Showing posts with label Bitcoin Lure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bitcoin Lure. Show all posts

December 22, 2017

Belarus legalizes cryptocurrency payments & ICO's

By Alexander Lukashenko - December 22, 2017 (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.

December 20, 2017

The CIO of a crypto hedge fund explains why the market will explode over the next 2 years

By Jacqui Frank, Kara Chin and Trevor N. Cadigan - November 28, 2017 (www.businessinsider.com)

Ari Paul, CIO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, talks with Business Insider executive editor Sara Silverstein about the value in cryptocurrency and where he thinks the market is headed in the next two years. Following is a transcript of the video. 

Ari Paul: I’m Ari Paul, CIO of BlockTower Capital and this is why there's value in cryptocurrency

Sara Silverstein: Why do you fundamentally believe that there is value in this cryptocurrency world?

Paul: So there are quite a few use cases. I think the biggest and clearest, and easiest to understand, is as a store of value that can't be censored and is resistant to seizure. And so, the really clear example of demand for this, that I see, is the offshore banking system. Which is roughly 20 trillion dollars today. And it's not just people trying to dodge taxes. Apple, Amazon, every billionaire on the planet, has wealth stored there. And firms like JPMorgan collect fees to offshore law abiding citizens’ wealth. And people want to store their wealth securely, in a way that no single judge could freeze all of their assets. Right? Amazon doesn't want their entire global business operation to be shut down by one judge in Brussels. They want to be able to go through a lengthy appeals process and keep their business operating. So cryptocurrency performs that same task of the offshore banking, of keeping wealth secure an order of magnitude better. So we see massive real fundamental demand for this use case.

Silverstein: And what other financial assets make sense to be on a decentralized database or why would they?

Paul: Yes, there’s a huge distinction between the money use case, store of value, and the blockchain use case, for other assets. And I think it’s useful to kind of separate those. So a blockchain makes a ton of sense to record in real-time legal title. So I was a treasury bond trader, for example, and an example in finance, that anyone who’s traded treasuries is familiar with, is: failure to deliver. So Goldman Sachs will sell a bond to Credit Suisse, who borrows it from JPMorgan, and the same bond, in a day, might trade across 12 banks. And if one back office fails, they fail to make delivery of that bond, you get what's called a cascading failure to deliver. Because no one knows who actually owns the bond. And that can take weeks to fix. So imagine if you just have a shared database, a database that each of those banks held, that was kept accurate in real time,  and that no one could maliciously change or manipulate. You would know who owns what bonds and you might be able to eliminate half of the existing back offices in big banks. So a massive cost savings.

Silverstein: So you believe in the blockchain as having a value in the future for us? How does that translate into value for cryptocurrency?

Paul: So, yeah. I think a really useful idea — a blockchain is just a type of database. It's a distributed ledger that in some use cases, like for a banking back office, is kind of like a database upgrade. So massive improvements in efficiency, but probably not that transformative or disruptive. When you take a blockchain and you make it public and decentralized, and then you add money to that — you add a cryptocurrency — then you're looking at something that is that first use case, that offshore banking system, that I think is fundamentally disruptive. And disruptive financially, economically, and even potentially politically.

Silverstein: Do you see any institutional money in cryptocurrency right now, and is that going to be a huge lever for these values to all skyrocket?

Paul: Absolutely, so we've seen this really clear path of adoption. The earliest adopters were engineers, self-described cypherpunks. Then you had a wave of kind of Silicon Valley tech elites, people who would have a successful exit, who had a high risk tolerance, and who liked taking risk on new technology. Then you had kind of an early wave of maybe people like myself with a little more of a Wall Street background, as well as high net worth individuals, who are a little bit risk-tolerant. What we’re seeing right now is a shift from small family offices to big. Venture capital firms are basically all in. So most of the famous venture capital firms, not only have they been in the space for a few years, they’re now directly investing in new cryptocurrencies. And of the ten largest family offices in the country at least seven of them on cryptocurrency. Maybe more, but seven I'm sure of. So the next wave is — in kind of the institutionalization of the space — is we’re having the CME futures that are likely to launch next month. There's a huge number of entrants who want to invest in cryptocurrency, but can’t. For security reasons, operational reasons, regulatory, but they can easily buy a future, that's on the CME. So that opens the door to groups like endowments and pensions. So far, endowments and pensions own zero cryptocurrency. You have an asset that has been the highest returning asset class over the last eight years and it’s uncorrelated to everything else. And while there’s certainly debate over the future prospects, it lines up as the holy grail for a portfolio. In the sense that, if you size it appropriately, if you size it small, the risks are idiosyncratic. It actually reduces the risk of a portfolio. So endowments and pensions, as they get comfortable with the space, in all aspects regulatory, compliance, as well as underwriting investment risk. They're going to get in. And that's a massive wall of money coming in to a relatively small asset class.

Silverstein: And what do you think the timeline is for that?

Paul: I think the first endowment is probably going to write a check in the next few months, a small check. Endowments won't be in size for probably six months and not in size by — from their perspective for probably 12 months. Pensions are probably 18 months away and the key — the reason given those dates is having third-party custody, that is a legal qualified custodian, is a huge hurdle particularly for pensions. You have issues like ERISA, that are actual fiduciary challenges. And having a third-party qualified custodian, for many crypto assets, is probably something like 12 months away, maybe 18 months away.

The cryptocurrency market is now doing the same daily volume as the New York Stock Exchange

By Oscar Williams-Grut - December 20, 2017 (www.businessinsider.com)

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 6
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • Global volume in cryptocurrency markets has passed $50 billion, close to the average turnover on New York Stock Exchange.
  • The comparison is inexact but highlights just how popular digital currencies have become.


LONDON — Global cryptocurrency markets are now averaging the same daily trading volumes as the New York Stock Exchange.

Twenty-four-hour trade volume in the cryptocurrency market passed the $50 billion mark on Wednesday, according to the data provider CoinMarketCap.com.

That is close to the average daily volume of trade on the New York Stock Exchange this year. Daily trading volumes on the London Stock Exchange hover at about £5 billion, or $6.7 billion.

The comparison is inexact, as the cryptocurrency market is arguably closer to the foreign-exchange market, which has daily volumes of over $5 trillion.

But it highlights just how hot the cryptocurrency market has become in 2017. Unlike the foreign-exchange market, cryptocurrency trading is largely done by small-time, retail investors, making it closer to the stock market (though some huge institutions are playing in the market.)

Investors have flocked to cryptocurrencies in 2017 because of the eye-catching returns of bitcoin, which has grown by about 1,500% against the dollar. A boom in so-called initial coin offerings, in which startups issue their own cryptocurrencies to raise money, has created a raft of other digital assets for investors to speculate on. There are now more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies in circulation, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

But many people within the financial industry have expressed concern about the largely unregulated market. The UK's top financial regulator warned earlier this month that people should be prepared to lose all the money they invest in bitcoin, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has called cryptocurrencies a "scam."

December 02, 2017

Meme Chart Mania - Is this the tip of the iceberg or have we already hit peak Bitcoin?

By Kai Sedgwick - December 02, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


The White House discussing bitcoin. The Big Bang Theory discussing bitcoin. Katy Perry and Warren Buffet discussing bitcoin. Bitcoin web searches exceeding those for Donald Trump. There’s no such thing as a quiet week in bitcoin, but even by its usual agitated standards, this one’s been noisy. Celebrity hangers-on come and go and generic sitcoms move on, but bitcoin refuses to let up. By all reckoning, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But what if we’re all wrong? What if it turns out that this is as good as it gets?

Just the Tip


Everyone’s got a favorite bitcoin chart. It doesn’t matter what data it displays – trading volume; dollar price; transactions; wallet addresses – because the key takeaway is always the same: this is only the beginning. This is just a fraction of the growth we’ll see once the normies pile in. This is just the tip. Just hold, we’re told, and by this time next year we’ll be sitting pretty. Five years from now and we’ll all be driving whichever meme car happens to be de rigueur among crypto’s nouveau rich.

Bitcoin is just beginning.
In the interests of playing devil’s advocate, however, let’s consider the alternative. There’s a case for saying that 2017 will go down as the year we hit Peak Bitcoin, followed by a gradual decline as the world lost interest, the proles returning to their mind-numbing TV shows, the White House focusing on its latest bête noire and investors fixating on the latest asset class to promise sick profits. We’ll inspect that side of the coin in a moment, but first, let’s hear the case for bitcoin.

The Age of Bitcoin is Just Beginning


Since everyone’s got a favorite chart, let’s scrutinize a selection that shows bitcoin’s incredible growth and huge potential. Highly respected crypto assets author Chris Burniske produced the following chart which suggests we’re at the frenzy phase of cryptocurrency. If you thought the last few weeks were wild, you ain’t seen nothing.


Then there’s the following effort from Blockchair which shows the number of bitcoin addresses that are loaded with satoshis. Like most bitcoin-related charts from 2017, this one is exponential.


If the last couple of graphs weren’t exponential enough for you, try this one for size. The Wall Street Journal compared bitcoin’s stellar ascent to every other modern asset class and came up wanting. Nothing like this has ever been seen before, and may never be seen again in our lifetime. Bitcoin in 2017 is so steep it’s almost vertical.


Bitcoin is literally off the charts. This raw data is bolstered by the quotes of investors, analysts, and experts who all see bitcoin going parabolic. “Over the next 10 years the cryptocurrency market will explode… I actually believe that nations will begin issuing digital currencies,” said Chris Concannon on Wednesday.

Between January and November, trading volume at Bitstamp increased by 1,384%. Everyone and their grandmother is now buying bitcoin according to the WSJ.

The Counter-Argument: Peak Bitcoin is Already Here


Two rich white people discussing 
cryptocurrency.
But enough of the bitcoin back-slapping – it’s time to play devil’s advocate. Imagine, for a moment, that 2018 were to unfold as follows:

January: Futures trading rolls out, but proving the maxim “buy on the rumor, sell on the news”, an overbought bitcoin market slumps to $8,000 and a bear phase sets in.

February: Following months of speculation over its balance sheet, Bitfinex/Tether collapses, taking over a billion dollars in customer funds with it.

March: A successful terror attack on American soil, funded from the Middle East using bitcoin, prompts President Trump to issue a crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

There’s more, but you get the gist. Okay, so even the most bullish of bitcoiners isn’t pretending there won’t be obstacles in the road or temporary setbacks. But here’s the thing: none of those nightmarish scenarios could play out and bitcoin could still slump. The wall-to-wall media coverage can’t last forever. The exponential growth can’t last forever. And the sitcom appearances and celebrity endorsements certainly can’t last forever. What happens when the hype fades and the circus packs up and leaves town?

There’s just one chart that needs produced to argue the bear case for bitcoin:


Yep, it’s that one again. What if, rather than the “media attention” phase, we’re actually at the “new paradigm” stage? If so, 2018 promises to be no less enthralling, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.

Focusing on the price of bitcoin, while headline-grabbing, misses the bigger picture. To the virtual currency’s true believers, it doesn’t matter whether bitcoin goes up, down, or sideways next year. What matters is that the cat is out of the bag.

Cryptocurrency, as a store of value, a means of purchase, a form of remittance, and anything else one may care to use it for, has been normalized. Whether we’re driving Lambos or Ladas 12 months from now doesn’t matter. The days of government-issued fiat currency – or “snail paper” as Erik Vorhees recently called it – are numbered. Bear or bull, bottom or top of the curve, bitcoin is here to stay.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wall Street Journal, Blockchair, and Chris Burnsiske.


Kai Sedgwick

Kai's been assembling words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $19. It's long gone. He's previously written white papers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

December 01, 2017

How Macro Trader Novogratz became a Bitcoin convert

Bloomberg TV Markets and Finance - September 26, 2017 (www.youtube.com)

Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Investment Partners founder, discusses his views on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies with Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker.

Bitcoin is the revenge of the nerds... Unbelievable core of very earnest people, talent going into this field....

This is the largest bubble of our lifetime... bubbles happen around things that fundametally change the way we lives.... 

You can make a whole lot of money on the way up...

It's a dangerous place. I wouldn't tell you to put 100% of  your net worth in it. I think everybody should have some.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DozrRY2NENU


November 30, 2017

Bitcoin boom draws record number of Indian investors according to exchanges

By Joshua Althauser - December 01, 2017 (cointelegraph.com)


India-based digital currency exchanges have claimed that the number of Indian investors who registered in their platforms to buy Bitcoin has increased considerably in the past few weeks as the value of the leading cryptocurrency surpassed the $11,000 level on November 29.

The unprecedented rise in the number of investors who want to invest their money in the most popular cryptocurrency was observed despite rumors that the country’s central bank may declare Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as illegal.

According to Unocoin co-founder and CEO Sathvik Vishwanath, the number of customers who registered on their platform in just one month has reached around 200,000 due to the sharp rise in the price of Bitcoin.

“It took us about three years to gather [100,000] registered customers and in last one month itself we have seen about [200,000] customers registering with us.”

Phenomenal performance of Bitcoin in India


Despite the negative views of the Indian government and banking regulator, the market for digital currencies in the country is booming. This is particularly true for Bitcoin, whose price has skyrocketed from Rs 459,047 on November 1 to Rs 860,049 on November 29.

According to Zebpay co-founder Sandeep Goenka, the extent of interest shown by investors in Bitcoin is phenomenal. He added that the number of users is increasing by 300,000-400,000 in the past few months compared to around 150,000 in June and July.

“The extent of interest in Bitcoins is at unprecedented levels. Every time prices increase, investors who were sitting on the fence and were skeptical do enter the ecosystem. This time it almost feels like mainstream adoption, something I have never experienced before, because now we are seeing interest coming in from even the conservative investors.”

November 29, 2017

Billionaire Bull Novogratz - Bitcoin will be the ‘Biggest Bubble of Our Lifetimes’, And that’s okay

By Rebecca Campbell - November 29, 2017 (www.cryptocoinsnews.com)


Billionaire investor and hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz has made the claim that ‘bitcoin will be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes.’

Speaking at a conference in New York on Tuesday, Novogratz explained that there is a lot of fraud in something that’s ‘exciting’ as the crypto market, reports CNBC, adding:

"I think this [crypto] is going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes by a long shot. To be fair, this is a bubble and there’s a lot of fraud mixed in. We look at tons of projects. And some get funded, and they literally look like Ponzi’s".

However, unlike critics who have said dismissed the digital currency as a speculative bubble, the former Fortress manager wasn’t using his bubble comment as a negative connotation. In October, during an interview, Novogratz was asked whether bitcoin’s gains constituted a bubble. Even though he replied in the affirmative, he added that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, adding:

"Historically, manias or bubbles happen around things that fundamentally change the way we live. If it’s the railroad bubble or the Internet bubble, it really changed the way we live".


He added that in 10 to 15 years the blockchain and decentralised systems would be in use everywhere, claiming that this bubble is ‘going to be the great manias of all time.’

Since October, bitcoin has not only scaled the $10,000 milestone, but it’s continuing upward trajectory has pushed it up to its current value of $11,147, according to CoinMarketCap, pushing its market total to $185.7 billion for the first time.

The comments from Novogratz, who has compared to bitcoin to digital gold, come at a time when he recently stated that bitcoin could ‘easily‘ reach $40,000 by the end of 2018. Furthermore, he was reported yesterday as saying that the digital currency market cap will reach $2 trillion at the end of next year. At present, it’s worth an impressive $339.1 billion, making it more valuable than Visa and the Bank of America. Slowly, but surely, it’s steadily gaining on the market cap of JPMorgan Chase, at $343 billion, who’s CEO called bitcoin ‘a fraud‘ in September.

However, while Novogratz believes that the cryptocurrency will reach $40,000 by the end of 2018. he doesn’t think that the journey will be smooth sailing.

He added:

"There will be wild crashes in it because you’re going to get to levels so far ahead of where the technology’s at. It makes investing really, really exciting, but difficult".

Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin’s value has, so far, increased by more than 1,000 percent.

Featured image from Flickr/Acumen.

1 Million Yen, 100 Million INR – Bitcoin sets new price milestones on International Markets

By Samuel Haig - November 28, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


With all eyes on bitcoin’s meteoric break of $10,000, less attention has been paid to the price milestones recently established on leading international markets. In recent weeks, the CAD, AUD, NZD, and SGD pairings also surpassed $10,000, whilst a single bitcoin exceeds 500,000 RUB in Russia, 1 million JPY in Japan, 10 million KRW in South Korea, and 100 million IDR in Indonesia.

The Price of Bitcoin Exceeds 1 Million Yen in Japan


As Japan is currently host to more than 60% of global trading volume, reaching the seven-figure milestone on the JPY markets is a big deal for bitcoin. According to cryptocompare, bitcoin broke above one million JPY at approximately 7 pm on the 25th of November EDT. The current JPY/BTC price as of this writing approximately (1:30 am November 29th EDT) is roughly ¥1,300,000

Seven hours after bitcoin broke above one million JPY, the South Korean bitcoin markets reached 10,000,000 KRW for the first time ever. Currently, the Korean markets account for 10% of 24-hour trading volume, comprising the third-largest bitcoin market behind the United States. The current KRW/BTC price is approximately ₩12,600,000.

Bitcoin Tests $15,000 in Australian, Canadian, and Singaporean National Markets


With the exception of an anomalous spike in the AUD/BTC price at the end of October, cryptocompare’s price index indicates that AUD trade convincingly exceeded $10,000 for the first time on November 16th at 4 pm EDT. AUD trade comprises the fifth largest national market with roughly 0.45% of 24-hour bitcoin trade. The current AUD/BTC price is approximately $14,400.

Singapore hosts the seventh largest national bitcoin market equating for roughly 0.34% of total trade. The SGD/BTC price broke above $10,000 for the first time at 11 pm on November 15th EDT and is now currently trading for $14,300 approximately.

Canadian trade presently accounts for 0.2% of 24-hour trading volume, comprising the ninth largest national market. The CAD price of bitcoin broke above $10,000 for the first time at 2 am on November 17 EDT, with CAD/BTC currently trading for $13,300.

Other Major Price Milestones on International Markets


At approximately 11 pm on the 25th of November EDT, the price of bitcoin exceeding 150,000 ZAR in South Africa for the first time. ZAR trade comprises the eighth largest national bitcoin market – comprising 0.25% of 24-hour trade.The current ZAR/BTC price is approximately ZAR167,000.

Indonesia’s bitcoin markets comprise approximately 0.1% of 24-hour trading volume, currently making such the fourteenth largest national market. The IDR/BTC price broke above 100,000,000 rupees at 9 am on November 1st EST, and at approximately midnight on November 29th EDT established a new milestone of over 150,000,000 rupees.

Russian bitcoin prices broke above RUB 500,000 for the first time at 11 pm on November 25 EDT. RUB/BTC trading presently comprises the fifteenth largest national market, representing approximately 0.1% of 24-hour trading volume. Bitcoin is currently trading for approximately RUB 600,000 in Russia.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock



Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.

November 28, 2017

Bitcoin is a perfect currency, Beyond the reach of any nation-state or cooperative effort to defeat it - Max Keiser

By Ashour Iesho - November 27, 2017 (bitcoinist.com)


Although many experts still believe that Bitcoin, and the cryptocurrency market as a whole, may be in a bubble state, Max Keiser believes that Bitcoin still has room to grow. 

CAN BITCOIN REACH $25,000?


Bitcoin is making headlines – again – as it continues to shatter milestone after milestone. Most recently, the popular digital currency passed the $9000 mark and is quickly edging toward $10,000. According to a recent article by RT, well-known American TV broadcaster Max Keiser believes that Bitcoin still has the potential to climb as high as $25,000 before having a correction.

Keiser stated:

"Up until that price is achieved it looks like we’ll see a pretty strong upward move".

He also believes that the huge inflation rate of major fiat currencies like the US dollar is causing Bitcoin to rapidly rise.

"I think we are seeing fiat currencies in a hyperinflationary collapse against bitcoin".

Keiser posits that one of the reasons behind Bitcoin’s price surge is because it is the perfect alternative to traditional financial systems that are used by banks and other financial institutions:

"Bitcoin is a perfect currency, something that is utterly changing the global finance and market and is putting banksters and the central banks out of business".

Many banks have expressed their desire to work with blockchain technology, but most of them are not yet open to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The reason behind their reluctance is the fact that banks cannot regulate – and therefore cannot control – the popular decentralized cryptocurrency.

GOVERNMENTS CAN’T STOP IT


Another interesting use case for Bitcoin is bypassing government controls and sanctions. Since many countries around the world are currently under financial sanctions, Bitcoin is an easy and efficient way for them to surpass these restrictions. Max Keiser thinks that the fact that governments can’t stop Bitcoin, is giving it immensely value and trust.

"That’s something that no central bank or country will be able to stop, and it’s becoming a real scenario, a real threat".

An interesting remark that Keiser made in the article, is that Bitcoin might become a “financial black hole” where people are rushing to sell stocks and bonds and transfer that money into the decentralized cryptocurrency. If that happens, there is the very real possibility of a stock market or bond market crash, perhaps even both.


Bitcoin use in Iran welcomed by nation’s High Council of Cyberspace

By Avi Mizrahi - November 28, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


Iran is probably not the first country to pop into your head when thinking about official bitcoin endorsement. In the Middle East alone, the immensely rich Arab emirates of the Gulf are much likelier candidates as they have a tendency to race one other to obtain the latest technological marvels as displays of wealth. Despite this, Iranian government authorities have consistently signaled that they are open to the idea of allowing bitcoin use in the country – as they did once again a few days ago.

Welcome to Iran


Abolhassan Firouzabadi, secretary of Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace, told the Iranian news agency ILNA that his institution supports the use of bitcoin in the country albeit in a controlled fashion. He said: “We welcome bitcoin, but we must have regulations for bitcoin and any other digital currency. Studies are necessary for considering a new currency.”

Such studies are currently underway as a joint effort by both the High Council of Cyberspace and the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the authorities are preparing for bitcoin use inside the country. An official document detailing what the regulators have learned about the virtual currency is expected by September 2018 according to the Iranian daily Financial Tribune.

The secretary also acknowledged that without the government’s stated approve, already “many in Iran are dealing with bitcoin, be it purchasing, selling or mining it, and even dealing with it in exchange shops, creating content and establishing startups”.

Pros and Cons



From the point of view of the Iranian government, bitcoin must seem like a double-edged sword.

The economy of Iran has long suffered from economic sanctions meant to cut it off from the global marketplace. Having a method to bypass the established international financial system could greatly help the country’s exporters and importers safeguard themselves from outside interference. This is especially true now with hostile actors, such as Saudi Arabia’s new leader and US president Trump, publicly contemplating further punitive measures against Iran.

On the other hand the country’s leadership must be thinking about how to keep its control over the economy, as governments are wont to do, and also to prevent bitcoin from empowering dissidents. The young generation in Iran is considered to be one of the most educated in the region and is especially tech-savvy. Iran famously blocked Twitter during its 2009 presidential elections to slow the spread of protests the government said were instigated from abroad. This will not be an easy option with bitcoin, even if the government were to discover that foreign entities were using it to fund NGOs in times of political crisis.

“Our view regarding bitcoin is positive, but it does not mean that we will not require regulations in this regard because following the rules is a must,” the HCC secretary added in his recent interview.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

November 27, 2017

Bitcoin now worth more than Nike, Disney, McDonald's and IBM

By Jeff Francis - November 27, 2017 (bitcoinist.com)


Derided by most financial analysts for years, Bitcoin has surged dramatically in 2017 and now has a higher market capitalization than most corporations, such as Disney, Mastercard, Boeing, IBM, and McDonalds.

One measure of financial worth for a person is computing the sum total of the monetary value of everything they own. In the high-flying world of finance and huge corporations, this is done by figuring out what is called market capitalization, which is a fancy term for the market value of a company’s outstanding shares. For many financial analysts, it must be galling to acknowledge that Bitcoin now has a higher market capitalization than most major corporations.


Bigger than the Mouse House and Mickey D's


For those lucky enough to have bought Bitcoin at the start of the year, the current price of Bitcoin is a very good thing indeed. Bitcoin had been worth roughly $800 at the end of 2016, but it recently broke $9,000 and now sits at $9,700.

So, what does that roughly $10,000 per Bitcoin translate into when figuring out the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization? The full worth of Bitcoin now sits at a staggering $160 billion USD. While this total does not put Bitcoin into the Top Ten companies with the largest capitalization, it does put them at number 35 in the entire world.

If it's a fraud, then Bitcoin is a $160 billion fraud


That sound you hear is the gnashing of teeth by many financial speculators and analysts that have denigrated Bitcoin for a long time. (They’re probably scrambling on how to get some digital currency as part of their investment portfolio now.) While Bitcoin’s market capitalization is not as big as Apple ($873 billion), Alphabet (Google – $715.8 billion), Microsoft ($640 billion), or Amazon ($531 billion), it’s still larger than many companies you’re likely very familiar with.


So, which major corporations have a smaller market capitalization than Bitcoin? Here’s a sampling for you to savor:

Mastercard ($158 billion)
Pepsico ($156.8 billion)
Boeing ($152.5 billion)
Disney ($151 billion)
IBM ($143 billion)
3M ($137 billion)
McDonalds ($135 billion)
Nvidia ($124 billion)
Nike ($96 billion)
Electronic Arts ($33 billion)
Target ($30 billion)

It does appear that some financial analysts are still wrapping their heads around the rise of Bitcoin. A senior market analyst at ETX Capital, Neil Wilson, said this after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced it would launch Bitcoin futures in December:

"The legitimacy this gives bitcoin as a tradeable asset is very important. The market cap of bitcoin now exceeds that of IBM, Disney [or] McDonald’s".

But he also added:

"But for traditionalists, it’s hard to fathom. Rather than a commodity or currency, bitcoin is like owning stock in a company that will only ever issue 21m shares and never pay a penny in dividends.

The only way it has value is if the next guy is willing to pay you more for it – the greater fool. With no intrinsic value to bitcoin, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a giant speculative bubble".

Still, there’s no denying the madcap ride that Bitcoin has been on in 2017. Who would have thought a few years ago that Bitcoin would have a greater worth than companies like IBM, Boeing, Disney, or Mastercard?

Images courtesy of PxHere, Flickr, and Vimeo PRO.

Regulation Round-up - Kenya, Ghana and Algeria Fudding and Fighting Bitcoin

By Samuel Haig - November 27, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


Governments across Africa are striking a firm tone regarding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, with Algeria’s congress expected to ban all cryptocurrencies, and Kenya’s central bank warning against the risks of cryptocurrency, and an advisor to Ghana’s ministry of communications describing “fear of the unknown” as the principal barrier to greater adoption of virtual currencies. In other news, a Kenyan man has negotiated to pay the ‘goat portion’ of his dowry using bitcoin.

Kenyan Central Bank Fears Bitcoin May Comprise “Ponzi Scheme”


The Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Dr. Patrick Njoroge has warned Kenyans against the risks and lack of protections afforded to cryptocurrency traders. Referring to a previous warning issued in 2015, Dr. Njoroge stated that the CBK “warned everybody that this was a risky venture and the consumer is not protected. It could very well be a Ponzi scheme of a kind, I think you have seen how the prices have gone up and down in various places. Our point is that there is risk and it is important that everybody knows that those risks can come back to haunt us and could have financial stability concerns.”

Despite the warning, Dr. Njoroge recently expressed his hesitance to rush to regulate cryptocurrencies, describing the CBK as being “open” to innovations in financial technology. Speaking at the recent Global Financial Forum in Dubai, Dr. Njoroge stated: “If you’re the regulator, you have to be careful that all risks are taken care of, including in cryptocurrencies, but we’re very open to innovation.”

Kenyan Citizen Arranges to Partially Pay Dowry Using Bitcoin Rather Than Goats


The topic of bitcoin has been in Kenya’s news cycle recently, following Kenyan citizen, Anthony Mburu’s decision to pay a portion of his dowry using bitcoin. The young bitcoin miner negotiated to pay the ‘goats portion’ of his dowry using bitcoins – and has so far paid the equivalent of 25 of the 100 required goats.

The 26-year-old Mr. Mburu quit university in 2010 only one semester into an engineering course. Mr. Mburu recently discussed his decision with Kenyan media, stating “Formal education is good. It will give you an average life. You’ll eat, have your mortgage, car loan and all that — live an average life; struggle through life to the end.” Since discovering the cryptocurrency, Mr. Mburu states that his entire life has come to revolve around bitcoin. “Everything is bitcoin. Where I live, bitcoin; what I drive, bitcoin; investment, bitcoin. It will be a bitcoin wedding,” he said.

“Fear of the Unknown” Hinders Ghanan Bitcoin Adoption


Ghana’s cybersecurity advisor to the ministry of communications, Albert Antwi Boasiako, has described “fear of the unknown” as the principal barrier to greater cryptocurrency adoption throughout the African nation. Speaking at the recent Ghana Blockchain Conference, Mr. Boasiako stated “We have our fears about cryptocurrency but discussions are still going on. Our country is still hesitant to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender is the fear of the unknown.”

Mr. Boasiako emphasized the need for Ghana’s tech community to mobilize in order to demystify cryptocurrencies, stating “We are battling fear, the state doesn’t want to move forward because it doesn’t know what’s there. To demystify cryptocurrency, we need a community-driven agenda. We need to strategically demystify the misconceptions around cryptocurrency and get it integrated into the government digitization agenda.” Mr. Boasiako suggested the establishment of a “working group on cryptocurrency that has members from stakeholders like the Bank of Ghana,” recommending that such a body should closely monitor developments in the sphere of cryptocurrency regulation in other jurisdictions.

Algeria Expected to Ban All Cryptocurrencies


Last month, it was reported that Algeria’s congress had begun to consider new financial legislation that would see all cryptocurrencies banned throughout the country. The ‘2018 Finance Bill’ states that “The purchase, sale, use, and holding of the so-called virtual currency is prohibited. The virtual currency is the one used by Internet users through the web. It is characterized by the absence of physical support such as coins, banknotes, payments by check or bank cards,” specifying that “Any violation of this provision is punished in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.”

An accompanying memorandum emphasizes the concerns that bitcoin’s potential anonymity sparks among Algerian lawmakers, stating “Algeria hopes to establish a stricter control over this kind of digital transaction, which can be used for drug trafficking, tax evasion, and money laundering thanks to the guaranteed anonymity of its users.” The document asserts that despite cryptocurrencies having “long been the prerogative of illegal transaction,” they are able to “get rid of their bad reputation in democratizing and attracting a wider audience.”

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.

United Arab Emirates Fund CEO throws shade at JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon

By C. Edward Kelso - November 27, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


شركة مبادلة (Mubadala Development Company PJSC), an Abu Dhabi-based state holding company, appears receptive to the global phenomenon sweeping through professional finance circles that is bitcoin. Its CEO, when asked about Jamie Dimon’s comments calling the decentralized currency a “fraud” that will “blow up,” answered that it was too soon to dismiss Satoshi’s creation. 

Jamie Dimon Dismissal Dismissed


“I have still have not formed a clear view on this,” Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO and Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi company, began with regard to the technology undergirding bitcoin. “We’re still getting educated on this. The area I would have concern on, still, is the regulatory side. How is this going to be regulated?” he asked rhetorically.

Mubadala is an Abu Dhabi state holding company operating within a joint-stock scheme with assets well above 100 billion USD. The fund is proposed as “a pioneering global investor, deploying capital with integrity and ingenuity to accelerate economic growth for the long-term benefit of Abu Dhabi,” according to its website.


“Because I think blockchain,” Mr. Al Mubarak continued, “its growth, let’s say, from single digits to double digits to astronomical growth, will really depend on how fast you can execute, and will you be able to execute under a regulatory environment that is acceptable. I think if they’re able to crack that, I think it’s going to be an incredible story. But, to date, I’d say I am still on the fence.”

The CNBC interviewer then asked in follow-up: “What about bitcoin, because Jamie Dimon is calling it a fraud. Do you agree?”

“No. I wouldn’t agree in calling it a fraud,” Mr. Al Mubarak answered quickly. “I would say time will tell. It could well be and it could as well not be. I think one has to be open-minded.”


Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak


Within the emirate, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak is a gadfly. He’s on hand for every important world-leader reception taken by Abu Dhabi’s President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from Bill Gates to bilateral talks with France.

Educated in the United States and young at 41, Mr. Al Mubarak spreads himself among many boards and directorships in and around Abu Dhabi. His willingness to at least entertain bitcoin and distributed ledger technology is an encouraging sign for those who wish for greater crypto adoption in the region.

Images courtesy of: Pixabay, Blogger, Wiki Commons. 

November 26, 2017

Bitcoin adds $1,000 to its value in two days; Sets record above $9,000

By Tedra DeSue - November 26, 2017 (cryptovest.com)


Bitcoin eye spied $9,000 throughout the day on Saturday, and then smoothly sailed over the milestone and hit a new record high like a breeze Sunday.

To put the move in perspective, consider this. 

On Friday, Bitcoin’s low for the day was about $7,958. On Saturday, it began its rebound from $8,227 and never looked back, passing $9,000 at 06:40 UTC today. 

Let’s review some of the chatter out there as Bitcoin keeps soaring higher. 

Predictions coming true?


Just yesterday we reminded you about one industry player in particular who has long premised that Bitcoin would hit $10,000. He’s billionaire hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz.

Clearly, he’s not alone in his optimism, but naysayers had dismissed him and others for their lofty predictions, as they were too distrusting of the long-term theories about the viability of the crypto. 

While Novogratz had earlier this year said the milestone would be achieved some time in 2018, he recently adjusted that target for the end of this year. 

Then there was Fundstrat’s Tom Lee who switched gears, going from bear to bull on Bitcoin this month. He now sees Bitcoin trading at $11,500 by the middle of next year.

What traders saying


Will these predictors who are trying to nail Bitcoin’s price movements go back to the drawing board soon, considering the crypto’s moved $1,000 in two days? 

While it’s always interesting to hear what the money managers and analysts have to say, we took a look at what every day traders are saying.

From Reddit, we found some comments that were noteworthy. 

JustARedditRetard said:

“The biggest percentage change on the weekly this year / run, was 43% back in July. Last week we had a 36% as we ripped fast from the low at 5555. (I'm looking at stamp)

This is still a far cry from the consistent 50%+ weeks that the market witnessed in 2013.

However, the market is bigger, it's slower, it's growing. More participants mean less volatility. This might well be the rate for this run. Next big bull run (Who knows when. We haven't finished this one yet), may average out at 15-20% gains with a couple of weeks at 30%. It's hard to say when a lot of the market dynamics have changed.”

rain-is-wet said:

”I've battled many a Tulip Troll over the years in news comments. Explaining why Crypto has real value and the market reflects that. But how does one defend BTG having $5.6 Billion market cap overnight? I'm sorry but this IS crypto tulip mania. They can't all be this valuable. This can't end well. (Though I think BTC will be OK.)"

Bitcoin will be safe haven during next stock market crash, Says expert

By Gareth Jenkinson - November 26, 2017 (cointelegraph.com)


As Bitcoin powered ahead to a new high for a second week in a row, some have speculated that institutional investors could seek safe haven in the virtual currency in the future. The prevailing rhetoric over the past month has been more affirming than damning of cryptocurrencies, with the likes of Ronnie Moas and Max Keiser predicting new highs in 2018. Speaking to RT, eToro analyst Mikhail Mashchenko says financial institutions could look to Bitcoin if a major financial crash hits global markets.

“The demand for Bitcoin is growing as the crypto market has become less volatile, and an increasing number of professional investors see it as insurance.”

Second-oldest bull market


The current bull market in stocks is the second-longest in history, according to Fortune, having lasted 104 months so far. The longest bull market in history ended in 2000 after an impressive 113 month run. With the current rally getting a bit long in the tooth, many on Wall Street are making contingency plans for the stock market’s inevitable turn. If Mashchenko is right, Bitcoin will have a role in some of these plans.

Shifting opinions


Mashchenko’s statements come on the back of changing sentiment in the mainstream financial sector. Last week, JP Morgan Chase announced plans to offer Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange - an important move by one of the biggest banking and financial services providers in America. Even more satisfying, this moves comes only months after Chase CEO Jamie Dimon condemned Bitcoin as a scam.

Online banking service providers and exchange operators LedgerX and Revolut are also adopting Bitcoin support. The former was recently cleared to offer Bitcoin derivatives as people look to do more than just trade the cryptocurrency.

“LedgerX launched its first long-term options for Bitcoin, with an expiration date of December 28, 2018. In the coming months, we will continue to see the ‘domestication’ of Bitcoin: the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are planning to launch tools based on the cryptocurrency in the near future.”

Big money


If and when a stream of institutional investors start investing large amounts of capital into cryptocurrencies, some of the stunning predictions made by Bitcoin bulls could well be realised. However, Mashchenko’s prediction was quite conservative, suggesting that Bitcoin reaching a $10,000 high by the end of 2017 would be driven by emotion rather than fundamentals:

“We could see a Bitcoin at $10,000 in a month or so. However, such a surge will be based on emotions, not on fundamental factors. So, further growth of the cryptocurrency will require something more than euphoria.”

Having hit the $8,000 mark last week, Bitcoin surged another $1,000 dollars in just a few days, breaching the $9,000 level during the Thanksgiving weekend. At press time, the price of Bitcoin sits at $9,500, just $500 below Mashcenko’s predicted level.