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Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain: ‘Buy Some Ether’ to Make Transactions After SegWit2x

Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain: ‘Buy Some Ether' to Make Transactions After SegWit2x

Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain: ‘Buy Some Ether’ to Make Transactions After SegWit2x

Crypto wallet Blockchain has announced its intention to join with Xapo in following the blockchain with the most accumulated difficulty following the proposed SegWit2x. The wallet service advised its users to “buy some ether” if they intend to make transactions immediately following the fork.
 

Blockchain Wallet to Follow Chain With Most Difficulty

In mid-November, the Bitcoin blockchain is expected to split into two, competing chains following SegWit2x, a hard fork designed to upgrade the Bitcoin network and enable it to scale more effectively. The proposal appears to have strong support from miners and crypto firms — although this support has steadily waned as the fork has gotten closer — but it is opposed by the Bitcoin Core developers, as well as many other businesses and users.

Consequently, bitcoin services have to decide how they will approach the hard fork. Some, such as Bitfinex, are treating the SegWit2x fork as a separate cryptocurrency, while others, including Xapo, state that they will assign the label “Bitcoin” to the blockchain with the highest accumulated difficulty.

Crypto wallet Blockchain — a SegWit2x supporter — has signaled its intent to follow Xapo’s example and determine which chain will receive the label “Bitcoin” based on the amount of accumulated difficulty each blockchain obtains.

Blockchain chief executive Peter Smith made the announcement in a blog post, stating that the service will provide users with access to the coins on the minority chain if they have “significant value”. Like Xapo, they will label the minority chain either BC1 (incumbent) or BC2 (SegWit2x)
 

Buy Some Ether’

Smith goes on to say that Blockchain may suspend outgoing bitcoin transactions following the fork until the networks have stabilized. He suggests users “buy some ether” if they plan to make transactions in late November following the fork.

During this period, it may be necessary to temporarily suspend outgoing bitcoin transactions for a period of time during network instability. However, even in this scenario, your funds will remain safe and you’ll be able to monitor them from within the wallet. You’ll also be able to use all Ethereum related functionality.

“If you have transactions to make around late November,” he adds, “we suggest you buy some Ether in our wallet today.”

 

Author: Josiah Wilmoth on 16/10/2017

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
Davkid Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Beijing, China

It’s a sweltering summer night when I’m invited to join a bitcoin miner from Shenzhen at a “bitcoin club” somewhere in downtown Beijing. I’ve just returned from visiting one of the world’s largest bitcoin mines and find myself at a gathering of cryptocurrency enthusiasts at a craft beer brewery in the Sanlitun nightlife district.

I excuse myself from the bitcoin meetup and resort to jumping in a pirate taxi because I don’t have a mobile wallet from Alibaba or Tencent—the primary way to hail and pay for taxis in the city. After paying in cash—now a rarity in China’s mobile payment saturated cities—I disembark, then get lost amid Beijing’s ancient hutongs, the narrow alleyways that link China’s traditional courtyard residences.

My host puts me out of my misery by sharing his location on a real-time map over our WeChat direct messages. Now drenched in sweat, I meet Jack Liao, who runs a bitcoin mining firm called Lightning Asic. He leads me through a dark hutong, coming to a set of carved wooden double-doors. Pushing them open, we enter into the courtyard of a palatially renovated villa. This is my first look at the elusive “bitcoin club.”

The club is located in a 2,000-square-foot villa with a staff of 15, including cooks, cleaners, and wait people. It has two guest rooms, a dining room that hosts two dozen people, a professional Texas Hold ‘Em table emblazoned with the legend, “Faith in Bitcoin,” an automated mahjong table; shelves stacked with fine wine and liquor, a room for practicing Chinese caligraphy, and so on. The table stakes are bitcoin, AliPay credits, and sometimes even yuan, the only non-virtual currency accepted. Guests can sleep, eat, drink, and gamble for free if they’re acquainted with the miners who run the place. “People come here just to chat about projects,” Liao says.

The eye-popping villa bankrolled by bitcoin mining is a symbol of just how lucrative the cryptocurrency industry has been for some on the Chinese mainland. China is home to the world’s largest bitcoin mines, thanks to abundant and cheap electricity, and at one time the country accounted for 95% of the volume traded in global markets. Its central bank is experimenting with a blockchain-backed digital currency, and its biggest companies, from tech giants to industrial conglomerates, are racing to bake blockchain tech into major new projects.

All this points to a central question: How did stateless cryptocurrencies get so big in China, a country where the national currency—along with so much else—remains tightly controlled by the government? Why has bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, flourished with so much vigor here in China? A two-week journey through bitcoin trading operations in Shanghai, mining operations in Inner Mongolia, and the club in Beijing hasn’t answered the question definitely—but it’s gotten me much closer.

Bitcoin is a political statement

Bitcoin began as an experiment in economics and politics, as a project to create electronic money that anyone could use but no one controlled, especially a sovereign authority. The code behind the new currency gave life to libertarian ideals like: money free from government controls on spending and taxation; transactions that could ignore a global, sometimes corrupt banking system; and freedom from central bank targeting of interest rates and inflation. It was also rebuke to the very notion of conventional money.

Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, encoded a headline from the Times of London in the first block of transactions ever created on the bitcoin blockchain. It read: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Given bitcoin’s political bona fides, it’s a great irony that Chinese companies and individual users are so dominant in its daily activities. The world’s biggest bitcoin miner is a Beijing-based company called Bitmain, which operates two mining pools that control nearly 30% of all the processing power devoted to bitcoin mining. It might seem that Chinese bitcoiners are carrying out some kind of libertarian protest against China’s ruling communist party, subverting the status quo by processing cryptocurrency transactions towards a yet-to-be-revealed political end.

They aren’t.

“In China, bitcoin is one thing and in America and Europe it is another thing,” Liao said as we sipped tea from porcelain cups on the villa’s top floor. Our host, Wu Bi, explains there is no competition between cryptocurrencies and the government-controlled renminbi, at least as the government sees it. “In China our government says bitcoin is not a currency, it is a commodity, so there is no chance it will compete with the renminbi,” Wu told me in Chinese, with Liao translating. “Bitcoin is a great idea, but in China we care more about blockchain.”

Wu and his Chinese compatriots are focused not on the currency, but on the technology behind it. Blockchain is simply a technical way to record encrypted transactions that are distributed across a computer network; once entered they cannot be altered. Instead of using blockchain, or bitcoin, as a permissionless cryptocurrency, banks want to shoe-horn some of bitcoin’s features into current transaction systems to create a low-cost network that, crucially, would require administrators to grant users access. Those administrators, of course, would be banks, or central banks. “Different countries may have different ideas about what is government, and what is the liberty of individuals,” Wu says.

Bitcoin users I met in Beijing were similarly dismissive of bitcoin’s libertarian politics. They did not want to be named or quoted directly, but their argument was essentially this: People in China simply aren’t interested in bitcoin’s potential for political change. And besides, China’s closely controlled economy has delivered prosperity for now—what benefits does bitcoin bring besides as an investment that might appreciate?

Object of speculation

Ordinary Chinese bitcoin users I spoke to, and those who are served by the exchanges and wallet providers, are far more interested in the ability to speculate on bitcoin’s wild price swings—it’s just another way to make money as China continues to adopt characteristics of a market economy.

As it happens, bitcoin arrived just as a class of retail investors in China is growing in size, and seeking better returns than those offered by a restricted financial products market. Even the market for property in China’s top-tier coastal cities, usually reliable for spectacular returns, has been subjected to ever tightening lending restrictions by a government eager to curb speculation. “[Chinese consumers] have had such limited channels for so long, and [bitcoin] was finally one that was not tightly controlled by the government,” says Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow specializing in Chinese internet finance at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC.

One seasoned observer of the Chinese bitcoin scene concurs. Eric Zhao is n engineer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai and runs the widely followed Twitter account CN Ledger. Bitcoin became popular almost by default, because of the paucity of products for the Chinese retail investor, he says. “There are not many good investment choices for common people in China. Many people worry about inflation and lots of people feel insecure about their financial status,” he says. “They buy it simply because they believe it will appreciate in value.”

Uncorrelated to major asset classes and generally disconnected from the Chinese economy, bitcoin has been hugely attractive to Chinese investors already overweight domestic stocks and property. Indeed, research from Pantera Capital, a venture fund for blockchain companies, shows that bitcoin is almost completely uncorrelated to major equity, debt, and commodity asset classes. “Because [bitcoin] is globally connected, it’s not easily affected by the Chinese economy,” says Isaac Mao, a longtime entrepreneur and investor in China’s technology scene. “It may be the only economic activity fully connected to the global economy.”

Crackdown

The wild ride on bitcoin in China, however, braked to a stop Sept. 4, when China’s central bank began to take steps to halt domestic bitcoin trading. It started with a ban on “initial coin offerings,” followed by a shutdown of local bitcoin exchanges. China’s authorities have clamped down on bitcoin trading before, most notably in 2014, when the cryptocurrency was on a historic rally driven, in part, by Chinese money.

Now rumors are swirling that a ban on bitcoin mining may be enacted. But if the government has found bitcoin to be a potentially dangerous element in the country’s socio-political mix, why didn’t it crack down before? Instead, it has been relatively tolerant of a technology that was designed to weaken the state’s grip on money.

The rare true believer in bitcoin’s libertarian properties is Bobby Lee, an American who runs the world’s oldest bitcoin exchange, BTCC, in Shanghai. His firm was forced to shut down domestic trading through its BTCChina arm, although it still runs an exchange for non-Chinese traders. When we spoke before the crackdown in August, Lee was enthusiastic about government regulation, saying it would help the market mature. But he also struck a defiant note, saying that bitcoin’s design made it impossible for China’s regulators to shut down. “There is nothing [the Chinese government] can do. That is the beauty of [bitcoin],” he said.

I pointed out that the government could seize exchanges, and even bitcoin mining facilities, and compel their owners to run certain types of code or mess with transactions, thus damaging the cryptocurrency. Lee was sanguine. “They’ll want to control it, but bitcoin was not meant to be controlled,” he said. “You can make all the rules you want, and the question is, can they be enforced? With guns you can say, let’s make guns illegal. But with bitcoin, there’s nothing physical. It’s information, and there’s plausible deniability.”

The reality may be more prosaic. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are simply too small to bother the Chinese government much, says Isaac Mao, the investor and entrepreneur and one of China’s earliest bloggers. “The [Chinese Communist Party] doesn’t recognize it as a threat, so bitcoin actually grows very quickly in China,” he told me at a cafe in Hong Kong, where he is now based. “But it’s too small. There is no scale. The market capitalization of bitcoin is about the same as PayPal,” or about $70 billion.

I spoke to Mao in August, but the crackdown doesn’t signal any political threat, writes Chorzempa of the Peterson Institute. It’s more likely that bitcoin trading is just collateral damage from a wider set of restrictions on alternative financial products that have caused billions in consumer losses. Regulators have reigned in not just crypto trading but peer-to-peer loans, trusts, and lending to non-bank institutions this year, Chorzempa writes: “The clampdown thus fits into a broader set of efforts to lessen financial market risks perceived by Chinese policymakers.”

Everyone hates inflation

To the extent that bitcoin trading and mining is a political statement, it’s a demonstration against inflation. Prices in China grew rapidly in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, hitting their highest level in decades in 2007. Inflation has moderated since then, but ordinary Chinese say they still feel the pinch.

Bitmain’s Micree Zhang, who developed its proprietary mining chips, says worry about inflation chewing up his earnings was one reason why he first became interested in bitcoin. “Before I knew about bitcoin I disliked, and was very worried about, inflation. Especially in China in the last 10 years,” he said when I visited with him at Bitmain’s main facility in Inner Mongolia. “When I discovered bitcoin, I knew it was a good idea, very quickly.”

One bitcoin user I met in Beijing told me he was attracted to the cryptocurrency because the government couldn’t devalue it by printing more money, unlike the yuan. The Chinese government controls its currency far more tightly than other major economies.

This level of control can lead to panics. In 2015, the Chinese government devalued the yuan in an attempt to boost economic growth, sending shockwaves through global markets. While today the central bank’s move is seen as astute, at the time Chinese consumers were hit hard, worrying about paying more for everything from Australian beef to New Zealand milk.

Digging for digital gold

China has been the world’s largest electricity producer since it surpassed the United States in 2011. Cheap electricity is the crucial ingredient for a profitable bitcoin mining operation—and China has it in spades. So it’s no surprise that China has become a world center for the activity.

Take Beijing-based Bitmain, for instance. It’s the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, but the company doesn’t divulge its financial data, and there’s no easy way to find out because its beneficial owner is a trust in the Cayman Islands. But one longtime commentator in the bitcoin space, Jimmy Song, has performed an analysis of the firm’s likely profitability. His estimate: $77 million in mining profits for the firm this year, of which electricity and other operational costs come up to about $23 million.

It’s estimated that two-thirds of the world’s processing power devoted to mining bitcoin resides in China. These bitcoin mines take the form of giant warehouses filled with thousands of custom-designed machines and chips, all whirring away to check bitcoin transactions and compete for a slice of the 12.5 bitcoins awarded to a miner every 10 minutes. Collectively, bitcoin miners have collected more than $2 billion in revenue over the cryptocurrency’s nine-year lifespan.

Bitmain leads the pack as both a creator of bitcoin mining rigs and chips, and an operator of vast server farms. It’s now raised $50 million from marquee Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital to expand to the US—perhaps reducing its exposure to Chinese regulations—and to develop a new set of chips for artificial intelligence.
 

Sheer scale

Bitmain’s position as the world’s largest miner is only the tip of Chinese industrial interest on blockchain technology. Last May, a Chinese company called Wanxiang Group, one of the world largest automotive parts makers, sponsored a blockchain hackathon at the Deloitte offices in Rockefeller Center in New York. Wanxiang plans to embed blockchain technology into a new “smart city“—a nine square kilometer plot of land with a planned population of 90,000 people and $30 billion in investment—that it is building from scratch near Hangzhou in eastern China. It was looking for the world’s brightest blockchain developers.

Wanxiang was offering $15,000 to teams who came up with an enticing blockchain project for the smart city, with an additional $1 million in funding. As Wanxiang executive Peter Liang clicked through his slides detailing how blockchains would power everything from the city’s electricity grid to its traffic control system and be embedded in Wanxiang’s factories, the handful of programmers in the room grew both skeptical and awed. “It’s so huge, it’s hard to even believe,” one developer told him.

Wanxiang isn’t the only Chinese conglomerate with blockchain dreams. Beyond cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, some of China’s biggest firms are betting on the technical ideas behind it to revolutionize their businesses. They’re placing much bigger bets than their counterparts elsewhere in the world, who are mired in small-scale trials, proofs of concepts, or slow moving consortia. Chinese companies “are not only moving faster, but the scale of their blockchain ambitions dwarf what we’re seeing elsewhere,” says Garrick Hileman, of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The Chinese e-commerce giant JD has already launched a food supply tracking system using a blockchain in Beijing supermarkets and online stores. The tech giant Tencent has partnered with Intel to develop a blockchain architecture. And the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has said it’s researching blockchain technology as a way to potentially digitize the yuan.

Blockchains for industry

Unlike firms elsewhere in the world, Chinese companies sense an opportunity to unify the fragmented data flows flowing through their stupendously large and complicated factory floors and supply chains by marrying a blockchain data layer with Internet of Things devices. Conveniently, these applications are also free of the regulation and scrutiny that can slow down financial applications. “I personally believe that non-financial [applications] will go commercial sooner,” says Vincent Wang, Wanxiang’s chief innovation officer.

Foxconn, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers of electronics and best known for manufacturing Apple’s iPhone, sees blockchain as way for its suppliers to get easy financing. “In China, 85% of SMEs can’t get financing,” Foxconn executive Jack Lee told a conference in New York in May. “They have to go to shadow banking … so it’s very inefficient and costly.” If Foxconn can leverage its current data on small businesses through blockchain, it could create a highly efficient supply chain that could also track delivered goods.

Just as mobile phones allowed China and emerging economies to leapfrog the rich world’s telephone landlines, blockchain technologies could help its industries skip the development of antiquated financial services models. After all, Chinese tech firms Alibaba and Tencent are already processing trillions of dollars through their mobile payments businesses. “We are more interested in getting to a next-generation financial services business,” Foxconn’s Lee says. “That’s the key. As a side benefit for Foxconn, it will streamline the supply chain.”

Those kinds of observations make less worrisome the recent drop in China’s share of bitcoin trading volume as well as rumors on Telegram chat groups about an imminent crackdown on even China’s powerful bitcoin miners. Because Chinese money’s waning influence over the bitcoin markets may be replaced by control over an even greater prize.

As it continues to move from a rural to an industrial economy, China needs to leapfrog the incumbents and assert itself as a technology leader. Bitcoin and the ideas behind its blockchain may be one way to do that—and it may be why China has been a leader of a stateless cryptocurrency for so long.

 

Author: Joon Ian Wong

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
david ogden cryptocurrency entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Why Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be everywhere

Why Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be everywhere

Why Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be everywhere

Bitcoin, Ethereum and blockchain technologies are all the rage. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are raking in millions in mere minutes, and every day a new initiative is announced with ever-increasing hype.

With all of this going on, you’d expect cryptocurrencies to be mainstream fare, right?

Unfortunately, they’re not quite there — yet.

As of now, your grandma probably isn’t wagering Ethereum with her bridge buddies. Heck, even buying pizza with cryptocurrency sounds like science fiction. The fact of the matter is that for people outside of the hardcore crypto-enthusiast community, the whole idea is still mysterious.

This article will help you get a better grasp of the future of cryptocurrency. After you finish it, you’ll clearly see how these technologies are poised to join the mainstream.

So, when will this dizzying race come to an end? Is there real value in the blockchain craze? Can it possibly live up to the expectations created by so many rivers of newsprint?

Below, you’ll find answers to all of these questions and more.
 

The true potential of blockchain technology

As it turns out, distributed blockchain ledgers do have a future.

Not only can they reduce skyrocketing IT costs, but the promise of faster, less-expensive financial transactions has the potential to accelerate growth in a host of industries.

With this great potential comes some bad news, though … you won’t see these possibilities become a reality until the technology becomes useful in the real world.

uber

What will this look like exactly? Well, when you can pay for a ride to a cafe and buy a coffee in crypto — without needing a master’s degree, mind you — its use will be pretty standard.

When crypto goes mainstream transactions won’t be measured in millions of dollars, but trillions.

The explosion of the global sharing economy illustrates how cryptocurrency can go mainstream.

Several companies are already changing the way things are done in this sector. They’re taking products and services that are already in existence and turning them into economic opportunities for millions of people.

In their industry, Uber and Lyft have transformed the way the world thinks about traveling by car. They’ve also empowered people who couldn’t otherwise find work to generate income.

With these businesses, it’s easy for drivers to get started, and they can work on their terms. Due to these reasons and more, Uber and Lyft have taken off like wildfire.

Air B&B

Airbnb also challenges the status quo to provide worldwide accommodations for its users. Not only has it reinvented the way people think about traveling, but it’s been an absolute game-changer when it comes to bringing more money into various communities.

Currently, initiatives like Open Money are laying the foundational groundwork so that software developers can make the vision of universal cryptocurrency acceptance possible. Their platform provides the technological infrastructure that will integrate cryptocurrency transactions into practical, everyday applications.

At the end of the day, companies like Uber and Lyft don’t just change the way we think about the world — they change the world. When it comes to cryptocurrency, companies like Open Money will significantly expand the acceptance of cryptocurrencies by facilitating their incorporation into the software people are already using.
 

Can cryptocurrency acceptance in consumer apps open the floodgates?

Now all of this sounds pretty amazing, but what is needed to bring this vision to reality?

Companies will need to develop strategies that are based on proven market principles to succeed. Namely, they’ll need to empower app developers from all over the world to quickly and easily integrate cryptocurrencies into their applications.

The booming consumer applications market is the ideal starting point for bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. According to a recent research study by We Are Social, more than half of the world’s population now connects to the internet with a smartphone, generating over 50 percent of all internet traffic.

Overall, 3.5 billion people around the globe consistently use mass-market consumer software.

around the world

The real motor of consumer software lies in the hands of software developers. All around the globe, these individuals are innovating solutions that engage their users in powerful ways.

Unfortunately, they don’t currently have the tools they need to make this possible.

Though others are likely to follow in its footsteps, Open Money is the first initiative to provide a state-of-the-art REST API, SDKs and industry best practices designed to facilitate blockchain integration.

Built by developers and for developers, with this solution, it won’t be necessary to start from scratch. Instead, they can leverage an established infrastructure to transition their currently successful apps into the cryptocurrency market, finally enabling you to pay for your pizza in cryptocurrency.

“We want to be the catalyst that takes blockchain technology and puts it in the hands of billions of people around the world. By empowering developers of all sizes to harness the true potential of this amazing technology, we will be contributing to a world that is more efficient, equitable and productive. That’s what the Open initiative is all about,” explained Ken Sangha, COO of Open Money.

The Opportunity

Cryptocurrency is on the brink of change. Soon, app developers from around the globe will empower everyone — including grandparents— to use cryptocurrency with ease. (Nostalgia: $12 checks written by older folks will soon be a thing of the past, so get your cryptowallet ready.) If they succeed, they’ll create a new market that’ll change the economic system forever.

 

by NATHAN RESNICK

 

Posted by David Ogden

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrpreneur

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

1,000 Universities: IBM’s Ambitious Plan to Fill Vacant Blockchain Jobs

There's a staffing problem in the blockchain industry: simply, there are too many open positions and too few blockchain specialists.

Now, to help meet that rapidly increasing demand, IBM is partnering with Baruch College, Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and the University of British Columbia to establish a series of grants, design blockchain curricula and more.

In addition, IBM has added new blockchain resources to it's IBM Academic Initiative, an ambitious effort that opens resources from the global tech giant to 1,000 universities.

But while unique in its sheer scope, IBM's new push is just the latest in a series of efforts around the world to train new blockchain industry talent.

Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain, described the results of a beta release of the program to CoinDesk:

"We’ve already gotten some very, very positive responses."

Hands-on learning

Wieck also revealed details about how the programs will leverage IBM's technology.

To start with, IBM Blockchain Platform, the firm's proprietary distributed ledger technology, will form a part of the university curriculum, and will be made accessible for students.

Further, universities that participate in the projects will receive six months access to IBM Cloud and use of the IBM Blockchain cloud sandbox.

And it's becoming increasingly easy to see how such skills would be put to use by graduates of the courses.

The announcement comes on the same day that IBM formally launched its IBM Blockchain Platform, a food supply chain consortium with Walmart and other major firms on board, and revealed the first ever startup accelerator aimed at investing in startups building with Hyperledger Fabric.

Student lockers image via Shutterstock

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

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Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Get started in cryptocurrency with this beginner’s directory

Get started in cryptocurrency with this beginner's directory

Get started in cryptocurrency with this beginner’s directory

The wonderful world of cryptocurrency has grown from a budding idea to a full-fledged market bonanza. Hopefully you’re savvy to the terminology and ready to start putting your money where your technology is. This directory should provide you with the basic starting points to begin building your fortune in digital money.

(Don’t forget that cryptocurrency is an investment, and you shouldn’t trust your finances to an article you read on a news-source. We strongly advise contacting a financial adviser before risking your money.)

Bitcoin was founded in 2009. It represented the first decentralized cryptocurrency. It’s the oldest, and, as of August 17th it reached an all-time high of over $4,500. Just six months prior it was worth about $900. While you’re trying to wrap your head around that, keep in mind Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency.

How many cryptocurrency offerings are there? Over 850 are currently listed on CoinMarketCap. Before you decide which one to blow your speculation money on, make sure you have all your crypto-ducks in a row.

You need a wallet

Before you can buy into an initial coin offering (ICO), purchase cryptocurrency, or execute smart-contracts you’ll need a wallet. There are hardware wallets and software wallets; for now we’re only going to worry about software wallets.

Here’s a few to start you off:

  1. Blockchain – possibly the most popular cryptocurrency wallet

  2. Electrium – has been around since 2011

  3. Gemini – boasts regulation by New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS).

Buy an established coin

You don’t have to start off trying to predict which ICO is the best investment. There are numerous ways to aquire cryptocurrency from an established coin. Here are some of our favorite coins to get your research started:

  1. Bitcoin – The big one. If you’ve got $4,000+ to fork out for a Bitcoin you can get in on the over/under $5,000 action. For what it’s worth there are experts on both sides of that fence.

  2. Ethereum – Things get a little more complicated here, but worth listing as a currency simply because ETH is second only to Bitcoin in popularity.

  3. Litecoin – Launched in 2011 billing itself the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold”.

  4. Bitcoin Cash – Bitcoin managed to fork itself and now there’s this.

  5. Siacoin – Sometimes cryptocurrency comes in the form of cloud storage.

  6. World Coin Index — provides a great listing to check valuations out

  7. Coin Market Cap — another listing of coin valuations

Or just find an ICO and dive in

Which is easier said than done. It seems like there’s an ICO for everything. We’re hesitant to even list any here, simply because you should research an ICO much more in-depth than would be prudent for the purpose of this directory. However, we’re happy to provide some links that might help:

  1. Coin Schedule – provides analysis on current and upcoming ICOs

  2. Smith and Crown – A curated list of ICOs

  3. ICO List – One of the most popular international sites concerning ICOs

It’s time to hit the exchange

Depending on which coin you’re investing in you’ll either visit an exchange, or use whatever method of purchase or trade the offering requires. You may be able to set up an online store that accepts Bitcoin or ETH, for example. Or perhaps you know someone who will sell you some. One of the most common ways to get cryptocurrency is to visit an exchange.

  1. Coinbase – probably the most popular exchange there is

  2. Kraken – you’ll find this one is well-reviewed by insiders

  3. Bittrex – US based and supports nearly 200 cryptocurrencies

  4. Buy Bitcoin Worldwide— provides country-specific exchange information

The above links should provide you with enough information to get you started on a path to dominate the cryptocurrency markets and become rich beyond fantasy. Or you could lose a bunch of money.

by TRISTAN GREENE — 13 hours ago in EVERGREEN

 

Posted by David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Shopping Mall Bans Bitcoin and Ether Mining as Merchants Run Up Bills

Article Posted on Coindesk:  Aug 7, 2017, at 10:00 UTC by Wolfie Zhao

An electronics retail marketplace in South Korea has reportedly taken the unusual step of banning vendors from mining Bitcoin in their stores.

Yongsan Market, based in Seoul, has told merchants that they aren't allowed to mine cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin and ether, specifically – because of electrical costs, rising temperatures and the risk of fire, according to Korea Economic Daily.

According to the report, the Yongsan Market's management has also warned merchants that the subsequent jump in electricity costs will be added to their bills.

The unusual decision is notable given the size of the market (the site boasts thousands of retail storefronts) and is a reflection of the growing popularity of small-scale cryptocurrency mining, of ether especially. As such, it's perhaps unsurprising that some vendors – particularly those that sell the graphics cards needed to mine cryptocurrencies – are using their own products to reap additional income.

Still, the incident comes at a time when the country is starting to demonstrate an increasing interest in cryptocurrencies.

According to Coin Market Cap data, the Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is now ranked first in terms of trading volume across global platforms, amassing a total of over $342 million in the last 24 hours. 
—————————-
A low-cost mining opportunity is available at in the USA. Check out the Firstmover Product Offer at http://bitqyck.me/389978

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

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

Bitcoin Cash: Why It’s Forking the Blockchain And What That Means

 

Bitcoin's scaling debate finally seems to be shaking out,

but some users aren't happy with the results. After a few years of debate, it was perhaps to be expected that at least some were going to come away empty-handed. Controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x tried to remedy this by joining two code change ideas – the code optimization Segregated Witness (SegWit) and a block size increase. Today, SegWit is just a couple of steps away from activating on bitcoin, but some bitcoin users are unhappy about the outcome.

Others who originally backed the Segwit2x proposal appear to be losing confidence in an eventual block size increase and are now taking matters into their own hands by making their own version of bitcoin – and they're doing so on a short timeline. On August 1, at precisely 12:20 UTC, the group claims that they will split off from bitcoin, creating a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash. Developer Calin Culianu, who's contributing code to an implementation of Bitcoin Cash, is one user who doesn't like SegWit, suspecting that others feel the same way.

Culianu told CoinDesk:

”If the Segwit2x agreement fails to implement the 2x part, which is not entirely unreasonable, and only ends up being being basically SegWit without the 2x, many miners will likely defect to Bitcoin Cash."

What is Bitcoin Cash?

So, what is it? And how does it differ from bitcoin? There are two main changes of note:

  • It increases the block size to 8 MB.
  • It removes SegWit, a code change that might activate on the bitcoin blockchain by the end of August.

Some, including a few of the project's supporters, call Bitcoin Cash an "altcoin," a term that usually denotes a fork of the software that creates a new cryptocurrency, with its own market. Indeed, the cryptocurrency is currently trading at $461, meaning it's worth about 18% of bitcoin's current price of $2,568, in an already-open futures market. Unlike other altcoins, though, Bitcoin Cash's transaction history would be the same as bitcoin's – at least up until the point of the split. So, if and when Bitcoin Cash splits off, users would have bitcoin on both blockchains.

Another difference is the project says it will support multiple implementations of its software, a move that's not surprising given the criticism that Bitcoin Core's software is too dominant on the bitcoin network. BitcoinABC is the first software to implement the Bitcoin Cash protocol, but the goal is for there to be many implementations. Culianu said that both Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Classic, other implementations that aim to increase bitcoin’s block size, are working on a version compatible with Bitcoin Cash. These might or might not be ready for August 1.

Who's involved?

So far, most bitcoin companies, mining pools, users and bitcoin developers seem uninterested in the effort. Yet, there are some eager supporters.Beijing-based mining firm ViaBTC, which boasts roughly 4% of bitcoin’s computing power, is the clear ringleader. The firm, which also operates an exchange, has become the first to list the cryptocurrency and also has plans to launch a new mining pool dedicated solely to Bitcoin Cash. (Though, so far, it's not clear how much of its 4% mining hashrate it will commit to the effort.) Asked if he believed Segwit2x would fulfill its roadmap, CEO Haipo Yang responded: "I doubt it."

Further, Bitcoin Cash has attracted support from some users who want a block size increase, as well as developers of other proposals such as Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited. What might be more surprising, though, is who's not involved. Even former supporters, including mining firms Bitcoin.com and Bitmain, seem hesitant to back the effort. For now, they remain committed to controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x. Mining company Bitmain even inspired Bitcoin Cash. Yet, the firm said that they only planned on going through with making the switch under certain conditions. Still, the firm might support both Segwit2x and Bitcoin Cash in the future.

In a PSA statement, Bitcoin.com said that it will allow miners in its pool to choose if they want to mine the Bitcoin Cash token BCC. For now, though, it will mine on Segwit2x chain, though it said it "will immediately shift all company resources to supporting Bitcoin Cash exclusively" if the block size increase part of SegWit, scheduled for roughly three months from now, falls through.

Wait, but why?

There are a few reasons users and mining pools might like to break off from bitcoin:

  • These users want an increase in bitcoin's block size parameter, and believe that the cryptocurrency's future depends on it.
  • SegWit is likely going to activate soon and some users want to avoid the feature.
  • There's a possibility that Segwit2x's block size parameter increase will ultimately fall through.

This mix of ideological and technical reasons was also on display in conversations with users. When asked by CoinDesk what BitcoinABC's goal is,

Culianu responded:

"To save bitcoin. We want to scale bitcoin up so that it won't die. It's already a bit sick and dying."

What's different here?

Many other efforts over the last couple of years have said they would split off from bitcoin, if they gained enough support from those operating the computers that secure the network. But, to date, no group has actually carried through with this plan so far. Bitcoin Cash might be unique in that it's actually committing to a deadline to split bitcoin into two, and that deadline is less than a week away.

If miners and users indeed go ahead with the split, it would mark the first time a cryptocurrency split off from bitcoin, carrying with it bitcoin’s transaction history. Like past efforts intended to replace the bitcoin used today with a new bitcoin, however, Bitcoin Cash has the same goal, but it seems willing to wait and see if users join the effort. Rather than call it bitcoin, ViaBTC, as well as a group of bitcoin companies in China, signed an agreement to label it a "competitive currency," not the "real" bitcoin. The move could set up the split to happen more quickly, as in the past exchanges have expressed confusion over how to handle a fork.

What's next?

If a new cryptocurrency splits off from the main bitcoin network, it will mark a first. So, some users are curious to see what happens. Still, without much support from miners and users, it might not end up having that much of an impact on the course of the main network. Nonetheless, it might if be worth watching if the second half of Segwit2x falls through. That's when it might see some more supporters.

Culianu, for example, concluded on an optimistic note:

”My secret gut feeling is Bitcoin Cash may surprise all of us. It is not entirely impossible that it will be the de-facto bitcoin after a few months. The much roomier 8 MB block space is attractive."

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Wall Street stunned over AMD’s blowout results due to cryptocurrency mining demand

Wall Street stunned over AMD’s blowout results due to cryptocurrency mining demand

  • Wall Street is surprised over AMD's strong earnings and guidance due to digital currency mining demand for its graphics cards.
  • AMD shares have rallied 102 percent through Tuesday in the previous 12 months compared with the S&P 500's 14 percent return.
  • That performance ranks No. 4 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet.

Investors are mesmerized with AMD's impressive second quarter

as cryptocurrency mining demand drove the company's financial results above Wall Street's expectations. The chipmaker reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and guidance Tuesday. Its shares surged more than 10 percent in after-hours trading following the report and were up more than 9 percent in early regular trading Wednesday.

"AMD turned in a solid beat to our and consensus estimates as the company's new Ryzen desktop CPU ramped into production and GPU demand outstripped supply," Stifel analyst Kevin Cassidy wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. "While management wasn't specific on how much, the GPU revenue upside was driven by cryptocurrency applications."
AMD shares have rallied 102 percent through Tuesday in the previous 12 months compared with the S&P 500's 14 percent return. That performance ranks No. 4 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet. Cryptocurrency miners use graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia to "mine" new coins, which can then be sold or held for future appreciation. AMD traditionally has a better reputation for mining cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum cryptocurrency is up over 2,400 percent year-to-date through Wednesday, while Bitcoin is up about 160 percent this year, according to data from industry website CoinDesk. In June, AMD shares jumped after the company told CNBC that the dramatic rise in digital currency prices has driven demand for its graphics cards. At the time, major computer hardware retailers had sold out of AMD's recently launched RX 570 and RX 580 models. Digital currency mining was the key topic during AMD's earnings conference call with Wall Street Tuesday evening. Analysts asked company management three times for clarification on the magnitude and sustainability of cryptocurrency mining demand.

One analyst noted the company is working to mitigate future downside risk and is not incorporating continued digital currency mining outperformance in its guidance. "Crypto mining helped stimulate demand for AMD GPUs in Q2, which we think could translate to a risk should cryptocurrency values decline, AMD is working to manage the crypto risk by targeting supply to the core GPU gaming market, and working with some of its AIB [add in board] partners to offer specific feature sets to segment the market between gaming & mining," Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis wrote Wednesday. "AMD is not including upside from mining in its outlook."

Lipacis reiterated his buy rating on the company and raised his price target to $19 from $16, representing 35 percent upside from Tuesday's close. To be sure, some analysts are still skeptical on AMD after its big run. "We were surprised at the aftermarket reaction for the stock," Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore wrote Wednesday. "We continue to be somewhat cynical on the long term intrinsic value of the stock, despite being excited about Zen and maintaining numbers that are above the Street. As street numbers start to catch up, absolute valuation levels are going to matter more." Moore reiterated his equal-weight rating and $11 price target for AMD shares.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member