Thomas Hughes

Litecoin Volume Buffs Up. What’s Next?

According to Bitinfocharts, more than $1.1 billion worth of LTC was transacted over the Litecoin network on Nov. 30
Litecoin Volume Buffs Up. What’s Next?

According to Bitinfocharts, more than $1.1 billion worth of LTC was transacted over the Litecoin network on Nov. 30, but the volume started to climb even before that (almost $600 million worth of LTC transacted on Nov. 29).

Considering that the average daily volume for Litecoin is much lower, we can safely assume we are dealing with a whale or group of whales moving their assets. And if we were to speculate, we could say that an entity like the Bakkt exchange is preparing for their early 2019 launch.

Chart Analysis – LTC/USD

Chart Analysis – LTC/USD

Litecoin gave up the gains made a few days ago and dropped after reaching a high at 37 against the US dollar, disappointing most of its fans who were expecting a stronger recovery towards $40.

Currently, the pair has established support on the bullish trend line seen on the chart above and is trading around 32, but below the 2 Exponential Moving Averages, which are still crossed bearish (i.e. 50 EMA-red is above 20 EMA-blue).

The pair has printed a higher low, which is a bullish sign but also a lower high, which is a bearish sign and all these paints a blurry picture, like most other cryptocurrencies, which are showing the same behaviour. A breakout above or below the triangle formation seen on the chart will most likely trigger an extended move.

Support zone: bullish trend line followed by 27 – 28 area

Resistance zone: bearish trend line

Most likely scenario: move outside the triangle; we slightly favour the long side because the downtrend is overextended

Alternate scenario: tight range, move outside triangle without momentum or clear direction

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The Deceptions of Space, or the Not-So-Great Combinators

Opinions
The Hollywood-worthy twists and turns of the space exploration business serve as fair warning to potential investors
The Deceptions of Space, or the Not-So-Great Combinators
Contents

It is generally believed that outer space is the realm of honest business. However, like any field where big money is involved, the cosmic sphere breeds its own combinators – some are great, and some underwhelming. Some bring to market projects that are clearly unrealizable, earning points for cheap self-promotion. Others engage in open robbery, taking advantage of the overly credulous public.

“One Mars”ian Chronicles

In 2013, an unknown company by the name of One Mars launched a crowdfunding on Indiegogo, with the “modest” goal of creating an inhabited station on Mars. Investors were invited to contribute toward the first stage of the program: the launch of the landing station and satellite mission in 2018. The total amount required was set at $400,000.

The fact that the budget of similar Martian projects amounted to billions of dollars didn’t seem to faze investors. The project collected 78 percent of the goal, or $313,744.

The year 2018 arrived. In a March interview, the founder of the company Bas Lansdorp said that despite slight financial difficulties, the first phase of the project was successfully completed, and the second phase was set to begin in 2019.

So, what had One Mars accomplished in those five years? Conducted an online registration for enthusiasts who wanted to participate in the program (gathering 202,586 applications). Collected entry fees, which ranged from $5 to $73, depending on country of residence (4227 payments). That’s it. Oh, yes: also, every year, Lansdorp dutifully announced the postponement of the project for 1-3 years.

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What next? The participants have been gathered, all that remains are mere trifles:

  • launch a reconnaissance mission with a landing station and a rover;
  • send several missions for the delivery of building blocks to be used in the construction of the station (the blocks themselves also have to be created first);
  • consecutively deliver several groups of settlers to Mars.

It is not surprising that One Mars is not getting anywhere and never will.  What is surprising, is that so many people were able to take this nonsense seriously.

They were not concerned that a startup with $300,000 is puffing out its chest and entering a market populated by government agencies and international consortiums with a total capital in the tens of billions of dollars.

They were not bothered that the technology required for establishing a protected living station on Mars which could house humans self-sufficiently did not exist in 2013, nor does it exist now. In fact, it is a mystery what these people were thinking.

In the context of such glaring inconsistencies, allegations that One Mars was insufficiently thorough with selecting participants and paying for their interviews are particularly absurd. It’s akin to a serious discussion of the technical challenges of an automobile when only its horn is available for inspection.

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True Detective

The second story can readily serve as a script for a suspenseful drama series. HBO and Netflix are clearly missing an opportunity here.

Episode 1

It began beautifully. In September of 2014, the non-profit company Spaceship Earth Grants announced the launch of a worldwide competition, the winner of which would go to space – free of charge. In the course of four months, anyone could register for the program by paying an entrance fee of $15 to $90, depending on the level of their country’s financial well-being.

In order to deliver the winner to space, the company was planning to use the services of the space tour operator Virgin Galactic – later, this was replaced by a vague statement to the effect that the journey would take place "on any ship that will be available." The participants were promised one space flight per every 50,000 applications.

It would seem that at this stage it would be easy to understand who we’re dealing with. Virgin Galactic sold space voyage tickets for $250,000 apiece. Given the formula "one per 50,000" and the average amount of the entrance fee ($50), it's easy to calculate that in an ideal scenario, the founders of Spaceship Earth Grants planned to collect at least $2.5 mln and keep 90 percent of that amount as profit (not counting insignificant expenses for internet PR).

But the principle of “free lunch” worked: several tens of thousands of people from all over the world applied to the program.

Over the course of six months, the organizers listlessly moved the participants through rounds of preliminary screenings and on June 12, 2015 suddenly announced a merger with the similar Rising Star program run by the Kruger Cowne company. SEG participants were encouraged to re-register on the site of the new program.

After that, Spaceship Earth Grants quietly left the stage. On Oct. 3, 2015, its Facebook account produced the last squeak of joy over the selection of Rising Star finalists, and hasn’t shown any signs of life since. Curiously, it still has 22,466 followers – either they didn’t bother unfollowing, or they remain believers in the possibility of a free lunch…

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Episode 2

The second participant of the combination, Kruger Cowne, comes to the fore.

The business model on which the Rising Star Spaceflight Contest was based was a carbon copy of the one used by Spaceship Earth Grants.

The only difference is that Kruger Cowne’s technical partner was XCOR Aerospace which had been working on the creation of the Lynx jet spacecraft, capable of climbing up to 100 km above the Earth's surface.

The Rising Star program went further: having joined its clientele with the participants of Spaceship Earth Grants, the organizers held a semi-final round of applicant selections, and announced the results at the youth forum One Young World on Nov. 25, 2015. The lucky winner was 24-year-old Hussein Manaver from the London suburb of Ilford.

Episode 3

It seemed that in just a little bit of time, and the fairy tale of The Little Prince in Space would become a reality. But then, it was time for the third act of the long game.

After six months, in May of 2016, XCOR Aerospace announced that it was suspending work on the Lynx spaceship and letting go 3/4 of its employees. In 2017 the company was declared bankrupt. In short, they all died.

According to the laws of the drama series genre, at the end of each season, there should appear an element of suspense, hinting that the next season is just around the corner. This rule has been followed in our story, as well. After XCOR’s bankruptcy, most of its assets went to the non-profit organization Build a Plane, which, by a strange coincidence of events, is not occupied with engineering and development, but ... with educational space programs for young people.

Any spoilers for the second season?

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Darryn Pollock

Cryptocurrency Mining and the Energy Crisis Fallacy

There’s a lot of talk about the cryptocurrency mining crisis, but is there really a problem, or is it all being blown out of proportion?
Cryptocurrency Mining and the Energy Crisis Fallacy
Contents

As cryptocurrencies have risen to prominence, so have their mining operations. The act of mining cryptocurrencies means a lot of power is used as processors try and solve difficult mathematical equations. This energy usage has been exploding, to the point where it has been compared to the same usage as places like Denmark and Ireland.

However, it is easy to compare and contrast the electricity usage of Bitcoin mining and comment on its environmental footprint. The issue is, when looking a little deeper into the argument, the amount of energy that is used by Bitcoin mining pales in comparison to other, similar, industries- such as banking.

Well regarded Blockchain expert, Andreas Antonopoulos, has flipped the entire mining energy-thirsty, environmentally damaging argument on its head, but he has also suggested that there is room for proof of stake chains to circle around one major proof of work chain- Bitcoin.

Electricity arbitrage

The first thing to consider when examining the power usage of cryptocurrency miners is how energy works on a global scale, and how energy is sourced by miners. Firstly, when electricity is produced in an area, it is often produced for future usage, creating more supply than demand, and in the case of renewable energy, such as solar, hydro or wind, there is no way to turn it off.

This leads to a lessening of price as the supply outweighs the demand, and in these circumstances, cryptocurrency miners often move in. There have been many cases of mining operations cropping up in rural places where renewable energy is abundant.

“What if you could find a way to turn that [surplus] energy into an alternative store of value? Then instead of paying off the powerplant in five years, you pay it off in one year by using electricity that would otherwise be wasted,” Antonopoulos explained

“Suddenly, Bitcoin is an environmental subsidy to alternative energy all around the world! Because it is causing these projects to be amortized over a year instead of five - Oh! So we are running a green coin all this time!?”

Bitcoin miners are basically operating like electricity arbitrages, they can operate globally wherever there is electricity cost that suits them, and the upshot of that is the most profitable spot for miners is where electricity would be wasted anyway.

So, while mining may be using energy that is equivalent to small European countries, the power it taps into is often renewable, or at least not in demand, and thus available and potentially a money making option for power that would have been wasted anyway.

The banking energy monster

What makes cryptocurrency mining such an obvious target when it comes to criticizing an environmental footprint is its usage can be traced and pinpointed. But, when it comes to other areas of finance and economics, such as banking, their electricity usage is not as obvious, but it is by far much bigger.

“Every time you pull out that little plastic card and you use it to do a transaction you are not aware of the 100,000 square-foot data center that is churning 100,000 servers to do fraud detection or clearing. You are not aware of the tower offices that are lit 24 hours a day, and the trading floors and the bank vaults, and the armored cars and the diesel trucks, etc. All of those costs are mostly hidden, and they are enormous,” Antonopoulos added.

The fact of the matter is that yes, cryptocurrency mining does utilize a lot of power, but on a global scale, it is nothing compared to just the banking sector. There are thousands of banks across the globe, all with their own energy-hungry ecosystems, while Bitcoin is one entity that has one instance of power usage.

A fallacy of an argument

The argument that mining is destroying the environment needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It is a badly worked argument, and in context, is a total fallacy.

However, even if the mining operation does start to get too big, or there needs to be a change in the operation, cryptocurrencies have the ability to utilize proof of stake over proof of work, something that Antonopoulos also looks into.

“I don't think we can afford two proof of work systems on this planet, but I think we only need one. Maybe everything else could be proof of stake and anchor into the only proof of work we have. We need one planetary proof of work system to offer us true energy dependance immutable, but maybe we can only afford one. Turns out that might be Bitcoins killer app,” he concluded.

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David Dinkins

Analysis of Past Bitcoin Boom/Bust Cycles Sheds Light on Bitcoin Price Prospects

Data suggests the current downtrend in Bitcoin’s price could be nearing an end, but there are also reasons to be skeptical.
Analysis of Past Bitcoin Boom/Bust Cycles Sheds Light on Bitcoin Price Prospects
Contents

Though the Bitcoin market is presently in turmoil, with ups and downs that resemble a yo-yo, since the December peak of nearly $20,000, there’s clearly been a significant downtrend. Mainstream media keeps saying the bubble has popped, with many outlets predicting lows of less than $3,000. But it’s possible Bitcoin’s past boom-and-bust cycles might tell us something about the downtrend we’re presently in, and how long it could last.

Redditor DamonAndTheSea helpfully composed a list of Bitcoin’s bull/bear cycles and calculated the length of time before the downtrend on each cycle was broken; his data can be easily verified on any Bitcoin charting site. Excepting the crash following the November 2013 boom, the downtrend following each Bitcoin bubble lasted on average 89 days and saw an average decline from peak price of 62%.

The current decline has gone on for 93 days and at the early-February low of $5,800, the market had retraced 70% of its high. According to this data, if we go by historical averages, Bitcoin’s downtrend should be nearing an end.

Mt. Gox

The data for the period following the November 2013 bubble is skewed because of the collapse of Mt. Gox, the biggest Bitcoin exchange at the time. Hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins were stolen, laundered through BTC-e, and sold on the open market. This depressed prices for years - likely far longer than would have otherwise been the case. Mt. Gox likely skews the data significantly.

Nonetheless, if include the bear market that followed the late-2013 boom, with its 600-day downtrend, the averages shift somewhat. In that case, the average length of the downtrend becomes 217 days and an average decline of 68%.

Different this time?

By these numbers, there’s good reason to hope that Bitcoin’s bubble has in fact bust - and that the market can soon start trending upward again. But that’s not necessarily the case. With the limited data available - only four boom/bust cycles on record - it’s impossible to extract any statistically significant results.

Moreover, a number of things are different about 2017’s bubble:


Wall Street - With big banks and institutions now involved in the Bitcoin markets, they could keep the market depressed for awhile if they wanted. These investors have extremely deep pockets and can push the market around, should they choose. It would be expensive, and risky, but could be done.

High Volume - Previous bubbles have only involved a few thousand or tens of thousands of people pumping up the price on relatively low volume (by today’s standards). Even accounting for so-called “fake” volume, the crypto-market involved much more money, many more people and a great deal more mainstream media coverage than past bubbles. More people invested more money, meaning that as the bubble deflates, more people get burned. It could be awhile before your average Main Street investor trusts Bitcoin again.

Regulatory Attention - This goes along with the last point; because the bubble was so large and affected so many investors, it’s called greater regulatory scrutiny down on cryptocurrency. It remains to be seen how global regulators will act, as some are calling for restraint while others are going for the jugular.

Altcoin Boom - Previous crypto bubbles have been completely dominated by Bitcoin. This is the first bubble cycle that significantly involved altcoins, and it did so in a big way. Many altcoins saw their prices rise 150 times their January 2017 price. Ripple even pegged a 400x gain year-over-year. More people became involved by buying speculative ICO tokens or “cheap” altcoins that aren’t necessarily good long-term investments. As the altcoin sector inevitably contracts in the face of a bust, and many projects die, ordinary investors are going to find themselves burned even worse, and will be that much more reluctant to participate in any future price recoveries.

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Darryn Pollock

Cryptocurrencies 1,000% Growth is Over, and That’s Just Fine

Cryptocurrencies’ biggest hook may well be over as the 1,000 percent gains are a thing of the past, but that’s not a bad thing
Cryptocurrencies 1,000% Growth is Over, and That’s Just Fine
Contents

While it may have become obvious to a lot of investors, there are still those who bought at the pinnacle waiting for the price of cryptocurrencies to skyrocket again. However, one of the most influential men in the space has come out and stated the obvious.

Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin has said that people should not expect the massive gains in cryptocurrency that were seen not that long ago. The thinking behind his statement is that they have reached a level of adoption where there is no more surprises.

However, adoption is also being slowed because the hype and excitement behind cryptocurrencies have been found out- and mostly by regulators who are now slowing the growth by approaching the space with care before other investors join in.

But this cautious approach, which is leading to a bearish market and some unpleasant sentiment, is probably not such a bad thing. The talk of the bubble bursting has passed, as it probably has, just like the Dot Com bubble, and now there is a vacuum where those serious about the space can come in.

Vitalik says it's over

Cryptocurrencies are interesting in their broadness. They encompass a new technology, finance, economics, and a range of other aspects with the disruptive and all-encompassing power of Blockchain. However, there is no doubting they have been dragged into the limelight thanks to their investability.

Cryptocurrency, led by Bitcoin, was thrust into the public eye as the price started snowballing, and growing upon itself with an increase in interest showing a growth in price, and so on, and so on.

It grew by thousands of percent as people heard more about it and joined the space, including companies and businesses. Blockchain became the buzzword, everyone wanted to be a part of it, and it started mirroring the Dot Com bubble.

Now, Buterin has come out and said that buzz and hype is in the past.

“The Blockchain space is getting to the point where there’s a ceiling in sight. If you talk to the average educated person at this point, they probably have heard of Blockchain at least once. There isn’t an opportunity for yet another 1,000-times growth in anything in the space anymore,” Buterin said.

A ceiling of investment

The thing is, Buterin is referring to one aspect of cryptocurrency which raced ahead, it's investability. People flooded into the space to simply own it and watch it grow. With that now over, those who are only interested in a quick buck are pulling out.

There are still masses of other spaces within the Blockchain space which need work and expansion. Its adoption as a technology, in terms of Blockchain, keeps growing, it is being regulated slowly and carefully, and as such, it is being laid out on the other end for big businesses to pick up.

If the investment side of the space has reached its pinnacle, it means that another aspect can start to grow. Perhaps it will be the distributed ledger, the use as a cross-border currency, supply chain management, or a host of other things.

Just because it's ceiling has been hit as an asset does not mean it is dead, far from it, it will only grow stronger with stronger players in the ecosystem.

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Wikicoin George Shnurenko

The Ultimate ERC20 Guide for Dummies

📚 Wikicoin
Here is the ultimate ERC20 guide which explains how to get started
The Ultimate ERC20 Guide for Dummies
Contents

We have fully entered the glorious age of cryptocurrency and almost everyone you know is enthused about crypto coins, especially ERC20. Unfortunately, you only know about Bitcoins and Ethereum. You’re not alone in this.

The concept of decentralization, Blockchain technology and cryptography can be very confusing and unless you have a form of ERC20 guide, it will be impossible to understand. Without further ado, here’s the much-awaited ERC20 for dummies.

ERC, which represents “Ethereum Request for Comments” is a set of rules and regulations for the Ethereum network

The building blocks of ERC20 tokens, Blockchain

We begin with the Blockchain which is the basis of it all. The Blockchain is a digital and decentralized ledger with the sole purpose of recording cryptocurrency, chronologically and publicly. Originally it was developed to initiate and execute transactions in record time using a sequence of blocks. Here, each block recording signifies a transaction on the network.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum, virtual money used for carrying out transactions, without the regulations of a central bank and influence of the government are stored within the Blockchain and uses encryption techniques create and verify transactions.

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Ethereum and ERC20 tokens

Ethereum is a decentralized system administered on a Blockchain network that is completely sovereign, eliminates third parties and avoids data leaks. The network has its own currency called Ether which is traded along with digital assets known as tokens. These tokens, which also act as currency, have varied values for assets they represent such as IOUs, vouchers, etc.

Being decentralized gives it its autonomy and this is a key feature of the system as it allows users of the market tokenize their products. They can also source for crowdfunding since there are no external regulations to sanction these transactions, rather, miners all over the world run the block's unique metadata via a hash function. Unlike Bitcoin that was created as a medium or exchange or store value, the Ether platform can be used to design and run applications.

What is ERC20?

ERC, which represents “Ethereum Request for Comments” is a set of rules and regulations for the Ethereum network and it determines how tokens can be accepted. It was proposed by Fabian Vogelsteller. The 20 after the ERC stands for unique proposal ID number. ERC20 governs the creation and transaction of ERC20 Tokens on the network, and once these rules have been met, the tokens are free to be created and traded across the Ethereum network.

Before the introduction of ERC20, each token executed its own versions of these functions, so each token had its own agreement making complex an exchange which should have been very simple and straightforward. ERC20 enabled an easy transference of tokens because they all have the same functions and rules.

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Two Features that make ERC20 tokens superior

1. ERC20 gives developers a sense of direction

Since ERC20 is a set of rules which Ethereum tokens must follow, this particular token gives developers an idea of how new tokens are going to function on a larger scale. The implication of this is that unlike before when developers had to undertake massive restructuring projects at the release of a new token, they can easily use the prescribed regulations. This is, perhaps, why all tokens released during Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are compliant with ERC20.

2. ERC20 defines the important functions

There are certain functions in the ERC20 which is of immense benefit to other tokens. The basic functionality issues to be addressed, for example, how the tokens are transferred or how users can get access to their token. Even though the ERC20 is still in its inchoate form, it is steadily gaining traction and it is anticipated that all new tokens will conform to its rules.

ERC20 functions

As long as all the ERC20 protocol is adhered to, the creation of any token system for ERC20 is allowed and a token becomes an ERC20. Basic functions of ERC20 tokens standard include balanceOf- an inquiry of balance of token, approve- approval of transfer of token, totalSupply- total supply of tokens, transferFrom - transferring of tokens and allowance. Below are examples of ERC20 Token functions:

  1. totalSupply: With this function, a member in the market can calculate and return the total amount of the token that exists in circulation.

  2. balanceOf: The balanceOf function enables a smart contract- a computer protocol that assesses the performance of a contract- to store and return the balance of the provided address.

  3. Approve: This function allows the owner of the contract to approve the address to withdraw tokens from the owner's address.

Just like your online banking app, this function allows the owner of a contract to send any amount of token to another address.

  1. transferFrom: With this function, and with the owner's approval, the given amount of token is transferred.

The ERC20 is adaptable because it gives developers unlimited freedom and almost anyone can partake in the business of ERC20 tokens because they are run on an open-source and public platform. Although the ERC20 token can be built at any time and the tools to create ERC20 tokens are accessible to everyone, the skill required to create it is a completely different ball game.

It is also important to note that ERC20 is not a software or a piece of code, it is simply a specification standard, caliber, level or quality for tokens on the Ethereum platform.

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How to trade ERC20 for Dummies

Now that the answer to “what is ERC20” has been answered, it is expedient to understand how you can trade ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum platform.

There are two simple requirements when you want to trade cryptocurrency.

  1. A cryptocurrency wallet

  2. A cryptocurrency exchange for trade

It is important to know that the cryptocurrency is not part of the regular stock exchange and it is extremely volatile. Start with trading prominent coins and choosing a reputable company that offers exchange and wallet. One in such instance is Coinbase which supports platforms for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Conclusion

Now, your question, “What is ERC20?” has been concisely and elaborately answered. You can confidently give novices an essential ERC20 guide and you can also partake in the benefits of the tokens. Make sure you have a good grasp of the concepts discussed here so as not to lose out.

Wikicoin
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