Digital Currencies are too volatile. Is there a way to fix that?

By Guest Author - (cointelegraph.com)


The common question most people pose when they are confronting the idea of Bitcoin is: “what is its fundamental value?” Lay people don’t know how to approach Bitcoin, and they definitely don’t know how to value it. For many, it simply becomes a bet based on the supposition the price will continue to go up.

In recent weeks, what many believe to be irrational exuberance has bid the price up higher and higher to the point where a market correction seemed necessary. Every asset needs some form of sustainable value support and Bitcoin still hasn’t found one yet.

A potential solution is being put forward

A new idea that has emerged from China is A-SDR. This is an anchoring mechanism that serves to connect digital currencies to the real world. A-SDR consists of Ethereum, Bitcoin and ACC, and its goal is to stabilize the prices of digital currencies by tying them to real-world goods.

The idea of A-SDR came from a recent innovation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  The IMF’s goal was to take the world from a dollar-centric system to an SDR-centric monetary system. SDR stands for “Special Drawing Rights,” and the goal is for it to become the standard of circulation and settlement for global currencies.

ACC is the token that fuels the ACChain system and is anchored by holding title to real-world assets. The value of ACC will continue to rise as more digital assets are issued, and its share of A-SDR will continue to increase until it dwarfs those of Ethereum and Bitcoin.

ACC stands for Asset Collection Coin, and it has been created to fill the need which has been felt by all the critics of Bitcoin who see the value in digital monetary innovation but would prefer to hold tangible wealth. By holding title to real-life assets, ACC represents the combination of tangible asset ownership and digital currencies.

Collaborative effort

BTC and ETH are not anchored to real assets, which is where their volatility comes from. Rapid changes in price have made it so they cannot be used as a digital settlement currency globally. ACC will act as the connector of these digital goods to the real world and will have an exchange rate that is continually revised.

Bitcoin and Ether both have their purposes and these will not be eliminated by the coming of ACC. ACChain aims to work with the existing technology rather than competing against it. The A-SDR is a collaborative effort to harness all the good that can be experienced into one cohesive ecosystem, and buying ACC is the best way to get in on that goal right now.

Through anchoring digital gold reserve BTC and ETH with A-SDR, ACC then becomes equipped with four currency functions. These functions are the ability to scale value, means of circulation means of storage and means of payment. Basically, ACC is set to evolve into the standard token for anyone who wants to settle global digital assets. The future is bright for both ACC and A-SDR, but this also helps the performance of Bitcoin.

The future is in tangible assets that can be digitally controlled

Bitcoin is aided by the development of A-SDR because of the support that is provided by ACC. Bitcoin will be able to become a true and generally accepted digital gold, just as ACC will become accepted as the settlement digital coin in global asset trading.

ACChain is the platform which will be used to monetize goods with ACC, and every time a good is monetized, the demand for ACC will go up. This increase in demand will naturally lead to an increase in the price of the good.

When you purchase ACC via the A-SDR fund, you are helping to bootstrap ACChain to a higher profile, as well as making it more and more likely that Bitcoin becomes viewed as a digital gold. We are about to see what happens when you link hard, ownable assets with infinitely divisible digital currencies. With stability as a goal and both Ether and Bitcoin experiencing high volatility, investors are going to find huge appeal in the idea of ACC and the A-SDR funds.

You can get Windows 10 for free until January 16, 2018

By Mayank Parmar - (www.windowslatest.com)


When Microsoft announced the new Windows 10 operating system, the company allowed users on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 to upgrade to the new operating system for free until July 29, 2016. While the free upgrade for Windows 10 has ended, the company still allowed anyone with assistive technologies to upgraBy Mayank Parmar - (www.windowslatest.com)

When Microsoft announced the new Windows 10 operating system, the company allowed users on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 to upgrade to the new operating system for free until July 29, 2016. While the free upgrade for Windows 10 has ended, the company still allowed anyone with assistive technologies to upgrade to Windows 10 at absolutely no cost.

Last year, Microsoft confirmed that December 31 is the last date for free Windows 10 upgrade and the users were supposed to reserve the free upgrade to the new OS. It appears that Microsoft has extended the offer and you will be able to get Windows 10 for free until January 16, 2018.

“If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues our efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on January 16, 2018,” the company said.

NOTE: Since Microsoft doesn’t verify whether the Windows 7 or 8.1 machine has any assistive technologies feature installed, anyone can upgrade to Windows 10 operating system for free.


Please visit following Microsoft link for more info and the upgrade link:

Customers who use assistive technologies can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgrade


How to Protect from Meltdown and Spectre Chip Vulnerabilities

By Trisha - (www.trishtech.com)


The computer world is in a big shock after the new vulnerabilities labeled as Spectre and Meltdown were made known a few days ago. The vulnerabilities exist in the design of Intel, AMD and the ARM processors and allow a malicious program to read the memory of the other processes. This means that any malicious program can read the memory of your web browser and capture your passwords or other information without requiring special permissions.

The security researchers who worked to find these vulnerabilities have put together a special website https://meltdownattack.com/ to keep you informed about the latest updates about these attacks. You should bookmark this website and keep checking it every week for a couple of months. This website gives complete information about the vulnerabilities and has all the links that you would need to keep yourself protected.

At this moment, you can do the following to keep your computer protected :

  • Keep operating system up-to-date. If you enabled automatic updates in your operating system, you should be automatically receiving all the updates. But if you have not turned on automatic updates, then you can manually install the updates for January 2018 or February 2018. This is true for all operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and others.
  • Install device driver and firmware updates. In the coming months, the OEM manufacturers like Lenovo, Sony, Samsung, HP etc., will be releasing updates to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. You should download them and install them whenever they become available.
  • Update the web browsers and other applications to latest versions. Mozilla has already released an update to Firefox web browser. Google is going release an update to Chrome web browser on 23rd January. These updates will patch these programs against the vulnerabilities. You should install these updates as soon as they become available.
  • Install antivirus solution in your computer. Although even the heuristic scan used by antivirus software cannot detect if a program is using these Spectre or Meltdown, Intel security team suggests that you are better protected if you install an updated antivirus program in your computer.

You can find all the links to different processor manufacturers, OEM manufacturers, operating system websites etc. on the Meltdown Attack website at https://meltdownattack.com/.

Japan Becoming the Leader for Bitcoin

By Luke Bakies - (cryptocoinmastery.com)


It is undeniable that Japan has been one of the leaders for Bitcoin over the last few years and it continues to solidify its place as Bitcoin’s heart. Japan has been in the spotlight since the beginning with Bitcoin as founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, is a Japanese name. Japan has been at the forefront of groundbreaking development in Bitcoin, from preserving its longevity to determining how it will be regulated. Despite controversy also associated with Japan with issues like the Mt. Gox implosion which lost over 650,000 Bitcoin, it has remained resilient to push forward for the success of Bitcoin.

The negative events such as Mt. Gox have lead to sweeping reform and regulation to protect customers. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) which is Japan’s regulator, has worked extensively to understand cryptocurrencies to impose fair rules. Their efforts could serve as a basis for the regulation in other countries to protect exchanges and investors.

The Virtual Currency Act has tax reform pertaining to foreign investors, to incentive them to use Japanese exchanges. They also declared Bitcoin an asset and a form of payment but not a legal currency. Lastly they set up licenses for exchanges to create an established market place. These reforms can serve as an outline for future reforms in other countries.

On top of these regulations, Japan has also explored the possibility of expanding blockchain usage within government organizations. They have worked with BitFlyer and are working on a blockchain called “miyabi.” Miyabi boasts the ability to host 4,000 transactions per second with no single point of failure. This could be used with interbank clearing networks to perform faster settlements. With an open mind towards Bitcoin and blockchain, Japan has reaped benefits and it is only a matter of time until other countries follow.

Correlation between cryptocurrency value and exchange listings: Expert Blog

By Munair Simpson - (cointelegraph.com)


There is a positive correlation between the value, or market capitalization, of a cryptocurrency and the number of exchanges that it is listed on. For the top 1,000 cryptocurrencies, the correlation is over 50 percent. Rudimentary data analysis indicates that the market capitalization of the coin or token crudely increases with exchange listings. However, correlation is not causation and it is not wise to conclude that simply listing a cryptocurrency on more exchanges always adds more value to the cryptocurrency.

Correlation

Correlation explains how much two variables are related. A correlation of 100 percent would mean that the positive change in one variable is perfectly related to the positive change in the other variable. If the correlation between cryptocurrency value and exchange listings was 100 percent, then it would possible to observe an exactly proportional increase in market capitalization with an increase in the number of exchange listings.

Since the correlation is over 50 percent, it might be tempting to list on as many exchanges as possible to maximize token value. Do not be tempted. Even though market capitalization and the exchange listings are somewhat linearly correlated, it does not mean that listing on more exchanges definitely results in an increase in market capitalization. Especially when a little more analysis reveals the presence of major outliers.

Outliers

Thanks to the Coin Market Cap API it is easy to observe outliers in the top 1,000 cryptocurrencies. Dumping the market capitalization and exchange listing data into Google Sheets or an RStudio dataset helps to explain a lot. Plotting value against listings shows that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not normal in comparison to the majority of other cryptocurrencies.

Plotting the log of market capitalization against exchanges listed reveals roughly three different clusters of value in the cryptocurrency world.


Clusters of value

The first cluster includes Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. This group of cryptocurrencies are all listed on over 75 exchanges. The second cluster of cryptocurrencies are scattered between 15 and 55 exchange listings. The second includes DASH, Ripple, ZCash, and popular cryptocurrencies. Finally, the vast majority (~98%) of cryptocurrencies have 15 or fewer exchange listings.

Statistical summaries show that median cryptocurrency is listed on just two exchanges and the average is listed on just under four exchanges. Using a box plot to graphically describe the data shows the large number of outliers in relation to the majority of cryptocurrencies.

Box Plot of Exchange Listings. Data obtained from http://www.coinmaketcap.com on Dec. 10th 2017.

In general, the major outliers widely function as mediums of exchange and stores of value. To be globally valuable as intermediary instruments used to facilitate buying, selling or trading goods and services, these cryptocurrencies should be listed on many exchanges as possible. Currencies generally have more legitimacy the more widely they are used, and listing on many exchanges advances those network effects.

Not all of the outliers present in the dataset serve as money. Ethereum is an exception. Though it was designed with a different purpose in mind, the market decided that it too should function as a medium of exchange and store of value.

There are other exceptions in the first and second cluster of cryptocurrencies. Qtum and TenX were also not purposed as mediums of exchange, yet they are listed on over 15 exchanges.

Strategy implications

In spite of these outliers, analyzing the relationship between value and exchange listings has implications for cryptocurrency strategy. Further dividing cryptocurrencies into subsets and rerunning the analysis provides more meaningful information to can reinforce or redirect the intuition of a cryptocurrency strategist.

Knowing that the outliers are primarily used as stores of value or mediums of exchange, it only makes sense to list widely if planning to compete with cryptocurrencies used as money. There are always exceptions. However, if the purpose of a cryptocurrency is to be a better form of money, then it may need to be widely listed to in order to compete with the other widely listed currencies.

For example, cryptocurrencies competing to be a medium of exchange in Venezuela may increase their market capitalization through listing on a Venezuelan cryptocurrency exchange. With each new geographical market entered, it might experience additional increases in value.

This might not be the case with tokens. Since tokens usually represent an asset, the economics of valuation with respect to exchange listings may be different. Being listed on a Venezuelan exchange may add no value at all.

Security tokens may observe increased market capitalization with exchange listings, as investors will appreciate more trading options in the case there are problems at one of the major centralized exchanges. However, there will most likely be diminishing returns to increasing exchange listings.

The long tail

Focusing on cryptocurrencies with fewer than 15 listings makes sense for getting a rough idea of the relationship between value and exchange listings for average tokens. This subset is the third cluster of cryptocurrencies. They represent over 97 percent of the top 1,000 cryptocurrencies. This cluster also includes cryptocurrencies, like IOTA and NEM, which are not tokens but are highly valued and listed on fewer exchanges than their peers.

Top 1000 Cryptocurrency [Data Source: http://www.coinmarketcap.com]

Graphically, with the aid of a histogram, it is possible to observe the concentration of cryptocurrencies. The chart exposes the first and second clusters as the long tail cryptocurrency exchange listings.

Focusing third cluster makes it possible to notice that the linear correlation between market capitalization and exchange listings drops to 20 percent. That means that it might not really matter that much how many exchanges the average token is listed on. The correlation between the average token’s value and exchange listings is not very significant.

Summary

The ICO is becoming an increasingly popular fundraising vehicle. Traditional businesses are starting to look to this crowdfunding mechanism and bypassing other traditional forms of financing.

Nonetheless, planning an initial coin offering requires a lot of thought and thorough research. Even deciding which exchanges to list on and how many exchanges to list on requires careful research. Fortunately, there are already hundreds of cryptocurrencies out there that can help to determine if it is worth the time and effort to pursue a certain strategy.

There is a correlation between market capitalization, but it is not very strong. Be guided by that. Whenever in doubt about correlation and causation, just look at Litecoin and Bitcoin. Litecoin is listed on 94 exchanges compared to Bitcoin’s 88, yet Bitcoin is a magnitude larger in market capitalization.

Munair Simpson is a business strategist and the principal researcher at Useful Coin Research. Munair lives in South Korea and enjoys teaching Capoeira when not thinking about the future of finance. Munair graduated from the Wharton School with an MBA in Marketing.

The Moment of Truth for Bitcoin and the Cryptocurrency Market

(seekingalpha.com)

Summary
  • The chorus of voices labeling Bitcoin a huge speculative bubble is growing louder.

  • 2017 was a pivotal year for the future of cryptocurrencies, but 2018 is likely to be more insightful regarding their ultimate fate.

  • Bitcoin's meteoric rise has ushered in a new era and represents the birth of a new asset class. How digital currencies mature remains an open question.

One of the most notable developments in financial markets during 2017 was the phenomenal rally in cryptocurrencies and their ascent into a new, unique asset class. Throughout the year the mainstream view remained dismissive regarding the prospects of Bitcoin and its crypto-rivals. Yet, it is becoming increasingly clear that this phenomenon has deeper roots and, notwithstanding the vertiginous volatility, it is unlikely to fade away.


Very few could have foreseen the almost surreal pace of appreciation that took place in the past twelve months. In fact, the surging momentum of the Bitcoin rally was unlike anything we have seen in the past. This lack of historical precedent makes it exceptionally interesting, as well as challenging to investigate what triggered this phenomenon and which drivers continue to fuel it.

Admittedly, the substantial correction we saw the past week in cryptocurrency price movements renewed an element of uncertainty about the longer-term direction and, essentially, the fate of Bitcoin.


As a result, the chorus of voices predicting an imminent collapse in the crypto-market grew louder, to some extent silencing the optimists who expect further acceleration amid this meteoric rally. In light of the unprecedented nature of this phenomenon, widely divergent views about what lies ahead are to be expected. Nonetheless, the view that the digital currencies’ massive surge this year is nothing but a huge speculative price bubble, while logical, is inherently flawed.

A more sober examination of what we are actually witnessing is the volatile phase that typically precedes broader acceptance of a newly introduced asset class. If indeed Bitcoin becomes broadly accepted as an alternative global currency, its market capitalization is bound to grow further over the longer term. Until then and until the coexisting -- at the time of this writing -- irrational exuberance and the fatalistic predictions of Bitcoin’s premature demise subside, extraordinary volatility spikes will dominate price action in the cryptocurrency market.

Let us not forget the key developments that transpired in 2017, such as the introduction of Bitcoin futures by CME Group and Cboe Global Markets, which point to a wider recognition of the role that cryptocurrencies have the potential to play in financial markets. Meanwhile, emerging economies as well as a host of technologically advanced countries, including Japan and South Korea, are increasingly adopting a more open stance with regard to Bitcoin transactions. This is, in large part, why 2017 will go down in history as a pivotal year for digital currencies. At the same time, blockchain technology continues to evolve, and it is reasonable to expect that future iterations will address existing security vulnerabilities and facilitate a swifter adoption process, providing a more complete, credible and accessible alternative payment method.

The relentless rise of Bitcoin has also been underpinned by the high degree of difficulty that funds faced in shorting the digital currency. This is gradually changing with the inception of Bitcoin futures, but up until recently it served as a deterrent for speculators to aggressively initiate short positions. It is also especially challenging to identify reliable hedges with sufficient correlation to Bitcoin price movements. As a result, the cryptocurrency market has been relatively sheltered from external forces that tend to cause ripple effects in financial markets. This fostered conditions favorable for “long-only” speculative strategies, which, combined with the current low-volatility environment that encourages increased leverage and momentum trading, served as an excellent propellant for Bitcoin to skyrocket the way it did. In the short term, this tailwind is about to gradually run its course, and that will likely translate into a trend reversal, potentially quite sharp.

The moment of truth for Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market will arrive after the critical correction that will inevitably ensue. At that point, it will be easier to assess whether digital currencies possess the necessary resilience to survive a concerted onslaught of external market pressures. The reaction of short-term momentum traders -- who ostensibly dominate the digital currency market-- in the face of a technical reversal remains a crucial unknown factor.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that cryptocurrencies are built on a technological foundation that grants them a unique and lasting advantage over traditional currencies. This is why the probability of an eventual widespread cryptocurrency adoption as an integral part of the financial system is significantly higher than currently anticipated. It is, however, far too early to predict which cryptocurrencies will actually survive the ongoing tectonic shifts that are likely to redefine the future monetary landscape. In that regard, 2018 will be quite interesting, eventful and, hopefully, insightful.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Editor's Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

Belarus legalizes cryptocurrency payments & ICO's

By Alexander Lukashenko - (www.ccn.com)


Belarus, a country wedged between Russia and the European Union, recently legalized cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in a move that’s set to drive private sector growth and attract foreign investors to the country, a former communist republic that’s still dominated by its state, filled with inefficient enterprises, and dependent on its neighbor Russia’s money and subsidies.

Bitcoin’s current crash, that’s already led the cryptocurrency below the $11,000 mark before it bounced back to $12,401 at press time, seemingly didn’t put off the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, who signed the decree on Friday while on the move.

The decree notably gives cryptocurrency enthusiasts tax breaks and legal incentives, as its goal is to help turn Belarus into an international tech haven, Bloomberg reports. In a statement Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager who’s in the past labeled the internet “garbage,” said:

“Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology (…) We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area.”

Designed to attract cryptocurrency entrepreneurs looking to avoid regulatory scrutiny over cryptocurrency transactions and ICOs, the decree also exempts revenue and profits from all operations using cryptocurrencies for the next five years.

Speaking to Reuters, Anton Myakishev, the head of Microsoft’s offices in Belarus, stated that “the decree is a breakthrough for Belarus” as it gives the industry the “possibility to make a leap forward in its development,” while allowing foreign capital to enter it in comfortable conditions.

Creating a “Tech Nation”

Earlier this month, Lukashenko said that his goal in signing the decree is to turn Belarus into a “tech nation.” Not only does it legalize cryptocurrencies and ICOs, it also allows local IT companies to partly operate under English law, so it’ll help foreign investors who struggled to navigate the country’s legal system.

Denis Alinikov, a senior partner at private law firm Aleinikov and Partners, who helped draft the decree, stated:

“We regularly faced legal problems. When a Western company buys a Belarussian company they try to structure the deal outside Belarus. Investors don’t want to deal with Belarussian legislation.”

The decree further establishes a direct legal link between token issuers and their obligations towards its holders. To protect against fraud, it sets capital requirement for cryptocurrency exchange operators, while introducing smart contracts in the country.

The IT sector is one of the few that’s thriving in Belarus, as it attracts foreign workers who work for about five times the country’s average wage in its so-called Hi-Tech Park. It’s arguably the most prominent sector of the country’s economy, which is set to grow by 1.7 percent this year, according to Reuters.

Notably, Belarus was home to popular messenger application Viber, as well as the online gaming service World of Tanks, which made its founder the country’s first billionaire.

In an interview, Vsevolod Yanchevsky , head of the Hi-Tech Park, said:

“The decree has been written exactly the way our tech community wanted it. Belarus will be one of the best jurisdictions in the world for cryptocurrencies and blockchain.”

Belarus’ move may have been influenced by its neighboring country Russia, who’s upcoming draft law on cryptocurrency and ICO regulations is set to come on December 28. The law will reportedly consider cryptocurrencies as “other property,” and introduce possible limits on individual ICO investments.

The bill, which will prioritize the protection of retail investors, is likely going to be passed in March 2018. Back in October, President Putin approved a timeline for a framework on cryptocurrency regulations. Reportedly, the country may also soon be launching its own state-sponsored cryptocurrency, the Cryptoruble.

Alexander Lukashenko image from Shutterstock.