Bitcoin’s price breaks records, yet again (more)

Bitcoin's price breaks records, yet again

 

  
Bitcoin is still on a major upswing. 

The price of the cryptocurrency broke $1,500 this week — a huge milestone for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  The $1,500 price put the total value of the cryptocurrency market above $40 billion, MarketWatch reported. Bitcoin started off 2017 trading just above $1,000, which was its first time reaching that mark in three years. Then in February, the digital currency exceeded its $1,165 record price set in 2014. Last week, bitcoin rose above $1,400, an all-time high. And now it's above $1,500 — at $1,534 on Saturday afternoon, to be exact. It could all come crashing down again — in early 2017, bitcoin's swing above $1,000 was short-lived. Or maybe $1,500 will be the going rate for one bitcoin from now on.

 

Cryptocurrency Prices Explode! Bitcoin at $1600, Ethereum at $100

Almost all cryptocurrencies are way up today bringing the combined value of the market to $46 billion.

Cryptocurrency prices appear to be unstoppable today,

with the top four blockchain assets now worth over $1 billion each. It seems much of the surge is from new money pouring into the market. This is evident from the exceptionally high trading volumes, reaching new record total for the entire ecosystem of over $2.2 billion a day. One likely reason for this is that the news of recent all-time highs are drawing in more and more new traders attracted to the opportunity.

Bitcoin is now at a record high of $1600, rising 7% since yesterday, giving it a market cap of over $26 billion. Ethereum is now at a record high of $100 rising yesterday, giving it a market cap of over $9 billion. Ripple’s XRP is now at a record high of $0.09, rising 40% since yesterday, giving it a market cap of over $3.4 billion. Litecoin is now at a record high of $25, rising 20% since yesterday, giving it a marketrising over $1.3 billion.

In fact, most of the other 700+ blockchain assets traded around the world are up significantly today. In total, the combined value of the entire market is now at a record $46 billion. While the speed at which we are seeing the value grow can cause fears of a bubble, the figure is not that unbelievable if we compare it to another online payments solution,  Paypal (NASDAQ: PYPL) which has a market cap of $58 billion. All this actually leads to some contradiction regarding the strength of bitcoin. While the original blockchain is the most valuable and keep setting new records, its cryptocurrency competitors are raising relatively faster – and bitcoin’s dominance of the market has fallen to just 57%.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Digital Gold’: Cryptocurrencies Soar as Investors Swap Dollars for Bitcoins

Digital Gold':
Cryptocurrencies Soar as Investors
Swap Dollars for Bitcoins

Cryptocurrencies are gaining in value because many see them as a new type of digital investment that has advantages over the US dollar or even gold, Economic Historian Dr. Garrick Hileman told Radio Sputnik.

  

The price of Bitcoin was soaring to new highs

during trading last week, amid an upsurge in demand. According to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), it broke through the $1,500 barrier for the first time on Thursday; trading on Saturday has reached $1,550 so far. Since reaching $1,000 at the turn of the year, the cryptocurrency has surged in recent months and added over 20 percent of value during April alone. The steep rise in price has led some analysts to wonder whether Bitcoin, which was invented in 2009 and broke the $100 barrier in 2013, is heading for a second wave of price growth as new money enters the market.

Cryptocurrencies expert Dr. Garrick Hileman, who is an Economic Historian at Cambridge University and the LSE, as well as a founder of the macroeconomic news website Macro Digest, told Radio Sputnik that all cryptocurrencies, not just bitcoin, are gaining in popularity. "Three years ago when Bitcoin crossed $1,000, there were still a lot of other cryptocurrencies but Bitcoin represented 90 percent of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Today, it's just over 50 percent so there's a broader story going on beyond Bitcoin," Hileman said.

Bitcoin's steep price increase has caught the headlines but other blockchain platforms have been gaining price at an even higher rate. For example, the blockchain Ethereum, which offers native support for automated "smart contracts," is now worth $7 billion.While cryptocurrencies are being used for more and more tasks, such as cross-border payments or online transactions, financial speculation is still the source of most demand."Most people would agree that cryptocurrency today is still considered primarily a speculative instrument, a stored value. It's a bet on people needing cryptocurrency to do things like power the 'internet of things' economy and machine to machine transactions."

"We don't know how big that segment of the economy is going to be, but a lot of people think that something like Bitcoin or Ethereum or one of these other currencies could be the payment rail for a machine-to-machine economy," Hileman explained. The idea of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies being used as a kind of digital gold, an alternative way of storing money outside of traditional banks and currencies, is also gaining in acceptance. Most recently, bitcoin and other virtual currencies received official recognition in Japan last month. "More and more people are waking up to cryptocurrency as an alternative to something like the US dollar as a traditional way to opt-out of your national currency."

   Standard 24 karat gold bars being cast in the foundry of the Novosibirsk gold refinery
Why Russia's Central Bank is Stacking Bullion Bricks Like There's No Tomorrow

However, investors in virtual currency should be aware that since there is no national or international regulation of bitcoin, buyers can be the victims of theft or fraud. In addition, the price is very volatile and could end up sky-high – or zero."These are incredibly volatile instruments, there's no government or central bank standing behind them to help try to regulate the exchange rate." 

"If cryptocurrency is really a new type of digital asset, if it's a new digital gold then it's really hard to know what the price ceiling is. All the gold today is worth roughly about $7 trillion, all the cryptocurrency in the world today is worth about $45 billion so it's a small fraction of gold." "Yet, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin offer a number of advantages over gold. They are a lot easier to store, in some ways they are certainly easier to send to someone else around the world, they may be even more convenient to acquire. So, if cryptocurrency is becoming a new kind of digital gold, a new commodity, then really the sky could be the limit on the price."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Billionaire bitcoin enthusiast Tim Draper is backing a new cryptocurrency for the first time

Billionaire bitcoin enthusiast Tim Draper is backing a new cryptocurrency for the first time

  • Draper was an early supporter of bitcoin and its underlying blockchain financial ledger technology.
  • He told Reuters in an interview he will for the first time participate in a so-called "initial coin offering" of Tezos slated later this month.
  • Most traditional venture capital firms are prohibited by agreements with investors from deploying cash into such high-risk assets as digital currencies.

Venture capitalist Draper wins US Marshals bitcoin auction.

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper soon plans to take a step that even he, a long-time bitcoin aficionado, has eschewed until now: Buying a new digital currency offered by a technology start-up.Draper, an early supporter of bitcoin and its underlying blockchain financial ledger technology, told Reuters in an interview he will for the first time participate in a so-called "initial coin offering" (ICO) of Tezos slated later this month.

Tezos, a new blockchain platform launched by a husband-and-wife team with extensive Wall Street and hedge fund backgrounds, will launch the ICO on May 22. Draper will also invest in U.S.-based Dynamic Ledger Solutions Inc., the creator of Tezos, but did not disclose details. Draper, who scored big as an early backer of Skype and Baidu, becomes the first prominent venture capitalist to openly embrace initial coin offerings. This would be a significant stamp of approval for this new financing model Blockchain start-ups. Some investors have expressed concern about the lack of regulatory oversight for ICOs.

                                         Bitcoin on the rise

Over the last year, blockchain start-ups have been raising cash by creating and selling their own currencies or tokens in unregulated offerings that bypass banks or venture capital firms as intermediaries. Interest in these deals has been stoked by the runaway performance of the original cyber currency, bitcoin, which has surged more than 67 percent in the last six weeks to hit a record high. "The best thing I can do is lead by example," said Draper, on his plan to participate in Tezos' token offering.

"Over time, I actually feel that some of these tokens are going to improve the world, and I want to make sure those tokens get promoted as well. I think Tezos is one of those tokens." Most traditional venture capital firms are prohibited by agreements with investors from deploying cash into such high-risk assets as digital currencies. But Draper said the contract terms with his investors allow investing in pretty much any vehicle. "I think most investor contracts did not anticipate something like an ICO," said Draper. "But we did anticipate that certain things are going to happen and finance is going to be transformed."

Draper said his firm has specifically carved out money for non-traditional investments. Tezos is similar to bitcoin and other blockchain platforms, but its design allows for decentralized and automated upgrades. Most software platforms provide for automated updates, but blockchains remain notable exceptions because update procedures are typically centralized. Tezos touts itself as the first blockchain platform to overcome that hurdle.

Tezos was created over a span of three years by Kathleen and Arthur Breitman. Arthur Breitman had worked at the high-frequency trading desk at Goldman Sachs and was an Options Market maker at Morgan Stanley, while Kathleen Breitman is a former management associate at Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund. Unlike previous ICOs, Kathleen Breitman said, Tezos' deal would not be capped by a set number of tokens to be created. "What we're going to do is allow as many people who want to buy into the crowd sale over a two-week period," she said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

 

More than 3 million people (three times previous estimates) are estimated to be actively using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, finds the first global cryptocurrency benchmarking study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

While many members of the general public may have heard of "bitcoin", the first decentralised cryptocurrency launched in 2009, a new report from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) paints a broader picture of "cryptocurrencies".

The report shows that cryptocurrencies – broadly defined as digital assets using cryptography to secure transactions between peers without the need for a central bank or other authority performing that role – are increasingly being used, stored, transacted and mined around the globe.

The Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study gathered data from more than 100 cryptocurrency companies in 38 countries, capturing an estimated 75 per cent of the cryptocurrency industry.

Prior to this research, little hard data existed on how many people around the world actively use cryptocurrencies. The conventional wisdom has been that the number of people using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was around 1 million people; however, based on newly collected data, including the percentage of the estimated 35 million cryptocurrency "wallets" (software applications that store cryptocurrencies) that are in active use, the CCAF research team estimates that there at least 3 million people actively using cryptocurrency today.

While bitcoin remains the dominant cryptocurrency both in terms of market capitalisation and usage, it has conceded market cap share to other cryptocurrencies – declining from 86 per cent to 72 per cent in the past two years.

The study by the CCAF at Cambridge Judge Business School breaks down the cryptocurrency industry into four key sectors – exchanges, wallets, payments, and mining. Highlights of the findings are:

Exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges provide on-off ramps to cryptocurrency systems by offering services to users wishing to buy or sell cryptocurrency. This sector was the first to emerge in the cryptocurrency industry, and has the most operating entities and employs the most people. Currently, about 52 per cent of small exchanges hold a formal government license, compared to only 35 per cent of large exchanges.

Wallets

Wallets have evolved from simple software programs to sophisticated applications that offer a variety of technical features and services. As a result, the lines between wallets and exchanges are increasingly blurred, with 52 per cent of wallets providing an integrated currency exchange feature.

Payments

Cryptocurrency payment companies generally act as gateways between cryptocurrency users and the broader economy, bridging national currencies and cryptocurrencies. They can fit into two broad categories: firms that use cryptocurrency primarily as a "payment rail" for fast and efficient cross-border transactions, and firms that facilitate the use of cryptocurrency for both users and merchants. The study found that the size of the average business-to-business cryptocurrency payment ($1,878) dwarfs peer-to-peer and consumer-to-business cryptocurrency payments.

Mining

In the absence of a central authority, cryptocurrencies are created by a process called "mining" – usually the performance of a large number of computations to solve a cryptographic "puzzle". The study shows how cryptocurrency mining has evolved from a hobby activity into a professional, capital-intensive industry in which bitcoin miners earned more than $2 billion in mining revenues since 2009. The cryptocurrency mining map indicates that a significant proportion of publicly known mining facilities are concentrated in certain Chinese provinces.

The study found that more than 1,800 people are now working full time in the cryptocurrency industry, as more companies are engaged across various cryptocurrency sectors.

"Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been seen by some as merely a passing fad or insignificant, but that view is increasingly at odds with the data we are observing," says Dr Garrick Hileman, Research Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Cambridge Judge Business School, who co-authored the study with Michel Rauchs, Research Assistant at CCAF.

"Currently, the combined market value of all cryptocurrencies is nearly $40 billion, which represents a level of value creation on the order of Silicon Valley success stories like Airbnb," Dr Hileman says in a foreword to the study. "The advent of cryptocurrency has also sparked many new business platforms with sizable valuations of their own, along with new forms of peer-to-peer economic activity."
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Source: University of Cambridge

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin is roaring back

Bitcoin is roaring back

Bitcoin is higher for a second straight day on Tuesday, trading up 5% at $1,093 a coin as of 10:33 a.m. ET. The tw0-day win streak has tacked on about 13%, rebounding from a slump over the weekend that followed a Wall Street Journal report that the cryptocurrency's developers were threatening to set up a "hard fork," or alternative marketplace for bitcoin.

The new platform would be incompatible with the current platform, thus creating a split and two versions of the currency. That news sent bitcoin crashing 20% over the weekend to about $950 a coin, its weakest since January.

2017 has been a volatile year for the cryptocurrency.

It gained 20% in the first week of the year after soaring 120% in 2016 to become the top-performing currency for the second year in a row.

Bitcoin then crashed 35% on news that China was going to consider clamping down on trading.

But it managed to rip higher by more than 50% even in the face of several pieces of bad news.

First, China's biggest bitcoin exchanges said they were going to start charging a 0.2% fee on all transactions (previously there was no fee). Then, China's biggest exchanges said they were going to block withdrawals from trading accounts.

Still, bitcoin put in a record high of $1,327 a coin on March 10 as traders piled in ahead of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's ruling on the Winklevoss twins' bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The SEC denied the ETF, sending the price crashing by 16%. Bitcoin, however, managed to quickly recover those losses.

Two more SEC rulings are on the way, the next being March 30. Neither one is expected to pass.

Thomas Prendergast
Founder and CEO
Markethive Inc.

 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member