Tag Archives: blockchain

Bitcoin Cash makes waves as it becomes available on Coinbase – and then halts trading

Bitcoin Cash makes waves as it becomes available on Coinbase – and then halts trading

Bitcoin Cash makes waves as it becomes available on Coinbase – and then halts trading

Bitcoin Cash, a fork of the more popular cryptocurrency that was created in August, is now fully supported on Coinbase’s exchange, so you can buy and sell the currency there – just not immediately.

Abbreviated as BCH, the currency showed Cash prices at roughly $8,500, or nearly three times higher than the value it commands on other exchanges (Coinmarketcap has it at $3,381 at the time of writing).

TechCrunch noted that the price surge was likely the result of a glitch, as no other exchange reflected a similar increase in value. Coinbase’s US-based sister exchange GDAX noted that it’s clearing BCH markets until 9AM PST on December 20. As such, Coinbase has halted BCH trading on its platform as well – though sends and receives are still possible.

The company noted that you should be able to buy and sell BCH again tomorrow, but didn’t say whether it determined what might have caused the hiccup.

Update: GDAX explained that it paused BCH trading owing to high volatility, and that order books will reopen on December 20 at 9AM PST.

 

Author ABHIMANYU GHOSHAL

 

Posted by David Ogden
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Rise of Bitcoins causes stir but questions linger

Anthony Mburu and his fiancée Elizabeth John at Nation Centre on November 22, 2017 for an interview. Mburu paid part of his dowry using Bitcoin

Rise of Bitcoins causes stir but questions linger

Anthony Mburu and his fiancée Elizabeth John who recently attracted curiosity when he paid part of his dowry using Bitcoins, a form of digital currency, in Naivasha Kenya,considers himself a non-conformist.

Having quit university in 2010 after just one semester of his engineering course, 26-year-old Anthony Mburu does not fancy formal education, for instance.

“Formal education is good. It will give you an average life. You’ll eat, have your mortgage, car loan and all that — live an average life; struggle through life to the end,” he opined.

WALUBENGO: Kenya's uneasy dance with Bitcoin

DOWRY

He currently makes a living out of “mining” Bitcoins and he says that is the source of income that has enabled him buy a parcel of land in Naivasha, stay in a rented house and has given him something to buy and maintain his car among other fortunes.

“Everything is Bitcoin. Where I live, Bitcoin; what I drive, Bitcoin; investment, Bitcoin,” he said.

The computer-generated currency, he says, enabled him pay part of his dowry.

On November 11, as he headed to the home of his fiancée Elizabeth Chege in Naivasha, he had already negotiated with his in-laws that the goats portion of his dowry be settled with Bitcoins.

MOBILE APPLICATION

There are some components of the dowry process he paid for in hard cash.

His father-in-law, John Thion’go Chege, a retired KenGen employee, bought the idea.

They helped him download a mobile phone application that works as a Bitcoin wallet.

“We told him, ‘You just receive this and keep it. In a few months, you will have double the dowry. And if you keep [real] goats, they’ll still be the same goats,’” Mr Mburu said.

Ms Chege, the 6th born in a family of nine children, said her parents did not ask many questions despite the fact that Bitcoin is not a well-known concept in Kenya.

“They can’t refuse because they believe in me,” she said.

CBK

Mr Mburu’s unprecedented action has drawn mixed reactions since Bitcoin is a currency the Central Bank of Kenya has told the public to eschew because it is not backed by any regulator.

In a recent interview, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge reiterated his disdain for Bitcoin, saying the way the currency’s value has shot up is proof that it could be a Ponzi scheme.

“Our point is that there is risk and it is important that everybody knows that those risks can come back to haunt us and have financial stability concerns,” Dr Njoroge said.

VALUE

Those who are in Dr Njoroge’s school of thought have been criticising the Bitcoin dowry deal.

“Ikicollapse nayo? Give back the bride…” a commentator on NTV’s YouTube channel joked.

Another viewer wrote: “That family better cash in on those Bitcoins. The Bitcoin bubble will burst… Eventually.”

But the currency is fast gaining prominence in Kenya as many people try their luck with this fortune whose value has been sharply rising, much that by Saturday , one Bitcoin was selling for close to Sh900,000 locally.

The value was barely Sh10,000 a year ago.

On the global scale, one Bitcoin was selling at $8,480 (Sh875,984).

SELLERS

On Saturday afternoon on localBitcoins.com, one of the platforms where Bitcoins are sold by Kenyans to other Kenyans, there were at least 10 active sellers.

One in Nairobi was selling 0.150544 of a Bitcoin for Sh140,000, which they wanted to be sent to him via M-Pesa.

Another one in Nakuru wanted Sh250,000 sent to his bank account before he could load any willing buyer’s Bitcoin account with 0.26153363 of Bitcoin.

There are many ways of making money though Bitcoin, and Mr Mburu’s preferred way is through “mining”.

PURCHASE SHARES

He is a member of Bitclub Network, which helps Kenyans and other people across the globe buy shares in the Bitcoin enterprise.

The Kenyan chapter of the club, which has more than 1,000 members, meets in Nairobi every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Asked what one needs to do to get into mining, Mr Mburu replied:

“Just buy shares. The company dealing with that is Bitclub Network. And one unit is going for $599 (Sh61,876).

"So, you buy Bitcoins worth that much and buy that mining capacity; like you buy a machine. It’s a real machine called Antminer S9.”

He adds: “Once you buy it, it’s stored in our facility in Iceland, and there’s a 30-day period of paying that you’ll not be earning.”

GOATS

Ever since he discovered Bitcoin — which he says brings him at least $5,000 (Sh515,500) per month — he has not looked back and he is planning for a wedding in April 2018. “It will be a Bitcoin wedding,” he said.

Mr Mburu was also dismissive of those who say he might have taken his in-laws for a ride.

“They don’t know what it is. Bitcoin has been there, and it’s going nowhere,” he said.

The Bitcoins he paid were and equivalent of 25 goats. He still has 75 to go “which are yet to be paid in Bitcoins” as he put it.

GROWTH

His fiancée runs a clothes shop in Nairobi and she has also been accepting payment via Bitcoin, though the mode of exchange is yet to gain ground in Kenya.

Mr Michael Kimani, the chairman of the Blockchain Association of Kenya, has been dealing with cryptocurrencies since 2012 and says the field will grow exponentially.

“A lot of opportunities are going to emerge from this and I’m trying to position myself with this industry because I honestly think in the next five years, this is going to be so big that people will forget how we used to live without cryptocurrency,” he said.

 

Author: ELVIS ONDIEKI

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

3 Reasons the Bitcoin Price Hit $8,000 Today

3 Reasons the Bitcoin Price Hit $8,000 Today

3 Reasons the Bitcoin Price Hit $8,000 Today

The bitcoin price touched the $8,000 mark on Friday morning (or Thursday night, depending on your time zone), enabling the flagship cryptocurrency to check another milestone off its to-do list before it reaches five-figure territory.
 

Bitcoin Price Touches $8,000

Just days prior, the bitcoin price had been trading below $6,000, but a mid-week rally raised bitcoin back to its pre-dip level and ultimately vaulted it to a new all-time high of $8,040 on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.


BTC Price Chart | Source: BitcoinWisdom

At present, the bitcoin price is trading at a global average of $7,741, which translates into a $129.2 billion market cap.

 

3 Factors Behind Bitcoin’s Rally

While a multitude of factors contribute to the movement of the bitcoin price, three stand out as primary drivers of the present rally:
 

1. Wall Street’s Anticipated Entry Into the Markets

Ever since regulated U.S. derivatives exchange operator CME announced it would add bitcoin futures contracts to its product offering, analysts have been counting down the days until Wall Street makes its first major entry into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Anecdotal evidence indicates that prominent institutional investors are eying the markets with interest — enough interest that Coinbase is launching a cryptocurrency custodial service specifically targeted at institutional investors with more than $10 million in crypto assets.

Related to this is the fact that Wall Street investors are increasingly bullish on publicly-traded companies that enter the bitcoin or blockchain space. Payment processor Square, for instance, received a significant bump to its share price after it rolled out a bitcoin pilot program to a limited number of users of its Square Cash app.

square-cash-bitcoin-price-nov17

2. Successful Lightning-Based Atomic Swap

Though less likely to make its way into the mainstream press, another factor influencing bitcoin’s rally is the successful completion of the first off-chain atomic swap. Accomplished using lightning network technology, developers at Lightning Labs traded testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin trustlessly and without leaving a record of the transaction in either blockchain. Once the lightning network reaches mainnet implementation, this feature will enable the creation of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges.

 

3. SegWit2x

Finally, some analysts believe that the bitcoin price received a small bump due to the fact that a minority percentage of miners continued to signal for SegWit2x even though the fork’s most prominent advocates had called for its cancellation. Spencer Bogart, head of research at Blockchain Capital, had told Bloomberg Quint that he believed “some capital is rotating out of other crypto-assets and into bitcoin to make sure they receive coins on both sides of the fork” in the event that it did execute as planned. However, the fork did not occur — or at least has not yet — and fork-compatible nodes remain stuck at block 494782.

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 17/11/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin hits record high after developers call off plans to split digital currency

Bitcoin hits record high after developers call off plans to split digital currency

  • Bitcoin was scheduled to upgrade around Nov. 16 following a proposal called SegWit2x, which would have split the digital currency in two.
  • However, more and more major bitcoin developers dropped their support for the upgrade in the last few months.
  • Developers behind SegWit2x announced Wednesday they are calling off plans for the upgrade until there is more agreement in the bitcoin community.

 

Bitcoin developers call off SegWit2x upgrade, avoiding hard fork  2 Hours Ago | 00:49

Bitcoin jumped Wednesday after the developers behind an upcoming split in the digital currency through an upgrade called SegWit2x announced they were suspending plans for the upgrade.

The digital currency hit a record high of $7,879.06, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin gave up much of those gains Wednesday afternoon to trade near $7,212 after hitting a session low of $7,078.96.

The SegWit2x upgrade was scheduled to take effect around November 16 in an effort to increase the speed and cost of bitcoin transactions. However, more and more major bitcoin developers dropped their support in the last few months.

Bitcoin in the last 24 hours

Source: CoinDesk

"Our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin," a group of leaders in bitcoin development told members of the SegWit2x mailing list Wednesday. "Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin's growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x."

As fees rise for bitcoin transactions, the developers said they hoped the digital currency community could find agreement on how to solve the problem. "Until then, we are suspending our plans for the upcoming 2MB upgrade."

The statement ended with the names of six major figures in the bitcoin business community:

BitGo CEO Mike Belshe, Xapo CEO Wences Casares, Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu, BloqInc co-founder Jeff Garzik, Blockchain CEO and co-founder Peter Smith and ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees.

For most of this year, investors have had a negative view on bitcoin splits out of uncertainty over the digital currency's future. However, since bitcoin rose to record highs after its August split into bitcoin and bitcoin cash, investors began betting that subsequent splits would send the price of the original bitcoin higher. Investors at the time of a split also technically receive an equivalent amount of the offshoot currency.

Bitcoin cash traded mildly higher near $619 Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap. Another digital currency, ethereum, rose about 4.5 percent to $307.55, according to CoinDesk.

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive Inc

Author: @chengevelyn

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain: ‘Buy Some Ether’ to Make Transactions After SegWit2x

Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain: ‘Buy Some Ether' to Make Transactions After SegWit2x

Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain: ‘Buy Some Ether’ to Make Transactions After SegWit2x

Crypto wallet Blockchain has announced its intention to join with Xapo in following the blockchain with the most accumulated difficulty following the proposed SegWit2x. The wallet service advised its users to “buy some ether” if they intend to make transactions immediately following the fork.
 

Blockchain Wallet to Follow Chain With Most Difficulty

In mid-November, the Bitcoin blockchain is expected to split into two, competing chains following SegWit2x, a hard fork designed to upgrade the Bitcoin network and enable it to scale more effectively. The proposal appears to have strong support from miners and crypto firms — although this support has steadily waned as the fork has gotten closer — but it is opposed by the Bitcoin Core developers, as well as many other businesses and users.

Consequently, bitcoin services have to decide how they will approach the hard fork. Some, such as Bitfinex, are treating the SegWit2x fork as a separate cryptocurrency, while others, including Xapo, state that they will assign the label “Bitcoin” to the blockchain with the highest accumulated difficulty.

Crypto wallet Blockchain — a SegWit2x supporter — has signaled its intent to follow Xapo’s example and determine which chain will receive the label “Bitcoin” based on the amount of accumulated difficulty each blockchain obtains.

Blockchain chief executive Peter Smith made the announcement in a blog post, stating that the service will provide users with access to the coins on the minority chain if they have “significant value”. Like Xapo, they will label the minority chain either BC1 (incumbent) or BC2 (SegWit2x)
 

Buy Some Ether’

Smith goes on to say that Blockchain may suspend outgoing bitcoin transactions following the fork until the networks have stabilized. He suggests users “buy some ether” if they plan to make transactions in late November following the fork.

During this period, it may be necessary to temporarily suspend outgoing bitcoin transactions for a period of time during network instability. However, even in this scenario, your funds will remain safe and you’ll be able to monitor them from within the wallet. You’ll also be able to use all Ethereum related functionality.

“If you have transactions to make around late November,” he adds, “we suggest you buy some Ether in our wallet today.”

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 16/10/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
Davkid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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

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

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Why Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be everywhere

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

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

1,000 Universities: IBM’s Ambitious Plan to Fill Vacant Blockchain Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hands-on learning

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

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

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

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

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

Student lockers image via Shutterstock

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Get started in cryptocurrency with this beginner’s directory

Get started in cryptocurrency with this beginner's directory

Get started in cryptocurrency with this beginner’s directory

The wonderful world of cryptocurrency has grown from a budding idea to a full-fledged market bonanza. Hopefully you’re savvy to the terminology and ready to start putting your money where your technology is. This directory should provide you with the basic starting points to begin building your fortune in digital money.

(Don’t forget that cryptocurrency is an investment, and you shouldn’t trust your finances to an article you read on a news-source. We strongly advise contacting a financial adviser before risking your money.)

Bitcoin was founded in 2009. It represented the first decentralized cryptocurrency. It’s the oldest, and, as of August 17th it reached an all-time high of over $4,500. Just six months prior it was worth about $900. While you’re trying to wrap your head around that, keep in mind Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency.

How many cryptocurrency offerings are there? Over 850 are currently listed on CoinMarketCap. Before you decide which one to blow your speculation money on, make sure you have all your crypto-ducks in a row.

You need a wallet

Before you can buy into an initial coin offering (ICO), purchase cryptocurrency, or execute smart-contracts you’ll need a wallet. There are hardware wallets and software wallets; for now we’re only going to worry about software wallets.

Here’s a few to start you off:

  1. Blockchain – possibly the most popular cryptocurrency wallet

  2. Electrium – has been around since 2011

  3. Gemini – boasts regulation by New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS).

Buy an established coin

You don’t have to start off trying to predict which ICO is the best investment. There are numerous ways to aquire cryptocurrency from an established coin. Here are some of our favorite coins to get your research started:

  1. Bitcoin – The big one. If you’ve got $4,000+ to fork out for a Bitcoin you can get in on the over/under $5,000 action. For what it’s worth there are experts on both sides of that fence.

  2. Ethereum – Things get a little more complicated here, but worth listing as a currency simply because ETH is second only to Bitcoin in popularity.

  3. Litecoin – Launched in 2011 billing itself the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold”.

  4. Bitcoin Cash – Bitcoin managed to fork itself and now there’s this.

  5. Siacoin – Sometimes cryptocurrency comes in the form of cloud storage.

  6. World Coin Index — provides a great listing to check valuations out

  7. Coin Market Cap — another listing of coin valuations

Or just find an ICO and dive in

Which is easier said than done. It seems like there’s an ICO for everything. We’re hesitant to even list any here, simply because you should research an ICO much more in-depth than would be prudent for the purpose of this directory. However, we’re happy to provide some links that might help:

  1. Coin Schedule – provides analysis on current and upcoming ICOs

  2. Smith and Crown – A curated list of ICOs

  3. ICO List – One of the most popular international sites concerning ICOs

It’s time to hit the exchange

Depending on which coin you’re investing in you’ll either visit an exchange, or use whatever method of purchase or trade the offering requires. You may be able to set up an online store that accepts Bitcoin or ETH, for example. Or perhaps you know someone who will sell you some. One of the most common ways to get cryptocurrency is to visit an exchange.

  1. Coinbase – probably the most popular exchange there is

  2. Kraken – you’ll find this one is well-reviewed by insiders

  3. Bittrex – US based and supports nearly 200 cryptocurrencies

  4. Buy Bitcoin Worldwide— provides country-specific exchange information

The above links should provide you with enough information to get you started on a path to dominate the cryptocurrency markets and become rich beyond fantasy. Or you could lose a bunch of money.

by TRISTAN GREENE — 13 hours ago in EVERGREEN

 

Posted by David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Shopping Mall Bans Bitcoin and Ether Mining as Merchants Run Up Bills

Article Posted on Coindesk:  Aug 7, 2017, at 10:00 UTC by Wolfie Zhao

An electronics retail marketplace in South Korea has reportedly taken the unusual step of banning vendors from mining Bitcoin in their stores.

Yongsan Market, based in Seoul, has told merchants that they aren't allowed to mine cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin and ether, specifically – because of electrical costs, rising temperatures and the risk of fire, according to Korea Economic Daily.

According to the report, the Yongsan Market's management has also warned merchants that the subsequent jump in electricity costs will be added to their bills.

The unusual decision is notable given the size of the market (the site boasts thousands of retail storefronts) and is a reflection of the growing popularity of small-scale cryptocurrency mining, of ether especially. As such, it's perhaps unsurprising that some vendors – particularly those that sell the graphics cards needed to mine cryptocurrencies – are using their own products to reap additional income.

Still, the incident comes at a time when the country is starting to demonstrate an increasing interest in cryptocurrencies.

According to Coin Market Cap data, the Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is now ranked first in terms of trading volume across global platforms, amassing a total of over $342 million in the last 24 hours. 
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A low-cost mining opportunity is available at in the USA. Check out the Firstmover Product Offer at http://bitqyck.me/389978

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member