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Bullish Sentiment Fuels Bitcoin’s Return to $1,000

Bullish Sentiment Fuels Bitcoin's Return to $1,000

  

Bitcoin prices experienced notable gains this week, pushing higher as sentiment recovered from the lagging impact of market turmoil.The digital currency rose to as much as $1,024.14 on 3rd February, roughly 11.5% above its opening price of $918.56 on 28th January, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).At the time of the report, bitcoin was trading at $1,015.11, slightly below the weekly high.

This sharp gain compared to the tepid increase of 3% generated during the week through 27th January and the more notable rise of 7.9% produced during the prior week. Bitcoin’s price volatility was reasonably calm during this two-week period, as it relaxed after an intense price fluctuation experienced around the start of the year. Still, greater growth was seen outside the US dollar markets.

CNY-denominated bitcoin managed to enjoy even more robust gains, surging more than 20% during the week to a high of ¥7,186.17 after opening the week at ¥5,964.90, additional BPI figures show. At the time of the report, bitcoin was trading at ¥7,129.10, less than 1% below the weekly high reached earlier on 3rd February.

Sentiment slowly recovers

Analysts pointed to the recent improvement in sentiment as the impetus for the increases. Earlier this month, trader sentiment encountered headwinds when bitcoin’s sharp price volatility motivated the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to intervene and meet with major Chinese exchanges BTCC, Huobi, and OKCoin. The startups later eliminated margin trading and began charging trading fees, two developments some have speculated would help reduce volatility.

However, bitcoin trading volume flooded to no-fee exchanges, which once again raised the question of which trading volume figures were reliable. More recently, traders have become more optimistic, according to several market observers. Algorithmic trader Jacob Eliosoff emphasized the key role that China’s investors and traders play in the bitcoin market, as well as their recent uptick in trading activity.

He stated that while their exact motivations may not be clear, it is certain that while these market participants “shied away from bitcoin” over the last few weeks, they “have come roaring back". Petar Zivkovski, COO of leveraged bitcoin trading platform Whaleclub, also stressed how PBoC intervention affected trader sentiment. "This was seen as a sign of legitimacy for bitcoin," he said.

China's take

Still, there are some who are waiting for further announcements. Zhou Shouji, an operator of China OTC trading firm FinTech Blockchain Group, said he is convinced further PBoC actions are forthcoming. "Everyone is waiting for the next PBoC action," he said. Further, he worried that without margin trading and automated trading, prices could collapse more quickly on any negative moves.

Already, exchanges appear to be expressing an eagerness to remove fees, with OKCoin pulling back an announcement it would ease prices. At press time, Huobi said it was not involved in any conversations to lower fees, while BTCC did not offer any statement.

Strong market dynamics

Yet, all this is occurring amid improving sentiment. Zivkovski spoke to how market dynamics helped fuel this rally: "This bull run was fueled by shorts closing, hence powering price up with more thrust, as well as a lack of sell orders on many exchanges, which created a liquidity vacuum that allowed the price to rise quickly," he said.

The robust nature of trader sentiment is illustrated by Whaleclub data, which shows that the market was an average of 84% long in the seven days between 28th January and 3rd February. During all but one of these sessions, the market was at least 80% long. Confidence, the extent by which a session’s positions are larger than usual, was an average of 82% during the seven days and was at least 80% in six of the last seven sessions.

Going forward, these market dynamics could help bitcoin create support at $1,000, something that would be "a first," according to Tim Enneking, chairman of Crypto Asset Management. He emphasized that "It will take a bit for $1,000 to become a support level," pointing to the price fluctuations taking place over the last 24 hours.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

The Passion of ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ How The Blockchain’s Most Beloved Investor Became it’s Most Polarizing

The Passion of 'Bitcoin Jesus'
How The Blockchain's Most Beloved Investor
Became
it's Most Polarizing


"Any miners who've upgraded to Bitcoin Unlimited 1.0 should downgrade now! It just generated an invalid block."

It’s afternoon in the ‘Miner in the World’ WeChat, one of the rare channels that bridges bitcoin's strained east-west communications divide. But the alarm isn’t being sounded by a miner. Rather, it’s from bitcoin developer Matt Corallo, and he’s up in arms about an issue many of his peers now believe could have accidentally split the $15bn economic network.

Corallo quickly posts more links to explain the situation, which boils down to this: a bitcoin mining pool processed an invalid block that was rejected by other nodes and miners. As it happens block after block, day after day, the pool found the correct hash and broadcasted it to the network. In short, it should have been able to retrieve the current block reward, earning roughly $11,000, but it wasn't able to. In this case, the pool, Bitcoin.com, was running code that was different than most the network. Unlike all previous blocks, the block generated wasn’t 1MB, but larger.

Quickly, someone in the channel pings Roger Ver, its owner. "I don’t know which versions of Bitcoin Unlimited are safe," Corallo continues. "Their bug report seems to say anything before 1.0 is fine, but I don’t know." "The bug?" another asks. "The bug where it makes blocks which are ignored by the network and you lose 13 BTC," Corallo shoots back. "If SPV miner found block, BTC forked," a China-based miner adds. Finally, Ver arrives.

"You could also look at it that Bitcoin Core has had a bug all these years with 1MB incorrectly defined. It seems like Core should have fixed that bug already," he says, going on the attack. Tensions quickly flare and within minutes the thread mirrors that vitriol that has spilled across bitcoin social media sites for nearly two years. "Roger, this is getting ridiculous," another Core developer says. And there’s a growing chorus of bitcoin developers and users that agree.

'Bitcoin Jesus'

If there was a single person who could have brought unity to bitcoin’s longest and hardest-fought debate, Roger Ver might have been it. An early investor and ‘true believer’ of the technology, Ver began backing bitcoin-related startups at a time when the number of people interested in the idea could have fit into a tiny room. It was love at first sight, and he showed his adoration by throwing thousands of dollars a month into pro-bitcoin advertisements on more than 100 radio stations, even buying space for the first billboard promoting the cryptocurrency.

His passion for bitcoin made sense. After an unsuccessful run for California State Assembly in 2000 (and a stint of 10 months in federal prison for the illegal sale of what the US Department of Justice called 'explosives' and what Ver called 'fireworks'), Ver had developed a distrust of authorities. As the price of bitcoin rose and Ver’s net worth grew, there were excited accounts of a charismatic libertarian who preached individual economic freedom.

It could be said Ver both gave the monetary movement a face that it didn’t have in bitcoin's pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and that he helped further develop the ideology that the cryptographic network should be a digital cash, one out of the control of the powers that be. For all this, fans gave him the nickname 'Bitcoin Jesus', a Biblical charge that seems to hold as much significance now, even as his standing in the community has changed.

Scaling – the one true king

For those who have remained on the sidelines, bitcoin’s 'block size debate' largely rests on two issues, one technological, the other social. On the surface, it’s a battle over whether bitcoin’s developers should change a rather minute rule in the open-source protocol (the 1MB cap on the number of transactions the miners are able to approve). But, to some, it's more philosophical, centering on whether this change would fit within the vision of its original inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto.

On one side is Bitcoin Core, the group of developers working on bitcoin’s most widely used software. This group has advocated for code called Segregated Witness, which would boost transaction capacity (among other optimizations) but leave the contentious block size rule unchanged. Effectively, the change would provide the network with a capacity equivalent to a 2.1MB block size, advocates say. (Instead of changing the old rule (‘MAX_BLOCK_BASE_SIZE’), a new variable (‘MAX_BLOCK_WEIGHT') would be introduced).

To proponents, Bitcoin Core’s philosophy is one that emphasizes creativity and safety. SegWit would use a mechanism called a soft fork to enact its change, meaning that those using the network would not be forced to pick between two competing versions of the software when an update is introduced. (The hard fork process would be similar to if, every time your iPhone needed an upgrade, your failure to do so would mean you were forever on another communications branch).

As highlighted by ethereum’s hard fork last year, such a scenario can be problematic. In the case of ethereum, there are now two versions of the open-source software, both running largely similar feature sets, but backed by different communities and cultures. In bitcoin’s case, this divergence is already occurring, though as the Bitcoin Unlimited bug showed, it’s a fight that’s being carried out on the main bitcoin blockchain. There's also an argument about a perceived over-centralization of the technology within the block size debate.

For bitcoin to be successful, some argue it needs to be widely distributed, meaning its infrastructure (nodes and miners) need to be anywhere and everywhere, free from mass corruption, influence, or exploitation. Larger blocks, Core argues, might dissuade some users from running full nodes which could lead to a small group of people having too much control over the network.

The gospel according to Ver

Ver’s argument essentially boils down to this: bitcoin needs to scale right now because of increased demand. And to do so, the block size should be bigger. A bigger block size, in Ver’s mind, will allow far more consumers and businesses to start using the protocol, making censorship through centralization a non-issue. "The best strategy to not have censorship, to not be controlled, is to have more people using bitcoin, so the government can’t just say it’s drug dealers using it," Ver said.

But, with Bitcoin Core unwilling to do the work (or introduce a proposal to the network), Ver has taken matters into his own hands, helping to collect more than $1m to fund alternative developers. Ver’s mining pool is running this code (one that's also being run by a few mining pools that disagree with Core’s approach to scaling the network). It has proven to be controversial, and the issue last weekend found the Bitcoin Unlimited developer team has been accused of deploying "untested and buggy" code.

Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell argued that the code that introduced the bug didn't appear to have "peer review of any kind". Though, the error was fixed by the development team within a few hours due to monitoring. According to Blockstream CEO Adam Back, the worst-case scenario goes something like this: by using a process called 'SPV mining', other pools began building on the invalid block sent out by Bitcoin.com for a time.

Essentially, SPV mining meant that the miners were accepting blocks found by other miners without first validating whether they met the network rules. Should this have continued, Core’s team argues the results could have been far-reaching. “I think we’re lucky that they didn’t find a block. If they found a valid block on top of an invalid block, then they would have all got banned from the network, and we might have ended up with a sort of network split, where 60% of the miners are off on their own chain,” he said.

“In short, the whole BU concept is fatally flawed … and the fact that some miners are not even fully validating blocks compounds the problem,” developer Eric Lombrozo added.

The disciples

Yet, Ver has prominent supporters. One is bitcoin miner and operator of the ViaBTC mining pool Haipo Yang. Yang is an operator of one of the newer mining pools, but has already generated complaints for his favored stance – that SegWit has little to do with scaling and that all the main devs should be fired. "As a programer, I believe the SegWit is pointless and very harmful to bitcoin," he said. Yang argues that SegWit would change bitcoin more than other proposals. He believes there’s very little chance of a split, as Core claims, in the event of a hard fork because everyone wants to scale (with the exception of Bitcoin Core).

When asked about Ver, he called him “a great man”, largely for the way he has stood up to the developers on the issue. Another staunch supporter is Peter Rizen, the chief scientist of Bitcoin Unlimited, who sees the issue similarly. “Bigger blocks are needed to allow bitcoin to continue growing, the same way it did for the first seven years,” Rizen said. According to Rizen, Bitcoin Unlimited is merely stripping the protocol of its block size limit that was implemented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010. Everyone involved acknowledges the limit is largely arbitrary, and that it was merely intended to act as a throttle for the network.

“The limit is now having an economic effect and isn’t serving the role Satoshi had in mind,” Rizen continued, throwing in another appeal:

“At Davos, I heard people were making fun of bitcoin as not being serious because it can only process three transactions per second.”

Lies and ethics

But just how much data science is involved in the debate remains unclear. As with the ongoing “fake news” scandal in the political world (where the public largely remains awestruck at the discord), only a handful of people in the world perhaps know bitcoin’s inner-workings enough to really understand the issue or evaluate proposed code. One difference is the experience level of those involved. Bitcoin’s Core team boasts researchers who have been actively deploying code for nearly a decade in a hostile, real-time environment. The other side argues it's more passionate, resourceful and that it more clearly understands the vision.

But there could be indications in how the groups are carrying out their messaging. Ver contends that bitcoin-based businesses are struggling with network inefficiencies, and that’s why more exchanges are adding support for alternative cryptocurrencies. He points to Coinbase, Xapo and Blockchain as businesses that will be negatively affected by bridling the block size (though, none of those companies seem as passionate as Ver about alternatives to Bitcoin Core’s proposal).

Xapo president Ted Rogers said the company isn’t evaluating the scaling debate. And Blockchain’s vice president of growth, Liana Douillet Guzmán, asserted that the company is fine with the advances that will be enabled by SegWit. “I’m hopeful that SegWit in concert with Lightning Networks (like Thunder) can help remedy a lot of the current backlog, but we won’t know the impact, if any, it will have until SegWit is deployed,” Guzmán said.

Still, Ver alleges other mainstream businesses are being dissuaded from using bitcoin. “I know a company with over a 100 million users that put their bitcoin integration on hold because [the network] wouldn’t handle its scale,” Ver told CoinDesk. “That’s really frustrating to me as someone that has done everything I can to get more people to use bitcoin.” Ver declined to provide the name of the company, but it’s worth examining the claim.

Even if said enterprise integrates bitcoin, it doesn’t mean all of its users will immediately start using the functionality. According to Ver, though, more enterprises would offer an on-ramp into bitcoin were it not for network congestion, long transaction times and hefty fees. Although Ver’s claims have been found to be half-truths in some instances.

For example, Ver recently took to Twitter to complain that even when he paid the suggested $0.06 transaction fee on a $23,000 transaction, it hadn’t been confirmed 12 hours later. It was later found out that actually one of the transaction’s inputs suffered from transaction malleability (the issue that SegWit, the proposal favored by Core, is said to resolve).

He also took aim about paying a $75 transaction fee. And while he did pay that fee, Ver left out some important information, according to Bitcoin Core developer Todd, namely that the transaction was hundreds of times bigger than the average transaction.

To Todd, these white lies aren’t working in Ver’s favor:

“What’s alienated him isn’t his support of big blocks, but his persistent dishonesty. His actions are not that of an ethical person.”

Bad Blood

It’s hard to say that Ver hasn’t gone to extreme measures to espouse his views. In addition to running the Bitcoin.com mining pool and news portal, Ver operates his own channel on the popular social network Reddit. Called r/btc, the subreddit was started in direct response to censorship of certain views on r/bitcoin, the technology’s most popular forum.

Ver argues that he’s been censored from r/bitcoin on numerous occasions because he brings an opinion that doesn’t align with Core’s. “It’s pretty much impossible to reach consensus with all the censorship,” Ver said. “Core devs and those supporters are the ones doing most of the censorship, and we shouldn’t trust people that censor stuff to run a censorship resistant network.”

But Ver has been implicated in doing the same on r/BTC; (At the Satoshi Roundtable in Cancun, one of the forum’s former moderators even acknowledged that the platform has all but collapsed into an unreliable source of vitriol). For all his supposed open-mindedness, Ver seems focused on selling rhetoric that drives a discussion to a platform he makes money from advertising on. “The sad thing about all this is it’s so petty,” Todd said.

While Core developers are largely critical, Ver seems of two minds about their work, on one hand reverting back to his pleasant, conquer-the-world-via-entrepreneurship persona even as he throws barbs and accusations. In an interview, Ver acknowledges that even Bitcoin Core has the protocol’s best intentions at heart, although in the next breath he contends all the Core developers should be fired. “They have absolutely and utterly failed to scale to keep up with demand,” he said.

The tensions seem partly economic. Armed with more users, Ver reasons, the price of bitcoin would increase, thereby liberating more people from traditional fiat monies. “That’s the measure we have for how many people see benefit there,” he said. “For bitcoin to rival the dollar or the euro, the price will have to be much higher than it is today.”

A resurrection?

Despite all this, however, Ver remains one of the more captivating proponents of bitcoin, advocating for what any of his supporters see as their stake in the network – and their vision for its use. “When I started using bitcoin more than four years ago, I was buying into a vision of a fast, cheap and global system that could be used by anyone, whether they are wealthy or financially disenfranchised,” said Jake Smith, general manager of Bitcoin.com.

While others have technical appeals, Smith’s is unique in that it’s personal. To him, this is something he’s spent years of his life on. And it’s easy to sympathize. There was a time when writing about bitcoin didn’t entail scouring through pages of reports issued by companies on incidents with their specific implementations at bitcoin's innermost layers.

Rather than being caught in a he-said, she-said game on minute technical issues, there were massive funding rounds, tales of user growth and grand plans to reinvent the financial system. But, not everything has changed, and maybe that's another source of conflict. "I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is," Ver once said in a famous 2011 video, one where he bet $10,000 would outperform gold and silver by 100x.

It seemed crazy at the time, visionary in retrospect. Only time will tell if this bet turns out the same.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Blockchain is the best bet for secure, efficient electronic health records

Blockchain is the best bet
for secure, efficient electronic health records

Why it matters to you

When secure electronic health records are universal, your personal medical information will be protected from medical identity theft.Which makes you cringe more, the threat of ransomware or the current mess of health records? Blockchain, the same technology that enables hackers to collect ransoms with anonymity, is increasingly seen as the best platform to advance universal electronic health records (EHRs), according to Wired.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is widely associated with cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. The blockchain is also used on the “dark web” for the anonymous sale of weapons, drugs, and other illegal exchanges. The same attributes of blockchain technology that make it appealing for criminal use, however, can also help solve the complex data record-keeping needs of systems used for legitimate purposes like EHRs.

The lack of coordinated and complete electronic health records affects patients, healthcare professionals, and the administrative systems and services that support people on both ends of the stethoscope. From the patient’s perspective, when you have to go over your entire medical history every time you see a new medical provider it’s a pain. The greater issue is bad information. If an incorrect allergy or blood type information is entered into your record, the consequences could be dire when you next go for treatment or a procedure.

On the provider and support service side, the amount of time spent creating and working with health records is astronomical and growing. A Mayo Clinic study found the No. 1 reason for physician burnout, which increased from 45 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2014, was paperwork. According to John Halamka, Chief Intelligence Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, “Now is probably the right time in our history to take a fresh approach to data sharing in healthcare. “The EHRs may be very different and come from lots of different places,” Halamka says, “but the ledger itself is standardized.”

With a blockchain EHR system, anyone with an access key could see the same patient ledger, which would be the ‘chain’ of all transactions or entries for that person, each entry encrypted and time-stamped. The actual data for each transaction would be stored in widely distributed locations. The data isn’t actually sent around, which helps with confidentiality, but it all points to the same ledger or specific patient record.

Before ledger entries are approved for inclusion in the chain, algorithms make sure they match all other data. If, for example, a new entry says your blood type is A-positive but it’s actually O-negative in the other ‘blocks’ of data, the entry would not be accepted and the person or system at the point of entry would be alerted to the mismatch. Your medical identity would be protected and you wouldn’t have to remember every little piece of data about your medical history every time you see a new doctor. The full adoption of EHRs isn’t here yet and will have hurdles to jump before finally implemented, but it appears that whatever the final system looks like, it will use blockchain technology.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Why the Netflix Model is the Future for Enterprise Blockchain

Why the Netflix Model
is the Future for Enterprise Blockchain

What's a blockchain?

Why not use a distributed database? What's a smart contract? What the hell is chaincode? Among blockchain industry participants, you'll get different answers and different views to all of these questions (and many more). Almost weekly, we read new blockchain white papers proposing new unique functionalities to solve a problem in a slightly better or different way. Of course, this amount of experimentation and research can only be good for the long-term growth and maturity of our industry, but it’s also made it extremely complicated for potential buyers to make determinations about what fits their needs best.

Although the term "blockchain" has generally been used as the umbrella name for a very broad collection of new technologies, it seems to me that our industry has not yet gone through the necessary objective scrutiny to separate the good, from the bad (and the ugly). Right or wrong, there seem to be some common themes among enterprise companies that became apparent over the course of 2016.

This is not a comprehensive list, but a few worth highlighting:

  1. Companies are looking to build using permissioned blockchain networks (whether as an interim solution or a long-term outcome)
  2. In many contexts, it will be important to maintain transaction privacy
  3. Current transaction performance on the public bitcoin and ethereum networks is insufficient
  4. Smart contracts provide an elegant framework to automate shared business processes.

Ethereum examined

In considering these challenges and how to solve them, a large number of companies have migrated their efforts to ethereum.It's by no means a perfect solution, but arguably because of its flexibility and because of the organic community of developers surrounding it, it remains unparalleled in the industry.

Rather than look at ethereum as one network, however, many consider it as a template to model, improve, customize and implement in difference contexts. Ethereum technology, therefore, has found its way into multiple networks serving multiple purposes, although imperfectly. To better achieve this outcome, I would argue that ethereum needs some rearchitecting to allow for multiple network implementations. In its current form, it was designed (and continues to be improved upon) as a protocol to power a single global network.

Incompatibility

Having come to the same realization, a number of companies have created versions of ethereum that fit their needs – in many cases with band-aid fixes that can only be described as temporary and imperfect. Among those companies, there are both startups and large organizations, most of which are primarily interested in one vertical problem set that impacts their industry and their business.

This has led to unnecessary fragmentation and incompatible modifications being made to the ethereum protocol in all these various versions. Contrary to the initial vision of ethereum (of being a general purpose protocol), many of these implementations are being built as single-purpose solutions to power specific industry applications.

As companies get closer to production, this problem is becoming more evident to those involved. Drawing parallels from the web services ('cloud') industry, I’m convinced that we’ll see a new trend this year. Rather than end users building their own customized infrastructure, and essentially managing their "full stack", a small number of providers will focus on offering modular infrastructure that can be leveraged with little effort by the companies solving challenges at the application layer.

Action ahead

This reorganization of the industry (infrastructure vs app) will allow for specialization and better long-term improvements to the underlying software while maintaining standards of compatibility. In the same way that Netflix is built using Amazon Web Services, mature companies emerging in this space will partner with infrastructure providers to scale their businesses more efficiently.

Ideally, as we work towards this model, the resulting infrastructure frameworks will allow for deployments that are fully compatible with 'public ethereum', while also enabling deployments that include custom functionalities required by the user.One of the great benefits I foresee from this model is that new proposed ideas, which today end up as competing protocols, could become alternative modules compatible with a standardized framework. This will make it easier for companies to adopt improvements without having to rebuild from scratch. Luckily, this isn't wishful thinking. Some of us are already on our way to making this real.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

The peso has done something shocking since Trump took office

    

=========================================

The peso has done something shocking
since Trump took office

   

Wax figures of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto are seen at the wax museum in Mexico City, Mexico. Reuters/Henry Romero

The Mexican peso has done something shocking since President Donald Trump took on office January 20th. It's actually stronger versus the US dollar. The Mexican peso hit a one-month high of 20.6601 per dollar on Wednesday morning before trimming some of its gains. The currency trades up 0.4% at 20.7520 per dollar as of 8:22 a.m ET.

Mexico's currency has had a wild start to 2017. 

It fell about 6% over the first three weeks of the year as traders priced in what a Trump presidency could mean for the currency as he railed against Mexico throughout his campaign. But then the fireworks began as Trump took office and the peso's fortunes began to turn around:

  • Last Thursday Trump tweeted, "The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
  • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto pushed back, stating that Mexico would not pay for the border wall that Trump has promised to build and responded with his own tweet, "This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the @POTUS."
  • The Trump team responded by suggesting a 20% border tax could be placed on all US imports coming from Mexico, and later said that tax could be placed on all imports. 
  • On Friday, Trump continued his assault on the US' neighbor to the south, tweeting, "Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!" 
  • But cooler heads prevailed and Peña Nieto and Trump held an hour-long phone call to try and work out their differences. While the outcome of the call was not made public, it's a sign that the two sides are trying to work things out. 

Interestingly, the peso has actually strengthened by about 6% since Trump was inaugurated on January 20th, and has wiped away all of its losses for the year. However, the currency is still down about 13% since Trump won the election. 

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Markethive

Bitcoin’s Price is Flirting With $1,000

Bitcoin's Price is Flirting With $1,000

The price of bitcoin is inching closer to $1,000 once again.

Prices hit a high of $994.79 during morning trading, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), after opening at an average of $977.52. Prices haven’t exceeded $1,000 since 6th January, having crossed that benchmark on the first day of 2017.

The price of bitcoin is currently at an average of $993.04.

CNY-denominated markets are up more than 9%, reaching a high of ¥6,890.56. Those markets are averaging ¥6,865.50, BPI data shows, representing an increase of roughly 9.3%. Prices have been rising since earlier this week, a move that came amidst a shift in the exchange ecosystem amongst toward markets that don’t charge trading fees. Observers are split, however, on the long-term trajectory of these trends.

Bitcoin is back above $1,000

Bitcoin is is back above $1,000 for the first time since January 5. The cryptocurrency was higher by 1.5% at $1,000.10 a coin as of 11:39 a.m. ET.

It's been a wild year for bitcoin. It began 2017 with a 20% rally during the first five days of the year before crashing 35% on concerns of a crackdown on trading in China.

Thursday's gains have extended bitcoin's winning streak to a sixth straight session as trade appears to be benefitting from uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's presidency. The cryptocurrency has gained nearly 10% since Trump was inaugurated on January 20.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Markethive

‘People prefer cash’ and that’s good news for bitcoin

‘People prefer cash’
and that’s good news for bitcoin

bitcoins

“Sorry, Bitcoin: Cash Is Still King Around the World.”

So says an article that Time published in its money section last month. The article is based on research published by the International Journal of Central Banking (IJCB), which showed consumers around the world still prefer cash to electronic payment methods. According to the IJCB report:

“Cash is still used extensively — particularly for low-value transactions. In some European countries such as Austria and Germany, cash even dominates consumer payment choices for all transaction values.”

 

While the IJCB report doesn’t mention bitcoin, the author of the Time article interpreted the data as bad news for bitcoin. However, a careful read of the report discloses the opposite: The fact that people prefer cash to electronic payment methods is actually good news for bitcoin.

High demand

Bitcoin is a young form of payment. It isn’t realistic to expect it to beat cash in less than only a decade. Bitcoin adoption is doing very well, though; especially when we take into account that it isn’t a company and thus doesn’t have a marketing department, let alone an aggressive one like major credit card companies can afford.

Adoption is actually overtaking the network’s technical capacity, leading to the bitcoin scaling debate. The community is experiencing pressure to scale the network due to an overflow of transactions, which means the number of people using bitcoin is growing. Bitcoin or something similar is actually a perfect currency for the future, according to the IJCB report. We can arrive at this conclusion through a keen reading of the reasons the report gives for consumers choosing cash over electronic payment methods.

Privacy and security

One reason the report gives for a consumer preference for cash is a desire for anonymity and security. It states:

Anonymity and security concerns are sometimes cited as influencing people’s payment behavior. However, the level of anonymity and security people require when making payments is difficult to measure empirically.”

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies afford users the ability to spend money online without disclosing their identity. Indeed, bitcoin brings the properties of cash into the online setting. Electronic payments demand you identify yourself before sending or receiving money. That is not the case with either cash or bitcoin.

Refuge from financial crisis

The report also says consumers prefer cash over electronic payment methods because they don’t trust financial institutions, especially when they are the cause of economic crisis: “A more relevant explanation for cash preference arises if a country has a history of banking crisis, which often coincides with high inflation and may affect trust in banks.

Bitcoin offers its users an opportunity to hold and spend their money apart from financial and banking institutions. While the report states this is a problem of the developing world, the US housing crisis of 2008 and the Greek government debt crisis of 2014 say otherwise. With each new banking crisis, consumers become more wary of commercial bank payment methods.

Already there are signs that consumers consider bitcoin an option when there is a financial crisis. During the Greek financial crisis, the price of bitcoin shot up when there was a huge demand for it by consumers who wanted to safeguard their financial value.

Cash online

The report also showed that in all the countries surveyed, older generations use cash the most. It states that preference for cash grows with age. From the report:

Regarding age, we find that persons older than thirty-six use significantly more cash than persons younger than thirty-five. Also, the results provide support for a certain habit persistence in some countries, where cash use increases homogeneously with age: people aged sixty and older are more likely to use cash than people between the ages of thirty-six and fifty-nine.”

As time progresses, an electronic payment method that mimics cash will become more attractive. With increasing Internet access and more people and businesses going online, an electronic payment method that mimics cash may be the only option for those who prefer the properties of cash. And this is where bitcoin comes in.

Rupert Hackett is general manager of Bitcoin.com.au and BuyaBitcoin.com.au. He specializes in the digital currency and digital payment space, writes for multiple bitcoin and tech websites, and is an acting Board Director for the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association (ADCCA).

Bitcoin is busting out

Attendants pose with a bitcoin sign during the opening of Hong Kong's first bitcoin retail store. Reuters/Bobby Yip

Bitcoin is busting out of its range that had been in place for the middle part of January. The cryptocurrency spent the past two weeks trapped at the $880 to $920 resistance level but has finally broken through. 

Bitcoin rallied 3.7% on Tuesday as the Trump team exchanged barbs with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weakness of the euro, closing the day near $955 a coin. Tuesday's gains have carried over into Wednesday's session with the cryptocurrency up close to 1% near $972. 

Bitcoin has had a wild start to 2017 after rallying more than 120% in 2016 to become the top performing currency for a second straight year. It rallied more than 20% in the opening says of the year, crossing the $1,000 level for the first time since November 2013 before tumbling more than 35% amid worries that China was going to crack down on trading. Recently, the cryptocurrency has shrugged off the news that China's three largest bitcoin exchanges will begin charging a flat fee of 0.2% for each transaction. 

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Russia Considers Allowing Use of Cryptocurrency in the Unbanked Region of Crimea

Russia Considers Allowing Use of Cryptocurrency
in the Unbanked Region of Crimea

 

Russian Internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev suggested allowing the use of cryptocurrencies to residents of Crimea. In his opinion, legal entities and individuals registered in Crimea should be allowed to use cryptocurrency wallets and make transactions with digital currencies. Elaborating on his proposal, Marinichev suggested the opening of cryptocurrency exchanges, as he believes it will help attracting new investments to the region. He referred to the example of Hong Kong that has managed to create one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges.

An important precondition for this initiative is the creation of a free economic zone within the peninsula.

Marinichev said at last week’s Conference on Regulation of Cryptocurrencies in Russia:

“Today Crimea is an exclusive economic zone, which makes it possible to start with the opening of cryptocurrency exchanges operating there absolutely legally. As a result, we will see the actual legalization of cryptocurrencies.”

Russia’s changing attitudes towards cryptocurrency

Elina Sidorenko, the Head of the Working Group for the Assessment of Risks of the Use of Cryptocurrencies at the State Duma of the Russian Federation, explained that recent legislation has addressed some of the most pressing issues in banking in Crimea. Bringing to the table cryptocurrency-based payment instruments and using it for international transactions was discussed among other initiatives to improve the banking climate on the peninsula. Eventually, however, this idea had died.

At the moment the status of digital currencies is not defined in Russian legislation, although in the last few years we have seen several attempts to put cryptocurrency into a legally defined framework. In December 2016, Alexey Moiseev, Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation, announced that the Ministry of Finance is expecting to pass a law introducing a ban on exchange operations with Bitcoins and national currency not earlier than in Autumn 2017.

Meanwhile, some of the most influential banking industry players believe that Blockchain technology laying in the core of digital currencies is extremely valuable for the reshaping of a global financial system. For instance, experts in Sberbank, which has been actively testing technology during the last year, believe that by 2018 we will see a wider scope of application of Blockchain in the financial industry.

Banking the Unbanked with Bitcoin

It is often suggested that cryptocurrencies have significant potential to connect areas and people who have been neglected by traditional forms of banking to the global financial ecosystem. There is a number of huge developing markets, which still remain relatively untouched by modern banking services, however, they demonstrate the rapidly growing Internet infrastructures.

Alex Fork, CEO at Humaniq, the new-generation platform that makes basic financial instruments accessible to unbanked communities, shared his opinion:

“Unbanked regions usually consist of a financially poor population. The most important thing is to provide them with a new technology available absolutely free of charge. It is essential to deliver the service to the customer in such a way that they don't experience any difficulties.”

Everyone wins with Bitcoin

At the same time, we see that governments are extremely careful when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies. Perhaps piloting projects in unbanked regions can create an extraordinary win-win situation. Individuals and companies who have been failed by traditional banking will be empowered with a new financial instrument, while regulators will get a perfect opportunity to experiment and innovate and finally make up their minds about how to treat this bizarre creation called Bitcoin.

What else can create a greater chance for the adoption of cryptocurrencies?

Alex Fork concludes:

“Of course, apprehension of governments regarding cryptocurrency is not only the innovation’s fear. The idea of testing the project within a small region of Russia is good. At least there will be an opportunity to practice and to gain some experience.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

SEO – Optimized Anchor

SEO –
Optimized Anchor

             

Use descriptive anchor text for all your text links. Most search engines consider anchor text of incoming links when ranking pages. Here is an example of anchor:

<a href="otherpage.htm" title="Anchor Title">Anchor Text</a>

Listed below are some of the important points to note about anchors:

  • The Anchor Title plays a very important role and is seen by most of the search engines. The anchor title should have appropriate keywords. Anchor title helps the site visitors using a balloon and displaying written text.

  • The Anchor Text is another important part, which should be selected very carefully because this text is used not only for search engines but also for navigation purpose. You should try to use the best keywords in your anchor text.

  • The otherpage.htm is the link to another web page. This link could be to an external site. Here, you need to ensure that the linked page does exist; otherwise, it is called a broken link, which gives a bad impression to search engines as well as to site visitors.

Another example of an anchor could be as follows:

<a href="otherpage.htm" title="Anchor Title">
   <img src="image.gif" alt="keywords" />
</a>

In this case, Anchor Text has been replaced by an image. So, while using an image in place of an anchor text, it should be checked that you have put alt tag properly. An image alt tag should have appropriate keywords.

Content is the King

Content basically includes what you see on the site: the text, graphics, and even links to other websites. You should not use excessive graphics because they are not Search Engine Friendly plus heavy graphics normally put the users out when they get downloaded, especially over a slow network. Thousands of articles, books, and forum entries are available on how to make your website search engine friendly, but ultimately, one rule stands above the rest: Unique, high-quality, unduplicated content is the king.

Superior the quality of your content, the higher the ranking you achieve, larger the traffic you gain and greater the popularity of your website. Search engines prefer good quality sites in their index and search results. Relevant, fresh, and timely content is crucial in attracting visitors to your website. It helps you both draw traffic from search engines and create audience loyalty.

Unique, High-Quality Content

When people visit a website for information, they want your unique spin on a topic. How is your material or content unique? Is that uniqueness obvious, and easy to find and to understand? Visitors want unique, high-quality site content. It is not only your home page content but also all the linked pages should have useful and easy-to-understand content.

Now-a-days, search engines have become very smart and they are able to understand complete grammar and complete phrase. Hence while ranking a page against other, the content available on a page matters. Sites that are duplicated, syndicated, or free content, are get given red flags by the search engines.

SEO Content Writing (Copy Writing)

SEO Content Writing (also referred as SEO Copy writing), involves the process of integrating keywords and informative phrases which make up the actual content of your website.

While writing your web page content, the following tips may help you in keeping it better than others.

  • The content should be directed in the specified target audience.

  • Keyword density is strictly adhered as per search engine guidelines.

  • Titles should always be eye-catching, compelling your visitors to read on and want to know what you offer in your website.

  • Do not use confusing, ambiguous, and complex language. Use small statements to make your content more understandable.

  • Keep your web pages short.

  • Organize and distribute the content on the web pages.

  • Divide your web page content also into short paragraphs.

Other Advantages of Having Great Content

It is not only SEO you need to think about. Many factors contribute to make your site popular.

  • If your site is having something really unique, then people like to suggest it to their friends.

  • Other webmasters like to create a link in your site on their sites.

  • Your site visitors start trusting on your site and they look forward to the next content update and keep coming again and again.

  • Although you are listed out by a search engine, a but net surfer will click only that page whose content snippet looks unique and interesting.

Conclusion

Creating, editing, and promoting unique high-quality content is difficult and time-consuming. But in the end, the golden rule of SEO is that Content is the King. It is not because of a search engine, but it is for your site visitors. A page that is read by people is better than a page that is read by bots.

So, write your content after a serious thought. Keep your title, keywords, link text, meta tags up-to-date, unique, and interesting.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

SEO What do know about Title Optimization

SEO
What do know about "Title Optimization"

                            

An HTML TITLE tag is put inside the head tag. The page title (not to be confused with the heading for a page) is what is displayed in the title bar of your browser window, and is also what is displayed when you bookmark a page or add it to your browser Favorites. This is the one place on a web page where your keywords MUST be present. Correct use of keywords in the title of every page of your website is extremely important to Google, particularly for the homepage. If you do nothing else to optimize your site, remember to do this!

Here are some considerations while designing the title of a web page:

  • The title shouldn't consist of more than about 9 words or 60 characters.

  • Use keywords at the very beginning of the title.

  • Do not include your company name in the title unless your company name is very well known.

Improper or nonexistent use of titles in web pages keeps more websites out of top rankings on Google than any other factor except perhaps for a lack of relevant content on a page or a lack of quality links from other websites that point to your site.

Best Practices for Creating Titles

Here are some best practices you should follow for creating titles on pages:

  • Each page should have a unique title.

  • If practical, try to include your Primary Keyword Phrase in every title of every page.

  • Begin the title of your home page with your Primary Keyword Phrase, followed by your best Secondary Keyword Phrases.

  • Use more specific variations to your Primary Keyword Phrase on your specific product, service, or content pages.

  • If you must include your company name, put it at the end of the title.

  • Use the best form, plural or singular, for your keywords based on what WordTracker says is searched on more often.

  • Do not overdo it – do not repeat your keywords more than 2 to 3 times in the title.

  • Make sure the <title> tag is the first element in the <head> section of your page – this makes it easier for Google to find the page.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive