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From Mining to Investing in Cryptocurrency

From Mining to Investing in Cryptocurrency

From Mining to Investing in Cryptocurrency
 

What Is Mining

Mining is the process by which transactions of crypto currencies are secured. For this purpose, the miners carry out mathematical computations for the network with their computer equipment. As a reward for their services, they collect the newly created coins, as well as the fees associated with the transactions they confirm. In this sense, miners are competing and their incomes are proportional to the computing power they deploy.

To better grasp the concept of mining, Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in the Bitcoin community, explains that “a good way to describe mining is like a giant competitive game of sudoku that resets every time someone finds a solution and whose difficulty automatically adjusts so that it takes approximately 10 minutes to find a solution. Imagine a giant sudoku puzzle, several thousand rows, and columns in size. If I show you a completed puzzle you can verify it quite quickly. However, if the puzzle has a few squares filled and the rest is empty, it takes a lot of work to solve! The difficulty of the sudoku can be adjusted by changing its size (more or fewer rows and columns), but it can still be verified quite easily even if it is very large.”

 

The Mining Equipment

In the beginning, mining with a processor (CPU) was the only way to mine bitcoins. Graphics cards (GPUs) eventually replaced CPUs due to their nature which allowed an increase of 50x to 100x in computing power, by using less power per megahash compared to a CPU.

The Bitcoin mining world is now dominated by Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). An ASIC is a chip designed specifically to accomplish a single task. Unlike FPGAs, an ASIC cannot be programmed to perform other tasks. An ASIC designed to mine bitcoins can and will not do anything else than mining bitcoins

The rigidity of an ASIC allows it to offer an increase in computing power of 100x while reducing power consumption compared to all other technologies by a factor of 7. Unlike the generations of technologies that preceded the ASIC, this last innovation is dubbed the “end of the line”, as there is nothing to replace ASICs today or soon.

Then came along Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that can be mined like Bitcoin – with an important difference. The Ethereum network was built to be resistant to ASIC hardware, making mining Ether with graphics cards viable. Ethereum is enjoying a Bitcoin-esque bubble of mammoth proportions right now, with the price of Ethereum skyrocketing.

This led to a shortage of graphic cards. Miners worldwide bought those Nvidia and Radeon cards that are best suited for mining – selling them out quickly. This is not the first time that graphics cards enjoyed a meteoric rise in price due to cryptocurrency. Bitcoin took GPU prices for a ride back in late 2013.
 

Innovation Meets Mining

Mining has nowadays become an activity that with an appetite for resources so enormous that it is bolstering the creativity of investors in this field, to always strive for the optimal solution. It is in this context that the concept of “cloud mining” was born. This means that the investor does not buy a physical mining rig, but rather rents computing power from a different company and gets paid according to how much power was bought. By doing so, investors get rid of the hassle of buying expensive equipment, storing it, cooling it, and maintaining it.

This industrialization of mining has led companies to seek out the lowest resource costs possible. While many areas of the globe offer competitive costs and infrastructure, polar areas offer unique mining conditions. Such was the idea of KnC Miner that announced the installation of computing power by the Arctic circle. This initiative, unfortunately, didn’t get enough time to reveal its true potential, as the company filed bankruptcy in 2016

Less in the north, in China, people have been puzzled by the fast growth of crypto-mining farms. Investors appeared on the scene with the wacky idea to mine Bitcoin using hydropower, thus benefiting from free water infinitely more profitable.

These innovative solutions have been of varying success. However, for the most profitable ones, it is still difficult to replicate and scale them up, as they require specific and unique geographic properties.

 

Is It Still Profitable?

The early days of Bitcoin mining are often described as a gold rush, but is it still the case in 2017?

Mining has grown from a handful of early enthusiasts into a specialized industrial-level venture. The easy money was scooped out a long time ago and what remains is buried under the cryptographic equivalent of tons of hard rock.

While mining is still technically possible for anyone, those with underpowered setups will find more money is spent on electricity than is generated by mining. In other words, mining won’t be profitable at a small scale unless you have access to free or really cheap electricity.

The good news is that mining is not limited to Bitcoin. New coins come up all the time with difficulties of mining that are vastly different from Bitcoin’s. Today, Ethereum is such a currency. When tomorrow Ethereum’s difficulty will make it less lucrative for mining, or when it’s moving to a different model altogether, other coins will be there that offer better returns.

If you want to go into mining yourself, the time you will spend educating yourself about the technology, the hardware, and the currencies, is significant. The setup costs for buying hardware are also considered when you want to mine at scale.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Are Cryptocurrencies Recovering or is This a Dead cat Bounce?

Are Cryptocurrencies Recovering or is This a Dead cat Bounce?

Are Cryptocurrencies Recovering or is This a Dead cat Bounce?

 

No one can say there is such a thing as a boring day in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. After the onslaught of price declines throughout the weekend, we kick off this Monday on a positive note. All currencies are seemingly recovering their losses. The Bitcoin price surpassed US$2,000 again, but it looks like Ethereum is the winner of the day so far. Other currencies all doing quite well too, for now.

 

 

CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKET SEES A DEAD CAT BOUNCE

Even though we are not a big fan of the term “dead cat bounce“, it accurately describes what is going on in the cryptocurrency world right now, by the look of things. The markets are showing signs of positive momentum, but there is no reason to get overly excited just yet. After all, the gains made today can easily be wiped out in an hour or two of bearish trading. This is especially true for the currencies showing large gains compared to yesterday.

Taking a closer look at the charts, we can see there is only one coin in the top 50 without a green number next to it right now. Overall, that is a positive sign for cryptocurrency as a whole. At the same time, people have to keep in mind these positive changes are a direct result of the Bitcoin price going up slowly. Should Bitcoin drop in value again, these short-term gains for all altcoins will be wiped out pretty quickly.

While it is good to see the Bitcoin price bounce back to above US$2,000, maintaining that position will be quite challenging. There is a lot of negative pressure on the market, which may push the price back to to the US$1,900 range in the coming hours. Such a retrace will effectively prove to be a tough time for any altcoin struggling as of late, including the likes of Ethereum and Dash.

Speaking of those two particular altcoins, Dash has seen its value climb by 13.52% over the past 24 hours. This is despite a trading volume of under US$50m, mind you. Ethereum, on the other hand, notes an 18.02% gain over the past 24 hours, thanks to a trading volume which even surpasses Bitcoin’s. Many people still hope to see ETH return to US$400, but for now, it is a struggle to remain above US$160.

Seeing the Ethereum trading volume surpass Bitcoin’s is not entirely surprising. Korea and China are trying to push the ETH price back up, yet their efforts are not wildly successful so far. In fact, the price on Bithumb – denominated in US Dollars- is below the ETH/BTC price on Poloniex when converting it to USD. That is somewhat surprising, considering Korean exchanges often depict higher values for cryptocurrencies compared to Western markets.

It is still too early to tell if the cryptocurrency markets are effectively recovering. For all we know, this is just a temporary blip on the radar, which will be nullified before the day is over. It seems plausible to assume Bitcoin will have a tough time remaining above US$2,000 for an extended period of time. The markets remain volatile for quite some time to come, but there is always sunshine beyond the dip. No one needs to panic right now, as things will be alright in the end.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

Author: JP Buntinx

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency Investors Must ‘Be Prepared to Lose Everything’

Cryptocurrency Investors Must 'Be Prepared to Lose Everything'

Cryptocurrency Investors Must 'Be Prepared to Lose Everything'
 

Potential investors in cryptocurrencies should focus on finding a great new concept rather than rushing to buy volatile Bitcoins, Dr. Campbell Harvey told Radio Sputnik.
 

The market in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been subject to remarkable growth but also volatility in recent months.

On June 11, the price of Bitcoin peaked at $3,019, an increase of more than 300 percent since the beginning of the year. However, the price has dropped since then and the cryptocurrency was trading at $2,207 on Friday.

 

The value of the Ethereum cryptocurrency has also decreased by almost half in recent weeks from a high of $392 on June 13 to $211 on Friday, according to Coindesk.com.

According to BlackRock's global chief investment strategist, cryptocurrency volatility may be a sign of a bubble in the market.

"I look at the charts, and to me that looks pretty scary," Richard Turnill told a media briefing in New York on Tuesday.

Dr. Campbell Harvey, Professor of Finance at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, told Radio Sputnik that the sharp rises in the value of cryptocurrencies this year is a cause for caution.

"Any time you see something go up in value by a factor of 20 over a few months, you need to be very cautious," Harvey said.

"I think part of it is just the nature of the actual game, that this is a new technology, it is extremely volatile. For instance, if you look at Bitcoin it is six times the volatility of the S&P 500. It is very volatile and it's very difficult to figure out what the actual value is. If you are speculating in cryptocurrency, you need to be prepared to lose everything," Harvey said.
 

"In the 'dotcom bubble,' people were basically buying lottery tickets. They saw firms go from one cent a share to $100 a share, it was like a lottery and you didn't want to be left behind. You wanted to have some kind of investment and that drove up the prices very dramatically and I think it's the same thing today with the cryptocurrencies."
 

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

Harvey recommended that potential investors do their research before taking the plunge and focus on finding an attractive concept.

"You really need a good story behind a new crypto that you're offering. There will be a lot of people coming in with bad ideas that will get funding. The best way to do it is to invest directly in some of the start-ups in this space rather than just going out and buying some coins."
 

"When the prices go up so dramatically, a smart investor will basically take some profit and indeed this is what I recommend to your listeners. If you've doubled your money, sell half. What that means is that you've recovered your initial investment and everything that's left is just pure profit and if you lose it, you lose it.
 

"Given there's uncertainty in the US right now, people are looking elsewhere. Gold is an alternative but gold is real pain because you have to vault it, basically protect the gold. But cryptocurrency is basically extra-national, you need a wallet and backup. You don't need a vault or security guards."

 

In the future, cryptocurrencies will develop in several different ways. These include collateralized cryptocurrencies and the expansion of the blockchain technology behind them.
 

"One of the things we'll see is collateralized cryptocurrencies. There's an initiative with the Chicago mercantile exchange and the royal mint group in which they'll put some gold in a vault and issue a crypto based upon that gold.

"As soon as you do that, then the crypto is linked to the price of gold and its volatility is linked to the price of gold. You can do this with anything – with equity, bonds, commodities in general, that you can issue cryptos based on a vault or a storage facility with the actual collateral. I think we are just beginning to see the collateralized versions."

 

"In a broader context, most of the action in terms of blockchain is not with cryptocurrencies, it's with businesses using blockchain technology to solve things like supply chain problems and other property transfer problems where you don't even need a cryptocurrency. So, as I see it from a business point of view, most of the action won't come from the initial coin offerings, but the application usually of Ethereum-based blockchain technology in business."
 

"It's not as sexy as looking at the price of Ethereum or Bitcoin doubling or tripling or going up by a factor of 20. In the media, people focus on the cryptocurrencies but in the practice of business the action is blockchain applications to solve business problems, not as much the currency aspect."

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Ethereum’s share of the cryptocurrency market has exploded

Ethereum's share of the cryptocurrency market has exploded

Ethereum's share of the cryptocurrency market has exploded
 

Ethereum is gobbling up share in the cryptocurrency market.

A new report by Autonomous NEXT, a financial technology analytics service, shows that Ethereum's percentage of the total cryptocurrency market has sharply risen since the beginning of the year.

In January it stood at approximately 5%. As of June 22, its marketcap as a percentage of the entire market rose to 30%.

Ethereum's impressive rise has led to a dramatic fall in bitcoin's marketcap as a percentage of the market. It has declined from about 85% at the beginning of the year to just under 40% as of late June. Up until mid June, Ethereum was on track to surpass bitcoin as the world's largest cryptocurrency by market cap, according to Coindesk, but its share of the market has since pulled back.

Still, the shift from bitcoin to Ethereum reflects a change in what the cryptocurrency industry wants from blockchain tech, according to the report.

"Early phase of cryptocurrency market development focused on who will be the “digital gold” – and Bitcoin won through the largest developer and adoption ecosystem," the report said. "However, current battle is for other functionalities, such as global decentralized computing or smart contracts infrastructure."

Ethereum, unlike bitcoin, wasn't built to simply function as a "digital gold." According to Paul McNeal, a bitcoin evangelist, the Ethereum blockchain was built as a platform on which two parties could enter into a so-called smart contract without a third party. As a result, it can be used as a currency and it can "represent virtual shares, assets, proof of membership, and more."

The multifaceted functionality of Ethereum has many folks in financial services bullish on its future. Mike McGovern, the new head of Investor Services Fintech Offerings at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co, is one such person.
 

"Ethereum is not only cheaper than bitcoin, it is also more robust and has more applications outside of simply financial transactions," he said in a recent interview with Business Insider.

A survey recently cited by Nathaniel Popper in The New York Times indicates that a lot of businesses are singing a similar tune. Almost 94% of surveyed firms said they feel positive about the state of ether tokens. Only 49% of firms surveyed had a positive feeling about bitcoin.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Frank Chaparro

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Ethereum Price Drops Below $300 Amid Technical Issues and Cryptocurrency ICO Hype

Ethereum Price Drops Below $300 Amid Technical Issues and Cryptocurrency ICO Hype

Ethereum Price Drops Below $300 Amid Technical Issues and Cryptocurrency ICO Hype

 

 

Things are not looking all that great for Ethereum right now. The popular cryptocurrency suffered a major crash not too long ago and it remains the market is still recovering. The past two days have heralded another downturn for Ether, making it highly doubtful Ethereum will pass Bitcoin in market cap anytime soon. It seems safe to say more volatility is on the horizon for Ethereum holders.

 

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE ETHEREUM PRICE?

 

Looking over the Ethereum price charts leaves traders and investors disappointed, as their hopes for challenging Bitcoin’s crown subside. More specifically, the ETH price has taken another beating, as it declined by 7.65% over the past 24 hours. This puts the value of one Ether well below the US$300 mark and it is possible this value will keep heading toward US$270 or lower over the coming days. This momentum is not entirely surprising given Ethereum’s bullish trend throughout the first half of 2017.

 

It is not hard to forget once ETH was worth under US$11 back in early January of this year. Things have certainly picked up over the past few months, culminating in an Ether price peak of nearly US$400, according to Coinmarketcap. Such a spectacular price increase can only be met with future price volatility, which is what we are seeing on a daily basis right now. Even so, the Ether value increase has been nothing short of impressive this year.

 

Ethereum enthusiasts have referred to a phenomenon known as the flippening all year. This trend would occur once Ethereum’s market cap surpasses that of Bitcoin. Although both currencies were only separated by “just” US$8bn, the gap has widened once again. More specifically, Bitcoin’s market cap is close to US$41bn right now, whereas Ethereum’s is only US$26.32bn. The flippening will not be happening anytime soon at this rate.

 

The bigger question is why Ethereum is facing such a setback right now. Shifting market conditions are likely the culprit. Moreover, the Ethereum blockchain and its technology are weighed down by the influx of cryptocurrency ICOs. Transactions are confirmed far slower when a big ICO happens, and smart contracts used by these projects often contain issues which need to be fixed later on. The technology is still premature, yet investors also see this can become a much bigger problem if things aren’t resolved quickly.

 

Speaking of cryptocurrency ICOs, they have quickly become the main use case of the Ether currency. That is not necessarily a positive development either. With so many projects raising funds in Ether, the chances of a market “dump” will increase as well. When teams need funding, they will convert ETH to fiat currency, creating negative pressure across the exchanges. When more projects sell off their raised funds, the price per ETH will undoubtedly continue to go down quite quickly. It is unclear if that is part of the ongoing price drop right now, but it is something to keep in mind.

 

It is unclear what the future will hold for Ethereum right now. The Ethereum price is very volatile, which is only to be expected at this point. However, Ethereum is not a store-of-value by any means. With so many “dumb money” flowing into Ethereum to participate in cryptocurrency ICOs, it is virtually impossible to determine the real value of the existing coin supply. Technical issues are becoming a major problem as well. If this trend keeps up, the flippening may never happen at all. These are interesting times for Ethereum to prove its value, but so far, the project leaves quite a bit to be desired.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Entrepreneur

 

Author: JP Buntinx

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrencies Continue Recovery, Resume 2017’s Growth Trend

Cryptocurrencies Continue Recovery, Resume 2017's Growth Trend

Cryptocurrencies Continue Recovery, Resume 2017’s Growth Trend

Cryptocurrencies continued their recovery from last week’s massive price fallout, resuming the upward trend that has characterized 2017. All but 12 of the top 100 cryptocurrenices posted gains in the last 24-hour period.

 

Market leaders bitcoin and Ethereum had the smallest gains the last 24-hour period, with the former adding 0.88 points and the latter 1.15 points and market caps of $45 billion and 31.7 billion, respectively.

Bitcoin’s price reached $2,760.61, attempting to reclaim the record $2,864.85 it set on June 9. The price has hovered in the high 2,700 range after falling to a monthly low near $2,100 last week.
 

Ethereum Recovers From Bottleneck

Ethereum, at $342.27, continued the recovery it began two days ago following two days of losses. Ethereum has been fighting a correction that came from a sudden increase in demand which caused a bottleneck that delayed its transactions.

Despite showing a correction since it peaked at $402 two weeks ago, Ethereum is still showing impressive overall gains this month.

Ethereum has suffered from scaling problems as more new digital currencies opt for the Ethereum platform when holding their initial coin offering (ICO). Status ICO, which raised more than $100 million in Ethereum, caused a demand spike that some exchanges couldn’t handle, causing Ether prices to drop 15% momentarily. This sudden drop also affected other currencies, as nine out of the top 10 registered losses.

 

Third place Ripple rose 9.19 points to $0.294288 in the last 24-hour period, reaching a $12.7 billion market cap, but still below the $0.348079 it hit on May 16.

 

Litecoin Hits A Road Bump

Litecoin, the fourth highest market cap at $2.408 billion, was the only currency with more than $1 billion in market capitalization to show a loss in the recent 24-hour period, losing 2.36 points. Litecoin nevertheless has managed to hold the number four spot, following the activation of the Bitcoin Core development team’s transaction malleability fix Segregated Witness (SegWit), which led to an increase in the demand for Litecoin and a significant surge in development. Within months after the activation of SegWit, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee announced his resignation and his intent to focus on the development of Litecoin full time, which further increased the expectation of the cryptocurrency community and market toward Litecoin.

Within three months, Litecoin’s market cap increased from $200 million to a staggering $2.5 billion, recording a 1,150 three-month increase. In that short period of time, Litecoin surpassed Ethereum Classic, Dash and NEM in market capitalization.

More importantly, the mid-term increase in the market cap of Litecoin, the activation of SegWit, successful testing of Lightning Network on Litecoin, issuance of services by companies such as BitGo and the shift in focus from Litecoin creator Charlie Lee further triggered the currency’s development community.

On June 19, Bitstamp, the eighth largest Litecoin trading platform within the U.S. Litecoin exchange market, announced the integration of BitGo’s Litecoin multi-signature security service. Although the majority of Litecoin trades are processed within the Chinese Litecoin exchange market and Bitstamp only accounts for a fraction of global Litecoin trading, it marked the first case in which a major international digital currency trading platform has integrated BitGo’s security services to secure Litecoin transactions.

 

IOTA Gained The Most

Among those with more than $1 billion in market capitalization, IOTA, number 7, posted the biggest gain as the price hit $0.525929 for a $1.461 billion market cap, a 26.48 point gain. IOTA has continued recovering since suffering one of the largest losses last week, when it dropped 36.5 points in a 24-hour period.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Lester Coleman

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Will Make Lots of Millionaires Before “Returning Down to Earth”: Economics Professor

http://seriouswealth.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Bitcoin-Will-Make-Lots-of-Millionaires-Before-Returning-Down-to-Earth-Economics-Professor.

Bitcoin Will Make Lots of Millionaires Before “Returning Down to Earth”: Economics Professor
 

Despite its price volatility, Bitcoin is likely to make more millionaires.

Panos Mourdoukoutas, chair of the department of economics at LIU Post in New York City, whose works are published by Forbes and The New York Times, thinks Bitcoin is likely to turn more individuals into millionaires before its price dives again.

Bitcoin recently reached an all-time high of $3,000 this June after a huge correction to $2,682 from $2,957 in the period of two days. This is after tech billionaire Mark Cuban reportedly called Bitcoin's recent price surge a bubble.

However, this is not the case since the cryptocurrency is showing an uptrend, based on its recent price of $2,831 and its continuing upward trend.

Mourdoukoutas shared a partially similar viewpoint to Cuban's. Both had similar claims that Bitcoin's price would drop after a substantial surge, however, he stopped short of calling Bitcoin a bubble.

 

Making more millionaires before it crashes again

Mourdoukoutas mentioned that the digital currency made many "overnight millionaires" – individuals who invested into BTC when it was worth just a portion of its current rate.

He also mentioned that Bitcoin will reach new highs, making more millionaires in the course of the action, before "returning down to earth."

Mourdoukoutas added that one of the reasons for the increased investment in the cryptocurrency is the "ultra-low” rate of interest environment, makings the trade of Bitcoin an enticing proposition.

In addition, there is a growing mistrust in the currencies of several nations, following government policies that have pushed more investors into the cryptocurrency.

 

Price restricted by policies and supply

Mourdoukoutas said that one of these policies is the act by federal governments to provide new treasury bonds at record low rates to cover the old financial obligations with brand-new ones.

For instance, Japan sells treasuries that yield nearly absolutely nothing for the state, however, the nation's debts amount to approximately 250 percent of the country’s GDP. The teacher mentioned that China's treasury yields "something," however, no one knows the specific quantity of the "informal financial obligation".

The fact that there is a substantial quantity of financial obligations linked to the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen diminishes the confidence of investors. Given that there is Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has increased its worth by 125 percent in 2016, investors in Asia have taken advantage of the possibility to invest more into the digital currency.

 

The economics professor also highlighted another government policy which might decrease trust in a country's nationwide currency. This relocation is when governments wish to eliminate the old currency notes, as held true in India and Venezuela. Such incidents, according to Mourdoukoutas, is one of the reasons why Bitcoin price has risen.

 

Still better hedge fund than traditional ones

Mourdoukoutas further commented that there are particular advantages which make Bitcoin a much better hedge than traditional ones, such as gold. He added that the millennial generation is one of the greatest supporters of the cryptocurrency as they understand BTC much better than the "baby-boomer generation.”

 

Mourdoukoutas shared:

"Unlike gold, for instance, Bitcoin is a hassle-free medium of payment around the globe.”

 

The economics professor expounded that Bitcoin's supply is anticipated to be restricted to 21 mln. Compared to gold, there is no deficiency of the mineral considering that when the rate of gold rises, it supplies more incentive for gold miners to mine for gold.

Finally, Mourdoukoutas specified that the financier buzz around Bitcoin continuously helps the cryptocurrency to go upwards, as a growing number of financiers are becoming familiar with the digital currency, and can utilize ETFs (exchange-traded funds) to "conveniently participate in the market."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Charles Dearing

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Teenage bitcoin millionaire can see the cryptocurrency’s value shooting as high as $1 million

Teenage bitcoin millionaire can see the cryptocurrency's value shooting as high as $1 million

Teenage bitcoin millionaire can see the cryptocurrency’s value shooting as high as $1 million

If this teen entrepreneur, high-school dropout and bitcoin millionaire has any predictive powers at all, then we’ve hardly seen the top of the market for the hot cybercurrency.

Meet Erik Finman, who started picking up bitcoin at $12 apiece back in May 2011, when he was just 12, riding a hot tip from hits brother Scott and a $1,000 gift from his grandmother, he told CNBC. He’s now the owner of a reported 403 bitcoins, and while the cybercurrency has been on a bit of a bumpy ride lately, at a Wednesday morning price BTCUSD, -0.48% of $2,773.54 each, the now 18-year-old Idahoan’s stash is worth $1.1 million and change.

“Personally I think bitcoin is going to be worth a couple hundred thousand to a million dollars a coin.”

Erik Finman

 

Finman cashed out his first bitcoin investment back in 2013 and started Botangle, an online education company that provides tools for locating instructors in subjects they need or wish to learn about.

He wasn’t a fan of high school and convinced his parents, both Ph.D.’s, to let him drop out at 15.

His teachers clearly weren’t seeing his potential. “One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald’s because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life. I guess I did the dropout part,” the young bitcoin millionaire said. He didn’t really want to go to college, either, and won a bet with his parents that if he was worth a million dollars by 18, he could skip it. He was, and so he did.

Finman encountered discouragement from an Uber executive, who, instead of listening to his Botangle pitch, told him he should count on college rather than racking up millions. But the teen did end up successfully selling his company’s technology, for a cool price of 300 bitcoin, reportedly. He has said he turned down a $100,000 offer.

Bitcoin prices have soared more than 300% in the span of a year, with the bulk of the gain coming during May and June. Ethereum, one of its chief rivals, has also seen big gains. Bitcoin tapped $3,000 last week, before a pullback last week that saw it shed billions in market cap.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Barbara Kollmeyer
Markets Reporter

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum wants to create an ecosystem where everything works together seamlessly as part of its vision for a 'world computer' – and that includes the tokens required to power it.

Launched in 2014 by a band of coders and an upstart teenager, ethereum was designed to make it possible for anyone to code nearly any type of app and deploy that on a blockchain. Many of these decentralized apps (or 'dapps' for short) needed their own token that could, among other things, be sold and traded easily.

To that end, nearly 18 months ago, the ERC-20 token standard was born.

It's hard to overstate how important that interface has been. By defining a common set of rules for ethereum-based tokens to adhere to, ERC-20 allows developers of wallets, exchanges and other smart contracts, to know in advance how any new token based on the standard will behave.

This way, they can design their apps to work with these tokens out of the box, without having to reinvent the wheel each time a new token system comes along.

As a result, almost all of the major tokens on the ethereum blockchain today, including those sold in the recent surge of ethereum-based initial coin offerings (ICOs), are ERC-20 compliant.

 

Tokens 101

Before delving deeper, it's important to spell out what a token actually is and how it differs from ether, the native currency driving the ethereum blockchain.

As they relate to the ethereum network, tokens are digital assets that can represent anything from loyalty points to vouchers and IOUs to actual objects in the physical world. Tokens can also be tools, such as in-game items, for interacting with other smart contracts.

But put simply, a token is nothing more than a smart contract running on top of the ethereum blockchain. As such, it is a set of code (functions) with an associated database. The code describes the behavior of the token, and the database is basically a table with rows and columns tracking who owns how many tokens.

If a user or another smart contract within ethereum sends a message to that token's contract in the form of a 'transaction,' the code updates its database.

So, for instance, when a wallet app sends a message to a token's contract to transfer funds from Alice to Bob, this happens:

First, the token's contract checks that the message was signed by Alice and that Alice has enough funds to cover the payment

Then, it moves funds from Alice's to Bob's account in the database

Finally, it sends a response, letting the wallet know the transaction was a success.

In contrast to tokens, ether is hard coded into the ethereum blockchain. It is sold and traded as a cryptocurrency, and it also powers the ethereum network by allowing users to pay for smart contract transaction fees. (All computations on the ethereum network have a 'gas' cost.)

When you send tokens to an exchange, for example, you pay for that transaction (in this case, a request to the token's contract to update its database) in ether. This payment is then collected by a miner who confirms the transaction in a block, which then gets added to the blockchain.

Early on in ethereum's history, standards were part of the overall plan to create a user friendly and broadly accessible system. But like all standards, ERC-20 took time to evolve over a series of long discussions and careful considerations.

So, sometime before DevCon1, the first big ethereum conference in 2015, Vitalik Buterin, the founder of ethereum, introduced the initial standards token.

Later that year, Fabian Vogelstellar, one of the developers working on ethereum's Mist wallet, took that standard, changed a few things, and proposed it to the community as ERC-20 to initiate a formal conversation around how the standard should be implemented.

Then in April, due to changes in how the Ethereum Foundation was organizing its GitHub, the ERC-20 standard was moved to a Github pull request.
 

What's inside?

ERC-20 defines a set of six functions that other smart contracts within the ethereum ecosystem will understand and recognize.

These include, for instance, how to transfer a token (by the owner or on behalf of the owner) and how to access data (name, symbol, supply, balance) about the token. The standard also describes two events – signals that a smart contract can fire – that other smart contracts 'listen' for.

Together, these functions and events make ethereum tokens work the same almost everywhere within the ethereum ecosystem. As a result, nearly all wallets that support ether, including Jaxx, MyEtherWallet.com and the official ethereum wallet, now also support ERC-20 compliant tokens.

According to Vogelstellar, who spoke to CoinDesk about the importance of ethereum's token standard, this interoperability lays the groundwork for big changes to come.
 

He said:

"I believe we are just at the beginning of tokenizing everything. Maybe in the future, you will be able to buy a share of the chair you are sitting on, the paint inside your house or a fraction of equity in a huge building complex."

 

Bumps in the road

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that ERC-20 is formally a draft, meaning it is not being enforced and still needs to be fully blessed by the ethereum community. Regardless, Vogelstellar said, every new token will likely conform to its set of rules.

He cautioned, however, that the standard is still young, so there will be bumps in the road. One of those bumps is that sending tokens directly to a token's smart contract will result in a loss of money. That is because a token's contract only tracks and allocates money. When you send tokens to another user from a wallet, for example, that wallet calls on the token's contract to update the database.

As a result, if you attempt to transfer tokens directly to a token's contract, the money is 'lost' since the token's contract cannot respond.

So far, $70,000 worth of tokens have been lost in this manner.

But solutions are in the works. As an extension to ERC-20, ERC-223 attempts to resolve the issue by suggesting a token's contract implement a tokenFallback function to prevent the contract from holding tokens sent directly to it accidentally.

Vogelstellar argued this is all just part of developing a solid system, though, saying:

"Driving with these prototypes can be rocky at times, but ultimately they provide the necessary learning that will bring us to the future of blockchain and smart contract interactions."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Amy Castor

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin prices likely to continue wild ride

Bitcoin prices likely to continue wild ride

Bitcoin prices likely to continue wild ride

SAN FRANCISCO — What goes precipitously up, often comes crashing down to earth.

So it was with bitcoin on Thursday, when the price of the digital currency plunged 19% — its steepest drop in more than two years — after a record run. The volatility remained on full display late Thursday and, as of Friday evening, bitcoin rebounded to $2,484.59.

The cryptocurrency, which flirted with $3,000 on Monday, sunk as low as $2,076.16 in intraday trading early Thursday amid a confluence of bad omens. Tech stocks have recently taken a thumping over concerns about their lofty valuations. Ominous reports from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley suggested bitcoin was due for a reversal in price and required government regulation. The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates Wednesday.

Compounding worries, digital currency exchange Coinbase experienced an outage Monday because of high-trading volume. Another exchange, Bitfinex, on Tuesday said it was under DDOS attack.

Meanwhile, prices for digital currencies ripple and NEM declined the past week, though Ethereum, the second-largest currency, has soared 20% on speculation it will be the top currency. At $371.36, it lags far behind bitcoin in value.

CryptoCurrency Market Capitalizations

"Bitcoin and other digital currencies are experiencing rapid growth these days," says Guy Zyskind, CEO of Enigma, a start-up in cryptocurrency investing. "For this to be sustainable over time, the market has to correct itself from time to time."

The market's wild ride this week underscores "the ebbs and flows of an entirely new asset class," says Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra, a peer-to-peer payment service.

"While the bitcoin price will likely recover and continue to rise, what we should see in the future is bitcoin becoming a solid store of value, much like gold," says Mihir Magudia, executive director of LEOcoin Foundation. "It will be relatively easy to liquidate but will not be used to commonly pay for goods and services."

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Jon Swartz , USA TODAY

 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member