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Tag: Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency Ethereum soars by 900 per cent as stellar performer gets Chinese boost

Cryptocurrency Ethereum soars by 900 per cent as stellar performer gets Chinese boost

Cryptocurrency Ethereum soars by 900 per cent as stellar performer gets Chinese boost
 

A CRYPTOCURRENCY that allows users to move value around as well as represent the ownership of property has rocketed by 900 per cent in just a year.

Ethereum, which uses apps that run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure, is attracting serious investor interest over its incredible financial returns.

The blockchain app, which claims it allows developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises and move funds all without a middle man or counterparty risk, was launched in August 2014.

It was developed by a Swiss nonprofit and crowdfunding campaign which has in turn catapulted it to huge success.

With a current market capitalisation of more than £7billion, the digital currency is outperforming its main rival Bitcoin, according to market data.

Now analysts say it has been of particular interest to the Chinese market which is embracing the explosion in digital currency with gusto.

Blogger Andrew Keys said: "I was fortunate enough to be invited to the city of Hangzhou for the Global Blockchain Financial Summit.
"During this trip to China, I learned about the burgeoning Ethereum communities in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou. Every night we hosted an Ethereum meetup and it was standing room only in each city.

"Peking University is creating an Ethereum Laboratory to work on protocol improvements and application use cases that effect China, specifically in supply chain and energy markets.

"The Royal Chinese Mint is experimenting with the ERC 20 token standard and Ethereum smart contracts to digitise the RMB".

Meanwhile Silicon Valley based Martin Frohler, who runs Quantiacs, told Express.co.uk that the cryptocurrency is set to revolutionise the way the world trades thanks to the advent of blockchain infrastructure following the news that Bitcoin surpassed $1,800 to a fresh record high today.

It rose more than $100 in just two days, driven by comments from policy makers and positive noises around the future of the cryptocurrency.

He said: "You can think of a Blockchain as an identical database of transactions (or other information) stored on hundreds of computers around the world.

"Every new transaction that's entered into the system has to be verified by the majority of the computers. Since no single person, government, or institution controls that majority it is close to impossible to hack a transaction.

“The process of verifying transactions through computing power is called 'mining'.

"The miner receives the right to create a very small new unit of that currency as reward.

"Depending on how much Bitcoin already exist that new unit becomes smaller and smaller over time.

"There is an absolute limit of the number of Bitcoin that will ever exist: 21 million. Bitcoin is by construction a deflationary currency, which makes it an attractive store for value.

"Anybody with internet access can buy or sell bitcoin at a bitcoin exchange or with a digital wallet".

The digital currency is trading at $91.20 (3.11%) today.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

By SIOBHAN MCFADYEN

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

Cryptocurrency — Looking Forward from May 2017

For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, developers and investors, the first half of 2017 has been nothing but exciting. Very few people would have predicted the trends that we are now seeing today: a vibrant and rapidly growing altcoin market, massive all time highs for both Bitcoin and Ethereum and an initial coin offering (ICO) crowdfunding mechanism that is creating enormous investor hype.

Among all of this noise are a number of very interesting developments. These developments could indicate what’s to come in the second half of 2017, and this article aims to summarize events so far and what may be to come. Whatever your role in the cryptocurrency space, this piece should serve as some inspiration as to where to look next.
 

RIPPLE — BITCOIN FOR BANKS

The popularity of Bitcoin’s blockchain stems from its ability to circumvent banks and allow users to engage in peer to peer transactions without authority; creating an enormous array of applications for Bitcoin gambling and dark net markets, as well as limitless “white hat” models. This ideology is more powerful than ever today, but the introduction of Ripple in 2013 has demonstrated that banks themselves can be revolutionized by overhauling their systems to use blockchain-based payments.

Ripple is unlike most other cryptocurrencies, in that it operates on a private or “consortium” blockchain, whereby the nodes (transaction verifiers) are controlled by trusted financial institutions that have been vetted to join the network — on the contrary, anyone in the world is free to join and use the Bitcoin network. The Ripple tokens (XRP) power international transactions on the network, whether that’s fiat to fiat, crypto to crypto or a mix of the two — with currency exchange conversions happening on the fly. Ripple allows banks to reduce global (and domestic) payment times from days and weeks down to seconds, with layers of transparency that are unprecedented in the traditional banking sector.

Despite being a private blockchain, anyone in the world is able to purchase XRP, and with a fixed supply of 100bn, scarcity may play an important role in the future price of XRP. This scarcity has also been compounded by the founding team of Ripple agreeing to verifiably “lock up” well over half of that total supply — adding some predictability to the XRP price. This lock up time is possibly planned for extension, which — combined with the listing of XRP on major exchanges like Bitstamp, and Ripple’s partnership with Japan’s largest bank — has led to a meteoric rise in the value of XRP from $0.01 to $0.18 in a matter of weeks.

Over the past several months, it has become apparent that large financial institutions are leaning towards consortium based blockchains as opposed to the public ones offered by Bitcoin — although Ethereum may buck that trend as discussed below.
 

ETHEREUM — EEA AND DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP

Ethereum was the first blockchain to successfully convince investors that altcoins had a viable place in what was largely considered a Bitcoin-only ecosystem. Popular due to its built-in smart contract protocol, Ethereum is able to run computations that can transact value without middlemen. As a result, the project has led to the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) which connects dozens of businesses and academics who are rapidly researching and developing smart contract technology.

While a number of the projects being worked on are private forks of Ethereum — such as JP Morgan’s Quorum protocol — the interoperability with the main Ethereum chain, as well as the lessons being learned (and shared among EEA members and the open source community), is having profound effects on Ethereum as a whole.

The EEA is just one offshoot of Ethereum that has attracted enormous investment, however there are other developments which have led to a recent upsurge in the price of Ether, from $10 to roughly $90 at the time of writing.

ETHEREUM NAME SERVICE

In May 2017, the Ethereum Foundation (EF) launched the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). This protocol is analogous to the separate Domain Name Service (DNS), which ties domain names to i.p. addresses — making them more readable to human users. In a similar way, the ENS will tie long and unreadable smart contract or personal wallet addresses to a memorable “name” such as mywallet.eth. These names are currently at auction, and there has so far been $7m worth of bids, with exchange.eth receiving a massive $600,000 bid. Note that this is a proxy bid, meaning the winner would only ever pay a trivial amount more than the next highest bidder.

REDUCING MINER REWARD

A poll taking place on carbonvote.com has indicated that an overwhelming 99.73% are in agreement with a move to reduce the miner reward from 5 ETH per block to 2 ETH (with blocks continuing to be mined at roughly 15 second intervals). The motivation behind such a change is to reduce uncertainty about the future total ETH token supply, helping to drop ETH inflation from 13% to a figure that is more inline with Bitcoin’s 4% inflation.

PROOF OF STAKE

Proof of Stake (PoS) is an alternative consensus protocol to the Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism that was made famous by Bitcoin’s blockchain. In order to secure a blockchain, miners must be rewarded by processing valid transactions, and ignoring invalid transactions. In a PoW system, a miner must expend enormous amounts of energy (with a significant cost in doing so) to process a “block” of transactions and to earn their reward. PoW protocols are enormously inefficient, with huge energy requirements that are not inline with modern day environmental considerations.

Proof of Stake serves as an alternative consensus protocol that achieves similar levels of security, but requires “miners” (called validators) to stake value in the form of cryptocurrency — expending little to no energy at all. If the validator tries to game the system for their own advantage, they lose all of their staked value. Validators that act honestly are rewarded by receiving what is analogous to interest payments.

Ethereum plans to move from their PoW structure to a PoS one, and this move is pegged for the end of 2017/start of 2018. Such a change in protocol would lock enormous amounts of Ether in staking contracts, removing said Ether from the ecosystem and reducing circulating supply.

 

BITCOIN — SEGREGATED WITNESS AND THE LITECOIN TEST BED

Bitcoin has been unswayed by the incredible rise in altcoin market caps over the past 6 months and remains one of the best performing cryptocurrencies in the market. Having matured beyond the “pump and dump” phase, the currency has now established itself as the gateway into the world of crypto. Bitcoin is, in its current form, the ultimate store of value and medium for exchange when dealing with other currencies. All of this is despite major concerns over the currency’s ability to scale. Transaction fees have increased several fold, and the mempool (unconfirmed transactions) has seen enormous growth — leading to delays of several hours or even days.

Thankfully, Bitcoin’s little cousin — Litecoin — has played a vital role in abating fear amongst Bitcoin investors. Litecoin, whose market cap is a fraction of Bitcoin’s, has acted as a test bed for introducing Segregated Witness (SegWit) — a code change to help mitigate some of the scaling problems mentioned above. Litecoin’s activation of SegWit has given developers, users and miners renewed confidence in what this code change can do for Bitcoin, providing a “light at the end of the tunnel” on a 3 year long debate.
 

WHERE DO CRYPTOCURRENCIES GO FROM HERE?

Many early adopters have hailed blockchain technology as “the internet 2.0”. In past years, a number of key figures in the industry analogized the current state of blockchain to that of email in the 1990s, suggesting that what we see today is a fraction of what can be achieved with the protocol in the years ahead. That analogy, which was (and still is) heavily criticized by skeptics, is now becoming too obvious to ignore.

Rather than blockchains competing with one another, we are seeing interoperability take hold, and growth is practically ubiquitous amongst all majro cryptocurrencies. Smart contract technology is destined to have an enormous impact on a broad range of markets in the years to come, and the impact that blockchain-based banking will have on global economics is undeniable.

It is likely that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate until, in the same analogous way to the Internet, we experience a gigantic bubble. At what point the bubble bursts is an unknown, however — sticking with the analogy — it wasn’t until the Internet reached a value well into the trillions that the market crashed. Compare this figure with that of the blockchain market which is worth no more than $100bn and it seems that we may still be some way off. Despite what seems like an inevitable bubble, the very long-term outlook for blockchain users, investors and developers could not be brighter.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Author: Mark

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exchanges

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

Wallets

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

Payments

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

Mining

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

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

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

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

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Source: University of Cambridge

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Hefty Trading Boost Cryptocurrency Market Cap Soars Above $40 Billion

Hefty Trading Boost Cryptocurrency Market Cap Soars Above $40 Billion

Hefty Trading Boost Cryptocurrency Market Cap Soars Above $40 Billion

 

Bitcoin may be getting most of the headlines, but cryptocurrency as a whole is on a roll. Statistics from Coinmarketcap.com reveal that 82 out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies posted gains in a recent 24-hour period. Whether all cryptocurrencies are riding bitcoin’s coattails or investors are suddenly discovering altcoins is anybody’s guess.

The total cryptocurrency market capitalization (price per coin times amount of coins in circulation) stands at $42.6 trillion. That marks more than a $10 billion gain in 10 days.

Ripple Leads In Growth Rate

Among the currencies with a market capitalization in excess of $1 billion, Ripple has posted the top growth rate of 33.6% in a 24-hour period, yielding a $2.831 billion market cap. Litecoin comes in second with a 22.34% growth rate and $1.132 billion market cap.

Ripple’s gain has been credited to a strategic partnership initiative, teaming with Asian and Australian banks in conjunction with its stated goal of acting as PayPal-like mechanism for large interbank transfers.

Litecoin, for its part, has benefited from Coinbase’s decision to support it, allowing users to buy, sell and store Litecoin using its platform and wallet. It became the third cryptocurrency, after bitcoin and Ethereum, to gain Coinbase’s full support.

What Drives Bitcoin?

Bitcoin, far and away the largest market cap in excess of $25 billion, posted a 5.81% 24-hour jump. Bitcoin’s price reached a new all-time high once again, at $1,567.

Brian Kelly, a financial analyst at CNBC, has attributed the recent surge in bitcoin’s price to the rise in institutional investors within the bitcoin market. Other factors include the bitcoin community’s consensus not to support Bitcoin Unlimited, and an overall increase in global trading.

Some analysts have attributed some of bitcoin’s growth to that of the altcoins; altcoins are usually bought and sold with bitcoin, requiring traders to buy bitcoin.

Ethereum Has Its Own Story

Ethereum, which has the second highest market cap at just over $8 billion, has jumped 12.12% in the 24-hour period. Its price rise is due to a number of factors.

Google searches for Ethereum have spiked to an all-time high, nearly doubling in just one week.

Some countries appear to be using ETH a hedge against national currencies. Switzerland, where the Ethereum Foundation is based, showed the strongest interest, followed by Venezuela, which is suffering triple-digit inflation.

South Korea seems to have fallen in love with the currency. Its three largest exchanges handle twice the ETH/fiat volume of Coinbase’s GDAX and Kraken combined.

South Korea is also big into fantasy sports, an area where ETH’s smart contracts can be used to make the game more transparent and reduce cheating.

Don’t Forget Dash

Dash, number 5 with a $683.3 million market cap, jumped 6.77% in the 24-hour period. Featuring exceptional transaction speed, Dash continues to become more accessible to investors and consumers.

The cryptocurrency exchange Kraken recently announced the integration of Dash to its trading platform. BitCart, an Ireland-based discount gift card platform, recently allowed users up to a 20% discount for using Dash on Amazon purchases. Crypto-Woo, a payments plug-in, has integrated Dash, allowing users to pay for online purchases with Dash. CryptoBuyer, a Venezuela-based crypto exchange, has begun selling Dash, allowing consumers in the economically ravaged country to have another alternative to its imploding national currency.

Ethereum Classic, number six at $664.4 million, rose 8.97%.

NEM, at %521.7 million, jumped 9.5%.

Monero, number 8 at $371 million, rose 8.76%.

The top 14 cryptocurrencies all posted gains in the 24-hour period. PIVX, which at $84.1 million has the 15th highest market, cap posted a 3.16% drop.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin soars Above $1,400

Bitcoin soars above $1400

Bitcoin Soars Above $1400

The price of bitcoin has bulldozed its way to a new historic all-time high on the Bitstamp Price Index (BPI) as the trading value of the cryptocurrency scaled beyond $1,400.

Bitcoin prices are now trading at previously uncharted levels as the value of the cryptocurrency reached a high of $1,425 on Bitstamp on Monday. The previous high of $1,350 registered on March 10 amid heightened traders’ interest in the lead-up to the SEC decision about a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Since the turn of 2017, bitcoin’s value has now risen by over 42%.

The latest surge in prices is a part of a continuing bullish trend that began in last quarter of 2016. The value of the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency struck a significant milestone on January 1 when prices struck $1,000. Within days, bitcoin made history and reached gold parity. That early momentum has stuck through what has been a dramatic four months since the turn of the year.

The crackdown led by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, remains the single largest negative driver in prices throughout January and February. Prices fell as low as $750 on January 12th, before recovering.

In March, the anticipation of the SEC’s decision toward a bitcoin ETF drove prices to hit an all-time BPI high of $1,350. The federal agency’s rejection sent prices tumbling below $1,000 in a sharp fall to a low of $891 before bouncing back to begin a bullish price trend in April.

April began with bitcoin gaining recognition as a legal method of payment in Japan. The legislation has led to retailers making notable moves toward accepting the cryptocurrency. As many as 260,000 Japanese storefronts will be enabled to accept bitcoin as payment by this summer. Emerging markets such as Russia and India have significantly changed their previously hardline stance with bitcoin, with authorities now talking about regulating (and acknowledging) the cryptocurrency. The last week of April also saw the SEC announce its decision to review its rejection of the bitcoin ETF application filed by the Winklevoss brothers. News of the review, it appears, has helped bitcoin’s bull run step up a gear. A week later, bitcoin is now trading at historic highs.

A protocol upgrade with Litecoin is among a number of factors that have contributed to the wider cryptocurrency market also making marked gains. Ethereum, the second most prominent cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, struck a new all-time high today and is now valued at $7 billion in overall market capitalization.

 

Global average prices struck a high a historic high of $1,433.81, according to data from BitcoinAverage.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur
 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Keeps Above $1300

Bitcoin Price Keeps Above 1300

Bitcoin Price Keeps Above $1300

 

The fact that trading volumes went down from the peak that was reached in preceding trading sessions lately didn’t stop price levels above $1300 from being maintained. BTC/USD rates might have peaked above $1340 through the last trading session, but in spite of the continuous selling pressure after that point, prices didn’t drop below $1315 levels.

Major Signals Bitcoin markets maintain support levels above $1300 in spite of volatility caused by the return of selling pressure’s effect. Resistance at $1330 after the price fall has been strengthened, making a return after the decline in trading volumes seem harder. Bitfinex’s premium remains and the spread is still looming around a $100 difference between prices of the two BTC/USD markets.

Bitstamp BTC/USD charts make the effect of the returning selling pressure seem apparent. In what almost seems like an overturn, bitcoin prices dropped from a peak above $1340 down to 1315 in the recent hours thanks to the still ongoing pressure. Resistance, on the other hand, has also come to affect the market’s sentiment right at the time that volumes dropped. Whilst the market’s sentiment hasn’t allowed for any significant breaches on established support levels so far, it’s still actively changing.

OKCoin BTC/USD weekly futures charts indicate that futures traders were quite vigilant in following upward price swings through the last trading session, yet the recent wave of negativity has left futures markets back in their previous state of a bearish mood. What’s worth noting about future’s markets though, is that the spread remains smaller as futures traders don’t seem to be following through the latest price drop through completely.

Finalizing, it’s important to mention that in spite of what could be a shift in the market’s sentiment, support remains unbreached. If markets are to break through from the recently

By George Krash

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitpay Gearing up to Test Extension Blocks

Bitpay Gearing up to Test Extension Blocks

Recently, the Bcoin team released the specifications and particulars for launching extension blocks for a blockchain protocol upgrade. They have now nearly completed implementing these extension blocks. Bitpay’s CEO Stephen Pair responded with an article on April 24 saying that Bitpay would be willing to test these “secondary blocks” on a testnet.  

Also read: Bcoin Developers Plan to Test Scaling Concept ‘Extension Blocks’

Bitpay Gearing up to Test Extension Blocks

Pair said, “The bcoin team has released specifications and working code for the developer community to critique. At Bitpay, we think this idea of extension blocks holds a lot of promise, and we intend to participate in its technical evaluation”.

This news of testing extension blocks comes at a time of great divide within the Bitcoin community over whether Segwit should be activated. Pair suggests that extension blocks could solve the problem because these “secondary blocks” act as a non-contentious hardfork. In a previous article, Pair said that the communities need to avoid initiating a contentious hardfork at all costs. He said:

“One very important challenge we must resolve is how to successfully upgrade Bitcoin in a safe, deliberate and non-contentious manner. And we must be able to upgrade Bitcoin because no organism can live in its own waste products.”

How Secondary Blocks are Non-Contentious; Pair’s Three Step Formulation

This “secondary block” or “extension block” upgrade is non-contentious and will disallow Bitcoin to wallow in its own excrement, because of the manner in which it solves the problem of filled block sizes. In Pair’s previous article, he outlines a three step outline on how extension blocks could be implemented. He said the nodes will acknowledge new rules for these secondary blocks, and thus they will start accepting data.

“In this step, nodes begin upgrading to support the new rules. Nodes will validate and relay valid data that can be included in the secondary block (imagine some new form of transaction, but it could really be any kind of data). These nodes will not relay data considered invalid according to the new rules.”

In phase two, Pair suggests that a second soft fork is performed. However, he mentions instead of adding new rules to the protocol, old blocks will be “deprecated.” This means that transactions will no longer be allowed in the old block.

Finally, in phase three, the protocol will start to shed its old skin and stop rolling around in its own filth. Pair clarified this step, “After the soft fork that deprecates use of the original block has activated, all transactions and data will be in the new secondary block. At this point we can schedule a hard fork that simply drops the old block and adopts the secondary block as the primary block structure.”

Pair seems confident that the “secondary block” or “extension block” plan is the way to go for a non-contentious fork and upgrade of the bitcoin protocol. Of course, others disagree.

Do you think a “secondary block” upgrade is the solution to the scaling dilemma? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock and fintech.nl


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive.com

By Sterlin Lujan

April 25, 2017

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Breaking: SEC Will Review Decision of Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Rejection

Breaking: SEC Will Review Decision of Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Rejection

The securities and exchange commission has granted a request by the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. to review its decision of disapproving the bitcoin ETF back in March this year. According to a document signed by Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary at the SEC:

“The petition of BZX for review of the Division’s action to disapprove the proposed rule change by delegated authority be GRANTED; and It is further ORDERED that any party or other people may file a statement in support of or in opposition to the action made pursuant to delegated authority on or before May 15, 2017.”

Aleman is the person who, through delegated authority, made the decision on March the 10th which some in the bitcoin community saw as an intentional slap. In a fairly angry article back then, I wrote

“How can one man have so much power? We were told there will be a vote, but apparently, the SEC commissioners didn’t think this decision was important, delegating it to Aleman. Then, what’s the point of the commissioners?… Delegating this decision to a faceless bureaucrat is an insult. For them to hide behind an Assistant Secretary, not even a Secretary, is an intentional slap.

The decision document mentions a specific date, data analyzed by the 28th of February. That’s almost two weeks ago. Could he have not released the decision then? Did he have to allow so much speculation? Was it an intentional insult to the entire bitcoin community for this clearly already long ago made decision to be released at the very last hour? Who knew of the decision before it was released? Did any of them trade the market?”

Aleman’s reasons for rejecting the ETF was because he wanted a surveillance sharing agreement between exchanges and because he said much of the trading was carried out in unregulated Chinese bitcoin exchanges.

The latter part was out of date even at the time of the decision. PBoC has moved in, laying out some red lines for Chinese exchanges. Aleman further said Gemini lacks liquidity, but that’s mainly because traders naturally go to exchanges with futures and margins, two necessary facilities that CFTC continues to deny to regulated American exchanges such as Gemini and Coinbase.

It is surprising, however, that the decision is now to be reviewed. Even more so because the person who rejected the ETF, Aleman, has approved the review of his own decision. It is still too early to say how this review will be carried out, but one thing I hope we can say for sure is that Aleman will have no further part in any of it.

That’s for obvious reasons which do not even need to be stated. One can’t review their own decision in an institutional context. It’s like carrying a judicial appeal in front of the same judge who clearly has already reached a decision against you.

This review should be carried out at the commissioners’ level. To them, I say what I said just a day before Aleman’s decision, a day when I thought it was the commissioners who were to decide, specifically the acting chairman of the SEC:

“Dr. Piwowar, open the doors for business. Welcome innovation. And not by default approval. Stand in front of the world and show that America has two parties, show that this administration means free market capitalism, hail the geniuses who bring new things to this world, lift the spirits of this great nation.”

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive Inc

Andrew Quentson on 25/04/2017

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty, Current System Broken

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty Current System Broken

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty, Current System Broken

Can Bitcoin help people break out of poverty? What if we could build a financial system with Bitcoin that would lead to a more equitable and fairer society?

Bitcoin has been around for nearly a decade now and it has survived many doomsday predictions regarding its demise. It has grown to become an accepted medium of transferring money, it has also been recognized as a currency in some countries like Japan.
 

Why is the existing system broken?

The present financial system is supported by large-scale financial institutions that provide financial services. This means banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, housing finance companies, money transfer companies etc.

The problem is that while these businesses have existed for a long time, accessibility has always been an issue. According to the world bank, two bln people still do not have access to a bank account. Yet this present financial institution based payment system is stuck in an archaic era.

People are expected to use cash by withdrawing it from a bank account, they are supposed to deposit money physically at a bank teller or a machine and there are costs attached to just using and maintaining the system.
 

Digital is the answer

Digitalization and using modern technology like smartphones has many benefits. The World Bank Working Paper titled — The Global Findex Database 2014, Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World says:

“Moving from cash-based to digital payments has many potential benefits, for both senders and receivers. It can improve the efficiency of making payments by increasing the speed of payments and by lowering the cost of disbursing and receiving them.”

The report points out further that digital payments increase transparency of payments reduce leakages and provide a first entry point to a formal financial system.

 

The currency is the financial system

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that have emerged have several advantages. Firstly they are digital. There is no cash to handle. You do not need vaults, armored cars or any of the other infrastructure that makes handling cash expensive.

Secondly, some cryptocurrencies have features like smart contracts built in, which can be used by people to conduct transactions securely with each other without the need for intermediaries institutional or otherwise.

As MIT Technology Review recently quoted Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab as saying about Bitcoin:

“Whether you’re an individual trying to get access or you’re a pensioner with lots of money tied up in the market, you’re going through these intermediaries that don’t represent you very well. [Bitcoin] creates a much more level playing field, and hopefully, it will reduce the complexity of the financial system.”
 

The poor need to be unshackled

Regulatory hurdles need to be surmounted before digital currency can truly go mainstream, however, there is hope for the future as countries are getting around to the idea of Bitcoins becoming a part of the system.

There are advantages as well. Digital currencies are transparent and some currencies like Bitcoin offer a transaction ledger that is public. These currencies can help the poor gain freedom from cash which is money that offers anonymity to drug dealers, corrupt officials and others preying on them. Digital currencies also takes out the need for people living in remote areas to go to centers of population for making transactions.

Conversely, it also frees up financial institutions from having to put up infrastructure and staff in remote locations. Whichever way you look at it, the poor gain significant freedom from the advent and use of digital currencies.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

By Shivdeep Dhaliwal

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Arbitrage — What it is and how it works

Arbitrage refers to the process of instantly trading one or more pairs of currencies or odds for a nigh risk-free profit.

Usually, this involves two exchanges (this is then called a two-legged arbitrage); although more are, of course, possible.

crypto currency arbitrage

There are several steps when executing an arbitrage:

Find a suitable opportunity
Execute trades
Rebalance accounts

Step 1: Find a suitable opportunity

This step is relatively easy. Simply check the order books of as many exchanges as you like, compare bids vs asks, and check if you can find a negative spread.

A small discourse into what a spread is

I will assume you're familiar with bids, asks and what an order book is — if not, you should definitely look up those first. As for the negative spread, I'll elaborate a bit more on that. The spread is what is used to refer to the difference between bids and asks — lowest ask — highest bid = spread. This should be (and typically is) a positive value, since the best bid at an exchange must be lower than the lowest ask of an exchange — otherwise the matching engine of the exchange would settle these orders automatically.

In a perfect world, all markets and all market participants would have the same information, hence all top bids and all top asks of all exchanges would be the exact same, after fees were applied.

If you've seen the recent US elections, however, you're probably aware that the world isn't perfect, though. Hence, not all participants of a market know the same thing as the others, resulting in bids at exchanges which are higher than the asks at other exchanges — and this is what is called a negative spread.

Step 2: Execute trades

Let's assume you've found an amazing opportunity at exchange A and exchange B — a negative spread of 100$!

Exchange A: Ask 1BTC@450$
Exchange B: Bid 1BTC@550$

Luckily, you have proper funding at both to match these instantly — but how do you go about doing that? Easy! Just place an order on the opposite side at each exchange with the quote's prices!

Exchange A: Place Bid of 1BTC@450$
Exchange B: Place Ask of 1BTC@550$

Since your placed order match an order on the opposite side of the book, the trading engine matches them and the trade is settled, leaving you with a theoretical profit of a smooth 100$! Why theoretically, you ask? I'll get to that point further below.

Step 3: Rebalance Accounts

Unfortunately, you were only able to trade once today, but hey! Tomorrow's another day — but in order to be able to properly trade, you need to even out your balances. Right now, your accounts look like this:

Exchange A: 2 BTC | 50$
Exchange B: 0 BTC | 1050$

Hence, you go about and send 1 BTC from Exchange A to Exchange B, and 550$ dollars to Exchange A from Exchange B. No magic here — all accounts are re-balanced and you're ready to make a fortune again, tomorrow.

Exchange A: 1 BTC | 550$
Exchange B: 1 BTC | 550$ 

Arbitrage — Why everyone's not doing it

This all sounded wonderful? That's exactly what I thought when I first set out with my own arbitrage bot. However, there a some technical aspects that can really turn a sunny day into a poopy rain on your parade.

Caveats and risks

1. It needs to be as close to real-time as possible

This is possibly one of the hardest things to get right, and also the most underestimated aspect of arbitrage in crypto currency. The markets, compared to ForEx trading, are ridiculously slow — at busy exchanges, there may be a couple of dozen trades executed. Which gives the illusion, that polling data for bots via the most common API type, RESTful, is enough to trade risk-free. This is a misconception. Maybe for today this may appear to be enough — but what if markets picked up the pace? just 1 trade (or simply a placed order) within one second can change your opportunity from profit to loss.

2. Always trade limits, never market orders

Under the aspect of being the fastest, it might seem like a good idea to use market orders in order to be settled asap — you'd be terribly wrong. As discussed above, your data could be as old as 1 second (with above mentioned one order messing up your opportunity) — perhaps someone cleared the entire top level and all you're left with is a bid for twice the price you intended. Yikes.

3. REST API call rates make your life hard

Many exchanges employ a API call rate limit — that is, you're allowed to query data at the exchange X times every Y seconds. The differences are wide and nearly every exchange does its own little thing when it comes to limits. The problem with them is, they severely limit your actions. If you don't constantly keep an eye on how often you send a request, you might run into the limit when it seriously counts — for example when you have to cancel an order, because you couldn't place its counter part at another exchange. Unfortunately, websocket APIs are still rare and their brother on steroids, FIX sockets, even rarer — leaving you stuck with the turtle of programmable interfaces.

4. Integration with APIs can be a nightmare

There is no unified, standard definition for what an exchange API can do, or what data it returns. Which technically wouldn't be a problem, if they were documented properly. Incidentally, the exchanges with seemingly many opportunities also have the worst documentation (take btc-e.com's Documentation for example — heresy!). Of course, also the opposite is true — GDAX, Kraken, Bitfinex all have excellent documentation. But nonetheless you have to dig through them to understand how they work, what their rates are, how they handle data types, authentication and so forth. That is, if they even mention anything about that.

5. Fees will minimize, if not eliminate your profits

In my above step-by-step guide, I purposely omitted fees of all kind. But of course, they're essential to successfully arbitraging. The most commonly known fees, are trade commission fees — these range anywhere from 0.1% to 0.6% and need to be considered in Step 1: Find a suitable Opportunity. On top come fees for deposits and withdrawals during Step 3: Rebalancing Accounts. Depending on your preferred pair, these may range from feasible (transferring crypto currencies usually is cheap enough) to quite steep. For example, a deposit / withdrawal at Bitfinex entails the following fees:

Bank wire withdrawal & Deposit: 0.1% of amount deposited/withdrawn, 20$ minimum
And this does not include processing fees of your house bank — for me, for example, that's an additional 10€ for deposits, plus a 1% conversion fee. If you do the math you'll quickly realize that you don't even have to bother starting to trade at Bitfinex, unless you have a really big stack to trade with.

But this does not just apply to BTC-Fiat pairs. Alt-coins suffer a similar fate. In order to make arbitraging worthwhile, you will have to have enough funds at as many exchanges to make trades AND re-balancing worthwhile. And this quickly gets to a point where you realize your last month's savings aren't equipped to get the job done.

To give you a further example on how fees affect your profits, let's take a look back at the example from step 2, this time factoring in all fees. I'll walk you through it. For the argument's sake, we'll pretend to be a european trading BTCUSD at Bitfinex (Exchange A) and Kraken (Exchange B).

Bitfinex: Ask 1BTC@450$
Kraken: Bid 1BTC@550$ These prices are raw- they do not include trade commission fees, not transaction fees. Let's add those….

We'll define a taker fee of 0.25% at both exchange — the taker fee applies whenever you remove liquidity from the order book. Next, let's add deposit & withdrawal fees to the mix. At Bitfinex, we pay a minimum of 20$ for each fiat withdrawal & deposit, or 0.1% of the moved amount (if its more than 500$). At Kraken, we pay 0.09€ per fiat withdrawal, deposits are free. In addition, btc withdrawals cost 0.0005 BTC at kraken, while Bitfinex charges no fees for this. Deposits cost nothing at both exchanges. Furthermore, we can't transfer fiat directly from exchange to exchange — an additional 10€ fee per sent out transaction needs to be facotred in, as well as 1% conversion fee whenever we receive or send fiat from our bank account (2 times total).

Let's list these fees to try and maintain an overview

  1. Profit from arbitrage (bid — fee — ask + fee )
  2. Withdrawal Fee Bitfinex (20$)
  3. Deposit Fee Kraken (0.0$)
  4. Miner Fee for withdrawal at Kraken (0.0005BTC)
  5. Transaction Cost of our house bank (10€) (Bank to Bitfinex)
  6. Conversion Fee of our house Bank (1% of transfer amount x 2)

Let's put some numbers to these:

  1. (550 — 550*0.0025) — (450 + 450 * 0.0025) = 97.5$
  2. Move ~497$ to House bank = 20$
  3. 0.0$
  4. 0.0005BTC * 500$ = 0.25$ # Assuming this is the end of day price of the coin
  5. 10€ * 1.05 = 10.05$
  6. (497 * 0.02) = 9.94$

Which brings us to net profit of: 57.26$ This translates to 42.74% reduction of your originally seen profit.

This is neither a worst, nor a best case scenario — it's merely designed to show you how many hidden fees are involved in an arbitrage. Also, keep in mind that a 22% arbitrage opportunity is practically non-existant.

As a matter of fact, had the spread been anything less than 40$, the fixed fees of our house bank and Bitfinex alone would have made our supposed arbirtrage opportunity a loss.

6. Volatility of coins is your enemy

"No matter where the market goes, arbitrage makes a profit anyway!"

This is true — if your currencies don't tend to drop or rise by 50% within 24 hours. Ideally, both currencies you trade in should be relatively stable, while still showing a certain volatility — no volatility would mean the chart is a flat line, resulting in no opportunities for you.

The problem with pure crypto currency arbitrage (LTCBTC), however, is that Alt-coins can go completely fubar — as opposed to a fiat-based crypto arbitrage (i.e. BTCUSD). A personal anecdote:

When ZEC launched, I was instantly fascinated at the terrible market efficiency and arbitrage opportunities of almost 5% regularly. Hence, I bought in at 1ZEC@1.2BTC, thinking this is probably where market will stay at (at least it's not as bad as the guy who bought a ZEC for 3k BTC). I started arbitraging and immediately increased the amount of ZEC I was holding — completely oblivious to the fact that since I started trading, the price had fallen to 1ZEC@0.1BTC. My ZEC was worth 90% less, and I lost almost half a bitcoin worth of money.

Some volatility is great for arbitrage — too much volatility isn't.

7. Exchanges aren't as technically robust as they ought to be

Most of the time, you will find that smaller exchanges offer opportunities more often than big exchanges. This is in part due to the previously mentioned slow movement of information, but also their (often significantly lower) trading volume. Initially, this may appear like a steal — but there's usually a reason that particular exchange only has the low volume it currently does.

In a time where any one in the world can open up an exchange running on his raspberrypi and Ethereum, trading on the more alternative exchanges can be a serious risk to your investment.

From things like DDOS attacks and overloaded matching engines not matching your orders, to more serious issues like stuck withdrawals due to too low miner fees, or even theft — and the latter is a very omnipresent issue not exclusively affecting small exchanges, as the Bitfinex Heist has shown this summer; the list of potential technical failures is long and you should be aware of these at all times.

Conclusion

I'm aware this answer is overtly negative — this was intentional. Arbitrage, as well as crypto currency in general, is not the quick buck everyone on forums and dubious sites advertising trading bots make you believe. While its inner mechanisms and workings are still quite cryptic* to even the most professional traders (sorry for the pun), even the fabled cryptographic adheres to some basic principles, afterall. The 'quick way to wealth' usually will just end up quickly making you wealthless.

Start by opening up some of the well known exchanges … do not use ones such as localbitcoins .. far too risky. A good one is OKCoin.com as they have a good verification system.

(*) Another great myth is that the chinese dictate the BTCUSD market. There is no empirical proven correlation between chinese and american markets. The only defacto correlation that has been found was that of google searches for bitcoin to btc trading volume — but whether this was positive or negative was inclusive.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member