Zář 25

70% of All ICOs Are Now Underwater in 2018

How much cash an ICO raised has become “less important” to markets, new research says this week after revealing 70 percent of ICOs have lost the money they raised.


Markets ‘Shrug Off Cash-On-Hand’

As part of the latest edition of its weekly newsletter, Diar investigated the current state of the ICO sector, which despite this year’s cryptocurrency bear market has raised more than in the ‘boom’ year of 2017.

“Diar number crunching shows that 70% of tokens are now valued at less than what was raised during their ICO,” it highlights.

And with tokens having no equity representation, markets have shrugged off cash-on-hand as part of an enterprise valuation.

While many investors insist the current climate is a lull which will reverse, the ‘cash-on-hand’ figures make for a distressing reading.

A $6 Billion Washout?

Compiling a table of the ‘top 10 losers’ – ICO issuers which saw the greatest value bleed after raising funds – Diar reveals an alarming trend.

As Bitcoinist also previously reported, projects such as Bancor and Sirin Labs – well known at the time of their token sales – have since faded from view, their market cap crashing to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in the process.

Sirin Labs 00, which plans to release its Blockchain phone this November, topped the list, losing $141 million in market cap from the $158 million it originally raised.

Bancor 00 lost $80 million while making up the top three are PumaPay ($102 million) and Envion ($96 million).

“As it turns out 402 out of 562 projects that raised over $8.2 (billion) are now worth $2.2 (billion) – an eye-watering $6 (billion) loss in market capitalization value against actual cash paid out to development teams,” Diar founder and editor Fadi Aboualfa continued on Twitter about the findings.

Bitcoinist recently produced a rundown of the ‘winners and losers’ in the ICO world, based on a rankings project by cryptocurrency researcher Stephen Zheng released earlier this month.

What do you think about the current state of the ICO market? Let us know in the comments below!


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Zář 24

John Newbery: I’m Responsible For ‘Worst Bitcoin Bug Since 2010’

Bitcoin Core developers have decried infighting between Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) supporters after John Newbery claimed responsibility for last week’s CVE-2018-17144 network bug.


‘Embarrassed And Sorry’

In comments on Twitter September 23, Newbery, who is tasked with checking the Bitcoin codebase, said it was because of him that the bug had gone unnoticed.

As Bitcoinist reported, the incident occurred last week, with Core developers urging the entire network to upgrade to a patched version of the Core client as a matter of urgency.

A full summary of what happened, including the technical specifications of the bug and its eradication, has since been published.

“There’s no chance I haven’t read CheckTransaction(). When I read it, the “…so we skip it in CheckBlock” comment should have jumped out at me,” Newbery wrote discussing the technical details he claims he failed to notice.

“That comment and the fCheckDuplicateInputs flag don’t just smell, they stink. I should have followed my nose. At the very least I should have looked up Bitcoin Core PR #9049. I didn’t.”

While Newbery added he felt “embarrassed and sorry” as a result of the problems, community reactions appeared to reveal little interest in blaming any one party for it.

At the same time, other sources have warned over the serious nature of the oversight, with Bitcoin.org creator Cobra describing it as “very scary” and Bitcointalk’s Theymos considering it the “worst bug since 2010.”

Van Der Laan Blasts Community Squabbling

Fellow Core developer Wladimir van der Laan had previously said a collaborative failure had led to the situation emerging.

“It was wrong that the buggy code was merged. Yes, we screwed up but the ‘we’ that screwed up is very wide,” he commented in further tweets Sunday.

The whole community screwed up by not reviewing consensus changes thoroughly enough, more developers need to pay attention! It’s your all responsibility.

Van der Laan was writing as part of a debate on the bug’s discovery becoming fertile ground for supporters of both Bitcoin and hard fork Bitcoin Cash to criticize each other’s perceived shortcomings.

“‘Unprofessional’ doesn’t even begin to describe it,” he added.

What do you think about the fallout from Bitcoin’s code bug? Let us know in the comments below!


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Zář 23

Handling of Recent Bitcoin Bug Ruffles Feathers

Bitcoin Core developers urged all nodes to implement a patch on Friday, September 21, in order to prevent the exploitation of a recently discovered bug in the Bitcoin protocol. The bug, called CVE-2018-17144, was originally reported to the Bitcoin Core team by Bitcoin Cash developer Awemany on September 17.


A Bug in the System

The discovery of the bug and the Core developers attempts to address it have caused ruffled feathers in the crypto community. Allegations of incompetence and bad-faith have been leveled by members of both the Bitcoin (BTC) 00 and Bitcoin Cash community as developers attempt to patch the bug.

CVE-2018-17144 was initially reported as a potential denial of service bug, but developers on the Core team discovered the root issue impacted both denials of service and inflation vulnerability. The Bitcoin Core team has released a timeline in its announcement about the bug, showing the steps undertaken as the team went from being made aware of the bug’s existence to releasing a patch.

The CVE-2018-17144 bug originated in Bitcoin Core .15, originating as part of a change which was designed to help simplify the tracking of unspent transaction output. This change left Bitcoin versions .15X through .16.2 vulnerable to the bug — as well as any altcoins or forked versions of Bitcoin that were still using code containing the bug.

Crucially, the implantation of the code which caused the bug was led by the same developer who was integral in implementing the fix. This has added to suspicions that the release of the patch was not handled correctly.

Bitcoin bug

Lying in Wait

Worryingly for many, the bug had been sitting undiscovered in the code for two years, raising concerns about what other issues may be lurking in Bitcoin just waiting to be exploited. In a post from Medium contributor Awemany, it’s noted that it would have been just as easy for him to short BTC — and exploit the bug — as it was for him to report the bug the Core team.

The Bitcoin Core team has been heavily criticized for the manner in which they rolled out the announcement about both the bug and the patch. For Bitcoin and many of the altcoins which rely on the same code, the decision to announce the bug and patch without consulting members of the altcoin networks that would have been impacted by a successful exploit was seen by some as political and mean-spirited.   

Despite the promise of decentralization and transparency promised by crypto advocates, the CVE-2018-17144 episode illustrates just how dependent many projects are on the decisions made by a relatively small number of members of the community. If the actors in this saga had made a handful of decisions differently, billions of dollars of value could have been wiped out. Hopefully, this episode leads to clearer standards around bug discovery and patching, and a more harmonious culture between various developer teams.

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin bugs? Let us know in the comments below!


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Zář 22

Tilray & Marijuana Stocks Smoke Cryptocurrency, Then Go Poof

The financial markets were ablaze this week with high volatility in cannabis shares unseating cryptocurrency as the trade of choice. References to cannabis in news articles were almost double that of cryptocurrency. But big falls on Friday, coupled with almost unilateral gains across crypto, showed how schizophrenic the weed market can be.


Tilray. When Lambo?

Tilray was the name on everyone’s lips this week. On Tuesday the Canadian company announced DEA approval to export a cannabinoid study drug into the US for clinical tests. TLRY stock jumped from around $120 to almost $300, as it saw $15 billion in volume from Monday to Thursday.

The price spurt intensified because the market cap for the company was just $16.4 billion at end of trading. On top of this, a single private equity fund controls over 70% of the shares, further reducing the available stock. The entire market cap of cannabis shares is around $35 billion, so investors were chasing each other around a very small market.

Live Fast, Die Young… in a Nice Pair of Shorts

Celebrated Bitcoin bull, Mike Novogratz, wanted a piece of that action, so managed to “get a borrow, short it for a day trade, make some money”. He believes that longer term, the marijuana industry has a promising future, but for now, it is all about short-selling.

He explained:

Listen, the weed business has a great underlying story, a lot like cryptocurrency. In five or six years, we will have a monster weed business.

Sure enough, price drops across Thursday and Friday saw Tilray close the week at around the same point it started it.

More Than a Ripple in the Crypto waters

The second half of the week saw a rally across virtually the entire crypto market, with Ripple a stand-out performer. At one point it unseated Ethereum 00 as the second largest currency by market cap, although that position has since reversed.

There are some who question Ripple’s surge 00, including Yahoo Sports, who compare its position to that of Tilray, midweek. Sadly, the hosted video doesn’t seem to match the headline, so we are left in the dark as to why Yahoo make that comparison.

Guess we will just have to wait and see.

Are cannabis stocks behaving similarly to the cryptocurrency market right now? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tradingview.com

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Zář 21

Brazil Investment CEO On Bitcoin Exchange Launch: ‘I’d Rather Crypto Didn’t Exist’

XP Group, owner of the largest investment firm in Brazil, XP Investimentos, confirmed it would launch a cryptocurrency exchange this week – despite its CEO saying he wished it “didn’t exist.”


Benchimol: ‘We Felt Obligated’

As Bloomberg reports quoting Guilherme Benchimol at an event in Sao Paulo, XP will finally give in to investor demand and begin a Bitcoin and Ethereum trading operation after six months of rumors.

“I must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does,” the publication reports him as saying.

We felt obligated to start advancing in this market.

Like many South American markets, Brazil has seen a palpable uptick in Bitcoin 00 trading activity. While its figures do not match those of markets such as Chile, Argentina and Venezuela, weekly volumes for P2P platform Localbitcoins alone regularly top 1.5 million reals ($367,000).

XP Investimentos had been planning its entry into the market since at least April, insiders telling the press at the time a crypto trading platform was incoming. The company registered an entity called XP COIN INTERMEDIACAO in August last year.

The final product will go by the name of XDEX – perhaps a nod to the decentralized exchange phenomenon – and involve a team of around 40, Bloomberg adds.

Bitcoiners Bite Back Against Banks

Brazil’s extant exchange and wider cryptocurrency business sector is meanwhile struggling with an increasingly hostile landscape involving banks.

Similar to complaints in Poland in recent months, a government agency is now investigating claims that those businesses are subject to account shutdowns by institutions which would rather not deal in crypto-related transactions.

“…It does not seem reasonable for banks to apply restrictive measures a priori on a straight-line basis to all cryptocurrency companies, without examining the level of compliance and anti-fraud measures adopted by individual brokerage firm,” the agency told Reuters when the news surfaced this week.

What do you think about XP Group’s exchange announcement? Let us know in the comments below!


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Zář 20

There’s a ‘Concerted Effort to Suppress Litecoin Price,’ Says Charlie Lee

Litecoin creator, Charlie Lee, took to Twitter, complaining about recent efforts to “suppress Litecoin price” with FUD spreading by those “shorting LTC and… that see Litecoin as a threat.”


Big Up Da Litecoin

Lee had a lot to say regarding accusations that Litecoin 00 had lost its edge in an increasingly oversaturated market.

Illustrating the high level of security in the network, he highlighted the miners’ lack of incentive to attack it, as this would devalue $150 million of hardware investment. He also mentioned Litecoin’s domination of Scrypt mining.

Regarding liquidity, Lee pointed out that Litecoin trades on virtually every exchange. Nine major payment processors support it, and the network processes $200 million of transactions every day.

Charlie Lee: LN Doesn’t Make Litecoin Obsolete

Rather than making LTC redundant technology, Lightning Network actually plays nice together with both Bitcoin and Litecoin, according to Lee. Many LN clients/apps support Litecoin, allowing atomic swaps, and even submarine swaps, using LTC to pay lightning BTC invoices. He adds:

Litecoin will always be the cheapest and fastest on ramp to Lightning Network.

Even if Litecoin’s only value were as a bitcoin test-net, Lee argues that its value is greater than the 3 percent of bitcoin’s market cap it currently represents.

Litecoin’s practical proof of SegWit utility enabled its adoption and activation on the Bitcoin network. This kind of testing is not possible on the real Bitcoin testnet, as valueless coins create no incentive for malicious actors to hack it.

Litecoin (LTC)

Charlie DOES Care and Litecoin IS Still Being Developed

Lee caused a scandal last year when, faced with accusations that he was acting for ‘personal benefit,’ he sold and donated all his LTC holdings. He has since stated that he will never buy back in, backing up his claims of “conflict of interest.” However, he also recently appeared to favor Bitcoin over Litecoin as an initial crypto investment.

Despite this, his tweets confirm that he is still working on Litecoin full-time and promoting Litecoin adoption. Countering suggestions that Litecoin has had no development in the past 6 months, he highlights two updates in the past 2 weeks. He also points out that it is good practice not to do development work “on the master branch, where people are looking.”

As would be expected, responses to the tweets vary from the “Litecoin rulez! Charlie is my hero!” school of thought to “Well why did you sell yours then?”

You can please some of the people, some of the time, eh?

Are there concerted actions being taken to suppress Litecoin price? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Zář 19

Smart Contracts Becoming an Essential Tool for Business

Smart contracts are becoming an important part of conducting business. In the global payroll space, the technology can rid companies of redundant bureaucracy. 


The world of business is increasingly global, but some borders persist. Laws, directives and ways to enforce them change from country to country, rendering international business unnecessarily complicated.

This complication translates into a waste of many work hours. Those hours are spent trying to comply to the different legislation and make sure that the contracts that you care about are enforceable where you need them to. However, an alternative global system — that is both cheaper and more efficient — is emerging due to smart contracts.

A global alternative to archaic bureaucracy

Smart contracts are a native digital system that is more suitable for the world of modern business. The system works the same anywhere in the world, and it is near impossible to interfere with its functioning.

They are non-bribable since, in many cases, they are enforced automatically by software. Moreover, running on a blockchain ensures that data can’t be manipulated. The price of running a smart contract is way lower and faster than having a document notarized.

There are many reasons why smart contracts and blockchain will probably be a big part of conducting business in the future, and those are just some of them.

Smart contracts applied to international payroll

One of the aspects of global businesses deeply hurt by the fragmented bureaucracy is payrolling. The currently employed systems are plagued by fragmented regulations and laws, inefficient communications and intermediaries. Those problems contribute to making the system unnecessarily complicated and, as a consequence, error-prone.

Smart contracts have been employed to solve this issue by the U.S. startup Horuspay. The system is meant to eliminate middlemen, increase efficiency and simplify the procedures (wasting fewer work hours). The vast majority of organizations don’t contract a global payroll provider but instead use a global payroll aggregator. The middlemen — which is the aggregator — are incentivized to hire the lowest bidder in each country, regardless of the quality of the service.

What’s more, the aggregators also charge a significant premium on the services and — according to the Horus white paper — the smart contract counterpart will be 50-80 percent cheaper. Also, automating most of the process and simplifying — in part by disintermediating — the part of the procedure that is still manual, streamlining it so there is less probability of mistakes.

Another big advantage of smart contracts is how directly and quickly they can interact with funds. Instead of using wire transfers — which are notoriously slow and expensive — this system utilizes tokens for payments. Those transactions are way cheaper and near instant — thanks to the EOS blockchain.

Just like the vast majority of blockchain-based services, you need to have tokens to use Horuspay. The organizations will need one HORUS token per every employee that they wish to pay through the system. The transactions are conducted through the secondary tokens, eosCASH (called Horus dollars before the rebranding).

Security

The disintermediation and global nature of the smart contracts grant them great potential. Part of it lies in drastically improving the bureaucracy of the future in many ways, one of which is data security.

Many different copies of the data are stored. As a result,  even if one system is compromised and the documents are edited, the original versions are still retrievable. Also, the data is usually well encrypted in such systems (this is the case with Horuspay). What’s more, even when data is stored off-chain, is usually is still verified on the blockchain.

Also, blockchain enabled key management adds further security and convenience. All of this makes services like Horuspay much more secure than the centralized counterparts that are prone to getting hacked.

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Zář 18

New Samourai Wallet Feature Makes Bitcoin Transactions Private

A 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway offers to make transactions private by masking user identity while keeping funds safe.


Bitcoin Transactions Are Pseudo-Anonymous

Bitcoin (BTC) 00 transactions are often described as anonymous because users can exchange the cryptocurrency without providing any personally identifying information.

However, Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous. The history of each Bitcoin transaction is permanently stored on the blockchain. And, anyone can track and view this information.

The abstract of BIP0069 describes the issue of the leak of private information, as follows,

Currently there is no standard for Bitcoin wallet clients when ordering transaction inputs and outputs. As a result, wallet clients often have a discernible blockchain fingerprint, and can leak private information about their users.

Now, the 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway promises to protect user privacy with a mechanism which is based on the trusted cooperation established between two wallets.

In a separate tweet, user @SamouraiDev said,

We will err on the side of caution and privacy. Only two (or more) wallets that have engaged in a ‘trusted’ relationship will be permitted to collaborate in a cahoots spend.

Wallet Users Can Establish Private Transaction Channels

Currently, each time users perform a payment transaction, they must exchange the Bitcoin address. This handicap impedes Bitcoin from becoming a mainstream currency. For some experts, the implementation of Reusable Payment Codes might help to solve this issue.

BIP47, “Reusable Payment Codes for Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets,” proposes a technique that can help to simplify the payment process while enhancing the user’s level of privacy.

BIP47 allows for the establishment of an invisible channel between two users. As defined by Justus Ranvier, the BIP’s author:

This BIP defines a technique for creating a payment code which can be publicly advertised and associated with a real-life identity without creating the loss of security or privacy inherent to P2PKH address reuse.

The 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway can allow users to establish private payment channels with each other, without revealing their Bitcoin addresses.

In this regard, SamouraiDev indicates that they have taken “an undefined byte in the BIP47 payload and are using it as a ‘feature’ byte so other wallets can detect functionality.”

Do you think that concealing the Bitcoin address will improve the privacy of Bitcoin transactions? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pexels, Samourai, Shutterstock, Twitter/@SamouraiDev.

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Zář 17

Blockchain May Resolve Palm Oil Problems

As consumer desire for palm oil continues to rise, movers and shakers within the industry look towards blockchain to solve issues related to production, accountability, and sustainability.


Growing demand for palm oil over the last decade has driven a lot of new eyes towards the industry.

Production of palm oil has become a popular way to meet global consumption for vegetable oils, since the yield per hectare ratio is very high.

Palm oil is also used as a conditioning agent in shampoos to restore natural hair oils. It is also commonly added to ice cream to help retain a smooth quality.

Currently, palm oil growers, processors, and related consumer goods manufacturers are grappling with how to solve problems while promoting sustainability — all throughout the notoriously complex palm oil supply chain.

Due to a relatively opaque supply chain, there is still no clear-cut way to trace palm oil back to its original plantation. Despite efforts from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), only 17% of worldwide palm oil production is classified as sustainable.

 Due to a relatively opaque supply chain, there is still no clear-cut way to trace palm oil back to its original plantation.

As a result, regulatory bodies within the industry have a difficult time with product certification. This is especially so when consumers demand details about specific items.

Still, a growing number of producers, regulators, and consumers in the palm oil industry believe that blockchain may be used to close current gaps in the supply chain. Not to mention the promotion of transparency.

Organizing Towards Blockchain

Recently, a number of palm oil industry leaders announced the creation of a group called SUSTAIN (Sustainability Assurance & Innovation Alliance).

The goal of the collective is to establish a blockchain-based palm oil platform to tackle landscape-level sustainability problems, as well as meeting goals related to NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation).

The goal of the collective is to establish a blockchain-based palm oil platform to tackle landscape-level sustainability problems.

Initial participants in the collective include palm oil companies Asian Agri and Apical. Other players in the palm oil supply chain will most likely join as the alliance develops.

According to Digital News Asia, SUSTAIN will eventually offer access to a system in which parties can download tools to monitor traceability and compliance, trade FFBs, and utilize best practice guides.

Patching Gaps in the Palm Oil Chain

Others feel that blockchain might be utilized as a support structure for a system that could check the geolocation of harvested fruit bunches. The system would then would be able to store information related to palm oil worker identities and harvesting times.

This structure could provide government agencies, and NGO officials, with better information regarding employment status and overall working conditions. At the same time, it may allow policymakers access to more information about farming practices prior to crafting land use policies.

Blockchain has also been touted as a tool to help cut down on palm oil spoilage. Palm oil has a propensity to react poorly if it is improperly stored. This holds the potential to make the product harmful for consumption if the amount of Free Fatty Acids (FFA) reaches a specific level.

Speculation is that blockchain could be combined with IoT sensors to monitor shipping and transport conditions to single out poor batches of palm oil before they hit the market.

What role do you think Blockchain will play in the sprawling Palm Oil industry? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons.

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Zář 16

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Are Oversold Bounces Leading the Market Higher?

Bitcoin is making a slow and steady recovery toward $7,000. Has bearish market sentiment alleviated? Or, are the current gains simply the result of a market-wide oversold bounce?


On Thursday, BTC broke through the $6,450 resistance and proceeded to reach a weekly high just shy of $6,600. This was prior to a  brief pullback to $6,400. The weekly chart shows Bitcoin (BTC) 00 about to set a higher low. After last week’s break from this pattern, a few more weeks of higher lows will be required to determine if a trend change is in order.

4-Hour Chart

Since pulling back from the weekly high ($6,597), BTC has been continuously rejected near the 200-MA ($6,612). Up til this morning, a pattern of lower highs continued as the RSI and Stoch began to descend from overbought territory.

Since pulling back from the weekly high ($6,597), BTC has been continuously rejected near the 200-MA ($6,612). Up until this morning, a pattern of lower highs continued as the RSI and Stoch began to descend from overbought territory.

These frequent rejections at $6,530 are a result of a lack of bull volume on each attempt and if BTC were to fall below $6,414 (20-MA) and $6,358 (50-MA and most recent low) then a revisit to $6,270 could occur.

BTC needs to overcome yesterday’s high and proceed to take out the 200-MA, which is also aligned with the 38.2% Fib retracement level at $6,623.

A more convincing move would be for BTC to gain to the midway point ($6,780) of last week’s drop from $7,400 as this would place BTC above the 100-MA and the 38.2% Fib retracement level.

Daily Chart

BTC did manage to close above the 10-day MA and while the overhead moving averages are still angled downward they have begun to flatten.

BTC did manage to close above the 10-day MA and while the overhead moving averages are still angled downward they have begun to flatten. The RSI is climbing mid-channel through a neutral zone and the Stoch is lifting from near oversold territory.

Yesterday’s doji candle shows a degree of indecision. Fortunately BTC went on to post a higher low not shown on chart.

1-Hour Chart

The 1-hour chart shows BTC repeatedly pulling back from $6,570 and $6,550 and each pullback has dropped BTC price from the upper arm to the mid-channel.

The 1-hour chart shows BTC repeatedly pulling back from $6,570 and $6,550. Each pullback has dropped BTC price from the upper arm to the mid-channel. Then similarly below the 10-MA of the Bollinger band (set at 10, 1, 9).

The 20 and 50-MA should serve as short-term supports. However, the move into the lower BB arm and the sharply dropping Stoch and RSI mean BTC could pullback slightly as it continues to consolidate throughout the day.

Projections

BTC is well situated for short-term gains but remains biased toward bears given the lack of follow-through from bulls after frequent rejections and positioning of the moving averages on the daily and 4-hour chart.

BTC 00 needs to overcome the 200-MA ($6,612) and there is resistance at $6,710 where the 100-MA is situated.

[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not intended as investment advice. Market data is provided by BITFINEX. The charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.]

Where do you think Bitcoin price will go this weekend? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tradingview.com

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