Čvc 20

New Zealand Bank Shares Belief in Blockchain

SBS Bank in New Zealand seems to be considering using blockchain technology as a way to provide an improved user experience for their clients.


While some financial institutions are vehemently denying their customers’ interest in cryptocurrencies, New Zealand’s SBS Bank is taking a more pro-active approach.

According to The Southland Times, virtual currencies and blockchain technology were two of the topics discussed at the bank’s recent annual meeting. While the former still has the power to elicit skepticism, the latter is definitely a keen point of interest. The bank’s group chief executive, Shaun Drylie, explained:

We think, and the common consensus is, that it has real merit. Cryptocurrencies, we’re not too sure, and if you look at the volatility of cryptocurrencies that would suggest the market is not too sure as well.

However, this does not mean that there won’t be a possible place for cryptocurrencies in the bank’s future. Drylie added:

We’re keeping a close eye on it, but it’s very hard to pick where it’s going to go long term.

SBS chief executive, Shaun Drylie

Banking for All

Exploring the uses of blockchain technology is part of the institution’s plan to make banking more efficient for its existing clientele and more inclusive for its potential customers. They hope to provide a comprehensive banking experience to those clients who have limited access to their physical branches.

Financial inclusivity is a popular term when discussing the benefits of blockchain. This could be in the form of allowing the unbanked population, or those with restricted access to economic assistance, to easily get credit or apply for a loan.

All of the applicant’s information could be stored and easily accessed via the distributed ledger, making the reams of paper seemingly synonymous with loan applications a thing of the past. With SBS seeing an 11 percent increase in loan approvals, this could be where blockchain could make a difference.

No Stranger to Blockchain

This is not the first bank in the country that has turned to blockchain technology. The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and IBM have previously collaborated to create a more systematic and efficient solution to insurance reconciliation processes. The financial institution also used blockchain to digitize their previously paper-based bank guarantee process.

However, interest may soon turn more to virtual currencies with the possible introduction of Bitcoin ETFs. Major player Cboe Global Markets has filed an application with The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for approval thereof. Bitcoin futures trading, which began late last year, has also seen growth since it launched.

Do you think that more banks will turn to blockchain technology to replace their paper-based systems? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of John Hawkins/Stuff, AdobeStock

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Čvc 11

Ethereum Price Analysis – Plus NEO, EOS, ADA, XRP

As prominent economists sound the death knell for cryptocurrencies and technical analysts label the current events as part of the bottoming process, investors have one question in mind. Are cryptocurrencies nearly prepped for a turnaround or is this the next leg down in a 7-month bear market?


Market Overview

Cryptocurrencies continue to waver and fumble as a few prominent world economists forecast that governments will regulate bitcoin to death. Meanwhile, other experts predict that bitcoin will become a mainstream means of payment within the next decade. To date, droves of cryptocurrency investors are still wondering exactly where the much-hyped institutional investors are and, while positive weekly developments demonstrate that the platform for institutional investors is being constructed, these events appear to be having minimal impact on cryptocurrency prices.

In other news, the Bancor hack and failure of Bitcoin to stay above $6,750 appears to be dragging the entire cryptocurrency market to new lows, yet analysts and retail investors have spent the start of the week labeling the current technical setup as the bottoming for most cryptocurrencies.

Let’s have a look at the charts to see what’s happening.

ETH

Ethereum (ETH) price chart

After two days of trading outside the descending channel, ETH managed to pop above $500 for the first time in more than two weeks. Unfortunately, the Bancor hack and Bitcoin pullback appear to have directly impacted ETH’s momentum as it dropped below the 20 and 50-day MA and back into the descending channel.

At the time of this writing, ETH is down 10% and the daily chart shows the Stoch sharply descending from nearly overbought territory whereas the RSI dips into the bearish zone at 38. ETH now trades below the $450 support and could drop as low as the $400 – $420 area which was a June low. Below this point, ETH has support at $380 and $360.

NEO

NEO Price Chart

After pulling back from an impressive 20%+ rally last week, NEO now rests on the 20-day MA at $34.25 and the RSI on the 4hr chart shows the cryptocurrency attempting a turn around at 32 which has proven to be a zone where this particular altcoin stages a reversal.

Over the last few days, NEO has done the tango with the 50% Fib retracement level ($41 – $36.33) and the technical setup suggests a further decline in the near term. $33.66 serves as the most immediate support and at press time, NEO is holding above the 20-MA as interest in NEO appears to be increasing.

EOS

EOS price chart

EOS has taken quite a hit, down 13.18% at $7.39. EOS trades far below the 20 and 50-MA and currently rests on the $7.37 support followed by a softer support at $7. Failure to hold above $7 could see EOS drop as low as $4 where buyers are likely to show strong interest.

At the time of this writing, the RSI dips into the oversold region, and the Stoch had turned downwards with plenty of room to go which suggests further selling. In the event of a price reversal, EOS will encounter strong resistance at $9 where it previously struggled to overcome the descending trendline.

ADA

ADA price chart

Following the direction of other altcoins, Cardano (ADA) is also down 9.42% today and currently trades at $0.129 which is below the $0.1350 support. The closest support after this is $0.1253. The 4-hour chart shows both the Stoch and RSI beginning to reverse to possibly rise from oversold territory as ADA has aroused purchasing interest below $0.13. As Bitcoin continues to fall, ADA could drop as far as $0.11 which would be a good point to open a position as ADA should recover to the $0.15 resistance with ease once the current clouds clear up.

XRP

At the moment, XRP is suffering as it has finally fallen below the all-important $0.45 support and is down 5.90% for the day. Both the 20 and 50-day MA are below the 100 MA suggesting further decline as the most likely outcome. Yesterday’s drop from $0.48 pushed XRP below the 61.8% Fib retracement level, along with the $0.47 support and the cryptocurrency closed below the 100-day MA.

At the moment, both the RSI and Stoch are in bearish territory and for the time being, we do not see any entry points that provide an attractive risk-reward scenario as XRP has failed to attract buying interest even below $0.45.

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

Where do you think altcoin prices will go this week? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of ShutterStock, Tradingview.com

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Čvc 08

South Korea Moving Towards Cryptocurrency Acceptance

South Korea is continuing to legitimize and embrace cryptocurrency through a careful and considered approach.


‘The regulator isn’t opposed to cryptocurrencies’

On May 19, Bitcoinist reported that Korean regulators had agreed to apply the G20’s set of “unified regulations” in regards to cryptocurrencies. South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) stated at that time:

It’s almost certain that cryptocurrencies will be classified as assets and the main issue will be centered on how to regulate them properly under the unified frame that will be agreed upon between G-20 nations. Given the current stance, this isn’t good, but we will step up efforts to improve things.

Now, The Korea Times has reported that the country’s regulators are indeed set to ease regulations regarding cryptocurrencies — as the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has revised its guidelines for cryptocurrency exchange operators.

One official told the oldest English-language newspaper in South Korea:

The FSC made revisions to its rules to apply strengthened policies in order to prevent or detect money laundering and illegal activities because the regulator isn’t opposed to cryptocurrencies.

Another official stated:

Establishing unified rules is a complicated issue given the broader range of assessments between government agencies. This is why the country needs close international cooperation as it is still in the early stages of fine-tuning guidelines.

How Icon (ICX) and Others Skirt South Korean Restrictions

The government’s stance and actions thus far indicate an interest in encouraging blockchain technology and the growth of cryptocurrencies, but not at the expense of safety and security. Stated one trade ministry official:

Any major reversal in policies is unlikely, but the government seems to believe a gradual shift in attitude toward crypto-based assets is needed. What regulators should do is figure out how to regulate them properly and prudently as Korea needs to put more emphasis on blockchain technology after obtaining knowhow and understanding of the possible flipside of cryptocurrency trading.

‘Interest in cryptocurrencies will double’

The report comes shortly after South Korea moved to recognize cryptocurrency exchanges as legal entities in their own right for the first time, cementing their position in the local economy.

Seoul-based technology journalist Kim Byeong-yong also told The Korea Times that mainstream adoption is likely coming to South Korea in the future, explaining:

Global banks predict that interest in cryptocurrencies will double. We believe an increase in adoption will come when crypto-assets can be used as actual currencies rather than just speculative investments.

What do you think about South Korea’s regulatory stance regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology? Do you think mainstream adoption is in the cards? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives.

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Čvn 27

Vitalik Buterin Demands Court Challenge Against New nChain Patent

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has openly criticized Blockchain research company nChain’s latest patent award, calling for opponents to challenge it in court.


Pure Invention?

nChain, whose chief scientist Craig Wright claims to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto while heavily endorsing altcoin Bitcoin Cash, received its latest European patent for what it describes as a “digital security invention.”

“This Deterministic Key Generation technique provides for improved secure communication between a pair of nodes or parties on a network, while being able to keep their private keys secret,” a press release issued June 25 claims.

nChain is attempting to create a raft of Blockchain-based tools to facilitate transactions worldwide through what it calls the “Internet of Transactions.”

The company, often via Wright as a spokesperson, continues to hit the headlines in the cryptocurrency industry for its controversial approach to marketing.

craig Wright

Last month, Wright told a conference audience in Rwanda that he “had more money than their country” while plugging nChain’s future plans.

‘Can’t Someone Attack It In Court?’

Reacting to the patent meanwhile, Buterin appeared unimpressed at the prospect of the company using it as a basis for innovation, appearing to argue it contained no new “invention” at all.

“This looks like they’re trying to patent plain old public master key-based deterministic wallets, like what we had in 2013,” he wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

“Can’t someone attack it in court with the obvious mountains of prior art?”

Buterin had previously called Wright a “fraud” for his Nakamoto claims.

Discussing its implementation, nChain claimed a hook-up with Japanese conglomerate SBI had legitimized the technology.

“We will work with select partners on projects to produce maximum benefit for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem,” CEO Jimmy Nguyen stated, the release adding SBI and nChain were “collaborating to develop a next-generation advanced secure cryptocurrency wallet system.”

What do you think about nChain’s latest patent? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, Bitcoinist archives

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Čvn 25

UK’s Cryptocurrency Task Force Concerned Over Recent Exchange Hacks

The latest hacks in the cryptocurrency industry have had some British MPs questioning whether customers’ funds are safe.


The word “hack” has the ability to send fear into the hearts of many a cryptocurrency holder. Were you affected? Are your funds safe? Will you be compensated if you’re a victim? These are thoughts that run with frightening speed through your mind until you get confirmation.

However, in today’s age of regulation, holders are not the only people on alert. Authorities with their eye on virtual currencies are always ready to ask questions when things go south, as was the case with the recent security breaches of both Bithumb and Coinrail.

Cold Storage is Required

According to Stuff, Iqbal Gandham, the chairman of CryptoUK, sought to reassure authorities by providing some insight. The self-regulating agency represents a range of cryptocurrency trading websites including eToro, Coinbase, and Coinfloor. Gandham has stated that they request that all of their members store at least 90% of their virtual funds offline in an effort to protect them against hacks. He added that “security is improving.”

Iqbal Gandham

Lack of Institutional Support

Even though regulation is the name of the game, solid and clear frameworks are still hard to come by. In fact, Gandham believes that this lack of decisive action has made traditional banks wary of working with cryptocurrency exchanges. This, in turn, has resulted in said exchanges working with foreign banks. He explained:

99.9 per cent [of exchanges] have bank accounts in far-flung jurisdictions and UK consumers are sending their money to high-risk jurisdictions.

Gandham also hoped to allay fears of volatility by noting that although still unpredictable, cryptocurrency prices are not shifting as much as they used to. Regardless, the UK’s cryptocurrency task force will most likely still be keeping a close eye on the markets.

The Possible Impact of Hacks

These security breaches not only set aflutter the hearts of possible victims, but of traders in general as it was believed by many that the breaches led to price declines. This may have been the case with the Mt. Gox hack a few years ago, but according to CNBC’s Brian Kelly, today’s market appears to be too bullish to be substantially affected by breaches.

Two hacks in one month may have cryptocurrency holders wondering how they can protect their funds. The obvious choice is to follow CryptoUK’s lead and store their digital currencies in a cold storage wallet. While some exchanges are working towards improving their security features, this could be a way to retain your peace of mind as well as the possession of your cryptocurrencies if a breach does occur.

Do you agree with Gandham that security is improving in the cryptocurrency industry? Do you think that hacks drastically affect prices? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of AdobeStock, Iqbal Gandham

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Čvn 21

Akon Launches Akoin to Be ‘Savior of Africa’

· June 21, 2018 · 12:00 am

US singer-songwriter Akon has become the latest celebrity to launch a cryptocurrency — as he proclaims his belief the underlying technology “could be the savior of Africa.”


Akoin ‘Will Be Center Of Transactional Life’

Originally reported by Page Six, Akon — who is originally from Senegal — revealed at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that he wants to use Akoin as part of a giant 2000-acre development called Akon Crypto City. Akon stated:

I think that blockchain and crypto could be the savior for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system and also allows the people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.

Akon is currently heavily involved in humanitarian projects, having set up Lighting Africa — a project to bring solar power to Africa — in 2014.

The star appears to have built a presence, with the president of Senegal donating the 2000 acres needed for the Crypto City — which describes itself as “a first of its kind 100% crypto-based city with Akoin at the center of transactional life.”

That’s A Rap

Akon is not the only well-known personality to have ventured into the world of cryptocurrency.

Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard became indirectly linked with the industry after his son launched a coin, while rapper 50 Cent made headlines earlier this year after claiming he “forgot” about $8 million in Bitcoin holdings — only to deny the claims to a judge weeks later. DJ Khaled was also involved with CTR Token, which was deemed a fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Akon, meanwhile, appears to be adopting a somewhat hands-off approach to the technical reality of creating and launching an altcoin, stating:

I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.

What do you think about Akon’s cryptocurrency plans? Let us know in the comments section below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Čvn 19

Such Currency, Much #Fail: Dogecoin Transactions 300% Higher Than Bitcoin Cash

· June 18, 2018 · 10:00 pm

Dogecoin (DOGE) processes three times as many transactions as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) per day, data shows this month — as Bitcoin’s (BTC) hash rate expands to an all-time high. 


Unlikely Success?

Figures reproduced on Twitter by social media commentator Armin van Bitcoin confirm the curious rise of DOGE, which has seen renewed attention this year after its surprise use in a chain swap project with Ethereum.

As of June 15, the Dogecoin network’s daily transaction numbers outran Bitcoin Cash by a ratio of three to one. Against BCH’s 12,700 transactions, Dogecoin saw 38,400.

DOGE currently trades at under $0.002, having lost around half its value since April, when prices reached their most recent peak of $0.0056. The altcoin’s highest-ever price continues to be $0.017 from January, while holders continue waiting for a previously-promised hard fork later in the year.

Bitcoin Hashrate Hits All-Time High

The latest performance continues a trend which has captured cryptocurrency industry attention in 2018 — Bitcoin Cash having lost out to Bitcoin’s Lightning Network in April when its node count surpassed the number of available BCH nodes for processing transactions. Lightning had begun its mainnet existence at the beginning of the year, while BCH had debuted in August 2017.

At the same time, despite downward market pressure deflating prices, Bitcoin continues to exhibit increasingly strong fundamental network statistics.

Running data from Blockchain.info reveals the Bitcoin network hash rate reached its highest level in history earlier in June, capping an upward trend which continues to rise.

As Bitcoinist reported Monday, naysayers calling the beginning of the end for Bitcoin continue to be confined to traditional banking circles, while warnings of further price slides do not reflect sentiment beyond that of trading circles. 

What do you think about Dogecoin’s transaction numbers and Bitcoin’s hash rate? Let us know in the comments section below! 


Images courtesy of Twitter/@ArminVanBitcoin, CoinMarketCap.com.

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Čvn 16

Bitcoins Seized From Bankrupt BitGrail by Italian Authorities

· June 15, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Authorities in Italy have seized bitcoins from the company wallets of controversial exchange BitGrail as part of standard pre-bankruptcy proceedings. BitGrail was hacked in February 2018, with $170 million dollars’ worth of Nano stolen — which subsequently lead to a major price crash for the coin.


BitGrail’s blog was updated today, June 15, 2018, with the following announcement:

On June 5, 2018, pursuant to the Tribunal of Florence orders, the Bitcoins contained in the company’s wallets were seized and brought under control of the judicial authorities pending further Court decisions in the prebankruptcy proceeding.

A news update on the website in May declared BitGrail would reopen on May 2, 2018, but was closely followed by an announcement stating the Italian court of Florence had issued a deed “requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail” and that BitGrail would comply.

Hack vs. Insolvency

BitGrail’s problems came to light in February 2018 when it reported 17 million Nano (previously RaiBlocks) — equivalent, at the time, to $170 million dollars — stolen in a hack. At the same time, reports surfaced that the exchange could be insolvent and may have been for a number of months.

Nano refused to fork its blockchain in response to the hack stating:

We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.

BitGrail stuck with its hacking claim, later posting on its blog that, though it wasn’t responsible, it would “meet its users half-way” by offering a settlement agreement and repayment plan for victims of the purported Nano hack.

As the news of the hack and the potential insolvency of BitGrail broke, Nano’s price began to fall — eventually crashing from $30 USD to $2.50 USD. Many investors had been encouraged to use the BitGrail platform as one of only two exchanges listing the coin until it was added to the popular exchange Binance.

BitGrail was prevented from reopening on May 2, 2018, by a court order initiated by BonelliErede — the firm assisting the 3000+ investors who became victims of the BitGrail/Nano hack.

Nano Is Moving Forward

BitGrail and Nano have argued publicly and legally over the cause of the hack and the insolvency issue. The Nano Foundation concluded in April that there was a bug in the exchange software at BitGrail.

Nano is moving on. Colin LeMahieu, Lead Developer, said in May:

While the BitGrail situation is extremely unfortunate, it has not impeded the project. We allocated significant resources towards both determining what exactly happened, as well as investigating legal options, but as far as protocol development and overall project milestones are concerned, we have continued to move forward.

Were you affected by the BitGrail hack? Tell us your story in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, CoinMarketCap.com.

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Kvě 29

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

· May 28, 2018 · 8:00 pm

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


Theories Emerge Over Rogue BCH Nodes

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

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

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

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

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

A Tellingly Quiet Disagreement?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Kvě 23

John McAfee Says the Cryptocurrency Bull Rally is Near

· May 22, 2018 · 9:00 pm

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


Prices Will Go Through the Roof

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

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

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

The Emerging Trend of Institutional Cryptocurrency Investment

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

Bitcoin

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

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

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


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

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