Wielding the Tools of Liberty: Exploring Wendy McElroy’s Latest Book ‘The Satoshi Revolution’

When Satoshi Nakamoto launched the Bitcoin network, not only was the protocol a breakthrough in computer science, but it transformed the way society perceives money, economics, and freedom. “The Satoshi Revolution” written by Wendy McElroy delves into the transformative technology Nakamoto introduced 11 years ago by exploring the evolution of this new money. McElroy’s book describes how cryptocurrencies can enrich the lives of individuals fighting for liberty in a world filled with monetary manipulation and political propaganda.

Also read: No Backdoor on Human Rights: Why Encryption Cannot Be Compromised

The Abolition of the ‘Money Monopoly’

Two weeks ago I sat down and read Wendy McElroy’s latest book “The Satoshi Revolution,” a chronicle that describes the invention of Bitcoin and how it can alter the way society can operate going forward. McElroy is a well known Canadian libertarian author who has written a number of books since the early eighties. She also cofounded The Voluntaryist magazine created in 1982 and when I first started my path toward anarcho-capitalism, I read a number of McElroy’s articles. McElroy’s words, like the many others I was reading at the time from Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises, fundamentally changed the way I looked at the world. A few years ago, McElroy came to write for news.Bitcoin.com and I was very excited to see what she had to say. I found out later that she was writing a book about Bitcoin, Satoshi, and the cryptographic tools that have the potential to promote economic freedom.

Wielding the Tools of Liberty: Exploring Wendy McElroy's Latest Book 'The Satoshi Revolution'
The Satoshi Revolution by Wendy McElroy is now live on Bitcoin.com. Check it out today.

Bitcoin.com now has McElroy’s 2020 e-book “The Satoshi Revolution” hosted on the website and available to anyone interested in reading the title. The Satoshi Revolution’s opening chapter discusses how Satoshi gave the world the first practical solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem. Not only that, but Bitcoin revolutionized our conception of money and finance because it provides a system that removes third party interference. “The trusted third party problem has haunted modern financial systems and centralized exchanges because people require an intermediary to make them work,” McElroy’s introductory chapter explains. McElroy highlights the fact that third party intermediaries can be “good or bad,” but the “current system of state-issued money and central banking” has proven to be a failure.

McElroy provides a comprehensive history of the past and the first few chapters of her book do a great job explaining the trusted third party problem. She talks about Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard’s arguments for free markets and how they discussed private currencies that could help bolster individualism. However, despite economists explaining how things could be designed for the betterment of society, McElroy’s words describe what really happened. “The modern neglect of free-market money” and the manipulation of banking through ‘trusted’ third parties. Freethinkers and “radicals” however not only debated the subject of private currencies, they also “experimented with private currencies and new economic models.” McElroy highlights these events by stating:

Happily, their main economic goal was the abolition of the “money monopoly.” The term referred to three different but interacting forms of monopoly: banking, the charging of interest, and the privileged issuance of currency. The abolition of state power over currency was the focus, and they eschewed the use of force to implement their own schemes.

Wielding the Tools of Liberty: Exploring Wendy McElroy's Latest Book 'The Satoshi Revolution'
“The revolution of 2009 went unnoticed by most people because it was peaceful, orderly, and technologically arcane. In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto released open source software by which peer-to-peer transfers of digital wealth, called bitcoins, flashed over an immutable and transparent ledger, called the blockchain,” McElroy explains in her book.

Introducing a Better System That Serves the Needs of the People, Not the Elite

The book’s beginnings further explain how a radical individualist theory grew worldwide amidst the creation of the United States. Certain aspects of early America had shown signs of a prosperous free market concept, but McElroy underlines how the government eventually extinguished this idea and outlawed private money. Further, in the book, McElroy weaves through topics like the Mises Regression Theorem and the cypherpunks promoting cryptographic tools during the eighties and nineties. At that time a few more radicals tried to create private currencies and chapter two tells cautionary tales about those who attempted to create digital cash before Satoshi. From here, McElroy describes the introduction of Satoshi Nakamoto and the emergence of Bitcoin. Over the last decade, there have been many debates over whether or not Satoshi was a libertarian. McElroy gives an in-depth look at the political motives the creator might have had and leveraged evidence from early writings. On January 3, 2009, the Bitcoin network was unleashed, giving society a new path to choose from in a world filled with manipulated monetary policy.

“Individuals had a viable, private currency that allowed them to control their own wealth and become their own banks—to self-bank,” an excerpt from McElroy’s book notes. “At last, there was a practical path away from the manipulated fiat and the corrupt financial institutions that formed the basis of state power.” McElroy adds:

Bitcoin came at the right moment. Just two years before, the monetary monopoly had caused the devastating financial crisis of 2007-2008 across the globe. Bitcoin and the blockchain offered individuals a better system—one that served their needs, not those of the elite, and it promised financial independence and control that is the foundation of autonomy.

Wielding the Tools of Liberty: Exploring Wendy McElroy's Latest Book 'The Satoshi Revolution'
“One argument for centralization inevitably arises. If every individual pursues his own self-interest, then chaos is said to be the inevitable outcome, especially when an endeavor involves many individuals The opposite is true,” McElroy underscores.

McElroy describes Satoshi’s early writings and the Bitcoin network’s nascent years. Not too long after the Wikileaks donations and the creation of the Silk Road marketplace, governments started taking cryptocurrencies seriously. The mid-section of The Satoshi Revolution details how the U.S. government and bureaucracies worldwide have tried to deal with the digital currency revolution. McElroy’s book notes how the elite realized peer-to-peer transfers sidestep central banks and state-issued currencies. Because freedoms like these are bolstered by crypto, the nation-states know their power is weakened, McElroy writes. So politicians and bankers have tried to curb peer-to-peer trading by calling it “illegal money transmission” and more recently bureaucrats are out to extinguish coin mixing applications. The Satoshi Revolution underscores how the very existence of cryptocurrency has threatened the central planners and manipulators. The threat scares them incredibly and McElroy’s book cites this occurrence on many occasions. The Satoshi Revolution describes how these freedom-promoting benefits have invoked an all-out attack against Bitcoin.

“Crypto’s existence raises the question of whether the state is necessary,” McElroy stresses. “If the free market can so easily assume one essential state function—the issuance and circulation of currency—then why can’t it assume others, or them all?”

The Satoshi Revolution Further Cements the Concept of Separation of Money and State

Overall, McElroy’s novel is a fascinating dive into the beginnings of private money and how an anonymous creator in 2009 changed everything. The 171 pages kept me intrigued throughout and I learned a number of things I didn’t know before. I always think a good book should make me look at things from a different perspective and this one certainly does that. The Satoshi Revolution also has a thought-provoking introductory preface written by the well-known Austrian economist Jeffrey A. Tucker.

Wielding the Tools of Liberty: Exploring Wendy McElroy's Latest Book 'The Satoshi Revolution'
“The currency actually expresses decentralization, however, because every individual can withdraw his participation at any time and offer another means of exchange. That’s the defining feature of decentralization; the individual freely renders or withdraws his consent,” The Satoshi Revolution highlights.

The Satoshi Revolution has cushioned my belief that I too am doing something special by teaching people about the economic freedoms cryptocurrencies can provide. Before I found crypto, I concentrated on various problems society faces, but I realized that I wanted to circumvent the state in a more productive fashion. Just as religion was separated from the state, I feel that the separation of money and state will promote the greatest effort toward freedom this world has seen in centuries.

McElroy’s book The Satoshi Revolution has made me aware that my path will not be fruitless. Toward the end of McElroy’s tome, I realized she had come to the same conclusion as I ha. “Crypto-anarchism: [Is] the most important political development in my lifetime had occurred without my noticing it happening, which is inexcusable,” McElroy concedes. She further notes:

I had spent my time on “official” libertarianism— donation-driven and donation-defined institutes, tax-funded universities, academic journals. When did freedom ever come packaged in tax dollars, awards, and honors delivered at rubber-chicken dinners? Freedom is a street fight. Crypto- anarchism took over the streets without my noticing. I notice now.

The Satoshi Revolution is now live on Bitcoin.com and it’s a pleasure to introduce Wendy’s latest work alongside Jeffrey Tucker’s preface. If you are interested in reading an excerpt from the first chapter of Wendy McElroy’s 2020 e-book then follow this link here. If you liked the first chapter, you can leave your email address to receive your free PDF copy of The Satoshi Revolution.

What do you think about Wendy McElroy’s tome on private money, Bitcoin and its inventor Satoshi Nakamoto? Let us know what you think about The Satoshi Revolution in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Wendy McElroy, Fair Use, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay.


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France, Austria Join Forces to Combat Crypto Crime

France, Austria Join Forces to Combat Crypto Crime
Blockchain analysis offers a glimpse into potentially illegal behavior. Now, French and Austrian technology experts are joining forces to tackle crypto-based money laundering. Visualized Blockchain Connections Reveal Potential Illegal Usage The French blockchain security company NIGMA Conseil, and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), have signed an agreement of cooperation on tracking crypto crime. The two organizations are working on the e-NIGMA platform, built using the AIT GraphSense technology. The organizations will cover the niche of startups like CipherTrace, which already provide services for multiple assets to exchanges. The possibility to trace and chart blockchain connections and transactions are a part of stricter KYC rules, which also require the tracking of coin origins. The tool may be suitable for any business exposed to digital assets. Fabien Tabarly, CEO of NIGMA Conseil, stated, The synergy between a leading European academic research institute and our team of developers has been instrumental in implementing the most innovative tools to fight financial crime in virtual currencies. Tracking wallet clusters has become essential to discover darknet usage and funds with dubious origins. The e-Nigma ecosystem will be able to discover the entities behind crypto wallets, and also track for suspicious transactions. With the addition of blockchain security, AIT expands its general portfolio of data and security services. The Austrian organization already advises on general cybersecurity, systems engineering, camera and video analytics, as well as physical layer security. EU Attempts to Crack Down on Illegal Crypto Usage AIT is also a part of the Titanium cybersecurity project, investigating darknet activity alongside Interpol and other government or academic partners. The EU has been one of the regions with stricter rules against anonymous crypto usage, and a special focus on darknet wallets, as well as coin mixers. Crypto exchanges have also shown they are ready to track the usage of coin mixers, going as far as to suspend accounts. Blockchain connections already known to belong to mixers are being traced by Binance and other cryptocurrency firms. European authorities have also cracked down on the mixing business, closing Bestmixer and exploring it for Bitcoin connections to dark web sites. European businesses will thus have access to an affordable platform that performs multiple actions to possibly satisfy the stricter AMLD5 requirements that came into force at the start of 2020. Europe is also the home of multiple fully transparent exchanges, which will add to their tools for accountability and compliance. What do you think about the e-NIGMA blockchain tracking system? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Images via Shutterstock

XRP Triggers Major Buy Signal As Crypto Asset Reaches Pivot Point

XRP, the native crypto to the Ripple protocol, just flashed a major buy signal, just as the altcoin reaches a major pivot point. Could this be the start of a monstrous rally that will cause shock and awe throughout the crypto market? XRP/BTC Triggers Buy on TD9 Sequential Although XRP has held its position as the number three crypto by market cap with relative ease, following behind only Ethereum and Bitcoin, it has been one of the worst-performing altcoins in the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap over the last two years running. XRP was one of the few altcoins that set a new bear market bottom in 2019, and had some of the poorest year-to-date performance in the last year. Related Reading | Multi-Month Bull Signal on XRP Hints At Astronomical Alt Season Gains  But this year, the altcoin reached as much as over 80% returns from the start of the year. However, a recent correction cut that rally by half already. After reaching a high of 34 cents, XRP has fallen back to a low of 25 cents, where it is currently finding support. The recent drop in the XRP/USD trading pair also caused the altcoin to lose ground against Bitcoin – dropping from 3300 sats to 2700 sats. But the drop also triggered a TD9 buy signal on the Thomas DeMark Sequential Indicator for the XRP/BTC trading pair. The indicator is used to signal a buy or sell, depending on if certain conditions are met. Candlesticks must close in a specific sequence for the signal to trigger, or the count restarts until a successful trigger is confirmed. A 9-count on the TD 9 Sequential indicator has been significant in the past. It marked the start of the recent 2020 uptrend and was successfully used by the tool’s creator, renowned marketing timing expert Thomas DeMark, to call Bitcoin’s tops and bottoms. The tool was used to famously predict the top of the 2017 crypto bubble, and even triggered buy, when Bitcoin reached its bear market low of $3,100 in December 2018. With such accuracy, it could suggest that XRP is ready to moon. Pivot month for this guy… But if you don't want to make $$ that's ok! 🤐 #CryptoIkagi pic.twitter.com/0iJznrAnPl — Mitoshi Kaku 👨🏻‍🚀 (@CryptoSays) February 25, 2020 Ripple About to Rocket From Major Pivot Point Further backing up the theory, is a chart shared of the XRP/BTC pair. The analyst sharing the chart says that XRP is at a major pivot point. The crypto analyst further claims that those who aren’t paying close enough attention to this signal, must not like money, suggesting that there’s enormous ROI to be made for those that take action on this latest buy signal. Related Reading | Ready For Liftoff: Two-Year Downtrend Breakout Could Lead to $14 XRP  Pivot points are notable dates according to certain time-based trading systems, that suggest a major trend reversal is about to occur. Should XRP‘s trend finally reverse against Bitcoin, it could see an explosive rally on the XRP/BTC trading pair. Featured image from Shutterstock

The Last 3 Times This Signal Appeared, Bitcoin Surged. It Just Appeared Again

Bulls can’t seem to catch a break. Bitcoin once again continued to trend lower on Tuesday, falling from $9,550, where it traded at for most of Monday, to prices as low as $9,325 as of the time of this article’s writing. Per data from CoinMarketCap, BTC is now down 3.5% in the past 24 hours. Despite this seemingly endless correction, which began when Bitcoin rejected $10,500, a key technical analysis signal just appeared that may suggest the embattled market is in for a bullish bounce in the near future. Related Reading: Last Time Bitcoin Flashed This Signal, It Rallied 180%. Now It’s XRP’s Turn Indeed, the last three times this signal appeared on the Bitcoin charts, a strong bounce followed each and every time. Bitcoin Could See Bounce Here: Key Signal The signal is the breaking of the lower Bollinger Band on the daily chart of Bitcoin, specifically on Coinbase. The Bollinger Bands, as described by Investopedia, is a “technical analysis tool defined by a set of lines plotted two standard deviations (positively and negatively) away from a simple moving average.” As Big Cheds, a popular crypto trader recently remarked, BTC just breached the lower band for the first time in 2020. This is relevant was the three previous cases of this happening were followed by relatively strong bounces. In December, a drop below the technical level when Bitcoin fell to $6,400 led to an immediate bounce the next day towards $7,000. In November, a brief break below this level led to a 10% rally in the following days. And in October, a brief close under this level was followed by the infamous China pump that took Bitcoin to $10,000 from $7,300. $BTC #Bitcoin Daily chart- Breaching lower BB for the first time in 2020 pic.twitter.com/e4txlesCGW — Big Cheds (@BigCheds) February 25, 2020 History repeating will see BTC bounce here. This isn’t the only thing that has bulls somewhat bullish. Quantum Economics’ Mati Greenspan remarked that BTC is currently trading in a symmetrical triangle-esque formation, with prices consolidating towards the apex. Symmetrical triangles are often seen as continuations higher when the leading price action is an uptrend (and vice-versa). Testing out a new triangle here. If we can hold the lower line it should be pretty 🐂ish. pic.twitter.com/0ZB0ScBfNQ — Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) February 25, 2020 There’s also this chart from chartist Nunya Bizniz, which shows BTC’s price action on a weekly basis over the past four years. It suggests that Bitcoin has been trading in a clear logarithmic uptrend the entire time, with the asset bouncing off the support depicted on at least seven separate occasions. History repeating will see BTC bounce at the uptrend, which is currently around $8,800-$9,000, depending on how fast the price reaches there. This is important as decisive bounces off this growth level are historically what led the crypto asset into bull markets. BTC Weekly: (Line chart – no wicks – closes only) Is this where Bitcoin is headed? pic.twitter.com/th2V6GSMOg — Nunya Bizniz (@Pladizow) February 25, 2020 Featured Image from Shutterstock

ConsenSys Spins Off Health Division to Tackle US Healthcare Issues

ConsenSys is spinning off its healthcare division into ConsenSys Health, seeking to solve the issues in U.S. healthcare by applying technological solutions.

ConsenSys, the Ethereum-focused company founded by Joseph Lubin, announced on Feb. 25 that it will spin off its health division. The new ConsenSys Health company will develop blockchain use cases to tackle issues in the U.S. healthcare industry.

The announcement is part of ConsenSys’ strategy shift of favoring products such as Codefi and Infura, which led the company to spin out several internal projects into independent entities.

ConsenSys Health focuses on applying blockchain to the health industry, citing issues such as rising costs and access to care as some of the areas where blockchain can contribute. Co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) Joseph Lubin commented on the news, saying:

“Spinning off a separate company in this area is an opportunity for us to combine the powerful technology built by ConsenSys with a team of domain leaders to solve the biggest challenges in healthcare.”

The new company will be headed by Heather Leigh Flannery, who was the Global Lead for healthcare at ConsenSys. She is deeply involved in many initiatives combining blockchain with healthcare, serving on the chair of associations such as HIMSS Blockchain in Healthcare Task Force, Blockchain in Healthcare Global and the Healthcare Special Interest Group in the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance.

The blockchain solution for healthcare

ConsenSys Health will be specifically targeting the U.S. healthcare market as the most ripe for disruption, citing its high per-capita cost — by far the highest among OECD countries.

According to ConsenSys, blockchain can improve on this by addressing the rising costs of research and administration. Making data sharing safer and faster, expanding access to care and engaging patients directly are some of the initiatives where blockchain can help. Flannery is confident that the use of technology can improve the situation:

“The convergence of many emerging innovations, such as blockchain and machine learning, enables us to approach old problems in new ways. This opens up the possibility for improved patient and provider experiences, new business models, and ultimately, a sustainable and value-based healthcare system.”

Healthcare is one of the central themes of the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election. As the primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination continue, most candidates are proposing political approaches to the problem, such as Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All.” Though he is currently leading the polls, the proposal is generating immense criticism due to its radical approach.

A technological solution spearheaded by blockchain may become a more acceptable alternative for the public. Of the remaining candidates, only Michael Bloomberg has shown some interest in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.

Bitcoin Price Hits $15k in Lebanon Amid Worsening Cash Crunch

bitcoin price premium lebanon
The Bitcoin (BTC) price premium in Lebanon is now over 50% with the average price quoted by peer-to-peer (P2P) sellers reaching $15,000. Lebanese Bitcoin Price Premium Continues to Rise According to data from P2P BTC trading platform Localbitcoins, the Bitcoin price premium in Lebanon is still on the rise, with sellers demanding as much as $15,000 per BTC. With the global average spot price in the $9,500 region, it appears, Lebanese BTC price premium has climbed above 50%. Back in January 2020, the Bitcoin price premium in the country was at 25% as the worsening cash crunch has seen more people moving towards the crypto market. According to Al Jazeera, informal capital controls imposed by banks have seen the value of savings decline by about 40%. While sellers might be demanding such high premiums, there is little data to show the volume of trading at such price levels. Strict Capital Controls Boosting Crypto Adoption in Lebanon The situation in Lebanon offers further proof of Bitcoin’s status as a haven asset for people caught in the middle of economic turmoil. From places like Venezuela to Turkey, BTC has offered and continues to offer a viable alternative to the mainstream financial architecture. A severe cash crunch in Lebanon has seen the emergence of strict capital control measures with domestic forex withdrawals and cross-border remittance capped at $50 a month and $50,000 a year respectively. Speaking to Al Jazeera, a group of Bitcoin traders in Lebanon said their average monthly volume has exceeded $1 million since the introduction of capital controls in November 2019. Quoting comments from one of these traders, Al Jazeera revealed: Before the uprising, bitcoin gave me supplementary income, but now, it’s definitely become the primary. Apart from trading, Bitcoin is also providing a channel for wealthy investors in the country to move capital abroad. Rather than taking a 40% haircut on the official forex market, Middle Eastern investors are turning to local Bitcoin traders to transfer funds overseas. Cross-border Bitcoin remittance only takes a few minutes whereas the dire situation in Lebanon is seeing international transactions taking 10 days to complete. The growing distrust of the banking system is also seeing a push towards greater BTC adoption in the country. Since the start of the year, Bitcoin has gained about 32%, reaching a 2020 high of $10,500 earlier in February. Do you think the Bitcoin price premium in Lebanon will continue to rise? Let us know in the comments below. Images via Shutterstock

Retail Crypto Sentiment Flips Bearish For First Time in 2020

The crypto market has recently reached levels of greed after spending much of the second half of 2019 in fear of further downside in the asset class. However, sentiment has just flipped back to bearish after spending the first two months of 2020 bullish. Could this signal that the crypto market is about to crash? Or could this be a contrarian signal that more upside will surprise retail traders? Crypto Investors Turn Bearish, Expect Further Downside in Bitcoin Since the start of 2020, the crypto market has added over 70% in new value to the total aggregate market cap. The increase in valuations comes as Bitcoin and altcoins broke free from downtrend resistance and went on a wild rally for over two full months now. Related Reading | Ancient Math May Be the Key to Making Crypto Bull Market Riches  While the current local bottom was set in mid-December at $6,400, the low for 2020 so far at $6,800 marked the last time collective retail crypto traders were bearish on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Since that date, Bitcoin rose from $6,800 to as high as $10,500 before falling back to current prices. It’s only now that the rally is over that the greater crypto market has turned bearish once again. According to a sentiment poll, crypto traders are expecting downside in Bitcoin before new highs are reached. This is the first time voting resulted in a bearish outcome since the start of the year. #BTC This is the first time retail sentiment has been bearish since January 2, 2020.#Bitcoin #ETH $XRP pic.twitter.com/AVWIgkBzCP — TrademastahBTC (@BTCtrademaster) February 24, 2020 Can Contrarian Trading Lead to Profitable Positions? When 2020 first began, retail crypto investors being bearish suggest that they had been anticipating more downside, meanwhile, the rally was just getting started. Given the fact that retail investors are usually incorrect in their assumptions – just like their bearish sentiment kicked off the early 2020 rally – it could suggest that Bitcoin and altcoins are getting ready for another leg up. Another leg up, would likely take crypto traders by surprise, given their expectations of a deeper drop in the days ahead. The flip in sentiment voting also coincides with the crypto market fear and greed index teetering back toward fear, after spending the last two months in greed territory. Related Reading | Coronavirus Fear Shakes Up Markets, But Crypto Remains Unaffected  Even the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett champions the contrarian strategy to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy when others are fearful. If Bitcoin pushes up from here, the iconic investor’s theory will be proven once again, and retail crypto investors could be left FOMOing into Bitcoin and altcoins at a much higher price. But even if Bitcoin falls, crypto traders will simply take advantage and buy the dip, with the expectations of much higher prices leading up to the halving. Featured image from Shutterstock

Legendary VC Tim Draper Still Crazy Bullish on Bitcoin: Expects Rally to $250k

Bitcoin

While the recent volatility has had some investors running scared, the cryptocurrency and blockchain’s space’s most fervent advocates and prominent investors remain committed to the Bitcoin cause.

Case in point: on Monday, when he was invited to sit with CNBC’s show “Squawk Alley,” legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper explained why he thinks Bitcoin is still on track to reach a price point of, as crazy as this may sound, $250,000 in the coming years.

Should this rally take place, BTC will surge 2,600% from the current price of $9,600 and will have a market capitalization of $4.5 trillion.

Bitcoin Still on Track for Long-Term Explosive Growth, Claims Prominent Venture Capitalist

For most of its first five years in existence, Bitcoin was deemed a joke by many in traditional investment circles and in Silicon Valley, with many basing their theses on the cryptocurrency on its use in the Silk Road, the Mt. Gox hacks, and other debacles that damaged the “friendliness” of cryptocurrency.

But, this started to change when prominent companies and investors began to siphon money into the cryptocurrency markets.

One of these trailblazing investors was Tim Draper. Draper, for those unaware, is an extremely prominent venture capitalist that has made early-stage investments in companies such as Baidu, Hotmail, Tesla, SpaceX, AngelList, Twitter, Robinhood, Coinbase, Twitch, and many others.

The investor also made waves early on in Bitcoin’s story when he purchased millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency when the U.S. Marshals Service auctioned off BTC seized from the Silk Road operation.

While he had many chances to sell off his stash at prices an order of magnitude larger than where he bought BTC at, he has held his coin, asserting that this asset is on track to rally even higher.

In the CNBC segment, he stuck to his long-held prediction Bitcoin will hit $250,000 in 2022 or 2023;

I’m still holding to my prediction. I think Bitcoin will hit $250,000 in 2022 or at the beginning of 2023 , and that is a big move from where it is here.

As to why he thinks this is going to be the case, Draper mentioned Bitcoin as a likely safe-haven investment amid the “interesting ride” he thinks markets will take in the coming months and years, presumably referencing macro trends like the coronavirus outbreak that is taking grip of the world, the political climate favoring more fringe candidates, and geopolitical conflicts and even civil tensions.

He added that how he sees it, Bitcoin is currently on track to become the “currency of choice” of the future, noting that once scaling and payment solutions get integrated, BTC will effectively be a no-brainer over traditional payment rails like Visa (and fiat in general).

Not Entirely Irrational, Models Predict

While Draper’s price target for Bitcoin seems absolutely astronomical at the moment, there are other analysts and a key price model that corroborate the existence of a $250,000 Bitcoin in the near future or at least a price point around that region.

What this writer is referring to is the stock-to-flow model of Bitcoin’s price by PlanB, a pseudonymous quantitative analyst that works at a European institution.

His model — which has been backed tested to an R squared of 95% (which means extremely accurate in statistics) and confirmed to be cointegrated with BTC’s price (rather than a coincidence) — predicts the “fair” price of Bitcoin will reach somewhere from $55,000 to $100,000 after May 2020’s halving.

Yes, this isn’t $250,000, but PlanB has confirmed in a tweet that Bitcoin has overshot the model by hundreds of percent in the past, adding that there’s a good chance BTC could reach $300,000 (and potentially beyond) in the next cycle, before returning lower prior to the next halving in 2024.

The post Legendary VC Tim Draper Still Crazy Bullish on Bitcoin: Expects Rally to $250k appeared first on Blockonomi.

Crypto Crackdown Continues: G20 Advises Adoption of FATF Guideline

G20

It seems regulators won’t let another crypto bull run start before they can implement stringent regulations about industry service providers.

At a recent convention the finance ministers and central bank governors of the members of the Group of 20 (G20) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the authorities urged the implementation of Know Your Customer processes into the businesses of cryptocurrency service providers, echoing a similar attempt from the U.S. and other countries across the globe.

Crypto Service Providers Should Abide by FATF Guideline, Says G20

According to an official G20 communique outlining the going-ons of the event, the group’s authorities in finance want member nations to implement the standards mentioned in a crypto-centric guideline from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization combatting money laundering and other financial crimes:

Building on the 2019 Leaders’ Declaration, we urge countries to implement the recently adopted FATF standards on virtual assets and related providers.

It was added by the G20 ministers that as it stands, they remain worried about the rise of “so-called ‘global stablecoins’ and other similar arrangements that such risks need to be evaluated and appropriately addressed before they commence operation, and support the FSB’s efforts to develop regulatory recommendations with respect to these arrangements.”

For those that missed the memo, the FATF in June of last year released an extensive guideline on how countries and their respective service providers should treat cryptocurrency.

The most pertinent part of the guideline was the part in which the FATF asserted that all entities dealing with cryptocurrency should be actively collecting the customer information of those involved in transactions. The FATF advises the collection of data including the name of the transactor, their location, and the name of the beneficiary of the transaction.

This would likely be the most stringent rules placed upon the cryptocurrency industry yet should G20 and FATF member countries adopt the guideline and turn it into concrete law.

Global Concerted Effort

While this may be a coincidence, this communique comes as some of the world’s most powerful authorities have started to crack down on potential crime in crypto or have pledged to in the very near future.

The E.U. at the start of the year rolled out what is known as 5AMLD, a moniker that references it being the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive of the European Union. Firms in the jurisdiction of the directive should respond to what was outlined in it in 2020.

The directive treats firms like crypto exchanges or custodial wallets just like financial institutions, meaning that industry service providers will need to be on the lookout for terrorist financing risk enabled by cryptocurrency and will need to increase information collection to mitigate other potential crimes.

The implementation of 5AMLD has already affected large crypto businesses such as Bitcoin derivatives platform Deribit, which was forced to move its headquarters and implement mandatory KYC, and social media payment upstart Bottle Pay, which had to shutter its business entirely.

Across the pond, the Internal Revenue Service of the United States is calling upon crypto companies and executives to convene at a March 3rd summit that will discuss how the tax agency can “balance taxpayer service with regulatory enforcement.”

Also, Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, said in a hearing held by the Senate Finance Committee last week that the FinCEN branch of the Treasury will soon roll out “significant new requirements” for entities working with cryptocurrency.

The post Crypto Crackdown Continues: G20 Advises Adoption of FATF Guideline appeared first on Blockonomi.

Tornado Ethereum Privacy Tool Is Okay With USDC Stablecoin Creators

Tornado

Chris Blec is a content creator on YouTube whose channel specializes in Ethereum decentralized finance, or DeFi, topics.

In recent months, Blec has earned a reputation for holding various Ethereum projects to account in the interest of users, particularly on the issues of decentralization, privacy, and beyond.

The decentralized exchange Uniswap is completely decentralized, for instance — no admin can manipulate it.

However, Blec has recently focused a beacon on other top DeFi projects like Compound Finance, which currently has an admin structure that could be abused in worst-case scenarios, however unlikely.

One of Blec’s latest beacons came on February 20th, when he publicly asked Circle, the payments company behind the USDC stablecoin, whether using the Tornado.cash privacy tool on Ethereum was grounds enough to violate that stablecoin’s terms of service.

Within a few days, Joao Reginatto, the Product Lead with the USDC team, responded with some interesting clarifications. 

First, What’s Tornado?

Tornado is a mixer system built on Ethereum that is underpinned by zk-SNARKS privacy tech, or “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge” transactions.

This dApp allows users to have a non-custodial interface through which they can mix their ether (ETH) so as to make anonymize their activities on Ethereum.

And of course, it’s not that everyone has something to hide, but rather that everyone has a reasonable expectation to financial privacy. Industry publication Decrypt just published an investigation into the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), for example, which showed how these names made it extremely easy to track users’ activity on Ethereum.

Tornado is an early and promising solution on the flip side, which allows users to obscure their ETH payments in order to maintain privacy.

Yes, You Can Use USDC With Tornado

Blec’s aforementioned query was picked up on February 24th by USDC’s Reginatto, who responded on Twitter with a series of comments to provide context on how Circle’s leadership was approaching this nuanced privacy issue. 

For context, some cryptocurrency companies have recently moved against users they’ve determined have used mixers, particularly via bitcoin; accordingly, some users in the Ethereum space have been concerned that activities on Tornado might similarly draw ire.

As such, Reginatto made a major clarification to USDC users when he followed up with Blec, saying:

“I can tell you that to date, we have not considered any Circle USDC customer using the current TornadoCash tool to be in breach for the single reason of interacting with TornadoCash. We of course assess every customer’s compliance with our terms on a case by case basis.”

At least as things stand then, that’s a major win for USDC users and a score for Blec’s advocacy efforts. In a separate and related comment, Reginatto noted that while USDC’s smart contract did have a blacklist function, that function had never been used to date, with the suggestion being that USDC’s centralized backers had been provably conservative so far. On that point, he added:

“As the ecosystem and the technology evolve, blacklisting in its current form might likely prove too blunt or simply impractical. Believe me, we think a lot about this topic and are always engaged in collaboration with regulators around the world to conceive better solutions.”

Accountability Is Good for Everyone

It’s not easy to ask the tough questions, but when done in good faith, the results can be extremely productive. Blec’s query to the USDC team and Reginatto’s responses are just one such example. 

Furthermore, beyond Blec and USDC, Tornado is a big winner from this episode. A major crypto company just revealed that it had no direct qualms with the privacy tool, which is obviously legitimizing, and other firms may follow suit in kind.

The post Tornado Ethereum Privacy Tool Is Okay With USDC Stablecoin Creators appeared first on Blockonomi.

Why Bitcoin Price Just Plummeted to $9,350, Liquidating $41 Million In Minutes

Bitcoin price just smashed through $9,500 after repeated tests, causing a flash drop to $9,350 that liquidated $41 million in long positions in just minutes. Is this the start of a much deeper drop, or was this the test of support before Bitcoin rockets higher? Bitcoin Price Plummets to $9,350 in a Flash Bitcoin price has been in a confusing state, ranging back and forth between highs above $10,000 and support at $9,500. But that support just failed, giving way to what could end up being a much deeper drop, and the end to the early 2020 rally. Related Reading | This Tool Says Bitcoin Price Is About to Rip, But In What Direction?  The moment that support failed, Bitcoin plummeted to support at the monthly open around $9,350 before it began bouncing. The drop to $9,350 also coincides with a high-volume node, making it prime target for short-sellers to target longs ready for the next move higher. The market has been oversaturated with long orders since long before the 2020 rally even first began. If Bitcoin moves further to the downside, a cascade of long liquidations could continue to drive the price of the first-ever cryptocurrency down at lightning speed. With so many crypto traders bullish ahead of the halving, it could be an opportunity for contrarian crypto traders to turn the tides and keep prices at bay a while longer. Price Targets to Watch In the Days Ahead If $9,350 holds, it could be the final retest of monthly support before a push higher. The latest move took BitMEX open interest down, although the metric still remains high, signaling that even more volatile price action is likely ahead. The Bollinger Bands Width has been signaling that Bitcoin was soon going to “rip,” but doesn’t tell the direction its headed. After today’s swift move down, it could be the start of Bitcoin price ripping further to the downside, erasing much of the recent 2020 rally. Downside targets include $8,250 and lower all the way down to $7,400. The $6,000 range likely won’t be revisited, much like Bitcoin never went back to the $3,000 range after it found its bear market bottom in late December 2018. Related Reading | Bitcoin To Explode By 80% Before Halving According to Past Cycle Comparison  With Bitcoin’s halving ahead, any downside may be short-lived. The entire crypto market is expecting the cryptocurrency to explode to a new all-time high once the halving occurs, further reducing the supply of the already scarce asset. After this latest drop, Bitcoin price will have more to climb towards setting a new record, as its already down over $1,000 from the local high it set this month.

Non-Fungible Report: NFT Market Cap Could Hit $315 Million This Year

Ethereum

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a blooming sector of the cryptoeconomy. They can be understood as digital collectibles, like CryptoKitties, which are verifiably unique and can be deployed in a multitude of ways, for example as art, ad space, gaming pieces, and beyond.

Like crypto’s decentralized finance arena, most of the NFT activity happening today is happening on Ethereum. And like DeFi, the promising NFT ecosystem seems to be on track for solid growth in 2020. But how much growth might we reasonably expect?

Here, cue in NonFungible, a tracker site for all things crypto-collectibles and blockchain gaming, whose team just published their “Non-Fungible Tokens Yearly Report: 2019,” an excellent trove of information covering last year’s happenings.

Therein, the experts at NonFungible notably estimated that the market capitalization of the NFT economy could reach a valuation over $315 million USD in 2020. If that projection pans out, the NFT market would be bigger than it’s ever been before.

Breaking Down the Numbers

At the end of 2017, the NFT market had a market cap just over $30 million, per NonFungible. One year later, and despite a bear market sinking its teeth into the cryptoeconomy throughout 2018, the NFT market grew some 480 percent to $180 million.

Image via NonFungible

In 2019, the market saw steady growth, rising around 17 percent on the year to just short of $211 million. As the sector has seemingly been heating up in recent weeks, the NonFungible team has estimated that 2020 will more than double the previous year’s growth, with their target being a 50 percent rise to $315 million.

The rise in NFT users over the last few years roughly tracks that market cap trajectory. Per NonFungible, the number of addresses that owned NFTs was 58,000 in 2017. That number rose to 111,640 in 2018, and then growth acutely evened out as NFT addresses peaked at 113,287 in 2019. With the fresh uptick in activity in the space, the tracker site projects a 30 percent climb in addresses for 2020, toward the 147,000 mark.

What Could Drive the Growth?

There are a few factors that appear to be playing into a hotter NFT market in 2020. For one, the wider cryptoeconomy seems to have been tilting bullishly in general in recent weeks, so that increased interest and activity around Ethereum and ETH spills over into niche arenas like NFTs.

Beyond that macro point, there are more focused trends to watch. The launch of the virtual world Decentraland on the Ethereum mainnet on February 20th was a huge development that was years in the making. An associated $100,000 prize campaign has drawn in plenty of new users that are partaking in NFTs for the first time.

These dynamics help explain why Decentraland’s NFT parcels and wearables have been among the best-selling NFTs in recent weeks. But the project isn’t the only virtual world that’s been heating up.

For instance, Cryptovoxels is another like-minded project that has become the de facto gallery world for the cryptocurrency arena’s digital artists on SuperRare — Ethereum’s biggest art platform right now — as Zima Red‘s Andrew Steinwold noted in his latest NFT Data Dump:

“SuperRare is continuing its strong growth streak. Wallets up 6.67% last month and breaking over 1,000 holders of SuperRare art. Again we see SuperRare stats highly correlated with Cryptovoxels. The reason being that Cryptovoxels has become the defacto NFT art platform so SuperRare artists and collectors will make their galleries inside Cryptovoxels.”

Beyond digital worlds and digital art, the rise of Ethereum’s top digital games — namely Gods Unchained, CryptoKitties, and Axie Infinity — is another key dynamic to watch as this year proceeds.

There’s still plenty of room to grow, to be sure, but with so many trends coming together in rapid fashion, an NFT market cap of $315 million seems reasonable in 2020. Let’s see what happens from here.

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Crypto Assets Log Biggest Weekly Loss in Four Months as Coronavirus Fears Spread

The combined market cap of crypto assets logged its biggest weekly drop in the last four months as evidence of further global spread of Coronavirus scared investors. Bitcoin and rival cryptocurrencies slipped by up to $20 billion in just two days, beginning the week on an extremely pessimistic note. Almost all the assets that recorded massive gains heading into 2020 corrected deeply, with supersonic Tezos leading the losses with an 8 percent drop. The high-cap cryptocurrencies that went into losses this week also included Ethereum, Bitcoin SV, and Bitcoin Cash – all of which slipped by 4-6 percent on a 24-hour adjusted timeframe. Meanwhile, Litecoin and EOS were among the least-impacted tokens, registering dwarfed losses of 2.1 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively. Crypto market slips $20 billion already into two days of the current week | Source: TradingView.com, CMC Coronavirus The crypto market’s overall losses came in tandem with similar moves in the global equity bazaars. The US benchmark S&P 500 index recorded its worst daily performance in the last two years on Monday. Likewise, the European benchmark Stoxx 600 surrendered all of its 2020 gains to Coronavirus fears. The virus is likely to weigh on the sentiments of investors this quarter. It has killed about 2,700 people and has infected about 80,000 more both in China and the rest of the world. Almost all the big economies are reporting the first cases of the epidemic, scaring investors further away from the risk-on markets. As the pandemic grows into the market’s conscience, its risks have seldom helped to push cryptocurrencies as safe-haven. Alex Krüger, a prominent market analyst, said in a tweet earlier this week that Bitcoin, the benchmark crypto that typically leads the market rally, is doing its own thing against Coronavirus. Chart shows prices of US tech stocks, US treasuries, gold and bitcoin during the current round of panic. Three of these are strongly correlated during times of stress. The fourth does its own thing. The chart illustrates how unreliable bitcoin correlations with risk assets are. pic.twitter.com/NDhvvBsnex — Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) February 24, 2020 The comments came as a contradiction to years of promotion of bitcoin as an insurance asset against global risks. Noted economist Nouriel Roubini also condemned the cryptocurrency supporters for spreading a false narrative, stating that “crypto is a criminal scam.” “When there’s a prob in the world – econ crisis, even cancer – the self-serving crypto lunatics & blockchain crooks claim that crypto/blockchain will resolve that problem, now even COVID-19,” said Mr. Roubini. “Let’s be clear: all crypto is a criminal scam & blockchain is the most useless technology ever.” Crypto Goes Risk-on Mati Greenspan, the founder of Quantum Economics, meanwhile said that bitcoin and the rest of the crypto assets were tailing the stock market. The popular analyst made the statement after comparing bitcoin’s near-term price moves with that of the US stock market and crude oil. He noted that both the mainstream markets were moving in line with bitcoin’s, showing an absolute interim trend correlation against Coronavirus. Bitcoin correlation with Oil and US stocks | Source: Mati Greenspan The close proximity between the two could help bitcoin extend its upside move in the coming sessions. It could be due to central banks’ promise of injecting more cash liquidity into the system to offset the Coronavirus risks. As has happened in February, the move could lead some part of this money into the crypto market. On a whole, bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrencies are still up by almost $100 billion, as measured from its December 2019 bottom of $166 billion.

Near-majority of Ethereum holders in profit as Grayscale investors increasingly allocate to ETH

According to crypto analytics firm IntoTheBlock, 43 percent of ETH addresses are in profit with the Ethereum spot and derivatives markets seeing explosive growth in key metrics, making the second-largest crypto one of the top-10’s biggest showstoppers this year.

The first two months of 2020 have seen Ether rally nearly 110 percent against the dollar, with a $15 billion injection in market capitalization seeing the coin rapidly gain dominance in the broader crypto market. Spot trading volumes have spiked immensely in recent weeks during ETH’s months-long upsurge, prompting speculation the overall market is positioned for an extended rally.

ETH takes back ground against BTC

Yet the new year rally has already brought about a dramatic change of fortune for ETH holders. Just four months ago a slim 0.01 percent of Ethereum addresses were in profit, when at the time 55 percent of Bitcoin addresses were in the green.

ETH holders in the money
ETH addresses “in the money” – IntotheBlock

The coin has also exhibited a similar show of strength against Bitcoin since the start of the year. Having rallied 68 percent against the original cryptocurrency, ETH/BTC is in the midst of its biggest uptrend since December 2018.

ETH has not seen these levels of price or dominance since July last year—the point at which it collapsed into the start of a six-month bear market and tanked to taking one of its lowest shares of the crypto market ever.

ETHUSD vs. dominance
ETHUSD vs. ETH market cap dominance % – Tradingview

Futures traders, institutional investors long on ETH

Futures traders appear to be jumping in with conviction behind the coin’s uptrend—all ETH derivatives venues have seen steady hikes in open interest in recent months, with aggregated open interest closing in on the $1 billion mark, up roughly 100 percent since late January.

ETH OI

While in USD terms, Bitcoin has seen a larger increase of open interest, $2 billion, proportionately this is a lesser 66 percent gain in terms of the number of contracts being opened. The largely unregulated ETH futures market may not be the most reliable gauge of sentiment, however.

The Grayscale Ethereum Trust may be a more trustworthy indicator. Grayscale’s accredited and institution-only ETH trust has seen a 170 percent increase in assets under management since the start of the year compared to a 50 percent increase for the Bitcoin trust.

The post Near-majority of Ethereum holders in profit as Grayscale investors increasingly allocate to ETH appeared first on CryptoSlate.

FinCEN Rehires Chainalysis Exec to ‘Confront Emerging Threats’

FinCEN Rehires Chainalysis Exec to 'Confront Emerging Threats'
Chainalysis chief technical counsel Michael Mosier will return to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in a new role as Deputy Director and Digital Innovation Officer. According to FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco, Mosier is the “right person with the right skills, at exactly the right time.” FinCEN Seeks Help Engaging Industry and Government Partners As per the official release on the FinCEN website, the bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury is hiring Mosier back on its leadership team to better liaise between different parties. Blanco stated: He brings a range of public and private sector experience that will help FinCEN proactively engage with industry and government partners to confront emerging threats and to capitalize on diverse opportunities in the financial and national security spaces. Mosier was working with FinCEN as the agency’s chief of strategic advancement prior to joining crypto analytics firm Chainalysis in June 2019. He has spent the last few months serving as the company’s chief technical counsel. In his new role, he will be helping the bureau with its work: to protect the financial integrity and national security of the United States. Moving Toward Major Reform? Beyond his technical and strategic capabilities, Mosier brings with him extensive knowledge of blockchain technology as well as a wealth of legal experience. He previously served as deputy chief in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section as well as associate director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.  In addition, Mosier worked as director for transnational organized crime on the White House National Security Council and carved out his early career with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. According to Law360, with Mosier’s guidance, FinCEN is potentially readying for an “array of reforms.” These include the possible enforcement of bills introduced to the U.S. House and Senate last year which would obligate new corporations to reveal their ultimate human owners. They would also have to update their information periodically with FinCEN. This would mark the “first substantial anti-money laundering reforms in nearly two decades.” If incorporated, the bills would help to strengthen the bureau’s position by giving it tougher AML penalties to enforce along with improved ease of information sharing with financial institutions. They would also open the door to further modifications in the AML framework such as adjustments to the requirements when reporting suspicious activity. What do you make of FinCEN’s latest hiring? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Warren Buffett Says He Will Never Own Cryptocurrency

Warren Buffett Profile

American billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett has poured cold water on reports that his anti-crypto stance has softened, stating that he neither owns nor plans to acquire any cryptocurrency in the future.

Buffett’s latest comments come a few days after the much-talked-about $4.6 million dinner with Tron CEO Justin Sun finally happened. Buffett has a history of being dismissive about the value proposition of Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies in general once referring to the top-ranked crypto as “rat poison squared.”

I Don’t Own Any Cryptocurrency and I Never Will

In an interview with CNBC, the Oracle of Omaha denied owning any cryptocurrency while stating that he would never decide to acquire any crypto. Buffett also doubled down on his anti-crypto rhetoric saying cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value and do not support any productive activity.

According to Buffett, cryptos only value proposition lies in the “Greater Fool Theory” wherein the buyer of an asset relies on someone at a future date being ready to purchase the same asset at a higher price. The Berkshire Hathaway chief has consistently described BTC and cryptos as a zero-sum game.

As previously reported by Blockonomi, Buffett has described cryptos as being only useful to charlatans. The ‘nocoiner’ doubled down on this stance in the interview stating that cryptocurrencies allow criminals to move money.

Despite the claims by the likes of Buffett about cryptos being channels for criminality, several reports by regulatory agencies show virtual currencies play an insignificant role in money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing. Wells Fargo, a bank with substantial investment from Berkshire Hathaway, has been hit with a fresh $3 billion fine by Federal authorities in the U.S. over its fake accounts scandal.

Buffett is also one of the BTC doomsday prophets constantly surmising that bitcoin will crash over the years. However, the top-ranked cryptocurrency is the best-performing asset of the last decade, delivering more than 720 times more returns than the company’s stock since 2009.

Buffett’s comments were in response to questions over whether his recent dinner with Sun caused any change in his stance towards cryptos. Back in 2019, the Tron CEO won a bid to have lunch with Buffett, presenting an opportunity for the crypto proponent to invite other stakeholders in a bid to reshape the billionaire’s views on the industry.

Peter Schiff: Warren and I Have One Thing in Common

Buffett’s denial of owning any cryptos also contradicts the reports Sun provided after the event, stating that he transferred $43,000 in TRX tokens to the billionaire investor. The Tron CEO has a history of exaggerated and self-promotional claims which have landed him in trouble not only with the crypto community but with the authorities in China.

In a related development, gold-bug and fellow bitcoin critic Peter Schiff said not owning BTC is the one thing he and the Berkshire Hathaway chief have in common. Like Buffett, Schiff has consistently lambasted bitcoin’s value proposition arguing that gold is a much better safe-haven asset for investors. Schiff also criticized CNBC for not mentioning gold during the interview with Buffett.

While Buffett’s non-ownership of cryptos may be a choice, Schiff’s case is a little different. Back in January 2020, Schiff lost access to his bitcoin after forgetting the password to his wallet.

Other crypto critics have also come out recently to state that they will not consider owning any cryptocurrencies. Earlier in February, Neel Kashkari, the President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve said he would not gift his one-year-old daughter bitcoin. According to Kashkari, cryptocurrency is a giant garbage dumpster populated with mostly fraud and noise.

The post Warren Buffett Says He Will Never Own Cryptocurrency appeared first on Blockonomi.

Crypto Scam: Janet Jackson’s Ex-Husband Sues Facebook

Facebook

Wissam Al Mana, Qatari billionaire, and ex-husband of American musician, Janet Jackson, has taken the Menlo Park-based social media platform, Facebook, to court over alleged crypto scam ads using Al Mana’s image.

The Qatari business magnate becomes the latest victim whose image has been used fraudsters to sell bogus crypto investment schemes. Law enforcement agents around the world continue to warn investors of these elaborate cryptocurrency scams promising massive returns.

Qatari Billionaire Takes Facebook to Court

According to The Times, Al Mana brought a suit against Facebook for defamation, after a crypto platform used the billionaire’s image to promote their illicit scheme on the social media platform. Al Mana filed legal action against Facebook in Dublin, Ireland.

The Qatari business magnate does not own any social media account, according to a statement on the billionaire ’s website, wissamalmana.com. Furthermore, the website states that any social media account claiming to be Al Mana’s and uses his picture “should not be quoted or used as a source of accurate information”.

Al Mana is not the first to sue Facebook regarding crypto scam ads. Another billionaire, John De Mol, creator of the ‘Big Brother’ television show, dragged the social media giant to court after bitcoin scammers claimed that the fraudulent scheme had the blessings of Dutch billionaire.

De Mol’s lawyers argued that Facebook allowed the ads using De Mol’s image on its platform and stated that the fake crypto platform had already stolen almost $2 million from unsuspecting investors. The court later ruled in favor of De Mol and instructed Facebook to remove the ads or face a heavy monetary penalty.

Recently, bitcoin scammers have also used the image of the British TV host and financial expert, Martin Lewis, to promote a fake article purportedly published by the Mirror, this time, on Instagram. Earlier, Lewis hit Facebook with a lawsuit for allowing crypto fraudsters to use his image to swindle investors.

Celebrity Crypto Scam on the Rise

Despite the legal actions initiated by celebrities and personalities regarding fake celebrity crypto scam, these bad actors do not seem to relent.

As reported by Blockonomi back in August 2019, Singapore’s regulatory body brought the public’s attention to fake crypto scam ads that claimed to have the backing of the country’s former Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong.

The fraudulent bitcoin scheme took to its website to publish a fake article from Chok Tong and also asked investors to deposit an amount of money for crypto trading.

Also, scammers used the names and images of Karl Stefanovic, and Waleed Aly, Australian TV presenters, to promote a bogus bitcoin project, claiming that the celebrities were involved in the project.

Furthermore, in June 2019, bad actors falsely claimed that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, endorsed the fraudulent project. Unsuspecting investors were told to deposit AED 1000 to get huge returns in seven days.

Hollywood A-list actress, Kate Winslet, sought legal action against a group of bitcoin scammers who put up a fake BBC interview with Winslet. The fake interview claimed that the Titanic actress stated that she got most of her money by investing in the fraudulent bitcoin investment scheme called Bitcoin Code.

Apart from impersonating celebrities, these scammers have also spread their fraudulent tentacles to include government agencies. Last June, some bitcoin swindlers impersonated the U.K regulatory agency, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and sent fake emails to deceive people into investing in the fraudulent scheme.

The post Crypto Scam: Janet Jackson’s Ex-Husband Sues Facebook appeared first on Blockonomi.

Analyst: Ripple’s XRP Could Fall by Another 25% Due to This Reason

XRP, the native token of the Ripple blockchain, has slipped by more than 23 percent from its year-to-date high of $0.34. And according to a popular analyst, the token is likely to fall further. Full-time trader Bleeding Crypto highlighted XRP’s bearish potential in a tweet published earlier Tuesday. He noted that the cryptocurrency’s spot rate could move lower to fill gaps left open by its futures contracts, drawing comparisons from similar phenomena in bitcoin markets. Bleeding Crypto exemplified his prediction in a chart that showed four unfilled futures gaps. The nearest blank area coincided with the $0.251 level whilst the deepest one was near $0.203. Considering XRP would continue declining to fill the last gap in the queue, its move downhill would take the crypto down by up to 25 percent. Ripple (XRP) heading lower to fill futures gaps | Source: Bleeding Crypto “There are 4 more gaps lower to go. If you don’t think it will get filled, please load up now. My Gap theory has a 90% success rate,” said Bleeding Crypto. Bulls vs Bears The pessimistic statements joined a few bearish forecasts for XRP against an otherwise bullish scenario. The cryptocurrency lately surged by close to 99 percent from its bottom-out level of $0.201. Traders with upside sentiment, therefore, treated XRP’s latest declines as natural price corrections, with one even forecasting a price swell towards $0.70. Don't shoot the messenger. $XRP ¯_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/qi187oZ48A — Financial Survivalism (@Sawcruhteez) February 19, 2020 On the other hand, the indicator of HODL2100K, the IchiEMA, whose flashing the last time had sent XRP 1,000 percent higher, moved into its bullish territory yet again. That allowed a few bulls to see XRP at a $3 valuation this year. Among the bears included veteran trader Peter Brandt who expressed the “possibility” of XRP falling towards $0.207. The noted financial analyst cited a textbook technical indicator, dubbed as Head & Shoulder, for his downside sentiment. Last checked the XRP price was still trading in the range illustrated by Mr. Brandt. It will be interesting to see if this H&S top plays out. If so, the target would be .2071. This Tweet poses a possibility. This is not a prediction. pic.twitter.com/IJiMR2AEnV — Peter Brandt (@PeterLBrandt) February 20, 2020 The downside target set by Mr. Brandt coincided with the futures gap highlighted by Bleeding Crypto. XRP Fundamentals XRP’s gains came in the wake of a macro-crypto price rally. The Ripple token jumped almost in tandem with bitcoin and rival altcoins – and its price correction followed similar downside moves in other assets. Mati Greenspan, the founder of Quantum Economics, said earlier this month that bitcoin and altcoin were rallying because of investors’ growing appetite for risk-on assets. The popular market analyst said that traders attempted to hedge into altcoins against the risks concerning the Coronavirus pandemic, adding that these assets offered better profits. “The evidence of that is the altcoin season,” Mr. Greenspan told the BlockTV. “Altcoins are outperforming bitcoin consistently on a day-to-day basis pretty much since the beginning of this year […] It means investors are looking to take risks, which is pretty much different from safe-haven trading.” Bitcoin lately snubbed its safe-haven tag as risks about the Coronavirus escalated, showing a doubtful correlation with the crisis. The cryptocurrency failed to sustain its climb above $10,000 that further impacted its rival assets, including XRP, to cross above their own crucial price ceilings. That has left the crypto market in the hands of technical narratives.

How to Build an Ethereum Mining Rig at Home in 2020

Ethereum gpu mining
Ethereum (ETH) has become more appealing in 2020, with prices rising above $270. Mining has also picked up, awarding 2 ETH each 15 seconds, or 8 ETH per minute. Ethash Still Accessible to Home-Based Mining Rigs In 2020, the Ethash algorithm is still amenable to home-based mining, and it is possible to build a rig and compete for block rewards. An Ethereum mining rig is best built using GPU. Currently, there are specialized rigs with about 200 million hashes per second. However, the Ethereum community favors a potential hard fork to disable any Ethash-optimized ASIC. Would you support a hard fork that obsceletes ETH ASICs? (Just wondering, this is not a proposal) — Vlad (–support-dao-fork) Zamfir (@VladZamfir) March 28, 2018 Thus, it is safer to still use GPU, which is more agile and in a cinch, can be directed at new networks. Yet, some GPUs are optimized and achieve better performance with Ethash. At-home mining necessarily uses consumer electricity, which may affect profitability. However, mining is also a risky game and in cases of rising market prices for ETH, it may have a more significant payout further down the line. How to Build an Ethereum Mining Rig Building up sufficient hashing power is a matter of connecting more GPUs to achieve the rig’s final setup. Currently, AMD Radeon VII is the most powerful card, producing 90 MH/s, with ProgPoW reaching 30 MH/s. Combining several video cards will quickly raise the price of the rig, as the AMD Radeon VII retails for above $500. Building a rig also requires side components, including a power supply, a CPU, LAN components, as well as a physical crate for holding and ventilating as many GPUs as desired. Experts at the EthereumMiningBot also recommend a smart power plug, to track electricity usage. Essentially, an Ethereum mining rig would resemble an entire computer, a dedicated machine to avoid overloading consumer electronics. A basic Intel i3 CPU is recommended, as well as just basic 4GB RAM and a solid-state drive. Assembling the actual rig can be easier with custom-designed racks or cases, allowing the connection of six GPUs (or 540 MH/s potential). To connect the GPUs, a motherboard with six slots and possibly an additional power button to make switching on technically easier also go into the building of an Ethereum mining rig. For more than three GPUs, a set of connectors may be needed to place the GPUs conveniently and connect them to the motherboard. An SSD memory completes the machine, with the potential to add a hardware wallet, or another basic tool to operate mining pools and receive ETH into a wallet. The power connector will be extremely important for an efficient rig, and the recommendation is to use a model with platinum connectors, to avoid losses. The 1.2 kW Corsair CP-9020140-UK HX1200 allows for maximum power efficiency, to which a smart outlet may be added for tracking. Assembling the computer components may pose difficulties, but an instructional video may help with the task. Ethereum Mining Continues to Grow Mining ETH at home is also a matter of achieving sufficient hashing power and joining the right pool to get a part of the daily rewards. The Ethereum network currently rewards 2 ETH per block each 15 seconds, down from as high as 5 ETH per block in previous reward periods. After the latest hard fork, only 2 ETH will be awarded, leading up to the intentional switch to ETH 2.0, which will rely on staking. But because the Ethereum network has been so slow in introducing staking, mining is still growing. In the past month, mining expanded again above 180 TH/s. At current competition levels and difficulty, ETH mining is once again favorable. Until January 2020, ETH difficulty increased and made some miners give up. After a small emergency hard fork, miners were once again invited to join in, showing a clear pickup in mining activity in the past few weeks. The advantage of a home-based rig is that it is possible to mine while the process shows good profits, disabling the rig in cases of increased difficulty. Mining 1 ETH May Also Cost 1 ETH Building a mining rig for Ethereum may be comparable to buying an Antminer S17 ASIC price-wise. With a price tag of close to $2,000 for a two-GPU setup, mining ETH is also an expensive bid. During times of scarcity, and depending on the supplier, GPU may be scarce or more expensive than expected. Still, it is possible to spend $500 on a GPU with high Ethash performance. With such a setup, producing 180 MH/s, the expected payout would be 4.21 ETH per year. This cost is close to the mining of Bitcoin (BTC), where there is a very thin breakeven. It would, once again, cost 4.21 ETH to mine 4.21 ETH. There is currently one advantage to at-home mining in comparison to cloud mining. A Genesis contract will require about $1,500 to mine at 75 MH/s for a year. Having an at-home setup at 180 or even 200 MH/s is not much more expensive, and will have a longer lifetime. Downtime is also a decision that does not depend on Genesis mining, but on the rig’s owner. Currently, Ethermine and f2Pool mine about 47% of all ETH blocks. Smaller pools manage to gather around 2 to about 10% of the daily reward, but the final daily gain will only be seen in hindsight. Joining a pool is necessary, as solo mining at this stage is impossible and the chances of discovering a block are astronomical. But a pool like Ethermine has a 24% chance of discovering a block and sharing the reward. As of February 2020, ETH reached $266.32, still up more than 100% since the lows last December. Mining ETH profitably is still a dynamic bet, depending on whether the rally continues, and on mining competitors adding hashing power. What do you think about ETH mining in 2020? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @VladZamfir, Youtube @Jobe 

Ethereum ProgPow Set for July Amid Heavy Opposition

Source: iStock/Photographer, Filmmaker, Designer Ethereum core developers have announced rather suddenly that the long-discussed programmatic proof-of-work (ProgPoW) will be implemented as a part of the hard fork scheduled to follow the planned Berlin upgrade. This has once again split the community into different camps of opinion. Two years after its proposal, criticized even by many Ethereum

Just In: Warren Buffett Gave Away His Bitcoin From Justin Sun

warren buffett bershire hathaway bitcoin
Yesterday, Warren Buffett doubled down on his anti-crypto stance. He came out on air in a CNBC interview stating that he didn’t own cryptocurrency and he never will. But that claim was disputed today by Justin Sun, who provided the blockchain explorer details to prove it. So, who’s right? Warren Buffett’s Brutal Rebuff of Cryptocurrency Yesterday, Bitcoinist reported that Justin Sun had failed to convince the Berkshire Hathaway CEO on the virtue of cryptocurrencies. The TRON founder infamously bid a whopping $4.6mn to have lunch with the world’s most famous investor to show him the error of his ways. Sun even brought some allies with him including Litecoin creator Charlie Lee and eToro’s Yoni Assia. Alas, for as “well behaved” as the young men were, Buffett maintains his bearish stance on Bitcoin. He said (among many other things): Cryptocurrencies basically have no value and they don’t produce anything… In terms of value, zero. When CNBC reporter Becky Quick pointed out that Justin Sun had gifted him some BTC and asked what it was like “being a Bitcoiner,” he replied in no uncertain terms that, no, he did not own any Bitcoin–which caused an immediate tweetstorm. Justin Sun Proves That Buffett Owns BTC In response, Justin Sun took to the social media platform to share the block explorer information proving that Buffett did, in fact, own both BTC and TRX. That’s the “beauty of blockchain”, he said. The cryptos $BTC/ $TRX Mr. Buffett owns remain intact w/ #blockchain proof which is the beauty of blockchain. I won’t interpret Mr.Buffett as a crypto investor, which he’s not. He only has the $BTC/ $TRX I gifted him in his @Samsung Galaxy Fold, which is a 20% return thus far! — Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) February 25, 2020 Sun’s tweet caused a flurry of replies that apparently spilled over to Quick’s Twitter feed. She said: My Twitter feed blew up because people were either saying that Warren Buffett was a lier or Justin Sun was a lier. So, she called Buffett to find out what happened. The 89-year-old billionaire confirmed that he did receive the cryptocurrency on the Samsung Galaxy phone from Justin Sun. However, it turns out that he really does think as little as he says he does about crypto. Yesterday, Warren Buffett said: "I don't own any cryptocurrency. I never will." @justinsuntron gave cryptocurrency to Buffett at their meeting, and afterwards Buffett turned the wallet over to GLIDE Foundation as a donation, @BeckyQuick reports. pic.twitter.com/cciYHIohll — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) February 25, 2020 Warren Buffett gave the phone with the BTC and TRX straight to the charity GLIDE Foundation. Since the $4.6mn went to GLIDE, he thought it was only fitting that the bitcoin went there as well. The whole bizarre episode served to uncover a few things. I will support WARRENCOIN on #TRON! WARRENCOIN would be a great crypto & I would support it wholeheartedly! 7 billion WARRENCOIN will be issued without monetary value, which means everyone should have one and be Mr. Buffett's fan. WARRENCOIN to the moon! 🚀😆 — Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) February 25, 2020 Warren Buffett will never invest in crypto. And the chances of a WarrenCoin on the TRON network look equally unlikely as well. Do you think Warren Buffett really gave away his Bitcoin? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @justinsuntron @SquawkCNBC 

Ukraine’s Central Bank: E-Hryvnia Threatens Landscape of Banking System

As a crypto firm in Ukraine plans to issue the first Ukrainian hryvnia-pegged stablecoin, the country’s central bank is progressing with its e-hryvnia project.

Despite considerable testing and research, the prospect of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) still raises significant concerns for bankers in Ukraine. 

At a Feb. 21 conference in Kyiv, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) presented the results of testing its CBDC project, the e-hryvnia, noting that the bank is continuing to look into issuing its own CBDC.

However, the central bank apparently is still concerned about such a currency’s effect on financial stability as well as the possible threat to the traditional banking system. An official announcement by the NBU reads:

“The banking system may cease to be a major financial intermediary if the majority of the population switches to using the central bank's digital currency instead of cash and bank accounts. On the one hand, the level of inflation in the country will not be significantly affected, as digital currencies will be issued by central banks, which will control this process.”

Perceived benefits

At the same time, the NBU noted that a CBDC has the potential to strengthen public confidence in the central bank and its financial services. The central bank listed major advantages like reliability, convenience as well as the opportunity to tackle the “shadow economy.” The announcement notes:

“Unlike bank accounts, central bank money is completely risk-free and 100% guaranteed by the state. In other words, it is not only convenient but also reliable. In addition, digital currency can help reduce the amount of paper money in circulation. For many countries, this is an urgent task, since the shadow economy is often ‘fed’ with paper money.”

While there are a number of potential benefits to the e-hryvnia, the NBU does not appear to be prioritizing it at the moment. The bank’s governor Jacob Smol concluded that the authority will return to the e-hryvnia question as soon as the bank is convinced that such projects do not pose any threats to financial stability. The official tweeted:

“We’ve completed the pilot project, but we continue to look into the chance of issuing the e-hryvnia. We’ll return to this matter when we are convinced that not only is it technologically feasible, but also that it will not interfere with price and financial stability.”

Ukraine’s central bank issued just $200 within the pilot

After the NBU started exploring the possibility of issuing its own digital currency back in 2016, the bank completed a pilot for the e-hryvnia project in late 2019. According to the official NBU announcement, the central bank issued a “very limited number of e-hryvnias” within the pilot — just over 5,000 e-hryvnias, worth around $200 at press time.

Olga Vasileva, deputy head of NBU’s payment networks and innovative growth department, outlined that e-hryvnia will be nothing but a digital alternative to cash. The executive said that a CBDC like the e-hryvnia is primarily interesting for an ordinary user due to the low cost and speed of financial transactions.

Cointelegraph recently reported that Ukrainian cryptocurrency exchange Kuna released a stablecoin pegged to the Ukrainian hryvnia. Kuna founder Michael Chobanian argued that the e-hryvnia project had not got much further than research.

On Feb. 22, Bank of England chief cashier Sarah John argued that it is “really important” for central banks to consider CBDCs as a response to major tech companies’ efforts to develop stablecoins.

Bitcoin May Crash With the Stock Market as Economic Crisis Looms: Analyst

Bitcoin is not a hedge against traditional finance, according to Mati Greenspan, analyst and founder of Quantum Economics. On Monday, Greenspan tweeted a chart showing Bitcoin, crude oil, and US stocks bouncing in unison following mass market sell-offs over coronavirus fears. This evidence suggests that Bitcoin is a risk asset, as opposed to a safe haven. And so may suffer during an economic crisis as a result. Check out this short term graph showing #bitcoin getting a critical bounce at the exact same moment as the US stock market and crude oil. If anything, it's really showing signs of behaving like a risk asset. pic.twitter.com/jILohCtFC6 — Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) February 24, 2020 The spread of Coronavirus Is Fueling Economic Panic Monday’s stock market plunge, over fears of the spread of coronavirus, saw a 1000 point drop (-3.6%) on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. With many companies warning that disruption to supply chains could result in more suffering in the months ahead. Dow Jones 5 day chart. (Source: google.com) Up until yesterday, the US economy seemed largely unaffected by concerns over coronavirus. But as South Korea and Italy confirm a number of new cases, fears of a worldwide spread finally caught up. While the number of confirmed US cases has been relatively low, Diane Swonk, Chief Economist at Grant Thornton said the fallout from coronavirus may force the US Federal Reserve to cut interest rates as soon as next month. “It may not be called a health pandemic yet but it is an economic pandemic.” And as markets panic, some maximalists point to an impending economic crisis as an opportunity for Bitcoin to truly succeed. But based on recent form, it has not risen to the task in hand. Bitcoin May Not Be a Safe Haven Asset And with that, the flight to safety has seen gold at a seven-year high, closing in $1,700/ounce. Whereas, for the past week or so, Bitcoin has stagnated following another rejection at $10k. Bitcoin daily chart. (Source: tradingview.com) As such, the lack of correlation with gold means the case for Bitcoin being a safe haven asset grows weaker. This would suggest that an economic crisis would hit the number one cryptocurrency hard. Indeed, in a recent interview on BlockTV, Andreas Antonopoulos spoke about how he sees cryptocurrency being affected by an economic crisis. And he believes a slow down in the economy would see investors shunning riskier, unproven asset classes. “I think there’s just as much chance that a slow down in economic activity, especially in the tech sector, will reduce the economic investments in the crypto space as well.” On that note, Antonopoulos slated the attitude of Bitcoin investors who look forward to economic turmoil. Saying that cryptocurrency is currently unfit to serve the transaction needs of the planet. “This could cut both ways. And we shouldn’t be gleefully expecting to test the security of the lifeboats by sinking the ship. We’re not ready for that kind of test. Cryptocurrency is not capable of supporting the scale of millions or even billions of people who might need to use it during an economic crisis.”

Troubles Under the Sun: Buffett in Denial, Steem Grills Tron’s Boss

Justin Sun. Source: a video screenshot, Youtube, BlockTempo TV Tron's founder Justin Sun seems to have landed in hot water at some point in the past, and he keeps on swimming in it. In the past several days, he had two more issues to address. Soon after Sun called his own company's native coin, TRX, a shitcoin, drawing the Cryptoverse's criticism, another issue arose for him to explain - itself