Dub 14

Venezuela Decrees Petro ‘Cryptocurrency’ as Legal Tender

· April 14, 2018 · 5:00 pm

All transactions involving government institutions in Venezuela must now accept Petro — the first ever state-issued cryptocurrency — as legal tender, according to an official proclamation in the country’s Official Gazette on April 9. From that date, every such institution has 120 days to comply.


All Petro Everything

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has ordered all institutions under the government’s umbrella to accept Petro as legal tender.

As reported by Bloomberg, the government of Venezuela has created a National Cryptocurrency Treasury which will be the sole regulator of all digital assets in the oil-rich country. Abrahan Landaeta has been appointed to lead the Cryptocurrency Treasury, while Anthoni Camilo Torres has likewise been appointed as the head of virtual exchanges.

Maduro Dancing to His Own Tune

The decree isn’t particularly surprising, given Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s ultra-bullish stance on his government’s pet project, which he claims has already raked in $5 billion from Chinese, Russian and Mexican investors. However, these numbers come directly from Maduro’s administration, and many are skeptical as to their accuracy.

Venezuela is currently in the throes of severe economic issues, including hyperinflation. As noted by Bloomberg, “The International Monetary Fund forecasts inflation will hit 13,000 percent by year-end, while the economy is set to contract 15 percent.” Meanwhile, extreme food shortages have led to malnourishment and hunger, while unemployment continues to skyrocket. No matter how bullish one might be on cryptocurrency, it’s difficult to see how Petro could effectively solve these problems.

The Role of the Petro

From an objective viewpoint, it’s also difficult to understand why any foreign investor would purchase Petro tokens, other than as a means of circumventing U.S.-imposed economic sanctions against Maduro’s government.

Petro is supposedly backed by the oil-rich country’s natural resource, but some experts claim that oil has yet to be drilled — and the government itself isn’t even in complete control of the nation’s oil-drilling operations. Furthermore, the token’s only use case has thus far been to pay Venezuelan taxes, though it appears that it will soon be used to pay for anything and everything government related.

Cryptocurrency research sites that actually took the time to examine the state-issued cryptocurrency have unanimously labeled it a scam.

What do you think about Petro’s increased importance in Venezuela’s plan to save itself from complete and utter economic collapse? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, Bitcoinist archives, Bloomberg.

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Dub 06

$25 Billion Owed in Crypto Taxes Causing ‘Massive’ Selling, Wall Street Analyst Says

· April 6, 2018 · 3:00 pm

‘Massive’ selling of cryptocurrencies into fiat by mid-April to be expected, as U.S. crypto holders ‘likely’ owe $25 billion in capital gain taxes according to Tom Lee, head of Fundstrat Global Advisors.


Tom Lee, the former chief equity strategist at J.P. Morgan Chase is amongst the few, if not the only Wall Street analysts who are providing regular thoughts and analysis on Bitcoin and the overall state of the crypto market.

Pressure Rises as Deadlines Approach

As the mid-April tax filing deadlines approach, Lee says that cryptocurrency selling pressure rises. In a report for CNBC, the analyst says that he estimates an approximate $25 billion being owned in capital gain taxes for cryptocurrency holdings by U.S. Households. And that’s the ‘low estimate’.

As the tax day approaches, we could witness ‘massive’ selling of cryptocurrencies into U.S. dollars.

Lee explained:

This is a massive outflow from crypto to USD and historical estimates are each $1 of USD outflow is $20-$25 impact on crypto market value.

Going further, the expert believes that selling pressure is also being piled up by crypto exchanges.

Many exchanges have net income in 2017 [of more than] $1 billion and keep working capital in Bitcoin or Ethereum and not in USD — hence, to meet these tax liabilities, are selling BTC/ETH.

Taxes are No Joke

In late March, the IRS reminded that virtual or digital currencies are taxable by law just as transactions of any other type of property. The taxman also went on reminding that steep penalties are in for those who fail to properly oblige by mid-April’s tax day.

While administrative cash penalties and interest are awaiting low-key crypto investors for failing to report their taxes, those who deal in larger quantities definitely have a lot more on the line to worry about, according to the release from the IRS:

Criminal charges could include tax evasion and filing a false tax return. Anyone convicted of tax evasion is subject to a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000. Anyone convicted of filing a false return is subject to a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Yet, a recent poll in twitter held between more than 7,500 people revealed that 53% of them aren’t really worried about taxes on the premise that “They’ll never catch me”.

What Does This Mean for the Crypto Market?

Tax-related selling would certainly add to the tough start of the year for Bitcoin. Yet, Tom Lee and other proponents remain positive.

When asked about Lee’s previous prediction of Bitcoin’s price, the analyst maintains his full-fledged positivity:

“We’re still positive. The important trends to focus on crypto are that there’s a lot of underlying progress, adoption is still growing,” adding that “Ultimately, we expect bitcoin to find footing after April [17], tax day.”

Do you think the price of Bitcoin will be affected by mid-April’s tax deadlines? Please let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist Archives; Pixabay

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Dub 01

OmiseGO and Vitalik Buterin Donate $1 Million in OMG to Impoverished Refugees

· April 1, 2018 · 4:00 pm

OmiseGO and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin are donating $1 million worth of OMG tokens directly to refugees living in extreme poverty. The donation will be made to GiveDirectly, a nonprofit organization operating in East Africa which will deliver the funds.


Helping the Unbanked

OmiseGO and Vitalik Buterin’s donation comes after many individuals in the cryptocurrency space have found themselves members of the newfound ‘crypto-rich’ community — often stereotyped as Lambo-buying millennials who’ve made fast fortunes from early cryptocurrency investments. The authors of the donation hope this newly-rich community will put their riches to good use.

refugee

In the official donation announcement, the philanthropists write:

The crypto economy has grown immensely over the last year, bringing a great deal of wealth to many people and organizations within the ecosystem. In part we simply see an exciting opportunity to share that wealth. We hope the fortunes made in the crypto space will lead not to extravagant lifestyles but to extravagant generosity.

OmiseGO has partnered with GiveDirectly to facilitate the donation, claiming both companies “share the view that providing alternatives to legacy systems can enhance accountability.” The authors note:

Refugees are a perfect population to serve through this effort. The world is in the midst of a refugee crisis, with more than 65 million displaced from their homes. […] Many also find it difficult to re-enter the formal financial system as they lack appropriate local documentation. They are precisely the people we wish to see benefiting from the “unbanking” effect that OMG is designed to create. We’re excited to plug them back in, transfer funds, and let them get to work.

Giving Season

OmiseGO and Buterin’s donation also comes alongside Ripple’s significantly larger $29 million to support public schools in the United States.

Ripple XRP

Ripple’s donation also comes in the form of cryptocurrency. The company donated XRP, Ripple’s scalable digital asset which aims to enable real-time global payments from anywhere in the world, to DonorsChoose.org — a US-based 501 nonprofit organization allowing individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects. Claimed Ripple:

Our donation fulfilled every request listed on the nonprofit’s website yesterday. Today, nearly 30,000 public school teachers in every state and approximately one million students are receiving books, school supplies, technology, field trips, and other resources vital for learning through DonorsChoose.org.

Pineapple Fund donates $5 million to OMF

The Pineapple Fund has also notably donated large amounts of Bitcoin to charity. The philanthropic project created by an anonymous individual donated $1 million to the Open Medicine Foundation — an organization involved in research for ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome) and other related chronic complex diseases — on January 14th, 2018. The Pineapple Fund later upped their donation to $5 million following an outpouring of gratitude on social media.

What do you think about OmiseGO and Vitalik Buterin donating $1 million worth of OMG to refugees? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives and Pixabay.

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Bře 26

Russia’s Blockchain Legislation Could Be Ready in a Few Months

· March 26, 2018 · 12:00 pm

Cryptocurrencies aren’t the only technology getting the regulation treatment in Russia. The country has stated that a legislative framework for blockchain technology could be implemented within the next few months.


Russia has made no secret of the fact that they are not cheerleading the decentralized cryptocurrency revolution. However, as with most industries, they are fully on board the blockchain bandwagon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously endorsed the technology as a way for the country to advance itself. Because of this, Russia has set to work determining a regulatory framework for integrating blockchain into the country’s governance system.

Blockchain Legislation Around the Corner

Blockchain Legislation Around the Corner

In fact, according to TASS, this outline could be complete within the next few months. This announcement was made by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich. He said this while meeting with students of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.

In a roughly translated quote, Dvorkovich said:

It’s necessary to create a regulatory framework, not necessarily too detailed, not to limit the implementation of projects [too much]. Do it as quickly as possible, we are doing it now. I hope that in the coming months, the legislative issues of blockchain will be [resolved].

Widespread Interest

Even though blockchain was initially known as the supporting technology for cryptocurrencies, its advantages are being recognized and implemented over a range of industries. These benefits include a high level of security and immutable record-keeping capabilities.

In addition, because it is the underlying support for virtual currencies, blockchain is being used to aid in central banks and governments creating their own state-controlled digital currencies. Russia is one of the countries that have expressed a keen interest in doing just that by vocalizing plans to develop its own CryptoRuble. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has also said that blockchain technology could help Russia reach a higher level of advancement in their economic sector.

Not Just for Cryptocurrencies

This type of technology has been on Russia’s radar for some time. Last year saw the launch of Masterchain, a software built using a fork of the Ethereum blockchain. It was created by Russia’s FinTech Association, which is a group comprised of payment institutions and financial startups headed by the Central Bank of Russia.

Blockchain technology can also be used to protect intellectual property (IP) as it not only offers safe and secure storage, but also ensures that any data that needs to be added to a creation or article can be done so efficiently.

February this year also saw Russia’s Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending (AHML) team up with Rosreestr, which is the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre, and Cartography, and Vnesheconombank, which is a state-owned Russian development bank. The joint initiative used blockchain technology to develop a shared-ownership contract for future construction development projects.

Russia is Fully Embracing the Technology

Russia is Fully Embracing the Technology

Herman Gref, who is the president of the country’s biggest bank, Sberbank, has previously stated that Russia has the most active blockchain projects in the world.

The country’s embrace of blockchain seems to be filtering from the top down as President Putin has previously said that anyone who is “late in the race” in terms of blockchain development and implementation, would be forced to depend on other world leaders.

He stated that:

Russia cannot allow this.

What do you think of Russia providing a framework for blockchain integration? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Bře 21

Altcoin Bear Market ‘Over’, Bitcoin ‘Less Miserable,’ Tom Lee Declares

· March 21, 2018 · 1:30 pm

Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee has declared the altcoin bear market “is over” and urged investors to buy Bitcoin.


Tom Lee: Investors ‘More Comfortable’ With Bitcoin

In a note to investors which he followed up live on CNBC’s Fast Money segment, the firm’s head of research said investors were becoming “more comfortable” with Bitcoin as an asset.

Cryptocurrencies began rallying this week after the ongoing G20 Summit produced positive regulatory noises from the outset.

Tom Lee

“I think the headlines were less draconian than many people were worried about, but that’s really been the case every time there’s been a regulatory event,” Lee told CNBC.

The reality is I think Bitcoin is starting sit away from the line[…] I think investors are comfortable that Bitcoin is likely to viewed as a commodity; whether regulations change around security tokens and registration, Bitcoin sits in its own sphere.

Bitcoin Misery Index Perks Up At $9k

Altcoins had felt the pressure from Bitcoin’s downward trend, showing a delayed response after BTC/USD began falling late December but with many assets subsequently falling more steeply.

According to observations from Lee and his team, this trend bottomed out around March 20, and could now point to new upside, subject to a similar delay to the initial descent.

“The altcoins don’t really rally until mid-August, mid-September,” he forecast, adding that ‘altcoin’ for Fundstrat meant cryptocurrencies outside the top 50 by market cap.

In terms of buying Bitcoin, however, Lee hinted now was the time. Using his Bitcoin Misery Index, which Bitcoinist previously reported on earlier this month, he told viewers that Bitcoin’s score was still within the ‘buy zone’ below 27 out of 100.

At the time Lee issued the index, that score was just 18. “It’s still in the zone of misery, but of course it’s less miserable,” he added.

Lightning Network Is Happening! First Physical Item Purchased on LN

Technical upgrades such as a Lightning Network production beta last week have contributed to broader positive sentiment on Bitcoin meanwhile, with Weiss upgrading its rating for the cryptocurrency from C+ to B-.

BTC/USD was holding support around $9000 on major exchanges as of press time March 21.

What do you think about Tom Lee’s altcoin forecast? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, CNBC.com

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Bře 11

Older South Koreans Are Investing in Cryptocurrencies the Most

· March 11, 2018 · 1:00 pm

While most people associate cryptocurrency investment with the younger half of the generational spectrum, reports have shown that seniors in South Korea are going significantly harder in the digital paint than younger investors.


Respect your elders

According to a survey of 2,530 adults by the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation conducted last December, older investors are getting involved in cryptocurrency much more aggressively than younger investors — though the latter is more active when it comes to buying and selling.

People in their 60s invested larger amounts than any other age demographic, totaling 6.59 million Korean Won — or $6,194 USD. “The older the investor, the larger the investment,” Kwon Soon-chae, told Korea Joongang Daily.

However, senior analyst at the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation is worried that older investors don’t really understand what they’re getting themselves into. Said Soon-chae:

There’s a need for older investors to not lose their retirement savings on cryptocurrency investments.

South Korea Bans Bitcoin Futures As Authorities Consider Crypto Income Tax

The survey also revealed that roughly 23 percent of South Koreans in their 20s have experience in buying cryptocurrency, while people in their 30s aren’t far behind at 19 percent. The likelihood of a South Korean in his or her 40s investing in cryptocurrency, meanwhile, was 12 percent, while someone in their 50s was only 8 percent.

In regards to investment size, South Koreans in their 20s averaged 2.93 million Korean Won, versus people in their 30s and 40s who both invested less than 4 million won. Those in their 50s weren’t far behind those in their 60s, at 6.29 million won.

As noted by Korea Joongang Daily, 42 percent of participants in their 60s were investing more than 3 million won, while 21 percent invested more than 10 million won. Of those in their 50s, less than 10 percent invested a larger sum than 10 million won, as compared to participants in their 20s and 30s, of which 40 percent put less than 1 million won.

The hype is over

Perhaps most importantly, the survey indicates that the hype surrounding cryptocurrency — particularly during the unprecedented bull run which took place late last year — has cooled off.

According to the survey, respondents that continued to invest in cryptocurrency made up only 6.4 percent of the total pool, while 31.3 percent never even dipped their toes in digital currency’s waters.

A particularly concerning statistic for cryptocurrency enthusiasts is the fact that one 7 percent claimed they would continue to invest in digital currencies, while 23.1 percent admitted feelings of reluctance. Meanwhile, 70 percent claimed they had no plans to invest in cryptocurrency.

Respondents’ largest concern was the threat of hacks, while volatility came in as the second most popular reason for refraining from cryptocurrency investments.

Are you at all surprised to learn that older Koreans are more aggressive cryptocurrency investors? Do you think the downtrend to start 2018 is scaring investors away? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock

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Bře 05

Coincheck’s $534M of Stolen NEM Found By Blockchain Forensics Firm

· March 5, 2018 · 11:00 am

BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group has reported that its Forensic and Investigations Division has successfully followed the laundered proceeds from the high-profile Coincheck hack — in which $534 million worth of NEM (XEM) coins were stolen — to an exchange in Vancouver.


Lost & Found

On January 26, 2018, the cryptocurrency world was once again rocked when Japanese exchange Coincheck reported the loss of 526 million XEM coins — worth upwards of $530 million. The theft was the second largest in the history of cryptocurrency.

However, BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group has successfully tracked the proceeds from those stolen digital assets to an exchange in Vancouver, where the funds are being laundered.

BIG plans on delivering the important information to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. According to a press release from the company:

BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group will compile the information gathered from its suite of proprietary technology search and data analytics tools into a comprehensive, official report outlining its forensic findings – for delivery to law enforcement agencies in Canada and the US.

Additionally, BIG’s Director of Forensics and Investigations, Robert Whitaker, stated:

The NEM (XEM coin) has a strong and loyal crypto community that has been affected by this hack. Our corporate mandate at BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group is to provide technology and services that bring cryptocurrency mainstream and create security in the sector, which is why we’re stepping up to help bring transparency and insight to this example of illicit activity.

BIG hopes that the company’s “efficient and effective response to the hack further establishes BIG as the global standard for cryptocurrency search and data analytics.”

Bitcoinist_Global Expansion Coincheck

BIG is a developer of Blockchain technology search and data analytics solutions. It has developed a cryptocurrency agnostic search and analytics engine which helps government agencies and law enforcement officials hunt down cyber criminals in the crypto space. The engine allows for forensic-level tracing, tracking, and transaction monitoring.

Though cryptocurrency has largely been founded around the principles of decentralization and deregulation, forensic-level watchdogs like BIG may help ensure large-scale cryptocurrency heists are a thing of the past.

What do you think about BIG successfully tracking Coincheck’s stolen funds to an exchange in Vancouver? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Wikipedia Commons, Shutterstock

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Úno 28

So Why Did Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle Really Buy Poloniex?

· February 28, 2018 · 10:00 am

Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle made waves earlier this week when it acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. A couple of experts share their thoughts on the implications for the soon-to-be first compliant US crypto exchange and its customers.


Most Crypto Exchanges ‘Over-Regulate Themselves’

As the dust settles on Circle’s acquisition of Poloniex, U.S. regulators are keeping a close eye on KYC/AML compliance of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Joseph Weinberg

Joseph Weinberg, OECD Think Tank Special Advisor and Chairman of Shyft, a blockchain protocol that will create a new standard for the KYC/AML mandates, shared his comments with Bitcoinist. He states:

Most crypto exchanges that are processing fiat to crypto transactions are very compliant and, in some cases, even more so than banks. It all really depends on jurisdictions and the compliance policies given by countries to crypto exchanges.

He continued:

For crypto exchanges, the challenge lies in how little formal guidelines there are from regulators. As a result, most of the industry has been doing self-compliance in absence of clear procedures. To err on the safe side, crypto exchanges over-regulate themselves. For example, most exchanges ask for passport verification in order to confirm users’ identities, whereas most banks only require government-issued IDs, such as drivers licenses.

Interestingly, Circle acquired the crypto exchange over a year after announcing it was shifting focus from Bitcoin to blockchain-based services. At the time, the company informed its Bitcoin customers that they can can cash out or transfer their balances to Coinbase, if they wished to continue to use the cryptocurrency.

So why did Circle decide to jump back into the crypto game?

It appears that Poloniex was struggling to keep up with the unexpected surge in new users as prices skyrocketed in the second half of 2017. Additionally, being based in the United States, the company also had to keep up with rising compliance costs as it rolled out its new KYC policies late last year.

Weinberg explains:

In the past, Poloniex had a lot of issues with onboarding new users and properly building out its KYC process, mainly due to the large amounts of time it takes to verify users. Given the level of KYC that exchanges force themselves to go through, scaling compliance is almost a separate product that the exchange has to build out.

According to him, this is where Circle comes in with their KYC/AML expertise. He says:

Through this acquisition, Circle will deploy more people to help handle compliance—more employees to build and process KYC due diligence faster. This is the same type of issue traditional banks have when it comes to scaling. Compliance costs keep multiplying, and yet, they aren’t always found to be effective.

The SEC Is Watching

Meanwhile, another takeaway has been put forth by Nathaniel Popper, author of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.

Popper noted on Twitter that the SEC informally suggested to Circle that no enforcement action will occur if the Boston-based startup “cleans up Poloniex and turns it into a regulated exchange.” He adds:

The SEC seems to be saying here that it’s okay if you broke the rules, as long as you get acquired by a legitimate player before we crack down on you.

The question now seems to be whether the SEC will apply this same thinking to other virtual currency exchanges if they are acquired by large players.

In addition to facilitating compliance, Circle also announced that it will add fiat bridges and expand operation to other markets. Namely, the company promised to explore “USD, EUR, and GBP connectivity that Circle already brings to its compliant Pay, Trade, and Invest products.”

This would imply that the exchange must also become compliant and answer to regulators from across the pond, who are currently scratching their heads on how to approach cryptocurrencies without stifling innovation in the process.

Therefore, regulators in the U.S. and abroad could be playing the carrot and stick strategy by providing an incentive for crypto exchanges to get acquired by the large players, such as Goldman Sachs, before a potential crackdown. Admittedly, this could also be a clever way for traditional finance to not only appear innovative through association but also assimilate would-be future competitors.

If true, the strategy may be futile and usher in the Streisand effect to boot. As technology advances, so do new methods of exchanging cryptocurrency. Therefore, assimilating centralized exchanges like Poloniex could force users to migrate en masse to decentralized exchanges and further bolster their development.

Why do you believe Circle acquired Poloniex? Share your comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter/@nathanielpopper.

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Úno 25

NEO vs. Bitcoin – Key Similarities & Differences

· February 25, 2018 · 9:00 am

NEO and bitcoin are two cryptocurrencies which have risen to prominence since their inceptions. These coins possess some similarities, however, they also possess a number of important differences. Here is a closer look at the key similarities and differences between NEO and bitcoin.


Similarities

Popularity – Both NEO and Bitcoin are extremely popular. That is why both coins are in the top ten coins by overall market cap as of February 12th, 2018. NEO and bitcoin are joined in the top ten coins by ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, cardano, litecoin, stellar, eos, and iota. All of the coins in the top ten have developed strong support from cryptocurrency users.

Exponential growth – NEO and bitcoin have both seen periods of exponential growth. 2017, in particular, was a year that was tremendous growth for both cryptocurrencies. In 2017, bitcoin rose from having a price of around $1,000 per coin to having a price of almost $20,000 per coin in December 2017. NEO rose from having a price of just a few cents in 2017 to having a price of over $100 by the start of 2018. 2017 was a very strong year for both coins, and in fact, both NEO and bitcoin were some of the best investments that anyone could have made in 2017.

Limited quantity – There are only a certain amount of coins for both the NEO and bitcoin cryptocurrencies. For NEO, the limit is 100 million coins. For bitcoin, the limit is 21 million coins. So, there is a finite amount of both coins. This means that if more people become interested in cryptocurrencies, this scarcity could drive up the price for both coins significantly higher than their prices already are in early 2018.

Differences

Age – Although the entire cryptocurrency industry is new, bitcoin is significantly older than NEO, relatively speaking. Bitcoin was created in 2009, whereas NEO was created in 2014. Because of the fact that bitcoin was created five years before NEO was, it had a five-year head start over NEO and many other cryptocurrencies. This helped it benefit from the first-mover advantage, and to gain market share before many competitors even existed.

Overall market cap size – Despite the fact that both cryptocurrencies are in the top 10 for overall market cap size, bitcoin’s market cap is much larger than NEO’s. As of February 12th, 2018, the market cap for bitcoin is $149,160,858,393. The market cap for NEO on the same date is $7,318,805,000. This is a difference of more than $140 billion.

Creators – The creators of NEO are known. NEO was created by two Chinese developers: DA Hongfei and Erik Zhang. The creator of bitcoin is a complete mystery. This is because the person (or group of people) who created bitcoin used an alias. This alias is Satoshi Nakamoto. There have been many guesses as to who Satoshi Nakamoto might be. Some people speculated that it was Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, PayPal, and other major corporations. However, Musk has denied these claims, and the mystery of bitcoin’s creator lives on.

Function – Since 2009, when it was created, bitcoin has slowly become positioned as a long-term store of value, and a type of “digital gold.” It is the king of cryptocurrencies and it is the mark by which many other cryptocurrencies are judged. NEO, on the other hand, is designed to be both a cryptocurrency and as a platform for facilitating smart contracts and decentralized apps, or DApps. Technically, smart contracts can be facilitated with bitcoin, however, bitcoin is not known as the go-to platform for such contracts. NEO and ethereum have taken this role primarily.

Conclusion

NEO and bitcoin are similar in that they are both popular, have experienced exponential growth at times, and have a limited quantity. They are different in terms of age, overall market cap size, creators, and function. However, despite their differences, both NEO and bitcoin saw tremendous gains in 2017, and could potentially see them again in 2018.

If you are interested in investing in or trading NEO, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, you can do so on the eToro platform. Etoro is the world’s social trading network. With eToro, you can not only invest in and trade cryptocurrencies, but you can also copy the moves of top traders. This can be extremely beneficial.

What is your outlook for NEO vs. Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of eToro, Shutterstock

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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Úno 17

Chicago Trader Steals Over $2 Million in Bitcoin and Litecoin Cryptocurrency

· February 17, 2018 · 10:30 am

A Chicago trader is facing up to 20 years in prison for stealing over $2 million in Bitcoin and Litecoin cryptocurrency from his employer.


Most 24-year-olds would be quite happy to be attached to a new cryptocurrency unit for a major financial entity. That’s not a bad career path for someone who previously worked as a cryptocurrency trader in South Korea before joining Consolidated Trading LLC to become an assistant bond trader in July 2016. A new department looking to dive into the burgeoning crypto world is a great stepping stone for moving up. That is unless that person is a degenerate gambler. Such is the case of Joseph Kim, who stole over $2 million in Litecoin and Bitcoin cryptocurrency from his employer.

Chicago

Stealing Begins Almost Immediately

The cryptocurrency group was created by Consolidated in September 2017, and Joseph Kim joined the unit sometime during that month. He had his own personal cryptocurrency accounts, which he informed his employer of, and he was told to cease all personal trading to avoid a conflict of interest.

However, Kim transferred 980 litecoins (worth $48,000) on a weekend shortly after joining the new unit. When a supervisor found out, Kim said he transferred the coins to a “personal digital wallet for safety reasons” due to issues he was having with Bitfinex, the cryptocurrency exchange in Hong Kong. He then said that the coins had been transferred to a Consolidated wallet (which was untrue).

In November, the trader then sent 55 bitcoins (value of $433,000) from Consolidated into an unknown account. When confronted on this transfer, Kim said that the transfer had been blocked and that he was taking steps to unblock it. He later sent back 27 bitcoins into the corporate account, leaving 28 in his possession.

The Sizes Get Bigger

Eventually, Kim transferred 284 bitcoins (worth $2.8 million) from the company’s account into a personal wallet. He later sent back 102 of those coins into the Consolidated account, after which he then transferred the remaining 182 coins into a different account. Of that last amount, Kim lost a portion of it by personally trading.

Cryptocurrency gambling

When eventually confronted over all the transfers, Kim admitted to investing in short future positions using 55 bitcoins. He continued stealing cryptocurrency from the company to cover his margin calls, losses, and personal investments. After being arrested, Kim said that he was a degenerate gambler and admitted to converting the stolen Litecoin into Bitcoin for investment purposes.

Eventually, Consolidated managed to recover roughly 144 bitcoins from Kim’s various personal wallets. The financial company lost about $603,000 overall from the rogue trader’s gambling addiction.

In an email to his superiors at Consolidated, Kim said:

It was not my intention to steal for myself. I was perversely trying to fix what I had already done. I can’t believe I did not stop.

Investment gambling is real, and cryptocurrency is just a new avenue for some to indulge in the practice. The US Attorney has charged Joseph Kim with wire fraud, which could net him up to 20 years in prison. Kim has also made history, of a sort. He’s the first person in Chicago to be charged with wire fraud in regards to cryptocurrency.

Do you think that we’ll see more cases of traders pilfering cryptocurrency to fuel their gambling addiction in the future? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

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