4 Virtual Crypto Conferences You Can Attend From Home

4 Virtual Crypto Conferences You Can Attend From Home

The crypto industry has had to quickly adapt to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, with major conferences postponed, canceled or hastily reformatted for the virtual realm. Due to its disproportionately high number of remote workers, though, the industry is more geared up for this new paradigm than many other sectors. Here are four virtual crypto events you can attend.

Also read: While You’re Under Quarantine, Check These Sites for Remote Crypto Jobs

Blockdown

Blockdown digital conference will debut on April 16-17 and will feature interactive talks, interviews, networking opportunities and AMAs. For a new event, it’s attracted some heavy hitters with confirmed keynote speakers including Bitcoin.com executive chairman Roger Ver, Elixxir founder David Chaum, Blockfolio chief Edward Moncada and Akon, the Grammy-nominated artist building his very own crypto city in Senegal, powered by Akoin. Speaking of Akon, his 2004 hit Locked Up has seen a sharp rise in streaming amid widespread lockdown measures.

4 Virtual Crypto Conferences You Can Attend From Home

Streaming to an expected audience of over 3,000, Blockdown aims to “recreate the essence of the traditional IRL conference” by letting exhibitors stream video from their virtual exhibition booths and facilitating one-to-one interactions. Tickets cost around $25.

DeFi Full-Stack

DeFi Full-Stack, formerly DeFi Discussions, goes down on May 1-2, with the goal of helping developers bridge knowledge gaps to better build defi products and encourage wider use. Speakers are given a 20-minute time slot followed by 10 minutes of questions, and there are plenty of them: everyone from Coinbase exec Luke Youngblood to Mycrypto founder Taylor Monahan. Tickets are completely free but early sign up is encouraged due to limited spots necessitated by bandwidth issues.

4 Virtual Crypto Conferences You Can Attend From Home

Consensus

Coindesk’s annual Consensus blockchain summit is one of the largest events in the industry, having been going strong since 2015. The organizers were never going to let a terrifying pandemic break their stride, were they? While 2019’s event was held at its regular haunt of the New York Hilton Midtown, this year’s will be entirely virtual and free to attend (existing ticket-holders can get a full refund). Consensus: Distributed, starting May 11, will feature premier speakers debating the hottest topics of the day, all coordinated by Coindesk’s team of journalists and moderators in a rolling live TV-like experience. Details on attendees have yet to be announced, although the team from bitcoin point-of-sale provider Digitalmint have confirmed their attendance, as has Will Reeves, CEO of crypto payments platform Fold.

Messari Mainnet

Messari boss Ryan Selkis announced a new virtual event series called Mainnet Events in his March 13 newsletter, insisting that “well-produced virtual events can reduce costs of collaboration, improve inclusivity, and still preserve some of the best elements of live networking (meeting serendipity, catching up with old friends, and rapid fire BD opportunities).” Amen.

Selkis has been busily covering covid-19 for the past few months, going so far as to create informational resources dedicated to the subject on the Messari site. But Mainnet will be more on-brand: according to the event page, the series will “convene crypto pioneers to advance the development of our decentralized future.”

With 50% of the profits pledged to virus response efforts, Mainnet Events runs from June 1-3 and features a program of 100+ leading speakers. You can reserve your spot here. In advance of the main Mainnet Event, several smaller testnet events are due to kick off in the weeks ahead – keep an eye on Messari’s Twitter for further details.

Crypto Embraces VR as Virtual Conferences Replace Physical Events

Only time will tell whether virtual crypto conferences live up to the promise of their physical counterparts. While some would-be attendees will snub virtual summits in favor of the rescheduled real thing later in the year, no one really knows when life will get back to normal. Feedback from those attending virtual events will be critical in promoting future digital summits, and conferences which maximize interaction rather than simply hosting livestreams are likely to be the success stories.

Will you be attending any virtual conferences this year? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 4 Virtual Crypto Conferences You Can Attend From Home appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How to Quickly Cash Out From Crypto to Fiat

Cut and Run: How to Quickly Cash Out From Crypto to Fiat

There are many reasons why you might seek to liquidate your digital assets into fiat currency, be it to pay a bill, buy a meal, or cover an emergency. When needs must, speed is of the essence; no one has time to wait three days for a bank wire to clear. For those occasions when rapid exchange is essential, here are four fast crypto-fiat options.

Also read: Privacy Browser Brave Integrates Cryptocurrency Trading Through Binance

Cut and Run: Quick Cash Out Considerations

“Cashing out” can mean different things to different people. For some, cashing out means circumventing the banking system (and invasive KYC) by discreetly exchanging crypto for tender they can hold in their hands. Of course, the seller first has to handle the legwork of finding a cash-for-crypto buyer whom they can meet in person. And then there are security concerns: what measures do you have in place to ensure you don’t get ripped off?

Cut and Run: How to Quickly Cash Out From Crypto to Fiat

Even if you’re content to accept digital transfer of funds, you’ll need to decide which currency you want to be paid in, how much you’re prepared to lose in fees, and whether to favor bank transfer, Paypal, or another online payment option. If you’re in the midst of a major cash crisis, you must also consider the time it takes for funds to clear: while domestic wire transfers are reasonably fast, international bank transfers can take 3-5 business days. Here are some of the quickest crypto cashout options currently available.

Metal Pay

Founded in 2017, Metal Pay is a money transfer app that acts as a gentle onramp to the world of virtual currencies – while also letting crypto-holders cash out. The process is simple: users download the app, which links to their mobile number, then complete KYC before entering their bank account details. From here, they can buy, sell, send, receive and convert between 24 cryptocurrencies including BTC and ETH, directly from their device. This week, TRX was added to that list, enabling Tron’s native token to be purchased using fiat currency by debit card or a linked bank checking account.

Cut and Run: How to Quickly Cash Out From Crypto to Fiat

Insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Metal Pay imposes withdrawal limits of $10,000 per day, $100,000 per month, and $1.2M a year, but converting crypto to cash is straightforward. Just know that transfers made before 7 pm ET on business days typically show up in your bank the following business day (although they can take up to three business days), and that withdrawals to debit cards are normally the same day (but can theoretically take a business day to complete). Modest withdrawal fees are denominated in crypto and detailed here.

Localcryptos

The main attraction of Localcryptos (formerly Localethereum) is that it lets users cash out their crypto peer-to-peer, minus the headache of draconian KYC/AML processes. A reputation system keeps buyers and sellers in check, while the noncustodial escrow service means shysters can’t make off with your BTC or ETH without paying you.

Localcryptos Allows You to Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC

Using Localcryptos couldn’t be easier. At the top of the homepage, click ‘Browse,’ then select which crypto you’re buying/selling along with your preferred payment method (bank transfer, cash in person, Paypal, Revolut, etc), location and currency. You’ll be shown a list of buyers/sellers along with their profile blurbs and prices. All that’s left to do is open dialogue with one of them (chats are encrypted), agree a trade, and – if you’re the one cashing out – fund the escrow account. When the stipulated amount hits your account, click “Release Escrow” to seal the deal. Incidentally, the platform charges a 0.25% fee to “makers” (the person who places the offer listing) and 0.75% for the taker (the person responding to the offer).

Wirex

Like Metal Pay, Wirex is a mobile money app, only the firm’s based in London, not San Francisco. As for the setup process, it’s virtually identical to Metal Pay and there are 10 supported cryptocurrencies at the time of writing including an MTL-esque native token called WXT.

If you want to cash out crypto using the app, it’s easy to do so: just go into your crypto account and hit ‘Exchange’ to convert your balance into the fiat currency of your choice. You can convert up to $50,000 per day and spend the money using your Wirex card; alternatively, you can withdraw from an ATM. If you prefer to cash out directly to a bank account, Wirex automatically claims a 1% fee and there’s a $15 charge for SWIFT transfers. If you’re a Coinbase Card holder, meanwhile, you can now fund your Google Pay using the crypto card, enabling contactless payments at the swipe of a smartphone.

Cut and Run: How to Quickly Cash Out From Crypto to Fiat

Revolut

Revolut is a popular mobile banking platform in Europe, and a direct competitor to Wirex. One reason you might choose Revolut over Wirex when seeking to cash out is the number of supported fiat currencies: well over 100 compared to Wirex’s three. Revolut requires a one-off payment of $9.99 for prepaid (Premium) debit cards, whereas Wirex cards entail a monthly cost of $1.50. One drawback with Revolut is that it doesn’t allow you to deposit cryptocurrency from an external source; you can only cash out crypto you have already bought in-app or received from another Revolut user.

Cut and Run: How to Quickly Cash Out From Crypto to Fiat

To cash out your crypto, you’ll have to exchange it to fiat in-app (there’s a 1% fee outside foreign exchange market hours; it’s free otherwise), then use the app to send funds to a bank account. GBP transfers to a British bank normally take seconds but can theoretically take up to three business days; EUR transfers to accounts domiciled in SEPA typically take up to two working days; and international transfers can take up to five days. As for the fee for this service, you are notified in-app at the point of transfer. In the UK, it’s 20p for a local transfer over and above your plan’s allowance, and £3 for international transfers.

Whether you use a crypto-fiat banking service like Wirex, Metal Pay or Revolut, a P2P marketplace such as Localcryptos, a wallet with integrated two-way fiat-crypto capacity like Trastra, or a crypto exchange such as Coinbase, there are many ways to turn your cryptocurrency into filthy fiat. You can even have your cake and eat it by obtaining a cash loan while using digital assets as collateral. Whatever option you choose, be aware of the withdrawal limits, fees and waiting times. When you need cash quick, concessions in the rate you receive are likely.

What options do you recommend for quickly swapping from crypto to fiat? Let us know in the comments section below.

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How to Buy Weed With Bitcoin

How to Buy Weed With Bitcoin

So you’ve got a little bitcoin to your name but are all out of weed. What you gonna do? Well, if you’re fortunate enough to live in a region where marijuana is legal, there are ways to exchange the two. While if you don’t inhabit such an enlightened area, rumor has it there are still ways and means to get your fix without touching fiat. Here are five options for legally buying weed with bitcoin.

Also read: California City Official Uses Bitcoin Cash to Purchase Cannabis

How to Swap Sats for Sativa

Bitcoin and weed go all the way back to the Silk Road in 2011, and the duo remain staples of the darknet. The weed world has come a long way since then, however, with scores of U.S. states legalizing recreational use of marijuana starting with Colorado and Washington in 2012. Today, medical marijuana is legal in 29 U.S. states and it’s recreationally legal in nine. Around the world, 30 countries have legalized medical marijuana, while there are four countries where it is recreationally legal (Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, and Georgia) subject to certain conditions, and dozens more where it is decriminalized.

Largest Cannabis Community Market in Israel to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Unless you reside in Asia, you’re probably not far from a country where it’s legal to blaze up, and are almost certainly near a locale where the authorities have no interest in what you do in your own home, provided you’re not bothering anyone. Failing that, you can at least benefit from the non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, by legally purchasing CBD products such as coffee with bitcoin. However, with a number of vendors willing to ship weed directly to your door, it’s possible to swap sats for sativa without leaving the house. Here are five ways to buy weed with bitcoin.

How to Buy Weed With Bitcoin

Visit a Physical Dispensary

There are medical marijuana dispensaries dotted all over the U.S. and Canada, while the Netherlands is home to an array of coffee shops that serve the same purpose, with a handful of other European nations following suit. Bitcoin acceptance is very much piecemeal, but if you can find a store that will let you spend sats, you’ll be hooked up for as long as you’re in the neighborhood. Ohana dispensary in Emeryville, California, accepts crypto, and last year was the setting for the first crypto purchase of marijuana by an elected official. A few other dispensaries along America’s West Coast, including Seattle, are also known to accept bitcoin.

How to Buy Weed With Bitcoin

Visit an Online Marijuana Dispensary

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a region where weed is legal, you should be able to find an online store that will ship to you. Naturally you’ll need to pass verification checks, which include proving your residence, but once approved, you’re free to order all manner of THC-laced goods, from edibles to smokables. Canadians can get hooked up by Herb Approach which accepts BTC. Current deals include an ounce of Cheese for CA$170 – that’s 40% off – or a half ounce of Violator Kush for CA$87. The store also sells extremely potent shatter hash.

Visit a Seed Bank

If you’re choking for a smoke, this option isn’t for you. Bitcoiners in less of a hurry, however, may like the idea of ordering cannabis seeds by mail, bought with BTC. Dutch company Royal Queen Seeds accepts bitcoin and ships globally. The highly rated store stocks a wide range of autoflowering, feminized, and CBD seeds as well as CBD oil. Choose from such strains as Northern Light Automatic, Quick One, and perennial favorite Amnesia Haze. Bitcoin holders are known for their low time preference. If you can wait 12 weeks, while lovingly tending your crops, you’ll take receipt of some of the finest cannabis known to man.

How to Buy Weed With Bitcoin

Other online seed stores that accept bitcoin include U.K-based Attitude Seedbank and Seedsman, which promises offers such as three feminized white widow seeds free when you spend €30.

Visit the Darknet

Technically speaking, none of the darknet vendors selling weed are licensed to do so. Technically speaking, that’s not your problem. If it’s legal to consume weed where you live, who are you to police the sellers and worry about whether their paperwork’s correct and tax is filed? Leave that to the cyber cops. If you can access the darknet, you can find your way to a store that’s stocked with everything you need to make it through long weekends, quarantine, and extended house arrest.

What other methods of legally buying weed with bitcoin have you heard of? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate

Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate

Extreme volatility. Sudden loss of value. A purported store of value. An economic hedge. An alternative to gold. On the face of it, bitcoin and oil have a lot in common. Both markets have been buffeted by the covid-19 economic downturn, but while bitcoin has stabilized, oil keeps plummeting. What does “digital gold” have that its liquid counterpart does not?

Also read: Can’t Lock Down Bitcoin: Trump Ponders Halting Stock Trading, Grounding US Passenger Flights

Oil Keeps on Slipping

The oil market has been buffeted by three calamities that have conspired to create a genuine black swan event:

  • Intense competition: From the relentlessly expanding U.S. shale industry to the endless oil wells of the Saudis, oil has never been more plentiful.
  • Falling demand: Even before the coronavirus kicked in, oil demand was dropping. The travel ban and global quarantine have severely exacerbated this.
  • Price warfare: Saudi Arabia and Russia have long colluded to maintain healthy oil prices. Then they fell out at the start of March and oil lost 30% in a day, with worse to come.

This latter incident has had a profound effect on oil’s downward trajectory. As energy expert Gregory Brew observes, “If it so desires, Saudi Arabia can rapidly increase production and flood the market on a scale that other producers cannot match.”

US Starts Stockpiling Oil

The U.S. Department of Energy has begun buying up cheap oil for its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but is only able to physically add 2 million barrels a day, and in four months it will reach capacity. Texas, meanwhile, is considering halting oil production for the foreseeable future, with depressed prices making it impractical to sell the commodity at a loss. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil, the U.S. benchmark, is under $20, while Brent is trading for $27. There is likely more pain to come, with Paul Sankey, managing director at Mizuho Securities, telling Fox Business that “Oil prices can go negative.” By this, he means that the cost of extracting and storing it can exceed its market price.

Something similar can occur with bitcoin, when the cost of mining a coin exceeds its market value. In such cases, neither bitcoin or oil suffer from a “death spiral,” however, because there are always entities who can continue to extract it profitably, ensuring a constant supply is maintained. The world consumes 100 million barrels of oil a day and has the capacity to store 1.5 billion barrels. Once those reserves are full, if demand for oil hasn’t picked up, there will be no option but to wind down production in facilities that are operating at a loss.

Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate
The performance of WTI oil for the year to date, priced per barrel ($).

Bitcoin and Oil: Commodities with a Lot in Common

The commodity that bitcoin is most frequently compared to is gold, yet it also bears a number of similarities with oil. Aside from the digital/physical duality, there are several ways in which bitcoin and oil overlap. Oil is prone to being hoarded by whales, who have the buying power to move the markets. And both assets have been hit hard in 2020, following long periods of stability in which they were assumed to maintain store of value qualities. In the last week, however, oil and bitcoin have diverged, with the former maintaining its downward trajectory, while BTC has regained ground.

Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate
The performance of Brent oil for the year to date, priced per barrel ($).

Abundance vs Scarcity

Bitcoin is scarce. Oil is plentiful. Both resources will run out eventually, but circulating bitcoin can be reused i.e bought and sold on the open market, ensuring that everyone who wants it can acquire it. Only a fraction of all oil can be recycled, resulting in continuous extraction just to match ongoing demand. Saudi Arabia and Russia have an “abundance” of oil and can depress prices for as long as they like, should the pair remain locked in a price war. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is not so easily manipulated and certainly not for so long.

Regional vs Borderless

The extraction of oil is closely linked to key global regions; the Middle East, Russia, the North Sea, North and South America. Bitcoin, in comparison, is borderless. While its extraction can also be linked to certain hotspots – China, Iran, North America, Scandinavia – bitcoin can be mined anywhere. As such, it is less susceptible to geo-political conflicts, cartels, and price wars.

Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate
The performance of bitcoin for the year to date.

Compact vs Cumbersome

Just as bitcoin miners can hoard coins in the hope of selling them at a higher price in the future, oil producers can stockpile. The difficulty is that oil requires vast warehouses and tanks to store, whereas all of the bitcoin in existence can be stored on an SD card the size of your thumbnail. The only pipeline bitcoin needs to flow is the data pipes of the internet.

Bitcoin for Oil: The Ultimate Trade?

Bitcoin and oil have always inhabited separate domains. But what if the pair were to become trading partners, with bitcoin being used as settlement for oil? The notion isn’t as outlandish as it may seem. Venezuela’s launch of the petro digital currency was an attempt to move away from the petrodollar, and the hegemony it hands the U.S. The much-maligned petro has failed to gain traction, but bitcoin remains a tantalizing possibility for nations looking to avoid sullying their hands with USD.

Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate
Year to date performance of BTC (orange), USD (green), gold (yellow), silver (white), crude oil (purple), U.S. stocks (blue).

Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital asset strategies at VanEck, believes that any country deeply invested in energy should be looking closely at bitcoin, saying: “While for now the petrodollar system remains dominant and the U.S. dollar outperforms other currencies, sovereign nations are increasingly searching for alternatives,” while acknowledging that because “bitcoin is a relatively young asset … it’s not a full-fledged store of value yet.”

Should a vacancy for a petrodollar replacement become available, bitcoin is ready to answer that call. In the meantime, it remains a safer haven than oil.

Do you think bitcoin is a better store of value than oil and other commodities at the moment? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Mati Greenspan.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Liquid Gold vs Digital Gold: Why Bitcoin Beats Oil in the Current Climate appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Encryption Standards Threatened Under Pretext of Battling Coronavirus

Encryption Standards Threatened Under Pretext of Battling Coronavirus

Governments around the world have been trying for some time to bypass encryption and backdoor messaging apps. End-to-end encryption was preventing authorities from stopping terrorist attacks, we were told, and personal privacy had to be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, as the coronavirus spreads through the world, the powers-that-be claim public health is being jeopardized by the oversharing of false or misleading information pertaining to the pandemic. The encryption battle is warming up.

Also read: Can’t Lock Down Bitcoin: Trump Ponders Halting Stock Trading, Grounding US Passenger Flights

Coronavirus Provides the Latest Pretext to Steal Civil Liberties

In the age of social media, misinformation travels fast. Enough has been written about the “fake news” that spread like wildfire during the 2016 Brexit and U.S. Presidential elections, but suffice to say misinformation is once again at the forefront of debate four years on. This time Whatsapp – rather than Facebook and Twitter – is in the cross-hairs of legislators due to the rampant sharing of inaccurate coronavirus information on the platform.

As governments and medical bodies scramble to educate the public on the dangers of coronavirus, Whatsappers have apparently been busy sharing medical misinformation and fake cures, leading to calls from politicians to stop trading unverified info on the encrypted platform. Legislators, of course, want to go one step further than making impassioned pleas to share only sound advice: they want to prohibit encryption without a mandatory backdoor for state access and strip away Section 230 protections.

As Marty’s Bent newsletter lamented on March 20, “Crises are seen as opportunities by sociopaths who want to tighten the grip of their control over you. When the masses are sufficiently scared and fear is palpable in the air the kleptocrats look to pounce,” adding:

In the face of the spread of COVID-19, you better believe the incompetent kleptocrats are licking their lips in anticipation of the Stay Healthy Act they are inevitably going to draft and attempt to force down our throats. They will use “public health and safety” as emotional Trojan Horses to lower your guard and leverage your fear to accept draconian measures that erode your civil liberties.

An End-to-End Privacy Grab

Because Whatsapp messages are encrypted in a way that allows them to be viewed only by sender and recipient, it is argued that such measures would halt the spread of dangerous medical misinformation. Of course, this overlooks the fact that authorities have been seeking to get around encryption protocols for years now. The covid-19 panic is merely the perfect trojan horse to push through a troubling bill that effectively bans end-to-end encryption and facilitates the scanning of internet communication en masse.

US Politicians Want to Ban End-to-End Encryption on Messaging Services like Telegram and Whatsapp

In response to criticism, Whatsapp says users can forward viral messages to special fact-checking accounts – but they are hardly likely to abandon encryption and jeopardize users’ security, and the same is true for pro-encryption tech giants like Apple and Facebook. Last month, Facebook spokesman Thomas Richards told the Washington Post the company was committed to encryption that “protects everyone’s safety from hackers and criminals.”

Ultimately, people should be able to parse legitimate and illegitimate information of their own accord; verifying the validity of any piece of information is but a click away. As one Twitter user said in response to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s plea for accurate information-sharing, “In a democratic country people are entitled to act in their own best interests, do their own research and question the wisdom of those in authority. This isn’t North Korea.”

EARN IT Bill Presents a Flagrant Threat to Privacy and Security

The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) bill currently progressing through Congress had its first hearing on March 11, and is widely viewed as the biggest threat towards end-to-end encryption. If passed, the act would make encryption providers responsible for “dangerous” or “illegal” user-uploaded content, and grant governments access to encrypted user data. It also places the responsibility for determining “best practices” in the hands of a small, 19-member committee with implicit bias: the committee head is Attorney General William Barr, who has fought tooth and nail to undermine encryption for years.

Before covid-19 supplied a convenient pretext, the bipartisan bill’s advocates claimed it would help to tackle child sexual exploitation. On March 5, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden called the proposal “a transparent and deeply cynical effort by a few well-connected corporations and the Trump administration to use child sexual abuse to their political advantage, the impact to free speech and the security and privacy of every single American be damned.”

It is not just diehard security advocates and activists who should be worried about the potential impact of this draconian act: it’s everyone who values personal liberty, privacy and free speech. If you are uncomfortable with the dystopian vision of governments reviewing all your digital messages and listening to your calls, you should oppose it vigorously. You can sign a petition to reject the Act here.

In many ways, EARN IT seeks to replicate the Patriot Act which was hastily pushed through in the wake of 9/11, with coronavirus fears being weaponized to justify the urgent need for greater oversight into people’s movements and activities. It would give ostensibly democratic governments the same obsessive surveillance power as regimes in China and North Korea and stifle independent thought.

Like the coronavirus, the all-out assault on encryption shows no signs of letting up.

Do you think the coronavirus is being exploited to erode civil liberties? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Encryption Standards Threatened Under Pretext of Battling Coronavirus appeared first on Bitcoin News.

1.2 Million Italians Can Now Buy Bitcoin From Their Bank

1.2 Million Italians Can Now Buy Bitcoin From Their Bank After Hype Partners With Conio

Buying bitcoin just got easier for Italians. The country’s mobile bank Hype has announced a partnership with fintech Conio, enabling customers to buy, sell, and securely store BTC from within their banking app. With over a million Italians choosing to bank with Hype, and 60,000 new customers being onboarded each week, the challenger bank’s decision to offer bitcoin is significant.

Also read: Onchain Data Suggests Bitcoin Sell-Off Fueled by New Investors

Believe the Hype

Launched in 2015 by Italian bank Banca Sella, Hype reflects the growing trend towards digital-first challenger banks which cater predominantly to millennials. By linking up with Conio, Hype’s mobile platform saves customers the trouble of using cryptocurrency exchanges to buy bitcoin. Instead, they can purchase the digital currency in-app, without the need for extra verification requirements.

When it comes to bitcoin storage, Milan-based Conio utilizes a multi-key solution, with three keys for each wallet. Because two are necessary to authorize transactions, with one stored on the user’s device, another on Conio’s servers, and a third kept offline by Hype, customers can maintain control over their funds and regain access if they lose their device.

1.2 Million Italians Can Now Buy Bitcoin From Their Bank

Giving the Customer What They Want

The wallet integration is the result of demand for bitcoin among Hype’s customers, according to CEO Antonio Valitutti: “Over 13% of our customers demanded bitcoin. We heard them, and we did our best to bring them the best solution: that’s why we chose Conio. We are very happy with our partnership, which also demonstrates the pioneering spirit of Hype.”

Christian Miccoli, Conio co-founder and CEO, added, “We are thrilled by this result. It shows that banks must not be afraid of cryptocurrencies, but can instead embrace them and make this sector grow in the future.”

1.2 Million Italians Can Now Buy Bitcoin From Their Bank

By normalizing BTC and exposing 1.2 million customers to crypto, Hype could play a key role in advancing bitcoin’s cause in the region. Customers will be able to directly use their account balance to buy bitcoin, with a daily purchase limit of €500 and an annual limit of €2,500 for Hype Start accounts. Premium accounts, meanwhile, can buy up to €4,990 per day or €50,000 per year, with the bank claiming a 1% fee for every purchase and sale.

Corona Carnage and a Way Forward for Bitcoin

Italy has been the worst-hit nation amid the covid-19 outbreak, with its death toll overtaking China’s on March 19 and all citizens on lockdown. At the time of writing, 4,032 people have perished from the virus there, with the total number of cases exceeding 41,000.

Last week, the Italian Red Cross and blockchain startup Helperbit announced that they were raising donations in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with the intention of establishing a second-level advanced medical post for pre-triage of covid-19 cases. So far, the appeal has raised over $17,000. While a mere drop in the ocean given the government’s announcement of a €3.6 billion stimulus package, it indicates that the country is marshaling whatever resources it can to counter the virus.

1.2 Million Italians Can Now Buy Bitcoin From Their Bank
Hype is one of Italy’s most popular challenger banks. It caters to a web-savvy, younger demographic than most traditional banks.

As central banks desperately inflate the money supply to shore up a flagging economy, the appeal of fixed supply assets such as bitcoin is heightened. As well as being able to buy and sell bitcoin, Hype customers can use their card to pay for goods and services anywhere BTC is accepted. With citizens currently urged to avoid cash payments to prevent spreading the virus via contaminated notes, bitcoin may prove to be a valuable alternative, particularly as a hedge against rising inflation.

Do you think bitcoin will prove its worth as a hedge against inflation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post 1.2 Million Italians Can Now Buy Bitcoin From Their Bank appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How Long Will the Market Downturn Last?

How Long Will the Market Downturn Last?

When will normality return? How long till global markets recover and bitcoin resumes the bull run it was teasing at before the coronavirus materialized? These are questions that all investors are pondering as the epidemic wreaks havok on gold, oil, stocks and – up until March 19 – on bitcoin itself. BTC is up 20% today, but there is still a long way to go before a full recovery is made. News.Bitcoin.com has asked several analysts when they believe this will occur.

Also read: Scramble for Dollars: Emergency Cash Injections in $250 Trillion Global Debt Place the Fiat Ponzi On Ventilator

Crypto Market Rallies Amid Corona Chaos

Crypto markets are back in the green on March 19, one week after bitcoin suffered its biggest one-day drop in seven years, tumbling over 50% to $3,700. “Bitcoin is uncorrelated [with traditional markets] over any time period other than 1-2 week “indiscriminate panic to cash” time,” noted Ryan Selkis.

How Long Will the Market Downturn Last?
On March 19 at 20:00 EST, BTC was up 14% for the day.

“Full recovery when?” many are asking. It’s hard to say for sure, but a guess can be hazarded. Since the Second World War, global bear markets have tended to last an average of 13 months, although a sustainable comeback in 2020 will depend very much on countering the coronavirus. Some economists suspect that a rebound will occur during the summer, when warming temperatures will potentially weaken the virus, while others think the misery will persist for the remainder of the year.

Saga founder Ido Sadeh Man takes a measured view of where the global markets will go from here. “If you believe that the world as we know it ceases to exist any time soon, we can definitely expect an unprecedented rally in prices of crypto assets that are uncorrelated and independent of any existing financial infrastructures,” he told news.Bitcoin.com. “However, I am quite certain that the world is not about to end, and we can therefore expect people to look for diversification within known financial paradigms. This much is certain: as the world is changing, people are seeking stability above all.” He added:

Governments, through their central banks, are deploying unprecedented means of trying to stabilize and provide security to their citizens. However, these means are extremely dangerous and it remains uncertain whether they will indeed provide security or endanger the system as a whole because they’re taking place in an already-weakened global financial environment.

What Fiat Printing Means for Bitcoin

“Over the past two days, bitcoin and certain other coins have already started diverging from traditional markets,” observes Kronos CEO Jack Tan. “DASH, STEEM, and DATA all up a ton even as Asian and western equities are under sell pressure.” On the matter of quantitative easing, Tan ventures “The price impact from fundamental factors such as QE and negative rates will be seen maybe 6-12 months down the line. Certainly the expected impact on crypto from inflation and negative rates will help in the short term to support prices, but whether these catch on and instill confidence in the market remains to be seen.”

How Long Will the Market Downturn Last?
STEEM is up 40% on the news of a hard fork to move the Steemit community away from Justin Sun’s kingdom to a new blockchain.

Jack Tan remains bullish however in the mid to long term, predicting: “I believe bitcoin and a few other currencies will emerge stronger than ever after this stress test. However, it will take at least six months to see the true impact the virus has on global GDP, currencies and crypto. While we wait patiently for more signs of bullish divergence in crypto, I have an optimistic target of 30k on BTC for the end of 2020.” Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics, also believes that bitcoin could be in “full recovery within the next few months” provided efforts to contain covid-19 are constructive.

Given that bitcoin is fundamentally immune to the inflationary policies of the global financial system, it could be poised to capitalize on gross monetary mismanagement by actors such as the Fed, finally demonstrating its “sound money” credentials. Bitcoin advocates have long contended that the currency is a hedge against inflation and profligate financial institutions, rather than a safe haven from recession. Nobody can arbitrarily create more bitcoin and expand the supply.

As noted in the March 18 Marty’s Bent newsletter, bitcoin “is completely bereft of the debt handcuffs linked to the traditional financial system … Consistently producing blocks and enabling peer-to-peer transfers for those who have access to the software … This is the type of environment in which bitcoin was birthed. This is why bitcoin exists.” Castle Island Ventures’ Nic Carter also believes that “as long as people continue to crave a permissionless, globally-available, freely usable, always-on, never impaired alternative monetary system, bitcoin will continue to matter. Now more than ever.”

How Long Will the Downturn Affect Global Markets?

The current bear market took just 22 days to arrive, but it could take as long as 18 months before corona disruption fully abates, with the next three to four months set to be especially tough. The economic effects of coronavirus continue to reverberate, with global stocks plummeting despite major stimulus packages being announced. With many national governments taking the unprecedented step of writing blank checks to help businesses and workers navigate a coming recession, and the Fed slashing interest rates to near zero, it’s natural to wonder how much pain when the global markets will emerge from the wreckage.

Comments by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak sum up the prevailing mood. At a news conference on March 17 he remarked, “Never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this.” Wildfires ignited by the covid-19 pandemic have scorched every part of the economy, hitting sectors such as aerospace, supply chain, housing and travel particularly hard. On the markets, even safe haven assets like gold and corporate bonds have taken a battering as traders wrestle with rising risk. Liquidity continues to dry up as companies draw down on credit lines.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury announced a $1 trillion support package, with $250 billion provisioned for small businesses and $500 billion for individual aid via direct payments and tax cuts. The Fed also announced that it would bail out debt-burdened corporations by purchasing some of their loans. It’s 2009 all over again, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Part II.

In the U.K., meanwhile, £350 billion has been earmarked for businesses, while in the EU, a €37 billion Corona Response Investment Initiative was proposed to complement member states’ own fiscal measures. The CRII fund will be made available to healthcare systems, SMEs, labor markets and other beleaguered parties.

With a vaccine potentially 18 months away, flights grounded, borders closed and virus-suppressing, social distancing/home isolation measures in place, life has started to look very different for us all.

How long do you think the economic effects of coronavirus will last? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and market updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post How Long Will the Market Downturn Last? appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Darknet Vendors Work Overtime as Police Halt Drug Arrests

Darknet Vendors Work Overtime as Police Halt Drug Arrests

The coronavirus is having a strange effect on the war on drugs. Narcotics activities that were deemed serious crimes only a week ago have been dropped by U.S. law enforcement, who have greater concerns now that cities are under effective lockdown. Meanwhile, darknet vendors are doing their best to match increased demand for mail order drugs, with one seller raising their maximum order size to accommodate bulk buyers.

Also read: Darknet Markets Keep Shipping as Shoppers Shun the Streets

The War on Drugs Takes a Hiatus

Starting on March 17, Philadelphia police have stopped making arrests for all narcotics offenses. Coronavirus concerns have forced them to focus on more important matters, leaving the city’s recreational drug users and sellers to please themselves. Other crimes to have been deemed inconsequential in these straitened times are theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary, vandalism, bench warrants, stolen autos, and economic crimes such as passing bad checks, fraud, and prostitution. That’s the view of Philadelphia cops, and it’s one that other U.S. cities seem to share; New York may start freeing jailed suspects.

While an unofficial truce on drugs was being called in Philly, on the darknet, it’s been business as usual. Vendors have been tirelessly shipping packages – mostly recreational drugs – to a housebound population, some of whom are living under state-imposed lockdown.

“We still ship once a day and we pack under strictest hygiene standards … All our employees are tested negative for Corona,” claims one vendor on the monero-friendly White House Market. “Due to the [coronavirus] situation we have lifted the limit of 20g per day per customer. Every customer can order as many [marijuana packages] as he needs.”

Health Guidelines Advise Drug Users to Stockpile

During a remarkable week for the recreational drug industry, Yale published a harm reduction guide for substance users who encounter COVID-19. After advising on which regulated drugs are likely to exacerbate coronavirus effects (crack and meth), the guide urges users of all recreational drugs:

If you have money and are able, stock up on your drug(s) of choice before things deteriorate. Avoid bingeing on drugs that you are stockpiling so you have access to a supply. Try to buy from people you trust and have as many ways to contact dealers in your area as possible.

Darknet buyers have needed no encouragement to load up: most DNMs have reported increased demand, while overworked postal services have caused deliveries to be delayed. As a result, White House Market has asked vendors to consider extending the time before orders auto finalize and funds are released.

Darknet Vendors Work Overtime as Police Halt Drug Arrests
The notice posted on White House Market

Vendors Address the Corona Question

The coronavirus is everywhere right now, in meatspace and on the web, where it permeates Telegram groups, seeps through Twitter, colors the markets, and prompts darknet vendors to revise their listings. As news.Bitcoin.com reported last week, some DNM sellers have been capitalizing on the coronavirus through hiking prices, with one blaming Chinese precursor supply shortages for rising costs. Numerous vendors have taken efforts to convince customers that their drugs are packaged in a sanitary environment.

Darknet Vendors Work Overtime as Police Halt Drug Arrests

“We [will] compensate for this crazy time worldwide,” writes one vendor. “Coronavirus and the bitcoin drop compensation,” they explain before offering a global deal on 300 grams of 72% pure speed. They also assure shoppers that they always wear gloves when packaging items, to assuage corona fears. Another DNM vendor on Empire Market has claimed that “ecstasy is for partying and Molly is for quarantining,” adding that “Molly is a great time when trying to chill at home because unlike the party feel you get from ecstasy, Molly gives a relaxing euphoria,” before proceeding to shill their wares.

Darknet Vendors Work Overtime as Police Halt Drug Arrests

As for order delays, one Dread user insists that “Coronavirus [is] causing short staffing across the country, legitimate packages are taking longer atm, this ain’t DNM related.” There is evidence, however, that U.S. authorities are applying extra scrutiny to international packages arriving on account of coronavirus. “Our sources are usually incredibly reliable, but this month we have had a few very large packs disappear,” confesses one vendor. “Our theory is coronavirus.”

Do you think darknet sales will replace street sales if the coronavirus pandemic gets worse? Do you think police are right to stop arresting drug offenders? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Darknet Vendors Work Overtime as Police Halt Drug Arrests appeared first on Bitcoin News.

6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Don’t Require KYC

6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Don’t Require KYC

These days, it’s taken as a given that KYC must be endured to trade cryptos on centralized exchanges. In fact, there are still dozens of exchanges you can access without having to risk your personal documents and identity. The following guide examines six such platforms, and considers precautions you should take when using KYC-less crypto exchanges.

Also read: BTC Hashrate Follows Price Drop – 20% Lower Before Bitcoin Halving

Keep Your Privacy, Swap Your Crypto

Know Your Customer (KYC) legislation requires businesses to verify the identity of individuals using their service, particularly where the transmission of money is involved. This includes virtual currencies. As a result, the majority of crypto exchanges now enforce KYC. However, it is not mandatory to use a KYC exchange (also referred to as “surveillance exchanges” by their detractors) to trade. A number of exchanges legally operate in jurisdictions that do not mandate KYC, or have no official headquarters, placing them in a grey area in terms of legal obligations.

Bitcoin Traders Are Finding Creative Ways to Avoid KYC

Generally speaking, KYC exchanges that are fully regulated offer better protections for their customers, and there may be greater redress in the event of something going wrong, such as a hack. However, this does not mean that KYC-free exchanges are less trustworthy; it is the duty of each trader to perform their due diligence and choose a reputable exchange.

It is not the case that only shadowy individuals seek KYC-less exchanges, such as for tax evasion or criminal purposes. In fact, many traders flock to these platforms because they recognize that KYC requirements make everyone less safe through creating a honeypot for hackers. If you value your privacy, and wish to keep your personal details out of the reach of busybodies and criminals, it makes sense to seek platforms where you can exercise your right to trade cryptocurrencies in peace. Here are six exchanges that fit the bill.

Nominex

Low fees, a fast trading engine and advanced bidding tools are among the features that Nominex flaunts. Up to 3 BTC a day can be deposited and withdrawn without requiring KYC. The Seychelles-based exchange (registered in the same locale as Bitmex) operates a popular affiliate program, offers demo accounts for traders finding their feet, and is about to launch daily trading tournaments.

Stop, Stop Limit, Trailing Stop, and Scaled are among the order types that can be placed on Nominex. There’s 24-hour customer support and trading fees are reduced by 50% for holders of the native NMX token.

6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Don’t Require KYC

Bybit

Bybit is a popular derivatives exchange that could become a lot more popular if Bitmex introduces KYC, as has been rumored. Founded in Singapore, Bybit doesn’t require KYC, although U.S. residents are excluded from trading. Its most popular product is its BTC-USD perpetual swap, although Bybit also offers futures for XRP, EOS, and ETH. Bybit features a clean and intuitive layout and good customer support that operates around the clock and in multiple languages.

Bybit CEO Ben Zhou Talks Derivatives and Crypto Predictions for 2020

One of the best things about Bybit is its guides to margin trading. These help traders learn the terms, tricks and tips required to effectively swap derivatives products. There’s a Bybit mobile app available on the iOS and Google Play stores, while regular trading competitions keep things fresh.

Binance

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange is also a bastion of KYC-less trading. There are some caveats though. For one thing, U.S. citizens must trade on Binance US, which comes with KYC. Moreover, there are signs that Binance may transition to full KYC at some stage as it’s compelled to comply with the numerous jurisdictions where it operates. For now, though, spot trading can be accessed without requiring KYC, and you can withdraw up to 2 BTC per day. For margin trading, however, as well as various other Binance products, KYC is required.

Bitmax

Bitmax is a popular altcoin exchange that’s carved out a niche since launching in 2018. There’s reasonable liquidity, margin trading, a wide range of coins listed, and a native BTMX token that provides discounted trading fees and other benefits. The exchange holds regular airdrops and allows users to earn USDT for lending BTMX. Fiat deposits can be made with credit or debit card and there’s no KYC requirement, with a 2 BTC daily withdrawal limit.

Kucoin

Many exchanges operate partial KYC, Kucoin among them. What this means is that most traders will not be required to complete verification unless there is suspicious activity or in the case of them wishing to exceed the 2 BTC daily trading limit. Like leading exchanges Binance and Huboi, Kucoin has transitioned into a crypto company that offers a broad range of services, operating under various subdivisions. Although the liquidity could be better, Kucoin has a lot of things in its favor. It’s easy to use for one thing and lists a number of tokens that aren’t available on major exchanges.

6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Don’t Require KYC

Bitcoin.com Exchange

There’s a lot more to exchange.Bitcoin.com than merely the ability to sign up without undergoing KYC. BCH trading pairs, SLP tokens, and useful assets that aren’t available on other platforms are among its many attributes. There’s also the strength of the Bitcoin.com brand, which gives the exchange greater credibility than some of the other KYC-less platforms on the market. The clean and intuitive interface is free of clutter, and there’s a community feel to Bitcoin.com Exchange, which is particularly popular with BCH proponents.

6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Don’t Require KYC

DYOR and Don’t Leave All Your Crypto on Exchanges

It’s important to do your own research before signing up for a cryptocurrency exchange. Read reviews, check its policies on accessing the platform from different countries, and determine the quality of its customer support. Finally, and this applies to using all centralized exchanges, regardless of KYC, don’t leave all your crypto on there. Only deposit what you actively need for trading purposes and keep the rest of your stack in a noncustodial wallet. Trade safe, be smart, and keep your identity private by avoiding surveillance exchanges.

What KYC-free exchanges do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post 6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Don’t Require KYC appeared first on Bitcoin News.

While the Crypto Market Was Hemorrhaging Value, These Tokens Mooned

While the Crypto Market Was Hemorrhaging Value, These Tokens Mooned

Why do certain altcoins moon? It’s a question that all crypto holders have pondered at some stage while enviously eyeing the ascent of a token that wasn’t even on their radar, let alone their portfolio. If the performance of obscure tokens in a bull market is discombobulating, how to explain such breakouts in a deep bear market? Over the last seven days, a minority of digital assets have inexplicably posted impressive gains.

Also read: Sending Cash to Friends and Family Through Bitcoin ATMs Is Safer Than Crowding Bank Offices During Pandemic

Market Goes Down, Random Coins Go Up

Over the past week, while the crypto market was shedding half its value, a handful of coins picked the worst time to perform their best. These obscure low cap and low volume cryptos witnessed the sort of gains that haven’t been seen since the halcyon days of 2017. In hindsight, these coins would have provided a rare chance to profit in this most turbulent of weeks. However, the devil is in the details, as they say, and on closer inspection, not all of these gainers were as profitable as their percentage increase would suggest.

This Week’s Best Performing Altcoins

You’ve probably never heard of Finexbox, a Hong Kong-based P2P exchange, any more than you’ll have heard of The Stone Coin (TSC). If the data is to be believed, however, TSC is up 17,700% for the last seven days, thanks to $45M of trade on Finexbox. Your skepticism is warranted.

Uranus (URAC) is another coin that’s inextricably enjoyed a good week. The token which puts the ‘ass’ in digital asset is up 580% for the week, thanks to steady trading on Bittrex and Hotbit.

While the Crypto Market Was Hemorrhaging Value, These Tokens Mooned
Gifto (GTO) has performed well over the past month compared to other crypto assets.

The trade volume for most of the altcoins in the green this week is pitifully low, as is to be expected. As a result, many of the percentage gains can be discounted as they were achieved in illiquid markets where a single buy order can be enough to make the price jump. This includes monero classic (XMC), up 195% and tradable on Hitbtc and Gate.io, and Universe (UNI), up 46% with volume of $362,000.

The most legit looking asset that’s positive for this week is polkadot (DOT), which is swapping for $118 a token and is up 27%. Other “legitimate” cryptos that have outperformed the market include gifto (GTO), up 20%, after which the remaining coins in profit are almost exclusively stablecoins, whose minor deviation above their dollar peg attests to their demand. A record $100 billion of stablecoins was traded on March 14 according to stablecoinindex.com, with USDT leading the way, followed by USDC and TUSD.

While the Crypto Market Was Hemorrhaging Value, These Tokens Mooned
Stablecoin trading volume for the past seven days.

For traders seeking winners from the graveyard of dead and dying altcoins, there is a subset of remaining candidates that stands out. This niche group of tokens has performed very well over the past week. XRPBEAR is the FTX-issued token for shorting XRP with 3x leverage. It’s up 17% for the week. Its counterpart BNBBEAR is up 27%, ETHBEAR is up 40%, and BEAR – for shorting BTC 3x – is up 10%. You know you’re in a bear market when the best performing tokens are those that were designed to thrive in a sea of red.

Do you think the worst of the market downturn is over, or are we just getting started? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and market updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post While the Crypto Market Was Hemorrhaging Value, These Tokens Mooned appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week

Crypto valuations haven’t been the only casualties of this week’s market crash; crypto networks have also felt the strain. As onchain activity has ramped up in response to the market slump, fees have soared and the mempool filled on the BTC and ETH chains. Other crypto networks have operated smoothly, however, despite the pandemonium.

Also read: Market Update: Cryptocurrency Market Cap Sheds $90B, Margin Calls Spike, Futures Slide

Mempool Fills on Bitcoin’s Most Volatile Day in a Year

As bitcoin lost 50% of its value on Black Thursday, traders rushed to move coins out of cold storage and swap them for stablecoins on crypto exchanges. The increased network activity fueled a surge in BTC and ETH fees, which were significantly higher than usual on March 12-13.

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week
On Thursday, March 12, the BTC network saw heavy congestion. Data from mempool.space.

On Thursday, gas prices passed $3.70 on Ethereum, while Bitcoin’s mempool was backed up with enough transactions to fill over 30 blocks. The congestion on both networks has since abated, with ETH gas prices back to just over 2 cents and the mempool down from 120,000 unconfirmed transactions on its March 12 peak to the daily average of 70,000 at press time. BTC fees, meanwhile, which rose to 75 sats/byte for 1-2 block inclusion on March 13, are down to ~60sats/byte, which is still more than double their weekly average.

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week
On March 12 and 13, Ethereum gas prices spiked. Data from etherscan.io.

Bitcoin Cash and Dogecoin Networks Keep Ticking Over

Fees on Bitcoin Cash have remained low all week, despite the increase in exchange inflows and outflows. At press time, the BCH network is 1,420x cheaper than BTC when transaction fees are compared in USD. Over 18,000 BCH transactions were sent on March 12, rising to 20K the following day as the markets began to heat up.

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week
On March 13, BTC fees increased sharply relative to BCH fees. Data from cash.coin.dance.

Dogecoin has had a good week, holding up well as most other cryptos were shedding 50%. Dogecoin’s increased trade volume appears to have been in response to rising BTC and ETH fees, prompting traders to use DOGE to transfer value between exchanges, as was the case in 2017 when the crypto market was making violent moves in the opposite direction. On March 10, DOGE peaked at 33K onchain transactions, and has recorded 29K transactions in the last 24 hours, with a median fee of just $0.00168.

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week
Number of unconfirmed transactions in the BTC mempool for the past week according to transactionfee.info. The total peaked on March 13.

When the median fee for transacting on all measurable crypto networks is compared, BTC is the most expensive, at $0.117, followed by Lisk ($0.0836) and then Ethereum ($0.0409). Bitcoin Cash ($0.000831) and Dogecoin ($0.00169) are two of the cheapest according to Messari. The cheapest networks of all to transact on are the relatively centralized chains that do not utilize Proof of Work: Stellar ($0.000000385) and Ripple ($0.00000183). Panic selling was not the sort of mass adoption that crypto proponents had in mind. It has nevertheless proven a good test of how crypto networks hold up when the going gets tough.

Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week
BTC average network fees according to txstats.com. Fees peaked on March 14.

Where do you see the markets going from here? Do you think traders have been using dogecoin to transfer value between exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and market updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Crypto Networks Stress Tested During Bitcoin’s Wild Week appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Darknet Markets Keep Shipping as Shoppers Shun the Streets

Darknet Markets Keep Shipping as Shoppers Shun the Streets

These are strange times for crypto. While it’s blood in the markets, it’s business as usual on the darknet, where marketplaces are seeing a steady inflow of cryptocurrency. They’re also seeing an inflow of new users as the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic make online commerce the safest way to shop.

Also read: Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestones

Retail Downturn Leaves the High Street Reeling

The economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak are creating major winners and losers. The fate of airlines, cruise ships, and travel agents requires no explanation, while the retail sector is succumbing to the pressure the virus is exerting on everything. All non-essential shops in Italy have been closed, while a broader retail downturn has threatened the closure of one of the U.K.’s largest shopping center owners.

Darknet Markets Keep Shipping as Shoppers Shun the Streets

On the web, however, it’s business as usual, save for a few supply chain hiccups. With large parts of the world in lockdown, consumers are staying at home more and ordering more goods and services to their door – darknet wares included. On darknet markets (DNMs), the coronavirus is being treated as both a threat and an opportunity to profit.

Vendors Discuss Coronavirus Impact on Shipping

On darknet forum Dread, a thread titled “How does the coronavirus outbreak have an impact on market transactions?” prompted one vendor to respond: “Online purchases are going to increase a lot because people will want to be in their home in quarantine. Therefore postal services will collapse and delivery times will increase a lot like Christmas.” Several DNM users have reported deliveries taking longer than usual to arrive; shoppers on the clearnet have also experienced delays as retailers battle to meet higher demand from a housebound populace.

To stimulate trade, one DNM vendor has been running a “buy one get one free” offer on digital goods. “Makes sense,” replied the admin of Monopoly market. “Run a coronavirus special that’ll get you some clout.”

Dubious Claims About Corona-Fighting Wares

While the majority of darknet vendors are dutifully shipping orders, a handful have sought to capitalize on the coronavirus panic in less scrupulous ways. On White House Market, one seller is listing TCH capsules with the strapline “Protect yourself from the coronavirus” and the insistence that daily dosage will “help your immune system.” On the clearnet, Google has been working to clear coronavirus misinformation, but on the darknet, users must keep their wits about them and exercise their own judgement. No change there.

Darknet Markets Keep Shipping as Shoppers Shun the Streets

On Dread, user “covid19mask” is hawking coronavirus masks for $20 apiece, payable in bitcoin on Empire Market, but with “free sanitizer.” There appear to be few takers. Other vendors are more concerned with leveraging the supply problems caused by the coronavirus. “Currently all the superlabs are shut down not able to get the precursor liquid from China necessary to cook the meth,” explains one crystal meth seller. “I don’t see this changing until the coronavirus subsides and China is able to ship freight normally again. The price has already quintupled on me to purchase here locally in Mexico.”

3,000 Metric Tons of Wheat Was Recently Traded for Bitcoin

Are Darknet Markets Safer Than the Streets?

Proponents of darknet markets are prone to emphasizing the harm reduction benefits of using DNMs over street dealers. As all forms of physical contact fall out of favor, and people self-isolate, the greatest harm reduction the darknet may offer is in helping to contain the coronavirus spread. Nevertheless, DNMs remain susceptible to greater macro trends.

With all non-essential travel between the U.S. and Europe effectively halted, and entire regions on lockdown, international darknet deliveries have taken a hit. So too have the profits of vendors with crypto locked into escrow from when BTC was trading 25% higher. For the most part, the economic effects of the coronavirus have been positive on darknet markets, but the global logistics industry is highly vulnerable to further quarantine measures. A rising infection rate coupled with exceptional strain on the postal service could see ecommerce crippled – the darknet included.

Do you think darknet markets will see more business over the next few weeks? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Darknet Markets Keep Shipping as Shoppers Shun the Streets appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Exchanges Overwhelmed on Bitcoin’s Most Volatile Day of the Year

Exchanges Overwhelmed on Bitcoin’s Most Volatile Day of the Year

Binance chief Changpeng Zhao referred to it as “Bloodbath day,” and many in the cryptosphere will echo those sentiments, as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic reverberates through global markets. As crypto exchanges were thronged by frantic traders looking to capitalize on – or seek refuge from – the unprecedented market dump, several platforms buckled under the pressure.

Also read: Market Update: Global Economy Jolts Bitcoin, Overall Crypto Cap Loses $50B

Exchanges Struggle as Traders Get Busy

A panic-stricken sell-off of bitcoin and other risk-on digital assets has led to a number of crypto exchanges experiencing outages. On Thursday, March 12, Binance’s CZ noted that the platform’s load was 5x greater than all previous peaks. The exchange was handling 146,500 messages per second, with a 30GB/s market data push from a lone source. Aside from the occasional glitch, Zhao says systems appear to be holding up for now. Kraken was also briefly down earlier today.

Exchanges Overwhelmed on Bitcoin’s Most Volatile Day of the Year
Ethereum network fees at press time.

Over on Bitmex, the Seychelles-based exchange experienced the most liquidations in 16 months: $702 million worth, $698 million of which were longs. The Ethereum network, meanwhile, has been toiling under heavy network congestion, with gas prices spiking to as high as $3.70 today, and transactions waiting hours to be processed. Binance has temporarily increased withdrawal fees for ETH and ERC20 tokens.

Network activity has been driven up by traders seeking to sell their holdings and under-collateralized defi positions being forcibly liquidated. ETH also nosedived by 35%, its most significant one-day decline since 2018. The price of BTC, meanwhile, fell below $6,000 for the first time since May while altcoins also plummeted. Against this wild backdrop, we have a halving on the horizon.

Research Paper Shows Bitcoin is not a Hedge or Safe-Haven against US Stock Market

Bitcoin’s Safe Haven Status in Question

The theory that bitcoin might be a safe haven as oil, stocks, equities and bond yields plunge has been disproved: but even gold, widely viewed as the ultimate safe haven asset, dropped by more than 1% on Changpeng Zhao’s aptly-titled Bloodbath Day. Most crypto traders are seeking refuge by switching into stablecoins while knife-catchers have been buying up cheap coins in anticipation of the next rally. Volatility remains a trader’s best friend. As Bitmex’s Arthur Hayes put it, “I know all you HODLers say you love “cheap coins”, but will you really back up the truck if the S&P is flirting with 2,000? We shall see.” He added:

The time to back up the truck is when the futures basis goes flat or negative. That will signal an evaporation of optimism. Then you must surf the tidal wave of free money, and begin buying crypto with both hands. First fill your Bitcoin handbags, then acquire all the other dog shit … even CRipple might pop. Long live volatility, and stay healthy.

To say the economy has experienced turbulence in the wake of coronavirus would be a gross understatement. Assets are in virtual freefall across traditional and crypto markets, with pledges by the Fed and the Bank of England to cut interest rates seeming to have little effect.

Cruise liner and airline stocks have been some of the worst hit, with Boeing’s stock dropping 50% from last year. Numerous flights have been cancelled, and President Trump has announced a travel ban on 26 European countries in an attempt to contain the virus. Italy, one of the worst-hit countries, has come to an eerie standstill, all shops and restaurants except pharmacies and food outlets closed to the public. Many believe their own nations will soon follow suit, as infection spreads at a frightening pace.

Although the short-term outlook for bitcoin remains bearish, and sentiments like “keep calm and HODL” have been doing the rounds on Crypto Twitter, the sense of frenzy is impossible to ignore. As Messari’s Ryan Selkis urged, “It’s ugly today, but this too shall pass. Stay safe. Keep building.”

Where do you see the crypto markets heading from here? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Crypto Exchanges Overwhelmed on Bitcoin’s Most Volatile Day of the Year appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Embraces VR as Virtual Conferences Replace Physical Events

Crypto Embraces VR as Virtual Conferences Replace Physical Events

Remote bitcoin events have been boosted by the postponement or cancellation of real world crypto conferences due to the coronavirus outbreak. With many employees now working from home where possible, firms have begun switching to virtual meetings, prompting renewed interest in VR equipment and hinting at the decentralized future of crypto meetings and events.

Also read: Judge Gives Craig Wright New Deadline – Citing Forgery, Perjured Testimony in Court

No Office, No Problem: Business as Usual in Crypto

While companies grapple with the consequences of the ongoing pandemic, the crypto industry is in pretty good shape. For a start, several major platforms – including exchanges such as Kraken – have employed dispersed workforces since day one. Others, like Messari and Coinbase, have gone remote-first indefinitely and canceled all business travel.

Generally speaking, crypto is extremely mobile with a disproportionately high percentage of freelance and remote workers, from developers, designers and programmers to content managers, analysts and consultants. Indeed, many crypto projects don’t have a physical headquarters and for all intents and purposes exist in the digital realm.

So while centralized tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon may see productivity fall as offices fall dark, that shouldn’t be the case for the Messaris and Coinbases of the world. At least not to the same extent.

A Clutch of Canceled Crypto Events

Of course, meatspace events, conferences, hackathons and meetings are a staple of the cryptosphere, drawing thousands of delegates from all over the world. But with physical gatherings being strongly discouraged by governments, a pivot towards virtual conferences is inevitable.

The world’s largest blockchain expo, scheduled for March 17 in London, was delayed indefinitely due to the pandemic and so too was Bitcoin 2020 in San Francisco. The Paris Blockchain Week Summit was another major crypto gathering pushed back until the end of the year. Expect more dominos to fall in the weeks and months ahead as event organizers pull the plug. But do such industry events really have to be canceled, or can they happen online?

Crypto Embraces VR as Virtual Conferences Replace Physical Events

Remote Meetings Draw Near

Remote events, albeit on a smaller scale than grand conferences in lush locales, have been quick to fill the void. Bitcoin meet-ups on the horizon include March 14’s Lightning Loop, a virtual conference featuring Lightning Lab’s Alex Bosworth, and March 17’s Socratic Seminar featuring Michael Folkson, organizer of the London Bitcoin Devs meet-up group. Those keen to dial in can find more details on the Bitcoin VR Degenerates Telegram.

Tech conference Collision, meanwhile, has announced that its June event will go ahead – only it won’t happen in Toronto but online, with the conference rechristened Collision from Home. In a blog post, the firm said previous attendees had already availed themselves of web and mobile to virtually engage with fellow delegates, watch presentations, and participate in workshops from the comfort of their homes.

Companies such as Hopin, an all-in-one live events platform for distributed online communities, seem like the most likely profiteers of a scenario where networking events occur online rather than in-person. Actually, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to telepresence video solutions.

One annual gathering that won’t have to postpone or cancel is Remote Crypto Con, scheduled for June 24-26. It’s already tabbed the likes of Coinshares’ Meltem Demirors and The Block’s Mike Dudas as speakers.

Could this become the norm? In the short term, yes. Messari chief Ryan Selkis has urged “anyone in crypto to spend $200 on a VR headset before there are shortages. The tech isn’t perfect, but it’s very good. Get familiar with the platforms, and keep community strong during what will likely be a prolonged shutdown of live events.”

While a move towards more mobile workforces might occur after the pandemic has passed, it could – Selkis suggests – manifest in remote employees using VR headsets to create the impression of working side-by-side with colleagues in the same physical space. Immersive AR/VR hardware and software can create a more engaging experience than can be provided from simply dialing into a conference. The coronavirus might cause the streets to empty, but crypto communities needn’t disappear.

Do you think virtual conferences can replace real world events, or is the technology still too new? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Crypto Embraces VR as Virtual Conferences Replace Physical Events appeared first on Bitcoin News.

7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises

7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises

You’ve heard of Software as a Service (Saas), the means by which businesses subscribe to and access cloud-based software. Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) is its distributed ledger equivalent. It describes the process by which a third party installs, hosts and maintains blockchain networks on behalf of other organizations. Today, BaaS is utilized in industries such as fintech, IoT, supply chain and telecommunications to give businesses exposure to blockchain without getting their hands dirty. Let’s take a look at some of the service providers helping enterprises realize their blockchain ambitions.

Also read: Industry Execs Claim Freshly Minted ‘Virgin Bitcoins’ Fetch 20% Premium

Why Big Companies Are Embracing BaaS

The recent release of the second annual Blockchain 50 list highlights the growth of blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platforms and software, with established global players such as Microsoft and Amazon rubbing shoulders with newcomers such as Russia’s National Settlement Depository, China Construction Bank, and EDF.

Blockchain-as-a-service platforms give disparate businesses the opportunity to experiment with blockchain apps and smart contracts while letting service providers manage the network itself. By favoring this model, companies can take advantage of the many oft-cited benefits of blockchain tech – improved transparency and accountability, data security and trust minimization – without having to develop their own blockchain ecosystem or invest in expensive in-house computing resources.

7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises

Amazon Web Services

Jeff Bezos’ all-conquering conglomerate provides assorted blockchain tools to companies large and small via its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services. The vendor supplies a high-performance, immutable Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and lets businesses of all stripes deploy and manage private or public blockchains using Amazon Managed Blockchain, launched in 2018. There’s even an option for companies that wish to manage their own network going forward but need assistance with the initial setup (AWS Blockchain Templates). Naturally, Amazon have the resources to support thousands of blockchain applications at scale, which has ensured a steady stream of high-profile clients such as Nestlé, BMW, Accenture, Sony Music Japan, and the Singapore Exchange.

IBM Blockchain Platform

Another company on Forbes’ influential Blockchain 50 list is IBM, thanks to its Blockchain Platform which has allowed organizations such as Kroger and Plastic Bank to “easily build and join a blockchain network on-premises, or on any private, public, or hybrid multicloud using Kubernetes.” Partnerships have been vital to IBM’s continuous BaaS expansion: it created the Trust Your Supplier platform alongside blockchain firm Chainyard (Vodafone is a new client) and also pioneered the Contingent Labor platform in conjunction with IT People. IBM’s blockchain-as-a-service business deploys Hyperledger Fabric and has been used extensively in industries such as food supply, media, advertising and trade finance.

7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s Azure platform enables clients such as General Electric and T-Mobile to deploy blockchain networks, build apps with confidence and store data off-chain. Clients can choose to build on several networks, and three products are available – Azure Blockchain Service, Azure Blockchain Workbench, and Azure Blockchain Development Kit. Microsoft have been especially keen to elide the differences between Azure and AWS, pointing out that the latter is “five times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server” and that Azure’s compliance offerings are more comprehensive. In any case, Azure’s integrations with other Microsoft products such as Logic Apps and Flow make it a dependable choice for enterprises seeking to harness blockchain.

EDF

French energy giant EDF is getting into the BaaS business, Cryptoast reports, via its subsidiary, Exaion. Naturally, energy is a key focus – the cloud provider is pitched as an “eco-responsible digital offering” – though a secure vault service for crypto-asset portfolios will also be rolled out in Q4 of 2020. While it’s too early to tell just how much market share EDF can expect to command, its vast computing resources and regulatory experience suggests it could become an attractive European proposition, particularly among companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises

Alibaba Cloud Blockchain as a Service

Alibaba’s Blockchain as a Service offering hit the market in 2018, under the umbrella of its cloud computing arm. The move was hardly a surprise: the company is known as a prolific hoarder of blockchain patents. Utilizing Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric and the Ant Blockchain, the platform integrates Alibaba Cloud’s Internet of Things (IoT) and anti-counterfeiting technologies to create blockchain solutions for product traceability, among other things. At present, Alibaba’s BaaS offering encompasses enterprise-level BaaS services, an agile BaaS platform that supports private deployment, and specific blockchain solutions for container services.

Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service

Launched in 2017, Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service seeks to help businesses “increase trust and provide agility in transactions across their networks” via its enterprise-grade, pre-assembled platform, built on Hyperledger Fabric. Clients can provision permissioned blockchain networks for private or consortia models, enrol member organizations, and run smart contracts to update and query the ledger. The Blockchain Platform is intended for use alongside other Oracle-deployed tools such as those for identity management and remediation.

7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises

Corda

Developed by global enterprise solutions provider R3, Corda is an open-source blockchain platform that enables companies to transact directly and privately using smart contracts. The BaaS provider was recently used by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to simplify financial processes and enhance settlements, while existing clients include Monetago and Tradeix. Interoperability, security and privacy are the foundations of the finance-focused Corda, and R3’s pedigree – the firm develops solutions for over 300 clients – means it’s one of the best platforms currently available.

Despite Dubious Benefits, Demand for Enterprise Blockchain Remains Strong

Blockchain is not the panacea that business leaders believe it to be, and its benefits within an enterprise context are dubious at best. Regardless, many are unwavering in their conviction that DLT is the future, and that to avoid being left behind, they’re best jumping on the blockchain bandwagon post-haste.

Despite this, BaaS could hold the key to ensuring mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. After all, enterprise blockchain providers function similarly to web hosting providers – and where would the internet be without them? So long as blockchain-as-a-service operators continue to make it easy, fast and cost-effective for individuals and businesses to implement smart contracts and blockchains, and build impactful applications, the ecosystem will continue to flourish.

Asia’s Love Affair With Blockchain Is Blossoming

Thanks to the preponderance of BaaS platforms now marketing their services, it’s relatively easy to develop and implement secure applications on established networks such as Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric. Because BaaS providers handle the heavy lifting in terms of architecture/bandwidth management and back-end services, enterprises can focus on their core business without fretting about the day-to-day complexities of operating a blockchain.

Web searches for “enterprise blockchain” and “blockchain service” have spiked recently, with India one of the regions driving this trend. BaaS providers are capitalizing on such surging interest by laying the groundwork for the next wave of distributed applications and permissioned chains. They are also helping firms add serious value: according to Gartner, the value added by blockchain will surpass $360 billion by 2026, before exceeding $3.1 trillion by 2030. Those figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, but at the very least they suggest that enterprise blockchain won’t be going away any time soon.

Do you think enterprise blockchain is a fad or the future of business innovation? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post 7 of the World’s Largest Blockchain-as-a-Service Enterprises appeared first on Bitcoin News.

5 Crypto Cashback Solutions That Award You Satoshis to Shop

5 Crypto Cashback Solutions That Reward You to Shop

Cashback is a popular ecommerce system that administers rewards and rebates for shopping. Every time you shop online, and in some cases in-store, you’ll earn up to 1% of the transaction value back. Traditionally administered in cash or rewards points, certain cashback schemes now dispense rewards in the form of cryptocurrency – or “cryptoback.” These provide a passive way to stack sats while you shop.

Also read: 13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now

Earn Bitcoin for Buying Online With Stormshop

Stormshop is a mobile app integration from microtask and earning platform Stormx. It enables shoppers to receive crypto rewards for shopping online and is available in over 187 countries including the U.S. More than 400 merchants are onboard such as Samsung, Microsoft, Groupon, Macy’s, New Balance and Gamestop. The Stormshop plugin, available for web browsers such as Chrome, Opera, and Brave, and now for iOS and Android on mobile, administers rewards known as Bolts.

5 Crypto Cashback Solutions That Award You Satoshis to Shop

Up to 40% is available in crypto cashback, paid in BTC, ETH, LTC, DAI or STORM. Shoppers can swap Bolt rewards points for cryptocurrency, paid to their ERC20 wallet or Coinbase account. Stormx claims to have more than 2.5 million users, having grown to become the best-known and most popular multi-currency cryptoback service.

Stack Sats for Spending With Lolli

Lolli is a BTC-only cashback plugin. Like Stormshop, it operates as a browser extension and disburses rewards in BTC for shopping with qualified retailers. The Lolli browser plugin will notify you whenever you’re shopping at one of its partner stores, which include hundreds of brands such as Expedia, Hotels.com, GAP, Macy’s, and Hilton. Up to 30% in cryptoback is promised, delivered to your Lolli wallet. From there you can send it to your personal BTC wallet or exchange it to USD and have it sent to a bank account. The Lolli extension works for Chrome and Firefox, but unlike Stormshop is not available for mobile.

5 Crypto Cashback Solutions That Award You Satoshis to Shop

Get Paid for Using Your Credit Card With Pei

Pei is a cashback system that rewards you in BTC or fiat currency. Unlike Lolli and Stormshop, Pei works with your existing credit and debit card and can thus be used for in-store purchases as well as online. After linking your card to the Pei app and then using it as you would normally, you’ll receive cashback in your choice of BTC or fiat. There’s no membership fee for using Pei, and special offers with selected retailers provide an opportunity to claim additional cashback.

5 Crypto Cashback Solutions That Award You Satoshis to Shop

Earn Cryptoback for Shopping With Your Wirex or Crypto.com Card

The other way to earn crypto rewards when shopping in-store is by using a crypto debit card. Two of those recently featured in news.Bitcoin.com’s round-up of crypto cards provide this feature: Wirex and Crypto.com. The former pays out 0.5% in cryptoback, paid in BTC, for in-store purchases, rising to 1.5% if you hold 500,000 WRX tokens. Crypto.com’s MCO Visa card, meanwhile, awards 1-5% in cryptoback for purchases.

Crypto cashback provides a simple yet effective way to passively increase your cryptocurrency balance while going about your daily business. Naturally, there’s a privacy trade-off to consider in linking your crypto proclivities with your consumer spending habits. Given the modest sums of cryptocurrency to be acquired in such a manner, however, you may decide that your penchant for stacking sats in the form of cryptoback is unlikely to draw much heat. Cryptocurrencies give ordinary people a way and a reason to save and crypto cashback provides a tangible use case for digital assets, adding sats to your wallet as you shop.

Do you use crypto cashback services? If so, which ones do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post 5 Crypto Cashback Solutions That Award You Satoshis to Shop appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto, Encryption, and the Quest for a Secure Messaging App

Crypto, Encryption, and the Quest for a Secure Messaging App

How confidential is our conversation? This question has come to the fore in recent months, driven by a flurry of news stories detailing the weakening of encrypted messenger apps at the behest of law enforcement. A concerted effort on the part of the state to backdoor messaging apps and spy on our most private conversations is something that should concern every member of the cryptocurrency community, many of whom are desperate for an invulnerable app that won’t leak their secrets.

Also read: RBI to Challenge Supreme Court Verdict on Cryptocurrency

Finding an Encrypted Messaging App That’s Fit for Purpose

Within the crypto community, debates have been raging about the merits of popular encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal. Cloud-based platform Telegram has enjoyed tremendous success, with several hundred million downloads; its ambition is to cross the 1 billion threshold by 2022. Telegram is well known in the cryptosphere, having conducted a $1.7 billion token sale last year. However, because the platform isn’t open-source, users must trust Telegram to honor its assurances that messages are secure from retention and interception.

Crypto, Encryption, and the Quest for a Secure Messaging App
Signal

Signal is widely viewed as an upgrade on Telegram, its policy of minimizing data retention having won rave reviews from many privacy absolutists including Edward Snowden. Unlike Telegram, the free app is open source and all messages encrypted end-to-end by default. That said, it’s not as feature-rich as users may like. Some people are also uncomfortable with having to use their phone number for verification, which could spawn further security risks.

Crypto, Encryption, and the Quest for a Secure Messaging App
Debrief

Decentralized messaging platform Debrief is an interesting alternative, as it implements data storage, encryption and authentication on the blockchain. All messages are encrypted by default, and Debrief follows the same policy as Signal in terms of data retention (i.e. no stored chat logs). The platform also acts as an open-source middleware for blockchains and legacy comms tools, which can tap into its blockchain-based encryption protocols to enhance security and internal data privacy. “By refraining from centralized control, we will be removing the weak link from the equation – the third parties,” says co-founder Jeff Pulver.

Dust (formerly known as Cyber Dust) is another blockchain-based, pro-privacy messenger app which utilizes the disappearing message feature to make sensitive data ephemeral. That said, messages self-delete after 24 hours – with some users wondering whether automatic self-deletion would be preferable. Dust went live in March, 2014, meaning it’s a veteran in this space – the fact that it’s still popularly used for text communication is a good sign.

Conceal and Reveal: The Evolution of Privacy Coin Technology

A Concerted Anti-Privacy Movement

In February, reports indicated that the EU’s executive branch had urged staff to replace Whatsapp with Signal for all messaging needs, in a bid to enforce the security of communications. Like Whatsapp, Signal is an end-to-end encrypted messaging service, but while the former is owned by Facebook – a company rightly criticized for its history of data harvesting – Signal is an open-source project funded by the non-profit Signal Foundation. Pro-privacy features include the ability to send and receive view-once media, automatic metadata deletion, and the use of “safety codes” for each conversation. Screenshotting messages is disabled.

The European Union’s executive branch determined that Whatsapp was not secure enough to handle sensitive and classified information shared between diplomats (and according to the latest update, even Signal may not be sufficiently secure). Fair enough. Yet it’s telling that the EU sees value in secure encryption, yet wants to retain the ability to undermine such standards when it comes to the general population.

The hypocrisy is staggering but not surprising. The National Security Council recently discussed whether to prohibit encryption without a mandatory backdoor for state access to plaintext. Members of Congress are also debating the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, which promises to strip away Section 230 protections and open up backdoors to encryption.

Court Orders Telegram to Hand Russia Its Encryption Keys

Law enforcement in the U.K., U.S. and Australia, meanwhile, have urged Mark Zuckerberg to abandon his plan to introduce end-to-end encryption on all of Facebook’s messaging products, while MI5’s director general has urged tech companies to permit spy agencies “exceptional access” to encrypted communication. While this is all in the name of national security, it stinks of one rule for the government, another for the people. We are not entitled to privacy of communications in a free and democratic society, it seems.

On March 6, Matthew Green described the latest bipartisan bill pushed by U.S. senators, EARN IT, as “a direct attack on end-to-end encryption,” writing: “It’s extremely difficult to believe that this bill stems from an honest consideration of the rights of child victims, and that this legislation is anything other than a direct attack on the use of end-to-end encryption.” He added:

My hope is that the Internet community and civil society will treat this proposal with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’ll see Senators rally behind a bill that actually protects children from abuse, rather than using those issues as a cynical attempt to bring about a “backdoor ban” on encryption.

Keep Calm and Encrypt

Against this Orwellian backdrop, the need for end-to-end encrypted messaging capabilities is obvious. This is something the crypto community well understands, as governments are especially determined to learn more about their financial affairs and transactions. And it’s not just governments you might wish to keep your communications safe from; it’s also cybercriminals, data thieves and extortionists.

Securing your communications with end-to-end encryption should be a right, not a privilege, in a digital age. Unfortunately, this quest is becoming increasingly difficult as three-letter agencies and politicians jockey to secure unprecedented access to the everyday affairs of their citizens under the guise of anti-terrorism and child protection. There’s no universal messenger that can provide a panacea to this problem, but there are applications, at least, that will minimize leakage and ensure your private conversations remain that way.

Which messaging platform do you think is most secure? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Crypto, Encryption, and the Quest for a Secure Messaging App appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin History: When DDoS Attacks Made BTC’s Price Drop

Bitcoin History: When DDoS Attacks Made BTC’s Price Drop

As anyone who has read the Bitcoin History series (or lived through the period in question) will know, the Bitcointalk forum was the crucible of debate in the early days. What’s less known is that – to quote one poster – “DDoSing this forum coincided with dumps on the then dominant Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.” That’s right, when the market was in its infancy, bringing a simple message board to its knees was enough to manipulate the market price of BTC.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 24: Celebrating the First Halving in 2012

Massive Panic in Tandem

We are accustomed to hearing about distributed denial of service attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges: just last week, Okex and Bitfinex succumbed, with a sophisticated assault on the former routing 400 gigabytes per second of traffic. DDoS attacks maliciously alter the traffic of a server, network or service by overloading it with a huge amount of junk traffic.

Back when Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was the dominant exchange in the bitcoin ecosystem (and bitcointalk.org the dominant chatter chamber), its trading activity was frequently disrupted by similar attacks, with trade volume falling precipitously in their wake. The exchange’s chief marketing officer, Gonzague Gay-Bouchery, once remarked that the company experienced DDoS attacks “every day, every single hour.”

Bitcoin History: When DDoS Attacks Made BTC’s Price Drop

There are numerous theories as to the perpetrators, with some speculating that new exchanges moving into the market may have been responsible due to the “lawless nature of Bitcoin during this period.” However, profit-motivated traders are the obvious candidates.

In any case, currency exchanges weren’t the only targets of DDoS attacks; gambling websites, mining pools, e-wallets and forums were also benighted. One report by the Computer Science and Engineering Dept of Southern Methodist University found that between May 2011 and October 2013, there were 142 unique DDoS attacks on 40 bitcoin services, with “7% of all known operators” having been targeted.

Bitcoin History: When DDoS Attacks Made BTC’s Price Drop

Dropped by DDoS

The aforementioned poster on bitcointalk.org called the practice of DDoSing the influential forum, which reliably caused the price of bitcoin to drop, “market manipulation wild wild west” – and he had a point. With the forum sluggish or offline altogether (and other bitcoin portals such as Bitcoincharts also affected), panic set in and big dumps quickly followed. Whomever perpetrated the trade would then watch the price fall and buy at the bottom. This sort of scam went on all the time during the Mt. Gox years, with information about the forum hacks detailed here.

The knock-on market effects of DDoS attacks on the Bitcointalk forum, in particular, were recognized elsewhere, such as on Reddit, where one exasperated poster remarked, “We will go up again after the attack stops. These panic sellers never learn.” This was a more sanguine take than another poster who raged “My leveraged long order got margin called because of these fucking assholes.”

Bitcoin History: When DDoS Attacks Made BTC’s Price Drop
In 2015, Redditors complained about BTC’s price dropping when the Bitcointalk forum went offline.

Can DDoS Attacks Still Affect Bitcoin’s Price?

DDoS attacks – as indicated by last week’s incidents with Okex and Bitfinex – remain a problem for crypto exchanges, and panic buying and selling can still be triggered by such events. In late 2017, widespread DDoS attacks on crypto exchanges were widely blamed for wiping $53 billion off the total cryptocurrency market cap in less than an hour. In 2018, meanwhile, bitcoin dropped by $300 after Bitmex temporarily closed in the wake of a DDoS attack.

It should be noted, however, that core processes and DDoS prevention mechanisms have improved a lot since the Mt. Gox years. The prospect of any trader – save for a bitcoin whale – single-handedly influencing the price to the extent that was possible in 2013 is remote. Nowadays crypto Twitter is the closest thing we have to the Bitcointalk forum, and in the unlikely event of the social network being DDoSed, bitcoin won’t blink.

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 24 here.


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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Algorithms are at the heart of 21st century life, invisibly controlling many of the systems we use and take for granted on a daily basis. Pervasive algorithms determine the entertainment we consume (Netflix, Spotify), the information we read (Google), and the chatter we hear (Facebook, Twitter). It’s no different in crypto, where complex and ever-evolving algorithms silently govern core processes.

Also read: How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin for Greater Privacy

Algorithmically Controlled Coins

Algorithmic stablecoin projects have come to the fore in recent years, although fiat-backed stablecoins such as Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and True USD (TUSD) capture most of the volume. While the concept of dollar-pegged stablecoins is easy to grasp, algorithmic stablecoins are a little more complex. Essentially, they are cryptocurrencies which attain price stability by algorithmically expanding the coin’s circulating supply to reflect market behavior.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Take Timvi (TMV), for example, an ERC20 token whose algorithm and collateralized algo-stablecoin targets a $1 price to mitigate volatility and breed investor confidence. The security token relies on ETH deposits by participants in the ecosystem, and proprietary financial instruments such as Tbox (an analogue of an interest-free collateral loan), Tbond and Leverage let users earn interest during both bull and bear markets. Timvi’s algorithm “is designed so that the creation of a new Tbox (a blockchain-based account which converts ETH to TMV) does not cause a decrease of the global collateral below the target value.”

What if ETH’s price drops and impacts the collateral in Tbox, you might wonder. In this circumstance, the Tbox owner must recapitalize by depositing ETH or TMV. If they fail to do so, the Tbox is deemed toxic and other users can step in and do the honors, recapitalizing while earning an ETH commission of 1-6% of the pledged amount.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Reserve is another much-hyped algorithmic stablecoin, backed by high-profile investors such as Coinbase, Peter Thiel and DCG. Messari dubbed Reserve one of their “top projects to watch in 2020.” Like Timvi, the stablecoin system employs algorithms to manipulate supply and maintain its price ($1), striking a neat balance between stability, decentralization and profitability. Reserve is staffed by a team of 20 including Google and OpenAI veterans, and is advised by Patomak Global Advisors, led by former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins. Algorithms can also be seen at work regulating ecosystems such as Makerdao, to control its dai issuance and collateralization, and to adjust the supply of Saga’s SGA token.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Algorithmic Trading Strategies

In the old days, traders congregated on the floor of exchanges, barking into phone receivers and making elaborate hand signals. With the advent of electronic markets, however, trades could be executed with algorithms rather than humans, taking much emotion and impulse out of the equation. Such algorithms enabled traders to trigger trades at the optimal price, accounting for factors such as trade size, time of day and market status.

High-frequency trading (HFT) is as popular a strategy in the cryptosphere as it is on the stock market. A subset of algorithmic trading, this high-speed process sees traders utilize algorithmic programs to exploit modest price discrepancies in the markets. Oftentimes, HFT firms will go so far as to situate their trading servers in close proximity to exchanges’ matching engines to win an edge in speed and make off with handsome profits on arbitrage. This can even be facilitated by the exchange in question, at no extra charge; last year, Singapore platform Huobi began offering this arrangement – known as colocation – to high-frequency traders, who could expect to make trades 70 to 100 times faster than other users. Gemini and Erisx also offer colocation, hoping it will mean traders choose to do business with them rather than competitors.

Of course, algorithmic trading encompasses a vast range of strategies – from time-weighted average price (TWAP), wherein crypto traders seek to buy or sell a fixed amount of an asset gradually over a period of time, to iceberg, where they buy/sell large orders of an asset without revealing the order’s true size to the rest of the market. It is difficult to imagine a modern financial market operating without algorithms.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Transaction-Tracking Algorithms

Crypto forensics firms such as Chainalysis utilize proprietary algorithms to monitor and flag suspicious or fraudulent transactions on exchanges, as well as to identify certain individuals operating in the cryptosphere on behalf of hawkish lawmakers and legislators. One software, Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction), tracks transactions made on exchanges using digital assets such as bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and TUSD.

Firms like Chainalysis are increasingly being tapped up to help crypto platforms achieve regulatory compliance, particularly pertaining to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes. They are also employed by government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Europol, all of whom are desperate to de-anonymize crypto users – often with little justification. It’s little wonder pro-privacy advocates are concerned about the long-term effects of such incursions. By all accounts Chainalysis’s algorithms are incredibly effective, which is why you might want to think about using a coin-mixing service to preserve your privacy.

Privacy-Enhancing Algorithms

Fittingly, privacy advocates are hitting back with algorithms of their own; Samourai is developing a tool called Solomon, a smart UTXO selection algorithm that takes the past history of UTXOs as well as user initiated tags into account when composing transactions. It will automatically choose the best UTXOs to combine for optimizing each transaction. As privacy proponent and bitcoiner Lauren MT explains:

Solomon is based on the observation that the cat and mouse game between bitcoin wallets and chain analysis tools is highly asymmetric. CA tools have an almost perfect memory (the blockchain) while wallets are mostly amnesic when it comes to coin selection … the first goal of Solomon is to give a “memory” to the UTXOs controlled by the wallet.

To the developers, this memory provides a more formal tool for reasoning about the benefits/limitations of a specific coin selection algorithm. To the users, it provides useful feedback about the wallet (for manual coin selection, etc) and for the wallet itself, it provides information that can be used by the coin selection algorithm.

The future is algorithmically controlled.

What other algorithms control key parts of the cryptosphere? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Algorithms are at the heart of 21st century life, invisibly controlling many of the systems we use and take for granted on a daily basis. Pervasive algorithms determine the entertainment we consume (Netflix, Spotify), the information we read (Google), and the chatter we hear (Facebook, Twitter). It’s no different in crypto, where complex and ever-evolving algorithms silently govern core processes.

Also read: How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin for Greater Privacy

Algorithmically Controlled Coins

Algorithmic stablecoin projects have come to the fore in recent years, although fiat-backed stablecoins such as Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and True USD (TUSD) capture most of the volume. While the concept of dollar-pegged stablecoins is easy to grasp, algorithmic stablecoins are a little more complex. Essentially, they are cryptocurrencies which attain price stability by algorithmically expanding the coin’s circulating supply to reflect market behavior.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Take Timvi (TMV), for example, an ERC20 token whose algorithm and collateralized algo-stablecoin targets a $1 price to mitigate volatility and breed investor confidence. The security token relies on ETH deposits by participants in the ecosystem, and proprietary financial instruments such as Tbox (an analogue of an interest-free collateral loan), Tbond and Leverage let users earn interest during both bull and bear markets. Timvi’s algorithm “is designed so that the creation of a new Tbox (a blockchain-based account which converts ETH to TMV) does not cause a decrease of the global collateral below the target value.”

What if ETH’s price drops and impacts the collateral in Tbox, you might wonder. In this circumstance, the Tbox owner must recapitalize by depositing ETH or TMV. If they fail to do so, the Tbox is deemed toxic and other users can step in and do the honors, recapitalizing while earning an ETH commission of 1-6% of the pledged amount.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Reserve is another much-hyped algorithmic stablecoin, backed by high-profile investors such as Coinbase, Peter Thiel and DCG. Messari dubbed Reserve one of their “top projects to watch in 2020.” Like Timvi, the stablecoin system employs algorithms to manipulate supply and maintain its price ($1), striking a neat balance between stability, decentralization and profitability. Reserve is staffed by a team of 20 including Google and OpenAI veterans, and is advised by Patomak Global Advisors, led by former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins. Algorithms can also be seen at work regulating ecosystems such as Makerdao, to control its dai issuance and collateralization, and to adjust the supply of Saga’s SGA token.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Algorithmic Trading Strategies

In the old days, traders congregated on the floor of exchanges, barking into phone receivers and making elaborate hand signals. With the advent of electronic markets, however, trades could be executed with algorithms rather than humans, taking much emotion and impulse out of the equation. Such algorithms enabled traders to trigger trades at the optimal price, accounting for factors such as trade size, time of day and market status.

High-frequency trading (HFT) is as popular a strategy in the cryptosphere as it is on the stock market. A subset of algorithmic trading, this high-speed process sees traders utilize algorithmic programs to exploit modest price discrepancies in the markets. Oftentimes, HFT firms will go so far as to situate their trading servers in close proximity to exchanges’ matching engines to win an edge in speed and make off with handsome profits on arbitrage. This can even be facilitated by the exchange in question, at no extra charge; last year, Singapore platform Huobi began offering this arrangement – known as colocation – to high-frequency traders, who could expect to make trades 70 to 100 times faster than other users. Gemini and Erisx also offer colocation, hoping it will mean traders choose to do business with them rather than competitors.

Of course, algorithmic trading encompasses a vast range of strategies – from time-weighted average price (TWAP), wherein crypto traders seek to buy or sell a fixed amount of an asset gradually over a period of time, to iceberg, where they buy/sell large orders of an asset without revealing the order’s true size to the rest of the market. It is difficult to imagine a modern financial market operating without algorithms.

The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market

Transaction-Tracking Algorithms

Crypto forensics firms such as Chainalysis utilize proprietary algorithms to monitor and flag suspicious or fraudulent transactions on exchanges, as well as to identify certain individuals operating in the cryptosphere on behalf of hawkish lawmakers and legislators. One software, Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction), tracks transactions made on exchanges using digital assets such as bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and TUSD.

Firms like Chainalysis are increasingly being tapped up to help crypto platforms achieve regulatory compliance, particularly pertaining to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes. They are also employed by government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Europol, all of whom are desperate to de-anonymize crypto users – often with little justification. It’s little wonder pro-privacy advocates are concerned about the long-term effects of such incursions. By all accounts Chainalysis’s algorithms are incredibly effective, which is why you might want to think about using a coin-mixing service to preserve your privacy.

Privacy-Enhancing Algorithms

Fittingly, privacy advocates are hitting back with algorithms of their own; Samourai is developing a tool called Solomon, a smart UTXO selection algorithm that takes the past history of UTXOs as well as user initiated tags into account when composing transactions. It will automatically choose the best UTXOs to combine for optimizing each transaction. As privacy proponent and bitcoiner Lauren MT explains:

Solomon is based on the observation that the cat and mouse game between bitcoin wallets and chain analysis tools is highly asymmetric. CA tools have an almost perfect memory (the blockchain) while wallets are mostly amnesic when it comes to coin selection … the first goal of Solomon is to give a “memory” to the UTXOs controlled by the wallet.

To the developers, this memory provides a more formal tool for reasoning about the benefits/limitations of a specific coin selection algorithm. To the users, it provides useful feedback about the wallet (for manual coin selection, etc) and for the wallet itself, it provides information that can be used by the coin selection algorithm.

The future is algorithmically controlled.

What other algorithms control key parts of the cryptosphere? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post The Algorithms That Control the Cryptocurrency Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet

Darknet markets (DNMs) supply all manner of goods, some legal, others less so, but all purchasable with cryptocurrency and delivered to your door. Indeed, many people’s first exposure to bitcoin is when they have the need to purchase something off the darknet. For shopping of last resort, you need money of last resort – bitcoin, or possibly monero. Here’s how to safely make your first darknet purchase.

Also read: Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying on the Darknet

This guide is intended for complete beginners. Whether you’re a student seeking study-enhancing nootropics, or a septuagenarian with limited internet skills but a need for pain relief, this article is for you. In this example, we’re going to run through the steps for purchasing CBD oil off the darknet, but the same procedure can be used to acquire any one of the several thousand items listed on popular DNMs.

Plea Bargain Shows Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time

CBD oil is a popular pain relief remedy that can alleviate a range of afflictions. Although derived from the marijuana plant, CBD is not psychoactive and does not contain THC. Despite being legal in most countries, CBD oil can be hard to obtain in certain regions. The darknet can take care of this (and much more) by discretely delivering the legal compound to your door with no questions asked.

If this is your first time making a darknet purchase, be aware that there are a lot of steps to follow. However, each of these is simple to grasp, and detailed instructions are provided throughout this guide. Once you are accustomed to using darknet markets, repeat purchases can be made in under two minutes, making the retail experience almost as seamless as Amazon. The difference is, on the darknet you get to keep your privacy while purchasing items that Amazon can’t supply.

Step 1: Buying Bitcoin

You need cryptocurrency to order goods on the darknet. Bitcoin (BTC) is the most widely used cryptocurrency, both on the darknet and elsewhere, but certain DNMs favor monero (XMR) instead. Monero is essentially a more private version of bitcoin that makes it harder for anyone to connect XMR transactions with your real world identity. If you’re only making a small and innocuous purchase, such as CBD oil, no one is likely to be interested in establishing your identity anyway. For the purposes of establishing the difference between the two cryptocurrencies, all you need to know is this:

Bitcoin (BTC): More widely accepted, easier to buy.

Monero (XMR): More private, can be easily swapped for bitcoin.

Thus, regardless of which of the pair you intend to use, you should start by buying bitcoin. A quick and relatively private way of doing so is to use a peer-to-peer market such as Localcryptos.com. This enables you to buy bitcoin from private individuals, who will accept payment into their bank account, as well as alternative methods such as Paypal, Alipay, and Moneygram. A full explanation of how to make a bitcoin purchase on Localcryptos follows below.

If you can’t access Localcryptos, or would like alternative options for privately buying bitcoin, see “How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person.” Note that some of the platforms recommended in the article are for more experienced users, and may be confusing at first.

If you’re a beginner, and would prefer an easier way to buy bitcoin, you could install the Bitcoin.com Wallet, available for Android or iOS. Follow the setup instructions, including making a copy of the 12-word wallet recovery phrase that’s shown on-screen. Click the green ‘Buy’ button in the top right of the screen, select ‘BTC Bitcoin Core’ and then the amount in fiat currency you wish to buy (e.g. $50). You will then be prompted to enter your email address, followed by the four-digit verification code you’re emailed, followed by your personal details such as address and credit card number.

Bitcoin.com Wallet App Marks Over Five Million Wallets Created

Once the purchase has been made, the BTC will show up in your Bitcoin.com Wallet. Purchasing bitcoin in this manner is less private than using a P2P exchange such as Localcryptos. However, neither the payment processor nor the developers of Bitcoin.com Wallet will have any knowledge of what you do with the BTC once you send it to a darknet market. In other words, purchasing bitcoin via a service that requires you to complete know your customer (KYC) identification does not preclude you from spending those coins on the darknet or elsewhere.

Buying Bitcoin With Localcryptos

If you already own bitcoin, or have obtained some using one of the methods described above, you can skip this section. Otherwise, here’s how to purchase your first BTC on Localcryptos.com.

Localcryptos Allows You to Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC
Localcryptos.com

Click the ‘Log in’ button in the top right of the Localcryptos homepage, then scroll down and click ‘Don’t have an account? Let’s create one.’

Create an account with a username, password, and email and complete the captcha.

Tick the box to confirm that you don’t reside in Australia and agree to the terms of service.

From the dropdown menus at the top of the page, select ‘Buy,’ ‘Bitcoin-BTC’ and your desired payment method e.g. ‘Bank transfer.’ The list will populate to show sellers who meet your criteria. To the right of each listing, you will see the minimum and maximum amount each seller is willing to trade e.g. ‘$50 to $100.’ Below each seller’s name, you can see the number of trades they have completed. More trades corresponds with a higher reputation.

Select a seller willing to sell an amount of BTC that corresponds with the $ value you require. Each bitcoin is divisible into 100,000,000 units, so you can purchase a fraction of a bitcoin that correlates with the precise value of your $ purchase. Click the ‘Buy BTC’ button to the right of the seller you wish to trade with.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet

On the next screen, enter the amount you wish to buy in fiat currency (e.g. USD or GBP) into the first field, then below ‘Send a message’ enter your greeting and push the button marked ‘Open trade.’ You will see the words ‘Waiting for the seller’ and a yellow padlock icon while the seller places the BTC you’re about to buy into escrow. This is a special type of bitcoin wallet that prevents either party from accessing the funds while the transaction is taking place.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet
After opening a trade on Localcryptos.com to buy bitcoin, wait for the seller to put the BTC into escrow before transferring the money.

The seller will respond with their payment details, such as a bank account number and sort code. Send the funds to the seller’s account and then click the button that says ‘Mark as paid.’

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet
When you see this message, your Localcryptos wallet should be loaded with BTC.

The seller will check their account and, when they see the funds, release the bitcoin that’s locked in the escrow wallet. Click ‘Wallet’ at the top of the page and you’ll see the BTC in your Localcryptos wallet. Click on the wallet and you’ll be taken to a transaction page where you can send your BTC to a different wallet – in this case one pertaining to the darknet market where you will be shopping.

Step 2: Accessing the Darknet

Darknet sites have a domain that ends in ‘.onion’ and are not accessible using a regular web browser. To access the darknet, you have two options:

Download the Tor browser.

Download Brave browser and then click the hamburger icon in the top right and select ‘New Private window with Tor’ from the dropdown menu.

With the Tor browser launched or a Tor private window opened in Brave, you’re now connected to the darknet and ready to browse.

Deep Web Roundup: Aero Sinks and the Ghost of Trade Route Rises

Step 3: Picking Your Darknet Market

Just like ecommerce stores on the regular web, DNMs come and go and rise in fall in popularity. At the time of writing, Empire is the most popular darknet market, but is frequently offline for periods of time, making it hard to access. White House Market is another popular market, but requires you to use monero instead of bitcoin, and is thus not suitable for beginners. If you’re feeling confident, though, and would like to give White House a try, you can swap bitcoin for monero using a service like Flyp.me; enter the amount of BTC you wish to swap into the left tab, select ‘XMR’ for the right tab, enter a monero wallet address and you’ll be guided through the rest of the process.

Darknet Markets Flourish as Empire and White House Toast Milestone Achievements

To find out which darknet markets are currently popular, and the .onion URL required to visit each one, see Darknetlive.com or dark.fail. Dark.fail lists numerous darknet sites, including forums; scroll down the page until you see the names of darknet markets and look for the green light beside the URL to denote that it’s currently online.

Paste the URL of the darknet market into your Tor browser bar and hit enter. Some DNMs will load quickly, while others will load slowly or not at all. If the site hasn’t loaded after 30 seconds, refresh it or try an alternative site.

When the darknet market loads, you’re usually greeted by a captcha of some kind to complete, and then prompted to sign in or create an account. As a first-time visitor, you’ll want to create an account, selecting a unique username and password that have no connection to your real world identity.

Step 4: Funding Your Darknet Account

Once you’ve created your account and logged in, look for a ‘Wallet’ or ‘Account’ button, usually situated in the top right menu. Then look for a button marked something like ‘Deposit BTC’ or ‘Generate bitcoin address.’ You’ll be presented with an address comprising a string of numbers and letters that looks something like this:

1BvBMSEYstWetqTFn5Au4m4GFg7xJaNVN2

Copy this text in its entirety and paste it into the ‘Send BTC to address’ tab in Localcryptos (or into your personal bitcoin wallet if that’s what you’re using) and select the amount of bitcoin you wish to send. Click ‘Max’ if you want to send the entire balance. If you’re using Localcryptos, press the yellow button marked ‘Transfer’ and then sit back and wait. Within 30-40 minutes, your coins will show up in the BTC wallet for your darknet account.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet
The deposit page on Empire Market.

Step 5: Browsing Your Darknet Market

Most DNMs feature a search bar at the top of the main page where you can filter the product listings. This is White House Market’s for instance:

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet

You may wish to filter results to only show items dispatched from your own country, since these will arrive quickest and are less likely to be intercepted.

Browse the search results, clicking on each listing to view the product in more detail. Pay attention to the price, the item description (including weight or quantity) and the vendor’s feedback rating.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet
A sample listing on White House Market.

After finding an item that meets your criteria and budget, click the button marked ‘Buy’ or similar. On the order page, you’ll be prompted to enter the delivery address and select postage type. It’s up to you whether you wish to use your own name or an alternate name if the package is being delivered to your home address.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet

Darknet markets encourage buyers to encrypt their order information using PGP. Doing so scrambles the message, using a code that only the vendor can decipher. If you’d like to use PGP for added security, you can find a guide here. Failing that, some darknet markets have a button you can check to auto-encrypt the order using the vendor’s PGP key. This is better than sending a message in plaintext, so use this option if it is available.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet
The order page on White House Market.

Hit ‘Submit’ or similar button and your order will be sent to the vendor and the cost of the purchase deducted from your DNM bitcoin wallet.

And that’s it: you’ve successfully made your first darknet order. When the item arrives in a few days, log back into your DNM account and mark the order as ‘Finalized’ or ‘Received.’ This will release the funds, which have been locked in escrow up until this point. You can also leave feedback for the vendor if you desire.

Using bitcoin and accessing the darknet for the first time can be bewildering. With a little practice, though, it soon feels second nature and you’ll become comfortable at placing orders with relative ease. From there, it will be a rapid progression to discovering the many other things you can do with cryptocurrency.

Do you think darknet markets are becoming easier to access? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Goods on the Darknet appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin for Greater Privacy

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin for Greater Privacy

Mixing bitcoins using a noncustodial service increases fungibility without having to relinquish control of your coins. Bitcoin mixing services let you keep your coins and retain your privacy, for nothing more than a modest fee and the time it takes to mix them. The most popular noncustodial mixers for bitcoin core and bitcoin cash are based on Coinjoin and are easy to deploy. Here’s how you can use these tools to increase your onchain privacy.

Also read: How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

Whirlpool Brings Bitcoin Mixing for the Masses

Privacy-conscious bitcoiners gained new powers this week with the release of Whirlpool for mobile. Using the service, which is built into Samourai’s Android wallet, you can mix coins on the go, increasing your onchain privacy without relinquishing custody of your BTC. The software, previously only available on desktop, provides a means of cycling UTXOs, thereby breaking the deterministic links between them. The technology uses a version of Coinjoin, based on the same tech that powers BCH mixing service Cashshuffle.

Already, there are signs that bitcoiners are mixing their UTXOs en masse, with coin joins (CJ) accounting for over 1% of transactions in recent BTC blocks. Chain analysis companies can observe that CJs are taking place, but cannot reliably correlate the inputs with the outputs of the transactions.

As one user urged in Whirlpool’s Telegram chatroom, “Pollute the UTXO set with CJ’s … we need that critical mass of people using these privacy tools regularly because it will totally mess with [the] chain analysis side.” The more people who coin join, in other words, the better for everyone. Altruism aside, however, there are more tangible reasons to use Whirlpool, such as breaking the link between coins you’ve withdrawn from known (KYC’d) wallets and the wallets you’d like to transfer them to next. The following guide explains how to use the mobile implementation of Whirlpool.

How to Use Whirlpool to Cycle Your Coins

1. After installing the app on your Android device, send some BTC to your Samourai wallet by hitting the blue ‘+’ symbol in the bottom right and then the green ‘Receive’ icon.

2. Once you have received coins into your wallet, you can proceed to mix all or some of them using the built-in Whirlpool service. The smallest amount you can mix is a little above 0.01005 BTC; this includes the mixing fee and will gain you entry to the 0.01 BTC pool; the other two pools are 0.05 and 0.5 BTC respectively. (Although you can mix a large amount of BTC in a small pool, the process will take longer than if you were to send it to the largest pool it’s eligible to enter.)

3. To start mixing, click the blue ‘+’ symbol in the bottom right of the app and then tap the Whirlpool icon. After a few seconds, Whirlpool will load.

4. Select ‘Mix UTXOs’ and then choose which UTXOs in your wallet you wish to send to Whirlpool. (This guide assumes you have a basic knowledge of unspent transaction outputs or UTXOs; if not, it is recommended that you read up on them before proceeding. The main thing to know is that a wallet balance of 0.1 BTC can be made up of multiple UTXOs and you can choose which of these you wish to send to Whirlpool.)

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin

5. Select which of the three pools mentioned at the outset you wish to enter and set a miner fee of low/normal/high. Coin mixing is an exercise that’s best unhurried (not least because dragging it out can defeat timing analysis) so there’s no need to rush; once your coins are mixed you’ll have years in which to hold or spend them at your leisure.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin

6. Review the details of the mix you’re about to start on the summary screen and when you’re ready select ‘Begin Cycle.’ You will be prompted to mark the toxic change output (i.e any UTXO created and sent back to your wallet, unmixed) as ‘Do Not Spend.’ Select ‘Yes.’ This small UTXO can be spent at a later date, but will be temporarily hidden in Samourai as combining it with mixed UTXOs can break the anonymity.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin
Doxxic change is UTXOs that have not been mixed, and which may contain deterministic links to previous identifiable onchain transactions.

7. You will now see a screen displaying your pre-mix UTXOs as queued. It can take several hours or more for a mixing pool to gain enough liquidity from other users for your UXTOs to enter, so just keep the app running in the background on your phone.

8. Once mixed, your UTXOs will appear in the post-mix section of Whirlpool. This can be accessed by opening Whirlpool and twice tapping the text that reads ‘Total Whirlpool Balance’ at the top of the screen.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin
Postmix coins have no deterministic links and can be spent or stored.

9. Mixed UTXOs will not be returned to your wallet balance; instead they will remain in Whirlpool. To spend them, click the three dots in the top right of the Whirlpool screen and select ‘Post-mix transactions.’ Then click the blue ‘+’ icon in the bottom right and select ‘Send.’ You will be able to send BTC up to the maximum amount stored in your post-mix Whirlpool. Alternatively, you can access your post-mix coins from within the main wallet by clicking the three dots in the top right and selecting ‘Spend from post-mix Whirlpool.’ (To alternate between your unmixed Samourai balance and your mixed Whirlpool balance, click the logo in the top left of the wallet homescreen.)

And that’s it: you’ve successfully mixed your coins and regained a precious piece of privacy that’s eroded daily by surveillance exchanges and their chain analysis partners. Whirlpool is easy to use, bringing noncustodial coin mixing to intermediate bitcoin users. All of the wallet’s features, as well as tips on optimizing your post-mix privacy, are beyond the scope of this article, but see the company’s Whirlpool guide and Twitter summary for further information. More in-depth answers and privacy enhancing techniques can be sourced from the Whirlpool Telegram group.

For all the convenience that mobile mixing brings, it does require running Whirlpool in the background on your phone for hours. And because the app is in beta, there may be the odd crash or performance issue, though your funds will remain safe at all times, even if a restart is required. Better and less intrusive mixing can be obtained using the Whirlpool desktop GUI or the CLI client.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin

How to Mix Your BCH Using Cashshuffle

Like Whirlpool, Cashshuffle is an implementation of Coinjoin, but for the Bitcoin Cash network. Although not currently available for mobile, the desktop version of Cashuffle works very well and is a cinch to use. To mix your bitcoin cash with the aid of Cashshuffle, just follow these steps:

1. Download the Electron Cash wallet, which is the BCH equivalent of Electrum for BTC. Then either import an existing BCH wallet or create a new one and securely back up the recovery phrase.

2. If you’ve set up a new wallet, or imported one that contains no funds, click ‘Receive’ and send BCH to the address generated. Once the incoming transaction has confirmed, you’ll see the balance displayed in the Electron Cash wallet with a green tick. Now you’re ready to get shuffling.

3. Click the Cashshuffle icon in the bottom right of the wallet GUI (it’s the second icon from the left). This will activate Cashshuffle.

4. Like waiting for players to join an MMORPG, you need enough participants to join a Cashshuffle to begin mixing. This usually only takes a few minutes, and you can see the number of participants (marked ‘Players’) by clicking the ‘Coins’ tab in the top right. Shuffles are performed once five participants have joined.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin

5. Your fresh UTXOs will show up in the ‘History’ tab of Electrum Cash, with a green tick denoting when incoming transactions have confirmed onchain. Each mixed UTXO is accompanied by a description that reads ‘Shuffle’ to distinguish it from non-mixed UTXOs.

6. To send shuffled coins, click ‘Send’ and you’ll see ‘Cashshuffle Enabled’ to denote that you are about to use mixed coins. Click the button to the right to send unshuffled coins from your wallet instead, but avoid mixing the two types so as not to undo the privacy gains you’ve made from shuffling.

How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin
Sending shuffled coins using Electron Cash.

That’s all there is to it. Mixing coins using Cashshuffle is easy and, thanks to the low fees of the Bitcoin Cash network, extremely economical. In testing, for example, I was able to mix 0.1 BCH for just 135 sats.

6,000 Mixes and Climbing

Almost 6,000 Whirlpool cycles have been completed this year, a figure which has almost surpassed 2019’s total. In fact, the 0.5 BTC pool has already passed last year’s total, with the mobile release playing a large part in boosting adoption. In addition, 7,000 BCH have been shuffled in the past week using Cashshuffle.

The time and effort required to mix coins, while not trivial, is now bearable thanks to the release of products such as Whirlpool for BTC and Cashshuffle for BCH. Just as our ancestors took cheap and plentiful land for granted, the same is true of early digital real estate in bitcoin land, when all UTXOs were assumed to be untainted. The hoops we have to go through today to remove deterministic links from coins are worthwhile, though, thwarting chain analysis and allowing bitcoiners to privately stack sats.

What other noncustodial coin mixers are you aware of? Do you think more bitcoiners will use Coinjoin technology now it’s becoming more easily accessible? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post How to Mix Your Bitcoins Using Coinjoin for Greater Privacy appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements

Darknet Markets Flourish as Empire and White House Toast Milestone Achievements

Business is booming on the darknet. Despite ongoing DDoS attacks, Empire Market has now passed 1 million users and two years’ trading. White House Market is also going strong, boasting almost 100% uptime in its first six months and over 60,00 users. In related news, the darknet has gained a new search engine that features vendors and listings from DNMs extending all the way back to Silk Road.

Also read: White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

White House Market Celebrates 6 Months of Uptime

When news.Bitcoin.com reviewed White House Market (WHM) in January, the site had 6,000 listings. That number has now swelled to 14,000, and there are also 60,000 users of the monero-based darknet market. Notably, the number of WHM listings is now roughly equivalent to Empire. In a signed PGP message celebrating six months of business with nearly 100% uptime, WHM’s admin thanked the community for their business and support. In a thread on the market’s Dread board, users praised its good customer support. “WHM has been my go to market the past month or two. I urge everybody to switch over and learn to pay with XMR,” urged one. “Best market since Dream,” added another.

The admin of fellow monero market Monopoly chipped in “Congrats brother, it doesn’t matter how much you try we will always be 1 month older than you.” All though still tiny, Monopoly has also been growing steadily, with the number of listings tripling to almost 500 in just over a month. The site’s accountless design is intended to provide better security for vendors and customers while preventing exit scams, since funds aren’t custodied.

Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements

Empire Market Surges Past 1 Million Users

Empire has endured a torrid time over the last few months, with the site frequently inaccessible due to DDoS attacks. It is partially due to Empire’s disrupted service that other DNMs including WHM have prospered. However, Empire remains the largest market by some distance, having surpassed 1 million users in January. Last week, Empire’s admin posted on Dread to mark two years in business and promised: “We now have a new team of dedicated market moderators, most disputes have been caught up with and dispute times drastically improving. Support for vendors has also massively improved, all new tickets from vendors are being answered within 24 hours.” The Empire admin also addressed the attacks the site has endured, writing:

The combined DDoS attacks we receive are the strongest DDoS attacks in darknet history. Regardless of this we are always adapting, we are always putting in a lot of work to stay online and our uptime is improving. There are various reasons why DDoSers target us, one of those reasons is to attempt to extort us, another reason is that when we are stable it’s harder for other markets to exit scam effectively. Since day 1 there has been a lot of FUD directed at us, but regardless … we plan to stay online for many many years to come.

Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements

Darknet Gets a Powerful New Search Engine

There was further good news for darknet users today with the release of Recon (reconponydonugup.onion/), a new search engine developed by Dread operator and notorious darknet personality Hugbunter. Designed as a dedicated search engine for DNMs, Recon enables users to search by market or vendor. The tool is useful for customers seeking out a favorite vendor who’s migrated markets, but may also prove useful to law enforcement and darknet historians trying to connect the dots.

Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements
Recon markets that are searchable.

In typical darknet fashion, the site was inaccessible at press time, but screenshots provided by Darknet Live, which described the tool as “next level,” show what visitors can expect. Currently in public beta, Recon has been described by its creator as “the largest darknet market vendor archive service and multi marketplace search engine, providing up to date content from the majority of established markets all in one place. We strive to serve a fast and easy to use platform allowing you to cross reference vendor details, listings, statistics and marketplace addresses.” Hugbunter explained:

This is all accomplished through years of data archiving from past marketplaces and the integrating of an API system for active markets to easily share their public vendor and listing data to us on a regular basis. Vendors can provide updates to their followers on Recon after claiming their profile and submitting a post. These posts are combined into a newsfeed where users can keep up to date with their favorite vendors.

Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements
A sample vendor page from Recon.

Hugbunter is clearly proud of Recon, which was 18 months in development, and Dread users were impressed on first inspection. “This is some of the best news I’ve heard since silkroad and BMR days,” wrote one. “Absolutely fantastic, I’d give you a hug if I could.” Darknet users maintain a healthy level of paranoia, and there will be concern about the unhealthy amount of power that one man – Hugbunter – wields over the DNM economy, recalling the fate of other darknet leaders like Dread Pirate Roberts. For now, though, the darknet community seems happy to toast the success of its leading marketplaces and the release of a dedicated search engine with the potential to build trust and minimize harm.

What do you think about the darknet getting a new search engine in Recon? Do you think darknet markets are becoming stronger and more secure? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Darknet Markets Flourish as White House and Empire Toast Milestone Achievements appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Community Gets Prepping as Coronavirus Spreads

Crypto Community Gets Prepping as Coronavirus Spreads

Crypto Twitter (CT) might not be the first place you’d think to look for pandemic survival strategies, but in recent weeks the community has gone into overdrive, busily discussing scenarios related to COVID-19 aka the coronavirus. While some figures have merely wondered what effect the outbreak will have on the bitcoin market, others have started comparing prep notes in anticipation of doomsday.

Also Read: Bitcoin and Doomsday Preppers – Would Crypto Have Any Survival Value If SHTF?

Crypto Twitter: Corona Takeover

Messari founder Ryan Selkis was one of the first major figures from CT to get under the hood of this thing: on February 10 he expanded Messari’s daily newsletter to include the latest coronavirus developments. Mentioning that he had prepared a “what if” disaster plan complete with supplies, travel protocol, and even Messari policy changes, Selkis linked readers to a shared gdoc which summarized the outbreak, provided historical background and real-time updates, and was chock full of hyperlinks for further reading. A Twitter list of “the people I’m following most closely for new developments and studies of the virus” was also created.

Of course, crypto was referenced in passing, with Selkis noting that the potential pandemic “will tell us quite a bit about how bitcoin and crypto ecosystems respond to disruptive macro events at this type of scale.”

Since the newsletter was published, various figures from the cryptosphere have weighed in. U.S.-based exchange Kraken revealed that it had a “global collapse and pandemic survival strategy in place since our founding in 2011” while touting its “remote-first, decentralized team of 800+.”

Crypto Community Gets Prepping as Coronavirus Spreads

Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, meanwhile, announced that the platform had donated 10 million RMB worth of medical supplies via its Charity Foundation: the fund paid for everything from nitrile gloves and masks to disinfection liquid, protective suits and oxygen machines.

The most interesting stuff, at least for fans of The Walking Dead, has been conversations centered on prepping: disaster-management scenarios covering short, mid and long-term lockdowns. It’s probably to be expected: at the time of writing there are over 83,000 cases of Coronavirus across dozens of countries, and just under 3,000 deaths.

Survival kits are doing a roaring trade right about now, and one website – theprepared.com – has been suffering periodic outages due to surging traffic. The site contains a lengthy guide for people keen to protect themselves in the worst case scenario which advises readers to “stock up on commonly used medications” and “prepare for the inevitable stomach problems that will arise from eating your shelter-in-place food by buying Imodium AD and similar products.” There are also daily updates and developments, with a survivalist slant, in their blog.

Crypto Community Gets Prepping as Coronavirus Spreads

How Prepping Aligns With Crypto Philosophy

Although they are often treated with derision, preppers only seek to immunize themselves, insofar as is possible, against future disaster. Instability isn’t some illusory mirage on the horizon, it’s already here – manifested by market movements and troubling real-time maps enumerating the infected – and if the virus spreads globally, those who have at least countenanced the notion will be better placed to survive than those who’ve buried their heads in the sand.

In any case, there is much ideological common ground between preparedness advocates and crypto enthusiasts, with the former much more likely to hold gold, precious metals and bitcoin in recognition of the continued devaluation of the dollar. After all, these assets can’t be co-opted by desperate governments or, like paper money, burned to generate heat in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Moreover, it’s easy to see the ideological equivalence between concepts of economic sovereignty and self-sovereignty as it pertains to the most precious commodity of all: life itself.

As for the disproportionately high number of flexible remote-working posts advertised in the crypto industry, perhaps that’s just a happy coincidence rather than a widespread fear of virus-spreading from handshakes. That said, the borderless nature of work in the cryptoconomy – with project teams spread throughout the world and a preponderance of virtual conferences – should mean, if not business as usual, then more stability in the face of corona-related disruption.

Crypto Community Gets Prepping as Coronavirus Spreads

A recent survey over 1,500 people on CT sought to determine why the coronavirus was the subject of such intense discussion among the fintech community. Responses to Coindesk contributor Nathaniel Whittemore suggested a combination of “sky is falling” sentiments, macro hedging and belief in BTC as a safe haven. Stephen Palley, an advisor at The Block, tossed in his two cents, opining that “one strand of crypto fundamentalism embraces virus doom prepperism b/c it correlates with a view of bitcoin as an end-days asset class.”

Another Twitter user, @HectorRosekrans, suggested “Finance and tech people are far more attuned to exponential trends than most. Add to this a Bitcoiner’s natural skepticism of authority, plus a conditioned response to media narratives that seem to intentionally miss the plot to serve a narrative, and you have a perfect storm.”

Whatever the answer, Crypto Twitter is unlikely to lose interest in COVID-19 any time soon. If you follow such accounts to learn about bitcoin and ether, don’t be surprised when you’re strongly advised to stock up on batteries and bug out bags.

Do you think the crypto community is right to be concerned about the coronavirus? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Crypto Community Gets Prepping as Coronavirus Spreads appeared first on Bitcoin News.

13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now

13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now

If cryptocurrency is designed to reconstruct the financial world while introducing major improvements in transaction speed, privacy, cost and convenience, debit cards represent a useful bridge between old and new. A preponderance of crypto debit card options now exist that allow cryptocurrency to be exchanged for spendable fiat currency at the touch of a button. Let’s take a look at a baker’s dozen of them.

Also read: How to Get Free Bitcoin in 2020

European Crypto Debit Cards

Plutus is one of the longest running crypto card services, having pitched up in 2015. The London startup has its own loyalty token (PLU) which is awarded to users every time they use their debit card. Notably, though, it’s a noncustodial platform which lets users retain control of their private keys. Usable in almost 200 countries, the card can be topped up using GBP or EUR, with ETH and PLU the only supported cryptos at the current time. Plutus also doubles as a virtual bank account, which is offered to residents anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) region for free.

13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now

Wirex is another popular option for Europeans. Founded in 2014, the London fintech firm was the first to release a contactless, multi-currency Visa card and boasts over three million customers in 130 countries, having processed $2 billion worth of transactions. Wirex’s slick light-green debit card supports conversion from several major cryptos, has a native built-in utility token (WXT), and gives users 0.5% BTC on in-store purchases through its Cryptoback program, rising to 1.5% if you hold 500,000 WXT tokens. There’s a modest card account maintenance fee of £1.00/€1.20/$1.50, with all other fees and limits broken down here. Having achieved success throughout Europe and the APAC region, Wirex intends to expand into Canada, Japan and the U.S. in 2020.

These Cards Will Let You Spend At Least 10 Different Cryptocurrencies

Monolith is a noncustodial option that allows ETH and ethereum-based tokens to be stored in its mobile wallet before being converted and spent on the Monolith Visa card. Billed as a “decentralized bank,” Monolith is closely aligned with the defi movement that has come to define Ethereum. DEX integration will be added soon, together with support for the Ethereum Name Service.

13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now
Monolith

Since 2017, UK digital bank Revolut has let users from the EEA buy, hold and exchange crypto, with the possibility of instantly exchanging any of 30 fiat currencies directly into bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and XRP (and vice-versa). Revolut takes a flat 1.5% cut but it’s possible to transfer crypto to other Revolut members in seconds without paying a fee. Buy goods in-store or online using the Revolut debit card or app; if you only have crypto in your account, Revolut will exchange it into fiat in the retailer’s local currency at the point of purchase. Cryptocurrencies are only available on Revolut’s paid plans: it’s £6.99 a month for a Premium card and £12.99 for a Metal one.

In the Daily: Monero Upgrade, Revolut Auto Exchange, SETL Administration

Cryptopay is one of the original bitcoin payment cards, and offers a plastic prepaid card (for ATM withdrawals and offline shopping, $15) and a virtual equivalent (online, $2.50). Available in the U.K., Russia and soon to be available in Singapore, Cryptopay supports only bitcoin alongside fiat currencies GBP, USD and EUR. For a breakdown of the relevant fees for both cards, see here.

It’s fair to say Europe is one of the best regions for those wishing to use crypto-fiat debit cards; in addition to the aforementioned options, there are cards from Bitnovo, Coinbase, Uquid (89 cryptos supported) and 2gether.

North American Crypto Debit Cards

With support for BTC, ETH, XRP, GUSD, USDC, PAX and BCH, Bitpay’s debit card remains one of the best options for U.S. residents. In fact, it’s available to U.S. citizens only. The card costs $9.95 and can be topped up using eight fiat currencies from the Bitpay wallet, then used anywhere that accepts Visa. Bitpay’s currency conversion fee stands at 3% of the transaction, and a $3 charge is due every time you use an ATM outside the U.S. Transaction limits are set at $10,000 a day and you can’t withdraw any more than $1,500 a day or $5,000 a month.

Wirex is planning to launch in the U.S. in the next month, however, meaning that American citizens will soon have another way to exchange their cryptocurrency for fiat.

Global Crypto Debit Cards

Singapore-based financial platform Paycent claims to have onboarded 94,000 customers to its crypto-fiat debit card since it launched in April 2018. While initially supporting only bitcoin, Payment now offers a wide range of cryptos – ETH, BNB, LTC, XRP and DASH included – and represents a global solution, accepted by 36 million merchants in 200 countries. With Paycent cards, you can convert your virtual currency into fiat then spend it online or in physical stores; you can also withdraw cash in the local tender at ATMs throughout the world.

Three Paycent cards are available: Ruby, powered by China Union Pay, has a daily spending/withdrawal limit of $5,000; Sapphire, powered by Union Pay International, has a daily spending limit of $5,600 and a withdrawal limit of $1,650; and Solitaire, powered by Mastercard, carries a daily spending limit of $13,000 and a withdrawal cap of $10,000. Each card costs $49, and while Ruby has no monthly fee, the other two cost $2 per month.

Launched in 2019, Crypterium‘s card lets you spend crypto at over 50 million merchants in 178 countries, as well as withdraw in fiat from 2.5 million ATMs. If you’re too impatient to wait for the plastic, you can get started with a virtual equivalent in a few minutes. The card is priced at $9.99 and there are no monthly fees unless you jump onto a Plus or Premium plan, where benefits include higher crypto-to-fiat transaction limit, priority support, a savings account, insurance and even a personal manager. Supported cryptos at present are bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and the native CRPT token, with transaction limits set at $10,000 (daily) and $60,000 (monthly).

13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now

Crypto.com’s MCO Visa card (formerly the Monaco Card) is quasi-global, in the sense that it’s available in the U.S., Europe and Singapore. Five different cards are available, with MCO rewards paid in a tiered fashion (1-5%) on every purchase. Disappointingly, even the top-tier card has a monthly ATM withdrawal limit of $1,000.

Crypto debit cards make the process of spending digital assets easier. After all, no one wants to jump through hoops selling their bitcoin on an exchange to fund lunch or coffee. If you want to use your tokens for everyday purchases, get yourself a debit card and start spending those satoshis.

Which crypto debit cards do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post 13 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Right Now appeared first on Bitcoin News.

From Single Key to Sophisticated Computation: The Evolution of Crypto Exchange Custody

From Single Key to Multi-Party Computation: The Evolution of Crypto Exchange Custody

When the first cryptocurrency exchanges sprung up in late 2010, multisig wallets had yet to be invented. As a result, a single private key was commonly used to control all customer funds. Today, multisig has been complemented by sophisticated solutions such as Unbound Tech’s CASP, which uses secure multi-party computation. Despite these innovations, many exchanges have been slow to adapt, and are still using outdated tools to control billions of dollars of customer funds.

Also read: Bitmain Unveils 2 Bitcoin Miners With Max Speeds Up to 110TH/s Per Unit

From Single Key to Multi Key

When Mark Karpeles sent 442,000 BTC between Mt. Gox wallets in 2011, purely to show that he could, it demonstrated the dangers of single key custody. Having one individual in charge of thousands of customers’ assets was a recipe for disaster. On that occasion, the transaction passed off without a hitch, but four months later the Gox boss was to lose 2,609 BTC due to a scripting error. The dangers of relying on one man were further reinforced in 2018 when Quadriga CEO Gerald Cotten died, taking his private keys with him, and leaving 115,000 customers out of pocket.

Crypto exchange custody has come a long way since the days of Mt. Gox, but as the fate of Quadriga, Mt. Gox and their ilk shows, there’s still room for improvement. Hot and cold wallet management remains a delicate balancing act for exchanges, which require the liquidity to expeditiously process customer withdrawals, while minimizing risk in the event of the hot wallet being hacked.

From Single Key to Sophisticated Computation: The Evolution of Crypto Exchange Custody

The year after Mark Karpeles lost a week’s profits through a scripting error, BIP16 was introduced to Bitcoin, enabling P2SH (pay-to-script-hash) whereby coins could be sent to a script that contained specific spending conditions. As a result, it was possible to create wallets that required more than one private key to spend the funds. For example, a 3-of-5 multisig requires three of the five signatories associated with the script to sign the transaction with their private key for the funds to move.

Multisig was a major step towards securing the crypto exchanges that were now springing up as bitcoin’s value began to climb in 2013 and traders flocked to the cryptoconomy. Despite this innovation, however, exchange thefts proliferated. Multisig cannot prevent exit scams from occurring; nor is it suited to protecting more complex crypto assets, such as monero. Moreover, with the emergence of smart contract-based networks, starting with Ethereum, more complex scripting capabilities added more vectors for hackers to exploit.

From Single Key to Sophisticated Computation: The Evolution of Crypto Exchange Custody

From Multisig to Multi-Party Computation

While many exchanges still rely on multisig to secure crypto assets, meticulous management is required to airgap cold wallets, as well as strict controls on how and when employees can sign transactions. The next major breakthrough in exchange custody came in the form of multi-party computation, popularized by tech developers such as Unbound Tech. The firm’s Crypto Asset Security Platform is designed to strike a balance between security and usability, and comes with the invocation to “Secure like it’s cold, transact like it’s hot.”

Secure multi-party computation (SMPC) is a branch of cryptography that enables multiple parties to jointly compute any function while keeping their respective inputs private, and is used to protect private keys and transactions for digital assets held by a custodian or exchange. It ensures that cryptographic keys never exist anywhere in complete form, and is more adaptable than multisig, as it can be deployed to protect a broader range of crypto assets. Similar technology is used by Zengo in its keyless crypto wallet that relies on “mathematical secret shares.”

From Single Key to Sophisticated Computation: The Evolution of Crypto Exchange Custody

The Future of Crypto Custody

Aside from the technological advancements that have been made in locking down custodied assets, there have been improvements in disclosure and communication, and the addition of failsafes that prevent wallets from being drained.

Disclosure: Pressure has been mounting on exchanges to prove they are solvent through disclosing balances on hand. There is no universal standard for doing so, however, and exchanges have been slow to adopt Proof of Solvency.

Communication: It is now common practice for exchanges to inform the public ahead of moving significant balances between cold wallets.

Insurance: A number of regulated exchanges, such as Gemini and Coinbase, have insurance to cover the assets in their care.

Failsafes: In addition to using airgapped vaults to secure private keys, conscientious exchanges have added safeguards such as timelocks, which prevent BTC wallets from being emptied before a certain block height, or which limit the maximum amount that can be withdrawn at one time.

Despite all of these improvements, 2019 saw a greater number of exchange hacks than ever, adding to the $11 billion that has been stolen from crypto exchanges to date. Custodial solutions may keep improving, but for so long as fallible humans are in charge of them, exchanges will remain vulnerable.

Do you think there will be more exchange hacks this year than in 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post From Single Key to Sophisticated Computation: The Evolution of Crypto Exchange Custody appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Bull and Bear Case for Investing in the Top 20 Cryptocurrencies

The Bull and Bear Case for Investing in the Top 20 Cryptocurrencies

Should you buy bitcoin or bitcoin cash? Does tezos have further room to grow? Is monero a long-term hold? There are no absolute answers to these questions and no crystal ball to determine which crypto will pull a 5x before the year’s out. Based on fundamentals alone, however, here are some reasons why you might wish to buy or sell the top 20 cryptos by market cap.

Also read: Bitcoin Rich: 6 Crypto Entrepreneurs Make the 2020 Hurun Billionaire List

Bitcoin

Bull: The bull case for investing in bitcoin core is pretty straightforward: it’s the largest crypto by a country mile with the deepest liquidity, institutional exposure, futures products, and store of value characteristics. It’s also got a halving that’s less than three months away. When the cryptocurrency market kicks into high gear, it’s a safe bet that bitcoin will lead the charge.

Bear: Bitcoin may be the safest haven for crypto investors, but it’s had 11 years for price discovery to play out. With a lack of innovation to renew interest and no major partnerships to announce thanks to its decentralized design, there’s a risk that investors could get bored and seek out more exotic assets. Moreover, with Lightning Network still failing to deliver, in the event of onchain fees rising to 2017 levels, the Bitcoin network could become unusable, diminishing its market value.

Ethereum

Bull: Ethereum 2.0 is on course to launch within the next four months. If the upgrade passes without a hitch, interest in the smart contract network is likely to surge. Its ability to shrug off all competitors to date, from EOS to Cardano, also stand it in good stead for the next bull run. Throw in Ethereum’s network effects, large developer community, and diverse use cases, and there’s a strong case for investing in ETH.

Bear: Ethereum 2.0 carries serious systemic risks, and failure to launch could impact investor confidence. A major defi hack is another black swan event that could surface at any time. ETH’s loose monetary policy is also a reason why it may be less attractive as a long-term investment, despite the network’s undoubted utility.

Lawsuit Against Ripple May Decide the Fate of XRP but Regulators Have the Final Say

XRP

Bull: Remember what ripple did in 2017, rocketing from a few cents to over $3 a token? When market mania returns, a repeat feat is not beyond the realms of possibility. Ripple (the company) is also very well connected, and should it secure a major partnership, such as with a tech or payment giant, expect XRP to moon.

Bear: Huge Ripple holdings of XRP, little enterprise usage, and the specter of a securities lawsuit still linger over the third largest crypto by market cap.

Bitcoin Cash

Bull: Low onchain fees, significant innovation (e.g. privacy, micro-blogging), merchant adoption, and an enthusiastic community all augur well for the future of BCH. It does all of the things that BTC does, but without the risk of fees spiraling overnight. Some investors see BCH as a hedge against BTC underperforming; if bitcoin core fees rocket, expect bitcoin cash to prosper.

Bear: Much of the roadmap for Bitcoin Cash is based around securing global adoption as a medium of exchange (MoE). Should merchants and consumers trend towards using stablecoins instead of volatile cryptos, BCH could falter. There are also some community disputes over matters such as developer funding to be resolved. While not critical, there is an outside chance that acrimony could lead to factions.

Bitcoin Cash Upgrade Complete: 2 New Protocol Changes Added

Bitcoin SV

Bull: The machinations of BSV whales such as Calvin Ayre and Craig Wright, coupled with its limited liquidity which enables manipulation, means the Bitcoin fork could pump at any time. When it does, it’s likely to moon.

Bear: Holding a highly volatile crypto asset with limited adoption is a risky venture.

Litecoin

Bull: Litecoin often leads bitcoin in rallying, serving as the coal mine canary that presages a crypto market upturn.

Bear: As a generic MoE with little to distinguish it from BTC, a fundamental assessment of LTC identifies few attributes that qualify it as moon material.

EOS

Bull: EOS initially escaped the worst of this week’s market dump after its inflation rate was cut. The smart contract network has yet to deliver on its promises, but there remains wads of capital for EOS VC to award in grants, which could kick development up several notches. If EOS-powered social network Voice proves a success, there may also be an uptick in investment appeal.

Bear: The EOS network has been afflicted by degradation of service, while the wildly fluctuating cost of onchain resources such as vRAM can make dapps expensive to run at scale.

Binance Coin

Bull: Binance is the hardest working exchange in the industry, shipping new products at a dizzying rate. One of the best performing assets of the last 12 months, BNB’s fortunes are closely correlated with those of the world’s largest crypto exchange, which is showing no signs of slowing down.

Bear: Should Binance run into regulatory problems or suffer a devastating hack, expect BNB to plummet.

Tezos Will Fork Before It’s Even Launched

Tezos

Bull: One of this year’s best performing cryptos, XTZ could be viewed as undervalued when compared to similar assets such as ETH. Major crypto traders are long tezos, and have the social following to heighten the retail investor FOMO.

Bear: Tezos has yet to deliver significant utility, and there’s a distinct lack of notable projects that have launched on the smart contract blockchain. If Tezos doesn’t start adding real world value soon, XTZ’s goodwill could rapidly be exhausted.

Chainlink

Bull: Chainlink’s transformation from a small cap project into the cryptosphere’s de facto oracle solution, with a $500M market cap, has been impressive. Dozens of major partnerships, with the promise of many more to come, could keep LINK ticking over for months.

Bear: Critics assert that the LINK token has limited utility to justify its market cap, and that Chainlink could operate without it. Few entities are currently using LINK for anything other than speculation.

Charles Hoskinson Interview: From $1 Bitcoin to $10 Billion of Institutional Investment
Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson

Cardano

Bull: A sleeping giant that has been slow to roll out its roadmap, Cardano has yet to realize its potential. If projects begin building on Charles Hoskinson’s Ethereum alternative, ADA could belatedly break out.

Bear: Like LINK, ADA isn’t being used for much aside from trading at present. At some stage, the network will have to start seeing usage, or there will be nothing to justify its valuation.

In the Daily: Monero Upgrade, Revolut Auto Exchange, SETL Administration

Monero

Bull: A privacy coin that actually works, and which sees respectable usage, particularly on the darknet. As the battle against privacy ramps up, monero stands out as a bastion of onchain anonymity.

Bear: A few thousand darknet buyers isn’t enough to send XMR’s price skywards. Furthermore, heightened regulatory pressure could see the privacy coin delisted from major exchanges.

Stellar

Bull: Fast, cheap transactions and the business nous of Ripple mastermind Jed McCaleb.

Bear: An XRP knock-off with a huge circulating supply and little to differentiate it from its more famous forebear.

Tron Partners With Tether to Launch a TRC20-Based Version of the USDT Stablecoin

Tron

Bull: Strong adoption by gambling dapps, tether, and the marketing clout of megamouth Justin Sun.

Bear: A relatively centralized Ethereum clone whose fortunes hinge largely on the actions of one man.

Huobi Token

Bull: The backing of one of the industry’s largest exchanges, with tentacles that reach around the globe, HT should grow with Huobi, particularly if initial exchange offerings undergo a renaissance.

Bear: Siloed within the Huobi ecosystem, HT’s fate is wholly dependent upon that of its issuer.

LEO

Bull: Bitfinex’s market share may have diminished, but the exchange remains a dominant force in the cryptosphere. The parent company of Tether is a shrewd operator with the experience and industry support to propel LEO to new highs.

Bear: Yet another exchange token with limited utility.

Ethereum Classic

Bull: If Ethereum 2.0 proves a flop, ETC could pick up the slack and enjoy a commensurate price jump.

Bear: Four years into its lifespan and Ethereum Classic has produced little to shout about. It’s hard to see that changing now.

Which cryptocurrencies do you expect to perform well this year? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post The Bull and Bear Case for Investing in the Top 20 Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin History Part 24: Celebrating the First Halving in 2012

Bitcoin History Part 24: The First Halving in 2012

As the third Bitcoin halvening approaches, a handful of OGs will wistfully recall the first such event, which occurred in November 2012. Back then, following the completion of block 210,000, the mining reward halved from 50 to 25 BTC. To commemorate the milestone, early adopters threw parties throughout the world, from Tel Aviv and Macau to Munich and Helsinki.

Also read: Get Ready for the Bitcoin Halving – Here Are 9 Countdown Clocks You Can Monitor

A Community Comes Together

The first Bitcoin halving was a big deal, eagerly talked about for months in advance. Discussions and debates centered around the economic consequences of the halving, the future stability of the network and the effect on mining operations. Was Satoshi’s monetary policy of reducing block rewards by 50% every 210,000 blocks really the best way to keep inflation under control or would it signal the beginning of the end for Bitcoin?

Although bitcoin was only worth about $11 at the time of the first halving, community members appreciated the momentousness of the occasion and, in honor of the big day, hosted parties which, one can extrapolate, were attended by a mixture of those who were deeply invested in the community and hangers on who may have had little idea what the hell Bitcoin was. As for those who couldn’t meet up in person, they congregated in chatrooms to trade ideas and raise a metaphorical toast to Satoshi.

Bitcoin History Part 24: Celebrating the First Halving in 2012

Halving Parties Around the World

According to the original thread in the Meetups section of the Bitcointalk forum, unofficial parties were thrown in Las Vegas, Tel Aviv, New Hampshire, Vienna, Macau, Brazil, Munich, Berlin, Bratislava, Switzerland, London, Ukraine and Helsinki. Some were advertised on Facebook while others had their own dedicated thread on the forum, with those wishing to attend communicating with organizers and posting pics from the shindig.

As The Verge reported at the time, “Bitcoin miners, geeks who configure their own computers to mint the cultish digital currency, have been waiting for this moment for a long time — about four years, which is how long Bitcoins have been in circulation.”

Bitcoin History Part 24: Celebrating the First Halving in 2012
Bitcoiners in New Hampshire celebrate the November 2012 halving.

Interestingly, after the final post on November 29, 2012, the halvening thread was resurrected four years later to announce the second-ever halving party in Campinas, Brazil. The resurrection of the thread also led to announcements about parties in Israel and Australia. (Although commonly known as “the halvening” these days, in 2012 it was simply “the halving” until Dogecoin colloquialized the phrase two years later with its own block reward reduction.)

These “crypto parties,” which have echoes of the key signing parties popularized by the cypherpunks, presented an opportunity for bitcoin acolytes to meet in real life and discuss such topics as privacy, technology and Bitcoin’s architecture. Prior to the first block halving, there were few occasions for bitcoiners to interact in meatspace; in 2012, crypto conferences weren’t really a thing.

Bitcoin History Part 24: Celebrating the First Halving in 2012

What Will the Third Halving Bring?

Needless to say, bitcoiners will be hoping the price rises in the wake of the third halving, just as it did after the first, when BTC surged from $11 to $1,100 within 12 months, reaching parity with an ounce of gold and prompting renewed toasts to Bitcoin and its departed creator.

Of course, the crypto landscape has changed immensely since 2012: the 2020 block reward halving will encompass not only Bitcoin Core, but also Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV, both of which emerged from hard forks of the original Bitcoin protocol. Eight years on from the first halving, who’s up for another party?

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 23 here.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Bitcoin History Part 24: Celebrating the First Halving in 2012 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Warren Buffett Slates Bitcoin, Denies Owning Crypto Gifted by Justin Sun

Warren Buffett Slates Bitcoin, Denies Owning Crypto Gifted by Justin Sun

“I don’t have any bitcoin. I don’t own any cryptocurrency, I never will … You can’t do anything with it except sell it to somebody else.” So claimed Warren Buffet in an interview this week on CNBC. Over the course of the two-minute segment, the billionaire investor tore into bitcoin’s value proposition, and obliquely threw shade on $4.6 million lunch guest Justin Sun.

Also read: How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

Buffet Gives Bitcoin Both Barrels

In an interview with CNBC, Warren Buffet has insisted that “bitcoin has been used to move money illegally” and that “cryptocurrencies basically have no value, they don’t produce anything.” Summoning palpable contempt, Buffett added, “You can look at your little ledger item for the next 20 years and it says you’ve got X of this cryptocurrency or that; it doesn’t reproduce; it doesn’t deliver; it can’t mail you a check, it can’t do anything. And what you hope is that somebody else comes along and pays you more money for it later on. But then that person’s got the problem. But in terms of value [assigned to cryptocurrencies], zero.”

Buffett then gave a visibly awkward laugh in response to hearing of Sun’s claim that he owned bitcoin, saying, “I don’t have any bitcoin. I don’t own any cryptocurrency, I never will … You can’t do anything with it except sell it to somebody else.”

As ever, crypto Twitter was on hand to provide thought-provoking nuggets: “Warren’s life fortune is dependent on the USD maintaining value. Have to take his opinion with a grain of salt in this area”; “He has obviously never seen or used a dapp”; “People like Warren Buffett want you to save less, not more. They want you to invest in their stocks or consume their products. This is why Buffett hates bitcoin.”

Founder of Tron Altcoin Justin Sun Takes Over Bittorrent Inc

Breaking Down Buffet’s Bitcoin Indictment

Crypto might not be able to “mail you a check” as Buffet notes, but it can be collateralized for loans, spent at an increasing number of online and brick-and-mortar venues, used to power growing ecosystems such as open finance, and utilized as a compelling store of value given its unquestionable status as sound money. It was, by some distance, the best-performing asset of the last decade.

Besides, the criticism that you “can’t do anything with it except sell it somebody else” could easily be leveled at gold, a commodity which shares more than a few similarities with bitcoin, the most important being that you can’t arbitrarily pump more gold into the market and dilute its purchasing power. It could also be leveled against stocks.

Prediction: Bitcoin to Rival Gold as a Store of Value in the Digital Age Thanks to Halving

A Meeting of Minds

It was last June that Tron mouthpiece Justin Sun decided spending over $4 million to have dinner with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Buffett was a smart use of funds. In fairness, though the lunch was the prize, the millions went to San Francisco-based non-profit GLIDE Foundation whose beneficiaries include individuals from economically deprived communities. Even if it was an expensive publicity stunt, Sun was doing a good turn in the process and he made a point of mentioning that Bittorrent and Tron’s U.S. headquarters were located in the same city as GLIDE.

In the event, Sun’s long-mooted sit-down with investment doyen Warren Buffett was one of the most talked-about events (or nonevents) in crypto last year: the entrepreneurial upstart meets the billionaire Oracle of Omaha. After forking out $4.57 million at a charity auction to break bread with Buffett, Sun had to cancel citing kidney stones, before the dinner finally occurred in late January.

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains

Given the seven-month delay, people were understandably eager to hear about the nature of the 3.5 hour discussion. Sun shed plenty of light on Twitter, saying “Amazing dinner w/ @WarrenBuffett finally! Thx for your support & advice on how to take Tron to the next level! Loved our talk on Bitcoin, Tesla & Tron! Glad to support @GLIDEsf as well! C U at #BRK2020 & our reunion meal in 2030!”

Sun also mentioned the price of the meal ($515.05), stated that the insights he received were “priceless,” and that he had sent Buffett his first bitcoin, which was stored in a Samsung Galaxy Fold Sun had brought along as a gift. The Tron CEO even noted that the BTC price had risen 16% in the time since he made the donation, and that Buffett was “impressed by the speed of #TRON.”

After all the buildup, the takeaway seems to be that Buffett’s crypto-skeptic stance remains unchanged. Prompting the octogenarian to perform an ideological 180 always did seem a trifle ambitious. Buffett’s denial that he received bitcoin from Sun is a little more perplexing, though. Either someone’s lying, or one of Buffett’s aides took receipt of the crypto Buffett was gifted, allowing both parties to claim vindication on a technicality.

Do you think Warren Buffet is wrong about bitcoin? Do you think he ever received bitcoin from Justin Sun? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Warren Buffett Slates Bitcoin, Denies Owning Crypto Gifted by Justin Sun appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin

Buying bitcoin is a bit like buying contraception: it’s a basic human right, you should be entitled to do so privately, and it’s nobody’s business what you plan to do with it. Whether you’re buying bitcoin to set aside for a rainy day or to expend immediately in a fit of passion, you shouldn’t have to broadcast your intentions to the world. Here’s how to obtain bitcoin without forsaking your anonymity.

Also read: How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously

Mine, Earn, Exchange or Buy?

In 2020, you have four ways of acquiring bitcoin: mining, earning, exchanging, or buying. While anyone can mine bitcoin, only those with the dedicated racks of hardware can do so profitably. Thus, despite the lure of newly minted coins with no transactional history, mining is not a realistic way of obtaining bitcoin. Earning, typically through working for a crypto company, provides a more practical means of obtaining bitcoin, but isn’t remotely anonymous since your employer will have all your pertinent details, and may be obliged to pass these on to government agencies. Exchanging – that is, swapping goods or services for bitcoin – is a more practical way to get your hands on cryptocurrency.

You could set up your own bitcoin-only store, allowing you to sell physical and digital goods in exchange for crypto. With no fiat payment rails connected, you can run the website and accrue bitcoin without disclosing your identity. Naturally, you’ll need to have something that people desire sufficiently to part with their beloved bitcoin; think high quality merchandise, tasteful art, bespoke bitcoin jewelry, or genesis block-inspired posters. Of course you don’t have to set up your own website to sell goods for bitcoin; there are already dozens of online stores where you can become a vendor with no questions asked. Welcome to the darknet.

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

Despite what mainstream media would have you believe, not everything for sale on darknet marketplaces (DNMs) is illegal. Thus, you don’t need to break any laws in your quest to swap goods for bitcoin. In addition to legal paraphernalia of the sort found in head shops, DNM vendors sell medicinal items such as CBD oil. In truth, you can sell anything you can think of on the darknet; the only limits are your imagination and market demand. While selling on DNMs is one of the most anonymous ways to obtain bitcoin, it’s not the quickest or most practical. If you’re looking to acquire bitcoin in a hurry – be it to place a DNM order of your own or because the price of BTC is shooting up – you’ll need to buy it directly. Thankfully, there are still ways to purchase bitcoin anonymously, or at least privately i.e. without needing to undergo KYC, with the complete loss of privacy and risk of identity theft this carries.

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously in Person

There are two primary ways to buy bitcoin in person – that is, by leaving the house. One is to purchase bitcoin using a BATM – an automated machine that will let you swap fiat currency for cryptocurrency. Finding a bitcoin ATM near you is easy, and as a previous guide from news.Bitcoin.com explains, there are ways to purchase crypto from BATMs completely anonymously, if you don’t mind bending a few rules. Even if you’re a stickler for playing by the book, a BATM is typically more discreet than using a centralized exchange to acquire crypto.

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

The second option is to find a bitcoin seller willing to meet you in person for a cash deal. Filter search results on Localcryptos, Localbitcoins, or local.Bitcoin.com by area, and then message sellers to see if they’re willing to meet. Regardless of what the platforms’ terms of service say (LBC doesn’t permit in-person meets any more), many sellers will be happy to arrange a cash deal. Naturally, you’ll need to establish trust on both sides, and it makes sense to start with a relatively small purchase before building up to larger amounts as trust develops. Another way to sniff out local sellers is to attend bitcoin meet-ups in your area and crypto conferences. Also search on Linkedin for OTC sellers in your region. There’ll be some chancers and time-wasters to sift through, but once you find a reputable seller, you’ll have your own private supply of bitcoin on tap.

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously Online

If you’re looking to anonymously buy bitcoin without leaving the house, your best bet is to use a P2P exchange such as Localcryptos or local.Bitcoin.com. There’s a range of payment options available, from bank transfer to gift cards and Paypal, and your details will only be disclosed to the seller. If you’re keen to conceal your identity from the seller altogether, it’s conceivable to send funds from an account you control that’s not in your name; a Paypal business account for “Acme Trading” for instance, or a Venmo account that a kindly friend will allow you to use. For a rundown of the main P2P bitcoin exchanges, see this guide from news.Bitcoin.com.

Finally, there are rumors of individuals paying third parties – homeless; the unemployed; students – to complete KYC on their behalf, and then using their identities to obtain crypto debit cards. If such apocryphal tales are true, they would provide a means of purchasing cryptocurrency that cannot be traced back to its actual buyer. There are also rumors of readymade identities being bought on the darknet, and used in the same manner to anonymously buy bitcoin.

How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person

Bitcoin is protection – yes, contraception – against the unexpected. It is a safeguard against account seizure, a protection against black swan events, and a hedge during economic uncertainty. You owe it to your present self to acquire bitcoin and you owe it to your future self to do so as privately as possible. Your bitcoin is nobody else’s business. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What other private bitcoin buying methods can you think of? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post How to Anonymously Buy Bitcoin Online and in Person appeared first on Bitcoin News.