Analysis of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin

Analysis of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin

* All the market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

 

The cryptocurrency universe is showing nervousness at the current levels, having recovered anywhere between 50% to 78% of the fall. After having sucked in the eager bulls at lower levels, is a retest of the lows on the cards?

What should be the future plan of action? To hold out or sell now? Let’s uncover the possibilities

Bitcoin

In our previous analysis, we had recommended booking partial profits at about $4459 levels. We are not yet bearish on bitcoin, but we believe that the pullback has reached a significant resistance zone of $4546 to $4680.

So, how far can the digital currency fall?

Bitcoin has significant support from the 20-day exponential moving average (EMA), the 50-day simple moving average (SMA) and the trendline in the zone of $4121 to $4200.

Therefore, a bounce from these levels is likely.

We may see an intraday dip below the trendline, but the closing is likely to be above it. Aggressive traders can initiate long trades close to $4150, if there are clear signs of support kicking in. Please watch for an hour to establish a strong support and then buy. If the cryptocurrency continues to fall, no trade should be taken.

This is a risky trade, therefore, we recommend a smaller position size.

In order to protect our investment, a stop loss of about $3950 can be kept. The target objective of this trade is $4480 and higher.

Ether

While bitcoin is yet to breakdown of the trendline, its junior partner, ethereum has already done so, albeit on an intraday basis. Until the digital currency breaks and closes below the trendline, we will not consider it a valid breakdown.

Ethereum has significant support at the $280 levels, where we expect some buying to emerge.

Nevertheless, we believe that the digital currency is stuck in a tight range of $280 to $310. This range is unlikely to hold out for long. Soon, price will either breakout or breakdown of it. Therefore, we recommend waiting until the digital currency reaches $317, which is a clear indication of demand because if the cryptocurrency breaks down of $280, it can plunge to $240 levels.

We are not recommending a trade within the range, as price is below both the moving averages, which is a bearish sign.

litecoin

Litecoin has formed a clear range of $44 on the lower end and $57.7 on the upper end. The best way to trade within a range is to buy at the bottom and sell at the top.

Currently, the cryptocurrency is trying to hold the psychological level of $50. If this level beaks, a fall to $44 is likely, where the traders can initiate long positions with a SL at $40. However, please don’t buy in a falling market. Wait for prices to bounce off the lows before buying around $44 to $46 levels.

On the other hand, if litecoin finds support at $50 and rallies above $58, we recommend a long position with the stop loss just below $50. A breakout of the range has a minimum target objective of $71.

Guest Writer on 05/10/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Bitcoin: $6,000 and Beyond?

Bitcoin: $6,000 and Beyond?

Bitcoin will quickly rise to $6,000 and you’re all foolish for thinking otherwise. At least, that’s what industry experts are saying. Of course, they added one important caveat: expect volatility to continue.

Bullish on Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency community has fallen on hard times as of late, but that hasn’t stopped the industry’s brightest minds from maintaining their bullish bets on BTC. The next major target that experts are eyeing is $6,000, which is a nearly 40% increase from current levels. According to analysts quoted by CNBC, $6,000 could become reality by year’s end.

The BTC/USD exchange rate peaked above $5,000 earlier this summer before a series of market events triggered a sharp correction. Chief among them was China’s decision to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs) and close down bitcoin exchanges.

Bitcoin was trading around $4,300 early Wednesday, according to Bitstamp. A price action analysis of the BTC/USD reveals that the digital currency is poised for a bullish breakout following a solid weekend of trading.

At present values, the BTC market is worth roughly $71.6 billion, easily tops among global cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is a distant second at $299.00 a pop and $28.4 billion in capitalization.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which “forked” from the original BTC in August, is trading at $403.00. That’s enough for fourth place on the global cryptocurrency value chart. With a cap of around $6.7 billion, BCH is ten times smaller than bitcoin.

BlackRock Sees Potential in Cryptocurrency

The CEO of the world’s biggest hedge fund sees “huge opportunities” for cryptocurrency. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, BlackRock head Larry Fink said he is a “big believer” in the crypto asset class.

At the same time, Fink said cryptocurrency is still the center of a global money laundering scheme. He also expressed concerns over the explosion of speculative trading in Asia, a region that has mixed feelings about cryptocurrency.

Following Japan’s landmark decision to recognize bitcoin as a legitimate currency, China and South Korea have launched regulatory campaigns against cryptos. The resulting selloff in the market was short-lived, as investors quickly returned.

Analysts now say the center of power in the cryptocurrency market is shifting to Japan. Just last week, the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) officially recognized 11 cryptocurrency exchange operators.

 

Author: Sam Bourgi

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

IMF Head - Cryptocurrency Could Be the Future. Really.

IMF Head – Cryptocurrency Could Be the Future. Really.

Christine Lagarde sees a path ahead for cryptocurrency.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, talked up the potential of virtual currencies to supplant traditional monies in coming decades on Friday. Cryptocurrencies, or virtual currencies, are a new class of digital assets powered by blockchains, distributed ledgers that made their name underpinning networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Unlike JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and billionaire hedge fund founder Ray Dalio, who have recently disparaged Bitcoin, the world's most well known cryptocurrency, Lagarde shared a rosier vision of the general technology's future with attendees of a Bank of England conference in London. "In many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money," she said.

"It may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies," Lagarde told the audience. "Instead, citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies."

Lagarde devoted a third of her talk, which envisioned how financial tech may reshape the world by the year 2040, to the subject of cryptocurrency. She noted that digital money could gain popularity as engineers work through technology issues related to processing more payments through blockchain networks in the future.

"Why might citizens hold virtual currencies rather than physical dollars, euros, or sterling? Because it may one day be easier and safer than obtaining paper bills, especially in remote regions," Lagarde said. "Virtual currencies could actually become more stable."

Lagarde couched her predictions with the pretense of sci-fi ("Are you ready to jump on my [hovering drone] pod and explore the future together?" she said), but her forecast matches the view of other big-name optimists, like Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson. "I'm a believer," Johnson said at an industry conference earlier this year about digital currencies.

Other topics Lagarde touched on included the possible disruption of the traditional banking business model by fintech upstarts as well as the advent of artificial intelligence.

You can read Lagarde's prepared remarks in full here, or read on for the segment about cryptocurrency, below.

1. Virtual currencies

Let us start with virtual currencies. To be clear, this is not about digital payments in existing currencies—through Paypal and other “e-money” providers such as Alipay in China, or M-Pesa in Kenya.

Virtual currencies are in a different category, because they provide their own unit of account and payment systems. These systems allow for peer-to-peer transactions without central clearinghouses, without central banks.

For now, virtual currencies such as Bitcoin pose little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks. Why? Because they are too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive, and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable. Many are too opaque for regulators; and some have been hacked.

But many of these are technological challenges that could be addressed over time. Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies.

Better value for money?

For instance, think of countries with weak institutions and unstable national currencies. Instead of adopting the currency of another country—such as the U.S. dollar—some of these economies might see a growing use of virtual currencies. Call it dollarization 2.0.

IMF experience shows that there is a tipping point beyond which coordination around a new currency is exponential. In the Seychelles, for example, dollarization jumped from 20 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2008.

And yet, why might citizens hold virtual currencies rather than physical dollars, euros, or sterling? Because it may one day be easier and safer than obtaining paper bills, especially in remote regions. And because virtual currencies could actually become more stable.

For instance, they could be issued one-for-one for dollars, or a stable basket of currencies. Issuance could be fully transparent, governed by a credible, pre-defined rule, an algorithm that can be monitored…or even a “smart rule” that might reflect changing macroeconomic circumstances.

So in many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money. The best response by central bankers is to continue running effective monetary policy, while being open to fresh ideas and new demands, as economies evolve.

Better payment services?

For example, consider the growing demand for new payment services in countries where the shared, decentralized service economy is taking off.

This is an economy rooted in peer-to-peer transactions, in frequent, small-value payments, often across borders.

Four dollars for gardening tips from a lady in New Zealand, three euros for an expert translation of a Japanese poem, and 80 pence for a virtual rendering of historic Fleet Street: these payments can be made with credit cards and other forms of e-money. But the charges are relatively high for small-value transactions, especially across borders.

Instead, citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies, since they potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash—no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities. If privately issued virtual currencies remain risky and unstable, citizens may even call on central banks to provide digital forms of legal tender.

So, when the new service economy comes knocking on the Bank of England’s door, will you welcome it inside? Offer it tea—and financial liquidity?

Author: Robert Hackett

Posted by David Ogden Entrpreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency entreprenur

 

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Beijing, China

It’s a sweltering summer night when I’m invited to join a bitcoin miner from Shenzhen at a “bitcoin club” somewhere in downtown Beijing. I’ve just returned from visiting one of the world’s largest bitcoin mines and find myself at a gathering of cryptocurrency enthusiasts at a craft beer brewery in the Sanlitun nightlife district.

I excuse myself from the bitcoin meetup and resort to jumping in a pirate taxi because I don’t have a mobile wallet from Alibaba or Tencent—the primary way to hail and pay for taxis in the city. After paying in cash—now a rarity in China’s mobile payment saturated cities—I disembark, then get lost amid Beijing’s ancient hutongs, the narrow alleyways that link China’s traditional courtyard residences.

My host puts me out of my misery by sharing his location on a real-time map over our WeChat direct messages. Now drenched in sweat, I meet Jack Liao, who runs a bitcoin mining firm called Lightning Asic. He leads me through a dark hutong, coming to a set of carved wooden double-doors. Pushing them open, we enter into the courtyard of a palatially renovated villa. This is my first look at the elusive “bitcoin club.”

The club is located in a 2,000-square-foot villa with a staff of 15, including cooks, cleaners, and wait people. It has two guest rooms, a dining room that hosts two dozen people, a professional Texas Hold ‘Em table emblazoned with the legend, “Faith in Bitcoin,” an automated mahjong table; shelves stacked with fine wine and liquor, a room for practicing Chinese caligraphy, and so on. The table stakes are bitcoin, AliPay credits, and sometimes even yuan, the only non-virtual currency accepted. Guests can sleep, eat, drink, and gamble for free if they’re acquainted with the miners who run the place. “People come here just to chat about projects,” Liao says.

The eye-popping villa bankrolled by bitcoin mining is a symbol of just how lucrative the cryptocurrency industry has been for some on the Chinese mainland. China is home to the world’s largest bitcoin mines, thanks to abundant and cheap electricity, and at one time the country accounted for 95% of the volume traded in global markets. Its central bank is experimenting with a blockchain-backed digital currency, and its biggest companies, from tech giants to industrial conglomerates, are racing to bake blockchain tech into major new projects.

All this points to a central question: How did stateless cryptocurrencies get so big in China, a country where the national currency—along with so much else—remains tightly controlled by the government? Why has bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, flourished with so much vigor here in China? A two-week journey through bitcoin trading operations in Shanghai, mining operations in Inner Mongolia, and the club in Beijing hasn’t answered the question definitely—but it’s gotten me much closer.

Bitcoin is a political statement

Bitcoin began as an experiment in economics and politics, as a project to create electronic money that anyone could use but no one controlled, especially a sovereign authority. The code behind the new currency gave life to libertarian ideals like: money free from government controls on spending and taxation; transactions that could ignore a global, sometimes corrupt banking system; and freedom from central bank targeting of interest rates and inflation. It was also rebuke to the very notion of conventional money.

Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, encoded a headline from the Times of London in the first block of transactions ever created on the bitcoin blockchain. It read: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Given bitcoin’s political bona fides, it’s a great irony that Chinese companies and individual users are so dominant in its daily activities. The world’s biggest bitcoin miner is a Beijing-based company called Bitmain, which operates two mining pools that control nearly 30% of all the processing power devoted to bitcoin mining. It might seem that Chinese bitcoiners are carrying out some kind of libertarian protest against China’s ruling communist party, subverting the status quo by processing cryptocurrency transactions towards a yet-to-be-revealed political end.

They aren’t.

“In China, bitcoin is one thing and in America and Europe it is another thing,” Liao said as we sipped tea from porcelain cups on the villa’s top floor. Our host, Wu Bi, explains there is no competition between cryptocurrencies and the government-controlled renminbi, at least as the government sees it. “In China our government says bitcoin is not a currency, it is a commodity, so there is no chance it will compete with the renminbi,” Wu told me in Chinese, with Liao translating. “Bitcoin is a great idea, but in China we care more about blockchain.”

Wu and his Chinese compatriots are focused not on the currency, but on the technology behind it. Blockchain is simply a technical way to record encrypted transactions that are distributed across a computer network; once entered they cannot be altered. Instead of using blockchain, or bitcoin, as a permissionless cryptocurrency, banks want to shoe-horn some of bitcoin’s features into current transaction systems to create a low-cost network that, crucially, would require administrators to grant users access. Those administrators, of course, would be banks, or central banks. “Different countries may have different ideas about what is government, and what is the liberty of individuals,” Wu says.

Bitcoin users I met in Beijing were similarly dismissive of bitcoin’s libertarian politics. They did not want to be named or quoted directly, but their argument was essentially this: People in China simply aren’t interested in bitcoin’s potential for political change. And besides, China’s closely controlled economy has delivered prosperity for now—what benefits does bitcoin bring besides as an investment that might appreciate?

Object of speculation

Ordinary Chinese bitcoin users I spoke to, and those who are served by the exchanges and wallet providers, are far more interested in the ability to speculate on bitcoin’s wild price swings—it’s just another way to make money as China continues to adopt characteristics of a market economy.

As it happens, bitcoin arrived just as a class of retail investors in China is growing in size, and seeking better returns than those offered by a restricted financial products market. Even the market for property in China’s top-tier coastal cities, usually reliable for spectacular returns, has been subjected to ever tightening lending restrictions by a government eager to curb speculation. “[Chinese consumers] have had such limited channels for so long, and [bitcoin] was finally one that was not tightly controlled by the government,” says Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow specializing in Chinese internet finance at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC.

One seasoned observer of the Chinese bitcoin scene concurs. Eric Zhao is n engineer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai and runs the widely followed Twitter account CN Ledger. Bitcoin became popular almost by default, because of the paucity of products for the Chinese retail investor, he says. “There are not many good investment choices for common people in China. Many people worry about inflation and lots of people feel insecure about their financial status,” he says. “They buy it simply because they believe it will appreciate in value.”

Uncorrelated to major asset classes and generally disconnected from the Chinese economy, bitcoin has been hugely attractive to Chinese investors already overweight domestic stocks and property. Indeed, research from Pantera Capital, a venture fund for blockchain companies, shows that bitcoin is almost completely uncorrelated to major equity, debt, and commodity asset classes. “Because [bitcoin] is globally connected, it’s not easily affected by the Chinese economy,” says Isaac Mao, a longtime entrepreneur and investor in China’s technology scene. “It may be the only economic activity fully connected to the global economy.”

Crackdown

The wild ride on bitcoin in China, however, braked to a stop Sept. 4, when China’s central bank began to take steps to halt domestic bitcoin trading. It started with a ban on “initial coin offerings,” followed by a shutdown of local bitcoin exchanges. China’s authorities have clamped down on bitcoin trading before, most notably in 2014, when the cryptocurrency was on a historic rally driven, in part, by Chinese money.

Now rumors are swirling that a ban on bitcoin mining may be enacted. But if the government has found bitcoin to be a potentially dangerous element in the country’s socio-political mix, why didn’t it crack down before? Instead, it has been relatively tolerant of a technology that was designed to weaken the state’s grip on money.

The rare true believer in bitcoin’s libertarian properties is Bobby Lee, an American who runs the world’s oldest bitcoin exchange, BTCC, in Shanghai. His firm was forced to shut down domestic trading through its BTCChina arm, although it still runs an exchange for non-Chinese traders. When we spoke before the crackdown in August, Lee was enthusiastic about government regulation, saying it would help the market mature. But he also struck a defiant note, saying that bitcoin’s design made it impossible for China’s regulators to shut down. “There is nothing [the Chinese government] can do. That is the beauty of [bitcoin],” he said.

I pointed out that the government could seize exchanges, and even bitcoin mining facilities, and compel their owners to run certain types of code or mess with transactions, thus damaging the cryptocurrency. Lee was sanguine. “They’ll want to control it, but bitcoin was not meant to be controlled,” he said. “You can make all the rules you want, and the question is, can they be enforced? With guns you can say, let’s make guns illegal. But with bitcoin, there’s nothing physical. It’s information, and there’s plausible deniability.”

The reality may be more prosaic. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are simply too small to bother the Chinese government much, says Isaac Mao, the investor and entrepreneur and one of China’s earliest bloggers. “The [Chinese Communist Party] doesn’t recognize it as a threat, so bitcoin actually grows very quickly in China,” he told me at a cafe in Hong Kong, where he is now based. “But it’s too small. There is no scale. The market capitalization of bitcoin is about the same as PayPal,” or about $70 billion.

I spoke to Mao in August, but the crackdown doesn’t signal any political threat, writes Chorzempa of the Peterson Institute. It’s more likely that bitcoin trading is just collateral damage from a wider set of restrictions on alternative financial products that have caused billions in consumer losses. Regulators have reigned in not just crypto trading but peer-to-peer loans, trusts, and lending to non-bank institutions this year, Chorzempa writes: “The clampdown thus fits into a broader set of efforts to lessen financial market risks perceived by Chinese policymakers.”

Everyone hates inflation

To the extent that bitcoin trading and mining is a political statement, it’s a demonstration against inflation. Prices in China grew rapidly in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, hitting their highest level in decades in 2007. Inflation has moderated since then, but ordinary Chinese say they still feel the pinch.

Bitmain’s Micree Zhang, who developed its proprietary mining chips, says worry about inflation chewing up his earnings was one reason why he first became interested in bitcoin. “Before I knew about bitcoin I disliked, and was very worried about, inflation. Especially in China in the last 10 years,” he said when I visited with him at Bitmain’s main facility in Inner Mongolia. “When I discovered bitcoin, I knew it was a good idea, very quickly.”

One bitcoin user I met in Beijing told me he was attracted to the cryptocurrency because the government couldn’t devalue it by printing more money, unlike the yuan. The Chinese government controls its currency far more tightly than other major economies.

This level of control can lead to panics. In 2015, the Chinese government devalued the yuan in an attempt to boost economic growth, sending shockwaves through global markets. While today the central bank’s move is seen as astute, at the time Chinese consumers were hit hard, worrying about paying more for everything from Australian beef to New Zealand milk.

Digging for digital gold

China has been the world’s largest electricity producer since it surpassed the United States in 2011. Cheap electricity is the crucial ingredient for a profitable bitcoin mining operation—and China has it in spades. So it’s no surprise that China has become a world center for the activity.

Take Beijing-based Bitmain, for instance. It’s the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, but the company doesn’t divulge its financial data, and there’s no easy way to find out because its beneficial owner is a trust in the Cayman Islands. But one longtime commentator in the bitcoin space, Jimmy Song, has performed an analysis of the firm’s likely profitability. His estimate: $77 million in mining profits for the firm this year, of which electricity and other operational costs come up to about $23 million.

It’s estimated that two-thirds of the world’s processing power devoted to mining bitcoin resides in China. These bitcoin mines take the form of giant warehouses filled with thousands of custom-designed machines and chips, all whirring away to check bitcoin transactions and compete for a slice of the 12.5 bitcoins awarded to a miner every 10 minutes. Collectively, bitcoin miners have collected more than $2 billion in revenue over the cryptocurrency’s nine-year lifespan.

Bitmain leads the pack as both a creator of bitcoin mining rigs and chips, and an operator of vast server farms. It’s now raised $50 million from marquee Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital to expand to the US—perhaps reducing its exposure to Chinese regulations—and to develop a new set of chips for artificial intelligence.
 

Sheer scale

Bitmain’s position as the world’s largest miner is only the tip of Chinese industrial interest on blockchain technology. Last May, a Chinese company called Wanxiang Group, one of the world largest automotive parts makers, sponsored a blockchain hackathon at the Deloitte offices in Rockefeller Center in New York. Wanxiang plans to embed blockchain technology into a new “smart city“—a nine square kilometer plot of land with a planned population of 90,000 people and $30 billion in investment—that it is building from scratch near Hangzhou in eastern China. It was looking for the world’s brightest blockchain developers.

Wanxiang was offering $15,000 to teams who came up with an enticing blockchain project for the smart city, with an additional $1 million in funding. As Wanxiang executive Peter Liang clicked through his slides detailing how blockchains would power everything from the city’s electricity grid to its traffic control system and be embedded in Wanxiang’s factories, the handful of programmers in the room grew both skeptical and awed. “It’s so huge, it’s hard to even believe,” one developer told him.

Wanxiang isn’t the only Chinese conglomerate with blockchain dreams. Beyond cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, some of China’s biggest firms are betting on the technical ideas behind it to revolutionize their businesses. They’re placing much bigger bets than their counterparts elsewhere in the world, who are mired in small-scale trials, proofs of concepts, or slow moving consortia. Chinese companies “are not only moving faster, but the scale of their blockchain ambitions dwarf what we’re seeing elsewhere,” says Garrick Hileman, of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The Chinese e-commerce giant JD has already launched a food supply tracking system using a blockchain in Beijing supermarkets and online stores. The tech giant Tencent has partnered with Intel to develop a blockchain architecture. And the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has said it’s researching blockchain technology as a way to potentially digitize the yuan.

Blockchains for industry

Unlike firms elsewhere in the world, Chinese companies sense an opportunity to unify the fragmented data flows flowing through their stupendously large and complicated factory floors and supply chains by marrying a blockchain data layer with Internet of Things devices. Conveniently, these applications are also free of the regulation and scrutiny that can slow down financial applications. “I personally believe that non-financial [applications] will go commercial sooner,” says Vincent Wang, Wanxiang’s chief innovation officer.

Foxconn, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers of electronics and best known for manufacturing Apple’s iPhone, sees blockchain as way for its suppliers to get easy financing. “In China, 85% of SMEs can’t get financing,” Foxconn executive Jack Lee told a conference in New York in May. “They have to go to shadow banking … so it’s very inefficient and costly.” If Foxconn can leverage its current data on small businesses through blockchain, it could create a highly efficient supply chain that could also track delivered goods.

Just as mobile phones allowed China and emerging economies to leapfrog the rich world’s telephone landlines, blockchain technologies could help its industries skip the development of antiquated financial services models. After all, Chinese tech firms Alibaba and Tencent are already processing trillions of dollars through their mobile payments businesses. “We are more interested in getting to a next-generation financial services business,” Foxconn’s Lee says. “That’s the key. As a side benefit for Foxconn, it will streamline the supply chain.”

Those kinds of observations make less worrisome the recent drop in China’s share of bitcoin trading volume as well as rumors on Telegram chat groups about an imminent crackdown on even China’s powerful bitcoin miners. Because Chinese money’s waning influence over the bitcoin markets may be replaced by control over an even greater prize.

As it continues to move from a rural to an industrial economy, China needs to leapfrog the incumbents and assert itself as a technology leader. Bitcoin and the ideas behind its blockchain may be one way to do that—and it may be why China has been a leader of a stateless cryptocurrency for so long.

 

Author: Joon Ian Wong

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
david ogden cryptocurrency entrepreneur

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble?

The boss of JP Morgan was unequivocal about bitcoin at a recent conference in New York: the digital currency was only fit for drug dealers and would eventually blow up. “[It] isn’t going to work,” said Jamie Dimon. “You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that the people who are buying it are really smart.”

A few days after Dimon’s comments, the value of bitcoin plunged when the Chinese authorities announced a crackdown on it. It has been an eventful month, even in the context of a currency that is less than a decade old. Since the start of the year the value of a single bitcoin has gone from $1,000 (£750) to almost $5,000.

The spiralling price of the cryptocurrency, along with the controversy it has attracted in the past few weeks, has meant that interest from buyers has peaked and more consumers are considering whether to invest – or gamble, as some commentators say – in it.

“We continue to see a rise in demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” says Obi Nwosu of Coinfloor, an exchange where people can buy and trade bitcoin. “When senior leaders in the financial community, regulators and government bodies share their views about bitcoin, it further raises interest and awareness in the market.”

So amid the warnings, should investors see the spiralling price as reason enough to buy?

How it began

Established in 2009 after the financial crash, bitcoin is a digital currency that has no central bank or regulatory authority backing it up. The coins don’t exist in a tangible form but are made by computers and stored in a digital wallet or on the cloud. They can then be exchanged and used in transactions.

There is a finite number of bitcoin that can be supplied – 21m – and there are currently 15m in circulation. Its price has fluctuated wildly since it was launched. Seven years ago, two pizzas were bought for 10,000 bitcoin. At its peak at the beginning of September this year each bitcoin was worth almost $5,000. As it can be used as an anonymous way to carry out cross-border money transfers, it has been linked to drug dealing and money laundering.

There are bitcoin ATMs that allow the cryptocurrency to be exchanged for cash, and an increasing number of businesses accept it. Lady Mone, co-founder of underwear brand Ultimo, launched a property development in Dubai with prices in bitcoin, while a London property developer is to allow its tenants to pay their deposits using it.

Growing interest

The renewed attention on bitcoin has led to a spike in interest from people wanting to invest. “BTC [bitcoin] and crypto[currency] more broadly have hit the mainstream consciousness,” says Lex Deak, chief executive of alternative investment aggregator Off3r. “I am getting an increasing number of enquiries from late adopters who want to learn more about accessing investment opportunities in the space. It has matured rapidly since the beginning of the year, courtesy of the jump from $1,000 to over $4,000, with a feeling that there is now a little less volatility.”

Guy Halford-Thompson, the founder of brokerage Quickbitcoin, says he would not be surprised if mainstream brokers and investors started to invest heavily in the near future. At the same time, the financial regulator has warned against a speculative frenzy over initial coin offerings (ICOs) – a digital way of raising funds from the public using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – because of their unregulated nature and lack of investor protection.

While some investors may be attracted by the massive rises this year, others will be wary of the volatility. In mid-January one bitcoin was valued at $800. By June this had gone to $3,000. One month later, it was at less than $2,000 and then almost $5,000 by the start of September. Two weeks later, it was at $3,200.

“Whether it is suitable or not is down to individual circumstances,” says Deak. “If you are an experienced investor with a balanced portfolio and relatively small exposure, then BTC is an exciting and potentially lucrative investment. It needs to come with a clear warning that there is potential for significant losses and investors need to carefully consider the method of investing.”

Tread carefully

Electronic payments expert Dave Birch has said in the past that “one doesn’t invest in bitcoin, one gambles on bitcoin”. Those working in the area advise anyone planning on buying the currency to only invest as much as they are prepared to lose.

“The general sensible view is that the more volatile the investment, the smaller proportion of your wealth you should consider storing in it,” says Marc Warne, founder of bitcoin exchange Bittylicious. “I have heard of people moving their life investments into bitcoin and this is a bad idea.

“The flipside is simple – why not give it a try? If you have £20 to spare, for instance, buy a tiny amount and track its price. If something goes hideously wrong the £20 can be written off and it can be considered a learning experience. If you can, spend it somewhere like at a few pubs that accept it.”

Because the typical protections surrounding investment are not present with bitcoin, prospective investors should ask for help from those who have traded in them already, says Halford-Thompson. “My advice to anyone thinking about investing in bitcoin is to do their own research, but also to speak to people who have already gone through the experience of investing in it,” he says.

“Most of the dangers are because the protection that investors would normally enjoy on a stock market are not present. If you own bitcoin, you need to make sure you know how to buy, sell and store it properly or you risk losing your entire investment.”

Is it secure?

Concerns about the security of the cryptocurrency have continued to shadow it. Last year, almost 120,000 bitcoin worth around $78m (£58m)were stolen from Hong Kong-based Bitfinex, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, which resulted in a 20% drop in the value of the currency at the time.

“Similar to online banking, people need to take care with their bitcoin account credentials,” says Nwosu. “Whether you secure your bitcoin yourself or with a third party like Coinfloor, we recommend the safest way to go is to keep your security credentials offline.”

Daniel Scott of Coincorner says the currency itself is secure, but the problem surrounds businesses in the industry and the wallets where the bitcoin are stored. “Unfortunately, IT security is a real-world issue, not just for bitcoin but within any industry that uses technology. You only have to do a quick Google search for recent hackings of large global companies to see that any company is open to security issues regardless of size or industry.”
 

AS RISKY AS TULIPS

When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, dismissed bitcoin as a currency for drug dealers and murders that would end up imploding, he compared its rise to an infamous bubble from the 1600s. “It is worse than tulip bulbs,” he said.

Dimon was referring to one of the most notorious periods of speculation in history when the value of tulip bulbs rocketed amid a mania for the flowers. The popularity of the bulbs hit its peak in the 1630s.

They were traded “frantically”, according to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and some people even put their homes down as collateral. However, the market crashed in February 1637, leaving many investors penniless.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.

Thomasine F-R.

Author: Shane Hickey 

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Why Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be everywhere

Why Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be everywhere

Bitcoin, Ethereum and blockchain technologies are all the rage. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are raking in millions in mere minutes, and every day a new initiative is announced with ever-increasing hype.

With all of this going on, you’d expect cryptocurrencies to be mainstream fare, right?

Unfortunately, they’re not quite there — yet.

As of now, your grandma probably isn’t wagering Ethereum with her bridge buddies. Heck, even buying pizza with cryptocurrency sounds like science fiction. The fact of the matter is that for people outside of the hardcore crypto-enthusiast community, the whole idea is still mysterious.

This article will help you get a better grasp of the future of cryptocurrency. After you finish it, you’ll clearly see how these technologies are poised to join the mainstream.

So, when will this dizzying race come to an end? Is there real value in the blockchain craze? Can it possibly live up to the expectations created by so many rivers of newsprint?

Below, you’ll find answers to all of these questions and more.
 

The true potential of blockchain technology

As it turns out, distributed blockchain ledgers do have a future.

Not only can they reduce skyrocketing IT costs, but the promise of faster, less-expensive financial transactions has the potential to accelerate growth in a host of industries.

With this great potential comes some bad news, though … you won’t see these possibilities become a reality until the technology becomes useful in the real world.

uber

What will this look like exactly? Well, when you can pay for a ride to a cafe and buy a coffee in crypto — without needing a master’s degree, mind you — its use will be pretty standard.

When crypto goes mainstream transactions won’t be measured in millions of dollars, but trillions.

The explosion of the global sharing economy illustrates how cryptocurrency can go mainstream.

Several companies are already changing the way things are done in this sector. They’re taking products and services that are already in existence and turning them into economic opportunities for millions of people.

In their industry, Uber and Lyft have transformed the way the world thinks about traveling by car. They’ve also empowered people who couldn’t otherwise find work to generate income.

With these businesses, it’s easy for drivers to get started, and they can work on their terms. Due to these reasons and more, Uber and Lyft have taken off like wildfire.

Air B&B

Airbnb also challenges the status quo to provide worldwide accommodations for its users. Not only has it reinvented the way people think about traveling, but it’s been an absolute game-changer when it comes to bringing more money into various communities.

Currently, initiatives like Open Money are laying the foundational groundwork so that software developers can make the vision of universal cryptocurrency acceptance possible. Their platform provides the technological infrastructure that will integrate cryptocurrency transactions into practical, everyday applications.

At the end of the day, companies like Uber and Lyft don’t just change the way we think about the world — they change the world. When it comes to cryptocurrency, companies like Open Money will significantly expand the acceptance of cryptocurrencies by facilitating their incorporation into the software people are already using.
 

Can cryptocurrency acceptance in consumer apps open the floodgates?

Now all of this sounds pretty amazing, but what is needed to bring this vision to reality?

Companies will need to develop strategies that are based on proven market principles to succeed. Namely, they’ll need to empower app developers from all over the world to quickly and easily integrate cryptocurrencies into their applications.

The booming consumer applications market is the ideal starting point for bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. According to a recent research study by We Are Social, more than half of the world’s population now connects to the internet with a smartphone, generating over 50 percent of all internet traffic.

Overall, 3.5 billion people around the globe consistently use mass-market consumer software.

around the world

The real motor of consumer software lies in the hands of software developers. All around the globe, these individuals are innovating solutions that engage their users in powerful ways.

Unfortunately, they don’t currently have the tools they need to make this possible.

Though others are likely to follow in its footsteps, Open Money is the first initiative to provide a state-of-the-art REST API, SDKs and industry best practices designed to facilitate blockchain integration.

Built by developers and for developers, with this solution, it won’t be necessary to start from scratch. Instead, they can leverage an established infrastructure to transition their currently successful apps into the cryptocurrency market, finally enabling you to pay for your pizza in cryptocurrency.

“We want to be the catalyst that takes blockchain technology and puts it in the hands of billions of people around the world. By empowering developers of all sizes to harness the true potential of this amazing technology, we will be contributing to a world that is more efficient, equitable and productive. That’s what the Open initiative is all about,” explained Ken Sangha, COO of Open Money.

The Opportunity

Cryptocurrency is on the brink of change. Soon, app developers from around the globe will empower everyone — including grandparents— to use cryptocurrency with ease. (Nostalgia: $12 checks written by older folks will soon be a thing of the past, so get your cryptowallet ready.) If they succeed, they’ll create a new market that’ll change the economic system forever.

 

by NATHAN RESNICK

 

Posted by David Ogden

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrpreneur

 

Alessandra Sollberger, 29, has made more than $80,000 (£60,000) from bitcoin,

Young investors make thousands from bitcoin but experts warn amateurs could lose everything

Anyone seeking the hottest investments will have been watching developments in cryptocurrency with a discerning eye.

Bitcoin, the king of the breed, has soared in value since launching in 2010. Thirty dollars’ worth of bitcoin bought at launch would have made you a millionaire by now.

But the digital currency is also susceptible to wild fluctuations. Less than two weeks ago, the price of bitcoin collapsed by 15 per cent in a single day amid speculation that China was about to impose a crackdown on the currency.

Veteran investors and financial advisers will warn you to steer clear of such a risky product. But whether the experts like it or not, the value of cryptocurrency is growing at an astonishing rate. Bitcoin, which is priced in US dollars, was worth less than 10 cents in October 2010. By November 2013 the value had jumped to $980, and it leapt again to a new high of almost $5,000 (£3,700) early this month.


The likes of bitcoin can hit dizzy heights.

They can also fall precipitously Today a single coin is worth more than $4,200. The jump in value has been fuelled by growing demand from buyers around the world. In particular, it appears to have captured the interest of young people who see cryptocurrency as a way to get involved in investing.

Alessandra Sollberger, the 29-year-old founder of London-based “superfoods” company Evermore Health, got in at the right time. She bought around 400 coins for less than $9 in mid-2012 after hearing about the currency through her work at a private equity firm.

The Oxford University graduate, who grew up in Switzerland, sold 250 coins when the price hit $82 in March 2013, making her more than $20,000. She then sold another 100 for $600 in 2014, netting her a further $60,000.

She used the money to launch her own business last year and still holds four coins, which have a current market value of almost $17,000. “Obviously with hindsight I should have put everything into it, but I’m happy with the returns I got,” she says.


Alessandra Sollberger, 29, used the money she made from bitcoin to start a business

Ms Sollberger, who is also an adviser to a cryptocurrency hedge fund in the US, believes virtual currency has a long-term future.

She is backing ether and ripple as other successful currencies, although she says investing is not for the faint-hearted. “There’ll be so much volatility. It takes a strong stomach and fundamental conviction to hold one of these in the long term.”
 

Beware of hackers

Cryptocurrency has no physical shape or form. The coins are created and stored electronically and transactions are made between individual users, bypassing banks. Advocates say this is the future of money – but others are concerned.

One big issue is security. Because the coins are stored electronically, the system appeals to hackers. People may also simply forget their account details or password, losing access to their coins.

Justin, a graphic designer for an architectural practice in Bath, bought 6.5 bitcoins in June 2015 for less than £1,000. The 43-year-old, who declined to give his surname, now has a portfolio worth £20,000.

But he is not planning to cash in any time soon. He plans to reassess his bitcoins in 2025, by which point he will have held them for 10 years. He has also been putting more in this year. “Rather than stick spare money at the end of the month into a savings account, I spend it on bitcoin,” he says.


Andrea Casino, 22, is new to cryptocurrency

Andrea Casino, a 22-year-old Master’s student, only starting investing in crypto two months ago. He put $2,000 in two newer crypto coins – OmiseGo (OMG) and Lisk.

“I was up about $600 in my first week. But then the concerns about China happened and the value dipped to $1,500. Now I’m $400 in profit,” he says. “I don’t do any other form of investing. It’s a bubble but holding now is the wisest thing to do.”
 

How to buy:

Partly for the purposes of researching this article – as well as being curious about the growth potential of bitcoin – I recently became a buyer.

The first thing you need is a wallet to store the “coins”. Investors willing to spend a lot of money should really get an offline wallet (similar to a hard drive). I went for a free online wallet at Blockchain.info.

After you have signed up for a wallet, you will be given your own bitcoin address – a unique set of numbers that is similar to a bank account number. Once you have copied down your address, head to an online exchange to buy some coins. I used Bittylicious.com after reading several favourable reviews online. It also offers a very competitive commission rate.

You can buy various currencies on Bittylicious, although Blockchain will only host bitcoin and ether in the wallet at the moment. You buy the coins by paying cash direct into the seller’s high-street bank account.

You don’t have to buy a whole bitcoin; it can be as small a portion as you want. There are some places in the UK where you can spend your bitcoin – see wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk/map.

 

Have you missed the boat?

There is no doubt that bitcoin’s growth has slowed over the past month. However, investors will know that any investment should be made with the long term in mind.

In bitcoin’s case, no one knows what the value of the coins will be in 10 years’ time. The currency could soar by more multiples, or it could collapse and become another failed financial product that economists will analyse for years to come.

 

Should you invest?
What the experts say

Gretchen Betts, Magenta ­Financial Planning
The high returns are clearly attractive to young people. However, this market is unregulated and susceptible to fraud and hackers – with no compensation if this happens. So as an investor, you could lose everything.

Cryptocurrency should be considered very high risk and only for sophisticated investors who can afford to speculate with money they are prepared to lose. The volatility means losses of 20 per cent in a day are not unusual; most people can’t afford to lose that much.

As an unregulated asset, bitcoin is not something I would recommend as an investment. There are also some ethical concerns to consider – the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency makes it attractive to criminals and for money laundering.

William Hobbs, Barclays
To make the case for an asset’s inclusion in a portfolio, it needs to have a positive expected return over the long term, and act as a diversifier.

Bitcoin potentially satisfies both criteria. With the increasing digitisation of the economy, we may see a greater shift towards non-cash transactions executed through digital means. This would, increase the utility of cryptocurrency, potentially leading to price appreciation and a positive expected return. Besides that, bitcoin is unlike most traditional asset classes.

Of course, correlations should be interpreted with caution, given how unstable they can be.

Nevertheless, current patterns suggest, in theory, that bitcoin may be, in theory, a useful diversifying asset.

 

Author: Elizabeth Anderson

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency entrepreneur

 

first cash now gold

First Cash, Now Gold? Another Bitcoin Hard Fork Is on the Way

Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold?

There could be as many as four cryptocurrencies bearing the bitcoin name if a small group of miners and developers carry out a planned fork of the blockchain this month.

Styled as a rebellion of sorts, bitcoin gold aims to follow a similar launch plan as bitcoin cash – the blockchain that split from bitcoin this summer by way of a "hard fork." The idea of the project is to release an improved protocol, one that will challenge bitcoin cash in particular, and details are now starting to come come into focus.

Led by Jack Liao, CEO of Hong Kong mining firm LightningASIC, bitcoin gold is slated to launch on October 25, with its cryptocurrency being opened to exchanges on November 1.

Still, while whispers of the event are just beginning to spread, the importance of the project appears up for debate. Given that bitcoin cash produced an ultimately smaller bitcoin network, not to mention a cryptocurrency that's worth about 12 percent as much as bitcoin at press time, most seem to view the plan as another distraction in an already divided community.

For one, bitcoin gold looks like it could be even smaller that bitcoin cash, at least in that not as many miners seem to support it.

In remarks, BTC.Top founder Jiang Zhuoer and ViaBTC CEO Haipo Yang – two early champions of bitcoin cash – went so far as to downplay bitcoin gold as insignificant.
 

'Decentralized again'

But while those in the know might be skeptical of bitcoin gold, it does have a goal that many in the community may find attractive: creating a truly decentralized bitcoin.

Most notably, the developers behind the network hope to open up mining to more participants by replacing bitcoin's mining algorithm with one that will enable it to be mined with graphics cards. The idea is to make big miners – sometimes controversial figures on the network – less relevant.

"Bitcoin gold will implement a proof-of-work change from bitcoin's SHA256 to Equihash, a memory-hard algorithm that is ASIC-resistant and optimized for GPU mining," explained pseudonymous bitcoin gold developer "The Sorrow."

That the plan is being hatched in China, long the hotbed of bitcoin mining, only adds another layer to the story. Liao, whose mining hardware largely focuses on the litecoin network, is seen as one of the few voices domestically that can challenge the established order.

Yet, Liao was quick to name one mining firm in particular, Bitmain, as the reason that more bitcoin users should support the idea. A mining company that has been at the center of bitcoin drama over the last year, critics have long argued that the firm has too much of an influence over the network.

Still, creating a network that grows so popular as to remove miners is easier said than done, and some are skeptical that this would lead to the end goal that bitcoin gold advocates desire.

"GPU mining can't prevent centralization. GPU [markets] are controlled by Nvidia and AMD," Zhao Dong, a cryptocurrency trader and investor, argued in response to the plan.

Liao, however, argued the accessibility of the companies' products means the distribution of hashing power might evolve differently.

 

Bitcoin gold's unknowns

Again, though, even project leaders admit many of the details around the hard fork are fuzzy.

Bitcoin gold's pseudonymous lead developer "h4x" said that the project is "still evolving" and details such as exact block height of the hard fork are still up for discussion.

According to the original website text, bitcoin gold was even planning an initial coin offering (ICO) by which 1 percent of the bitcoin gold coins would go to the developer team, but these details have since been removed.

One thing is clear though about the funding: because of the nature of the split, every bitcoin user at the time will have an equal amount of bitcoin gold associated with their private key.

"It is a minimalist fork of the Bitcoin Core codebase in the spirit of litecoin – only a few conservative modifications," said h4x.

H4x went on to describe bitcoin gold in more abstract biological terms, arguing that it tests how well hard forks work and if they benefit the ecosystem.

He said:

"Organisms derive benefits from creating offspring. With bitcoin gold we are conducting an experiment to see if that principle holds true in the world of blockchains."

And this sentiment is largely in line with developers who have predicted that more bitcoin forks similar to bitcoin cash will come forth in the future.

After bitcoin cash forked earlier this summer, for example, Lightning Network developer Tadge Dryja argued that more forks would spring up, but for another reason: money.

With bitcoin gold in the works and another hard fork slated for November, it seems that prediction is slowly becoming reality.

 

Sep 27, 2017 at 08:00 UTC by Alyssa Hertig

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency entrepreneur

Early bitcoin investor Palihapitiya declares 'nobody can stop it'

Early bitcoin investor Palihapitiya declares 'nobody can stop it'

  • Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya was early in both Facebook and bitcoin and continues to back both.
  • "The idea that the government can put curbs on this is actually pretty specious," he said in response to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's criticism of bitcoin.

Investors who followed Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya into the early stages of two investments he advocated would have made an awful lot of money.

Palihapitiya was early in both Facebook, the ubiquitous social network, and bitcoin, the disruptive crypotcurrency that has sharply divided investors who continue to argue over its legitimacy.

Even with the major gains both have made, Palihapitiya remains hot on tech stocks in general, and bitcoin in particular. The digital currency, despite some volatile times, has soared nearly 300 percent this year.

That has come even though JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has called it a fraud that is doomed to fail.

"Nobody can stop it because nobody can control it," Palihapitiya said in an exclusive CNBC PRO interview at the Delivering Alpha conference on Sept. 12. "The idea that the government can put curbs on this is actually pretty specious."

Rather than debate its status as a currency or its use for nefarious purposes, he said there should be a broader discussion about how to put it to better use.

"As far as I'm concerned, the genie is out of the bottle," he said. "Now the real question is how can we productively use it to solve some of society's issues around the financial services infrastructure."

 

Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency  entrepreneur

Bitcoin's price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

Bitcoin's price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

The price of bitcoin is up nearly 300 percent year to date.

Bitcoin is still under the $4,000 level, which it broke through after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Sept. 12 that the cryptocurrency is a "fraud" that will eventually blow up.

 

The price of bitcoin rose sharply on Monday with its price spiking up 7 percent midday, according to CoinDesk market data.

The price of the cryptocurrency is up nearly 300 percent year to date.

Bitcoin's price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

Bitcoin is still under the $4,000 level, which it broke through after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Sept. 12 that the cryptocurrency is a "fraud" that will eventually blow up.

In addition, recent reports said regulators in China have ordered bitcoin exchanges to close hurt the digital currency's price.

"In my opinion, the markets overreacted to the China news. In the short term, it was bad news, but long term the fundamentals are unchanged," William Mougayar, author of "The Business Blockchain," wrote in an email.

-CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report

Author: Tae Kim |

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur