One of the controversial things about bitcoin (BTC) is that it pays the people that keep the bitcoin blockchain running and secure. These folks are called miners, purely because the process seems slightly similar to mining. The process of mining is to run software that executes the search for the solution to a puzzle that acts as the password to creating the next record on the bitcoin blockchain. Success in cracking this puzzle and then creating the next block of records is rewarded in bitcoin. At the moment the reward is 12.5 BTC, which at the rate of $8,000 a BTC is exactly $100,000.
That sounds like a lot of money to solve a lil’ ole puzzle. The trouble is the puzzle is to mash numbers to create a result with say 23 zeros, which, because of the math involved, means you have to do literally zillions of trillions of calculations to find one password code. Miners run these bazillions of calculations, sifting through the wrong answers to get to a single right one. This takes perhaps three years for a specialist machine running flat out at 50 trillion calculations a second, burning a few thousand dollars of electricity as it goes.
That doesn’t sound like a bad business model but as new mining machines enter the game, so the game gets harder, which means that the amount of time taken by any given machine to get a result goes up and so does the cost. Bitcoins difficulty has over the years gone truly exponential, so that the money a machine can make when put into a team of machines halves every six months or so as time passes. That makes making money mining tricky because while you may make great money to start with, after about 18 months it may have fallen to nothing.
Apart from increasing difficulty, mining also gets harder because every so often the blockchain will halve the reward. This last happened in July 2016. The reward is currently 12.5 bitcoin but soon enough the reward will be only 6.175 BTC. The price should rise to pay the miners more for their smaller haul of new bitcoin. If it doesn’t, unprofitable miners must stop work so the difficulty can fall and the job can get easier for those that remain or certain miners must get way more efficient and push the less efficient miners off the pitch.
The general consensus is that the bitcoin price will rise.
The reason for this is that the inflation of the BTC money supply by 12.5 BTC every ten minutes, means that there is a new supply of 1,800 coins a day, let’s call it $14 million a day. This $14 million of new supply, which is currently absorbed by buyers, will suddenly be cut in half to $7 million. The demand, however, will remain roughly constant. Unchanged demand coupled with lower supply, equals price up.
This is how it has worked in the past and this is what I’m putting my money on. There are skeptics who suggest that if the price doesn’t move up then miners will wither away, block times will slow dramatically, bitcoin will be less useful, people will panic and dump and so on. However, there are a lot of people like me who would love that and would buy a lot into such a panic. Less supply, same demand, high price, wins the simple proven logical outcome of the next halvening.
But of course people are going to preempt.
To add to the price pressure, bitcoin gets lost. That happens to gold too and was also a problem for gold when it was money. That enables bitcoin to get ever more expensive overtime.
If a Satoshi was 1 cent, bitcoin’s market cap would be 21 trillion dollars, but when you think about it, if a Satoshi was $1 or $100, then it would become a currency much like gold, which in the past was used foremostly as a store of wealth, expressed in the usage for silver coins which acted as a store of wealth for the general usage of copper coins. This is the dream of all crypto fans, bitcoin as the reserve currency of crypto, an incredibly valuable blockchain fungibly linked on top of a hierarchy of other ‘lesser’ currencies.
It could happen.
The upcoming halvening speaks to this dream and it’s coming to the BTC blockchain in May. As a hodl’er I can wait.
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. I wrote a stock column for WIRED – which described me as a ‘Market Maven’ – and am a regular columnist for numerous financial publications around the world. I have written for titles including: Working Money, Active Trader, SFO and Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities in the US and have written for pretty much every UK national newspaper. In the last few years I have become a financial thriller writer and have just had my first non-fiction title published: 101 ways to pick stock market winners. Find me here on US Amazon. You’ll also see me regularly on CNBC, CNN, SKY, Business News Network and the BBC giving my take on the markets.
Bitcoin and crypto investors are worried, however, with the Crypto Fear and Greed Index showing “extreme fear,” and earlier this week dropping to a 244-day low last seen when bitcoin crashed to around $3,000.
The fear index hit an all-time high in late June as excitement around Facebook’s plans for its bitcoin rival reached fever pitch but has since dived as regulators signal their dissatisfaction with the social media giant.
“The current regulatory roadblock on Facebook’s plans for its digital token has dimmed down investor sentiment for cryptocurrencies,” said Christel Quek, chief commercial officer at Bolt Global, a cryptocurrency wallet provider and entertainment company.
The fear index is currently showing a reading of 20, but earlier this week dropped as low as 11 after falling sharply throughout August.
Since the index hit its year-to-date lows, the bitcoin price has fallen a further 2%, while the overall cryptocurrency market has seen more than $30 billion wiped from it over the last week.
Some in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry pointed out the wider cryptocurrency market has declined along with the bitcoin price.
“Bitcoin and major cryptocurrencies including litecoin, ethereum and Ripple’s XRP have declined [this week], weighed down by concerns of a slowing economy,” Quek added.
The fear index, created by website and software comparison company Alternative.me, calculates the index’s value daily on a scale of 0 to 100 using volatility, market volume, social media, survey, dominance, and trends. Zero means “extreme fear,” while 100 means “extreme greed.”
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.
Those who have been longtime critics of Bitcoin usually have one key theory in common, which is that governments will eventually ban Bitcoin and cryptocurrency will then cease to exist in any meaningful form. For examples of this point of view, just look at economist Nouriel Roubini and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
That said, implementing such a ban is no easy task. After all, Bitcoin was built by cypherpunks as a form of digital money that would be unaffected by the desires of politicians and regulators around the world.
Lately, it appears that lawmakers in the United States are starting to realize the difficulties associated with a potential Bitcoin ban.
Bitcoin Ban Deemed Unlikely During Congressional Hearings
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulation. During that hearing, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) shared his belief that the United States would not be able to succeed in banning Bitcoin.
“If the United States were to decide — and I’m not saying that it should — if the United States were to decide we don’t want cryptocurrency to happen in the United States and tried to ban it, I’m pretty confident we couldn’t succeed in doing that because this is a global innovation,” said Crapo.
This statement came in the form of a question to Jeremy Allaire, who is the co-founder and CEO of global financial services company Circle. In his response, Allaire explained the new reality created by the creation of Bitcoin.
“I think the challenge that we all face with this is some of these cryptocurrencies — they’re literally just a piece of open-source software,” said Allaire. “There’s nothing else. It exists on the internet, it’s open-source software, anyone can implement it, it runs wherever the internet runs, and these have a monetary policy where these assets are algorithmically generated . . . That is a challenge that every government in the world now faces — that money, digital money, will move frictionlessly everywhere in the world at the speed of the internet.”
These remarks made during Tuesday’s hearing follow comments made by U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) from earlier in the month when he stated “there’s no capacity to kill Bitcoin” during an interview with CNBC.
Back in May, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) claimed that Congress should implement a ban on Bitcoin, but Sherman did not share specific details as to how such a ban could be effectively achieved.
The difficulties associated with implementing a ban on Bitcoin are behind one economist’s theory that the best way to kill the cryptocurrency would be for governments to become more competitive in terms of monetary policy and financial freedom.
I’m a writer who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. I’ve worked all over the Bitcoin media space — from being editor-in-chief at Inside Bitcoins to contributing to Bitcoin Magazine on a regular basis. My work has also been featured in Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, and many other financial and tech media outlets. I’m mostly interested in the use of Bitcoin for transactions that would be censored by the traditional financial system (think darknet markets and ransomware) in addition to the use of bitcoin as an unseizable, digital store of value. Altcoins, appcoins, and ICOs don’t make much sense to me. Find all of my work at kyletorpey.com. Disclosure: I hold some bitcoin.
Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, and LTC prices, will be on a roller coaster for a long time. Traders and investors will make and lose fortunes in record time, betting on them. In the end, say some analysts, these cryptocurrencies will either die on their own, or be killed by the ‘establishment’ — big governments and big banks around the world that defend sovereign currencies.
Take the case for Bitcoin.
The “people’s currency” holds a great promise: to become the first true global currency, free of the control of central banks that print money and big banks that generate credit. But to do that, Bitcoin must gain the trust of the “general public.“ This means it must be adopted as a medium of exchange, standard of value, and store of value, replacing national currencies.That isn’t easy, given the many obstacles Bitcoin has to overcome. Like lack of awareness, familiarity, and stability, etc. And that makes some experts bearish about the future of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Price YTD
Lars Seier Christensen, Chairman of Concordium, the next-generation decentralized world computer, is one of them. “In the longer term, I am bearish on bitcoin as I believe it does not have the necessary characteristics of a longer-term valuable asset and, eventually, that reality will catch up” says Christensen.“But in the short term, price movements will likely be random as Bitcoin is affected by low liquidity and unpredictable bigger trades.”
Unpredictability will make it hard for Bitcoin to gain broad adoption as a medium of exchange. And without broad adoption, Bitcoin will remain a play for speculators and true believers, and eventually die on its own.
But even if Bitcoin overcomes all these obstacles and gains broad adoption by the general public, and was in a position to replace national currencies — ie, become the new currency — what would happen then?
Bears argue that the “establishment” cannot afford to let that happen.
For a couple of reasons, including the loss of Seigniorage” — simply put, the profit made by the national governments by printing currency. Then there’s the profit made by banks helping circulate that money and create credit.
The establishment will do whatever it takes to defend these profits from Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency that seeks to replace it.
Recent Congressional hearings on Libra attests to the determination of the establishment to protect the dollar from competing cryptocurrencies. In a rare display of unity, Democrats and Republicans opposed Libra, and had many unkind words for Bitcoin.
“Cryptocurrencies that are ONLY there as a currency substitute, however, have no real long-term future,” says Christensen.“They will be outlawed by governments wanting to control the money supply and taxation, and in any case, cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic long-term value of significance. Hence, Bitcoin will only survive as a fringe activity.”
Not everyone agrees with this gloomy assessment, however. Dave Hodgson, Director and Co-Founder of NEM Ventures, is one of them.
“In my opinion, Bitcoin will never die nor be killed by the establishment, despite some people’s efforts to the contrary,” says Hodgson. “The recent drop we have seen in Bitcoin is within the boundaries of what our analysts were expecting from technical analysis. However, the timescale has been slightly skewed in light of recent announcements, primarily from US government representatives.”
Corentin Denoeud, CEO and Co-founder of Blockchain Studio, is another .
“The fact that governments around the world are even talking about crypto is a sign of progress for the blockchain industry in general,” says Denoeud. “While countries such as India have called for the outlawing of cryptocurrencies, representatives from Germany’s Central Bank have responded favourably and advanced the view that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to global monetary stability. Even China, who has previously banned ICOs and cryptocurrency trading, has called bitcoin a ‘safe-haven asset’ (via its state-run media agency) and is now reportedly stepping up its own efforts to create its own cryptocurrency, following Facebook’s unveiling of Libra.”
While it’s still unclear which side is right, one thing is clear: Bitcoin (and ETH, XRP, LTC, etc) true believers who think that cryptocurrency will eventually replace national currencies, need a 101 lesson in Money and Banking.
I’m Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York. I also teach at Columbia University. I’ve published several articles in professional journals and magazines, including Barron’s, The New York Times, Japan Times, Newsday, Plain Dealer, Edge Singapore, European Management Review, Management International Review, and Journal of Risk and Insurance. I’ve have also published several books, including Collective Entrepreneurship, The Ten Golden Rules, WOM and Buzz Marketing, Business Strategy in a Semiglobal Economy, China’s Challenge: Imitation or Innovation in International Business, and New Emerging Japanese Economy: Opportunity and Strategy for World Business. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world giving lectures and seminars for private and government organizations, including Beijing Academy of Social Science, Nagoya University, Tokyo Science University, Keimung University, University of Adelaide, Saint Gallen University, Duisburg University, University of Edinburgh, and Athens University of Economics and Business. Interests: Global markets, business, investment strategy, personal success.
While Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are focused on Mars, billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper has his feet firmly planted on the ground. Draper might appear to have his head stuck in the clouds with a lofty $250,000 bitcoin price prediction. But from what he tells Fox Business, the early bitcoin investor isn’t stargazing:
“I’m a believer that in four years, something like that, bitcoin will be about a 5% market share of the earth.”
Draper’s Bitcoin War Chest is a Cool $189 Million
He pointed to bitcoin’s best features such as decentralization, transparency, and simply being a better currency than fiat. Draper was an early bitcoin investor, having purchased 30,000 BTC when the price was hovering at $632 per coin. He points out that the investment is worth 10x that amount today, and he’s got no doubt that it’s going much higher.
Draper envisions a future in which bitcoin further disrupts the venture capital business model.
“I eventually want to have a fund where I take in bitcoin and I fund everybody in bitcoin and they pay their employees and suppliers in bitcoin. And then I pay my investors in bitcoin. Because I would then require no acounting, no legal, no bookeeeping, no custody. It would all be done.”
Considering that transactions would be recorded on the blockchain, all relevant participants would be able to see everything. Tim is a big fan of bitcoin but he keeps an open mind about other cryptocurrencies, too. Though he does expect that the number of coins will be whittled down to only the best projects.
Tim Draper has a $250,000 price target on bitcoin. | Source: CoinMarketCap
Tim Draper on Facebook
Everyone knows Facebook is pursuing a $1 billion fund for its new stablecoin, and Draper has been linked to discussions with the company about the initiative. Incidentally, the gloves came off on one of Facebook’s founding members earlier this week, with Chris Hughes calling for the breakup of Mark Zuckerberg’s company. Draper isn’t buying into it.
“If the shareholders will benefit somehow by a breakup, then sure go ahead and do it. But the idea that he has all this centralized power…I think he’s just building a business and it’s a great business. And there are plenty of competitors to him out there. And I’m very pleased that he’s done so well.”
If his tone is any indication, perhaps we will be hearing about a VC investment into Zuckerberg’s new blockchain project.
Meanwhile, the bitcoin price is currently hovering at $6,379. It’s a far cry from Tim Draper’s $250,000 target but if he’s right and it captures 5% of the earth’s market share, the moon will seem a lot closer than it does today.
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 18.104.22.168 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.
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.
You will then be shown the total amount (including the fee) that you will get charged if you go ahead with the purchase.
Once you tap on the “Buy Now” button on this screen, you will be shown a “Confirm Your Order” screen.
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.
In the last week, the amount of Bitcoin traded by Venezuelans via the LocalBitcoins peer-to-peer platform exploded by 30%, to reach an all-time high. The trading by residents of the financially troubled country, whose native Bolivar has been devalued by long-term hyper-inflation, amounted to the equivalent of $8.9m over the seven days up to February 8th. The news comes in the wake of the weekend announcement of new restrictions on the trading of cryptocurrencies for residents of Venezuela by its government, with the South American country’s authorities………….
While the naysayers say Bitcoin’s price is ultimately going to zero, a new report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve examines the long-term prospects for Bitcoin’s price, saying the nascent asset is unlikely to fall to zero. The price of Bitcoin fell nearly 85% in 2018 and is now hovering around $3,700. With such a substantial decrease in price, naysayers have been calling for Bitcoin’s demise, saying it has nothing to back up its value and is fundamentally flawed. They’re just waiting for the rest of the market to realize this and move on…….