Tag Archives: blockchain

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices Higher in 2017

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices
Higher in 2017

For newcomers to the market looking to make a quick win, the rollercoaster of a year has probably been a time of scratching heads and possibly a few tears shed. For the long-term investor, however, these periods are part of the journey and opportune times to snap up some more coins when the price takes a dip. Despite the precautionary cries of ‘bursting bubbles’, these market corrections are an anticipated occurrence.

    
Legislative Changes for Cryptos

Earlier this year, Japan announced that as of 1 April 2017, the country would recognise bitcoin as legal tender and make the provisions for administrative and accounting systems to be enhanced for cryptocurrency transactions to take place seamlessly. This was undoubtedly the major contributing factor to an initial surge in the price as Japanese individuals and corporations alike scrambled on exchanges to secure bitcoin for future purchases. Hundreds of thousands of retailers in the area are said to be equipping themselves to accept bitcoin payments, with a low cost airline, Peach, becoming the first commercial carrier to directly offer consumers tickets paid in bitcoin.

Australia quickly followed suit, announcing accelerated amendments to legislation that eliminated the incumbent double taxation on digital currency transactions. As it stands, Australians using bitcoin for transactions are liable for the 10% goods and services tax (GST) plus a further 10% tax for using ‘intangible property’ as a payment medium. Come 1 July 2017, these transactions will only attract GST, and be exempt from further taxation, no doubt fuelling a greater adoption of digital currency transactions. The proactive progression by these countries certainly paves the way for others to learn from their integration and regulatory practices, empowering mainstream bitcoin adoption, which naturally pushes the price higher as demand increases.

Scaling Debate Resolution

The scaling debate has been a long-standing hurdle for Bitcoin growth. The decentralised nature of bitcoin, which naturally is one of its most appealing qualities, presents some challenges when it comes to governance of remedial action. In an ecosystem where no single entity can dictate changes to the framework, a majority consensus must be reached. The fact remains that Bitcoin needs to scale from its current transactional capacity in order to meet the demands placed on the network in terms of the growing number of transactions, as the current block size is impeding quick and cost-effective transactions.

Whilst several proposals have been put forward, the Bitcoin community have yet to come to agreement on a viable solution that satisfies the majority, while at the same time doing what is best for the wider user base. In May 2017, at the annual Consensus conference, held in New York, an agreement has been signed by a ‘critical mass of the bitcoin ecosystem’ that set out a plan for the adoption of SegWit with a planned hard fork to a 2MB blocksize within six months. While further clarity is needed, it would appear that we may finally come to a point of breaking the stalemate, which will contributing factor in Bitcoin being able to advance and reach its full potential.

Economic and Political Uncertainty

One of Bitcoin’s undeniable drivers of growth are citizens who have lost confidence in their country’s ability to maintain sound economic and political policies, and desperately seek to establish their own sense of financial freedom outside the manipulation of governments.

Venezuela

Take Venezuela for example. An overly aggressive expansionary monetary policy has resulted in hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to reach an explosive 1,660% this year. This has led to an unparalleled economic and social crisis. The removal of the 100 Bolivar note (the largest denomination and still worth only a few US cents) from circulation in December 2016 alongside the lack of availability of the planned 500 to 20,000 Bolivar notes, led to widespread chaos and violent protests amongst Venezuelans, who for the most part were heavily reliant on cash but were effectively left without money for weeks on end.

It is reported that the minimum wage is around 200,000 Bolivars, yet a single basket of groceries costs in the region of 770,000 Bolivars, nearly 4 times the minimum monthly wage. Whilst the government provide some subsidised basic goods, the ‘outlets’ have become hotspots for vicious crime and citizens have to weigh up the risks of cheaper food against the dangers that face them in the queues. This is what happens when people reach such levels of despair to survive. The alarming surge in crimes such as kidnapping and murder leave most Venezuelans living in fear for their lives on a daily basis, with little in the way of respite.

India

India is another prime example, where the most recent, and possibly most extreme case of a modern-day war on cash occurred in December 2016. Under the pretence of curbing criminal action and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively wiped out 86% of notes in circulation overnight, when he announced the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes with immediate effect. Exchange was possible, but within a limited time frame and only up to a certain amount, the rest having to be processed via a bank account. This, in a country where almost half its population has no access to formal banking, let alone a bank account. This is just one of the reasons bitcoin holds such appeal in tempestuous economic climates. With Bitcoin, you are assured a level of financial security your money is removed from the coercion of the centralised system, therefore protecting your wealth from political agendas, damaging inflation and capital controls.

Increased Inflow of Institutional Money

Financial institutions, who are historically wary about Bitcoin are increasingly showing signs of interest in the digital asset. When compared to the performance of stock markets and fiat currencies, combined with more and more regulatory structure coming into place, it is unsurprising that institutional money has started flow into the crypto-economy. Regulation is arguably one of the largest barriers to cryptocurrency investment for institutions. Two nations, in particular, have been influential in this regard; Sweden and Japan. Sweden was one of the first movers in terms of a regulated Bitcoin investment. Back in May 2015, the KnC Group launched the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Tracker’ known as an exchange-traded note (ETN), which is publicly traded on a regulated exchange. This represented massive progress for Bitcoin at the time and essentially opened the market for institutions and private individuals to gain a regulated exposure to Bitcoin.

The ETN is designed to mirror the price movements of the underlying asset being USD/BTC. The company offering the ETN, XBT Provider, is required to hold the equivalent number of bitcoins as the number of ETN’s issued. In other words, when a financial institution or private investor purchases, XBT Provider has to purchase the same amount of bitcoins to back up the note. Earlier this month, Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest brokerage, announced that their clients would be able to access the ETN via their SIPP and brokerage accounts. This has opened the doors for retail and institutional investors to gain a regulated Bitcoin exposure in the UK.

As mentioned earlier, Japan has played a crucial role in moving bitcoin into the mainstream. This move has provided institutional players with the much-needed vote of confidence required before they got on board. Russia and India are looking likely to be the next countries to announce positive legislation after an increase in interest within the regions. This will further stimulate institutional investment into Bitcoin, leading to a stronger and more prosperous market for all.

Mainstream Momentum

Perhaps this can be linked back to the fact that with growing interest, and impressive growth, the media have been covering Bitcoin more and more frequently, exposing it to a wider audience. Personally, I have had more and more dinner table discussions about Bitcoin with friends, family, ex-colleagues and acquaintances, outside of the ‘cryptocurrency world’, all now showing interest in Bitcoin.

It was this month that the Wall Street Journal mentioned Bitcoin on its front page, highlighting that Bitcoin has had a strong 2017. This mainstream recognition for Bitcoin’s performance has been long awaited and will be a stimulus for continual momentum. It was only 2 years ago that most of the mainstream news stations were reporting Bitcoin’s demise. What a turn of events it has been. The factors I have outlined above are merely a few of the positive fundamentals Bitcoin has going for it. Driving demand, expanding its utility and subsequently, increasing its value and price. So yes, I am confident when I say that Bitcoin will continue to break through all time highs and find favour above the $3,000 mark before the bells ring in 2018.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

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The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin
a New High

Cannabis has been legalized in numerous states

across the United States. However, the cannabis industry is still plagued with limited access to banking services as traditional banks want to avoid dealing with businesses that engage in business activities that are still largely illegal under federal law. That is where cryptocurrencies could offer a solution.

Due to the loosening of anti-cannabis laws across America, the legal weed retail industry has grown quickly over the years and is expected to keep growing rapidly as more states debate and decide on its legality. Both the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and the District of Columbia, while the medical use of cannabis has also been legalized in an additional 20 states across the US. In late 2016, leading investment bank Cowen and Company published a report on the Cannabis industry titled, “The Cannabis Compendium: Cross-Sector Views on a Budding Industry” which postulates that the industry would grow to $50 billion by the year 2026.

However, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, most legal dispensaries are having to conduct purely cash-based business, given most banks and other financial institutions will not allow them access to financial services as a result of regulatory constrictions. This leaves weed retailers vulnerable to theft, which criminals have exploited, as evidenced by statistics on dispensary robberies. The blockchain industry is looking to remedy this. Due to the decentralized nature and inherent security of the blockchain, it offers a unique selling proposition as a payments solution for the cannabis industry.

Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

PotCoin was created in 2014 to cater to the needs of the unbanked cannabis industry. The coin works on a proof of stake system with an Annual Percentage Interest (APR) of five percent. The coin also boasts fast processing time with relatively low fees. Though the coin has exhibited steady growth in its three years of existence, there has been a substantial spike in its price this week due to its sponsorship of retired Basketball star and Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea.

According to PotCoin spokesperson Shawn Perez, the main reason for the sponsorship of Rodman’s trip was to support “Dennis Rodman's mission to bring peace to the world." Though the visit does not seem to have any visible ties to the cannabis industry, PotCoin has benefitted from the media attention that has surrounded Rodman’s journey to North Korea. According to Coin Market Cap, the coin has shown over 70 percent growth, from just below $0.10 to $0.17 since the sponsorship was announced.

POSaBIT

Washington-based bitcoin startup POSaBIT has created a financial platform that allows customers at weed retailers to make purchases using their regular credit cards. The platform uses bitcoin as an intermediate payment system. Jon Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT explained: “There’s no industry – whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee – that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services. That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.” The technology facilitates customers’ quick and easy access to bitcoin at the point of sale who can then use the digital currency anywhere that it is accepted. The platform is already in use by 30 dispensaries in the state of Washington.

The platform is attractive to cash-only merchants who want to accept another form of payment, retailers that want to be seen as more technologically savvy so as to differentiate themselves from the competition, and for small businesses that want to maximize profits by capitalizing on digital currencies’ low transaction fees. The technology is compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations while complying with laws regulating the cannabis trade. Since the platform reduces the reliance on cash as a medium of exchange, it is making dispensaries safer working environments for employees as there is less of an incentive for theft.

SinglePoint and First Bitcoin Capital

Holding company SinglePoint and blockchain technology provider First Bitcoin Capital announced a partnership on June 6. The joint venture agreement aims to create an efficient and workable payments solution for cannabis retailers using blockchain technology. Greg Lambrecht, SinglePoint CEO, explained: "In January 2014 SinglePoint announced and started working on a bitcoin payment solution, shortly after we recognized the issue of minimal user adoption of digital currency. The payments industry has rapidly changed since that time. There is now tremendous momentum and demand for bitcoin acceptance as an alternative form of payment.

This Joint Venture with First Bitcoin Capital is perfect timing. Bitcoin payments are catching on, and cannabis dispensaries need a solution fast." SinglePoint has previously worked with leading companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon on technology integration systems that have allowed for a more robust use of communication technology as a payment solution. The company now hopes to use this experience to create a workable solution for weed retailers.

Greg Rubin of First Bitcoin Capital stated: "We are optimistic that our partnership with SinglePoint will produce positive cash flow to our bottom line. Between the two of our companies, we will have the ability to develop a best in class solution, and SinglePoint will be able to help in distribution. We look forward to providing cutting-edge products and services to all states through the establishment of this new venture." “As with the massive and widespread adoption of Bitcoin worldwide, the two companies will pursue opportunities to leverage their payment technology background and develop a proprietary solution specifically for high-risk payment verticals including the cannabis industry.” the press release adds.

The two companies believe they have found a way for a smooth customer experience at the point of sale at weed dispensaries. Using SinglePoints’ technology integration experience and First Bitcoin Capital’s tech background, the company will create an “all-encompassing payment solution” for the retail cannabis industry. The platform will be easy to integrate into the existing point of sale machinery through a simple download. With the retail cannabis industry set to grow quickly in the coming years and the continuing lack of regulatory support at the federal level, it seems like the industry will have to rely on blockchain technology and digital currencies to facilitate easy trade and to securely store its profits.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

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MIT Graduate-led Startup Enigma Unveils Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

MIT Graduate-led Startup Enigma Unveils Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

     California-based blockchain startup Enigma has announced the creation

of a cryptocurrencyinvestment platform that allows developers to start their own digital asset investment funds based on trading strategies that they create themselves. The platform, named Catalyst, enables developers to create investment funds where they have full control of how their digital assets are handled. Developers are free to incorporate whatever variable they see fit into the algorithms that govern their fund.

The platform is the brainchild of Silicon Valley startup Enigma that is led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates. The Enigma team has previously created a different platform that aimed to give users control over their data, who has access to it and, ultimately the ability to sell the data at a profit while retaining their anonymity. Now, the Guy Zyskind-led team has set its sights on cryptocurrency trading. “A lot of people are starting to look into it, and invest in it, but it’s still very much kind of like the Wild West,” says Enigma CEO, Guy Zyskind of the cryptocurrency market. This is the reasoning behind the creation of Catalyst, which seeks to open up and demystify the cryptocurrency market to developers and investors alike.

“We are passionate about the role of cryptocurrencies in defining personal financial freedom. We want to play our part in driving their mainstream adoption. Our vision is to enable developers to build winning investment strategies, a strong track record and attract investment from community investors,” Enigma explained in their announcement. The team defines Catalyst as “a platform that empowers anyone to build their own crypto hedge fund and participate in the coming Renaissance of the financial ecosystem. Catalyst is a playground where developers, quants, and experienced traders can easily build, simulate, and eventually live trade cryptocurrencies using sophisticated programmatic strategies.”

How It Works

“To begin trading, users open payment channels with a chosen liquidity provider, in the currencies they wish to trade. Orders are then submitted to the liquidity provider that a trader chooses, and matched with an online counterparty. Finally, the assets are exchanged atomically by executing a single, cross-chain payment, routed through the liquidity provider,” the Catalyst white paper explains. The platform is designed to ensure that the investors maintain full control and ownership of their assets at all times. The platform also allows for the details of the trading

Algorithms to be kept private:

“The core of Catalyst’s architecture provides a method of performing cross-chain atomic swaps using hashed timelock contracts (HTLCs), operating under the direction of an algorithmic trade manager. This ensures that traders can maintain custody of their assets and privacy of their trading algorithms.”

The team plans to open source their infrastructure which they hope will further enhance and grow both the market and their platform. “We believe an ecosystem of multiple exchanges will further enhance the reliability of the trading infrastructure and liquidity of the underlying payment networks, while simultaneously providing an avenue for scaling beyond the throughput of a single exchange.”

Further to its vision of opening up and growing the cryptocurrency investment market, the Catalyst platform will be able to handle live trading of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s). “One of Catalyst‘s long-term goals is support live-trading of ICO tokens. These tokens are typically managed via an Ethereum smart contract, thus, our implementation plans to be fully compatible with the proposed Raiden Network, which enables off-chain transfers of value between Ethereum smart contracts.” or investment strategies that are able to generate high returns, the team recognizes that developers must have access to all pertinent data and addresses this through the creation of a data bank of sorts within the platform which they believe will make

The process easier:

“Developers will be able to access a large variety of data sources specifically around crypto-assets. These include price data, sentiment data, social networking data, and more. While we plan to curate the initial data sets, it is likely that most data will be generated by the community in return for incentives. Developers can utilize the myriad of data sources that will be made available through our platform to build their models, back-test them according to historical data, as well as put their strategies to the test in a simulated or real trading environment.”

Enigma hopes the platform will be attractive to developers who are interested in creating algorithms for the cryptocurrency market since they do not have to put up the initial capital themselves. “Beyond making development of crypto-trading strategies easy, our goal is to create a marketplace for trading strategies that non-developers can invest in. In this way, developers are not required to obtain capital to fund their algorithms personally. Instead, they can focus on becoming the best algo-traders they can be, while earning management and performance fees from investors that choose to invest in their strategies.”

Though the platform will initially only be available to developers with coding experience, there are plans to incorporate certain tools to allow “regular” people to create their own strategies. “In order to further lower barriers to invest in and increase adoption of crypto-assets, we will offer tools that enables individuals with no coding experience to build, test and master algorithmic trading strategies. This interface would be similar to the visual programming languages, like Scratch developed at MIT, and would provide full-functionality of the Trading SDK and connect to all existing data sources.”

To allow investors to put money into the fund with the best performance, there will be a  “web-based leaderboard ranking of all strategies deployed by developers. These will include standard return and risk metrics, such as ROI, Sharpe ratio, alpha and beta and max drawdown.” The investors have the choice to put their money in the well-performing funds, at a management fee to the fund developers, as is the practice in traditional investment funds.

Catalyst hopes to help both experienced investors and newcomers make smart cryptocurrency trading choices. “This kind of marketplace can benefit both the investors, who now have access to algorithmic trading, as well as the developers, who may lack the capital to fund their strategies personally. To the best of our knowledge, our platform will be the first to make machine-based investing accessible. Regular investors can then invest directly in winning strategies through our system.” “From a vision perspective, we would like to be able to enable the average Joes to be able to invest in these technologies as well,” added Can Kisagun, Chief Product Officer at Enigma.

Why Digital Assets Funds Are Poised to Succeed

With the steep rise in demand for both altcoins and newly issued ICO tokens, a platform such as Catalyst will likely draw investor attention once it goes live.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

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Billionaire Investor Sets Example Investing in Altcoin ICO

Billionaire Investor Sets Example Investing in Altcoin ICO

    

A billionaire investor best known for buying roughly 30,000 Bitcoins

as part of the first government auction of the digital currency in 2014, is setting precedent as he stands behind a crypto token to be launched by a new startup. Tim Draper told Reuters in an interview that his participation in the initial coin offering (ICO) of Tezos slated later this month will be his first. The new Blockchain platform launched by a husband-and-wife team with extensive Wall Street and hedge fund backgrounds will launch the ICO on May 22.

Tezos incentive

According to information on its website, Tezos takes a fundamentally different approach by creating governance rules for stakeholders to approve of protocol upgrades. They are then deployed on the network automatically. When a developer proposes a protocol upgrade, they can attach an invoice to be paid out to their address upon approval and inclusion of their upgrade. This approach provides a strong incentive for participation in the Tezos core development and further decentralizes the maintenance of the network. It compensates developers with tokens that have immediate value rather than forcing them to seek corporate sponsorships, foundation salaries or work for Internet fame alone.

Draper’s confidence

As a new way of moving and storing money, Draper had told Fox Business in an interview in 2015 that Bitcoin is going to hit $10,000 in the following three years (by 2018). While the Bitcoin ecosystem looks forward to the feasibility of the prediction considering what is probable within the timeframe, it would seem that Draper’s confidence in the unfolding reality around him of what the top digital currency could bring to the table is still sound. This makes his disclosed interest in another aspect of the digital currency sphere – his plan to participate in a token offering and his choice of Tezos as a particular startup to invest in considering it’s a formation of a “husband and wife” team – a point to note.

With its family makeup, the success of the startup’s ICO will be a sheer example of the opportunities the crypto economy could offer the smallest unit of a society – after all, there are businesses owned and run by couples or a family. It would also show that the potential for Bitcoin, as a growing digital currency in various households, is huge in this kind of a business setup. Hence, Draper’s support for the adaptation of the cryptocurrency concept into the family-based business world could be precedential.

"The best thing I can do is lead by example," Draper said in his interview.

"Over time, I actually feel that some of these tokens are going to improve the world and I want to make sure those tokens get promoted as well. I think Tezos is one of those tokens."

Unlike most traditional venture capital firms which are prohibited by agreements with investors from deploying cash into such high-risk assets as digital currencies, Draper said his firm is doing this with Tezos because there is money for such non-traditional investments. In addition, they had anticipated “that certain things are going to happen and finance is going to be transformed."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

 

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Litecoin, Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold, Now Aims at $50 Goal

Litecoin, Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold,
Now Aims at $50 Goal

    

Now that the Litecoin price is hovering at around $30

– as the Lightning Network, expected to make transactions faster on the network, is set to kick off in about two days – is it time for the digital currency, dubbed as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold, to aim for the $50 goal? As it stands, its market cap has crossed the $1 bln mark to join the three other major networks – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple –

In the category.

"This is a huge plus for the currency which just got listed on top Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb. This comes in the wake of its addition on the Coinbase platform also last week."

If Litecoin succeeds with the SegWit activation and LN implementation – considering that Bitcoin has not been able to reach this far in terms of its scalability issue – it would definitely reflect in LTC price in the coming days. As such, wallet providers and other major users are expected to deploy SegWit-enabled apps.

"Litecoin’s Charlie Lee also confirms that Bitcoin Core developers have been working with his network on Confidential Transactions (CT) and Merkelized Abstract Syntax Trees (MAST)."

As it is expected to take the first mover advantage as one of the first to activate SegWit, all eyes would be on Litecoin and what it has to offer in terms of making transaction confirmation quicker. This will continue to be the case for as long as Litecoin serves as a relief to any transaction issues that are usually associated with Bitcoin. This will make it easier to send money from a point to another instantly and for less.

Upgrade important

The current issue of transaction delays on the Bitcoin network and rising transaction fees now seem stuck at the moment and some say it is no longer seen as an incentive to encourage new users to switch from fiat. Though not the first and only network to be working on activating SegWit, the upgrade is important for Litecoin because it is one of those networks with the oldest Blockchain beside Bitcoin. It also has an identical code to that of Bitcoin. However, despite the forward-looking consideration of how Litecoin is going to benefit users, we are yet to see it proven that people in the market really need what it has to offer. The debate on whether there is demand for its use continues.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin? Ethereum? Ripple? Three Reasons to Consider Investing in Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin? Ethereum? Ripple?
Three Reasons to Consider Investing in Cryptocurrency

    

Bitcoin is beginning to seem like a viable currency,

especially since reaching the $2,000 mark. Major setbacks, such as the loss of $480 mln due to Mt. Gox’s neglectful management of Bitcoins, have caused the cryptocurrency to plummet in the past. Slowly but surely, the first-ever Blockchain currency has climbed back.

Presently, Bitcoin is performing better than it ever has. Early in 2017, Bitcoin price hit historic highs, surpassing the value of gold. Nearly a decade after Bitcoin’s quiet release, dozens of copycat currencies have arisen. Utilizing Blockchain, a public database or ledger that records transactions involving encrypted keys, developers are vying to improve the original digital currency. A few, namely Ripple and Ethereum, have proved to be exceptional competitors. Indeed, the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance was formed by “Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics, and technology vendors” to establish standard practices for the use of the platform/currency hybrid

“at the speed of business.”

You may shy away from joining speculators on the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency markets. However, there are a few strong cases for investment.

Here are three reasons to consider investing in cryptocurrency:

Bitcoin is experiencing massive growth

By far the most popular digital currency is the progenitor of Blockchain technology. Bitcoin owns the lion’s share of the emerging market. Its trading volume is much larger than any other competing currency and its valuation is many times more than the second cryptocurrency of choice, Ethereum. Wider adoption and regular mainstream coverage have elevated Bitcoin from an intriguing security experiment to a possible real-world asset. Additionally, Bitcoin’s exponential growth may portend good things for Blockchain currency in general. After a few major cases of theft for both Bitcoin and Ethereum, trust in the currency seems to be rebounding. Some believe the cryptocurrency is a bubble about to burst, but contentious political and economic conditions could push the price up even further.

Ethereum is gaining traction

Ethereum is the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.

Although it currently sits at under $100 a unit, it’s the most viable alternative to the dominant cryptocurrency. In fact, the competing form of cash was crafted by one of Bitcoin’s co-founders.

Ethereum is both a platform that allows for the creation of decentralized applications and a currency. The currency, Ether, fuels the platform. Its incorporation of smart contracts, which allow for anonymous agreements on the Blockchain, spawned the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). The currency is more flexible for developers and has attracted major tech players, such as Intel and Microsoft.

It may see friendly regulation

The anonymity and lack of oversight concomitant with decentralized currency create opportunities for abuse. Certain alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins), ones that enforce private transactions and anonymous transfers, such as Zcash and Monero, have been used extensively by criminal organizations. Although altcoins like Monero have increased in value due to acceptance from darknet users, this illicit usage of cryptocurrency has dealt damage to overall adoption rates.

Thankfully, we may see tighter regulations. Ethereum famously experienced a massive theft of $53 mln in Ether due to an exploit in a smart contract. Theoretically, the Ethereum Blockchain is immutable. The community voted to override this “immutability” in order to return stolen funds. Further, in 2013, a representative for the Bitcoin Foundation told US regulators that they would be open to transparent rulemaking. According to MarketWatch, digital currency advocates are pushing for

more regulation.

With recent interests from Japan and Russia to legitimize Bitcoin, these rules and regulations could help further cryptocurrency as a legitimate finance asset.

Diversify

Blockchain technology has the capability to change everything. The currencies running on the distributed ledger model could revolutionize how we interact with all forms of liquidity. While it is unlikely that fiat currency will be subsumed or overtaken by the digital mint, it’s quite possible that these currencies will see greater integration with our current systems.

At the very least, cryptocurrency is seeing a meteoric rise in the short-term. What the future holds for digital currency is uncertain. Currently, there is a cautious sort of endorsement for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Some speculators are pouring their cash into speedier alternatives, such as Litecoin and Dash. Still, most remain hesitant about moving their assets into an unbacked,

unregulated currency.

Although the Bitcoin ETF was recently shot down by the SEC, there is still plenty of reason to diversify your portfolio with a small investment in decentralized digital currency. As time has worn on, cryptocurrency has steadily risen in price and has experienced wider adoption.

To be sure, there has also been a great deal of volatility concomitant with Bitcoin’s rise. Valuation specialists continue to have trouble pinpointing the exact value of the currency itself and sentiment can vary wildly. Still, market capitalizations continue to grow. If you are able to steel yourself against booms and busts, you may profit from cautious investment. Continue to do your due diligence. If you remain uncertain, consider consulting a financial analyst. Remember to monitor updates, vigilantly investigating changes in sentiment. As always, be prepared to lose any amount you put into a speculative investment. Dedicating yourself to mindful investing will undoubtedly lead to the best result – especially in a market as volatile as the cryptocurrency market.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about – Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin Leads Cryptocurrencies All-Time Highs Across Board, Scaling Remains Issue

Bitcoin Leads Cryptocurrencies
All-Time Highs Across Board, Scaling Remains Issue

    

Cryptocurrencies across the board have surged

in the past 24 hours to see many reach new all-time highs. The unprecedented rise, which will like fuel speculation of bubble-like behavior, saw Bitcoin $2,400, Ethereum breaks $200 and Litecoin challenge previous highs. The top 10 cryptocurrencies all posted gains in the run-up to press time Wednesday according to data from Coinmarketcap. Further down the charts, other huge movers came out, including a 54 percent rise for Stratis and 68 percent for the Lisk Foundation’s LSK token. At the same time, it is becoming more and more difficult to determine the underlying cause for the continued market buoyancy in both Bitcoin and altcoins.

Talk of a final SegWit deal for Bitcoin may have fueled its rise, yet with details have yet to be ironed out, talk is turning to U-turns from certain members of a group originally plugged by Barry Silbert as agreeing to implement SegWit by September. SegWit is the major preoccupation of the Bitcoin community on social media meanwhile, with price celebrations eschewed in favor of debate about the strength of Silbert’s plan and likely saboteurs. Price-wise, even commentators such as Vinny Lingham have implied the next significant barrier will not be until Bitcoin is within striking distance of $5,000.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about – Bitcoin.

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Billy Draper’s Investment Tips – Cryptocurrencies, ICOs, Bubbles: CT Exclusive

Billy Draper’s Investment Tips – Cryptocurrencies, ICOs,
Bubbles: CT Exclusive

    

The Draper family is well-known to the Bitcoin community.

Tim Draper is one of the most active investors in the Bitcoin ecosystem: back in 2014, he bought 30,000 BTC as part of the government auction and up until now he is said to keep purchasing Bitcoin and to own Ether. Besides, he used his reserve of Bitcoin to fund the startups of Boost VC (with 300 BTC each), his son Adam Draper’s Virtual Reality, Blockchain and Bitcoin venture capital firm.

However, Tim has recently announced his readiness to take one step further in his relationship with the crypto world and participate in ICO – of a company called Tezos, a “new Blockchain platform launched by a husband and wife team with extensive Wall Street and in hedge fund backgrounds.” Not so long ago Boost VC also followed into his footsteps and wrote in a blog post that they were willing to invest directly in ICOs. In an exclusive interview to the Cointelegraph at Arctic15 in Helsinki, Billy notes that for the Drapers ICO is a new opportunity. “In the last month and a half, we have seen a lot of ICOs,” explains Billy Draper, Tim’s son and currently a Partner at Draper Associates. “Since Gnosis, in the last month we have seen six or seven opportunities either asking us to participate, or to market, or do something, but we’ve been still sorting it out.”

Addressing to the crypto community, Billy notes:

“You have changed the whole dynamic of funding. You have taken the best parts of Kickstarter, the best parts of Venture Capital, the best parts of tech community, and you said: Hey, we are going to release a new token, this token is going to be used specifically for making predictions, and all the engineers who are interested in that come buy those tokens, and then you can increase the value of those tokens by building applications on our token.”

Billy Draper is the one responsible for seed-stage investments in companies such as Robinhood, Laurel & Wolf, Tempo Automation and LawTrades. He is in charge of sourcing and driving investments across all sectors, with some slant towards financial technologies, marketplaces and logistics. Prior to DA, he worked in Operations at Facebook and Product Design at ApartmentList. He was named to the 2016 Forbes '30 Under 30' List for Venture Capital. “And because you bought that application, the price or the value of that currency goes up,” he continues. “And there is something so beautiful about that – that is why we are excited about crypto in general and now we are actually starting to think about ICOs.”

Is it going to be Bitcoin and Ethereum forever?

Billy admits that cryptocurrencies are probably relatively small and it’s not the focal point of the fund yet even though they do look for deals in crypto – Bitcoin, Blockchain and ‘whatever the next token is’. “We know that there will be a sort of cryptocurrency revolution, it has already started, this is no longer a science project,” he says. “This is now huge multibillion dollar industry if you take a look at the the market cap of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and now Ethereum is worth a few billion dollars, and people are building token on top of Ethereum.” However, the question that comes – Is this going to be driven, is this sort of the revolution in crypto going to be driven by 25 different cryptocurrencies or a hundred different currencies? Or is it going to be the winner takes it all?

“The reasons why new tokens pop up is because they find problems with the old ones or perhaps not problems, but opportunities to build a currency more focused on solving one problem – governance, or smart contracts, or anonymity,” Billy continues. “Another thing I like about other currencies popping up is that now Bitcoin is the gold standard to buy into the other cryptocurrencies.” The Drapers do believe that there is something behind Bitcoin and Blockchain tech in general. On the one hand, they have inherited connections and wealth from their father and grandfather. But on the other hand, they have been raised with “anything-is-possible” mentality, the Silicon Valley’s spirit of individualism and relentless optimism.

Billy shares his optimism about cryptocurrencies:

“It is not because cryptocurrency is a cool new thing – it is because of there is an incentive structure, it’s because you are taking some of the smartest engineers in the world. The coins that fail are going to be those that don’t have real world applications, the ones that are going to be successful are the ones that fulfill the promise.”

For venture funds, it would be better if cryptocurrencies and ICOs were regulated because that would make investors feel safer. Right now there is no legal ground, so you can’t ask for your money back. “We would definitely be worried about the bubble, but there is also a fear of missing out, and you have to believe in the promise,” Billy notes. “Not necessarily in the whole market of crypto but you have to believe in the promise just like people now believe in the promise of Bitcoin and Ethereum. So yes we would be worried about the bubble but just like everyone. But I don’t think we could live our lives worrying about that.”

How to invest in ICOs and cryptocurrencies, what to consider

In the early 1980s, Tim Draper was exploring the opportunities of Silicon Valley – he had an engineering degree from Stanford and a diploma from Harvard Business School and so he was trying to figure out what to do next. He started his own firm, which later became the founding investor in Baidu and Tesla Motors and backed the likes of Hotmail and Skype. They say it is the ‘Draper luck’.

“If you talk to all the great venture capitalists in the history, all of their failures have been failures to act,” explains Billy. “It is not like I invested into something and It went to zero. Because you can invest in something that goes to zero, but then you can invest in something that goes to thousands, so one X downside, thousand X upside.” He points out that we could always talk ourselves out the investment, just like we are going to talk ourselves out of an ICO, or investing money directly into cryptocurrency, or a platform built around the cryptocurrency, but the potential opportunity we would miss is what would drive us crazy.

Right now ICOs are small projects with sometimes not very experienced teams who are doing mostly marketing, raising up millions of dollars without having a product. You can get the interest really high in the ICO: you do the offering, you limit the number of tokens, you create a supply on the marketplace and then you could drive up the price because of who is involved and who is building but eventually the apps have to be built. What is important is that the promise has to be fulfilled.

“When it comes to ICOs, the criteria would be if you are an investor interested it is not hard to reach out to these people, if they have a white paper, they usually have contact, if they want questions, they want to be challenged,” says Billy. “You need to believe in the team and the team should be aware of that and the team shouldn’t try to hide behind wherever and more people do that. This is very encouraging, they publish a whitepaper saying hey contact us, this is how we are going to do this, how we are going to implement this, this is the background that we have.”

Billy also recommends investors to diversify and participate in several ICOs to make sure their crypto portfolio has some exposure to some other currencies. They should understand how the market is going to function, that this crypto could go to zero, it could fail, it could be dead, or there is a bigger risk, which we don’t typically have to deal with which is it could be stolen. “What I would do is probably work with the crypto expert, who I trust and ask him if he would consult me and make sure I do it in the right way,” he says. “You look at what applications could be developed for it, so why does this exist, what is the specific use for this that can’t be done elsewhere and if those applications were to be built, what is the market size of that, based on the market cap, then you would approach it the way we approach startups.”

Billy concludes by saying that team and real world application are the two criteria for a success, the real world applications that people need to connect. Previously, in the Cointelegraph we have covered several examples of how real world economy can benefit from the crypto economy. The latest case of such type of a project is Primalbase, which claims to transform traditional office rental into a new-generation community-based ecosystem where one can share, sell or rent out high-quality office spaces using Ethereum and Waves-based digital tokens. In other words, it’s distributed workspace for the tech community in the manner of WeWork but in crypto tokens.

Billy Draper says about it:

“That’s cool, they found a real world application, and that’s what we want to see – we don’t want to see more coins in the world. That is a game-changing thinking, the same with real estate. Renting out these tokens? That is how you start the real revolution, that’s how things will go from Bitcoin sort of still crypto community which is getting bigger.”

We end our conversation with Billy with asking for a general advice about cryptocurrency investment. And he tells us that the best way to start with is to learn about cryptocurrencies that you think are the most interesting, the specific ones. Then you should start trading them, in some small way – you don’t have to start with a huge million dollar investment in a cryptocurrency. You should start to feel and understand the volatility of the market, to understand what drives the market and how you can play into that.

He concludes:

“I would suggest just like with anything – make sure you know what you are getting into, so there are no surprises, and if the token goes to zero, that’s the risk to take. And on the upside make sure you are investing in a token you believe in. If you are trying to pick winners, make sure you pick winners that you feel very comfortable about what they are going to develop.The key is user education, just make sure you understand what you get into, there is a certain risk.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about – Bitcoin.

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BitConduite: Visualizing and Analyzing Activity on the Bitcoin Network

BitConduite: Visualizing and Analyzing Activity on the Bitcoin Network

    

BitConduite is a visual analytics tool built to explore the activity of Bitcoin users over long-term periods.

Pseudonymous nature of transactions

With its position as the first and largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is attracting a plethora of different players among which are investors, governments, economists and researchers from all around the world. Transactions in Bitcoin are stored in an immutable distributed ledger that is accessible to anyone. However, this open data can be challenging to make sense of given its pseudonymous nature. Indeed, while transaction details such as the amount, the time and the sender and receiver addresses are publicly disclosed, no personal information is revealed on the identities of participants. Therefore, this abstract data does not lend itself easily to an exploratory analysis of the network actors. The increasing volume of transactions in Bitcoin is an additional challenge hampering the study of this network.

Analyzing the Bitcoin network

To visualize its billions of transactions, a team of researchers composed of Christoph Kinkeldey, Jean-Daniel Fekete and Petra Isenberg, are developing a tool to identify entities on the network from their public addresses, whether these entities are individuals or organizations. Dubbed “BitConduite,” this tool uses the network’s topology to estimate which addresses may belong to the same entity and classifies them following their activity patterns.

Since Bitcoin is used in diverse ways, from an investment asset to an illegal shopping payment system, the tool would allow us to know more about the main reasons behind Bitcoin use. Furthermore, while many argue Bitcoin is an influencing factor in world events, it is very difficult to assess such hypotheses. In 2012-2013, the financial crisis in Cyprus saw nervous cash-holders invest in Bitcoin to counter their banking system and be able to freely move their assets out of the country. Countries in crisis are no doubt raising the value of Bitcoin, but only a long-term analysis could shed light on the exact role of the cryptocurrency.

How does it work?

To make such an analysis possible, the researchers behind BitConduite extract raw data from the Bitcoin Core client and store it in a MongoDB database. This database is then tailored to visualization by using a column-oriented MonetDB database. Finally, input heuristics are applied to derive entities from pseudonymous addresses and cluster them. Analysts working with this tool can filter out entities with certain attributes, group the similar ones based on the factors of interest and visualize the number and volume of transactions of each cluster on a timeline. The development of the BitConduite tool is an ongoing work and we are very likely to see more analytics tools of this genre created to explore the use of other cryptocurrencies.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

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Inbound Marketing Strategies

Inbound Marketing Strategies

    

How to generate more qualified leads and turn them into customers

  • Get found
    online by more (and more qualified!) visitors
  • Convert
    more visitors into leads
  • Nurture
    leads with discipline and consistency guiding them down the sales funnel
  • Close
    leads efficiently
  • Make smart marketing investments
    guided by analytics and ROI

The V2 Marketing Communications inbound marketing strategies combine social media marketing, content development, and search marketing (SEO)  into integrated and measurable marketing campaigns for our clients. By nurturing the potential client with worthwhile, inspiring, relevant information and compelling benefits, when they decide to buy, the consumer with whom you have created a relationship will choose you over your competitor. As an internet marketing consultant, our approach focuses on increasing awareness for your brand, generating qualified leads and building customer loyalty. Our job as your marketing agency is to produce results that impact your bottom line.

V2 Marketing Communications Inbound Marketing strategies include:

Overall marketing strategy & content strategy

  • HubSpot website design and integration
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content creation and promotion
  • Social media marketing
  • Lead conversion and analysis

How does our Inbound Marketing Consulting team help you attract visitors and turn them into customers?

  • We help you create valuable content
  • We create or optimize web pages, blogs, e-books, videos, PR and social media accounts so that they’re attractive to search crawlers
  • We help promote your content through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • We provide expertise on effective lead nurturing and conversion
  • We help evaluate and continuously update your website (keywords, tags, landing pages, etc.) using the analytical data provided by the HubSpot software
  • We help you become an expert with inbound marketing services, using tools like HubSpot, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
Inbound Marketing.

Markethive