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Coinbase Hopes For Cryptocurrency’s ‘Netscape Moment’ With New App, Token

Coinbase Hopes For Cryptocurrency's 'Netscape Moment' With New App, Token

“Digital currency right now is having its Netscape moment” declared Coinbase chief executive Brian Armstrong at the Ethereal Summit, in Brooklyn, in a presentation about the cryptocurrency company’s most recent product, Token, “a messaging app with money baked in.” Speaking at the Ethereum-focused day-long conference featuring players in the decentralized web, Armstrong said that the Ethereum-based Token, in developer preview and unveiled a month ago, has four main features that show off the potential for innovation in blockchain-based products. First, it enables payments “in every country in the world from day 1,” he said. Plus, the payments are international. The users themselves, as opposed to financial institutions, are in control of the money they put in it. And the platform has its own reputation system, which Armstrong compared to a FICO score, “so you know who and which applications and people you can trust.”

Finally, Token can be used to make payments to apps. For instance, a Mechanical Turk-type app could enable users to do discrete tasks for small payments, but the workers could then be paid in actual money instead of in Amazon gift cards, which is how non-U.S. workers on Mechanical Turk are paid. Armstrong also envisions that Token, which is based on Ethereum, will host apps ranging from currency exchanges to marketplaces, remittance services to lenders,

advice services to cell phone top up providers.

Armstrong’s bold comparison of Token to Netscape,

the first widely popular web browser indicates the company’s hope that Token gains widespread consumer adoption. To begin, Coinbase, which so far has offered its services in developed countries such as the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Singapore, plans to promote Token in the developing world. Later this year, Armstrong will travel to Nigeria to foster development on the platform.

The comparison to Netscape also suggests Armstrong’s hope that Token ushers in a new stage of evolution in the industry, to a phase in which more consumers interact with blockchains and cryptocurrency but are not necessarily aware that they are doing so. Coinbase’s timing has historically been right. The startup began attracting a following in 2012 in what was then the tiny bitcoin community for making it safe and simple to buy bitcoin with your bank account. In 2015, responding to growing institutional interest in cryptocurrency, it launched Coinbase Exchange since renamed Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), for professional traders.

Now the company is trying to help the industry mature beyond these basic building blocks of a blockchain-based world to have more consumer-facing offerings. In its development of Token, the company created a new protocol called Simple Open Financial Application that makes it easier for developers to build apps for a platform such as Token. In the past, a well-known bitcoin developer who attempted to build a simple bitcoin app spent eight months to get it to work, whereas a developer using SOFA got an app up and running in eight hours. “If it’s that much easier to build these applications, we’re going to see several orders of magnitude more applications being created,” he said, comparing SOFA to the development of simple web programming languages like html and Javascript. He then invited developers to participate in a hackathon beginning June 3 to build applications for Token.

Because Token is more like a web browser than an app store, Armstrong says Coinbase will not be vetting apps that list on Token, though it will be choosing which ones to feature. When asked how the company would deal with apps that are, say, stealing people’s money, he compared it to how the web browser Google Chrome will warn a user if it thinks a site they’re trying to visit has malware or otherwise looks suspicious. “I’m not saying we have zero responsibility,” he told Forbes, adding that Token is not like an app store. “We want to educate users about what they’re using, and if they’re going to do something dangerous, make sure they really know what they’re doing.”

The company, which has raised $110 million from investors incumbents such as the New York Stock Exchange, USAA and BBVA, does not currently have plans to make money from Token though Armstrong said it could lend itself to some possible business models down the line, such as charging for pro features or for usage above a certain number of transactions a month. In his presentation, referring to a popular Chinese messaging app, he called Token “a WeChat for the other 180 countries in the world” and said that it would be like putting a bank in the pockets of every person in the world, which, according to McKinsey, said that financial services on mobile phones could add $3.7 trillion to the GDP of emerging economies within a decade. It's an ambitious goal, but a fitting one for a company whose mission is to "create an open financial system for the world."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx secures more than 70 new partners and integrations

Cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx secures more than 70 new partners and integrations

  

Decentral, a Toronto-based innovation hub for decentralized and blockchain technologies,

today announced that its flagship product, Jaxx, a leading user-controlled, multi-asset, multi-platform digital currency wallet, and exchange, has secured more than 70 new partners and integrations. These integrations and partnerships will help bolster Jaxx’s objective to create a unified, cross-platform experience for all blockchain assets and become the ultimate command center for all things blockchain. Just as the browser unleashed the power of the Internet, Jaxx aims to be the tool that brings digital currencies and digital assets to the masses.

We are bringing together all facets of the blockchain ecosystem with Jaxx to provide a universal interoperable interface so that non-technical people, like my dad, can easily use these decentralized technologies. Simple tools and intuitive UI / UX will bring adoption to the masses and assist all projects and companies.
Anthony Di Iorio, Founder and CEO of Decentral & Jaxx

According to the official release, the following partners will integrate with the Jaxx universal key management system and backend blockchain infrastructures to create a simple point of entry into various areas of blockchain technology – including user-controlled payments and exchange, identity, communications, value movement, privacy, smart contracts, document signing, and decentralized storage: RSK Labs, BitPay, Coinbase, Purse.io, Bittrex, Blockchain Capital, BitGo, Civic, Changelly, Trezor, Ledger Wallet, Opendime by Coinkite, QTUM, Coinfabrik, Signatura, Wall of Coins, and Bitnovo.

We’re excited to partner with the like-minded team at Jaxx who are making it easy for users to securely manage and transfer their blockchain assets.
Bill Shihara, CEO of Bittrex.com

Future Coin and Token Addition Roadmap

Jaxx also today announced that it will be working with teams and communities from Ripple, Monero, Tether, Stellar Lumens, PIVX, Factom, Steem, NEM, QTUM, Bytecoin, Bitshares, MardSafeCoin, Siacoin, Waves, Lisk, Omni, Stratus, GameCredits, Ardor, SingularDTV, Round, Decred, NXT, Byteball, DigiByte, FirstBlood, IExec RLX, Emercoin, Syscoin, Etheroll, Komodo, Namecoin, Storjcoin, Chronobank, Melonport, WeTrust, Counterparty, TokenCard, Matchpool, Edgeless, Xaurum, CreditBit, MonaCoin, NovaCoin, RubyCoin, Bitcrystals, BitShares, BlackCoin, Expanse, Gulden, Namecoin, NAV Coin, NEM, Peercoin, PotCoin, Tezos and Wings among others to bring more projects into Jaxx across all platforms and devices. These new tokens and coins join Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Augur, Golem, Gnosis, DigixDAO, Iconomi, Zcash, Dogecoin, RSK Testnet, and Blockchain Capital to make Jaxx the most versatile, non-custodial wallet with a built-in crypto-exchange available.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The $80 billion question: Why are Bitcoin and Ethereum growing so fast?

The $80 billion question: Why are Bitcoin and Ethereum growing so fast?

 

A little over two months ago, Bitcoin achieved a symbolic milestone: After an intensive period of growth, the price of one Bitcoin surpassed the price of an ounce of gold. That seems like ancient history. The price of Bitcoin has nearly doubled since then and the cryptocurrency is currently trading at about $2,200. Bitcoin's cousin Ethereum is trading at about $180, its price increasing by a cool 1400% in the last three months. But is the rally over, or has it only just begun? And what has propelled the explosive growth in the first place? In the world of cryptocurrencies, answering these questions is anything but easy. 

A new breed of cryptocurrencies

To start, it's important to understand that Bitcoin, while still the biggest cryptocurrency around, is not the only — arguably not even the biggest — driver of growth anymore. According to Coinmarketcap, the total vale of all major cryptocurrencies put together now stands at around $79 billion. Bitcoin accounts for less than half of that, with a $35 billion market cap, while Ethereum and Ripple have grown to $17 and $13 billion, respectively. 

A couple of years ago, one Bitcoin was worth a little over a hundred dollars. Now, it broke the $2,000 barrier and is growing like a weed.The digital coin market cap is a frequently quoted number that means nothing and everything, depending on your viewpoint. If you believe that Bitcoin will ultimately replace money, then $35 billion is pocket change. But it may never happen, and even if it does, Bitcoin might be left behind. 

Bitcoin is still by far the most promising as both a digital currency and a payment platform. But the new breed of digital coins are very different. Litecoin, an early Bitcoin competitor, has once again taken the spotlight after having recently adopted SegWit, a software update that solves the scaling problem that has been dividing Bitcoin's community for years. Ethereum is a modern cryptocurrency which promises advanced features such as smart contracts. It wants to become a blockchain-based foundation for what is essentially a new type of internet. How's that for ambition?

The value of (digital) money

When the price of a commodity or a stock rises, you can usually point to some sort of reason. When Apple has a good quarter, its stock price generally goes up. When catastrophe strikes, uncertainty in global markets typically increases demand for what are viewed as safer investments such as gold, propelling prices upward. But in the world of Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency that doubles as a decentralized payment system, you've got a lot less to go on. A lot of the recent Bitcoin news wasn't good. In April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined a bid by the Winklevoss brothers to get their Bitcoin ETF listed on the Bats BZX exchange. The move would have made it far easier for the average investor to speculate on the future of Bitcoin. 

And over the last couple of years, the Bitcoin community has been bitterly divided over a question on whether the size of blocks on the cryptocurrency's blockchain — the fundamental technology upon which the Bitcoin protocol relies — should be increased or not (read a simple explanation of the block size debate here). Still, the price of Bitcoin went from roughly $400 to more than $2000 in a year, and other cryptocurrencies followed suit. Why?

So what's happening?

Cryptocurrency experts we've contacted say developments in Japan are the likely cause for this latest price surge. "The Japanese have given bitcoin the green light as a currency and are looking to increase the rigour that their exchanges are subject to," said Charles Haytar, CEO of market analysis platform CryptoCompare. On a purely technical level, the current price differences in the Japanese markets and elsewhere offer the possibility of arbitrage, Hayter claims, but there's a great deal of plain old greed going on, too. 

The price difference in Japan and other markets offer the possibility of arbitrage, and some traders are taking advantage. "Lots of inexperienced investors are surging into the market, and it's causing a bit of a bubble," said Hayter. Jörg von Minckwitz, CEO of blockchain-based payment service Bitwala, points out that Ethereum has seen additional growth due to the rise of ICO (initial coin offering) based projects. In other words, to invest in a new project, you have to buy into Ethereum.

"Many crypto projects raise money from the community to develop their projects and most of them use ETH to raise money. ETH set a standard, so it is way easier to start with ETH. The result is that many people buy ETH to be able to invest in the projects and many of the ICO projects hold the money afterwards in ETH. That drives the price up," he told Mashable. None of this, however, explains the fact that a lot of the growth happened before the developments in Japan and the onset of multi-million Ethereum-based projects. It also doesn't give us a much better idea of realistic value of one Bitcoin or one Ether. Go to any Bitcoin-related community, and you'll see price predictions ranging from $40,000 to zero. 

While that second prediction sounds dramatically pessimistic, consider this: Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile. The price of Bitcoin, for example, slumped from more than a $1,100 in Dec. 2013 to less than $200 in Jan. 2015. The most recent rise in price is not permanent. Experts agree that cryptocurrencies rely heavily on user adoption, and however crazy the market may look like now, it's still early days for cryptocoins. Right now, it's easy to raise $10 million or $20 million for your Ethereum-based business, and

more businesses will flock to seize the opportunity. 

Ten years from now, will we be receiving our paychecks in fiat, or Bitcoins?

And while wide adoption of Bitcoin as a payment platform is happening at a relatively slow pace, trading cryptocurrencies has gotten a lot easier in recent years. Exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, and BitStamp now let you turn dollars and euros into BTC and ETH. This has definitely propelled some of the market's growth; when you see something increase in value tenfold within a month, you want to be a part of the action. The question is: how far will the price go? 

Is it time to dive in, or rush out?

Predicting the price changes in any market is tough; the old advice from the likes of Warren Buffett says you should put your money in a stock index fund and let the experts trade, as the short-term movements of the market are incredibly difficult to predict.

When I started writing this article on Friday, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies was $63 billion. It took one weekend for the market to add $16 billion in value.

It's even tougher to predict a highly volatile market such as cryptocurrencies. Add to that the relative youth of all the exchanges you can trade on, and the dangers are even bigger: If the price of Bitcoin starts falling rapidly, don't count on stop-loss measures to save you from impending doom.  Both Hayter and von Minckwitz agree that in short-term the prices in the cryptocurrency markets are overvalued, but they are positive about long-term growth. Hayter is a bit more pessimistic, though, comparing some of the Ethereum-based ICOs to the South Sea Bubble (referring to the British South Sea Company, whose stock price rose sharply in the early 18th century before it collapsed). 

"I would not advise anyone to buy (cryptocoins) right now. I’m worried that the lack of rationality at this point might hurt the market," said Hayter. For an illustration of this lack of rationality, consider this: When I started writing this article on Friday, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies was $63 billion. It took one weekend for the market to add $16 billion in value. Eat that, Uber. That said, one way to look at cryptocurrencies is to read up, and make an informed decision on their long-term prospects. Is Bitcoin just a fad? If so, it might already be overrated. But if you think that this technology could change the way money — or the entire Internet — works, there's plenty room for growth in the future.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Ethereum’s Price Briefly Surpasses $200 as Bitcoin Soars past $2,100

Ethereum’s Price Briefly Surpasses $200 as Bitcoin Soars past $2,100

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have a hard time figuring out

which chart to look at first right now. Bitcoin is seeing significant gains, pushing the price to new heights over $2,100. Ethereum is on a massive tear as well, rocketing to the $200 mark overnight. There is so much action going on, it is hard to say what we can expect next. Always be careful when buying at the top, though, as cryptocurrency volatility can cause an immediate reversal at times.

Everything is Booming In Crypto

It is rather uncommon to see so many things go up in value at the same time in the cryptocurrency world. Not too long ago, a Bitcoin price increase would often lead to alternative currencies plunging in value. That is no longer the case by any means. Instead, we now see major currencies go up simultaneously, as investors are scrambling to invest money in cryptocurrency right now.

To be more specific, the cryptocurrency market cap has undergone some major growth these past few weeks. About two weeks ago, we were still hovering between $40bn and $45bn. A more than respectable amount at that time, that much everyone could agree on. Bitcoin was the major cryptocurrency at that point, as it has the largest market cap. That has not changed all that much, despite the Bitcoin Dominance Index slowly reducing Bitcoin’s dominance to below the 50% threshold. Fast forward to today, and the cryptocurrency market cap sits at $79.665bn. That is nearly double the amount we were at not that long ago. A lot of people are still puzzled as to where this money is coming from, and more importantly, what is being invested in. Bitcoin’s recent price surge is a direct result of fresh capital, as it remains the top cryptocurrency in the world. With a market cap pushing toward US$37bn, no one can deny the success Bitcoin has had over the past few years.

However, Bitcoin is not the only top dog to keep an eye on these days. Ripple’s XRP asset has seen an influx of capital these past few weeks, although it is seemingly running out of steam once again. The most recent Litecoin bull run did not materialize either, despite a brief spike to a much higher price. Both of these investment opportunities may be rebound at any given time, though, but for now, they are both in consolidation mode. The biggest gains are made by Ethereum as of right now. Less than a week ago, one ETH was valued at just under $100. Today, it is worth just over $200, according to Coinmarketcap. That is a major change in value over the course of one week. Some experts even predict ETH will surpass the $500 mark by the end of the year. Quite a bold statement, but given the way things are evolving in cryptocurrency right now, anything can happen.

It was only a matter of time until Ethereum saw a major price outbreak, though. A lot of people felt this currency has been undervalued for quite some time now. It will be interesting to see how the ETH price evolves over the coming weeks and months. Reaching the $500 mark seems a long way away, but it is not unlikely it may happen. Then again, speculation is running wild during times like these. Always trade with caution, and do not get caught up in the hype.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

BitConnect Coin Sees Massive Growth Amid a Surge in Adoption

BitConnect Coin Sees Massive Growth Amid a Surge in Adoption

Bitcoin Press Release: Cryptocurrency newcomer, BitConnect Coin (BCC) sees continued growth after announcing previous records in value and market capitalization.

  

The UK-based Bitcoin startup,

BitConnect is witnessing continued growth of its BitConnect Coin cryptocurrency. The growth trend follows the company’s previously announced records in value and market capitalization during Q1 2017.

The open source, community driven P2P cryptocurrency only entered the market on the 11th of January 2017 but recorded a market capitalization of $10 million (USD) and a value of $2.00 (USD), within weeks of its initial listing on the popular ‘CoinMarketCap’. This growth saw the cryptocurrency breach the top 20 chart for alternative coins in total capitalization value for the first time. Since then, BitConnect Coin (BCC) has continued to soar and has continuously broken records in both value and market capitalization. On April 13, 2017, BCC recorded a market capitalization of just under $90 Million (USD) at a unit value of $15.01 which signifies a 900% growth in market capitalization and a 700% increase in value over a period of three months.

At the time of these records, BCC surpassed the long established LiteCoin (LTC) in terms of unit value and overtook the widely used Dogecoin (DOGE), in total market capitalization. BitConnect Coin’s exponential growth has been attributed to its rapid adoption and a strong community presence. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that require centralized exchange platforms, BitConnect can be traded directly between community members, which makes the selling of cryptocurrency much quicker and easier than some of its competitors. BitConnect’s Head of Development, Satao Nakamoto while describing the

cryptocurrency’s mission stated,

“BitConnect’s mission is to provide crypto-education and multiple investment opportunities to empower people financially. There are many features and functions to come in 2017. BitConnect’s mission is to become the leading crypto-community in the world when it comes to functionality and user base by the year 2020.”

BCC has been compared to Bitcoin in terms of growth and community consensus. But since its inception, the adoption and subsequent growth of BCC has been much faster. The current trends indicate that a continued growth at same pace will turn BitConnect Coin into a formidable cryptocurrency in the market, making it an ideal investment for cryptocurrency investors.

BitConnect is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Breached $2,000, Pundits Coin-Flip What Comes Next

Bitcoin Price Breached $2,000, Pundits Coin-Flip What Comes Next

  

Bitcoin price finally breached the much anticipated $2,000 line,

sending excitement throughout the burgeoning global cryptocurrency community. As early as five a.m. GMT+2 on Saturday, CoinMarketCap listed the pacesetter of digital currency for $2014 with almost $34 mln Market Cap. The $2,000 lane has been expected for some time now but it intensified three days ago when Satoshi Nakamoto's brainchild stabilized at the $1,800 range. On Friday it made it to the $1,900s further increasing the $2,000 price obsession. As much as it is good news for the whole community, what does this mean for all of us? What is in it for the ecosystem? Experts and community members differ on what’s ahead.

Lingham: not healthy

Bitcoin Price Pundit Vinny Lingham is not excited about the current price trend and sees it as very deleterious for space. "Not healthy in my opinion, but clearly everyone else knows best," he noted. "I'll just wait and see."

Malcolm Macleod: problems remain

More so, Gulden Wallet Developer, Malcolm Macleod's concern is that the price has been pushed too high, without the fundamentals to back it up and ultimately it is damaging to the ecosystem. He cites particularly the ongoing transaction queue problems. "These things are always a mixed bag, so probably some good and some bad things come from it," Malcolm stated.

More flow from fiat

But Alexandro Colorado of Bitcoin Mexico believes otherwise. For him, even though Bitcoin certainly has the availability issue but the rally has merits. "It makes sense as there is more money coming into the system," Alexandro explained to Cointelegraph. The Chief Cat Herder of Cryptopulco, the annual cryptocurrency conference in Acapulco, Mexico, Nathan T. Freeman had this to say:

"BTC increases in value relative to USD because people are willing to give up more fiat currency in exchange for Bitcoin. If you try to explain why they are willing, you are projecting a motive for their subjective value, and you're most likely full of shit. Even if the motive you ascribe is correct, you can't prove it. It's just an unfalsifiable claim in a sea of individual choices. It's all good."

Bitcoin Bubble to burst in 2019?

Though the network is growing impressively, hitting pass $2,000 seems like an impending doom for some experts. Whilst others point to some nagging fundamentals, many are optimistic it will keep growing without any blemish.

Alexandro Colorado says:

"A bubble is some sort of manipulation but actual growth is another thing. Companies grow billions in months, why crypto shouldn't? The Mexico-based Bitcoin enthusiast pointed out that a lot of the world still don't know or trust crypto but it doesn't mean we are heading into a bubble.”

When Cointelegraph asked Vinny Lingham if there is an impending bubble,

this was his answer:

"Yes, but people who called the bubble in 2011 were wrong. It took two years to burst."

Coin-flipper

Malcolm MacLeod is unsure if there is going to be a burst, but it is unclear to him what fundamentals if there are any behind the latest price growth. "I think there is a high chance that it is a bubble of some kind but I hope to be wrong," he indicated. Absorbingly, this is Nathan T. Freeman's take on whether it is a bubble and

Will it burst soon:

“There's only one major event in Bitcoin itself that could shape the future, and that's the outcome of the block size debate. All other factors are outside the purview of Bitcoin itself and therefore could shape out. Anyway, you're talking about predicting the simultaneous global effect of huge political shifts.”

"Predicting a bubble is a dice roll, and anyone who claims to know those outcomes is a coin-flipper," he added.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Hits $2,087, Trading in Japan, South Korea for $2,350

Bitcoin Price Hits $2,087, Trading in Japan, South Korea for $2,350

  

Bitcoin price established its new all-time high at $2,087 earlier today

after surging past its previous all-time high set at $2,050, with demand toward Bitcoin rising from institutional investors in the US, Japan, and South Korea. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is being traded in Japan and South Korea, the second and third largest Bitcoin exchange markets in the world, at around $2,350, at an 11 percent premium relative to the global average Bitcoin price and the price listed by US-based Bitcoin exchanges. Analysts including Charles Hayter, the CEO of CryptoCompare, explained that the Japanese and South Korean Bitcoin exchange markets played a key role as the driving factor of Bitcoin’s recent price surge. In an interview with CNBC, Hayter stated:

"Arbitrage between the fiat pairs drags markets up or down in line with leading markets. At present, volumes on the KRW and JPY pairs dominate trading with a combined 48 percent market share.”

Cointelegraph previously emphasized the importance of the Japanese and South Korean exchange markets on the global Bitcoin market. The two markets hold over 48.6 percent of the global bBtcoin exchange market share and represent the vast majority of institutional investors within Asia.

Japan, in particular, has experienced an explosive growth in demand for Bitcoin as some of the country’s most influential conglomerates announced the launch of their independent digital currency exchanges, with the vision of facilitating fiat-to-digital currency trading securely and transparently, with low fees.

Forever blowing bubbles

Cointelegraph reported that a significant number of investors have started to fuel an altcoin bubble concentrated around Ripple and NEM. IndieSquare co-founder and Japan-based researcher Koji Higashi stated that the legalization of digital currency and the tax exemption of Bitcoin convinced beginner and casual cryptocurrency traders that every other cryptocurrency is legitimate and well-based. However, Higashi noted that most investors are investing in cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin with relatively shallow knowledge and understanding of digital currencies.

Higashi explained:

“I think I know the answer now. Newly entering Japanese investors are driving this great altcoin bubble and not-so-smart money is flowing into the space especially into some altcoins at a rather concerning rate. Another thing to note about this new trend is that the general lack of understanding or appreciation of the technology by many of new users.”

What happens next

In the next few months, as Bitcoin maintains its momentum and upward trend, it is likely that the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange market will demonstrate some stability and see a decline in interest over alternative cryptocurrencies or altcoins. If so, the demand for Bitcoin will likely increase over time. Currently, analysts and researchers at mainstream media outlets such as CNBC and Bloomberg are attributing Bitcoin’s recent upward momentum to the economic uncertainty and instability of the US. This is a rational conclusion considering that the US replaced the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market for the first time in the past 12 months to become the largest Bitcoin exchange market.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Palestine Considers Launching Its Own Bitcoin, But Why Reinventing Wheel?

Palestine Considers Launching Its Own Bitcoin, But Why Reinventing Wheel?

  

In a bid to free its economy,

Palestine is considering a digital national currency. But with Bitcoin around, is it worth reinventing the wheel?

Using foreign currencies

There are many countries that do not have a national currency and instead use another country’s currency in daily lives. For example, East Timor, British Virgin Islands, Palau and Zimbabwe use the US dollar. Similarly, Montenegro, San Marino and Kosovo use the Euro. The case of Palestine is an interesting one as it uses multiple currencies like the US dollar, Jordanian Dinar and the Israeli Shekel. Now, it has emerged that the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) is planning its own digital currency, something of a Palestinian Bitcoin.

Enter the Palestinian Pound

There are a number of digital currencies already in circulation. Bitcoin, of course, is the most popular and widely used of them all. These currencies are not issued by a central monetary authority like a central bank. However, inspired by them some central banks have been mulling the idea of launching national cryptocurrencies as well. We reported that Senegal was introducing a national cryptocurrency as an example. Similar plans have also been discussed with regards to Sweden and China.

A Palestinian currency thus would not be the first or unique in this respect but it does bring to fore an interesting use case: countries that have trouble printing their own currencies due to one reason or another can explore a digital currency alternative. The proposed digital currency would be called the Palestine Pound.

Skirting Israeli curbs

The proposed digital currency can help Palestinians skirt around Israeli curbs that have been imposed and the need for obtaining clearance from them.

Azzam Shawwa, Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority was quoted by Reuters as saying:

“If we print currency, to get it into the country you would always need clearance from the Israelis and that could be an obstacle, So that is why we don't want to go into it.”

The digital currency would largely eliminate that problem for the Palestinians. According to Reuters another problem that PMA might encounter is the 1994 Paris Protocol, which gives PMA the legitimacy of a central bank but does not allow it to issue currency. The Paris Protocol suggests that the Palestinians use the Israeli currency – The Shekel instead.

Five-year strategy

According to what the PMA governor told Reuters, the Palestine Pound is a part of the bank’s ‘five-year strategy’, which will be published before the end of 2017. The governor also revealed that the digital currency route is a preferred alternative. It would be interesting to see if the Palestinians could pull off a national cryptocurrency in the short to medium term.

However, the governor seems to realize the scope of the wider challenge that awaits him. He revealed to Reuters:

“But it's not only the currency, you have to see the economy also. Issuing (a currency) is something, but you also need the backbone of the currency; reserves, gold, oil and that is part of the business plan.”

Bitcoin to help oppressed

While a national currency for Palestine may or may not happen, countries that do not have their own currencies can always use Bitcoin as an alternative.

As Max Keiser wrote way back in 2013 in RT:

“Bitcoin, like the spiritual leaders who have come before it in the Middle-Eastern desert, is a miraculous gift capable of transforming an oppressed, forgotten people. The Palestinian economy is a multi-billion dollar economy that unfortunately benefits mostly outsiders. But if Bitcoin were adopted as the official currency, Palestinians would be able to shape their own economic destiny and in so doing their sovereign destiny.”

If economic independence is the stated aim of the PMA, then it should probably explore what already exists instead of reinventing the wheel.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Top 10 Reshuffles On CoinMarketCap: Ethereum vs. Ripple, Nem vs. Litecoin & More

Top 10 Reshuffles On CoinMarketCap: Ethereum vs. Ripple,
Nem vs. Litecoin & More

  

As Bitcoin continues to grow,

some altcoins are not being left behind either. Last week there was an intense competition on the Top 10 of CoinMarketCap with some casualties being posted. It was so engrossing to see some old cryptocurrencies uprooted from their longstanding positions. This registered the fact that no entity has a monopoly over a particular position.

Ethereum lost to Ripple

Smart Contract king, Ethereum in a very surprising circumstance lost its long-held number two spot to snowballing Bank Transfer giant Ripple. Fascinatingly, within the week it doubled its value and it was near twice the value of Ethereum. Rising almost 40 percent, its market cap was over $15 bln. It has now lost almost $2 bln and Ethereum is now closing the gap. Actually, it was the second best-performing cryptocurrency on the top 10 last week.

Yet still, Ripple leads Ether with almost $2 bln in Market Cap. Some analysts in the space are strongly convinced it is likely that it will recover and take back the number two position it nearly monopolized for a couple of years. It remained to be seen since Ripple keeps making deals with banks around the world expanding its portfolios. Anyway, Ethereum with no doubt as well has become a popular smart contract platform.

NEM pushed Litecoin

In a related development, on Thursday fast-growing NEM also pushed SegWit trailblazer, Litecoin to the fifth rank and became the world's fourth most valuable digital currency. This was when the Ethereum Token rose a towering 50 percent in growth rate. It became one of the notorious astonishments associated with altcoins rise since Litecoin, the silver of crypto has been performing awesomely in the market since choosing the SegWit path. Well in this space nothing is no more a bewilderment. NEM now holds more than $2 bln in Market Capitalization. Significantly New Economic Movement (NEM) was the best performing crypto in the week and continues to lead in altcoin growth in 2017. It seems to be attracting more investors to its fold.

Stellar Lumen vs. Monero

Another interesting raging battle is between the radioactivity of Ripple as a result of a misunderstanding, Stellar Lumen, and steadily declining Monero. On Thursday XLM dislodged Monero from the eighth rank but the latter fought back gallantly to take it back on Friday. Alas! This did not last long and the Microfinance Blockchain once again took over on Saturday. At the time of filing this report, the difference in Market Cap between the two was $20 mln. If Monero remains the way it is tanking, the likelihood of gaining back the position is slim. Moreover, Stellar Lumen so far has given all indications it has come to the top 10 to stay.

ByteCoin bites Steem

Among the other things, last week witnessed a newcomer in the ranks of the elites when Bytecoin crashed the gates of the top 10 sending Steem stumbling down below. For four days now Bytecoin has held the tenth position firmly. It is up to them to prove to the community if they have come to stay or not. Meanwhile, Siacoin is barking fiercely to gain entrance to the top as it is now at the eleventh spot. Cointelegraph anticipates a hot week ahead.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Untraceable Coins Storming Into Top 10 Cryptocurrencies – Bytecoin Surge

Untraceable Coins Storming Into Top 10 Cryptocurrencies – Bytecoin Surge

Bytecoin, an untraceable privacy-preserving cryptocurrency,

has just seen an astronomical triple-digit percent surge in price. The cryptocurrency soared to the all time high market capitacapitalization44,000,000, before calming down to around $300,000,000 and establishing itself at the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization at the time of writing (according to CoinMarketCap). A symbolic turning point for one of the first untraceable cryptocurrencies launched in 2012.

The price hike happens upon the flourishing investor interest in cryptocurrency markets, and in particular upon the growing public appreciation of untraceable cryptocurrencies that contain privacy mechanisms (other examples are Monero, Dash and Zcash, which have also experienced an increase in value in the recent months). The Bytecoin surge may also be attributed to the announcement of the new features, which include allegedly never-before-implemented untraceable tokens – also known as “digital assets” or “colored coins”.

Bug discovery

Amid the Bytecoin price rise, a cryptocurrency Monero has released a statement disclosing a vulnerability in the CryptoNote protocol, that underlies both Monero and Bytecoin cryptocurrencies. As written in the statement, the bug “allows for the creation of an unlimited number of coins in a way that is undetectable to an observer unless they know about the fatal flaw and can search for it.” The statement does not list Bytecoin as one of the currencies that have updated the protocol following the detection of the bug.

According to the official response from the Bytecoin, its development team has been aware of the vulnerability in April 2017, when during software testing it has discovered that several malicious transactions creating 504 million Bytecoins had appeared in the network – which accounts for 0.2% of the total 183 billion Bytecoin supply.

Questions remain

The development team states that it patched the bug and worked with the mining services to update their software (that validates the transactions in the network), as soon as the bug was found. According to Minergate, the major Bytecoin mining pool, it was contacted by the Bytecoin team in the mid April and “the fix to the mining software has been implemented by adding more checks for the transactions consistency” shortly thereafter.

The updated version prevented blocks with malicious transactions to be mined and thus no extra coins could be created. The questions still remain about the cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets, who are supposedly “safe to stick with the previous version of software”, according to the Bytecoin statement, but “encouraged to update the protocol”.

The rise of token untraceability

In spite of this bug discovery and patching, the CryptoNote-based cryptocurrency markets, including Monero and Bytecoin, has been positive, keeping them among the top 10 by capitalisation. Whether it is because the coin holders are not well-informed of the protocol issues or they are confident of the development teams’ ability to manage these issues, the fact remains that Monero’s and Bytecoin’s capitalizations jointly amount to $750,000,000 at the time of writing, and as a result many early adopters have gone from rags to riches.

With the ICO phenomenon coming into place this may not be all, as new cryptocurrency teams emerge stating their intention to adopt the privacy-preserving CryptoNote protocol. In fact, if the concept of untraceable tokens (untraceable digital assets) becomes a reality this year as promised in the Bytecoin roadmap, the major trends of the crypto world could in theory converge: the booming ICO phenomenon, the increasing capitalisation of tokens created on top of various blockchain platforms, and the growing market interest in untraceability and privacy. We are here to observe and see.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member