Move Over Bitcoin, These 4 Cryptocurrencies are Making Their Mark

Move Over Bitcoin, These 4 Cryptocurrencies are Making Their Mark

Move Over Bitcoin, These 4 Cryptocurrencies are Making Their Mark

 

Just a few years ago if you thought of cryptocurrency you thought of Bitcoin and Bitcoin only.

Bitcoin was propelled into the limelight back in 2013. Around that time The Silk Road was taken down and the U.S. government confiscated hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin. Back then, cryptocurrency and Bitcoin was more of an underground thing used mostly for dodgy purposes. But today, the tech and entrepreneurial community has gotten their hands on blockchain and cryptocurrency with the creation of other coins and technology. And now cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum are being used and backed by the biggest companies in the world such as Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase and Samsung to name a few.

Ethereum is leading the pack of the new age cryptocurrencies. The big difference is that these 2.0 and 3.0 versions of digital currencies actually do quite a bit on top of the basic technology that Bitcoin introduced to the world via blockchain. Bitcoin was just the beginning.

Here are 4 cryptocurrencies worth watching this year:

Ethereum (ETH) got popular just a few months ago when the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was announced. The biggest companies in the world are officially backing and utilizing the new blockchain technology that Ethereum provides, specifically their smart contracts, decentralized applications on the blockchain, the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations and so much more. Ethereum does for code, apps and programming what Bitcion did for peer to peer transactions. Ethereum could eventually, starting with the launch of it’s new web browser Mist, become a complete decentralized internet.

Stratis (STRAT) is a powerful blockchain development platform. They recently got the highest level support from companies like Microsoft. Their aim is to be the one-stop shop for all things blockchain, essentially becoming a Blockchain As A Service (BAAS) platform. They are similar to Ethereum in concept but also very different. Stratis runs on the Bitcoin blockchain. But, where Stratis makes itself unique is that it offers developers the ability to code in C# which opens up a ton of possibilities for app and other developers. Additionally, Stratis is soon to launch their breeze wallet that could revolutionize and redefine transactional privacy. Stratis has a very similar number of circulating supply as Ethereum. So if you wanted to guess where Stratis (STRAT) could be price wise in a short while then look at today’s Ethereum prices.

Ripple (XRP) is a very interesting technology that allows banks to interact with eachother directly without any central point of control or middleman. This could (and is) revolutionize banking. Ripple and it’s token XRP have been critized for not having the technology and the currency truly connected. They also do not currently have their own currency wallet so storing it becomes complicated. But if they were to solve those 2 problems it could be doing very well this year.

Siacoin (SC) is a cryptocurrency and technology that was innovated at MIT at a hackathon in 2013. Siacoin’s blockchain has a technology that allows smart contracts to be created for digital storage. Essentially this could spawn the next Dropbox or Amazon AWS. But instead of Siacoin doing that directly they allow other partners like hosts to connect and compete for the business of consumers via their technology. It is a little early for Siacoin but big developments are already happening. Once they have a few more big use cases things could really take off. Their technology could be backing the next Dropbox or Amazon AWS. And if you have ever paid Amazon AWS hosting or storage costs, you know that needs to be distrupted and made cheaper. Siacoin’s blockchain technology could be the solution.

 

There you have it. These are the 4 cryptocurrencies that I and many others in the community have their eyes on to make big movement in 2017.

Author: Brian D. Evans

 

There is another coin Infinity(XIN) standing in the wings which you will be hearing more about this month so watch this space.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Will Investing in Cryptocurrency Make You Rich

Will Investing in Cryptocurrency Make You Rich

Will Investing in Cryptocurrency Make You Rich

 

Have you heard? Cyptocurrency is so hot right now. Bitcoin's price has been climbing for the better part of a year, topping $2,000 per coin for the first time in May, and rising to a record high above $2,500 — before dropping down just above $2,400 a coin as of Friday afternoon, per CoinDesk.

Those numbers mean nothing to you? This one might: If you had made a small investment in bitcoin back in 2010 — buying just $100 worth, when each unit was worth a fraction of a cent — your stash would be valued today at more than $70 million. Talk about an early retirement!

Even if you had been late to the party and bought bitcoin last year, you would be feeling pretty good. At one point, bitcoin prices were up roughly 180% for the year, as CNBC reported. Compare that with the broad stock market, which returned between 7.9% and 15%, depending on which index you look at.

Other cryptocurrencies have been on a tear as well. Ethereum, launched in 2015, is a software platform that has a cryptocurrency of its own, called "ether." Ether, or "ether tokens," hit a new all-time high Wednesday after climbing more than 35% in 24 hours, per CoinDesk. (There's also litecoin, which is similar to bitcoin but easier to obtain, more transactional, and seen as less valuable.)

So does that mean you should buy cryptocurrency today? Some say yes: One bitcoin proponent told CNBC he expects its value to keep rising and hit $100,000 within the decade. While digital currencies may seem alien now, it serves to remember that when Apple and other tech brands began gaining steam in the 1980s, people were skeptical anyone would have use for a personal computer. That story had a happy ending for early Apple investors.

Then again, hindsight can be 20/20, and just because an asset's price is going up doesn't mean it's actually getting more valuable. Just ask someone who bought U.S. real estate in 2007, or a tulip bulb during the infamous Dutch tulip bubble. If all that is driving prices to rise is hype, it's a good time to remember that what goes up must come down.

 

What are bitcoin and ether, exactly?

For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies like ether and bitcoin are digital forms of money that live online, embedded in algorithms that record their movements. Bitcoin was the first major cryptocurrency, invented by an anonymous hacker known as Satoshi Nakamoto, in 2008. In a paper about the technology, Nakamoto envisioned a "peer-to-peer electronic cash system" that would let people conduct business directly, without the need of any outside institution.

The idea can be an exciting one: No more bank fees, for one, and you wouldn't need credit cards or debit cards, either. You also wouldn't need central banks or treasuries, since the price of currency would be set on the global stage by computers. Proponents of bitcoin, and its underlying technology, blockchain, hope that it could make most middlemen irrelevant by making all transactions instantly trustworthy and automated by Bluetooth.

If you needed a ride somewhere? You'd just summon your self-driving car, it would automatically read your digital wallet and take its fee, and you'd get out. It's a future that could save billions in transaction fees, protect identities and be a whole lot more sanitary. But we're not there yet, not by a long shot.

Currently, the system of using bitcoin relies on programmers to record transactions and build out what's known as a blockchain in exchange for a small bitcoin bounty. That process is called "bitcoin mining," and anyone can participate, although the reward will diminish over time

 

The case for investing in cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has come a long way from bitcoin's roots as the shadow currency favored by criminals on the Silk Road. Skepticism over bitcoin reached a boiling point in 2014, when Mt. Gox, the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, abruptly declared bankruptcy after than $460 million in bitcoin essentially disappeared.

Despite a rocky start, bitcoin has arguably entered the mainstream. For one, you can actually use it to buy stuff now. Many retailers, like Microsoft and Overstock, have started accepting bitcoin directly, and for the retailers that don't — notably Amazon — proponents have found a workaround by buying gift cards with their bitcoin and making purchases that way.

"The vast majority of bitcoin proponents are now either in finance or government," said Ian Bogost, an author, professor and game designer who has written about bitcoin for the Atlantic. "And for them, the speculative aspect is like a repurposing. The speculatists couldn’t give a shit what they’re speculating on, what the object is. Just that there is the possibility of substantial gain."

Ironically, given its roots, many of bitcoin's recent wins have been thanks to governments. Most recently, Japan voted to make bitcoin an officially sanctioned currency, and other countries like Barbados are looking into whether they should start purchasing bitcoin of their own.

Interestingly, many fans of cryptocurrency argue that the real value might not be in the currency itself, but in the technology that enables it — ways to safely and securely move value, for example, or trustworthy ways to validate identity.

"Bitcoin basically operated in obscurity until 2012, when media began reporting on its pseudonymous payments on Silk Road and it hit $1,000 before crashing," said Amanda Gutterman, chief marketing officer of ConsenSys, a blockchain studio which builds products on Ethereum. "As interest picked up, there was a desire to create more sophisticated financial products."

Bitcoin started as an experiment in monetary theory, Gutterman said, but it has already started to inspire real technology. ConsenSys, for example, is working with the city of Dubai to leverage blockchain and make the city government paperless by 2020. Because it's easier to build products around, many experts believe Ethereum could soon supplant Bitcoin.

 

The case against buying cryptocurrency

While the price of cryptocurrencies might be going up, there are still a lot of reasons to be wary, not least because it's virtually impossible to determine what a fair price for bitcoin or ether might be.

Part of what makes currencies and other assets valuable is that they have a history of appreciation, which cryptocurrencies do not share. Then there's the fact that people don't exactly agree on what the rules for bitcoin should be. It's not really a currency, since currencies are backed by a government, which issues them. It's also not really like a stock, either — cryptocurrencies don't report earnings or generate profits, and earnings and profits are how people try to determine what a "fair price" for a given stock might actually be.

Now, a few people have developed formulas to figure out the fair price for bitcoin: The Financial Times spoke to one anonymous London financial analyst who developed a model for pricing bitcoin based on the assumption that its "core utility value" is as the currency for shadow markets. By comparing the total amount of money that's laundered around the world with the overall GDP, he estimates that bitcoin's current price is about 238% higher than it should be. Other skeptics say that bitcoin has no real underlying value at all.

Despite being embraced by corporations and governments, bitcoin is still associated with criminal activity: When the WannaCry ransomware attack hit computers all over the world in May, the hackers involved requested their bounties in bitcoin. That means that even as some governments embrace bitcoin, others are cracking down: In Florida, for example, the state legislature recently passed a law that would make it easier to prosecute criminals who use bitcoin for money laundering.

Somewhat paradoxically, these types of criminal activity might actually be part of what's making bitcoin more valuable at the moment. Confronted with a rise in bitcoin ransoms from hackers, Bogost noted that a very natural response for a company is to buy a little bitcoin in case it happens again.

Bogost said she fears that bitcoin is particularly susceptible to monopoly — as hackers have very successfully cornered the market in the past. "We’ve seen with these sort of ups and downs, these small groups of mostly Chinese pools end up with more than 50% of the capacity. And we don’t know anything about these organizations. Are they state controlled?" Bogost said. "The moment [there is too much consolidation in the mining pools] then effectively the platform is dead, at least as a currency."

Finally, there's the possibility people are unwisely romanticizing a future without middlemen. The people who lost their bitcoin in the 2014 Mt. Gox hack are still trying to get their money back, and are unlikely to. After all, when the value of your cash is held in anonymous, poorly-understood algorithms, it's hard to hold somebody accountable if you lose it.

If you still feel like investing a small amount of money in cryptocurrency, be sure not to dip into your emergency savings. It's rarely a good idea to buy something when its price is at its all-time high. And remember that there are a lot of horses in this race: In addition to bitcoin, ether, and litecoin there's also ripple, namecoin and peercoin.

 

How to buy and store cryptocurrency

If you have some "play" money and want to make a bet on cryptocurrency, you should absolutely feel 100% comfortable with the idea of losing all that money. Cryptocurrencies have crashed before, often, and probably will again in the future. They're also historically expensive — if you must buy some, you might be served by waiting a bit for prices to drop, so you're more likely to get a deal.

There are lots of ways to buy cryptocurrencies, and some countries have even set up ways to purchase them via an ATM.

Coinbase is one of the more well-known bitcoin brokers, and often recommended for beginners. Coinbase allows you buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by linking to your debit or credit card account. Business Insider reports that the mobile app is buggy, and banks will sometimes lock a card after making these transactions. To that end, BI recommends letting your financial institution know before trying to make a purchase.

There are a few other options, though they have less of a track record: Kraken is one reputable alternative; it has been around since 2011 and works with a wide range of traders and governments. There's also Gemini, but it is not yet available in every state.

Finally, because exchanges, even the largest ones, have crashed abruptly, it's also important to get yourself a safe place to store your bitcoin, in case your provider goes out of business or suffers a hack. These devices are often referred to as bitcoin "wallets." Ledger is a popular option.

by James Dennin

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

How Do Bitcoin Transactions Actually Work

How Do Bitcoin Transactions Actually Work

How Do Bitcoin Transactions Actually Work

 

Whether you’re interested in becoming a developer for blockchain applications, or you’re just looking to understand what happens under the hood when you send bitcoin to a friend, it’s good to have a working knowledge of what happens when you create and broadcast Bitcoin transactions to the Bitcoin network. Why?

Because transactions are a basic entity on top of which the bitcoin blockchain is constructed. Transactions are the result of a brilliant collision of cryptography, data structures, and simple non-turing-complete scripting. They’re simple enough that common transaction types aren’t overly-complex, but flexible enough to allow developers to encode fairly customized transactions types as well. Today we’ll take a tour of the former.

As a developer, how does your bitcoin client post a new transaction to the network (and what happens when it’s received)?

What exactly is happening when you send some bitcoin to a friend?

This post will assume that the reader has a basic understanding of hashing, asymmetric cryptography, and P2P networking. It’s also a good idea to have a good sense for what exactly a blockchain is, even if you’re unfamiliar with any specific mechanics.

Bitcoin Transactions and their role in the bigger picture

Bitcoin is comprised of a few major pieces: nodes and a blockchain. The role of a typical node is to maintain its own blockchain version and update it once it hears of a “better” (longer) version. Simply put, the blockchain has blocks, and blocks have transactions.

 

With this simplified but accurate picture in mind, you might be wondering what exactly a transaction is made out of.

How will understanding transactions help me to become a better blockchain developer?How do transactions allow me to transfer some bitcoin to a friend?

It turns out that the answers to these questions vary based on many things. Even assuming that we’re talking only bitcoin, we can use transactions in a number of creative ways to accomplish a variety of personalized goals. Let’s start at the beginning, that is, let’s take a look a good old-fashioned pay-to-PK-hash transaction type. After all, this type of transaction accounts for over 99% of all transactions on the bitcoin blockchain.

First, let’s build a mental model. It’s tempting to think of bitcoin as an account-based system. After all, when I send bitcoin to somebody, that person receives money and I’m left with a remaining balance. In the real world though, things are represented a bit differently. Generally speaking, when I send money to somebody I am sending spending all of that money (minus transaction fees). Some of that money will be spent back to my own personal account if there exists a remaining balance. The point is that all of the money moves every single time.

How Do Bitcoin Transactions Actually Work?Save

This was somewhat confusing to me when I first saw it, so I’ll elaborate a bit. When I post a transaction, I’m essentially “claiming” an output and proving that I have permission to spend the amount of money at that output. So if I’m Bob and I want to pay Alice, those inputs are my proof that I have been given a certain amount of money (although this might just be a portion of my total balance), and the outputs will correspond to Alice’s account. In this simple case, there would be only a single input and a single output.

A deeper look into Bitcoin transactions

Let’s understand the mechanics of a real bitcoin transaction. We’ll use the image above as a reference.

If you were to cut open a typical bitcoin transaction, you’d end up with three major pieces: the header, the input(s), and the output(s). Let’s briefly look at the fields available to us in these sections, as they’ll be important for discussion. Note that these are the fields that are in a so-called raw transaction. Raw transactions are broadcast between peers when a transaction is created.

The Header

hash: The hash over this entire transaction. Bitcoin generally uses hash values both a pointer and a means to check the integrity of a piece of data. We’ll look at this more in the next section.

ver: The version number that should be used to verify this block. The latest version was introduced in a soft fork that became active in December 2015.

vin_sz: The number of inputs to this transaction. Similarly, vout_sz counts the number of outputs.

lock_time: We’ll look at this more in later articles, but this basically describes the earliest time at which a block can be added to the blockchain. It is either the block height or a unix timestamp.

Input

previous output hash: This is a hash pointer to a previously unspent transaction output (UTXO). Essentially, this is money that belongs to you that you are about to spend in this transaction.

n: An index into the list of outputs of the previous transaction. This is the actual output that you are spending.

scriptSig: This is a spending script that proves that the creator of this transaction has permission to spend the money referenced by 1. and 2.

 

Output

value: The amount of Satoshi being spent (1 BTC = 100,000,000 Satoshi).

scriptPubKey: The second of two scripts provided in a bitcoin transaction, which points to a recipient’s hashed public key. More on this in the last section of this article.

Transaction verification

One of the jobs of a bitcoin node is the verify that incoming transactions are correct (data hasn’t been tampered with, money isn’t being created, only intended recipients spend UTXOs, etc). A more exhaustive list can be found online, but I’ll list out a few of the important ones here:

 

All outputs claimed by inputs of this transaction are in the UTXO pool. Unspent outputs can only ever be claimed once.

The signatures on each input are valid. More precisely, we’re saying that the combined scripts return true after executing them one after the other. More on this in the last section.

No UTXO is spent more than once by this transaction. Notice how this is different than the first item.

All of the transaction’s output values are non-negative.

The sum of this transaction’s input values is greater than the sum of its output values. Note that if the numbers are different, the difference is considered to be a transaction fee that can be claimed by the miner.

A basic pay-to-PK-hash transaction

Bitcoin has its own custom (Forth-like) scripting language that is powerful enough to allow developers to create complicated and custom types of transactions. There are five or so standard transaction types that are accepted by standard bitcoin clients [5], however, there exist other clients that will accept other types of transactions for a fee. We’ll just cover the mechanics of pay-to-PK-hash here.

For any transaction to be valid, a combined scriptSig/scriptPubKey pair must evaluate to true. More specifically, a transaction spender provides a scriptSig that is executed and followed by the scriptPubKey of the claimed transaction output (remember how we said inputs claim previous unspent transaction outputs?). Both scripts share the same stack.

In the interest of efficiency, let’s use (official bitcoin wiki) a reference as we discuss. When you visit the link, go about halfway down to find a table containing 7 rows. This table shows how the scripts are combined, how execution occurs, and what the stack looks like at each step.

One thing to note is that, because bitcoin addresses are actually hashes (well, it gets even a bit more complicated. See ), there is no way for the sender to know the actual public key to check against the private key. Therefore, the Redeemer specifies both the public key and private key, and the scriptPubKey will duplicate and hash the public key to make sure that the Redeemer is indeed the intended recipient.

During execution, you can see that constants are placed directly onto the stack when they are encountered. Operations add or remove items from the stack as they are evaluated. For example, OP_HASH160 will take the top item from the stack, and has it twice, first with SHA-256 and then with RIPEMD-160. When all items in our script have been evaluated, our entire script will evaluate to true if true remains on the stack, and false otherwise.

All in all, the pay-to-PK-hash is a pretty straightforward transaction type. It ensures that only a redeemer with the appropriate public/private key pair can claim and subsequently spend bitcoin. Assuming that all other criteria are met (see the previous section), then the transaction is a good one and it can be placed into a block.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Russia is looking to regulate bitcoin but still doesn’t see it as a currency

Russia is looking to regulate bitcoin but still doesn't see it as a currency

Russia is looking to regulate bitcoin but still doesn’t see it as a currency

Russia is exploring ways to regulate bitcoin, the country's central bank governor has told CNBC, but sees "doubts" over the benefits of the cryptocurrency and even questions whether it should be considered a virtual currency at all.

In an interview with CNBC, Elvira Nabiullina, governor of the Russian Central Bank, explained that she views bitcoin as a digital asset rather than a currency, and this is the way it should be thought about with regards to regulation.

When asked whether the Russian Central Bank is looking to regulate bitcoin, Nabiullina said that the authority is "analyzing" the possibility and needs to "understand more about this internalization of bitcoin and our regulatory systems." She added that there are "risks" with the cryptocurrency.

"We don't consider that bitcoin can be considered as a virtual currency. It's more digital assets with the regulation of assets," Nabiullina told CNBC in a TV interview.

The central banker did not elaborate on what specific regulation would look like and said she is in no rush to put any policy into place. The governor said that the central bank does have doubts about bitcoin.

"We have some doubts, we don't see some huge benefits from introducing digital assets in our economy," Nabiullina said.

Bitcoin recently hit a record high of $2,791, according to data from industry website CoinDesk, marking around a 180 percent rally year-to-date. There's bullishness in the market with some predicting the price could go as high as $6,000 this year and even $100,000 in a decade.

With surging prices and a market capitalization of around $38 billion, governments are becoming increasingly interested in ways to regulate the digital currency, especially as more retail investors are getting involved in the market.

Japan recently passed a law to legalize payments in bitcoin which helped boost the price, with major trading volumes now coming from the country.

The stance of Nabiullina marks a changed view from Russian authorities who have been trying over the years to ban bitcoin. If Russia somehow regulates bitcoin, this could potentially affect the price, especially if more investors get involved in the asset.

Sean Walsh, a partner at Redwood City Ventures which invests in bitcoin and blockchain companies, said that further regulation could boost the price of the cryptocurrency and get rid of the handful of "bad actors" using it for illegal things.

"I agree with the view that for retail and professional investors greater regulatory structure is very supportive because it adds to the legitimacy of the whole network," Walsh told CNBC in a phone interview.

Taxation plan?

Still, it's unclear where Russia plans to go with bitcoin regulation. The country's Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev recently said the authorities hope to recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legal financial instrument in 2018 in a bid to tackle money laundering.

"The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain," Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview.

"If there's a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations."

The Russian Central Bank's Deputy Chairwoman Olga Skorobogatova has also reportedly revealed plans to tax the cryptocurrency.

"(Digital currencies already circulating in Russia will see) certain regulations with regard to taxes, monitoring and reporting, as a digital commodity," Skorobogatova said, according to news agency Interfax.

Blockchain in focus

Bitcoin has traditionally been known to allow users to make payments and money transfers anonymously. So it may seem that any taxation policy from the authorities could be difficult. But Walsh said some developments in the bitcoin community could make this policy feasible.

Firstly, bitcoin transactions have become slower and more expensive. This makes the practice of trying to split up transactions to cover your tracks very difficult. Secondly, several start-ups have emerged that are able to use algorithms to track transactions on the blockchain – the public ledger of bitcoin activity. This could allow authorities to see who owns bitcoin.

While Nabiullina admitted there were still risks with bitcoin, she expressed the Russian Central Bank's interest in blockchain technology. Because of the way blockchain technology can create a tamper-proof ledger of activity, many major banks are looking into how it can be used for tasks such as trading.

"I think it's more important to understand (the) benefits of new technologies … like blockchain which is on the basis of bitcoin," Nabiullina told CNBC.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Authors :
Arjun Kharpal Technology Correspondent
Geoff Cutmore Anchor, CNBC

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Is China Waking up to Ethereum

Is China Waking up to Ethereum

Is China Waking up to Ethereum

On May 27, Huobi, one of the three leading bitcoin exchanges in China alongside BTCC and OKCoin, officially integrated support for Ethereum trading. The Huobi development team announced that users will be able to trade Ethereum starting from May 31.

In its announcement, Huobi revealed that the company has come to a consensus to integrate support for Ethereum due to its exponential growth, high market liquidity, stability and increase in the demand toward Ethereum in both China and internationally.

Local sources including CNLedger reported that Huobi’s integration of Ethereum was an important milestone for the Chinese Ethereum community and market as the market liquidity for Ethereum within China was substantially low due to the lack of support from local exchanges.

Previously, exchanges including OKCoin did express their enthusiasm toward Ethereum and hinted at the possibility of integrating Ethereum support in the near future. In fact, OKCoin representatives told CNLedger that OKCoin has been planning to list Ethereum and that the company plans to integrate Ethereum at an appropriate time.

Thus, it is likely that other major bitcoin exchanges such as OKCoin will soon integrate Ethereum support following the footsteps of Huobi, which serves millions of users in China alone.

Although Ethereum has been enjoying an exponential growth in Asian markets including Japan and South korea, Ethereum is relatively unknown to the majority of Chinese cryptocurrency traders that have been investing in bitcoin and Litecoin. Cryptocurrency traders have only begun to take interest in Ethereum after the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and the Ethereum Foundation’s visit to the country.

Earlier in May, Consensus Systems (ConsenSys) head of global business development Andrew Keys attended the Global Blockchain Financial Summit with other members of the Ethereum Foundation including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Prior to the Global Blockchain Financial Summit, Keys and the rest of the Ethereum Foundation visited Ethereum communities in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

Keys discovered that the Ethereum adoption throughout China has been increasing at a rapid rate. Large conglomerates have started to build applications on top of the Ethereum protocol and universities have been researching into Ethereum’s potential within the finance market.

Even government-owned companies including the Royal Chinese Mint, the subordinate unit of China Banknote Printing and Minting, have started to utilize Ethereum to digitize the RMB. Keys explained that the Royal Chinese Mint is currently utilizing the ERC 20 token standard and Ethereum smart contracts to digitize the RMB.

More to that, CryptoCoinsNews also reported that Ant Financial, the subsidiary company of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is also utilizing the Ethereum protocol to develop various applications and platforms. Ant Financial is the company behind the $60 billion financial network Alipay, which is used by 450 million users in China.

Keys noted:

“The services provided by Ant Financial and its affiliates cover payment, wealth management, credit reporting, private bank and cloud computing. Ant Financial is experimenting with Ethereum technology to improve their global payment platforms.”

The rapid rise in the demand toward Ethereum and the adoption of the Ethereum smart contract technology could allow China to become one of the larger Ethereum exchange markets in the world. At the moment, South Korea is the largest Ethereum exchange market with over 40 percent of the global market share. If China continues to sustain such growth rate, it will see its Ethereum market outpace other regions.

Ethereum Foundation members including Vitalik Buterin are actively encouraging companies and users in China to utilize the Ethereum protocol to build decentralized applications.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author:Joseph Young

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

The Cryptocurrency Market Is Growing Exponentially

The Cryptocurrency Market Is Growing Exponentially

The Cryptocurrency Market Is Growing Exponentially

Bitcoin dominates over other digital currencies today, but the data suggests its market share will drop significantly in the next few years.
When it comes to the future of money, there is a growing consensus that cryptocurrencies are set to play a major role. One cryptocurrency, in particular, has entered the public lexicon as the go-to digital asset: Bitcoin.

But the cryptocurrency market is significantly more complex than the public lexicon might suggest. And while there have been plenty of studies examining the role and future of Bitcoin, there have been few that explore the broader cryptocurrency market and how it is evolving.

Today that changes thanks to the work of Abeer ElBahrawy at City University in London and a few pals who have examined the cryptocurrency market as a whole and say that it is significantly more complex and mature than many had thought. The evolution of this market even bears a remarkable similarity to the evolution of ecosystems in many other areas, providing some insight into the way the cryptocurrency market might change in the future.

First some background. The big challenge with digital currency is to prevent unauthorized copying. Cryptocurrencies use two mechanisms to prevent this. The first is to publish every transaction in a public record and to store numerous copies of this ledger online in a way that allows them all to be automatically compared and updated. This prevents double spending—using the same bitcoin to buy two different things.

The second mechanism is to protect the ledger cryptographically. Every update collects together a range of new transactions and adds them to the existing ledger. But to do this, the earlier version of the ledger is first frozen and encrypted.

The new version of the ledger—called a block—includes the encrypted copy of the earlier ledger. Anybody can use this encrypted data to generate a number that can be used to check the veracity of the block. However, it is extremely hard to generate this number computationally in an attempt to game the system. It is this feature—that the blocks are easy to check but extremely hard to copy—that secures the system.

Of course, as the ledger continues to be updated, new blocks must be created, piggybacking on the old ones and creating an unbroken chain of blocks. Hence, the term blockchain technology.

Bitcoin is by far the most famous of these cryptocurrencies. It is also among the oldest, having first emerged in 2009. But it is by no means the only cryptocurrency. So an interesting question is how the cryptocurrency market is evolving.

To find out, ElBahrawy and co analyzed the behavior of 1,500 cryptocurrencies that have emerged since 2013 and say that some 600 of them are actively traded today. They say this market has recently entered a period of exponential growth and is currently worth $54 billion. (By comparison, the total amount of money in the world is about $60 trillion.) 

But while this cryptocurrency market is growing rapidly, ElBahrawy and co show that certain aspects of it are stable. For example, the number of active cryptocurrencies has remained about the same since 2013 as has the market share distribution, which follows a well-known power law.

The team also shows how this distribution can be reproduced using a standard model of evolution in which they plug in figures for the rate at which currencies emerge and die away.

This power law distribution occurs in a wide range of systems. For example, the same law describes the size of religions, of languages and even of wars (by number of deaths). In none of these systems is there are any favored religion or language or war. But all things being equal, they all form this type of distribution.

The fact that size distribution of cryptocurrencies follows the same law is significant. It implies that as far as the market is concerned, all currencies are essentially the same. “The fit with the data shows that there is no detectable population-level consensus on what is the ‘best’ currency or that different currencies are advantageous for different uses,” say ElBahrawy and co.

Whether that is true is up for debate. Various critics have pointed out a number of technical limitations associated with Bitcoin, and this has inspired a new generation of cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum. Whether this will influence the market remains to be seen.

While this exponential growth is ongoing, Bitcoin’s market share is falling. The top five biggest currencies—Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, and Monero—now account for 20 percent of the market. And the trend for Bitcoin is clear. “This would predict Bitcoin market share to fluctuate around 50 percent by 2025,” say the team.

Another factor in the market is that cryptocurrencies aren’t used only as currency. Bitcoin is also widely used for speculation and can also be used for nonmonetary uses such as timestamping.

For many of these applications there is a clear benefit to having a single currency that everyone agrees on. “While the use of cryptocurrencies as speculative assets should promote diversification, their adoption as payment method (i.e., the conventional use of a shared medium of payment) should incentivize a winner-take-all regime,” say Bickell and co.

But experience with other ecosystems suggest that this is by no means certain to happen. For example, a single computer operating system has never been able to outcompete all others, regardless of the ruthlessness of its deployment. Neither has any human language or religion or fashion wiped out all others.  

That’s not to say it can’t happen. But unless there is significant external manipulation of this market, the likelihood is that there will be significant diversity in the cryptocurrency market for the foreseeable future.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Should Figure in Your Investment Porfolio

Bitcoin Should Figure in Your Investment Porfolio

Bitcoin Should Figure in Your Investment Porfolio

 

Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management has joined the cadre of investment advisors who see bitcoin as a way for investors to hedge their bets against market uncertainty. Schlossberg, according to CNBC, sees bitcoin as an addition to an investment portfolio in the wake of political uncertainty.

CNBC’s “Trading Nation” explored ways for investors to hedge against growing political uncertainty following Wednesday’s big equities selloff. Stocks traded slightly higher on Thursday following the market’s biggest sell day of the year.

Investors are also being advised to look to international markets.

Bitcoin The New Gold

Schlossberg sees parallels between bitcoin and gold, and he noted that bitcoin is being called the “new gold,” due to its ability to retain value over time.

He noted that bitcoin is holding steady following its 92% rally this year. Speaking Wednesday on “Trading Nation,” Schlossberg said the cryptocurrency is holding at steady highs, and that when there is a big move for any type of instrument, there is usually some continuation.

Bitcoin is clearly signaling more demand, Schlossberg observed. He favors it as a hedge play moving forward.

Advisors Bullish On Bitcoin

Schlossberg is one of several investment advisors and investors who is bullish on bitcoin.

Thom Lachenmann and Parke Shall, advisors at Orange Peel Investments, have invested in bitcoin and suggest investors take a small position in the asset for the long term.

Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz has said that he is holding ten percent of his net worth in digital currencies such as bitcoin and Ether.

Charlie Morris, the investment director of the Fleet Street Letter, noted following last year’s bitcoin halving that he is buying the cryptocurrency because he sees it as a cheap stock with an opportunity to grow in value.

Needham & Co. LLC, a New York City-based investment firm, has been covering the Bitcoin Investment Trust, and last year gave it a “buy” rating. The investment company believes the price of the cryptocurrency stands to benefit substantially from rising demand for its two main use cases: as an alternative payments channel and as a “digital gold.” The growing demand is driven by market trends such as expanding ecommerce, globalization, and by the pervasiveness of enabling technology like mobile phones.

Many attribute bitcoin’s recent gains as a sign of its improved acceptance as a currency, despite the recent rejection by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a proposed bitcoin exchange traded fund.

Charlie Morris, the investment director of the Fleet Street Letter, is buying bitcoin. He sees it as a cheap stock with an opportunity to grow in value because of the halving. Morris gave his reasons for being bullish on bitcoin in a column in the Fleet Street Letter, a MoneyWeek Research Publication in London, U.K.

Morris compares the bitcoin halving to gold miners or oil producers cutting their production in half. He asks his readers if they would be more bullish on gold and oil if gold and oil supplies were cut in half. “That’s exactly what’s about to happen to bitcoin, the digital currency,” he noted.

Bitcoin: Limited Supply

Morris wrote that 25 bitcoins are now created every 10 minutes. On July 11, this number drops to 12.5. Four years later, it halves again.

There are currently 15.5 million bitcoins at present and the halving process, which is written into the the cryptocurrency’s software’s code, restricts the supply of bitcoins to 21 million. The supply is expected to reach this limit in about a century.

Scarcity is a feature of bitcoin’s design. It is a feature that distinguishes the cryptocurrency from fiat currency, which can be produced in unlimited amounts.

A Social Media Stock?

While many people buy bitcoin for speculation, their bets will only prove advantageous if other people buy it for its utility. Hence, bitcoin can be viewed as a social media stock in that the more people use it, the greater its value.

Morris described bitcoin as a digital asset that can move across the Internet. It differs from a traditional database in some important ways. With a traditional database, the user goes into the database, opens a file, changes the data and closes the file. Both the seller and the buyer have to do this, along with intermediaries. Because of all the parties involved, there is room for error in settlement.

With a blockchain, the transaction gets recorded onto a new layer of data called a block. That block never changes. A new block comes into existence every 10 minutes. The data stores in a chain of blocks known as a “blockchain.”

Bitcoin, contrary to what many people think, does not have a serial number. Instead, it has provenance.

How The Blockchain Works

In a bitcoin transaction, the system checks to make sure the bitcoin being spent hasn’t already been spent. The system checks this by examining the blockchain, where the transaction history records. There are more than 5,000 identical copies of the blockchain that can be downloaded and examined by anyone. “It’s truly open source.”

Each day bitcoin survives, it quashes its doubters, Morris noted. There are already more than 200,000 daily transactions.

Bitcoin has experienced one boom and bust cycle already. The price rose from under $1 to $1,000 in late 2013, then fell to below $200 in the summer of 2015.

“But the bear has now turned and the price is challenging $500.” This time, there is less hype, and there is also a lot of capital investment. “The network is growing and the supply is falling.”

If the cryptocurrency goes mainstream, it will give Facebook Netflix, Amazon and Google a run for their money, Morris noted.

Another Option: Global Stocks

Mark Tepper, president of Strategic Wealth Partners, points to investments outside the U.S. as a way to find refuge from domestic conditions, according to CNBC. The political risk is shifting toward the U.S., he said.

Global growth, Tepper noted, is much stronger than domestic growth. Globally-oriented companies on the S&P 500 are getting at least 50% of their revenues from overseas. These stocks are “completely crushing” domestically-focused companies in the current earning season.

Tepper said most investors are overly weighted in U.S. stocks since these stocks have outperformed international markets for years. However, he sees a change coming, making him confident that investing abroad makes sense, even as first quarter earnings have been strong for U.S. firms.

Geopolitical risk has faded following South Korean and French elections, he said, which bodes well for foreign markets.

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF, an exchange traded fund that tracks large- and mid-cap equities in developed oversea markets, has gained 13% for the year, Tepper said. The S&P 500, by contrast, has advanced under 6%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index rose 20% year to date, while Taiwan’s benchmark index rose 22% and European markets have outperformed the S&P 500.

Emerging markets have also rallied. EEM, an ETF that tracks these markets, has gained 15% this year. The fund did drop 2% Thursday when Brazilian equities fell on account of political concerns in the country.

Author: Lester Coleman

I have been investing via Trade Coin Club, which has a program which automatically trades on the top top chyptocurrencies and earn bitcoin 5 days a week and a very happy with the results.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Price Officially Doubles That of Gold

Bitcoin Price Officially Doubles That of Gold, Experiences Minor Correction

Bitcoin Price Officially Doubles That of Gold, Experiences Minor Correction

Until May 26, Bitcoin price remained at around $2,550, demonstrating a value that is double that of gold.

Gold is being traded at $1,267 in most major markets. For two straight days, from May 24 to May 26, Bitcoin was being traded at a price that is double that of gold, in the $2,600 region. In other Bitcoin exchange markets such as Japan and South Korea, Bitcoin price peaked at $4,000, demonstrating a price that is three times higher than the value of gold
 

Since then, Bitcoin price has experienced a minor correction from its strong rally and upward momentum. Bitcoin price dipped below $2,400 earlier today, stabilizing at around $2,350.

Factors driving the value

Analysts have attributed Bitcoin’s price correction to the strengthening of the US dollar and the strong performance of global stock markets. Bloomberg analysts specifically noted that the weakening oil market has led to an increase in the value of the US dollar. Although US stocks stumbled as markets closed this week, major stock markets recorded all-time highs and a strong six-day rally throughout this week.

“Markets ultimately found the renewed deal among OPEC and friends underwhelming. Essentially, the market consensus seems to have come around to a view that regardless of what effect on global inventories the deal may have for now, OPEC and its partners have little insight as to what to do later on,” said Sberbank strategist Cole Akeson.

Previously, the strengthening of the US dollar led to an increase in the demand toward Bitcoin in leading Asian Bitcoin exchange markets such as China, Japan and South Korea. China, in particular, was heavily affected by the performance of the US dollar as it influenced the value of the Chinese yuan and ultimately, the demand toward Bitcoin.

When the Chinese yuan weakened, local Bitcoin exchanges experienced a surge in daily trading volume and orders.

Overall, on a weekly basis, Bitcoin price has still recorded a 20 percent increase, which is a staggering increase in short-term value for a $40 bln financial network and digital currency. Seven days ago, Bitcoin price averaged at $1,900 in most major markets
 

Reasons behind the explosive growth

As Cointelegraph previously reported, there exists a few reasons behind the explosive growth and increase in demand toward Bitcoin while the demand for gold has remained relatively low over the past few years.

Bitcoin offers key advantages over gold: transportability, high liquidity and absolute proof of ownership. Bitcoin’s high liquidity is especially important for casual traders and conventional investors who can’t afford to hold investments in the long run. There could be investors purchasing Bitcoin to avoid economic uncertainty and financial instability.

In the upcoming weeks, as scaling sees progress and Bitcoin regains momentum, Bitcoin price will most likely recover and potentially achieve its previous all-time high price.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Author:Joseph Young

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin is going wild — here’s what the cryptocurrency is all about

Bitcoin is going wild — here's what the cryptocurrency is all about

Bitcoin is going wild — here's what the cryptocurrency is all about

Bitcoin is a currency just like the US dollar or Mexican peso. It's also back in the headlines after soaring in value. One bitcoin was worth $2,800 on May 25, up from $1,200 at the end of April.

In countries that accept it, you can buy groceries and clothes just as you would with the local currency. Only bitcoin is entirely digital; no one is carrying actual bitcoins around in their pocket.

Bitcoin is divorced from governments and central banks. It's organized through a network known as a blockchain, which is basically an online ledger that keeps a secure record of each transaction all in one place. Every time anyone buys or sells bitcoin, the swap gets logged. Several hundred of these back-and-forths make up a block.

No one controls these blocks, because blockchains are decentralized across every computer that has a bitcoin wallet, which you only get if you buy bitcoins.

Why bother using it?

True to its origins as an open, decentralized currency, bitcoin is meant to be a quicker, cheaper, and more reliable form of payment than money tied to individual countries. In addition, it's the only form of money users can theoretically "mine" themselves, if they (and their computers) have the ability.

But even for those who don't discover using their own high-powered computers, anyone can buy and sell bitcoins, typically through online exchanges like Coinbase or LocalBitcoins.

A 2015 survey showed bitcoin users tend to be overwhelmingly white and male, but of varying incomes. The people with the most bitcoins are more likely to be using it for illegal purposes, the survey suggested.

Each bitcoin has a complicated ID, known as a hexadecimal code, that is many times more difficult to steal than someone's credit-card information. And since there is a finite number to be accounted for, there is less of a chance bitcoin or fractions of a bitcoin will go missing.

But while fraudulent credit-card purchases are reversible, bitcoin transactions are not.

21 million

Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million. Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin's enigmatic founder, arrived at that number by assuming people would discover, or "mine," a set number of blocks of transactions daily.

Every four years, the number of bitcoins released relative to the previous cycle gets cut in half, as does the reward to miners for discovering new blocks. (The reward right now is 12.5 bitcoins.) As a result, the number of bitcoins in circulation will approach 21 million, but never hit it.

This means bitcoin never experiences inflation. Unlike US dollars, whose buying power the Fed can dilute by printing more greenbacks, there simply won't be more bitcoin available in the future. That has worried some skeptics, as it means a hack could be catastrophic in wiping out people's bitcoin wallets, with less hope for reimbursement.

The future of bitcoin

Historically, the currency has been extremely volatile. But go by its recent boom — and a forecast by Snapchat's first investor, Jeremy Liew, that it will hit $500,000 by 2030 — and nabbing even a fraction of a bitcoin starts to look a lot more enticing.

Bitcoin users predict 94% of all bitcoins will have been released by 2024. As the total number creeps toward the 21 million mark, many suspect the profits miners once made creating new blocks will become so low they'll become negligible. But with more bitcoins in circulation, people also expect transaction fees to rise, possibly making up the difference.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur
 

Chris Weller

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Surge Is Driven by People Leaving Riskier Digital Currencies, Say Execs

Bitcoin Surge Is Driven by People Leaving Riskier Digital Currencies, Say Execs

Bitcoin Surge Is Driven by People Leaving Riskier Digital Currencies, Say Execs

Bitcoin’s dramatic surge may be more than just a speculative frenzy. The recent rally is being driven partially by enthusiasts rotating out of riskier digital assets and into the more established cryptocurrency, according to industry executives.

"A lot of the volume into bitcoin right now is actually not dollar or yen or euro into bitcoin, but is rather alt digital assets," said Peter Smith, co-founder and CEO of digital asset software platform Blockchain, at an industry conference Tuesday that brought in 2,700 people on the first day. “People do view a lot of these newer assets as more risky, and so when they make big gains there, they’re selling down those gains and rotating into bitcoin."

Numerous alternative cryptocurrencies, or "altcoins" such as ripple, have emerged since bitcoin broke into public consciousness in 2013. Companies can sell new tokens through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. While the cost of one bitcoin has skyrocketed to more than $2,000 from just 8 cents in 2010, you can buy one litecoin for about $30.

The price of ether, the cryptocurrency tied to the Ethereum blockchain, has almost doubled in the last week.

Some are worried that there’s a bitcoin bubble in the making, but Smith and Erik Voorhees, founder and chief executive officer of cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift, aren’t too concerned. Booms and busts are a normal part of any economic cycle, they said at the Consensus 2017 conference.

"Every time bitcoin goes through these bubbles, a whole new wave of users come in," Voorhees said. "The reason that bitcoin is taking off is because banks have not been innovating."

The surge has also been tied to global political uncertainty and increased interest in Asia. Chinese stocks have slumped in recent months as bitcoin soared. The Shanghai Composite Index has fallen 6.9 percent from its high this year on April 11 amid concern authorities will step up measures to crack down on leveraged trading. China also may publish bitcoin regulations in June, according to a report earlier this month.

"Bitcoin up 100% in under 2 months. Shanghai down almost 10% same timeframe, compared to most global stocks up. Probably not a coincidence!" Doubleline Capital CEO Jeff Gundlach wrote in a tweet Tuesday.

ShapeShift users, only about 15 percent of whom are in the U.S., are moving small amounts of value between different digital tokens as they speculate about the best place to put their money, Voorhees said. Bitcoin is the "least speculative" of the digital assets, he explained.

Smith’s company, which added former Barclays Plc CEO Antony Jenkins as a board member last year, has grown every year regardless of bitcoin’s price, he said.

"One of the beautiful things about bitcoin is you get to see free-market economics at work every day, and bubbles and creative destruction are part of that process," added Smith, who said people have been incorrectly writing bitcoin’s obituary as it goes through natural up and down cycles. "I’m sure we’ll add a lot of obituaries if the market reverses and we go down below $2,000."

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Lily Katz

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden