🤷 Opinions Cyril Gilson

The Ridiculously Centralized World of Crypto

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Cryptocurrencies decentralized nature is becoming more and more theoretical, whereas, in practice, it is an incredibly centralized space dominated by a few men
The Ridiculously Centralized World of Crypto
Contents

Brandon Chez is a thirty-something old programmer allegedly living in New York. His name is not immediately recognizable, yet the domain name that Brandon owns and the website he maintains and controls is the gravitational center of the universe of cryptocurrencies.

It is CoinMarketCap, a website launched in 2013 that has become the source of information for millions of users in possession of billions of dollars. 300 mln of its monthly visitors make their decisions based on the data from CoinMarketCap. And their decisions affect the market big way.

In January, the site decided to expel South Korean exchanges from its listings, without a warning or any sort of orchestration. As a result, the whole crypto market capitalization fell some 20 percent, and the panic spread, leading to a big sell-off by uninformed traders.

Centralized information manipulation

In fact, any moves by CoinMarketCap play a big role in how the markets behave. The ranking system of CoinMarketCap has often been called into question, as its effect can greatly affect things too. The calculation of circulating supply is vital information, yet the way in which it is calculated is shrouded in mystery, and often could be erroneous. Any change in the value of the circulating supply of any project has a direct effect on the capitalization of the project and on the price of the project's coin. Direct, immediate effect.

The speculative nature of the cryptocurrency market and the high competition between coins for investors mean that knowledge and information is king. Information centers like CoinMarketCap has such a strong hold on certain sectors and coins that could be considered virtually indispensable. And yet, they are also incredibly centralized!

But what about the three pillars of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies which are supposed to be transparency, anonymity and decentralization? These are the factors that have made this new technology so enticing in the first place, attracting millions of individuals making their headway in a digitized world largely controlled by overbearing big corporations.

The decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies was intended to give power back to the common man. No longer does your money have to be controlled by an intermediary or a centralized structure like a bank; Blockchain was supposed to be an ultimate middleman to end all middlemen.

The Blockchain and crypto space is getting bigger by the hour and it’s a network of communities consisting of independent individuals. The communities do actually strive to be as decentralized and transparent as possible and work with what they have - from settling in at various crypto subreddits like r/cryptocurrency and introducing public moderation logs for transparency to building their own platforms like U°Community.

They now feel a part of this important decentralized movement as they take power away from the centralized banking system. But so far they have simply traded a Wall Street bank for an Internet bank as some of the biggest and most popular exchanges are in reality centralized and thus have full control over the users' funds.

A person entering the cryptocurrency space looking to buy their first bit of Bitcoin would more than likely go to a popular exchange, such as Coinbase in the US, deposit money to the exchange and trade that money for their digital currency.

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Authoritarian heroes

More advanced users who want to trade in altcoins could go to another major exchange, Binance. What started as an unknown Chinese exchange in late July 2017, is now competing for the number one spot in the cryptocurrency trading volume.

CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao has the flair of a rock star with a slight touch of a Robin Hood. Zhao, better known as CZ, has famous in the crypto community when he saved thousands of Binance’s users from the travails of the Viacoin pump and dump affair.

In March this year, a major phishing attack struck Binance as some naive or greedy users recklessly used for trading ready-made bots that were laced with malicious phishing codes. Anyone was able to download these bots from GitHub, input their private keys, and begin bot trading with an eye to make a profit.

The malicious code gave hackers access to people’s assets, but more importantly, it allowed them to control the bots in order to pump and dump a coin. The bots bought as much as they could of a low liquidity and obscure coin named Viacoin. The attackers accessed the phished accounts on Binance and dumped all the crypto on balance of the accounts into Viacoin via market buys.

The price of Viacoin soared multiple hundreds of percents in minutes. Then the attackers sold the pumped Viacoin for Bitcoin and attempted to withdraw their funds in Bitcoin.

Then stepped in CZ. Accounts were frozen permanently, trades were reversed, funds were returned and the attackers’ funds were donated to charities. All's well that ends well? CZ was lauded as a hero, he repelled the attack, saved the users, punished the attackers, and as if it weren't enough donated the funds to a charity.

Judge, jury and executioner

But, just because it sounds like a happy ending does not mean that it should not be scrutinized. Essentially, CZ was at once judge, jury and executioner. He used total control to dish out his justice… No democracy, no decentralization, just one man at the pinnacle of control.

Let’s be frank. Major cryptocurrency exchanges are centralized and operate like digital banks anyway. Their centralization brings about another aspect, less pronounced but no less scary because of that.

Coinbase collects sensitive personal information on its clients, it has the ability to freeze accounts, it charges fees for its services, it can be hacked and it can even collapse with all of its users’ money in it. These are exactly the same problems that normal banks have, aren’t they?

It gets even worse with decentralized exchanges which operate with a thin veil of decentralization. A company called Bancor, which claimed to be a decentralized exchange, was recently hacked and had their users’ funds frozen. Straight away, there is something wrong here as a decentralized exchange should never have this power… and yet, they did that while still continuing to call themselves decentralized.

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Decision makers

To call the cryptocurrency space entirely decentralized because of the Blockchain decentralized nature is a strawman fallacy. There are multiple examples of how a few people rule the entire space.  Why is that happening? Partly because in this nascent space, there are still a few pioneers, few names that control certain spaces by default - for many, Binance is a synonym for “crypto exchange,” and CoinMarketCap is another word for “crypto market data.”

These pioneering companies sit at the top of their game without much competition and little precedent or repercussion for actions - which is a prime environment for centralized control.

Anyhow, the modest two men, Changpeng Zhao and Brandon Chez, have already shown to have made huge moves in an ecosystem that prides itself on being decentralized and thus, technically, immune to individual manipulation and control.

The fact of the matter is that in theory, decentralization exists, and can operate perfectly well in an ecosystem that prides itself on it. But in practice, that is not the case. People are inherently controlling, and enjoy the power and pride that comes from it.

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EOS Price Expected to Keep Rising After Doubling in Value Since December Lows

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EOS is one coin that has shrugged off its lows to double in value since December, with more growth expected
EOS Price Expected to Keep Rising After Doubling in Value Since December Lows

In the current climate, there is optimism returning to the market with Bitcoin pushing the $4,000 mark. However, a lot of this positivity has come from an altcoin rush of late. Coins such as Tron, Ethereum, Ripple and Stellar have played their part in boosting the market, but one particular coin has been striving since its lows in December last year.

EOS, a cryptocurrency that is currently ranked fourth by market cap, has quietly been going about its business, growing not only in price but also value as a blockchain company. It is showing some medium to long term bullish tendencies, outperforming many others.

The coin reached a low of $1.54 on December 7th, 2018, but at the moment, it is heading beyond the $4 mark, having doubled in value since that late last year low. It currently sits at $3.38.

Many are expecting the coin to keep growing, with its highest point touching $4.05. This move represents a 161% gain in only 74 trading days. If the bullish tendencies can continue across the markets, there is no doubt that EOS will cash in.

EOS Charts

More to come

EOS is seen as a rival to Ethereum, and because its intention is to improve upon the original smart contract blockchain, it will feel it has an edge in terms of adoption in the coming months.

It is a double-edged sword, as added adoption of the blockchain platform will help increase its reputation, which in turn will boost its price. Then, because EOS’ price is already starting to grow substantially, it will bring the platform to the fore for future blockchain applications.

If EOS can continue to offer a good blockchain service and the market keeps positive, there is every reason to believe that the coin’s price will continue to grow — and also outperform many of its rivals and other altcoins.

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Ripple XRP Price Prediction: Major Financial Services Group Sees XRP Exceeding Bitcoin’s Market Cap

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The president of SBI Holdings in Japan believes that Ripple will dominate global expansion and soon have a bigger market cap than Bitcoin
Ripple XRP Price Prediction: Major Financial Services Group Sees XRP Exceeding Bitcoin’s Market Cap
Contents

The SBI Group, a Japan-based financial services giant as well as a keen partner with Ripple for their bank settlement cryptocurrency, are bullish on the XRP token overtaking the current head of the market cap standings, Bitcoin.

The President and Representative Director of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao, has come out and said XRP is dominating international expansion and will become global in the future. This global domination, based on XRP’s propensity to partner with major financial institutions across the globe, means Kitao sees it overtaking Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has stood at the head of the market cap standings in relation to cryptocurrency ever since it was invented some 10 years ago. Other coins have come close to knocking it off, but the decentralised coin has stood firm. But, if Kitao is right, XRP could overtake the market cap with a huge growth in price from global adoption.

International adoption

Ripple’s XRP token is as a cryptocurrency global and borderless, just as Bitcoin, because of its decentralised nature. However, Ripple has been looking to run XRP like a business with its xRapid product.

Thus, its growth is based on its adoption by financial institutions around the globe, and as this adoption grows, the worth and interest in XRP will increase, and thus its market cap will begin to rise.

“Because XRP is already beginning to become international, xRapid will be used for fund transfers in 2019. By increasing the so-called XRP’s plastic use, we anticipate that the [Ripple] market capitalization will easily exceed the market capitalization of Bitcoin,” Kiato said.

Ripple has already shown its power in growth as opposed to other major cryptocurrencies, often stealing second spot from Ethereum in the recent past. Ethereum was once a coin that was almost overtaking Bitcoin, but it is now under threat by a much more compliant and potential-full XRP token.

Better use cases

Because Ripple is trying to build XRP’s use cases for financial institutions, it has an advantage over other tokens in that it will be useful rather than just a cryptocurrency experiment. It is highly believed that once crypto finds its killer application, the price of it will skyrocket as people flock in demand.

If XRP does become more globally adopted, there will be an influx of interest in the coin and thus its price will shoot up, allowing it to overtake Bitcoin’s market cap in no time.

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EOS Price Jumps 25% as Market Flattens Out: Is There More to Come?

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The cryptocurrency market’s best performer in the last 24 hours has been EOS as the rest of the growth plateaus – what’s next?
EOS Price Jumps 25% as Market Flattens Out: Is There More to Come?
Contents

Ever since last week Friday, where there were small indications that a rally could happen, the cryptocurrency market has shown some good growth, with Bitcoin, the head of the market, topping off at just under $4,000.

What has been typical of this small rally has been the effect of some of the major altcoins in pushing the cryptocurrency market. It began with the likes of Binance Coin, Stellar and Tron, and then saw Ethereum take over, but now EOS has shown a huge 25% growth spike in the last 24 hours.

It would seem that this rally has flattened out for the moment, with a lot of the coins levelling out. It is now important to see what comes next as another rally following this levelling could be massive for the medium to long term growth of the entire market.

EOS Drive

The now-fourth biggest cryptocurrency based on market cap has advanced nearly 25 percent in the last day to reach $3.47 and is currently neck-and-neck with Litecoin, whose own value has also ballooned 11 percent since year-end 2018.

Today’s gains reflect support from the EOS community and could have something to do with Block.one, the creator of EOS, recently providing greater clarity on the roadmap.

Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer addressed some of the community concerns on social media, reminding them in a message entitled “Great Things Take Time” that there is more ahead than meets the eye.

Of course what is important to note in regards to this kind of reaction is that these altcoin projects are putting out positive news, and that is having an effect not only on the coin, but the market in general.

There is positive news being met with results which are driving the market, and this has not been seen for a long period. The bullish market tendencies being seen could be indicative of a change in the sentiment.

What next?

It is still early to call, and quite tentative, but it certainly feels like a bull run could be developing. It may be based off the altcoin news and sentiment, but Bitcoin will play a important role. The major cryptocurrency came $30 short of cracking the $4,000 mark.

If Bitcoin is able to breach that resistance, even if it is through the drive of another altcoin, it could open up a whole new level of potential gains across the market and could possibly start a new bull run.

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Altcoin Price Prediction [UPDATE]: XRP, ETH, BCH Ride Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin’s Wave to Rally the Market

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After showing signs of a rally late last week, a number of altcoins have pushed the market into a substantial rally this Monday.
Altcoin Price Prediction [UPDATE]: XRP, ETH, BCH Ride Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin’s Wave to Rally the Market
Contents

There were indications in the market at the end of last week that a rally was building, built off the back of a few altcoins, as reported by U.Today. This held true as the total market capitalisation of the cryptocurrency market went from $119 billion to $126 billion.

On Friday, there were small spikes starting to show from Binance Coin, Stellar and Tron, and those movements seem to have sparked enough positivity in the market to kickstart the rest of the coins into positive growth.

The likes of Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple are leading the way now, with Bitcoin also doing well. However, this rally does not seem to be predicated on Bitcoin’s growth and could be indicative of an altcoin season growing, should the rally continue.

Positive for XRP, ETH, BCH

Monday has now seen positive growth for the entire top 20 coins by market capitalisation. Ethereum is leading the lot with an 11 percent growth rate since Sunday, but it is also good news for Bitcoin Cash with seven percent gains, and Ripple with three.

Bitcoin itself has grown by three percent as well since Sunday, this after trading nearly perfectly flat for the past seven days. The rally being driven by a combination of altcoins is indeed positive for the general market as it shows a break in the dominance of the major cryptocurrency and a divergence.

Many of the major coins have all spiked at the same time, but there are some who are plotting their own path, and are still benefiting from the general good feeling across the market.

Flattening out

The likes of Tron, which led the rally last week, is seeing a flattening out after its early spike, but still has managed to pick up some green numbers.

The same goes for Binance Coin and for Stellar, although a look at their graphs does show a smaller spike at the same time as the rest of the market spiked early on Monday.

Up or down from here?

The movement up from a small spike is clearly a good sign for the market, as is the $7 billion that has been added to the market cap, but the next movement through this week will be key in determining if this is just a bull trap or the beginning of something big.

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Ripple in Trouble: Will JP Morgan Coin Affect the Price Prediction of XRP?

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In a surprising move, bank JP Morgan has announced a cryptocurrency that sounds a lot like what Ripple is trying to do with XRP
Ripple in Trouble: Will JP Morgan Coin Affect the Price Prediction of XRP?
Contents

After being in the news for all the right reasons recently — from donating to blockchain studies at universities and making key banking partnerships — Ripple and its XRP token are suddenly under fire by Wall Street bank JP Morgan.

The bank, whose CEO once famously slated Bitcoin, has seemingly changed its tact with the announcement of its own stable cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin. This new cryptocurrency has been used in just one trial transaction, but many are already hailing it as a game changer for digital assets.

JP Morgan Chase’s plans for its clients to use JPM Coin in cross-border payments is a direct threat to one of the most regulated and in-line blockchain companies: Ripple and their XRP token.

A slap in the face

There has been ongoing rumblings about dissatisfaction with the current method of international payments, SWIFT. For this reason, Ripple has been taking aim at replacing the outdated system. However, it seems like they are not the only ones with JP Morgan now coming to the fire with their own version.

Ripple has been working hard, but at their core, they are a startup that is now in competition with a major Wall Street bank which has a lot of sway and brand recognition in the financial sector.

“This is a huge slap in the face for Ripple,’’ said Tom Shaughnessy, principal at Delphi Digital, a crypto research boutique in New York. “Ripple’s target market is cross-border payments and remittances and now JPMorgan’s effort is a direct threat.’’

Not bothered

With that being said, Ripple and its CEO Brad Garlinghouse, as well as the price of the XRIP token, have barely taken note of this big announcement.

The price of the XRP token has remained quite steady since the announcement, trading sideways for most of the week. Additionally, Garlinghouse tweeted after the news broke:

As predicted, banks are changing their tune on crypto,” Garlinghouse wrote in a Tweet. “But this JPM project misses the point – introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO. 2 years later, and bank coins still aren’t the answer.”

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