Ethereum, Bitcoin Prices Rally Despite Sluggish Market

Ethereum, Bitcoin Prices Rally Despite Sluggish Market

Bitcoin and ethereum continued to rally on Wednesday, pushing the total value of all cryptocurrencies higher even as the wider markets were mostly red. The bitcoin price punched through $4,500 to set a new all-time high, while the ethereum price looks poised to make a record-setting run of its own.

The total cryptocurrency market cap climbed as high as $167 billion Wednesday morning, continuing its August bull run. At present, however, the crypto market cap has tapered to $162.6 billion.


Chart from CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Price Targets $5,000

The bitcoin price spent the latter half of August stuck between $4,000 and $4,400. As the month waned, it did not appear bitcoin was going to be able to break past this level. However, the bitcoin price defied many investor expectations by spiking from $4,400 to $4,600 at about 12:30 UTC on August 29, posting a new CoinMarketCap average record of $4,627. On some individual exchanges, the price rose even further. The bitcoin price has not yet found solid support for $4,600, which has caused it to pull back to $4,501 this morning. Nevertheless, this represents a daily gain of 3% and gives bitcoin a $74.4 billion market cap.

Bitcoin Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

Now that bitcoin has broken through the $4,500 wall, many analysts predict it will cross the $5,000 threshold in short order. RT host Max Keiser, for instance, stated that he believes it will probably reach that level this week.

Ethereum Price Inches Closer to All-Time High

All eyes were on bitcoin as it set a new all-time high, but ethereum made impressive progress on Wednesday as well. Bolstered by increases in ETH/KRW and ETH/CNY, the ethereum price climbed to $389 on August 30, its highest level since June 14. At present, the ethereum price is $367, resulting in a market cap of $36.6 billion.

Ethereum Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

 

Altcoin Markets Take a Hit

Bitcoin and ethereum may have been posted solid gains on Wednesday, but traders dealt the altcoin markets a blow.

The bitcoin cash price fell to 2% to $573, continuing its week-long decline. The Ripple price managed to climb 1%, thanks to news that the FinTech startup had given a presentation on blockchain trends to officials from the central bank of China. The litecoin price was mostly stable, holding at about $62, while Dash and NEM each made minor advances.

Altcoin Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

This is where the chart starts to turn red. IOTA dipped 2% to $0.828, while the Monero price fell 6% to $128, despite strong volume from Bithumb’s newly-opened XMR/KRW market.

Monero Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

The hardest hit cryptocurrency in the top 10, however, was NEO. The “Chinese Ethereum” plunged by 17% to about $31. This reduced its market cap to $1.5 billion and gives it just a $41 million edge on 11th-ranked ethereum classic.

7-Day NEO Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

Outside of the top 10, the majority of cryptocurrencies engaged in a retreat. That retreat included Qtum and Hshare, which had just entered the $1 billion club on August 29. Unfortunately, these tokens had their membership cards revoked on Wednesday as they experienced declines of 19% and 27%, respectively.

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 30/08/2017

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur

Bitcoin Cash - The New King of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin Cash – The New King of Cryptocurrency

Less than a month ago, a few new lines of code and a verbal agreement forked the Bitcoin blockchain, creating a newer, more nimble version called Bitcoin Cash. Since its arrival on Aug. 1, the infant cryptocurrency has more than doubled in value from $300 to a price north of $600, and investors are now wondering if its popularity poses a serious threat to the Bitcoin throne.

Bitcoin Cash is essentially a clone of the existing Bitcoin blockchain​ with one important feature: additional block size capacity (more on that later). Those who owned Bitcoin before the split now own an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash, meaning Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin each now have 16.5 million units in circulation. Multiply Bitcoin Cash’s recent price of $607 times 16.5 million units, and you arrive at a market cap of $10.8 billion, making it the third-most valuable cryptocurrency​ at around 16% of Bitcoin’s $69 billion market value. An asset with the same value as streaming-music service Spotify or social media giant Twitter was born overnight.

Bitcoin Cash - The New King of Cryptocurrency

Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Bitcoin Cash got off to a slow start but sprang to life as the cryptocurrency’s mining algorithm self-corrected to attract profit-seeking computers, known as miners. These super-computers are the beating heart of the blockchain responsible for verifying and embedding transactions in digital ledgers, called blocks. Once the market noticed a rise in the rate at which blocks were being produced, known as the hash rate, investors bid up the price of the resulting tokens.

Bitcoin Cash - The New King of Cryptocurrency

Source: Tradingview.com

An Answer to a Years-Long Dispute

When Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009, block sizes were unlimited. To buy and sell Bitcoin, wallets required users to keep a record of the entire blockchain. It was as if one had to download the entire history of Google searches to find something on the internet. This led to an abundance of Denial of Service (DOS) attacks as hackers stuffed blocks with meaningless transactions making it difficult for users with slower computers to transact. To alleviate this problem, the Bitcoin community moved to limit block size to one megabyte (MB)

Currently, the 1 MB block size limits transaction speeds to four to seven per second, which can’t compete with Visa's and Paypal’s 2,000 transactions per second. Newer, innovative wallets permit an increase in block sizes, and the introduction of Bitcoin Cash is necessary to scale for mass adoption as a payment platform.

The new cryptocurrency attempts to solve the scaling problem by increasing existing block sizes from 1 MB to 8 MB, thereby increasing the amount of transactions processed per day and improving transaction speed.

Critics argue that larger block sizes will lead to the centralization of mining operations, as larger blocks require professional hardware. This would run counter to the idea of a decentralized network of miners, and limit oversight of the Bitcoin network to a few large miners and nodes.

What Has Happened Recently

To run a cryptocurrency, miners must confirm and account for recent transactions and mine new blocks. Their profitability is the spread between the value of the block reward (price of the coin x # issued per block) and the amount of resources needed to mine the block (known as the “difficulty”). The hash rate is the speed at which blocks are created. Higher hash rates make mining coins more lucrative as it increases the opportunity of mining the next block and receiving the reward.

The blockchain contains an important, self-correcting mechanism that can either speed up or slow down the hash rate when necessary. Essentially, the mathematical formula at the heart of the blockchain goes through a difficulty adjustment every 2,016 blocks. The difficulty is set so that 2,016 blocks will be mined just about every two weeks. If the pace is too slow, the difficulty adjusts downwards; and if the pace is too quick, the algorithm becomes more difficult to solve.

As Bitcoin Cash struggled out of the gates to attract miners, its difficulty adjusted sharply downward, making mining an extremely lucrative proposition. Accordingly, Bitcoin miners chased the easy money and shifted capacity to Bitcoin Cash. Hash rates subsequently skyrocketed, and this caused havoc to the original Bitcoin network. In just the past few days, the Bitcoin hash rate has been halved—slowing down the network and raising transaction prices.

Bitcoin Cash - The New King of Cryptocurrency

Source: Blockchain.info

Reports on social media say that Bitcoin transactions are taking hours or even days to confirm. However, the slower hash rate means that Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment will be lowered for the next cycle and lead to an increase in miners.
 

The Bottom Line

Blockchain miners are now shifting capacity to Bitcoin Cash’s larger block-sized network, which is temporarily troublesome for the Bitcoin network. However, the difficulty adjustment for both networks will ensure that Bitcoin remains the king cryptocurrency—at least for now.

 

Author: Ian King August 28, 2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepereneur

Miners Are Milking Bcash's Difficulty Adjustments

Miners Are Milking Bcash’s Difficulty Adjustments

 

Bitcoin Cash (Bcash or BCH) has been more profitable to mine than Bitcoin (BTC) on multiple occasions over the past week or two. This is creating a new dynamic within Bitcoin’s ecosystem — one which is not really beneficial for either coin.

In Bitcoin Magazine's previous article on this topic, we explained why Bcash mining should normally not affect Bitcoin too much, aside from the incidental higher fees and slower confirmations. We also explained why this dynamic could, in the meantime, ruin Bcash, as it should freeze that blockchain in its tracks.

We also noted that Bcash has a built-in emergency solution to mitigate the risk, which could get its blockchain moving again. But this solution does assume either that some miners are choosing to act against their own short-term interest at certain times for the benefit of all miners — or that miners are coordinating for their mutual benefit, on some level.

Now, several days later, it appears that this is what’s happening. Some miners are either acting against their short-term interests for specific periods of time — or they are coordinating to trigger the emergency solution.

The good news for Bcash is that this means its blockchain is still in motion for now, at least on most days. But at the same time, the dynamic generated by the emergency solution is benefiting its miners overall, more than anyone else — and it’s even calling into question the long-term viability of Bitcoin Cash itself.

The Emergency Difficulty Adjustment

First, a brief recap of Bitcoin mining and Bcash’s built-in emergency solution.

Mining profitability is determined by the value of the block reward (newly mined coins plus transaction fees) and the “difficulty” to mine a block. If the value of the block rewards are higher and the difficulty is lower, miners make more money.

The difficulty on both Bitcoin and Bcash self-adjusts each time 2016 blocks are mined. If it takes longer than two weeks to mine these 2016 blocks, difficulty adjusts downward so it becomes easier to mine. If it takes less than two weeks, the difficulty adjusts upward so it becomes harder.

Bcash really needs its difficulty to be low enough to match the value of its block rewards in relation to Bitcoin. So, if Bcash's block reward is worth 15 percent of Bitcoin’s block reward, Bcash’s difficulty must also be 15 percent of Bitcoin’s difficulty, or lower. Otherwise, Bitcoin will be more profitable to mine, and miners will really have no reason ever to return to Bcash, leaving the Bcash blockchain frozen in its tracks.

The big problem is that, as long as Bcash’s block rewards do not exceed Bitcoin’s block rewards, this is bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, Bcash difficulty will exceed what its block reward will be worth, at which point all miners should leave.

To mitigate this problem, Bcash implemented a feature called the “emergency difficulty adjustment” (EDA). If in a space of at least twelve hours, fewer than six blocks are mined, the difficulty adjusts downwards by 20 percent for the next block. If miners coordinate or time this well, this can bring difficulty down by about 75 percent within a day.

The Problems

While triggering the EDA is preferable over a blockchain frozen in its tracks forever, it does present new problems.

Once difficulty is low enough, profit-maximizing miners are incentivized to jump on Bcash mining, producing an enormous number of blocks before difficulty adjusts within a day or two. Then, once the difficulty adjusts upward by a lot, and all these miners will switch back to Bitcoin — until some miners trigger Bcash’s EDA again, potentially after 12 hours or so, and all miners hop back on Bcash, creating a sort of stop-and-go cycle, on repeat.

In our previous article, we noted that this stop-and-go cycle is not ideal for users. But we didn’t go into specifics about what problems those would be, exactly. And there are a number of them…

First of all, this stop-and-go cycle actually causes a disturbance for Bitcoin users as well. Each time miners hop on Bcash, hash power leaves the Bitcoin network, which means that Bitcoin blocks are mined more slowly. As a result, Bitcoin’s transaction fees and confirmation times go up. And the fact that miners are intentionally gaming the system like this, suggests that the situation could drag on for a while: potentially weeks or months, and maybe even longer depending on how Bcash develops.

Meanwhile, this cycle makes Bitcoin Cash confirmation times very unreliable. On some days, transactions confirm very quickly, as blocks are found about every minute. On other days, there are (almost) no new blocks at all for at least 12 hours, and transactions take incredibly long to confirm, by comparison.

Arguably, an even bigger problem is that because of this dynamic, Bcash mining rewards — new coins — enter the system much more quickly: currently about four times faster than they are supposed to. As a result, Bcash’s inflation rate is relatively high. While Bitcoin’s current yearly inflation rate sits at about 4 percent, Bcash’s yearly inflation rate is on pace to be closer to 16 percent. This favors miners who earn these coins — at the cost of coin-holders.

What’s more, because of this same dynamic, Bcash’s next block halving will arrive much faster as well, possibly around mid 2018 instead of mid 2020. And if nothing changes, there could even be another halving by early 2019: the block reward could fall to 3.125 BCH in just a little over a year from now.

These halvings is where Bcash’s real problems could begin.

As perhaps its central value proposition compared to Bitcoin, Bcash wants to keep its transaction fees extremely low; even as low as zero. Therefore, it is not clear that fees will make up for the loss in rewards; it seems especially unlikely that these losses will be made up within a year, if ever. So unless the market price of BCH, compared to BTC, increases by a lot, and fast, the value of Bcash’s block reward could dwindle significantly.

Now, keep in mind that for miners to mine Bcash at all, its difficulty must be even lower than its block reward, compared to Bitcoin, and that if that is the case, all profit-maximizing miners are expected to pile on.

That means that all these miners will be able to mine the 2016 blocks even faster when they do all pile on Bcash. Instead of two days, it could take them even one day. Or less. Which would, of course, mean that the next block halving will be reached even faster. This would in turn means that the block rewards would be even less valuable, difficulty would needs to be even lower for miners to hop on, and miners would be able to mine the 2016 blocks even faster next time. Maybe even in half a day.

Bcash’s EDA could lead to vicious downward spiral, which would significantly decrease Bcash’s security against 51% attacks. It would also make it easier for miners hostile to Bcash to frustrate the system in other ways; for example, they could prevent emergency adjustments from kicking in. Moreover, Bcash could reach the point where its block rewards aren’t even worth the time and effort for miners to switch between chains, and Bcash freezes in its tracks, after all.

Bitcoin Cash will need to fix this problem somehow, and by now developers are indeed discussing the issue. Either that, or the coin must become more valuable than Bitcoin to mitigate the problem altogether — fast.

 

by Aaron van Wirdum

Staff Writer Bitcoin Magazine

Aug 27, 2017 12:46 PM EST

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

David Ogden cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Cryptocurrency Trading Helps Make Traditional Wall Street Traders Millionaires

Cryptocurrency Trading Helps Make Traditional Wall Street Traders Millionaires

Wall Street’s traders Mike Komaransky and Chase Lochmiller have achieved greater financial success by trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. They’re the only ones withdrawing their funds from stocks. In fact, CNBC reports that many stock traders are pulling out their billions from the stock market.

One of the traders, Komaransky, has reportedly done so well that he already announced his retirement at the age of 38 in the summer of 2017.

On June 30, 2017, Komaransky tweets:

After 16 years of trading, today is my last day at @Cumberland_BTC and @DRWTrading. Good luck to the crew, I wish you the best.

12:46 PM – Jun 30, 2017

How Komaransky discovered Bitcoin

Komaransky became interested in Bitcoin after reading George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen’s blog about the digital currency in 2010. Komaransky was working in London, England during that time.

In late 2013, the price of Bitcoin started its upward mobility following the collapse of the biggest Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox.

Due to the continuous rise of Bitcoin’s price, high-frequency trading company DRW Holdings founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Don Wilson, has ordered Komaransky to establish cryptocurrency trading currency subsidiary Cumberland Mining in 2014.

Cumberland Mining was able to exploit the volatile era of Bitcoin trading as it was successful in making notable trades such as gaining the bulk of tokens auctioned by the US Marshals Service. The coins were seized by the service from dark market operator Ross Ulbricht and the illegal online black market he established, Silk Road.

Cumberland Mining has sustained its success and is now one of the biggest digital currency market makers. The company currently has 12 employees, who are mainly involved in trading cryptocurrencies such Bitcoin and Ethereum.
 

Lochmiller’s story

For the past 10 years, Lochmiller has worked for the largest high-frequency trading companies on Wall Street such as Jump Trading and Getco. In July 2017, however, he resigned at Jump Trading to join hedge fund Polychain Capital, which is mainly involved in trading virtual currencies like Tezos and Ethereum.
 

By Lisa Froelings

 

Posted By Daving Ogden Entrepreneur

David ogden cryptocurrency entrepreneur

Monero Price Up 15% as World's Largest Cryptocurrency Exchange Prepares Integration

Monero Price Up 15% as World’s Largest Cryptocurrency Exchange Prepares Integration

 

Monero, the world’s second largest anonymous cryptocurrency, is up 22 percent again today, on August 26.

Monero Price Up 15% as World's Largest Cryptocurrency Exchange Prepares Integration

For many years, Monero has been regarded as one of the few cryptocurrencies that is highly legitimate, backed by an experienced and talented development team. It had no pre-sales or controversial mining deals for its miners. The Monero development and community have shown unity since it forked off from Bytecoin, with almost all of its hard forks executed without any contention amongst developers, community members, industry and miners.

Yet, it has struggled to see an increase in its value. It was pushed out of its top 10 largest cryptocurrency spot and was overtaken by Dash, another anonymous cryptocurrency. A large factor of Monero’s struggle in obtaining an active consumer base and trading market has been the lack of support from large-scale trading platforms and wallets.

Dash for instance, despite its controversial pre-sale and negative reputation, was remained as the world’s seventh largest cryptocurrency for many months due to the support from Jaxx and leading exchanges.

This week, Bithumb, South Korea’s leading bitcoin exchange and the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is about to provide the push Monero has long needed. Bithumb is set to list Monero in its cryptocurrency trading platform tomorrow, on August 27. Because it handles around $700 million worth of trades on a daily basis, the integration of Monero by Bithumb is expected to be an immediate and drastic increase in liquidity for Monero traders, users and investors.

Starting August 23, when Bithumb began to accept deposits from Monero traders, the price of Monero surged, even before the exchange fully listed the cryptocurrency. Tomorrow, as Bithumb completes its last phase of integration and opens Monero trading, the price of Monero will likely surge once again.

Monero was able to rise by 22 percent earlier today due to upward momentum supported by Bithumb and optimistic traders in Asia. So far, every cryptocurrency released or introduced by Bithumb to the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market has seen a drastic increase in value and trading volume. Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ripple and Litecoin have all seen rapid increase in value after being listed by Bithumb and Korbit, two largest exchanges in South Korea.

More importantly, the South Korean exchange market and its traders are highly attracted to cryptocurrencies that have special attributes. For instnace, South Korean traders are keen on Ethereum due to its smart contract-based protocol and flexible ecosystem. The anonymity of Monero will likely attract many investors on the Bithumb platform and if it is well accepted by the South Korean market, Monero could make its way back to the top five cryptocurrencies. Already, it has surpassed Zcash and many other cryptocurrencies to become the tenth largest cryptocurrency in the market.

 

Author Joseph Young 12:36 am August 26, 2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepereneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entreprenuer

Standpoint Founder - Bitcoin Asset Class Will Grow Into $2 Trillion Market

Standpoint Founder – Bitcoin Asset Class Will Grow Into $2 Trillion Market

 

Forget $5,000.

At a time when many are making short-term bets on the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, one bitcoin bull is going a step further. Ronnie Moas, founder of Standpoint Research, is making the case cryptocurrencies will not only be a decade-long trend, but a viable asset class.

In fact, he's going so far as to call for a massive rise in the market cap of cryptocurrencies. His prediction? The total value of all cryptographic assets, today valued at $150 billion, will soar to $2 trillion over the next 10 years.

And in a new interview, Moas walked CoinDesk through his forecast, explaining how it stems from his fundamental analysis of the capital markets and the broader macroeconomic trends he now sees in place.

The Standpoint founder's view stands in stark contrast to the highly bearish analysis of Peter Schiff, who called cryptocurrency a bubble, a speculative frenzy and a natural Ponzi scheme driven by "just plain greed" last week.

In the broadest sense, Moas sees the current state of the cryptocurrency market as a direct parallel to Silicon Valley during the 1990s, when a massive surge of innovation created new technologies that transformed the way we work and live and ushered in a period of massive wealth creation.

He explained:

"I am not any more concerned with bitcoin being at a record high than Amazon or Google investors were concerned when those share prices jumped hundreds of percent and hit $100 and $200 many years ago. Today, both of those stocks are above $900. The question is not where we are at – it is where are we going? I do not think we are in a bubble."

 

Roadmap to $2 trillion

How does Moas get to the $2 trillion market cap for cryptocurrency in his forecast?

He begins by looking at the $200 trillion that is currently invested in global capital markets today, including all major asset classes: cash, stocks, bonds and gold. Moas, who also does traditional equity analysis, begins his market breakdown with stocks, which he believes are currently overvalued.

According to Moas, three-quarters of the names in the S&P 500 are trading at least 18 times earnings, which is higher than his value threshold of 12 times earnings. He also adds that we haven't had a stock market correction in 20 months.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is currently losing 1 to 2 percent per year due to inflation. Moas also points out that the dollar has lost half its value since he was in high school 35 years ago.

 

From a global perspective, where most people don't have access to U.S. dollars, Moas believes the case for cryptocurrency is even more compelling:

"Now, imagine what they think of their own local currencies elsewhere in the world. Imagine you live in Venezuela and you're keeping your money under the mattress. Would you rather leave it there in Venezuelan bolivar or would you rather put it in bitcoin? It's not going to take you very long to make that decision."

Breaking his thesis down further, Moas believes that a conservative estimate is that at least 1 percent of the $200 trillion now tied up in stocks, cash, gold and bonds will migrate into cryptocurrencies over the next decade.

In that case, he says, "Bitcoin could end up with a market capitalization that is more than Amazon and Apple combined."

Under this scenario, that would mean that the current market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies would naturally grow.

And if Moas's market capitalization targets are correct, investors would then receive a 1,250 percent return on their cryptocurrency investments made today.

 

Diversified strategy

But he adds one major caveat to that prediction. Simply, "You've got to be in the right names."

Assuming you accept Moas's basic bull market thesis for cryptocurrencies, how do you know if you are invested in the right "names" in the cryptocurrency space? And, if the market boom in cryptocurrency is analogous to the roaring years of the 1990s tech boom, how can you avoid investing in the next Pets.com?

As Moas frames it:

"A lot of people say there is a bubble out there. I see a bubble when you get down below the top 50 cryptocurrencies. There are more than 800 names right now. In my view, what happens outside the top 50 is irrelevant."

Moas goes on to point out that 91 percent of the nearly $150 billion market cap is invested in the top 20 names and 70 percent is invested in bitcoin and ether alone.

He recommends, for the purposes of portfolio diversification, retail investors should hedge their bets and invest across the top 10 or 20 cryptocurrencies.

In Moas's view, the 800 cryptocurrencies that are now trading are analogous to the 800 stocks that were available on the Nasdaq at the height of the dot-com bubble nearly 20 years ago. While Amazon and Apple and Microsoft emerged to become among the most valuable companies of all time, there were many companies from that time period that died slow and painful deaths.

Or, as Moas more colorfully puts it: "Back then, there were hundreds of pump-and-dump, small-cap junk names just as there are in crypto today. Today, the crypto market is giving you the same signals with names like dash, ripple, litecoin, monero, bitcoin, ethereum, neo, nem, iota and others."

He went on to add that while there are certainly risks involved in investing in cryptocurrency, those risks are, in his view, outweighed by the possibility of 10-to-one or 20-to-one payout to the upside experienced by tech stocks.

 

The bull case

Of all the major cryptocurrencies, though, Moas seems especially bullish in his view of bitcoin. Unless there is a major shakeup in the underlying confidence, he believes that investors are going to want to buy-and-hold for their portfolios for 10 years or more.

Moas points out that there are currently only about 16 million bitcoins that have been issued of a possible total 21 million coins that will be created.

In his analysis, this could lead to tens of millions of people trying to get their hands on just a few million coins.

When asked for a specific price target, Moas summed up as follows:

"At the beginning of July, bitcoin was trading at $2,500. I believe in the next three years you will probably see $15,000 to $20,000 for bitcoin. It could double twice from here in the next 36 months."

 

 

Aug 24, 2017 at 09:00 UTC by Ash Bennington

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

There's a staffing problem in the blockchain industry: simply, there are too many open positions and too few blockchain specialists.

Now, to help meet that rapidly increasing demand, IBM is partnering with Baruch College, Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and the University of British Columbia to establish a series of grants, design blockchain curricula and more.

In addition, IBM has added new blockchain resources to it's IBM Academic Initiative, an ambitious effort that opens resources from the global tech giant to 1,000 universities.

But while unique in its sheer scope, IBM's new push is just the latest in a series of efforts around the world to train new blockchain industry talent.

Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain, described the results of a beta release of the program to CoinDesk:

"We’ve already gotten some very, very positive responses."

Hands-on learning

Wieck also revealed details about how the programs will leverage IBM's technology.

To start with, IBM Blockchain Platform, the firm's proprietary distributed ledger technology, will form a part of the university curriculum, and will be made accessible for students.

Further, universities that participate in the projects will receive six months access to IBM Cloud and use of the IBM Blockchain cloud sandbox.

And it's becoming increasingly easy to see how such skills would be put to use by graduates of the courses.

The announcement comes on the same day that IBM formally launched its IBM Blockchain Platform, a food supply chain consortium with Walmart and other major firms on board, and revealed the first ever startup accelerator aimed at investing in startups building with Hyperledger Fabric.

Student lockers image via Shutterstock

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Stephen Hodgkiss
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$154 Billion - Bitcoin Price Rally Carries Crypo Markets to New Record

$154 Billion – Bitcoin Price Rally Carries Crypo Markets to New Record

The bitcoin price rallied on Wednesday, leaping 9% to cross $4,200. The wider crypto markets followed bitcoin’s lead, with 93 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies marching into positive territory for the day.

This near-universal advance added more than $10 billion to the total cryptocurrency market cap. After entering the day at $142.5 billion, the total value of all cryptocurrencies burst through the $150 billion threshold to set a new all-time high of $154 billion.

Popular Cryptocurrency Chart

Bitcoin Price Leaps Past $4,200

The bitcoin price had experienced an early-week correction, briefly diving as low as $3,675 on August 22. Theories for this decline include a hashrate shift from bitcoin to bitcoin cash, as well as concerns surrounding the Segwit/Segwit2x debate. However, the bitcoin price had strong support on the Asian exchanges, which helped prevent it from staying below $4,000 for long. Today’s 9% climb brings the bitcoin price to a present value of $4,243 and a market cap of just over $70.1 billion.

 

Ethereum Price Closes on $350

The ethereum price did not quite keep pace with bitcoin, but it did return a 4% increase for the day. At present, the value of ether is $323, bringing the ethereum market cap to $30.4 billion.

Metropolis, ethereum’s next major protocol upgrade is, quickly approaching. Although these protocol upgrades are implemented by hard forks, they have generally been supported by the community. Consequently, many investors believe the ethereum price will close on $350 as its September release nears.

 

Bitcoin Cash Price Stumbles Following Difficulty Adjustment

The bitcoin cash price surged close to $1,000 last week, one of several converging factors that made bitcoin cash more profitable to mine than bitcoin. Suddenly, the bitcoin cash hashrate exploded, nearly reaching parity with bitcoin. At its height, bitcoin cash boasted 44% of the combined hashrate between the two coins.

However, the hashrate increase triggered an August 22 difficulty adjustment that caused bitcoin cash mining profitability to plunge. Bitcoin cash is now just 42% as profitable to mine as bitcoin, which has led several miners to move hashpower back to the main blockchain. At present, bitcoin cash has about 27% of the combined bitcoin hashrate.

The difficulty adjustment coincided with a decrease in the bitcoin cash price. Despite the widespread market advance, the bitcoin cash price retreated 7% to $661. Bitcoin cash now has a $10.9 billion market cap.
 

Ripple Price Soars to 50% Gain

Bitcoin cash was the only top 25 cryptocurrency to decrease more than 1% for the day, and most coins returned significant gains.

popular chryptocurrency charts

Altcoin Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

The Ripple price led the way, posting a shocking 50% increase following a flood of volume on the major Korean exchanges. This rapid advance raised the Ripple price as high as $0.300 for the first time since June 25, although it has since tapered to $0.277. Ripple now has a market cap of $10.6 billion, putting it within striking distance of reclaiming the 3rd spot from bitcoin cash

Fifth-ranked IOTA rose 9% to $0.92, while the litecoin price increased 4% to $48. The NEM price saw just a 2% gain, but it was enough to raise its market cap to $2.3 billion. The Dash price rose 7% to $300, and NEO climbed 9% to about $38. Other than Ripple, ethereum classic was the only top 10 cryptocurrency to rise more than 10%. ETC’s 14% gain helped it secure the 10th place spot from Monero, who rose 8% to a new all-time high of $98.

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 23/08/2017

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur

David Ogden Entrepreneur

Estonia could offer estcoins to e-reidents

Estonia could offer ‘estcoins’ to e-residents

The proposal to issue crypto tokens would make the Republic of Estonia the first country with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

What would happen if a country, such as Estonia, issued its own crypto tokens?

This radical question is at the heart of an ambitious new proposal that, if implemented, has the potential to benefit both the country and its fast growing community of e-residents.

‘Estcoins’ could be managed by the Republic of Estonia, but accessed by anyone in the world through its e-Residency programme and launched through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

First though, I want to tell you how we got to this point because it’s the result of another question that we asked almost three years ago, which seemed even more radical at first:

‘Estonia has just 1.3 million residents, but what would happen if our country had 10 million digital residents too?’

At that time, every citizen and resident could already obtain a secure digital identity that enabled them to access Estonia’s public services entirely online. This minimised bureaucracy and made every day life easier, especially for entrepreneurs.

So then we wondered — why stop there? Our digital infrastructure can handle far more ‘users’ than the current population.

If anyone, anywhere could also apply for a digital identity issued by the Estonian government then they too could access our public e-services and our business environment. They could then enjoy many of our same advantages online, especially when it came to starting and running a company, no matter where in the world they are.

E-residents and service providers gathered offline in Tallinn for an e-Residency roundtable

As a result, Estonia became the first country to launch e-Residency.

At first, we didn’t exactly know who would apply and what these people would want most from the programme, but it quickly became clear that e-Residency offered huge value to entrepreneurs seeking trust, location-independence, minimal bureaucracy, low business costs and access to a wider range of fintech services.

The latest statistics show that there are now more than 22,000 e-residents signed up from 138 countries and they make an enormous contribution to Estonia in return for the opportunities that we deliver to them. In fact, the weekly application rate is currently higher than Estonia’s weekly birth rate!

The ability to start a location-independent company is now the main ‘product’ that’s driving the growth of e-Residency. If we left it at this then it is likely that we could still achieve a respectable rate of growth (especially among the fast growing ‘digital nomad’ community) while solving a major problem facing our world, which is how to ensure everyone has the opportunity to benefit from entrepreneurship and rising e-commerce. Even the United Nations has now partnered with e-Residency to launch eTrade For All, which is helping tackle financial exclusion in developing countries.

But as more people discover e-Residency, more uses for e-Residency are being discovered.

The private sector is investing in products and services specifically for e-residents and there is a tremendous amount of excitement in how the secure digital identities offered by e-Residency can enable easier KYC and onboarding, therefore making the e-Residency community an attractive customer market for new online services. It’s incredibly exciting that so much of the fintech industry shares our vision for a borderless digital world with opportunities for all. In recent months for example, Holvi has invested in e-Residency business banking that can be accessed entirely online, TransferWise has unveiled their new borderless account, Change is creating the first decentralised bank for e-residents and Mothership is launching a cryptocurrency exchange.

As a result, e-Residency is now creating a new borderless digital nation where many opportunities provided by traditional nations can be offered entirely online to anyone, anywhere. As Estonian President Kaljulaid recently explained, we must keep innovating to ensure that governments remain relevant in the digital era.

Right now for example, Estonia is planning the world’s first ‘data embassy’, which will support Estonia’s digital infrastructure in a location abroad with the same protections granted to traditional embassies. Just as Estonia’s digital society has become location-independent, this development forms part of Estonia’s broader plan to ensure its state can function entirely independent of its own territory too.

The rise of cryptocurrencies and ICOs

It’s clear that there is strong interest in cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based solutions among our growing community of e-residents.

Just like e-Residency, cryptocurrencies have evolved from a niche idea into an increasingly normal part of modern life for people everywhere in the world because they offer real solutions to real problems.

Several countries have begun experimenting with the introduction of their own digital currencies and China has even developed a prototype cryptocurrency that could one day be put into circulation.

However, Estonia has a clear advantage in this area due to its advanced digital infrastructure and its e-Residency programme. No other country has come close to developing both the technology and the legal frameworks that would enable them to introduce and securely manage tradable crypto assets globally.

It has understandably taken time for all governments to understand and embrace cryptocurrencies as they have a duty to address major challenges, such as the risk of money laundering. In the long term, however, governments may have no option but to (literally) accept cryptocurrencies.

Fortunately, the secure digital identities used by e-residents (as well as citizens and residents of Estonia) are now the ideal mechanism for securely trading crypto assets in a trusted and transparent digital environment. The tokens can not be counterfeited and the government oversight means they can not be used for illegal activities.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has led to another interesting blockchain-based innovation in the private sector called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which enables companies to crowdfund their finance and incentivise a wide range of people to help grow their business.

So could a government support an ICO too?

After all, people do already talk about ‘investing in a country’, but what they really mean is investing in opportunities related to that country — such as companies, property or bonds. You may believe in the future of the country and want to help it succeed, but you can only invest in it indirectly at present.

We already know that many people become e-residents simply because they are fans of our country, our technology and our ideas, and being an e-resident enables them to show their support.

A government-supported ICO would give more people a bigger stake in the future of our country and provide not just investment, but also more expertise and ideas to help us grow exponentially.

How could ‘Estcoins’ work?

This why we are proposing the introduction of estcoins, which could enable anyone to invest in a country for the first time.

Investing in any crypto asset can come with high risks and high rewards, but holders of estcoins would have the added incentive of supporting the development of our digital nation.

There are several ways that the initiative can be structured, but it is important that Estcoin investors gain only when all of Estonia gains.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has a keen interest in Estonia's development as a digital nation and has provided valuable feedback for the estcoin proposal.

He believes estcoins could be used to incentivise investors to support the success of a country in a way that is not currently possible through existing means of raising international finance.

"An ICO within the e-Residency ecosystem would create a strong incentive alignment between e-residents and this fund, and beyond the economic aspect makes the e-residents feel like more of a community since there are more things they can do together,” says Buterin.

"Additionally if these estcoins are issued on top of a blockchain (they could possibly be issued in multiple formats at the same time, nothing wrong with this) then it would become easy and convenient to use them inside of smart contracts and other applications."

For a good example of how the additional money could be managed on behalf of the Estonian people, the Norwegian state pension fund (more commonly known as ‘the oil fund’) is a good example. It is regarded as one of the smartest investors on the planet and has achieved an impressive rate of growth.

The funds raised through estcoins could be managed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and only used as described in the agreement to actually help build the new digital nation. This would enable Estonia to invest in new technologies and innovations for the public sector, from smart contracts to Artificial Intelligence, as well as make it technically scalable to benefit more people around the world. Estonia would then serve a model for how societies of the future can be served in the digital era.

In addition, a large proportion of the funds could be used as a community-run VC fund on behalf of investors. The money could then be used to support Estonian companies, including those established by other e-residents.

As an investment opportunity, estcoins could benefit Estonia and be attractive to investors from the day it is launched. As with e-Residency however, the longer term opportunities could be far greater and possibly beyond anything we can currently comprehend.

In time, estcoins could also be accepted as payment for both public and private services and eventually function as a viable currency used globally. By using our APIs, companies and even other countries could accept these same tokens as payment. It will also be possible to build more functions on top of the estcoins and use them for more purposes, such as smart contracts and notary services.

‘Estcoin’ might make sense today as a name, but it might not be the right one long term because its use could grow far bigger than Estonia. The same thing is happening to e-Residency as a whole, which was initially thought of as a way to be part of the Estonian nation but is now creating a new global digital nation, powered by the Republic of Estonia.

If there is support for this proposal, then the next stage before the ICO would be to provide a white paper that outlines the value of estcoins and how the investment will be used to develop our digital nation. It is likely to begin as a pilot project that can be scaled up based on demand.

 

Kaspar Korjus

Managing Director at e-Residency Aug 21st

 

Posted by David Ogden
                Entrepreneur

 

Cryptocurrency Mining - What It Is, How It Works And Who's Making Money Off It

Cryptocurrency Mining – What It Is, How It Works And Who's Making Money Off It

 

NVIDIA Corporation's second-quarter earnings released earlier this month, though exceeding expectations, elicited cautionary reaction from the investor as well as analyst communities. Traders bid down the stock by over 5 percent on Aug. 11.

One of the reasons cited for the negative reaction was cryptocurrency contributing to much of the outperformance.

Why should it be a cause for alarm?

Analysts Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn of Barclays believes revenue stream from cryptocurrency is fickle. Therefore, the analysts were not in favor of assigning a multiple to it, as it has the potential to become an eventual headwind.

Rival Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Also had a similar tale to tell. The company indicated that cryptocurrency demand remains strong, while also suggesting that the demand might not last forever.
 

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency, as the name suggests, is a form of digital money designed to be secure and anonymous in most cases. It uses a technique called cryptography — a process used to convert legible information into an almost uncrackable code, to help track purchases and transfers.

Giving a simple definition, Blockgeeks says it is just limited entries in a database no one can change without fulfilling specific conditions.

Cryptography is a technique that uses elements of mathematical theory and computer science and was evolved during the World War II to securely transfer data and information. Currently, it is used to secure communications, information and money online.

Cryptocurrencies allow users to make secure payments, without having to go through banks.

Some cryptocurrencies include bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, DigitalNote, LiteCoin and PotCoin.

Bitcoin has the distinction of being the first cryptocurrency, having been introduced in 2009. Since then, this class of cryptocurrencies mushroomed, with more than 900 currently active.

How Cryptocurrencies Work

A cryptocurrency runs on a blockchain, which is a shared ledger or document duplicated several times across a network of computers. The updated document is distributed and made available to all holders of the cryptocurrency.

Every single transaction made and the ownership of every single cryptocurrency in circulation is recorded in the blockchain.

The blockchain is run by miners, who use powerful computers that tally the transactions. Their function is to update each time a transaction is made and also ensure the authenticity of information, thereby ascertaining that each transaction is secure and is processed properly and safely.

As payment for their services, miners are paid physically minted cryptocurrency as fees by vendors or merchants of each transaction.

The value of the cryptocurrency fluctuates based on demand and supply, although there is no fixed value for it. Buyers and sellers agree on a value, which is fair and is based on the value of the cryptocurrency trading elsewhere.

Since there is no intermediary like bank involved in the transaction, as it is a peer-to-peer transaction, the transaction fee that is associated with credit cards is eliminated. The identity of the buyer and seller are not revealed. However, each and every transaction is made public to all the people in the blockchain network.

One can acquire a cryptocurrency through exchanges found online or trade it for traditional currencies.

Assume X wants to buy an item valued at $10,000 and he realizes that the seller Y accepts cryptocurrency, say bitcoin, as a form of payment. X scouts around to find the prevailing exchange rate, say $1,000 per currency. X gets Y's public Bitcoin address from Y's website, although both parties remain anonymous to each other.

X can now instruct his Bitcoin client or the software installed on his computer to transfer 10 bitcoins from his wallet to Y's address. X's Bitcoin client will electronically sign the transaction request with his private key known only to him. X's public key, which is a public information, can be used for verifying the information.

When X's transaction is broadcast to the Bitcoin network, it would be verified in a few minutes by miners. The 10 bitcoins will now be transferred to Y's address.

 

Mining
 

Cryptocurrency mining includes two functions, namely: adding transactions to the blockchain (securing and verifying) and also releasing new currency. Individual blocks added by miners should contain a proof-of-work, or PoW.

Mining needs a computer and a special program, which helps miners compete with their peers in solving complicated mathematical problems. This would need huge computer resources. In regular intervals, miners would attempt to solve a block having the transaction data using cryptographic hash functions.

Hash value is a numeric value of fixed length that uniquely identifies data. Miners use their computer to zero in on a hash value less than the target and whoever is the first to crack it would be considered as the one who mined the block and is eligible to get a rewarded.

The reward for mining a block is now 12.5 bitcoins.

Earlier, only cryptography enthusiasts served as miners. However, as cryptocurrencies gained in popularity and increased in value, mining is now considered a lucrative business. Consequently, several people and enterprises have started investing in warehouses and hardware.

As enterprises jumped into the fray, unable to compete, bitcoin miners have begun to join open pools, combining resources to effectively compete.
 

Bank of New York Mellon Corp has been running an internal blockchain platform for U.S. Treasury bond settlements since early 2016, a Marketwatch report quoting Morgan Stanley said. The private nature of the platform has kept it out of the regulatory purview. Once the bank decides to roll it out to clients and use it commercially, regulatory oversight might come into the picture.

A complete mining kit consists of graphics cards, a processor, power supply, memory, cabling and a fan, which would cost between $2,400 and $3,800 on Amazon.com, Inc. According to Bloomberg.

The top three mining hardware, according to 99bitcoins.com, are Avalon6, AntMiner S7 and AntMiner S9.

Given that existing GPUs aren't powerful enough, now miners are flocking to application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs. To circumvent this shortcoming, Nvidia and AMD are said to be working on GPUs, which could be used specifically for the purpose.

The two companies who are dominant in consumer-grade mining hardware are Canaan and Bitmain. Bitmain, based in Beijing, does mining as well as manufactures mining hardware.
 

Mining Pools And Their Share Of Mining

Mining pools including bitclub network

Mining pools are concentrated in China, which boasts of 81 percent of the network hash rate.

 

Why Mining Chips Are A Fickle Revenue Stream

For companies such as AMD and Nvidia, which have dominant positions in the gaming chip market, a focus away from their core business may not be a prudent course of action.

As seen, these companies may have to bring out new GPUs designed exclusively for this purpose to pose a real threat to the ASIC chips, which are predominantly manufactured by the Chinese, who are notorious for their low-cost market positioning. How viable is the spend on such exclusive chips is a moot point.

Additionally, national governments and exchanges are mulling over regulation of the whole realm of cryptocurrencies. Japan has recently introduced legislation to protect users after Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox collapsed in 2014. Similarly, introducing taxation such as capital gains tax on Bitcoin sales may also impede the cryptocurrency industry.
 

Author: Shanthi Rexaline , Benzinga Staff Writer

August 21, 2017 8:59am

 

Posted by David Ogden
                 Entrepreneur