Dub 12

These 4 Cryptocurrencies Saw The Most ‘Adoption’ in 2018

Weiss Crypto Ratings says despite the 2018 bear market, there was a considerable uptick in the usage of altcoins. The rating agency says this trend points to the increasing level of cryptocurrency adoption for many users across the globe.


Cryptocurrency Sees Transactions Soar in 2018

According to a blog post published by the agency on Wednesday (April 10, 2019), four altcoin projects saw massive growth in user adoption throughout 2018. Meanwhile, at the time, market prices were plummeting by an average of 80 percent across the board.

EOS transaction volume grew from 7,000 per day to about 4.6 million per day between February 2018 and March 2019. Tron, also saw its own count increase from 3,000 to 1.9 million during the same period.

The other two cryptocurrency projects identified by Weiss Ratings – BitShares and WAX, saw their numbers grow to 1.1 million and 4.4 million transactions per day, respectively.

In total, these four altcoin projects experienced a 2,700 percent increase in daily transaction count, growing from 433,000 transactions in February 2018 to more than 12.4 million as at March 2019.

According to Weiss Ratings, this increased adoption in the face of bear market conditions parallels the trend observed during the dot-com era. The agency expects that developments in the technology will lead to a greater cryptocurrency adoption in the near future.

Not All Transactions Are Equal

However, it is important to note that high transaction count doesn’t necessarily equate to meaningful value transfer. Moreover, transacting on the aforementioned top-four blockchains, in particular, costs very little. Therefore, it may be a poor metric to gauge mass adoption as most of this activity may not actually be economic in nature and/or performed by real users.

EOS’s daily transaction count, for example, outstrips Bitcoin by as much as 14 times. However, Bitcoin value transferred dwarfs every other existing blockchain.

Earlier this week, cryptocurrency analyst Ceteris Paribus highlighted that while Bitcoin processes 20 times more USD transactions that EOS despite having only about seven percent of the latter’s transaction count. Additionally, Bitcoin’s metrics do not include second-layer transactions via the Lightning Network.

Weiss Ratings does acknowledge this fact, saying:

Of course, not all transactions are qualitatively the same. A $10 million Bitcoin transfer is obviously more important than a simple vote or ‘like’ on Steem.

According to Weiss Ratings, other essential metrics like security, network capacity, and developer activity have also increased over the last 12 months. Coupled with the lower prices, the agency believes that altcoins are on their way to gaining greater traction in the finance and technology industries.

As reported by Bitcoinist, an online Twitter poll by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that many people Bitcoin and other cryptos will become mainstream within the next five years.

What are your earliest forecast for Bitcoin and other cryptos becoming mainstream? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Images via Weiss Crypto Ratings and Twitter (@ceterispar1bus)

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Dub 05

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Clashes With Bitcoin-Basher ‘Dr. Doom’

Perennial Bitcoin basher and anti-cryptocurrency campaigner, Nouriel Roubini and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin had a heated debate at the second edition of the Deconomy blockchain event in Seoul, South Korea.


Broken Record: Roubini Has Nothing New to Say

Nouriel ‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini – a New York University economics professor regurgitated his old hits, calling cryptocurrency a bubble and saying that it was only useful to criminals and tax evaders looking to launder money with virtual currencies as the “New Swiss bank.”

However, having made the above assertions, Roubini then goes on to say:

I don’t think crypto payments for criminal activity is going be the future of it. They’re not anonymous and even for cryptos that try to be anonymous like Monero, kleptocratic governments will make sure your wallet is registered.

Dr. Doom also relived some other hits like price manipulation claims, pump and dump schemes, exchange hacks as well as ICO fraud as reasons why cryptocurrencies are worthless. Roubini debunked the assertion that virtual currencies represented an emerging financial system, instead, calling them an inefficient barter system that will never overcome the “trilemma of decentralization, security, and scalability.”

Dr. Doom v Vitalik Buterin Cryptocurrency Debate

In response, Buterin countered Roubini on many of his claims especially regarding the anonymity of cryptos providing cover for criminal activities. According to the Ethereum co-founder, any convenience  offered by cryptocurrencies as a payment means is enjoyed by all; whether for “unconventional activities” or otherwise.

Buterin: ‘There Are Definetely Some Real Concerns’

Buterin also chided Roubini’s skewered criticism which fails to take into account the many benefits of cryptocurrency adoption. The Ethereum co-founder pointed to the convenience of making international payments via virtual currency, as well as, the added benefit of cryptocurrencies being censorship-resistant.

As for the perceived inefficiencies in the technology, Buterin highlighted the continuous stream of technological advancements currently ongoing in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. Commenting on cryptocurrency trilemma, Buterin opined:

There are definitely some real concerns but they’re an artifact of the tech as it exists in 2019, rather than inherent. The trilemma didn’t come with mathematical proofs. It is not impossible to have scalability and decentralization and security.

Facts Trump Sentiments When It Comes to Cryptocurrency

Some of Roubini’s criticisms come from a lack of understanding of the technology

Nocoiners like Roubini present Bitcoin to be this shadowy construct that allows criminals to carry out illegal activities with ease. However, the facts say differently.

Japan’s National Police Agency earlier in the year revealed that 98.3 percent of all recorded money laundering cases in the country for 2018 didn’t involve cryptocurrency. Intelligence agencies still report that terrorists have trouble adopting cryptocurrency to fund jihadist activities.

Danske Bank

Meanwhile, major banks like Danske Bank get indicted for money laundering to the tune of $325 billion. As reported by Bitcoinist, anti-Bitcoin banks have paid more than $240 billion in fines for money laundering indictments since the financial crisis of 2008.

Warren Buffett is another Bitcoin basher who has previously called the top-ranked cryptocurrency “rat poison.” Never mind that Berkshire Hathaway (owned by Buffett) has a ten percent stake in Wells Fargo, a bank with 93 violations and more than $14 billion in penalty fines.

Do you still pay attention to the opinions of nocoiners like Roubini? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives, Twitter (@DecentralizedF and @inside_r3)

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Dub 03

Elon Musk ‘Resigns’ as Dogecoin CEO After Price Soars 30%

Dogecoin has become the unexpected new champion of the sudden cryptocurrency bull market which gripped the industry this week – thanks to Elon Musk.


Musk Pets ‘Pretty Cool’ DOGE

In a series of surprising yet distinctly familiar tweets, Musk, who has hinted at his alleged fondness of Dogecoin, said the meme-based cryptocurrency was his “favorite” and described it as “pretty cool.”

Another post claimed Dogecoin “rules (sic),” while Musk also linked to an article about the current market from fake news outlet The Onion, commenting that “Dogecoin value may vary.”

All appearing April 2, it remains unknown whether Musk had a specific purpose in his advocacy, or whether the episode was simply a delayed reaction to an April Fools Day contribution by Dogecoin itself.

On Monday, developers had published a Twitter survey asking users to name a fictitious ‘CEO’ of the cryptocurrency, itself a long-running community in-joke.

Musk, who ‘competed’ for the position with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee and Metal Payments CEO Marshall Hayner, easily won the run-off and inherited the title. However, from his Twitter account information, it appears he has already quit.

Three Tweets, One Big Pump

Regardless, the effect on Dogecoin was immediate and decisive: as of press time, the altcoin had made daily gains against the US dollar of almost 35 percent.

DOGE/USD currently trades around $0.0033, its highest since early November.

Elon Musk quickly gained the attention of the cryptocurrency community on Twitter, with traders extrapolating potential endorsement of the wider industry beyond DOGE.

Tuesday’s gains meanwhile were not enough to put DOGE back into the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap, with some other well-known assets delivering stronger returns.

Those included Bitcoin Cash, which advanced 45 percent over the past day, and Augur, which managed 34 percent.

When Bitcoin?

While previously publishing pro-DOGE tweets, Musk’s latest entry builds on momentum which has bound him to the crypto world in recent months.

Specifically, since February, a community effort has sought to involve the Tesla CEO in Lightning Torch, a transaction relay on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.

As Bitcoinist reported, the ongoing event has seen major publicity and participation from figures including Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. Despite pleas, however, Musk has so far refrained from following suit.

Last September, Musk had recruited Dogecoin’s creator, Jackson Palmer, to help him combat the problem of scam bots infecting Twitter, a problem which persists for many.

Palmer provided Musk with a script, revealing they had held offline discussions about the issue.

“…We had a good chat on how (Dorsey) and the Twitter team should definitely automate and fix this problem on their end,” he tweeted.

What do you think about Elon Musk’s Dogecoin propaganda? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Dub 02

Augur Prediction Market Platform May Have Design Flaws

An analysis of irregularities discovered in the Augur decentralized prediction market platform has identified a number of design flaws. Namely, it identified a potential attack vector based on discrepancies between a market’s expiry date and its outcome date.


How A Prediction Market Works

A prediction market would seem an ideal use-case for blockchain, harnessing the trustless nature and lack of centralized control. Augur uses the Ethereum blockchain, and allows an individual to create a prediction market based on any definable event.

The market creator defines the topic, end date, and potential outcomes, plus an adjudicator if so desired. Trading (denominated in ETH) continues until the event-end, at which point Augur token holders (or designated reporter) determines the outcome. Token holders stake their Reputation (REP) on the outcome and receive settlement fees.

Houston, We Have A Problem (or Two)

Aside from potentially-illegal markets, covering topics such as assassinations and terror attacks, there are some key fundamental issues.

Owing to its steep learning curve, many Augur users rely on various web interfaces, which offer non-standard features and are open to manipulation. In particular, many users gravitate towards markets which appear trustworthy to others. This creates a feeding-frenzy around the few markets with reported volume, which the market creator may well have manipulated.

Disputed outcomes go to a voting procedure, with users staking REP, and receiving rewards if they choose the winning outcome. This incentivises users to vote for the most popular outcome, regardless of whether it is the true outcome. On top of this, the validity bond, which is lost if a market is deemed invalid, remains fixed, so bad actors can continual create bogus markets.

Potential Attack Vector

A recent example of how this system can be manipulated, was based on the ‘general price of Ethereum’ at the end of the day on March 31st (UTC). The market expired at 01:59 on April 1st (UTC+8), which is before the outcome date, which could cause this contract to be deemed invalid.

By creating multiple outcomes, one of which was unrealistic (ETH over $1000), and one seemingly easy to achieve (ETH between $100 and $1000), it just required a bit of wash-trading to lure punters in.

The attacker would then send a limit sell order for the ‘easy’ outcome, for a quote which is above the reward for an invalid result, but below that of a supposed ‘good deal’. Thus users will fill the order, unknowingly being potentially stuck in an invalid market.

An invalid market results in an equal amount of ETH going to shares of each outcome. In a three outcome market (the final outcome being ETH < $100), each outcome would be marked at 1/3 value. With the majority of participants backing the ‘easy’ outcome, a disproportion return would go to the ‘unrealistic’ backers.

Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Comes In

Whilst Augur has already identified several of the concerns, there has been no official announcement of improvement implementation. Meanwhile, users are still exposed to this kind of attack.

Indeed, the same creator has already made a new market with the same flaw called ‘Ethereum Price at End of April’. There are also copycat markets springing up to catch users unawares.

Until these flaws are fixed, users should probable consider Augur, ‘buyer beware’.

Will blockchain-based predictions markets realize their potential? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Bře 29

Hong Kong Wants STO Investing To Be Reserved for the Super Rich

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) will no longer let its citizens invest in STOs–unless they have at least $1 million.


STOs for ‘Professional Investors’ Only in Hong Kong

In what they call a move to protect investors, Hong Kong’s financial watchdog clarified its position on STOs yesterday. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) reminded investors that digital assets are still highly risky. This means they should be in the realm of ‘professional investors’ only.

To be clear, it doesn’t matter if savvy investors have made the right call on the market or sharpened their trading skills. If they don’t have a portfolio of at least $1 million (HK $8 million), STOs are off the table for them.

The announcement comes after the SFC launched its regulatory sandbox for cryptocurrency companies in November 2018. In a statement on Thursday, the SFC said that security tokens fall into the same category as securities, which meant that they were subject to the same existing laws.

Foreign Entities Can No Longer Freely Target Hong Kong Investors

The latest crackdown on STOs, which have become a compliant replacement to ICOs in just about every corner of the world, is not limited to companies based in the region. According to the SFC statement, anyone marketing or distributing security tokens targeting Hong Kong investors must obtain a local license.

Moreover, digital asset providers must comply with three key requirements laid out by the SFC. They must restrict their offerings to professional investors only. They must provide clear and comprehensive investment advice and guidelines, and must encourage investors to carry out their own due diligence.

If they fail to do this, they will either lose their license or trigger “disciplinary action” from the financial watchdog. According to the statement:

It is a criminal offence for any person to engage in regulated activities without a licence unless an exemption applies.

SFC: Not an Outright Ban But Almost as Bad

ICOs are all but dead. This time last year, ICOs raised $1.74 billion. This year the figure is bearly making the chart at just $46 million.

STOs have emerged as a more secure and regulated way to invest in cryptocurrency companies. Unlike ICOs, they bear most of the hallmarks of IPOs, depending on the jurisdiction.

However, even in the United States, with its 70-year-old rules, not all STOs are reserved for the super wealthy. Hong Kong may not be outright banning STOs like mainland China. But they’re moving a step further to strangling innovation here–and leaving retail investors at the gates.

Should and will STOs be reserved for wealthy investors? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Bře 05

Binance CEO: No Profit-Sharing With Users Due To BNB Security Status

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance will not share profits with holders of its in-house token due to regulatory hurdles.


‘You Don’t Want That’

That was the decision from CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ), who shed light on the issue during an informal social media Q&A session on March 4 hosted by UK-based trading platform eToro.

Asked whether the exchange, which has seen phenomenal success in its short lifespan, would recycle its profits back to investors in its Binance Coin (BNB) token, Zhao said the drawbacks outweighed any advantages.

“No, that would make (BNB) a security, and you don’t want that,” he responded to an eToro user on Twitter.

As with Binance more generally, BNB has seen its value soar as the cryptocurrency is used, among other things, to offer discounts to traders on fees.

Currently the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, BNB has so far avoided the issue of securities regulation in countries such as the US — where the topic has become a major talking point in the face of shifting regulatory stances.

As Bitcoinist reported, an ongoing debate over whether the number-three cryptoasset, Ripple’s XRP, is a security has long enveloped industry commentators.

binance coin BNB

Exchanges Dodging Bullets

Zhao’s desire to avoid any exposure to potential securities rules thus speaks to a broader trend among cryptocurrency exchanges to circumvent jumping through unnecessary regulatory hurdles.

Platforms such as Bittrex— like Binance’s expansion to multiple overseas jurisdictions — have, at the same time, sought to segregate the US and non-US traders by offering different tokens on each with an eye to simplifying regulatory obligations and minimizing complications.

BNB, meanwhile, continues to attract attention beyond the question of security status. As Bitcoinist reported, Zhao himself described a report analyzing its value last month as “almost scary” in its thoroughness.

Authored by Kyle Samani of Multicoin Capital, the report concluded the token’s value is underrated. BNB/USD currently trades around $11.50, with the pair’s all-time high in January 2018 reaching just under $25.

What do you think about Binance’s position on profit-sharing? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Úno 27

Did Ripple Pay Coinbase to Break Its Own Policy and List XRP?

As XRP trading went fully live on Coinbase Pro, a new report outlines that the cryptocurrency exchange has violated its very own listing framework. 


Coinbase Breaching Its Own Rules

XRP trading went live on Coinbase Pro on February 25th. Formerly known as GDAX, the platform provides traders with more advanced features compared to the regular one known as just Coinbase.

Naturally, the price of XRP 00 surged following the announcement, gaining over 10 percent on the news.

A new report by Diar, however, points out that Coinbase Pro has breached its very own listing policies in order to include XRP in its trading portfolio.

According to GDAX’s Digital Asset Framework, one of the considerations Coinbase evaluates prior to listing a new cryptocurrency is team ownership. More specifically, the document reads:

The ownership stake retained by the team is a minority stake.

Diar, on the other hand, argues that Ripple “holds nearly 60% of the supply in escrow with a release schedule.”

It’s also worth noting in January, cryptocurrency data company Messari issued a report suggesting that Ripple may be overstating the digital token’s real market cap by as much as 47 percent.

Was the Listing Paid For?

Meanwhile, investor and entrepreneur as well as popular Bitcoin proponent, Alistair Milne, revealed a conversation between him and Elliot Suthers, Director of Communications at Coinbase.

Milne asked the high ranked official about the amount of XRP Ripple paid to Coinbase in return for the listing, what are the selling restrictions on that amount, and whether Coinbase has consulted with the SEC/CFTC whether it’s “OK to sell a security.”

What followed was an ambiguous lack of confirmation or denial:

“Happy to discuss this off the record, but we’re not discussing publicly,” said Suthers.

Do you think Ripple has paid Coinbase for its XRP listing? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Led 15

XRP Overtakes Ethereum Despite Looming ‘Constantinople’ Upgrade

XRP has reclaimed the position of the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap from ETH just days before Ethereum’s ‘Constantinople’ hard-fork upgrade. 


Pre-Fork Drop

On January 16th, Ethereum is scheduled to undergo a network-wide system update called ‘Constantinople’. Among other things, the implementation of the upgrade will reduce the block reward from 3 ETH/block to 2 ETH/block.

Days before the event, however, Ethereum’s (ETH) 00 price experienced a notable decline.

In a matter of minutes, ETH price dropped by about 8 percent.

The movement caused ETH to fall behind Ripple (XRP), which reclaimed its spot as the second largest cryptocurrency by means of market capitalization, less than two weeks after Ethereum regained the number two spot from XRP.

In fact, the two have been neck and neck over the past few months in cryptocurrency market cap rankings.

XRP 00 also experienced a decrease around the same time, but the cryptocurrency experienced a relatively smaller loss of 2.5 percent against the USD.

Ethereum’s ‘Constantinople’

Constantinople is a system upgrade scheduled for implementation at block 7,080,000. Given the current average block time, the event should take place on January 16th, 2019.

One of the most discussed changes that the upgrade will cause is the reduction of block reward from the current 3 ETH/block to 2 ETH/block. This is also referred to as the “thirdening.” It’s the second time Ethereum’s block rewards have been reduced.

The first one was called “Byzantium” and it took place on October 16th, 2017. Back then, ETH surged by about 6 percent during the day, followed by the cryptocurrency’s late 2017 rally to an all-time high of about $1,400.

In total, the upgrade will integrate 5 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), which are geared toward tackling cost, speed, functionality, and mining issues.

Support For ‘Constantinople’

Several cryptocurrency exchanges have announced their support for the upcoming network upgrade.

Binance, HitBTC, Huobi, Bittrex, OKEx, CEX.IO, Cryptopia, and Poloniex, have all announced that they will support the Constantinople hard-fork.

Most of them advise users to give sufficient time for their deposits to be processed prior to the upgrade.

At the time of writing this, Gemini, Coinbase, and Bitfinex, haven’t yet declared their support for the upgrade.

What do you think about Constantinople and its impact on Ethereum? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock; TradingView

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Led 06

Seized Monero Up For Auction In UK First

An auction house in Northern Ireland is holding the UK’s first live online auction of seized cryptocurrency. The sale, of 167.69 monero coins will start at midday tomorrow (GMT).


First Sale Through Private Auction House

Wilsons Auctions, of Newtownabbey, have arranged the sale, which will allow participants to view the live price and place bids online. While governments across the world have held similar sales, this is the first by an independent auction house. A UK law enforcement agency seized the coins under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The monero (XMR) 00 in the auction comes in 10 lots of 16.769 XMR, which each have a market value of around £670 (US$850). However the first lot also comes with a private key to claim various fork coins. These include 167 Monero Classic, 167 Monero Original, 167 Monero O, and 1670 Monero V

Each Lot will time out in 2-minute intervals with the first lot ending at 12 noon.

The First Of Many

This will be the first in a series of auctions over the coming weeks. It is unclear how the privacy-focused coin was seized by the authorities but Wilsons recently won a contract with the Belgium Federal Government’s Asset Management Office. Under the contract, Wilsons will support investigators in Belgium and facilitate the secure seizure and storage of cryptocurrencies.

In addition, Wilsons claim to be working with over 40 government and law enforcement agencies, both nationally and internationally. Aidan Larkin, head of asset recovery at the company, told the Belfast Telegraph:

Following huge investment into our systems and infrastructure, we are able to offer government and law enforcement agencies throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally a secure solution so that the ever-increasing problem of seized cryptocurrencies can be managed by an auction company with significant experience dealing with seized assets.

Will the winning bid be above or below market spot price? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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Led 05

Weiss Ratings 2019 Prediction: Bitcoin Will Reach a New All-Time High

A new year means more speculative cryptocurrency predictions. Many predictions last year didn’t envisage the enormous bear market that characterized the year, with Bitcoin dropping more than 80 percent. Weiss Ratings has published its outlook for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2019.


Increased Adoption and New ATH for Bitcoin

According to Weiss Ratings, 2019 will herald increased adoption for Bitcoin. The international rating agency expects more people to consider the top-ranked cryptocurrency as a store of value. The expected result is BTC firmly establishing its status as digital gold.

The forecast report also suggested that BTC price 00 could reach a new all-time high (ATH) in 2019. This prediction comes from the apparent cyclical nature of Bitcoin price action with major bear market declines followed by new ATH.

Back in December, Bitcoinist reported on the call by Weiss Ratings that prices reached a low enough level for investors to load up on BTC.

2019: Year of the XRP Flippening?

Weiss Ratings also predicts a significant year for XRP 00 especially in its pursuit of cornering the global payment ecosystem. While identifying the progress made by XRP and Stellar, the rating agency highlighted XRP as having the potential to compete with SWIFT.

Ripple spent most of 2018 extending its network of applications related to the banking sector, inking partnerships along with way.

For Weiss Ratings, XRP could on the back of increased utility displace BTC from its perch at the top of the cryptocurrency market capitalization chart. For a brief period in 2018, XRP overtook Ethereum as the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

This forecast represents a shift for Weiss Ratings given that in 2018, the agency said BTC would lose 50 percent of its market share to Ethereum. Indeed, most of the talk about the “flippening” has almost always been about Ethereum upstaging Bitcoin. However, the decline in the ICO arena seems to have negatively impacted such a possibility.

Mixed Bag for Altcoins in 2019

As far as the rest of the altcoin market goes, Weiss Ratings predicts a mixed bag of fortune with some rising to prominence and others fade into obscurity. The rating agency says “BTC-like” coins like Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are destined to fail due to the absence of innovative use-cases for such cryptocurrencies.

On the other hand, projects like EOS and Cardano will usher in a paradigm shift in Internet technology, giving birth to Web 3.0. Also, Weiss envisages a shakeup in the top ten rankings with new entrants such as Holochain and Hedera Hashgraph.

Do you agree with the predictions mentioned above? What are your cryptocurrency forecasts for the new year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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