Tag Archives: bitcoin

Bitcoin is roaring back

Bitcoin is roaring back

Bitcoin is higher for a second straight day on Tuesday, trading up 5% at $1,093 a coin as of 10:33 a.m. ET. The tw0-day win streak has tacked on about 13%, rebounding from a slump over the weekend that followed a Wall Street Journal report that the cryptocurrency's developers were threatening to set up a "hard fork," or alternative marketplace for bitcoin.

The new platform would be incompatible with the current platform, thus creating a split and two versions of the currency. That news sent bitcoin crashing 20% over the weekend to about $950 a coin, its weakest since January.

2017 has been a volatile year for the cryptocurrency.

It gained 20% in the first week of the year after soaring 120% in 2016 to become the top-performing currency for the second year in a row.

Bitcoin then crashed 35% on news that China was going to consider clamping down on trading.

But it managed to rip higher by more than 50% even in the face of several pieces of bad news.

First, China's biggest bitcoin exchanges said they were going to start charging a 0.2% fee on all transactions (previously there was no fee). Then, China's biggest exchanges said they were going to block withdrawals from trading accounts.

Still, bitcoin put in a record high of $1,327 a coin on March 10 as traders piled in ahead of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's ruling on the Winklevoss twins' bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The SEC denied the ETF, sending the price crashing by 16%. Bitcoin, however, managed to quickly recover those losses.

Two more SEC rulings are on the way, the next being March 30. Neither one is expected to pass.

Thomas Prendergast
Founder and CEO
Markethive Inc.

 

 

Jack

Top 3 Types of Bitcoin Scams

 

Top 3 Types of Bitcoin Scams

TheMerkle Bitcoin Scam Types

 

It is not hard to see the cryptocurrency world has successfully attracted a lot of nefarious individuals looking to scam others. In fact, it appears there are more bitcoin-related scams showing up every single day. As one would expect, there are a few different types of scams that are more prevalent than others. Never change a winning tactic, according to criminals.

3. PONZI SCHEMES

Virtually every platform offering bitcoin investment should be treated with a lot of scrutinies. While there is a way for people to make money with other’s money  – trading altcoins, for example – no one has successfully done so on a large scale. Trading itself is a very risky business, yet it is also the most legitimate way to increase cryptocurrency holdings over time.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few large-scale investment opportunities, all of which will eventually turn into a scam. Ponzi schemes in the bitcoin world will always attract desperate people and shills, and there is quite an abundance of these programs available right now. Never trust any online platform claiming to let you earn money without doing anything.

2. MINING HARDWARE

The Cryptocurrency world is home to some great innovation, especially where mining hardware is concerned. Gone are the days of FPGA mining, as it is all about ASICs right now. There are quite a few companies who claim to manufacture hardware, and most of them will offer pre-sale discounts to anyone investing in that company. It is not surprising a lot of these companies offering pre-sales are complete scams, as most of them do not even have any ASIC research and development lab whatsoever.

One of the more recent scams revolving around bitcoin mining hardware goes by the name of Foxminers. The company provides no evidence of their mining hardware or research. Companies like these often trick people into depositing funds in the hopes of getting a cheaper new bitcoin miner. However, they will continue to delay shipping and eventually run off with the money.

1. CLOUD MINING

Perhaps the biggest industry of bitcoin scams comes in the form of companies claiming to run a cloud mining operation. One of the biggest cryptocurrency cloud mining scams to date goes by the name of HashOcean, a company that successfully paid miners for over a year until they finally disappeared and could no longer maintain paying out users accordingly.

Every cloud mining venture should be looked at very closely, as the number of legitimate companies can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Even then, ensuring a return on investment is virtually impossible due to volatile bitcoin prices and mining difficulty increases. Cloud mining can be somewhat lucrative if one is lucky, yet directly buying the cryptocurrency in question and holding onto it for the same duration as the mining contract will usually generate better returns.

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive

   April 28, 2017

Jack

There’s a Big Difference Between Electronic Fiat and Cryptocurrency

There’s a Big Difference Between Electronic Fiat and Cryptocurrency

With all different types of digital money these days and accounts represented electronically, people often wonder what’s the difference between traditional electronic currency issued by banks and permissionless cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The Big Push for a Cashless Society

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of discussion concerning the world’s progression towards a cashless society. Furthermore, bureaucrats and government authorities worldwide have also bolstered the idea further by individual notes of tender from circulation by demonetizing cash reserves. Before the seventies, cash was a dominant form of money, but since then most people now transact with an electronic representation of their local currency in their day to day lives.

For instance, only 8 percent of the world’s money is represented by physical notes, and everything else is a form of digital fiat. Countries everywhere around the world have slowly been progressing towards a cashless society. In the U.S. the practice of electronic deposits into bank accounts became popular in 1975, and a decade later people were using these balances with debit cards.

Now throughout a few particular countries, large denominated notes like the $100, $500, and $1,000 bills are becoming rarer as governments are removing them from circulation. One country, in particular, India is suffering from a cash crisis as leaders started a demonization process last year. The use of cash within India is becoming less visible as Indian authorities are pushing hard for a cashless society by replacing it with digital fiat.

The Glaring Differences Between Electronic Fiat and Cryptocurrencies

 

There are significant differences between the traditional digital currency in your bank account and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. One of the biggest contrasts between the two is bitcoin’s deflationary attributes which is backed by the currency’s 21 million capped supply. Many economists believe this is a great benefit as the public knows that there are only so many bitcoins, which causes people to save, and purchasing power usually increases.

With traditional digital fiat reserves, there is no telling how much money is circulating, and no one knows if the central banks are printing money on a whim. Economists who are against this type of monetary practice, such as those from the Austrian school, believe the world’s citizens are experiencing a silent robbery called inflation due to central planners printing vast amounts of fiat reserves. Sometimes central bank’s like the Federal Reserve tell the public they are creating more money with concepts like quantitative easing and the recent bank bailouts.    

Another reason the world’s traditional fiat currencies are no good is because the electronic form is also used to monitor the public’s wealth. Cash is harder to track, and governments can keep a keen eye on funds moving around their electronic databases. Furthermore, other government agencies such as the UK’s GCHQ, the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA have been known to being spying on citizens and the world bank’s monetary movements.

With this power, central authorities can censor people’s privileges to move money in any way they see fit. There are clear examples of banks, credit card companies, and Paypal freezing peoples funds or halting operations because of reasons they don’t particularly agree with.

Censorship Resistance and Unstoppable Tax Protests

With bitcoin, people can move their wealth in a permissionless way using their individual sovereignty. Bitcoin users can utilize the decentralized currency for operations that are typically frowned upon by third party forces. This includes online storefronts selling pornography, illicit drugs, and other black market activities. Cryptocurrencies can also be used to avoid taxation as it leaves the decision of reporting to tax officials up to the user.

The infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden has agreed with this sentiment explaining to his Twitter followers on November 13 stating;

Coincidentally, new technologies raise the possibility of unstoppable tax protests.   

Because the public is embracing bitcoin and blockchain-based permissionless currencies authorities worldwide are trying to co-opt the technology. Rather than be disrupted, central monetary planners believe adding the word “blockchain” to the incumbent databases used today will lure more people towards a cashless society. One that will still be monitored, controlled with censorship, and even “editable” for those trying to erase fraudulent behavior.

There is a big difference between the electronic money used by banks today and bitcoin, as the latter is far superior for those who embrace freedom.

What do you think about electronic fiat currency in comparison to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below. 

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive.com

By Jamie Redman -April 27, 2017

 

Jack

Bitpay Gearing up to Test Extension Blocks

Bitpay Gearing up to Test Extension Blocks

Recently, the Bcoin team released the specifications and particulars for launching extension blocks for a blockchain protocol upgrade. They have now nearly completed implementing these extension blocks. Bitpay’s CEO Stephen Pair responded with an article on April 24 saying that Bitpay would be willing to test these “secondary blocks” on a testnet.  

Also read: Bcoin Developers Plan to Test Scaling Concept ‘Extension Blocks’

Bitpay Gearing up to Test Extension Blocks

Pair said, “The bcoin team has released specifications and working code for the developer community to critique. At Bitpay, we think this idea of extension blocks holds a lot of promise, and we intend to participate in its technical evaluation”.

This news of testing extension blocks comes at a time of great divide within the Bitcoin community over whether Segwit should be activated. Pair suggests that extension blocks could solve the problem because these “secondary blocks” act as a non-contentious hardfork. In a previous article, Pair said that the communities need to avoid initiating a contentious hardfork at all costs. He said:

“One very important challenge we must resolve is how to successfully upgrade Bitcoin in a safe, deliberate and non-contentious manner. And we must be able to upgrade Bitcoin because no organism can live in its own waste products.”

How Secondary Blocks are Non-Contentious; Pair’s Three Step Formulation

This “secondary block” or “extension block” upgrade is non-contentious and will disallow Bitcoin to wallow in its own excrement, because of the manner in which it solves the problem of filled block sizes. In Pair’s previous article, he outlines a three step outline on how extension blocks could be implemented. He said the nodes will acknowledge new rules for these secondary blocks, and thus they will start accepting data.

“In this step, nodes begin upgrading to support the new rules. Nodes will validate and relay valid data that can be included in the secondary block (imagine some new form of transaction, but it could really be any kind of data). These nodes will not relay data considered invalid according to the new rules.”

In phase two, Pair suggests that a second soft fork is performed. However, he mentions instead of adding new rules to the protocol, old blocks will be “deprecated.” This means that transactions will no longer be allowed in the old block.

Finally, in phase three, the protocol will start to shed its old skin and stop rolling around in its own filth. Pair clarified this step, “After the soft fork that deprecates use of the original block has activated, all transactions and data will be in the new secondary block. At this point we can schedule a hard fork that simply drops the old block and adopts the secondary block as the primary block structure.”

Pair seems confident that the “secondary block” or “extension block” plan is the way to go for a non-contentious fork and upgrade of the bitcoin protocol. Of course, others disagree.

Do you think a “secondary block” upgrade is the solution to the scaling dilemma? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock and fintech.nl


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive.com

By Sterlin Lujan

April 25, 2017

Jack

Weekly Round-Up and Cryptocurrency Markets Update

Weekly Round-Up and Cryptocurrency Markets Update

No consensus was reached last week towards Bitcoin scaling, in fact, the battle is getting protracted with each camp holding an entrenched status. Quite interestingly, Bitcoin price breached the $1200 line in midst of all the hostility and even went beyond $1300, however it has since reverted to the $1200s.

In a related development, Rhett Creighton, a Blockchain engineer and hacker who was with the Bitcoin Unlimited camp although left a couple of weeks ago has predicted neither Segwit nor Bitcoin Unlimited can activate. Creighton believes since Segwit needs 95 percent signalling to activate, which is impossible, whilst there is no way BU can obtain the super majority hash rate power to launch an attack on a minority chain to take over Bitcoin.  In his opinion a split is imminent.

In an unexpected move, the National Bank of Cambodia has indicated it is working towards a blockchain payment system for its citizens in conjunction with the Japanese startup Soramitsu. The startup is in fact, a subsidiary of Linux Foundation’s open-source Hyperledger project.

The most heartwarming news for the week was the revelation by billionaire hedge fund investor Mike Novogratz, that 10 percent of his net worth is in Bitcoin and Ether. The Billionaire was quoted by CNN as saying investing in the digital space was the best investment of his life.

In other exciting news, Litecoin gave hope to the ecosystem when it reached a unanimous decision to activate Segwit soft fork. Charlie Lee wrote on Twitter that this has taken too long for his liking.

With a twitter announcement made on Tuesday, the Cryptocurrency Exchange, Poloniex gave an indication it is delisting 17 altcoins. Cryptos that were axed include Boolberry and Voxels among a dozen others.

Valery Vavilov, CEO of BitFury stated at the  Russian Internet Forum in Moscow on Wednesday that more 100,000 properties in Georgia has been registered on the Blockchain. It will be recalled that in February, the government of Georgia signed an agreement with Bitfury to register properties on the Blockchain.

Markets Updates (As Of Sunday)

The third week of April saw some reshuffle on the top 10 of CoinMarketCap. As indicated earlier, Bitcoin has been able to withstand all the infighting and it is rising to the respect of analyst and community members. It closed the week at 22:00 GMT with a price of $1216.78. The market leader actually lost 0.44 percentage point.

Rising 2.16 percent at 2nd place, Ether was sold for $49.71. It was an improvement of last week’s $48.49 price score. Let’s see how it turns out for the king of Smart Contracts this week. 

At the third place, Ripple went down by 0.79 percent selling at $0.031222. It was a departure from last week gains.

Meanwhile, Litecoin seems to be cashing in on its prudent decision to come to a compromise to activate Segregated Witness avoiding the needless antagonism that has saddled Bitcoin. At the end of the week, it was sold for $13.49 compared to last week’s $10.71. It also ended the epic battle that has been raging on with Dash by taking over number four from Dash.

Selling at $69.19 with a downward trend of 2.79 percent, Dash didn’t have a good week like the previous one. Its $75.23 price then has declined abysmally.

Occupying number six with style, Ethereum Classic had a wonderful week dislodging Monero and closing with a whopping 14.78 percent upward score. The $3.68 market price was an improve to write home about.

Monero after losing number six made a slight gain of 0.09 percent to be the 7th most valuable Cryptocurrency. The Exchanges listed its price at $19.98.

Number eight is being held by NEM which plummeted 0.14 with a $0.030872 price. It is a great improvement from last week, as it has doubled its price.

At the last but one on the top 10 is Augur. It managed a scanty gain of 0.93 and a price of  $11.79.

Maidsafe was safe after bouncing back from number 11 to displace newcomer PIVX. Last week PIVX took the spot from the Scotish giant but it couldn’t stand the heat of the top. The market price was $0.232537 and it appreciated by 2.84 percent.

Gainers and Losers

Below top 10 to 20, Decred made a strong statement with a 20.32 upward adjustment. It is at number 11 and appears to be eyeing top 10 glory.

Waves deserves a mentioning since it also went up by 18.56 percent at number 17. PIVX went down 19.41 percent to be the biggest loser. Looks like its migration to a new wallet is upsetting its growth. Until next week, always read CCN for all your Fintech news.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

 

Chris Corey CMO Markethive Inc

Frisco d'Anconia on 24/04/2017

 

 

Jack

Arbitrage – What it is and how it works

Arbitrage refers to the process of instantly trading one or more pairs of currencies or odds for a nigh risk-free profit.

Usually, this involves two exchanges (this is then called a two-legged arbitrage); although more are, of course, possible.

crypto currency arbitrage

There are several steps when executing an arbitrage:

Find a suitable opportunity
Execute trades
Rebalance accounts

Step 1: Find a suitable opportunity

This step is relatively easy. Simply check the order books of as many exchanges as you like, compare bids vs asks, and check if you can find a negative spread.

A small discourse into what a spread is

I will assume you're familiar with bids, asks and what an order book is – if not, you should definitely look up those first. As for the negative spread, I'll elaborate a bit more on that. The spread is what is used to refer to the difference between bids and asks – lowest ask – highest bid = spread. This should be (and typically is) a positive value, since the best bid at an exchange must be lower than the lowest ask of an exchange – otherwise the matching engine of the exchange would settle these orders automatically.

In a perfect world, all markets and all market participants would have the same information, hence all top bids and all top asks of all exchanges would be the exact same, after fees were applied.

If you've seen the recent US elections, however, you're probably aware that the world isn't perfect, though. Hence, not all participants of a market know the same thing as the others, resulting in bids at exchanges which are higher than the asks at other exchanges – and this is what is called a negative spread.

Step 2: Execute trades

Let's assume you've found an amazing opportunity at exchange A and exchange B – a negative spread of 100$!

Exchange A: Ask 1BTC@450$
Exchange B: Bid 1BTC@550$

Luckily, you have proper funding at both to match these instantly – but how do you go about doing that? Easy! Just place an order on the opposite side at each exchange with the quote's prices!

Exchange A: Place Bid of 1BTC@450$
Exchange B: Place Ask of 1BTC@550$

Since your placed order match an order on the opposite side of the book, the trading engine matches them and the trade is settled, leaving you with a theoretical profit of a smooth 100$! Why theoretically, you ask? I'll get to that point further below.

Step 3: Rebalance Accounts

Unfortunately, you were only able to trade once today, but hey! Tomorrow's another day – but in order to be able to properly trade, you need to even out your balances. Right now, your accounts look like this:

Exchange A: 2 BTC | 50$
Exchange B: 0 BTC | 1050$

Hence, you go about and send 1 BTC from Exchange A to Exchange B, and 550$ dollars to Exchange A from Exchange B. No magic here – all accounts are re-balanced and you're ready to make a fortune again, tomorrow.

Exchange A: 1 BTC | 550$
Exchange B: 1 BTC | 550$ 

Arbitrage – Why everyone's not doing it

This all sounded wonderful? That's exactly what I thought when I first set out with my own arbitrage bot. However, there a some technical aspects that can really turn a sunny day into a poopy rain on your parade.

Caveats and risks

1. It needs to be as close to real-time as possible

This is possibly one of the hardest things to get right, and also the most underestimated aspect of arbitrage in crypto currency. The markets, compared to ForEx trading, are ridiculously slow – at busy exchanges, there may be a couple of dozen trades executed. Which gives the illusion, that polling data for bots via the most common API type, RESTful, is enough to trade risk-free. This is a misconception. Maybe for today this may appear to be enough – but what if markets picked up the pace? just 1 trade (or simply a placed order) within one second can change your opportunity from profit to loss.

2. Always trade limits, never market orders

Under the aspect of being the fastest, it might seem like a good idea to use market orders in order to be settled asap – you'd be terribly wrong. As discussed above, your data could be as old as 1 second (with above mentioned one order messing up your opportunity) – perhaps someone cleared the entire top level and all you're left with is a bid for twice the price you intended. Yikes.

3. REST API call rates make your life hard

Many exchanges employ a API call rate limit – that is, you're allowed to query data at the exchange X times every Y seconds. The differences are wide and nearly every exchange does its own little thing when it comes to limits. The problem with them is, they severely limit your actions. If you don't constantly keep an eye on how often you send a request, you might run into the limit when it seriously counts – for example when you have to cancel an order, because you couldn't place its counter part at another exchange. Unfortunately, websocket APIs are still rare and their brother on steroids, FIX sockets, even rarer – leaving you stuck with the turtle of programmable interfaces.

4. Integration with APIs can be a nightmare

There is no unified, standard definition for what an exchange API can do, or what data it returns. Which technically wouldn't be a problem, if they were documented properly. Incidentally, the exchanges with seemingly many opportunities also have the worst documentation (take btc-e.com's Documentation for example – heresy!). Of course, also the opposite is true – GDAX, Kraken, Bitfinex all have excellent documentation. But nonetheless you have to dig through them to understand how they work, what their rates are, how they handle data types, authentication and so forth. That is, if they even mention anything about that.

5. Fees will minimize, if not eliminate your profits

In my above step-by-step guide, I purposely omitted fees of all kind. But of course, they're essential to successfully arbitraging. The most commonly known fees, are trade commission fees – these range anywhere from 0.1% to 0.6% and need to be considered in Step 1: Find a suitable Opportunity. On top come fees for deposits and withdrawals during Step 3: Rebalancing Accounts. Depending on your preferred pair, these may range from feasible (transferring crypto currencies usually is cheap enough) to quite steep. For example, a deposit / withdrawal at Bitfinex entails the following fees:

Bank wire withdrawal & Deposit: 0.1% of amount deposited/withdrawn, 20$ minimum
And this does not include processing fees of your house bank – for me, for example, that's an additional 10€ for deposits, plus a 1% conversion fee. If you do the math you'll quickly realize that you don't even have to bother starting to trade at Bitfinex, unless you have a really big stack to trade with.

But this does not just apply to BTC-Fiat pairs. Alt-coins suffer a similar fate. In order to make arbitraging worthwhile, you will have to have enough funds at as many exchanges to make trades AND re-balancing worthwhile. And this quickly gets to a point where you realize your last month's savings aren't equipped to get the job done.

To give you a further example on how fees affect your profits, let's take a look back at the example from step 2, this time factoring in all fees. I'll walk you through it. For the argument's sake, we'll pretend to be a european trading BTCUSD at Bitfinex (Exchange A) and Kraken (Exchange B).

Bitfinex: Ask 1BTC@450$
Kraken: Bid 1BTC@550$ These prices are raw- they do not include trade commission fees, not transaction fees. Let's add those….

We'll define a taker fee of 0.25% at both exchange – the taker fee applies whenever you remove liquidity from the order book. Next, let's add deposit & withdrawal fees to the mix. At Bitfinex, we pay a minimum of 20$ for each fiat withdrawal & deposit, or 0.1% of the moved amount (if its more than 500$). At Kraken, we pay 0.09€ per fiat withdrawal, deposits are free. In addition, btc withdrawals cost 0.0005 BTC at kraken, while Bitfinex charges no fees for this. Deposits cost nothing at both exchanges. Furthermore, we can't transfer fiat directly from exchange to exchange – an additional 10€ fee per sent out transaction needs to be facotred in, as well as 1% conversion fee whenever we receive or send fiat from our bank account (2 times total).

Let's list these fees to try and maintain an overview

  1. Profit from arbitrage (bid – fee – ask + fee )
  2. Withdrawal Fee Bitfinex (20$)
  3. Deposit Fee Kraken (0.0$)
  4. Miner Fee for withdrawal at Kraken (0.0005BTC)
  5. Transaction Cost of our house bank (10€) (Bank to Bitfinex)
  6. Conversion Fee of our house Bank (1% of transfer amount x 2)

Let's put some numbers to these:

  1. (550 – 550*0.0025) – (450 + 450 * 0.0025) = 97.5$
  2. Move ~497$ to House bank = 20$
  3. 0.0$
  4. 0.0005BTC * 500$ = 0.25$ # Assuming this is the end of day price of the coin
  5. 10€ * 1.05 = 10.05$
  6. (497 * 0.02) = 9.94$

Which brings us to net profit of: 57.26$ This translates to 42.74% reduction of your originally seen profit.

This is neither a worst, nor a best case scenario – it's merely designed to show you how many hidden fees are involved in an arbitrage. Also, keep in mind that a 22% arbitrage opportunity is practically non-existant.

As a matter of fact, had the spread been anything less than 40$, the fixed fees of our house bank and Bitfinex alone would have made our supposed arbirtrage opportunity a loss.

6. Volatility of coins is your enemy

"No matter where the market goes, arbitrage makes a profit anyway!"

This is true – if your currencies don't tend to drop or rise by 50% within 24 hours. Ideally, both currencies you trade in should be relatively stable, while still showing a certain volatility – no volatility would mean the chart is a flat line, resulting in no opportunities for you.

The problem with pure crypto currency arbitrage (LTCBTC), however, is that Alt-coins can go completely fubar – as opposed to a fiat-based crypto arbitrage (i.e. BTCUSD). A personal anecdote:

When ZEC launched, I was instantly fascinated at the terrible market efficiency and arbitrage opportunities of almost 5% regularly. Hence, I bought in at 1ZEC@1.2BTC, thinking this is probably where market will stay at (at least it's not as bad as the guy who bought a ZEC for 3k BTC). I started arbitraging and immediately increased the amount of ZEC I was holding – completely oblivious to the fact that since I started trading, the price had fallen to 1ZEC@0.1BTC. My ZEC was worth 90% less, and I lost almost half a bitcoin worth of money.

Some volatility is great for arbitrage – too much volatility isn't.

7. Exchanges aren't as technically robust as they ought to be

Most of the time, you will find that smaller exchanges offer opportunities more often than big exchanges. This is in part due to the previously mentioned slow movement of information, but also their (often significantly lower) trading volume. Initially, this may appear like a steal – but there's usually a reason that particular exchange only has the low volume it currently does.

In a time where any one in the world can open up an exchange running on his raspberrypi and Ethereum, trading on the more alternative exchanges can be a serious risk to your investment.

From things like DDOS attacks and overloaded matching engines not matching your orders, to more serious issues like stuck withdrawals due to too low miner fees, or even theft – and the latter is a very omnipresent issue not exclusively affecting small exchanges, as the Bitfinex Heist has shown this summer; the list of potential technical failures is long and you should be aware of these at all times.

Conclusion

I'm aware this answer is overtly negative – this was intentional. Arbitrage, as well as crypto currency in general, is not the quick buck everyone on forums and dubious sites advertising trading bots make you believe. While its inner mechanisms and workings are still quite cryptic* to even the most professional traders (sorry for the pun), even the fabled cryptographic adheres to some basic principles, afterall. The 'quick way to wealth' usually will just end up quickly making you wealthless.

Start by opening up some of the well known exchanges … do not use ones such as localbitcoins .. far too risky. A good one is OKCoin.com as they have a good verification system.

(*) Another great myth is that the chinese dictate the BTCUSD market. There is no empirical proven correlation between chinese and american markets. The only defacto correlation that has been found was that of google searches for bitcoin to btc trading volume – but whether this was positive or negative was inclusive.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Jack

Trade Coin Club Reviews – Is It A Scam Or A Legitimate Opportunity?

Trade Coin Club Reviews – Is It A Scam Or A Legitimate Opportunity?

 

Trade Coin Club

I found out about this company called Trade Coin Club as I was surfing the web. This company is a fresh new company and as always, I have decided to have a detailed look at their business.

I am sure if you are like me, many of you would also like to know more about this new venture. Even more so, those of you, who are looking to invest in this web MLM business.

To help you guys, I have spent some time researching and prepared this Trade Coin Club Review. I have divided this into company profile, products, compensation plan and finally my thoughts.

Let’s check what I dug up about them!

What Is Trade Coin Club? 

Trade Coin Club may very well be the newest of the online bitCoin based MLM business. As for the domain registration, this company just started its operation in November 2016. I am not scared of being involved in a company in its infancy because if it is a good company I can get a head start. 

Like most of the online businesses similar to this one, this company does not have any information about the company owners, stakeholders or management teams., however, they are licensed as a legitimate trading platform. Another point to note they offer all trades to be logged and viewed in the back office. 

They have registered their domain name for 10 years. 

Products Trade Coin Club Offers

Trade Coin Club does not have any physical or digital products to sell or rent.

After becoming an affiliate member, members can sell or promote memberships of Trade Coin Club. Each member is set up with a trading platform that allows them to have their cryptocurrency ie "Bitcoin" traded against the top ten cryptocurrencies. I like this because of the aligator tooth (the up and down price of Bitcoin) this allows members to not really be concerned about the lack of knowledge of trading because it trades on auto-pilot and they choose the level of risk. High, medium, low. More on this later in the study.

The Trade Coin Club Compensation Plan

You can join Trade Coin Club by signing on for one of 3 available investment plans.

  • Apprentice – Invest 0.25 to 0.99 BTC and receive a 0.35% daily ROI for 8 months
  • Trader – Invest 1 to 4.99 BTC and receive a 0.4% daily ROI for 12 months
  • Senior Trader – Invest 5 BTC or more and receive a 0.45% daily ROI for 12 months

However, you have to pay a 25% fee on your earned ROI every four months. So basically, you are actually earning 75% of their promised ROI.

Affiliate members can also earn referral commission on unilevel structure up to level eight. Your unilevel positions can be filled by both your directly sponsored members and their own sponsored members.

  • Apprentice – 10% on level 1, 3% on level 2, 2% on level 3 and 1% on level 4
  • Trader – 10% on level 1, 3% on level 2, 2% on level 3 and 1% on levels 4 to 6
  • Senior Trader – 10% on level 1, 3% on level 2, 2% on level 3 and 1% on levels 4 to 8

When you advance in affiliate ranks you receive rank advancement bonus.

  • Trader Level 3 – Earn 10 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a Montblanc pen
  • Trader Level 4 – Earn 50 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a cruise
  • Trader Level 5 – Earn 100 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive an “international Caribbean travel” cruise
  • Trader Level 6 – Earn 200 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a Rolex watch
  • Trader Level 7 – Earn 500 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a Toyota Corolla car
  • Trader Level 8 – Earn 750 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a BMW 320 car
  • Trader Level 9 – Earn 1500 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a BMW Z4 car
  • Trader Level 10 – Earn 5000 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a BMW 18 car
  • Trader Level 11 – Earn 10,000 BTC or more in monthly binary commissions and receive a Lamborghini Huracan car

They also provide residual commissions on binary compensation structure.

Your downline investment volume will be counted every day on both sides of the binary team and you will be paid commissions on the weaker side of your leg. The amount will be dependent on your rank.

  • Apprentice – 8% (capped at 2 BTC a day)
  • Trader – 9% (capped at 10 BTC a day)
  • Senior Trader – 10% (capped at 15 BTC a day)

Additionally, members can earn recruitment commissions through a 3×12 matrix. When an affiliate fills a matrix position they are paid 0.003 BTC a month, as long as each member continues to pay their monthly fee.

So I have researched results from other existing members. A member that I had talked with has earned a documented 174 Bitcoin since December 24, 2016. They were nice enough to show me in their back office and that they have received full withdrawal after the trade period was over. So I do know at this point this is a real trading platform.

To see the company presentation and to make your own decision Click Here

Chris Corey CMO MarketHive Inc

 

Jack

Bitcoin vs Onecoin

A lot of people seem to think Onecoin is a far better investment compared to bitcoin. While nothing could be further from the truth, it is not hard to see why people would invest in Onecoin rather than bitcoin. To the average consumer, bitcoin makes little sense. However, it is evident bitcoin will always be the superior currency.

2. ONECOIN

Over the past few years, Onecoin has made quite a name for itself. The people responsible for this project advertise Onecoin as a digital currency that will not only make investors rich over time but also provides a gateway to product and services as part of the Onelife ecosystem. However, there are quite a few caveats regarding Onecoin that most less tech-savvy people tend to overlook. After all, the concept looks appealing, but can its creators back up any of their initial claims?

That is where the Onecoin project falls apart almost immediately. While it is true investors will see their account balance update over time, that does not necessarily mean they own said funds. In fact, until they request  a payout from Onecoin, they will never control their profits or original investment ever again. Moreover, the account balances one sees update every so often is nothing more than a number in the Onecoin site database being changed, even though it has no value whatsoever.

Moreover, the Onecoin team claims they have made a digital currency, which is issued over a blockchain. So far, there has been no proof of a Onecoin blockchain, simply because it doesn’t exist. Nor will it ever come to fruition either, as the project team has no idea on how they would create such a technological marvel in the first place. It is evident Onecoin is not even a currency with proper use cases, other than the ones provided by the Onelife network. No one has ever been able to buy food or pay a bill with Onecoin directly, that much is certain.

1. BITCOIN

Which brings us to bitcoin, the so-called “inferior currency to Onecoin”, according to some of the platform’s investors. In fact, one can argue bitcoin is everything Onecoin is not and vice versa. Unlike the scammy counterpart above, bitcoin is an actual currency that can be used around the world without requiring approval from a centralized company that has no honest intentions whatsoever. It is rather interesting the OneLife network does not accept bitcoin payments, nor does any other merchant around the world accept Onecoin payments.

Moreover, bitcoin is a digital currency, as it does not merely exist in one website’s database. The entire world can see bitcoin transactions take place in real-time without having to install special software to do so. Onecoin transactions, on the other hand, have never been publicly documented. This begs the question whether or not there is any value to the Onecoin “currency” in the first place, considering it has no use cases.

Speaking of use cases, thousands of merchants and retailers around the world are accepted bitcoin payments as of right now. Both online and offline purchases can be completed with bitcoin. Additionally, there are also bitcoin debit cards, whereas Onecoin has no debit card whatsoever. That is quite surprising, considering the value of Onecoin seems to increase every so often. Striking a deal with a credit card issuer would not be all that hard in this regard. Then again, bitcoin has a value, and Onecoin does not, which explains why no card issuer wants to deal with Onecoin right now.

Chris Corey MarketHive Chief Marketing Officer

 

author: Jdebunt

JP Buntinx is a FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers, and he aims to achieve the same level of respect in the FinTech sector.

 

 

Jack

Dutch and Korean Mainstream Media Extensively Cover Bitcoin Rally

Dutch and Korean Mainstream Media Extensively Cover Bitcoin Rally

Bitcoin is sustaining a strong price rally, maintaining its stability at the US$1,020 margin. Within seven days, the price of bitcoin rose by 9%, pushing the demand for the digital currency in exchanges worldwide. As a result, bitcoin began to gain extensive coverage by mainstream media in South Korea, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Extensive Coverage in Belgium and the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, de Volkskrant, leading daily morning newspaper with a circulation of nearly 250,000 nationwide and De Telegraaf, the largest Dutch daily newspaper with a circulation of 430,000, provided extensive coverage on bitcoin and its recent price rally to their mainstream audience ever since bitcoin reached the $1,000 milestone.

Analysts at De Telegraff offered insightful and accurate assessment of bitcoin’s rising value, stating that current global economic instability and uncertainty led to the increase of demand for bitcoin. Researchers at the firm also mentioned China’s role in bitcoin’s recent price rally, explaining that investors, traders and households purchased bitcoin to move the Chinese yuan out of the country.

De Telegraff stated:

Bitcoin has in recent months was sought after by investors due to the uncertainty in the international economy. According to analysts, the popularity of bitcoin is enhanced by strong demand from China, where virtual currency investors are seeking for an interesting alternative to the yuan.

While tightening regulations and capital controls initiated and imposed by the Chinese government indeed played a vital role in pushing the price of bitcoin, experts like Vinny Lingham told users and investors that it is important to consider the impact of the Federal Reserve’s increase in interest rates on bitcoin.

The global economy is dependent on the US dollars directly and indirectly. Currencies like the Chinese yuan and South Korean won depend on the performance of US dollars and thus, when the US dollars rise in value, they decline in price.

Inevitably, when the Fed raised rates in December, the demand for bitcoin surged in countries like China and South Korea due to the rising number of investors and traders seeking for alternative assets to avoid currency devaluation.

De Tijd, a major newspaper in Belgium with 41,000 in circulation, also provided coverage on bitcoin on its online media outlet, emphasizing bitcoin’s strong performance throughout the year. Analysts at De Tijd noted that bitcoin was worth less than $500 in the beginning of 2016 and it reached a 3-year high price on the first day of trading in 2017.

South Korea: Fed Rate Hikes, Bitcoin Demand Rises

The South Korean economy is slowly recovering from controversies surrounding President Park’s involvement in bribery and other serious offenses.

When the Fed announced its plans to raise interest rates last month, mainstream media outlets in South Korea expressed their concerns with the decreasing value of the South Korean won. Such coverage led to increasing demand for bitcoin within the country and ultimately, extensive coverage from mainstream media.

Mainstream media coverage in leading countries like the Netherlands and South Korea are exposing millions of people to bitcoin on a daily basis. If bitcoin continues rise in price, it will aid mainstream adoption of the digital currency in the long run.

Image from Shutterstock.

 

Chris Corey Chief Marketing Officer 

Markethive 

Joseph Young on 03/01/2017​

Jack

2016 Review: There’s New Momentum For Bitcoin and the Blockchain Industry

2016 Review: There’s New Momentum For Bitcoin and the Blockchain Industry

https://markethive.com/chriscorey/page/mycrypto

2016 set the bull charging again. A combination of events, beginning with bitcoin’s popularity as a hedge that protects assets from the forces afflicting traditional markets, set the stage for the price more than doubling in 2016. The good news on the price front tempered the volatility that has historically plagued the cryptocurrency, helping to solidify its role in society.

The positive news on the price front facilitated the continuing venture capital investment in bitcoin that was evident throughout the year. Venture capital investment in bitcoin in the last three years topped $927 million.

Bitcoin was also the best-performing currency this year, climbing 21% in USD value. Its performance surpassed that of the U.S. dollar and the Israeli shekel.

Moving Mainstream

The currency has moved from an investment commodity to everyday use, according to Coupofy.com, a digital marketing concern that provides online coupons for retailers.

Overstock, the online retailer that has been one of bitcoin’s most visible supporters among U.S. businesses, in December became the first publicly-traded company to issue stock over the Internet, distributing more than 126,000 company shares using the bitcoin blockchain.

Through a subsidiary called tØ, Overstock created a blockchain-based technology to facilitate trading financial securities.

Bitcoin also moved deeper into the financial mainstream in 2016. In May, derivatives giant CME Group launched two bitcoin benchmark indexes. Intercontinental Exchange Inc., a CME Group rival which owns the New York Stock Exchange, also announced plans to launch a real-time price index for the bitcoin.

Price Surge Began Early

Bitcoin’s price rose to just below $500 after the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank raised its fund rate by 25 basis points in late 2015. The bitcoin price tracked the U.S. dollar rally against other fiat currencies.

The negative start of the 2016 stock market demonstrated bitcoin’s value as a hedge against more volatile investment options. Bitcoin was one of the few winning investments in the worst first week of the year for U.S. stocks in early January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 had their worst first weeks in history. Bitcoin, gold, the yen and natural gas were in growth modes.

Bitcoin’s price in January surged more than $20 in a 10-hour period to scale beyond $450. The climb did not occur in a straight line, however.

After falling to $360 in January, the price rebounded past $400 in February.

Fed Rate Hike Doesn’t Spook Bitcoin

The Federal Reserve Bank’s 2016 rate increase announcement in March had little impact on bitcoin. Half the market passively accumulated via limit orders placed just below price while the other half actively sold at market price.

The Federal Reserve’s early rate hike did not have a telling impact on bitcoin price.

The release of the code for Segregated Witness (SegWit) in April, an upgrade to the bitcoin protocol designed to enable more transactions within a single block of the blockchain, helped push bitcoin past $460.

In June, the price soared beyond $570, reaching a near two-year high. It hit $750 by mid-November.

Geopolitical Events Support Bitcoin

Global political events worked in bitcoin’s favor, beginning with the June U.K. Brexit referendum. After the U.K. pound (GBP/USD) dropped to $1.32, the U.S. dollar and gold rallied while bitcoin achieved a $140 gain.

Bitcoin prices were impacted by Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union.

The climb was not uniform.

Bitcoin’s price crashed in August as the Bitfinex exchange suffered a security breach that led to the theft of an unconfirmed number of bitcoins. The big exchange further announced a shutting down of its website and trading in ominous signs reminiscent of Mt. Gox.

Bitfinex got back online after advising users that they would lose 36% of their assets. The exchange levied a 36% price on all of its users, whether or not they were victimized individually by the hackers. The attack led some to believe the industry had not come up with a way to ensure security.

Others viewed the Bitfinex episode as proof that the bitcoin network is capable of withstanding negative events.

The Surge Continues

The price struck a new yearly high of $794.39 on the Bitstamp Price Index (BPI) in late December as the surge continued.

Financial adviser Martin Tillier observed that bitcoin’s previous price hikes were mysterious, but the current one is due to the devaluation of China’s currency.

Because there are logical reasons for the current price surge, the market is acting as a forward discounting mechanism and some degree of appreciation is now built into the price, Tillier noted. In addition, the interest from traders combined with the ability to short the currency allows the market to check upward spikes naturally, simply by attracting sellers.

Bitcoin gained more value than all other currencies in 2016, driven by China’s crackdown on the yuan, isolationist rumblings in the U.S. and the U.K, and increasing acceptance by consumers and businesses, according to Bloomberg.

By the time the price surged 79 percent since the start of 2016 to $778, it reached its highest level since early 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At that point, bitcoin quadrupled the gains posted by Russia’s ruble and Brazil’s real, the world’s top two hard currencies.

Hard Fork Debate Continues

Drama engulfed the bitcoin industry over the hard fork solution to address the bitcoin block size. The issue caused longtime developer Mike Hearn to announce his departure from bitcoin in December of 2015.

Bitcoin Classic – a successor to Bitcoin-XT – appeared on the scene as a possible new implementation of the bitcoin protocol.

Many in the industry celebrated the new solution, despite the reality that the coding was not complete, and that the main developer on the project once noted that he was an average C++ programmer. This didn’t stop industry leaders like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong from championing the technology.

The scaling debate is set to continue in 2017.

The main controversy around Bitcoin Classic centered around two opposing viewpoints. Those seeking to increase the maximum block size from 1 MB to 2 MB claimed that it is necessary to keep transaction costs down and continue the growth of the system.

Those against the block size increase argued that important technical issues were not properly addressed.

The core development team decided to take a clear direction, yet some miners, exchanges and start-ups pushed back.

The Classic camp, consisting of entrepreneurs, wanted a more immediate fix to expanding the network by increasing the block size. The Core camp, consisting of miners, didn’t want to increase the block size since some miners will be less likely to earn mining rewards.

Mining pools representing at least 70% of the total hashing power of the bitcoin network and some of the largest bitcoin exchanges said they would not support Bitcoin Classic or any “contentious hard-fork.”

Bitcoin Price Holds

When the bitcoin reward halving occurred in July, there were no price drops. Parties were held worldwide.

There was concern about miner profitability since miner rewards were cut in half from 25 to 12.5 bitcoins.

The bitcoin price eventually resumed its upward trend. One factor noted at the time was the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, driving Chinese investors to bitcoin.

In January 2017, the foreign currency cap for the amount of foreign currency that a Chinese citizen can convert ($50,000) will be reset for the new year. Inevitably, the surge in capital outflows could weaken the yuan further, setting off a market reaction that could lead to further demand for safe assets such as bitcoin.

Other factors cited were India’s demonetization drive, the unexpected Trump U.S. Presidential election victory and the U.K. Brexit referendum.

Blockchain Continues Its Surge

Investment in blockchain technology reached new highs in 2016.

Digital Asset Holdings, the New York firm developing blockchain solutions for the financial services industry, announced two new investors. IBM and Goldman Sachs joined 13 other investors with the funding scaling beyond $60 million.

Blockstream, a startup developing blockchain sidechains, raised $55 million in Series A funding, bringing the total capital raised to $76 million.

The R3 blockchain consortium which is testing blockchain technology for securities settlements and payments continued to make news. In late 2015, 12 banks joined the group. The consortium also opened membership to non-bank financial companies, including clearing houses, exchanges, standards organizations and infrastructure providers.

In November of 2016, some banks, including Goldman Sachs, one of the earliest members of the R3 blockchain consortium, reportedly chose not to renew membership with the working group.

VISA and blockchain technology partner BTL announced in September plans to invite a select group of European banks to participate in a blockchain project that will see inter-bank payments made via transfers over the distributed ledger.

Microsoft and Bank of America Merill Lynch in September announced a collaboration with the aim to “fuel transformation of trade finance transacting” with blockchain technology. The biggest changes would mean reduced transaction settlement time and newly automated processes.

R3 and 12 member banks in October trialed Ripple’s native digital currency token XRP, using the fintech startup’s blockchain technology, for cross-border payments. The trials were conducted at R3’s lab in an effort to demonstrate cost-cutting and increased efficiency of cross-border payments using Ripple’s digital asset.

Microsoft’s blockchain-as-a-service (Baas) endeavor gained new partners, including BitPay, for the service that will be made available for its Azure cloud platform.

Bitcoin entrepreneur Jeff Garzik started Bloq, a code-for-hire service to develop features for blockchain software and provide access to blockchain support. The company charges $3,000 to $5,000 per month. PriceWaterhouseCoopers agreed to sell the service to its customers.

New Blockchain Applications Emerge

Blockchain technology continued to find new applications in 2016.

Early in the year, General Motors tweeted news of its collaboration with Lyft to create self-driving vehicles. The announcement came as the industry was awaiting Ford and Google to announce a partnership for self-driving vehicles. Both of projects promise ripe grounds for smart contracts, blockchain-powered contracts that can tie IoT and vehicle finance together.

Blockchain is allowing musicians to monetize their work and engage with fans more directly. By embedding music in the blockchain, those involved in its creation can get paid immediately in cryptocurrency. Hence, the blockchain has the potential to change the way the music industry operates.

Several initiatives were announced to use blockchain technology to connect energy grids, delivering more efficient and environmentally sustainable energy. One company, L03 Energy, is building an “open source cryptographically secure” blockchain to manage transactions across a microgrid.

The hype surrounding blockchain technology has led to numerous pilots and prototypes deployed in 2016.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a provider of audit and assurance, tax and consulting services, teamed with Z/Yen, a London-based commercial think tank that promotes societal advancement through better finance and technology, to study the potential of blockchain technology in wholesale insurance.

Walmart and IBM partnered in October to manage the supply chain for Chinese pork on a blockchain, ensuring consumer confidence in the food industry. Teaming up with Tsinghua University in Beijing, it is hoped that by digitally tracking the movement of pork in China on a distributed ledger, food disasters will be prevented.

The issue of institutions hyping blockchain technology without bitcoin continued to be an area of debate in 2016. While many financial institutions expressed interest in blockchain technology but not bitcoin, some observers pointed out that the institutions ignore the fact that a cryptocurrency is needed to support a blockchain. One observer claimed that hyping the blockchain while denigrating bitcoin is an effort to blunt bitcoin’s challenge to traditional currency.

Ethereum Makes Waves

2016 was also a big year for Ethereum, which continues to make waves on the cryptocurrency landscape, with developers introducing new applications that take advantage of its smart contract and crowdsale capabilities. The market cap for ether, the crypto asset and token of the Ethereum network, soared above $1 billion.

As Ethereum grows, it earns media coverage which in turn fuels its growth. It attracted interest from major financial companies that are using it for private blockchains and smart contracts.

The Ethereum ecosystem continues to grow.

In May, the Gemini exchange, founded and operated by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, gained the approval from the State of New York via the Department of Financial Services to offer ether trading.

Ethereum witnessed some growing pains in 2016. In June, the distributed autonomous organization (DAO) was breached when an attacker drained the ether contained in the DAO into a child DAO.

In response, Ethereum developers proposed a soft fork to be followed by a hard-fork. Miners unanimously supported the fork. The discussion and debate around the DAO vulnerability raised questions about trust and the human factor in the realm of distributed ledger technology.

Ethereum’s price jumped when the fork took effect in July. The clean resolution to the attempted heist was possible due to a new, decentralized governance model where those with a stake in the system cast their decisive votes.

Regulatory Activity Increases

While regulatory actions are not generally viewed as positive for any industry, regulations in 2016 were supportive in some ways.

A European Court of Justice ruling exempted bitcoin from value added tax (VAT), which was hailed as a victory by bitcoin advocates. The case was between the Swedish Tax Authority and the nation’s Revenue Law Commission. It commenced after a Swedish citizen asked for clarification of VAT on bitcoin.

Regulatory actions in Russia, a country that has not been supportive of bitcoin, improved in 2016. The Internet Development Institute (IRI) of Russia prepared a roadmap titled “Economics and Finance” which included a proposal for regulating blockchain.

Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation stated in October that the spread of bitcoin in Russia does not represent a threat to the country’s financial ecosystem at its current rate of adoption. As such, the plan to ban the cryptocurrency was put on hold. The Ministry of Finance initially proposed a 4-year prison sentence for bitcoin users late last year. In what could be seen as a move to bring respite, the Ministry then proposed a 2-year “corrective labor” sentence – a combination of penal detention and forced labor – for bitcoin adopters earlier this year.

Bitcoin’s increasing adoption and prominence has led to regulatory moves by several countries in 2016.

document by the federal tax authority in Russia in December revealed its first official stance on the legal status of cryptocurrencies. It noted bitcoin cannot be blocked or banned since cryptocurrencies can be deemed foreign currency transactions according to Russian laws.

State regulatory initiatives in the U.S. increased in 2016, indicating growing awareness of bitcoin.

Lawmakers in the State of Wyoming proposed a bill to require that cryptocurrency be treated the same as fiat currency under the state’s money transmitter’s act. The purpose of the bill is to encourage bitcoin-friendly companies to want to do business in the state.

The New York State Department of Financial Services in June approved Ripple Labs’ BitLicense application to sell and obtain XRP – the native digital asset of the Ripple Consensus Ledger, a platform used by financial institutions and companies.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that defines “virtual currency” and clarifies what activity triggers licensure. The law defined the term “virtual currency” and the activities that trigger licensure. Virtual currency miners and blockchain software providers will not require a license for multi-signature software, smart contract platforms, smart property, colored coins, and non-hosted, non-custodial wallets.

The State of Illinois sought comment on a guidance document it released on whether a money transmitter license is needed to engage in selling decentralized digital currencies. The document says the department does not require such a license since virtual currencies have not been adopted by governments as currency.

The document outlined the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) interpretation of the state’s Transmitters of Money Act and seeks to establish the regulatory treatment of decentralized digital currencies.

IRS Summons Coinbase

One of the more alarming regulatory developments in the U.S. occurred in mid-November, when the IRS summoned Coinbase to provide information about its customers to facilitate the federal agency’s investigation into possible tax evasion by users of virtual currencies at any time between Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2015.

A federal judge approved the IRS summons, which Coinbase said it would oppose.

Mergers And Acquisitions Continue

Mergers and acquisitions continued in 2016.

Early in the year, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, an initial investor in Coindesk, acquired the publication as a whole, with editorial and business teams at CoinDesk to merge with Digital Currency Group’s events platform to form a new subsidiary based in New York.

In January, the largest ever deal of its kind in the bitcoin industry saw leading European bitcoin exchange Krakenacquire bitcoin exchanges Coinsetter and CaVirtEx.

There were also industry casualties.

KnCMiner, after winning a lawsuit against complainants who had sued over late or failed delivery of one of the company’s previous iterations of bitcoin mining hardware, filed for bankruptcy ahead of July’s mining reward halving.

The Swedish company’s CEO Sam Cole cited energy taxes and uncertainty about the future of the bitcoin mining market.

BitLendingClub in December decided to close its service designed to help small businesses in emerging markets due to regulatory pressures, the company informed customers in a blog on its website. The blog noted the company worked hard to build a platform to provide the greatly needed service.

The blog did not expand on what regulatory pressures it was facing.

Controversies Aplenty

The Silk Road saga continued to haunt bitcoin in 2016. Ross Ulbricht’s defense filed an appeal. The defense will argue that the court prevented crucial evidence from seeing the day of light.

A federal court sentenced a Utah man, Curtis Clark Green, whose faked murder helped law enforcement put an end to the Silk Road Marketplace.

In May, Norway police made their largest drug bust ever when they arrested 15 people selling drugs on what they claim is the second version of the Silk Road marketplace that the U.S. FBI closed in 2013.

Other controversies emerged. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought judgments against Homero Joshua Garza, GAW Miners and ZenMiner, LLC, claiming they engaged in selling fraudulent investments in virtual currency mining operations.

The SEC ordered the defendants to pay $10,384,099 in disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, along with civil penalties. The SEC charged Garza, GAW Miners and ZenMiner with securities fraud and conducting a Ponzi scheme in January. The motion seeks permanent injunctions prohibiting the companies from engaging in future violations.

As an often misunderstood cryptocurrency, controversial bitcoin headlines are never too far.

Another drama surrounded the identity of bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. A text analysis of Australian Craig’ Wright’s writing by a specialist working with the U.K.-based International Business Times determined that the Australian is most likely not Satoshi Nakamoto. The company used a technique that compares texts written by Wright with anonymous texts believed to be sent by Nakamoto, including the original bitcoin white paper.

The darknet continued to poke its unwelcome head in 2016. The late February terror attacks in Brussels caused French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to cite the darknet as a terrorist tool and call for measures to improve intelligence expertise in technologies terrorists use.

Ransomware Attacks Expand

Ransomware attacks quadrupled this year over last year, averaging 4,000 per day, according to the U.S. Justice Department, The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story. This is because ransomware has become easier to deploy and more profitable than other scams, and bitcoin is more widely used.

Nearly one-third of bitcoin trading platforms have been hacked, reported Reuters, while about half have closed up shop in their first six years.

Also read: Bitcoin Classic releases new code that could double the block size in bitcoin

Bitcoin Questions Remain

Bitcoin’s dual role as a commodity and a currency can create financial recovery disputes when a company that pays for services using bitcoin goes bankrupt.

Bitcoin’s identity as a form of money also remains undecided. A bankruptcy court judge ruled in February in one such case, stating that the cryptocurrency is not the same as U.S. currency, but making it clear that he wanted the ruling confined to a specific legal framework.

Miami judge ruled that bitcoin isn’t real money, so someone accused of laundering it shouldn’t be convicted of money laundering. This was the argument that attorneys used in asking a Florida judge to dismiss money laundering charges against Michell Espinoza, a Miami man who police say sold and laundered $1,500 worth of bitcoins to undercover detectives.

Crypto Innovations Continue

There were new cryptocurrency innovations in 2016. Zcash, a “zero-knowledge proof” alternative to bitcoin, publishes its payments on a public blockchain, but the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction remain private. It works like bitcoin with the guarantee of anti-forgery assurances. No one can counterfeit Zcash, or spend the same Zcash “coin” twice. But thanks to its “zero-knowledge feature”, any spender or receiver can also choose to keep their Zcash payment entirely secret.

Bitcoin’s Outlook Positive

report by Denmark-based Saxo Bank claimed bitcoin’s price could rise by 165% to more than $2,000 due to an economic stimulus expected from incoming President Donald Trump. The bullish bitcoin outlook was one of 10 Saxo Bank “Outrageous Predictions for 2017.”

Bitcoin is poised to grow in 2017.

The Trump-promised fiscal spending binge is expected to add to the approximate $20 trillion of U.S. national debt, tripling the current U.S. budget deficit from about $600 billion to $1.2 trillion to $1.8 trillion.

The spending will cause U.S. growth and inflation to skyrocket, forcing the Federal Reserve to accelerate its hikes and the U.S. dollar to soar to new heights.

This creates a domino effect in emerging markets and China in particular, leading people globally to seek alternative currencies and payment systems that are not tied to central banks. Central banks engage in exhausted monetary policies that are in full financial repression mode.

Images from Shutterstock and Ethereum.

Chris Corey 

CMO Markethive Inc

Lester Coleman on 31/12/2016

Jack