Zář 09

Intercontinental Exchange May Be a Blessing and a Curse

There are few traders who aren’t aware that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) joined the cryptocurrency party several weeks ago. It turned into some of the biggest news of the year so far. What exactly does this mean for the crypto and global markets?


Don’t Trust Everyone With Your Money — Ask a Top World University.

Few institutions are more entitled to discuss technology than MIT. That’s exactly why the MIT Technology Review has just published a piece on this major event for both crypto and global markets. According to the Review, a mass of institutional investors in waiting for a sign to bring money to the table have just received the sign. Perhaps the ICE will provide just the controlled environment they needed in order to boost their confidence in cryptocurrencies.

However, a surprise may be in store as ICE attempts to apply the same rules used for financial markets to crypto. Yet, the two are fundamentally different. Don’t forget the roots of Bitcoin as an alternative to everything that money, banks, and finance represent: it is the opposite of many facets typically related to money and stocks. In fact, Bitcoin — and cryptocurrency as a concept —  solve many of the issues and anomalies presented by stock markets. Wall Street and blockchain savvy “evangelist” Caitlin Long explained why Bitcoin’s “perfection” can turn into a major disadvantage for those who treat it as a common stock or asset.

Cryptocurrencies Are the Answer Where the Stock Market Fails

Cryptocurrencies Are the Answer Where the Stock Market Fails

  • Cryptocurrencies are owned and managed by the trader him/herself, while stocks and assets are possessed by market mediators (e.g. exchanges), really;
  • Cryptocurrency transactions and related operations run on a distributed, (most often) decentralized ledger, and are therefore immutable. Wall Street companies can manipulate transaction/asset ownership in order to appear as if stocks were their own.
  • The blockchain solves the double-spending problem. When stocks, transactions, and markets are managed by centralized institutions, the trading process is exposed to a variety of technical vulnerabilities. Some are quite serious. MIT points out to the case of Dole Foods in 2015-2016 when the company apparently sold 33% more share than it actually had for sale due to a glitch in the trading process.

Remaining Optimistic

To end on a positive note, Long also pointed out the advantages this move will bring to the market in an earlier article in Forbes. Long thinks that ICE’s upcoming cryptocurrency exchange provides a solution to the custody issue encountered by big investors (managing >$150 million) who are required by the SEC to collaborate with a qualified custodian. The exchange will also add a certain degree of confidence, and a note of “mainstream adoption.”

Finally, the fact that cryptocurrencies solve some problems of stock markets may determine how companies raise their capital through ICO’s. “I doubt it will be very long before major corporate issuers join Telegram and Eastman Kodak in raising capital via these markets,” was Long’s conclusion.

What do you think about the possibility that cryptocurrencies will solve the problems encountered by the financial and stock markets? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Dub 28

Study Shows 44% of Consumers in Germany Know What Bitcoin Is

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Bitcoin Adoption Germany

It should come as no surprise to find out a lot of people have heard of Bitcoin by now, even though very few consumers have used the cryptocurrency so far. A new German Consumer Payment Study shows 1% of participants have ever used Bitcoin, which is a disappointing number.

Also read: Andreas Antonopoulos Makes Bold Prediction on Bitcoin Consensus

Bitcoin Has Not Yet Gained Much Traction In Germany

Although these types of studies do not paint the complete picture of consumerism in Germany, there are some telling signs regarding Bitcoin adoption in the country to be found. Considering how there are so many different payment options available in the country, it should come as no surprise to know Bitcoin is not all that popular in Germany right now.

To be more precise, the study shows how only 1% of participants knows what Bitcoin is, and have used the cryptocurrency in the past. While this is a rather low number, there is nothing to worry about just yet, as only 26% of respondents indicated they had never heard of Bitcoin before they were shown a video on what it is all about.

What is rather surprising, however, is how a significant portion – 44% – of participants indicated they know what Bitcoin is, but have not used it yet. This is a promising sign for cryptocurrency adoption in the country over the coming years, as there seem to be educational efforts taking place to promote the benefits of Bitcoin in general. However, 29% indicated they heard of it but are uncertain as to what Bitcoin is or does.

Another interesting piece of information comes in the form of how people seem likely to use Bitcoin in the next year. Especially the ones who haven’t used it yet, 12% seems willing to give Bitcoin a try in the next 12 months. If this were to be the case, Bitcoin adoption in Germany would get a significant boost.

If there is one thing to take away from this survey, it is how it is difficult to get a complete grasp of how people feel about Bitcoin in Germany. However, there seems to be a growing awareness of cryptocurrency in general, which can only be seen as a positive trend. But there is still a long way to go before mainstream adoption will be achieved in this country, as well as the rest of the world.

Whether this is due to a lack of educational efforts, or not making Bitcoin accessible enough for general consumers, remains a big mystery for now. One thing is for sure, though: both types of solutions are direly needed. With a healthy portion of participants indicating their knowledge on Bitcoin, new ways have to be found to get cryptocurrency into the hands of these people in a convenient manner.

What are your thoughts on this German consumer study? Would you expect to see similar statistics in your country? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Tsys

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tsys 

The post Study Shows 44% of Consumers in Germany Know What Bitcoin Is appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Study Shows 44% of Consumers in Germany Know What Bitcoin Is

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Úno 12

Classic Fork Release Launches Consensus Hysteria

Source: bitcoin

Classic

We’ve had a few days to see effects of Bitcoin Classic’s late beta release, and they’re surprisingly powerful. In the past week, Coinbase has adopted Classic, and Bitcoin Classic nodes on the network have jumped from around a hundred to 755 active nodes (as of the time of writing) — nearly 13% of the network, and that number is still climbing. This growth brings the total number of nodes supporting a 2MB block size to a little under 18%. Not enough to make 2MB consensus the majority Bitcoin branch, but sizeable nonetheless. What exactly this growth will result in is unclear, but it may lead to Core developers increasing the block size limit if Classic’s growth continues this trend, as all other implementations have support for it already, with varying size limits.

Also Read: Valve is Bringing Bitcoin to over 125 Million Users Worldwide

Classic Succeeding Where XT Failed

For those following Bitcoin’s development politics, this may seem like a repeat of Bitcoin XT’s rise and fall. The difference here, however, is Bitcoin Classic is showing slower, sustainable growth, and only implementing 2MB as opposed to 8 right off the bat – making the transition more palatable to people on the fence.

In addition, the network is more saturated than it was during XT’s fork, meaning people, as well as their hardware, may be more ‘ready’ for an increase in block size. Supporters of  2MB Blocks contend that they make Bitcoin more viable as a mainstream currency and form of electronic payment. Those against Classic feel that it centralizes the specification too much, which is dangerous for any cryptocurrency’s longevity.

Whether 2MB nodes take the majority or not, though, I contend the result will be good for bitcoin as a whole.

There has been a lot of misinformation spread concerning bitcoin hard forks. People attribute more power and political intent to the developers of each implementation than is likely accurate, in much the same way they do certain government figures. There’s also a lot of doomsday talk circulating about what a minority branch could potentially do to the Bitcoin ecosystem, too. Talk of the death of Bitcoin is yet again filtering into the mainstream media as lack of unity among the implementations and tension between the development teams increases. Thing is, we’ve seen this type of fork before, (XT anyone?), and there’s been no catastrophic losses of BTC, no network collapse, and no overwhelming decrease in Bitcoin’s value.

Understanding Minority Branches

Heatmap of full Bitcoin nodes

The reason for all this panic is a fundamental misunderstanding of how a hard fork and minority consensus rules work. Any unspent BTC are valid on both  new blockchains if there is a split in consensus, and unless the minority chain miraculously increases its usage to match or surpass the majority, it will quickly be rendered worthless, and people will take their transactions back to the main chain.

The only way this scenario becomes a problem is if there are very similar adoption rates in both consensus rulesets. The split becomes prolonged indefinitely, incentivising hoarding of bitcoin on the older blocks as people hedge against the failure of one or the other. This  extreme scenario plays out similarly to a smaller minority in the end, though. No matter the outcome of the split, you still have your bitcoin as long as you own the private keys to your wallet.

There are two ways the increase in Bitcoin Classic adoption will probably play out. They fail as a minority branch in the way described above, or 2MB nodes gain enough traction in the network pressure Core into changing its consensus rules to account for 2MB blocks, avoiding the described ‘dead heat’ scenario. This process is ultimately democratic, as anyone can run any node implementation they want if they have a PC and an internet connection, so the consensus that gains majority is ultimately supported by the majority of the Bitcoin community (at least those running full nodes.)

If the block size increase doesn’t take, the community ultimately isn’t ready for one. If it does, great. Either way, developers and users alike are more informed on what Bitcoin needs going forward.

The message here is that hard forks and development dissonance are a democratic forum, where the implementation that best fits the interests of the Bitcoin community can exact change or become the de-facto standard, for a time. They aren’t a cataclysmic event, or even bad for Bitcoin. Those that promote this wrong-headed way of thinking about hard forks are misinforming the Bitcoin community, intentionally or otherwise.

No matter what side of the argument you support, and no matter the result fo the hard fork, Know that your Bitcoins will be okay, and Having multiple implementations and sidechains is great for the health and competitiveness of Bitcoin in the long term.

What are your feelings on the panic and misinformation following Bitcoin Classic’s release? Please let us know in the comments!


Images courtesy of NodeCounter, Coinmap.org

The post Classic Fork Release Launches Consensus Hysteria appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Classic Fork Release Launches Consensus Hysteria

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