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Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets went into meltdown this week, with the bitcoin price suddenly falling off a cliff.

The bitcoin price lost some 15% in a shock sell-off on Tuesday, dragging down the wider bitcoin and crypto market and catching traders, who had hoped the hotly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform launch would give bitcoin a boost, off-guard.

Now, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his libra cryptocurrency, which is largely credited with sparking bitcoin’s bull run earlier this year, may not launch in 2020, as previously expected.

“Obviously we want to move forward at some point soon [and] not have this take many years to roll out,” Zuckerberg told Nikkei Asian Review, a Japanese business newspaper. “But right now I’m really focused on making sure that we do this well.”

Facebook’s libra has run into opposition around the world as countries, including India, France and the U.S., warn it will undermine their national currencies, with U.S. president Donald Trump launching a blistering attack on libra, bitcoin, and crypto earlier this year.

Bitcoin traders and investors have closely-watched the development of Facebook’s libra, which has been adopted as something of a cryptocurrency regulatory bellwether and a tacit endorsement of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.

“A lot of people have had questions and concerns, and we’re committed to making sure that we work through all of those before moving forward,” Zuckerberg added.

The bitcoin price lost further ground yesterday, dropping some 5% and dipping below the psychological $8,000 per bitcoin mark.

Bitcoin cash, an offshoot of bitcoin itself, led the cryptocurrency market lower, recording losses for the day of over 5% and taking its weekly decline to almost 30%.

The bitcoin sell-off comes after a muted launch of the New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt crypto platform, which was unveiled last year boasting software giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners.

Bakkt’s platform allows traders and institutional investors to swap so-called “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, meaning traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, but the total number traded came to just 72 by the end of its first day, compared to over 5,000 traded on the first day of CME’s cash-settled futures, launched at the peak of bitcoin-mania in December 2017.

“Bitcoin staged a brief recovery yesterday but is again below [$8,000], currently trading at $7,990,” Marcus Swanepoel, chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Luno, said in a note to traders.

“Similar losses have been recorded by all the main altcoins. The loss of value is certainly as a result of the overall global market negativity, but the change in the structure of the market with the launch of the bitcoin futures on Bakkt is thought, by a number of traders, to have been a contributing factor.”

Facebook’s libra, considered by some to be a competitor to bitcoin, is being pitched as a global currency, with the social media giant aiming to bring as many countries on board as possible.

However, the primary target is developing countries where banking and access to finance is low.

Facebook and Zuckerberg, who launched the platform in 2004, are both still reeling from a string of data-sharing and privacy scandals that have plagued the company in recent years and led to questions around the power of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest internet companies.

“Part of the approach and how we’ve changed is that now when we do things that are going to be very sensitive for society, we want to have a period where we can go out and talk about them and consult with people and get feedback and work through the issues before rolling them out,” Zuckerberg said.

“And that’s a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago. But I think it’s the right way for us to do this at the scale that we operate in.”

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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 Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is speaking at the social media giant’s annual F8 Conference, where it will announce new services. » Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe #Facebook #F8 #MarkZuckerberg Connect with NowThis » Like us on Facebook: http://go.nowth.is/News_Facebook » Tweet us on Twitter: http://go.nowth.is/News_Twitter » Follow us on Instagram: http://go.nowth.is/News_Instagram » Find us on Snapchat Discover: http://go.nowth.is/News_Snapchat NowThis is your premier news outlet providing you with all the videos you need to stay up to date on all the latest in trending news. From entertainment to politics, to viral videos and breaking news stories, we’re delivering all you need to know straight to your social feeds. We live where you live. http://www.youtube.com/nowthisnews @nowthisnews

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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.”

Follow me on Twitter.

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

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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.

 

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).

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

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

On Paxful you buy bitcoin from other people in real-time. Trading happens online via live chat. Paxful Vendors can earn six figures from the comfort of their home and many do. Once payment is made and verified by the seller, the bitcoin will be released to your wallet. We’ve built a feedback and reputation system on the advice of the very best traders in the space. Use the simplest bitcoin wallet on earth. You can’t make a mistake and know exactly where to go next.

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How Paxful Places The Best Bitcoin Buying & Selling System Platform In the Crypto World

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On Paxful you buy bitcoin from other people in real-time. Trading happens online via live chat. Paxful Vendors can earn six figures from the comfort of their home and many do. Once payment is made and verified by the seller, the bitcoin will be released to your wallet. We’ve built a feedback and reputation system on the advice of the very best traders in the space. Use the simplest bitcoin wallet on earth. You can’t make a mistake and know exactly where to go next.

More than 300 payment options

Your customers can pay using any payment option our vendors accept. Our vendors convert customer payments to bitcoin which your bitcoin payment processor converts to cash to your bank account. Payment options are divided into 4 main groups

A simple button that makes it super easy for your users to pay with bitcoin, perfect for sites already accepting bitcoin. It saves them the trouble of copying and pasting bitcoin addresses and amounts and takes payment straight from their Paxful wallet making it easier for you to get paid! See the video below to see how it works..

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Want mainstream users? Better make it easy! Our system is battle tested with the 2nd biggest classifieds ads site on the internet.

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PAY WITH PAXFUL eliminates copying and pasting. You’d surprised how many can’t copy and paste long bitcoin addresses or decimals, especially on mobile.

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Other ways to buy bitcoin take 4-6 days. With Paxful it’s instant, which means more business for you.

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Cut support in half

Doing 24/7 phone support for newbies taught us that sending bitcoin is even harder than buying it for most people. We fix that.

Earn on each sale

If your users need an easy way to buy bitcoins they can buy right off the button. You are getting 10x more than the current best affiliate program.

Simple integration

Just paste a single line of html and you’re up and running. Advanced merchants can also do secure integration.

Gift cards

Amazon, OneVanilla, Target, Walmart and other major brands.

Cash

Western Union, Moneygram, Bank of America and cash deposits to other banks.

Online wallets

Paypal, Skrill, Neteller, Serve to Serve transfer and other major online wallets.

Debit/credit cards

Any debit/credit cards are used by our vendors own payment processors.Your buyers have the option of paying anyway they can without the risk of a bank card. Win!Paxful vendors convert all forms of payment to bitcoin. They charge a margin for this service and also provide live chat support. Win! You, the merchant can now accept every form of payment on earth and get paid with zero chargeback risk. Win!

Paxful is primarily an online bitcoin marketplace, but it offers businesses the option of adding a “Pay with Paxful” button to their e-shops. With this option, customers from all around the world can make purchases using the bitcoin in their e-wallets, rather than exchanging currency through a more traditional option.

You can become a Paxful Partner by adding a Virtual Bitcoin Kiosk to your blog, website, app or social media page. As a Paxful Partner, you can earn 2% of your sale through your Virtual Bitcoin Kiosk.

Source: https://paxful.com

 

 

Will China Take Bitcoin To $20,000?

The best way to lose money in the markets is to sell when you are scared and buy/hold when you are happy with your profits.

So it was for me a couple of days ago when bitcoin (BTC) was $9,500. I so wanted to close out 25% of my BTC and leave myself to run the rest, having taken out the cost of my position in cash and thereby run the rest as free carry. You can spin all sorts of narrative why that’s a smart idea or why that’s a dumb one, but the fall was the impetus and the desire to flee a normal human emotion. It is an instinct that traders and especially investors need to control.

Luckily, I’ve been playing the high risk game long enough to wait. When I want to sell an investment solely because it has dumped I wait at least two or three days before making such a move. If and when bitcoin hits $13,500, I will want to load up on more but I will likewise stop myself from buying into bullishness.

So I did nothing with my bitcoin and this happens:

Bitcoin jumped again on Monday

Credit: ADVFN

Once again doing nothing is the best move you can make with a good position.

So in my model, this is China and this is down to the trade war.

Today In: Money

When bitcoin jumps, something bad has just happened in the U.S./China trade talks. We don’t know what it is, but soon enough we will find out.

Well today we get a Trump tweet and up BTC goes again. Yesterday, what happened? I guess whatever it was that made bitcoin pop, also left the U.S. president even more incandescent than normal.

This is still a theory, but it keeps on playing out. So what to do? In the short term the question is, is the China situation going to continue for long?

Continuation of the trade war means BTC up. The longer the war runs, the higher bitcoin will go.

For me it’s likely that the trade war is going to run and run. Both sides can’t buckle and like most wars, sides are prepared to take big losses, not to lose. This means holding through a rollercoaster ride of developments.

If we are in for a trade war of attrition, bitcoin will be above £20,000 by Christmas or sooner.

What we also have here if this theory is right is a gift to the extra greedy. When bitcoin flies, short the Dow, because when BTC flies, for no apparent reason, it is a high probability that something Dow slapping will come out of the trade war in a day or two’s time. While information may flow more slowly in the U.S., whatever goes wrong will nonetheless hit the U.S. equities market soon enough, but meanwhile the bad news will hit the Asia bitcoin market much sooner, about as long as it takes for the participants to get out of their meetings and past the revolving doors.

BTC down on Monday, should also give Dow up on a Tuesday and vice versa. Bitcoin is the gift that keeps on giving to traders.

Gold and the whole platinum group metals (PGM) will follow but at a much more refined and subdued pace; bitcoin delivering another leading signal to the stacker community or any trader that wants to play the dangerous game of levered commodities.

Signals like this don’t come by very often and can’t last for long, but while the stakes are in trillion dollar scale, quite a few million dollar crumbs are going to be left lying around the table.

Be among the first to get important crypto and blockchain news with Forbes Crypto Confidential, a free weekly e-letter delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.

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

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

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.

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 areas of money, investing and markets.

Source: Will China Take Bitcoin To $20,000?

Chinese government efforts to crush Bitcoin continue with a proposed mining ban, adding to the raft of anti crypto legislations in force in the country, but much like Bitcoin, Chinese buyers just don’t care. Sources https://cointelegraph.com/news/chines… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ch… https://www.newsbtc.com/2019/04/04/bi… https://news.bitcoin.com/russian-bank… Free Cryptocurrency Course – https://www.thecryptolark.org/ RECOMMENDED EXCHANGES & WALLETS GET FREE CRYPTO ABRA – GET $25 IN BTC – (US bank deposits or AMEX)- https://invite.abra.com/p9lwV0WqCR COINBASE – GET $10 Free Bitcoin on sign up! https://bit.ly/2zqeVfV LIQUID – GET $10 FREE QASH (verify & make $100 trade) – https://www.liquid.com?affiliate=Gtrf… TOP EXCHANGES BINANCE – #1 Crypto Exchange https://www.binance.com/?ref=10192350 BINANCE JE – BUY CRYPTO IN POUNDS & EURO https://www.binance.je/?ref=35019746 KUCOIN – Awesome For Low Cap Gems – https://www.kucoin.com/#/?r=18a8f CERTIFIED CRYPTOCURRENCY BROKERAGE CALEB & BROWN – Brokerage – Trade OTC like the big guys https://bit.ly/2Feq8F6 TAKE YOUR SECURITY SERIOUSLY – GET A HARDWARE WALLET LEDGER NANO https://www.ledgerwallet.com/r/6877 TREZOR – https://shop.trezor.io?a=Aw902Rsted LEARN TO TRADE LIKE THE PROS TRADER COBB 10% OFF CODE THELARK10 – https://tradercobb.com/?ref=169 SOCIAL MEDIA – These are my only accounts, beware of scammers! TWITTER twitter.com/TheCryptoLark FACEBOOK facebook.com/TheCryptoLark TELEGRAM GROUP t.me/thecryptolark TELEGRAM HANDLE @cryptolark STEEMIT steemit.com/@larksongbird D-TUBE d.tube/#!/c/larksongbird BACKGROUND ART BY Josie Bellini – https://josie.io/ PODCAST – find me on I-tunes “Crypto Waves” https://player.fm/series/crypto-waves… CONTACT E-mail thecryptolark@gmail.com with business or event enquiries. DISCLAIMER Everything expressed here is my opinion and not official investment advice – please do your own research before risking your own money. This video may contain copyrighted material the use of which is not always specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for research or academic purposes. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this video is distributed without profit, for research and educational purposes. Thanks for watching; please like, subscribe, and share if you found this useful! #bitcoin #crypto #ethereum #cryptocurrency #neo #elastos #litecoin #eos #ripple #ontology #monero #stellarlumens #cardano #nem #dash #ethereumclassic #vechain #tezos #zcash #dogecoin

Blockstream Reveals Massive Bitcoin Mining Facilities, Fidelity An Early Customer

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On Thursday, blockchain technology company Blockstream revealed details related to their massive Bitcoin mining data centers in Quebec, Canada and Adel, Georgia. The facilities account for a combined 300 megawatts worth of energy capacity, and they’re currently available for hosting enterprise-level mining activities, in addition to Blockstream’s own mining operations.

Blockstream plans to open their facilities to smaller scale miners in the future. For now, two of their active customers include Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

The size of Blockstream’s mining facilities cannot be overstated. According to Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, the facilities would account for roughly 6 exahashes of Bitcoin mining power if used at full capacity with the latest ASIC mining hardware. This would have equated to 10% of Bitcoin’s total network hashrate less than a month ago, according to BitInfoCharts. However, the Bitcoin network hashrate recently skyrocketed to around 80 exahashes this week.

In addition to their mining centers, Blockstream will soon launch the first mining pool with a focus on putting more power back into the hands of individual miners via the BetterHash protocol.

Blockstream Concerned About Bitcoin Mining Centralization

According to a company blog post, Blockstream first got into Bitcoin mining due to concerns around the centralization of the industry back in 2017. At that time, the activation process for Segregated Witness (SegWit), which was a capacity increase and bug fix for the Bitcoin network, had become politicized by Bitcoin miners in the eyes of many Bitcoin developers and users.

Concerns related to Bitcoin mining centralization were recently discussed on a panel at the Bitcoin 2019 conference in San Francisco. Genesis Mining CEO Marco Streng explained why Bitcoin users should be more alarmed about the level of centralization in mining, while longtime Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo did his best to point out the issue may not be as bad as it seems at first glance.

Notably, Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back, who was cited in the original Bitcoin white paper, also spoke at the conference regarding his thoughts on the future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies alongside Yugen Partners Chief Scientist Dr. Scott Stornetta, who was also cited in the Bitcoin white paper.

Putting Power Back in Miners’ Hands

In addition to pushing for the geographic decentralization of Bitcoin mining, Blockstream’s upcoming mining pool should be helpful due to its use of BetterHash. The BetterHash protocol, which was developed by the aforementioned Corallo, solves a key issue with mining centralization in that it allows individual miners to choose which transactions go into new blocks rather than the mining pool operators.

While Bitcoin mining is rather centralized in terms of mining pools, the picture looks much better in terms of the diversity of entities that are actually operating the hardware. Putting individual miners in control of transaction selection means collusion in terms of transaction censorship, blockchain reorganizations, or other types of 51% attacks on the network would be much more difficult.

Braiins also recently announced a new mining protocol, called Stratum v2, that offers a similar upgrade in terms of the decentralization of transaction selection (based on Corallo’s work).

When asked why Blockstream decided to go with BetterHash rather than Stratum v2, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow stated, “Stratum v2 seems to still be in the discussion phase, and we started with BetterHash months ago.”

Some critics may argue that implementing BetterHash while also developing large Bitcoin mining data centers may be a bit of a contradiction in terms of promoting decentralization, but Mow pushed back on this argument when reached for comment.

“I don’t believe Blockstream Mining poses centralization risks,” said Mow. “If anything, Blockstream Mining serves to decentralize the Bitcoin mining ecosystem in many ways. We’re self-mining with just a small portion of our available power, with the rest allocated to customers, and we have plans to make the hosting service available to smaller miners that otherwise would not be able to mine effectively. Also, by leveraging the BetterHash protocol in our mining pool, all of our customers can run their own full-nodes and build block templates. This means the pool cannot use their hashrate for censoring transactions or falsely signaling readiness for Bitcoin protocol upgrades – which has happened in the past as with SegWit2x.”

Even with these concerns around Bitcoin mining centralization, some U.S. lawmakers are convinced they would not be able to ban Bitcoin.

On the other hand, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project would be much easier to manipulate, regulate, and control. That said, multiple members of the Bitcoin industry have pointed out the roundabout ways Bitcoin could benefit Facebook’s Libra.

That said, even if improvements are made to the decentralization and censorship resistance of Bitcoin from a technical level, the reality is the digital cash system still faces a serious regulatory issue in terms of its use as a payments mechanism due to the way in which the crypto asset is taxed.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

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 Has ‘No Intrinsic Value,’ As U.K. ‘Moves Towards’ Crypto Ban

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation has been pushed into the limelight over recent weeks, thanks to social media giant Facebook’s high profile plans to launch its own potential rival to bitcoin sometime next year.

The bitcoin price, which had been climbing on rumors that big technology companies were taking an interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, has plateaued at around $10,000 per bitcoin after a number of countries rebuffed Facebook’s plans, unveiled in June.

Now, the U.K.’s financial services watchdog has warned potential investors that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have “no intrinsic value,” with some taking the caution as a signal the country could be moving towards a bitcoin ban.

“This is a small, complex and evolving market covering a broad range of activities,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which oversees London’s huge banking industry.

“Today’s guidance will help clarify which crypto-asset activities fall inside our regulatory perimeter,” Woolard added, with the FCA warning: “Consumers should be cautious when investing in such crypto-assets and should ensure they understand and can bear the risks involved with assets that have no intrinsic value.”

The FCA branding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as without “intrinsic value” is likely to rile many bitcoin believers who have long argued blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies, gives the digital tokens value.

“It is technically true that cryptocurrencies have no ‘intrinsic value’ when compared to share ownership in actual companies, however there are many examples where a marketplace bestows value on an intangible asset,” Jon Ostler, of comparison site Finder.com, told the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper. “For example, the brand of ‘bitcoin’ itself has value and although its future place in society is still unclear, it is one of the most likely coins to stay the course.”

The warning from the U.K. comes shortly after U.S. president Donald Trump unleashed a scathing attack on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, comments that were then echoed by other senior officials in his administration, including Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin who branded bitcoin and cryptocurrencies a “national security issue.”

It’s thought that Trump’s attacks on bitcoin and crypto were in direct response to Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency project, which, if successful, could undermine the international dominance of the U.S. dollar.

“Although not a ban, [the U.K.’s FCA warning is] a move in that direction,” said Herbert Sim, head of business development from Broctagon Fintech Group. “This lack of enthusiasm is shared by several countries; the U.S. with its scrutiny of libra, and India, who are looking to implement a similar ban on cryptocurrencies which are not state regulated. These movements could end up coming back to bite. The international competition on cryptocurrencies is heating up and there are huge risks in being left behind.”

Meanwhile, the watchdog warned investing in what it called “unregulated crypto-assets” will not be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which pays out if the investment collapses.

“It remains possible in the future that if an unregulated token is subject to common acceptance and usage in the U.K. then either the FCA or the Bank of England will reconsider this position in order to ensure that adequate consumer protection exists,” said Tim Dolan, partner at law firm Reed Smith.

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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: Bitcoin Has ‘No Intrinsic Value,’ As U.K. ‘Moves Towards’ Crypto Ban

Bank of China’s New Infographic Shows Why Bitcoin Price Is Going Up

Bank of China’s New Infographic Shows Why Bitcoin Price Is Going Up

A brief story: from Bitcoin to Libra

The infographic illustrates the story of Bitcoin, starting with the publication of its whitepaper in 2008, the mining of the first 50 BTC in 2009, 10,000 BTC having been spent for pizza in 2010, and other major milestones for the system, ending with the announcement of Facebook’s Libra.

“Yesterday the Bank of China posted up an article about Bitcoin,” commented Blockstream CSO, Samson Mow. “They explained how BTC works, why the price is going up, and why it’s valuable. Never thought I’d see that happen. #Bullish”

The factors behind Bitcoin’s rise

Another part of the infographic is dedicated to explaining why Bitcoin’s value is increasing, and it cites limited supply, increased mining difficulty, that it is used as a medium of exchange and anti-inflation safe haven.

This is in line with the remarks recently made by Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano, who said that the European Central Bank’s expected dovish turn will provide “rocket fuel” for Bitcoin.

Furthermore, the infographic does also mention the infamous Mt. Gox hack, the risk of speculation, and stories of lost funds. According to the image, Bitcoin’s main use case is international settlements since its fees are low compared to legacy system while transactions are faster.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the CEO of Chinese tech giant Huawei thinks that China can compete with Facebook for market share by issuing its own digital currency.

Earlier this month, Chinese media reported that China’s central bank is developing its own digital currency in response to Facebook’s Libra as the latter could purportedly pose a risk to the country’s financial system.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bank-of-chinas-new-infographic-shows-why-bitcoin-price-is-going-up

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Blow To Bitcoin As Top Accountants Make Serious Facebook Warning

bitcoin, bitcoin price, Facebook, libra, image

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been largely ignored by the world’s regulators over the last ten years, with only some small attempts to protect investors from wild bitcoin price swings and dodgy crypto exchanges.

The bitcoin price, up some 200% so far this year, has somewhat recovered after a terrible 2018 largely due to interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including social media giant Facebook which unveiled its planned libra cryptocurrency project last month and is scheduled for release some time in 2020—if the sandal-hit company can convince regulators of its merits.

Now, forensic accountancy firm BTVK has 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.

“Laws are in development as we speak,” Alex Hodgson, senior consultant at BTVK, told the Telegraph newspaper following the release of its report into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. “Facebook has well-publicized issues in the past, and in response to that [regulators] are going above and beyond.”

“If cryptocurrency markets were like the ‘wild west’ in their early years, that period may be coming to a close as lawmakers look to toughen up the way in which markets are policed,” the report authors wrote. “In the meantime, it would be wrong to assume that investigators are powerless in the world of virtual currencies. They have many tools, old and new, at their disposal which mean that cryptocurrency markets should not be seen as a safe hiding place.”

Facebook is still reeling from a data-sharing scandal that saw many of its most senior executives hauled before governments around the world to answer questions on Facebook’s use of data and its work with third parties, such as Cambridge Analytica.

Earlier this month, U.S. president Donald Trump sent the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry for a loop when he tweeted his opposition to bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and Facebook’s libra, suggesting they are all “unregulated crypto assets” that can “facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

Following his comments, other senior U.S. officials echoed his comments, while U.S. senators called Facebook’s libra plans “unacceptable.”

Elsewhere, former International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, who is set to replace Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank (ECB), earlier this year warned that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are “shaking the system”—something that could signal a change in the ECB’s approach to bitcoin and crypto.

bitcoin, bitcoin price, Facebook, libra, chart

The bitcoin price has rallied hard this year but global regulators are “closing in.”

In the U.K. bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were placed under the oversight of the country’s banking regulator in January with it expected to issue final guidance sometime over the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, a government panel in India has recommended a ban on all “cryptocurrencies created by non-sovereigns” due to “serious concern [there is a] mushrooming of cryptocurrencies almost invariably issued abroad and numerous people in India investing in these cryptocurrencies.”

The report out of India does support the possibility of a state-issued digital currency in India, however.

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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: Blow To Bitcoin As Top Accountants Make Serious Facebook Warning

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