Darryn Pollock

Bitcoin’s Viral Awakening Did More Damage Than Good

If Bitcoin hadn’t gone viral, it would never have taken off, but it also may have had a steady foundation and a clear direction
Bitcoin’s Viral Awakening Did More Damage Than Good

When Bitcoin was really no more than a play thing for the dark web, and it was mostly discussed in forums rather than on CNBC and Forbes, it had dreams of being a revolutionary electronic cash system.

However, when the revolution came, not many would have pictured it playing out as it has done. To its high point in December 2017, when it was totally viral and on everybody’s bios, it has now dipped down to being spoken in the mainstream as more of a fad.

However, there is still a push from those who have a keen interest in Blockchain, as well as cryptocurrencies. But it all could have been so much better- maybe not bigger, or as fast, but better. Bitcoin’s viral phase is a double-edged sword.

It has allowed the cryptocurrency to get a real global foot in the door, and bring with it a keen interest in the power of Blockchain, but it has also built up an unsteady tower full of get-rich-quick wannabes and scam artists.

What Bitcoin is today

Bitcoin has, today, become slightly directionless in its determination. It was at its height seen as the ultimate asset, a digital gold; it was climbing in price like no asset ever seen before, and it could be bought and sold from a smartphone.

However, it was designed to be digital cash, not digital gold. But because of its popularity, the Bitcoin Blockchain was overloaded and to that end, it became expense to transact with, slow, as well as not worthwhile as it was steadily gaining value.

Today Bitcoin has shed all its major scaling issues from its peak of popularity, yet that does not mean it has turned back into a functioning digital currency. It is still mostly seen as an asset, because people believe it can reach new heights again, but for those who don’t believe, it looks like a bust.

Bitcoin attracted a massive new market when it started breaking into the mainstream; stories of 1,000 times growth saw people flooding into the market with very little care or understanding of how things worked.

This influx of people who were happy to throw money at anything with the hopes it would ‘do a Bitcoin’ saw a lot of scammers and improper players also enter and pollute the market. Thus, Bitcoin today has been propped up on unsteady stilts with a lot of its new investors leaving as quickly as they arrived. And still, the scammers remain hoping to catch their quick buck.

What Bitcoin could have been

Had Bitcoin not gone viral though, things would have been very different. There is no doubting that the cryptocurrency would probably still be very niche and unknown in most realms, but, its technology rather than its hype would have been chugging it along in terms of growth and adoption.

Blockchain technology is the key to Bitcoin and the entire ecosystem, and that is also evident today in the less hyped world where its adoption is being fueled by institutionalized entities with care and patience.

If Bitcoin had stayed under the radar, there is very little doubt that Blockchain would not be brushed aside. The technology is good enough to peak the interest of institutions and it would have led to a slow and steady growth. Had Blockchain led Bitcoin, there is also more chance it would be in mainstream use today.

Bitcoin’s rush to the top also saw it leave regulators behind, spawning an ICO movement that was too quick to be regulated. Now, regulators have caught up and are handbraking all the growth as they work through it to make sure it fits in.

Had Blockchain been ahead, and cryptocurrencies followed, regulators could have kept up and molded a working and functional Bitcoin devoid from issues and scams.

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David Dinkins

Those Involved With Cryptocurrency Face Banking Hurdles, But Regulation Could Help

Many banks are overly cautious, refusing to do business with crypto exchanges and the like. New, clearer regulations could actually make them more comfortable with Bitcoin.
Those Involved With Cryptocurrency Face Banking Hurdles, But Regulation Could Help

What regulation surrounds Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is patchy, varies on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis and leaves more questions than answers. Because of this, companies that service the crypto industry, such as banks, have had to develop their own policies. These are usually not favorable to Bitcoin.

Banking challenges

Bankers have a tough job – they really do. It’s been said that finance is the most heavily regulated industry in the world, and this is undoubtedly true. Because money is necessary to carry on any sort of criminal activity, authorities have put into place anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) laws. In theory, AML and KYC should prevent drug dealers, terrorists and even rogue states from being able to finance their operations.

In order to comply with regulations, banks are required to know the source of customers’ funds. This is easy if you own a bakery and just make your daily deposits. It’s a lot more complicated if you run a Bitcoin exchange and regularly deposit customers’ funds, since exchanges don’t usually know the source of those funds. The law doesn’t forbid banks from dealing with crypto exchanges, but because of the difficulty in proving the source of funds and other AML/KYC challenges, many banks simply refuse to service cryptocurrency exchanges as a matter of policy.

Corporate banking woes

This can be particularly challenging for digital currency exchanges and other businesses that deal with funds sourced from cryptocurrencies. One Polish Bitcoin dealer, Prasos Oy, has had five accounts closed by various banks, according to Bloomberg. His business is hanging on by a thread, with only one account at one bank still open. As the crypto markets soared over the last year, Prasos’ transaction numbers increased so much that the company’s banks started noticing – and closing Prasos’ accounts.

Prasos said:

We’ve realized that the growth in international transaction volumes started to disturb the banks. Along the way, we’ve been given very little information by the banks on what we could do to solve the problem.

Mortgage denied

Even individuals find it difficult to deal with banks when it comes to funds sourced from cryptocurrency holdings. The Los Angeles Times reported on a person who was seeking a mortgage and whose down payment funds came from Bitcoin sales. Chase Bank refused to extend him a mortgage because of their unfamiliarity with Bitcoin and an inability to “source” the funds. He eventually went with a smaller mortgage company who was able to get the job done.

Hopes for regulation

Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are opposed to government regulation. There are those who are philosophically opposed to “the establishment” regulating a peer-to-peer decentralized currency, no matter what. Others fear the government will get involved and muddle everything up, creating mountains of red tape and smothering the nascent crypto movement in the cradle.

While both sides have excellent points, there are ways in which regulation can actually help cryptocurrency. Clear and thorough, but not overly restrictive, regulations can greatly clarify things for banks and other companies that are essential for crypto-based businesses to operate. Banks, in particular, tend to be conservative institutions and prefer to err on the side of caution. Better-defined regulations could, however, make banks more willing to deal with companies and individuals who have ties to digital currency.

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Stavros Georgiadis

Bitcoin Goes Down or Irrational Investment Exuberance

The main question in the crypto market is whether Bitcoin is a form of irrational investment exuberance.
Bitcoin Goes Down or Irrational Investment Exuberance

The recent collapse of Bitcoin with its sharp decline has raised very important problems and issues for investors as the Bitcoin price has become critical for holders and even miners. In this article, we will list some of the most important challenges that Bitcoin is facing and will provide a technical analysis perspective. The main question is whether Bitcoin is a form of irrational investment exuberance.

Fundamental and business perspective on Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s modern investment philosophy is based on being a revolution in the financial industry, a deregulated solution for the major financial activities, and becoming an alternative form of currency, replacing the so-called fiat currencies. But history, as recorded by recent price, has proved that expectations were set too high, and an irrational exuberance for Bitcoin’s price and mainly business applications and acceptance is already a reality. Here is a list of most important challenges and risks that Bitcoin has experienced so far:

- Slow transaction speeds;

- Hacks and lack of security;

- Lack of intrinsic value;

- Mining is expensive;

- Bitcoin can be traced;

- Volatility;

- Ease of use and acceptance;

- Potential for theft, Reputation for criminal activity;

- Tax issues;

- Scalability.

Bitcoin is very hard to value

The lack of intrinsic value from a fundamental financial analysis is important because studies have been made and theories have been published about what is or should be the real intrinsic value of Bitcoin.

A key question remains unanswered. In economic theory, a financial asset is valued based on its future expected cash flows such as its dividends, or in the example of equities, the free cash and earnings flow. The financial analysis of trends related to profitability and financial performance with the focus on financial ratios can help investors build arguments in favor for or against of any financial asset.

Bitcoin lacks this basic principle, as it does not have any cash flows to estimate and its price is mainly the result of speculation and of the perception of investors about its value and both current and future business prospects. Furthermore, as we will see, its recent price collapse could pose serious future business viability problems to holders and miners.

BTC technical analysis

Making a reference to monthly and daily Bitcoin charts, the top is around $20,000, and the most recent price of $4678 clearly shows a shift in the investing community perception of the real value of the cryptocurrency.
image

In investing, a golden rule for success is to trade with the trend, not against it. It is tempting for many traders to try to catch the bottom price of Bitcoin, and a few days ago we mentioned it is too risky, as the price continued its downward move.
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The main points for now are that a strong downtrend is present, evidenced by the value od ADX/DMI indicator currently at 36.13 showing a strong trend. Though the cryptocurrency is at extreme oversold levels supported by the value od daily stochastic indicator (14,3,3) at 10.98 below the level of 20 which indicates an oversold asset, there are not any strong arguments to buy the cryptocurrency and try to catch the bottom. It is too risky, and with no real support at current levels, there is a very strong probability that the price could decline further.

The daily Bollinger bands are at $4755 and $7278, respectively, for the lower and upper band, having expanded significantly and showing intense volatility. The daily 20-period and 50-period exponential moving averages are now at $5795 and $6186, respectively, pointing down and supporting the strong downtrend.

Traders looking to buy the cryptocurrency at current price levels could aim for the former support now resistance levels of $5790 and $6095. If the cryptocurrency trend is to change from downward to upward, a prolonged closing price above the 50-period moving average and the level of $6200 is required. Until then, there are better odds to stay with the recent trend and sell any bounces to resistance levels mentioned.

Finally, regulation and the degree of acceptance form several countries for Bitcoin as a form of financial asset and way of payment in daily financial transactions is a key driver that will influence its future price.

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Darryn Pollock

Making More of Messaging Apps: Decentralized Messengers Making Waves

Messaging apps are big business, and business that needs to remain private, so the introduction of decentralized messaging apps is important
Making More of Messaging Apps: Decentralized Messengers Making Waves

 

There is not much of a leap for messaging apps to understand the value of Blockchain and decentralized systems when it comes to protecting the privacy of their users. In fact, one of the most well-regarded privacy messaging apps, Telegram, have made headlines with their own ICO.

However, Telegram may have double-ended encryption, but there is a new wave of decentralized messaging apps that are becoming more and more important in an age where data is king and centralized authorities are monopolizing it.

There are a host of new decentralized apps making their way into the mainstream market, all offering the advantages that come with Blockchain technology and a decentralized organization.

Traditional protection

Traditional and popular messaging apps such as Telegram and Whatsapp have integrated end-to-end encryption as a way to protect the data on their apps. It means that only the people involved in the conversation can read the messages and no third party can decipher the data.

However, while this protects the data, it is still run and monitored by the centralized authorities and are subject to government regulation and can be forced to divulge user data.

It is for this reason that Blockchain messaging apps are the next level in privacy as not only are they secure, but they are private and uncensorable. Being uncensorable is an important aspect, especially for people in countries like China who have to use WeChat and other monitored services.

Better with Blockchain

There is a bevy of Blockchain messaging apps already out there all trying to hit the right balance and needs of their clients, but what they all know is that they cannot be stopped in traditional ways.

“Putin cannot request the keys to our database like he did with Telegram, simply because there isn’t one,” said  Andy Tudhope, part of the team from Status, a Blockchain-based messaging app for smartphones which runs on the Ethereum Blockchain.

“Brazil cannot ban Status like they did WhatsApp, because it is an open source protocol and community– there is no single person or small group who can be issued with a cease and desist to stop the network.”

“Google and Amazon cannot prevent Status from operating in Iran by blocking domain fronting as they did with Signal, because we use the Ethereum network itself as the transport layer for messages.”

Different options

However, in the race to be a totally uncensored and encrypted messaging app, it is not all blockchain applications, there are other iterations cropping up.

Companies like Riot, are doing something in between Slack and total Blockchain apps, as they use the Matrix Protocol instead of a middleman. While something like e-Chat is totally Blockchain based and incorporates the possibility to send and receive cryptocurrency on the messenger.

However, some are simply putting on a cryptocurrency-facing veneer, such as Bettergram which is essentially a fork of Telegram aimed at the cryptocurrency community with a few modifications to the telegram client, like a cryptocurrency price checker.

No more monopolies

The days of Whatsapp, maybe Telegram, or some single messaging app being the only option are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The focus on not being censored, and the opportunity blockchain offers with that is allowing people far more choices, and better choices.

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Coins Guide George Shnurenko

What is VeChain (VEN) - Simple Explanation for Beginners

🎓 Coins Guide
The VeChain developers provide businesses and consumers with improved transparency.
What is VeChain (VEN) - Simple Explanation for Beginners
Contents

Introduction to VeChain

The VeChain platform having no central authority and being based on the open decentralized blockchain offers its users a reliable business environment able to be distributed and expanded to cope with increased use. Any authorized stakeholder interested in a certain product can get access to the required information concerning it.

The VeChain developers provide businesses and consumers with improved transparency. Thus, they link business operations including supply relationship management and allow viewing products from different angles. Read this article to find out how VeChain works and what its network and applications are like.

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Features

Being a tool of asset digitization VeChain is capable of solving a range of problems. Manufacturers can mark their products with such identities as RFIDs and sensors. Thanks to them information concerning the description of the product and how to handle it is recorded and broadcast at every stage. Anyone can find this information on the public VeChain blockchain, where it is open to all the concerned parties ‒ producers, chains of suppliers and end buyers.

A manufacturer of medicines, for example, can put compatible with VeChain RFID tags on their packages that serve as unique identifiers for their authentic drugs. This feature makes it possible to trace and verify the products till they reach their consumer. After that the RFID information appears on the entire VeChain blockchain.

To make the platform even more convenient for the users an application for reading RFID tags has been created. It runs on any mobile phone. So if a person taking a particular drug has any doubts about whether it is authentic or counterfeit, he or she can quickly get rid of their worries with its help.

What is more, RFID tags placed on certain locations on the packet are to do away with any interference in its contents like secretly replacing genuine products with nonstandard ones. Any attempt to open the packet will make the tag invalid. Smart sensors can be used together with RFID tags. They record the needed information and broadcast it on the VeChain network. In the case of drugs we can give the following example: certain temperatures are required to store a drug but the warehouse violates the regulations. Alerts about inappropriate storage would be immediately sent and the affected packets would be defined.

Violations committed by transporters are brought to light in a similar way. It takes only an air carrier to go beyond the specified altitude, the altitude sensors send alerts to the blockchain where they are recorded. All the interested parties will get to know about such cases of non-observance of instructions.

Coins Guide
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Wikicoin Vera Thornpike

10 Most Influential People in Blockchain- Popular Crypto Names 2018

📚 Wikicoin
10 Most Influential People in Blockchain 2018
10 Most Influential People in Blockchain- Popular Crypto Names 2018

Although cryptocurrencies made waves in the world only in 2017, the Blockchain technology underlying them was introduced several years ago. What we have today has become possible thanks to outstanding personalities: millions of people enjoy numerous benefits of Blockchain thanks to efforts of a few hundred people. It's not possible to cover all of them, but we have covered the top 10 Blockchain industry names. These people have already contributed to the community and digital progress and continue changing the world for the better.

1. Gavin Andersen

Even though the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto has created Blockch and  Bitcoin, he couldn't be the only person (or a group of programmers) developing it. Gavin Andersen is the one who wrote the code together with him, which makes him one of the most influential people in cryptocurrency. After disappearing, Satoshi handled him the alert key that enables to transmit messages related to the critical Bitcoin system errors. Today, Andersen is one of the wealthiest Bitcoin-related programmers, but what motivates him to contribute is a true devotion to the Blockchain.

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Gavin Andersen

2. Roger Ver

Roger Ver is among Blockchain industry NYC top names.  Also called "Bitcoin Jesus, " he was among the first people to invest in this currency, as well as the first generation of startups. Now, he is developing Bitcoin Cash, the hard fork of the coin that's aimed at making transactions faster and cheaper. Ver is also known for:

  • writing on Bitcoin-related websites and forums
  • owning bitcoin.com
  • establishing the Bitcoin foundation
  • investing in Bitcoin startups.

3. Vitalik Buterin

Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin is the founder of Ethereum, famous Blockchain platform that implements smart contracts. You can hardly find a person who hasn’t heard about Ethereum, so Vitalik Buterin is one of the most well-known Blockchain industry top names. His first programming attempts were taken during teenage years, and Buterin quickly got involved in this sphere. He even founded Bitcoin Magazine before crypto turned into the mainstream.
After the release of Homestead, the second Ethereum version, and hacking of DAO, its primary competitor, Ethereum has become even closer to Bitcoin and has enough potential to puts its reign to the end. 

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Vitalik Buterin

4. Charles Lee

Brother of Bobby Lee, CEO of BTCChina, Charles Lee is a crypto enthusiast, entrepreneur, and programmer who used to work for Google. However, the world knows him as the founder of Litecoin, Bitcoin's hard fork aimed at accelerating transactions and making block size less. Only this fact makes him one of the most influential people in the Blockchain industry, though Lee has a lot behind his belt. Litecoin is the world's fourth cryptocurrency by market cap after Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Now, Lee is developing Coinbase, a promising Blockchain startup that has already established partnerships with some large companies.

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5. Nick Szabo

The list of 100 most influential Blockchain people can’t be full without Nick Szabo. This person is well-known for research of digital contracts and cryptocurrency. Back in 1998, he has created Bitgold– a mechanism for a decentralized digital currency. The term ‘smart contracts’ was introduced by Szabo. people say, he might be the famous Satoshi Nakamoto, but Nick denies that.

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Nick Szabo

6. Brian Armstrong

What makes Brian Armstrong one of the 100 most influential Blockchain people? He is the founder of Coinbase, an open financial system, and a BTC exchange platform. Armstrong has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, as well as Economics, and also got a Master’s Degree at Rice University. Armstrong is a Blockchain enthusiast and strives to advance Bitcoin.  Being a tech entrepreneur, he has worked with a large number of companies and addressed different audiences.

7. Andreas Antonopoulos

When it comes to influential people, Blockchain isn’t the only sphere they specialize on. Andreas M. Antonopoulos, a Greek-British Bitcoin advocate, has a broad range of interests, which proves that. He has degrees in Data Communications, Computer Science, and Distributed Systems. What has Antonopoulos done for Blockchain?

  1. Published over 200 articles on cloud computing, data centers, and security.
  2. Advised executives from Fortune 500 companies on the questions of cloud computing, networking, and security.
  3. Wrote such books as Mastering Bitcoin (it’s considered to be the best BTC technical guide) and The Internet of Money.

Antonopoulos is not just a public speaker– he inspires people to work with cryptocurrency and raises our awareness about technologies around.

8. Erik Voorhees

Among Blockchain names, Erik Voorhees is one of the most well-known. The American founder of Bitcoin startups and Coinapult company, he worked in Bitinstant and owned Satoshi Dice. Voorhees wants to change the current situation in the global economy and overcome the problem of fraud and counterparty risk. Being a dedicated Bitcoin advocate, he keeps his assets in Bitcoin.

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Erik Voorhees

9. Alex Tapscott

Son of Don Tapscott, Alex is both a businessman and a writer. He and his father are authors of Blockchain Revolution, number one best-seller acclaimed by many critics. They have also founded the Blockchain Research Institute to figure out how blockchain can impact the world economy. He wrote some articles for TIME, Quartz, Toronto Star, the Huffington Post and Harvard Business Review.

10. Adam Back

Our list of the most influential people should be finished with Adam Back– the programmer and Bitcoin enthusiast who implemented the first proof-of-work and decentralized mining (features of Bitcoin). He is also the author of credlib (library executing credential systems) and contributed to the development of security features. Now, Back is the president of Blockstream company.

Bonus: The richest people in crypto

As you can guess by these influential people, cryptocurrency has not only made them famous but also rich. Here are the richest crypto enthusiasts:

Name

Wealth

Initiative

Chris Larsen

~$8 bln

Ripple

Joseph Lubin

~$5 bln

Ethereum, Consensys

Changpeng Zhao

~$2 bln

Binance

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss

~$1.1 bln

Winklevoss Capital

Matthew Mellon

~$1 bln

 

As we can see from these most influential people, Blockchain isn’t the only sphere of their interest– men of talent apply their skills in different areas. Who knows, maybe, they will bring Blockchain to a new level, or maybe will introduce some revolutionary technologies that can change our lives irreversibly?

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