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Updated: 15 min 43 sec ago

Bitcoin Fees Have Become Infeasible

1 hour 4 min ago



In 2013, one bitcoin cost $20. In 2017, it costs $20 to send one bitcoin. With record highs, thriving adoption, and media attention, this should be a celebratory time for bitcoin believers. And yet it’s hard to shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right. How did we reach a point where the world’s bank killer and Western Union crippler has become incapable of taking on the institutions it once sneered at? Bitcoin is hot as hell right now. But it’s also a mess.

Also read: Bitpay Plans to Use Bitcoin Cash for Payment Invoices and Debit Loads

Bitcoin Fees Have Become Infeasible

By any reckoning, 2017 has been a phenomenal year for bitcoin. Even the currency’s most ardent supporters would have struggled, 12 months ago, to predict the current state of affairs. But neither could they have envisaged, in their worst nightmares, it costing upwards of $20 to transfer a fraction of a coin. To chalk this year up as an unfettered success story calls for moving the goalposts and performing mental gymnastics. Bitcoin has made great leaps alright. It’s just unfortunate that not all of them have been forwards.

“Whaddya mean bro? Bitcoin fees are fine.”

It can be debated whether Satoshi’s white paper envisioned bitcoin as a P2P settlement for micro-transactions. What can’t be debated is that bitcoin is effectively now unsendable and undependable for anything under a couple of hundred dollars. From the clearnet to the darknet, the conversation is the same: fees have become untenable. Despite this, bitcoin’s most ardent defenders remain in denial.

On some corners of the internet, questioning the gospel of Satoshi and the infallibility of bitcoin is heresy. “I can’t send a friend five dollars without a $15 transaction fee and this is the currency of the future?” raged one Redditor, to which the first three responses on r/bitcoin ran:

  • Change the settings on your wallet?
  • I upvoted you but often the inputs of a transaction increase the cost due to size significantly.
  • There are projects being worked on to lower the transaction fees such as SegWit, Lightening Network, etc. So it will be cheaper, just give it time.

There’s a modicum of truth to these rejoinders, but in the here and now, “muh segwit” or “just wait for LN” isn’t much help.

Everyone has their price, a dollar figure at which they’d be willing to sell bitcoin, and also a figure they’re willing to pay to send it. Paying $20 to transfer $10 million of bitcoin seems reasonable. Paying the same amount to send $100 worth seems ridiculous. Bitcoin has been unsuitable for micro-transactions for some time, but it’s now reaching a stage where it’s unsuitable for mid-sized transactions.

Is bitcoin a store of wealth because that’s its best use case, or has it simply morphed into one because no one can afford to move it?

Don’t Confuse the Newbs

Many of bitcoin’s new investors are of humble means, setting aside $50 a week or whatever they can spare to put into digital currency. “Always store your coins in a wallet you hold the private key for,” they were urged. Now they’re discovering that their only option is to store their bitcoin on an exchange, at least until their holdings reach a level where it’s practical to withdraw to a hardware wallet.

If cryptocurrencies were to be likened to energy sources, bitcoin would be coal: expensive to move and impractical to transport in small quantities. It’s impossible to order a handful of coal every time you want to light a fire: it’s a sackful or nothing. Ethereum (gas) and bitcoin cash (hydro) are the opposite: cheap and on tap.

Coal does have one thing in its favor though – longevity. In cryptocurrency terms, bitcoin is a veritable fossil. It’s been there from the start and, thanks to its market dominance, brand recognition, and capital locked in, will be extremely hard to destroy. Scaling solutions will probably arrive, and transaction fees will eventually drop, though quite when is anyone’s guess. The question is if those solutions will arrive in time. Until then, bitcoin will continue to serve as coal fueling the furnace on the runaway Cryptocurrency Express: an indispensable hot mess.

What do you think is the solution to high fees? And what measures have you been taking to mitigate rising fees? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com.



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Divorce is Messy – Especially When You Own Bitcoin

2 hours 6 min ago



It ain’t easy owning bitcoin. Back in the day, you could own 50 BTC and nobody cared. But now that the digital currency is actually worth something, everyone wants a piece. Thieves, friends who didn’t listen, the taxman, and, when your marriage breaks down, your spouse. The blockchain might be immutable, but love isn’t. What happens to your bitcoin when you break up?

Also read: Mt Gox Creditors Petition the Court to Get Full Distribution of Bitcoins

Divorce: The Original Hard Fork Dividing up bitcoin wasn’t an issue back in the day.

In most countries, divorce involves an equal division of assets, or at least one that sees both parties walk away with a sizeable chunk. Some assets, like the family dog, can’t easily be split into two, but a bitcoin goes into 100 million parts. What happens to your cryptocurrency when your partner files for divorce? If you thought dying was complicated, you should try getting a divorce.

Divorces don’t happen overnight. Generally they’re the consequence of a gradual breakdown, during which both parties have time to squirrel away assets. That may be immoral (as immoral as the behavior that prompted the divorce), but the practise is as old as marriage itself. Cases abound of husbands pleading poverty by the time the divorce comes to court due to bank accounts that have been mysteriously drained in the months prior, and of wives maxing out credit cards. Now imagine how easy it is for your partner to “give” their bitcoins away to a friend prior to a divorce being finalized.

Coin Split

As we enter an age in which couples’ assets are increasingly digitized and under their own control, dividing them should be simple in theory. Parting with half of one’s cryptocurrency collection doesn’t come easy however. That portfolio may have taken years of careful trading and countless late nights to acquire – exacerbating marital tensions in the process. Progressive males let their wife keep her surname and give up half their crypto come the divorce. Patriarchal oppressors put it all in monero and deny everything.

All joking aside, there is evidence of bitcoin being used to squirrel away assets in anticipation of a divorce. It’s a tactic which the men’s rights movement has supposedly endorsed, and it’s a hard one to counter. If a spouse were to plead that they had gambled away all their cryptocurrency or lost it on a scamcoin, who’s to prove otherwise?

No One Wants to Divorce in a Bull Market

The prospect of a cryptocurrency divorce raises some intriguing questions. Is your spouse due 50% of your assets based on their purchase price or their current market price? Could a recalcitrant partner be forced to hand over their digital assets? And if your partner were to offer you either a lump sum or 10% of their crypto gains for the next five years, what would choose?

Two Can Token

In an era where there are token sales for banana chips and 3D shoe fitting, it seems odd that there’s not been an ICO for smart contract-powered divorce. Joining the presale for a prenup platform may sound ridiculous, but there are weirder ERC20 tokens out there. If any entrepreneurs are interested, the Divorc.io domain and NUP token both appear to be unclaimed.

There’s a genuine use case for a token here, one in which the value of both real-world and digital assets (house, car, bitcoin) is represented by a corresponding number of tokens. These are locked in a multi-sig wallet which requires three keys to be unlocked, one of which resides with an attorney. Spouses cheat and love withers but cryptography never fails.

Would you give up half your bitcoins in the event of a divorce? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tired of those other forums on the subject of Bitcoin? Check forum.Bitcoin.com.



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The Most Pointless Cryptocurrency Tokens Ever Invented

3 hours 10 min ago



Just as Satoshi’s vision wasn’t 1,000 bitcoin forks, the vision of ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin wasn’t to decentralize the parenting industry. This year, an avalanche of ridiculous ERC20 tokens have been issued that take vaporware to the next level. From bananas on the blockchain to smart contract-based tombstones, these are the most pointless cryptocurrency tokens ever issued.

Also read: The World’s Worst Named Cryptocurrencies

Yo Dawg I Heard You Like Tokens

ICO Alert is a goldmine of ridiculous token-based projects, and by “goldmine” read “excruciating well of despair”. There aren’t enough facepalms to include all of the inane and insane tokenized offerings to be found on its pages. To save you from plummeting down that rabbit hole never to return, we’ve done the dirty work for you and rounded up a small selection from Token Hell.

Speaking of dirty work, the first entry on our list is Dirty Coin, a “fast and discreet way to pleasure”. Its white paper (oh yes, it has a white paper) begins, without a trace of irony:

In an atmosphere of increasing belief in quick profits, currencies that rely on gimmicks for their success are then abandoned. Dirty Coin will be the first cryptocurrency used for the Adult Industry, the Escort Industry and for means of pleasure.

As an antidote to all that filth, have Prayer Token, “sent to god and stored on the blockchain”. It’s an ERC23 token that’s backed by real prayer. “I don’t know if prayer works, but if it does, then you’re getting much more value out of a Prayer Token than almost every other token in existence,” its creator implores. “This is not a joke, scam, or grift. I will pray for you as honestly and sincerely as possible. Most other tokens on the market just want your money – I want to save your soul!”

Tokenize All The Things

Imigize is the “first online 3D shoe fitting service in the world”, a claim which comes as a complete surprise. In comparison, Useless Ethereum Token looks positively useful. It’s “a standard ERC20 token, so you can hold it and transfer it. Other than that… nothing. Absolutely nothing.” That didn’t stop it from raising $40,000 in its ICO.

Operating under the slogan “Someone’s Garbage is Someone’s Treasure!” comes Trash Cash. It’s “the ultimate cryptocurrency to exchange all the garbage dumped in your wallet into a single token which can be traded in exchanges…now you can keep all the trash in one place”.

Then we have Sand Coin, a token for ordering high quality sand. Funds will be used to develop a sand quarry near Moscow. There’s also Milk Coin, another Russian token designed to raise funds for a milk production complex. Dentacoin is the world’s first blockchain project for the dentistry industry, Kevin (KVT) is “an innovative online banking service” and Cooocoin (count those o’s) is so bad it unironically uses comic sans on its website.

Maxitube is a robotized transport system for goods delivery. Apparently an “electric locomotive” will deliver goods to your address. Dopameme is a dank decentralized website where you’re rewarded for posting memes and The Memessenger is “the world’s first no-bullshit messenger with memes instead of words”. Sometimes there really are no words.

Choking On Tokens and Drowning in Decentralization

Satoshi Brewery is issuing a token to set up the largest regional craft brewery in north-west Russia and Florio is “the first blockchain based health platform that actually enables everybody to live healthy”, although how is never made clear. Exotown, meanwhile, is a reptile breeding program that specializes in selective breeding of pet reptiles and saving endangered species. Proof that the ICO game really is full of snakes.

Rexpax lets you “lend, borrow and share items with your neighbors”, but at the last check had sold just 220,000 of its 190 million Rexx tokens. More like Rekt, amirite? Without a blockchain-based lending service, how’s anyone meant to borrow a cup of sugar from their neighbor now?

Family Points is a token designed “to disrupt the parenting industry in order to make it safer, more convenient, and more transparent for everyone involved. The Family Points platform will make parenting cheaper.”

“Disrupt the parenting industry”?

Finally, we have Tombcare:

Today different applications have appeared for many spheres of life…taxi, food ordering, hotels booking, housing rent, etc. But the sphere of ceremonial services is still left in the basket. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is often associated with sad circumstances, but the fact is that it is the billions of dollars market and its Uberisation is inevitable.

Uber for tombstones? That sound you just heard was your ancestors turning in their graves.

Most of the aforementioned ICOs are still running, incidentally, so if you hate money, you should probably invest in them.

And that’s enough internet for today.

What’s the worst token-based project you’ve heard of? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Need to know the price of bitcoin? Check this chart.



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Report Alleges North Korean Hacking Group’s Involvement in Phishing scam

3 hours 40 min ago


According to a report by the US cybersecurity firm SecureWorks released on December 15, 2017, Lazarus, the North Korean hacking group, may be plotting to launch a widespread attack targeting top personalities in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. At this time, it appears as if the payload will be delivered through authentic-looking emails loaded with attachments containing malware, but that may change in the near future. In general, malware-laden emails are not rare and typically known as phishing attempts.

SecureWorks said that it had been monitoring one such phishing attempt in October 2017 when a group of malicious emails was sent out, containing a compromised link for a job application at a London-based cryptocurrency company. If an unsuspecting user clicked on such a link, malware would be downloaded and installed on their computer, giving the hackers full control and the ability to upload a copy of their data.

SecureWorks’ Counter Threat Unit (CTU) went on to state that with the rising prices of major cryptocurrencies, it is likely that North Korean interest in them is at an all-time high and any related activities will not cease anytime soon.

Lazarus, the hacking group in question, is suspected of being responsible for several major cybercrime incidents, including the infamous 2014 Sony hack, that was rumored to be spurred by the release of “The Interview,” a film depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Given that the average North Korean citizen has no real access to the internet, it has been long speculated that Lazarus maintains deep ties with the North Korean government. Furthermore, it may not be outlandish for them to be colluding, especially since the regime has shown a tendency to spy on other countries, among other clandestine activities.

A recent report from a South Korean spy agency also revealed North Korea’s possible involvement in several intrusions affecting cryptocurrency exchanges throughout 2017. An estimated $7 million worth of bitcoin and ether have been siphoned off as a result of these hacks. In addition to that, over 30,000 South Korean identities were also stolen, leading further credence to the theory that North Korea hackers could be responsible.

South Korea currently accounts for a large percentage of the global cryptocurrency trading volume. At the time of writing, Bithumb, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, accounts for seven to eight percent of all bitcoin trades within the past 24 hours. Compared to exchanges that offer services to Americans, such as Coinbase’s GDAX, Bithumb’s trade volume is significantly higher and almost double at times. When you combine the geographical proximity and resulting political tension between the two Korean nations, the motivation for these hacks becomes evident.

Surprisingly, North Korean involvement in bitcoin goes back several years, even as early as 2013 when IP addresses belonging to computers linked to previous cyber attacks were discovered experimenting with the cryptocurrency. A SecureWorks spokesperson stated that a more detailed, full-fledged report would be published by the company at a later date. Hopefully, we will then be able to estimate better just how much influence North Korea has over the cryptocurrency market.



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Hong Kong Investors Rush to Enter the Bitcoin Markets

4 hours 12 min ago



With bitcoin again dominating headlines, a flood of new money has recently entered the cryptocurrency markets – including from emerging crypto markets such as Hong Kong. Local media outlets are reporting, however, that many new investors may be ill-prepared for the risks associated with cryptocurrency.

Also Read: Japanese Investors Increasingly Switching From Traditional FX Trading to Bitcoin

Bob Laberge, a Canadian in His 50s Living in Hong Kong, Recently Invested in Bitcoin for the First Time

Speaking to South China Morning Post, Mr. Laberge stated that he first invested on November 15th, purchasing $500 USD worth of bitcoin when the price was at approximately $6,600 – despite knowing very little about cryptocurrency at the time. After a fortnight, Mr. Laberge chose to invest “tens of thousands more” into bitcoin, however, and was left in a high state of anxiety due to his chosen bitcoin exchange failing to credit his account for four days.

“The way I dealt with the banks was exactly the mindset when I was getting into bitcoin. For most exchanges it’s very difficult to get in touch with them. The only way to contact people, unlike a bank where you call their number and someone answers in a couple of minutes, is through a support ticket. And if they don’t answer the support ticket you are left hanging and it’s stressful when you’ve got a huge amount of money sitting there.”

Mr. Laberge stated that he will not invest any further capital into bitcoin, despite his investment increasing in value by 70%. “My wife saw that it was going up and she said we should invest more but I said ‘No, let’s not lose our heads.”

The President of the Hong Kong Bitcoin Association, Leo Weese, Has Commented on the Rush of New Investors Entering the Crypto Markets

“There is certainly a big influx of new [bitcoin] users; the price increases give people an incentive to get in as fast as they can,” Mr. Weese stated. “The problem is that people are not making good decisions and they’re not thinking about exactly what it is that they’re investing in and what the risks are.”

Mr. Weese stated that he expects to see the collapse of several “poorly run” Asian cryptocurrency exchanges in future, warning that many investors are inadequately accounting for counterparty risk. “People confuse bitcoin always being around with bitcoin exchanges always being around, but that’s not the case.”

Rapid Growth Poses Challenges to Regulators

Charles Mok, a representative of the IT sector to Hong Kong’s legislative council, has described the booming cryptocurrency sector as posing a number of challenges to regulators. “It puts us in a very uncomfortable situation,” Mr. Mok stated. “On the one hand we want to see an industry developing around cryptocurrency. But on the other hand, I don’t think these kinds of speculative activities … are really conducive to the long-term development of crypto-technology and cryptocurrencies.”

Mr. Mok expressed concerns that should local bitcoin exchanges collapse, that Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) would seek to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. He states that the SFC would likely lack the experience and knowledge required to develop an effective regulatory apparatus for crypto, and could potentially resort to enacting prohibitive policies. Despite Mr. Mok’s concerns, Hong Kong’s financial regulator has not expressed the intention to develop a specialized legislative framework for cryptocurrencies.

On December 11th, the SFC published a document articulating that companies seeking to offer “bitcoin futures contracts and cryptocurrency-related investment products” in Hong Kong are required to adhere to existing regulations defined in the territory’s “Securities and Futures Ordinance.”

What risk management strategies do you employ in the management of your crypto holdings? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.  



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Zilliqa ICO Evaluation

4 hours 43 min ago


The following is an objective review of the Zilliqa project. The review is based on certain criteria, which we think are important for an ICO project to succeed. We measure a successful ICO by short and long term ROI estimation. The following is not financial advice.

Intro

Zilliqa is a new blockchain platform that is designed to scale securely in an open, permission-less distributed network. The idea of the Zilliqa blockchain was conceived in the Computer Science Lab at the University of Singapore, based on a paper written by Lui Loo, the cofounder of Kyber Network.

To date, 870 Dapps (Decentralized apps) are being built on top of the Ethereum Blockchain, aiming to attract millions of users. The current Ethereum Blockchain max transaction rate is approximately 15 transactions per second, which is obviously not enough to handle the expected transaction volume, even if only a few Dapps succeed. This situation is making Dapp developers seek off/on chain solutions.

Recently, Zilliqa launched its private testnet. Their current transaction volume is 2,488 transactions/sec with 3,600 nodes in the network. With Zilliqa, as the number of nodes in the network rises, so does the number of transaction per second. With a network size of 10,000 nodes, Zilliqa will enable a throughput which matches that of VISA and MasterCard with much lower fees for the merchants (expected throughput is approximately 8,000 transactions/sec).

The project is aiming to serve as an alternative, scalable and secure solution for Dapps to be built on.

The team is aiming to launch it’s main-net in Q2, 2018.

Let’s get going with our evaluation!

Core Team

​Xinshu Dong : CEO

A scientist and practitioner in building secure systems, ranging from blockchains to web browsers and applications. He was the technical lead for several national cybersecurity projects in Singapore and holds a PhD from the National University of Singapore.

Prateek Saxena: Chief Scientific Advisor

​An Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore. Together with his PhDs, his lab is actively publishing many blockchain oriented papers. Projects like Dexecure, TrueBit, Smart Pool, Kyber Network and now Zilliqa are based on these papers. He has received several premier awards, including the Top 10 Innovators under 35 (MIT TR35 Asia) in 2017.

Amrit Kumar: Crypto Lead

Amrit is a Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore. He holds a PhD from Université Grenoble-Alpes, France. Prior to his PhD, he obtained an Engineer’s diploma from Ecole Polytechnique, France, where he studied Computer Science and Mathematics. His research interests broadly span security, privacy and applied cryptography.

Advisory Board

Alexander Lipton

​​Founded StrongHold Labs, he is also a Science Fellow at MIT Media Lab and Visiting Professor of Financial Engineering at EPFL. He has had prior experience in management positions at Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and other major financial organizations. Has a PhD from the Moscow State University.

Loi Luu

A researcher working on cryptocurrencies, smart contract security and distributed consensus algorithms. He is also a regular invited speaker at Bitcoin and Ethereum workshops such as Devcon. He founded Kyber Network, a decentralized crypto currency exchange. Kyber Network recently raised 60M USD, and is now valued at approximately 200M USD @ coinmarketcap.

Stuart Prior

Stuart Prior is a Fintech veteran with 20+ years in Corporate and Investment Banking. Stuart specializes in leading corporate banking initiatives for the adoption of blockchain technology and Crypto Finance. Throughout his career he has focused on the development of banking technology applications including Ultra High Frequency / Low Latency trading and the development of large scale data management platforms.​ Over the years he has worked with many of the largest banks in the world, including Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Zilliqa Blockchain- Technical Aspects

Zilliqa project prides itself on being “The world’s first high-throughput public blockchain platform”. High-Throughput Computing or HTC is a way of utilizing computing power by breaking its load into many small loosely-coupled tasks and distributing the workload across a grid of many different computers.

Zilliqa utilizes HTC and uses network sharding – “dividing the mining network into smaller consensus groups called shards, each capable of processing transactions in parallel”, supposedly Zilliqa’s blockchain will process more transactions per second as more mining nodes join the network. This may sound intuitive, but in reality, the greater the number of nodes the greater the processing time.

In order to understand the framework of Zilliqa, one must first understand the general idea of consensus. A consensus in Blockchain is the mechanism in charge of approving new information being appended to the blockchain across all the decentralized nodes, the most common consensus protocol is Proof of work (POW), which is usually referred to as mining.

In high level, the Zilliqa framework is built of two main components:

Shards

An independent group of nodes which are responsible for validating a portion of the transactions. In order to do so, each shard will need to decide on its own consensus. This will be done by another consensus approach named Byzantine Fault Tolerance Algorithm or PBFT protocol. At a high level, for each shard, a leader is selected. This leader will validate a constant amount of transactions and create a new block. Then the block will be validated by the other nodes of the shard. If the vast majority of the nodes in a shard accept the block, it will be addressed to the DS Committee in order for the block to be accepted in the general consensus of the Zilliqa blockchain.

DS Committee

This is a group of nodes that manage the activity of Zilliqa’s framework. We can divide their role into two main parts: Building the general consensus (the Zilliqa general blockchain) and maintenance of the Zilliqa framework.

Building the general consensus

As we mentioned before, each shard is only aware of the transactions that were assigned to it. After some shard has finished creating a new block it is sent to the DS Committee. The DS Committee needs to decide whether to add this block to the general blockchain. This done by executing another process of the PBFT consensus protocol.

Framework maintenance

The DS Committee is also responsible for some general utilities of the framework. For example, when a new transaction is being broadcasted to the Zilliqa network, the DS Committee decides which shard will receive this transaction. Another role of the DS Committee is to assign a new node in the network to its suitable shard.

Zilliqa also utilizes the Proof Of Work consensus approach in their framework. POW is used solely for the purpose of establishing mining identities both for the DS Committee and for the shards.

Roadmap

Dec, 2017: Releasing public testnet v1.0

source code will also be available (public miners can join and test, feedback & bug fixes)

Feb, 2018: Releasing public testnet v1.5 (+Smart Contract Support)

Mar, 2018: Releasing public testnet v2.0

Q2, 2018: Launching Ziliqa public mainnet

Q3, 2018: Releasing dApps

ZIL token use – the fuel of the blockchain

ZILs are the driving force behind the Zilliqa Blockchain, as ETH is for the Ethereum Blockchain.

ZILs are consumed by paying fees to the network nodes. One must hold ZILs in his wallet in order to transfer ZILs or other future tokens to be created on top of the Zilliqa blockchain (Made equivalent to ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, serving hundreds of ICOs each month).

Before Zilliqa main-net goes live, Interim ERC-20 tokens will be generated and allocated to various parties, including contributors of the ICO.

These interim ERC-20 tokens will be issued to the initial holders and be transferable within 2 weeks after the completion of the ICO. They are expected to be migrated to the Zilliqa main-net as ZIL tokens in 2018.

Token Sale

Total Hard cap: 48,889 ETH
Token allocation (21B ZILs): 30% public and private sale, 40% mining rewards, 30% company, team, agencies.
Private sale (44,000 ETH): Finished, oversubscribed.15% bonus (Max).

Public sale (4445 ETH): Date to be announced. Max individual cap – 5 ETH.

Whitelist: KYC via Bitcoin Suisse. The whitelist is closed.

 

Funding Status

The team initially intended to raise a total hard cap of 20M USD (Private sale- ~12M USD, public sale – ~8M USD). Unfortunately (or not ), the ETH/USD price had spiked since the end of ZIllilqa’s private allocation, and the 44,000 ETH raised turned out to be more than 20M USD. The team announced that their public allocation was canceled as they had raised the money needed for future development.

Hearing the voice of their community, the team recently announced that it will raise their hard cap a bit (+4445 ETH) and reopened their public allocation period.

Conclusion

Pros

 

The team and advisory board

The team consists of highly respected PhDs from top universities in the world. The project is on behalf of Prateek Saxena‘s lab at the University of Singapore, which had published award winning papers in the field of cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions.

 

Project potential

With the rising acceptance of blockchain technology, start-ups are not the only ones building their applications on top of the block-chain. Big companies with millions of active users (i.e. Kik, AIG, Unikrn, EnjinCoin and more) are also doing so. There is obviously a demand for a high throughput blockchain infrastructure and Zilliqa is on the right track to achieve that goal. The more Dapps that are developed on the Zilliqa blockchain will lead to a higher transaction volume and a greater consumption of the ZILs tokens. As there a finite number of tokens to ever be created (21B), one must assume that if the Zilliqa platform succeeds, the value of the token will rise.

 

Project Status

Testnet is live with 3,600 Nodes enabling 2,488 transactions/sec (approximately 10-15 times the max transactions/sec on ETH/BTC blockchains). The main-net is to be live on Q2 2018 and Dapps development will start on Q3 2018.

 

Token Mechanism

The hard cap is ~48,445 ETH (Equivalent to ~32M USD at the time of writing), if you follow all top 20 tokens by market cap @ coinmarketcap.com, most of them are projects based on their own blockchain (Not ERC-20 projects) valued from ~1.2B USD (Waves) to ~300B USD (Bitcoin). Their hard cap definitely leaves room for growth in the ZIL market cap price in the near future.

Cons

 

Competition

Zilliqa is competing with top smart contracts blockchains like Ethereum, EOS, and other upcoming projects. The Ethereum blockchain has been live and tested for around 3 years, the community behind Ethereum is huge and there is great development to come, with the aim of addressing issues like scalability, power consumption and more. Though, the ecosystem is expected to grow so there is likely room for blockchains to live alongside each other.

CryptoPotato ICO Evaluation – result

Key for the evaluation: IF = Impact Factor WA = Weighted Average

Team & Advisory board: Project is led by highly respected PhD scientists and well respected figures in the crypto ecosystem. Score 9 IF 5 WA 1.72

Stage of the project: Testnet is live and working as expected (2,488 transactions/sec with 3,600 Nodes). Main-net release- Q2 2018. Score 9 IF 1 WA 1.72

Project Potential: A smart contract scalable blockchain with a potential to facilitate high transaction volumes, via Dapps to be developed (ZIL token price correlates to the transaction volume) 9.5 IF 3 WA 1.29

Community and Media: ~4,600 telegram members, ~2,078 Tweeter followers (fast community growth). Score 8 IF 2 WA 0.73

Token use: ZILs tokens are the fuel for the blockchain, high correlation between token price and the success of the project. Score 9.5 IF 3 WA 1.29

ICO: Cap- ~32M USD, 30% of tokens distributed, 40% mining rewards, 30% company/ team/agencies. max bonus – 15%, max individual public sale cap – 5 ETH. Score 9 IF 5 WA 1.7

Whitepaper: Published a technical and a business whitepaper. Both have good detail. Score 9 IF 1 WA 0.43

Backend and Technology: Brilliant implementation of the network sharding protocol, which enables higher transaction rates with an increase in the number of nodes in the network. Score 9.5 IF 2 WA 0.72

CryptoPotato Zilliqa ICO score: 9.09/10



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Massachusetts Joins List of US States Hostile to Bitcoin

5 hours 14 min ago



Lifelong Massachusetts politician, William Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth, turned sudden investment and currency expert this week, is issuing a seven-point warning about the perils of bitcoin. The uncharitable statement lands New England’s most populated region in the hostile category, joining a half dozen other states in anti-bitcoin mania.

Also read: Rise of the Bitcoin Politician: Austin Petersen’s Scrappy Run for US Senate

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Warns of Bitcoin “Disaster”

William F. Galvin published an official warning from his office this week, creatively titled, Secretary Galvin Warns about Bitcoin Mania. It’s a page and a half of seven bullet points. “Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin today warned investors not to get caught up in Bitcoin speculation,” the missive begins in third-person.

Mr. Galvin, 67, has spent his professional life exclusively in the public sector, holding elected office in various forms by as early as 1975, extending to the present (42 years). 

“Bitcoin is just the latest in a history of speculative bubbles that most often burst, leaving the average investors with a worthless product,” his office quotes himself. “Going back to the 1600s with tulip mania to the present Bitcoin craze, chasing the next best thing will, more often than not, end in disaster for the average investor.”

“Bitcoin has also been the target of major hacks,” another sentence begins in rather treacherous territory. Bitcoin, as honest analysts know, has never been hacked. But third-party trust operations “at the exchange and wallet levels,” have, Mr. Galvin notes almost too late in the same sentence, failing to make an important distinction.

US States Hostile to Bitcoin

“Conflicting information about Bitcoin abounds,” Mr. Galvin continues, “with some calling it a ‘craze’ or a ‘bubble’ and others touting it as an amazing investment.” Why anyone would refer to such a scheme “as an amazing investment,” in light of his pronounced protestations to the contrary, isn’t made clear by the Secretary. Indeed, it is also not known how the man holding the ancestral office of Samuel Adams has determined bitcoin to be a bubble. Readers are left with only an appeal to authority, his — an authority found to be not in compliance with voting laws back in 2008 by yet another authority, the Department of Justice.  

Mr. Galvin demonstrates his cryptocurrency illiteracy in point 6, curiously asserting the blockchain “is still experimental and is subject to changes, errors, or criminal activity which could adversely affect your virtual wallet or erase your Bitcoin value.” Back in 2014, bored Massachusetts state officials also issued warnings about bitcoin. It’s a way for them to attempt relevancy, the “do something” phenomenon so prevalent in US bureaucratic circles.

It joins Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, and Washington as more or less hostile to bitcoin, though no legislation, as of this writing, has been proposed by Massachusetts.

Neighboring state, New Hampshire, has taken a completely different approach. Its Governor signed into law provisions exempting bitcoiners from ever having to be licensed to trade. The state actively encourages bitcoin businesses.

What do you think about the Secretary’s warning? Tell us in the comments!

Images: Pixabay, Massachusetts, YouTube.

Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at innovative technology and interesting history.



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The European Union Formulate Strict Cryptocurrency Regulations To Deter Terrorism Sponsorship

5 hours 45 min ago


Cryptocurrencies provide an exciting and easy way to carry out financial transactions, due to their ability to offer cheaper money transfers, speed, pseudo-anonymity, and the elimination of third-party interference.EU Regulates Cryptocurrencies

While many Bitcoin skeptics have condemned cryptocurrencies in recent times, citing the fact that gangsters, terrorists and drug lords have used cryptocurrencies to aid their illegal activities, the price of the digital currency and by extension alt-coins have been steadily rising over the years. At press time, the price of bitcoin is at $19,519, with a market cap of over $300 billion.

The European Union has placed stricter rules and regulations to govern crypto exchanges and Fintech companies in Europe. The idea of banning cryptocurrencies outright flies in the face of the positive innovations the promising technology has introduced.

Ultimately, the EU hopes to weed out the handful of bad actors in the space, or at least reduce their ability to manipulate digital money in their favor. Specifically, these new rules will go a long way in expelling criminals who engage in acts of money laundering and terrorism funded by cryptocurrency.

In practice, this will revolve around a handful of guidelines that provide greater transparency in the sector. For one, crypto exchanges must conduct correct KYC (Know Your Customer) operations to identify and document all entrees to the marketplace. Companies must also adhere to higher standards of transparency and be prepared to unveil themselves to government bodies.

The most significant clause of these updated regulations is the ability for federal investigators to access information provided by major crypto firms.

The new regulations clauses have been well received by some in the cryptocurrency and government ecosystem while others expressed their reservations.

According to Reuters, Europe’s Justice Commissioner, Vero Jourova said, “Today’s agreement will bring more transparency to improve the prevention of money laundering and to cut off terrorist financing.”

Transparency international also applauded the development but noted that some limitations still exist. The rights group hinted that it is essential for members of the public to have access to information about beneficiaries of trusts and similar arrangements.

In another development, European Union lawmaker Dutch Green Judith Sargentini has made it known that some EU member nations have opposed the new regulations citing concerns the rules might adversely affect their countries economies.

Sargentini declared that countries like Britain, Malta, Cyprus, Luxembourg, and Ireland do not support the new development.

The Need For Change

The European Commission inspired these regulations, and the rules have been in the works since after the 2015 and 2016 Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks as investigators claim that bitcoin and other alt-coins were being used to fund terrorism.

The new EU Cryptocurrency rules also help in combating the menace of money laundering. All member states of the European Union and EU Legislators are expected to adopt these regulations, which will in turn formally establish the rules into laws in the next 18 months.



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“There Will Only Be One” – an Interview With Viabtc Founder Yang Haipo

6 hours 16 min ago



Back in August, Viabtc founder Yang Haipo was one of the first public figures to declare ”Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin”. His exchange Viabtc was one of the first to list bitcoin cash (BCH), which was heavily criticized by Chinese industrial players for being “controlled” by Bitmain. Now Haipo is planning his new business Coinex, a crypto-crypto exchange that only pairs digital assets against BCH. In an interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Yang Haipo (Yang) shared his thoughts about the initial fork offering (IFO) craze.

Also Reads: USPTO Approves Bank of America’s Cryptocurrency Exchange Patent

The IFOs Craze

Bitcoin.com (BC): If you think BCH is bitcoin, do you think other forked coins are also bitcoin?

Yang: In a broad sense, they are because they forked from the original BTC chain. But in a narrow sense, Satoshi’s whitepaper defined that bitcoin is a peer to peer electronic cash system. And clearly, only BCH is in line with the vision of Satoshi. It is the real bitcoin.

BC: You mean the whitepaper is the sole criterion?

Yang: Exactly. Satoshi created bitcoin to develop it into a form of money, a widely used payment system, even a global currency. The current version of BTC is only a store of value. Its price increases because of additional investment from new participants. Isn’t it basically a Ponzi scheme?

BCH, however, is a totally different story. A lot of people dub BCH “Jihan coin” or “China coin”, but this is not true. BCH was not created overnight. It came out with the joint efforts of big blockers, miners, exchanges and wallet services. It set an example that a forked coin could survive, and that’s why some individuals and teams followed suit and forked bitcoin.

BC: One of the biggest advantages of bitcoin is its store of value brought about in part by its scarcity. But now we have more coins with a 21 million limit, more bearing the name of bitcoin. Do you think this is inflation in disguise? Is bitcoin still immune to inflation?

Yang: I don’t think this is inflation. Just like our species is the only human variation after our closest relatives died out, there will only be one bitcoin that can dominate the global payment system. The cryptocurrency industry is still in its early stage with bitcoin, and altcoins competing for market share. But only one coin will end up with the largest market cap or the highest price. It will be called bitcoin, and its maximum distribution will still be 21 million.

BC: Coinex, your new exchange, is to open at the end of this month. Will it list all forked coins and distribute them to users? Or is there a standard, for example, of not listing pre-mined coins?

Yang: Coinex will list mainstream cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, ZEC, DASH. I personally welcome people to fork bitcoin and work on different roadmaps. But we don’t support unethical and meaningless coins like Bitcoin Gold (BTG) and Bitcoin God (GOD).

BCH VS LTC

BC: Proponents of BCH want it to be used as a payment system, but LTC has long been recognized as the coin for small payments. It has low fees and fast confirmations. Do you think BCH can compete with LTC as an alternative payment solution?

Yang: BCH has two advantages, larger user base and an open scalability. Firstly, BCH has the same user base as BTC. If you check at reddit and bitcoin talk, you will find that BCH supporters are more active than that of LTC. These supporters will urge more exchanges and wallet services to support BCH, and make it the most successful coin.

Secondly, BCH is more scalable. LTC has the same scalability problem as BTC, and if bitcoin wants to evolve into a global currency, it will have to increase its block size to 100 megabyte (MB) or even 1 gigabyte (GB). At present, only BCH is able to move toward an adaptive block size limit.

BC: LTC’s roadmap gives priority to the lightning network and atomic swap. The BCH community seems to not have a united roadmap. There were rumors about RSK being included in BCH, but nothing official ever came about. What do you think should be the development roadmap for BCH?

Yang: The BCH community is very clear about its roadmap, scale to make bitcoin a great form of money. The technical feature, lightning network, sounds fancy, but it is actually just old wine in a new bottle. Users need to save their assets to a service provider of a lightning network node. Isn’t it exactly like what we have now, saving money at banks? What’s disruptive about it? Bitcoin is a great invention that allows everybody to be his own bank. BCH will make sure users can transfer coins with low fees on the BCH chain and be their own bank.

BC: Do you believe, as some big blockers do, that Core developers work on offchain transactions to maximize the economic interests of Blocksteam?

Yang: There are no hard facts to support such a conspiracy theory. But unless Core developers leave Blockstream and don’t receive their funds, these types of conspiracy theories will remain about Core.

BC: Litecoin creator Charlie Lee had been emphasizing he wants to focus on development, not marketing. But last week he tweeted that LTC would start working on promotion. Do you think the BCH community has done enough marketing? And it seems like BCH has a governance problem. It’s been four months, but BCH still doesn’t have a universal logo.

Yang: It’s funny that Charlie just wants to focus on development, but all he does is marketing. I believe marketing is a must for all businesses. Each and every coin is a brand. The brand name can generate more value if more people know about it. The establishment of the Bitcoin Cash Fund (BCF) will make the marketing and promotion part more efficient and organized. And I don’t think BCH has a governance problem just because it doesn’t have a universal logo. LTC was created by Charlie Lee, so Charlie has the final say on its logo. But BCH was not created by a particular individual or a company. It represents a decentralized community where users, designers and exchanges have their own understanding on BCH. Some want its logo to be gold, some want it to be green. They need to argue for a while before a decision is made.

BCH VS BTC

BC: BCH supporters have been back and forth about the brand of bitcoin. You were the first to declare that BCH is bitcoin in the Chinese community. Later Jihan Wu tweeted that “America is not England, Bitcoin Cash is not Bitcoin.” This October, Roger ver and Jiang Zhuoer said only the big block coin BCH is the real bitcoin as well. But this Tuesday Jihan Wu posted on Weibo that Core’s contribution and philosophy on the BTC chain should be recognized and supported. I want to know how you view the brand war between BCH and BTC.

Bitcoiner Jacob’s translation of Jihan’s post

Yang: The key to the brand war involves what is bitcoin ultimately. I suppose Jihan believes the BTC chain is defined by Core and Blockstream; if they believe BTC is bitcoin, then let them focus on BTC. Me, Roger and Jiang Zhuoer, we believe only the big block coin is bitcoin. BCH and BTC represent two different roadmaps and philosophies. If Core took their words back and decided to scale, I would not support them because we already have BCH. But if they actually decide to scale, I believe they might succeed due to their influence.

BC: The media often equates bitcoin with speculation. It seems that BCH might also have this problem. I know some bitcoiners who ask me if I “wanna make money?” They tell me to “buy BCH. It has a monthly pump-and-dump.” Why does BCH price fluctuate so wildly?

Yang: About pump and dump, many bitcoiners think the bitcoin market is just like the stock market where big whales, bankers manipulate the market. In fact, no single person will be able to control such a huge market. And early adopters hate each other these days, and so they will not work to manipulate the market.

I can understand why people have such concerns, but they are not real. About price spikes, BCH price rises because it has gained great support from the community. Some bitcoiners posted on reddit saying they finally realized BCH is the real thing, and that it will have a brighter future. They exchanged all of their BTC for BCH. Besides, any little price rise will always draw the attention of speculators.

BC: If you think BTC development is centralized, don’t you think BCH mining is also centralized?

Yang: Only three Core developers have the right to submit BTC code. In other words, three developers define what is bitcoin. This is centralization. However, the BCH project has Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin XT and other development teams that are independent from any companies. As for mining centralization, industrial players tend to forget a simple fact: it’s not Bitmain that dominates the market, it’s their products themselves winning in the market. Bitmain leads in the miner business because it perfectly integrates manufacturing, supply chain, sales, shipping and after-sales services. In addition, China is home to the world’s largest bitcoin mining data centers for its cheap labour and low electricity fees, which makes it possible to start a miner business with a small investment. I expect to see more miner manufacturers in the coming months. Bitmain will not dominate the market in the near future.

BCH Priced Exchange Coinex

BC: The new exchange Coinex will use BCH as the base currency. Why give up BTC?

Yang: We will have no competitive edge over our rivals if we start yet another BTC-priced exchange. So why not create an exchange that only pairs digital assets against BCH? It’s both creating history and attracting BCH supporters. And I am very confident about the future of BCH. It’s really huge to be the world’s first BCH-priced exchange.

BC: When Viabtc listed BCH in August, many Chinese users said that Viabtc was “controlled” by Bitmain. Is the new exchange also “controlled” by Bitmain?

Yang: Nobody controls us. Bitmain is just our business partner. We have the final say in decision making, not Bitmain. Since Bitmain invested in our entire company, it’s not strange they are also an investor in Coinex, one of the products of our company.

BC: After China’s ban on ICOs and exchanges, Huobi, Okex and other exchanges see themselves as overseas companies, though their employees work in mainland China. Is Coinex an overseas exchange? What is the team doing to manage regulatory risks?

Yang: Coinex will be an overseas exchange. It is registered in London. And we also have an office in Hong Kong. Our research and development team is still in Shenzhen, but we plan to move it abroad and make Coinex a 100% overseas exchange.

What do you think of Yang’s answers? Leave your comments below!

Images via Shutterstock, Coinex and Weibo.

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South Africa Wants to Track and Tax Bitcoin Trading

7 hours 18 min ago



It’s said that nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes. And at least for the latter we can be sure that the powers-that-be are not going to let this change without a fight. The latest country now known to be looking at taxing bitcoin trading is South Africa.

Also Read: Tax Investigators Raid Bitcoin Exchanges Across India

Bitcoin use has been rapidly growing in South Africa, mostly for trading, becoming so popular people can even pay their driving tickets with the cryptocurrency. This has prompted the South African Revenue Service (Sars) to explore ways to ensure it gets its cut from all the action. The agency is reportedly in talks with leading international technology companies to find an efficient method to track cryptocurrency trading in the country for taxing proposes.

Dr Randall Carolissen, Sars group executive for research, said: “As you can imagine it is very difficult – the blockchain technology. Without revealing too much – we are talking to some of the top technology companies in the world that are doing similar work for Canada and the UK and we are hoping to get that technology.”

He added that the agency is also solidifying its connection with the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb), the country’s central bank, to see how they can better match cross-border outflows and inflows of money to try and make sure people have less “room to hide things.”

International Cooperation

Dr Carolissen explained that “At the moment, we are treating cryptocurrency in the same way as capital realisation – so in other words, it is like a Krugerrand. If you buy it at a particular point and you then sell it, you will be faced with a capital appreciation and then we will treat it as Capital Gains Tax.”

The South African tax man revealed that Sars is working with similar agencies from different countries on implementing new policies for tackling the issue via the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD). This collaboration is said to provide them with detailed recommendations for handling cryptocurrencies.

“We were part of the OECD working groups and that has certainly been incorporated into our policy environment. So we are on top of it. In fact, South Africa is cited as one of the leading implementers of this cryptocurrency environment,” Carolissen said.

The international interest is not surprising considering we have only recently seen the U.S. IRS, South Korea’s National Tax Service and the Income Tax Department of India involve themselves with bitcoin. It is not clear what each regulator can do to track trading involving at least one party from their country, other than force local exchanges to report all transactions and compel citizens to reveal all their trades.

Are tax authorities around the world going to be able to track bitcoin trading soon? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Critics Condemn Bitcoin’s Electricity Consumption, But it’s a Nonissue

7 hours 48 min ago


Bitcoin’s electricity consumption has become the target of criticism recently, and some reports by the mainstream media have claimed that the cryptocurrency may contribute to climate change in the long-term because of its excessive use of energy.

Years of Attacks

Since its launch in 2009, various critics and the members of popular media have attempted to condemn bitcoin to deliberately degrade its reputation and mislead the public about the different values of the digital currency.

Bankers have stated that bitcoin is a scam, central banks have claimed that the digital currency operates as a money laundering tool, and lately, some media outlets have been recycling the recent narrative that its production consumes too much energy.

As crypto-security and expert Andreas Antonopoulos previously explained, Bitcoin miners and mining center operators have continuously relied on renewable energy in regions where various sources of clean energy are abundant. The move into these areas comes primarily from the fact that electricity generated and supplied by state-run energy grids force miners out. The cost to run a mining operation under national banners significantly increases the operating expenses of cryptocurrency mining companies.

Over the past few years, mining centers have relocated to regions like the mountainous region of Northwest China, Norway, Chile, and Eastern Europe to capitalize on colder climates and cheap renewable energy produced by solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric power plants.

In some countries like Chile and China, for instance, electricity generated from massive solar power plants are so abundant that the two countries have relied on clean energy to power cities for long periods of time.

In June, Climate Action, a partner of UN Environment, revealed that the Qinghai Province, located in Northwest China, has run on 100 percent renewable energy for an entire week. Several cities in Chile have also run on clean energy for a whole year, for 365 days straight.

“The trial – which ran from [June 17] to [June 23] – saw the entire province generate all of its power needs with clean energy sources, including solar, wind and hydropower. The trial in the Qinghai Province – which has a population of around [six] million people – was designed to prove that fossil fuels will not be required in the future, according to local reports,” read the report from Climate Action.

Most mining centers prefer to utilize clean energy and renewable energy sources for two significant reasons: dependence on local energy grid operators provide authorities the power to shut down Bitcoin mining centers at their demand, and usage of non-renewable electricity drastically increases operating costs of mining centers.

On November 14, CnLedger, a trusted cryptocurrency news source in China, reported that the Sichuan Electric Power Company had issued a false statement that the use of electricity to produce bitcoin is illegal. The head of the company immediately followed up that it does not have the authority to determine whether Bitcoin mining is illicit or not. But, the initial report from the group triggered a series of rumors on a potential mining ban by the Chinese government.

“A county electric power company in Sichuan, CN, released a notice to local hydro-power station: as bitcoin mining is illegal, all stations should stop producing bitcoins. Or they are no longer allowed to be connected to the grid. However, head of the company clarified to Caixin today that the notice was made in a hurry; it is not their role to determine whether bitcoin mining is against the law. The company is not yet connected to a national grid, and relies on local stations to get electricity,” CnLedger translated a report from Caixin, a state-owned news publication.

Given that dependence on grid operators and local authorities for the supply of electricity could very likely lead to business disruption and unstable operations, mining centers have started to relocate and utilize clean energy to produce bitcoin.





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Bitcoin Gold: A Case Study on the Cryptocurrency Security Problem

9 hours 22 min ago



This is an Op-ed article written by Arseny Reutov. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post.

In late October, Bitcoin Gold forked from Bitcoin as a new cryptocurrency, and immediately became the victim of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that knocked it offline at a critical moment. In the months following, Bitcoin Gold has been plagued by a series of attacks across multiple vectors that have impacted on its value and – most importantly – lost innocent users millions of dollars.

Also Read: Three Times as Much Bitcoin Cash Has Been Claimed as Bitcoin Gold

Some people have attributed the attacks on the Bitcoin Gold network to opponents who believe that the fork undermines the cryptocurrency community. Whether this is the case or not, what is clear is that there is a cybersecurity issue within the cryptocurrency community, with Bitcoin Gold just being one of a number of currencies effected. It is imperative now to focus on ways in which attacks on these scale can be prevented from becoming a regular occurrence.

What is Bitcoin Gold?

Bitcoin Gold is one of the latest cryptocurrencies created through the increasingly-common practice of a hard fork. Like Bitcoin Cash before it, Bitcoin Gold branded itself as a new version of Bitcoin, rather than a competing platform like Ethereum, and opted to maintain Bitcoin’s transaction history – which means that those who owned Bitcoin before the fork now own the equivalent of Bitcoin Gold.

The distinction between Bitcoin Gold and its sister currencies largely lies in how it allows coins to be mined. Where traditional Bitcoin mining has arguably become monopolized by companies using custom-built application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), Bitcoin Gold aims to decentralize the mining industry with an alternative mining algorithm that’s not susceptible to ASICs. It’s claimed that this will allow ordinary Bitcoin Gold users to earn extra cash through mining, as was the case in the early days of Bitcoin.

However, Bitcoin Gold quickly came under scrutiny from the wider cryptocurrency community. This criticism has typically revolved around the fact that the developers of Bitcoin Gold were given a window of time to privately mine the new network, reducing the number of coins available. Furthermore, there are many in the Bitcoin community who are already strongly opposed to forks or anything that looks to split the user base, now commonly known as Bitcoin maximalists. It has been speculated that the large opposition to Bitcoin Gold may explain why it has come under such determined cyber attack.

A Sustained Attack on Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin Gold separated on the 24th October, and was almost immediately hit by a denial-of-service attack that overloaded the server with requests and brought the network offline. Unfortunately, Bitcoin Gold’s security woes did not stop there.

On November 20th, it was discovered that a Bitcoin Gold wallet that was being promoted on the Bitcoin Gold website, called “mybtgwallet”, was fraudulent. The team removed the wallet once the scam came to light, but the damage was done. Innocent users had already fallen prey, and it is estimated that $3.3 million was lost.

Less than one week later, on November 26th, Bitcoin Gold was forced to issue a critical warning that two suspicious files were present in its Windows wallet installer, with presumed malicious intent. The critical warning states that anyone who downloaded the files should delete them, scan or wipe their computer, and remove access to cryptocurrency wallets from their machine.

The Implications of Bad Security

The implications of this series of attacks is serious for Bitcoin Gold and the wider cryptocurrency community. Even before Bitcoin Gold had launched, its perceived lax security had effected its reputation. Coinbase, one of the largest exchanges, publicly announced that it would not support Bitcoin Gold “because its developers have not made the code available to the public for review. This is a major security risk.”

The attacks it has faced have further effected the digital currency’s reputation. At the time of this article, Bitcoin Gold ranks tenth on Coinmarketcap, a sharp drop from its place in fifth spot in late November. It is not inconceivable to think that the security issues it has faced are at least partly responsible for this decline.

Whether maximalists support them or not, Bitcoin forks are set to continue, at least for the time being – Bitcoin Gold has already been quickly followed by Bitcoin Diamond. Of course, security threats extend far beyond bitcoin forks. ICOs for example, another increasingly popular trend in 2017, have been plagued with serious incidents. DAO and Parity offerings saw over $100m of tokens illicitly redirected and Coindash also lost $8m when attackers exploited vulnerabilities in the company’s web applications. It is therefore imperative that the cryptocurrency community turns its focus to cyber security.

Lessons on Improving the Security of Cryptocurrencies

The case of Bitcoin Gold shows there are core areas of cryptocurrency security need to be addressed urgently.

Firstly, server infrastructure and the applications that host cryptocurrencies need to be seen as a security risk. This does not simply mean auditing the web application itself but also the related web and mobile applications, servers, and network infrastructure. This is where Bitcoin Gold has fallen down, as seen through the insertion of malicious code into its wallet installer. The only way to prevent such attacks is constant monitoring, with verification testing after the flaws are fixed. Likewise, with constant monitoring of the server, the original denial-of-service attack it faced could have been quickly identified and mitigated.

Secondly, there needs to be a greater focus on preventing social engineering attacks. Bitcoin Gold failed in allowing a fraudulent wallet onto its website and in not doing enough to prevent copycat attacks from targeting its users. Largely, this is an issue of constant monitoring for website clones and educating users to avoid malicious websites and apps as quick as possible. As we saw in the case of Bitcoin Gold, a failure to do so could result in the loss of millions.

If the cryptocurrency community begins to make cyber security a priority before launch, and dedicates the necessary resources to monitoring and education, new cryptocurrencies will have a better chance of competing and thriving. However, if cybersecurity continues to be a second thought, we will continue to see sustained attacks that damage the reputation of virtual currencies as a whole, and ultimately result in innocent users losing their money to criminals.

Written by Arseny Reutov

Arseny Reutov is an application security researcher at Positive.com. He specializes in penetration testing, the analysis of web applications, smart contracts audit and the research of blockchain solutions. He is the author of research papers and blog posts devoted to application security and blockchain technologies published in such magazines as Hacker and HITB as well as in his blog raz0r.name. He was a speaker at ZeroNights, CONFidence, PHDays and OWASP security conferences.

Do you think the bitcoin community has a security problem? If so, how can we improve cyber security and decrease the risks of attacks in the bitcoin community? Let us know in the comments below.

This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

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India Turns Attention to Bitcoin Exchanges to Investigate Tax Evasion

10 hours 56 min ago


On December 13, 2017, the Indian income-tax department reportedly conducted surveys at bitcoin exchanges across the country to assess the risk of individuals who may have evaded taxes.

Surveying Indian Exchanges

Typically such surveys are conducted by the department without prior warning and include relatively extensive scrutiny of the assessee’s account books and related assets. According to a spokesperson, exchanges from Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Gurugram were surveyed.

None of the significant cryptocurrency exchanges in India have since commented on this report, with the sole exception of Coinome, a relatively new exchange. The Chief Operating Officer of which denied knowledge of any such survey.

Considering that the Income Tax department currently seems to be targeting virtual currency profits from before March 2017, that statement does start to make sense, given that Coinome was only recently launched in November 2017.

Global Attention and Tax Concerns

Bitcoin aided tax evasion and money laundering have been two major concerns for tax authorities around the world for quite some time now. But with the cryptocurrency’s seventeen-fold price jump in 2017, many countries are now coming down hard on the digital currency market.

For instance, In September 2017, China banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and forced exchanges operating within the country to cease operations effective immediately. Other countries were a little more moderate in their approach, but almost all of them have warned investors that their bitcoin profits will be taxable.

According to CoinMarketCap, bitcoin is currently at just under $17,000, with a market capitalization of around $280 billion, exceeding that of every other digital currency by a sizable margin. It also accounts for a large chunk of the combined cryptocurrency market cap at approximately $519 billion.

Despite the Indian income tax department’s crackdown on tax evasion in the cryptocurrency market, the country’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), continues to maintain its long-standing silence on the legal state of virtual currencies. It remains evident, however, through numerous related press releases and announcements, that the Indian government remains skeptical of the decentralized and unregulated nature of cryptocurrencies.

India’s Relationship with Cryptocurrencies

On December 5, 2017, a press release by the RBI cautioned the public against the “Potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection, and security-related risks,” emanating from the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This announcement is nothing new for the central bank. Throughout 2017, the RBI has emphasized that it does not recognize bitcoin or other digital currencies as legal tender and has continually discouraged its use for transactions.

In the absence of a proper framework detailing the legality and taxation of digital assets, investors have very little information to go on at the time of filing their taxes. However, if Zebpay, one of India’s most popular Bitcoin exchanges, is to be believed, profits from cryptocurrency investments are to be recognized as capital gains.

In India, capital gains accrued within the first three years of purchase are classified as “Short-term,” whereas any duration over that would be subject to a lower tax percentage, because of the “Long-term” categorization.

Interestingly, in September 2017, a report emerged claiming that the RBI was looking to launch a state-backed digital currency to compete with the likes of bitcoin. A similar enterprise, dubbed “Crypto-Ruble,” was announced by Russia in October 2017. Since India’s banknote demonetization in 2016, the government has been encouraging digital transactions over cash usage, likely because the tax authority can easily monitor the former.



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This Week in Bitcoin: Regulators Mount Up as Bitcoin Keeps Bubbling

11 hours 27 min ago



Welcome to the latest installment of This Week in Bitcoin stuffed with all the highlights and lowlights from the past seven days. In this edition: Korea, Korea, Korea, and a handful of stories that aren’t about Korea just for some variety. In the past week we’ve also experienced another all time high (what’s new) and no major hacks – and that is new. Since we started this feature one month ago, it’s the first time there’s been no large-scale thefts to report. Can you spell progress?

Also read: An Anonymous Early Adopter Is Donating 5,057 BTC ($86M) to Charity

Regulators Try to K-Pop the Bitcoin Bubble

Lets start with South Korea, since it drives much of the world’s cryptocurrency trading and thus what happens in the Asian nation reverberates around the world. Regulation was all around this week, not least in Korea, where officials announced a slew of measures aimed at bringing order to the house of bitcoin. Our most popular story of the week by some distance revealed news of Korean banks being obliged to distance themselves from cryptocurrencies. We said:

South Korean regulators have announced a plan to ban banks from activities involving cryptocurrencies, prompting major banks in the country to declare they will no longer issue accounts required for crypto trading. South Korea’s top bitcoin exchanges are all affected.

There were fears at one stage that the Korean government was going to lay the ban hammer on bitcoin but thankfully that didn’t come to pass. Incidentally, we try not to get self-congratulatory, but our Korean coverage this week was more extensive than that of any other news organization outside of the country. Just so ya know.

Speaking of Bubbles…

Regulators have yet to K-pop Korea’s bitcoin bubble, but should the global “bubble” burst, one app claims to be able to provide early warning so you can dump your coins, do a 360 and moonwalk away. It remains to be seen whether it works, and indeed whether it’s bitcoin that will burst or the global financial system. If it’s the latter, bitcoin might just become the world’s first impermeable bubble. Get inside while you still can, but don’t mortgage the house or sell your kids to do so.

Do that and you’re either gonna have a good time or a really bad time. Whatever the case, it’s really not worth the risk. Intriguing as that bitcoin bubble app is (created using one of this year’s overused buzzwords, AI, it didn’t make our top 10 bitcoin apps that should be on your smartphone. Like, right now.

And speaking of bubbles, someone’s created a website called Send Crypto People Tulips. Choose the percentage that the market should drop by before your designated crypto bull is sent a picture of a tulip and a snarky message while you “Relish in that fact that You Were Right™”. Fedoras doffed to whoever created that slice of smugness.

Bitcoin Gets Real

Back in the real world, Tuesday brought news that GMO employees in Japan could now claim a portion of their salaries in bitcoin, the lucky devils. Could crypto wages be the new pension funds?

Many of our most popular stories emanated from Asia this week, showing the extent to which the east is dominating the crypto markets. In the easy reading stakes, we brought news of a Chinese investor snapping up £4 million worth of Formula One cars with litecoin. Had they just waited 48 hours, they could have bought £8 million worth of F1 following litecoin’s crazy midweek run.

We examined the reasons for litecoin’s sudden success in Bitcoin Can’t Stop Breaking Things, writing:

Accelerated fees for bitcoin transactions are currently around $25. For the same price five days ago you could have bought a quarter of a litecoin. As the only remaining ‘cheap’ coin on Coinbase, and one of the few sub-$100 alts in the cryptocurrency top 10, it was inevitable that litecoin would rise sooner or later.

Bitcoin Celebrates Seven Days Hack-Free

Since Nicehash got owned last week, there hasn’t been a major breach on any bitcoin-related platforms; just the usual exchange shadiness. (Yes, Bitfinex included.) There was plenty of petty crime to report though, and evidence of an emerging trend: governments seizing bitcoin only to discover, months later, that they’re sitting on a small fortune. It feels wrong somehow, as they seem to be incapable of appreciating their good fortune or speaking kindly of the digital currency that’s just boosted their departmental budgets.

As a coda to last week’s story about a woman getting busted for ordering a deep web hitman, it’s been reported that she’s just been jailed for six years. Don’t order a darknet assassin to whack your lover. It’s just not worth it.

Thursday’s biggest stories pertained to the Israeli PM speaking of bitcoin’s inevitable rise and yet another bitcoin fork. United Bitcoin has failed to live up to its name and bring the community together, enraging critics with its proposal of repurposing coins from inactive wallets. Yep, even Satoshi will be deprived of his United Bitcoins unless he stirs from hibernation to claim them.

One More Thing…

Okay, a few more things. We’re way overlength with this week’s roundup, but blame bitcoin for being so busy. We reported on major bitcoin cash developments including Bitpay support and the first atomic swap. The pineapple fund, involving an anonymous benefactor giving millions in BTC to charity, was this week’s feel-good story.

We rounded things off on Sunday with Eric Wall’s trading column in which he recommended buy and hold strategies for 2018. As bitcoin started making eyes at $20k territory, it was a fine end to another fine week in bitcoin. With CME futures launching tomorrow, the stage is set for another memorable seven days ahead.

What was your favorite story this week? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and 20th Century Fox.

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Kik Ditches Ethereum “The Dial-Up” Cryptocurrency

12 hours 29 min ago



Ethereum is often promoted as the ultimate solution for decentralized apps, with some even claiming that it will be the substrate for developing all software in the future. This grand vision is in conflict with current reality however where ethereum now can’t even hold onto one of its biggest mainstream adopters, Kik.

Also Read: Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

Kik Kicks Ethereum to the Curb

Ted Livingston, founder and CEO of Kik Messenger, has revealed in his latest community Q&A that the Kin token will be switched away from ethereum. He said that the smart contracts altcoin is “trying to be everything to everybody, and that makes it general-purpose and slow.” Livingstone  further derided ethereum as “the dial-up era of blockchain.”

Kik Messenger has over 300 million registered users, and is mostly popular with teenagers. It is known for features preserving users’ anonymity, such as allowing registration without a telephone number. Kin was meant to be an ERC20 token based on ethereum which will be integrated into Kik as the primary transaction currency. Its ICO earlier this year raised nearly $100 million from more than 10,000 investors from 117 countries. The token developers are now changing it to be stellar-based instead.

Congestion, Cats, and Gas Costs

The reasons cited by the Kik CEO for abandoning ethereum are its current lack of reliability and scalability for handling numerous transactions. The developers were testing Kin with just 10,000 users and discovered ethereum fails to match their needs.

In addition, the costs of using the altcoin are now too prohibitive for handling micro-transactions. The average transaction fee on ethereum is now $1.08 and the median cost is $0.377, according to Bit Info Charts.

One might have expected that the flood of ICOs launching ERC20 tokens might be the cause of ethereum’s congestion and backlog problems, but the truth is a bit more ridiculous. People playing around with virtual pets known as Crypto Kitties have contributed towards congesting the ethereum network and driving costs up.

Are the issues affecting ethereum at the moment just temporary or is this likely to be a permanent problem? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.



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Philanthropist Couple Donates Hundreds of Thousands in Bitcoin Gains to Cancer Research

13 hours 59 sec ago


Jeff Hammerbacher and Halle Tecco bought bitcoin in 2013 as an early leap of faith, and then largely forgot about it; until now.

The couple are investors in the fields of health and technology, often pegging winners before the prices surge. One of these investments was Facebook, of which Hammerbacher was an early employee.

Halle Tecco is one of the founders of Rock Health, as well as one of the investors in the company. Very knowledgeable about health and biomedicine, she is an advisor to the Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School of Biomedical Informatics.

When Hammerbacher and Tecco bought into bitcoin in 2013, it was worth no more than $800. Fast forward four years to December 2017 and the price of bitcoin has risen to over $18,000.

Although the benevolent couple wishes not to divulge the exact amount of their initial investment, they confirmed that it is now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Instead of keeping it to themselves, they have mutually decided to donate it all to cancer research; more specifically, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, which is the only cancer center in North Carolina that is designated by the National Cancer Institute.

It is clear that cancer and associated research is a cause especially close to Tecco’s heart, having dealt with many people affected by the condition.

They have left the decision of how to process the funds in the hands of the hospital. The investment was initially made through the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, which still holds the funds to this day.

It would be at the hospital’s discretion when or whether they wish to convert the donation into US dollars, as the cryptocurrency appears to have a future of continued growth ahead of it.

When asked about their motivation behind the donation, they answered that they hope to inspire others to do the same thing.

“The investor community that has benefited from the bitcoin craze should use this foresight (and luck!) to help others,” said Tecco to CNBC in a text message. “We hope we are just the first,” she added with optimism.

The pair of angel investors have created an investment fund of their own, called Techammer. The combination of their names in the company name is a testament to their belief in the project and the personal dedication that they have poured into it.

There is much to be gained from the story of Tecco and Hammerbacher, as they both began their working careers as grocery-store cashiers. Through a shared dream, unwavering dedication and a drive to spread positivity, they help like-minded people to “better the lives of everyday Americans.”

The generous contribution of Tecco and Hammerbacher is not the only good that cryptocurrency is doing in communities around the world.

It has also been described as a “game-changer for those in extreme poverty,” helping the poor to uplift themselves through cryptocurrency investing

In a recent Forbes article, Nikolai Kuznetsov also shared this vision of blockchain bringing an end to poverty, primarily through financial inclusion.



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Bitcoin is Trading at a 40% Premium in Africa – Here’s Why

13 hours 33 min ago



This week bitcoin surpassed $19,000 on global exchanges, with the exception of one continent – Africa. Customers of the world’s second largest and second most populous continent were already paying that much per coin back in November. Prices at Africa’s Golix.com exchange have been 40% higher than the rest of the word for months. Now news.Bitcoin.com can reveal why.

Also read: European Union Terror Fears Drive New Crackdown on Bitcoin Across Member States

Africa is Illiquid

On November 15, it was revealed that Zimbabweans were paying $13,500 for bitcoin, a sum that was described at the time as “eye-watering”. Last month’s expensive bitcoin is this month’s cheap bitcoin, and the intense demand for the digital currency has since pushed it to over $19,000 globally as of this writing. The premium that’s been in place at the continent’s Golix exchange remains in place though. As a consequence, one bitcoin there is currently trading for around $32,000, down slightly from a peak of $34,000.

“Who’s talking about us?” runs a banner on the homepage of Golix alongside logos for media organizations that include CNN, CNBC, Reuters, and news.Bitcoin.com. Everyone in bitcoin is talking about Golix and they’re all asking the same question – why? Why is it so expensive to acquire the virtual currency in Africa? The answer comes from a recent blog post on Golix which outlines the factors that have contributed to the premium price.

Digital Scarcity in a Land of Poverty

Bitcoin has always traded higher in nations such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Nigeria apparently, but previously only by around 10%. One reason why buyers will pay over the odds for their cryptocurrency in Africa is due to a lack of liquidity. When there’s a shortage of sellers, it’s easy for players to set higher prices in the knowledge that their orders will still be filled. In countries such as Nigeria and Angola, this has forced buyers to pay as much as a 100% markup for bitcoin.

With demand outstripping supply, exacerbated by the failings of hyperinflationary fiat currencies, overpriced bitcoin is still seen as a better deal. Any port in a storm and any price to obtain a deflationary currency that will hold its value and then some. There’s another reason why bitcoin is so expensive in Africa though, which the Golix blog only references in passing – power.

Africa Has a Power Vacuum

Africa is one of the worst places in the world to mine bitcoin. It’s hot, dusty, and suffers from poor infrastructure. Power blackouts are a daily occurrence in many parts of the continent, making Africa wholly unsuited to mining. In South Africa, utility companies regularly engage in “load shedding” – imposing national blackouts to ease the demand on the electricity grid. As an NYT report from 2015 notes: “All of sub-Saharan Africa’s power generating capacity is less than South Korea’s, and a quarter of it is unproductive at any given moment because of the continent’s aging infrastructure.”

In Nigeria, meanwhile, the national power supply is so patchy that most of the country runs on private generators. On other continents, cryptocurrency mining ensures a steady supply of coins moving onto exchanges as miners seek to pay their bills and cash in their profits. In their absence, virtually no one in Africa is selling bitcoin. Power issues aside, the continent’s internet is also poor, with most Africans reliant on mobile data. Finding a stable source of power and internet with which to mine cryptocurrency is nigh impossible.

Bitcoin might be unsuitable for mining and priced at a premium, but Africans have at least one other means of getting their hands on cryptocurrency – by earning it. It’s a slow accumulation strategy, but one in which they are at less of a disadvantage. From Steemit to the bitcoin cash-friendly Yours.org, there are plenty of sites that will remunerate contributors in crypto. The process requires hard work and perseverance, but Africans aren’t afraid to graft. Given the financial stability and possible route out of poverty afforded by cryptocurrency, it’s no wonder Africa has developed a taste for bitcoin.

Would you still buy bitcoin if you had to pay a 40% premium for the privilege? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Bitcoinocracy is a free and decentralized way to measure the Bitcoin community’s stance on a given proposition. Check vote.Bitcoin.com.



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Trading Column `The Writing On The Wall´ – Strategies for 2018; Hodl or Diversify?

14 hours 35 min ago



This is a weekly trading tips series called ’Writing On The Wall’, in which our game theory guide, Eric Wall, tries to decipher market signals. This week, strategies for 2018;

2017 has been an absolutely insane year for crypto. For traders, it’s been packed with an endless myriad of opportunities and little time to properly evaluate even a fraction of them. Owing to the extreme bull market, virtually every medium-to long-term strategy executed with some determination has been ridiculously successful, regardless if it involved holding only bitcoin, going all in on bitcoin cash, investing in a large variety of altcoins or betting big on every popular ICO under the sun. 

Also read: Shorting the Great Bitcoin Bull

The Writing On The Wall

As the Christmas holiday approaches, now is an excellent time for traders to take a step back, re-evaluate current portfolio distributions and position oneself for the year to come. In this post, we’ll evaluate the current crypto landscape and see if we can make some educated guesses as to where the money will flow.

It’s likely that 2018 will be remembered as the year after public interest for bitcoin boomed, but the year before the chosen path of scaling approaches (Segwit, Schnorr, MAST, Lightning Network) really came into effect. This sets the scene for yet another year of infected conflict, which, for the trader, just means more trading opportunities are on the horizon.

While some parts of the community are certainly satisfied with bitcoin as a form of digital gold, the divide between the SoV (store-of-value) and MoE (medium-of-exchange) proponents is likely to increase further as hefty fees become an inescapable part of the reality of bitcoin. While the failure of Segwit2x may have been seen as a testament to the resilience of bitcoin by many, the technical grounds on which it was rejected indicates that no hard-fork block size increase without replay protection is likely to be successful. The political grounds on which Segwit2x was rejected also means that it’s going to be very difficult for a group of companies to agree on naming a hard-forked version of bitcoin “bitcoin” on beforehand. In effect, it is unlikely that a block size increase hard-fork can be launched as anything other than an altcoin. As such, it is entirely possible that the bitcoin community leaves walk-over of the MoE share of the cryptocurrency market during 2018 to some altcoin, while it focuses on bringing second-layer solutions to life.

Here are a few examples of potential 2018 MoE contenders.

Bitcoin Cash, block size: 8 MB

Case: While Bitcoin Cash certainly has the block size properties to handle the MoE market, its real strength sits with the strong on-chain scaling convictions of its community. Communities are the cornerstones to the success of any cryptocurrency; they comprise the market demand that cause services to support them, and are the ones that provide value and security to a coin. The strength of the community, combined with the inherited codebase and coin distribution from bitcoin (BTC), makes bitcoin cash a strong contender for capturing the MoE market during 2018.

Recommendation: Hold as many bitcoin cash as BTC.

Litecoin, block size: Effectively 4-8 MB (depending on SegWit adoption)

Case: Litecoin (LTC) is basically bitcoin with 4 times the block rate and 4 times the supply. While it doesn’t share coin distribution with bitcoin, it does have a long track record, a popular main figure, and it comfortably sits outside the infected conflicts surrounding bitcoin. The implementation of SegWit allows it to benefit from the Lightning Network when ready, which means that Litecoin can manage similar high on-chain throughput during 2018 to Bitcoin Cash, while simultaneously benefiting from the advanced scaling approaches of bitcoin in the future.

Recommendation: Hold 4 times as many LTC as BTC.

Ethereum, block size: None

Case: While Ethereum doesn’t have a block size limit, it does have a block gas limit which is set dynamically by miners for every block. Currently, the Ethereum network is processing  north of 800,000 transactions per day, with a median transaction fee of just 60 cents. In contrast, bitcoin processes roughly 350,000 transactions per day where $10+ is currently needed to get into a block in a timely fashion.

At the same time, this doesn’t mean that Ethereum (or Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash for that matter) scales better than bitcoin. In fact, it scales worse than bitcoin, except that the cost of processing transactions is absorbed by the nodes instead of the users. The Ethereum community knows this, and know that they must also develop new techniques in order to scale for MoE, which they’re currently pursuing through sharding and Raiden. Until such protocols are in place, Ethereum is unlikely to compete for the MoE market.

Recommendation: No reallocation for MoE necessary.

Bitcoin, block size: 1-2 MB (depending on SegWit adoption)

Case: While it’s currently not looking very promising for bitcoin to be able to support the MoE market of 2018, there are a few things which could change in favor for bitcoin during 2018. Let’s first remember that only a few weeks back, 25 cent fee transactions cleared from the mempool. The current high fees are likely an effect of a mainstream craze and speculation in bitcoin which won’t necessarily be as intense throughout all of 2018. Fees could very well go down on their own. Otherwise there’s also the possibility that some large businesses, such as blockchain.info and Coinbase, adopt Segwit and that Coinbase starts batching transactions, which would reduce mempool load significantly.

If none of that were to happen, there’s still a slim possibility that the community in bitcoin reaches consensus on a new soft-or-hard fork block size increase proposal.

Recommendation: Don’t sell all your bitcoins.

What do you think is in store for 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”



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Japanese Investors Increasingly Switching From Traditional FX Trading to Bitcoin

15 hours 39 min ago



A growing number of Japanese retail investors are switching from leveraged FX trading to leveraged cryptocurrency trading, thus driving the crypto market, according to a recent Deutsche Bank’s research. Operators of Japan’s largest FX platforms are launching their own crypto exchanges, offering leverage of up to 25x.

Also read: South Korea Clarifies Position After Reports of Possible Ban on All Crypto Transactions

From Traditional FX to Bitcoin

Masao Muraki, Head of Research at Deutsche Securities Inc (DSI) in Japan, said last week that Japanese retail investors are increasingly moving from traditional FX trading to cryptocurrency trading. DSI is a member of the Deutsche Bank Group.

Muraki explained that investors are shifting their focus to leveraged crypto trading after failing to meet their profit goals with leveraged FX trading, CNBC reported.

Citing “speculation in cryptocurrency is growing to a scale that cannot be ignored,” he elaborated:

We think that retail investors are shifting from leveraged FX trading to leveraged cryptocurrency trading…Japanese men in their 30s and 40s who are engaged in leveraged FX trading are driving the cryptocurrency market.

The analyst noted that Japan accounts for 54% of global FX margin trading. According to data from GMO Click Securities, one of the world’s largest FX trading platforms, 79% of Japanese FX accounts are held by men, and 63% of them are between ages 30 and 49.

Japanese retail investors are also known as Mrs. Watanabe even though most of them are men. However, traditionally they were housewives running their households’ finances.

High Risk, High Return

Leveraged cryptocurrency trading services are available in Japan. For example, GMO Coin offers 5x, 15x and 25x leverage for bitcoin-yen trading. There is no transaction fee but the leverage fee is 0.05% per day. GMO Coin is the cryptocurrency subsidiary of GMO Internet, which also owns GMO Click Securities.

Muraki was quoted by the Financial Times:

Some major FX brokers are using the same 25-times leverage limit that applies to FX trading, but there are no direct rules in leveraged trading of cryptocurrency.

Citing that cryptocurrency transactions can take 10 minutes or more, the analyst said that “the risk of incurring losses greater than margin is higher than in normal FX trading, due to high intraday volatility.”

However, he also noted that “Japanese investors have positive views on volatility,” adding that “a typical Japanese investment style is a combination of low risk – low return deposits and high risk – high return investment,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

FX Platform Operators Entering Crypto Trading Business

An increasing number of leading Japanese FX platforms are developing cryptocurrency exchanges after the Japanese government legalized bitcoin as a method of payment in April.

News.Bitcoin.com reported in May on a growing number of companies registering with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) in order to offer bitcoin products and services to Mrs. Watanabe.

GMO Internet, the parent company of GMO Click Securities, launched its own bitcoin brokerage service called GMO Coin in May.

SBI Group, which has an FX subsidiary called SBI FX Trade, is launching 8 different crypto businesses including an exchange called SBI Virtual Currencies.

Money Partners Group, which owns Money Partners FX platform, has invested in Kraken and Tech Bureau, the operator of Zaif exchange. The group has announced its plan to launch a crypto exchange.

Kabu.com Securities, a part of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (Mufg), also offers FX margin trading services and has a plan to launch its own crypto exchange.

Entertainment giant DMM.com, which owns an FX business called DMM FX, is launching a bitcoin mining operation as well as a crypto trading business called Next Currency in the spring of next year.

Do you think more Japanese investors will switch from leveraged FX trading to leveraged crypto trading? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Deutsche Bank, GMO, Japan FSA, SBI, and Money Partners.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.



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