Říj 17

EToro CEO: We’ll See ‘Greatest Transfer of Wealth Ever Onto the Blockchain’ [Interview]

Bitcoinist spoke with Yoni Assia, CEO of the largest social trading platform in the world eToro on their latest push to take cryptocurrency mainstream. 


Interview with eToro CEO, Yoni Assia

With over 10 million users globally, eToro has become a somewhat of a household name. It is also no secret that the company has been a big supporter of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for a few years now. Its logo is often seen alongside numerous cryptocurrencies almost everywhere in the UK and elsewhere.

etoro

Assia explained why eToro is so focused on raising cryptocurrency awareness, why regulation is important for mass adoption, and his opinion on ‘Bitcoin maximalism.’

Bitcoinist: You’ve just announced a significant cut in spreads on crypto-assets. Why did you decide to do this? User feedback or simply a way to make trading more affordable for the average person?

Yoni Assia: We cut our crypto spreads as part of our efforts to support the mass adoption of crypto.  We want to make it as easy as possible for investors to buy, hold and sell crypto and cutting spreads so clients keep more of their gain is one part of this.

Bitcoinist: What other bottlenecks to wide-scale user adoption currently exist in your opinion?

Yoni Assia: Currently, the level of understanding of crypto-assets is one of the barriers to wide-scale user adoption of, and investment in, crypto-assets. It’s a barrier that we’ve looked to address at eToro through building our community of traders and investors who can share their investment strategies and insights. From this, others are able to follow the approaches of those who have been the most successful. We also provide educational material and a virtual portfolio.

Other barriers for crypto center on the fact that this is still a very young asset class. Bitcoin, the first crypto, is still less than 10 years old. We believe that the challenges around scalability, speed, volatility etc will be solved over time.

Bitcoinist: Your platform has over 10 million users. Since the so-called bubble ‘popped’ in 2018 following the historic bull-run of late 2017, has your platform seen a drop in new user signups or the opposite?

New clients continue to join the eToro platform every day. Some come for crypto, others for the other more traditional asset classes we offer such as stocks and commodities or our CopyPortfolios. It is also interesting to note that many of the clients who were attracted to eToro by crypto have also diversified into other assets on the platform.

Bitcoinist: At current rates, can you give us an idea of how many users you expect to start trading crypto on your platform over the next few years?

Yoni Assia: While I can’t give you a number, we expect to continue to grow the number of users on the platform over the next few years. EToro is continuing to expand its global footprint, for example, we will be launching in the US later this year. Some people come to eToro for crypto, but we also offer a multitude of other asset classes.

Bitcoinist: What is the most popular cryptocurrency on eToro? Do you think this could change in the future?

Yoni Assia: The most popular crypto on eToro is XRP 00. I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict the future. Our clients value diversification so we see interest in any new coins added to the platform.

Bitcoinist: Does a diversified crypto-asset portfolio still make sense given that Bitcoin has experienced the least bleeding relative to other cryptocurrencies?

Yoni Assia: Maintaining a diversified portfolio, both in terms of crypto-assets and in terms of wider assets, is a prudent way to invest regardless of market conditions or asset performance.

Bitcoinist: Etoro has signed numerous partnerships with major sports teams and pro athletes to promote cryptocurrencies. Have these efforts borne fruit so far? And what other initiatives do you have planned?

Yoni Assia: We’ve recently sponsored seven premier league clubs in the UK as well as German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. We’ve also partnered with French tennis player and eToro user Gaelle Monfils. These initiatives help us to raise awareness of crypto and we will continue to form partnerships that help us to strengthen our brand and build awareness.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe regulation will accelerate mass adoption? Some regulations such as the BitLicense in New York state have forced companies to leave, for example. Do you favor more of a hands-off approach or clear-cut regulations just like in traditional finance?

Yoni Assia: A conducive regulatory environment is vital to protect consumers and foster growth and innovation within the investment industry. We believe that regulation will lead to greater adoption by institutions and intermediaries, which will accelerate mass adoption.

In the UK, eToro was the driving force behind the establishment of CryptoUK, the first self-regulatory trade association for the UK crypto-asset industry. Its remit is to promote higher standards of conduct and to educate politicians and regulators about the industry and its potential. We welcome the recent report from the UK’s Treasury Select Committee which reflected Crypto UK’s calls for the introduction of proportionate regulation to improve standards and encourage growth.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe Bitcoin and crypto can offer opportunities to traditional finance? Wasn’t Bitcoin created to disrupt and disinter-mediate traditional finance, fractional-reserve banking, and fiat currencies?

Yoni Assia: We don’t’ believe that traditional finance will disappear overnight and we are already seeing many large financial institutions exploring the opportunities offered by crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it.

We believe that crypto, and the underlying blockchain technology, will have a huge impact on global finance. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize finance by enabling the tokenization of all assets, not just currencies. In time, we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain.

Bitcoinist: Are you personally in the “Blockchain not Bitcoin” camp or vice versa? Why?

Yoni Assia: They are two separate things and being in favor of one doesn’t have to mean you are against the other. For me the easiest way to try and explain the significance of crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it is to compare it to the internet.

The relationship between blockchain and crypto is parallel to the internet and email. Much like email is just one use case of the internet, bitcoin is just one use case of the Blockchain. Bitcoin was the first crypto and almost ten years after the white paper was written remains the most dominant.

Whether Bitcoin will still be the most significant crypto in another ten years is not for me to say, but I do believe that blockchain will transform finance in the same way that the internet revolutionized communications.

Bitcoinist: What is your opinion on Bitcoin maximalism? Will it be winner takes all (with everything being built on the Bitcoin blockchain in the future) or will there be room for many cryptocurrencies to exist?

Yoni Assia: The crypto-asset market is still very much in its infancy, and crypto-assets are still vying to prove their respective use cases to the world. Currently, different crypto-assets seek to solve different problems and are experiencing varying levels of adoption. There absolutely could be room for a few cryptocurrencies to exist, but it’s too early to say which ones this could be at this stage.

Do you agree with Assia’s comments? Share your thoughts below! 


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Říj 13

Goldman Sachs Ex-President Gary Cohn to Advise Blockchain Startup

Former Goldman Sachs president and Trump chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, will take an advisory role with Spring Labs. The FinTech startup aims to use blockchain technologies to revolutionize credit and identity services.


New Horizons

Cohn resigned as director of the US National Economic Council in April, after disagreements with President Trump over trade tariffs. Prior to taking this position, he served as president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs for over ten years.

The Spring Labs venture will be his first major move since leaving the Trump administration. He joins a host of high-profile names in financial services, blockchain technologies and regulatory bodies on the advisory team.

The First Days of Spring

[nb: this is the title of a Dali painting. not sure if it can be used as an image to illustrate]

Spring Labs is building a decentralized network using a distributed ledger to improve transparency, security, and efficiency in exchanging credit and identity information. It also intends to allow consumers to view information held about them without charge.

The company, which has offices in Los Angeles and Chicago, raised nearly $15 million in seed-funding, without an ICO in sight. CEO Adam Jiwan explained:

We don’t have a need to use a coin offering or token offering as a means to raising capital. We might deploy a digital asset. But at the moment, our focus is on architecting the network and driving adoption.

Role Play

On taking the position, Cohn received an undisclosed amount of equity in the company. And as to the role he will fulfill, Jiwan says:

We envision him playing a role around helping us think through for developing something that’s regulatory compliant and that others need to see in order to adapt it.

In the press release, Cohn himself states:

I have been very interested in blockchain technology for a number of years, and Spring Labs is developing a network that could have profound implications for the financial services sector, among others.

Is traditional finance becoming more embracing of cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts below!


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Říj 12

‘Nurture Productive Aspects Of Cryptocurrency,’ US Presidential Hopeful Tells Senate

The US senator and potential presidential contender who suggested cryptocurrency “hurt” American families repeated concerns about the industry on October 11, saying it was “easy to steal.”


Warren Argues For Consumer Protection ‘Balance’

In a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Elizabeth Warren voiced fresh worry over the current regulatory climate in Washington, implying balanced rules should come into force.

At the same time, Warren poured scorn on ICOs, alleging “a lot of small investors” were being “scammed” by them, Forbes reports.

“The challenge is how to nurture productive aspects of crypto with protecting consumers,” the publication quotes her as saying.

Last year, Warren had claimed when US regulators turn their attention away from an emerging phenomenon in need of regulation, it was “American families” who “suffer” as a result.

“It was exactly that attitude at the Fed in the run up in the crash in 2008,” she said at the time. “The Fed had a lot of tools they could have intervened, but they sat there on their hands and said, ‘Let the market go forward.’”

Elizabeth Warren

Roubini Has No Time For Cryptocurrency

The Senate hearing meanwhile has already become infamous in cryptocurrency circles following comments from economist and famed naysayer Nouriel Roubini, who delivered what could be considered his most scathing appraisal of the industry yet.

“Crypto is the mother or father of all scams and bubbles,” he told the Committee as part of the prepared testimony.

“Especially folks with zero financial literacy – individuals who could not tell the difference between stocks and bonds – went into a literal manic frenzy of Bitcoin and Crypto buying.”

On ICOs, Roubini was also keen to espouse the view the industry was mostly legally dubious, using results of research published earlier this summer by Satis Group which concluded over 80 percent of such projects were scams.

“It would appear that ICOs serve little purpose other than to skirt securities laws that exist to protect investors from being cheated,” he concluded. 

What do you think about Elizabeth Warren and Nouriel Roubini’s appraisals? Let us know in the comments below! 


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Říj 09

Ether September Price Lows Could Signal End of Bitcoin Bear Market: Analyst

Ether (ETH) prices “capitulating” in September was “significant” to ending the 2018 cryptocurrency bear market, according to a new theory from one cryptocurrency analyst. 


Thies: ‘We Were Looking In The Wrong Place’

In a series of tweets, UTR Equity’s crypto market commentator Eric Thies postulated that Bitcoin’s run to all-time price highs in December 2017 came as a result of Ether investment during the ICO phenomenon.

When interest slowed, so too did prices begin to freefall — Bitcoin reaching lows below $5900 in February this year and Ether below $170 in September.

“(Bitcoin’s) run in the end of 2017 was fueled by a MASSIVE ICO (ERC20) bubble and therefore indirectly fueled via ETH. Meaning that ETH capitulating in early Sept was significant to ending the bear market,” he wrote, noting the concept was a “theory.”

“We were all looking in the wrong place, expecting (Bitcoin) to do it.”

The ‘When Moon?’ Question

Commentators across the cryptocurrency industry and beyond have long sought a narrative to accompany the continued ‘slow bleed’ performance of most assets this year.

As Bitcoinist reported, talk of institutional investors entering to prop up prices continues to contrast with technical analyses suggesting price declines have not yet finished.

While most sources agree that a decisive U-turn cannot be far off, disagreements remain as to the real impact of institutional money or other factors on the industry, should these appear in the short term.

BTC

For Thies meanwhile, funds flowing in via exchanges, stablecoin Tether (USDT)’s token issuance, and other factors support the bear market culmination.

“…Capitulation really may have been $12k-$6k in early Feb, and everything thereafter has been the ecosystem stabilizing itself after a MASSIVE run up,” he concluded about Bitcoin’s performance.

Bitcoin prices have experienced several months of broad stability, at press time falling within 4 percent of values against the USD seen on the same date in July, August and September. 

What do you think about Eric Thies’ market theory? Let us know in the comments below! 


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Říj 02

Fundstrat Says ‘Bullish Trend’ to Develop in Coming Months

The bullish trend isn’t going to be for at least a few more months, according to a technical expert from Fundstrat Global Advisors. He holds that time is needed for the market to recover the technical damage developed through the year.


Bulls Will Have to Wait

At the time of writing this, Bitcoin (BTC) 00 marks a slight decrease of less than one percent for the last 24 hours. The market’s leader also managed to stand its ground for the last week as.

However, having peaked at around $7,400 earlier in September, the cryptocurrency trades about 13 percent below its monthly high.

According to Rob Sluymer, though, an analyst at Fundstrat Global Advisors, bulls will have to wait for a while. In a recent note to clients, the technical expert outlined:

Given the technical damage that has developed in 2018, we expect most cryptocurrencies will likely require months of repair before a new bullish trend can develop. […] This is consistent with post-bear-market behavior that has developed in other asset classes following bear markets.

bull

A Bit More Positive

Earlier this month, the Head Analyst and Managing Partner at Fundstrat Global Advisors, Tom Lee, expressed his positive sentiment on the price of Bitcoin, based on CBOE Global Markets’ intention to launch Ethereum future contracts. Lee said:

Since December of this year, if one was bearish on any aspect of crypto but did not want to own the underlying, they could short BTC. They can now short ETH, means the net short on BTC in futures would fall.

Ethereum (ETH) 00 marks a slight weekly decrease of about 3 percent. In the last 30 days, however, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency is down with around 23 percent.

What do you think of Rob Sluymer’s position on the current state of the cryptocurrency market? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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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 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!


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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!


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Srp 26

Charlie Lee’s Litecoin ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Called Out by Silverbug YouTuber

Popular silverbug and Golden State Mint head TruthNeverTold recently took to his YouTube channel to once again call out the cryptocurrency market as little more than a Ponzi scheme. Specifically, he claims that Litecoin and its founder, Charlie Lee, are prime examples of duping unsuspecting investors. 


As Bitcoinist reported on December 20, 2017, Litecoin founder Charlie Lee “sold or donated” his entire Litecoin wealth to avoid “conflicts of interest” arising from its growth. Interestingly, Lee sold the very top of Litecoin’s unprecedented pump — something which TruthNeverTold views as an obvious profit-taking exit from a nothing-for-something Ponzi scheme.

States TruthNeverTold:

He sold out everything at the top. Good on Charlie Lee! Great job! But you just proved the fact that, as I’ve been saying since 2011, early adopters take something that has no intrinsic value, they set about building the perceived value to an unsuspecting public, only to sell that illusion for something that has real value.

The YouTuber also takes issue with Lee’s reasoning. The Litecoin founder explained, at the time:

Litecoin has been very good for me financially, so I am well off enough that I no longer need to tie my financial success to Litecoin’s success. […] For the first time in 6+ years, I no longer own a single LTC that’s not stored in a physical Litecoin.

For TruthNeverTold, Lee all but admitted that he cashed out at the top of the bubble, selling cryptocurrency for fiat and ensuring his long-term financial success.

Charlie Lee has since defended his actions as benign and well-intentioned. Despite the fact that the Litecoin 00 market crashed substantially and never recovered since the point of Lee’s sale/donation, Lee claims his actions has no effect on the market, stating:

I didn’t actually have that many litecoins. My selling litecoins didn’t actually affect the market itself but the fact that I had litecoins and people were thinking that I might dump it on the market actually was an issue.

Lee also believes Litecoin will eventually bounce back, explaining:

I still think it was the right move but I question whether — I think in the long run it was the right move but in the short term while the price is down, below the all-time high, it just feels like it’s not the right decision. But I think like, moving forward, five years down the road, when the price is back to the all-time high, I feel like it will be the right move.

What do you think about Charlie Lee selling his entire stake in Litecoin at the top? Do you think Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies are Ponzi schemes, or is TruthNeverTold simply overreacting to a market bubble? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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