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Mastercard Eyes Cryptocurrency Refunds in New Patent Application

Mastercard Eyes Cryptocurrency Refunds in New Patent Application

Mastercard Eyes Cryptocurrency Refunds in New Patent Application

A new patent application from Mastercard suggests that the global credit card issuer is exploring ways to build refund services for cryptocurrency users.
 

The application, titled "Information Transaction Infrastructure", was published by the the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 3, having been submitted in late January. Vladimir Goloshchuk, who according to LinkedIn previously worked as a senior analyst at Mastercard, is listed as the sole inventor.

 

The application details an infrastructure through which users could verify their identities, which would then be linked to cryptocurrency addresses they elect to disclose.
 

The text of the application points to this being most relevant for situations in which users are submitting payments to merchants from accounts on exchanges, or other services, in which their funds may be held alongside those belonging to others.

 

In the event that a merchant has to send the money back for a refund, they would send it back to an address linked to that user's account – a situation in which the exchange or custody holder might then need to know where those funds are being sourced from and why.
 

To counter this, Mastercard proposes a way for users, through a shared service, to have two kinds of wallets.
 

"The basic principle of the arrangement … is that a user of the shared wallet service has two types of wallet. Firstly, they have a 'public' wallet for on-the-chain publicly visible and verified transactions. The user will make and receive cryptocurrency payments external to the shared wallet service using a public wallet," the application explains, adding:
 

"Using this approach, the refund problem can be addressed – a payment received from the public wallet can be refunded by an equal payment back to the public wallet."
 

The application is the latest from Mastercard, which has filed several patents in the past few years. The company has also developed projects focused on blockchain tech, releasing a set of dedicated APIs last fall.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

 

Author: Stan Higgings

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Grandpa Had a Pension. This Generation Has Cryptocurrency

Grandpa Had a Pension. This Generation Has Cryptocurrency

Grandpa Had a Pension. This Generation Has Cryptocurrency.

Most readers have probably heard of Bitcoin, the digital coin that dominates the cryptocurrency market. It has gained notice both because of its skyrocketing value (from less than a cent in early 2010 to around $2,600 currently) and because it is frequently a key player in hacking- and black-market-related stories, from the looting of nearly half a billion dollars in coins from the Mt. Gox exchange in 2014 to the recent demand for payment in Bitcoin in the WannaCry ransomware attack.

But do you know Ethereum, with a total value of coins in circulation of close to $20 billion? Bitcoin Cash, which split off from the original Bitcoin on Aug. 1, lost about half its value within hours, then nearly quadrupled by the next day? Or, rounding out the Big Four, Ripple — whose currency is known as XRP — which shot up to about 40 cents by mid-May from less than a cent at the end of March? (Full disclosure: I owned but unloaded three of these currencies before writing this article.) Then there are over 800 lower-value and often creatively named coins among those listed on Coinmarketcap.com. One can buy FedoraCoin (its jaunty symbol being the Justin Timberlake-approved hat), CannabisCoin (one guess what it looks like) or, to choose one of many bringing up the rear, Quartz, currently priced around three-thousandths of a cent. (Bad news for those who bought it at just under $2 at the end of May.)

After years as a niche market for technologically sophisticated anarchists and libertarians excited about a decentralized financial network not under government control, digital coins may be on the verge of going mainstream. “It’s the wild, wild West,” said Ron Ginn, 35, founder of a private photo-sharing service called Text Event Pics in St. Augustine, Fla., who has taken all his money out of the stock market and put it into Ripple and real estate. “This is like getting to invest in the internet in the ’90s. I’m obviously very bullish, but I expect to make a couple million dollars off very little money. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Finance is getting its internet.”

Cryptocurrency has understandable appeal to millennials who came of age during the 2008 financial crisis and are now watching the rise of antiglobalist populism threaten the stability of the international economy.
 

“There’s a low cost for entry, you don’t pay a lot of fees and millennials are the most tech-savvy,” said John Guarco, 22, a recent Duke graduate living on Staten Island who, like most of the people interviewed for this article, asked that names of the coins in which he has invested not be published for fear of being targeted by hackers.

Unlike previous generations, many of these greenhorn investors don’t have pensions or 401(k)’s, are mistrustful of socking money away in mutual funds and are fully accustomed to owning digital assets that have no concrete properties. As traditional paths to upper-middle-class stability are being blocked by debt, exorbitant housing costs and a shaky job market, these investors view cryptocurrency not only as a hedge against another Dow Jones crash, but also as the most rational — and even utopian — means of investing their money.

Sebastian Dinges, 33, the director of operations for Cheeky, a company that makes mealtime products, started his first job after college in 2007. Once he had enough money to invest in the stock market, he said, he “wanted to be risky and get a big return.” Within six months, the market crashed.

“So there’s definitely disillusionment,” he said.

The majority of Mr. Dinges’s holdings are now in cryptocurrency. His skepticism of traditional markets is shared by a number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts in his age bracket who have observed the recent political and economic upheavals.

“I do feel we’ve reached a new level where nobody knows what’s going to happen,” said Gabe Wax, 24, who runs the Rare Book Room recording studio in Brooklyn. “The things we’ve been able to rely on aren’t as reliable and we have a president who knows absolutely nothing about how the economy works, and he’s appointed people who have twisted views about how it works. That, more than anything, is what scares me.”

Mr. Wax was still in high school when the 2008 crisis unfolded, but he was paying attention to the headlines. So was Mr. Guarco, who said cryptocurrency was a “safeguard against the volatility in the rest of the world.”

“Investing in cryptocurrencies is a hedge,” he continued. “We’re entering a period of long-term deregulation and tax cuts to the wealthiest. It’s not the best recipe for stability.”

Mr. Wax also invests in cryptocurrency to shore up his finances as a freelancer in the precarious music industry.

“I constantly feel like I’m looking over the edge of a cliff,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of money just sitting in a savings account — with the way inflation works and how low interest rates are, you’re losing money. There’s less money than there’s ever been in the history of recorded music, so that gives me anxiety. It’s weird to say that owning cryptocurrency soothes that anxiety, because it’s counterintuitive, but it does.”

He is far from the only one hoping cryptocurrency will assuage his financial worries. Internet forums and Twitter accounts devoted to the subject abound with speculators who view digital coins as a lottery ticket, forecasting “moonshots” with, perhaps, irrational exuberance. For office drudges, the underemployed or those crushed by college loans, the slim chance that a $100 investment may someday reap close to $100 million — as would have happened with an investment of that amount in Bitcoin in 2010 — is too enticing to pass up.

But there are plenty of dissenters who are less sanguine about the future of cryptocurrency, arguing that we are in the midst of the biggest bubble yet, fueled by speculative trading in Japan and South Korea, and pointing to previous Bitcoin crashes as justification for their skepticism.

Nevertheless, it’s not just twentysomethings in the gig economy who are losing faith in traditional investment tools. Mr. Ginn quit working at Fidelity Investments the day before the market crash in 2008.

“It’s not investing,” he said of his old job. “It’s just sticking money somewhere. The investment advisory industry has to give out watered-down, averaged-out advice. When you get into mutual funds, you lose a lot of the ability to beat the markets.”

Tom Berg, 44, a founder of BloKtek Capital in Northbrook, Ill., which invests in digital currencies and assets, said: “I got out of the stock market years ago. “My personal opinion was I’m not going to fight for 2 or 3 percent. It’s a conservative place.” By contrast, digital currencies — his preferred term to cryptocurrency, which he says carries the stigma of black-market money laundering — have disrupted the internet and created a major opportunity for those willing to jump in early, Mr. Berg believes. “At first it was an internet of information,” he said. “Then it evolved to an internet of things — social media, I can buy this, I can sell stuff. Now it’s the internet of value.”

In his view, cryptocurrency left the “dark ages” six months ago, when it was still the domain of “a lot of people who believed in anarchy.” He thinks that cryptocurrency is a good five years from going mainstream and that the bubble will burst some time after that, at which point he will sell his assets
 

“If my landscaper ever asks me about crypto, that’s the day I get out,” he said.
 

There are some barriers to mass popularity. Investors must have enough familiarity with and trust of the internet to send money through a cryptocurrency exchange, such as Coinbase or Poloniex. Some of the exchanges also have elaborate and slow identity-verification processes, and certain states do not permit users to invest on them yet. But it’s continually getting easier, and various exchanges allow credit cards for speedy purchases.

Once one has bought digital coins, the threat of hacking remains a serious concern. Even users savvy enough to use two-factor authentication on their phones may not have the know-how to set up “cold storage,” or a system of storing coins offline (such as on a computer or dedicated piece of hardware not connected to the internet). There is no Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insuring lost money; once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Assuming one’s money is protected, there are, of course, the standard risks of investing, amplified by the volatility of cryptocurrency. It’s common for a coin to fluctuate double-digit percentages within a day, often because of “pump-and-dump” techniques from coordinated users trying to manipulate prices in completely unregulated free markets.

For this reason, none of the investors I spoke with engage in short-term trading but instead choose, in the online parlance of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, to “hodl” (“hold on for dear life,” rather than sell off for temporary gains). Mr. Dinges and his wife recently bought a house in Los Angeles, but he didn’t use his Bitcoins to help with the renovations.

“This is a great opportunity to pull it out and put it toward fixing the house,” he said, “but the future potential is not worth it.”

Mr. Berg would agree, advising BloKtek Capital clients to “set it and forget it” and not fall prey to the temptation to make short-term transactions.

“My wife and I use it as our bank account,” he said. “Every paycheck, we put a percentage into long-term holdings. We do not expect to become rich overnight. That’s a way to become very poor in one hour.” (Though his wife works at his company, it bears mentioning here that the vast majority of cryptocurrency investors seem to be male, and their Twitter discourse tends to be less than refined, with insults often lodged at devotees of rival currencies.)

Even those in it for the long haul, however, admit to monitoring the prices compulsively, scratching the gambler’s itch.

“If I have a moment where the price has left my mind, I’ll want to reinsert it,” Mr. Wax, the record producer, said. “I check it as much as any social media. It’s become as distracting as anything else on my phone.”

As he works in the cryptocurrency world, Mr. Berg maintains an even more observant — and most likely exhausting — regimen.

“I’m always watching the markets,” he said. “The saying is, ‘Crypto never sleeps.’ It’s 24/7, it’s global, it doesn’t have a stock market, it doesn’t have a bell.

“I sleep about four hours a day.”

Beyond its potential long-term financial rewards, many holders of cryptocurrency view it as a vehicle for social change. While many coins have no value beyond serving as a potential alternative currency, or began as larks that have since been popularized by speculators (such as Dogecoin, whose logo is an internet-meme dog and which now has a market capitalization of about $200 million), others — namely Ripple and Ethereum — have meaningful real-world utility and are being adopted by banks and financial institutions.

“The financial gain is fun, but it’s really about improving the world, improving the financial system, transparency, cost, increased speed,” Mr. Ginn said. “It’s the double-sided tape for society. When financial markets collapse, the tape rips people apart and you have a system collapse. Finance got away with it in ’08; it almost took the world down, and nothing changed.” In lieu of more stringent government oversight, he believes that Ripple can help “reduce systemic risk.”

That safety-net altruism drives Yoni Saltzman, 24, who designs robotic mechanisms for aerospace and medical applications. Mr. Saltzman has holdings in four different cryptocurrencies and is working with a small team in New York to develop a digital coin it hopes to introduce within a year. “It’s not just about making money,” he said. “We like the idea of not only changing the world, but saving the world.”

This is, of course, the same vaguely idealistic rationale Silicon Valley executives routinely trot out to justify their ventures, not all of which seem especially concerned with the greater good. In the meantime, those who have boarded the crypto-train frequently proselytize to friends and family. Unsurprisingly, they have more luck with their younger peers. Mr. Guarco, the Duke graduate, has persuaded a few friends to take the plunge.

His older relatives, however, unaccustomed to coins that one can’t pluck out of a lint-filled pocket, are a harder sell.

“They usually respond, ‘Crypto-what?’” he said.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur
 

Author: Teddy Wayne

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

In Less Than 2 Days, Bitcoin Cash Becomes Third Biggest Cryptocurrency

In Less Than 2 Days, Bitcoin Cash Becomes Third Biggest Cryptocurrency

In Less Than 2 Days, Bitcoin Cash Becomes Third Biggest Cryptocurrency
 

Barely 48 hours since its spin-off from the Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin Cash has already surged past other cryptocurrencies to become the third-biggest in terms of market capitalization. How the currency will fare over time is still up for debate, as it still lacks support from several mining pools and major exchanges.
 

UNEXPECTED BOOM

Less than two days after splitting from the main Bitcoin network, Bitcoin Cash [BCC] now ranks third amongst the world’s most valuable cryptocoins. The budding cryptocurrency has reached a market cap of more $7.7 billion as of this writing, overtaking Ripple’s $6.7 billion market cap.

 

With a market cap of a little more than $44 billion, the original Bitcoin currency is leading the market, while Ethereum comes in second at $20.9 billion. In terms of value per coin, Bitcoin Cash is even ahead of Ethereum’s current valuation of $223.54, with a per unit value of $470.27.
 

The surge in Bitcoin Cash comes despite a lack of support from several mining pools and major exchanges like Coinbase and BitMEX. Some Coinbase users are even threatening to sue the exchange for not recognizing the currency.

 

Blockchain Global’s recently re-opened Australian Cryptocurrency Exchange, on the other hand, is confirming Bitcoin Cash trades and claims to have seen a huge demand for the currency. “We are receiving a lot of off-market orders for bitcoin cash — they’re exploding!” venture partner Sebastian Quinn-Watson told Business Insider.
 

A VOLATILE CURRENCY
 

The creation of Bitcoin Cash was the result of an ongoing debate regarding how to scale Bitcoin blockchain transactions, and experts are currently divided on how the split will ultimately play out.

 

For now, this sudden increase in value is understandable. Bitcoin Cash carries all the history of the original Bitcoin platform up until the fork on August 1, which means anyone with Bitcoin now has an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash.

 

Eventually, Bitcoin Cash should be able to stabilize itself for market exchanges, but right now, speculation is causing a surge in initial interest. “People are selling their Bitcoin positions and buying Bitcoin Cash as a proposition that it is the ‘new coin’ that has more value in the future,” explained Quinn-Watson. “It’s a bit speculative.”

 

No one knows for sure how long Bitcoin Cash can sustain this upshot. As with other digital currencies, Bitcoin Cash’s value depends mainly on how much value investors assign to it and how easily it can be used for “real-world” transactions.

 

“There’s no infrastructure available out of the box to support BCC,” Fran Strajnar, co-founder and CEO of Brave New Coin, told CNBC. “The network needs further support and infrastructure needs to be as easy as Bitcoin; otherwise, it’s over for BCC.”

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

 

Author Dom Galeon

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Slide Looks Limited Even After Cryptocurrency Splits

Bitcoin Slide Looks Limited Even After Cryptocurrency Splits

Bitcoin Slide Looks Limited Even After Cryptocurrency Splits

Bitcoin might be dividing into two separate blockchains, but its downward slide has so far been contained, signaling confidence the biggest cryptocurrency will come out of the split unscathed.

The debate over how to scale bitcoin came to a head Tuesday as some cryptocurrency miners started using software called Bitcoin Cash and splitting a new blockchain off the old one. Blockchain is the technology used for verifying and recording digital currency transactions.

Bitcoin’s price should reflect the split by discounting the new coin, according to Charles Hayter, who runs the cryptocurrency data platform CryptoCompare. He likened it to a stock trading “ex dividend” — when the buyer isn’t entitled to collect a dividend on the shares.
 

After four days of gains, bitcoin was down $157, or 5.4 percent, to $2,729 at 11:05 a.m. in New York. Earlier in the day, the cryptocurrency fell as much as 8.4 percent, its biggest decline since July 25. Bitcoin cash futures rose 19 percent to $331, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

“The price of bitcoin has risen ahead of the split on the expectation that you’ll get that extra cash from bitcoin cash, so it should drop after the split,” Hayter said. “This has happened before in other blockchains. It’s a trading event where there’s number of hoops you have to jump though and people are trying to make a profit.”
 

Bitcoin Cash started gaining traction in the past week, just as miners fended off another split by rallying behind the scaling mechanism known as SegWit2X. Bitcoin Cash wants to increase the block size — the files in which transactions are recorded — while SegWit2X would transfer some of the operating power outside of the main blockchain. In other words, Bitcoin Cash would be one lane with bigger cars, while SegWit2X would be two lanes with smaller cars.

 

The great majority of miners and developers support bitcoin, while ViaBTC, which has almost 6 percent of bitcoin processing power, is the mining pool backing bitcoin cash.

“There’s a role for both of these coins,” said Cathie Wood, the New York-based chief investment officer at ARK Investment Management, which oversees the first exchange-traded fund with indirect exposure to bitcoin. “One is much more natural for store of value and the other one for a means of exchange.”

 

Some are less bullish. Ryan Taylor, chief executive officer of Dash Core, the sixth-biggest cryptocurrency, sees little chance that bitcoin cash will succeed in the long term.

 

“First, Bitcoin Cash has not solved scaling. It has merely kicked the can down the road with slightly larger blocks, but still lacks a credible technology to scale to massively larger numbers of users,” he said in an email. “Second, bitcoin will retain the network of integrated services that make the bitcoin network useful to businesses and consumers.”

 

Bitcoin holders are set to receive the same amount of bitcoin cash as they have in bitcoin if the exchanges and wallets they use support the new coin. Exchanges including Kraken and ViaBTC have said they’ll support both, while others like Coinbase and Poloniex have said they won’t, citing uncertainty that bitcoin cash will have lasting market value.

 

Kraken said that it’s working on crediting accounts with bitcoin cash, and that its site’s login function is down due to heavy traffic. While some miners are already using the Bitcoin Cash program, the real differentiation of the two blockchains will emerge when they mine more than 1 megabyte in one block, Hayter said. Bitcoin’s block limit is 1MB while Bitcoin Cash’s is 8MB.

“I’m not as concerned about this except for the administrative nightmare that some people are going to have to go through or have gone through already pulling out of the various exchanges that weren’t going to support it,” ARK Investment’s Wood said.

 

Bruce Fenton, founder of Atlantic Financial Inc. and a board member at the Bitcoin Foundation, said both currencies should trade heavily Tuesday.

“There are some very large holders who own bitcoin, who don’t like bitcoin and do like bitcoin cash,” he said. “But you also have a lot of people who can’t stand bitcoin cash, and as soon as they have the ability to get those coins they’re going to sell them on the market.”

“It could be a crazy day,” he said.

 

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entreprenuer

 

 

Authors: Camilo Russ & Lily Katz

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Cash Futures Plunge on ViaBTC

Bitcoin Cash Futures Plunge on ViaBTC

 

The creators of Bitcoin Cash believe support for segregated witness was a mistake – and a diversion from Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for Bitcoin – and they aim to help bitcoin scale by immediately increasing the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB.

Since Bitcoin Cash is forking the Bitcoin blockchain, most bitcoin holders will receive an equal number of bitcoin cash. As long as you control the private keys of your bitcoin wallet – or have your coins on an exchange which has pledged support for bitcoin cash – you will be able to claim your bitcoin cash. If your coins are on an exchange which opposes bitcoin cash – such as Coinbase – there is a good chance you will not receive them.

Although the UAHF has not yet been deployed, ViaBTC enabled traders to trade bitcoin cash futures (under symbol: BCC) by temporarily freezing their BTC balances on the platform.

Despite this move, ViaBTC says they are neutral and only added BCC support because they believed there would be a market for it. And indeed there was; 24-hour bitcoin cash volume surpassed $2 million on July 27, although it has since tapered to about $850 million. HitBTC later added BCC futures as well, although volume is extremely low.

 

Bitcoin Cash Price Chart from ViaBTC

Since its listing, the bitcoin cash price has plunged on ViaBTC. From July 24-25, the value of bitcoin cash futures hovered around $500. By the 26th, it had fallen to $400. Since then, it has continued to skid, falling below $300 on July 31. In the past day alone, the bitcoin cash price has declined 24% against bitcoin, bringing its present value to about $278 according to CoinMarketCap.

It’s important to remember that these are just futures. The actual bitcoin cash coins do not exist yet, so we shouldn’t extrapolate too much from the week that bitcoin cash futures were trading on ViaBTC. Right now, we have more questions than answers about the actual hard fork:

Will investors rush to sell their airdropped bitcoin cash for a quick payday, or will they take a more cautious route in case bitcoin cash gains traction?

Where will bitcoin cash debut in the market cap rankings? If the current price of its futures is any indication, it could vault to 4th place with a market cap of around $4.5 billion.

How will bitcoin cash affect the bitcoin price – and how much has it already? It is likely that bitcoin cash will pull at least some of its value from the bitcoin market cap, but how drastic and immediate will the transfer be? If the bitcoin cash price opens at $300, for instance, will the bitcoin price decline in response?

These are exciting – and anxious – times for bitcoin. Bitcoin cash already has a fairly solid wallet and exchange support, but the real test will be whether the miners get behind it. In any case, it will be extremely intriguing to watch the trajectory of the bitcoin cash over the coming weeks.

 

David Ogden
Entreprenuer

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

 

 

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Top Cryptocurrencies Price Weekly Prediction – Next Days Will Be Rough For The Crypto Market

Top Cryptocurrencies Price Weekly Prediction – Next Days Will Be Rough For The Crypto Market

Top Cryptocurrencies Price Weekly Prediction – Next Days Will Be Rough For The Crypto Market

Not much has changed for most cryptocurrencies over the past few hours. Bitcoin is, together with Monero, the only currency in the top 10 noting a small loss, whereas most other coins have stabilized or regained some losses. Considering how the weekend is often a dreadful period for cryptocurrency trading this overall trend is rather positive. The total cryptocurrency market cap is heading toward US$90bn as well, which is a positive sign for the future.

CRYPTOCURRENCIES PREPARE FOR A STRONG WEEK

It seems evident most of the top 10 cryptocurrencies are in a good position for some notable gains over the next seven days. Even though we will see one Bitcoin hard fork materialize on August 1st, it is doubtful this will harm the price in a negative manner. Do not be mistaken in thinking Bitcoin Cash tokens come free of charge, though, as they may effectively subtract value from the actual Bitcoin price until the market stabilize.

That being said, we do see the Bitcoin price has dipped a whopping 0.19% over the past 24 hours. That in itself means very little as far as the world’s leading cryptocurrency is concerned. In fact, as long as Bitcoin doesn’t move by 5% or more over the course of 24 hours, there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about. A minuscule change such as this one means absolutely nothing.

lastest prices july

Despite the Bitcoin price “dip”, most altcoins are doing quite well. Ethereum is finally showing some life signs after weeks of declines. The 5.67% gain in the past 24 hours is quite substantial, as the price seems to be heading toward US$200 once again. It is still a far cry from US$400, though, and the currency is not out of the woods just yet. Future declines in value may still be a big part of Ethereum as there is still some funds in circulation which may be dumped across exchanges in the near future.

Other top currencies are showing small gains as well. Litecoin is up by 189%, whereas NEM, Dash, and IOTA all report gains below 1%. The big winners are XRP – up by 3.47% – as well as Stratis – up by 2.99% – and Ethereum Classic, which increased by 1.45%. The bigger question is when people will realize Ethereum Classic is the true, immutable Ethereum chain without SEC scrutiny, highly controversial ICOs, and a blockchain which can be rolled back when founders’ money is stake. Only time will tell if the ETH/ETC correlation will ever see proper momentum, as for now, all the hype and focus is still in Ethereum’s camp.

What is rather surprising is how Monero is the only top 10 currencies to note any losses, other than Bitcoin Monero lost6.41% of its value overnight, which is quite substantial. There is no real reason for this sudden downturn other than people speculating on the other currencies and trying to make a profit. Monero is still a very powerful cryptocurrency with honest developers who aim to provide anonymity to all users. Then again, a price of US$40.65 per XMR is still more than fair, all things considered.

Looking at the individual cryptocurrency market caps, it is pretty obvious Bitcoin remains the undisputed leader for some time to come. This also results in the Bitcoin Dominance Index going back above 50%, as it currently sits at 50.5%. Not too long ago, that percentage was heading toward 40% and lower, but it seems the market has finally come to its senses once again. There is no other currency capable of rivaling Bitcoin right now, that much is evident.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur
 

Author: Oliver Wood

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

What is cryptocurrency?

What is cryptocurrency?

 

Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency 

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money that is designed to be secure and, in many cases, anonymous. It is a currency associated with the internet that uses cryptography, the process of converting legible information into an almost uncrackable code, to track purchases and transfers. Cryptography was born out of the need for secure communication in the Second World War. It has evolved in the digital era with elements of mathematical theory and computer science to become a way to secure communications, information and money online. The first cryptocurrency was bitcoin, which was created in 2009 and is still the best known. There has been a proliferation of cryptocurrencies in the past decade and there are now more than 900 available on the internet. Here's everything you need to know about cryptocurrencies. 

How do cryptocurrencies work? 

Cryptocurrencies use decentralised technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank. They run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, which is a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders.

Units of cryptocurrency are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complicated maths problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the currencies from brokers, then store and spend them using cryptographic wallets. Cryptocurrencies and applications of blockchain technology are still nascent in financial terms and more uses should be expected. Transactions including bonds, stocks and other financial assets could eventually be traded using the technology.  

What are the most common cryptocurrencies? 

  • Bitcoin:
     
    Bitcoin was the first and is the most commonly traded cryptocurrency to date.  The currency was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, a mysterious figure who developed its blockchain. It has a market capitalisation of around $45 billion as of July 2017. 
  • Ethereum:
     
    Developed in 2015, ethereum is the currency token used in the ethereum blockchain, the second most popular and valuable cryptocurrency. Ethereum has a market capitalisation of around $18bn as of July 2017. However, ethereum has had a turbulent journey. After a major hack in 2016 it split into two currencies, while its value has in recent months reached as high as $400 but crashed briefly to as low as 10 cents.
  • Ripple:
     
    Ripple is another distributed ledger system that was founded in 2012. Ripple can be used to track more kinds of transactions, not just of the cryptocurrency. It has been used by banks including Santander and UBS and has a market capitalisation of around $6.3 billion.
  • Litecoin: 
    This currency is most similar in form to bitcoin, but has moved more quickly to develop new innovations, including faster payments and processes to allow many more transactions. The total value of all Litecoin is around $2.1 billion.

Why would you use a cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies are known for being secure and providing a level of anonymity. Transactions in them cannot be faked or reversed and there tend to be low fees, making it more reliable than conventional currency. Their decentralised nature means they are available to everyone, where banks can be exclusive in who they will let open accounts.  As a new form of cash, the cryptocurrency markets have been known to take off meaning a small investment can become a large sum over night. But the same works the other way. People look to invest in cryptocurrencies should be aware of the volatility of the market and the risks they take when buying.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Cash – Another Fork in the Road for Bitcoin

Bitcoin Cash - Another Fork in the Road for Bitcoin

Bitcoin Cash – Another Fork in the Road for Bitcoin

Last week the bitcoin community and investors breathed a sigh of relief as BIP 91 locked in and activated, signalling what we thought was a great step forward in finally resolving the long standing Bitcoin scaling debate. Confidence soared and the price recovered from a previous tumble.

And then came a twist.

In the last 72 hours, Bitcoin increasingly looks as though it is heading for a user activated hard fork (UAHF) called Bitcoin Cash. It is scheduled for the notorious date of 1 August 2017, previously earmarked as the proposed date for implementation of SegWit by way of a user activated soft fork (UASF).
 

What is Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin Cash is an alternative token that may come into existence as a result of a planned UAHF as mentioned above. Essentially this means that the Bitcoin blockchain may split into two competing chains.
 

The original plan for a UAHF came about from a contingency plan, proposed by Bitcoin mining company, Bitmain, who were opposed to the UASF for SegWit.

At the Future of Bitcoin Conference held in Arnhem, Netherlands from 29 June to 1 July this year, a software engineer named Amaury Sechet announced an alternative Bitcoin client (software) called Bitcoin Adjustable Blocksize Cap (Bitcoin ABC).
 

It has now been revealed that the token for this client is Bitcoin Cash.

Bitcoin Cash will differ from Bitcoin in terms of the following:

SegWit: Bitcoin Cash will not implement SegWit

Blocksize: Immediate increase from 1MB to 8MB

Coexistence: Replay and wipe out protections ensures that should the two chains continue to compete, Bitcoin Cash aims to reduce user disruption and allows for the safe existence of two chains.

How Does This Impact Your BTC Holdings?

 

In short, it does not affect your BTC balance. Instead a chain split will result in you holding an equal number of coins on both the old and new chains, however, the value of those coins will be different and probably vary dramatically as they establish themselves as either the majority or minority chain.

 

The Community Reaction

Miners

Statements released thus far by a number of mining pools, including Bitmain, have said they will continue to support SegWit2x and the original Bitcoin chain, and do not rule out supporting the Bitcoin Cash chain as well. ViaBTC, an exchange as well as a Bitcoin mining pool (ViaPool) have listed Bitcoin Cash futures and have explicitly stated their mining support for the chain.

Exchanges

Exchanges seem to be more divided than the mining pools. Some major exchanges such as Coinbase, Coinfloor and Bitstamp are not signalling any strong support for Bitcoin Cash and have left the crediting of the forked coins to their discretion. On the other hand, Bitfinex and Kraken, two other major Bitcoin exchanges, have announced that they will be crediting the forked coins to client accounts and will list the coin for trading. This could be vital to the coins survival as without any trusted exchanges listing the coin, there would be no market for it.

 

As we quickly approach 1 August 2017, a day that will long be spoken about in the Bitcoin community, the Bitcoin price will likely be volatile and an influx of opinions will generate a degree of hysteria amongst unseasoned Bitcoin investors.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur
 

Author: Adam Norrie

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Why the feds took down one of Bitcoin’s largest exchanges

Why the feds took down one of Bitcoin’s largest exchanges

Tracing Mt. Gox’s stolen coins led feds to Alexander Vinnik

  This week, one of Bitcoin’s largest and most notorious coin exchanges

was brought down by law enforcement — and police and prosecutors are now beginning to explain why. On Thursday, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Alexander Vinnik — thought to be the operator, or one of the operators of Bitcoin exchange BTC-e — charging him with 21 counts of money laundering and other related financial crimes. The counts range from operating an unlicensed money transmittal business to a variety of money laundering charges, including laundering associated with ransomware payouts and a theft from the now-defunct Mt Gox exchange. More generally, the indictment paints BTC-e as a hub of criminal activity, laundering the proceeds of everything from drug trafficking to ransomware attacks.

As some suspected, Vinnik’s alleged crimes go beyond just operating the exchange. Feds believe he played a role in the theft of more 800,000 bitcoin — about $400 million at the time — from Mt. Gox, a staggering loss that ultimately shuttered the exchange. According to the indictment, 530,000 of those bitcoin ended up passing through wallets controlled by or associated with Vinnik, although his role in the larger scheme remains unclear.Vinnik’s alleged crimes go beyond just operating a Bitcoin exchange

Vinnik himself is in custody, arrested while on vacation in Greece, but the Bitcoin world is still sorting through the larger implications of his arrest. BTC-e was one of the last major exchanges outside the reach of conventional finance, and now that it’s gone, it’s unclear what might replace it. There are many legitimate uses of Bitcoin, but Bitcoin transactions have also become essential for online crime — whether it’s ransomware or Silk-Road-style online marketplaces. There will continue to be demand for exchanges like BTC-e, and ____. With feds directly targeting exchanges that don’t play by the book, the split between the two halves of Bitcoin is becoming starker and starker.

BTC-e, founded in 2011, always stood out as an anomaly among the major Bitcoin exchanges. Even a cursory look at BTC-e flagged it as a little strange. “Their exchange prices always seemed weird and out of line with every other exchange, and I had wondered why,” Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University told The Verge in an email.

Nicholas Weaver wrote at Lawfare that BTC-e was noted for its “sketchy ownership and control.” The exchange was supposedly located in Eastern Europe, but there were no clues as to who ran it — until now.300,000 bitcoin from Mt. Gox went to wallets tied to “BTC-e administrative accounts” But the big surprise in the indictment is how closely tied BTC-e is to a massive theft at Mt. Gox, one that eventually bankrupted the exchange in 2014. Founded in 2010, Mt. Gox dominated the Bitcoin world for years, at one point processing 80 percent of all bitcoin-to-currency transactions. Mt. Gox first suffered a multimillion-dollar theft in June 2011. When the exchange collapsed in 2014, the equivalent of nearly half a billion dollars was unaccounted for.

On Wednesday, in the wake of the arrest of Vinnik, WizSec published a blogpost presenting the findings of an investigation into the Mt. Gox thefts that they have apparently been preparing for years. According to WizSec, the Mt. Gox hot wallet private keys were stolen sometime in 2011, and the hacker (or multiple hackers) continued to steal bitcoin through 2012 and 2013. The bitcoin were laundered through wallets controlled by Alexander Vinnik. The indictment claims that 300,000 bitcoin were stolen from Mt. Gox went directly to three connected BTC-e accounts “directly linked” to “BTC-e administrative accounts” that only BTC-e admins and operators could have had access to.

At least one of the accounts — under the name “Vamnedam” — was controlled by Vinnik and “others known and unknown.” (The “others known” are either not named in the indictment or have been redacted from the published document.)Many of the charges allege more straightforward money laundering" More bitcoin from the theft were sent to other Mt. Gox wallets and wallets at a third exchange — the now-defunct Tradehill, which operated out of San Francisco, California. From there, they eventually ended up at BTC-e, in an account that was directly controlled by Vinnik. WizSec also claims that the wallets that laundered Mt. Gox coins also handled “coins stolen from Bitcoinica, Bitfloor and several other thefts from back in 2011 and 2012.”

It’s not clear whether Vinnik was directly involved in the Mt. Gox theft, or how close he is to any of those previous thefts, or even the CryptoWall ransomware hackers whose funds he is accused of laundering. But when it comes to Mt. Gox, at least, BTC-e’s proximity to the theft is fairly suspicious.“Anybody who thought about this for a second understood that law enforcement was working on a case against BTC-e" While the Mt. Gox allegations are the most eye-catching, many of the charges that brought down BTC-e allege more straightforward money laundering. The very first count listed in the indictment is for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business: a criminal charge based on failing to register with FinCEN, an intelligence network that’s mandatory for all financial companies dealing with US customers.

Participating in FinCEN comes with a range of requirements, from registration to internal anti-money laundering programs. Since 2013, it’s been clear that Bitcoin exchanges had to follow those same rules, and for the most part, exchanges have complied — and prosecutors haven’t been shy about filing charges against services that don’t. In recent years, BTC-e has been the largest Bitcoin exchange not registered with FinCEN, a distinction that made it an obvious target for law enforcement, even without Vinnik’s alleged Mt. Gox involvement. “Anybody who thought about this for a second understood that law enforcement was working on a case against BTC-e,” said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center. “The question was just whether the government would catch them.”“designed so that criminals could effect financial transactions under multiple layers of anonymity”

Where other counts in the indictment focus on money transfers linked to theft and ransomware, the first two — operation of an unlicensed money transmitter and conspiracy to commit money-laundering — focus on the technological capabilities of BTC-e itself, claiming that the exchange had a “criminal design.” “BTC-e’s system was designed so that criminals could accomplish financial transactions with anonymity and thereby avoid apprehension by law enforcement or seizure of funds,” the indictment says, pointing out that BTC-e only required “a username, password, and an email address,” unlike “legitimate payment processors or digital currency exchangers.” The indictment also points to suspicious usernames like “ISIS,” “CocaineCowboys,” “blackhathackers,” “dzkillerhacker,” and “hacker4hire” as additional support for the money-laundering allegations.

The language in the indictment about BTC-e’s “criminal design” mimics the indictment against Liberty Reserve — an anonymous currency service taken down by law enforcement in 2013 — which also accused the online exchange of having a “criminal design” and a system “designed so that criminals could effect financial transactions under multiple layers of anonymity.” (The Liberty Reserve indictment also took the time to point out that account names on the site included “Russia Hackers” and “Hacker Accounts.”) BTC-e’s website claimed that they required customers to provide proof of identity — namely, a scanned ID card and a scanned utility bill or bank statement — and forbid any US customers, letting them off the hook for FinCEN registration. But neither turned out to be true, according to the indictment.“Exchanges will go one of two ways. Either they’ll clean up their act… or they’ll go fully underground.”

Now that BTC-e is down for good, it could have a profound impact on the criminal ecosystem more broadly. BTC-e handled about 5 percent of total Bitcoin transactions, but recent research found that as much as 95 percent of ransomware cashouts happened through the platform. With most comparably sized exchanges already registered under FinCEN, the takedown could make it both harder and riskier for criminals to cash out — something law enforcement seems to be counting on. In the same Lawfare piece, Weaver says he thinks taking down BTC-e “will probably prove more important than the AlphaBay and Hansa takedowns” in fighting online crime. For Bitcoiners less invested in law enforcement’s war on dark web marketplaces, the lesson is a more ambiguous one. Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer says the focus on FinCEN compliance could lead to a lasting split in Bitcoin markets, as exchanges face the choice of whether to comply with US government demands.

“Exchanges will go one of two ways,” Sirer says. “Either they will clean their act, by first shopping for the most lenient jurisdictions and complying with relevant KYC/AML laws, or they'll go ‘fully underground,’ and operate with no rules, behind Tor and other anonymous communication technologies. The most colorful drama ahead will involve exchanges, such as Bitfinex, that operate in the gray zone, where they seem to neither comply with relevant laws nor go fully underground.” For a technology with a surrounding community built on libertarian ideas, that may be a difficult pill to swallow. But as the past week has made clear, those that don’t will be taking a very serious risk.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Indian Trade Survey – 97% Aware of Bitcoin, but Use of the Cryptocurrency Remains Low

Indian Trade Survey - 97% Aware of Bitcoin, but Use of the Cryptocurrency Remains Low

Indian Trade Survey – 97% Aware of Bitcoin, but Use of the Cryptocurrency Remains Low

A study by India’s market and trade body has found that while 97 percent of participants are aware of bitcoin, its use within their services remains low.

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which plays a role in India’s industrial development processes, hosted a meeting ‘Roundtable on Industry Perspective on Bitcoins: A New World of Payments and Deals,’ on Wednesday, according to News 18.

According to the report, the trade and industry body asked 223 stakeholders ranging from fabrics, electronic devices and automobile parts, to determine the impact that bitcoin was having in India.

However, results found that while 97 percent of participants are aware of the digital currency, its use within companies remains low.
 

Gopal Jiwarajka, President of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:

“Absence of the information about counterparties in the bitcoins transaction is a major drawback and may lead to unintentional transactions such as money laundering”.

He added that the use of bitcoin comes with huge risks and is not backed by any tangible asset, but sheer demand.

 

Calls for Regulation

This survey comes at a time when the Indian government is considering the regulation regime for bitcoin.

Even though there have been calls in the past from Indian politicians to ban bitcoin, a recent report has found that India is unlikely to declare bitcoin illegal in the country. Instead, it may be considered a security, but its regulatory fate remains uncertain.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Indian state of Karnataka is in the process of putting together a policy that focuses on digital currencies due to its rising demand. In particular, more young traders in the nation are being drawn toward bitcoin. In May, Coinsecure, an Indian bitcoin exchange, had to halt trading after recording a record number of users due to soaring interest and adoption of the currency in the country.

And yet, even though bitcoin is gaining in India there are risks that still need to be considered, according to Jiwarajka.

“Bitcoins are a fascinating instrument, however highly volatile, and susceptible to high risk makes it a vulnerable instrument”.

 

According to him, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should look into the idea of digital currencies and take a view on it and see whether it can become a tool for promoting a digital economy.

 

Speaking to The Hindu Business Line, he stated:

“We are not proponents of bitcoins. But, as an industry chamber, we are furthering the debate. The RBI should see whether a platform can be created with cryptocurrencies so that people-to-people and people-to-merchant transactions can happen with negligible cost”.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Rebecca Campbell

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member