Čvn 26

Barclays Bank Confirms Talks With Regulators to ‘Bring Bitcoin Into Play’

· June 26, 2017 · 1:30 pm

British multinational bank Barclays has confirmed they have been in talks with UK financial regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to see how they can “bring Bitcoin into play.”


Consulting Regulators and Fintech Firms

Speaking with CNBC, the bank’s UK chief executive, Ashok Vaswani, confirmed that the company had been in talks with both regulators and fintech firms in order to determine how the bank can safely bring cryptocurrencies to their customers.

While the conversation with CNBC did revolve around Bitcoin, in particular, it is important to note that Vaswani made it clear that they were looking at blockchain technology as a whole.

UK chief executive, Ashok Vaswani

According to Vaswani:

We have been talking to a couple of fintechs and have actually gone with the fintechs to the FCA to talk about how we could bring, the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play.

He also discussed the importance of caution with regard to cryptocurrency integration:

[It’s] obviously a new area we’ve got to be careful with […] We’re working on it, [it’s] not ready for prime time, we’ll get there soon.

Not Barclays’ First Bitcoin Rodeo

Barclays’ move comes on the heels of recent news that JP Morgan Chase is planning to integrate Zcash with its blockchain platform as well as Chase’s announced inclusion in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. This is not the first time that Barclays has dipped its toes into the cryptocurrency pond, however.

In April 2016, Barclays became the first British bank to partner with a digital cryptocurrency firm when they backed social payments app Circle, which allows users to send and receive payments via text message. Circle operates in part on Bitcoin’s blockchain and it offers the cryptocurrency as a payment option as well.

Barclays implements smart contracts

Barclays made use of smart contracts to facilitate derivatives trading last year and has also invested, via incubators, in numerous companies making use of blockchain technology. One of the most notable of these is the Africa-based startup Consent which uses the blockchain to log medical records.

Where Investors Go Banks Follow

As Bitcoin continues to show record breaking gains, the interest level from retail investors is at an all-time high. With this increased interest, it should come as no surprise that banks are starting to sit up and take notice. With Bitcoin boasting YTD gains of near 200% – and Ethereum over 3000% – banks are realizing that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are here to stay.

Bitcoin YTD gains

Barclays and JP Morgan Chase are hardly the first banks to embrace Bitcoin and the blockchain, however. Other banks that have made inroads include:

  • Banco Santander
  • Citi Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Standard Chartered
  • UBS

Bitcoin is now being offered in investment portfolios at both Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity Investments, demonstrating a clear willingness to cater to this increasing demand. Fidelity Investments seems to have taken a keener interest in the technology, where others remain cautionary.

Ultimately, questions as to the direction Barclays will take are still unanswered, but the important thing is that they are talking about it, investing in it and researching possible opportunities.

What do you think about Barclay’s venture into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology? How can this benefit their customers? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Barclays, Shutterstock, Twitter

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Čvn 23

Highschool Dropout and Bitcoin Millionaire Hosts Reddit AMA

· June 23, 2017 · 2:00 pm

High school dropout and Bitcoin millionaire, Erik Finman, has hosted a Reddit AMA to shed some light on himself and his journey in the cryptosphere.


Too Cool for School

Erik Finman was recently featured in a CNBC story in which he described the journey through the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency world which lead him to acquire over $1.09 million in Bitcoin and other smaller holdings in altcoins like Litecoin and Ethereum. Finman took the opportunity to conduct a Reddit AMA, where users were allowed to ask questions about Eric’s story.

Dropping out of high school at the age of 15 to focus on his educational website, Erik Finman made a bet with his parents in which he agreed to go to college if he wasn’t a millionaire by the age of 18. Thanks to the continuous Bitcoin rally, Finman was able to hire professional programmers to work on his website, later selling it for Bitcoin again, starting his own VR company, all while trading Bitcoin and increasing his holdings.

lots of bitcoins

Now, Erik Finman holds 403 bitcoins which are currently valued at $1,092,678.08, among other holdings, which means that he doesn’t have to go to college, according to the bet. However, it’s also worth noting that Finman is not yet a millionaire, as his profits in Bitcoin have not yet been realized. However, Erik believes in the potential of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

During the Reddit A.M.A, he stated:

I see bitcoin going up way more than just the 2000s/3000s where it’s been. Bitcoin and blockchain technology is where the internet was in the 80s, not the 90s, but the 80s. And if you just get a fraction of the world on it. And I know all these entrepreneurs inventing world changing technologies that one of them will do a lot to get new people onto Bitcoin thus raising the price. Bitcoin will be worth tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars to even millions of dollars a coin

Reddit AMA

Riding the spotlight created by CNBC’s story, Erik Finman decided to host a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) in which he planned to answer user questions, most likely on his journey towards becoming a millionaire and his dealing with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, the focus was not on Bitcoin

Reddit AMA

Mainly curious about Erik’s taxes and education, many users wondered if Erik Finman paid his taxes accordingly, with some users suggesting the contrary. Many also asked if Finman has plans to return to formal education, although he didn’t show much interest in doing so.

The thread was also flooded with negative comments attempting to discredit Erik Finman as a kid who made a “lucky bet” when purchasing Bitcoin. Finman addressed one of these comments: 

I spent every day working to build up the number of Bitcoins I had. Turning 80-100 Bitcoins to 403 + other money in cryptocurrencies. Feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt but it was not one purchase, it was years of trading in addition to building out my projects. I wanted to clear that up. I’m not perfect, so you are right there might be imperfections in my advice.

Erik Finman

Erik Finman – Lucky or Shrewd?

While it may be simple to dismiss Erik Finman as “simply lucky”, it would be unfair to do so. When considering that Bitcoin is still so far from mainstream adoption, having the foresight to research and invest in Bitcoin is far from lucky, unless you’re buying Bitcoin blindly because someone told you too.

Although it is true that Bitcoin’s volatility may be near impossible to predict, Finman’s understanding of the underlying technology allowed him to make an investment, not based specifically on the market (or hype) but based on the potential of Bitcoin. Not only that, but his understanding of the markets themselves allowed him to grow his Bitcoin holdings with trades.

However, Finman has also proved that there is more than just luck to him through various projects he has previously worked on, which have also granted him high yields. These projects include his educational websiteabd his own VR company.

What’s your take on the story of Erik Finman? Will Bitcoin continue to make young millionaires? If so, can this change in wealth distribution change the world for the better? Let us know your views on the comments below?


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Čvn 22

Bitcoin Potentially the Most Lucrative Trading Investment Since Amazon

· June 22, 2017 · 1:00 pm

Comparing the dotcom booms, Amazon share price and performance to Bitcoin draws some very interesting parallels, setting Bitcoin as potentially the world’s most lucrative trading investment.


Emerging Tech market Capitalisation Then and Now

Gordon Scott at Investopedia writes that Bitcoin is comparable to how Amazon was treated during the Dotcom boom.

Even by the start of 1997, everyone knew Amazon had a great idea, but no one could fully explain how much its shares should be worth.

It is that very problem that Bitcoin now faces. Everyone realizes that it is a great idea, yet it is hard to fully grasp exactly how much it should be worth. Bitcoin’s primary use as a monetary is well known, but the actual technology and its potential applications are still a great mystery to many.

Amazon faced the same problem as it took new approaches to distribution and supply chain management. Interestingly, Amazon initially started in the book sector and, while it dominates that market to this day, it has since evolved by several orders of magnitude to be the giant that it is today. Gordon further explains:

Investors were not able to fully and accurately quantify Amazon share value at first. Can you blame them if it was hard to analyze the idea of using supply-chain management software to create a virtual book warehouse and factory outlet mall synthesized into a single website?

If we take a look at Amazon’s market valuation back in its 1997-99 cycle there existed the same degree of price volatility that Bitcoin has experienced, at least in it’s 2016-17 period which has seen a much steadier rise as a result of actual widespread investor speculation.

It is the cryptocurrency’s volatility that makes it such a potentially highly rewarding trading investment. The price swings, while hopefully not terminal (as they became after 2010), offer the trader many opportunities to take profit and reinvest. As long as Bitcoin continues to follow the price trends set by Amazon, its traders can potentially continue to make a very lucrative trading investment with the coin.

As can be seen in the charts above, the dotcom boom parallels the current state of cryptocurrency. Furthermore, as other altcoins emerge to stand up to rival and compete with Bitcoin, there exist the same issues of fluctuations in price.

These same issues were present in 1997, except that some companies went on to continue rising as others crashed with the bursting of the dotcom bubble.

Bitcoin In Perspective

Sue Chang at Marketwatch posted this chart (below) which puts the current size and value of Bitcoin into perspective:

Bitcoin - Putting the World's Money into Perspective

As illustrated above, Amazon currently stands at a value of $402 billion, with Bitcoin already sitting at a $41 billion market capitalization. Given this, it’s not hard to get a sense of the size of the cryptocurrency’s current projected value and there is a great deal of market confidence in the coin to have reached this stage.

While many see Bitcoin as being in a bubble, and there may yet be many more volatile dips to come, it is worth remembering that companies such as Amazon suffered also from this market volatility. Volatility, while not desirable in a currency, could just be a sign of Bitcoin and its technology truly finding its feet among its fellow market giants.

Will Bitcoin fulfill its promise as the most lucrative trading investment? Let us know in the comments.


Images courtesy of Investopedia, MarketWatch

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Čvn 19

Altcoin Exchanges: Pros and Cons of Top Platforms

· June 19, 2017 · 1:00 pm

Altcoins, a collective name for all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin, have become the main point of attraction for cryptotraders around the world. The altcoin market, full of promising new coins, highly reputable old rivals of bitcoin, and downright scam coins, shows an equal potential for making someone a fortune or leaving them penniless.


Altcoin exchanges pop up like mushrooms after a summer rain, a fact that is predominantly attributed to the need of diversifying one’s altcoin investments. After the Mt.Gox fiasco, everyone is understandably very cautious.

The collapse of Cryptsy has made matters even worse. After two years of operation marked with multiple technical failures and unpopular administrative policies, the exchange went down after a $7.5 million-worth hack. The litigation that ensued has revealed that the exchange’s owner was stealing money for himself.

Even under increased caution and scrutiny, there are still many existing altcoin exchanges offer deals that involve downright swindling coins. Because of this, traders who lack a gargantuan appetite for risk-taking stick with the most reliable exchanges. Here are three of the most popular and top performing altcoin exchanges.

Poloniex

Poloniex, aka Polo, is probably the best-known altcoin exchange of them all. It offers a wide variety of cryptocurrency pairs, so a seasoned trader may compose a great portfolio of their choosing in no time.

Poloniex altcoin exchange

Signing up with Poloniex is similar to other websites that don’t offer instant registration via social networks. As with other online trading platforms, a new user has to undergo two levels of verification. Undergoing just the first level limits withdrawals to $2,000 a day. By providing further personal information like ID and home address, a user may extend the withdrawal limit to $25,000. In order to have an opportunity to withdraw more than that, a user would have to contact the exchange’s support team.

Technical support is available via e-mail, tickets or direct chat. The latter is possibly the best way to get a response as fast as possible, however, the moderators do not tend to answer the queries right away, and some users have complained that the responses were not sufficient to answer their questions.

The website offers two-factor identification similar to other online exchanges.

Remarkably, Poloniex does not deal with fiat currencies. The USD exchange rate it presents is actually tied to Tether, an altcoin designed to cost exactly $1. This issue often confuses newbies who try to withdraw fiat from the exchange.

Poloniex chart

Another notable downside is that the Poloniex offers no mobile apps, though it does provide a mobile browser version instead. There have been reports suggesting that there is an app at Google Play for Android devices, however, the app has no affiliation with the exchange, and therefore considered dangerous.

The exchange’s website is somewhat bulky and has been known to perform slowly compared to other exchanges. There have been reports of users’ browsers freezing up if there are other tabs opened at the same time.

Most notably, despite the service’s overall strong reputation, there have been numerous accusations of minor scams like supervising controllable and prearranged pumps and dumps, as well as meddling with Ethereum Classic supply. Additionally, DDoS attacks occur quite often to Poloniex, and its customers are more likely to receive phishing e-mails.

Takeaway: Overall, Poloniex is a great exchange for those interested in altcoin trading.

LiveCoin

LiveCoin does not focus on any particular part of the world, however, it supports USD, Euro-Russian Ruble withdrawals, so it might have the biggest appeal to those who mostly deal with those fiat currencies. However, altcoins traded at the platform are abundant.

LiveCoin altcoin exchange

The exchange requests that those who use bank transfers for deposits undergo special verification, which should be addressed to the support team. For all other cases, no additional verification is required. The service also offers two-factor verification for log-in and withdrawals common with all trading platforms and additionally may enable text notifications sent directly to the customer’s phone. Unlike Poloniex, LiveCoin does not use any withdrawal limits.

Similar to most other exchanges, LiveCoin offers standard market orders, limit orders, and, on top of that, pending orders, which is not common with its competitors. Pending orders are orders that essentially will activate only once the price of a selected currency reaches the value set forth by a trader. This may actually influence the trading by removing any influence from a particular trader. In fact, as long as nobody sees an order at a specified price, it cannot drive the market anywhere.

LiveCoin Chart

Another notable feature of LiveCoin is that the exchange offers fiat vs altcoin pairs, which most other currencies lack. This effectively removes the need to buy bitcoin for fiat, and then altcoin for bitcoin, thus paying transaction fees twice.

Unlike some other exchanges where users may wait a long time until the support team responds, LiveCoin’s support team is quick to reply and remains strictly professional. Additionally, they maintain a FAQ section at Bitcointalk where everyone may ask their questions.

The user interface is quite convenient and the exchange works great in mobile browsers. Unfortunately, just like Poloniex, it has no apps for either iOS or Android. Another downside of the exchange is that some of the altcoins traded there have poor liquidity.

Takeaway: Both professional and amateur altcoin traders may find LiveCoin to be a great altcoin exchange with many useful and unique features.

Bittrex

Bittrex has been active since 2015 and features thousands of cryptocurrency pairs, two-factor authorization and cold storage of most user assets to protect them against possible system failures.

Bittrex altcoin exchange

The exchange may be one of the safest platforms for online trading as its creators pride themselves on being “security freaks.” Nevertheless, signing up with the exchange may scare anonymity advocates away due to those security reasons, as the new user has to specify their full name, date of birth, country, address, and ID number.

For the same security reasons, one cannot withdraw anything in the 24 hours following the change of password, and without two-factor authorization enabled, the amount of withdrawals will be limited to 1 BTC a day.

Even with all the security in place, there is still room for user complaints. Aside from the absence of an interface in any other language than English, the exchange’s technical support also causes some users to express their discontent. Complaints remain unresolved for a long time, and there are even some accusations of non-transparent policies and withdrawal problems.

Bittrex chart

The exchange acts as a wallet and a trading platform at the same time, which, with all the security rolled out, might be convenient without involving any serious risks.

Bittrex may be the best solution for those who value security above comfort. While verification may take a long while, and the support team seems to be generally sluggish, the security of user accounts is beyond all praise. When the user database was hacked in April 2016, only those accounts that had not enabled two-factor verification were in fact compromised.

Takeaway: While generally being one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges, when it comes to matters beyond security, Bittrex still has something to improve.

What do you think of our Top 3 altcoin exchanges? Do you have a favorite exchange that isn’t listed here? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Bittrex, LiveCoin, Poloniex, Shutterstock

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Čvn 16

Bitcoin Through The Eyes of the World’s Most Respected Billionaires

· June 16, 2017 · 12:00 pm

In a recent article, The Motley Fool examines what billionaires Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett and Richard Branson have to say about Bitcoin.


The Motley Fool’s Matthew Frankel writes that it can be a smart idea to listen to what some of the most successful people in the world have to say, and with that, he explores what three of the world’s most respected billionaires have to say about Bitcoin.

While these are merely opinions, each brings with it a unique perspective and outlook on what is very much an emerging technology and a potentially disruptive threat to their empires.

Mark Cuban on Bitcoin: The Cautious Take

Dallas Mavericks owner and investor Mark Cuban made news in the cryptocurrency world recently when he made the following tweet:

Within hours of his tweet the price of Bitcoin fell, he then tweeted:

While this does highlight the volatility of the Bitcoin, it also brings attention to just how sustainable the coins current high price is. However, Cuban does have a great enthusiasm for the underlying technology of the blockchain.

Warren Buffett on Bitcoin: The Dismissive Take

Warren Buffett

In a 2014 CNBC interview, American business magnate and investing giant Warren Buffett dismissed bitcoin claiming that it was a technology essentially devoid of value. During the interview, Buffett offered this advice to readers:

Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically…The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view.

Many dismissed his comments, however, since Buffett has avoided investing in new technology throughout his career, admitting that he does not understand them well enough to invest. A cautionary lesson in research there. However, Buffett’s comments did not sit well in the tech industry where he received condemnation for his criticisms. Tech venture capitalist Marc Andreessen echoed the sentiments of many in the tech industry:

The historical track record of old white men crapping on new technology they don’t understand is at, I think, 100%.

Buffett’s comments in regard to Bitcoin and blockchain technology were made 3 years ago and it is entirely possible, if improbable, that his attitude has changed since.

Richard Branson on Bitcoin: The Positive Take

Sir Richard Branson

Not only does UK tech billionaire Sir Richard Branson speak highly of Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he also suggests applications for the technology in a socially beneficial way. Using the technology to create a better, more secure and forgery-proof land titling system is just one of the real-world applications Branson envisions. This would ideal for developing countries and places where corruption is rife, as land titles are regularly disputed.

Branson also holds annual Blockchain Summit events on his own private island where blockchain experts and developers, as well as the top minds across a wide range of industries, brainstorm new ideas and applications for the technology. Ultimately, his attitude towards bitcoin is that it is working, and working successfully. He does recognize, however, that there is room for even better solutions than Bitcoin currently provides.

Have these Billionaires got the right idea about Bitcoin? Should they be doing more like Richard Branson in promoting it and looking for active uses? Let us know in the comments below?


Images courtesy of Flickr, AdobeStock

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Čvn 15

Major Bitcoin Exchanges Crippled by DDOS Attacks Amid Record Price Rally

· June 15, 2017 · 12:45 pm

Denial-of-service attacks brought several major Bitcoin exchanges to their knees this week, leaving traders locked out of the system, as hackers reap the market rewards.


Ongoing Cyber Attacks

DDoS attack

The DDoS attacks, timed to occur during intense periods of trading, gain the hackers a market advantage during price swings. Allowing them to game the price difference on compromised exchanges. Users are left locked out of the system during what could be crucial time periods of market activity.

Bitfinex, the largest U.S dollar-based bitcoin exchange has admitted that their platform was under DDoS attack. However, despite what they refer to as ongoing attacks, they do say that “Most users will be able to use the platform normally.” and released the following tweet;

BTC-e is also believed to have been affected, as their site went down temporarily. They also posted a tweet acknowledging the issue though it has since been deleted.

Market Fears and Due Caution

While no coins were directly stolen from users during the attacks, the ensuing instability caused significant chaos nonetheless. Those who remember, or were victims of, the disappearance of the Mt.Gox and Cryptsy exchanges, know that Bitcoins should not be left on these platforms in case of more catastrophic attacks.

Users engaged in Margin trading on these sites are particularly at risk as they are unable to close their positions and stand to lose a lot of money if no stop-loss measure has been put in place.

In an interview with CNBC, Benjamin Roberts, co-founder and CEO of digital currency trading start-up Citizen Hex offered this warning to cryptocurrency investors:

Investors with assets on centralized cryptocurrency exchanges should be careful. The track records of these organizations are not good, and as the assets on the exchanges grow, so does the bounty for attacking or hacking them.

Unprecedented New Interest In Bitcoin

Bitcoin exchanges are also under the pressure of a surge of new users who are noticing Bitcoins price gains.  The price of Bitcoin climbed to $3000 this week before plunging down to $2400, a move which does nothing to allay fears about the famously volatile coin.

Bitcoin exchange Coinbase has struggled to keep up with the massive influx of new customer registrations. CEO Brian Armstrong recently tweeted:

The CoinBase site has been down this week too, something they put down to the high traffic they were experiencing.

Should the exchanges be doing more to protect their users? Are they improving? Have you had an experience with the exchanges you’d you like to let Bitcoinist know about? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Čvn 14

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Invested in Bitcoin “Just for Fun”

· June 14, 2017 · 1:00 pm

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak personally bought into Bitcoin at $700 to see what could be done with it. With the price now hovering around $3000 he says he’s way up on his investment.


Personal Exploratory Investment

Steve Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985 but remains very much invested in technology, revealed he bought BTC during an interview with CNBC on Monday:

Steve Wozniak invests in bitcoin

I remember getting interested in bitcoin some time ago. It was $70 for a bitcoin, man and I went online and you had to have a special bank account at a special bank and I couldn’t buy any bitcoin so I gave up. Eventually, I got some of them at the $700 stage and it went down to $350. I didn’t invest, I did it so I could play with bitcoin.

He went on to say that he was interested in the experience of using the coin in a real world environment such as what it was like to shop with it at places such as restaurants and hotels.

“It’s not that easy to do yet, but it’s getting there. I was just playing around trying out how to buy and sell stuff and I didn’t care I lost a ton of money, but now I’m way up,” Wozniak added.

In 2014 he tweeted this video of the tested.com team’s experiences with a Bitcoin ATM.

Bitcoin, A Secure Technology

When he was asked what he thought to blockchain technology and why he thinks it is important, he said that he likes the technology, admiring how every single transaction is noted and saved. He went on to speculate:

(Bitcoin has) A lot of good security and traceability and looking-back aspects to it … That’s probably why a lot of banks are interested in it.

Wozniak, an advocate of cyber security, spoke at the Business Rock Technology Summit in Manchester, England where he criticized US authorities over their legal pleas for access to Apple customers data:

There are politicians who do not have a clue as to what cyber security is all about trying to pass laws saying that Apple has to make a product less secure. Why? That’s a crime. That is just so horrible. I just cry! Why would Apple do it for such a weak case where the government were not going to get any valuable information at all – it’s impossible.

Bitcoinist previously spoke about Wozniak as an active Bitcoin business side investor in 2015.

Will we see more news from Wozniak regarding Bitcoin in the future? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of LinkedIn, AdobeStock

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Čvn 13

Litecoin and Lightning Network Coming Very Soon to Bitstamp?

· June 13, 2017 · 1:20 pm

Bitstamp tweeted a mysterious video featuring a lightning bolt seemingly making a thumbs up which follows speculation that Litecoin will be soon added to the site. The video also suggests that access to the lightning network is coming too.


Litecoin Rumors

The mysterious tweet coincides with Litecoin creator Charlie Lee’s departure from Coinbase where he worked as their Director of Engineering for the past two years. Coinbase recently added Litecoin to the site and their exchange GDAX where it has seen good trade volume with today’s LTC/USD market seeing a 468,665 LTC trade volume in the last 24 hours.

This flurry of activity for Litecoin follows its implementation of SegWit. Yet to be implemented for Bitcoin, SegWit (Segmented Witness) is seen by many as the solution to Bitcoin’s current scaling problems, allowing for larger block sizes and faster transaction times.

SegWit and Litecoin

With its lightning network capabilities, Lee sees Litecoin’s long-term goal as alleviating some of the smaller transactional volume, perhaps using it for micropayments such as buying coffee with zero confirmation times or transaction fees.

Many already see Litecoin as a testing ground for future Bitcoin features, however, Lee remains committed to Bitcoin too, as he also contributes to its development and has tweeted in the past about Bitcoin being regarded as a real store of value – gold to Litecoin’s silver. He argues that if you are wiring $50,000 to your bank, you could still use Bitcoin for the increased security that comes from its larger network of decentralized miners.

When Lightning Strikes

The implementation of the lightning network on Litecoin, which was initially developed for Bitcoin, is now a reality on Litecoin. It brings instant payments with no need for block confirmation times. Security is enforced by blockchain smart contracts and payment speeds are in the milliseconds to seconds range.

Its scalability means that it is capable of handling millions – even billions – of transactions per second across the network. It is low cost, as it settles off chain it allows for exceptionally low fees, which is why it is ideally suited to instant micropayments.

The most crucial benefit of the lightning network, however, is its ability to cross blockchains. This will allow for cross blockchain atomic swaps without trust in a 3rd party. This feature means that the lightning network would also need to be available on that coin too, something that could be a reality with Bitcoin should the coin pull off its UASF to enable Segwit. We live in exciting times.

Do you believe the rumors? Should UASF be activated on Bitcoin or should Litecoin take the lead? Let us know in the comments.


Images courtesy of Twitter, AdobeStock, Reddit

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Čvn 12

5 Companies Set to Profit From The Cryptocurrency Gold Rush

· June 12, 2017 · 12:00 pm

Nvidia, AMD, Intel and Micron as makers of hardware mining tools, such as GPUs and ASIC-based mining solutions, are tapped to profit the most from the new internet gold rush.


Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s Off To Work We Go

As the price of Bitcoin rises it has the knock-on effect of causing a rise in the rest of the cryptocurrency market with most other altcoins also seeing sizeable gains in value. These coins can be “mined” with a graphics card and are usually exchanged for Bitcoin, turning a good profit for miners.

Heigh Ho Heigh Ho Its Off to Work We Go

Specialty online mining pools such as multipool.us pool together the hashing power of individual miners and automatically choose the most profitable altcoin to mine, switching to other coins as the price dictates. In the past, electricity costs could negate actual profit from GPU mining, but with the overall rise in value of the cryptocurrency market as a whole, the situation has once again changed.

In a Gold Rush Sell Shovels

AMD has been in the news recently because their high-end gaming cards are sold out due to their mining ability. The company has seen big stock gains this year, rising in tandem with Bitcoin as their graphics cards are the most efficient when it comes to mining protocols. This has caused anger and controversy among gamers, AMD GPUs’ key market. The unavailability of the best cards has driven up prices, sending potential customers to their rivals, Nvidia, who have also been seeing gains this year.

GPU manufacturers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the current boom either. ASIC manufacturers such as Bitmain, who sell Antminers, have been seeing increased attention. ASICs are specialist circuits optimized for performing a single function, in this case, mining Bitcoin.

Other beneficiaries include memory chip manufacturer Micron Technology Inc., whose share prices have increased by nearly 50% this year. Intel is jumping on the bandwagon as well, maneuvering to compete with AMD with their own currently integrated graphics solutions.

Have you started up your mining rigs again? Are there other companies set to profit from the new gold rush? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Google Finance, AdobeStock

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Čvn 10

AML: US Rules Would Force Declaration Of Crypto At Borders

· June 10, 2017 · 11:00 am

An update to US anti-money laundering (AML) legislation currently going through Congress would oblige travelers to declare digital currency at the border.


AML Rules Target $10k+ Crypto Holdings

S. 1241, a new bill sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley, proposes adding the terms ‘digital currency’ and ‘prepaid access devices’ to existing list of financial items subject so such AML procedures.

It would also include reference to “any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency.”

Ostensibly designed to prevent trafficking of funds over $10,000 in value, the resulting powers given to border authorities could be nonetheless considerably more sweeping than at present.

United States Congress

While it is unclear how those arriving in the US would be screened for digital currency holdings, the Bill makes provision for a report to be commissioned ironing out the finer points.

The text states:

Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shall submit to Congress a report—

(1) detailing a strategy to interdict and detect prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments, at border crossings and other ports of entry for the United States; and

(2) that includes an assessment of infrastructure needed to carry out the strategy detailed in paragraph […]

Coin Center ‘Reaching Out’ For Debate

The Bitcoin community is already reacting with caution to the legislation as it stands, with multiple questions being raised as to how lawmakers could enforce it in practice.

“We’re reaching out to the relevant offices,” Coin Center CEO Jerry Brito said in a Twitter response.

EU Focuses On Dark Web, ID Linking

The move is reminiscent of similar plans across the pond in the European Union regarding declaration of digital currency funds, this time at the point of spend.

While border controls are not currently on the table, legislators are keen to enforce similar AML controls on anyone holding any form of virtual funds.

Formally revealed in March, users could soon face obligatory linking of their personal identity to their wallet.

AML could force linking users' ID to their digital wallets

More recently, a joint “consortium” by the European Commission, INTERPOL and others will research ways in which illicit use of the dark web can be curbed. Participants promise that:

“The consortium will analyze legal and ethical requirements and define guidelines for storing and processing data, information, and knowledge involved in criminal investigations without compromising citizen privacy,” participants promise.

What do you think about the Bill being considered by Congress? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia, Shutterstock

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