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Bitcoin Market Falls Sharply As Litecoin Suddenly Crashes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market watchers were on high alert today as the eagerly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform went live.

The bitcoin price failed to perform, however, with bitcoin losing around 2% of its value since Bakkt began trading its “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, with some $8 billion wiped from the wider cryptocurrency market today.

Meanwhile, litecoin, the fifth largest cryptocurrency by market value, has suddenly gone into free fall, losing almost 10% of its value in a matter of minutes.

The reason for litecoin’s sudden sell-off was not immediately clear, however litecoin is down some 50% since June, thought to be a response to the gains litecoin made earlier in the year as traders cashed out of their positions.

Today In: Money

Litecoin, which has been called the silver to bitcoin’s gold, surged in the first half of 2019 as traders bet an August so-called halvening of the cryptocurrency, where miner rewards for finding blocks are cut, putting a squeeze on supply, would spark a crypto bull market.

Bitcoin is itself due to undergo a halvening event in May next year and many have suggested this will be the catalyst for the next major bitcoin leap higher.

However, many had also expected bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market to get a boost when the Bakkt platform began operating today.

Bakkt, an Intercontinental Exchange-backed bitcoin and crypto platform, was unveiled last year and boasted computing giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners–promising to open up bitcoin to institutional investors and bring crypto spending to the high street.

Trading of Bakkt’s hyped “physical” bitcoin futures, meaning that traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, have been muted today, however.

There were just five bitcoin futures contracts traded via the platform after the first hour, rising to 28 ten hours after launch.

Traders and bitcoin industry executives were quick to play down Bakkt’s slow start.

“Bakkt will be likely first a trickle and then a flood,” Su Zhu, chief executive of Singapore-based hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, said via Twitter.

“The reality is that most regulated futures contracts get low adoption on day one simply because not all futures brokers are ready to clear it, many people want to wait and see, the tickers are not even populated on risk systems.”

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Bitcoin Market Falls Sharply As Litecoin Suddenly Crashes

4.96K subscribers

The cryptocurrency market has fallen sharply over the past couple of days and is currently at $241 billion market capitalization at the time of recording. While the Bithumb hacking and Japanese regulators’ strict outlook towards cryptocurrency exchanges are being cited as reasons for the sharp decline, the likely cause is that we are still stuck in a long-term bearish cycle. We have still not discovered the bottom of the market, and chances are that the market will continue to be in a state of decline for some time. EOS has taken the biggest hit after a stop-start mainnet launch and controversies surround centralization and constitution. We strongly recommend cryptocurrency investors to take a mid-to-long term approach towards investing and hodl strongly. We believe that mainstream adoption and regulation will brining institutional investors and the next set of retail investors to the market driving prices up in the ling run. References: Correction Deepens as Coin Values Approach 2018 Lows: https://hacked.com/cryptocurrency-mar… Cryptocurrency Market Drops to $241 Billion, EOS Takes a Huge Beating: https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-ma… Bitcoin Price Hits 2018-Low at $5,825, Where Will it Bottom Out?: https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-price-hit… Follow Crypto Dost on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCryptoDost For enquiries, write to thecryptodost@gmail.com Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I have made this channel to share my experiences in the cryptocurrency market. I am not a professional financial advisor and the information provided is solely for educational purposes. Consult your own financial advisors and do your own research before investing in cryptocurrencies. Investing in cryptocurrencies is inherently risky and you can also lose all the amount you invested. Only invest the amount you can afford to lose. The channel shall not be liable to the viewer for any damages, claims, expenses or losses of any kind (whether direct or indirect) suffered by the viewer from or in connection with the information obtained on this channel.

 

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Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

Researchers from cloud security-as-a-service provider Armor’s Threat Resistance Unit (TRU) have been taking a deep dive into a dozen dark markets and forums. Analysis of the data compiled from trawling these English and Russian-speaking criminal marketplaces has been published in the annual Armor Black Market Report. As well as the usual tracking of the prices for stolen credit cards, bank account credentials and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for-hire operators, there was one surprising new trend: a Bitcoin to cash conversion scheme that offers criminal buyers the opportunity to buy cash for pennies on the dollar. Paying $800 (£647) in Bitcoin gets you $10,000 (£8,095) in cash.

The Black Market Report

The Armor Black Market Report is the result of researchers from the Armor TRU trawling through underground internet markets and criminal forums. These “dark markets” are notorious for selling just about anything that can be stolen online, from personal and financial data to illicit services such as articles of incorporation for creating shell companies, the distribution malicious spam and even hackers for hire who will scrub your credit history.

The TRU research team analyzed and compiled data from twelve dark markets and criminal forums visited between February and June 2019. It came as no surprise to me that they found cybercriminal after cybercriminal selling credentials for as yet “unhacked” Windows remote desktop (RDP) servers. These are often used by ransomware actors looking for an entry point into corporate networks. That these credentials were being sold for as little as $20 (£16) was unexpected though. The cost of entry, quite literally, to the ransomware threat sector has never been cheaper.

Today In: Innovation

Neither, for that matter, has the cost of cold, hard cash. The TRU researchers found that, partly to get noticed in a crowded market and partly to offset the risk of monetizing stolen banking and credit card accounts, entrepreneurial threat actors are selling cash for between 10 and 12 cents on the dollar. This isn’t, as you might have guessed, a case of criminal philanthropy.

Instead, it’s a method for criminals to offload the risk of monetizing stolen account credentials by transferring the funds available rather than taking possession of them. It’s still money laundering, and it’s illegal, but it puts the most significant weight of risk onto the buyer.

Here’s how the buy cash for Bitcoin scheme works

The seller offers bundles of cash in various amounts, from $2,500 (£2,020) to $10,000 (£8,095) in exchange for a pre-paid fee in Bitcoin. That fee varies between 10% and 12%. Which means that $10,000 of cold cash can be bought for $800 in Bitcoin.

The buyer makes the payment and then chooses how they would like to collect the cash. This can be a straightforward transfer of funds to a bank or PayPal account or wired via Western Union. As well as getting a significant return on their illicit investment, the purchaser no longer has to worry about monetizing online bank account or credit card credentials. It’s a turn-key service; there’s no risky logging into compromised accounts, no money mules to worry about, just the (totally illegal) collection of cash.

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive,” Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team said, “the threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.”

Money mules served well by dark market documentation

One of the other interesting things to come out of this analysis was the fact that cybercriminals are selling articles of incorporation and sole proprietorship papers on the dark market. Not shocking, but interesting. While the cash for Bitcoin transactions gets rid of the money mule requirement, there are still plenty of people who adopt that role, and these papers are aimed at them. A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between accounts in exchange for a fee of between 10% and 20% of the value. For a money mule to be successful, they need to open business bank accounts that don’t trigger fraud alerts on larger transfer volumes. To open these accounts, they need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and that’s where the documentation to create shell companies enters the equation. The documentation does not come cheap, however. Sole proprietorship papers complete with EIN were found on sale for $1,611 (£1,298), and Articles of Incorporation with EIN were $811 (£653).

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I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

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New Data Reveals Serious Bitcoin Warning

Bitcoin has been rallying hard so far this year but the latest bull run, which has seen the bitcoin price soar by around 200% in just six months, could be coming to an end.

The bitcoin price, which is now hovering just under $10,000 per bitcoin, has climbed so far this year mostly due to expectations the world’s biggest technology companies, led by social media giant Facebook, could be about to dive headfirst into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Now, it seems bitcoin could be headed for a sudden fall, with technical data suggesting the bitcoin price could be about to move sharply lower.

Bitcoin earlier this week broke below its 50-day moving average, which it’s thought could mean the bull run that saw the bitcoin price rise from under $4,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $14,000 could be over.

Bitcoin price data also shows it’s trading under the lower limit of the closely watched GTI Vera Band indicator, it was first reported by Bloomberg, a financial newswire.

The bitcoin price began climbing earlier this year as the likes of iPhone maker Apple, micro-blogging platform Twitter, and Facebook looked to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a potential new revenue stream.

However, the rally was halted in its tracks after regulators around the world poured cold water on Facebook’s ambitious plans to issue its own cryptocurrency, libra, some time next year.

It’s now thought that regulatory issues could completely derail Facebook’s libra project, though it says it’s committed to working with lawmakers around the world to make libra a reality.

“There can be no assurance that libra or our associated products and services will be made available in a timely manner, or at all,” Facebook said.

“[Bitcoin] stands at a key technical juncture,” Miller Tabak + Co.’s equity strategist Matt Maley was quoted by Bloomberg. “[Greater regulatory scrutiny] will become an even more prominent issue (much more prominent) once we move past the summer recess for Congress and into the meat of the 2020 election cycle.”

Bitcoin was pushed into the limelight earlier this month by U.S. president Donald Trump when he unleashed a scathing attack on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, branding them “unregulated assets” in a series of tweets.

Following Trump’s attack and warnings from other global regulators, forensic accountancy firm BTVK warned the bitcoin and crypto “wild west” could be coming to an end, with global regulators closing in on bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges as a result of the spotlight brought by Facebook’s libra project.

Some U.S. presidential hopefuls have though said they’d support bitcoin and the creation of other cryptocurrencies to rival the U.S. dollar, potentially turning bitcoin and crypto into a 2020 election issue.

Earlier today, U.S. lawmakers grilled bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain experts on how Facebook’s libra could upset the U.S. economy.

“It’s clear that digital assets don’t really fit in our current financial system, as the current regulatory framework is awkwardly divided between banking regulators and market regulators,” said Christine Trent Parker, partner at law firm Reed Smith, following the hearing.

“It is unfortunate that today’s hearing made clear that Congress is not going to move forward any time soon in rectifying this issue and that in fact, the lack of clarity and uniformity may be intentional to hamper the ability of U.S. consumers to access (and benefit from) these technologies.”

Some bitcoin and cryptocurrency analysts remain upbeat, however, despite regulatory fears.

“Volumes continue to decline in the crypto market as the cool-down seems to be coming to completion,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro, wrote in a note to clients.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk

Source: New Data Reveals Serious Bitcoin Warning

Despite Bitcoin’s Drop From $9,000 Analysts Expect The Digital Currency To Reach $20k | UseTheBitcoin

Image result for Despite Bitcoin's Drop From $9,000 Analysts Expect The Digital Currency To Reach $20k

Bitcoin (BTC) experienced a very positive year. The digital currency was able to end the bear market that it started in 2018 and it reached the highest point in over 9 months. Although Bitcoin fell from almost $9,100 to $7,800 in a few days, analysts consider it can reach its previous all-time high once again.

Could Bitcoin Reach $20,000?

During an interview with The Independent, the cryptocurrency analyst Oliver Isaacs said that Bitcoin could eventually reach $25,000 by the end of the current year. That means that Bitcoin would experience a price increase of 224% in just six months, something that doesn’t seem impossible. Indeed, Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB) have surged over 300% and 500% respectively in the last six months.

He believes that there are several catalysts behind Bitcoin’s move towards $9,000, including the U.S.-China trade war that started some months ago. Bitcoin could eventually be used as a safe haven, even when the digital currency is volatile and is still young compared to other assets.

In addition to it, Garrick Hileman, the head of research at Blockchain.com, said during a conversation with the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that he sees a strong inverse correlation between Bitcoin and the Chinese Renminbi. Nonetheless, he said that they cannot be sure that the recent price surge experienced by Bitcoin was driven by trade tensions between China and the United States.

Isaac has also mentioned that there is increased adoption of Bitcoin and other technologies such as Blockchain. Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and others are starting to work with digital assets and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in order to offer better services and products to people around the world.

It is also worth mentioning that there are other firms such as Fidelity Investments and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) that have also been trying to offer new services to firms and larger investors. Although their products are not yet ready to be released to most of the users, they have made significant improvements in the last months.

Finally, during a conversation with Bloomberg TV, Jehan Chu, the co-founder and managing partner of Kenetic, said that he expects Bitcoin to be traded close to $30,000 by December 2019.

Currently, CoinMarketCap shows that Bitcoin is being traded around $7,766 and it has a market capitalization of $137 billion.

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For over two years, UseTheBitcoin has done the research, covered the news, and helped readers find the best blockchain projects. The one thing we keep coming back to is Binance.

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The Bear Market Report
Our Bear Market guide not only helps you survive this crypto winter, but also guides you through the foundation you’ll need to thrive in the next bull run.

Source: Despite Bitcoin’s Drop From $9,000 Analysts Expect The Digital Currency To Reach $20k | UseTheBitcoin

You Can Now Buy Crypto With Visa and Mastercard via Binance App for Android – Siamak Masnavi

On Thursday (April 25), Binance announced that its mobile app for Android now lets you buy with Mastercard or Visa some of the most popular cryptocurrencies that are listed on Binance.com.

According to Binance, this support for cryptocurrency purchases via debit/credit cards, which is possible as a result of the partnership with Fintech startup Simplex that was announced on January 31, is available in version 1.5.8.0 or higher of the “Binance – Cryptocurrency Exchange” app for Android.

Since January 31, it is has been possible to buy on the main Binance website (Binance.com) Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and XRP using debit/credit cards (Mastercard and Visa). Then, on March 12, it became possible to do the same on Trust Wallet (Binance’s official non-custodial wallet app). And now, the Binance app for Android joins the party by offering the same feature.

Here is what you need to do to buy crypto via debit/credit cards on the Binance app for Android:

  • Tap on the “Credit Card” button, which is the last button on the toolbar you see in the middle of the “Home” screen. This takes you to the “Buy Bitcoin” screen.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 1 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • On the “Buy Bitcoin” screen, you can choose from a dropdown list the cryptocurrency you want to buy (BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, or BCHABC), specify the quantity of a particular cryptocurrency that you want to buy, and choose the fiat currency (USD or EUR) you want to pay with.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 2 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • You will then be shown the total amount (including the fee) that you will get charged if you go ahead with the purchase.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 3 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • Once you tap on the “Buy Now” button on this screen, you will be shown a “Confirm Your Order” screen.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 5 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • If you then tap on the “Accept, go to payment” button on the confirmation screen, you will be taken to the checkout screen on Simplex.com, where you will be asked to enter into a form your personal details (email, phone number, date of birth) and your card details.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 6 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

Source: CryptoGlobe

Germany Is The European Leader Of Bitcoin & Ethereum Nodes

 

In what is emerging to be an interesting trend on the bitcoin network, Germany is fast growing as a hub for bitcoin nodes, as it is now responsible for 20% of all public nodes, inching closer to the United States, which accounts for 25% of bitcoin nodes.

Rounding off the top 5 for bitcoin nodes is France, Netherlands, and Canada. China may be experiencing a drop in mining after China’s strict approach to the cryptocurrency industry in recent times, and it is possible that miners may configured nodes to be publicly unreachable.

Similarly, it is also growing in terms of the number of Ethereum nodes, coming second again to United States, with 13% as opposed to the latter’s 28%. Data on the number of Ethereum nodes is conflicting, depending on the source. Here, China, France and Singapore complete the top 5.

Whatever the exact figure, it is clear that Germany is emerging as a hub for crypto activity. The nation’s authorities themselves are looking into the matter of crypto regulation.

Abhimanyu Krishnan
About Abhimanyu Krishnan

Abhimanyu is an engineer on paper but a writer by living. To him, the most celebratory aspect of blockchain technology is its democratic nature. While he’s hodling, he can be found reading a good book or making the local dogs howl with the sound of his guitar playing.

Source: Germany Is The European Leader Of Bitcoin & Ethereum Nodes

7 Reasons Bitcoin Price Will Smash Record Highs in 2020: Tom Lee

Bitcoin permabull and Fundstrat Global co-founder, Tom Lee says the worst is over for bitcoin.

In an interview with CNBC, Lee said the bitcoin price will likely see a new all-time high in 2020, eclipsing the previous $20,000 mark. Lee is famous for inflated bitcoin price predictions, but he backed up the latest forecast with seven key indicators.

1. The bitcoin halving is coming

Every four years, the bitcoin block reward is cut in half to maintain the strict 21 million supply. It gives bitcoin an artificial scarcity and inherent value.

bitcoin halving

The next bitcoin halving takes place in 390 days. Historically, the bitcoin price starts climbing a year before.

The next bitcoin “halving” is scheduled to take place on May 23rd 2020. Historically, the bitcoin price has begun to climb a year before the halving takes place. Tom Lee predicts the shrinking supply and upcoming halving will add fuel to the bitcoin rally.

2. Trading volumes back near record highs

As CCN previously reported, bitcoin trading volumes are back near record highs. Lee points to a key moment in January 2019 when year-on-year trading volumes turned positive

3. Bitcoin smashes past its 200 day moving average

Earlier in the month, bitcoin closed above its 200 day moving average in a technically strong bullish sign. The last time it happened was October 2015 and bitcoin went on to kickstart a two-year bull-run.

4. Fundstrat’s Bitcoin Misery Index turns positive

The bitcoin misery index (BMI) measures investor sentiment using a composite of bitcoin volatility, price, and trading activity. In April it hit its highest point since mid-2016.

Lee sees this as a sign that a bull market is forming since a high reading only occurs during bull markets. However, he also acknowledged that bitcoin famously took a 25 percent fall last time the BMI hit this point.

 

5. 60% – 70% increase in bitcoin OTC trading

According to a Fundstrat survey, institutional investors are pouring into bitcoin through over-the-counter (OTC) markets. OTC markets exist outside the main reported exchanges and reportedly account for half of all bitcoin trading volume.

Lee claims OTC trading activity is up 60% – 70% which is a sure sign that “big money” is coming to crypto. As he explains, OTC markets are:

“Really important in terms of how institutional investors trade crypto.”

6. Consensus that the “bottom is in”

Lee points to a handful of “original” bitcoin bulls who believe we have seen the lowest prices in this bitcoin rout. He repeatedly claims that bitcoin whales, who pulled money out of the market in early 2018 are now beginning to put their money back into bitcoin.

7. Bitcoin’s golden cross

Lastly, Lee points to the “golden cross” technical indicator. The golden cross is another hugely positive indicator that traditionally confirms a bullish breakout.

Bitcoin price will shatter its all-time-high of $20,000 in 2020, according to Tom Lee. | Source: Shutterstock

7 Reasons Bitcoin Price Will Smash Record Highs in 2020: Perma-Bull Tom Lee

By CCN.com: Bitcoin permabull and Fundstrat Global co-founder, Tom Lee says the worst is over for bitcoin.

In an interview with CNBC, Lee said the bitcoin price will likely see a new all-time high in 2020, eclipsing the previous $20,000 mark. Lee is famous for inflated bitcoin price predictions, but he backed up the latest forecast with seven key indicators.

1. The bitcoin halving is coming

Every four years, the bitcoin block reward is cut in half to maintain the strict 21 million supply. It gives bitcoin an artificial scarcity and inherent value.

bitcoin halving

The next bitcoin halving takes place in 390 days. Historically, the bitcoin price starts climbing a year before.

The next bitcoin “halving” is scheduled to take place on May 23rd 2020. Historically, the bitcoin price has begun to climb a year before the halving takes place. Tom Lee predicts the shrinking supply and upcoming halving will add fuel to the bitcoin rally.

2. Trading volumes back near record highs

As CCN previously reported, bitcoin trading volumes are back near record highs. Lee points to a key moment in January 2019 when year-on-year trading volumes turned positive.

Lee cites increased bitcoin adoption in Venezuela and Turkey for the increasing volume:

“Just taking those two countries, they’re close to 30% of the increase in on-chain activity, so it’s meaningful. “People are saying, ‘Look, I don’t trust using these local currencies. I don’t trust the banks. I’m going to start using bitcoin.’ And that’s what’s causing on-chain volume to really take off.”

3. Bitcoin smashes past its 200 day moving average

Earlier in the month, bitcoin closed above its 200 day moving average in a technically strong bullish sign. The last time it happened was October 2015 and bitcoin went on to kickstart a two-year bull-run.

4. Fundstrat’s Bitcoin Misery Index turns positive

The bitcoin misery index (BMI) measures investor sentiment using a composite of bitcoin volatility, price, and trading activity. In April it hit its highest point since mid-2016.

Lee sees this as a sign that a bull market is forming since a high reading only occurs during bull markets. However, he also acknowledged that bitcoin famously took a 25 percent fall last time the BMI hit this point.

5. 60% – 70% increase in bitcoin OTC trading

According to a Fundstrat survey, institutional investors are pouring into bitcoin through over-the-counter (OTC) markets. OTC markets exist outside the main reported exchanges and reportedly account for half of all bitcoin trading volume.

Lee claims OTC trading activity is up 60% – 70% which is a sure sign that “big money” is coming to crypto. As he explains, OTC markets are:

“Really important in terms of how institutional investors trade crypto.”

6. Consensus that the “bottom is in”

Lee points to a handful of “original” bitcoin bulls who believe we have seen the lowest prices in this bitcoin rout. He repeatedly claims that bitcoin whales, who pulled money out of the market in early 2018 are now beginning to put their money back into bitcoin.

7. Bitcoin’s golden cross

Lastly, Lee points to the “golden cross” technical indicator. The golden cross is another hugely positive indicator that traditionally confirms a bullish breakout.

Tom Lee polled his Twitter followers, 43 percent of whom believed the golden cross was a good sign.

Bitcoin to $25,000?

Tom Lee has long-held a positive view of bitcoin’s price but his forecasts aren’t always accurate. He predicted bitcoin would end 2018 at $25,000, a call that fell significantly short. Let’s see if this latest bullish prediction is more accurate.

Source: 7 Reasons Bitcoin Price Will Smash Record Highs in 2020: Tom Lee

This Awful Bitcoin Stat Guarantees It’s Not Crypto’s Future: Mathematician

With all the hype about blockchains and their many uses, we shouldn’t forget the original purpose for the Bitcoin blockchain and Nakamoto’s great leap forward.

Blockchains and cryptocurrencies were created to be decentralized currencies, replacing or complementing fiat currencies. For the most avid crypto fans, crypto is the future of currency and will eventually handle full-scale economies. We dream of the day that we laugh and tell our kids and grandkids that we had physical wallets, paper currencies, and things called “credit cards” (“Grandpa, seriously, you are so old!”).

Preparing the Crypto Economy for Mass Adoption

So what has to happen in order for us to run economies on the blockchain?

There are several hurdles we still need to clear, like getting the value of these currencies to be stable, handling privacy in a sensible way, and getting confirmation speeds fast enough for point-of-sale transactions.

By far the most glaring hurdle, however, is throughput. We need to be able to handle many, many more transactions per second than any current blockchain is capable of. At 13 transactions per second (a high estimate), Bitcoin can handle just over a million transactions per day. For niche, small economies, this might do the trick. But it certainly won’t do it for, say, the US economy.

Let’s put this into perspective. In 2017, the US gross domestic product (GDP) was almost $20 trillion. GDP isn’t a great measure of how much money changes hands during the year, but for our purposes, it’s close enough. If about $20 trillion changed hands in the US in 2017, then about $54 billion changed hands every day (20 trillion divided by 365). Ignoring how slowly Bitcoin processes transactions, if it were to handle $54 billion in transactions in one day, transactions would have to be on average about $54,000 (54 billion divided by 1 million).

What? Your everyday transactions aren’t $54,000 on average? Of course not. Between 2012 and 2017, US consumers spent roughly $80 per transaction online.

bitcoin is bad for payments

Bitcoin doesn’t look like a candidate to replace credit cards in the online payments realm. | Source: Statista

In 2016, transactions on Amex credit cards averaged about $141, and those on Visa averaged about $80. While it is true that corporations tend to transact in higher dollar amounts, it’s still likely that the crypto community is still a few orders of magnitude away from being able to handle all the transactions in an economy on a single blockchain.

If, based on the statistics I just gave, we assume that transactions are about $100 on average, then $54 billion would change hands every day in roughly 540 million transactions (54 billion divided by 100). That boils down to about 6,000 transactions per second on average. If we take into account the fact that most people transact during the day, a quick recalculation yields about 10,000 transactions in an average daytime second (instead of dividing by 24 hours of the day, divide by 16 to account for about 8 hours of sleep).

This estimate is probably about right. There are roughly 324 million people in the United States, and about 5 million businesses. If we assume that people and businesses, on average, transact 1.5 times per day, then we have about 500 million transactions per day (329 million entities multiplied by 1.5). This is close to our estimate of 540 million daily transactions from before, which gives about 10,000 transactions per daytime second in the United States.

Bitcoin Would Need to Increase Transaction Capacity By Four Orders of Magnitude to Replace Visa

Mastercard, Visa, Bitcoin

With Bitcoin’s staggeringly-limited transaction capacity, it’s unrealistic to believe it can rival Visa or Mastercard – much less both. | Source: Shutterstock

Getting back to the original question, how many transactions per second does a blockchain have to be able to handle in order to support the United States economy? Our rough calculation of 10,000 transactions per second is almost certainly not enough, but it does give a base from which we can work. To give perspective, Visa processes about 1,700 transactions per second on average but at peak times it can handle up to about 24,000 transactions per second. Their max limit is just over an order of magnitude higher than the average, in order to handle high-volume days like Black Friday or the post-Christmas wave of returns.

Taking Visa’s data as an example, since 10,000 transactions per second is our rough estimate for the average, we’d probably need to be able to handle around 100,000 transactions per second to really kill it (one order of magnitude higher than the average, similar to Visa). That’s a lot. More precisely, that’s about 10,000 times faster than Bitcoin—a whopping difference of four orders of magnitude.

To me, this says that our methods of finding consensus on a blockchain are simply not fast or powerful enough to actually use crypto as a viable currency. We need innovations in infrastructure, hardware, and consensus algorithms in order to even hope to reach this threshold.

Bitcoin Is Not the Future of Crypto

bitcoin

Derek Sorensen believes Bitcoin is definitely not the future of crypto. | Source: Shutterstock

That is to say that, barring some major changes and improvements, Bitcoin is almost certainly not the future of crypto.

Technologies like the Lightning Network attempt to solve the scalability problem, but do so awkwardly and ineffectively. Opening channels to transact off-chain ties up money in extremely inconvenient ways. In practice it incentivizes users to open a single channel with a centralized liquidity provider on the blockchain, rather than opening many channels. This effectively creates unregulated, centralized banks, and in my view goes against the core principles of blockchain technology. Even worse, because transactions are done off-chain and channel data can’t be deterministically rebuilt, if a Lightning node crashes, both parties can easily lose funds. It may genuinely be one of the worst ideas in cryptocurrency.

Notwithstanding, the blockchains of the future may not be so far off. New research in math shows promising results in the mathematical foundations of consensus that could produce blockchains with 50,000 transactions per second or more without compromising safety or decentralization. Every day, a new paper comes out or a crypto startup launches a new product.

There are plenty of bright minds working on securing the crypto dream. I guess in twenty years if you’re paying for your groceries with crypto you’ll know that we succeeded.

About the Author: Derek Sorensen, Pyrofex Research Mathematician, has an MSc in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford and is set to start his PhD this fall at the University of Cambridge, where he will study logic and topology. His work at Pyrofex is in formal verification, which includes research on the theory of consensus and setting up mathematical frameworks to prove theorems about code.

Source: This Awful Bitcoin Stat Guarantees It’s Not Crypto’s Future: Mathematician

NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

Bakkt – the cryptocurrency startup launched by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange – just yanked the lid off the full range of its blockchain ambitions.

The firm announced today that it has acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) as part of its efforts to gain regulatory approval for its crypto products.

Reportedly, Bakkt is less concerned with merely building a Bitcoin exchange than they are with offering institutional custody and payment platform services, all of which still requires regulatory approval.

Bakkt Acquires Crypto Custodian DACC

bakkt bitcoin futures

Bitcoin startup Bakkt acquired a crypto custodian to help bring its regulated platform to market. | Source: Shutterstock

The company recently announced its application for a BitLicense, and it is also pushing to become a trust company in New York. The company’s efforts have been repeatedly stalled by regulatory delays, despite positive news around its partnerships with Starbucks, Microsoft, and others.

Coinbase previously acquired a trust charter with the New York Department of Financial Services. Becoming a trust can be a faster process than becoming a BitLicense recipient, which can take several years. Bakkt says in a new blog post that it’s applied for a charter, and recently we reported that they’re also seeking a BitLicense.

Bakkt wants to offer Bitcoin futures contracts that pay out in cryptocurrency, which would set them apart from other Bitcoin futures offerings. Bakkt has several other ambitious projects in mind, but it must get through several layers of red tape before it finally launches.

Adam White wrote in Bakkt’s blog today:

“To provide regulated custody, we have filed with the New York Department of Financial Services for approval to become a trust company and in this capacity serve as a Qualified Custodian for digital assets. […] It is with that same commitment to setting a new standard for securely storing digital assets that we’re excited to announce that we have acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC). DACC shares our security-first mindset and brings extensive experience offering secure, scalable custody solutions to institutional clients. The team’s experience integrating multiple blockchains and operating cutting-edge consensus mechanisms is a valuable addition to our team and future product line.”

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler told Fortune:

“From the ground up what ICE has been building for two years is the safest version of a custody solution for digital assets.”

Custody: The Key to Mass Bitcoin Adoption?

bitcoin wallet crypto

A lack of regulated custodians has kept many crypto-curious institutions out of the burgeoning asset class. | Source: Shutterstock

Bakkt and Coinbase have both claimed that offering secure, modern custodial solutions for cryptocurrency will encourage institutional investors to expand their portfolios to include the speculative asset class. Thus far, Coinbase and Circle’s offerings have yet to make a significant dent in the overall market.

Fidelity, a traditional assets management company, also nears completion of its custodial solution. A range of options doesn’t necessarily equate to investor interest, but their availability may play a vital role during any future bull run. Institutional investors will, at a minimum, have several popular options to choose from if they consider getting into the market, opportunities that didn’t exist in previous times.

Bakkt’s current push is three-pronged:

  • They’ve acquired a company already engaged in playing custodian to digital assets.
  • They’ve applied for a BitLicense.
  • They’re working to become a registered trust.

There are other avenues they might still pursue, such as operating without New York as an available market at first. What is clear is that the company is anxious to get into the game, and the recent bull market activity is probably not far from their mind.

Source: NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

Bitcoin Is The New Gold

I always write about this basic idea when it comes to any investing: which way is the market going, up or down?

If you know, you are in great shape; if you don’t, you should not be playing at all.

This is the question on bitcoin.

All last year I was saying, “It’s going down, hopefully to about $2,500.” It hit the low $3,000s.

Now bitcoin is going up and I will be saying “It’s going up.” I think it will hit $6,000 soon and go on to $10,000.

At $10,000 I will look to recalibrate.

For now the crypto winter is over.

Here is the chart:

The Bitcoin chart: the crypto winter is over

This is a simple chart with some guidelines and there is a clear pathway upwards.

There is apparently a lot of China interest in crypto right now, with tether selling at a premium. This makes sense if the market considers a yuan dollar depreciation on the cards. Tether has been shown to be resilient, even if it is still a controversial coin. It remains a good place to stash capital from short-term moves, be that from bitcoin volatility or ‘fiat’ privations.

Money flowing into stablecoins is going to lift bitcoin because fundamentally  money flowing into crypto is what sustains and raises prices.

Bitcoin and altcoins have to have positive money flow because they are “mined” and have their monetary bases expanded with every block. For bitcoin $9 million of new money must enter every day to match new supply. It’s not that straight forward because if miners hodl on to some or all of their bitcoin, less money needs to enter on a daily basis to prop up the price. In the end, however, supply and demand creates the price and for new supply to be matched at current levels, more than $3.3 billion dollars has to flow into bitcoin to make it go up.

That might seem a lot but it is not when you see the scale of modern markets. Gold production is $140 billion, so that’s the amount of fiat that most come into the system to keep its price around $1,300 an ounce.

Both assets have about the same emission as a percentage; the difference being the market cap of gold is about $5 trillion and bitcoin is $0.09 trillion.

Gold is the global asset to hedge against risk and investors are incredibly interested in it. It is a mainstream asset dwarfing equities and other assets in the mind of the man in the street as an “investment.”

Google searches for gold and Bitcoin in the US

Google searches for gold and bitcoin in the U.S.

Credit: Google

When you drill down into mindshare, when you look at interest in the financial news,  you can see what looks like bitcoin eating into the interest in gold, at least in the U.S.

If you look at the global picture this trend can’t be seen as clearly and when you appreciate global interest in gold is driven by countries with low tech penetration it suggests that as time passes, bitcoin and crypto will increasingly share the flight capital/risk asset crown with gold.

Google searches for gold and Bitcoin worldwide

Google searches for gold and bitcoin worldwide

Credit: Google

Even if bitcoin takes 20% of that market, bitcoin will be through its previous $20,000 high. That is without bitcoin continuing to be used for transactions or any other emergent use case or situation.

Bitcoin winter is over, the price is going up, the only question is how high. For now $6,000 is an easy target and $10,000 a coin this year is not such a hard target. I’m still accumulating.

Forbes Special Offer: Be among the first to get important crypto and blockchain news and information with Forbes Crypto Confidential. It’s free, sign up now.

Clem Chambers is the CEO of private investors Web site ADVFN.com and author of Be Rich, The Game in Wall Street and Trading Cryptocurrencies: A Beginner’s Guide.

In November 2018, Chambers won Journalist of the Year in the Business Market Commentary category in the State Street U.K. Institutional Press Awards.

 

Clem Chambers Clem Chambers Contributor

I am the CEO of stocks and investment website ADVFN . As well as running Europe and South America’s leading financial market website I am a prolific financial writer….

Intelligent Investing is a contributor page dedicated to the insights and ideas of Forbes Investor Team. Forbes Investor Team is comprised of thought leaders in the area…

Source: Bitcoin Is The New Gold

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