The technology and economic determinants of cryptocurrency exchange rates: The case of Bitcoin

The technology and economic determinants of cryptocurrency exchange rates: The case of Bitcoin

  

We theoretically discuss the technology

and economic determinants of the Bitcoin exchange rate We use the ARDL model with bounds test to address co-integration of a mix of stationary and non-stationary time series We find Bitcoin exchange rate relates more with economic fundamentals and less with technology factors as Bitcoin evolves We find the impact of computational capacities on Bitcoin is decreasing as technology progresses

Abstract

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have ignited intense discussions. Despite receiving extensive public attention, theoretical understanding is limited regarding the value of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, as expressed in their exchange rates against traditional currencies. In this paper, we conduct a theory-driven empirical study of the Bitcoin exchange rate (against USD) determination, taking into consideration both technology and economic factors. To address co-integration in a mix of stationary and non-stationary time series, we use the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model with a bounds test approach in the estimation. Meanwhile, to detect potential structural changes, we estimate our empirical model on two periods separated by the closure of Mt. Gox (one of the largest Bitcoin exchange markets). According to our analysis, in the short term, the Bitcoin exchange rate adjusts to changes in economic fundamentals and market conditions. The long-term Bitcoin exchange rate is more sensitive to economic fundamentals and less sensitive to technological factors after Mt. Gox closed. We also identify a significant impact of mining technology and a decreasing significance of mining difficulty in the Bitcoin exchange price determination.

Xin Li

is an associate professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Department of Automation at Tsinghua University, China. His research interests include business intelligence & knowledge discovery, social network analysis, social media, and applied econometrics. His work has appeared in the MIS Quarterly, INFORMS Journal on Computing, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, IEEE Intelligent Systems, among others, and in various conference proceedings.

Chong Wang

is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received his Master's degrees from the Department of Finance at Tsinghua University, China, and his Bachelor's degree from the Department of Applied Mathematics at Peking University, China. His research focuses on understanding the social and economic impacts of information technology. His research projects cover topics in the areas of online social networks, crowdsourcing platforms, and financial information technologies. His work has appeared in the Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, and in various conference proceedings.

Chuck Reynolds
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Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

After WannaCrypt, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack

After WannaCrypt, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack

"Adylkuzz attack" for cryptocurrency began on or before May 2, more than a week before "WannaCry" that hit 150 countries, including India

  An alternative to Bitcoin, cryptocurrency is being used for trading in drugs,

stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods. After facing a massive “WannaCrypt” ransomware attack that exploited a vulnerability in a Microsoft software and hit 150 countries, the same Windows vulnerability (MS17-010) has also been exploited to spread another type of malware that is quietly but fast generating digital cash from machines it has infected.

According to a report in The Registrar on Wednesday, tens of thousands of computers globally have been affected by the “Adylkuzz attack” that target machines, let them operate and only slows those down to generate digital cash or “Monero” cryptocurrency in the background. “Monero” — being popularized by North Korea-linked hackers — is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy, decentralisation, and scalability.

It is an alternative to Bitcoin and is being used for trading in drugs, stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods. “Initial statistics suggest that this attack may be larger in scale than WannaCry[pt], because this attack shuts down SMB networking to prevent further infections with other malware (including the WannaCry[pt] worm) via that same vulnerability,” US-based cyber security firm Proofpoint researchers were quoted as saying in the report.

How a cryptocurrency attack works?

The hackers need to mine cryptocurrency using computers/computing devices (IoT included). “Mining of cryptocurrency simply means solving complex cryptography problems designed within the algorithm of a cyber-currency that requires a lot of computing,” Saket Modi, CEO and Co-founder of Delhi-based IT risk assessments provider Lucideus, told IANS. To draw a parallel, there can only be 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined out of which 16 million have already been mined, informed Modi. “Monero”, on the other side, is slightly different than Bitcoin but for simplification’s sake, it can be assumed that it follows a similar architecture and similar mining process.

“Hence, there is a new wave of cyber attacks where the hacker is least interested in the personal information of the victim and instead his only motivation is to gain access to the CPU of the victim’s computer/mobile/IoT device so that they can use it to mine more currencies (and correspondingly make more money),” Modi told IANS. This looks like something more dangerous than “WannaCrypt” as the victim doesn’t come to know that they have been hacked, but, on the other side, “the good part is that the hacker here is not interested in the victim’s personal data,” Modi told IANS.

To achieve this, the hackers find a vulnerability in one of the servers in the targeted organization or they would infect a website which employees of a targeted organization often visit. “They would then infect the IT infrastructure of the target with malware and would identify where a server running SWIFT software is installed. They would download additional malware to interact with SWIFT software and would try to drain the organization’s accounts,” Altaf Halde, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS. According to Proofpoint, the “Adylkuzz” attack is still growing.

“Once infected through use of the ‘EternalBlue’ exploit, the cryptocurrency miner ‘Adylkuzz’ is installed and used to generate cybercash for the attackers,” Robert Holmes, Vice President of products at Proofpoint, was quoted as saying. According to experts, the “Adylkuzz” began its attack on or before May 2, more than a week before “WannaCrypt” arrived and hit 150 countries, including India. “Indications are that the crooks behind ‘Adylkuzz’ have generated a lot more money than the ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware fiends,” The Registrar report noted. According to cyberscoop.com, “Monero” doubled in price over the last month to around $23 while other digital currencies, including bitcoin, saw a mixed month. “Cybercriminals intrigued by the currency’s promises of greater anonymity are using it more often on black markets,” it said.

How to save your organizations from cryptocurrency attacks?

“If your organisation has software tools for conducting money transactions like SWIFT software, invest into additional protection and regular security assessment in addition to standard protection measures implemented in all other parts of the organization’s network,” Halde informed. Protect backup servers as they contain information that can be of use for attackers: passwords, logins, and authentication tokens. “When deploying specialized software for money processing follow recommendations and best security practices from your software vendor and security professionals,” Halde added. In a case of suspicion of intrusion, request for professional assistance with incident response.

Chuck Reynolds
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Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Top Reasons Why Bitcoin’s Price is Rising Right Now

Top Reasons Why Bitcoin’s Price is Rising Right Now

While Bitcoin’s market has been uncertain in the past week,

there is no doubt that the price is holding support surprisingly well. Even though there are quite a few issues that are hindering Bitcoin’s growth, there are also other events which are contributing to the cryptocurrency’s global adoption. This article will discuss the top 3 reasons why Bitcoin’s price is currently rising.

 Wanna Cry Ransomware

I am sure you have heard of the recent world’s largest ransomware attack by the name of Wanna Cry, aka Wana Decryptor. The aggressive ransomware has infected over 200,000 machines and so far has collected over $80,000, according to @actual_ransom – a twitter bot set up to track the ransomware. While it is unfortunate that Wana Decryptor has plagued cyberspace, its coverage in the media has brought attention to Bitcoin, the only payment method accepted by the malware. Furthermore, the fact that the ransomware attack began amid Bitcoin’s price rally only contributed to the positive momentum, which is probably why the current support at $1700 is holding so strong.

Even though using a ransomware to spread awareness about Bitcoin might not be beneficial to the cryptocurrency’s reputation, the idea that Bitcoin is used by criminals is not a new revelation by any means. Most people who know about Bitcoin already know that it is used on dark net markets for illicit purposes, so any more news about it being used by criminals most likely won’t have much of an affect on the market.

The Flippening

Altcoins existed ever since Bitcoin’s creation. Up until this year, they have been considered second-rate projects as they were perceived to be simply clones of Bitcoin. However, as Bitcoin’s scaling debate intensified and users sought a solution, alternative cryptocurrencies started to flourish. The Flippening is a paradigm shift where investors are starting to look at altcoins as having value in different ways compared to Bitcoin. While at first that may seem like bad news for Bitcoin, the whole ecosystem shares the benefits.

While Bitcoin’s dominance among altcoins is dropping, according to cornmarket cap, cryptocurrencies’ overall market cap has been rising exponentially, it benefits Bitcoin as well. Just like altcoins benefited from new money flowing into Bitcoin, BTC benefits from the curious investors interested in the cryptocurrency niche as a whole.

Japan’s Adoption

Last but not least, one of the biggest driving forces behind Bitcoin’s meteoric price rise is Japan’s adoption and legislation of crypto. After passing official KYC / AML laws regulating exchanges in Japan, the government essentially green-lighted the legal operation of cryptocurrency exchanges.

The new legislation increased Bitcoin’s popularity in the country and also invited Chinese investors who were looking to escape the country’s tight grip on the sector. In fact, withdrawals for Chinese exchanges have been suspended for a few months now. There is a light in the tunnel as the PBoC released a statement which hints that withdrawals may resume soon. While there is no definitive date, rumors have it that things may settle in June. Chinese news resource cnLedger had the inside scoop.

Chuck Reynolds
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Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

From Here To Where? Bitcoin And The Future Of Cryptocurrency

From Here To Where?
Bitcoin And The Future Of Cryptocurrency

   There’s a number of reasons why cryptocurrencies are so inherently popular.

They are safe, anonymous and utterly decentralized. Unlike conventional currency, they are not controlled or regulated by some singular authority, their flow is determined entirely by market demand. They are also nigh impossible to counterfeit, thanks to the paranoidly complicated code system that encrypts each and every transfer, ensuring complete anonymity and utter safety to each and every user. They even make for a genuinely rewarding, if risky, investment endeavor, despite the fact that any financial advisor in their right mind will caution you against them. Therefore, despite the admittedly high stakes that this sort of dealing entails, not to mention the lack of any government agency to lend credence to them, cryptocurrencies can only thrive and multiply.

If I were to tell you of the history of cryptocurrencies, I would have to begin with cryptographer David Chaum, who in the 1980s devised an extraordinarily secure algorithm that allowed for the kind of encryption required in electronic fund transfers. Chaum’s “blinding algorithm” laid the groundwork for the future development of all types of digitalized currency transactions, be it alternative currencies like Bitcoin or just plain old digitalized cash transfers.

“I am personally excited for the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in general. Current innovations such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are just the beginning for this technology that can help revamp many industries. There is plenty of opportunity in this space.” – Chalmers Brown, Forbes

In the later part of the 1980s, Chaum relocated to the Netherlands, and, with the help of a few fellow enthusiasts, laid the foundation of DigiCash, a for-profit cryptocurrency network based on his “blinded money” algorithm. Unlike newer cryptocurrencies, DigiCash exercised full monopoly over its supply, a far cry from being a decentralized mode of transactions such as Bitcoin. While DigiCash was founded with the idea of trading directly with individuals, the Netherlands government imposed severe restrictions on the company, forcing it to sell only to licensed banks. This seriously curtailed the company’s profits, and after a decade of struggling and being partnered with by Microsoft, the company finally closed doors in the 1990s. Chaum did go on to try his luck on a few similar cryptocurrency startups at the time, though none of them were really successful to begin with.

Fast forward to 2008, when a whitepaper was released under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, detailing what would be widely regarded as the first modern cryptocurrency initiative. The idea combined concepts such as decentralization, perfect anonymity, finite supply and blockchain technology to pave the way for what we know as Bitcoin. Nakamoto, a pseudonymous individual or individuals operating under a fake name, released Bitcoin to the public in 2009. This idea was soon taken up by a gazillion different startups such as Litecoin. In 2010, Bitcoin received recognition as a proper currency after merchants such as WordPress, Expedia and Microsoft began accepting it as a mode of payment.

“Cryptocurrencies can better adapt to the prevalent challenges of both funding and the emerging digital economy in addition to being a way to engage communities through P2P tech and crowdfunding platforms. There are over 2 billion people without access to the financial economy and even basics of modern civilization. Here at Humaniq, we are a blockchain fintech startup aiming to tackle some of these challenges by tapping into the power of digital currencies to leverage social impact. Approaching these issues from the angle of Initial Coin Offerings, we have so far managed to secure over 10,000 investors and $4M in investments in the last two weeks.” – Dinis Guarda, CEO at Humaniq

Speaking for 2017, we’re still far from Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency initiative, being officially recognized by a state government as a preferred mode of currency. Mere months ago, Bitcoin saw a 35% fluctuation in price range after a proposed exchange-trade fund by the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust was denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission due to concerns that the currency could be used for illegal purposes such as black market trading. However, hope is anything but out, and 2017 will be a year to watch out for as far as alternative currencies are concerned.

While Bitcoin experienced a drop in its prices, a cheaper cryptocurrency by the name of Ether reached its all-time highs at $40 a unit. While Ether’s current setup prevents it from being used as a direct method of payment, the cryptocurrency still seems to have a bright future ahead thanks to the concept of smart contracts. In the meantime, more privacy-concerned cryptocurrency alternatives are starting to gain prominence in favor of institutions such as Bitcoin, which despite their vigilant security measures, continue to have loopholes that could be exploited for access to personal data.

“In a reminder of just how fickle the market for such newfangled assets can be, just after 4 p.m. Friday, the Bitcoin price took a U-turn and plummeted to lows not seen in months, dipping below $1000 to as low as $980, after Bitcoin investors received some bad news from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.” – Jen Wieczner, Fortune Magazine

Another interesting turn of events is the acceptance of Bitcoin in the educational industry, what with the University of Ohio hosting classes about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a part of its MFE curriculum. Several colleges have even begun to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, a move which will clearly help bring this alternative currency to the mainstream. The acceptance of Bitcoin, in general, has already led to a few companies considering genuine investment opportunities in the currency, further fueling its journey to mainstream.

Will cryptocurrencies be the new norm after 2017? Perhaps it is too soon to tell. But if there is one thing we know for sure, it is that the currency seems to have a wide appeal with a particular section of technologically-savvy individuals, a point that is sure to soon work in its favor.

Chuck Reynolds
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Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin to rocket to $4000 as blockchain infrastructure sets agenda for cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin to rocket to $4000 as blockchain infrastructure sets agenda for cryptocurrencies

ANALYSTS say the cryptocurrency Bitcoin could hit values of $4000 within the year after a new player entered the market.

  

The introduction of Litecoin,

another electronic online currency is adding to investor appetite as the rolling out of blockchain infrastructure gets set to revolutionize the future of the financial sector. Bitcoin has been making gains since April and is rallying in London has risen over 33 percent days, according to the Coindesk bitcoin price index. It comes after Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and the World Economic Forum looked at how cryptocurrencies can be aided by distributed ledger technologies.

Bitcoin is leading the cryptocurrency market

It is better than currency because you don't have to be in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can be inconvenient

Bill gates

Global regulatory challenges continue to affect the market with a test case before The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) throwing up some new challenges. A bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was declined by the US sector watchdog as Donald Trump looks at deregulating markets. However, the sector is gaining appeal, particularly in Japan, which legalized cryptocurrency as a payment method recently and is

Helping to get the yen involved.

  

France invented a cryptocurrency dispenser

Aurelien Menant, founder, and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain assets exchange based in Hong Kong says confidence is strong in Asia. Meanwhile, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is keen on distributed ledger technology. He said: "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be, it is better than currency because you don't have to be in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can be inconvenient.” bitcoin was created in 2009 and has a current Market Capitalization of $29,753,633,028.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Could Double with Scaling Resolution: Hedge Fund

Bitcoin Price Could Double with Scaling Resolution: Hedge Fund

Bitcoin Price Could Double with Scaling Resolution: Hedge Fund

 

Global Advisors, a U.K.-based investment firm that has developed an investment program to provide market exposure to the price of bitcoin, recently offered an upbeat outlook on bitcoin. The assessment noted that Litecoin’s recent soft fork gives reason to think the scaling solution could be applied to bitcoin, possibly doubling its price.

Taking measure of the range of news around bitcoin of late, the Global Advisors’ assessment quoted the late Jesse Livermore in saying “a prudent speculator never argues with the tape.” Livermore, an American who lived from 1877 to 1940, shorted the stock market crashes of both 1907 and 1929 and was worth $100 million at his peak before committing suicide following a series of losses.

While much negative news has been reported on bitcoin, the prices have been strong.

Media Focuses On The Negative

On the negative side, which the media tends to focus on, China has clamped down on bitcoin trading by imposing trading fees and AML/KYC controls. There has also been a ban on withdrawals from cryptocurrency exchanges. There has been a roll-over on the temporary ban and a discount of up to $250 for trapped coins.

Looking further back, the IRS last year subpoenaed Coinbase to release client records for bitcoin trades.

More recently, the dispute between different factions within the bitcoin community over the future development of the bitcoin protocol continues.

The SEC denied the Winklevoss bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

Bitfinex, which suffered a hack last year, continues to lack fiat withdrawal capability.

Why The Price Keeps Rising

Bitcoin’s price, nonetheless, has been on an upward trend throughout all the various challenges.

Global Advisors’ assessment points to Japan, the new hot spot of bitcoin bitcoin trading. The BitFlyer exchange has been successful with Japanese investors, likely due to its advertising campaign. BitFlyer’s sign ups set a new record on Facebook.

Litecoin also creates reason for hope. Segregated Witness, a protocol designed to shorten bitcoin transactions and improve the capacity of the transaction blocks, has been successfully implemented by Litecoin. Litecoin’s price, as a result, has tripled.

Litecoin’s SegWit success holds promise for bitcoin. The price impact on bitcoin could be “shocking,” and a price doubling wouldn’t be unexpected.

The hedge fund stated:

 

“Even though one can find no evidence whatsoever that there were scaling pressures in Litecoin, this upgrade went ahead and if it is even slightly predictive of a path that can be taken in bitcoin, one that will at least show progress if not resolution, the price impact could be significant. A double up wouldn’t be shocking.”

Altcoins overall will serve as “test beds” for bitcoin. New features developed for altcoins can be incorporated into bitcoin. ZCash, Ethereum and other altcoins offer desirable features.

Altcoins Gain Market Share

Ethereum’s and Litecoin’s rises have changed the “bitcoin dominance” metric, the assessment noted. Bitcoin dominance is based on the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization as a percent of all coin market capitalization. This dominance has been dropping as the total value of all coins has increased.

Bitcoin comprised 95% of the total crypto market capitalization three years. It now stands at 60%. Global Advisors termed this a “stunning progression.”

But as noted above, growing altcoins bring positive influences for bitcoin.

Arbitrage opportunities: What do they mean?

Global Advisors noted that it receives a lot of requests for an “arbitrage-only” product, which is not the best use of a company’s time that remains upbeat on bitcoin’s price and on scaling its product offerings.

Arbitrages are a consequence of fragmented bitcoin trading venues and limited capital in each trading venue. Hence, a big unidirectional flow can alter a given price deck, yielding an arbitrage opportunity.

Exchanges have three areas leading to wider arbitrage opportunities: credit/reputation risk, difficulties moving coins and problems moving cash. Chinese domestic coins are currently frozen, for example, while Bitfinex and other exchanges have banking issues.

Combined, these factors present arbitrage opportunities, some of which are untradeable, others requiring patience and still others requiring speculation.

Rather than focus on arbitrage opportunities, Global Advisors believes bitcoin’s best days are still ahead.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member