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Coinbase Hopes For Cryptocurrency’s ‘Netscape Moment’ With New App, Token

Coinbase Hopes For Cryptocurrency's 'Netscape Moment' With New App, Token

“Digital currency right now is having its Netscape moment” declared Coinbase chief executive Brian Armstrong at the Ethereal Summit, in Brooklyn, in a presentation about the cryptocurrency company’s most recent product, Token, “a messaging app with money baked in.” Speaking at the Ethereum-focused day-long conference featuring players in the decentralized web, Armstrong said that the Ethereum-based Token, in developer preview and unveiled a month ago, has four main features that show off the potential for innovation in blockchain-based products. First, it enables payments “in every country in the world from day 1,” he said. Plus, the payments are international. The users themselves, as opposed to financial institutions, are in control of the money they put in it. And the platform has its own reputation system, which Armstrong compared to a FICO score, “so you know who and which applications and people you can trust.”

Finally, Token can be used to make payments to apps. For instance, a Mechanical Turk-type app could enable users to do discrete tasks for small payments, but the workers could then be paid in actual money instead of in Amazon gift cards, which is how non-U.S. workers on Mechanical Turk are paid. Armstrong also envisions that Token, which is based on Ethereum, will host apps ranging from currency exchanges to marketplaces, remittance services to lenders,

advice services to cell phone top up providers.

Armstrong’s bold comparison of Token to Netscape,

the first widely popular web browser indicates the company’s hope that Token gains widespread consumer adoption. To begin, Coinbase, which so far has offered its services in developed countries such as the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Singapore, plans to promote Token in the developing world. Later this year, Armstrong will travel to Nigeria to foster development on the platform.

The comparison to Netscape also suggests Armstrong’s hope that Token ushers in a new stage of evolution in the industry, to a phase in which more consumers interact with blockchains and cryptocurrency but are not necessarily aware that they are doing so. Coinbase’s timing has historically been right. The startup began attracting a following in 2012 in what was then the tiny bitcoin community for making it safe and simple to buy bitcoin with your bank account. In 2015, responding to growing institutional interest in cryptocurrency, it launched Coinbase Exchange since renamed Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), for professional traders.

Now the company is trying to help the industry mature beyond these basic building blocks of a blockchain-based world to have more consumer-facing offerings. In its development of Token, the company created a new protocol called Simple Open Financial Application that makes it easier for developers to build apps for a platform such as Token. In the past, a well-known bitcoin developer who attempted to build a simple bitcoin app spent eight months to get it to work, whereas a developer using SOFA got an app up and running in eight hours. “If it’s that much easier to build these applications, we’re going to see several orders of magnitude more applications being created,” he said, comparing SOFA to the development of simple web programming languages like html and Javascript. He then invited developers to participate in a hackathon beginning June 3 to build applications for Token.

Because Token is more like a web browser than an app store, Armstrong says Coinbase will not be vetting apps that list on Token, though it will be choosing which ones to feature. When asked how the company would deal with apps that are, say, stealing people’s money, he compared it to how the web browser Google Chrome will warn a user if it thinks a site they’re trying to visit has malware or otherwise looks suspicious. “I’m not saying we have zero responsibility,” he told Forbes, adding that Token is not like an app store. “We want to educate users about what they’re using, and if they’re going to do something dangerous, make sure they really know what they’re doing.”

The company, which has raised $110 million from investors incumbents such as the New York Stock Exchange, USAA and BBVA, does not currently have plans to make money from Token though Armstrong said it could lend itself to some possible business models down the line, such as charging for pro features or for usage above a certain number of transactions a month. In his presentation, referring to a popular Chinese messaging app, he called Token “a WeChat for the other 180 countries in the world” and said that it would be like putting a bank in the pockets of every person in the world, which, according to McKinsey, said that financial services on mobile phones could add $3.7 trillion to the GDP of emerging economies within a decade. It's an ambitious goal, but a fitting one for a company whose mission is to "create an open financial system for the world."

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx secures more than 70 new partners and integrations

Cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx secures more than 70 new partners and integrations

  

Decentral, a Toronto-based innovation hub for decentralized and blockchain technologies,

today announced that its flagship product, Jaxx, a leading user-controlled, multi-asset, multi-platform digital currency wallet, and exchange, has secured more than 70 new partners and integrations. These integrations and partnerships will help bolster Jaxx’s objective to create a unified, cross-platform experience for all blockchain assets and become the ultimate command center for all things blockchain. Just as the browser unleashed the power of the Internet, Jaxx aims to be the tool that brings digital currencies and digital assets to the masses.

We are bringing together all facets of the blockchain ecosystem with Jaxx to provide a universal interoperable interface so that non-technical people, like my dad, can easily use these decentralized technologies. Simple tools and intuitive UI / UX will bring adoption to the masses and assist all projects and companies.
Anthony Di Iorio, Founder and CEO of Decentral & Jaxx

According to the official release, the following partners will integrate with the Jaxx universal key management system and backend blockchain infrastructures to create a simple point of entry into various areas of blockchain technology – including user-controlled payments and exchange, identity, communications, value movement, privacy, smart contracts, document signing, and decentralized storage: RSK Labs, BitPay, Coinbase, Purse.io, Bittrex, Blockchain Capital, BitGo, Civic, Changelly, Trezor, Ledger Wallet, Opendime by Coinkite, QTUM, Coinfabrik, Signatura, Wall of Coins, and Bitnovo.

We’re excited to partner with the like-minded team at Jaxx who are making it easy for users to securely manage and transfer their blockchain assets.
Bill Shihara, CEO of Bittrex.com

Future Coin and Token Addition Roadmap

Jaxx also today announced that it will be working with teams and communities from Ripple, Monero, Tether, Stellar Lumens, PIVX, Factom, Steem, NEM, QTUM, Bytecoin, Bitshares, MardSafeCoin, Siacoin, Waves, Lisk, Omni, Stratus, GameCredits, Ardor, SingularDTV, Round, Decred, NXT, Byteball, DigiByte, FirstBlood, IExec RLX, Emercoin, Syscoin, Etheroll, Komodo, Namecoin, Storjcoin, Chronobank, Melonport, WeTrust, Counterparty, TokenCard, Matchpool, Edgeless, Xaurum, CreditBit, MonaCoin, NovaCoin, RubyCoin, Bitcrystals, BitShares, BlackCoin, Expanse, Gulden, Namecoin, NAV Coin, NEM, Peercoin, PotCoin, Tezos and Wings among others to bring more projects into Jaxx across all platforms and devices. These new tokens and coins join Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Augur, Golem, Gnosis, DigixDAO, Iconomi, Zcash, Dogecoin, RSK Testnet, and Blockchain Capital to make Jaxx the most versatile, non-custodial wallet with a built-in crypto-exchange available.

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

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

The $80 billion question: Why are Bitcoin and Ethereum growing so fast?

The $80 billion question: Why are Bitcoin and Ethereum growing so fast?

 

A little over two months ago, Bitcoin achieved a symbolic milestone: After an intensive period of growth, the price of one Bitcoin surpassed the price of an ounce of gold. That seems like ancient history. The price of Bitcoin has nearly doubled since then and the cryptocurrency is currently trading at about $2,200. Bitcoin's cousin Ethereum is trading at about $180, its price increasing by a cool 1400% in the last three months. But is the rally over, or has it only just begun? And what has propelled the explosive growth in the first place? In the world of cryptocurrencies, answering these questions is anything but easy. 

A new breed of cryptocurrencies

To start, it's important to understand that Bitcoin, while still the biggest cryptocurrency around, is not the only — arguably not even the biggest — driver of growth anymore. According to Coinmarketcap, the total vale of all major cryptocurrencies put together now stands at around $79 billion. Bitcoin accounts for less than half of that, with a $35 billion market cap, while Ethereum and Ripple have grown to $17 and $13 billion, respectively. 

A couple of years ago, one Bitcoin was worth a little over a hundred dollars. Now, it broke the $2,000 barrier and is growing like a weed.The digital coin market cap is a frequently quoted number that means nothing and everything, depending on your viewpoint. If you believe that Bitcoin will ultimately replace money, then $35 billion is pocket change. But it may never happen, and even if it does, Bitcoin might be left behind. 

Bitcoin is still by far the most promising as both a digital currency and a payment platform. But the new breed of digital coins are very different. Litecoin, an early Bitcoin competitor, has once again taken the spotlight after having recently adopted SegWit, a software update that solves the scaling problem that has been dividing Bitcoin's community for years. Ethereum is a modern cryptocurrency which promises advanced features such as smart contracts. It wants to become a blockchain-based foundation for what is essentially a new type of internet. How's that for ambition?

The value of (digital) money

When the price of a commodity or a stock rises, you can usually point to some sort of reason. When Apple has a good quarter, its stock price generally goes up. When catastrophe strikes, uncertainty in global markets typically increases demand for what are viewed as safer investments such as gold, propelling prices upward. But in the world of Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency that doubles as a decentralized payment system, you've got a lot less to go on. A lot of the recent Bitcoin news wasn't good. In April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined a bid by the Winklevoss brothers to get their Bitcoin ETF listed on the Bats BZX exchange. The move would have made it far easier for the average investor to speculate on the future of Bitcoin. 

And over the last couple of years, the Bitcoin community has been bitterly divided over a question on whether the size of blocks on the cryptocurrency's blockchain — the fundamental technology upon which the Bitcoin protocol relies — should be increased or not (read a simple explanation of the block size debate here). Still, the price of Bitcoin went from roughly $400 to more than $2000 in a year, and other cryptocurrencies followed suit. Why?

So what's happening?

Cryptocurrency experts we've contacted say developments in Japan are the likely cause for this latest price surge. "The Japanese have given bitcoin the green light as a currency and are looking to increase the rigour that their exchanges are subject to," said Charles Haytar, CEO of market analysis platform CryptoCompare. On a purely technical level, the current price differences in the Japanese markets and elsewhere offer the possibility of arbitrage, Hayter claims, but there's a great deal of plain old greed going on, too. 

The price difference in Japan and other markets offer the possibility of arbitrage, and some traders are taking advantage. "Lots of inexperienced investors are surging into the market, and it's causing a bit of a bubble," said Hayter. Jörg von Minckwitz, CEO of blockchain-based payment service Bitwala, points out that Ethereum has seen additional growth due to the rise of ICO (initial coin offering) based projects. In other words, to invest in a new project, you have to buy into Ethereum.

"Many crypto projects raise money from the community to develop their projects and most of them use ETH to raise money. ETH set a standard, so it is way easier to start with ETH. The result is that many people buy ETH to be able to invest in the projects and many of the ICO projects hold the money afterwards in ETH. That drives the price up," he told Mashable. None of this, however, explains the fact that a lot of the growth happened before the developments in Japan and the onset of multi-million Ethereum-based projects. It also doesn't give us a much better idea of realistic value of one Bitcoin or one Ether. Go to any Bitcoin-related community, and you'll see price predictions ranging from $40,000 to zero. 

While that second prediction sounds dramatically pessimistic, consider this: Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile. The price of Bitcoin, for example, slumped from more than a $1,100 in Dec. 2013 to less than $200 in Jan. 2015. The most recent rise in price is not permanent. Experts agree that cryptocurrencies rely heavily on user adoption, and however crazy the market may look like now, it's still early days for cryptocoins. Right now, it's easy to raise $10 million or $20 million for your Ethereum-based business, and

more businesses will flock to seize the opportunity. 

Ten years from now, will we be receiving our paychecks in fiat, or Bitcoins?

And while wide adoption of Bitcoin as a payment platform is happening at a relatively slow pace, trading cryptocurrencies has gotten a lot easier in recent years. Exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, and BitStamp now let you turn dollars and euros into BTC and ETH. This has definitely propelled some of the market's growth; when you see something increase in value tenfold within a month, you want to be a part of the action. The question is: how far will the price go? 

Is it time to dive in, or rush out?

Predicting the price changes in any market is tough; the old advice from the likes of Warren Buffett says you should put your money in a stock index fund and let the experts trade, as the short-term movements of the market are incredibly difficult to predict.

When I started writing this article on Friday, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies was $63 billion. It took one weekend for the market to add $16 billion in value.

It's even tougher to predict a highly volatile market such as cryptocurrencies. Add to that the relative youth of all the exchanges you can trade on, and the dangers are even bigger: If the price of Bitcoin starts falling rapidly, don't count on stop-loss measures to save you from impending doom.  Both Hayter and von Minckwitz agree that in short-term the prices in the cryptocurrency markets are overvalued, but they are positive about long-term growth. Hayter is a bit more pessimistic, though, comparing some of the Ethereum-based ICOs to the South Sea Bubble (referring to the British South Sea Company, whose stock price rose sharply in the early 18th century before it collapsed). 

"I would not advise anyone to buy (cryptocoins) right now. I’m worried that the lack of rationality at this point might hurt the market," said Hayter. For an illustration of this lack of rationality, consider this: When I started writing this article on Friday, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies was $63 billion. It took one weekend for the market to add $16 billion in value. Eat that, Uber. That said, one way to look at cryptocurrencies is to read up, and make an informed decision on their long-term prospects. Is Bitcoin just a fad? If so, it might already be overrated. But if you think that this technology could change the way money — or the entire Internet — works, there's plenty room for growth in the future.

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Ethereum’s Price Briefly Surpasses $200 as Bitcoin Soars past $2,100

Ethereum’s Price Briefly Surpasses $200 as Bitcoin Soars past $2,100

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have a hard time figuring out

which chart to look at first right now. Bitcoin is seeing significant gains, pushing the price to new heights over $2,100. Ethereum is on a massive tear as well, rocketing to the $200 mark overnight. There is so much action going on, it is hard to say what we can expect next. Always be careful when buying at the top, though, as cryptocurrency volatility can cause an immediate reversal at times.

Everything is Booming In Crypto

It is rather uncommon to see so many things go up in value at the same time in the cryptocurrency world. Not too long ago, a Bitcoin price increase would often lead to alternative currencies plunging in value. That is no longer the case by any means. Instead, we now see major currencies go up simultaneously, as investors are scrambling to invest money in cryptocurrency right now.

To be more specific, the cryptocurrency market cap has undergone some major growth these past few weeks. About two weeks ago, we were still hovering between $40bn and $45bn. A more than respectable amount at that time, that much everyone could agree on. Bitcoin was the major cryptocurrency at that point, as it has the largest market cap. That has not changed all that much, despite the Bitcoin Dominance Index slowly reducing Bitcoin’s dominance to below the 50% threshold. Fast forward to today, and the cryptocurrency market cap sits at $79.665bn. That is nearly double the amount we were at not that long ago. A lot of people are still puzzled as to where this money is coming from, and more importantly, what is being invested in. Bitcoin’s recent price surge is a direct result of fresh capital, as it remains the top cryptocurrency in the world. With a market cap pushing toward US$37bn, no one can deny the success Bitcoin has had over the past few years.

However, Bitcoin is not the only top dog to keep an eye on these days. Ripple’s XRP asset has seen an influx of capital these past few weeks, although it is seemingly running out of steam once again. The most recent Litecoin bull run did not materialize either, despite a brief spike to a much higher price. Both of these investment opportunities may be rebound at any given time, though, but for now, they are both in consolidation mode. The biggest gains are made by Ethereum as of right now. Less than a week ago, one ETH was valued at just under $100. Today, it is worth just over $200, according to Coinmarketcap. That is a major change in value over the course of one week. Some experts even predict ETH will surpass the $500 mark by the end of the year. Quite a bold statement, but given the way things are evolving in cryptocurrency right now, anything can happen.

It was only a matter of time until Ethereum saw a major price outbreak, though. A lot of people felt this currency has been undervalued for quite some time now. It will be interesting to see how the ETH price evolves over the coming weeks and months. Reaching the $500 mark seems a long way away, but it is not unlikely it may happen. Then again, speculation is running wild during times like these. Always trade with caution, and do not get caught up in the hype.

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

BitConnect Coin Sees Massive Growth Amid a Surge in Adoption

BitConnect Coin Sees Massive Growth Amid a Surge in Adoption

Bitcoin Press Release: Cryptocurrency newcomer, BitConnect Coin (BCC) sees continued growth after announcing previous records in value and market capitalization.

  

The UK-based Bitcoin startup,

BitConnect is witnessing continued growth of its BitConnect Coin cryptocurrency. The growth trend follows the company’s previously announced records in value and market capitalization during Q1 2017.

The open source, community driven P2P cryptocurrency only entered the market on the 11th of January 2017 but recorded a market capitalization of $10 million (USD) and a value of $2.00 (USD), within weeks of its initial listing on the popular ‘CoinMarketCap’. This growth saw the cryptocurrency breach the top 20 chart for alternative coins in total capitalization value for the first time. Since then, BitConnect Coin (BCC) has continued to soar and has continuously broken records in both value and market capitalization. On April 13, 2017, BCC recorded a market capitalization of just under $90 Million (USD) at a unit value of $15.01 which signifies a 900% growth in market capitalization and a 700% increase in value over a period of three months.

At the time of these records, BCC surpassed the long established LiteCoin (LTC) in terms of unit value and overtook the widely used Dogecoin (DOGE), in total market capitalization. BitConnect Coin’s exponential growth has been attributed to its rapid adoption and a strong community presence. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that require centralized exchange platforms, BitConnect can be traded directly between community members, which makes the selling of cryptocurrency much quicker and easier than some of its competitors. BitConnect’s Head of Development, Satao Nakamoto while describing the

cryptocurrency’s mission stated,

“BitConnect’s mission is to provide crypto-education and multiple investment opportunities to empower people financially. There are many features and functions to come in 2017. BitConnect’s mission is to become the leading crypto-community in the world when it comes to functionality and user base by the year 2020.”

BCC has been compared to Bitcoin in terms of growth and community consensus. But since its inception, the adoption and subsequent growth of BCC has been much faster. The current trends indicate that a continued growth at same pace will turn BitConnect Coin into a formidable cryptocurrency in the market, making it an ideal investment for cryptocurrency investors.

BitConnect is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency Market Cap Tops $60 Billion to Hit All-Time High

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

reached an all-time high today, passing $60bn as the innovative assets continued to draw robust inflows. This figure reached $63.6bn at one point during the day's trading, according to online data service CoinMarketCap, which represented a weekly, monthly and quarterly increase of roughly 18%, 115%, and 220%, respectively. While analysts cited different variables as fueling these gains, one factor they noted was growing awareness of cryptocurrencies, one that is finding them emerge as a more diverse set of investments than observed previously. Tim Enneking, chairman of cryptocurrency hedge fund Crypto Asset Management, spoke to this development,

stating:

"Cryptocurrencies are finally hitting the general consciousness whereas before they were marginal, with the possible exception of bitcoin."

As the assets draw "increased media coverage," Ryan Rabaglia, head trader for Octagon Strategy, told CoinDesk new investors are coming to space. The growing interest in the space is also being felt at his over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk, which has been seeing a rise in business activity. "Our onboarding rates have experienced a massive spike and our trading volumes, at mid-month, have already increased exponentially compared on a month-to-month basis. We do not see this quieting any time soon," he said. When asked whether his company has experienced an increase in this activity amid the recent rally in cryptocurrency prices, Harry Yeh, managing partner of Binary Financial,

told CoinDesk:

"There's definitely a larger demand, not just for bitcoin, but [for] everything across the board."

Where next?

As for where cryptocurrency prices (and therefore total market cap) will go next, analysts offered mixed views. While the total value (and number) of assets in this space has surged in recent months, it is difficult to tell how much further they can climb without developing compelling value propositions. Yeh offered an optimistic point of view, telling CoinDesk that "we are just getting started". "People still don't really understand that there is a lot more room for this to move because it's a global phenomenon now. Expect more moves up but also some pullbacks like in the last week," he said.

Jacob Eliosoff, a cryptocurrency fund manager, offered a more cautious stance, telling CoinDesk that the market was "reaching the frenzy point". He expressed doubt as to how much longer these values would hold, noting that while nobody knows for sure when a bubble will pop, there are always warning signs. Eliosoff stated that in this case, a "crackdown" on initial coin offerings (ICOs), the process by which developers create new cryptocurrencies to fund projects, would likely spur a downturn. He also asserted that should bitcoin prices see a downturn, the cryptocurrency space could see diminished confidence.

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

The Inventor of BitTorrent Plans His Own CryptoCurrency

The Inventor of BitTorrent Plans His Own CryptoCurrency

  

“I am gonna go make a cryptocurrency company,”

BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen told Steal This Show podcast host Jamie King. “That is my plan.” Mr. Cohen plans to release a cryptocurrency to address Bitcoin’s mining inefficiency when it comes to wasting energy. “There is a loophole,” Mr. Cohen notes. “You can get them to work with proofs-of-work, but then this involves these warehouses burning electricity. But there is a loophole in that, which is proof-of-storage.” Mr. Cohen believes this problem can be solved by using the extra storage space on computers.

“…Instead of computers burning electricity to mine, you have storage space that is implicitly mining because it’s sitting there, and proves it’s sitting there.” The storage space is already “sitting online not doing anything” on desktop computers and cloud offerings with extra storage capacity, according to Mr. Cohen on the podcast. He adds: “There is lots of storage capacity out there, and its value is much greater than bitcoin mining rewards handed out.” Mr. Cohen’s vision for his cryptocurrency involves fusing proof-of-space and proof-of-time. Proof-of-space work when users have an interest in allocating non-trivial amounts of memory or disk space to solve a challenge presented by service providers. Proof-of-space is similar to proof-of-work. They do not, however, use CPU-bound functions.

“There are some technical issues, which adding in proofs-of-time fixes,” Mr. Cohen tells Crypto Insider over text chat, admitting the concept is difficult to explain. “The short of it is that proofs-of-time keep an attacker from making a whole new fake history instantly, a problem caused by the property that mining requires no power.”

Mr. Cohen adds: “’Proof-of-time’ refers to a sequential proof-of-work, like the old saying that one woman can make a baby in nine months, but nine women can’t make a baby in one month.” The main idea is zero waste in mining. “One of the benefits of storage based things is there is a lot less centralization in mining, so there is less concern about a 51% attack.” The good part of this is subtle, Mr. Cohen tells Steal This Show listeners. “There are economic resources that you can apply towards rewards,” he elucidates. “People will spend resources getting rewards. So it will still be wasteful, but there is a waste that has already happened and you’re leveraging that at no additional cost.”

The BitTorrent founder’s specialty might work well applied to the world of cryptocurrency. Mr. Cohen launched BitTorrent to solve problems with bandwidth scarcity in sharing data over the internet, and his platform still today enables individuals to distribute large files sans the need for specialized infrastructure. Before starting on his own cryptocurrency, Mr. Cohen must first tie up loose ends with BitTorrent, Inc., the business wing of his distributed software. “In the next few months, I’m going to devote myself full-time to the cryptocurrency stuff,” Mr. Cohen notes on the podcast. Burstcoin, an altcoin listed on Coin Market Cap, uses what the developers' term proof-of-capacity as its consensus method. It appears to merely be a re-brand of proof-of-space, the latter of which is the term preferred by academic literature.

As Mr. Cohen tells Crypto Insider, critics of Burstcoin lament the developers do not acknowledge Hellman time-space trade-offs in their coding. The coin, they say, attempts to solve problems by relying on a platform called NXT, instead of developing their own innovations. It’s not the first time Mr. Cohen mentioned this plan. The BitTorrent founder presented a talk at the Stanford Blockchain Conference, in which he examined the potential of proof-of-space and proof-of-time in a cryptocurrency. One slide in his presentation reads: “There are massive amounts of unused online storage in the world. [A cyptocurrency] requires no additional power to mine. No potential for ASICs. The available miners are highly decentralized.”

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

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

As Cryptocurrencies Reach New Highs, The Ethereal Summit Paints A Rich Future

As Cryptocurrencies Reach New Highs, The Ethereal Summit Paints A Rich Future

From January 1 to today, the cryptocurrency Ether has gone from $8 to $130
— a 16x return.

Ether is the currency of the Ethereum network, a smart contract platform which currently has a market capitalization of $12 billion. Generally considered the second-most successful cryptocurrency after bitcoin, it has been the launchpad for myriad new tokens that make up the hot “initial coin offering” trend. Even companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Intel, BBVA, Santander, UBS, Credit Suisse, Accenture, and others have joined an Ethereum enterprise effort. These are remarkable feats for a cryptocurrency not even two years old.

One of the companies doing the most to promote the development and usage of Ethereum around the world is Consensus Systems (ConsenSys), which bills itself as a “venture production studio” devoted to building Ethereum-based software, whether in the form of decentralized applications or private blockchains for the enterprise.

Aside from its unconventional structure, the self-funded ConsenSys, founded by Joseph Lubin who is also one of the co-founders of Ethereum, stands out for the location of its headquarters: in the heart of hipster Brooklyn, in an area once known for underground dance parties at warehouse venues that went only by addresses. In recent years, the neighborhood has gotten trendier, with juice bars, top restaurants and even proper clubs that have actual names. (ConsenSys also has five other offices around the world.)

On Friday, in keeping with its offbeat nature, ConsenSys held the Ethereal Summit, a blockchain event with 650 attendees that, instead of centering like most others, around financial services, shined a spotlight on culture projects. “Blockchain events are either enterprise-focused or IT-focused. We thought, Why not do something culture-focused?” said Amanda Gutterman, ConsenSys’s chief marketing officer. Some of the industries aside from financial services that the

Event aimed to touch on were sustainability, arts, and humanitarian aid.

A panel on financial inclusion

I was invited to speak on a panel about what it’s like for media covering this technology, and in situations like these, since I freelance, the conference often covers my transportation and hotel. Aside from the somewhat atypical speaker lineup, the first clue I had that this wasn’t going to be a normal conference was when my Lyft pulled up to the hotel. Just from the look of it, I knew it would rank as one of the nicest places this budget traveler has ever rested her weary head. (As were the lodgings for this cryptocurrency-related conference.) When checking in, the friendly men at the front desk told me the hotel had Teslas that I should take for a spin. When I demurred, citing the challenge of driving in New York City, they said the Teslas came with chauffeurs. These first few minutes of my trip underscored one of the themes that have recently permeated coverage of the crypto space: that there’s money to be had in this new token-based internet.

Ethereal capped off a week in which the rampantly speculative ICO (“initial coin offering”) market grew by at least $50 million to total just under $470 million over two years, bitcoin's market cap as a percentage of all cryptocurrencies fell below 50% for the first time, the price of ether jumped from $90 to $126, and bitcoin surged from $1,762 to almost $2,000. And it may be just a taste of what is to come, with the largest industry conference, Consensus, organized by trade publication CoinDesk, to be held the next week, and right on the heels of that, Token Summit, a daylong conference dedicated to the new blockchain-based internet. Plus, in the coming days or weeks, the Tim Ferriss podcast, one of the most popular business podcasts, will be featuring a couple of prime guests from the cryptocurrency world.

The excitement over rising prices may have prompted these comments about the frothy ICO markets from one of the first keynotes, London-based Vinay Gupta of Hexayurt Capital, who could not fly to the U.S. due to visa issues and so sent his remarks in a video instead. “My hope for the ICO markets is that people will be extremely well-behaved and well-disciplined so there isn’t a mess for regulators to clean up,” he said to a standing room only crowd. “The price of freedom is to be effectively self-governing. We really, really want people to take that serious message, figure out how to keep those markets clean and then you protect the entire ecosystem.” (It looks like that is already happening to some extent.)

Comments about the bubble-like activity evident across the crypto space peppered the day, which had a packed agenda of panels and presentations on two stages, plus bean bags in both venues for worn-out attendees. “We’re living in a really speculative market right now,” said Jalak Jobanputra, founder and managing partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, adding that the market cap of all cryptos just surpassed that of Netflix. “I’ve been through two bubbles and crashes in my venture career — one was in ’99/2000, and the other was 2008. But as we saw with the internet, we’ll see some real value being created out of the experimentation happening right now.” As for what that would look like, Gupta said Ethereum was “moving toward a system where you can see the entire world reflected in the digital in a simple computing surface.” Comparing it to how maps made geography easier to understand, he said, “So it’s possible to look at the world with the blockchain mapping the geography with the institutions visible as actors. … Then you could get an overview of how the system as a whole, works.”

Underpinning the speakers’ visions of a blockchain future were at least optimistic if not utopian hopes that these new networks would also positively impact society. Joel Monegro, on the investing team at Union Square Ventures, contrasted tokens with stocks. “At a high level, a share of stock in a company means a proportional right to the profits of a business,” he said, adding that this, however, drives the holders to increase profits. “The problem is when companies are driven to increase profitability, they end up creating market failures because they expand too broadly or vertically into new business areas where they find it difficult to compete or amass market power,” he said. “The other problem with equity is it incentivizes the holders of that equity to hold as much of it as possible to concentrate the equity because it represents a perpetual right to profits.”

Tokens, he said, invert those incentives. “A token has financial value when the network or service it represents is being used an increasing amount, so you’re not incentivized to get a company to increase profits but rather incentivized to get as many as people as possible to use the service,” he said. This then leads to the value being distributed more broadly. William Mougayar, a venture capitalist and author of The Business Blockchain who is organizing next week’s Token Summit (and was a recent guest on my podcast), said that everyone has three jobs: First, the traditionally defined job — work you do for a paycheck — and then the work of taking care yourself and your family. “Then the third job was the work given to us by another company,” he said, “whether it’s buying a ticket or renting a car — all kinds of jobs are being given to us, and we’re not being compensated. However, in the future, more and more, the work we’ll be doing, whether it’s passive or active, will be compensated by a token of some sort.”

Other panels and presentations discussed everything from conscientious consumption via supply chains (in which SlaveFreeTrade president Brian Iselin removed his clothes on stage) to getting identity on the blockchain from birth; from whether the media has a responsibility to give a new technology like blockchain positive coverage to what it looks like to have many city functions run on blockchains; from what a decentralized entertainment network looks like to why this may be cryptocurrency’s “Netscape moment" (built, not on bitcoin, but on Ethereum).

The wide range of applications made possible with blockchain technology was reflected in the crowd, which seemed more creative and diverse than most blockchain conferences. On Thursday night, at a pre-conference cocktail party, while enjoying spicy snapper ceviche, black bean taquitos and steak, an economist and  Singularity University graduate talked up his work on Crowdjury, a network that will enable us to serve as arbitrators in other people’s disputes using tokens, and a virtual reality artist showed the art he had created using data from NASA and NOAA.

It was a scene reflected in Lubin’s closing remarks the next day. Remarking on how he majored in computer science and electrical engineering as opposed to economics, he said, “I was a computer nerd growing up on Star Trek … It was obvious to me that the geeks would inherit the earth.” Then, describing how 9/11 represented, for him, a loss of innocence that led him to explore the global economy and conclude that it was morally bankrupt, he talked about how top-down command-and-control methods had gotten society to a certain level of progress but “decentralized economic, social and political systems will be more effective, more fluid and far less susceptible to corruption.”

He finished with, “Many times, people have said to me and other ConsenSys members, You guys are going to dominate, you guys are going to take over the world. The whole point of decentralization, the Ethereum project, the work we do with ConsenSys is the exact opposite. We’re working to enable the planet to better organize itself, and we are building technology that we believe will make it impossible for any subset of actors to take over the world. Welcome to the decentralized future.” A whoop of cheers went up. Across the street, beers, bites, and beats awaited the attendees, who continued spinning up their dreams of the future in the summer night breeze. Ether, having started the day at $97, finished it at $127.

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

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Breached $2,000, Pundits Coin-Flip What Comes Next

Bitcoin Price Breached $2,000, Pundits Coin-Flip What Comes Next

  

Bitcoin price finally breached the much anticipated $2,000 line,

sending excitement throughout the burgeoning global cryptocurrency community. As early as five a.m. GMT+2 on Saturday, CoinMarketCap listed the pacesetter of digital currency for $2014 with almost $34 mln Market Cap. The $2,000 lane has been expected for some time now but it intensified three days ago when Satoshi Nakamoto's brainchild stabilized at the $1,800 range. On Friday it made it to the $1,900s further increasing the $2,000 price obsession. As much as it is good news for the whole community, what does this mean for all of us? What is in it for the ecosystem? Experts and community members differ on what’s ahead.

Lingham: not healthy

Bitcoin Price Pundit Vinny Lingham is not excited about the current price trend and sees it as very deleterious for space. "Not healthy in my opinion, but clearly everyone else knows best," he noted. "I'll just wait and see."

Malcolm Macleod: problems remain

More so, Gulden Wallet Developer, Malcolm Macleod's concern is that the price has been pushed too high, without the fundamentals to back it up and ultimately it is damaging to the ecosystem. He cites particularly the ongoing transaction queue problems. "These things are always a mixed bag, so probably some good and some bad things come from it," Malcolm stated.

More flow from fiat

But Alexandro Colorado of Bitcoin Mexico believes otherwise. For him, even though Bitcoin certainly has the availability issue but the rally has merits. "It makes sense as there is more money coming into the system," Alexandro explained to Cointelegraph. The Chief Cat Herder of Cryptopulco, the annual cryptocurrency conference in Acapulco, Mexico, Nathan T. Freeman had this to say:

"BTC increases in value relative to USD because people are willing to give up more fiat currency in exchange for Bitcoin. If you try to explain why they are willing, you are projecting a motive for their subjective value, and you're most likely full of shit. Even if the motive you ascribe is correct, you can't prove it. It's just an unfalsifiable claim in a sea of individual choices. It's all good."

Bitcoin Bubble to burst in 2019?

Though the network is growing impressively, hitting pass $2,000 seems like an impending doom for some experts. Whilst others point to some nagging fundamentals, many are optimistic it will keep growing without any blemish.

Alexandro Colorado says:

"A bubble is some sort of manipulation but actual growth is another thing. Companies grow billions in months, why crypto shouldn't? The Mexico-based Bitcoin enthusiast pointed out that a lot of the world still don't know or trust crypto but it doesn't mean we are heading into a bubble.”

When Cointelegraph asked Vinny Lingham if there is an impending bubble,

this was his answer:

"Yes, but people who called the bubble in 2011 were wrong. It took two years to burst."

Coin-flipper

Malcolm MacLeod is unsure if there is going to be a burst, but it is unclear to him what fundamentals if there are any behind the latest price growth. "I think there is a high chance that it is a bubble of some kind but I hope to be wrong," he indicated. Absorbingly, this is Nathan T. Freeman's take on whether it is a bubble and

Will it burst soon:

“There's only one major event in Bitcoin itself that could shape the future, and that's the outcome of the block size debate. All other factors are outside the purview of Bitcoin itself and therefore could shape out. Anyway, you're talking about predicting the simultaneous global effect of huge political shifts.”

"Predicting a bubble is a dice roll, and anyone who claims to know those outcomes is a coin-flipper," he added.

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Hits $2,087, Trading in Japan, South Korea for $2,350

Bitcoin Price Hits $2,087, Trading in Japan, South Korea for $2,350

  

Bitcoin price established its new all-time high at $2,087 earlier today

after surging past its previous all-time high set at $2,050, with demand toward Bitcoin rising from institutional investors in the US, Japan, and South Korea. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is being traded in Japan and South Korea, the second and third largest Bitcoin exchange markets in the world, at around $2,350, at an 11 percent premium relative to the global average Bitcoin price and the price listed by US-based Bitcoin exchanges. Analysts including Charles Hayter, the CEO of CryptoCompare, explained that the Japanese and South Korean Bitcoin exchange markets played a key role as the driving factor of Bitcoin’s recent price surge. In an interview with CNBC, Hayter stated:

"Arbitrage between the fiat pairs drags markets up or down in line with leading markets. At present, volumes on the KRW and JPY pairs dominate trading with a combined 48 percent market share.”

Cointelegraph previously emphasized the importance of the Japanese and South Korean exchange markets on the global Bitcoin market. The two markets hold over 48.6 percent of the global bBtcoin exchange market share and represent the vast majority of institutional investors within Asia.

Japan, in particular, has experienced an explosive growth in demand for Bitcoin as some of the country’s most influential conglomerates announced the launch of their independent digital currency exchanges, with the vision of facilitating fiat-to-digital currency trading securely and transparently, with low fees.

Forever blowing bubbles

Cointelegraph reported that a significant number of investors have started to fuel an altcoin bubble concentrated around Ripple and NEM. IndieSquare co-founder and Japan-based researcher Koji Higashi stated that the legalization of digital currency and the tax exemption of Bitcoin convinced beginner and casual cryptocurrency traders that every other cryptocurrency is legitimate and well-based. However, Higashi noted that most investors are investing in cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin with relatively shallow knowledge and understanding of digital currencies.

Higashi explained:

“I think I know the answer now. Newly entering Japanese investors are driving this great altcoin bubble and not-so-smart money is flowing into the space especially into some altcoins at a rather concerning rate. Another thing to note about this new trend is that the general lack of understanding or appreciation of the technology by many of new users.”

What happens next

In the next few months, as Bitcoin maintains its momentum and upward trend, it is likely that the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange market will demonstrate some stability and see a decline in interest over alternative cryptocurrencies or altcoins. If so, the demand for Bitcoin will likely increase over time. Currently, analysts and researchers at mainstream media outlets such as CNBC and Bloomberg are attributing Bitcoin’s recent upward momentum to the economic uncertainty and instability of the US. This is a rational conclusion considering that the US replaced the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market for the first time in the past 12 months to become the largest Bitcoin exchange market.

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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member