement investment opportunity? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Images via Shutterstock

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IBM: Central Banks Will Launch Digital Currencies Within 5 Years

ibm

Under the fear of potentially losing monetary control, several central banks are focusing on developing and issuing a cryptocurrency. Indeed, according to an IBM-commissioned report, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could be ready for consumers’ use within the next 5 years.


IBM Sees Serious Future For CBDC’s

The OMFIF-IBM report entitled “Retail CBDs: The next payment frontier” underscores the challenges central banks are confronting because of the advent of Bitcoin and its underlying technology, blockchain. These technological developments are driving policymakers to act. According to the report,

Advances in financial technology are impelling central banks to react to emergent challenges from the private sector and address weaknesses in payments systems.

But not only policymakers are agonizing about the challenges imposed by technological advances. Researchers also point out that since the world financial crises of 2008, consumers do not trust financial institutions. In effect, the distrust of central banks in developed economies is increasing.

As a response to these challenges, the report concludes, central banks are seriously considering introducing a retail digital currency within five years. Researchers define the central bank-issued cryptocurrency as follows:

CBDC, central bank digital currency: a digital asset issued by a central bank for the purpose of payment and settlement, in either retail or wholesale transactions. A ‘retail’ CBDC would be used like a digital extension of cash by all people and companies, whereas a ‘wholesale’ CBDC could be used only by permitted institutions as a settlement asset in the interbank market.

The Use of Cash Is Declining

The OMFIF-IBM report also highlights that the use of cash continues to decline, especially in developing countries. In contrast, the use of private, decentralized cryptocurrencies continues to rise.

IBM

The OMFIF-IBM study also finds that the costs of handling cash and related logistical difficulties continue to grow.

Consequently, to maintain control of public means of payments, policymakers are turning their focus to blockchain and other technologies. In this connection, the report concludes,

73% of central bank survey respondents would require retail CBDCs to be available under all circumstances and for all types of payments where cash is currently used.

IBM and the independent think tank for central banking, OMFIF, carried out the study during the summer of 2019. The study included contributions from 23 leading central banks.

How do you think a central bank-issued cryptocurrency would impact Bitcoin’s adoption? Let us know your comments below.

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Images via Shutterstock, Worldplay/OMFIF

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Bitcoin Price Hits $11.6K on Argentinian Crypto Exchange

Bitcoin price hits $12,000 on Argentina exchange

Argentina’s government is imposing stricter measures to prevent access to foreign exchange reserves. As a result, Bitcoin price on one of the country’s local exchanges is currently trading at a 25 percent premium.


Trading Jobs Cut Boosts Bitcoin Price

Shifting politics, economic uncertainty, and stricter forex controls have led Argentine banks to eliminate trading desk jobs. According to the Buenos Aires Times,

Banks started by cutting senior roles amid concerns on their budgets for the year ahead and that a Fernández government may put limits on layoffs. Among the biggest blows to the sector were delays on the payment of local notes and FX controls, which limit banks’ ability to trade futures.

The economic turmoil is having a significant effect on the cryptocurrency market, namely Bitcoin price. Consequently, Argentine traders are paying over 25 percent for the main cryptocurrency. Specifically, as of this writing, Ripio, one of the main local crypto exchanges, is showing Bitcoin price at ARS 691454.97, which is around $11,600.

Bitcoin price argentina

Bitcoin price argentina

Earlier today however, a redditor posted Bitcoin price on the exchange broke as high as $12,759 – representing a 38% premium compared to other global exchanges.

Incoming Administration Supports Latest Forex Controls

The economic situation in Argentina is becoming increasingly precarious. According to data from the World Bank, the local currency devalued significantly in 2019. Annual inflation reached over 50%, while the GDP contracted 2.5% in 2018, and another 2.5% in the first six months of 2019.

Some observers suggest that Argentina, one of the largest Latin American economies, might be heading towards another economic crisis. And, to avert the crisis, the administration of the outgoing President Macri is imposing stricter protectionist controls. The Wall Street Journal explains,

To make up the difference, Argentina often prints money that fuels inflation or borrows dollars from abroad or both. Because it is a protectionist economy closed to free trade and riddled with inefficient companies, it struggles to generate enough dollars through exports to pay its dollar debts.

Before leaving the presidency, Macri is taking last-minute measures to stave off the looming financial crisis. One of them is hardening foreign currency restrictions. Indeed, the latest control imposed by the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) forbids Argentines to purchase more than $200 a month.

These measures are likely to be maintained by the new administration to be headed by Alberto Fernandez, who will take office on December 10, 2019. Indeed, according to La Nación, Fernandez approves of the latest economic measures that the outgoing administration is imposing.

How do you think restrictions in Forex can impact Bitcoin’s price? Let us know your comments below.

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Images via Shutterstock, Ripio.com, Reddit source @Moustache_Group

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Bitcoin YTD Performance Exceeds 140%, Outperforms Most Traditional Assets

bitcoin outperforms traditional assets

The year 2019 is coming to an end. So, it is time to mark a milestone, pause for reflection, and take stock of how bitcoin did this year versus 2018. The good news is that BTC had a remarkable recovery in 2019. And once again, the king of cryptocurrencies is outperforming the traditional asset class.


Bitcoin YTD Performance over 140%

Bitcoin ended the year 2018 on a painful downward trend. After having reached an all-time high of $20,000 in 2017, the cryptocurrency dramatically dropped to below $3,800 at the end of 2018.

Now, the outlook for BTC appears brighter this year. Bitcoin price ended October 2019 on a pretty bullish note. By rising from a five-month low under $7,500 and returning firmly to its path toward smashing the $10,000 price mark.

To continue the story further, this year, bitcoin is significantly outperforming not only other cryptocurrencies but also key traditional assets.

Indeed, the number one cryptocurrency’s YTD performance of ~140% outshines Nasdaq 100 (28.93%), IBM (19.23%), Apple (62.8%), and oil (21.06%).

Most notably, gold, Bitcoin’s competitor as a safe-haven investment, has only registered 14.53% gains YTD .

BTC on Track to Become 2019’s Best-Performing Asset

With its spectacular performance, bitcoin certainly already merits the title of 2019’s best-performing asset.

Most importantly, in spite of volatility, and remaining well below its 2019 high of over $12,500, data suggests that BTC’s recovery is just getting started. For example, as of this writing, Bitcoin is hovering around 00. For many, this price indicates that crypto winter is over. In effect, Delphi Digital’s BTC latest monthly outlook report concludes,

After continuously declining since the YTD price peak in June, the volume has come back to life in this recent resurgence, giving credence to the idea that the bottom is behind us.

Other indicators too suggest bitcoin’s 2019 return to bullishness as well as the strengthening of its network. In this regard, Anthony Pompliano, co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, pointed out,

195 days until the next Bitcoin halving. Less than 3 million Bitcoin left to mine. Hash rate keeps hitting all-time highs. We are watching the strongest computer network in the world continue to get stronger and stronger.

What do you think of bitcoin’s outlook for 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @charliebilello,

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You Can Now Trade Binance Bitcoin Futures On Android App

binance futures trading on mobile android app

Binance futures trading is hitting all-time highs. Now, to further facilitate trading, the leading exchange has updated its mobile application. This update allows users to increase their trading position at up to 125:1 leverage.


Futures Trading Hits All-Time Highs

On October 18, 2019, despite Bitcoin’s recent price trend, the leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance reported that Binance futures daily volume were skyrocketing.

Most recently, on October 26, 2019, Director of Binance Futures, Aaron Gong, reported that a new high had been reached of 315,000 BTC, traded in 24H volume. This amount represents about $3 billion worth.

Now, the cryptocurrency exchange is enhancing traders’ experience by launching futures trading on an Android app. Indeed, Gong indicates that the launch of the Android app was based on community requests. According to the official announcement,

The Binance mobile app provides users with 24/7 multi-language customer support, and a safe and easy-to-use platform to buy and trade cryptocurrencies on mobile. In addition to futures, the Binance app also supports spot and margin trading across a wide range of trading pairs.

Thus, besides Bitcoin, the new mobile app allows trading several cryptocurrencies pairings, including Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and several other pairs.

Notice, however, that to improve liquidity Binance will no longer trade the following pairs: ATOM/PAX, BTS/BNB, CVC/BNB, ETC/PAX, REP/BNB. This measure will take effect on November 11, 2019, at 8:00 AM (UTC).

Moreover, Gong announced that the leading crypto exchange would also make futures trading on iOS available too in the near future.

Institutional Investors ‘Are Flocking to Binance Futures.’

Financial institutions continue to stream into the crypto market a variety of Bitcoin-based financial instruments.
This trend was kicked off when CBOE Bitcoin futures trading started on December 10, 2017.

Nowadays, institutional investors are becoming more active in the crypto market. In this regard, the CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao stated,

We have seen an increase in institutional participation in trading, and these professional traders seek out the most efficient ways to trade very quickly, both in terms of cost and performance. And they are flocking to Binance Futures.

What do you think about Bitcoin futures trading on Binance’s Android app? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @AG_Binance

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Crypto Owners in US Have Risen 81% YTD

crypto users in US have doubled since 2018

Although the United States is far from being pro-crypto, it is the country that has the largest number of cryptocurrencies hodlers. Most notably, according to a study commissioned by Finder, the number of Americans owning crypto assets is rising.


US Crypto Owners Up 81% since 2018

Many countries are starting to understand the importance of Bitcoin and its blockchain technology. The U.S. is not necessarily one of them. However, the number of Americans holding the cryptocurrency is increasing. According to a recently released Pureprofile survey, commissioned by Finder,

In the last year, the number of Americans who own a cryptocurrency has almost doubled from 7.95% in 2018 to 14.4% in 2019, an increase of 81% in one year.

As a result, about 36.5 million Americans own some form of crypto asset.

The Profile survey also revealed that Americans holding crypto assets have an average of $5,447 in digital coins. However, the median amount of cryptocurrency in American’s wallets is only $360.

Besides, Bitcoin is not the only asset that attracts the interest of American crypto investors. Data from the survey points out that 55.4 percent of Bitcoin owners have also invested in other types of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Is in the Early Adoption Phase

Bitcoin adoption, which is still far from being widespread, is continually receiving much attention from investors and members of the crypto community.

Bitcoin is still in the early adoption phase. According to Michael B. Casey, Chief Bitcoin Architect, at General Motors, Bitcoin is following the typical technological adoption curve, at a rapid pace. Specifically, Casey writes,

crypto technology adoption cycle

The growth of adoption of Bitcoin and therefore bitcoin price is following an S-Curve of Technological Adoption, which is itself characterized by fractally repeating, exponentially increasing Gartner Hype Cycles.

Thus, in this phase, most Americans are not yet investing in crypto assets. In effect, only 85% of Americans are buying crypto assets, the Pureprofile survey concludes.

Separately, but in this regard, a research conducted by Nobl Insurance LLC, released on August 22, 2019, indicated that millions of Americans would be considering investing in cryptocurrencies in the next 12 months. According to the Nobl press release,

The research indicates that about 25 million Americans are considering buying crypto in the coming 12 months. 37% of cryptocurrency holders own over $5,000 of assets, and a further 8 percent hold over $50,000 in crypto.

Why do you think the number of Americans owning Bitcoin is rising? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Images via Shutterstock, chart by Hackernoon

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HTC Launches Exodus 1, ‘To Make The Leap To Bitcoin From Fiat’

HTC bitcoin wallet cum smartphone

The advent of Bitcoin is fueling the evolution of financial technologies, including telecommunications, and hardware with crypto-friendly features. The latest innovation, HTC’s cryptophone Exodus 1, will hit the market in December 2019. This device performs both as a smartphone as well as a Bitcoin cold wallet.


Chen: “For the smartphone category to grow again, we need more adoption of cryptophones.”

HTC Corporation, a Taiwanese phone maker, is shifting its business strategy towards new technologies. In this regard, Phil Chen, HTC’s chief decentralized tech officer, told CNBC that HTC sees the opportunities that the crypto space offers to reinvigorate the smartphone market. Chen explained,

Initially considered a gimmick by some, crypto technology is the next frontier of smartphone innovation. For the smartphone category to grow again, we need more adoption of cryptophones.

Thus, on October 19, 2019, HTC launched a smartphone that integrates Zion, an HTC developed electronic wallet. To enhance security and keep the user’s digital assets safe, Exodus 1 isolates the crypto area from the Android operating system.

As a result, the smartphone Exodus 1 functions as a hardware cryptocurrency wallet using Zion.  Zion allows users to keep their private keys in a secure Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). Login is not required, and Zion does not collect user’s personal data. The HTC team argues that Zion is more secure because

“Zion utilizes the TEE to generate and keep your keys safe, even from the Android OS. The Zion trusted UI creates a safe environment for when you need to authorize a transaction with your crypto assets so that malware running on your phone’s OS cannot steal your information.”

Thus, the Exodus team claims that Exodus 1 users can easily and safely exchange and store cryptocurrencies on the phone, protected from hackers and malware attacks.

Exodus 1 Can Only Be Bought with Cryptocurrencies

HTC Bitcoin Cold Wallet cum Cryptophone

HTC Bitcoin Cold Wallet cum Cryptophone

Besides functioning as an electronic wallet, the smartphone Exodus 1 includes:

  • A 16-megapixel dual main camera and an 8MP dual front camera with 4K video.
  • A six-inch display with a Quad-HD+ resolution.
  • A Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.
  • Six gigabytes of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The cryptophone can only be bought with cryptocurrencies. The pre-order price is 0.15 BTC or 4.78 ether tokens. HTC plans to ship the phones by December 2019.

Do you think blockchain-based phones will impact Bitcoin adoption? Let us know your thoughts below!


Images via Bitcoinist Media Library, HTC Exodus

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Watching Network Activity Can Help Predict Bitcoin Price

bitcoin network activity price

Determining Bitcoin’s value and its trend is not an easy task. However, some experts and crypto traders believe that by analyzing BTC’s network activity, they can establish the cryptocurrency’s value.


Travis Kling: “Network value should be a function of network activity.”

Stock analyst and traders have at their disposal various indicators originated from financial statements, earnings reports, and economic analyses to determine the value of the stocks. Additionally, they can also use an array of technical indicators that show the trend, momentum, volume, and the volatility of a given stock.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, is not a traditional asset. For example, there is no corporate profit statement to help infer its value. If BTC is trending at 00, is that price high or low compared to what? So, to ascertain its value, we need to have a point of reference or a relationship.

In a Venture Coinist show, aired on October 14, 2019, Travis Kling, Chief Investment Officer at Ikigai Asset Management and Hans Hauge, Senior Quantitative Researcher at Ikigai Asset Management, discussed how Bitcoin network activity could help to ascertain the value of the cryptocurrency.

Kling affirms that in the same way that there is a relationship between the price of a stock in the earnings per share of stock, there is a relationship between network value and network activity. Earlier, in a separate interview, Kling also said, “network value should be a function of network activity.”

Bitcoin network value is easy to ascertain. It is its market cap. And Kling explains, there are several different ways to measure network activity. One of them would be total transactions, transactions per day, active wallet addresses, or hashrate.

Bitcoin Hashrate Correlates with BTC Price

The hashrate is a miner’s performance indicator. Specifically, it represents the number of SHA-256 algorithms that a computer performs per second. The growing hash rate implies that more miners are participating in the network.

According to Hauge, for example, the hash rate gives you a good sense when the Bitcoin price has outstripped the mining power of the network.

But the question arises, does the hash rate leads BTC price or vice versa?

Hauge says it can go both ways, “it is like a vicious cycle.” He believes that it is a reflexive system based on human behavior. But there is also a quantitative side to it.

Similarly, Technologist Pedro Febrero believes that there is a clear correlation between the hash rate and price. However, he says, “Usually, hash rate tends to be the leading indicator (except during the 2012-2014 bull run as the price started pumping before the hash rate accompanied it).”

Another network indicator expert mentioned is Metcalfe’s Law. According to the Hauge system,

“The number of unique addresses of Bitcoin is used to measure the dimension of the network and can show the value of Bitcoin according to Metcalfe’s Law.”

What do you think of Bitcoin network activity as a function of BTC’s value? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Blockchain.com

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Ethereum (ETH) Is A Commodity, Declares CFTC Chairman

ethereum commodity cftc

Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology are becoming increasingly prominent in the financial sector, particularly in the derivatives market. Now, it may be Ethereum’s turn to shine. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has declared ETH a commodity. 


Ether Derivatives To Happen Soon

The CTFC is the agency of the U.S. government in charge of regulating the futures and options markets. Therefore, as Ethereum is a commodity, it falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. financial regulator.

On October 10, 2019, at the Yahoo Finance’s All Market Summit in New York, Chairman Heath P. Tarbert declared Ethereum a commodity. Moreover, he affirmed that it is “entirely possible” that Ether derivatives will happen within the next 12 months, or even sooner.

CFTC Chairman Calling Out Ether (ETH) As A Commodity

Before establishing that Ethereum is a commodity, in December 2018, the CFTC issued a Request for Input (RFI), asking for public comments and feedback to gain an understanding of the technology and markets for Ether and its application on the Ethereum network. The RFI stated,

The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives markets as well as monitoring and reducing systemic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here Ether and Bitcoin, as well as Ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.

CFTC Chairman: Bitcoin Futures Are Doing Well

The CFTC acknowledges that “One of the most recent marketplace developments driving a lot of interest is the rise in prominence of virtual currencies, specifically Bitcoin.”

Indeed, at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), BTC futures trading activity has been rising spectacularly in the last few months, with institutional traders displaying increasing interest. In effect, on June 20, 2019, CME reported,

“CME Bitcoin futures open interest reaches a record for a fourth consecutive day, with 5,827 contracts traded on June 20 (29,135 equivalent bitcoin; ~$280M notional) and a 25% increase from last Friday.”

Now, at the Yahoo Finance’s All Market Summit, Tarbert reiterated that Bitcoin futures are doing well.

Do you think Ether derivatives will impact Bitcoin’s value? Let us know in the comment section below!


Images via Bitcoinist Media Library, Yahoo Finance

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Schnorr + Taproot Soft Fork Promises Big Things For Bitcoin

Bitcoin Soft Fork

Engineers and developers are continuously working to provide Bitcoin with technological improvements. Now, most likely, the next Bitcoin technological breakthrough will come through the Schnorr + Taproot soft fork.


Greater Scalability, Fungibility, and Script Innovation

According to Bitcoin Optech contributor Steve Lee, the Schnorr + Taproot soft fork proposal offers “a whole new world of possibilities.”

Specifically, the proposal promises to provide Bitcoin with greater scalability for multi-signature applications or complex smart contracts that may have several different ways to spend the cryptocurrency.

The Schnorr algorithm provides a simple way of structuring crypto signatures. Therefore, it can significantly enhance the efficiency of validating Bitcoin transactions. According to Lee, Schnorr Signatures are 11 percent smaller than existing methods.

Schnorr Signatures are better than the currently used Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA). And they allow the tweaking of signatures and keys, which facilitates the creation of innovative business solutions.

Additionally, Schnorr Signatures are compatible with existing private keys. Thus, with this proposal, most limitations regarding the number of scripts that can be used to spend digital coins disappear.

Schnorr Signatures Make Key Aggregation Possible

Most notably, Lee affirms, Schnorr Signatures, through the Musig scheme, enable key aggregation. That is, Schnorr allows the combination of multiple signatures over a single input.

Despite the significant benefits that Schnorr Signatures carries over ECDSA, Lee explains that perhaps Satoshi Nakamoto did not include this algorithm when designing Bitcoin because of Clause Schnorr’s patent. Fortunately, the patent has since then expired.

Taproot Enhances Fungibility

Besides, this proposal will improve privacy by ensuring proper fungibility. In this regard, Lee underscores, with Taproot, all outputs for spending look identical.

Taproot is a scheme for signing transaction scripts. Taproot enhances fungibility. According to Kento U. of Coinmonks,

“[Taproot’s] most functional role is to homogenize, in a content perspective, the transaction output based on whatever Pay-to-PubKey or Pay-to-ScriptHash (P2SH). The result will be for the details of the Bitcoin transaction output difficult to distinguish by outsiders.” Kent U. adds,

“To put this simpler, Taproot actually works to make Bitcoin transactions look exactly the same on the blockchain explorer and impossible to tell each from one another, which naturally guarantees Bitcoin with considerably very good privacy.”

This proposal has already been in the Ecosystem Feedback phase of the Bitcoin Consensus Upgrade Lifecycle. Lee estimates that the Schnorr + Taproot soft fork proposal would be ready to pass into the Adoption phase in Spring 2020.

Do you think the Schnorr and Taproot soft fork will be a breakthrough for Bitcoin? 

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Images via Shutterstock, Bitcoin Optech

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Binance Research: Bakkt to Blame For September’s Bearish Performance

Bakkt Binance Bearish

The crypto industry lost significant momentum during September. Binance Research claims that one of the potential reasons for this may have been people ‘selling on the news’ of Bakkt launching.


Bakkt Launch Fell Flat

Most notably, on September 23, 2019, Bakkt Bitcoin futures contracts started trading. However, what was hoped to be a groundbreaking moment for the market turned out to be a massive anticlimax.

One of Bakkt’s promises is to bring institutional investors into the crypto market. For Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt launch represents “a milestone for the industry.” She also wrote,

As institutions enter this emerging asset class, they will continue to look to secure infrastructure and the regulatory certainty that it provides. Importantly, these futures contracts now serve as benchmarks established by a trusted price discovery process upon which investors can rely.

On the other hand, JPMorgan strategists argue that “the Bakkt flop is directly linked to the steep cryptocurrency market crash.” Likewise, the Binance Research report suggests that Bakkt is to blame for Bitcoin’s price drop. According to the report,

One possible reason, explaining Bitcoin’s price drop, could be the general indifference towards the much-hyped release of Bakkt, as BTC prices dropped over $1,000 a day or so after trading began… Short-term wise though, Bakkt’s disappointing start seems to have been a contributing factor to the recent price decline.

Nevertheless, the Binance Research team remains optimistic. It believes that better days are coming for the crypto industry. According to the researchers,

“October 2019 promises to be an exciting month with many questions waiting to be answered. Will gas fees on Ethereum keep increasing? Will the Telegram Open Network launch? Where will the Bitcoin dominance head to?”

Binance Continues to BUIDL

Binance Research recently released its September 2019 market overview report, which highlights the flatness that characterized the crypto industry for most of the month. And it points out to the fall of the crypto market that occurred on 24 September.

Indeed, in September, the total valuation never rose above $300 billion. Aat the time of writing, the crypto total market cap remains below $213 billion, as TradingView reports.

Nevertheless, the report underlines, the crypto industry kept pace with the development and creation of new derivatives platforms and other crypto financial products.

The report draws attention to the two derivatives platforms that the cryptocurrency exchange Binance launched during the month under review.

On September 2, Binance announced the acquisition of the Bitcoin futures and Crypto options trading platform, JEX. A few days later on September 13, the exchange launched Binance Futures.

Moreover, in September the CME Group reiterated that it would launch options on Bitcoin futures in early 2020.

How do you think Bakkt and other crypto-based products will help Bitcoin go mainstream? Let us know your comments below!

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Images via Shutterstock

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