Tag Archives: Cryptocurrency

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices Higher in 2017

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices
Higher in 2017

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

    
Legislative Changes for Cryptos

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

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

Scaling Debate Resolution

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

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

Economic and Political Uncertainty

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

Venezuela

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

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

India

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

Increased Inflow of Institutional Money

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

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

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

Mainstream Momentum

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

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

Chuck Reynolds


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

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Why Just Holding Cryptocurrency Will Change the World

Why Just Holding Cryptocurrency Will Change the World

Why Just Holding Cryptocurrency Will Change the World

 

Cryptocurrency, digital assets run by blockchain distributed ledger technology, have some pretty revolutionary features and use cases. They can cheaply and permanently send wealth faster than anything else. They can cryptographically prove your identity. They can run self-executing smart contracts instead of relying on an enforcement mechanism when people don’t keep to their deals. But what if I told you that one of the most world-changing things about digital currencies is simply having some?

 

Crypto is new

 

The first, best, and most basic benefit of wealth generated by digital assets is that it’s new. Even if this new money was no different from anything currently out there, just by being new it provides a valuable fresh start to the current wealth distribution. When you hit the reset button, there’s a chance at a new bunch of people getting in at the bottom and making it big. Seeing a fresh set of faces on the rich list is better than having the same few families and groups maintaining an iron grip on the world’s resources generation after generation.

 

Anyone with basic technological access can get into crypto

 

The big barrier to entry when delving into the world of digital assets is internet access. However, this group of people currently stands at about half the global population and quickly rising. More importantly, the regions seeing the greatest growth in internet users are, in descending order: Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. Anyone with a basic internet connection can download a wallet app or get a desktop wallet. At that point they can sign up to an exchange to buy cryptocurrency, or go the more grassroots route and buy in cash from someone they know (or a service like Wall of Coins or LocalBitcoins that connects such people) or work for it. Since the internet is global, so is the work that it can facilitate, and with it a borderless form of wealth transfer allows people in the poorest countries to be paid alongside those in the richest. Compared to other investments, the barrier to entry is very low, particularly for the unbanked.

 

Crypto attracts a certain kind of person

 

This is where we get into the uncomfortable territory of painting with a broad stroke, but it’s still important to consider. Generally speaking, cryptocurrency enthusiasts tend to be technophiles, innovators, nonconformists, activists, and liberty lovers. It makes sense, too: those seeking an alternative to the present financial system probably have a problem with the current regime to begin with, and even those who don’t will tend to display intellectual curiosity and a dash of courage to venture off the beaten path into uncharted territory, especially with something as risky as their money. Whichever kind of person we’re talking about, it’s probably a good idea to give them wealth rather than to some of the people who have it already, particularly in countries without a free economy where the entrepreneurial can’t get ahead.

 

Regulation, where existent and applicable, has minimal effect

 

There’s one big problem with the current financial system: control. The few at the top, whether in government, banking, or an industry powerful enough to influence the first two, effectively direct what happens to everyone else’s money. The average person is helpless when they can have their bank account frozen, their cash devalued or reissued (or discontinued altogether), and their investments taxed or seized. Even a physical asset such as gold can be confiscated and have its supply and exchange severely limited. Cryptocurrency, when run in a truly distributed fashion as Bitcoin’s mysterious creator intended, is highly censorship-resistant, requiring an area-wide internet shutdown to provide any meaningful chance of being stopped. Regulation can just make it harder to own and use crypto through legitimate channels. For some fun anecdotal evidence, remember that even Venezuela has a cryptocurrency exchange.

 

Dash in particular builds longer-term, harder to censor wealth

 

If you look at the cryptocurrency charts long-term, you’ll see that holding pretty much any digital token can make you rich at this point. However, Dash in particular has demonstrated, in addition to stable and consistent growth, a few extra benefits. To begin with, anyone with the foresight to run a masternode back when it was $5,000 (or less) to do so is now sitting on almost $200,000 that makes over $1,250 per month in recurring income as a reward for helping to run the Dash network. Those of us (almost all of us at this point) who can’t afford to buy into that level of recurring income can look into a masternode share with some trusted third party (not as good as running something yourself, but still better than a bank). In the future, Dash has savings accounts planned, which will allow anyone to make recurring income off of their investment. And, let’s not forget that you can move Dash around for a couple pennies per transaction, and can spend it at hundreds of places worldwide, lessening your need to hold other, lesser forms of money.

 

Now remember, this is just what cryptocurrency can do for the world if you do nothing but get some and hold on to it. Imagine what will happen when we start leveraging the technology for all it can really do. The future is exciting indeed.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Joël Valenzuela

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

In this opinion piece, Svinkin argues that using cryptocurrencies for rewards schemes can demonstrate the value of the technology and ultimately help bring mass adoption.

Before the hype and before the price explosions of the past year, I sat down and looked at cryptocurrencies from a UX perspective.

That post, published on CoinDesk, offered a simple central premise: the entire bitcoin project was envisioned, designed, built and released as a peer-to-peer value exchange system. It wasn't supposed to be a standalone asset class or a messaging system for banks.

A year later, we're in the midst of a hype-ridden initial coin offering (ICO) explosion. ICOs are another use case in the UX quiver, one we can add to the progress of the last few years. The ICOs (I prefer to call them token sales) are a great engine of growth but they do not achieve our ultimate goal: adoption of cryptocurrency by the masses.

 

Looking back

Prior to Jobs and Wozniak, computers were the domain of engineers, hobbyists, large corporations and government agencies. The dominant framework for users to interact with these machines, the command line, ensured low user adoption.

As Neal Stephenson noted, however, the wizards who held sway over the simple cursor and text interfaces later built the tools to drive mass adoption. From the command line, we moved into something relatable and simple, and, in the process, we hid all of the piping behind wall after wall of abstraction.

I don't want to understate how big of a leap this was for my generation. You mean we can make the screen do what we want like an arcade game? We can "save" what we're doing and come back to it later? We can put stuff on a disk and put it on another computer? Wow!

After we were hooked, we started learning heuristics for the things we'd need to master to get more out of the experience. We started implicitly understanding what a KB meant. We grew to "kinda know" how much would fit on a floppy disk.

Some of us started learning how to make simple animations and games. The computer was at first a toy then a tool.

I argue that, in the crypto space, we're at the point in our evolution where the command-line is giving way to new and more generalized heuristics – with similarly explosive opportunities. Right now, the equivalent of the command line are things like wallet addresses, private keys, cold storage, and other obfuscating elements.

I wrote a year ago that I think we need a Steve Jobs in this space. No one has yet stepped up to the plate.

Crypto is no MacOS, yet


 

Even if regular people were to learn all the terms of art, master using the exchanges, grow comfortable with identity verification and currency exchange rates, and accept the long wait times in transferring fiat in/out, we'd still have a problem that would keep the bulk of the planet off the chain in a meaningful way: risk.

Modern operating systems mitigate risk immensely. Every program we use has some sort of backup system and now you rarely lose work. With cryptocurrencies, the existential threat of losing everything is still there.

The best way to deal with risk, at least at the start, is to try to eliminate it. We must not treat crypto like a competitive currency at least not now. Instead we must treat it like a reward, something new.

We must allow people to buy it, but also allow folks to earn it, with their time, effort, attention, with non-monetary capital. Don't force people to have to buy it with fiat.

Instead, let them earn it.
 

A user-first model

There are folks that are on a rewards-oriented path: Steemit, Brave, Bitwalking, Metal and others.

This is going to be a growing trend in the months and years to come. All of them want to reward you for something – Steemit for creating and engaging with digital content, Bitwalking just for walking. Brave is taking things to the next level: you get rewards just for using a secure browser and for engagement and attention.

Metal will reward you for converting, sending and spending.

All are trying to get to the same goal: they want the cryptocurrency they've issued to become valuable in the real world, to become the lifeblood of a new economy centered around a particular set of use cases.

The success of these products is dependent on ultimately hooking the masses via a rewards-based introduction – points, miles, cash back – these are notions we all get, just like I did 30 years ago with writing, drawing and reading on the Mac.

But the final step requires users to make that leap from rewards to currency for this revolution to get to the next level. And for that goal, I – a true believer – am very hopeful with this recent wave.
 

The big fear

That said, I still have one hesitation. All of these solutions make progress on the various complexities and issues surrounding adoption.

But, the one thing they all do not do, is obfuscate the currency exchange problem inherent in forging ahead with something new right away. It can show the value of the new currency in terms of fiat, but even currency earned through effort will be at risk of losing credibility and lasting power.

There will always be fear that the $398 I have in crypto will one day be $0, or in an hour will be worth $118.

Sure, we could be at the start of a fiat currency collapse and not even know it, as the market cap of crypto currency rockets up. This may even be good for the whole system. But, even if the crypto world supersedes the money we know, it will be the option with the most perceived stability that ends up winning. Not the ones with the most speculative upside or interesting "applications."

We’ll know we've "won" when a cryptocurrency becomes woven into the daily lives of the majority of people on earth. That people recognize finally that the fiat they know is also volatile and purchasing power is dynamic and ever changing, and cryptocurrency has many other benefits the analog doesn’t have. Or simply that a cryptocurrency finally becomes more stable so people run to it to escape losing all their value in government-backed money as a crisis looms or is underway.

Until then, it's hard to say what we’ve accomplished truly, but the goal is ultimately that we move belief in fiat money to belief in cryptocurrency.

To me, the best way to start that transition is to get people used to and interested in this new phenomenon by utilizing familiar bridges like air miles and minimizing fear and risk to allow for everyday use to come to bear – and even bring some fun to the strange world of cryptocurrencies.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author:Richard Svinkin

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Will Make Lots of Millionaires Before “Returning Down to Earth”: Economics Professor

http://seriouswealth.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Bitcoin-Will-Make-Lots-of-Millionaires-Before-Returning-Down-to-Earth-Economics-Professor.

Bitcoin Will Make Lots of Millionaires Before “Returning Down to Earth”: Economics Professor
 

Despite its price volatility, Bitcoin is likely to make more millionaires.

Panos Mourdoukoutas, chair of the department of economics at LIU Post in New York City, whose works are published by Forbes and The New York Times, thinks Bitcoin is likely to turn more individuals into millionaires before its price dives again.

Bitcoin recently reached an all-time high of $3,000 this June after a huge correction to $2,682 from $2,957 in the period of two days. This is after tech billionaire Mark Cuban reportedly called Bitcoin's recent price surge a bubble.

However, this is not the case since the cryptocurrency is showing an uptrend, based on its recent price of $2,831 and its continuing upward trend.

Mourdoukoutas shared a partially similar viewpoint to Cuban's. Both had similar claims that Bitcoin's price would drop after a substantial surge, however, he stopped short of calling Bitcoin a bubble.

 

Making more millionaires before it crashes again

Mourdoukoutas mentioned that the digital currency made many "overnight millionaires" – individuals who invested into BTC when it was worth just a portion of its current rate.

He also mentioned that Bitcoin will reach new highs, making more millionaires in the course of the action, before "returning down to earth."

Mourdoukoutas added that one of the reasons for the increased investment in the cryptocurrency is the "ultra-low” rate of interest environment, makings the trade of Bitcoin an enticing proposition.

In addition, there is a growing mistrust in the currencies of several nations, following government policies that have pushed more investors into the cryptocurrency.

 

Price restricted by policies and supply

Mourdoukoutas said that one of these policies is the act by federal governments to provide new treasury bonds at record low rates to cover the old financial obligations with brand-new ones.

For instance, Japan sells treasuries that yield nearly absolutely nothing for the state, however, the nation's debts amount to approximately 250 percent of the country’s GDP. The teacher mentioned that China's treasury yields "something," however, no one knows the specific quantity of the "informal financial obligation".

The fact that there is a substantial quantity of financial obligations linked to the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen diminishes the confidence of investors. Given that there is Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has increased its worth by 125 percent in 2016, investors in Asia have taken advantage of the possibility to invest more into the digital currency.

 

The economics professor also highlighted another government policy which might decrease trust in a country's nationwide currency. This relocation is when governments wish to eliminate the old currency notes, as held true in India and Venezuela. Such incidents, according to Mourdoukoutas, is one of the reasons why Bitcoin price has risen.

 

Still better hedge fund than traditional ones

Mourdoukoutas further commented that there are particular advantages which make Bitcoin a much better hedge than traditional ones, such as gold. He added that the millennial generation is one of the greatest supporters of the cryptocurrency as they understand BTC much better than the "baby-boomer generation.”

 

Mourdoukoutas shared:

"Unlike gold, for instance, Bitcoin is a hassle-free medium of payment around the globe.”

 

The economics professor expounded that Bitcoin's supply is anticipated to be restricted to 21 mln. Compared to gold, there is no deficiency of the mineral considering that when the rate of gold rises, it supplies more incentive for gold miners to mine for gold.

Finally, Mourdoukoutas specified that the financier buzz around Bitcoin continuously helps the cryptocurrency to go upwards, as a growing number of financiers are becoming familiar with the digital currency, and can utilize ETFs (exchange-traded funds) to "conveniently participate in the market."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Charles Dearing

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

 

One one level, Ripple is another cryptocurrency in an ever-growing list of fledgling products, hoping to earn a place in the wider world of business and finance. While the value of Ripple's currency, XRP, is well below $1 per unit, making it a mere fraction of the value of Ethereum or Bitcoin, Ripple nonetheless sports the third-largest portion of market capitalization as compared with the rest of the cryptocurrency industry. But aside from its growing position as a currency, Ripple is drawing more and more attention from banks and financial institutions around the world for another crucial reason, too: the blockchain technology behind the currency itself.

Ripple Aims to Build an "Internet of Value"

A recent profile on Ripple by American Banker reveals that the San Francisco-based startup has its sights set on creating an "internet of value," a worldwide network system for financial transactions. Ripple's goal is nothing less than the ultimate freeing of monetary value, allowing assets to flow instantly and seamlessly between mobile systems, public blockchains, and bank ledgers. The goal is a massive one, and yet Stefan Thomas, Ripple's chief technology officer, stands behind his company's ability to enhance banking around the world. "We're not the disruptors, we're not the guys who come in and tear everything down," he stresses.

But in the Meantime…

For the time being, though, Ripple seems to occupy at least two different spaces. First comes the chryptocurrency side, and success in that area has not come as quickly as some would have liked. John Light, a consultant working with multiple startups that have integrated Ripple's technology into their systems, indicated that Ripple has "had something of an identity crisis about who their customer is, and what problem they are trying to solve."

First, the company aimed to build a new currency that would improve upon Bitcoin. This was a key component of the instantaneous transactions goal, as Bitcoin has been racked with problems relating to the system's processing capacity which has left some users waiting for days for their transactions to clear. Beyond that, though, Ripple differed from Bitcoin and other digital currencies further, even at its earliest stages. Ripple's leaders disagreed with other chryptocurrency enthusiasts who suggested that the new currencies could replace banks or even government currencies. Rather, Ripple aimed from the beginning to work with banks to make global assets even more liquid.

With roughly 60 financial institutions around the world sporting Ripple technology, the company is seeing its vision begin to take shape. However, the fact that the currency itself has not gone away makes the list of offerings that Ripple presents somewhat confusing. If banks and investors around the world are to continue to gain interest in Ripple, it seems that the company will be best served by streamlining its offerings further into the future.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Nathan Reiff

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

How To Grow Bitcoin

Grow Your Bitcoin

How to grow Bitcoin

 

Bitcoin is the leading chryptocurrency and is starting to change the way people use money and invest in the future. The coin is a limited resource which some compare to Gold and certainly at the moment it is holding its own value wise.

Unlike traditional coins chryptocurrencies have many more decimal places which mean you can purchase sell or earn a bit of a coin, just like in ancient times where physical coins were cut into pieces.

Bitcoins have become popular in developing countries, where they are perceived to be better value and safer to use than traditional currencies which are controlled by Governments

I started earning bitcoin a few month ago, completing online survey and earning 74to 359+ bits for 5-30 minutes work. It may not be much, but I puts you on the road to prosperity. Currently I have some 100 ukpd worth of coins in my wallet.

Rather than leaving you Bitcoin in a wallet, You can invest and trade them online, which can be risky if you do not know what to do, the basic aim is to buy on the lows and sell on the highs.

You will see many companies which offer to multiply you coins by hype methods offering high returns which are not sustainable and often lose down without notice.

I have found two companies who actually trade chryptocurrencies using specialized trading algorithms, which greatly reduce the risk of loss. One company has a excellent track record, however you need to keep you coins invested for a year, compounding your gains.

The second company based in the Far East has only been trading for a short while but is very reactive to changing conditions, which have forced its competitors to shut down, it also transfers the interest you earn into your personal wallet, which is then under your own control.

There will be many people who claim that both of these companies are a scam, but frankly most do not know what they are talking about. I used to be a currency trader many years ago and know for a fact that automated trading programs do work. Chryptocurrencies are more volatile so one can see that doubling your money in 60 days is not an unreasonable target.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum wants to create an ecosystem where everything works together seamlessly as part of its vision for a 'world computer' – and that includes the tokens required to power it.

Launched in 2014 by a band of coders and an upstart teenager, ethereum was designed to make it possible for anyone to code nearly any type of app and deploy that on a blockchain. Many of these decentralized apps (or 'dapps' for short) needed their own token that could, among other things, be sold and traded easily.

To that end, nearly 18 months ago, the ERC-20 token standard was born.

It's hard to overstate how important that interface has been. By defining a common set of rules for ethereum-based tokens to adhere to, ERC-20 allows developers of wallets, exchanges and other smart contracts, to know in advance how any new token based on the standard will behave.

This way, they can design their apps to work with these tokens out of the box, without having to reinvent the wheel each time a new token system comes along.

As a result, almost all of the major tokens on the ethereum blockchain today, including those sold in the recent surge of ethereum-based initial coin offerings (ICOs), are ERC-20 compliant.

 

Tokens 101

Before delving deeper, it's important to spell out what a token actually is and how it differs from ether, the native currency driving the ethereum blockchain.

As they relate to the ethereum network, tokens are digital assets that can represent anything from loyalty points to vouchers and IOUs to actual objects in the physical world. Tokens can also be tools, such as in-game items, for interacting with other smart contracts.

But put simply, a token is nothing more than a smart contract running on top of the ethereum blockchain. As such, it is a set of code (functions) with an associated database. The code describes the behavior of the token, and the database is basically a table with rows and columns tracking who owns how many tokens.

If a user or another smart contract within ethereum sends a message to that token's contract in the form of a 'transaction,' the code updates its database.

So, for instance, when a wallet app sends a message to a token's contract to transfer funds from Alice to Bob, this happens:

First, the token's contract checks that the message was signed by Alice and that Alice has enough funds to cover the payment

Then, it moves funds from Alice's to Bob's account in the database

Finally, it sends a response, letting the wallet know the transaction was a success.

In contrast to tokens, ether is hard coded into the ethereum blockchain. It is sold and traded as a cryptocurrency, and it also powers the ethereum network by allowing users to pay for smart contract transaction fees. (All computations on the ethereum network have a 'gas' cost.)

When you send tokens to an exchange, for example, you pay for that transaction (in this case, a request to the token's contract to update its database) in ether. This payment is then collected by a miner who confirms the transaction in a block, which then gets added to the blockchain.

Early on in ethereum's history, standards were part of the overall plan to create a user friendly and broadly accessible system. But like all standards, ERC-20 took time to evolve over a series of long discussions and careful considerations.

So, sometime before DevCon1, the first big ethereum conference in 2015, Vitalik Buterin, the founder of ethereum, introduced the initial standards token.

Later that year, Fabian Vogelstellar, one of the developers working on ethereum's Mist wallet, took that standard, changed a few things, and proposed it to the community as ERC-20 to initiate a formal conversation around how the standard should be implemented.

Then in April, due to changes in how the Ethereum Foundation was organizing its GitHub, the ERC-20 standard was moved to a Github pull request.
 

What's inside?

ERC-20 defines a set of six functions that other smart contracts within the ethereum ecosystem will understand and recognize.

These include, for instance, how to transfer a token (by the owner or on behalf of the owner) and how to access data (name, symbol, supply, balance) about the token. The standard also describes two events – signals that a smart contract can fire – that other smart contracts 'listen' for.

Together, these functions and events make ethereum tokens work the same almost everywhere within the ethereum ecosystem. As a result, nearly all wallets that support ether, including Jaxx, MyEtherWallet.com and the official ethereum wallet, now also support ERC-20 compliant tokens.

According to Vogelstellar, who spoke to CoinDesk about the importance of ethereum's token standard, this interoperability lays the groundwork for big changes to come.
 

He said:

"I believe we are just at the beginning of tokenizing everything. Maybe in the future, you will be able to buy a share of the chair you are sitting on, the paint inside your house or a fraction of equity in a huge building complex."

 

Bumps in the road

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that ERC-20 is formally a draft, meaning it is not being enforced and still needs to be fully blessed by the ethereum community. Regardless, Vogelstellar said, every new token will likely conform to its set of rules.

He cautioned, however, that the standard is still young, so there will be bumps in the road. One of those bumps is that sending tokens directly to a token's smart contract will result in a loss of money. That is because a token's contract only tracks and allocates money. When you send tokens to another user from a wallet, for example, that wallet calls on the token's contract to update the database.

As a result, if you attempt to transfer tokens directly to a token's contract, the money is 'lost' since the token's contract cannot respond.

So far, $70,000 worth of tokens have been lost in this manner.

But solutions are in the works. As an extension to ERC-20, ERC-223 attempts to resolve the issue by suggesting a token's contract implement a tokenFallback function to prevent the contract from holding tokens sent directly to it accidentally.

Vogelstellar argued this is all just part of developing a solid system, though, saying:

"Driving with these prototypes can be rocky at times, but ultimately they provide the necessary learning that will bring us to the future of blockchain and smart contract interactions."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Amy Castor

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

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

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

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

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

3. TRANSACTION DELAYS CAN COST MONEY

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

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

2. AN EXCHANGE WALLET IS NOT YOUR WALLET

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

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

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

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

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

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: JP Buntinx

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin prices likely to continue wild ride

Bitcoin prices likely to continue wild ride

Bitcoin prices likely to continue wild ride

SAN FRANCISCO — What goes precipitously up, often comes crashing down to earth.

So it was with bitcoin on Thursday, when the price of the digital currency plunged 19% — its steepest drop in more than two years — after a record run. The volatility remained on full display late Thursday and, as of Friday evening, bitcoin rebounded to $2,484.59.

The cryptocurrency, which flirted with $3,000 on Monday, sunk as low as $2,076.16 in intraday trading early Thursday amid a confluence of bad omens. Tech stocks have recently taken a thumping over concerns about their lofty valuations. Ominous reports from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley suggested bitcoin was due for a reversal in price and required government regulation. The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates Wednesday.

Compounding worries, digital currency exchange Coinbase experienced an outage Monday because of high-trading volume. Another exchange, Bitfinex, on Tuesday said it was under DDOS attack.

Meanwhile, prices for digital currencies ripple and NEM declined the past week, though Ethereum, the second-largest currency, has soared 20% on speculation it will be the top currency. At $371.36, it lags far behind bitcoin in value.

CryptoCurrency Market Capitalizations

"Bitcoin and other digital currencies are experiencing rapid growth these days," says Guy Zyskind, CEO of Enigma, a start-up in cryptocurrency investing. "For this to be sustainable over time, the market has to correct itself from time to time."

The market's wild ride this week underscores "the ebbs and flows of an entirely new asset class," says Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra, a peer-to-peer payment service.

"While the bitcoin price will likely recover and continue to rise, what we should see in the future is bitcoin becoming a solid store of value, much like gold," says Mihir Magudia, executive director of LEOcoin Foundation. "It will be relatively easy to liquidate but will not be used to commonly pay for goods and services."

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Jon Swartz , USA TODAY

 

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

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

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

Cannabis has been legalized in numerous states

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

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

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

Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

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

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

POSaBIT

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

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

SinglePoint and First Bitcoin Capital

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

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

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

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

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member