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“Show Me The Money”, Say Asian Crypto Investors

At the Blockchain Week recently held in New York, it emerged that two quite distinct differences exist between the Asian crypto market and the West.

In the US, initial coin offerings are about ideas rather than returns and vice versa when it comes to Asia, according to Coindesk interviews conducted at the conference. Asian investors want returns more quickly than US investors, who are in for the long haul, better invested in terms of financial knowledge than quick gains.

“At the very beginning, the information coming from Asia to the US was very limited. We didn’t know what’s really going on,” said Zhuling Chen, co-founder of Aelf, a Singapore startup.

With no real reference point, this resulted in the market evolving in Asia as a separate entity, not part of a Bitcoin or Ethereum ecosystem, but certainly informed by them, followed by Asian banks joining the fray in early 2016.

“Asians love to gamble,” commented Jason Fang from Sora Ventures at the Token Summit 111, one of the Blockchain Week events. Fan added that unlike Western projects, they don’t want to see long lock-up periods, but want their tokens out and realize quick returns.

Fang suggested that Asian investors have one eye on the market, knowing there will always be quick value increase after a coin is released, happy to let them go having made the quick return.”We’re money in, money out in crypto,” he said.

Ricky Li, co-founder of blockchain company Altonomy, told Coindesk that Asians rarely diversify their portfolios over time, again after that quick return:

“US and Europe ICO project teams are more well-invested in terms of financial knowledge… Chinese companies and their neighbors will raise funds in ether and largely maintain those positions, sometimes failing to lock in gain or riding volatility through their whole portfolio.”

“The general view is that a lot of American companies are pushing the boundaries of technological advancement,” Chen said. “In China, it’s slightly more balanced. More companies are looking from a business point of view.”

Nick Tomaino, of VC firm 1confirmation, thought that Asia was arguably the most important part of the world in terms of cryptocurrency, and that the Asian market does mirror Western protocols. He felt, however, that there was a willingness to find common ground between US and Asian companies within the space.

Asian markets very much follow a common theme that is recognizable to all Chinese, that of family, or in terms of business, community, and localization:

“The best way is to have your own project that’s local,” Li concurred. “That’s very appealing to investors in China culturally.”

This, of course, has been affected by the Chinese ICO ban which is now driving companies to towards global business ventures, although this is seen as somewhat of a double-edged sword, giving benefits which weren’t considered before, due to the localized nature of Chinese business.

 

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Anti-Bitcoin Ads Target Former Obama Advisor

Brian Forde is under attack by his opposition for accepting donations in Bitcoin.

While the Federal Election Commission (FEC) gave Bitcoin donations the greenlight in a ruling back in 2014, this hasn’t stopped Dave Min from using it as the foundation of an anti-ad campaign.

Min is a rival Democrat, also competing for a seat in the House of Representatives in the upcoming 2018 elections.

The ad campaign features a headshot of the Democrat layered on top of a malicious looking background with lines of code and a hacker. The ad claims that Forde’s donors are “Bitcoin speculators that oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking”.

In response, the crypto candidate told Motherboard:

“These comments about my supporters are sensationalist, wildly inaccurate, and in line with my opponent’s lack of understanding of the technology… If they were speculating, they wouldn’t have donated to my campaign in Bitcoin. They didn’t HODL, they donated to my campaign in Bitcoin because they believe in the technology.”

Misunderstanding of the technology, especially in the political sector, is part of the reason why he’s running for office.

Forde continued, discussing that even the United Nations is using Bitcoin to help solve human trafficking in Moldova. One of the poorest countries, in Europe, the UN has put Moldova on their watch list of countries not doing enough to fight human trafficking.

The project being referenced is a blockchain-based system for paperless identification documents. The project would use biometric data and prevent traffickers from smuggling children with fake documents.

“We need more rational scientists and technologists in Congress armed with evidence-based policymaking, not politicians making irrational decisions based on their emotions,” said Forde.

Forde was previously a technology advisor for the Obama administration and before that director of digital currency for MIT Media Lab. Dubbed “The Crypto Candidate”, his received Bitcoin donations make up around a quarter of overall funds raised.

 

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Singapore Central Bank to Revamp Regulations for Blockchain Industries

A recent consultation paper from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) makes proposals for existing regulations to be changed; this comes in light of emerging blockchain-related business practices on the city-state island.

The report comes shortly after the Singapore government and MAS made preparations to launch a pilot blockchain proof-of-concept project to conduct inter-bank payments utilizing blockchain technology.

Revamping old regulations

MAS, the central bank of Singapore has had regulations for recognized market operators (RMOs) in place since 2002, and it finds that’s the “single tier” regulatory framework fails to meet the demands of the “changing landscapes.”

“A multi-tier RMO regime with gradated requirements can better accommodate the emergence of new business models such as blockchain-based or peer-to-peer trading facilities, and lower the cost of entry for start-up operators,” writes MAS.

The proposition is to now expand the single tier into three separate tiers that cater to the needs of smaller-sized exchanges entering the market.

MAS has introduced the tiers within the RMO framework in the belief that it would allow for market operators to choose a regulatory tier that better matches “their risk profile and business model”.

Flexible regulations

Tier 1 addresses the requirements of “market operators that wish to target retail investors, but which are smaller in scope and have far less retail investor participation than traditional stock and derivatives exchanges”.  This tier is for operators that don’t pose systemic risks and will be allowed to serve retails investors should they meet additional retail investor protection requirements.

Tier 2 is aimed at market operators who already qualify under the present RMO regime but don’t pose system-wide risks and serve only non-retail investors.

Tier 3 applies to significantly smaller market operators in comparison to established exchanges; operators in this tier will be subject to more flexible capital requirements, technology risk management, and outsourcing.

The MSA explains, “This new tier is designed to facilitate new entrants that develop solutions for wholesale market participants or market operators that have reached the end of their sandbox tenure and are commercially viable, but whose businesses are not able to meet the requirements of the existing RMO regime.”

Earlier this year the MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty revealed his concerns regarding the speculative cryptocurrency investors. He is of the belief that it is negatively impacting on experimentation with blockchain technology.

In an interview with CNBC, Sopnendu said: “But the speculators and the people who are making money out of this speculation of the cryptocurrency (market) are perhaps negatively impacting the whole experimentation of cryptocurrency.”

Furthermore, the MAS is interestingly working on its own blockchain initiative called Project Ubin. which was announced in late 2016 and will contribute to Singapore’s overall advances toward understanding how to regulate cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

 

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Brian Kelly Says Crypto Markets Will Surge with Wall Street Interest

Founder of the BKCM digital asset fund and contributor to CNBC’s Fast Money, Brian Kelly, has stated on the same program that he sees Wall Street becoming a major factor in crypto market popularity as new institutions come on board.

Kelly maintains that the addition of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Goldman Sachs to the crypto status quo will cause the market to surge, according to CNN.

It was reported elsewhere that the parent company of the NYSE, the ICE exchange, is not simply launching a futures market as suggested, but a Bitcoin exchange which would trade in the standard way where customers can buy, store and sell Bitcoin.

“The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange has been working on an online trading platform that would allow large investors to buy and hold Bitcoin, according to emails and documents viewed by The New York Times,” the New York Times reported.

Kelly commented that he was “shocked” when the market didn’t “surge” at the recent announcement by NYSE, maintaining that customers had missed out on an important element that ICE would offer a custody solution. He also noted that this development by NYSE’s parent company demonstrated the emergence of cryptocurrencies as an asset class, allowing for institutional investors to invest in the cryptocurrency market. He commented:

“[The] physical delivery of Bitcoin… means that ICE has a custody solution. That has been the big hurdle. How do you hold onto these assets? These are generally bearer instruments… and so you have to have a third-party custody person. That’s the big deal, they have come up with a custody solution for institutional holders.”

ICE, as yet, have not confirmed if it plans to build an in-house cold storage solution, something usually only offered to small companies. It has been suggested that if institutional investors were to enter the cryptocurrency market with huge capital, this would accelerate it into a multi-trillion dollar market.

 

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Bitcoin Price Set to Overtake All Time High Says Senior Analyst

A senior analyst at leading social trading network eToro has announced that he sees Bitcoin overtaking its all-time high of $20,000 with “absolute certainty”

Mati Greenspan, who is also a well-known bitcoin expert, told the UK’s Sunday Express that bitcoin’s January retracement was “a temporary swerve” and feels certain the trend will now be upward for the digital currency. Although he describes himself as, “not a fortune teller or anything like that,” Greenspan  suggested that “Whenever the price moves and jumps into a new order of magnitude, we need to see some sort of retracement on that.”

According to CNN, this is not the first time that analysts have compared the recent slump to the drop in 2014 when bitcoin dropped by 80% in value and then failed to recover for over a year. The market is now considerably different from its position over three years ago with a daily global trading volume of $30 million.

Greenspan is not alone in his views regarding the figure, providing that bitcoin can continue its trading volume, but some investors and analysts see the 20k target happening sooner. Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz, and Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead, along with other investors, see bitcoin surpassing its all-time high by the end of 2018.

The market may have benefited recently from the frequent announcements made by well-known investors about to embrace cryptocurrency trading. Also, banks beginning to express a more favorable interest in the market, such as Goldman Sachs announcement to offer bitcoin futures trading on behalf of its customers, does have an impact as well.

Goldman Sachs has said that it has no plans to initially buy and sell Bitcoin itself, but a team is looking into the possibility, provided it can gain regulatory approval and then work out a plan for eliminating risk.

In the last few days, Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem has tweeted that May 2018 will be the “last time” bitcoin costs less than $10,000.

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Image source: Pixabay (Geralt, CC0 License)   

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Physical Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore

Singapore startup Tangem released its own version of a physical bitcoin banknote at a shopping centre in the city yesterday.

The banknotes are available in denominations of 0.01 BTC ($98) and 0.05 BTC ($485) at launch. Each note is a Samsung Semiconductor S3D350A chip which reportedly cost the Tangen $2 to manufacture. according to Cision PR Newswire, the Tangem Note is the first hardware storage solution with certification for its entire electronics and cryptography to Common Criteria EAL6+ and EMVCo security standards

Tangem co-founder Andre Pantyukhin is confident that the new notes are completely safe, maintaining that the chip, ‘addresses all known attack vectors on hardware and software levels” and the accompanying wallet is uncopiable.

The company’s headquarters are in Zug, Switzerland’s answer to Silicon Valley, home to over 200 blockchain companies and a global hub for cryptocurrency. Tangen says it has now has plans to distribute its notes globally, beginning with a first shipment of 10,000 production notes to prospective partners and distributors around the world for commercial pilots.

Pantyukhin comments that the notes have real advantages for the user and transfer of ownership is exactly like a fiat note in that as soon as the note is handed over, so is ownership, “Physically hand over the whole wallet together with the blockchain private key. No transaction fees, no need to await confirmation blockchain.” Each note will allow a user to instantly verify the validity of the assets by NFC via smartphone. He adds the company is continuing production with goal facilitating, “immediate, free and anonymous,” transactions for users.

According to Tangem’s press release the concept behind the notes was make the spending of crypto easier, “to radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users.”

Although based in Switzerland and Singapore, Tangem manufactures in centres in South Korea and Southern China, Taiwan, Russia, and Israel.

 

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Image Courtesy:  https://pixabay.com/en/bitcoin-crypto-currency-currency-3215526/ annca

 

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Goldman Sachs Announces Trading of Bitcoin Futures

Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs has announced it has plans to use its own money to trade in Bitcoin futures, after a decision by the investment bank’s board of directors, according to the New York Times.

This is a major turn in direction, given the bank’s often scathing remarks about the validity of cryptocurrency. It decided on the turnaround after requests from its customers who wanted to trade in Bitcoin.

Goldman Sachs will begin using its own money to trade Bitcoin futures contracts on behalf of clients in the next few weeks, although an exact date has not been set. It will trade using its own creation, known as a non-deliverable forward.

Justin Schmidt, its newly-appointed digital asset trader, wants to trade ‘physical’ Bitcoin, but the bank will need to gain approval from the Federal Reserve before it can implement its trading desk. The New York Times reports that one issue which will need resolving is to find a way to address the risk of hacking, a problem that has befallen other Bitcoin exchanges.

According to Schmidt, the current standards for Wall Street digital currency trading as yet have not been met. Also, it does not appear that the bank is embracing the new project with huge enthusiasm, perhaps a result of Wall Street’s past skepticism. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase once called Bitcoin a “fraud” and many banks have referred to a Bitcoin speculative “bubble”.

However, Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared concluding that Bitcoin was not a fraud, saying she was clear about what the bank was doing:

“I would not describe myself as a true believer who wakes up thinking Bitcoin will take over the world,” Yared said. “For almost every person involved, there has been personal skepticism brought to the table.”

Goldman Sachs has said that it has no plans to initially buy and sell Bitcoin itself but a team is looking into the possibility providing it can gain regulatory approval and then work out a plan for eliminating risk. There is a general sense that the move by the bank may lend more legitimacy to cryptocurrency as a tradeable asset.

image source: https://pixabay.com/en/dices-over-newspaper-profit-2656028/ – freeGraphic Today

 

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Quebec Government Defends Bitcoins Liberty

The Chief Scientist of Quebec, Rémi Quirion, has published a report on Bitcoin, taking an in-depth look at the state of legality that Bitcoin faces on a day-to-day basis. It finds no direct link between Bitcoin and criminal activities.

Quirion disagrees with accusations such as that by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink who labelled Bitcoin as “an index of money laundering”, saying that Bitcoin’s distributed ledger technology has helped law enforcement agencies track down illegal activities with ease.

“Bitcoin is not above the law, nor is it a magnet for illicit transactions: it forms only a tiny part of the criminal money circulating around the planet. The reason: it is less attractive for anyone who wants to make transactions without leaving a trace,” said Quirion.

The Center for Sanctions and Illicit Finance of the Defense of Democracies Foundation’s study found that funds linked to criminal activities accounted for only 0.61% of money entering the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The percentage of Bitcoin transactions as a whole related to money laundering has decreased over the last five years, from 1.07% to a minuscule 0.12% in 2016.

The report cited that Bitcoin was still unregulated, although the Quebec government insists that companies must obtain a crypto specific license before operating a cryptocurrency exchange in the country.

While these figures might challenge commonly-held views about Bitcoin, they come as little surprise to veteran Bitcoin users. Others argue that fiat currency, in particular, the US dollar still ranks highly as currency favored by criminals.

 

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Pantera CEO Dan Morehead Calls Rare Bitcoin Buy Signal

Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead has stated that Bitcoin’ss sideways action at USD 8,000 is about to end, with the company today signalling a perfect time to get in for the long.

Morehead’s company is well known for its exclusive focus on digital currencies and blockchain technology. Its rational analysis is based on Bitcoin’s 200-day moving average, believing that it had crossed below that threshold today.

“Bitcoin just hit that rare buy signal again”, said Morehead. He added:

“On the surface, it seems as though the higher the 200-day moving average goes, the more bullish the market is (and the lower it goes, the more bearish). In practice, however, the reverse is true. Extremely high readings are a warning that the market may soon reverse to the downside. High readings reveal that traders are far too optimistic. When this occurs, fresh new buyers are often few and far between. Meanwhile, shallow readings signify the reverse; the bears are in the ascendancy, and a bottom is near. The shorter the moving average, the sooner you’ll see a change in the market.”

#Bitcoin Price Cycles

After a 1067-day bull market, a downdraft which is spot on previous bear markets in depth, retracement.

My old friends in the hedge fund space would love the Fibonacci 0.618 bounce.

If I were a betting man, I’d say we’ve seen the lows of this cycle. pic.twitter.com/KIO80OFJtk

— Dan Morehead (@dan_pantera) February 7, 2018

Pantera has only made four trade recommendations in seven years, most of which have been based on the 200-day moving average. It holds an impressive portfolio of the top three coins by market capitalization, along with other alternative coins such as ZCash, ShapeShift and Civic.

 

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CNBC Fast Money’s Brian Kelly Will Still “Wanna Buy” Bitcoin at $20K

Brian Kelly, CEO of BKCM and CNBC’s Fast Money, has compared Bitcoin to Microsoft and Cisco in the late 1980s. Likening it to the internet, he pointed out that Bitcoin was not a company, but a public open source software, which was still in the very early stages.

Kelly went on to talk about the recent drop in Bitcoin markets, calling the bottom after it had seen some decent gains. He said, “So I think this is for real, we’ll know after April 17th if we can hold these gains, we’ll know how much of this tax selling impacted, if we use Tom Lee’s work we probably had 500 to 600 billion come off the market for tax selling purposes.”

When asked about the potential in the open source software that is Bitcoin, he stated that he used to think of it as the internet in 1995 but now has a better comparison in that it was the Internet in the late 1980s, being very early stages.

When put forward that Bitcoin was just “one big virus” and that the tech would never breach a new all-time high, Kelly responded, “When it’s USD 20,000 I wanna buy it.”

The #Bitcoin bulls are back in town! And @BKBrianKelly is watching one thing next week that could send the cryptocurrency higher pic.twitter.com/QRbN52XNDq

— CNBC’s Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) April 13, 2018

The analyst also backs Tim Draper’s 2022 price prediction of USD 250,000 USD, saying, “This is parabolic, but it would be a continuation of the trend that we’ve seen.”

Brian went on to talk about the use of Bitcoin as a currency and the damping down of the volatility, personally predicting its price to reach USD 25,000 before the end of the year should the network see a boost in transaction volume.

 

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