A bubble? We don’t even know how to value Bitcoin

A bubble We don't even know how to value Bitcoin

A bubble? We don’t even know how to value Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a “speculative mania” according to the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. But it’s not so easy to say that Bitcoin is a bubble – we don’t know how to value it.

Recent price rises (close to $18,000 in the past three months) may be too great and can’t continue. But the Bitcoin market is only just maturing as an investment and as a currency, and so it may still have room to grow.

A bubble is when the price of an asset diverges from its “fundamentals” – the aspects of an asset that investors use to value it. These could be the income that can be earned from a stock over time, a company’s cash flow, the state of a country’s economy, or even the rent from property.

But Bitcoin does not pay out profits (like shares) or rent (like property) and is not attached a national economy (like fiat currencies). This is part of the reason why it is hard to tell what the underlying value of Bitcoin is or should be.

In the search for fundamentals some have suggested we should look at the supply of Bitcoins in the market (which is regulated by the technology itself), the number of Bitcoin transactions through the market, or even the energy consumed by Bitcoin miners (the computers that validate transactions and are rewarded with Bitcoins).

Diverging from fundamentals

If we take a close look, we can see how the price of Bitcoin may be diverging from these fundamentals. For instance, it is becoming less profitable to be a miner, especially as the energy required increases. At some stage the cost may exceed the price of Bitcoin, making the network less worthwhile to both mine and invest.

Bitcoin may be the best known cryptocurrency but it is also losing marketshare to other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Bitcoin currently accounts for 59.4% of the total global cryptocurrency market but at the beginning of 2016 it was 91.3%. Many of these other cryptocurrencies have more functionality than Bitcoin (such as Ethereum’s ability to execute smart contracts), or are more efficient and use less energy (such as Litecoin).

Government policy, such as taxation or the establishment of national digital currencies, may also make it riskier or less worthwhile to mine, transact or hold the cryptocurrency. China’s ban on initial coin offerings earlier this year reduced the value of Bitcoin by 20% in 24 hours.

Without these fundamentals the price of Bitcoin largely reflects speculation. And there is some evidence that people are simply buying and holding Bitcoin in the hope it will keep rising in value (also known as greater fool investing). Certainly, the cap on the total number (21 million) of Bitcoins that can exist makes the currency inherently deflationary – the value of the currency relative to goods and services will keep increasing even without speculation and so there is a disincentive to spend it.

Bitcoin still has room to grow

Many big investors – including banks and hedge funds – have not yet entered into the market. The volatility and lack of regulation around Bitcoin are two reasons stopping these investors from jumping in.

There are new financial products being developed, such as futures contracts, that may reduce the risk of holding Bitcoin and allow these institutional investors to get in.

But Bitcoin futures contracts – where people can place bets on the future price of stocks or markets – may also work against the price of Bitcoin. Just like gamblers place bets on horse races rather than buying a horse, investors may simply buy and sell the futures contracts rather than Bitcoin itself (some contracts are even settled in cash, rather than Bitcoin). All of this could lead to less actual Bitcoin changing hands, leading to less demand.

Although the rush to invest is apparently encouraging some people to take out mortgages to buy Bitcoin, traditional banks won’t lend specifically for that purpose as the market is too volatile.

But it is not just on the finance side that the Bitcoin market is set to expand. More infrastructure to support Bitcoin in the broader economy is rolling out, which should spur demand.

Bitcoin ATMs are being installed in many countries, including Australia. Bitcoin lending is emerging on peer-to-peer platforms, and new and more regulated marketplaces are being created.

Many companies are accepting Bitcoin as payment. That means that even if the speculation dies down, Bitcoin can still be traded for some goods and services.

And finally, although the fundamentals of Bitcoin are still up for debate, when it comes to transaction volume through the network there appears to be a lot of room for growth.

It’s good to remember that people have been calling Bitcoin a bubble for a long time, even when the price was just US$35 in 2013.

In the end, this is uncharted territory. We don’t know how to value Bitcoin, or what will happen. Historical examples may or may not apply.

What we do know is that the technology behind most cryptocurrencies is enabling new models of value transfer through secure global consensus networks and that is causing excitement and nervousness. Investors should beware.

Author: Alicia (Lucy) Cameron and Kelly Trinh for the Conversation

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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

Bitcoin futures suggest breakneck rise in price to slow

Bitcoin futures suggest breakneck rise in price to slow

Bitcoin futures suggest breakneck rise in price to slow

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Newly launched bitcoin futures on Monday suggested that traders expect the cryptocurrency’s blistering price gains to slow in the coming months, even as it blasted above $17,000 to a fresh record high in the spot market.

Chicago-based derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets launched the futures late on Sunday, marking the first time investors could get exposure to the bitcoin market via a large, regulated exchange.

The one-month bitcoin contract <0#XBT:> opened at 6 p.m. local time (2300 GMT) on Sunday at $15,460. By late afternoon on Monday in New York, it was trading at $18,650, roughly 8 percent above bitcoin’s spot price of $16,900 on the Bitstamp exchange.

Bitcoin earlier hit a record high of $17,270.

Its steep gains and rapid rise have attracted investors around the world as well as intense scrutiny from government regulators, which is the very opposite of what its creators wanted when it first launched bitcoin more than eight years ago.

“The bitcoin founder should be horrified seeing it rise so quickly, as any serious focus on it and its recent explosive move higher will soon end its freedom,” said John Taylor Jr, president and founder of research firm Taylor Global Vision in New York.

Taylor believes that based on his charts, bitcoin has not yet peaked, but as soon as the “upmove ends, it will crash.”

Given bitcoin has almost tripled in value over the past month, and was up more than 15 percent on Monday alone, the futures pricing suggested investors see price increases moderating.

Bitcoin futures were already offered on some unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges outside the United States, but backers said the U.S. market debut would confer greater legitimacy on the volatile cryptocurrency and encourage its wider use.

The CME Group (CME.O) is expected to launch its futures contract on Dec. 17.

VOLATILITY CONCERNS

Although there are hopes that the futures will draw in new investors, most fund managers at larger asset managers and institutional investors said bitcoin remains too volatile and lacks the fundamentals that give other assets value.

“There’s no place for bitcoin in a multi-asset portfolio given the very high volatility,” said Robeco Chief Investment Officer Lukas Daalder.

The two-month contract was trading at $18,750, an 11 percent premium over the spot price, while the three-month contract was changing hands at $18,140, a roughly 12 percent premium.

While modest when compared with bitcoin’s 270 percent increase over the past three months and 230 percent rise in the last two months, those levels still indicated a lack of large “short” positions betting against bitcoin.

“Anyone, especially a professional trading outfit, would be crazy to actually short sell this bull market,” said Nick Spanos, founder of Bitcoin Center NYC. “But just because it doesn’t happen on day one doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.”

Bitcoin was up more than 1,600 percent so far in 2017, having started the year at less than $1,000.

MARCH TOWARDS LEGITIMIZATION’

As of early afternoon trading in New York, 3,951 one-month contracts had changed hands, meaning around $73.1 million had been notionally traded. That compares with daily trading volumes of more than $21.5 billion across all cryptocurrencies, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

There had been speculation that the futures launch would trigger more gyrations in the market. But while volatile compared with traditional currencies or assets, the rise on Monday was relatively tame for bitcoin.

Bitcoin surged more than 40 percent in 48 hours last week, before tumbling 20 percent in the following 10 hours.

“(Bitcoin futures) will speed up the march towards legitimization of an asset class that only a few years ago many law enforcement agencies would have argued had limited legitimate reasons for people to use,” said Jo Torode, a financial crime lawyer at Ropes & Gray in London.

The futures are cash-settled contracts, allowing investors exposure without having to hold any of the cryptocurrency.

The futures are based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs and brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

 

DRAMATIC GAINS

Bitcoin was set up in 2008 by an individual or group calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto, and was the first digital currency to successfully use cryptography to keep transactions secure and hidden, making traditional financial regulation difficult if not impossible.

Central bankers and critics of the cryptocurrency have been ringing the alarm bells over its surge in price and other risks such as whether the opaque market can be used for money laundering.

“It looks remarkably like a bubble forming to me,” the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Acting Governor Grant Spencer said on Sunday.

Somebody who invested $1,000 in bitcoin at the start of 2013 would now be sitting on around $1.2 million.

Heightened excitement ahead of the launch of the Cboe futures gave an extra kick to the cryptocurrency’s scorching run this year.

The launch has so far received a mixed reception from big U.S. banks and brokerages.

Several online brokerages, including Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp (AMTD.O), did not allow trading of the new futures immediately.

The Financial Times reported on Friday that JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) would not immediately clear bitcoin trades for clients.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) said on Thursday it was planning to clear such trades for certain clients.

 

Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak and John McCrank in NEW YORK; Michelle Chen in HONG KONG and Helen Reid in LONDON; Graphics by Ritvik Carvalho in LONDON and Reuters Graphics team; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

 

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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

3 Reasons the Bitcoin Price Hit $8,000 Today

3 Reasons the Bitcoin Price Hit $8,000 Today

3 Reasons the Bitcoin Price Hit $8,000 Today

The bitcoin price touched the $8,000 mark on Friday morning (or Thursday night, depending on your time zone), enabling the flagship cryptocurrency to check another milestone off its to-do list before it reaches five-figure territory.
 

Bitcoin Price Touches $8,000

Just days prior, the bitcoin price had been trading below $6,000, but a mid-week rally raised bitcoin back to its pre-dip level and ultimately vaulted it to a new all-time high of $8,040 on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.


BTC Price Chart | Source: BitcoinWisdom

At present, the bitcoin price is trading at a global average of $7,741, which translates into a $129.2 billion market cap.

 

3 Factors Behind Bitcoin’s Rally

While a multitude of factors contribute to the movement of the bitcoin price, three stand out as primary drivers of the present rally:
 

1. Wall Street’s Anticipated Entry Into the Markets

Ever since regulated U.S. derivatives exchange operator CME announced it would add bitcoin futures contracts to its product offering, analysts have been counting down the days until Wall Street makes its first major entry into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Anecdotal evidence indicates that prominent institutional investors are eying the markets with interest — enough interest that Coinbase is launching a cryptocurrency custodial service specifically targeted at institutional investors with more than $10 million in crypto assets.

Related to this is the fact that Wall Street investors are increasingly bullish on publicly-traded companies that enter the bitcoin or blockchain space. Payment processor Square, for instance, received a significant bump to its share price after it rolled out a bitcoin pilot program to a limited number of users of its Square Cash app.

square-cash-bitcoin-price-nov17

2. Successful Lightning-Based Atomic Swap

Though less likely to make its way into the mainstream press, another factor influencing bitcoin’s rally is the successful completion of the first off-chain atomic swap. Accomplished using lightning network technology, developers at Lightning Labs traded testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin trustlessly and without leaving a record of the transaction in either blockchain. Once the lightning network reaches mainnet implementation, this feature will enable the creation of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges.

 

3. SegWit2x

Finally, some analysts believe that the bitcoin price received a small bump due to the fact that a minority percentage of miners continued to signal for SegWit2x even though the fork’s most prominent advocates had called for its cancellation. Spencer Bogart, head of research at Blockchain Capital, had told Bloomberg Quint that he believed “some capital is rotating out of other crypto-assets and into bitcoin to make sure they receive coins on both sides of the fork” in the event that it did execute as planned. However, the fork did not occur — or at least has not yet — and fork-compatible nodes remain stuck at block 494782.

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 17/11/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 23rd October – Another Break, Another Pullback

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 23rd October

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 23rd October – Another Break, Another Pullback

Bitcoin price zoomed up to set new all-time highs and is pulling back to offer an opportunity to ride the rally.

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price surged to new highs at the $6200 area once more, indicating that bullish momentum is very strong.

  • Price has quickly pulled back after reaching this area, giving more bulls an opportunity to hop in the climb.

  • Applying the Fibonacci retracement tool on the breakout move shows nearby support levels.

  • Bitcoin price zoomed up to set new all-time highs and is pulling back to offer an opportunity to ride the rally.

 

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is safely above the longer-term 200 SMA to confirm that the path of least resistance is to the upside. The gap is even widening to reflect strengthening bullish pressure. The 100 SMA is also close to the ascending trend line connecting the latest lows of bitcoin price action, adding to its strength as a floor.

In addition, the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level lines up with this trend line around the $5500 levels. This is also a short-term area of interest or former resistance that might hold as support.

If so, bitcoin price could bounce right back up to the $6214 highs and beyond. Stochastic has been on the move down but is pulling higher without even hitting oversold levels, which means that bulls are eager to charge. RSI, on the other hand, has plenty of room to fall so the correction could still materialize.

Market Factors

Dollar strength came into play late in the week but bitcoin price has been able to hold its ground on strengthening expectations that the November upgrade could turn out well. Apart from that, political risks all over the globe like in New Zealand and Europe could continue to keep investors interested in digital gold.

Reports that bitcoin is about to get regulated in Australia gave the cryptocurrency a boost as this could mean better infrastructure for firms in that area. Apart from that, there have been rumors that China could reverse its recent bitcoin ban, reviving demand and volumes for the cryptocurrency. Some predict that this could send bitcoin price up to $10,000 in the next six to 10 months.

Author Sarah Jenn

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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

Bitcoin Price is Hitting Above $4,500 Again

Bitcoin Price is Hitting Above $4,500 Again

Bitcoin Price is Hitting Above $4,500 Again

Bitcoin price surpassed the $4,500 mark Sunday, reaching $4,614.91 Sunday, posting a market capitalization of $76.662 billion. Bitcoin posted close to a 5% gain in the last 24 hours, during which most cryptocurrencies posted losses.

Ripple and Litecoin were the only other two of the top 10 cryptocurrencies to gain in the period, posting 15.6% and 2.02% gains, respectively. BitConnect, the number 12 crypto with a market cap just over $1 billion, was the only other crypto with more than $1 billion in market capitalization to post a gain, grabbing 4.36%.

Bitcoin commanded more than half of all cryptocurrency market valuation, accounting for 50.03% of all market value. Ethereum accounted for 19.39%, the only other crypto to rank in double digits. Bitcoin had also surpassed the 50% mark earlier in the week.

Bitcoin Stabilizes Crypto Markets

In the past week, the bitcoin price provided the markets with a stabilizing force. Despite falling prey to the mid-week downtrend, the bitcoin price ended the week at $4,335, which then represented a week-over-week gain of about one-half of one percent.

Tuur Demeester, a prominent bitcoin investor, analyst, and editor in chief at Adamant Research, recently predicted the bitcoin price would surpass the $5,000 mark if support towards SegWit2x declines in the next few days. Uncertainty around SegWit2x has held back the momentum of bitcoin and its short-term rally. Several business have pulled out from the SegWit2x NYA agreement and the plan of the Digital Currency Group-led consortium of companies to carry out a hard fork in November.

Since early September, bitcoin’s price has struggled to recover beyond $4,500 due to uncertainty surrounding the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange market and SegWit2x. Analysts have started to demonstrate optimism towards the possibility of the Chinese government resuming cryptocurrency trading.
 

Hyperinflationary Period Over?

Chris Burniske, a partner at cryptocurrency-focused venture capital firm Placeholder and former cryptocurrency investment lead at ARK Investment, recently revealed that 80 percent of the total supply of bitcoin is now outstanding and that its hyperinflationary period is behind it.

Because there will only be 21 million bitcoins and no additional bitcoin can be created after the supply achieves its cap, only a limited number of investors would be able to hold one full bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s deflationary supply, however, is not an issue for investors and merchants that adopt bitcoin as a digital currency because it is divisible. Currently, many bitcoin wallets and merchants use “satoshi” as a unit, with one satoshi representing 0.00000001 bitcoin.

Investors Flock To Bitcoin

Currently, many investors and traders have invested in bitcoin as a safe haven asset and a long-term investment. But, as bitcoin evolves as a technology and a robust financial network, it will soon compete with reserve currencies, existing banking systems, and traditional assets such as gold.

For the long-term growth of bitcoin’s market cap and price, its deflationary nature will be a vital factor to sustain bitcoin’s upward momentum and demand for bitcoin from the global market.

Several analysts, including RT’s Max Keiser, Harvard academic Dennis Porto, and Saxo Bank senior analyst Kay Van-Petersen, have predicted bitcoin price surpassing $100,000 within the next 10 years.

 

Author: Lester Coleman on 09/10/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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

Calm Before the Fork – Segwit2x Goes Silent as Bitcoin Split Looms

Calm Before the Fork - Segwit2x Goes Silent as Bitcoin Split Looms

Calm Before the Fork – Segwit2x Goes Silent as Bitcoin Split Looms

"It's sort of like the quiet tension before a battle."

That's how Jean-Pierre Rupp, a developer at bitcoin wallet provider Blockchain, described the current state of Segwit2x development. With the code labeled "production ready," and the work of contributors like Rupp nearly complete, the main step left is the activation of the code, scheduled for late November.

That's when the next stage of bitcoin's scaling debate, as they say, will come to a head.

First proposed at a private meeting of industry players in May, Segwit2x was intended to forge a compromise in bitcoin's long-raging scaling debate. Still, it has attracted opposition, primarily for its approach to upgrading the bitcoin software. Chief among concerns is its use of a hard fork to increase the block size, a contentious mechanism due to the fact it could result in the creation of two competing bitcoin assets, or perhaps a single one that no longer interests a certain portion of users.

While Segwit2x's proponents and detractors permeate social media channels, there's been comparatively few statements from the group working on the software.

To that point, CoinDesk has observed little activity on the Segwit2x mailing list and GitHub (the level of code changes pales in comparison to other active cryptocurrency projects, even smaller ones such as MimbleWimble or btcd).

But this is by design, according to project developers, who say if no problems are detected, the only thing left to do is wait for the big day.

Rupp told CoinDesk:

"Nothing is really being done at the moment until the fork date. As the most recent document that we published states, we are in a quiet period. We aren't discussing much about the direction of development afterwards, nor being too active on the technical front until the fork happens in November."

Small stirrings

While it's primarily a waiting game now, that's not to say some testing isn't being done to make sure everything will go smoothly.

While there's no additional feature development going on, according to Segwit2x project lead and BitGo co-founder and CEO, Mike Belshe, tests are ongoing to verify the software's compatibility with existing bitcoin libraries and applications.

Rupp provided evidence of this, saying he's reviewed the portion of the code set to activate the hard fork. In addition, he said he's been running a "faucet" – one that spills out test coins so users can see what making transactions will be like on a network upgraded to Segwit2x's rule set.

Rupp has given away more than 3,500 coins which have been used to make about 5,000 transactions on the testnet. Still, it's unclear how many and which developers are using the faucet for testing, especially since some Segwit2x developer proponents have since stepped back from the project.

OpenBazaar lead developer Chris Pacia said he's been "a little out of the loop" recently. And RSK Labs developer Sergio Demian Lerner, despite being the author of the proposal that inspired Segwit2x, simply stated in an email: "I'm not involved in Segwit2x now."

Other known participants declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

Partisan lines

Still, there may be good reasons for the lack of Segwit2x developer and company dialogue. In bitcoin, the proposal has become a black-or-white issue, and there may be little that can be done to change the minds of those on either side.

As the bitcoin blockchain has grown, there are some who want to keep transaction fees low to attract consumers (or businesses seeking to offer services to those consumers), and those who want to keep them high (so the costs of storing a full record of all transactions doesn't become prohibitive).

When speaking to developers, there remains staunch support along partisan lines.

John Heathco, a developer who recently contributed to Segwit2x, said he believes there's still "a lot of community support" for increasing the block size parameter as a way to improve network capacity.

"The majority of individuals just want to be able to use bitcoin without paying ridiculously high fees," he argued.

Historical data from Statoshi.info shows that fees have indeed grown over time, but only gradually over the last couple of years. (In October 2015, the average transaction fee was 55 satoshis per byte, though it has been as high as 410 satoshis per byte earlier this year, before dropping again to 120 satoshis per byte).

Others believe Segregated Witness (SegWit), a code change that went live on the network in August, will eventually reduce fees (and provide other suitable options of allowing low-cost transactions).

Already, companies such as BitGo and GreenAddress, among the earliest wallet providers to adopt SegWit transactions, report fees are now about half the cost of normal transactions.
 

Measuring sentiment

Still, users and companies, it seems, are slow to migrate.

Though 144 companies claim they will eventually update to support SegWit, at press time, the percentage of transactions using SegWit is growing slowly, and still in the single digits. Whether because they are uninterested in adoption or unwilling to, it seems, Segwit2x proponents are keen to use the statistic to argue that SegWit doesn't go far enough.

Yet another fault line is just whose opinion matters in the debate, with developers often echoing the idea that "users" and the "community" have already rejected the proposal.

"Most people, as far as I know, don’t intend to follow it," said developer James Hilliard, a notable critic of the Segwit2x agreement.

However, the comments mostly point to the lack of resources that can measure the issue, with informal Twitter polls often serving as "evidence" of broader sentiment.

As for the actual parties to the agreement, while a few signatories have backed out, most major miners and 56 companies claim to support the proposal. Still, there is disagreement over whether the opinion of miners and startups should dictate course.

Though less public now about their plans, it seems the companies and developers behind the effort aren't inclined to weigh in either. Most, it seems, are content to use the silence to their advantage as a way to avoid further backlash, or at least enjoy a moment of calm ahead of what could be a fierce debate ahead.

Oct 6, 2017 at 08:01 UTC by Alyssa Hertig

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

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

Bitcoin: $6,000 and Beyond?

Bitcoin: $6,000 and Beyond?

Bitcoin: $6,000 and Beyond?

Bitcoin will quickly rise to $6,000 and you’re all foolish for thinking otherwise. At least, that’s what industry experts are saying. Of course, they added one important caveat: expect volatility to continue.

Bullish on Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency community has fallen on hard times as of late, but that hasn’t stopped the industry’s brightest minds from maintaining their bullish bets on BTC. The next major target that experts are eyeing is $6,000, which is a nearly 40% increase from current levels. According to analysts quoted by CNBC, $6,000 could become reality by year’s end.

The BTC/USD exchange rate peaked above $5,000 earlier this summer before a series of market events triggered a sharp correction. Chief among them was China’s decision to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs) and close down bitcoin exchanges.

Bitcoin was trading around $4,300 early Wednesday, according to Bitstamp. A price action analysis of the BTC/USD reveals that the digital currency is poised for a bullish breakout following a solid weekend of trading.

At present values, the BTC market is worth roughly $71.6 billion, easily tops among global cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is a distant second at $299.00 a pop and $28.4 billion in capitalization.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which “forked” from the original BTC in August, is trading at $403.00. That’s enough for fourth place on the global cryptocurrency value chart. With a cap of around $6.7 billion, BCH is ten times smaller than bitcoin.

BlackRock Sees Potential in Cryptocurrency

The CEO of the world’s biggest hedge fund sees “huge opportunities” for cryptocurrency. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, BlackRock head Larry Fink said he is a “big believer” in the crypto asset class.

At the same time, Fink said cryptocurrency is still the center of a global money laundering scheme. He also expressed concerns over the explosion of speculative trading in Asia, a region that has mixed feelings about cryptocurrency.

Following Japan’s landmark decision to recognize bitcoin as a legitimate currency, China and South Korea have launched regulatory campaigns against cryptos. The resulting selloff in the market was short-lived, as investors quickly returned.

Analysts now say the center of power in the cryptocurrency market is shifting to Japan. Just last week, the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) officially recognized 11 cryptocurrency exchange operators.

 

Author: Sam Bourgi

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble?

The boss of JP Morgan was unequivocal about bitcoin at a recent conference in New York: the digital currency was only fit for drug dealers and would eventually blow up. “[It] isn’t going to work,” said Jamie Dimon. “You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that the people who are buying it are really smart.”

A few days after Dimon’s comments, the value of bitcoin plunged when the Chinese authorities announced a crackdown on it. It has been an eventful month, even in the context of a currency that is less than a decade old. Since the start of the year the value of a single bitcoin has gone from $1,000 (£750) to almost $5,000.

The spiralling price of the cryptocurrency, along with the controversy it has attracted in the past few weeks, has meant that interest from buyers has peaked and more consumers are considering whether to invest – or gamble, as some commentators say – in it.

“We continue to see a rise in demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” says Obi Nwosu of Coinfloor, an exchange where people can buy and trade bitcoin. “When senior leaders in the financial community, regulators and government bodies share their views about bitcoin, it further raises interest and awareness in the market.”

So amid the warnings, should investors see the spiralling price as reason enough to buy?

How it began

Established in 2009 after the financial crash, bitcoin is a digital currency that has no central bank or regulatory authority backing it up. The coins don’t exist in a tangible form but are made by computers and stored in a digital wallet or on the cloud. They can then be exchanged and used in transactions.

There is a finite number of bitcoin that can be supplied – 21m – and there are currently 15m in circulation. Its price has fluctuated wildly since it was launched. Seven years ago, two pizzas were bought for 10,000 bitcoin. At its peak at the beginning of September this year each bitcoin was worth almost $5,000. As it can be used as an anonymous way to carry out cross-border money transfers, it has been linked to drug dealing and money laundering.

There are bitcoin ATMs that allow the cryptocurrency to be exchanged for cash, and an increasing number of businesses accept it. Lady Mone, co-founder of underwear brand Ultimo, launched a property development in Dubai with prices in bitcoin, while a London property developer is to allow its tenants to pay their deposits using it.

Growing interest

The renewed attention on bitcoin has led to a spike in interest from people wanting to invest. “BTC [bitcoin] and crypto[currency] more broadly have hit the mainstream consciousness,” says Lex Deak, chief executive of alternative investment aggregator Off3r. “I am getting an increasing number of enquiries from late adopters who want to learn more about accessing investment opportunities in the space. It has matured rapidly since the beginning of the year, courtesy of the jump from $1,000 to over $4,000, with a feeling that there is now a little less volatility.”

Guy Halford-Thompson, the founder of brokerage Quickbitcoin, says he would not be surprised if mainstream brokers and investors started to invest heavily in the near future. At the same time, the financial regulator has warned against a speculative frenzy over initial coin offerings (ICOs) – a digital way of raising funds from the public using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – because of their unregulated nature and lack of investor protection.

While some investors may be attracted by the massive rises this year, others will be wary of the volatility. In mid-January one bitcoin was valued at $800. By June this had gone to $3,000. One month later, it was at less than $2,000 and then almost $5,000 by the start of September. Two weeks later, it was at $3,200.

“Whether it is suitable or not is down to individual circumstances,” says Deak. “If you are an experienced investor with a balanced portfolio and relatively small exposure, then BTC is an exciting and potentially lucrative investment. It needs to come with a clear warning that there is potential for significant losses and investors need to carefully consider the method of investing.”

Tread carefully

Electronic payments expert Dave Birch has said in the past that “one doesn’t invest in bitcoin, one gambles on bitcoin”. Those working in the area advise anyone planning on buying the currency to only invest as much as they are prepared to lose.

“The general sensible view is that the more volatile the investment, the smaller proportion of your wealth you should consider storing in it,” says Marc Warne, founder of bitcoin exchange Bittylicious. “I have heard of people moving their life investments into bitcoin and this is a bad idea.

“The flipside is simple – why not give it a try? If you have £20 to spare, for instance, buy a tiny amount and track its price. If something goes hideously wrong the £20 can be written off and it can be considered a learning experience. If you can, spend it somewhere like at a few pubs that accept it.”

Because the typical protections surrounding investment are not present with bitcoin, prospective investors should ask for help from those who have traded in them already, says Halford-Thompson. “My advice to anyone thinking about investing in bitcoin is to do their own research, but also to speak to people who have already gone through the experience of investing in it,” he says.

“Most of the dangers are because the protection that investors would normally enjoy on a stock market are not present. If you own bitcoin, you need to make sure you know how to buy, sell and store it properly or you risk losing your entire investment.”

Is it secure?

Concerns about the security of the cryptocurrency have continued to shadow it. Last year, almost 120,000 bitcoin worth around $78m (£58m)were stolen from Hong Kong-based Bitfinex, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, which resulted in a 20% drop in the value of the currency at the time.

“Similar to online banking, people need to take care with their bitcoin account credentials,” says Nwosu. “Whether you secure your bitcoin yourself or with a third party like Coinfloor, we recommend the safest way to go is to keep your security credentials offline.”

Daniel Scott of Coincorner says the currency itself is secure, but the problem surrounds businesses in the industry and the wallets where the bitcoin are stored. “Unfortunately, IT security is a real-world issue, not just for bitcoin but within any industry that uses technology. You only have to do a quick Google search for recent hackings of large global companies to see that any company is open to security issues regardless of size or industry.”
 

AS RISKY AS TULIPS

When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, dismissed bitcoin as a currency for drug dealers and murders that would end up imploding, he compared its rise to an infamous bubble from the 1600s. “It is worse than tulip bulbs,” he said.

Dimon was referring to one of the most notorious periods of speculation in history when the value of tulip bulbs rocketed amid a mania for the flowers. The popularity of the bulbs hit its peak in the 1630s.

They were traded “frantically”, according to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and some people even put their homes down as collateral. However, the market crashed in February 1637, leaving many investors penniless.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.

Thomasine F-R.

Author: Shane Hickey 

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

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

Early bitcoin investor Palihapitiya declares ‘nobody can stop it’

Early bitcoin investor Palihapitiya declares 'nobody can stop it'

Early bitcoin investor Palihapitiya declares 'nobody can stop it'

  • Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya was early in both Facebook and bitcoin and continues to back both.
  • "The idea that the government can put curbs on this is actually pretty specious," he said in response to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's criticism of bitcoin.

Investors who followed Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya into the early stages of two investments he advocated would have made an awful lot of money.

Palihapitiya was early in both Facebook, the ubiquitous social network, and bitcoin, the disruptive crypotcurrency that has sharply divided investors who continue to argue over its legitimacy.

Even with the major gains both have made, Palihapitiya remains hot on tech stocks in general, and bitcoin in particular. The digital currency, despite some volatile times, has soared nearly 300 percent this year.

That has come even though JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has called it a fraud that is doomed to fail.

"Nobody can stop it because nobody can control it," Palihapitiya said in an exclusive CNBC PRO interview at the Delivering Alpha conference on Sept. 12. "The idea that the government can put curbs on this is actually pretty specious."

Rather than debate its status as a currency or its use for nefarious purposes, he said there should be a broader discussion about how to put it to better use.

"As far as I'm concerned, the genie is out of the bottle," he said. "Now the real question is how can we productively use it to solve some of society's issues around the financial services infrastructure."

 

Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency  entrepreneur

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

Bitcoin’s price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

Bitcoin's price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

Bitcoin's price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

The price of bitcoin is up nearly 300 percent year to date.

Bitcoin is still under the $4,000 level, which it broke through after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Sept. 12 that the cryptocurrency is a "fraud" that will eventually blow up.

 

The price of bitcoin rose sharply on Monday with its price spiking up 7 percent midday, according to CoinDesk market data.

The price of the cryptocurrency is up nearly 300 percent year to date.

Bitcoin's price is spiking by 7 percent as traders shake off China fears

Bitcoin is still under the $4,000 level, which it broke through after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Sept. 12 that the cryptocurrency is a "fraud" that will eventually blow up.

In addition, recent reports said regulators in China have ordered bitcoin exchanges to close hurt the digital currency's price.

"In my opinion, the markets overreacted to the China news. In the short term, it was bad news, but long term the fundamentals are unchanged," William Mougayar, author of "The Business Blockchain," wrote in an email.

-CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report

Author: Tae Kim |

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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