🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past-ICO Review: Olympus Labs

👁 ICO Watch
Crypto Indices are growing in popularity, but this company’s token price is shrinking
Past-ICO Review: Olympus Labs

Crypto indices are garnering more attention and gaining more traction on the investment side of crypto. If you, as an investor can’t decide where to put your money for a crypto investment, then an index might be the best place. After all, many investors in traditional financial markets strongly believe in the index funds and so do many planning for retirement. Olympus labs is building a product that will allow investors to buy into indices, and maybe build their own (the wording is a bit fuzzy). In an interview with Forbes Magazine, CEO of Olympus Labs said,  “We have found that it can be hard for a crypto investor to find and invest in indices that are diversified and do well. [Author’s note: just for the record, the preceding sentence is not entirely clear: does he mean crypto indices or traditional ones] For those of us who are unsure how to invest in crypto, indices are the best way to track the market by buying into some which are either researched by professional managers or picked by industry experts you may trust.”

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Financials

Olympus Labs raised some $60 mln in a token sale that ended on Jan. 13, 2018. The token sale price was $2.18 for one MOT. However, it appears that some of the information is off because when checking CoinMarketCap, the token entered the market at $0.99 on Jan. 1, 2018 and shot up to a high of $3.05 on Jan. 9 just days before the ICO. After the ICO the price fell to $1.40 on Jan. 12 has been on a steady decline since then; currently sitting at $0.18 at the time of writing. Not a very impressive performance by any means. Market cap hovers around $7.5 mln and daily volume is close to $500,000.

Team

Kai Chen- CEO & Founder

Graduating from Yale and having an interest in investment lead Chen to work in banking and investment firms early on in his career, before founding Olympus Labs and another company.

Bharat Vishnubhotla- Head of Business Development

Vishnubhotla has a BA in business administration from USC. He previously worked at Accenture before coming to Olympus Labs.

Abel Bordonado Lillo- Full-Stack Developer

Has more than five years experience in web dev and gaming. He has worked on many other projects before coming to Olympus Labs.

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Boom to bust

Olympus Labs did a great job raising funds in its ICO but dropped the ball afterward. Checking out the numbers of followers on Telegram, they did not even crack 10,000. According to Twitter, there are more followers there, 34.7K to be exact, but generally in the cryptosphere to be legit you must have a lot of followers on Telegram to be taken seriously. According to the latest Tweet: Aug. 13, they are working on integrating with Bancor and are still developing the platform. Bancor was one of the biggest failures of 2017 and anything it touches turns to dust. With this info in mind, it would be safe to say that Olympus Labs are not going too far past the starting line.

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Joseph Young

Forget Bitcoin: Christmas Lights in US Spend More Electricity Than Countries

Electricity consumption in Bitcoin mining is misunderstood and Christmas lights spend just as much
Forget Bitcoin: Christmas Lights in US Spend More Electricity Than Countries

In 2015, the Center for Global Development reported that Christmas lights in the U.S. consume more electricity than entire countries, resonating recent reports on the excessive usage of energy by Bitcoin.

According to Phys.org, 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity is consumed on a yearly basis by Christmas lights hung on trees, rooftops, and homes. The level of electricity consumption by Christmas decoration easily surpasses that of developing countries like El Salvador and Ethiopia.

Bitcoin is Hurting the Environment Narrative

For years, the mainstream media and researchers have condemned the usage of electricity by Bitcoin. Several comparisons between the energy consumed by Bitcoin mining centers and countries were made to portray the large-scale energy consumption of the digital asset.

However, the same argument was made against gold when fiat money or cash was first introduced many decades ago.

In a paper submitted to the Mises Institute, Stephan Livera stated that the critics against the use of energy by gold did not take into account the energy, resources, and electricity used by various service providers that are required to sustain the accessibility to fiat money.

Livera noted that the argument against gold did not consider the following factors, citing the work of Roger Garrison’s “The ‘Costs’ of a Gold Standard”:

“(1) the costs imposed on society by different political factions attempting to gain control of the printing press, (2) costs imposed by special interest groups who persuade controllers of the printing press to misuse their authority (print more money) for the benefit of special interests, (3) inflation-induced misallocations of resources as a result of misused monetary authority, and (4) costs incurred by businessmen in their attempts to predict what the monetary authority will do in future.”

Critics of Bitcoin could consider the level of energy consumption by the digital currency as excessive and unnecessary. But, critics fail to consider what mining Bitcoin actually offers; it is not merely generating more supply of BTC but processing transactions and verifying payments.

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Hence, if the use of energy of fiat is to be compared with Bitcoin, the resources used by the central bank, commercial banks, political factions that attempt to gain control of the printing press, ATMs, and many other factors have to be considered; and when all of the factors are combined, they are significantly larger than the resources consumed by BTC.

“Bitcoin’s computationally costly design gives stronger resistance to forgery, inflation, and theft. This is due to the difficulty of production, and also to easy-to-verify dynamic of Proof of Work schemes,” Livera added.

Inaccurate Assessment

Critics often assume that the usage of electricity by Bitcoin miners will continue to grow exponentially throughout the years to come, disregarding variables that include:

  1. Increase in supply of renewable energy

  2. Increase in efficiency of ASIC miners

  3. Increase in reserve of electricity

The same concept could be applied to Christmas lights. If Christmas lights continue to spend more energy at the same rate it has increased by over the past decade, it could have a devastating impact on the environment. But because most things do not increase linearly or at an identical rate in the long-term, it simply cannot be predicted accurately.

Products for entertainment spend more energy than a consensus currency that is used to process $8 billion a day, which with social scalability offers decentralization, resistance to forgery, and manipulation.

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Patrick Thompson

Did You Invest at the Peak?

Did you invest in cryptocurrency when the market was nearing its peak? Here’s how much you have lost per every $1,000 invested.
Did You Invest at the Peak?

Back in December — when cryptocurrencies were making the news daily, and word was spreading like wildfire among retail investors that if they put their money into Bitcoin, their investment would grow overnight — a lot of investments were made at the top of the market due to herd mentality and fear of missing out.

Bitcoin hit its all time high of $20,035.90 on Dec. 17, 2017 (https://coinmarketcap.com/). However, since that date, the price of Bitcoin and other digital assets has been in a steady decline. The market cap for cryptocurrencies has declined over 50 percent from the all time high of $327.1 bln in December to the current market cap of $129.7 bln on Feb. 6.

If you were one of the unfortunate individuals who invested in cryptocurrencies at the peak of the market, here is how much you have lost on every $1,000 that you invested into Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ripple (XRP) — the three largest cryptocurrencies by market cap.

Bitcoin

According to CoinMarketcap.com, Bitcoin price hit an all time high of $20,035.90 on Dec. 17, 2017. If an investor put $1,000 into Bitcoin on that date, and we assume there were no fees when purchasing the Bitcoin, $1,000 would have bought .049 BTC. At press time, the price of Bitcoin is $7700 — a 61 percent decline in price from the all time high in December. Today, .049 BTC is worth $349.37; an investor who invested $1000 in Bitcoin during the peak of the market would have lost $650.63 on their initial investment.

Ether

Ether hit its all time high of $1413.72 on Jan. 13, 2018 — roughly a month after Bitcoin hit its record high. If an investor invested $1000 in Ether during the peak of the ETH market, that investor’s $1000 would have bought them .70 ETH. Since Jan. 13, the price of Ether has declined about 43 percent to $795.94. Today, .70 Ether is worth $557.16; an investor who invested $1000 into Ethereum during the peak of the market would have lost $442.84 on their initial investment.

Ripple

Ripple experienced its all time high of $3.73 on Jan. 4, 2018. If an investor invested $1000 into Ripple at the peak of the XRP market, that investor would have received 268.09 XRP in return. Since its all time high in January, Ether has declined 79 percent to its current value of $.765. If an investor invested $1000 into Ripple at the peak of the XRP market, that investor’s 268.09 Ripple would be worth $205.98 today —  a $794.02 decrease from the investor’s initial investment. Yikes.

The downtrend and the exception

The cryptocurrency markets have been having a rough time since the media slowed their roll and the narratives around Bitcoin took a turn to the negative. Out of the three largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, Ether has weathered the market the best. Ether is the only currency out of the big three whose price has not declined by 50 percent, and Ether is the only currency out of the three to finish January in the green. That being said, I don’t think any investor who put money into the cryptocurrency market at its peak would be too happy with the results the markets are showing today.

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Cryptotips George Shnurenko

Binance vs Coinbase- An Honest Comparison

💡 Cryptotips
Two of the most popular exchanges have a lot in common, but are definitely their own companies, so what’s the good and the bad of them both?
Binance vs Coinbase- An Honest Comparison

At first glance, they might seem very similar, but an in-depth comparison of Binance vs Coinbase reveals a stark contrast. While Coinbase is geared towards the new beginner who just wants to buy and sell cryptocurrency, Binance offers investors the opportunity to do so much more. They also have their peculiar limitations. Before we go into describing each, let’s see the different platforms for what they are.

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is one of the most popular digital asset exchange companies and it has been adopted in over 190 countries worldwide. This platform is not just for digital assets as it also supports the fiat currency in 32 other countries. As far as reputation goes, Coinbase is undisputed. It has established itself as one of the most respected and most reliable exchanges in the world.

It was able to achieve this reputation based on the high level of security, the affordable cost of carrying out transactions, the very high volume of transactions, and the ability to support various cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency transactions. One more thing in favor of Coinbase is that it serves as the official exchange for currencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum.

What is Binance?

If you’re familiar with Chinese exchanges for cryptocurrency, the probability that you’ve come across Binance is very high as it is another popular exchange. One of the major reason for its popularity is the fact that this exchange has about 260 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs. It also charges a meager 0.1 percent transaction fee.

In addition to the reduced cost of transactions, users get the chance to enjoy a 50 percent discount on the transaction fee for a year (the first year). This discount is valid, irrespective of the volume of the transaction carried out. The security support is also unparalleled. 
Now that we have an idea of the different exchanges, let’s attempt to carry out an honest comparison of Coinbase vs Binance.

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1. Binance vs Coinbase- The user interface

Coinbase was designed primarily for people who are new to the process of trading cryptocurrency. A novice investor will definitely have no troubles carrying out transactions on Coinbase as it has an extremely easy and friendly interface. In fact, options trading and margin trading are not supported, rather, you can just buy and sell digital assets.

Binance, however, is for the well-experienced experts in cryptocurrency trading. Some users claim that the amount of information available on the dashboard is enough to scare a novice away. But there’s an “Advanced view” and a “Basic view.” Some people sign up on both platforms, buy a coin on Coinbase, transfer it to Binance, and then carry out more advanced tasks there.

2. Binance vs Coinbase-The cryptocurrencies supported

There’s a clear winner here, Binance supports more cryptocurrencies compared to Coinbase. On Coinbase, you only have access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Plans are also ongoing to add ERC20 tokens. Binance, on the other hand, supports all the coins on Coinbase and hundreds of other currencies. Some of the coins include Ark, Cardano, VeChain, Ripple, NEO, etc.

3. Coinbase vs Binance- The transfer limit

Both platforms require you to fill in personal details and a photo identification before you are verified on the platform. On Coinbase, three major factors determine your transfer limit:

  1. Your track record of transactions
  2. How long you’ve had your account
  3. Your verification level

With a verified US account, you will be able to make transactions of $5,000 in a week. You also get a cap of $50 on your card. It is also good to note that the maximum amount you can deposit is much lower. If you choose to deposit using your bank account, you might have to wait for about four or five business days. If you use your card, it is effected immediately.

Binance, on the other hand, offers more flexible limits. You can deposit infinitely and your withdrawal limit depends on whether or not you’re verified. If you’re verified, you have a daily limit of 50 BTC. If you are yet to be verified, you can only make transactions below two BTC.

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4. Coinbase vs Binance- How the accounts are funded

Coinbase generally offers more options to finance your account and Binance is a little constrained in the area. With Coinbase, you can either buy cryptocurrencies or make deposits into your account from your bank account. The various methods available are ACH transfer, using your debit card or via wire transfer. 

With Binance, the limitation is that it is solely a cryptocurrency exchange. This means that you can only finance your account with crypto. For this reason, many people will first purchase crypto coins with fiat currency on platforms like Coinbase before going to Binance.

Conclusion

In this clash of giants, there’s no winner or loser. Binance and Coinbase carry out their different jobs excellently well. Although they have their limitations, for example, you can only trade cryptos on Binance and Coinbase doesn’t support so many currencies, both exchanges are still considered top-notch.
 

Cryptotips
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Wikicoin Alex Morris

Best and Cheapest Way to Buy Bitcoin in 2018

📚 Wikicoin
The article takes a closer look at the cheapest and the most convenient ways to buy Bitcoin in 2018
Best and Cheapest Way to Buy Bitcoin in 2018

There are plenty of ways of how you can buy Bitcoin. Some of these methods are definitely cheaper than others, so the purpose of this article is to find out the most cost-effective solution for purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Mainly, the article will be devoted to reviewing the fees charged by different exchanges, but we will also pay attention to the convenience of every individual method and risk-factors that are associated with it.  

No-go area

First of all, we are going to mention some means of purchasing cryptocurrencies that are generally considered to be widely expensive. Bitcoin ATMs, while having plenty of advantages such as high transaction speed, anonymity and liquidity, are very pricey. The exact percent of fees for every transaction depends on a specific ATM network, but an average Bitcoin vending machine will charge you about seven percent. Such a relatively big cost is attributed to the fact that businesses have to spend money on hardware and installation. Therefore, the consensus is that Bitcoin ATMs may come in handy if you want to instantly exchange a small amount of BTC to cash, but, otherwise, it was far from the cheapest way to buy Bitcoin in 2017. With ATM networks swiftly expanding in 2018, the fees are expected to be lowered, but we will see if that’s the case.   

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Setting priorities straight

While recommending the cheapest way to buy Bitcoin, it is important to take into account the needs of every individual buyer. Inexperienced traders who only make their baby steps into the world of crypto will be looking for a beginner-friendly platform that simplifies buying cryptocurrencies to the utmost extent.

Meanwhile, some reputed exchanges emphasize security but charge higher fees. Again, it comes down to your own priorities– whether you would be willing to deal with a less trusted and respectful platform in return for lower fees.

Some individuals may not be willing to disclose their identity while doing crypto-related transactions. South Korea and other major cryptocurrency hubs prohibit anonymous trading due to AML and KYC regulations, but there are still some services that heavily rely on Bitcoin’s anonymity. Coinmama is the best way to buy Bitcoin with credit card completely anonymously.

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The cheapest Bitcoin seller

What is the best way to buy Bitcoin? Picking the best Bitcoin seller is not an easy feat. In order to make it simpler, pay special attention to the factors mentioned below.

  1. The correlation between the asking price and the current BTC/USD exchange rate (or your local currency). In order to find out the average market price, check out the Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

  2. Whether there are fixed-rate fees or percentage-based fees (it usually depends on a payment method of your choice).

  3. Digital assets deposit minimums.

Coinbase vs. Kraken: lower fees?

Coinbase and Kraken are the two leading American exchanges, which enjoy a high standing in the crypto industry. While both of them have their pros and cons, we will only focus on their fees.

Type of payment

Kraken Fee

Coinbase Fee

SEPA  

free

free

US wire transfer  

$5

1.49%

Credit card  

-

3.99%

PayPal

 

3.99%

As you can see, European customers can enjoy the privilege of depositing/withdrawing money for free, but a SEPA transfer takes about a couple of days, so for faster transactions consider using a credit card. The Coinbase exchange is the best way to buy Bitcoin with a debit card.

Those who are looking for the cheapest fees out there may also take a look at Coinbase Pro. Coinbase Pro (formerly known as GDAX) offers much lower fees compared to Coinbase. In fact, there are no fees for depositing or withdrawing funds, but Coinbase Pro still charges customers with minor trading fees that vary from 0.1-0.3 percent. It is worth mentioning that one can use his already created Coinbase account in order to purchase Bitcoin on Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase Pro

All in all, Coinbase offers the lowest fees on the market, but is it enough in the post-Robinhood era? Robinhood Crypto is a brand-new service that allows purchasing Bitcoin for free (you only have to pay a minuscule SEC fee). Moreover, Uber and E*Trade vets have recently launched another no-fee exchange Voyager that is expected to become Robinhood’s major competitor in the nearest future. While Robinhood is undoubtedly one of the hottest startups of 2018 (its current value surpasses $5.6 bln), its the lack of coin transfers raises serious security concerns.

Buying Bitcoin P2P

Some Bitcoin enthusiasts may be dissatisfied by the prospect of paying fees to a third party when the decentralized Bitcoin network is supposed to eliminate them. There are indeed some P2P exchanges where users are allowed to perform transactions cutting out a middleman.

The likes of LocalBitcoins or Wall of Coins only charge sellers (one percent for each deal) while those who want to purchase Bitcoin do not have to pay anything. Hence, it’s one of the cheapest ways to buy Bitcoin with a credit card.

Buying Bitcoin P2P

However, LocalBitcoins has been already banned in several countries (including Russia). These services do not require identity verification. You have to use LocalBitcoins at your own risk, since there are many scams that require extreme cautiousness.

Buying Bitcoin outside the US

If you a US resident, you might want to explore different international exchanges to save up some money. As a prominent crypto investor Brian Kelly suggests, the Bitcoin price may be drastically different on American and Asian exchanges when markets suddenly turn bearish or bullish. Usually, the price gap is about two or three percent, but it may reach even 10 percent during extremely high market volatility.

However, it is not that easy to take advantage of crypto arbitrage opportunities for an ordinary trader: it is a very difficult task to withdraw money from some Asian countries. For example, in South Korea, one can witness a whopping 30 percent spread, but non-Korean citizens are prohibited to operate on Kakao-owned Upbit, the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange.

Buying Bitcoin outside the US

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The bottom line

As you might have guessed, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good when it comes to purchasing Bitcoin. It is rather advisable to prioritize safety, since the ‘wild’ crypto market is full of fraudsters who want to take advantage of gullible investors. If to name the best way to buy Bitcoin in 2018, it would probably be Coinbase Pro: it combines almost flawless reputation with very low fees. For additional information, read about the best way to buy Bitcoin on Reddit.

Wikicoin
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David Dinkins

US Lawmakers Worried Digital Currency Burst Lead to Global Financial Contagion, Experts Disagree

While some lawmakers are becoming nervous about Bitcoin’s possible effects on the world economy in the event of a crash, experts think the concern is overblown
US Lawmakers Worried Digital Currency Burst Lead to Global Financial Contagion, Experts Disagree

 

Earlier today, CryptoComes reported that Congressional Republicans are increasingly diverging from their anti-regulatory stance, and are beginning to support efforts by Democrats to regulate Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Some lawmakers have attributed their shifting views to the possibility of a cryptocurrency collapse threatening the global financial system.

Republican Congressman Dave Brat of the House Freedom Caucus, a staunchly conservative group, said:

I‘m a total free-marketer, so I don’t want to regulate. But if it’s a currency that could destabilize the whole economy, you’re going to have that conversation.

Size matters

Concerns about the crypto market tanking the economy seem overblown in light of the relative size of each. The global crypto market cap currently stands at $500 bln, according to Coinmarketcap.com. On the other hand, the global capitals market (stocks and bonds) exceeds $118 tln, according to McKinsey. Meanwhile, the US GDP stands at $19.7 tln.

By comparison, the dot-com bubble peaked at around $3 tln, according to CNN Money. In inflation-adjusted terms, that would be equivalent to $4.4 tln today. While the $500 bln crypto market cap is undoubtedly huge, it’s barely a tenth the size of dot-coms in their year 2000 heyday. The dot-com bubble was large enough to tank the entire market, and did, but it’s unlikely that a digital currency bust could do the same.

Systemic risks?

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Richard Turnill does consider the cryptocurrency market a bubble, saying “I look at the charts, and to me, that looks pretty scary.” But he doesn’t think it rises to the risk of a systemic threat:

There’s no evidence that if that price went to zero tomorrow that there’d be any broader financial implication over time.

Garrick Hileman at the University of Cambridge agrees, telling Business Insider:

There haven't been enough people who hold them [cryptocurrencies] or institutions that own them or enough credit or leverage used. Having said that, I can imagine scenarios, although I'm not predicting this, where they do become systemically important.

In fact, a survey from London’s Center for Macroeconomics reported that 75 percent of top European economists do not think Bitcoin poses a threat to the financial system’s stability, according to Fortune.

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