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Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices Higher in 2017

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices
Higher in 2017

For newcomers to the market looking to make a quick win, the rollercoaster of a year has probably been a time of scratching heads and possibly a few tears shed. For the long-term investor, however, these periods are part of the journey and opportune times to snap up some more coins when the price takes a dip. Despite the precautionary cries of ‘bursting bubbles’, these market corrections are an anticipated occurrence.

    
Legislative Changes for Cryptos

Earlier this year, Japan announced that as of 1 April 2017, the country would recognise bitcoin as legal tender and make the provisions for administrative and accounting systems to be enhanced for cryptocurrency transactions to take place seamlessly. This was undoubtedly the major contributing factor to an initial surge in the price as Japanese individuals and corporations alike scrambled on exchanges to secure bitcoin for future purchases. Hundreds of thousands of retailers in the area are said to be equipping themselves to accept bitcoin payments, with a low cost airline, Peach, becoming the first commercial carrier to directly offer consumers tickets paid in bitcoin.

Australia quickly followed suit, announcing accelerated amendments to legislation that eliminated the incumbent double taxation on digital currency transactions. As it stands, Australians using bitcoin for transactions are liable for the 10% goods and services tax (GST) plus a further 10% tax for using ‘intangible property’ as a payment medium. Come 1 July 2017, these transactions will only attract GST, and be exempt from further taxation, no doubt fuelling a greater adoption of digital currency transactions. The proactive progression by these countries certainly paves the way for others to learn from their integration and regulatory practices, empowering mainstream bitcoin adoption, which naturally pushes the price higher as demand increases.

Scaling Debate Resolution

The scaling debate has been a long-standing hurdle for Bitcoin growth. The decentralised nature of bitcoin, which naturally is one of its most appealing qualities, presents some challenges when it comes to governance of remedial action. In an ecosystem where no single entity can dictate changes to the framework, a majority consensus must be reached. The fact remains that Bitcoin needs to scale from its current transactional capacity in order to meet the demands placed on the network in terms of the growing number of transactions, as the current block size is impeding quick and cost-effective transactions.

Whilst several proposals have been put forward, the Bitcoin community have yet to come to agreement on a viable solution that satisfies the majority, while at the same time doing what is best for the wider user base. In May 2017, at the annual Consensus conference, held in New York, an agreement has been signed by a ‘critical mass of the bitcoin ecosystem’ that set out a plan for the adoption of SegWit with a planned hard fork to a 2MB blocksize within six months. While further clarity is needed, it would appear that we may finally come to a point of breaking the stalemate, which will contributing factor in Bitcoin being able to advance and reach its full potential.

Economic and Political Uncertainty

One of Bitcoin’s undeniable drivers of growth are citizens who have lost confidence in their country’s ability to maintain sound economic and political policies, and desperately seek to establish their own sense of financial freedom outside the manipulation of governments.

Venezuela

Take Venezuela for example. An overly aggressive expansionary monetary policy has resulted in hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to reach an explosive 1,660% this year. This has led to an unparalleled economic and social crisis. The removal of the 100 Bolivar note (the largest denomination and still worth only a few US cents) from circulation in December 2016 alongside the lack of availability of the planned 500 to 20,000 Bolivar notes, led to widespread chaos and violent protests amongst Venezuelans, who for the most part were heavily reliant on cash but were effectively left without money for weeks on end.

It is reported that the minimum wage is around 200,000 Bolivars, yet a single basket of groceries costs in the region of 770,000 Bolivars, nearly 4 times the minimum monthly wage. Whilst the government provide some subsidised basic goods, the ‘outlets’ have become hotspots for vicious crime and citizens have to weigh up the risks of cheaper food against the dangers that face them in the queues. This is what happens when people reach such levels of despair to survive. The alarming surge in crimes such as kidnapping and murder leave most Venezuelans living in fear for their lives on a daily basis, with little in the way of respite.

India

India is another prime example, where the most recent, and possibly most extreme case of a modern-day war on cash occurred in December 2016. Under the pretence of curbing criminal action and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively wiped out 86% of notes in circulation overnight, when he announced the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes with immediate effect. Exchange was possible, but within a limited time frame and only up to a certain amount, the rest having to be processed via a bank account. This, in a country where almost half its population has no access to formal banking, let alone a bank account. This is just one of the reasons bitcoin holds such appeal in tempestuous economic climates. With Bitcoin, you are assured a level of financial security your money is removed from the coercion of the centralised system, therefore protecting your wealth from political agendas, damaging inflation and capital controls.

Increased Inflow of Institutional Money

Financial institutions, who are historically wary about Bitcoin are increasingly showing signs of interest in the digital asset. When compared to the performance of stock markets and fiat currencies, combined with more and more regulatory structure coming into place, it is unsurprising that institutional money has started flow into the crypto-economy. Regulation is arguably one of the largest barriers to cryptocurrency investment for institutions. Two nations, in particular, have been influential in this regard; Sweden and Japan. Sweden was one of the first movers in terms of a regulated Bitcoin investment. Back in May 2015, the KnC Group launched the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Tracker’ known as an exchange-traded note (ETN), which is publicly traded on a regulated exchange. This represented massive progress for Bitcoin at the time and essentially opened the market for institutions and private individuals to gain a regulated exposure to Bitcoin.

The ETN is designed to mirror the price movements of the underlying asset being USD/BTC. The company offering the ETN, XBT Provider, is required to hold the equivalent number of bitcoins as the number of ETN’s issued. In other words, when a financial institution or private investor purchases, XBT Provider has to purchase the same amount of bitcoins to back up the note. Earlier this month, Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest brokerage, announced that their clients would be able to access the ETN via their SIPP and brokerage accounts. This has opened the doors for retail and institutional investors to gain a regulated Bitcoin exposure in the UK.

As mentioned earlier, Japan has played a crucial role in moving bitcoin into the mainstream. This move has provided institutional players with the much-needed vote of confidence required before they got on board. Russia and India are looking likely to be the next countries to announce positive legislation after an increase in interest within the regions. This will further stimulate institutional investment into Bitcoin, leading to a stronger and more prosperous market for all.

Mainstream Momentum

Perhaps this can be linked back to the fact that with growing interest, and impressive growth, the media have been covering Bitcoin more and more frequently, exposing it to a wider audience. Personally, I have had more and more dinner table discussions about Bitcoin with friends, family, ex-colleagues and acquaintances, outside of the ‘cryptocurrency world’, all now showing interest in Bitcoin.

It was this month that the Wall Street Journal mentioned Bitcoin on its front page, highlighting that Bitcoin has had a strong 2017. This mainstream recognition for Bitcoin’s performance has been long awaited and will be a stimulus for continual momentum. It was only 2 years ago that most of the mainstream news stations were reporting Bitcoin’s demise. What a turn of events it has been. The factors I have outlined above are merely a few of the positive fundamentals Bitcoin has going for it. Driving demand, expanding its utility and subsequently, increasing its value and price. So yes, I am confident when I say that Bitcoin will continue to break through all time highs and find favour above the $3,000 mark before the bells ring in 2018.

Chuck Reynolds


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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Top 3 Reasons Not to Use an Exchange Wallet to Participate in a Cryptocurrency ICO

Top 3 Reasons Not to Use an Exchange Wallet to Participate in a Cryptocurrency ICO

Top 3 Reasons Not to Use an Exchange Wallet to Participate in a Cryptocurrency ICO

Even though cryptocurrency ICOs have been going on for quite some time now, a lot of basic questions continue to show up. It appears there is a lot of confusion as to why one should never send funds to an ICO from their exchange wallet directly. There are several good reasons as to why this should not be done, though, as we outline below.

3. TRANSACTION DELAYS CAN COST MONEY

Contrary to what some people may think, exchange wallets do not always send out withdrawals right away. In some cases, it can take an hour or longer until your withdrawal is effectively processed. Depending on which cryptocurrency we are talking about, it may take even longer to get the necessary network confirmations. This is anything but a fun experience, especially when it comes to dealing with a cryptocurrency ICO.

These ICOs often provide early investors with some sort of a bonus. Having to wait until the exchange sends out your funds can result in buying less ICO tokens than initially anticipated. It is not something anyone wants to deal with. Even if an ICO is scheduled to last multiple days, there is no reason not to transfer funds to your own wallet first before participating in a crowdsale.

2. AN EXCHANGE WALLET IS NOT YOUR WALLET

It may be hard for novice users to understand this principle, but a cryptocurrency wallet is not like a bank account. With a bank account, you rely on a third-party service provider to safeguard your funds. That is exactly what exchange wallets are, yet they do not let users spend their funds as they want. You always need “permission” from the exchange wallet service provider to move funds around, which is both annoying and risky.

There is a big difference between an exchange wallet and a private wallet. With a private wallet, you are the only one controlling the wallet address and its associated private key. An exchange wallet is generated on your behalf, yet you have no control over it whatsoever. Although you can freely use an exchange wallet, it is not your digital property by any means. Unless you own its private key, it’s not yours, nor is any of the money associated with it.

1. YOU WON’T GET YOUR TOKENS (RIGHT AWAY)

Perhaps the biggest complication that arises when using an exchange wallet is how the purchased ICO tokens are not yours to control by any means. In most cases, a cryptocurrency ICO smart contract will send money back to the address the deposit was made from. If that wallet is an exchange wallet, the exchange is the actual owner of the tokens you purchased using their wallet. That is a rather disturbing way of buying ICO tokens, yet the end user cannot claim ownership of the tokens, as they do not own the wallet’s private key.

Granted, in some cases, exchanges will eventually support these ICO tokens and return the purchased amount to the customer. However, one has to keep in mind they have no legal obligation to do so by any means. If you send money to a cryptocurrency ICO address from a wallet, you do not fully control as the sole owner, it is your own fault. All ICOs clearly warn users not to send funds from an exchange to avoid any complications.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: JP Buntinx

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin
a New High

Cannabis has been legalized in numerous states

across the United States. However, the cannabis industry is still plagued with limited access to banking services as traditional banks want to avoid dealing with businesses that engage in business activities that are still largely illegal under federal law. That is where cryptocurrencies could offer a solution.

Due to the loosening of anti-cannabis laws across America, the legal weed retail industry has grown quickly over the years and is expected to keep growing rapidly as more states debate and decide on its legality. Both the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and the District of Columbia, while the medical use of cannabis has also been legalized in an additional 20 states across the US. In late 2016, leading investment bank Cowen and Company published a report on the Cannabis industry titled, “The Cannabis Compendium: Cross-Sector Views on a Budding Industry” which postulates that the industry would grow to $50 billion by the year 2026.

However, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, most legal dispensaries are having to conduct purely cash-based business, given most banks and other financial institutions will not allow them access to financial services as a result of regulatory constrictions. This leaves weed retailers vulnerable to theft, which criminals have exploited, as evidenced by statistics on dispensary robberies. The blockchain industry is looking to remedy this. Due to the decentralized nature and inherent security of the blockchain, it offers a unique selling proposition as a payments solution for the cannabis industry.

Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

PotCoin was created in 2014 to cater to the needs of the unbanked cannabis industry. The coin works on a proof of stake system with an Annual Percentage Interest (APR) of five percent. The coin also boasts fast processing time with relatively low fees. Though the coin has exhibited steady growth in its three years of existence, there has been a substantial spike in its price this week due to its sponsorship of retired Basketball star and Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea.

According to PotCoin spokesperson Shawn Perez, the main reason for the sponsorship of Rodman’s trip was to support “Dennis Rodman's mission to bring peace to the world." Though the visit does not seem to have any visible ties to the cannabis industry, PotCoin has benefitted from the media attention that has surrounded Rodman’s journey to North Korea. According to Coin Market Cap, the coin has shown over 70 percent growth, from just below $0.10 to $0.17 since the sponsorship was announced.

POSaBIT

Washington-based bitcoin startup POSaBIT has created a financial platform that allows customers at weed retailers to make purchases using their regular credit cards. The platform uses bitcoin as an intermediate payment system. Jon Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT explained: “There’s no industry – whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee – that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services. That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.” The technology facilitates customers’ quick and easy access to bitcoin at the point of sale who can then use the digital currency anywhere that it is accepted. The platform is already in use by 30 dispensaries in the state of Washington.

The platform is attractive to cash-only merchants who want to accept another form of payment, retailers that want to be seen as more technologically savvy so as to differentiate themselves from the competition, and for small businesses that want to maximize profits by capitalizing on digital currencies’ low transaction fees. The technology is compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations while complying with laws regulating the cannabis trade. Since the platform reduces the reliance on cash as a medium of exchange, it is making dispensaries safer working environments for employees as there is less of an incentive for theft.

SinglePoint and First Bitcoin Capital

Holding company SinglePoint and blockchain technology provider First Bitcoin Capital announced a partnership on June 6. The joint venture agreement aims to create an efficient and workable payments solution for cannabis retailers using blockchain technology. Greg Lambrecht, SinglePoint CEO, explained: "In January 2014 SinglePoint announced and started working on a bitcoin payment solution, shortly after we recognized the issue of minimal user adoption of digital currency. The payments industry has rapidly changed since that time. There is now tremendous momentum and demand for bitcoin acceptance as an alternative form of payment.

This Joint Venture with First Bitcoin Capital is perfect timing. Bitcoin payments are catching on, and cannabis dispensaries need a solution fast." SinglePoint has previously worked with leading companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon on technology integration systems that have allowed for a more robust use of communication technology as a payment solution. The company now hopes to use this experience to create a workable solution for weed retailers.

Greg Rubin of First Bitcoin Capital stated: "We are optimistic that our partnership with SinglePoint will produce positive cash flow to our bottom line. Between the two of our companies, we will have the ability to develop a best in class solution, and SinglePoint will be able to help in distribution. We look forward to providing cutting-edge products and services to all states through the establishment of this new venture." “As with the massive and widespread adoption of Bitcoin worldwide, the two companies will pursue opportunities to leverage their payment technology background and develop a proprietary solution specifically for high-risk payment verticals including the cannabis industry.” the press release adds.

The two companies believe they have found a way for a smooth customer experience at the point of sale at weed dispensaries. Using SinglePoints’ technology integration experience and First Bitcoin Capital’s tech background, the company will create an “all-encompassing payment solution” for the retail cannabis industry. The platform will be easy to integrate into the existing point of sale machinery through a simple download. With the retail cannabis industry set to grow quickly in the coming years and the continuing lack of regulatory support at the federal level, it seems like the industry will have to rely on blockchain technology and digital currencies to facilitate easy trade and to securely store its profits.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

MIT Graduate-led Startup Enigma Unveils Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

MIT Graduate-led Startup Enigma Unveils Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

     California-based blockchain startup Enigma has announced the creation

of a cryptocurrencyinvestment platform that allows developers to start their own digital asset investment funds based on trading strategies that they create themselves. The platform, named Catalyst, enables developers to create investment funds where they have full control of how their digital assets are handled. Developers are free to incorporate whatever variable they see fit into the algorithms that govern their fund.

The platform is the brainchild of Silicon Valley startup Enigma that is led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates. The Enigma team has previously created a different platform that aimed to give users control over their data, who has access to it and, ultimately the ability to sell the data at a profit while retaining their anonymity. Now, the Guy Zyskind-led team has set its sights on cryptocurrency trading. “A lot of people are starting to look into it, and invest in it, but it’s still very much kind of like the Wild West,” says Enigma CEO, Guy Zyskind of the cryptocurrency market. This is the reasoning behind the creation of Catalyst, which seeks to open up and demystify the cryptocurrency market to developers and investors alike.

“We are passionate about the role of cryptocurrencies in defining personal financial freedom. We want to play our part in driving their mainstream adoption. Our vision is to enable developers to build winning investment strategies, a strong track record and attract investment from community investors,” Enigma explained in their announcement. The team defines Catalyst as “a platform that empowers anyone to build their own crypto hedge fund and participate in the coming Renaissance of the financial ecosystem. Catalyst is a playground where developers, quants, and experienced traders can easily build, simulate, and eventually live trade cryptocurrencies using sophisticated programmatic strategies.”

How It Works

“To begin trading, users open payment channels with a chosen liquidity provider, in the currencies they wish to trade. Orders are then submitted to the liquidity provider that a trader chooses, and matched with an online counterparty. Finally, the assets are exchanged atomically by executing a single, cross-chain payment, routed through the liquidity provider,” the Catalyst white paper explains. The platform is designed to ensure that the investors maintain full control and ownership of their assets at all times. The platform also allows for the details of the trading

Algorithms to be kept private:

“The core of Catalyst’s architecture provides a method of performing cross-chain atomic swaps using hashed timelock contracts (HTLCs), operating under the direction of an algorithmic trade manager. This ensures that traders can maintain custody of their assets and privacy of their trading algorithms.”

The team plans to open source their infrastructure which they hope will further enhance and grow both the market and their platform. “We believe an ecosystem of multiple exchanges will further enhance the reliability of the trading infrastructure and liquidity of the underlying payment networks, while simultaneously providing an avenue for scaling beyond the throughput of a single exchange.”

Further to its vision of opening up and growing the cryptocurrency investment market, the Catalyst platform will be able to handle live trading of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s). “One of Catalyst‘s long-term goals is support live-trading of ICO tokens. These tokens are typically managed via an Ethereum smart contract, thus, our implementation plans to be fully compatible with the proposed Raiden Network, which enables off-chain transfers of value between Ethereum smart contracts.” or investment strategies that are able to generate high returns, the team recognizes that developers must have access to all pertinent data and addresses this through the creation of a data bank of sorts within the platform which they believe will make

The process easier:

“Developers will be able to access a large variety of data sources specifically around crypto-assets. These include price data, sentiment data, social networking data, and more. While we plan to curate the initial data sets, it is likely that most data will be generated by the community in return for incentives. Developers can utilize the myriad of data sources that will be made available through our platform to build their models, back-test them according to historical data, as well as put their strategies to the test in a simulated or real trading environment.”

Enigma hopes the platform will be attractive to developers who are interested in creating algorithms for the cryptocurrency market since they do not have to put up the initial capital themselves. “Beyond making development of crypto-trading strategies easy, our goal is to create a marketplace for trading strategies that non-developers can invest in. In this way, developers are not required to obtain capital to fund their algorithms personally. Instead, they can focus on becoming the best algo-traders they can be, while earning management and performance fees from investors that choose to invest in their strategies.”

Though the platform will initially only be available to developers with coding experience, there are plans to incorporate certain tools to allow “regular” people to create their own strategies. “In order to further lower barriers to invest in and increase adoption of crypto-assets, we will offer tools that enables individuals with no coding experience to build, test and master algorithmic trading strategies. This interface would be similar to the visual programming languages, like Scratch developed at MIT, and would provide full-functionality of the Trading SDK and connect to all existing data sources.”

To allow investors to put money into the fund with the best performance, there will be a  “web-based leaderboard ranking of all strategies deployed by developers. These will include standard return and risk metrics, such as ROI, Sharpe ratio, alpha and beta and max drawdown.” The investors have the choice to put their money in the well-performing funds, at a management fee to the fund developers, as is the practice in traditional investment funds.

Catalyst hopes to help both experienced investors and newcomers make smart cryptocurrency trading choices. “This kind of marketplace can benefit both the investors, who now have access to algorithmic trading, as well as the developers, who may lack the capital to fund their strategies personally. To the best of our knowledge, our platform will be the first to make machine-based investing accessible. Regular investors can then invest directly in winning strategies through our system.” “From a vision perspective, we would like to be able to enable the average Joes to be able to invest in these technologies as well,” added Can Kisagun, Chief Product Officer at Enigma.

Why Digital Assets Funds Are Poised to Succeed

With the steep rise in demand for both altcoins and newly issued ICO tokens, a platform such as Catalyst will likely draw investor attention once it goes live.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Digital Currency Enthusiasts Expect Ethereum to Become Larger than Bitcoin

Digital Currency Enthusiasts Expect Ethereum to Become Larger than Bitcoin

    

Ethereum is closing in on Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization,
 
trading volume and Google Trends. In terms of other key indicators, Ethereum has already surpassed Bitcoin. This has been a longtime coming not only for Ethereum supporters, but, also, for Bitcoiners who have worried about the digital currency’s scaling issues.These flips in key indicators between the two largest cryptographic assets are tracked by a website, Flippening.watch. In the past 24 hours (at the time of writing), there have been 235,604 Ethereum transactions. But, despite wild success as a ‘peer-to-peer electronic cash’ system, there have been only 216,887 Bitcoin transactions. Ethereum’s transaction capabilities have not even been its main feature advertised by proponents. That would be its smart contract and decentralized application functions.

But, ‘the Flippening’ doesn’t stop there. Miners of ether, Ethereum’s native digital token, are enjoying more mining rewards than their bitcoin counterparts. In the last 24 hours, $9,396,000 has been rewarded to ether miners. But, just 5,302,800 has been rewarded to bitcoin miners. Moreover, there are more nodes (30,070) than Bitcoin mining nodes (7,552) as of June 11. Bitcoin’s market capitalization is still larger than Ethereum, which is 66.7% of the former’s. There are more Bitcoin’s being traded than ether, but as ShapeShift announced last week, volume of Bitcoin going into Ethereum was causing slight delays on that platform.

itcoin, despite being at an all-time high, has seen its overall share acrpss the crypto-assets complex shrink in recent months, with Ethereum closing a lot of the gap between the two while trading at all-time highs. Bitcoin has seen its growth stagnate in recent years as discussion about future development has grown heated and created rivalries within the Bitcoin creation community. Ethereum, enjoying the support of large multinational corporations and financial institutions via blockchain consortiums, can today process data faster than Bitcoin. This enables higher volume of lightweight finance pouring through the system and at less expensive rates. Currently, the average Bitcoin transaction costs about $1.50.

While Ethereum theoretically can handle lightweight finance transaction a la Bitcoin, it is proposed and designed to do much more. Smart contracts are meant to fuel decentralized applications known as dApps. Ethereum pledges smart contract and dApp technology will distribute business and legal transactions normally facilitated by banks, public registries and the legal system. Intel, Microsoft and Samsung are experimenting with Ethereum. Meanwhile, large corporations that once accepted Bitcoin on their website, have rescinded acceptance. Bitcoin’s dominance rate might be falling as its utility is falling when compared to other blockchain projects. Further, infighting within its creation community is a source for uncertainty.

While Ethereum is not a bitcoin competitor, the value of Ether is increasing as more people join the Ethereum community at a faster clip than those forming around Bitcoin. Ethereum, which is currently approaching a $30 billion network value, is swiftly closing the gap on Bitcoin’s $50 billion market cap. Assuming things stay on track, Ethereum could surpass Bitcoin’s market capitalization by the year’s end. Although Ethereum proponents will see this as a victory, and some Bitcoin proponents will see this as a failure, the reality is both systems have been very successful.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Oil Giant BP to Test Blockchain Technology With BTL Group

Oil Giant BP to Test Blockchain Technology With BTL Group

Oil giant BP, the world’s eighth-largest energy company by revenue

($222.8 billion), has officially begun collaborating with Canadian blockchain startup BTL Group. After a few months of successful testing, BP, Italian oil and gas company Eni, and major German energy company Wien Energie all plan to enter a six-month production phase with BTL’s Interbit platform built on top of the blockchain. The three companies will utilize the BTL blockchain platform to trade gas and oil in a transparent and secure ledger.

Before the three companies move on to commercialize BTL’s blockchain technology Interbit, blockchain developers and the group of leading energy companies aim to simulate real-life trades at a commercial rate. Trades of billions of dollars worth of gas and oil will be processed on the Interbit blockchain platform in a simulation to evaluate if the blockchain technology is capable of settling millions of data points in short periods of time with enhanced and optimal security measures. Guy Halford-Thompson, the co-founder and CEO of BTL Group, who introduced one of the first bitcoin ATMs to the UK in 2013,

said:

“Having demonstrated the reductions in risk and cost savings that are achievable we now have an opportunity to deliver the first successful blockchain based application to the energy market.”

The BTL Group is the first public blockchain company located in Canada and the UK that is focusing on the development and implementation of blockchain technology targeted towards the finance, energy and gaming sectors. Because a large number of blockchain companies and consortia are already working with leading financial institutions and banks in utilizing the blockchain to reduce transaction costs and overall expenses, developers of BTL are specifically targeting semi-financial markets.

According to Halford-Thompson, the three oil giants are also considering implementing the blockchain in other areas and operations. Relying on the decentralized and transparent nature of blockchain technology, BTL and the group of energy companies are analyzing the blockchain’s potential in reducing costs of alternative operations. For instance, on top of the conventional structure of the blockchain, various technologies such as smart contracts can be utilized to carry out or conduct agreements autonomously. With the utilization of smart contracts as demonstrated by many public blockchain projects such as Ethereum, companies like BP can automate operations that require a high level of manual work. “We are also very excited that the pilot has enabled participating companies to understand the benefits of Interbit better and identify other areas in their organizations where they can apply it,” said Halford-Thompson.

In an interview, EY partner Andrew Woosey also emphasized the importance of the pilot test of BTL’s Interbit blockchain platform led by BP. Over the past two years, the “Big Four” accounting firms including EY, PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG have been heavily involved in the blockchain sector by helping large conglomerates such as BP understand the intricacies of blockchain technology and implement it efficiently. Woosey also stated that that the group of energy companies is focusing on streamlining back office processes autonomously, ultimately to reduce risk and build resilience toward cyber threats.

“Use of such technology can help by streamlining back office processes, leading to reduced risk, better protection against cyber threats and ultimately significant cost savings. Further engineering and organizational effort are needed to achieve these outcomes,” said Woosey. Currently, a large number of energy companies are looking into the blockchain to optimize operations and reduce costs. In an interview, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin revealed that the $92 billion mining, metals, and petroleum corporation BHP Billiton is participating in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to develop decentralized applications based on Ethereum.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

IOTA Token has Record Breaking Launch on Bitfinex, Hits $1.5 Billion Market Cap

IOTA Token has Record Breaking Launch on Bitfinex, Hits $1.5 Billion Market Cap

    

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex officially launched the IOTA token

At 9:00 am Eastern Standard Time, cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex officially launched the IOTA token, IOT. Tradable in IOT/USD and IOT/BTC pairs, tokens for use with the IOTA network are now publicly accessible through the Bitfinex website. This launch represents a milestone for IOTA as they expand their user base. “Exchange listing is something that has become a hallmark for all crypto projects,” says IOTA founder David Sønstebø in conversation with CCN, “it represents that the technology is ready for the open market and the wider audience.” And looking at the numbers from the launch, it seems the open market was ready for IOTA.

Consumer Anticipation

After Bitfinex’s announcement on June 4, 2017, regarding the listing of IOT, user demand became readily apparent. The staff at Bitfinex found themselves ‘inundated with requests for details,” explained Bitfinex representative Brandon Carps, “We’ve yet to see this many requests for details on a token listing.” These inquiries lead to an unprecedented amount of support tickets created for Bitfinex.

By the Numbers

After going live on Bitfinex, the transaction volume quickly became so massive that the Bitfinex servers briefly went down. “Moments after the IOTA launch,” Brandon shared,  “we were all hands on deck to load balance and ensure IOTA trading was back online and operating as expected.” What kind of volume? Within the first three hours of trading, 4.44 Million Mega IOTA were traded with the IOT/USD pair, an amount that increased by the second. The IOT/BTC trades showed even greater activity, showing 11.67 Million Mega IOTA traded in

The same period.

The first two hours of IOTA trading was more than double the USD volume and ten times greater than the BTC volume of the last token we released, Ripple, over the course of its full trading day.

All of which sees IOT slotting itself straight into the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. At the time of publishing, the total value of IOT tokens stands above $1.5 billion, peaking beyond the likes of Dash and Monero.

Bitfinex Lists IOT

The team at Bitfinex have been following IOTA’s development closely for the past year. Thanks to the innovative nature of their platform, and the “amount of effort the founders have put into IOTA in just a year’s time relative to the polished product we see today is atypical for something in such an early period of its life,” the IOTA token was an obvious candidate for inclusion on Bitfinex. The relationship is unique for Bitfinex as well, as this is the first token Bitfinex is hosting not listed on any other exchange. In discussing the success of IOT on Bitfinex, David said “I want to congratulate every IOTA member on this success. Now we welcome thousands upon thousands of new people who learn about and get interested in IOTA through this event with open arms. However, we are still considering this the very early days, and are squarely focused on the long term execution and vision of the IOTA project.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Constructing a Real-Estate Backed Cryptocurrency: Brick by Brick

Constructing a Real-Estate
Backed Cryptocurrency:
Brick by Brick

BrickCoin, touted as the world’s first blockchain financial platform

On June 6, BrickCoin, touted as the world’s first blockchain financial platform backed entirely by the stability of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), unveiled its vision for a “real estate-backed” global digital currency. BrickCoin seeks to usher in a new normal for consumer saving and financial stability that protects an individual's’ true wealth from the inflationary impact of fiat currencies. BrickCoin uses blockchain technology to drive this next generation of financial solutions that seeks to ensure financial inclusion for all. Those who are unbanked account for over a third of the global population.

BrickCoin uses blockchain as its underlying technology to facilitate the next generation of financial solutions aimed at ensuring financial inclusion for all. Unbanked people account for a third of the world’s population. This demographic is primarily concentrated in the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America and Africa where inflation levels are extremely volatile, and the value of fiat currency is unable to keep pace with inflation, thereby resulting in monetary value. The brainchild behind BrickCoin, humanitarian entrepreneur Lucas Cervigni, asserts that this is not just a problem facing the

unbanked:

“Inflation levels are rising around the globe, chewing into real incomes and savings rates. As a result, the world needs a better, safer and easier way for ordinary people to save and protect their money from inflation.”

He goes on to note that savings accounts and fixed income interest accounts are not inflation-proof and are stuck at record low levels of interest. Complex investment products such as hedge funds, he says, are typically only available to high wealth individuals and require large initial investments and do not offer ready liquidity and are vulnerable to bankruptcy. “By comparison, the debt-free real estate has and always will have intrinsic value, much as the old gold standards did. We plan to use this to create a new inflation-proof, secure but flexible mechanism for ordinary savers to protect their wealth,” continued Cervigni.

His vision is to create an asset-based cryptocurrency, which replaces the vulnerabilities of the current fiat currency system, combining the safety of a real estate investment with the liquidity and performance of a cryptocurrency. These REIT-backed coins will enable anyone to convert their fiat currency into a more stable and protected digital currency that not only increases in value but helps more people to grow their usable savings leading to stronger global economies.

Unlike other assets used to back new and emerging cryptocurrencies, commercial, mortgage-free real estate is a robust and regulated asset that is protected from increasing debt and inflationary cycles. For a large percentage of individuals around the world, BrickCoin’s online platform will represent their only chance to invest in real estate. By purchasing a BrickCoin, token holders will have the ability to build a steady income stream that grows at a guaranteed rate higher than the current inflation rate of their country, offering the individual a safe place to store and grow their wealth.

By way of example, in Venezuela inflation is expected to hit a rate of 2,500 percent by 2018. The currency, the bolivar, is so devalued that many people tote it around in carrier bags rather than wallets. The government has declared the currency to be virtually worthless. Unlike state currencies, BrickCoin’s value cannot simply be declared worthless, nor printed away.

While the opportunity for BrickCoin to fully assist Venezuela may have passed, it does demonstrate how the real world economy can benefit from the crypto economy, preventing or at least limiting the adverse effects of future monetary mismanagement and totalitarian government control. When asked about his journey into the world of blockchain-based, real estate-backed cryptocurrencies, Cervigni had this to say, “My journey into the crypto space began five to six years ago when I met a man called Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar (president of Bitcoin Argentina) who got me interested in this new crypto tech. He believed that Bitcoin was the technology that was going to change the world.”  

Continued Cervigni:

“Later, I was working on a real estate development project in London when I realized they needed a faster, cheaper and more user-friendly way to work and found that the Blockchain was the answer. I began using blockchain and cryptocurrency during my work in real estate and over the last five years these early ideas developed into BrickCoin.”

He says that his engagement with Zaldivar was the catalyst for him starting BrickCoin. “He was already crowdfunding for real estate and got me involved.” Cervigni was quick to point out that in the crypto space, a business that has been running six months is considered well-established, BrickCoin has already been running for four years with a longer-term plan for the next decade. He says that within the next ten years the plan is to engage with governments in order to expand BrickCoin to different countries, with different regulators and expand the types of BrickCoins invested in real estate around the world.

Concludes Cervigni:

“Blockchain is the platform of the future. Everything in the world will be developed using open ledger platform. In respect to real estate, a huge proportion of the world doesn’t own a home; they rent accommodation. At least 15-20 percent do not have a home at all (they live in super precarious housing). There’s an enormous deficit in worldwide housing. We aim to fix that.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Billionaire Investor Sets Example Investing in Altcoin ICO

Billionaire Investor Sets Example Investing in Altcoin ICO

    

A billionaire investor best known for buying roughly 30,000 Bitcoins

as part of the first government auction of the digital currency in 2014, is setting precedent as he stands behind a crypto token to be launched by a new startup. Tim Draper told Reuters in an interview that his participation in the initial coin offering (ICO) of Tezos slated later this month will be his first. The new Blockchain platform launched by a husband-and-wife team with extensive Wall Street and hedge fund backgrounds will launch the ICO on May 22.

Tezos incentive

According to information on its website, Tezos takes a fundamentally different approach by creating governance rules for stakeholders to approve of protocol upgrades. They are then deployed on the network automatically. When a developer proposes a protocol upgrade, they can attach an invoice to be paid out to their address upon approval and inclusion of their upgrade. This approach provides a strong incentive for participation in the Tezos core development and further decentralizes the maintenance of the network. It compensates developers with tokens that have immediate value rather than forcing them to seek corporate sponsorships, foundation salaries or work for Internet fame alone.

Draper’s confidence

As a new way of moving and storing money, Draper had told Fox Business in an interview in 2015 that Bitcoin is going to hit $10,000 in the following three years (by 2018). While the Bitcoin ecosystem looks forward to the feasibility of the prediction considering what is probable within the timeframe, it would seem that Draper’s confidence in the unfolding reality around him of what the top digital currency could bring to the table is still sound. This makes his disclosed interest in another aspect of the digital currency sphere – his plan to participate in a token offering and his choice of Tezos as a particular startup to invest in considering it’s a formation of a “husband and wife” team – a point to note.

With its family makeup, the success of the startup’s ICO will be a sheer example of the opportunities the crypto economy could offer the smallest unit of a society – after all, there are businesses owned and run by couples or a family. It would also show that the potential for Bitcoin, as a growing digital currency in various households, is huge in this kind of a business setup. Hence, Draper’s support for the adaptation of the cryptocurrency concept into the family-based business world could be precedential.

"The best thing I can do is lead by example," Draper said in his interview.

"Over time, I actually feel that some of these tokens are going to improve the world and I want to make sure those tokens get promoted as well. I think Tezos is one of those tokens."

Unlike most traditional venture capital firms which are prohibited by agreements with investors from deploying cash into such high-risk assets as digital currencies, Draper said his firm is doing this with Tezos because there is money for such non-traditional investments. In addition, they had anticipated “that certain things are going to happen and finance is going to be transformed."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Japanese Exchanges Say Volumes are Real Pushing Bitcoin Price Up

Japanese Exchanges Say Volumes are Real Pushing Bitcoin Price Up

    

Over the past few months,

the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market led an upward momentum for the global Bitcoin exchange market, continuously pushing Bitcoin price to new highs. In a period of 30 days, Bitcoin price increased from $1,200 to $1,760, recording a 32 percent monthly increase in value. Cointelegraph particularly provided extensive coverage of the Japanese exchange market’s overwhelming performance and influence over the global exchange. The demand toward Bitcoin in Japan significantly increased following the legalization of Bitcoin and the acceptance of Bitcoin payments by the country’s single most influential electronics retailer Bic Camera. Also, some of the largest multi-billion dollar corporations have announced the launch of their independent Bitcoin and digital currency exchanges.

Absence of fees raises concerns

One criticism over Bitcoin’s recent price surge has been the absence of fees in the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market. Some analysts suspected that the Japanese exchange market’s decision to exclude fees could have a similar effect the Chinese Bitcoin exchange had on the global exchange market. In an interview, Japan’s two largest Bitcoin exchanges QUOINE and BitFlyer clarified that the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market does in fact have fees in place. Yuzo Kano, the CEO of BitFlyer, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange which controls over 67 percent of the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market share

stated:

“We charge trading fees for BTC and ‘swap point’ for FX. So it’s a different situation from China before this January. We are seeing funds inflowing not only to BTC but also all crypto markets.”

Mike Kayamori, CEO of QUOINE, which also controls around 10 percent of the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market share further emphasized that fees are charged for all traders other than spot trading of BTC/JPY. Thus, the claims of analysts that there currently is instability in Bitcoin price due to the low fees or absence of fees on Japanese Bitcoin exchange market are false.

Kayamori says:

“At QUOINE, we are charging fees on all trades other than spot trading of BTC/JPY. Every other currency pair, as well as margin trading, there is a fee. And our spreads are quite large, hence our volume is actually lower in April/May than it was March.”

Bitcoin as an alternative investment

Jon Southurst, a journalist based in Tokyo, noted that high profile and institutional investors along with casual traders are seeking out for alternative investments such as Bitcoin due to the government’s quantitative easing practice. On April 24, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin price could surge as the Japanese government moved on to print massive amounts of cash. At the time, Holger Zschaepitz, the senior editor of the financial desk and market maniac at

Welt, stated:

“For such reasons, it can be concluded that the current surge in Bitcoin price and the rising demand toward Bitcoin in Japan are well supported and justified.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member