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5 Reasons Why January’s Price Slump is Nothing to Worry About

2 hours 42 min ago

With more people entering the crypto markets than ever before, the seeds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt has a greater impact on price volatility. Newbie traders jumping in and out on the whims of social media hype, and then panic selling, causes what happened over the past couple of days. However, looking at historical crypto charts, this January dip is nothing new.

There are a number of reasons why the markets crash in January, and many originate in Asia where the bulk of crypto trading occurs. According to Coinmarketcap, which no longer includes South Korean exchanges, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies fell from $750 billion to $420 billion in four days. At the time of writing, they have since recovered and are on the way back up again, currently sitting at a total of $575 billion.

FUD vs FOMO

Reason #1: A lot of the impetus for crypto price action comes from Asia where the news has not been good in recent weeks. China is constantly trying to quash the entire industry, and South Korea just can’t make its mind up with regulatory hype and clampdown fearmongering emerging on an almost weekly basis. The FUD is as infectious as the FOMO, and panic selling over the past few days has sent all coins into freefall, with some losing as much as 40%.

Looking back on historical Bitcoin charts reveals that a January selloff has happened before, several times in fact. Bitcoin is the gold standard for crypto, and a lot of the altcoins did not even exist back then.


Crash Catalysts

Reason #2: It has been speculated that one factor causing this is the Chinese Lunar New Year, which usually falls in February. It is a time of year when people take time off work and travel to visit family, and for this, they will need fiat, not crypto. Since nations in Asia are responsible for the lion’s share of crypto trading, it stands to reason that this could contribute to the annual selloff.

Reason #3: Another factor could be the end of the tax year approaching where investors are planning to pay their annual taxes. Again this has to be done in fiat, not crypto. While not the only catalyst, it could have some influence over price action.

Reason #4: The ending of the first ever Bitcoin futures contract may also have contributed to traders shorting the asset. Once the big players, such as CBOE and CME, get involved, smaller markets can be manipulated by the institutionalized investors, and we could see more of this action until things stabilize.

Reason #5: As more new and inexperienced traders enter the market, these chart oscillations will amplify. Only when they realize that this is a natural cycle and crypto is not dead will things settle down a little. Since total market investment in cryptocurrencies has jumped over 2500% in less than a year, we are still at very early stages of what could be a game changing industry.

Did you panic sell your crypto or hodl it? Share your experiences below.  

Images courtesy of CoinMarketCap, Bitcoinist archives, and Pixabay.

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Alibaba Opens up to Crypto

5 hours 13 min ago

Despite yesterday’s market slide, crypto mania is still alive and kicking. More and more companies are investing in their own blockchain solutions and cryptocurrencies. The latest to enter into the world of digital assets is Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

According to reports, the online shopping behemoth is launching its own crypto mining platform called P2P Nodes. This comes in the same month that China has vowed to crackdown on crypto mining, peer-to-peer trading, and local and international trading platforms, services, and groups.

Cloud Mining

There is little info about the real intention behind Alibaba’s move. However, it has been speculated that the system could be used to provide cloud mining services for its customers. P2P Nodes was registered in October last year, one month after the government banned crypto exchanges in the country.

The original story was posted by local media Tencent News, which translated as:

Alibaba has recently launched a virtual currency mining platform “P2P node”, from the terms of the service agreement terms platform, the main operating platform is Alibaba East China Ltd. It is reported that the company on October 10, 2017, has been completed registration, registered in Nanjing.

It has also been suggested that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could be incorporated into the company’s e-commerce platform in the future.

No Alibaba Coin

Alibaba chief Jack Ma has been standoffish towards the crypto space, stating that the world was not ready for it last year. This apparent U-turn is a bold move in a country that is determined to prohibit all forms of crypto trading. In a CNBC interview, the billionaire internet mogul went on to say:

I said honestly, I know very little about it, and I’m totally confused. Even if it works, the whole international rules on trade and financing are going to be completely changed.

At the present time, there is no indication that the online shopping giant is planning to develop its own cryptocurrency. However the company is evidently looking into crypto technologies to enhance their business operations and has spent a lot of effort researching them.

As large crypto mining operations, such as ViaBTC, leave the country, the news that one of the largest internet companies is planning to adopt the technology is a very positive sign.

Will China ever open up to crypto? Add your views in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Bitcoinist archives.

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US Treasury Warns Investors: Venezuela’s Petro Could Violate Sanctions

7 hours 43 min ago

The US Treasury Department has cautioned investors that Venezuela’s Petro could be in violation of Washington-imposed financial sanctions.

In December last year, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced that his government would be creating a digital currency, the Petro. In a country that is rapidly spiraling into a financial abyss, Maduro sees the state-controlled cryptocurrency as a sanction workaround and subsequently, a way to improve the country’s deep economic problems.

During his annual message on the 15th of January, President Maduro stated:

The center of financial policy will be the consolidation of the Petro. This cryptocurrency is the future of humanity. Venezuela has entered the future.

However, the US Treasury Department doesn’t agree. According to Firstpost, the department cautioned a possible sanction violation through the usage of the digital currency.

Coming up Short on Sanction Evasion

Because of these sanctions, the country is unable to refinance its seemingly insurmountable mountain of debt. In addition, thanks to hyperinflation, Venezuela’s fiat currency, the bolivar, has dropped to record lows.

A representative for the department previously told Reuters:

The Petro digital currency would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government (and) could therefore expose US persons to legal risk. (It) is another attempt to prop up the Maduro regime, while further looting the resources of the Venezuelan people.

Oil Backing a Concern

This is a concern also shared by the country’s opposition Congress, who have stated that they will not recognize the Petro. They have also questioned the legality of the Petro as using oil to issue debt is unlawful.

Maduro has said that each Petro will be backed by, and will cost the same as, one barrel of oil. In addition, he has said that 100 million petros will be issued soon with a subsequent value of approximately $6 billion. However, Maduro’s government has not detailed how and when investors will receive the actual oil.

Venezuela’s Parliament: Maduro’s #Petro #Cryptocurrency ‘Illegal’ https://t.co/IdBNieHD2P pic.twitter.com/j4ZT5LGgUN

— Bitcoinist.com (@bitcoinist) January 11, 2018

Discounted Private Petro Sale

A document seen by Reuters shows that VIBE, a crypto advisory group working with the government, has proposed that Maduro first sell $2.3 billion worth of Petro privately, with a discount of up to 60%. The public would then be able to buy their share of $2.7 billion worth of Petro one month after the private sale. The remaining petros would be divided between the Venezuelan government and VIBE.

The document went on to add that tax can be paid in petros and that PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, can use the crypto to help facilitate cross-border payments.

VIBE also suggested that the Petro token be developed on the Ethereum network, a popular choice in the virtual currency industry. An anonymous source noted that the contents of the document have allegedly already been discussed by government officials.

According to Maduro, exchanges would deal with both bolivars and cryptocurrencies when trading with the pre-mined petros.

Do you think that these issues will put a dent in investor interest and contribution for the Petro? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer TSMC Bullish on Cryptocurrencies

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 22:30

Bitcoin mining has been pushing the growth of important chipmakers, such as Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). Now, tech giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd. (TSMC) plans to significantly increase its revenue from the crypto-mining devices segment.

Crypto-Mining Driving TSMC’s Growth

TSMC provides semiconductor manufacturing devices and services for a range of industries. Most notably, the company supplies chips to Apple.

AppleInsider reports that TSMC might have reached a deal to be the exclusive supplier of the “A11” bionic processor that will be embedded in Apple’s 2018 iPhones.

However, TSMC management is bullish on the cryptocurrencies. Motley Fool writes that TSMC expects to profit more from the cryptocurrency industry than from supplying electronic components for Apple’s iPhone.

Already, TSMC’s fastest growing segment involves the designing and assembling of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies mining. According to Bloomberg, manufacturing crypto-mining devices could represent about one-tenth of TSMC’s revenue in 2018, thus becoming its fastest-growing segment.

Why Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Stock Jumped 26.4% in 2017 – Motley Fool https://t.co/Pq3K9KiFui pic.twitter.com/Kb2wGJGntM

— Hsinchu News (@hsinchunews) January 16, 2018

Data from S&P Global Market Intelligence shows that TSMC achieved a 28 percent return in 2016, partly thanks to the surging interest in cryptocurrency mining. And, in 2017, fueled by crypto-based sales, TSMC rose 26.4 percent. According to Motley Fool:

When TSMC reported 18% sequential sales growth in the third quarter, CFO Lora Ho pointed to cryptocurrency miners as a significant growth driver.

Bitcoin Mining Fueled Chipmakers’ Spectacular Growth

In 2017, the biggest chipmakers such as Nvidia, AMD, and other manufacturers of electronic components fared well. They continued to profit from manufacturing devices used in cryptocurrency mining, IoT, artificial intelligence, robots, driverless cars, and other Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations.

Regarding cryptocurrency mining, for example, in August 2017, cryptocurrency mining devices had pushed Nvidia’s sales to rise 52 percent to $1.2 USD billion. This year, Nvidia’s stock continues its spectacular ascending trajectory, reaching an all-time high of $227 USD, on January 16, 2018.

Not only manufacturers of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, including Bitcoin-related devices, remain bullish for 2018. So do financial entities. For example, most recently, Daiwa, the big Japanese investment bank, upgraded TSMC believing that 1Q revenues will be higher partly because of “continued demand strength from cryptocurrency processors.”

What are your thoughts about the relationship between Bitcoin and Nvidia, AMD, and TSMC? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, Twitter

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Lightning Network Debuts On Blockstream Store As New Strides Announced

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 20:30

Blockstream has implemented Lightning Network Bitcoin payments on its store as part of a continued roll-out of the revolutionary technology.

Store Tests Consumer Lightning Payments

In a blog post on Tuesday, developers Christian Becker and Rusty Russell introduced the Lightning Charge addition to its long-running Elements Project. This is designed in their words to “make it simple to build apps on top of Lightning.”

The pair explains:

Lightning Charge is a micropayment processing system written in node.js. It exposes the functionality of c-lightning through its REST API, which can be accessed through JavaScript and PHP libraries, both of which have also been released through the Elements Project. […] Together, these additions make it easy for developers to use c-lightning to create their own, independent web-payment infrastructures.

Presenting the Blockstream Store, which launched together with the post, Becker and Russell indicated a desire to implement practical use applications as a priority:

By offering an early demonstration of this cutting-edge technology, we hope to bring Lightning to life with real-world functionality, providing a way for you to test Lightning and become a part of the micropayment revolution.

They added that the tool was still in a “testing stage” and invited participants to report any bugs or unusual behavior.

Introducing #LightningCharge, a new micropayment processing system that makes it easy to build apps on top of #Lightning. It’s already powering the @Blockstream Store, an e-commerce site we're launching today! https://t.co/Sqmv4d2ze6#LightningNetwork #Layer2 #micropayments pic.twitter.com/18jZcAXY6o

— Blockstream (@Blockstream) January 17, 2018

Antonopoulos ‘Very Confident’ In Multifaceted Benefits

Reactions to the news were broadly positive on social media, with users continuing to support what is likely the decisive improvement to end high Bitcoin transaction fees and long confirmation times.

In a Q&A session in November, pioneering evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos confirmed his belief in Lightning’s ability to solve such issues, saying he was “very confident” that it would improve Bitcoin’s scalability and privacy.

In his opening remarks, Antonopoulos declared:

I’m not only confident that we will be able to achieve tremendous scaling with Lightning Networks, but I think we will also be able to achieve that in a scale-free manner, and we will also get much better security and privacy.

What do you think about the latest Lightning Network developments? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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You Can Earn Twice as Much from Video Content: NVB Announces Start of ICO

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 19:30

After successfully completing the token presale, Native Video Box (NVB) is now moving to the main stage of the ICO. 

NVB is a platform that automatically selects and places the relevant video content from its own database of licensed clips. The widget proposed by the service is seamlessly embedded in the website and perceived by the user to be native content. The creators of the service are convinced that the technologies and instruments on offer from the platform will radically change the face of the video advertising industry.

One key operating aspect of the NVB service is the elimination of a number of intermediaries from the supply chain accounting at present, according to the project’s data, for approximately 70% of advertising budgets. The decentralized platform will make it possible to implement this approach. The global project is based on a service that has been successfully developing its technologies on the local market for over two years.

Since the start of the ICO, NVB has sponsored and participated in numerous conferences, including such high-profile events as Blockshow Asia and B Conference in Abu-Dhabi and the Big Roadshow in Moscow and in Europe. Based on the results of pitches, negotiations are almost finalized; in particular, they have managed to interest big international institutional players. The product has already attracted the attention of potential business partners from the advertising ecosystem such as BetweenX, Dynovid, and Vispot, and some industrial startups (Adhive), and also video content aggregators and video bloggers. In 2018 NVB expects to sign several contracts that will make it possible to scale up the project significantly.

NVB Token Sale

The token presale ended on December 31, 2017. For the time being, they can still be acquired at a discount on the nominal value of $1. Effective January 15, 2018, the discount will be reduced in two-week intervals: 20% of the nominal value — until January 31, 2018, and 10% of the nominal value — until February 14, 2018. Then the tokens will start to be sold at full price.

The scaling strategy, and accordingly the strategy for turnover growth to 2020, are spelled out in detail in the project’s roadmap included in its White Paper. According to Alexander Shishov, NVB founder and CEO, the project aims “in the first year to achieve turnover of 88 million dollars and pay up to 66 million dollars to content owners and website owners.”

However, Shishov is linking key expectations to global expansion:

We are targeting first and foremost markets with high video production and consumption levels: China, Japan and the USA. Competition in these regions is traditionally high, but the user has already matured to consume individual high-tech solutions. This will enable the product to rapidly start up and secure a niche. Our goal is to at the very least double turnover in two years.

NVB tokens are designed to drive the cryptocurrency platform where all settlements are concluded between interested parties: advertisers, video content producers, and the content hosts. To use the service, the advertiser buys tokens. It is projected that 60% of the proceeds from these sales will be received by the site owners posting the content, 15% by the content producers, while 25% will be used to service the actual platform. Out of the 20 million planned for the ICO, 80% will be sold publicly.

The remainder of the tokens will be distributed as follows: 8% are frozen for the team of developers for one year, another 8% will be spent on the remuneration program as part of the performance of the marketing campaign and 4% will be reserved for consultants.

The advisory board is one of the key assets of the project. The company has managed to attract industry gurus with successful track records. The list of advisors recently joining the project includes Julian Zegelman from Velton Zegelman PC, legal expert on cryptocurrencies and business angel. The ICOs conducted successfully with his participation include GoldMint, ParagonCoin, BlackMoon Crypto and many others. Mike Raytsin, co-founder of ICObox, the largest provider of box solutions for ICOs, and Alexei Morozov with 14 years of experience in AdTech and in top management positions at major market players – Rambler, Begun and AdFox, have also joined the board as advisors.

Explaining his interest in the project Mike Raytsin notes:

It is well known that projects in similar categories, in particular, the advertising sector, have collected up to 35 million dollars, triggering a rush in demand from buyers. The success of the initial offering frequently consists of simple things: a popular and innovative idea, a top quality product, strong team, an understandable and useful token, and also an honest, transparent and detailed White Paper, which clearly spells out all the token’s functions and all the possible risks. In my opinion, NVB has all these qualities and can expect its public ICO to be successful.

For more details on the project, go the site https://nvb.digital.

What do you think about Native Video Box (NVB)? How will it help video content providers better monetize their content? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Native Video Box

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Ignite Engages Coinfirm to Boost AML Compliance During ICO

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 18:00

London, UK., 17th January – Ignite is pleased to announce its engagement with Coinfirm and its AML/CTF Platform. Coinfirm will ensure that Ignite will stay fully compliant with AML regulation during its ICO commencing at 18:00 UTC on 15th January. 

Who are Coinfirm?

Coinfirm is a leading regulatory technology company with an objective to secure the safe adoption and use of blockchain by deploying the Coinfirm AML/CTF Platform.

Coinfirm’s platform helps ICOs to streamline and automate compliance processes and aims to be the global standard for AML enabling a high level of transparency for cryptocurrency and blockchain based transactions.

How will the Coinfirm Platform work for Ignite?

Coinfirm’s AML platform makes it possible to easily identify funds from risky or illegal sources and assess risks connected to dealing with contributing wallet addresses (serving BTC, ETH, and Dash).

The platform uses approximately 200 proprietary algorithms and big data analysis to provide actionable data on contributing wallet addresses. Coinfirm’s technology has the ability to farm data from the blockchain, clearnet, deep web, and data leaks (to name a few sources).  Ignite has integrated with Coinfirm so that we will have streamlined access to reports and risk scores for all of our contributor’s wallets.

The risk reports prepared in real time by Coinfirm will give a risk score on each wallet ranging between 0-99, and will reflect the risk level of money laundering, fraud, or other compliance risks. A higher score will reflect a higher risk with a particular wallet. Coinfirm will then provide Ignite with further data such as behavioral profile, financial characteristics, and over 100 risk indicators.

Ignite will use this valuable data to block and refund transactions on those wallets marked as “high risk”. For those around the high-risk mark, Ignite will undertake a greater degree of analysis on the wallet addresses, in some cases requesting further due diligence to be completed by the contributor. A final call for transacting with those addresses will be made depending on the outcome of the further due diligence completed.

Ignite’s legal team will be monitoring Coinfirm’s real-time reports for the duration of the ICO and will take action in the best interests of preventing our platform from being utilized for money laundering purposes.

We look forward to working together with Coinfirm and furthering its mission to make the blockchain and crypto world a safer space.

Ignite’s ICO commences at 18:00 UTC on 15th January https://igniteratings.com/.

Coinfirm is currently in the middle of their own crowdsale for AMLT. More information can be found here https://amlt.coinfirm.io/.

About Coinfirm

Coinfirm is a recognized leader in their field,  ranked among the most influential blockchain and regtech companies and serves as a foundation for the safe adoption and use of blockchain. The Coinfirm AML/CTF Platform uses proprietary algorithms and big data analysis to provide structured actionable data that increases efficiency, reduces costs and streamlines compliance to near automation. The blockchain agnostic platform benefits companies operating around blockchain as well as major financial institutions, asset management companies and BI companies. www.coinfirm.io

Images courtesy of Coinfirm

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Amid Bitcoin Price Chaos, Industry Welcomes Two New Blockchain ETFs

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 18:00

Institutional investment is taking no notice of Bitcoin’s current volatility as two pioneering Blockchain exchange-traded funds (ETFs) launch Wednesday.

‘Profound Long-Term Investment Opportunities’

The Reality Shares Nasdaq NextGen Economy ETF (BLCN) and the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) are forerunners of what some pundits expect to be an onslaught of Bitcoin and Blockchain ETFs which may gain approval in 2018.

Unlike previous Bitcoin attempts from last year which met with flat-out rejections from US regulators, Wednesday’s Blockchain products have yet to receive problems from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), meaning that under current law, they may continue operating as planned.

Blockchain companies will form the focus for investment for both ETFs, with officials keen to note that the target ecosystem presents significant opportunities despite the inherent risks associated with investment in the rapidly-evolving yet volatile industry.

In an official press release, Reality Shares CEO Eric Ervin said:

The blockchain ecosystem potentially presents one of the most profound, long-term investment opportunities many of us have or will ever see in our lifetime.

He continued:

In order to fully harness the potential of this exciting sector, we teamed up with other well-known groups – Nasdaq and the experienced members of our advisory board – to vet and qualify blockchain companies and identify trends and initiatives in our pursuit to become the leaders in blockchain investing.

Here’s what you need to know about the BLCN ETF https://t.co/YEjxkuXEsK #blockchain #blockchainetf #innovation #blockchainscore pic.twitter.com/ROrvRFkD2s

— Reality Shares ETFs (@RealityShares) January 17, 2018

Looking Beyond The Price Slump

The products received a comparatively understated release compared to December’s twin Bitcoin futures contracts, which set both investment and Bitcoin prices astir upon their debut.

At press time, Bitcoin was facing a major slide in price comparable to its performance following the Mt. Gox exchange collapse of 2013, losing almost 50% of its value within just eleven days.

Within optimism remaining in legacy investment circles, however, there is a more profound sentiment that the opportunities presented by Bitcoin for traditional money are only just beginning to reach their potential audience.

The Reality Shares release nonetheless cautions:

Investing involves risks, including possible loss of principal. Shares are not FDIC insured and may lose value. Past performance does not guarantee future results. […] For BLCN, there is no guarantee or assurance the methodology used to create the respective Benchmark Index will result in the Fund achieving positive returns.

What do you think about the two new Bitcoin ETFs? Let us know in the comment section below!

Images courtesy of Flickr

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Debitum Network Leverages Ethereum Blockchain to Deliver Game-changing Small Business Finance Solution

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 17:01

Debitum Network, a business financing blockchain startup, is quickly emerging as a robust small business finance solution that promises to eliminate the need for the highly over-regulated intermediaries. This project has just completed a successful crowdsale campaign and has recently clinched the first place in both jury and audience in the prestigious d10e ICO Pitch Award.

12th January 2018 – Debitum Network continues its dream run towards achieving its mission towards building a decentralized, safe, and transparent ecosystem for micro, small, and medium business financing. An innovative funding platform based on the Ethereum blockchain, Debitum Network strives to free the SMEs around the world from the middlemen and provide them financing opportunities that have always been out of bounds to them.

Almost all small businesses around the world suffer from the common problem of limited or no access to credit. According to the World Bank, in 2017, approximately 70% of all micro and small to medium size businesses in emerging markets lacked access to credit. It’s argued by many experts that the highly constrained and strict regulations of the banks and financial institutions are intended to restrict the SMEs from receiving funds from international or individual investors. This lopsided business lending scenario has led to a currently estimated credit gap of $2 trillion.

Debitum Network was created with the belief that the only way to overcome the inadequacies of the existing funding system is to build a hub that brings together the local players for resource sharing. Built as a hybrid platform, Debitum Network unites the borrowers with the lenders, risk assessors, document validators, insurers, etc. It is a secure and incorruptible infrastructure, as all actions are processed through the Ethereum Blockchain. Businesses can utilize this service in their locality and from day one because all transactions are run through fiat currencies.

The Debitum Network project is the brainchild of a highly proficient team of experts with a wealth of experience in alternative financing platforms. They have already developed a functional Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in which the full blockchain infrastructure runs on ETH, based on real financing requests from the SMEs.

“We believe that small companies must have fair opportunities to connect investors from any part of the world and then utilize their investments. We have experienced this need ourselves while developing successful IT and alternative finance businesses,” says Debitum Network Co-founder Martins Liberts. “We feel that now it’s time for us to share our experience and to help other companies grow. We are proudly creating an instrument which provides equal growth opportunities for different size businesses,”

All transactions on the Debitum Network will be fuelled by the Debitum (DEB) token. As the Debitum eco-system becomes more widespread, this token is expected to become a sustainable cryptocurrency with a growing value over time. In a recently concluded token crowdsale campaign, the project has successfully raised $1.2 million in the round A.

Debitum Network hit the headlines in October 2017, when they got the better of one hundred and twenty other participants to win the jury and audience awards in the highly rated ICO Pitch Competition at d10e Gibraltar. In the history of this leading international conference on decentralization, Debitum Network is the first project ever to clinch both these awards. The project has also received a 10/10 rating from Clif High, the renowned data mining expert and the creator of the Web Bot computer program.

  • Quarter 1:  Expanding the Debitum Network team to prepare for global expansion
  • Quarter 2:  Establishing Debitum Network in the first target country
  • Quarter 3: Testing and auditing Debitum Network 1.0 before public launch
  • Quarter 4: Develop the Debitum Network ecosystem version 1.0 with manual on-boarding of asset generators, investors and additional service providers

To find out more about Debitum Network, please visit https://debitum.network/

About Debitum Network: Debitum Network is a decentralized, safe, and transparent financing ecosystem dedicated to creating easy financing opportunities for the SMEs by eliminating the intermediaries from the system. It has been designed to unite the borrowers with those who help them apply, such as the investors (lenders), risk assessors, document validators, insurers, etc. All actions are processed through the Ethereum Blockchain, making Debitum Network a secure and incorruptible infrastructure.

Contact: Aurimas Nenorta

Website: https://debitum.network/    

Email: aurimas.nenorta@debitum.network

Images courtesy of Debitum Network

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Sweden Set To Become First Economy To Introduce Own Cryptocurrency

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 17:00

Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, is looking at launching a national cryptocurrency called the e-Krona in as few as two years.

Sweden’s position as potentially the world’s first cashless society has lead to a research note, written by HSBC economist James Pomeroy, entitled “Sweden’s big year: Can the economy overcome some challenges?” to identify the country as looking for international cooperation in developing an officially-sanctioned cryptocurrency. The note reads:

The so-called e-Krona will have to be able to be used for small purchases, as a claim on the Riksbank and be accessible by companies, individuals and financial institutions at all times.

Sweden’s Riksbank has very much been at the forefront of monetary advances over the years, as their governor Stefan Ingves is eager to point out:

It was in Stockholm that the first modern banknote was created more than 350 years ago, and that it is here, in Sweden, that cash is currently taking its last breaths. Perhaps the Riksbank will be writing history again.

How the e-Krona Might Be Managed

It is speculated that the e-Krona would work by either having it work like cash currently does, with value stored on an app or card rather than a central database, or it could be in a registry-based system with the e-Krona stored in accounts held in a centralized database.

Pomeroy writes:

This is more complex, but may make the framework easier to expand and develop over time, and would likely require the use of blockchain technology.

The system would be fraught with interesting technicalities and nuance for fans of cryptocurrency. A key element of what cryptocurrency offers is protection against scrutiny that cash payments currently afford, giving consumers security in the knowledge that their very private information is not being gathered and sold by third parties in order to profile them as customers or as a potential customer/product for others.

Modern Day Privacy Concern

It’s an issue that cashless societies are now facing, where every transaction can be tracked in minute detail and painting very revealing pictures of your personal life. This is where cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, shine. Cryptocurrencies can provide the same level of day-to-day anonymity that cash provides in an age where societies are essentially cashless. HSBC economist James Pomeroy notes that the Riksbank has:

…issued a number of research articles on the topic, with the suggestion being that as cash usage continues to dwindle, the central bank may need to find another way to provide their populations with access to payments that are not via an intermediary such as a retail bank.

A reassuring element appears to be that banks realize that centralized intermediaries may not be in the best interests of their customers or their data security concerns. They also realize that their future as a whole is threatened unless they adapt and keep apace with rapid Fintech developments in the world of finance.

Do you still use cash? Do you see cryptocurrency replacing it? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives and Pixabay.

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Project Districts Gears Up for the North American Bitcoin Conference following their Participation at Dubai International Blockchain Summit

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:30

Projects Districts, the world’s first fully decentralized virtual ecosystem designed to project real-world and ethereal experiences to users, is now making the headlines on a regular basis. After attending the just concluded Dubai International Blockchain Summit, the team is all set to take part in the North American Bitcoin Conference scheduled to be held in Miami on January 18th and 19th 2018.

January 10, 2018 – Blockchain Technology LLC, one of the earliest blockchain startups in the Gulf States, is pleased to announce that their team Project Districts will participate in the upcoming North American Bitcoin Conference. Project Districts was also one of the attendees at the just concluded Dubai International Blockchain Summit. The North American Bitcoin Conference will take place in Miami on January 18th and 19th 2018, bringing together all the major players of the industry and showcasing ICOs as the next big thing in the in the crypto-currency community.

Project Districts was created by Blockchain Technology LLC out of their passion for creating a system that will help overcome the traditional barriers to innovation by providing the necessary tools for transforming ideas into workable solutions. This goal was accomplished by the Districts development team by leveraging the core efficiencies of two groundbreaking technologies, the blockchain and Virtual Reality.

The first ever synergistic manipulation of the Blockchain and Virtual Reality, Project Districts allows the integration of a diverse range of functionalities into the Districts 3D world. The goal of Project Districts is to be the world’s first ubiquitous interface for propagating traditional and ethereal experiences to both the common and technology savvy internet user.

3DCoin, Project Districts’ own cryptocurrency based on the bitcoin and dash source code and updated by a new smart script, serves as the official medium of transaction in the Districts ecosystem. The 3DCoin blockchain utilizes a set of public key cryptographic methods to further enhance its safety and allows the use of the already existent keys from sister cryptocurrencies or from any other system.

Following the recent launch of the ICO by Project Districts, the demand for 3DCoin has skyrocketed. Some of the key advantages of the new generation 3DCoin blockchain are scalability, fast confirmation, 3D Dapps, user-friendly interface, low transaction fees, safety layer for developers, programmable contracts, secure mining, instant transactions, and more. Given its fiat nature in the 3D world, 2018 certainly promises to be a great year for this new cryptocurrency.

Though the experts have predicted immense potential for the VR/AR market, the existing VR/AR frameworks, in general, are complex to use, expensive to set up, and rather limited in terms of their applications. Built on a robust P2P system, Districts 3D world looks to cut down the traditional costs associated with setting up and running an AR/VR based ecosystem.

Project Districts also comes with its own Districts Visual Studio (DVS), a specialized development module that bridges the technical gap between the 3D world and its users. This versatile ecosystem is poised to deliver efficient solutions to multiple sectors including retail, gaming, real estate, education, healthcare, application development, advertisement, and much more.

Highlighting their experience at the Dubai International Blockchain Summit, a senior team member stated:

It was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase Project Districts as the world’s first fully decentralized virtual ecosystem that can be used to develop content, applications, and share experiences for personal, public and commercial use. The team also benefited immensely by interacting with some of the most renowned personalities in the blockchain space.

He further added:

With the North American Bitcoin Conference just around the corner, we are excited about yet another rewarding experience. This two day event promises to be the most important blockchain conference of the year, and we are looking forward to making it a grand success for Project Districts.

To find out more about Project Districts, please visit https://districts.io/en/

About Project Districts

A brainchild of Blockchain Technology LLC, Project Districts is an unlimited Virtual Representation of the real world. This is an efficient system that will help overcome the traditional barriers to innovation by providing the necessary tools for transforming ideas into workable solutions. Project Districts has been created by combining the core efficiencies of the blockchain and Virtual Reality.

Contact: Mohamed Zakaria Samai

Website: https://districts.io/en/
Email: contact@districts.io

Images courtesy of Project Districts

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Local World Forwarders Harnesses Blockchain Technology to Improve Logistics Industry

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:15

Local World Forwarders (LWF) aims to create an efficient and innovative platform based on blockchain as well as DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake) Technology for a democratic and decentralized disruption of the Global Logistics Market, expected to be worth $15.5 Trillion by 2023.

With more and more shipments to residential addresses due to the booming e-commerce industry, the major impediments of the logistics industry have become more prominent than ever before. Custom duties make imported goods tacks on unnecessary fees and increases prices, or shutting companies out of entire markets entirely. This is seen with India’s recent tax increases on cell phones affecting major companies such as Apple, Samsung, and LG.

Furthermore, there is no singular company that handles logistics globally, further causing complications when it comes to global shipments, especially when a package is transferred from one jurisdiction to another. Integrating different companies together would be difficult due to the lack of a standardized system, making developing new API’s or combining data structures unfeasible.

LWF looks to change all this with their multi-service logistics platform, with a DPoS-based blockchain as the backbone. The platform will be capable of decentralizing the entire logistics supply chain to get rid of central points of failure, as well as making management immutable, ensuring records are authentic and can be validated by anyone.

For the first time ever, anyone that is part of the platform can generate an income using LWF’s P2P platform. Users can receive or ship parcels across the globe, providing secure and decentralized logistics on an international scale.

The Services Offered

LWF’s platform will allow for peer-to-peer freight forwarding. This is essentially a service where a customer will be able to procure a private forwarder to send the item of their choice once they have already purchased it. The customer will buy his or her item and have it sent to the private forwarders address at which point the item is shipped to the customer by the forwarder.

Customers will be able to find a suitable shipper, based on certain parameters such as location, on the easy-to-use platform. Once the forwarder has shipped the item, a fee is calculated which is held in escrow until the user confirms receipt of his items.

The fee is to be paid in the LWF token. To maximize customer contentment, all items shipped through LWF’s platform will be covered by insurance to mitigate any losses.

Moreover, LWF will offer private collecting points where users are able to pick up their items at their convenience without having to worry about issues such as distance or opening and closing times. These collection points will be run privately and the platforms’ users will be able to pick which points best suit their needs.

Due to the decentralized nature of this service, the platform will create opportunities for extra income for those who sign up to be forwarders as well as private collection points. Additionally, LWF will develop a mobile app that will function somewhat similarly to Uber, allowing for express deliveries for people in the same area.

This on-demand system will be made possible by data on the blockchain, which will, in turn, ensure safety and security. The platform will also offer traditional direct logistics, with the relevant operating facilities currently already in place.

Interested users looking to become a part of the platform have an opportunity to secure tokens in the TEC sale in order to access the platform when it is ready.

The last sale will be the Token Equity Convertible (TEC) sale, which begins a day after the Early Support Program Ends, on January 23rd at 12:00 GMT. The final sale will end on February 23rd, 2018, at 12:00 GMT, with a minimum contribution limit of .005 BTC.

For more information regarding token distribution, more in-depth information about LWF and the platform, visit the whitepaper.

About LWF

The Local World Forwarders project is based on a simple yet complex idea, aimed at decentralized logistics, where anyone can be a user or a service provider based on a DPoS Blockchain which allows our platform to push all users and shipping information data through our blockchain to maximize decentralization in the logistics market. LWF’s P2P Platform is a multi-service logistics platform with an efficient information system that uses integrated DPoS blockchain technology, to provide excellent solutions to the shortcomings the industry is currently facing, especially in emerging countries, at the same time setting up profit opportunities for both investors and users.

Website: https://www.lwf.io/en
Whitepaper: https://www.lwf.io/docs/lwf_whitepaper_en.pdf

Images courtesy of Local World Forwarders

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Bitcoinus – the Pioneer of Online Crypto Processing

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:00

The explosive growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain based solutions fueled a switch of future online payments from traditional banking to crypto. The global online retail market will reach 3 trillion dollars in the end of 2018. With such potential of the industry new players started to emerge offering completely different ways to get paid for e-commerce businesses.

Why Is Crypto so Much Better?

The retail world is experiencing growth such as has never been seen before. In order for merchants to catch up, they need not only put much more effort into marketing and positioning strategies but also to choose the right online payment processing partners.

What has been realized recently is that cryptocurrencies are becoming a very popular method of payments. With that in mind, all ecommerce innovation-driven businesses start to look for decent online crypto payment processing companies to provide more added value to their clients and stand out in the industry. Surely adding crypto will increase the conversion rate of any e-shop targeting innovation-driven customers.

Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Ripple or many others are great for instant cheap transactions. No banks, credit card companies or a huge number of other middlemen need to participate in the process of a sale. It is all straightforward like it should be in times booming re-invention of digital technologies.

Bitcoinus will offer such solution for all online businesses. 2 seconds to approve any transaction, merchant reputation system and free transactions for merchants when paid with Bitcoinus tokens. This is something to look for if you are really looking to adopt the blockchain technology for your business.

The Falling Kingdom of PayPal

Nowadays, one of the most popular online payment systems is PayPal, with a more than $11 billion turnover in 2017. The future seems a bit unclear when it comes to the fact of increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies. It is hardly possible that such corporation will change their philosophy and switch to blockchain based payments.

Bitcoinus – a new startup is aiming to overtake the dominance of online payments in only a couple of years. How will they do it?

Traditional processing companies are eager to switch to blockchain-based technology due to many existing uncertainties. Last year‘s increase of capitalization of all cryptocurrencies and immediate spread of the number of blockchain solutions will affect virtually all existing online businesses. Safer and more efficient information distribution brings a completely new approach to internet payments as well since it is also only a form of information that changes hands.

This and many other reasons make PayPal worry a lot. Not long from now, blockchain-based currencies will rule the most of online retail market and there is no way of stopping it. How will they deal with it?

Making Crypto Payments Low Cost & Flexible

More and more people start to use cryptocurrencies to for goods and services online. Currently, it is not either easy or convenient.

Bitcoinus will offer clean and flexible API for developers of any online business to develop their own solutions with integrated crypto payments. The plugins for all major ecommerce platforms like WordPress, Shopify and a number of others.

Tomas Mickauskas, the founder of Bitcoinus, says:

The main benefit as such is the fact that a transaction cost which will come 0,5% as standard. It will even be free for both parties paying with BIU tokens which open completely new horizons for online business cost management. Our vision is to make ecommerce more profitable as the increasing competition drives the P/L curve downwards. Bitcoinus will also bring back the opportunity to succeed for all small enterprises.

Bitcoinus ICO

The ICO of Bitcoinus will commence on 22nd of January. All contributors will be able to get a generous 47% discount on BIU tokens. Some of the best examples of future benefits are free transactions to B2B clients who will be interested in adopting the cryptocurrencies as their new progressive payment method.

“We are ready to introduce the so needed crypto payment processing solution to the world of ecommerce. Big retail corporations only get bigger because they have favorable conditions. Bitcoinus will provide them to all businesses. Cryptocurrencies will certainly have a huge influence in traditional retailing, taking a part of this revolution is a huge privilege.” – says Povilas Ruzgaila, an ICO Expert and the head of business development in Bitcoinus.

All individuals who will support the Bitcoinus project will also be able to get a variety of discounts while shopping at Bitcoinus retail partners’ online platforms and e-shops. BIU tokens will be traded in all major exchanges to provide liquidity. Therefore all conditions will be created for the BIU token to be accepted as a payment method to all Bitcoinus partners.

Bitcoinus ICO presale will offer 8M tokens 47% off the regular price, starts on 22nd of January.

Website: www.bitcoinus.io.

What do you think of Bitcoinus? Will it make it easier and cheaper for merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments?

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinus

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Delphy Surpasses 100,000 Pre-Registration Mark for Its Predictive Markets App

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:00

Singapore – Delphy, a predictive markets platform, today announced that over 100,000 people have pre-registered to download its app, which will go live in February. In addition, the company also announced that the leading global cryptocurrency exchange, OKEX, has listed the DPY token that will power the platform.

Over $19 million was raised through an Initial Coin Offering to fund development of its app. Designed to run on mobile devices as a light Ethereum node, demand for the app saw Delphy’s servers temporarily crash within hours of going live.

Bo Wang, Founder of Delphy said: “The pre-registration figures are a testament to the interest in Delphy and the immense appeal of predictive markets. Supporters now have the opportunity to secure DPY tokens using OKEX before the app’s official launch.”

Delphy, an open source mobile platform for the prediction market, channels the wisdom of the crowd to make data-driven predictions about future events. Users who correctly predict the outcomes of events are rewarded. Users invest in predictions on markets such as finance,  sports, entertainment and more.

“Will Bitcoin break $20,000 next week? Will Donald Trump be elected for a second term? Will humans go to Mars by 2025?” said Bo Wang, Founder of Delphy. “By drawing on the collective experience and knowledge of our users, Delphy can make predictions about some of the most important events of our time.”

Delphy implements three of the necessary conditions for crowd wisdom as defined by renowned journalist and author, James Surowiecki: diversity of opinion, independence of opinion, and decentralization. Named after the prophetic oracle from Greek mythology, Delphy is built on a decentralized Ethereum platform, making it difficult to manipulate prediction results.

The Delphy Token (DPY Token) powering the platform is now available on the leading global cryptocurrency exchange, OKEX, and can be purchased using Bitcoin or Ethereum. In the prediction market, DPY will be used to buy shares and reward winners for correctly making forecasts. Early adopters of the token will be eligible for a coin bonus via the Delphy Bounty Program. Some 130,000 DPY tokens will be allocated to traders who purchase tokens using OKEX.

About Delphy

Delphy is an open-source, decentralized, mobile prediction market platform built on the Ethereum platform. Delphy uses market incentives to allow participants to transparently communicate with each other to discuss and share the outcome of upcoming events whilst effectively predicting the future. Our decentralized platform makes it difficult to manipulate prediction results. Delphy incentivizes its platform users with rewards for correctly predicting future events. Delphy endeavor to eliminate uncertainty in forecasting and predicting outcomes.

Images courtesy of Delphy

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All That Glitters! De Beers Launching Blockchain to Track Diamonds and Other Gems

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:45

Diamond industry giant De Beers is launching its own blockchain to digitally track diamonds and gems from when they’re first dug up.

Few things capture the attention more than a glittering diamond. They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but provenance has become a diamond’s best friend over the last few years. Once enough attention was brought upon the practice of buying and selling blood diamonds, gems sourced from a war zone under terrible conditions, diamond companies went into motion to show that their gems come from conflict-free areas. Now industry giant De Beers is going one step further by launching a blockchain that will track diamonds as well as other precious gems and minerals.

Putting a Ring on the Blockchain

De Beers has a vested interest in making sure people know where their diamonds come from. They once had an absolute monopoly on the diamond business, and even though they no longer have full control, they are still the largest diamond producer in the world when using value as a yardstick.

People today want a diamond that has a background as flawless as the gemstone itself. This means that the gem was not mined in a region filled with conflict and a lack of human rights. The company has worked to support he Kimberley Process that was set up in 2003 to ensure the end of trading blood diamonds.

As such, tracking a diamond is of key importance, from when it is first unearthed and then through the many hands of those who have possessed it. This is where the digital ledger of the blockchain comes into play. CEO Bruce Cleaver says:

It’s a huge public ledger as immutable as anything invented. It’s a much more un-hackable system than anything on a single server.

Flawless Transparency

Cleaver goes on to say that the new blockchain can be very significant to the industry. The digital ledger would make the entire supply chain, from initial mining to future selling, more transparent and efficient. The transparency, especially in regards to conflict-free gemstones, would also help reassure banks that help finance the industry.

The new diamond-tracking blockchain by De Beers will span the entire value chain and would be open to everybody in the industry. One of the benefits of such tracking is that a person can easily follow a path of ownership, no matter how many times the gem has changed hands.

The pilot program for this tracking has already started, but Cleaver has declined to say who the participants in the program actually are. He did say that some De Beers sightholders, people that are accredited diamond buyers, are part of the program.

The new blockchain could also be used for other precious gems and minerals. Overall, this is an interesting program and could help cut down on illegal stones. The main downside is that men who try to buy a cheap diamond from a guy selling them out of the back of a truck will be out of luck if their significant others actually use the blockchain to see where their diamond comes from.

What do you think about De Beers starting a blockchain to track diamonds? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, PublicDomainPictures, and Wikimedia Commons.

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Start of Octoincoin Cryptocurrency! Octoin Project Successfully Keeps on Growing!

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:30

The Octoin project is happy to announce the release its own cryptocurrency OctoinCoin! The release is planned for the beginning of February 2018.

Our Team has done really hard work so that the product that we present to the market would be really outstanding. OctoinCoin (OCC) has got many advantages which differentiate it from the rest of cryptocurrencies. Three wales, which OCC is based on, are security, speed and, convenience.

Advantages of OCC comparing to other cryptocurrencies:

  • PoS mining which is possible without using the expensive equipment. It is enough simply to keep your wallet open with the balance;
  • Using the SegWit gives additional 4-times optimisation of block of OCC. It multiplies by many times the speed of transaction.
  • The Lightning Network technology is a completely new opportunity of conducting instant transactions with almost no commissions!
  • OCCode is the opportunity of cold storage and sending coins using the code. This technology is reminding the electronic cheque to bearer. It is easy and safe method of sending the coins to the user, who might not even have the wallet at the moment of receiving the coins. When someone receives and activates the code, he is refilling its balance for the amount of OCC, which is was indicated while created OCCode.

We are sure that start of our own cryptocurrency with such functionality will allow us to straighten our leadership positions at the cryptocurrencies market. So that our Partners can attract new users to the system!

90 Long Acre
London
WC2E 9RZ
https://octoin.com

Images courtesy of Octoin

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Bitcar Rolls into Miami for Bitcoin Conference

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:00

Miami 17th January 2018 – Blockchain company BitCar is showcasing its fractionalised peer-to-peer exotic car trading platform technology at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, United States.

BitCar is a key sponsor of the event and will use the conference to disseminate its technology.

“Cryptocurrency specialists from all over the world will be in Miami to hear about BitCar’s Blockchain technology, which is set to disrupt ownership of exotic and high-end classic cars,” said BitCar co-founder Dr. Gov Van Ek.

“BitCar also has the potential to change the automotive shared services industry, which is very large and so far hasn’t been undisrupted by crypto,” he added.

BitCar has been in development for over two years. It’s a decentralized platform that facilitates the fractional ownership of exotic cars as a collectible asset.

The cars will be visible and displayed in public locations, such as galleries and airports.

“We have a proven track record in this space, having co-founded energy trading platform Power Ledger. We love conceiving and executing on disruptive technology that challenges traditional business models,” said Dr. Dan Ek.

BitCar is also connecting to the booming gaming industry and expanding into shared services in the automotive industries.

“We are not just another Blockchain or payment platform in a crowded market. We have developed some impressive tech, and with our first mover advantage, we are excited about the potential for BitCar,” said Dr. Van Ek.

BitCar was co-founded by Dr. Gov Van Ek and Nuno Martins – two well-known figures in the Blockchain community.

Rare exotic cars such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Bugattis will be acquired for BitCar and stored or displayed for up to 15 years and some could appreciate in value over this time.

The concept involves the tokenization of cars on BitCar’s decentralized Blockchain platform. People can use their BITCAR tokens to trade on the platform.

“High-end cars have lower price fluctuations than regular cryptocurrencies, so we see one potential use of the BitCar platform as a place of stability in times of crypto market volatility,” said Dr. Van Ek.

Verified “Agents” will source, acquire and store the exotic cars for a period of between 5 and 15 years, at which point they’ll be sold.

“BitCar will be the first Blockchain platform in the world that makes exotic car ownership accessible to everyone, not just the uber-wealthy,” said Dr. Van Ek.

According to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, valuable automobiles have strongly outperformed gold, US stocks, private equity, and REITs over the past three years.*

The RM Sotherby’s New York 2017 Auction of exotic cars recorded US$45.5 million sales. A1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, chassis 1451 GT, sold for $17,990,000 – well above the reserve.*

“Some of the recent high prices at auction demonstrate the high level of confidence in the authenticity and desirability of these cars. What struck me during our research, was that about eighty percent of these cars are sold peer-to-peer,” said Dr. Van Ek.

“They are very attractive visually and they are the only collectible asset that can’t easily be faked, unlike wine and art,” said Dr. Van Ek.

BitCar is working with ASX-listed DigitalX – the corporate advisor for the ICO. DigitalX is well connected with cryptocurrency specialists, including in the United States.

For more information go to www.bitcar.io.

Media Contact

Heidi Cuthbert
+61 411 272 366
heidi.cuthbert@multiplier.com.au

Images courtesy of Bitcoinist

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See Dick. See Dick Call Bitcoin a Pyramid Scheme. Wrong, Dick. Wrong.

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:15

In an interview with CNBC earlier Tuesday, former Wells Fargo CEO Richard ‘Dick’ Kovacevich denounced Bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.

First, it was economist Robert Schiller calling Bitcoin a “bubble”. Then JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon added his pontificating opinion to the mix, labeling it a “fraud.” Now it looks like Wall Street talking heads are doubling down on the stupid.

Yesterday, in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich pronounced Bitcoin a pyramid scheme:

I think it’s a pyramid scheme. It makes no sense. I’m just surprised it isn’t even lower.

Bitcoin vs. Pyramid Scheme

To paraphrase a quote from one of my favorite movies, Mr. Kovacevich, you keep using that word (pyramid scheme). I do not think it means what you think it means.

Investopedia defines a pyramid scheme as:

A pyramid scheme is an illegal investment scam based on a hierarchical setup. New recruits make up the base of the pyramid and provide the funding, or so-called returns, the earlier investors/recruits above them receive. A pyramid scheme does not involve the selling of products. Rather, it relies on the constant inflow of money from additional investors that works its way to the top of the pyramid.

It also notes that pyramid schemes are fraudulent because:

People are deceived into believing that by giving money, they will make more money; however, no wealth has been created, no product has been sold, no investment has been made, and no service has been provided.

Here’s where the wheels come off of Kovacevich’s argument:

1. Bitcoin is not based on recruiting. There is no funnel, no downline, no single fat cat at the top getting rich off of percentages of the investments of people under him or her.

2. Early Bitcoin investors, who could arguably be considered to be at the top of the investment food chain, aren’t realizing profits from the funds of investors who came after them. Any profits realized come from traditional investing strategies of early adoption, knowing when to hold and when to get out, and buying low and selling high.

3. When an investor buys bitcoin, they are doing one of two things:

  • Converting fiat currency to its equivalent value in bitcoin to use as a medium of exchange, much like a visitor to a foreign country might convert their own native currency to that of their host country;
  • Investing in it either as a store of value, like gold, oil, etc., or speculatively, with the expectation that its value will increase while understanding that it could decrease as well.

Neither of these two use cases meets the definition of a pyramid scheme. In the former, something is being purchased, and in the latter, an investment is being made.

Why is the Old Guard so Resistant to Bitcoin?

Cryptocurrency is a new financial animal that doesn’t behave like anything that traditional finance experts have seen before. They don’t understand cryptocurrency, so rather than make an attempt to educate themselves, they criticize and denounce it out of hand. It doesn’t make sense to them, so naturally, it must be a fraud.

If you watch the video clip below, you can hear the confusion and exasperation when Kovacevich declares:

The fundamentals make no sense.

Even Warren Buffett, a legend in financial circles and vocal Bitcoin critic, admits his lack of understanding:

I get into enough trouble with things I think I know something about. […] Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don’t know anything about?

Personally, I think that a sense of elitism and fear of losing control are also at play to some degree. One of the greatest things about cryptocurrency is that it is open to everyone and controlled by no one. You don’t have to be rich to get into crypto and everybody has an equal chance of profiting (or losing) from their investments. It’s the great equalizer and I think it bugs the hell out of some of these guys that crypto investing lets “just anybody” in.

The moral of the story? Educate yourselves, be open to new ideas, and don’t be a Dick.

What do you think of Kovacevich’s claims? Why do *you* think so many mainstream financial experts are critical of Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of The Princess Bride/Twentieth Century Fox, sheilapic76/Flickr

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China Increases Pressure on Crypto Traders

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:45

Markets are tumbling during Asian trading today as fears escalate of further clampdowns across the region. Authorities in China seem hell-bent on preventing their citizens trading in cryptocurrencies, which may have sparked a wave of panic selling across the board.

According to reports, the Chinese government plans to widen its crackdown on domestic crypto trading by targeting methods for doing so, including over-the-counter trading, offshore sites used for centralized trading, and peer-to-peer trading of large transactions.

Access Denied

The report on the state-run Securities Times cites sources at the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, China’s top internet-finance regulator. While no specifics on the crackdown were included, it has been widely speculated that the internet police would block access to local and international platforms that provide crypto trading. China is one of the most heavily censored countries in the world, and its ‘Great Firewall’ already filters all web traffic that the totalitarian communist party does not want its citizens to see.

The crackdown also targets people who provide bids and offers for crypto trades in large amounts.

Alternative Methods

To avoid the ever present web of censorship and restriction in China, users have flocked to the messaging app Telegram to trade in groups, negotiating prices directly. Vice governor of the Chinese central bank, Pan Gongsheng, told Reuters that China will continue to apply pressure on domestic crypto trades for the sake of financial stability. He went on to state:

 Pseudo-financial innovations that have no relationship with the real economy should not be supported.

It is not the first time China has cracked down on crypto. A ban on exchanges in September sent the markets into a free fall, but they soon recovered. A recent clampdown on Bitcoin mining created an exodus as China-based companies and mining syndicates moved their operations to friendlier countries.  A number of China’s major crypto exchanges, such as Huobi and OKCoin, shifted operations overseas to Hong Kong where more freedom is granted. Huobi is also planning to set up two crypto exchanges in Japan, which is far more open to cryptocurrencies this year.

Fears are also growing over further clampdowns in South Korea. However, no such action has been taken at the time of writing. Markets continue on a downward slide, and nearly all altcoins are down by around 20% in the past 24 hours. Bitcoin has dropped from $14,900 to $11,200 as its downward correction continues. Some analysts say it could go as low as $8,000 before showing any signs of recovery.

Will traders in China find a way around the constant restrictions? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Bitconnect Shuts Down Amid Crypto Crash

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 06:15

Following months of bad press and publicity, lending and exchange platform Bitconnect has announced that it is shutting down. Many had suspected the platform of being a Ponzi scheme, and it had suffered multiple DDoS attacks on the website.

In an announcement on its website, the platform said it was closing the lending operation immediately with the release of all outstanding loans. The notice cited continuous bad press, including two Cease and Desist letters from the securities boards of Texas and North Carolina.

Coin Collapse

Bitconnect has stated that it will refund all active loans at a rate which it calculated from the past 15 day average price.

With release of your entire active loan in the lending wallet we are transferring all your lending wallet balance to your BitConnect wallet balance at 363.62 USD. This rate has been calculated based on last 15 days averages of the closing price registered on coinmarketcap.com.

Within moments of the notice, the BCC token price plummeted from around $180 to $24 amid a general market decline across all cryptocurrencies.

According to TechCrunch, many users will still have suffered severe losses on their fiat, or Bitcoin equivalents, if they had invested in BCC, which is effectively useless now since the platform has shut down.

Condemnation

A number of prominent crypto experts have also labelled Bitconnect as a Ponzi scheme, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Litecoin’s Charlie Lee who tweeted:

Turns out it was a ponzi after all. Sorry for those that got caught up in this. Ponzis work because people are easily fooled.

Bitconnect was an anonymously run operation that allowed users to loan their cryptocurrencies to the company for large returns of up to 40% per month. A large referral system generated a pyramid scheme on social media, with users plying their referral links for extra commissions.

The loans were in USD but had to be made in BCC, which could be purchased with Bitcoin. As its popularity grew, the token gained value and climbed from $10 in mid-2017 to a high of $435 at its peak at the end of the year.

Bitconnect has stated that they will continue supporting the coin:

Closing the lending and exchange platform doesn’t mean that we will stop supporting BitConnect coin. Closing the lending platform will allow Bitconnect to be listed on outside exchanges giving more options for trading. This is not the end of this community, but we are closing some of the services on the website platform and we will continue offering other cyptocurrency services in the future.

Although with the token’s value approaching the floor, renewed confidence and investment in BCC remains a very forlorn hope.

Did you use Bitconnect and has this affected you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.

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