Darryn Pollock

Lightning Network Boasts More Nodes Than Bitcoin Cash

The Lightning Network, a potential Bitcoin scaling solution, has more nodes than the digital currency’s biggest rival, Bitcoin Cash.
Lightning Network Boasts More Nodes Than Bitcoin Cash

Still very much in its infancy, the Lightning Network, currently boasts more nodes than Bitcoin’s biggest rival, Bitcoin Cash. This is especially interesting as the Lightning Network has been dubbed a scaling solution that could well make Bitcoin Cash meaningless.

Statistics show that the Lightning Network has taken a slight lead over BCH when it comes to the total number of nodes running on their networks. The data shows there are currently 1,347 Lightning nodes compared to Bitcoin Cash’s 1,286.

The Lightning Network has grown exponentially as it builds towards being a potential solution to be added to the Bitcoin Blockchain. Back in mid-January, it held only 29 nodes.

Lightning Network node count has exceeded Bcash node count. In addition 70%+ of the BCash nodes are hosted on a "Hangzhou Alibaba" servers which you can check here: https://t.co/g8HC8bAkIX https://t.co/iIUyGaftvQ pic.twitter.com/g1tmAMkXPz

— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) March 27, 2018
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Joseph Young

NYSE Chairman: Crypto Assets Here to Stay, Infrastructure Improving

NYSE chairman believes crypto assets like Bitcoin are here to stay as the infrastructure continues to improve
NYSE Chairman: Crypto Assets Here to Stay, Infrastructure Improving

According to Jeff Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, the biggest stock market in the world, crypto assets like Bitcoin are here to stay.

“The unequivocal answer is yes [crypto assets will survive]. As an exchange operator it’s not our objective to opine on prices,” Sprecher said, reaffirming that the institution will continue to strengthen the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoin’s Strength

Throughout the past nine years, despite the emergence of so-called “next generation” blockchain networks with bigger transaction capacity, privacy solutions, and scalability, Bitcoin has continued to survive many bear cycles.

Over the past eleven months, as seen in the initiatives of Bakkt, NYSE, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Fidelity, the infrastructure around Bitcoin has been improving at a rapid rate, with the entrance of more custodians, futures markets, and over-the-counter (OTC) markets.

Sprecher noted:

“Somehow bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived. There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better but yet bitcoin continues to survive, thrive and attract attention.”

The simplicity of Bitcoin and its focus on security could have played a major factor in the long-term success of the cryptocurrency.

Currently, cryptocurrencies are struggling to gain merchant adoption and various large-scale organizations like NYSE and its parent company ICE are leading several ventures  to help increase accessibility to Bitcoin for merchants.

In a period in which individuals and businesses are just beginning to use cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, it could be argued that it is simply too early to convince the mainstream to utilize decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. The shift from centralized systems to decentralized systems can be drastic for the majority of people.

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As Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency, gains more traction and users through its strengthening infrastructure, eventually, smart contracts and more advanced features of the blockchain could see light.

Kelly Loeffler, chief executive officer of Bakkt, said that the firm is starting with Bitcoin first, creating an infrastructure that is not available to the market in the form of a futures market that offers physical Bitcoin delivery.

Bakkt, a company operated by ICE and NYSE, recently delayed the launch of its futures market due to increasing demand for the product from investors in the U.S. market.

“To give it the best chance for success we pushed it back to the holidays to give people more time to get on board. It’s a positive indication of the interest and it gives people time to learn. We have a responsibility to do that so we’re taking that extra time. We’re creating that infrastructure that doesn’t exist today, which we think is a big opportunity for institutional investors to come in,” stated Loeffler.

Crypto is Here to Stay

Including the 2018 bear market, in the past nine years, the cryptocurrency sector suffered five major corrections. Following every correction, the market experienced an accumulation phase, a period in which developers, users, and investors build better products and infrastructure to handle the next wave of demand.

NYSE executives believe that in the years to come, the cryptocurrency market could continue to see exponential growth as more companies enter the market to strengthen the existing infrastructure.

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Coins Guide George Shnurenko

How to buy NEM (XEM) in USA: A Step-by-Step Guide

🎓 Coins Guide
The majority of exchanges require verification because they have to comply with AML regulations.
How to buy NEM (XEM) in USA: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1. Choose any reputable exchange service on the market (Coinbase, Gemini, CEX, Binance, etc.) that would allow you trade the cryptocurrency of your choice. Coinbase is probably the most popular exchange platform, but it also has a significant drawback such as high transaction fees for any fiat currency. If you are looking for an exchange with lower charges, consider using BitStamp or CEX.

Step 2. Create an account. After choosing an exchange, you have to sign up and verify it by providing all the necessary documents (ID, the proof of your address, etc.). This is important for preventing different types of fraudulent activities. The verification procedure may take up to a week.

The majority of exchanges require verification because they have to comply with AML regulations. If you do not want to reveal your identity, you may consider using the exchanges that put an emphasis on anonymity (Localbitcoins, Wall of Coins, etc.).

Bitquick, for example, allows anonymous transactions that do not exceed $400. Localbitcoins, on the other hand, does not have verification requirements at all. Of course, this is a huge advantage for individuals who do not what to reveal their personal information to a third party that may be subjected to a data breach.

Some exchanges may routinely close their registration due to a high demand. There has recently been a trend of selling fully verified accounts on eBay and other platforms, because people who are willing to trade crypto simply are not able to sign in. Of course, it is just another red flag – the seller may easily get his account back.

Step 3. Choose a trading pair. There may be crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto trading pairs. The particular number of available trading pairs depends on the exchange. Your choice of a particular exchange may depend on the niche cryptocurrency that you want to buy.

Step 4. Withdraw your money. No matter what exchange you choose, do not forget to withdraw all your money to a cold wallet after completing the transaction. Mt. Gox’s shutdown proves that even the most prominent exchanges may not recover from a big hacking attack.

Coins Guide
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🎓 Trading Guide Andrew Strogoff

Bitcoin Futures Trading: Complete Guide to It

Trading Guide
The article discusses guides to Bitcoin futures trading
Bitcoin Futures Trading: Complete Guide to It

U.Today presents a complete guide to Bitcoin futures trading. Here is an article that will help you to understand the nature of those contracts and how they work with Bitcoin.

What is futures

What is futures

What are those financial contracts or derivatives? Features is a financial contract that allows to buy or to sell some basic asset within the established dates and for the previously established price, which is fixed in the agreement.

Futures are approved on the basis of standard conditions, established by the exchange. The conditions for every basic asset are established separately, which helps to sell them at a price, which is close to market quotes.

Futures are very “liquid” derivatives because of their conditions. Moreover, all the participants in the transaction are protected by the margin that the parties have to pay before the contract sets up.

Some novice traders and investors think that futures are a kind of speculative trading instruments helping them to gain more profit. However, those derivatives serve to decrease risks and to guarantee the delivery of underlying assets. It is to mention that nowadays almost all futures contracts do not require delivery of goods.

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The history of futures

The futures market has a long history. Some think that those contracts appeared in Osaka (former Japanese capital). Rice was the main trading good at that time. Buyers and sellers wanted to protect themselves from price fluctuations and this was the main reason to create futures contracts.

However, some other traders underline that futures have appeared in the Netherlands during the “Tulip mania” period. The bulb cost so much that the buyer had no opportunity to buy it. Nobody could predict the price of the bulb. This was the main reason for those futures contracts to appear.

Let’s give an example. Imagine that there is a farmer who cultivates wheat. He has some spending as he needs to invest into fertilizers, seeds and his employees. In order to conduct his activities, a farmer needs to be assured that his investments will be paid off.

However, he cannot be sure in advance as the price of wheat may decrease significantly in case of high yield. To tell the truth, wheat buyers need to protect themselves from the higher prices in case of low yield.

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Bitcoin futures: the main reasons for those contracts to appear

BTC futures are the result of this hype tendency. Bitcoin becomes more and more popular and Wall Street investors want to benefit from this trading instrument.

Nowadays there are futures for different types of underlying assets including weather. Everything that can be measured or calculated, may become the underlying asset for a futures contract. Bitcoin is a good “candidate” for such a mission.

However, this gives no clear understanding of why do these contracts appear? The main reason  lies not only in this hype but also in the fact that serious investors do not have trust in those exchanges that we have currently.

Yes, there are already some regulated trading places, but they are not numerous. Bitcoin is an unregulated trading instrument at all and is traded on unregulated exchanges, which sometimes are unable to deal with a high number of traders.

Another great thing about futures contracts is that their number may be significantly higher, than the number of existing bitcoins. When you deal with futures, you buy a contract and not the underlying asset. It means that you just make a bet on growth or decline of this or that asset.

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How do Bitcoin futures contract work

Bitcoin futures works the same way as any other futures contract. This is an obligation to sell or to buy some bitcoins in the future (the price is established in advance as well as the dates). The margin for such a contract is about 10-15 percent. The system works like a leverage in this case and participants may get some kind of credit. They invest less and may rely on higher profits in case of success.

Here is an example of how this works. Let’s say Bitcoin price is $6,000 currently. You expect the BTC price to increase in the future and to reach $7,000. So you buy let’s say 10 contracts expecting the price to grow. The expiry date is two months.

What do you have as the result of this deal? You have bought obligations to buy ten bitcoins at the market price at the moment of the expiry date of the contract.

If the price reaches your established level, you will sell the contract and get the profit. You may hold the contract until the expiry date if you think that the price will go even higher. However, if the price fails to reach the target within those two months, you lose meaning you have to give back your margin.

To tell the truth, you can buy and sell Bitcoin contracts anytime you want. The price of those contracts may significantly vary from the underlying asset’s price. Futures contracts allow you to earn on both uptrends and downtrends.

There is one more thing to mention. Huge exchanges like CME, establish a very high price for those who want to start Bitcoin futures trading, meaning you have to pay at least five BTC to buy BTC futures on CME for example. This amount is not affordable for many retail traders and they choose brokers, which offer more loyal conditions.

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How do futures influence the Bitcoin market

There were many talks about Bitcoin’s price after futures launching. Some experts predicted its growth while the other urged the community to be cautious as the results would be unexpected. Anyway, we are now more than half a year after those contracts appeared and we can make some conclusions at this moment.

There is a common opinion that Bitcoin futures have a negative impact on the industry and cryptocurrency price as they allow traders to conduct bi-directional operations and to earn on both of them. This may lead to significant price fluctuations and downtrends.

So-called whales have large amounts of money and they can manipulate the price as they want. I would like to mention here the famous Soros trading operation against the Bank of England on Sept. 16, 1992. Soros is considered to be the man who has broken the Bank of England as he bet on GBP’s decline and earned billions of dollars.

Huge investors can be the reason of great panic on the cryptocurrency market. Cryptocurrency market’s capitalization is billions and even hundreds of billions of USD. However, daily Forex volumes are even higher. Speculative funds that penetrated the crypto market, were one of the reasons for this huge downtrend that we see in summer 2018.

Let’s see a simple example of how it works. Big money can invest millions of dollars in those contracts. When they see that market is hesitating to grow, they can “sell” BTC/USD using futures contracts and make the price decline significantly.

Another negative aspect is that you don’t need to buy Bitcoin in order to participate in those trades. This means that the number of adepts stays the same. Investors are cautious with the cryptocurrency at all. However, they are interested in speculative operations. This means that the number of those who want to benefit from Bitcoin’s price fluctuations but indifferent to this technology development will increase.

However, I also think that there are some positive moments. Bitcoin is officially adopted, which means that more participants may be involved in this network in the future. Moreover, I think that those futures contracts have already played their positive role.

Where can you buy Bitcoin futures? Those contracts are offered on CME. However,  as I have already mentioned, the entrance amount is rather high. You can also buy and sell Bitcoin futures with different specialized broker companies.

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Bitcoin futures– pros and cons

There are lots of positive and negative aspect that I would like to mention here. The advantages of Bitcoin futures trading are the following:

  1. Instant trading. You lose time or money. All those who have experience in classic cryptocurrency exchanges know that it is hard sometimes to buy or sell a crypto on a desirable price especially when you need several units.

  2. You don’t need to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. All trades are conducted in fiat money. You need to deposit them into your account and you are ready to open positions.

  3. Low funds requirements. I have told you already that you need to buy five BTC contract at CME at least in order to participate in trades. However, nowadays there are several brokers that allow to invest even lower amounts and earn more. Some brokers offer micro trading.

  4. Huge leverage offers some great opportunities for traders. You don’t need to invest much in order to get higher profits.

  5. High liquidity. This aspect allows you to sell contracts anytime you want. You don’t need to wait for a buyer to purchase it.

  6. Low commissions. Several brokers take very small fees as compared to traditional cryptocurrency exchanges. You can increase your net profits due to this fact.

  7. High-security level. When dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges, you need to be careful as those trading places are famous for their weak security measures. Yes, they are doing their best in order to increase the safety of funds, but hackers are still able to breach their security systems and take clients’ money away.

  8. You can earn when the price goes both upwards and downwards. I mean traders have an opportunity to sell and to get profits even when Bitcoin declines. This is a great feature for speculative traders.

As for the disadvantages, here they are:

  1. Futures are not suitable for long-term investments. Every contract is limited by several months’ expiry. Futures may be interesting for active speculators who conduct several short and midterm trades in order to get the maximum profit possible.

  2. You need to have enough money on your trading account. Yes, I have told you above about the leverage, but you need money to maintain your margin. When you buy several contracts, you risk to “zero” your investments.

  3. Bitcoin futures are risky. You need to calculate all your risks.

  4. Knowledge required. When trading those contracts, you need the same knowledge that is required for exchanges’ speculative trades. I would say that you even need more skills in order to succeed.

Final words

Bitcoin futures are very popular nowadays among retail traders. They allow participating in Bitcoin trading without buying the very asset. Those contracts have both advantages and disadvantages, but I think they are worth your attention.

🎓 Trading Guide
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📈 Pricewise Vadique Magenta

Three Good Reasons To Keep Calm and Love Bitcoin, Even Now

Pricewise
In his weekly strategical cryptocurrencies price analysis, Vadique Magenta looks at the markets from his angle of a cryptocurrency fund manager.
Three Good Reasons To Keep Calm and Love Bitcoin, Even Now

Hello everyone! My name is Vadique Magenta and I will be telling you about the uneasy daily bread of a cryptocurrency fund manager. There are a few million dollars under my management. So, while for some people a 50 percent decrease in the market might be a walk in the park, for me that park is full of thorny roses.

“I can say that during the market fall on Feb. 2, many gave in to panic. On the CEX.io exchange alone, I saw enormous 12 percent candlesticks when despairing speculators began selling massive amounts of Bitcoin in the hope of salvaging at least part of their funds.”

I have seen this kind of market “cleanse” quite a few times, but continue to react emotionally to these events. Why, then, did I remain calm and continued buying in a falling market?
There are at least three reasons for this.
On the general market capitalization chart, in the global “head and shoulders” figure we can trace the neckline. According to the rules of technical analysis, that kind of figure is realized in zero capitalization, which means only one thing — total annihilation. Is this a possibility for the cryptocurrency market? Absolutely not.

The new market will continue to exist as long as any other human market. The invention of the Blockchain can be compared to the invention of the calendar. Entire industries are experiencing transformation. Therefore, this is not a “head and shoulders” situation, but a commonplace emotional flood. Thank you everyone, nothing more to see here.

Picture #1

The assessment of the current situation is based not only on market capitalization. Today we were at the crossroads of two key lines representing significant supports. At such moments, one feels like a partridge in the crosshairs. It's always very exciting. The first line is the lower boundary of a 142-day old channel. Its $3,000 base holds the impulse for purchases of maximum historic volumes. The second line is the lower boundary of the current downward trend.As we can see, the daily candlesticks of Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 only crossed the dangerous line with their shadows, but the close of the candles ended up being above the key levels both times.

Picture #2

By the end of today, the combination of three daily candles will be completed. If the close of Bitcoin price for the day will be at the $8,900 to $9,000 level or higher, it will be a good sign for a local turnaround with targets of $10,800, $13,600, $15,200 and a potential return to the historic maximums with a $28,000 target.

Picture #3

The third reason why we continue to hold digital assets in our portfolios is the maturing crisis in the US Treasury bond market. The story is very old, but on Friday, Feb. 2 we received an alarming signal with the significant decline in US and European indices. The Dow Jones lost almost 700 points, which is the largest fall in 892 days, while this past week was the worst in the last two years. It’s worth remembering here that Bitcoin is considered to be "digital gold." In the event of the collapse of established financial institutions, it may act as a defensive asset.

Picture #4

It is true that the cryptocurrency market continues to experience pressure from the news cycle, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t have any substantial basis. We are continuing to work according to the scenario that the downward trend will change from the $8,000 Bitcoin price without excluding the possibility of a decline to $7,000.

Wishing you successful trading!

📈 Pricewise
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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Crypto Alternative to PayPal? Long Road Ahead: Past ICO Review

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Requesting financials...pending approval...approved!
Crypto Alternative to PayPal? Long Road Ahead: Past ICO Review

The crypto alternative to PayPal is here, but is it ready for the long road to mass crypto adoption?

Request Network is a decentralized platform that allows anyone to request peer-to-peer payments. Its goal is to replace payment systems such as PayPal and make the most advanced payment terms available to everyone.

It also allows users to approve payment requests, which is not the case with the current payment system; the merchant charges you without the card holder’s permission.

On the road

Request Network raised $33.6 mln in three days, between Oct. 13-16, 2017. The token entered the market on Oct. 20 at $0.05 and saw a staggering 100 percent gain up to $1.07 in Jan 2018 but only came crashing down to $0.07 at the time of writing. It has a market cap of $55 mln and a CoinMarketCap rank of 152.

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ETA unknown

Request Network has released its beta invoice payment app and its online payment app, the latter allowing users to send and receive online payments in crypto for only a 0.1 percent transaction cost to the customer.

The website states that it is free but upon closer inspection, it lists the above small fee. Under development and pending a soonish release there will be an app for accounting and auditing and support for more currencies.

Further, Request Network is developing support for Bitcoin and ERC20 tokens in applications, a crowdfunding app, a payments dashboard app and more financial applications. While the roadmap is chock-full of many goals, there are no expected dates for implementation.

Team

Christophe Lassuyt, Co-founder and CFO, has much experience in the past as a CFO at other fintech and crypto companies. He is a firm believer that Blockchain will become more transparent over the next few years and what we are seeing now, is only the tip of the iceberg of what is to come.

Etienne Tatur, Co-Founder and CTO, previously worked for Moneytis, along with Lassuyt, where the goal there was to establish the cheapest way to send money cross-border without incurring so many fees that traditional fiat does. Previous to that he has worked for several other companies working in finance.

Vincent Rolland, Lead Engineer, has been working for the past 10 years as a developer. He also worked at Moneytis as lead developer.

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The crypto alternative to PayPal? Not so fast

There are many people who see Request  Network as an alternative to Paypal and other related online payments services. But in reality, PayPal works well and it's very well received by the public. Despite high transaction fees, people continue to use it because it provides a great service, without it payments would be very difficult.

Therefore, it will take a lot of time and effort to make people want a crypto version of PayPal. Further to competition to PayPal, before having a crypto alternative to PayPal, there needs to be legitimation of cryptocurrencies in general and the general public must realize that crypto can be an actual and useful alternative to fiat.

While hopes are high for success and there is a full roadmap but without target, completion dates Request Network faces many high hurdles to jump. While it would have been great to gain more insight on the challenges the company faces, Request Network was unavailable for comment. Emails were sent out and the company was given a week to respond to questions but there was no response.

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