Showing posts with label exchanges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exchanges. Show all posts

January 06, 2018

Japan Becoming the Leader for Bitcoin

By Luke Bakies - January 05, 2018 (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.

December 22, 2017

Correlation between cryptocurrency value and exchange listings: Expert Blog

By Munair Simpson - December 21, 2017 (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.

December 21, 2017

Warning: Crypto whales selling to the little guy

By Stephen Alpher - December 21, 2017 (seekingalpha.com)


In keeping up with acceptable crypto-community behavior, many of the large crypto holders cashing out are portraying the move as noble act, writes Lionel Laurent.

The fact remains, however, that the Emil Oldenburg's and Charlie Lee's of the industry are selling after massive moves higher. The buyers are the little guys: Since the start of 2017, there's been an explosion of accounts holding tiny amounts of Bitcoin (0.1 or less), and a corresponding tumble in accounts holding sizable amounts.

Laurent: "It will be hard to ignore the niggling feeling that the latecomers piling into Bitcoin at the end of 2017 aren't quite as astute as the early birds who are getting out."

December 20, 2017

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 19, 2017

Whales at play - Pumps and dumps and Altcoin volatility

Cointelegraph - December 19, 2017 (www.youtube.com)


WARNING: This is an observation not FUD, HODL till the end.

All cryptocurrencies going from green to red in an hour is not a coincidence.

In the last 24 hours the cryptocurrency market has seen massive gains and then in the span of an hour, huge losses.

Is Wall street to Blame? Is it Whales from China? Or a new Mega Pump and Dump Group on Telegram.





Best place to keep your coins is a hardware wallet.
Ledger Nano S is the majority choice:
Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

Coinbase adds Bitcoin Cash as price soars, Bitcoin dips

By Jon Buck - December 20, 2017 (cointelegraph.com)

After a veiled suggestion from president Asiff Hirji that Coinbase would potentially add other assets, the exchange has officially launched support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), according to the company’s blog post.

The addition is a welcome Christmas gift for those who held Bitcoin (BTC) in Coinbase wallets on August 1 when the BCH fork occurred. Users who had BTC at the time of the fork have received an equal amount of BCH in the newly created wallets.

After previously refusing to support the coin, the company promised that BCH support would come before the end of the year.

The blog post also made clear that Coinbase employees have been restricted from trading BCH on the site for a number of weeks prior to the announcement. Nevertheless, accusations of insider trading have hit Twitter.

hey @coinbase , @GDAX and @brian_armstrong by being part of a product index for @CMEGroup you agreed to certain rules. Since bch news was clearly leaked around 2:30pm CST to certain parties. this qualifies as insider trading. Hope you enjoy the incoming complaints.

— I am Nomad (@IamNomad) December 20, 2017

Price jump, confusion


After the announcement, Bitcoin Cash’s price almost immediate jumped to over $3,000 on huge volume.


Interestingly, GDAX, the Coinbase affiliated site for trading, showed a startling price of $9,500 per BCH, though trading on the site was halted.


The Coinbase site showed the more widely published pricing. At press time, BCH was trading at $3,185, per the Coinbase site.

At press time, Bitcoin was trading at $17,000, having dropped from $19,000 to a low of $15,700 before partially recovering.

December 09, 2017

Want to Short Bitcoin? The time to take action is now

By Kinsey Grant - December 07, 2017 (www.thestreet.com)

If you're not buying into the bitcoin hype, now could be the time to go short, as fees related to placing a short bet on the cryptocurrency could more than double
when bitcoin futures go live next week.


Bitcoin is going wild Thursday, Dec. 7. But if you're not buying the rally, now could be the time to place your short bets.

The digital currency has surpassed five major threshold prices in the past two days. After trading above $16,100 midday Thursday, bitcoin pared gains slightly, still higher 16.18% for the day to $15,971.05 Thursday afternoon.

The surge in price comes ahead of the Sunday, Dec. 10, start date for bitcoin futures on Cboe. A week later, on Dec. 17, bitcoin futures will become available on CME. Investors looking to short bitcoin need to take action before futures start trading, according to S3 Analytics.

Shorts on Grayscale Investment's Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) , which is the only ETF whose performance is directly tethered to bitcoin's market price, has averaged $21 million for the year. Short interest hit a high of $71 million on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Shorts are down $45.9 million in year-to-date mark-to-market loss, S3 wrote, or down 217%. About $39 million of that loss has been registered since October, when the bitcoin rally amped up considerably.

But the cost to short bitcoin hasn't been cheap, S3 found. Stock borrow costs have averaged a 10.2% fee for the year, and "borrow rates are getting more expensive as borrow supply diminishes," S3 said. Since GBTC is more of a retail-owned stock than an institutionally owned stock, new shorts are being charged an 18.5% fee.

"If short interest continues to climb, we should see new borrow rates hit the 50% fee level quickly," S3 said.

The cost to short the GBTC fund could rise higher than 50% and possibly near 100% by the time the first futures contract trades, S3 noted. Many analysts have asserted bitcoin is headed for a pullback when futures open for trading.

"While the futures contract will allow easier and safer bitcoin short selling, it will also allow for easier and safer bitcoin long buying," S3 said. "Long GBTC holders may feel the pain of its 53% asset premium shrinking, while short-sellers will probably be incurring a 50%+ stock borrow fee -- both sides will be paying a premium in order to ride the bitcoin roller coaster once the Cboe futures start trading."

December 08, 2017

The Bitcoin Whales - 1,000 people who own 40% of the market

By Olga Kharif - December 08, 2017 (www.bloomberg.com)

Illustration: Patrik Mollwing for Bloomberg Businessweek

On Nov. 12, someone moved almost 25,000 bitcoins, worth about $159 million at the time, to an online exchange. The news soon rippled through online forums, with bitcoin traders arguing about whether it meant the owner was about to sell the digital currency.

Holders of large amounts of bitcoin are often known as whales. And they’re becoming a worry for investors. They can send prices plummeting by selling even a portion of their holdings. And those sales are more probable now that the cryptocurrency is up nearly twelvefold from the beginning of the year.

About 40 percent of bitcoin is held by perhaps 1,000 users; at current prices, each may want to sell about half of his or her holdings, says Aaron Brown, former managing director and head of financial markets research at AQR Capital Management. (Brown is a contributor to the Bloomberg Prophets online column.) What’s more, the whales can coordinate their moves or preview them to a select few. Many of the large owners have known one another for years and stuck by bitcoin through the early days when it was derided, and they can potentially band together to tank or prop up the market.

“I think there are a few hundred guys,” says Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital. “They all probably can call each other, and they probably have.” One reason to think so: At least some kinds of information sharing are legal, says Gary Ross, a securities lawyer at Ross & Shulga. Because bitcoin is a digital currency and not a security, he says, there’s no prohibition against a trade in which a group agrees to buy enough to push the price up and then cashes out in minutes.

Bitcoin: What’s Coming in the Year Ahead


Regulators have been slow to catch up with cryptocurrency trading, so many of the rules are still murky. If traders not only pushed the price up but also went online to spread rumors, that might count as fraud. Bittrex, a digital currency exchange, recently wrote to its users warning that their accounts could be suspended if they banded together into “pump groups” aimed at manipulating prices. The law might also be different for other digital coins. Depending on the details of how they are structured and how investors expect to make money from them, some may count as currencies, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Asked about whether large holders could move in concert, Roger Ver, a well-known early bitcoin investor, said in an email: “I suspect that is likely true, and people should be able to do whatever they want with their own money. I’ve personally never had time for things like that though.”

“As in any asset class, large individual holders and large institutional holders can and do collude to manipulate price,” Ari Paul, co-founder of BlockTower Capital and a former portfolio manager of the University of Chicago endowment, wrote in an electronic message. “In cryptocurrency, such manipulation is extreme because of the youth of these markets and the speculative nature of the assets.”

The recent rise in its price is difficult to explain because bitcoin has no intrinsic value. Launched in 2009 with a white paper written under a pseudonym, it’s a form of digital payment maintained by an independent network of computers on the internet‚ using cryptography to verify transactions. Its most fervent believers say it could displace banks and even traditional money, but it’s only worth what someone will trade for it, making it prey to big shifts in sentiment.

Like most hedge fund managers specializing in cryptocurrencies, Samani constantly tracks trading activity of addresses known to belong to the biggest investors in the coins he holds. (Although bitcoin transactions are designed to be anonymous, each one is associated with a coded address that can be seen by anyone.) When he sees activity, Samani immediately calls the likely sellers and can often get information on motivations behind their sales and their trading plans, he says. Some funds end up buying one another’s holdings directly, without going into the open market, to avoid affecting the currency’s price. “Investors are generally more forthcoming with other investors,” Samani says. “We all kind of know who one another are, and we all help each other out and share notes. We all just want to make money.” Ross says gathering intelligence is legal.

Ordinary investors, of course, don’t have the cachet required to get a multimillionaire to take their call. While they can track addresses with large holdings online and start heated discussions of market moves on Reddit forums, they’re ultimately in the dark on the whales’ plans and motives. “There’s no transparency to speak of in this market,” says Martin Mushkin, a lawyer who focuses on bitcoin. “In the securities business, everything that’s material has to be disclosed. In the virtual currency world, it’s very difficult to figure out what’s going on.”

Ordinary investors are at an even greater disadvantage in smaller digital currencies and tokens. Among the coins people invest in, bitcoin has the least concentrated ownership, says Spencer Bogart, managing director and head of research at Blockchain Capital. The top 100 bitcoin addresses control 17.3 percent of all the issued currency, according to Alex Sunnarborg, co-founder of crypto hedge fund Tetras Capital. With ether, a rival to bitcoin, the top 100 addresses control 40 percent of the supply, and with coins such as Gnosis, Qtum, and Storj, top holders control more than 90 percent. Many large owners are part of the teams running these projects.

Some argue this is no different than what happens in more established markets. “A good comparison is to early stage equity,” BlockTower’s Paul wrote. “Similar to those equity deals, often the founders and a handful of investors will own the majority of the asset.” Other investors say the whales won’t dump their holdings, because they have faith in the long-term potential of the coins. “I believe that it’s common sense that these whales that own so much bitcoin and bitcoin cash, they don’t want to destroy either one,” says Sebastian Kinsman, who lives in Prague and trades coins. But as prices go through the roof, that calculation might change. 

BOTTOM LINE - It’s not necessarily illegal for big holders of some cryptocurrencies to discuss trading with one another. That puts small buyers at a disadvantage.

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 27, 2017

Bittrex issues a warning about cryptocurrency Pump and Dumps

By Kai Sedgwick - November 27, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


Pump and dumps, which have long been synonymous with cryptocurrency markets, are facing a clampdown. Bittrex has emphasized its determination to combat the practice, which persists on several exchanges. In an update to its terms of service, Bittrex reiterated that it takes a dim view of pump and dump schemes, and will suspend accounts found to have been participating in such activity.

What Goes Up…


Pump and dumps were around long before cryptocurrency – and indeed the internet – became a thing. They can be traced back to the stock markets, as immortalized in Jordan Belfort’s penny stocks scene from The Wolf of Wall Street.


 In the altcoin era, there are mainly two forms these controversial schemes take:

Fake News: Using message boards, social media, and blogs, a particular cryptocoin is hyped and shilled, sometimes with screenshots of fake news regarding new platform developments, exchange listings, and mainstream partnerships. The aim is to get buyers to snap up the coins, thereby inflating their price before buyers who got in early can dump their holdings and perform a sharp exit. This behavior can take place over a period of hours, days, or weeks.

Flash Pumps: The other principal pump and dump involves members of a closed group who are all in on the scam. When the name of the coin to be pumped is announced, it’s a race to buy in and then dump it on the stragglers before they in turn do the same with buyers who come after them. It’s essentially a game of chicken: a contest to see who’ll blink first and offload their holdings. A huge vertical green candle followed by a corresponding red one characterizes flash pumps, which can rally and crash in a matter of minutes.

…Must Come Down


Telegram groups with names such as Crypto4pumps and Bigcryptopumps conspire to pick micro-cap coins with low volume, often on the Bittrex exchange. Currently the world’s second largest bitcoin exchange, with a 24-hour volume of $1.2 billion, Bittrex is a prime target. The site lists almost 300 coins and tokens, many of which have minimal sell walls, making them vulnerable to manipulation.

In a recent update to its trading policy, Bittrex announced that “stale” orders of more than 28 days would be removed and the minimum trading order size would be increased. It concluded with a “general statement about market manipulation tactics”, writing:

"Bittrex actively discourages any type of market manipulation, including pump groups.  Consistent with our terms of service, we will suspend and close any accounts engaging in this type of activity and notify the appropriate authorities."

Pump Up the Volume


Prohibiting P&Ds and preventing them are two very different matters of course. Coins that have rapidly appreciated in value are prominently displayed on the frontpage of Bittrex, luring in more buyers. Be it due to greed or FOMO, some traders blindly follow the green candles, chasing pumps with scant consideration for the reason behind the coin’s sudden spike.

Less charitable souls will say that investors who don’t perform their own research deserve everything they get. Nevertheless, as cryptocurrency goes mainstream, rampant manipulation of coins does little to endear the already volatile markets to new entrants. An influx of institutional money has helped the cryptocurrency markets swell to nearly $300 billion. The wild west days of the earliest bitcoin exchanges are long gone; perhaps it’s time that pump and dumps were also laid to rest.

Just a handful of the altcoins to be found on Bittrex.

Traders who recall bitcoin’s earliest days may shed a wry smile at the mention of such words as ‘Fontas’ and ‘trollbox’. It was a time when every coin had a small market cap and currencies such as Peercoin and Feathercoin were sent to the moon on Btc-e before plummeting into the abyss. For so long as illiquid coins continue to be listed on major exchanges, P&Ds will continue to happen. Newcomers to the space, who are intrigued by the get-rich-quick promise of such schemes, would do well to learn that the most profitable move is often to buy bitcoin and hold. It’s one of the few trading strategies that’s been shown to consistently pay dividends.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bittrex.

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.

November 22, 2017

Rare Pepe Blockchain Cards have produced more value than most ICOs

By Jamie Redman - November 23, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


Over the course of 2017, there’s been a lot of blockchain projects, and the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) craze has been off the charts. One thing is for sure: a great majority of these ERC-20 tokens and some of the aspiring distributed ledger efforts have produced very little value, minus the gains and losses captured from speculative markets. However, there is one blockchain project created a year ago that has created a robust ecosystem based on a popular internet meme — Pepe the Frog.

Preserving the Rareness of Pepe the Frog


It’s been over a year since the Rare Pepe blockchain trading card economy was created bringing the dankest, most rarest pepes to the cryptocurrency environment. News.Bitcoin.com reported on the launch of the first few series of Rare Pepe cards traded as counterparty (XCP) assets over the bitcoin blockchain. 

Rare Pepe cards are basically assets designed utilizing the Counterparty blockchain similarly to the popular card game Spells of Genesis. Counterparty assets are held within the Bitcoin blockchain inside traditional BTC transactions. These tokens or assets are different than the technology used in Colored Coins, as they are not tethered to a specific BTC address or balance. This allows people to transfer bitcoin without affecting underlying assets like Rare Pepes. In addition to the technology behind these collectible cards, pepes are traded on the decentralized Counterparty-based exchange called DEx. Utilizing the DEx exchange, users can purchase and exchange extremely rare pepes in XCP-denominations. Pepes can also be collected using the Rare Pepe Wallet which supports XCP, BTC, Pepecash, and gift cards.

Due to the frog’s extreme popularity, the Rare Pepe blockchain scene has a robust community, foundation, a wallet, and a trading card directory. Since then the community has grown significantly, and certain cards have been exchanged for thousands of dollars this year. As far as laughter and immutable Pepes that are always available on the blockchain go, this grassroots community has produced far more value than most ICOs in 2017.

“For years people have been trying to preserve the rarest of pepes from being stolen — Thanks to bitcoin and counterparty we can associate these Rare Pepes with tokens to make them truly rare,” explains the Rare Pepe blockchain trading card’s directory page.   

"Now Pepes can preserve their rareness and actually be traded on the market".


The Rare Pepe Blockchain Economy Grows in 2017


Blockchain-based Rare Pepes are actively traded on the market alongside the community’s native token Pepe Cash. Back in 2016 Pepe Cash was trading at less than $0.000087 per token and these days it trades for $0.02. Further, as far as the collectible pepes are concerned, some cards have traded for thousands of dollars. For instance, the very rare card ‘Lord Kek’ (only 10 made) traded for 1600 XCP or $22,720 at today’s spot prices. The first series ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ card (300 in circulation) has traded for $200.  

The Rare Pepe Directory shows the card assets now have a total of 30 series with roughly 20 cards per set. The compendium of Rare Pepe blockchain assets now includes cards like Marty Pepfly, Pepe Punchout, Games of Trump, Pepe Soup, the Dark Pepe, Playboy Pepe and so many more. Scrolling through the entire directory of blockchain based pepes can take hours and even days to review, as the library is not only dank but vast.


The Rare Pepe Community Isn’t Going Away, It’s Immutable


These days the community’s Telegram group has over 1500 active members sharing and discussing their very favorite pepe cards. Alongside this is the Rare Pepe Foundation which has acted as the great protector from those trying to infiltrate the internet frog trading card ecosystem. For instance, the foundation claims it is preparing a 29-day Rare Pepe Training Conference that will give out truly rare certificates to the event’s participants.

“The Rare Pepe Blockchain Training Conference is a new kind of conference,” explains the foundation’s website.

"Not only will the event be the first 29-day Rare Pepe blockchain training event ever, but it will be the first one where attendees can walk away with real Rare certifications in the field, as well as continuing education credits for professional Rare credentials".


Green Frogs and DLTs


Further, the foundation details that Rare Pepe blockchain technology is being actively researched by financial incumbents, tech giants, and venture capitalists. Just a few hours of research will tell anyone this particular distributed ledger tech (DLT) based on green frogs just might transform society for the better.

So if you’re sick of hearing about blockchain projects that pretend to be backed by real-estate and diamonds, then the pepe blockchain space may interest you. ICOs that raise millions worth of ether and do nothing with it but party continue to come and go, but these dank trading cards will be cemented in time forever.

Images via Shutterstock, The Rare Pepe Blockchain Community, Foundation, and Directory.


Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written hundreds of articles about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

November 17, 2017

Binance Exchange Review | Better than Bittrex?

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7,998

By Arjun Kharpal - November 17, 2017 (www.cnbc.com)








  • Bitcoin hit a new record high Friday and was within touching distance of the $8,000 handle
  • Coinbase said that there was still a possibility of a planned Segwit2x upgrade happening that would cause bitcoin to split and create a new cryptocurrency
  • The possibility of the Segwit2x upgrade appeared to be the catalyst for the rally

Bitcoin hit a new record high Friday, coming within touching distance of the $8,000 handle.

The cryptocurrency was trading at $7,998.40 in the early hours, U.K. time, according to industry website CoinDesk. Bitcoin did pare some of those gains, however, falling as low as $7,535.85; it was trading around $7,750 by mid-morning.

It's been a wild week for bitcoin, which sold off heavily last weekend, falling to around $5,500. Since Sunday, the cryptocurrency has risen from that low to Friday's high, marking a 45 percent increase.

In that time, bitcoin's market capitalization, or the total value of the digital coins in circulation, has risen from $92 billion to $133.5 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com.

The price dip last weekend came after an upgrade to the bitcoin network, SegWit2x, which was planned for November 16, was called off. The aim was to increase the transaction speeds of SegWit2x, which has increasingly slowed down over the years. If the upgrade took place, it would have caused what is known as a "hard fork," causing a new bitcoin spin-off to be formed.

Two previous forks have already happened earlier this year, leading to the creation of bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold.

But support for the Segwit2x upgrade waned, causing developers to call off its planned implementation.

This appeared to be the initial catalyst for the sell-off.


But on Friday, Coinbase, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said there is still a possibility of a fork.

David Farmer, director of communications at Coinbase, said on a blog post that a "small number of miners may attempt to go forward with a fork."

A miner is a key part of the bitcoin network. It is a person who runs a "node", or a high-powered computer that is able to solve the complex mathematical equitation required to verify bitcoin transactions.

If a large number of miners upgrade the software on their nodes, it could cause a fork. Farmer warned that this small number of miners still supporting the Segwit2x proposal could cause a fork.

If a fork happens, holders of bitcoin will receive the newly-created cryptocurrency called "bitcoin2x" for free, essentially giving them free money. That is why bitcoin rallied Friday.

Coinbase said that it will disable the function of sending and receiving bitcoin at 2 a.m. PT on Friday on its platform, and halt buying and selling an hour before the fork, which is forecast between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. PT.

All functionality will be re-enabled shortly after, Farmer said.

The Coinbase communications executive said that there are two scenarios that could occur. The first is that the new bitcoin2x network is unusable because there is not enough support, in which case Coinbase will not facilitate trading or withdrawals because "it will not be possible to move these assets." Farmer said that this is the most likely outcome.

The second scenario is that the bitcoin2x network is usable because miner support is strong.

Bitcoin has had a rocky year but the price has continued to rise and is up around 700 percent. But many critics have thrown cold water on the rise of the cryptocurrency, with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon calling it a "fraud". Regulators in some countries have also cracked down on bitcoin trading, with China banning bitcoin exchanges.

November 16, 2017

Bitcoin price surpasses $7,500; Market confident on entry of institutional investors

By Joseph Young - November 16, 2017 (www.cryptocoinsnews.com)

The bitcoin price has surpassed $7,500 today, on November 16, achieving $7,558 at its peak, as the market continues to demonstrate optimism around the rapid rate of adoption by leading financial platforms.


$15 Billion App Square’s Integration of Bitcoin

Earlier this week, Square, the $15 billion payments app development firm operated by CEO Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO at Twitter, surprised its users with the integration of a bitcoin brokerage feature on its mobile app used by more than 3 million active users.

The development team of Square followed up the integration of its first bitcoin pilot with the following statement:

“We’re always listening to our customers and we’ve found that they are interested in using the Cash App to buy Bitcoin. We’re exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash App customers. We believe cryptocurrency can greatly impact the ability of individuals to participate in the global financial system and we’re excited to learn more here.”

Square’s integration of a bitcoin brokerage service will soon allow the app and the company to compete with existing service providers in the bitcoin market, most notably Coinbase. Over the past few years, bitcoin wallets, trading platforms, and brokerages have grown exponentially in value and user base. Hence, in the mid-term, major financial platforms such as Square will likely begin testing the bitcoin market, given the rapid increase in demand for bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market in general.

$95 Billion Hedge Fund’s Entrance into Bitcoin


Almost immediately after CME Group’s confirmation in regards to its launch of a bitcoin futures exchange by the second week of December, $95 billion hedge fund Man Group revealed its plans to invest in bitcoin by the end of 2017. Man Group CEO Luke Ellis stated at the 2017 Reuters Summit that bitcoin will soon be added to Man Group’s “Investment Universe,” or a diversified portfolio of assets.

Managers and partners of large-scale hedge funds like Man Group are only permitted to issuing checks in the minimum value of around $300 million. Given such policy, in the mid-term, hedge funds and investment firms will invest at least billions of dollars in bitcoin, further increasing its liquidity and improving infrastructure surrounding the cryptocurrency.

Throughout this week, the market has remained highly enthusiastic and optimistic in regards to the short-term growth trend of bitcoin, considering that some of the world’s largest hedge funds will pour in billions of dollars in the market in the upcoming months.

George Kikvadze, the vice chairman at Bitfury, also stated that out of the 30 institutional investors he had met in the previous week, 12 are in the process of investing in bitcoin, 10 plan to invest in bitcoin in the short-term, and eight remain undecided.

While the bitcoin price has been relatively volatile over the past four days, by the end of this month, the $8,000 price target of highly regarded financial analyst Max Keiser seems realistic, given the adoption of bitcoin by major financial service providers and retail investors.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

November 15, 2017

Square Cash App lets users trade Bitcoin amidst price surge

By Lester Coleman - November 15, 2017 (www.cryptocoinsnews.com)


Square’s cash app, which is used for payment among friends, is testing the ability to buy and sell bitcoin, a benefit that could make bitcoin easy to trade for a huge swath of the population, particularly younger consumers.

Square’s cash app is one of the fastest and easiest ways to pay people, as the service is free and the transaction is completed almost immediate. Square Cash recently surpassed Venmo as the most frequently downloaded financial app on both Android and Apple phones, according to Apptopia, Forbes reported.

Squares Stock  Responds


Square shares jumped more than 4 percent Wednesday as one Wall Street firm was quick to recommend the stock following this potential development, CNBC reported. Later in the day, it was trading at $40.49, up 1.9 percent.

Square enables sellers to accept card payments and also provides reporting and analytics, next-day settlement and chargeback protection. Square’s point-of-sale software and other services help sellers manage inventory.

Users with access to the bitcoin beta can swipe from the Square cash card page to buy or sell bitcoin, according to TechCrunch. The page shows a balance in both BTC and USD along with bitcoin’s performance over the last day, month or year.


Bitcoin For Mainstream Traders


The Square action signals bitcoin trading for mainstream traders. Square CEO Jack Dorsey has cited trading as a key motivator for people interested in profiting from bitcoin, which has been soaring in value.

Dorsey, in a recent interview with The Verge, recalled being asked by numerous people how to buy bitcoin. He said bitcoin could be especially popular with younger people who are using smartphones to make payments to friends.

Dorsey is considering making bitcoin another tool the company offers its merchant customers.

Square added the bitcoin option in response to customer interest, according to a company spokesperson, Forbes reported. The company believes bitcoin can improve participation in the global financial system.

The app does not yet allow users to make payments with bitcoin.

Mrinalini Bhutoria and Paul Condra, Credit Suisse analysts, noted that Square is well positioned to allow cryptocurrency transactions at the point of sale. Credit Suisse nonetheless held a neutral rating on the stock, pricing it at $31, or 22% below its Tuesday closing price.

Action Makes Analyst Bullish


Square users will be able to eventually use bitcoin to pay on Square terminals, Dan Dolev, a Nomura Instinet analyst, told CNBC. Dolev’s buy rating on Square has a target price of $45 because he sees the company disrupting the payments industry and expanding among retailers.

The Credit Suisse analysts said the largest risk to bitcoin is regulations. In addition, Square is exposed to counterparty risk and liquidity risk since it has to source bitcoin by using an exchange or pre-buying it. Nevertheless, the analysts see a lot of upside to bitcoin as cryptocurrencies become more mainstream. They said they see PayPal as being well positioned to provide these services.


Lester Coleman
Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries. He is available for writing and media relations assignments.

Damian Merlak, Founder of Bitstamp becomes Slovenia’s 6th richest person

By Coin Joker - November 15, 2017 (coinjoker.com)


Damian Merlak, who together with his business partner co-founded Bitstamp in 2011, has just became the 6th richest businessman in Slovenia. The list was published last week by the leading financial magazine and we had a chance today to have a quick chat with him. This is what he said.


What is your background and how did you get involved in cryptocurrencies?

I developed passion for software development very early, at the age of 13. During the college years I started professionally working as a software developer for different companies and in 2011 my co-worker told me to take a look at something called “Bitcoin”. At first I wasn’t very interested, but after a few months as I watched the price go up it caught my attention. I bought some Bitcoins at first.

As I explored the technology behind Bitcoin I created a small mining rig in my basement. Back then you mined Bitcoins using GPUs and the software was full of bugs, so you really had to fix things all the time.

That was also the time when Mt.Gox was the only real exchange to buy or sell Bitcoins in the world, so me and my business partner Nejc Kodric had an idea. We did some math and predicted that Mt.Gox must be making $10.000 daily. All we had to do was to be as good as they were, and we could take home $10.000 every single day. A few months later we had a working exchange which we launched under the name Bitstamp. Later, Bitstamp became the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world and the rest is history.

Did you do most of the development?

At the beginning, yes. I did all the development as we didn’t have the money to hire people at that time. Funny, last week I had a dinner with our CTO and we pointed out that the core trading engine is still 90% intact, just as I developed it in 2011. I guess that is a sign of something done right.

Do you still write code?

Yes, I am always working on new projects. Currently I am doing an ICO for Tokens.net. After we finish collecting funds I will design the system and develop the core infrastructure for it. I would like to do more development as I really enjoy it, but unfortunately a day only has 24 hours.

What is Tokens.net?

It is going to be a platform for trading ERC20 tokens and other crypto currencies against each other. We are raising $15 million to fund the operation. More information on the project is available on www.tokens.net.



You must be a big believer in ICOs then.

I think there will be great projects to come out of this ICO era. But we must not fool ourselves, there will be many that will fail. In fact, most will fail. Just like startups, so choose wisely!

You also created Quantum Project not so long ago. How is that going?

True. When I developed the Quantum Project I was already planning to create a trading platform, so Quantum was the first step towards that goal. Unfortunately the QAU price is suffering right now, as many people want to participate in Tokens.net crowdsale and they are selling QAU to get the money for the Tokens crowdsale. It is important to know that both Quantum and Tokens.net will benefit greatly from each other. Tokens.net will act as the platform and Quantum will be the market market. Natural co-existence. At the moment I see QAU as a great buying opportunity. When Tokens.net ICO closes, the pressure on the price will stop and the reversal will come.

You come from Slovenia, a country that is taking a lot of steps to become a blockchain/cryptocurrency friendly destination. Did you see this coming many years ago or does it come to you as a surprise?

I did not see that coming. Cryptocurrencies are a big thing in Slovenia. When I come to Slovenia I usually go mountain hiking and the last time people on the top were talking about Bitcoin. It’s crazy and funny at the same time. I doubt there is any other country in the world that is so crypto aware.

You are considered a pioneer in cryptocurrency world. What would you say were the biggest obstacles you had to cross to get to the point where you are today, a true pioneer that keeps on building this ecosytem.

Banks. People can not imagine how difficult it is to get and maintain a bank account if you are dealing with Bitcoin. I hope this will change at some point.

November 14, 2017

Police posted at Bithumb as users file lawsuit after server outage costs millions

By Kai Sedgwick - November 14, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)


Users of Bithumb, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, have filed a class action lawsuit following a costly server outage on November 12. Despite only lasting 90 minutes, the outage cost traders millions of dollars, occurring at the height of frenzied bitcoin cash trading. One customer complained of losing 250 million won ($223,000) in the chaos.

A Tale of Lost Won


Disgruntled traders gather outside Bithumb
As bitcoin cash was setting new records on Sunday, hitting all-time highs before plunging sharply, traders at Bithumb, which was leading the BCH rally, could only watch in frustration after the trading platform was knocked offline. Such was the ire of the affected traders that police were posted outside Bithumb’s Seoul headquarters on Monday morning as a precaution. The Korea Times quotes a Bithumb official as saying:

"We are discussing measures to compensate the investors. We will meet our legal and social responsibilities concerning this issue".

That’s not enough for some traders though, who are are still angered after missing out on the lucrative profits that could have been made on the BCH swings. The exchange, which accounts for around 75% of all South Korean trading volume, has now been hit by a lawsuit from around 3,000 customers who were affected by the server outage.

Crash and Cash


The basis for the affected traders’ legal action stems from the fact that Bithumb was previously compromised in June, when trading of Ripple was similarly impacted. They allege that there are critical issues with the exchange’s servers which still haven’t been fixed, leading to the bitcoin cash debacle. The impending legal action raises questions over the obligations of exchanges, and whether they can be held liable for downtime caused by unusually high trading volume or external factors.

Police attended the scene after Bithumb customers protested on Monday morning

Sour Grapes and Just Desserts


In June, a class action lawsuit was filed in Florida after Kraken exchange was floored by DDoS attacks, allegedly costing traders up to $1 million. Often, such suits settle out of court, with plaintiffs filing a formal complaint to compel the defendant to pay swift compensation. The likelihood of Bithumb customers being eligible for court-awarded compensation is dubious, with one financial expert opining that the exchange is not liable for such events.


Most of the trading during the weekend’s fierce bitcoin cash rally originated in South Korea, with the won leading the action. In the past 24 hours, bitcoin cash volume on Bithumb was $1.16 billion, with bitcoin a distant second at $445 million. Cryptocurrency trading is a risky business at the best of times, and the affected investors have earned little sympathy in other quarters of the bitcoin community.

Despite Bithumb’s server issues, the global cryptocurrency market set a new record on Sunday, hitting $25 billion in volume. Given the vast amounts of money at stake, it’s safe to assume the Bithumb lawsuit won’t be the last of its kind.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Naver, and Coincodex.


Kai Sedgwick

Kai's been assembling words for a living since 2009 and involved with bitcoin since 2013. He's previously written white papers for blockchain companies and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.