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Fast Money’s Brian Kelly Bullish as Ever On Bitcoin’s “Wild Ride”

Brian Kelly is back with his latest views on Bitcoin’s current fortunes and he is upbeat and bullish on where the market is heading.

His last words on the subject over a week back were made in the wake of investors holding their breath for the SEC’s ETF announcements which saw another dip for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He suggested then that the ETF waiting list at the SEC was driving market uncertainty. He rejected the notion that ETF would be approved by the SEC this year, suggesting that he wasn’t actually optimistic on them being approved in 2018, a view that has now become widely held.

In his latest appearance, he suggested that the “wild ride” Bitcoin is currently on needs to be seen in the context of a before and after scenario regarding CBoE-based Bitcoin futures. He said that Bitcoin frequently doesn’t respond well pre-expiry date, but then experiences a 10% jump following futures expiry.

He cited the expiry of April futures as a case in point which saw a Bitcoin leap of 20% of just six days. Asked if other cryptocurrencies would follow Bitcoin on its current “wild ride” of highs and lows, he revealed his thoughts that altcoins tend to follow its lead:

“They (altcoins) are still quite correlated (with Bitcoin). Over the last 60 days or so, Bitcoin has really been the leader — a lot of that had to do with the speculation about an ETF. But what you did see today is stuff like Ethereum almost 10% off yesterday’s lows, stuff like Stellar Lumens — still holding up quite well. So yes, if you get a 10 or 15 per cent run on Bitcoin on a short squeeze, it should bring everything else back up.”

There are some optimists on the other side of the Atlantic who see Bitcoin’s falling price in 2018 as a reflection of the market regulating itself. Phillip Nunn, CEO of investment firm Wealth Chain Capital, suggests than Bitcoin and larger coins will be the survivors after a market realignment: He said:

“The Bitcoin boom seems to be over for now, it’s currently trading at USD 6,472 (time of press) and I personally welcome it. The market is telling us something loud and clear, we do not need 1,000 different altcoins and the crash will most certainly get rid of these. A consolidation of quality projects within crypto will bring about the start of true Bitcoin dominance. I firmly believe the market will sustain itself, now is the time for investment, while prices fall.”

Ted Rogers, the chairman of vault operator Xapo, agrees, also suggesting that the current market offers an excellent opportunity to purchase the flagship digital currency.

 

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Kurt Russell Thriller “Crypto” to be Released 2019

Talks are underway with producers with plans to release a movie next year called “Crypto” starring actor Kurt Russell.

The film, already in post production, is reportedly a crime-based thriller following in the footsteps of films such as Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short which focussed on the economic crisis of 2008.

Such films about the financial sector are becoming increasingly popular and tend to get good box office ratings as a result. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street quickly became the prolific filmmaker’s top-grossing film at the worldwide box office shortly after its release.

Cryptocurrency is not an area which has been ignored as a newcomer to the financial movie genre as plans are afoot for two movies covering the topic apart from “Crypto”. Actor Johnny Depp, of Edward Scissorhands and Pirates of the Caribbean fame, has been linked with a new film said to be a biopic of the late cryptocurrency billionaire Matthew Mellon. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, sources reportedly told the Mail Online that Depp is understood to be interested in the role and that “there is a screenplay being shopped”.

There is a rumor circulating that the soon-to-be-released biography about crypto twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss called “Bitcoin Billionaires” is already being considered for a movie deal even before its release, according to the New York Post.

The latest revelation is clearly more than a rumor, having reached post-production and a predicted release date. “Crypto” is reported to also star Beau Knapp from The Nice Guys and Alexis Bledel from The Handmaid’s Tale.

The producers of the film, Jordan Beckerman of Yale Productions and Jordan Tale Levine, are not reputed to be crypto investors but apparently are fans, so wish to do the film justice treating the subject accurately and fairly. Levine explained:

“Both of us have dabbled (with crypto). I don’t know if either of us would consider ourselves experts. It was really our writers who fleshed out the topic and dove into the research. They were the ones who really became experts to make sure the film was authentic.”

However, it must be mentioned for die-hard fans that cryptocurrency is by no means the main topic of the film. Co-producer Beckerman commented, “It’s more broad than that… It doesn’t particularly focus on any particular coin.” He said that the movie does involve corruption, crime and “a smattering of crypto”.

Kurt Russell is sure to give the film some leverage at the box office on its release next year.

 

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Nigeria to Launch State-Backed Blockchain Hub in African Crypto Surge

A new Nigerian blockchain hub is being launched by the government in conjunction with a UK blockchain firm.

The popularity of Bitcoin in Africa continues to grow, enabled by the presence of a greater number of cryptocurrency exchange platforms. There are benefits to cryptocurrency ownership that are unique to the continent of Africa, many devolving from the widespread unstable economic conditions.

Google searches reveal that , Nigeria and South Africa are frantically searching online when it comes down to cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. Many nationals fall foul of inflation and hyperinflation, resulting in weak and unstable financial systems.

Recently, countries such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and oil-rich Nigeria have all suffered, many of these countries with inflation rates well into the hundreds of percentages. In these situations, it is hardly surprising that the people look to a more stable form of a monetary solution in their daily lives.

Lady Victoria Walker, CEO of the United Digital Currency Reserve Foundation and UK based fintech entrepreneur feels that new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are essential factors in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies. She argues:

“Bitcoin is a reality. We have all major world governments scrambling to make sense of it and world leaders sharing their views on the currency. For the past 700 years, our world has relied on the European legacy banking system for means of payments and transactions. Bitcoin is definitely challenging the traditional way when it comes to the transfer of value. Just like the internet changed how we shop, bank, date and find information.”

Nigeria is looking to this kind of future with its new Africa Blockchain Lab in the Kaduna area, designed to create blockchain growth through crypto solutions across the region. The state-backed blockchain hub project between KAD ICT Hub and the British crypto firm Coinfirm wants to stake its claim as a societal changer with latter’s AMLT network offering rewards to Nigerians reporting Cyber Crime and other illegal activity online.

The Africa Blockchain Lab, launched last week has promised to offer financial inclusion to many Nigerians who are excluded from the country’s financial system and also attract new startups as part of the country’s drive to support the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies in the continent.

As Lady Walker suggested, an understanding and deployment of bitcoin can kickstart the financial growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

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Malta Makes Huge ICO Funding Gains as Crypto Investment Funds Rise in 2018

New crypto funds are continuing to open despite a falling market and apprehension over ETF decisions, according to the latest analysis from Crypto Fund Research.

With things seeming to go well for crypto funds, collectively amassing $7.1 billion, they still lag behind traditional hedge funds, with most of the institutional investment managers playing a wait and see scenario. Cryptocurrencies’ next big hurdle, now that digital currencies are very much out there in the financial sector, is to start encouraging institutional investment on a larger scale.

It is thought that 2018 will see more crypto hedge funds arrive on the scene, which is on target to reach 165, nine more than in 2017. Statistics show that until July 31 of this year, there were 96 new crypto hedge funds and venture capital funds with more than half of those existing today being launched in the past 18 months.

There are currently 466 crypto funds across the globe with San Francisco, New York, Singapore and London topping the list for 2018 launches. In addition, Austin, Dallas, Hong Kong, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tokyo, and Zug are not far behind in terms of multiple launches of crypto hedge funds and capital ventures since January this year.

In terms of ICOs, launches have also accelerated this year to date, also seemingly undeterred by a bear market. However, 50 percent of all projects in 2018 have failed to raise more than £100,000. This low figure was put down to investors concerns about scams

Service tokens accounted for 42 percent of new ICOs, but utility tokens attracted the most funding at $22 million per project, followed by crypto tokens at an average of $7 million.

Another hurdle for new ICOs remains that problem of getting projects listed on exchanges, which has become an increasingly lengthy process. The number of projects that managed to get listed in the shortest possible time fell by 22 percent this year, due in part to tougher exchange requirements and new regulatory demands.

In overall terms, 2018 has been 10 times better than the previous year for ICOs, according to a market status report published by ETF on August 8, with more money being raised and more ICOs being launched in the second quarter of the year.

A notable fact coming out of the report is that small nations are winning in terms of making the largest gains, with Malta, Gibraltar, and Singapore coming out on top. Malta raised an average of £119 million, almost twice the funds raised by second on the list Gibraltar. Other statistics show that although it is clearly European nations that are making the largest gains in terms of overall fundraising, North America is still the crypto giant at $4.98 billion with 116 projects, a huge 65 percent of all the funding raised. Europe came in second at $1.12 billion, with Asia coming in third with $751 million.

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Survey: 50% of Americans Would Give Bitcoin a Try

A poll by analytics firm Harris Insights and cryptocurrency startup Gem has come up with some interesting results, one of which indicates that out of 2000 who participated in the survey,  50% of Americans would like to try out Bitcoin.

Another suggested that Americans with lower incomes are more likely to buy the flagship currency. Millennials came high up on the list of investors as numerous surveys conducted over the past year have already shown. Micah Winkelspecht of Gem commented on the “millennial factor”:

“We find that younger people with less income are more willing to put money in crypto. […] My guess is that crypto is of the digital age. And the younger generation is of the digital age and used to doing everything on the internet.”

The number of investors from lower incomes almost doubled that buying in the higher income bracket. Those Americans owning some cryptocurrencies earning between $50,000 and $74,900 per year was 11 percent, dropping to just six percent amongst higher earners of over $100,000 per year.

Bitcoin News has published a number of reports this year which illustrate the tendency of Millennials to withdraw from traditional finance options towards digital currencies such as Bitcoin. Kari Paul of MarketWatch commented recently:

“Over 82% of millennials say their investment decisions were influenced by the Great Recession when $14 trillion in wealth was lost…Millennials regard the stock market with skepticism. People between the ages of 18 and 39 are less likely to invest money in the stock market than are other generations, studies show.”

Across the Atlantic, in the UK, another recent survey suggested that far more education was needed about cryptocurrencies. The survey revealed that although up to 3 million people have invested in Bitcoin in the country through online trading platforms, many went in with virtually no knowledge about virtual currencies citing 2.5 million investors making commitments without fully understanding cryptocurrency.

An interesting survey finding has suggested that in the UK, in fact, as many as 31% would be happy to have at least some portion of their earnings paid in Bitcoin. Of the 1,000 respondents, 37% said that they would go for between 1-20% in digital pay and the rest in fiat.

The polls alone are not the whole picture, but when examined together do begin to show current cryptocurrency trends, most of which are favourable for the industry at this time of crypto volatility, given that they have all been conducted in recent months.

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Goodlatte First Member of US Congress to Disclose Crypto Holdings

US Congressman Bob Goodlatte has declared his private Cryptocurrency holdings, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.

Goodlatte, who currently serves as the chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has reported that he currently holds a number of cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH).

Clearly, holding cryptocurrencies in itself is not at all unusual but perhaps a rarer disclosure when made by influential politicians, given the current state of regulation in the US surrounding cryptocurrencies.

The disclosure was filed in on 10 May that congressman Goodlatte owns between USD 15,001 and USD 50,000 worth of BTC, while also holding positions in BCH and ETH valued at between USD 1,001 and USD 15,000 each.

The reason for the disclosure is a result of a Congressional Blockchain Caucus legal advisory that request that all employees of the United States executive branch reveal any crypto holdings within 45 days. The advisory was not simply limited to crypto but all holdings.

Crypto clearly runs through the congressman’s family as his son Bobby Goodlatte Jr has Coinbase investments. Also, Congressman Goodlatte is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus itself. The founder of the group is Jared Polis who requested guidance early this year on crypto disclosure. Analysts are expecting him to be the next politician to disclose crypto assets.

Polis argued in February that, because crypto assets are regarded as commodities by some agencies, Congress should treat them as traditional assets for disclosure purposes. He argued:

“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over USD 1,000, a Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold.”

Polis is notably pro-crypto, once suggesting that the US dollar be banned and replaced with Bitcoin, and is also one of the first US politicians to accept Bitcoin campaign donations.

 

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UTRUST Just Made Charitable Donations a Whole Lot Easier as Crypto Flows to Charity

Blockchain-based payment platform, UTRUST and AidCoin will combine forces to enable charitable donations across the world in 23 different cryptocurrencies.

The project is being launched to simplify donations in multiple countries via the UTRUST interface. The new system is set to replace methods whereby a donor transferred and then converted funds into AidCoin tokens or through a donate button allowing donors to transfer UTK from their UTRUST wallet to the AIDChain wallets of various charities.

The new donation system called AIDPay is a widget which allows the donor to use any one of 23 supported cryptocurrencies to pay charities registered with AIDChain online using a fully trackable system including how the money is dispersed and what on.

There’s been a significant rise in the number of charities supported by cryptocurrency donations in the recent years. Some of these include Electronic Frontier Foundation, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, WikiLeaks, Antiwar.com, Watsi, Water Project, Code to Inspire, BitGive and Epic Change.

In such a scenario, not even a single day passes without the release of another crypto-aid project or a way to make donations and fund utilization more transparent so that NGOs and private charities are more accountable.

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of digital currency service Coinbase, recently announce the launch of a project to help the homeless and other people out of poverty with a personal USD 1 million donation.  GiveCrypto is a global enterprise which will make cryptocurrency donations to worthy recipients, who will then be able to make personal choices in whether to keep their cryptocurrency donations or exchange them for fiat.

Madonna with her Raising Malawi project has built 14 schools in rural Malawi and in partnership with buildOn have educated community members about the importance of girls’ education in that country. Ripple too, was quick to support her project with a dollar for dollar match of donated funds.

Even English Heritage, a UK charity that provides the country with access to over 400 historical sites, buildings, monuments and places, has found a way of making the technology behind Bitcoin play its part in supporting that country’s historical heritage by partnering with charity platform Giftcoin.

UTRUST’s move is another link in the chain allowing cryptocurrency funds to continue flowing towards needy causes — a forgotten fact by dissenters who happily feed the FUD in these volatile times.

Francesco Nazari Fusetti, CEO and Founder of AidCoin commented:

“We’re excited to introduce an opportunity for crypto-holders to donate cryptocurrency straight from their Utrust wallets seamlessly, or when making a payment…This is, of course, a well-established practice in conventional banking and payments solutions, and yet until now, has been an unprecedented case in the crypto world.”

 

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Half a Million Dutch Households Own Crypto but Central Bank Still Wary

A Dutch Central Bank spokesperson still maintains that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are too volatile for savings and their value can only be expressed in fiat terms.

In a recent CB publication on fintech, bank divisional director Petra Hielkema expressed these sentiments, also adding that there are still risks associated with buying cryptocurrencies in her view. Despite these concerns, the Dutch Central Bank has no plans to impose a cryptocurrency ban.

“If something wants to be treated as money, you have to be able to spend, save and calculate with it… However, things are not often bought with cryptocurrencies, it is too volatile for savings and its value is expressed in real money”, she said.

Clearly, such views are not shared by those that do save, spend and calculate with currencies such as Bitcoin on a daily basis. In Holland, the current figure is estimated to be about half a million households where a form of cryptocurrency is invested in or used.

She continued, clearly following the trend by banks to separate cryptocurrency from the technology behind it:

“So we do not consider it to be money as such… Nevertheless, the central bank does consider the technology behind bitcoins – blockchain – to be extremely interesting. We have been experimenting with the technology for the past three years and have developed four prototypes.”

Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra wants to see European intervention in order to combat risk such as a ban on risky financial products and limiting the use of credit cards so that cryptocurrency can’t be purchased with them.

In contrast, the Dutch government’s CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) has released a report claiming that cryptocurrencies present a low risk to financial stability in the country. The report, published on 29 May, was initiated in order to establish if cryptocurrencies posed any kind of economic risk in the light of its increasing use and popularity in Holland.

Because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reached the news often in 2017, approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands who invest in cryptocurrencies started doing so in 2017. In the first three quarters of 2017, there were approximately 44,000 transactions in Bitcoin from the Netherlands on a trading platform called BTC Direct, according to Statistica.

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Popular Crypto Travel Company Gets Boost from Queensland Government

Australian crypto travel company TravelbyBit has just been awarded a grant from the Queensland state government of AUD 100,000.

The company has a hand in numerous projects throughout Australia’s travel and tourism industry as becoming well known across the nation for the supportive role it has taken in promoting using digital currency for travel.

TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh said it was early days for crypto, and that there was strong support for it as a “social movement”. The company currently supports many new crypto enterprises in the hospitality industry including the new crypto project with Queensland’s International Airport retailers, which is off to a slow start with just a handful of transactions in the airport each day so far, worth between USD 5 and USD 55.

No project is too small for the company as it designs tourist routes within Australia and offers selected providers with their own TravelbyBit digital currency payment platform. The company allows customers to pay in a digital currency of their choice.

Queensland Innovation minister Kate Jones commented on the importance of Australia’s tourism industry both at State and Federal levels:

“Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries… TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments.”

The crypto travel specialist is one of 70 companies that are to receive the state government s grant of AUS 8.3 million and hopes that the funds that TravelbyBit receive will help them to scale up its current operations.

Yeoh says that now 150 merchants across the country have tapped into Bitcoin payments through his company and says he is now targeting a different type of traveler:

“With this next phase of technology, we are targeting a different brand of tourist – the tech-savvy travellers from anywhere in the world who are looking to book their travel experiences ahead of their trip and use digital currency to pay for their travels.”

TravelbyBit currently accepts BTC, ETH, XEM and plans to accept BNB in the future.

 

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Canaan Crypto Mining TV Launched to Catch Bitmain’s Market

The so-called world’s first ever crypto mining TV has just been born, courtesy of the one of the largest makers of Bitcoin mining equipment, Canaan Creative.

South China Morning Post has reported the launch, which the company has stated is a step towards creating a new generation of devices which are linked to blockchain and IoT.

The device is marketed as a smart TV with a difference, enabling the user to tap into a processing output of 2.8 trillion hashes per second. Given that a made-for-purpose rig manufactured by the company can process 11 trillion hashes per second, this is still pretty significant for a TV.

The device is marketed as “AvalonMiner Inside”, although how the company connects their new device to the mystical isle associated with Glastonbury is anyone’s guess. Miners though, if not impressed by the name, will certainly have much to marvel at, according to Canaan. Such features as voice control, real-time Bitcoin mining profitability display and a digital tether to Canaan’s platform allowing users to pay for extras using mined coins.

The project has received some scorn, notably from Bitcoin analyst Xiao Lei who said: “It looks more like hype. It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

There is absolutely nothing to say that this may be the way the future takes media hardware.

Canaan applied for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) earlier this year in Hong Kong with the hope of raining in a significant starter fund. At present, Canaan needs to keep one eye on its competitor Bitmain which at present has a huge 70% of the global Bitcoin mining device market. When the company applied for the IPO it stated:

“If we cannot maintain the scale and profitability of our single line of system products and, at the same time, offer new products, our ability to continue to grow will suffer.”

To this end, the company has expressed that it intends to follow up AvalonMiner Inside with further innovations, and break away from simply manufacturing mining chips.

 

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