Říj 31

Money 20/20 Panel: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Source: bitcoin

Money 20/20 Artificial Intelligence

On Wednesday morning at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas, a unique and timely panel discussed the emergence and potential applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the global, traditional payments arena.

Also read: Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Price to Hit $1500 By Year-End?

Bringing Blockchain to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

As computational technology advances, leveraging trends in data and meta-data will help organizations understand both their customers and other businesses more extensively. AI and ML are going to affect all realms of society, and payments are not immune to this trend.

Democratization of tools for analytics in the field will help open up doors for an expanded crowd. As tools and APIs for developers looking towards AI or ML expand, developers will be able to access these complex tools more easily.

Speaking to this, Dr. Arif Ahmed of U.S. Bank remarked how, “With deep learning, you have better ways to conceptualize problems. You see how voice recognition, fraud recognition, and more are improving. You start with the technology, and then you host concepts. . .We have reached a point where this will exponentially increase over the next few years.”

Pattern recognition from AI and ML advancements will have a strong impact as it relates to Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) practices. Particularly in the litigation response matters, Husayn Kassai of Onfido explained how often times remediation work today is outdated.

“The current way that it is carried out isn’t necessarily fit for a digital age,” said Kassai. “It doesn’t make sense to have fully human authentication systems at a bank.”

Ensuring a proper intake of data will be key here, the panel said, as financial services players transition to updated or increasingly distributed backend platforms.

In the future, many consumer-facing products, including chatbots, will make their way into digital services. For lots of financial players, the ability of machines to understand human slander falls short, as placing consumer-facing concerns in context is a major challenge.

People can build chatbots with specific purposes, such as manuals to build a plane or figure out the nature of a mortgage contracts.  To minimize errors, look for chatbots in financial services to be developed with specific purposes, such as mortgage loan contracts or ATM interfacing.

David Gilvin of IBM remarked how “AI is always on, 365, 24/7. . .If the machine is making the decision, then fundamentally it is not the same as the financial advisor, it is automated through machine learning. . .not only is it always on, it is everywhere.”

Due to increased regulatory pressures and oversight, AI development in financial services is in a stranglehold. Banks and traditional financial institutions will look towards AI once business models emerge for ways to profit from solution-grade AI-financial software.

Blockchain technology, however, presents a more emergent structure for data storage and application processing such that its inclusion in traditional financial institution circles could lend more easily to AI and ML applications.

Inevitably, the panel said, the regulatory environments at home and abroad will have to adopt. Speaking to this, Martina King of Featurespace echoed the challenges that banks faced in the early days of the internet, and how primitive regulation frameworks created during this timeframe can be changed to help AI and ML applications in banking along.

Finally, in the future, improvements will become more clear to everyone. Stakes for taking an early lead in proprietary software markets in AI and ML to financial services institutions signals the large amounts of money currently on the table.

Adding additional programmatic layers on top of existing disparate financial data should yield massive insights for supply chain providers, retailers, customers, and businesses worldwide.  Look for both AI and ML to move away from “black boxes” and more towards proofs-of-concept, similar to the trend that is ongoing in the permissioned-blockchain world. Both applications will likely have a massive impact in the near future!

What do you think about the possibility of Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning as it applies to financial services, or even blockchain technology?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Ryan Strauss.

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Říj 31

Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Price to Hit $1500 By Year-End?

Source: bitcoin

bitcoin price

The bitcoin price has recently launched into an upward rally, with technical indicators showing the rise slowing down at $820 while bullish consensus builds to send it further to $1500 by 2017.

Also read: Zcash: Where Is All the Hype Coming From?

Technical Analysis: $1500 and Beyond

Long-Term Analysis

After bullish signs flooded the markets, the bitcoin price has shifted into an upward rally. According to technical indicators, this rally should last until we hit $820, after which a sideways market will prevail.

If this scenario gets confirmed, quotes would be able to double again to the year-end objective beyond $1800. The current Elliott Wave Theory 5th phase could be evaluated at the same size as the 1st wave that took place on 2015´s 3rd quarter.

Following the “ABC ending,” that would happen at $820, which should be thought as a lateral sideways market

Mid-Term Analysis

Bullish consensus is still getting stronger. According to indicators, the technical objective is a lateral sideways market near $820.

If confirmed, that scenario be seen as another bullish sign, allowing the chance for another climb into an euphoric bubble, more than doubling the price to $1500 and beyond.

Short-Term Analysis

Prices have entered a synchronization process, recovering their lag against technical indicators. A full synchronization in the short-term shows a continued rise to $820.

Japanese Candlesticks Analysis reflects the chance of another upward movement after the arriving to the technical lateral market at $820. However, the time extension of that lateral movement would determine the next bubble´s size.

Staff opinion: We believe the bitcoin price will stay near $700 for a while, acting as a psychological resistance to further increases. After being tested by profit-taking, the bulls will likely attempt to push beyond $700, triggering a rally that confirms the present technical analysis. The timeline for this prediction is uncertain, we believe that it may or may not happen by the end of 2016

What do you think will happen to the bitcoin price? Let us know in the comments below.


Cover image courtesy of Pixabay.

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Říj 30

vDice Publishes Code Audit for ICO

Source: bitcoin

vdice

The vDice Crowdsale (ICO) starts on November 15th.

Disclaimer: This is a press release provided by vDice.

VDice Announces ICO

ICO on Ethereum people are taking note of the platform.

The vDice team have created the world’s 1st live, working, fully decentralized gambling platform. Using the power of Blockchain and Ethereum Smart Contracts, it is a new paradigm in online betting.

There are few live, working Dapps on Ethereum, processing transactions securely. People want to know how vDice works and how it is secure.

The vDice team has responded. They have published a full, independent, 3rd party code audit.

The audit was conducted by blockchain security expert Peter Vessenes. Peter Vessenes is an original founder of the Bitcoin Foundation.

He is well respected in blockchain for his abilities as a coder, auditor and overall blockchain expert. His security blog gained much attention when he started reporting on the code flaws in the DAO very early.

Jason Colby, who was in the origina Ethereum team, is now on vDice. He notes:

“We really respect Peter Vessenes. He’s been in blockchain forever. He’s a great coder and logician. His technical contributions to blockchain are well know. It was an honour to work with him and earn his respect.”

Code audits are important. Code must be secure.

Making secure Dapps for Ethereum is something vDice take seriously. vDice is one of the most popular Dapps.

The full Audit of the vDice game code by Peter Vessenes is available here.

Overall the code receives the seal of approval. No critical errors are found and very few tiny annoyances.

Peter is also auditing the code for the vDice Crowdsale (ICO).

The vDice unique token, called ‘vSlice’ uses the same smart contract technology, tied to their revolutionary platform.

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Říj 30

Apptrade to Hold ICO on OpenLedger, Mainstream Investors Expected

Source: bitcoin

apptrade

Apptrade, recently announced at CoinAgenda in Las Vegas, and covered by Forbes contributor Roger Atkins, will hold an ICO with OpenLedger.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Bitcoin PR Buzz.

This ICO is one of three upcoming crowdsales on the OpenLedger platform that will reportedly bring mainstream attention to the ICO method of fundraising, according to the decentralized conglomerate.

Apptrade: ‘The Stock Market of Apps’

Apptrade, calling itself “the stock market of apps,” presents a new way for app developers and publishers to raise funding for their projects. According to a press release, the platform will let developers pool resources that everyone can use as “collateral to attract funding.”

In return, each app benefiting from the pool contributes a portion of its earnings to a shared reserve. Held on a blockchain, OpenLedger said that Apptrade’s resources come with “standardized regulatory features,” which it said will make the app attractive to institutional investors

Furthermore, with its large set of analytical tools, OpenLedger said Apptrade will allow speculators “to easily track the monetary trajectory of portfolios.”

“Apptrade’s Featured Public Offerings and digitally shared reserves have the potential to transform the App investment market in the same way as ICOs have transformed cryptocurrency investments,” said Ronny Boesing, OpenLedger CEO.

“Apptrade’s venture is an innovation in investment finance, one that could have a massive impact on the future of fundraising.”

Apptrade announced its ICO at CoinAgenda last week. Developers will offer an Apptrade-specific token in the crowdsale, which gives holders a 10 percent stake of the app’s market value and future revenue.

“We have the backing and support of [Boesing],” Apptrade founder Daniel Pineda said. “OpenLedger has built the marketplace for smartcoin creation.”

OpenLedger told press that interested investors can contact Ronny Boesing for information on pre-investment arrangements.

Do you think this project will have a successful ICO on OpenLedger? Will it really attract institutional investors? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Apptrade.

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Říj 30

Zcash: Where Is All the Hype Coming From?

Source: bitcoin

Zcash Hype

Not even Ethereum — a network now worth over a billion dollars, if you combine both its “regular” and “classic” versions — received this much hype at launch. But if the Zcash buzz is just “hype” and not something like “the obvious signal of a shimmering new era in cryptocurrency,” where is it coming from? And more importantly, why is it happening?

Also read: Altcoin Report: Ethereum Classic Embraces the Hard Fork

Explaining the Zcash Hype

Answers to these questions offered in this video — if you don’t want to hear the initial comparison of Zcash to Dash, just skip straight to minute 12:03.

Observing the hype cycles within cryptocurrency — the “pump’n’dumps,” the joys, the sorrows and disappointments — I’ve come to develop a loose and basic theory: that there are two predominant investor types within cryptocurrency at this time. And not much of anyone else.

Investor Type 1

The first investor type solidified in my mind when MIT released their conclusive report recently on their “Bitcoin giveaway to graduates” experiment.

(Yes, did you know it had been an experiment? Neither did I.)

As a refresher, all graduates of MIT were offered $100 worth of free bitcoin in the fall of 2014. Unbeknownst to myself and others, the architects of the giveaway were purposely giving first access to those identified as non-early adopters. Only after that group had been saturated did the architects then offer the bitcoin to those identified as early adopters of technology.

Study architects Christian Catalini and Catherine E. Tucker observed the following:

Our results suggest that when natural early adopters are delayed relative to their peers, they are more likely to reject the technology. We present further evidence that this appears to be driven by identity, […] in settings where the natural early adopters would have been somewhat unique in their tech-savvy status.

Person seeking to feel unique in their tech-savvy status — Investor Type 1.

Investor Type 2

The second type I’ve identified is the kind of person just looking to make a profit, but lacking in a rigorous knowledge of cryptocurrency fundamentals. Because he lacks knowledge, he therefore doubts his own judgment, and instead looks to authority-types to tell him what he should buy.

This frame of mind is all-too-common within the non-crypto investing world, as well, as succintly pointed out by Christian Bale’s character in The Big Short — you know, the character based on real-life fund manager Michael Burry, who made hundreds of millions of dollars shorting the housing market:

People want an authority to tell them how to value things, but they choose this authority not based on facts or results. They choose it because it seems authoritative and familiar.

Then, person wanting to be told how to value things from a familiar authority figure — Investor Type 2.

A quick glance at this very-public Zcash investor list reveals a whole host of familiar, authoritative faces. Check.

Conclusion

With a simple (or potentially super-) majority of the cryptosphere being made up of two investor types — those seeking recognition as early adopters, and those seeking direction on what to buy — it becomes easy to see where the Zcash hype comes from. It has the appeal both of being brand-new, hence affording early-adopter status, as well as a long list of public investor names to inspire confidence in those lacking fundamental knowledge.

What do you think? Let us know below.


Cover image courtesy of Pixabay.

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Říj 30

Bitcoin Price Hits $700 for the Second Time This Year

Source: bitcoin

happy trader bitcoin price

The bitcoin price has increased by an additional $20 since our last  report and is now hovering at the $700 mark. This makes it official: bitcoin has reached the point projected, and crypto-fans are breaking out the champagne.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Keeps Booming, Another $30 Rise in the Books

One source explains the action:

“Well, there we go. . .As we said this morning, it’s been a great week for our breakout strategy. When tings move like they have done this week, it’s difficult not to profit from the volatility. All we needed to do was set up our key levels and wait. That’s all we ever really do.”

Bitcoin Price Rallies as China’s Monetary Problems Worsen

Activity in China is still believed to be the cause of bitcoin’s subsequent jumps. The yuan just hit a six-year low, and investors are rushing like crazy to purchase bitcoins and “circumvent capital controls.”

Chief strategy officer at OKCoin Jack Liu explains:

“There is a premium in bitcoin pricing in China as a hedge against the yuan… Strength is likely to carry into year-end.”

What’s particularly impressive about bitcoin this time around is that it could not only reach $700 in such a short period but that it could accomplish such a feat twice within the same year. Many of you might remember that bitcoin wandered into $700 territory over the summer before the Bitfinex hack.

The unexpected jumps caused many to up their respective purchasing and further add to their growing portfolios, but once disaster struck in Hong Kong, people began speculating on the legitimacy of the expansion. Was it possible executives had been tampering with the markets and the price like what allegedly occurred before Mt. Gox?

This became the subject of much debate, but now it’s probably safe to say that bitcoin’s rise isn’t necessarily a fluke. Yes, Asian influence is again being witnessed, but bitcoin has managed to reach the same territory within four months, and investors feel comfortable that the stagnant market of 2015 did indeed run its course and disappear for good. Last year brought virtually little to no change to bitcoin over a span of ten months, and enthusiasts would like to avoid that same route as best they can.

To make matters better, analysts are predicting that bitcoin will remain steady, and reach potentially stronger points before 2016 ceases:

“The long-term bullish trend continues to develop… An immense volume breakout has not affected the price. This is considered bullish divergence. If sellers become exhausted in the coming weeks, the price should make new highs for the year… The long-term Bitcoin chart is extremely bullish, with solid support for the current bull market in the form of extreme volume.”

How much further will bitcoin go before 2017 begins? Post your comments below!


Image courtesy of Bitcoinist.

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Říj 29

Centz Gift Card Service to Host ICO on OpenLedger

Source: bitcoin

centz

Centz, a digital currency service letting users convert gift card balances to cash, will hold an ICO in November, hosted by OpenLedger.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Bitcoin PR Buzz.

Centz: Turn Gift Cards Into Digital Cash

 

Announcing its service at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas, Centz uses a specialized digital currency called “Centz Gold Bucks” (CGB) to convert gift card balances to digital cash, letting users spend their balances on anything.

To use the service, customers create an account and load gift card balances into their digital wallets. Centz then converts the card balances into CGB and gives it to users in a single, spendable lump sum.

According to Centz, users can spend their CGB anywhere that accepts gift cards. If successful, this service could stand to make gift cards a more flexible and fungible method of gift-giving.

In a press release, Centz president Swen Swenson detailed his company’s goal in entering the gift card industry:

“Perhaps the biggest change in gift-giving is the rise of the virtual gift, in the form of e-gift cards. These transactions will be conducted online and new forms of delivery and security will need to be implemented as users find new ways to use gift cards.”

Expanding on this notion, the company wrote in a press release that it believes the $160 billion USD gift card in America (processing $435 million per day) needs innovation. They argue that up to 20 percent of the more than two billion gift cards sold in 2015 will never be used, making for $34 billion wasted.  

Centz will have stiff competition in the bitcoin space, however, with Gyft providing a similar service that has seen wide success.

Doing the same process in reverse, Gyft lets users purchase gift cards with bitcoin, storing a digital copy of the cards in an online wallet. Gyft has been a popular service for bitcoin users wanting to spend their coins at places that don’t accept the currency directly — such as Amazon.

What do you think of this new service? Let us know in the comments below. 


Images courtesy of Centz.

 

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Říj 29

Deribit Removes Futures Trading Fees for year-End Promotion

Source: bitcoin

deribit

Deribit, a bitcoin futures and options exchange platform, has removed all trading fees for the rest of 2016 as part of a promotion to drive more customers to the service.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Bitcoin PR Buzz.

Deribit CMO Marius Jansen offered a simple explanation of the reasoning behind the company’s decision to remove trading fees for the remainder of 2016.

“We want to introduce our platform to anyone interested in Bitcoin futures and options trading,” he said. “So we decided to offer free trading until the end of the year.”

According to the exchange, traders stand to make more profit on the platform now that fees have been removed, which they think will incentivize people to use their service.

Calling itself the “only full-featured Bitcoin futures and options platform,” the company provided press with a list of “key features” traders can find on the exchange:

  • Trading plain vanilla European style cash-settled options on the Deribit BTC index with margin.
  • Trading BTC futures that settle on the Deribit BTC index, with up to 20x leverage.
  • Allowance for placing volatility orders, where the Deribit price engine continuously updates the price of the order as to keep the implied volatility of the order fixed. With this feature, basic market making is already possible for any trader opening an account on the platform.
  • Real-time risk management with incremental auto-liquidation: If an account has a maintenance margin higher than its equity, the Deribit risk engine will liquidate its position in small steps, providing maximal protection for all parties involved. Liquidations are small and instantaneous, again ensuring fairness for everyone.
  • A 100BTC insurance fund to cover bankruptcies. Any bankruptcy is published in real time on the platform. Deribit aims to completely avoid socialized losses. The platform’s risk management system is built such way that it is extremely difficult to go bankrupt even if one tries to do so.
  • Trading via REST, Websockets API or FIX bridge. High-performance API that can handle even hundreds of requests per second from a single account.

Deribit Faces Competition

Bitcoin-based futures trading is a novel service, with Deribit being one of the first platforms to provide such vehicles. However, Crix, another bitcoin exchange that provides futures trading, stands as competition to Deribit.

Crix uses math-based analysis to manage portfolio risk, claiming that it gives traders a better chance at larger profits. “Real mathematics stands behind many aspects of trading today,” Crix founder Dmitry Koval told Bitcoinist in July. “This includes the volatility modeling and the Value at Risk method we use at our platform.”

Competition aside, Deribit  said it provides trading services that cannot be found elsewhere, and is confident its zero-fee promotion will get more people to try out the platform

What do you think about bitcoin futures platforms? Have you ever traded bitcoin futures? Let us know in the comments below!  


Images courtesy of Deribit.

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Říj 28

CoinAgenda Recap: Investors, Entrepreneurs Convene in Las Vegas

Source: bitcoin

coinagenda

This week at the CoinAgenda conference in Las Vegas, a group of leading cryptocurrency investors, experts, and entrepreneurs discussed ongoing trends in the Bitcoin and blockchain industries. At the center of this discussion was the rising “Appcoin” phenomenon, a topic which sits in murky legal waters.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Keeps Booming, Another $30 Rise in the Books

CoinAgenda Las Vegas 2016, organized and run by Michael Terpin, co-founder and chairman of BitAngels, was well received, with one prominent attendee claiming that “this was the best conference he had ever attended, period.”

CoinAgenda will host its next conference in Puerto Rico in March 2017, with plans of future expansion to Europe and Asia. Moreover, CoinAgenda will host the CoinAgenda Summit the day before CES in January, along with a presence around SXSW in March, will give communities at some of the largest technology conferences a chance to learn more about the Bitcoin world.

Next year, in October, CoinAgenda will again hold a conference in correspondence with Money 20/20 Las Vegas.

CoinAgenda: The State of Appcoins

The United States has in recent years created legislation such as the JOBS Act to help open up crowdfunding channels, and combined with the timeframe of development in the Bitcoin and blockchain spaces, Initial Coin Offering (ICO) crowdsource funding has rapidly increased over the past 3 months. This corresponds with AirBitz’s recent announcement of a partnership with WeFunder to enable the sale of equity in AirBitz for Bitcoin. Investors are now searching for ways to profit significantly and access this new form of digital capital and decentralized application platforms.

The rising altcoin trend is bound to gain attention of regulators once an ICO gets big enough that a larger community takes notice, such as what happened to Ethereum after TheDAO hack.

Speaking to this development, Brock Pierce, managing partner at Blockchain Capital, detailed that “The specific nuance of this is accredited versus non-accredited investors. . .These are in place to protect the smaller investors and to prevent their money from potentially being swindled.”

Speaking with regulators proactively when launching an altcoin or appcoin is a near necessity for any organization to remain compliant in the long run.  As Marco Santori, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, explained, “A lot of ICO’s are questionable because they’re selling unregistered securities to the public in the USA. . .does the enforcement come in from the SEC?”

No one can say how the regulations in America will play out, and therefore innovation from abroad could lead developments in this emerging space. Jeremy Gardner of Blockchain Capital explained how Singapore presents a potential haven for anyone looking to launch an ICO.

“You can legally launch ICOs in Singapore… yet you need to ‘geofence the USA’ to prevent them from accessing the crowd sale,” Mr. Gardner explained.

With the number of altcoins in circulation now at around 700, some industry experts foresee a potential consolidation in the space towards 50 or so altcoins in 2017, with 100-150 more arising in 2018 once regulation becomes clearer.

“Getting access to early capital from your computer is very revolutionary,” Mr. Gardner echoed.

A final and fascinating theory to emerge from the conference was that of Bitcoin as a quasi-settlement layer for other altcoins.

Because of the security and liquidity that the immensely computationally powerful Bitcoin network provides, many altcoin traders can only access those particular coins through accessing Bitcoin first. It is speculated that recent investment in altcoins is at least part of the reason for Bitcoin’s recent price rise.

As noise from blockchain discussions grow, the signal of Bitcoin eventually shines its light on curious investors. Events such as CoinAgenda provide environments for industry experts and new entrants to meet and collectively discuss the most pressing or cutting-edge issues.

With networking opportunities and conferences growing, CoinAgenda will continue to bridge industry experts together and push forward Bitcoin and blockchain applications from the idea realm further into reality.

What do you think about the ongoing AppCoin trend? How will the regulatory environment shake out? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Ryan Strauss.

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Říj 28

American Students More Burdened by Debt Than Ever Before

Source: bitcoin

American Students More Burdened by Debt Than Ever Before

College education is expensive, whether you’re going for your bachelor’s degree or your master’s degree. And these days, American students are more burdened by student loan debt than ever before. While there are more affordable options, such as online schools that offer a wide array of programs, from an online MBA to an online homeland security program, taking out loans to pay for higher education has put young adults in debt before they even have a chance to start working.  

A Look at Some Numbers

To really understand just how burdened American students are with debt, you need to look at some statistics. First off, as of 2016, the typical college graduate has an average of $37,172 in debt from student loans. This is an increase of 6% from 2015.

The total student loan debt in the country is roughly $1.26 trillion, with 43.3 million people dealing with student loan debt. On top of that, 11.6% of students are dealing with loan delinquency. And the median student loan payment each month for those who are between the ages of 20 and 30 is $203.

Debt associated with private student loans, in particular, is also increasing. While $5.5 billion was borrowed from 2011-2012, $6.2 billion was the amount borrowed in 2012-2013.

A Look at Loan Programs and Their Debt

There are different types of loan programs and different types of loans that American students can receive if they wish to attend college for a degree. And to get an idea of what the debt really is, you need to look at the breakdown of the number of borrowers and how much total debt there is.

For example, Perkins Loans have been taken out by 2.7 million borrowers, for a total of $8 billion, while FFEL Loans are used by 16.8 million borrowers, and it amounts to $342.6 billion. But 30.5 million borrowers have Direct Loans that amount to a total debt of $911.6 billion.

A Look at Graduate Student Loan Debt 

Undergraduate students aren’t the only ones who are burdened by student loan debt, as those seeking graduate degrees are also forced to take out student loans in order to afford the programs that will give them the skills that they need to advance their careers and ask for a higher salary.

In 2016, roughly 40% of the total $1 trillion in student loan debt was actually used to pay for professional degrees and graduate degrees. A law degree, for example, would create $140,616 in debt, while an MBA would result in $42,000 in debt. Medical and health sciences degrees result in a whopping $161,772 in debt, while a Master of Education degree results in $50,879 in debt.

While many Americans deal with debt, student loan debt, in particular, is a growing problem that’s causing a lot of concerns. As the cost of higher education continues to climb across the country, more students are seeking more affordable ways of getting the education they need, and they’re often turning to public universities and online degree programs as a result.

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American Students More Burdened by Debt Than Ever Before

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