Kvě 31

Bobby Lee: 95% of ICOs Are Database Projects

· May 30, 2018 · 9:30 pm

China-based cryptocurrency exchange BTCC co-founder Bobby Lee continued the persisting narrative on centralized blockchains May 30, likening them to “databases.”


‘Complete Intellectual Dishonesty’

In a series of tweets, Lee echoed recent comments by cryptocurrency speaker and educator Andreas Antonopoulos on the lack of appeal of blockchains which are not decentralized.

“People don’t realize that Blockchain should be distinct & different from Databases, invented decades ago!” he wrote.

Bitcoin’s real Blockchain was only invented in 2009. Everyone using a digital ledger is calling it Blockchain, (without) regards to functionality. Complete intellectual dishonesty!

Criticism of blockchain has become a current topic of debate since last month. Speaking at a Polish conference, Antonopoulos had said that the technology without decentralized principles was a “very bad database.”

“Bitcoin is the future and Blockchain is bullshit,” he summarized.

95% Of ICOs Are ‘Database Projects’

A month later, Bitcoin developers Jimmy Song and Johnathan Corgan both took issue with the inability of cryptocurrency users to differentiate between blockchain “buzzwords” and genuine innovation, Song bringing the topic to the stage at Consensus 2018 in New York.

“…Because so many people are new, or because they’re not confident in their assessment of what was just shown, they think they’re missing something. And so they politely clap and ignore the nagging doubts in their mind,” he commented on the problem.

Bobby Lee

Lee meanwhile more closely paraphrased Antonopoulos, adding that “95%” of ICOs “claim to be (Blockchain) projects, when in fact, they’re just (database) projects.”

“All data going into the Blockchain needs to be independently & publicly verifiable, and thus insertable by anyone,” calling such database projects “lame.”

This week, even the Chinese government weighed in on the providence of blockchain “projects,” claiming 92% had already vanished and that their average lifespan amounted to just over one year.

The findings, however, appeared not to include China’s own blockchain offerings.

What do you think about Bobby Lee’s perspective? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Kvě 30

NAGA’s Ecosystem Makes Trading & Investing Accessible for Everyone

· May 29, 2018 · 9:30 pm

NAGA’s extensive ecosystem provides a truly diversified portfolio of proven use cases and value drivers. Here’s everything you need to know about one of the most impressive platforms in the cryptocurrency space, today.


NAGA Coin

At the heart of NAGA is the platform’s unique cryptocurrency token, the NAGA COIN (NGC).

NGC’s claim to fame is that it successfully decentralizes cryptocurrency for traditional financial markets, virtual goods, and cryptocurrencies. In doing so, NGC eradicates investor reliance on greedy banks and corporations, which control access, operate opaquely, and charge large fees while taking unhealthy cuts of the profits.

The benefits of holding the NGC token are many, including:

  • Reduced trading fees on NAGA TRADER, as well as on every asset using an NGC account. For example, NGC users will pay 50% less on trading commissions for each trade they perform on NAGA TRADER.
  • Cashback on a per-trade basis performed by NAGA TRADER using an NGC account.
  • Double crediting of copy bonuses on NAGA TRADER using an NGC account.
  • Lower trading fees for every asset listed on NAGA VIRTUAL.
  • Membership in the NAGA VIRTUAL Cashback Program.
  • Payment method for all NAGA Academy courses
  • Discounted purchase of ad credits for the NAGA VIRTUAL and NAGA TRADER AdManager.
  • Community status and free access to paid and premium content.
  • Users also benefit from the digital transformation of the largest industries in the world.

Unlike other tokens with minimal use cases or little more than lofty promises, NGC is already live and has proven to be successful. In fact, it is already trading upwards of $2 million daily. On May 23, the 24-hour trading volume was $15 million.

NGC has also recently been listed on the popular cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex and has been integrated into the exchange service Changelly. NGC can also be bought and sold on other major cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Upbit, HitBTC, and OKEx, as well as IDEX and Cobinhood.

NAGA Trader

NAGA Trader

NAGA COIN also integrates seamlessly with NAGA’s social/trading network, NAGA TRADER.

NAGA TRADER allows users to trade 700 markets in real-time, including cryptocurrencies, stocks, and forex and supports the funding of trading accounts with cryptocurrencies.

NAGA TRADER users also have access to the NAGA CARD, which allows for the withdrawal of trading profits via a shopping-friendly card which is usable both online and offline, home or abroad.

The social aspect of NAGA TRADER is what really sets the platform apart, however, as it allows for public and private chats, the automatic copying of the platform’s best traders, and the use of CYBO, a self-learning algorithm which manages your portfolio 24 hours a day.

NAGA TRADER’s News Feed also continually updates to show users the most relevant news stories as they break, while NAGA TRADER Protector™ helps you to limit your risk and secure your trading profits automatically.

Finally, the latest update to the NAGA TRADER app has added, in addition to improvements regarding stability and security, a fully-automated verification process with face recognition.

NAGA Wallet

In April, the NAGA team launched its new-and-improved NAGA WALLET — well ahead of its roadmap’s scheduled release.

Featuring ultra-low fees, the NAGA WALLET is a cutting-edge cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to securely store five of the world’s leading digital assets: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and NAGA Coin (NGC). Most recently, Ripple (XRP) users have also benefited from the cryptocurrency’s addition to the NAGA WALLET. Additionally, it supports all ERC-20 compatible tokens.

The highly versatile wallet is NAGA’s secure solution to the persistent challenges dogging digital asset ownership, which serve to impede the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. Primarily, it allows for the instantaneous sending of coins and tokens on the blockchain without having to know other people’s wallet addresses. NAGA WALLET users can send coins and tokens directly to their contacts through their email address, removing the need to copy worrisome characters and fret over their accuracy, or worse still, have the address hijacked by malicious codes.

Additionally, NAGA transactions are up to 18,000 times faster than Bitcoin transactions and carry extremely small fees.

The NAGA WALLET is also a multi-currency payment gateway, equipped with a multi-factor authentication system which provides the highest level of security.
Of course, the NAGA WALLET also seamlessly interacts with the entire NAGA ecosystem.

NAGA Virtual

NAGA also offers a unique, safe, fair, and modern market called NAGA VIRTUAL (Switex).

NAGA VIRTUAL is primarily focused on offering gamers a platform on which to buy and sell items to and from each other. This, in turn, positively converts the time and effort gamers spend gaming.

NAGA VIRTUAL affords gamers the freedom and ability to trade from different games of different sources (PC, console, mobile etc.), which also benefits the game publishers themselves.

Furthermore, NAGA VIRTUAL offers an individual store for publishers, which serves as a direct income channel and a distribution platform for new items from their games.

Ultimately, this information is merely scratching the surface of what the NAGA ecosystem has to offer the cryptocurrency and traditional investment community — and it’s also just the start. The platform has already launched NAGA ACADEMY in cooperation with a leading Cypriot educational institution, which boasts over 20 years of experience and offers UK-recognized Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. All tuition fees are payable with NGC.

Soon, NAGA will also add to its diversified ecosystem with the introduction of NAGA CARD, NAGA EXCHANGE, and NAGA WEALTH — illustrating that, when predicting the platform’s future, the best has clearly yet to come.

What do you think of NAGA’s unique and extensive ecosystem? Do you utilize NAGA’s services? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of NAGA

Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Kvě 29

Bitcoin Cash Still Missing 13% of Its Nodes 2 Weeks After Hard Fork

· May 28, 2018 · 8:00 pm

Two weeks after its hard fork, 13% of Bitcoin Cash nodes are still running old software which is incompatible with the rest of its network, data reveals.


Theories Emerge Over Rogue BCH Nodes

As shown by Coin Dance and uploaded to social media by cryptocurrency commentator Ben Verret Sunday, Bitcoin Cash has so far failed to gain full support for its new fork, which split off from the main chain May 15.

The statistics present fresh controversy around Bitcoin Cash for certain cryptocurrency users, commentators this week also picking up on how Bitcoin (BTC) has outperformed the altcoin for the past week on network cost, and now has lower transaction fees.

When it came into being in August 2017, Bitcoin Cash proponents stated one of its essential features was to provide cheaper transactions than Bitcoin.

Debating with Verret, however, others suggested the 87% incorporated all nodes still being maintained, claiming the nodes not following the majority consensus were de facto dormant.

“If they would have any economic value they would continue mining unforked chain,” one response reads.

A Tellingly Quiet Disagreement?

Meanwhile, a similar report on the lack of consensus in Bitcoin Cash post-fork focused on the lack of publicity it received.

Bitcoin core developer Kalle Alm noted that 16-17% of nodes were not following the new chain May 16, adding “everyone would explode” if a similar phenomenon occurred on the Bitcoin network, whose nodes are running at 100 percent with the consensus rules.

“You can tell BCH is not bitcoin by looking at how not everyone is losing their shit all over the place,” he wrote.

Imagine if 20% of BTC nodes failed consensus? Everyone would explode. And there would be forks as miners are not just one dude running a farm.

BitcoinVPC creator grubles had gone further, describing the hard fork as “an epic screw up for a network marketed as a store of value and a medium of exchange.”

What do you think about Bitcoin Cash nodes’ inability to form consensus? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Kvě 28

Vitalik Buterin Asks: Does Rothschild Conspiracy Theory Extend to Crypto?

· May 27, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin questioned the authenticity of the Rothschild banking empire after rumors emerged of its plans to enter the cryptocurrency market.


‘Old-money-type High Society People’

In various posts in the /r/ethereum subreddit on May 26, Buterin focused on the potential impact of the Rothschilds’ IMMO project, adopting a critical perspective about their presence as a market force.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin questioned the authenticity of the Rothschild banking empire after rumors emerged of its plans to enter the cryptocurrency market.

“Are ‘the Rothschilds’ even well-coordinated enough to be worth caring about as a group these days?” he queried on Reddit.

[…] If old-money-type high society people want to make their own currencies, go ahead, more power to them; see you in the moderately-free market.

Rothschild IMMO Rumors Abound

Reports about IMMO first surfaced in the local cryptocurrency industry press last week. While all information is based on rumors and leaked information, it is thought the Rothschilds plan to create a Tether-like stablecoin which its creators would tie to gold or similar commodities.

Other theories tie IMMO to The Economist, a publication which first floated the concept of a “world currency” in the late 1980s and which is also owned by the Rothschilds.

After fielding responses from Reddit users about the knock-on effect for sentiment regarding cryptocurrency should the rumors be true, Buterin, however, remained unconvinced of the Rothschild dynasty’s providence.

“[M]y updated view after seeing the replies is that they are just people born into various old-money-type high-society positions, and the theories that they are anything beyond that are fairly baseless,” he added in a later edition of his original post.

Previous third-party experiments with Bitcoin by the Rothschilds meanwhile appeared to have no impact. In July last year, Rothschild Investment Corporation invested in the Bitcoin Investment Trust, the grantor trust sponsored by Barry Silbert’s Grayscale Investments.

Digital Currency Group, of which Grayscale is a subsidiary, has invested in multiple well-known cryptocurrency businesses including CoinDesk, BitPay, and Blockchain.

Later, in February 2018, the empire gained further exposure to Bitcoin, when Rothschild Group member Goldman Sachs acquired exchange Poloniex through Circle, a company in which it is the major shareholder.

What do you think about Vitalik Buterin’s appraisal of the Rothschilds? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Flickr

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Kvě 27

Boom or Bust: There is no Middle Ground for Bitcoin, Says Crypto Asset Manager

· May 26, 2018 · 9:00 pm

On the subject of Bitcoin’s viability, there seem to only two conclusions. Either the number one crypto is either here to stay or it is just a fad. Thus, whether you support the “bubble” argument, the “currency of the future” notion or any other position, it all inevitably leads to the “boom or bust” conclusion or at least, so says Grayscale Investments managing director Michael Sonnenshein.


Two Mutually Exclusive Bitcoin Future Outcomes

According to Sonnenshein, there is no middle ground as far as Bitcoin is concerned. Speaking during a recent interview with Fortune, the cryptoanalyst said:

As we begin to look at assets like Bitcoin and the unbelievable adversity it’s faced over the last ten years, every day that Bitcoin doesn’t go away, every day that Bitcoin overcomes a new challenge, for me that makes me feel that Bitcoin will do either one of two things.

It will either survive and become all these amazing things that we think it can be, which will cause its price to be a lot higher. Or it is possible something else may come along that will displace it and Bitcoin goes to zero. It likely will have a binary outcome.

Two Mutually Exclusive Bitcoin Future Outcomes

To emphasize the point, consider the image above. Those were the top ten cryptocurrencies exactly five years ago as cataloged by CoinMarketCap. How many of them do you recognize? Now compare with the image below and see that only Bitcoin and Litecoin are still in the top ten. Where did the others go? Well, Freicoin isn’t even in the top 1,000 coins. Namecoin and Peercoin have also fallen spectacularly over the years as have the others on the list.

Bitcoin Should Be Able to Adapt

Bitcoin Should Be Able to Adapt

The critical question is where does Bitcoin’s destiny lie? Sonnenshein believes there is hope for the digital currency as long as there are continued improvements upon the technology. The managing director of Grayscale investments said that Bitcoin’s future is tied to its ability to remain relevant in the emerging digital currency landscape which it has historically dominated right from the outset.

Bitcoin does have one crucial advantage – it is an open source protocol. Thus, if a paradigm-shifting technological breakthrough emerges, it should be easy to incorporate at least some aspects of it into the network.

Where do you stand on the boom/bust debate? Do you think Bitcoin can adapt to changes in the crypto ecosystem? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of CoinMarketCap, AdobeStock

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Kvě 26

Bitcoin as a Store of Value Could be Worth $40K Within the Next Decade, Says Matt Hougan

· May 25, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Matt Hougan of Bitwise Asset Management believes that the price of Bitcoin could increase by 500 percent in the next ten years. Hougan hinges his prediction on the cryptocurrency becoming an actual store of value and the blockchain permeating several facets of human life.


Is Bitcoin a Store of Value?

Finding a consensus on any argument related to Bitcoin is almost a futile effort at this point. There’s the bubble argument, the economic definition argument, and of course, the store of value argument. Matt Hougan, in a recent op-ed for Forbes, examines the store of value debate for Bitcoin, drawing some interesting parallels with gold.

Right from inception, the virtual currency has been compared with gold. Some proponents are even in the habit of calling the crypto “digital gold.” Critics, however, dispute this idea, saying that the cryptocurrency cannot be compared to gold because it is highly volatile and, as such, cannot be a store of value.

Matt Hougan

One of the most basic definitions of a store of value is an asset that is both tradable and can be stored for future use. By this definition, a store of value must maintain some stability over a reasonable period. Bitcoin is a volatile asset, no arguments there. However, is the volatility exhibited by the number one crypto a misnomer in the finance world? It turns out the answer is no, and Hougan provides hard evidence.

A Little Bit of History Featuring the Post-1971 Gold Market

Today, gold is not only solid based on its physical form, but as an asset, it maintains some level of price rigidity. However, it wasn’t always so. In 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon dropped the gold standard for the USD. The price of gold and the value of the dollar was no longer tethered together. What happened next? Well, the table below gives an idea of the wild volatility in prices of gold in the decade following 1971.

Gold pricesToday’s crypto critics would be bellowing that gold isn’t a store of value if they examined these figures. However, today, it is universally accepted that the precious metal is indeed a store of value. So, what has changed? The answer isn’t utility as some might point out. Gold has some industrial application use cases but that it is not enough to justify its current price. According to Hougan:

[Gold] is worth $1,300 per ounce because people are willing to pay $1300 per ounce for it as a store of wealth.

Bitcoin price chart

Bitcoin Mirrors Post-1971 Gold

Bitcoin is less than a decade old, which means it isn’t yet a fully formed asset. Hougan believes that expecting the cryptocurrency to behave like a fully matured asset is an argument that lacks economic merit. According to the cryptoanalyst, Bitcoin is passing through the two-stage process of rapid appreciation and declining volatility over time.

2017 saw a parabolic rise in prices that seem to have plateaued in 2018. The Bitcoin volatility, while still considerably high, is declining over time. This pattern exhibited by the number one crypto bears striking similarities to gold after 1971.

Bitcoin volatility chart

Speculative Investment Will Give Way to Real World Use

If Bitcoin follows the pattern set by gold, then it is well on its way to establishing itself as a store of value. Right now, the crypto is held as a speculative investment, but within the next decade, as blockchain utility increases, Bitcoin will become an even more significant part of global finance. The current market capitalization for the virtual currency is $130 billion, which is approximately two percent of the $7.5 trillion gold market cap.

In ten years, Bitcoin could comfortably hold 10 percent of the value of gold, which would mean a conservative price estimate of $40,000. A lot of this depends on how quickly real-world utility applications can be implemented for the cryptocurrency and the assumption that it continues on a similar trajectory to gold.

Do you agree with the argument that Bitcoin is like gold, and as such, a store of value? Will an increase in real-world utility drive the price of Bitcoin higher? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of MarketsMuse, Forbes, Macrotrends, Shutterstock, and Buy Bitcoin Worldwide.

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Kvě 25

The Sweet Smell of Success: Unilever-Owned Schmidt’s Naturals Adds Bitcoin as Payment Option

· May 24, 2018 · 7:00 pm

There are a lot of odd things you can buy with Bitcoin – spy gear, lasers, alpaca socks, and now, high-end deodorant.


‘Scent or Payment Method’

Deodorant maker Schmidt’s Naturals is the latest company to let online shoppers buy its products with Bitcoin. Co-founder and CEO Michael Cammarata claims Bitcoin has accounted for 5 to 10 percent of online sales since they started accepting the cryptocurrency on May 14.

“It’s starting to be a percent of sales more than we expected,” he said in an interview with Cheddar.

The all-natural deodorant comes in scents like lavender, tea tree, bergamot, and cedar and will set you back about $9, or 0.0011 BTC, a stick. Schmidt’s is the first company owned by hygiene giant Unilever to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method.

Cammarata said:

It kind of was actually a last minute surprise. We got a lot of consumers that are like, ‘Can we pay with Bitcoin’? We were playing around with the idea a little bit and our tech team was like, ‘Should we do this should not do it?’

But he admitted they “weren’t that shocked” when the company’s social media savvy consumers asked to pay with Bitcoin.

“We have a lot of millennials and highly socially active consumers,” he said.

Schmidt's Naturals Deodorant Bitcoin

Shopping with Bitcoin

You can make purchases on Schmidt’s Natural’s site using Bitpay, a widely available Bitcoin payments provider found on Shopify and in popular mobile games by Zynga. When it comes to e-commerce and online shopping, Bitpay is the most ubiquitous.

But the service has had its fair share of controversy. Newegg is a Canada-based online computer and electronics seller that uses Bitpay. The payment provider came under fire last month when a Newegg shopper accused Bitpay of taking more than their share when it comes to network costs.

Regardless, Bitcoin is becoming more widespread as a way to shop online. And as Schmidt’s Naturals co-founder said, it will take consumers demanding more payment options to see it more commonly accepted.

“Whether it be a scent or a payment method, we are very highly engaged with our consumer,” Cammarata said.

What do you think about paying for goods like deodorant with Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments!


Images courtesy of Schmidt’s Naturals

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Kvě 24

From Russia with Love: How Cryptocurrency and Blockchain are Finding Their Feet

· May 23, 2018 · 9:00 pm

In the West, crypto markets continue to battle with the regulatory uncertainty as the SEC and other regulatory bodies take their time to decide which camp they sit on. At the same time, things are not much rosier in the East either where China is yet to warm up to cryptocurrencies.


Blockchain has been around “long” enough to show the proof of concept in that by utilizing blockchain it is possible to streamline a number of processes, both on the governmental and also corporate levels. This then has prompted an exponential rise in fintech start-ups looking to challenge the status quo and disrupt the standard ways of storing, organizing, and extracting data sets. However, the actual implementation of blockchain technologies across much of Western Europe and even the US has been constrained by the regulatory uncertainty.

On the one hand, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are yet to put a fundamental framework forward to appease concerns surrounding utility vs security token model. While in Europe, an introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is perfectly suitable for blockchain applications, is being rushed through by compliance and HR departments with such haste that blockchain is far away on their radar.

In Blockchain We Trust

In Blockchain We Trust

Russia is an interesting case when it comes to the world of ICOs. On the one hand, it is a great place to source technical experts for your blockchain related ventures. The price tag might be astronomical but at least you know what you are getting for the labor and that is quality, reliability and of course security. So, with one piece of the puzzle sorted comes the tricky bit, finding a suitable business partner and this is where things go wrong… really wrong.

One of the most depressing and worrying statistics that has come out of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) is that around half of the ICO funds in the country that were raised in the past year – amounting to $300 million – have gone to pyramid schemes.

Economic and political uncertainty, together with numerous corruption scandals has really dented investor appetite for projects in the country. It is very much high-risk, high-reward based game when it comes to investing in Russia and when combined with the volatile nature of the currency, this perception is unlikely to change anytime soon. The regulation and oversight by the government can help alleviate some of the concerns relating to fraudulent activities but at least for now, the crypto community is yet to “sanction” Russian projects altogether.

In the meantime, the likes of Blackmoon (BMC) will remind budding entrepreneurs and investors of the success stories and there is, of course, hope that the government, which is actively looking at ways to promote and integrate digital economy, will not be overly involved in regulation aspect.

On the subject of regulation, it was reported that the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work will support the first reading of an initiative that will add the basic norms of digital economy to the Russian Federation Civil Code. The initiative itself does not mean that digital currencies will now become a legitimate means of payment and instead, a separate law developed by other regulatory bodies, will outline conditions for using digital currencies as a payment method. The initiative will also look to treat a digital confirmation by a user in a smart contract is equal to his written consent.

What Does Russia’s Future Hold?

Over the course of 19-20 May 2018, Moscow hosted one of the largest cryptocurrency summits of 2018, with over 200 speakers and over 3000 participants taking part in the event. While the event may not carry the same weight as Consensus, which took place earlier this month, or d10e, it was an important event for the country that stands at a crossroads with the technology. The decisions that will be made by the government need to be made in the spirit of blockchain and with the aim to further technological, as well as economical, advancement as opposed to being the means to destabilize the Dollar.

The commissioning of the crypto-rouble is not far-reaching enough. Anyone looking for inspiration should turn to Dubai and their smart-city plans. According to Smart Dubai, which is conducting government and private organization workshops to identify areas that will benefit from the overhaul, the strategy could save 25.1million man hours, equivalent to $1.5 billion in savings per year for the emirate. It has been noted that the fast majority of improved efficiency will come from moving to paperless government.

What do you think of the latest developments in Russia and can it reform and lead the way in providing a sound base for crypto projects? 


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock

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Kvě 23

John McAfee Says the Cryptocurrency Bull Rally is Near

· May 22, 2018 · 9:00 pm

John McAfee believes the march of the cryptocurrency bulls is at hand. The renowned tech activist and internet security expert has added his voice to the growing crypto institutional investment narrative.


Prices Will Go Through the Roof

In a tweet on Monday, McAfee urged traders to gear up for the next crypto price rally. He based his assertions on the influx of cash from institutional investors trooping into the market.

He also said that with the money flowing into cryptocurrencies, prices of the top ten coins will increase dramatically. McAfee also believes that other altcoins will experience growth as investors diversify their cryptocurrency trading portfolios.

When challenged on Twitter as to the veracity of his claims, McAfee gave no basis for his declaration. Instead, the controversial crypto proponent told responders to “use their heads,” “check recent news on institutional investors,” and “apply reason.” Safe to say, this is another one of McAfee’s bold assertions, much like his famous 2017 prediction that “Bitcoin will be 500k in the year 2020.”

The Emerging Trend of Institutional Cryptocurrency Investment

While McAfee did not provide any backing for his claims, there is some merit to his position regarding the flurry of institutional interest in cryptos that have made the news in recent times. A few days ago, Coinbase launched four new products targeted at institutional cryptocurrency investors. Goldman Sachs is also making plans to open Bitcoin trading to large investors as well.

Bitcoin

The overarching consensus is that the crypto market is maturing after a parabolic growth spurt in 2017 which saw prices hit record highs. Since the start of 2018, the market has declined in value, dropping 50 percent of its market cap in February. According to an April survey conducted by Fundstrat, 82 percent of institutional investor believe Bitcoin bottomed out when it fell below $6,000 in April.

The entry of hedge funds into the crypto market should increase the perceived level of legitimacy of cryptocurrencies. One important part of the emerging trend of institutional investment in digital currency is the establishment of trusted custodial services. In the past few months, there has been some progress on this front with a significant announcement by Nomura during the recently concluded Consensus conference in New York.

Do you agree with John McAfee’s assertions of an impending crypto price boom? Which altcoins do you think will dominate the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Images courtesy of Twitter/@officialmcafee, Flickr, and Shutterstock.

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Kvě 22

Ethereum Certified Developer Bernard Peh on The Future of Crypto, Dealing with Regulations, and Blockbid (Interview)

· May 21, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Bitcoinist recently caught up with Bernard Peh, one of only 56 Ethereum Certified developers in the world, and picked his brain on his current project, the state of the cryptocurrency market, and what being “Ethereum Certified” even means. 


Bitcoinist: You are one of only 59 Ethereum Certified developers in the world. What exactly does “Ethereum Certified” mean, exactly?

BP: First of all, I like to congratulate B9lab for setting the golden standard in Ethereum Certification. As of today, the passing rate (based on the number of students who signed up) was about 15%. Basically, you cannot be certified if you do not have very good knowledge of Ethereum and its high-level programming language – Solidity.

In theory, being “Ethereum Certified” means that people should feel more secure with my code in the Blockchain. I have deployed many Ethereum smart contracts and I am still very skeptical of my own code due to the immutability of the blockchain. I think being certified might differentiate you from the rest, but having a paranoid attitude is required if you want to travel far in the blockchain journey. I am proud to be one of the 59 Ethereum certified developers in the world. (At the time of this interview.)

Ethereum

Bitcoinist: Tell us a bit about your new project, Blockbid, of which you are the Lead Blockchain Technologist.

BP: The purpose of Blockbid is to make cryptocurrency trading extremely attractive to traders and competitive with other exchanges. We want our exchange to be very secure and have a very user-friendly UI. Therefore, we have decided to build the bulk of the exchange in-house. This means that we have spent a considerable amount of resources in getting top quality developers. I am glad that I have the chance to work with the brightest minds in the industry.

My role is to liaise with the backend and infrastructure team to ensure that all the wallets for all our coins are implemented correctly. Our users will eventually benefit from our vision and the effort that we put in. Everyone will be able to trade with confidence on our exchange in the next few months.

Bitcoinist: What problem, specifically, does Blockbid solve in the industry today?

BP: Blockbid is being designed to help traders overcome three main issues; the inconvenience of needing to sign up to multiple exchanges, the unease associated with having coins scattered across multiple (and potentially untrustworthy) exchanges, and missed investment opportunities caused by time lapses in transferring funds between different platforms.

Blockbid is the only exchange to offer an insurance policy to protect against potential cyber-attack. Users do not have to worry about their cryptocurrencies in our exchange because they are insured.

Bitcoinist: How will Blockbid protect users’ funds against potential cyber-attacks?

BP: Blockbid is the only exchange to offer an insurance policy to protect against potential cyber-attack. Most other exchanges offer 2FA and for the majority of their liquidity to be held offline in cold wallets. While Blockbid will also offer 2FA and liquidity held in cold wallets, it is the only exchange to offer an additional layer of security in having an insurance policy.

I feel that the cryptocurrency market is still flooded with traders doing pumps and dumps. This has caused huge instability in the price of cryptocurrencies, preventing mass adoption for day-to-day purchases. Most people using cryptocurrencies today are risk-takers or people who are willing to bet money on their curiosity. I would love to see wider adoption.

Bitcoinist: Has Blockbid had to overcome any obstacles in relation to regulations? How difficult is it to comply with different rules in different regions of the world?

BP: With recent legislation last year in December being passed by the government requiring Australian exchanges to register with AUSTRAC, we can proudly say that Blockbid is only the third recipients of an AUSTRAC license, meaning they have been granted permission to legally operate as a digital currency exchange, according to Australian law. This follows on from the guidelines set out for Australian AML/CTF policies and require all our users to complete our KYC forms before trading, prior to this we were operating under the guideline of an AFSL license although now AUSTRAC has taken over as the regulatory body and has been setting the requirements and processes for the cryptocurrency industry in Australia.

In regards to complying with changing regulations in other countries, Blockbid stays up to date and monitors all news and information that would directly impact its operations offshore and acts accordingly. For example, restrictions and regulations on US or China based traders were closely monitored over the past year to ensure we operate legally and in compliance with the regulations of those countries.

Bitcoinist: What excites you most about working at Blockbid?

BP: Throughout my entire software development career, building a secure crypto exchange must have been the most challenging of all and in return, the most rewarding. There are many moving parts and many things to consider. The crypto landscape is changing very fast and the software needs to adapt to the changes quickly. We have to dissect every component and question everything. We also have a very strong team with a good rapport with everyone. There have been a lot of hair pulling moments but also a lot of laughter and I think our Chief Operating Office, David Sapper, has done a good job in gelling everyone together. I’m really glad that we value the team culture more than anything else.

Bitcoinist: What do you feel are the best ways to evaluate a cryptocurrency?

BP: There are a plethora of cryptocurrencies to choose from on the ever-expanding crypto market but there are a few things you should look out for when evaluating a cryptocurrency.

You should always check the development activity of a cryptocurrency. A coin with an active development team will be updating and patching bugs all the time. If there aren’t active developments in a particular crypto, you should steer clear.

Looking into the trading volume of a crypto can also indicate if the price will grow. There isn’t much point investing when no one else is trading it. This low trading volume will cause huge price spikes whenever some are bought or sold which is not good if you’re planning a long-term investment.

Avoid pump and dump schemes by investing in coins with larger market capitalization. Low market capitalization can easily be manipulated whereas those with larger market capitalization will require significant capital to manipulate it.

7 Steps for ICO Analysis

Bitcoinist: What are your opinions on the current regulatory landscape? Do you feel that regulators have investors’ best interests at heart?

BP: Regulation is needed to be able to distinguish the real from the fake, to avoid distrust amongst potential participants, and prevent scammers finding any kind of success. Hopefully, regulators don’t enforce harsh regulations upon cryptocurrencies and kill the market off at such an early stage of development. We will have to see if regulators and governments can embrace the blockchain and aid the growth of the cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoinist: Do you have any advice for new investors?

BP: Consumers like to take their first tentative steps into the crypto market by purchasing a currency they have no doubt heard of before, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, it is key to do your research and know what ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) are happening and whether the project is viable – if it’s not, then it’s not worth your money as you could end up with nothing. This is where we need to be mindful of crypto-scams.

There is no clear indicator of when a project or coin might be a scam but there are a few red flags to be mindful of. Any reputable ICO project will have a detailed whitepaper document which details everything you need to know about the campaign. If this is not readily available, then you should ask yourself why. To this effect, it is once more where research becomes a great tool. Look into who the team is behind the project, what is their experience and what are they hoping to achieve. Scams and crypto thefts are increasing and are becoming more widely documented, and so we are seeing crypto exchanges beginning to form self-regulating tightening their regulations

Bitcoinist: What do you identify as the most significant problems in the cryptocurrency market today?

BP: The risk of a data breach is a common one faced by crypto exchanges. Playing host to a large scale of sensitive information, it is possible for company and user information to be accessed, without permission, through mining malware activity and DDoS attacks. The use of mining malware allows hackers to hijack a computer’s resources for mining cryptocurrency, resulting in a diminished processing power which enables fraudsters to make a speedy profit.

Bitcoinist: What solutions do you propose to the problems you mentioned?

BP: The solution would be for greater security protocols and more regulation within the cryptocurrency sphere – although this can only be executed efficiently through a comprehensive understanding of the digital landscape. Without this understanding, exchanges and traders are left vulnerable.

Let’s be honest; cryptocurrency is a technical subject. To use it confidently, you do need to have some technical understanding of how it works. We feel that educating the public on the technology is important. For example, most people do not know what is happening when they transfer one bitcoin to their friend. They might get panicked when their bitcoin didn’t get through to their friend after one hour and then got bombarded with terminologies like confirmation times and transaction fees when they raised a support ticket. We like to have a personal relationship with our clients and hand hold them from the start to the end of the process.

Bitcoinist: Where do you see blockchain technology in 5 years?

BP: Blockchain is already a household name. You see this word being used in almost all tech conferences today. A lot of funds have been poured into making blockchain scale and once we can hit a few thousand transactions per second, we are ready for global adoption. When that day comes (in the next five years), blockchain technology will be used everywhere, from personal identity to buying things online. Coupled with AI and Smart Contracts, there will be no longer a need for a middleman, cutting cost and saving time.

Do you have any other questions for Bernard Peh? Ask them in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Markus Spiske/Unsplash

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