Tag Archives: Cryptocurrency

Understanding Cryptocurrency – How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

Understanding Cryptocurrency - How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

Understanding Cryptocurrency – How It Works, What Drives It, Should You Buy It

 

Cryptocurrencies have caught on in the mainstream and have made thousands of people millions of dollars. The most recent boom of Bitcoin now means that if you had invested just $500 8 years ago, you would now be a multi-millionaire. This meteoric rise in the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap has drawn a lot of attention. However, to the everyday man who is used to dealing with hard cash and actual value, cryptocurrencies can seem like an unknown and often unintelligible world. With terms like hash rates, data mining, market capitalization, and ultimately the fear of instability, there’s a little bit of a harsh learning curve to the technology.

In this article, I’m going to try to give a beginner’s guide to cryptocurrencies, explain how they work, what moves the prices, and whether you should invest.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are essentially digital mediums that can be exchanged, just like government currencies, that use cryptography, or digital security measures, to secure the exchange of digital information and control the creation of new units. Explained even more simply, cryptocurrencies are digital coins that fluctuate in value similar to stocks with their exchange being backed by digital security measures.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies or money that is then exchangeable for physical money, like dollars. They’re comparable to how most apps have some form of digital money, like “orbs” in a mobile game that cost some amount like ” $10 for 1000 orbs.” In this instance, each in-game “orb” would be worth 1/1000th of a dollar. Even though these orbs are just data on your mobile device or on some server, they have some inherent worth equatable to dollars. In an extremely general context, this is what a cryptocurrency is.

So, how do they work?

In essence, cryptocurrencies provide a viable method of owning a unique digital currency which presents some ever fluctuating value. Each coin or currency, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, are fully self-contained digital systems that both track and control each unit of cryptocurrency.

Each individual coin of a cryptocurrency acts like data moving through a network. Some cryptocurrencies can be valued as small as just 1 cent and others as big as 1 billion dollars. Some currencies are controlled by one entity, which is referred to as a centralized currency, and others are controlled by the public, which are decentralized. There are positives and benefits to each variation, but the stress should be placed on the fact that no cryptocurrency is identical to the next.

What drives them?

One of the most prominent aspects of cryptocurrencies is the fact that there isn’t a third part that verifies the transaction of crypto coins. To avoid this, cryptocurrencies use timestamping methods to verify each transaction. Bitcoin, which is the most popular crypto and largest by market cap, uses a proof-of-work scheme, which is commonly referred to as mining. In essence, mining Bitcoin means tasking a computer with solving some complex problem. When the problem is solved, the computer account is rewarded with a portion of Bitcoin relative to the amount of work it put in to solve the problem. This verification network gives Bitcoin value and backs up transactions. By having this in place, someone couldn’t just write code and give themselves x amount of bitcoins.

In many ways, cryptocurrencies are like stocks. Positive news about a certain coin’s security or general acceptance can drive the price up. The same is inversely true if coins are deemed unuseful in certain applications. Part of what has played into Bitcoin’s rise is that many retailers accept Bitcoin as currency. This makes the cryptocurrency easily translatable to physical value, thus influencing the price per Bitcoin accordingly.

The true answer to what drives cryptocurrencies is obviously much more complex due to the number of factors that go into the “value” of a currency.

Should you invest?

The answer to this question is likely the same for whether you should invest in stocks. While cryptocurrencies have experienced astronomic growth in recent years, these gains aren’t necessarily guaranteed to continue. You should only invest in cryptocurrency if you are willing to take on some risk. With that said, there are currencies that are more stable than others.

Litecoin, which is often regarded as the silver to Bitcoin, has been found to be a very stable currency of growth in recent months. Whereas Bitcoin, currently trading at all time highs, is known to make corrections of 30%, represents a large loss if you were to invest now.

The volatility of cryptocurrencies presents opportunities for day traders, and the significant long term growth of cryptos present great opportunities for long term investors.

You should do a significant amount of investigation into what cryptocurrency you want to invest in, just like any stock, before you buy. Buying can be done on many secure mobile apps or other online platforms. A quick Google search of where and how to buy cryptocurrencies can yield you with this information with ease.

To summarize, cryptocurrencies are often decentralized digital currencies that draw value from security, anonymity, and authentication measures that fluctuate much like stocks that can be traded and exchanged for “true value” currencies. While it may still sound hard to understand, a little bit of research into crypto can go a long way. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and while awareness of them is growing with the general public, people with actual knowledge about how they work is still very small. By taking the time to research and understand, you present yourself with an opportunity to excel in a technologically growing industry.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: TREVOR ENGLISH

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash

What Would Happen if Cryptocurrency Became More Popular Than Cash?

t's not outlandish to think that our current financial system will soon be replaced by cryptocurrency, and the shift will bring about some big changes to the global economy.

THE FLIPPENING

For a time, Bitcoin seemed unassailable in its dominance of the cryptocurrency market, being the first digital currency to really take root and establish itself in the mainstream. Since then, a host of worthy competitors have emerged, and there’s a real possibility that the balance of power could flip.

Many who have been regularly following developments in the cryptocurrency market refer to the tipping point where one digital currency supersedes another as “the flippening” We almost saw this occur in May 2017, when Ethereum’s market cap approached Bitcoin’s amid a surge in popularity.

When individuals have significant amounts of money invested in one cryptocurrency over another, it’s no surprise that tensions run high when they go head to head. However, these squabbles over which coin is best might be distracting us from a more pressing issue.

Some observers would argue that the true flippening isn’t a case of competition between two different forms of cryptocurrency at all. The sea of change yet to come could have more far reaching consequences, if and when digital currency as a whole becomes more popular than conventional fiat currency.

NEW MONEY

There would be some major advantages to an all-cryptocurrency future: its value can’t be manipulated as easy as fiat currency, and it lends itself to the concept of universal basic income. In fact, several different programs, such as uCoin and Cicada, are already using cryptocurrency to distribute UBI.

In a future where our transactions with shops and services are likely to be handled by automated systems, cryptocurrency removes many of the intermediaries that would take their own cut. There are many benefits for the individual, but the flippening stands to pose some major challenges for the global economy in its current form.

Should cryptocurrency manage to jump ahead of fiat money in terms of usage, cash won’t be able to close the gap. That’s the trick to the flippening — once changeover takes place, the losing party loses value and can’t do anything about it.

If everyone begins using cryptocurrency, infrastructure would need to be developed with that in mind. It might not take too long for cash to become incompatible. At this point, it remains to be seen whether established financial institutions could pivot to that new status quo in time.

At the highest level, governments will be hit hard, as they will no longer exercise the same level of control over the country’s currency. The idea of printing more money has been raised time and time again in response to financial turmoil, but that option disappears once currency has to be mined.

The flip from fiat money to cryptocurrency is a very real prospect, and it could well change the face of how our society spends and saves.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Brad Jones

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

U.K. Authorities look to Deem Bitcoin as Cash to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Seizures

A new report, published by the N8 Policing Research Partnership, states that law enforcement faces various challenges when it comes to cryptocurrencies and that, although these challenges are mostly driven by the lack of knowledge and tools, they would be lessened if bitcoin were categorized as cash. This would facilitate seizures in the cryptocurrency, which the report states facilitates money laundering and criminal activities.

The report starts by associating bitcoin with cybercrime, using WannaCry’s global ransomware campaign and its effects on the NHS as an example of how bitcoin facilitates criminal activities. According to the report, cryptocurrencies facilitate criminal transactions and crimes. It reads:

“Cryptocurrencies (mainly Bitcoin) have become a popular choice of criminals. They are facilitating criminal transactions and also crimes such as money laundering, extortion (following data breaches), blackmail (the threat of DDOS attacks) and fraud.”

It even states that cryptocurrencies such as monero and bitcoin have become a popular choice for criminals, adding that according to Europol 3% of all money laundering globally is now done through cryptocurrencies. Notably, back in July a report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and Council found that terrorists and criminals are rarely using cryptocurrencies, although it added that the lack of regulations pose the threat of them being misused.

Notably, N8’s report recommends the U.K. Home Office, an organization that oversees law enforcement agencies in the country, to classify bitcoin as a form of cash, to make it easier to seize the cryptocurrency. It states:

“A recommendation has also been made to the Home Office regarding a potential legislative amendment to categorise bitcoin as cash for the purpose of cash seizure legislation”

Moreover, as a result of its research, it found that U.K. law enforcement has significant knowledge gaps when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and as such a training program is recommended to improve development.

The report also says that bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain technology, poses “some potentially interesting opportunities for investigators”, and therefore it is essential to adopt a strategic training approach to law enforcement in the country.
 

How researchers got to their conclusion

As part of the report two scenarios were conducted: one in which researchers purchased items from dark web marketplaces using bitcoin and monero, and then executed a mock warrant, and a sextortion scenario in which officers analyzed transaction data on the blockchain to then execute a mock warrant and seize bitcoins.

It found that the lack of regulations for bitcoin ATMs in the U.K. is a vulnerability that can help criminals launder money. Regarding exchanges, it noted that these have been attempting to comply with international money laundering standards, conducting KYC (Know Your Customer) checks. It adds that further industry collaboration is needed as criminals can still bypass these checks.

Finally, the report notes that a number of tools are available for law enforcement to trace bitcoin transactions in the blockchain, but adds that these require knowledge and expertise. Some companies offer user-friendly alternatives, but access to these alternatives is limited in the U.K.

Whether the U.K. Home Office will approve legislation that will categorize bitcoin as cash is unclear.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Francisco Memoria

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

Is Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Worth the Gamble

The Technology Behind Cryptocurrencies

 

The creation of Bitcoin back in 2008 fueled the exponential growth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, facilitating the creation of a rich diversity of coins and applications that many would deem revolutionary. Those who invested in cheap coins at the outset are reaping huge returns on their capitals, dwarfing the average returns one can acquire in the stock markets. Think about it; if you had bought $1,000 worth of Bitcoin in 2010, you’d be worth a staggering $35 million now. The possibility of earning colossal returns has attracted many to the arena, and this begs a crucial question: Is the hype on cryptocurrencies warranted or it is just a game of Russian Roulette?

The birth of Bitcoin – the first digital cryptocurrency that is decentralized by design – gave rise to a technology with the potential to redefine the very fabric of our status quo. This technology is called the Blockchain, which underpins Bitcoin’s protocol.

“Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments.” — Leon Luow, Nobel Peace Prize nominee

Blockchain is essentially a distributed, digital ledger where every transaction is broadcasted publicly and recorded chronologically. The database is ever growing, expanding in tandem with the amount of transactions made on the network. The decentralized nature of Blockchain technology ensures that transactions are immutable and thus immune to change, offering full transparency for each and every transaction. Add to that the traits of increased security, higher efficiency, error-resistant and reduced transaction costs, it leaves no doubt as to why many are excited about Blockchain’s possible use cases. The utility of Blockchain technology is endless, with an ever-growing list of governments, industries and companies looking to further explore its usage.

Hotbed for Money Making

The birth of a revolutionary technology would always entail those looking to capitalize on its profitability. Blockchain is no different. Investors, traders and speculators can get in on the action by buying cryptocurrencies, which are digital currencies manifesting as variant applications of the Blockchain technology. There are over 900 coins available, with each offering a slightly different approach to solving a range of problems. Many early adopters have made a great sum of money, by buying the coins cheaply at its outset and realizing them much later on. Based on the statistics provided by ICOSTATS, the return on capital of 40 cryptocurrencies since their inception stands at a staggering 6703%! In order for you to earn similar rates of returns in the stock market, it will take you approximately 957 years.

These stellar returns inevitably attract many who are looking to earn multiples over their capital. Given the extreme technicality of cryptocurrencies and the underlying Blockchain technology, many do not fully understand the fundamentals of what they’re investing in. The immaturity of the current infrastructure – stemming from the relative infancy of the cryptocurrency industry — results in an inefficient price discovery mechanism, thereby creating an extremely volatile market environment. This poses huge risks for those looking to invest in a comprehensive list of coins.

Simply entering the market with the hopes of massive short-term gains without understanding the coins and their technology is akin to playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette. The radical volatility of the coins’ prices may significantly put your capital at risk. Just to draw a picture, Bitcoin’s price lost 40% of its value in a matter of days in December 2013, and at the start of this year, Bitcoin lost approximately 34% of its value in a week. While this can spell doom for many, there are those that find gratification by profiting from the intense gyration of prices.

The Verdict?

Nine years after Bitcoin kickstarted the technological revolution, the ecosystem centered around Blockchain technology has flourished and is looking ever so promising. New coins solving real world problems are launched at a tremendous pace, with new functionalities and applications pushing the boundaries of this nascent technology. With increasing user adoption and a keen interest by nations and corporations, it is only a matter of time before Blockchain technology becomes ubiquitous in our lives.

A flip side of this emergent technology is the great risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, especially for those with a short-term horizon and an absence of understanding in the coins they have invested in. Truly, the extraordinary volatility unique to cryptocurrencies creates a superficial impression of high stakes gambling in the eyes of many. Armed with the right understanding and knowledge of Blockchain technology, you would begin to appreciate its innate beauty.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

DAvid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: Aziz Bin Zainuddin

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

What is cryptocurrency?

What is cryptocurrency?

 

Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency 

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money that is designed to be secure and, in many cases, anonymous. It is a currency associated with the internet that uses cryptography, the process of converting legible information into an almost uncrackable code, to track purchases and transfers. Cryptography was born out of the need for secure communication in the Second World War. It has evolved in the digital era with elements of mathematical theory and computer science to become a way to secure communications, information and money online. The first cryptocurrency was bitcoin, which was created in 2009 and is still the best known. There has been a proliferation of cryptocurrencies in the past decade and there are now more than 900 available on the internet. Here's everything you need to know about cryptocurrencies. 

How do cryptocurrencies work? 

Cryptocurrencies use decentralised technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank. They run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, which is a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders.

Units of cryptocurrency are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complicated maths problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the currencies from brokers, then store and spend them using cryptographic wallets. Cryptocurrencies and applications of blockchain technology are still nascent in financial terms and more uses should be expected. Transactions including bonds, stocks and other financial assets could eventually be traded using the technology.  

What are the most common cryptocurrencies? 

  • Bitcoin:
     
    Bitcoin was the first and is the most commonly traded cryptocurrency to date.  The currency was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, a mysterious figure who developed its blockchain. It has a market capitalisation of around $45 billion as of July 2017. 
  • Ethereum:
     
    Developed in 2015, ethereum is the currency token used in the ethereum blockchain, the second most popular and valuable cryptocurrency. Ethereum has a market capitalisation of around $18bn as of July 2017. However, ethereum has had a turbulent journey. After a major hack in 2016 it split into two currencies, while its value has in recent months reached as high as $400 but crashed briefly to as low as 10 cents.
  • Ripple:
     
    Ripple is another distributed ledger system that was founded in 2012. Ripple can be used to track more kinds of transactions, not just of the cryptocurrency. It has been used by banks including Santander and UBS and has a market capitalisation of around $6.3 billion.
  • Litecoin: 
    This currency is most similar in form to bitcoin, but has moved more quickly to develop new innovations, including faster payments and processes to allow many more transactions. The total value of all Litecoin is around $2.1 billion.

Why would you use a cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies are known for being secure and providing a level of anonymity. Transactions in them cannot be faked or reversed and there tend to be low fees, making it more reliable than conventional currency. Their decentralised nature means they are available to everyone, where banks can be exclusive in who they will let open accounts.  As a new form of cash, the cryptocurrency markets have been known to take off meaning a small investment can become a large sum over night. But the same works the other way. People look to invest in cryptocurrencies should be aware of the volatility of the market and the risks they take when buying.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Why the feds took down one of Bitcoin’s largest exchanges

Why the feds took down one of Bitcoin’s largest exchanges

Tracing Mt. Gox’s stolen coins led feds to Alexander Vinnik

  This week, one of Bitcoin’s largest and most notorious coin exchanges

was brought down by law enforcement — and police and prosecutors are now beginning to explain why. On Thursday, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Alexander Vinnik — thought to be the operator, or one of the operators of Bitcoin exchange BTC-e — charging him with 21 counts of money laundering and other related financial crimes. The counts range from operating an unlicensed money transmittal business to a variety of money laundering charges, including laundering associated with ransomware payouts and a theft from the now-defunct Mt Gox exchange. More generally, the indictment paints BTC-e as a hub of criminal activity, laundering the proceeds of everything from drug trafficking to ransomware attacks.

As some suspected, Vinnik’s alleged crimes go beyond just operating the exchange. Feds believe he played a role in the theft of more 800,000 bitcoin — about $400 million at the time — from Mt. Gox, a staggering loss that ultimately shuttered the exchange. According to the indictment, 530,000 of those bitcoin ended up passing through wallets controlled by or associated with Vinnik, although his role in the larger scheme remains unclear.Vinnik’s alleged crimes go beyond just operating a Bitcoin exchange

Vinnik himself is in custody, arrested while on vacation in Greece, but the Bitcoin world is still sorting through the larger implications of his arrest. BTC-e was one of the last major exchanges outside the reach of conventional finance, and now that it’s gone, it’s unclear what might replace it. There are many legitimate uses of Bitcoin, but Bitcoin transactions have also become essential for online crime — whether it’s ransomware or Silk-Road-style online marketplaces. There will continue to be demand for exchanges like BTC-e, and ____. With feds directly targeting exchanges that don’t play by the book, the split between the two halves of Bitcoin is becoming starker and starker.

BTC-e, founded in 2011, always stood out as an anomaly among the major Bitcoin exchanges. Even a cursory look at BTC-e flagged it as a little strange. “Their exchange prices always seemed weird and out of line with every other exchange, and I had wondered why,” Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University told The Verge in an email.

Nicholas Weaver wrote at Lawfare that BTC-e was noted for its “sketchy ownership and control.” The exchange was supposedly located in Eastern Europe, but there were no clues as to who ran it — until now.300,000 bitcoin from Mt. Gox went to wallets tied to “BTC-e administrative accounts” But the big surprise in the indictment is how closely tied BTC-e is to a massive theft at Mt. Gox, one that eventually bankrupted the exchange in 2014. Founded in 2010, Mt. Gox dominated the Bitcoin world for years, at one point processing 80 percent of all bitcoin-to-currency transactions. Mt. Gox first suffered a multimillion-dollar theft in June 2011. When the exchange collapsed in 2014, the equivalent of nearly half a billion dollars was unaccounted for.

On Wednesday, in the wake of the arrest of Vinnik, WizSec published a blogpost presenting the findings of an investigation into the Mt. Gox thefts that they have apparently been preparing for years. According to WizSec, the Mt. Gox hot wallet private keys were stolen sometime in 2011, and the hacker (or multiple hackers) continued to steal bitcoin through 2012 and 2013. The bitcoin were laundered through wallets controlled by Alexander Vinnik. The indictment claims that 300,000 bitcoin were stolen from Mt. Gox went directly to three connected BTC-e accounts “directly linked” to “BTC-e administrative accounts” that only BTC-e admins and operators could have had access to.

At least one of the accounts — under the name “Vamnedam” — was controlled by Vinnik and “others known and unknown.” (The “others known” are either not named in the indictment or have been redacted from the published document.)Many of the charges allege more straightforward money laundering" More bitcoin from the theft were sent to other Mt. Gox wallets and wallets at a third exchange — the now-defunct Tradehill, which operated out of San Francisco, California. From there, they eventually ended up at BTC-e, in an account that was directly controlled by Vinnik. WizSec also claims that the wallets that laundered Mt. Gox coins also handled “coins stolen from Bitcoinica, Bitfloor and several other thefts from back in 2011 and 2012.”

It’s not clear whether Vinnik was directly involved in the Mt. Gox theft, or how close he is to any of those previous thefts, or even the CryptoWall ransomware hackers whose funds he is accused of laundering. But when it comes to Mt. Gox, at least, BTC-e’s proximity to the theft is fairly suspicious.“Anybody who thought about this for a second understood that law enforcement was working on a case against BTC-e" While the Mt. Gox allegations are the most eye-catching, many of the charges that brought down BTC-e allege more straightforward money laundering. The very first count listed in the indictment is for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business: a criminal charge based on failing to register with FinCEN, an intelligence network that’s mandatory for all financial companies dealing with US customers.

Participating in FinCEN comes with a range of requirements, from registration to internal anti-money laundering programs. Since 2013, it’s been clear that Bitcoin exchanges had to follow those same rules, and for the most part, exchanges have complied — and prosecutors haven’t been shy about filing charges against services that don’t. In recent years, BTC-e has been the largest Bitcoin exchange not registered with FinCEN, a distinction that made it an obvious target for law enforcement, even without Vinnik’s alleged Mt. Gox involvement. “Anybody who thought about this for a second understood that law enforcement was working on a case against BTC-e,” said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center. “The question was just whether the government would catch them.”“designed so that criminals could effect financial transactions under multiple layers of anonymity”

Where other counts in the indictment focus on money transfers linked to theft and ransomware, the first two — operation of an unlicensed money transmitter and conspiracy to commit money-laundering — focus on the technological capabilities of BTC-e itself, claiming that the exchange had a “criminal design.” “BTC-e’s system was designed so that criminals could accomplish financial transactions with anonymity and thereby avoid apprehension by law enforcement or seizure of funds,” the indictment says, pointing out that BTC-e only required “a username, password, and an email address,” unlike “legitimate payment processors or digital currency exchangers.” The indictment also points to suspicious usernames like “ISIS,” “CocaineCowboys,” “blackhathackers,” “dzkillerhacker,” and “hacker4hire” as additional support for the money-laundering allegations.

The language in the indictment about BTC-e’s “criminal design” mimics the indictment against Liberty Reserve — an anonymous currency service taken down by law enforcement in 2013 — which also accused the online exchange of having a “criminal design” and a system “designed so that criminals could effect financial transactions under multiple layers of anonymity.” (The Liberty Reserve indictment also took the time to point out that account names on the site included “Russia Hackers” and “Hacker Accounts.”) BTC-e’s website claimed that they required customers to provide proof of identity — namely, a scanned ID card and a scanned utility bill or bank statement — and forbid any US customers, letting them off the hook for FinCEN registration. But neither turned out to be true, according to the indictment.“Exchanges will go one of two ways. Either they’ll clean up their act… or they’ll go fully underground.”

Now that BTC-e is down for good, it could have a profound impact on the criminal ecosystem more broadly. BTC-e handled about 5 percent of total Bitcoin transactions, but recent research found that as much as 95 percent of ransomware cashouts happened through the platform. With most comparably sized exchanges already registered under FinCEN, the takedown could make it both harder and riskier for criminals to cash out — something law enforcement seems to be counting on. In the same Lawfare piece, Weaver says he thinks taking down BTC-e “will probably prove more important than the AlphaBay and Hansa takedowns” in fighting online crime. For Bitcoiners less invested in law enforcement’s war on dark web marketplaces, the lesson is a more ambiguous one. Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer says the focus on FinCEN compliance could lead to a lasting split in Bitcoin markets, as exchanges face the choice of whether to comply with US government demands.

“Exchanges will go one of two ways,” Sirer says. “Either they will clean their act, by first shopping for the most lenient jurisdictions and complying with relevant KYC/AML laws, or they'll go ‘fully underground,’ and operate with no rules, behind Tor and other anonymous communication technologies. The most colorful drama ahead will involve exchanges, such as Bitfinex, that operate in the gray zone, where they seem to neither comply with relevant laws nor go fully underground.” For a technology with a surrounding community built on libertarian ideas, that may be a difficult pill to swallow. But as the past week has made clear, those that don’t will be taking a very serious risk.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Cash: Why It’s Forking the Blockchain And What That Means

 

Bitcoin's scaling debate finally seems to be shaking out,

but some users aren't happy with the results. After a few years of debate, it was perhaps to be expected that at least some were going to come away empty-handed. Controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x tried to remedy this by joining two code change ideas – the code optimization Segregated Witness (SegWit) and a block size increase. Today, SegWit is just a couple of steps away from activating on bitcoin, but some bitcoin users are unhappy about the outcome.

Others who originally backed the Segwit2x proposal appear to be losing confidence in an eventual block size increase and are now taking matters into their own hands by making their own version of bitcoin – and they're doing so on a short timeline. On August 1, at precisely 12:20 UTC, the group claims that they will split off from bitcoin, creating a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash. Developer Calin Culianu, who's contributing code to an implementation of Bitcoin Cash, is one user who doesn't like SegWit, suspecting that others feel the same way.

Culianu told CoinDesk:

”If the Segwit2x agreement fails to implement the 2x part, which is not entirely unreasonable, and only ends up being being basically SegWit without the 2x, many miners will likely defect to Bitcoin Cash."

What is Bitcoin Cash?

So, what is it? And how does it differ from bitcoin? There are two main changes of note:

  • It increases the block size to 8 MB.
  • It removes SegWit, a code change that might activate on the bitcoin blockchain by the end of August.

Some, including a few of the project's supporters, call Bitcoin Cash an "altcoin," a term that usually denotes a fork of the software that creates a new cryptocurrency, with its own market. Indeed, the cryptocurrency is currently trading at $461, meaning it's worth about 18% of bitcoin's current price of $2,568, in an already-open futures market. Unlike other altcoins, though, Bitcoin Cash's transaction history would be the same as bitcoin's – at least up until the point of the split. So, if and when Bitcoin Cash splits off, users would have bitcoin on both blockchains.

Another difference is the project says it will support multiple implementations of its software, a move that's not surprising given the criticism that Bitcoin Core's software is too dominant on the bitcoin network. BitcoinABC is the first software to implement the Bitcoin Cash protocol, but the goal is for there to be many implementations. Culianu said that both Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Classic, other implementations that aim to increase bitcoin’s block size, are working on a version compatible with Bitcoin Cash. These might or might not be ready for August 1.

Who's involved?

So far, most bitcoin companies, mining pools, users and bitcoin developers seem uninterested in the effort. Yet, there are some eager supporters.Beijing-based mining firm ViaBTC, which boasts roughly 4% of bitcoin’s computing power, is the clear ringleader. The firm, which also operates an exchange, has become the first to list the cryptocurrency and also has plans to launch a new mining pool dedicated solely to Bitcoin Cash. (Though, so far, it's not clear how much of its 4% mining hashrate it will commit to the effort.) Asked if he believed Segwit2x would fulfill its roadmap, CEO Haipo Yang responded: "I doubt it."

Further, Bitcoin Cash has attracted support from some users who want a block size increase, as well as developers of other proposals such as Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited. What might be more surprising, though, is who's not involved. Even former supporters, including mining firms Bitcoin.com and Bitmain, seem hesitant to back the effort. For now, they remain committed to controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x. Mining company Bitmain even inspired Bitcoin Cash. Yet, the firm said that they only planned on going through with making the switch under certain conditions. Still, the firm might support both Segwit2x and Bitcoin Cash in the future.

In a PSA statement, Bitcoin.com said that it will allow miners in its pool to choose if they want to mine the Bitcoin Cash token BCC. For now, though, it will mine on Segwit2x chain, though it said it "will immediately shift all company resources to supporting Bitcoin Cash exclusively" if the block size increase part of SegWit, scheduled for roughly three months from now, falls through.

Wait, but why?

There are a few reasons users and mining pools might like to break off from bitcoin:

  • These users want an increase in bitcoin's block size parameter, and believe that the cryptocurrency's future depends on it.
  • SegWit is likely going to activate soon and some users want to avoid the feature.
  • There's a possibility that Segwit2x's block size parameter increase will ultimately fall through.

This mix of ideological and technical reasons was also on display in conversations with users. When asked by CoinDesk what BitcoinABC's goal is,

Culianu responded:

"To save bitcoin. We want to scale bitcoin up so that it won't die. It's already a bit sick and dying."

What's different here?

Many other efforts over the last couple of years have said they would split off from bitcoin, if they gained enough support from those operating the computers that secure the network. But, to date, no group has actually carried through with this plan so far. Bitcoin Cash might be unique in that it's actually committing to a deadline to split bitcoin into two, and that deadline is less than a week away.

If miners and users indeed go ahead with the split, it would mark the first time a cryptocurrency split off from bitcoin, carrying with it bitcoin’s transaction history. Like past efforts intended to replace the bitcoin used today with a new bitcoin, however, Bitcoin Cash has the same goal, but it seems willing to wait and see if users join the effort. Rather than call it bitcoin, ViaBTC, as well as a group of bitcoin companies in China, signed an agreement to label it a "competitive currency," not the "real" bitcoin. The move could set up the split to happen more quickly, as in the past exchanges have expressed confusion over how to handle a fork.

What's next?

If a new cryptocurrency splits off from the main bitcoin network, it will mark a first. So, some users are curious to see what happens. Still, without much support from miners and users, it might not end up having that much of an impact on the course of the main network. Nonetheless, it might if be worth watching if the second half of Segwit2x falls through. That's when it might see some more supporters.

Culianu, for example, concluded on an optimistic note:

”My secret gut feeling is Bitcoin Cash may surprise all of us. It is not entirely impossible that it will be the de-facto bitcoin after a few months. The much roomier 8 MB block space is attractive."

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Malta Entrepreneur has Installed the Country’s First Cryptocurrency ATM

Malta Entrepreneur has Installed the Country's First Cryptocurrency ATM

Malta Entrepreneur has Installed the Country’s First Cryptocurrency ATM

A Malta entrepreneur has installed the country’s first cryptocurrency ATM. The installation has occurred just days after local media reported that a start-up had launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the country’s first bitcoin ATM.

The Cryptocurrency ATM Has Been Installed Days After a Crowdfunding Campaign Was Launched to Fund a Rival Terminal

A local Malta entrepreneur, Gabriel Cretu Torica, has installed the country’s first cryptocurrency ATM. The terminal has been installed outside a store in Sliema and facilitates bitcoin purchases and balances checks via QR codes.

 

Mr. Torica discussed the advantages of bitcoin and the speed of cryptocurrency ATMs, telling local media that “online exchanges often ask for ID verification, and that can waste up to 24 hours”. Mr. Torica also believes that the bitcoin ATM will inspire greater adoption of bitcoin in Malta. “Many people are still suspicious of bitcoin… I’m sure this will change over time as people realize the benefits”, he said.
 

Ivaj, a start-up and bitcoin cryptocurrency advocacy group championing bitcoin adoption throughout Malta, had already started a crowdfunding campaign seeking to raise finances for the purchase and installation of the island’s first cryptocurrency ATM. The crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise $6,000, with plans to install a second bitcoin ATM if more money than requested is received. If the campaign falls short Ivaj co-founder, Leon Siegmund, has pledged to provide the remaining required funds. Mr. Torica has stated that his bitcoin ATM had already been purchased but not installed when he heard about the crowdfunding campaign – which prompted him to contact local press.
 

The crowdfunding campaign is still active and has so far raised 6% of its total goal, currently having raised $368 from only 6 backers. The campaign will finish approximately one month from today. “We believe in Bitcoin’s potential and decided to invest time and effort in bringing the first Bitcoin ATM to Malta in order to unleash these opportunities to individuals, and society as a whole,” Leon Siegmund previously told The Times of Malta. “We’ve already identified a few potential locations, but it’s too early to discuss them now. What I can say is that it will either be in Valletta or in Sliema.”

 

Malta’s Government Has Previously Focused on Attracting Cryptocurrency Investment From Businesses

Malta’s central government has recently expressed great interest in embracing bitcoin, with the cabinet of malta approving the first draft for a national strategy designed to promote cryptocurrency and blockchain technology across the nation during April. Despite the bold rhetoric, the island still lacks basic infrastructure that will allow increased user adoption, as evidenced by the crowdfunding campaign for the nation’s first bitcoin ATM.

 

Malta’s government has predominantly focussed upon attracting cryptocurrency based businesses to register on their shores. Several government agencies participated in a conference hosted by PKF Malta this week that sought to “[bring] together a think tank of professionals representing a cross section of the market ranging from start-up success stories to crowdfunding, blockchain, [and] bitcoin.” The conference featured keynote speakers from Silicon Valley, and an audience predominantly comprised of representatives from Malta’s business and academic sectors.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Samuel Haig

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Wall Street stunned over AMD’s blowout results due to cryptocurrency mining demand

Wall Street stunned over AMD’s blowout results due to cryptocurrency mining demand

  • Wall Street is surprised over AMD's strong earnings and guidance due to digital currency mining demand for its graphics cards.
  • AMD shares have rallied 102 percent through Tuesday in the previous 12 months compared with the S&P 500's 14 percent return.
  • That performance ranks No. 4 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet.

Investors are mesmerized with AMD's impressive second quarter

as cryptocurrency mining demand drove the company's financial results above Wall Street's expectations. The chipmaker reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and guidance Tuesday. Its shares surged more than 10 percent in after-hours trading following the report and were up more than 9 percent in early regular trading Wednesday.

"AMD turned in a solid beat to our and consensus estimates as the company's new Ryzen desktop CPU ramped into production and GPU demand outstripped supply," Stifel analyst Kevin Cassidy wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. "While management wasn't specific on how much, the GPU revenue upside was driven by cryptocurrency applications."
AMD shares have rallied 102 percent through Tuesday in the previous 12 months compared with the S&P 500's 14 percent return. That performance ranks No. 4 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet. Cryptocurrency miners use graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia to "mine" new coins, which can then be sold or held for future appreciation. AMD traditionally has a better reputation for mining cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum cryptocurrency is up over 2,400 percent year-to-date through Wednesday, while Bitcoin is up about 160 percent this year, according to data from industry website CoinDesk. In June, AMD shares jumped after the company told CNBC that the dramatic rise in digital currency prices has driven demand for its graphics cards. At the time, major computer hardware retailers had sold out of AMD's recently launched RX 570 and RX 580 models. Digital currency mining was the key topic during AMD's earnings conference call with Wall Street Tuesday evening. Analysts asked company management three times for clarification on the magnitude and sustainability of cryptocurrency mining demand.

One analyst noted the company is working to mitigate future downside risk and is not incorporating continued digital currency mining outperformance in its guidance. "Crypto mining helped stimulate demand for AMD GPUs in Q2, which we think could translate to a risk should cryptocurrency values decline, AMD is working to manage the crypto risk by targeting supply to the core GPU gaming market, and working with some of its AIB [add in board] partners to offer specific feature sets to segment the market between gaming & mining," Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis wrote Wednesday. "AMD is not including upside from mining in its outlook."

Lipacis reiterated his buy rating on the company and raised his price target to $19 from $16, representing 35 percent upside from Tuesday's close. To be sure, some analysts are still skeptical on AMD after its big run. "We were surprised at the aftermarket reaction for the stock," Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore wrote Wednesday. "We continue to be somewhat cynical on the long term intrinsic value of the stock, despite being excited about Zen and maintaining numbers that are above the Street. As street numbers start to catch up, absolute valuation levels are going to matter more." Moore reiterated his equal-weight rating and $11 price target for AMD shares.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member