CFTC Warns Against Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

CFTC Warns Against Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

CFTC Warns Against Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies is of great concern. Especially when it comes to pump-and-dump schemes, there’s reason to be concerned. As such, the CFTC issued an official warning against this type of market manipulation. They advise customers to avoid such schemes, especially when it comes to small and new altcoin markets. It is evident doing one’s research is always the best course of action.

In the world of cryptocurrency, pump-and-dump schemes are nothing new. In fact, they are a lot more common than some people might think. The CFTC has issued an official warning on this topic earlier this week. This is quite a surprise, even though it is evident consumers need to be aware of these manipulative efforts. Especially smaller cap coins and new alternative cryptocurrencies pose a significant risk in this regard. Moreover, it is always best to avoid any promotion on social media altogether.
 

Avoiding Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

This seems to stem forth from the recent BitConnect issues. That pump-and-dump scheme caused hundreds of millions in financial losses. It was mainly promoted on social media and YouTube. The CFTC doesn’t want history to repeat itself in this regard. They now want consumers to blow the whistle on any suspicious currencies first and foremost. It’s always better to submit tips than ignore pump-and-dump schemes altogether. Whether or not the general public will follow this guideline, remains to be seen.

According to the CFTC, pump-and-dump schemes in the cryptocurrency world take place on social media first and foremost. Online chat rooms, such as the ones on Telegram, are also problematic in this regard. Ignoring these buy signals will prove to be rather difficult for a lot of novice users. It is these people the marketers and scammers prey on first and foremost. A lot of people never do any research for specific coins or projects, even though they really should.

For now, the CFTC will not undertake further action against pump-and-dump schemes. They are not in a position to do so either, unfortunately. It is evident users need to conduct their due diligence first and foremost. Those who purposefully defraud other investors will face legal issues sooner or later, though. Anyone participating in market manipulation also violates the law. It is evident this new financial industry needs some boundaries first and foremost. Cracking down on pump-and-dumps is the right way to go in this regard.

 

Author JP BUNTINX • FEB 18, 2018 • 03:02

 

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 16th Feb – One More Hurdle to Clear

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 16th Feb – One More Hurdle to Clear

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price has broken past its inverse head and shoulders pattern neckline to show that an uptrend is in the cards.

  • Price is hitting another upside barrier at its descending trend line, though, and this might prompt profit-taking.

  • Technical indicators are also suggesting that the rally is overdone.

  • Bitcoin price is testing the descending trend line on its 4-hour time frame, and moving past this hurdle could mean more gains.

 

Technical Indicators Signals
 

The 100 SMA is below the longer-term 200 SMA to signal that the path of least resistance is to the downside. This suggests that the downtrend is more likely to resume than to reverse.

The 200 SMA also lines up with the descending trend line to add to its strength as resistance. This means that it would take a strong catalyst to trigger and sustain an upside break.

Stochastic is indicating overbought conditions, though, so selling pressure could still pick up. Similarly, RSI is in the overbought region and looks ready to turn lower, so bitcoin price might follow suit.

Market Factors
 

Bitcoin price has drawn a lot of support from easing regulatory concerns, stemming from the US Senate hearing and remarks from South Korean officials suggesting that they are open to introducing something like BitLicense.

Recall that Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton mentioned that they have no plans on banning bitcoin. Instead they plan on regulating the industry without quashing development.

More positive updates like these could help improve the sentiment in the industry. Apart from that, the continuation of risk-taking in higher-yielding assets like stocks and commodities has also benefitted bitcoin.

Besides, the move all the way to the $10,000 area of interest could bring more buying interest as this could signal an end of the correction. A sustained move past the next $12,000 area of interest could confirm that buying momentum is in play, attracting even more buyers.

Author SARAH JENN • FEB 16, 2018 • 05:02

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
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Prices Aside, Crypto’s Tech Stack Is Steadily Improving

Prices Aside, Crypto's Tech Stack Is Steadily Improving

Prices Aside, Crypto's Tech Stack Is Steadily Improving

Rachel Rose O'Leary and Alyssa Hertig

Feb 11, 2018 at 14:45 UTC

 

A look at the headlines of late may leave you with a familiar conclusion – with all the ups and downs in the market, it's just too early to take crypto seriously.

And it's true, despite the best efforts of even the industry's most notable developers, the world's largest cryptocurrencies remain not just volatile, but difficult (and risky) to use, at least in a way that their creators' intended.

Still, heading into 2018, enthusiasts the world over are hard at work on improvements.

As such, there's optimism advances could start to compound, creating a user experience that finally starts to transcend the issues – namely, the high fees and long wait times – users of most blockchains have become all too accustomed to.

In fact, in the year ahead, blockchain users could see exciting new features and scientific firsts that just might help push the industry closer to that vision:

 

1. Off-chain channels

What if it was possible for blockchain-based transactions to avoid using the blockchain at all?

That's the big idea behind off-blockchain payment channels, an idea that harkens back to 2015, but whose time may have finally come this year. Most associated with Bitcoin's Lightning Network, the idea is actually more general than this specific instance.

Essentially, off-blockchain payment channels would allow two people using any one cryptocurrency to send small payments back and forth, settling to the blockchain (and dealing with its high fees and slow transaction times) only when absolutely necessary.

Due to the potential impact, the idea is catching on – ethereum developers, while they often don't see eye-to-eye with their bitcoin peers, are at work on the same type of solution.

But there's more than just a rivalry at play, there's also reason to believe 2018 might be different in that actual live transactions could be sent in significant numbers.

The developers behind bitcoin's Lightning Network have declared the technology almost ready based on successful tests. Meanwhile, ethereum's developers have also unveiled successful tests for their versions of the concept, Raiden Network, with a more ambitious version, Plasma, potentially around the corner.

 

2. Real-live staking

As their popularity grows, attention is also being paid to the electricity required to sustain cryptocurrencies.

While the relevant data is difficult to pin down, proof-of-work, the consensus protocol that underlies bitcoin mining, is best defined as an energy-intensive process. As such, there are concerns about its electricity use could have large-scale environmental effects.

This is leading to new research on an idea from 2011. Called proof-of-stake, or "consensus by vote," the idea has been implemented, however, not at the scale intended by ethereum.

As such, it's long-awaited project Casper is likely to be under significant scrutiny this coming year, and early versions are beginning to see the light.

In a testnet released on New Year's Eve, one variation of Casper, was claimed to be functional. Karl Floersch, a leading developer behind the technology, told CoinDesk at the time that the code is working with "no hiccups."

Work remains to adapt this early version of Casper across the different ethereum clients, but ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has said he expects the technology will be tested alongside proof-of-work sometime in the future.

 

3. Privacy advances

Privacy has been a somewhat neglected promise in the majority of blockchains, but it's nonetheless an issue that could see improvement this year.

Most notable is the advances in zero-knowledge proofs, what Buterin has called "the single most under-hyped thing in cryptography right now," are getting cheaper and easier to deploy.

A form of cryptography that hides information without risking validity, it's already been adapted to a small degree into ethereum, which could lead to a wave of startups experimenting with private smart contracts in novel and unexpected ways.

Plus, in a white paper published earlier this month, a system for achieving zero-knowledge without compromising trust – a point of contention in some earlier iterations of the tech – was released, an update which could have exciting consequences.

And as existing tech matures, privacy-centric cryptocurrencies such as monero and zcash are also set to improve.

In preparation for an upgrade, zcash has been steadily reinforcing its security, while monero is stepping up to implement "bulletproofs," a feature that could cut fees by 80 percent.

 

4. Decentralized exchanges

No, this isn't just a new version of Coinbase or Kraken.

As the industry's largest exchanges struggle to cope with the influx of new adopters, an increasing number of projects are at work developing something called a decentralized exchange. The term denotes not just a new browser-based exchange, but rather a type of software users can use to swap one cryptocurrency with another without a central entity.

2017 saw a flood of new decentralized exchange projects, such as ShapeShift's Prism, 0x, OmiseGo, Kyber Network, and many others.

Expect those efforts to accelerate this year.

So far, hardware wallet Ledger has already integrated with decentralized exchange Radar Relay, allowing users to trustlessly exchange tokens based on ethereum.

While functionality is limited (it's only supported by a single wallet and only ethereum-based tokens can be sent), many in the industry see it as a glimpse into the future of not just cryptocurrency exchanges, but the technology itself.

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur
David ogden Cryptocurrency entrepreneur

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Russian nuclear scientists arrested for Bitcoin mining plot

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for Bitcoin mining plot

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for Bitcoin mining plot

Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies.

The suspects had tried to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say.

The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a restricted area.

The centre's press service said: "There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining."

The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet – to prevent intrusion – and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted. They were handed over to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian news service Mash says.

"As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them," the press service told Interfax news agency.

Crypto-currencies like Bitcoin do not rely on centralised computer servers. People who provide computer processing power to the crypto-currency system, to enable transactions to take place, can get rewards in Bitcoins.

In the Cold War the USSR's first nuclear bomb was produced at Sarov, during Joseph Stalin's rule.

The top-secret town was not even marked on Soviet maps and special permits are still required for Russians to visit it.

Putin, power and poison: Russia’s elite FSB spy club

Sarov is surrounded by a tightly guarded no-man's-land, with barbed wire fences to keep the curious away.

There are suspicions that the radioactive polonium-210 used to kill ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 came from Sarov.

The Federal Nuclear Centre reportedly employs up to 20,000 people and its supercomputer boasts a capacity of 1 petaflop, the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

Mining crypto-currencies requires great computational power and huge amounts of energy.

There have been reports of some other industrial facilities in Russia being used for crypto-mining, and one businessman reportedly bought two power stations for the activity.

 

Source BBC News 9th February

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 9th Feb 2018 – Slow But Steady Climb

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 9th Feb 2018 – Slow But Steady Climb

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price is testing an area of interest at the $8,000 major psychological level which lines up with several support levels.

  • For one, this is the bottom of a short-term ascending channel visible on the 1-hour time frame.

  • This also coincides with the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level, which already appears to have held as a floor.

  • Bitcoin price could be due for a small bounce off these short-term support levels as bullish pressure appears to be slowly returning.

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is still below the longer-term 200 SMA to indicate that the path of least resistance is to the downside. This means that the selloff is more likely to resume than to reverse.

However, the gap between the moving averages is slowly narrowing to indicate that bearish pressure could be fading. The 100 SMA might also hold as dynamic support if this keeps up.

Stochastic is turning slightly higher to signal that buyers are returning, but RSI is still on its way south so bitcoin price might follow suit. If the $8,000 level holds as support, price could bounce up to the swing high or the channel resistance closer to $9,000.

Market Factors

Risk aversion returned to the financial markets and these days bitcoin price has been tracking equities and commodities, unlike in the past when the cryptocurrency tends to benefit from safe-haven flows.

However, analysts are confident that the market slump is just a mere correction from the overdone rallies earlier in the year. If so, higher-yielding assets including bitcoin could see the longer-term uptrend resume at some point.

For bitcoin price, it seems that traders are mostly waiting for a strong catalyst that could encourage investors to reopen their long positions. One possible factor could be the Senate hearing that called upon regulators to increase oversight without hampering development, something that could still be overall positive for the cryptocurrency industry.
 

Author SARAH JENN • FEB 9, 2018 • 05:02

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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Wells Fargo strategist – Bitcoin and the market are correlated

Wells Fargo strategist - Bitcoin and the market are correlated

Wells Fargo strategist – Bitcoin and the market are correlated

  • Assessing risk is a good gauge for determining stock market and cryptocurrency movement, says Wells Fargo strategist.

  • Wells Fargo raises its price target for equities up by 10 percent this year.

  • Both the market and bitcoin are now beginning to recover from dips earlier this week.

If the bitcoin bubble bursts, the stock market may go down along with it, said Christopher Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo, who sees a correlation between the two.

"On Monday what we saw is all risk products sell off," Harvey said Wednesday on CNBC's "Fast Money."

A hit on the market, he said, can cause investors to panic and begin selling bitcoin as well.

"It sometimes adds fuel to the fire," Harvey said.

Risk in the marketplace was at a high earlier this year as the stock market rallied, which led to more interest from investors who saw the potential for big gains in the crypto market.

"Last year what you had was money chasing performance," Harvey said. As volatility shot up, he said, there was a "massive" demand for liquidity.

Then on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,175 points by the end of the day. Bitcoin also fell to one of its lowest points in two months on Monday, trading at $5,947.40.

Harvey said the best gauge for predicting future market movement and the price of digital currency is simply by assessing the risk.

"We think of it more as what we have to watch out for, what we have to … tell our clients to be careful of," Harvey said. "We don't make a call whether it's going to go up or down but that it's a risk in the marketplace, and it's really far out on the risk spectrum."

Wells Fargo raised its price target for equities, up about 10 percent over the next year. Its 2018 S&P 500 year-end target is 2,950, compared with the earlier target of 2,863. Cryptocurrencies and the market should trade in correlation over the next three to six months, it said.

"If we're right, what we should see is risk product going higher," Harvey said.

"If we're right and risk starts to be bid again, it wouldn't surprise us to see a bid in some of the crypto markets," he said.

All eyes remained on bitcoin Wednesday as the market began to recover. The cryptocurrency was trading above $7,000, even briefly tipping over $8,000 in the evening.

As the crypto market becomes more regulated some of the risk should disappear, Harvey said.

 

Author Kellie Ell News Associate for CNBC

 

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Bitcoin drops below $6,200 for first time in three months

Bitcoin drops below $6,200 for first time in three months

Bitcoin drops below $6,200 for first time in three months

The virtual currency fell to $6,190 for the first time since mid-November, according to Bloomberg News, and represents the latest hammering for a unit that saw a stratospheric 26-fold rise last year.

Bitcoin plunged 20 per cent to a three-month low today, its latest sharp loss following a series of setbacks for the cryptocurrency that, with a collapse across global mainstream markets adding to the selling.

The virtual currency fell to $6,190 for the first time since mid-November, according to Bloomberg News, and represents the latest hammering for a unit that saw a stratospheric 26-fold rise last year.

Today's collapse comes just six weeks after bitcoin hit a record high of $19,511, fuelled by a flood of speculators looking to make a quick buck, with warnings it could fall another 50 per cent.

Since those heady days the cryptomarket — which includes dozens of other units — has been pounded by news of crackdowns by governments including in China, Russia and South Korea, one of the biggest markets for the sector.

On Thursday, India said it would "take all measures to eliminate" cryptocurrencies' use as part of a payment system and in funding illegitimate activities, while Japanese authorities raided a virtual currency exchange after it lost $530 million to hackers.

Central bank in Europe, Japan and the United States have also flagged concerns about the unit and this week saw several commercial lenders say they would stop allowing their customers to buy bitcoin through their credit cards owing to debt concerns.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda, said "the dynamics behind the moves are regulatory clampdowns and investors losing confidence in crypto".

The sell-off on Tuesday was exacerbated by crushing losses on world stock markets, with the Dow on Wall Street suffering its biggest one-day points loss and wiping out all its 2018 gains.

The global rout comes as panicked investors fret over rising US borrowing costs, leading them to cash in profits after a stellar couple of months that have seen many indexes hit record or all-time highs.

Equities have enjoyed months of surges fuelled by optimism over the US economy, corporate earnings and the global outlook.

But while traders have been piling into equities, pushing many global indexes to record or multi-year highs, there has been growing concern on trading floors about elevated US Treasury bond yields — at four-year highs — and the likelihood of fresh Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

"The risk-off tone is hitting Bitcoin almost as hard as a global regulator and bank scrutiny," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader. "The latest dent to the Cryptospace has been banks saying they are shutting down the ability of clients to buy bitcoin with their cards."

"This could end up a full round trip back into the $1,850/$2,966 region.

Source: Feb 06, 2018 10:39 AM IST | Source: PTI

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

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Bitcoin Not Giving a Big Enough Hit as ‘Gateway Drug’

Bitcoin Not Giving a Big Enough Hit as ‘Gateway Drug’

Interest in Bitcoin hit its high point leading up to its own high of $20,000 in the middle of December last year. Interest peaked, not only in investing circles, but also in the mainstream as Bitcoin became the buzzword on everyone's lips.

This adoption was championed by Bitcoin as it welcomed millions of users to the cryptocurrency community, as expressed in Coinbase’s figures alone. However, in this fast paced ecosystem, Bitcoin is not enough to hold the attention of this vastly diverse community. So, while it may be the ideal coin to get people hooked on cryptocurrencies, once they are in and settled, there is time to seek out a multitude of other coins that are better suited to their needs or beliefs.
 

The draw of big growth

Bitcoin’s biggest draw was the incredible returns it was offering as it rallied from 2,000 percent in 12 months. This phenomenal growth continued to increase interest in the currency, and that sparked even further growth in this massive hype cycle. It has been correlated before that searches for on Google for Bitcoin are closely related to its growth – a phenomenon known as the ‘Satoshi Cycle’. In the lead up to December’s high, the Satoshi Cycle was in full effect as Google trends showed some interesting figures.

Nicholas Colas, a pioneering Bitcoin analyst in the world of traditional investments, has taken this correlation very seriously and states that it plays a big part in his predictions. "Going into December, [searches] skyrocketed," Colas said on CNBC’s Fast Money. He added that the total number of Bitcoin Google searches worldwide tripled that month:

"You saw that correlates to the total increased number of wallet growth, which doubled in December from approximately 5 percent to 10 percent as Bitcoin rallied.”
 

Already hooked

However, taking this metric into consideration, it could be argued that the new wave of adopters are now starting to disperse and find their way to other coins that are more suited to their individual needs. It makes sense that as people become educated and learn more about options in the crypto community that they begin to diversify and pick out their favourite coins to invest in. This often leads to money moving away from Bitcoin and into Altcoins.

Bitcoin, being the dominant, most adopted and scene-leading coin, will continue to be the ‘gateway drug’ of the community, but it is finding it harder to hang on to total support and dominance.

These sentiments are expressed by Colas, who adds:

"Bitcoin is considered the gateway drug to all cryptos and it has acted exactly that way. Right now [the Google search data] is telling me there's not really that next leg up in Bitcoin because there's not that interest that leads to wallet growth that leads to price appreciation."
 

Proof?

Colas tries to justify this position by explaining how Ethereum has been the only coin that has fared relatively well in the top echelons of the CoinMarket Cap:

“Some of the movement in Ethereum, which has traded much better [in January], is just money which is being pulled out of Bitcoin."

However, it is important to note that Bitcoin’s price fluctuations and movements are still heavily linked to all other coins. The saying that: ‘the tide moves all boats’ is still true in the cryptocurrency market with Bitcoin essentially being the tide. When Bitcoin is up, most coins follow, and when it is down, the same red graphs appear to follow suit across the board.

 

Author Darryn Pollock

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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Cryptocurrency Markets Move Back Into Green After Substantial Selloff

Cryptocurrency Markets Move Back Into Green After Substantial Selloff

Cryptocurrency Markets Move Back Into Green After Substantial Selloff

Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding today, Feb. 3, following yesterday’s multi-month low in Bitcoin's price. Most of the top 50 coins are in green, with 24 hour gains over 20 percent.

In part due to pressure from misleading reporting on regulations in India, the overall cryptocurrency market took a massive nosedive starting Thursday, Feb.1, shedding more than $100 billion in market cap in the 24 hours following the news.

However, after the substantial selloff, the market has spent today bouncing back, with Bitcoin rising back above the $9,000 level. At press time, Bitcoin was trading at an average of $9,095, up 3.54 percent on the day.

Following Bitcoin’s lead, other coins have also rallied substantially. With the except of three coins, every top 50 cryptocurrency has seen gains, with Litecoin (LTC) and Cardano (ADA), and Verge (XVG) leading the pack with gains between 15 and 20 percent.

A quick glance at the Coin360 market snapshot indicates a clear positive turn after the substantial negatives of the week.

Despite the market lows this week, figures such as Litecoin founder Charlie Lee and CNBC’s Cryptotrader host Ran Neuner have made bullish statements recently about Bitcoin. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Lee in particular offered some level-headed perspective on volatility in crypto markets, often lacking in a market crowded with fearful newcomers.

News of the first Canadian Blockchain ETF approval may well have played into today’s rally.

Bitcoin hit a record high of 20,000 in late December, only to crash, along with the rest of the market, just a few days later, Dec. 22, when Bitcoin and altcoins lost 20-30 percent.

Since then, the leading cryptocurrency has yet to fully recover, hovering roughly between $10-$15,000 per coin, until this yesterday’s multi-month lows under $8000.

The entire month of January saw a market sell off, in part due to increased regulatory news from South Korea – and misleading reporting on it – that left many investors fearful.

 

Author Jon Buck

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
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Bitcoin is bottoming, expect a 70 percent surge – Trader

Bitcoin is bottoming, expect a 70 percent surge – Trader

The old saying goes, "buy when there's blood in the streets," and that's what I'm doing with the recent bitcoin price action.

Bitcoin traded to a low of $7,700, this level is a loss of 25 percent on the week and 40 percent on the year. That $7,700 low is ironic because it is the same level that it broke above and began a parabolic ascent in mid-November.

I am watching a key level at $8,650 and a continued close above that could signal immediate upside potential. The next level of resistance is $10,000, and a break back above that should bring further buying to the table, suggesting near-term upside to $14,500, a 70 percent jump from its current price.

On the other side of the coin, I believe we are witnessing a market-cap rebalancing. Many disregard bitcoin but most do not disregard blockchain technology.

While I expect bitcoin to recover from this low, I believe that there are cheaper and better technologies within the complex that are positioned for stronger gains. The five that I am focused on are ethereum, NEO, ripple, stellar and last but surely not least, VeChain. The crytpocurrency market cap reached a height above $800 billion, a number that is now cut in half. Bitcoin's piece of the this market cap has slowly shrunk and is now only one third.

As buyers step back in I believe this trend will continue and I'm watching for these five to gain further ground.

 

Author: Bill Baruch

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
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