Category Archives: ETH

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Miner’s Jackpot! User Pays $560,000 Premium Fee for ETH 0.17

Miner's Jackpot! A User Pays Premium Fees of 3,990 ETH For 0.17 ETH Transaction

Over half a million dollars (ETH 3,990 worth over USD 590,000) was spent as a transaction fee in sending approximately ETH 0.17 ETH – a mere USD 25 worth as at press time.

The transactions did take place in a series of 5 transfers from a currently unknown wallet address to 3 different wallet addresses, each with exorbitant transaction fees considering the amount of Ether that was being transferred.

The first transaction was a transfer of 0.01ETH, with a fee of 210 ETH;

The second transaction was a transfer of 0.02 ETH with a fee of 420 ETH;

The third transaction was a transfer of 0.1 ETH with a fee of 2,100 ETH;

The fourth transaction was a transfer of 0.02 ETH with a fee of 420 ETH;

The fifth transaction was a transfer of 0.02 ETH with a fee of 840 ETH.  

The blockchain space is conversant with transaction fees peaking at different points in time, much more frequent on the Bitcoin network. Besides, a recent report suggested that Bitcoin transactions are healthy over the network as fees touched 2014 lows again.

Nonetheless, this anomaly doesn’t seem to be a general problem on the Ethereum network as only this account was reportedly affected. Besides, so far, the highest network fees recorded to date on the Ethereum network is USD 5.

While so many blanks are yet to be filled, however, the wallet seems to have had over 17,690 transactions logged as at press time and has been running for close to 3 months. More so, this anomaly occurred only today throughout its history. Could it be a network or software glitch or a developer’s error, probably while executing a program on Ethereum’s mainnet?

It remains to be known what may have caused the abnormal fees sent.

 

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Report Shows Healthy Bitcoin Transactions as Fees Find 2014 Lows

Report Shows Healthy Bitcoin Transactions, Fees Find 2014 Lows

According to a report by data resource firm Diar, Bitcoin transaction fees are at their 2014 lows again.

“Bitcoin transactions hit a one-year high last month nearing levels seen in the 2017 ramp up to the price boom,” says the report. Moreover, as at press time yesterday, the report finds that Bitcoin median fees had dropped to 2014 levels of USD 0.1 equivalents.

According to the report, these new fee levels have not been seen since 2015 despite on-chain monthly Bitcoin activities that have superseded those of 2018 in total, although the median transaction value in Bitcoins are lower compared to previous months and comparatively with those of 2015.

The report also highlighted transaction counts hitting a one-year high since the last bull-run of 2017. In another post referencing transactionfee.io, Bitcoin’s network throughput may have improved hence the positive outlook on transaction fees. To that effect, cryptocurrency exchanges have been seeing increased transaction performances, with Coinbase reportedly seeing 21% of transactions in 2018 compared to 2017 and others like Kraken and Bitfinex as high as 192% and 50% respectively.

Nevertheless, Bitcoins moved on-chain in January 2018 are still higher than those of 2019. Earlier this year, Bitcoin News reported on Bitcoin transaction performance, referencing Jameson Lopp who said Bitcoin transaction volumes had dropped from a peak of USD 38 billion earlier in 2018 to a low of USD 3 billion (a staggering 92% drop).

Daily on-chain bitcoin transaction volume peaked at $38B in early 2018 and dropped 92% to around $3B. pic.twitter.com/mLfgRlbLeP

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 21, 2018

Bitcoin transaction volumes and fees among other metrics are important markers to determine the state of the network. During the hype drive of 2017 bull-run, while transaction volumes skyrocketed, fees went up as well; this made it hard for micro Bitcoin transactions to make it through the network on time, which ended up creating a backlog. However, since then so much has improved on the network, coupled with the introduction of the Lightning network (LN), moving forward so much is expected in terms of higher throughput should another peak in market activity occur.

The overall assessment of the Diar’s report was that Bitcoin transactions are healthy thus far, considering the on-chain activities maintained a 3-month higher average than the better half of 2018.

 

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Crypto Lender Completing $630 Million in 6 Months says Bitcoin Needs Killer App

Crypto Lender Completing 0 Million in 6 Months says Bitcoin Needs Killer App

Some blockchain firms have survived the so-called crypto winter, although many have been less fortunate but one blockchain-focused company thinks it has at least part of the answer to finding success in a bear market.

Celsius Network, an industry-leading cryptocurrency lending and borrowing platform, was created to leverage cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to create a community which had the interests of the depositor at its heart, according to its CEO and founder Alex Mashinsky. He says he is achieving this through what he calls MOIP (Money Over Internet Protocol).

Clearly, he has found a successful formula, recording over USD 630 million in cryptocurrency loans in just six months, but he claims that “unbanking” should become a greater focus for depositors who are using the conventional banking system. The company’s approach is similar to the banks in only one aspect; it allows customers to take out loans or deposit coins, but there is a difference, as this banking alternative sees 80% of the income generated given back to the depositor every week. Mashinsky explains:

“When banks make a profit, they give it back to themselves or the shareholders, but nothing goes to the depositor. We are doing exactly what banks are supposed to do, but for the depositor rather than the shareholders.”

Now with over 16,000 registered users from over 100 countries the company claims to have paid Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) interest to all its depositors every week since its launch. His hope for BTC is positive with quite a different spin on 2018 blockchain development statistics, arguing:

“And even after being down 80%, Bitcoin still proves to be the best performing digital asset class in the past decade. While 2018 was dominated with the dropping baton, Bitcoin continues to be adopted and new blockchain developers in 2018 have doubled.”

Mashinsky sees the future of Bitcoin in the hands of millennials, citing the swell of interest in South Korea with 90% of the country’s young already becoming cryptocurrency holders. He sees this future aided by the launch of a killer app which would attract the next 100 million people to crypto because, as he argues, “too many speculators have jumped in and there are not enough real users and institutions to get us to the next level of adoption and price”.

 

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Kraken Acquires Crypto Facilities in “Nine-Figure” Deal

Crypto Exchange Kraken Acquires Crypto Facilities In a 'Nine-Figure' Deal

In a report yesterday by news outlet Fortune, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken made an M&A move towards British trading firm Crypto Facilities in a “nine-figure” deal, a reassuring gesture of the coming of high-profile investors into the crypto space.

Recently, Bitcoin News reported on how an expected full-fledged institution uptake has slowed down, most likely due to regulatory and infrastructural shortcomings. However, “institutional investment” clauses continue to pool millions of US dollars into the cryptocurrency market, as revealed by more frequent mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

According to Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, the deal had been in the works for about 10 months and was only awaiting approval from UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Kraken, which is currently on the cusp of a USD 100 million funding round from its larger customers made up of accredited investors, has made this move in order to provide trading facilities for institutional clients. Although it made it clear that this service will not be available to the US customer base.

At press time, Kraken is #43 on a 24-hour volume rankings of exchanges and has seen over USD 42 million trading volume in the past 24 hours from 72 trading pairs, according to CoinMarketCap data. The acquisition move means Kraken has positioned itself to be the first cryptocurrency exchange with both a spot and futures trading service in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, making it a one-stop shop for crypto trading and derivatives.

The report further highlights other acquisitions made in the past by the exchange to include smaller exchanges, crypto research, and digital wallet firms. This achievement puts it on par with other exchanges to include Binance and Coinbase looking to scale up operations for the prospective market.

The previous year saw quite a number of acquisitions and mergers such as BitGo’s acquisition of the Kingdom Trust Company as well as Kingdom Services to provide institutional clients with regulated custodial services. Early this year, Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt said it had acquired certain assets of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant.

The recent spike in mergers and acquisitions brings back memories from the age of the internet boom, which saw an instrumental bear market that reshaped the industry. Smaller companies were being absorbed by larger corporations and the consolidation of internet firms solidified the place of infotech in today’s economy.

Perhaps, similar occurrences await the crypto boom and bust as with the early internet days, and if so, there’s a fierce competition for the future-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency market – which so far, paints a picture with institutional investors being pivotal to that reality.

 

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Bear Market Anniversary: How Startups Kept Above Water

Bear Market Anniversary_ How Startups Kept Their Heads Above the Water

The infamous bear market which began in early winter of 2017 – now popularly called the crypto winter – has hit hard on many startups and rendered many projects as wastelands.

Many startups that raised their funding caps later fell short of expectations due to the reduced value of funds collected in crypto and could no longer fulfill their obligations to the development timeline. While some are yet to produce a working prototype and have relied mainly on market situations to remain significant, others kept their funds in fiat and were able to maintain development strides. These are building bridges and establishing quality partnerships relevant to their stay in the industry.

Some startups resolved to layoffs and reorganizations when they could no longer manage allowances and had to cut down on excesses to maintain minimum operations for their project. Consequently, a large number of developers and blockchain experts have been returned to the job pool.

Some companies successfully raised their capital and chose not to get listed on any exchange but rather adopt the ‘BUIDL’ route to salvage whatever little significance the development trend could offer. Moreover, many never raised enough to make it to any trading platform, so it was the perfect excuse to ‘BUIDL’.

In the middle of these occurrences, some startups remained valiant and challenged the bear market head-on. Some shared their experiences and opinions with news outlet Coindesk, and maintained that they were going long with the overall crypto outcome.

For some of them, this was possible only because they were survivors of the previous bear market in 2014 and now understand the terrain better, especially after witnessing the huge spike in the price of bitcoin to sky-high USD 20,000 – a feat many are eager to see again.

“We were expecting an extended downturn as we were around for the last bear market,” Matt Luongo, the project lead of Keep told Coindesk in a response to a ‘crypto winter survey‘.

Another respondent Brayton Williams, a co-founder of Boost VC opined: “This ‘winter’ is 100X better than the 2014/15. People don’t think crypto is going to die. They are all just trying to time for when it comes back. In 2014/15, the conversation was all about if crypto survives at all.”

One peculiar observation in the crypto startup trend is the likelihood that the ecosystem is gradually resembling the initial public offering façade that most have dreaded. “The investment money is returning back to the norm of difficult to obtain. I think the ‘winter’ is greatly exaggerated. We are just back to normal behaviors,” says Williams.

It is important to note that this isn’t the first bear market in the history of crypto. The flagship crypto Bitcoin has seen a fair share of dramatic price fluctuations over the years. Perhaps the reason this particular one has become more noticeably disturbing is the fact that the rate of exposure was greatly facilitated by players from outside the cryptosystem, yet it remains unknown why the gradual shift in paradigm, the interest from institutions, and possibly support from government organizations have had little effect on price movement.

However, some that have done well have advised that ICOs spread their capital across crypto indices or liquidate as much from the funds collected to run development for up to a minimum of two years.

 

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UK OTC Firm Gets Derivatives Go Ahead from Regulator

UK OTC Firm Gets Derivatives Go Ahead from Regulator, CFDs

The UK watchdog, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has granted permission for London based firm B2C2 OTC Ltd to deal in cryptocurrency CFDs.

“Contracts for Difference” (CFDs) are designed for traders to predict crypto price fluctuations allowing them to profit from rising or fallings markets. The FCA’s acceptance of the B2C2 OTC Ltd application is seen as unexpected given the stance of the UK regulator last year when it said that it was unlikely to give any credence to CFDs. At the time it stated:

“Firms conducting regulated activities in cryptocurrency derivatives must, therefore, comply with all applicable rules in the FCA’s Handbook and any relevant provisions in directly applicable European Union regulations.”

B2C2 OTC’s CFD product now offers exposure to Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP), which the company’s founder Max Boonen suggests gives traders opportunities to become involved in the markets without the “risks associated with crypto custody.”

While the FCA has reportedly been considering a more direct role in managing cryptocurrencies and tokens, a new consultation paper released last week has been seen as an attempt to make things clearer for investors and the cryptocurrency community for future regulatory purposes. A statement from the FCA indicated a need to clarify current guidelines and changes in how cryptocurrencies are regulated, suggesting that the paper “will alert market participants to pertinent issues and should help them better understand whether they need to be authorized and what rules or regulations apply to their business.”

 

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ATMs Still Gaining Popularity Globally with 5 Daily Installations

ATMs Still Gaining Popularity Globally with 5 Daily Installations

The installation of cryptocurrency ATMs continues around the world as it has done throughout 2017, despite the crypto market downturn.

Newly-published figures indicate that new installations have taken the number of extant machines around the globe past the 4,000 total. This illustrates the degree to which users are increasingly needing a convenient way to access their crypto assets.

According to industry statistics aggregator Coin ATM Radar the current installment rate is now 4.9 a day. The new data breaks down the spread of crypto ATMs, suggesting that actual locations have changed little with the majority of the machines still being located in North America, followed by Europe with roughly a third of the North American total which currently has 72% of the global total actively in use.

Hong Kong represents Asia’s biggest market for crypto ATMs, accounting for 0.8% of the world’s active ATMs. In Europe, Austrians and the UK public are the most prominent users of machines on that continent. Lagging behind is Oceania, which includes major crypto user Australia, South America. The African continent has only 0.2% of the global usage, despite an increased interest in cryptocurrencies in 2018.

In the US, the country showing the biggest increase in installations in 2018 with 1,259 new active ATMs, California (473) and Illinois (250) have the largest number of machines in the country. The figures show that Bitcoin is supported by 99.9% of the world’s 4,167 machines.

The token break down shows a  59.5% support for Litecoin (LTC), 49.3% support for Ethereum (ETH) and 33.9% support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Dash (DASH) is supported by 17.9% of ATMs, while Monero (XMR), Dogecoin (DOGE) and ZCash (ZEC) are each supported by 3% or less.

 

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Monero Becomes a Payment Option on Fortnite’s Merchandise Store Retail Row

Monero Becomes a Payment Option in Fortnite’s Merchandise Store Retail Row

The adoption of cryptocurrency as a payment option for mainstream merchant stores outside crypto-related systems continues at a rather gradual pace. Retail Row, a retail merchandise store by Fortnite is the latest to accept exclusively Monero payments from the online video game community.

The announcement was made yesterday by Monero fans on Reddit and then on Twitter by the official Monero page. However, the Fortnite team is yet to comment with regards to the development.

The official Fortnite Merch Store is now exclusively accepting #Monero as a cryptocurrency payment option! https://t.co/NWmHhzE6Kg

— Monero || #xmr (@monero) January 1, 2019

The store already accepts payments through credit cards and PayPal, but for cryptocurrency payments, it uses Globee as the gateway. Globee also allows payments in BTC, LTC, DOGE, ETH and more across its gateway, however, the store currently accepts only Monero (XMR) for purchases as it is one of the most privacy-centric cryptocurrencies.

According to some of the replies on Monero’s Reddit and Twitter feeds, choosing Monero is a good thing since it preserves the identities of customers. However, some did suggest that they could use BTC or ETH to pay via proxies such as Shapeshift. BTC may as well be a potential option in the future as news outlet CCN disclosed that Fortnite is interested in Lightning Network.

In terms of worth and influence, the game company Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite was recently valued at over USD 15 billion during a recent funding round. Fortnite has become quite popular despite being less than two years old.

According to a report, Fortnite has influence over 125 million players worldwide, especially among the millennials. During a poll in 2018, many teenagers in the US who play the Fortnite game said they would prefer to receive V-bucks – the native virtual currency of the game or cryptocurrency as gifts instead of cash or gift cards.

The privacy concerns of Fortnite is an important one and cannot be easily dismissed as recent hacks and data breaches have made users of social media and other online transaction portals uneasy.

On a broader outlook, payments through cryptocurrency can accord such benefits as fast cross-border payments and transfers, relatively cheap transaction costs and privacy. But how long will privacy-centric cryptocurrencies last? Seeing how their very core antagonizes the will of the government beyond decentralization. In the latter part of 2018, the US government began making plans on tracking privacy coins such as Zcash and Monero to keep a line on transactions trail that could be considered illegal.

Cryptocurrency adoption on the merchant route may indeed be a continuous but challenging one. Different merchants will have to make concise and careful decisions on the choice of crypto-asset(s) to adopt for payment options as the commercial world continues to evolve in that direction.

 

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Ethereum Set for January Spike, to Start Year on Positive Note With Constantinople

Ethereum Set for January Spike to Start Year On Positive Note with Constantinople

Ethereum has been earmarked by many cryptocurrency experts as heading for a massive spike in value early in 2019 as its Constantinople hard fork approaches.

Ethereum which recently lost its spot as number 1 altcoin by market cap to Ripple has developers hoping that its hard fork scheduled for January will make the transition from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS) more effective and boost ETH’s market value moving into the new year.

In terms of development, Ethereum is lagging, while other competitors such as Ethereum Classic (ETC), Cardano (ADA), Lisk (LSK) and Quantum (QTUM) are progressing with far more intent. Despite “the sky falling” as some commentators have maintained, Joe Lubin, Ethereum co-founder, asserts that Ethereum protocol development is accelerating. He suggests that this will result in “the continued maturation of the token economy, which will see many exciting consumer utility tokens and tokenized security launched in the new year.”

The common view is that ETH is now well positioned for a price boost prior to the release of Constantinople, not only regaining its position as the leading altcoin platform. Clearly, though the Ethereum team is hoping for a more successful outcome than the last hard fork, Bitcoin Cash, leading to heavy market losses and a hash rate war.

Constantinople is scheduled for the middle of January 2019 and designed to increase the speed and efficiency of the Ethereum network, as well as making it more economically viable than the current status quo. Ethereum Classic (ETC) will still remain in play after the fork.

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Coinbase Makes Highest-Value Crypto Transfer in History

Transfer

Coinbase, one of the world’s largest and most widely used cryptocurrency exchanges, has made a transfer of over USD 5 billion in cryptocurrency, an amount believed to be the largest in the industry’s history.

Reports indicate that 15 million Litecoin (LTC), 8.3 million Ether (ETH), and 870,000 Bitcoin (BTC) were transferred, eclipsing what was said to be the world’s previous largest transfer of BTC 500,000 in May 2015.

The reason for the transfer was a relatively simple one, with the exchange moving its funds in cold storage to an even more secure cold storage system.

Cold storage is reputedly the safest way of storing cryptocurrency today, particularly for major high-profile investors. Typically, smaller investors continue to store their funds in offline wallets or paper wallets with access to a public and private key. Safeguarding funds has become of paramount concern after major hacking events around the globe since cryptocurrency began to gain prominence as a challenge to fiat currencies.

Hackings have seen more than USD 2 billion either stolen or mislaid. Security is the main issue with hot wallet storage which is why exchanges such as Coinbase keep the majority of their funds in cold storage with a tiny percentage in hot wallets for instant withdrawal; the Coinbase cold to hot wallet ratio is 98:2.

Coinbase maintains that the latest fourth-generation protocol is achieved by starting from a random location with two brand new laptops that have had their Wifi card and storage drives removed to a shielded power supply. Then randomly, one of the two laptops generate the private keys and Linux is booted up on the chosen laptop via a USB drive.

The private keys are generated and divided into several fragments using Shamir’s secret sharing, a method of splitting private keys that enables the full keys to be reconstructed even if some of the parts are lost. The keys are then saved as QR codes, printed, securely faulted, and subsequently, the laptops used are destroyed. Finally, the key holders are geographically dispersed until their identities are verified during the key signing protocol.

Coinbase has recently suggested it is considering adding 300 different coins to its exchange, including Ripple, but has not indicated which coins as yet, encouraging speculation that the long-awaited Ripple addition is about to happen.

 

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