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Expert: Not Unreasonable for Crypto in Business

Expert: Not Unreasonable for Crypto in Business

Blockchain Capital co-founder and director Gavin Brown has told CNBC that it really is not “unreasonable” for multinational businesses to consider their own cryptocurrencies for transactions, at least in the medium term.

Brown said that in the current context when hugely successful multinationals such as McDonald’s actually have a better credit rating than some entire countries, the concept of issuing their own crypto and requiring customers to make purchases with them is “not that outlandish”.

He said this during the Credit Suisse Global Supertrends Conference held in Singapore, insisting that a company-owned crypto could even be set up within three hours to conduct transactions with clients:

“What we’re seeing really is the democratization of money so you know, if you and I wanted to, we could create a CNBC coin.”

The investment expert acknowledged that the success of such a coin would of course depend on the level of trust customers have with the brand: “They will trust it if they trust your brand and if they trust your product.”
A Financial Economics lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University, Brown demonstrated his point with the example of prepaid cards issued by Starbucks, whom he says has “over a billion dollars worth of assets worth on their balance sheet of people who prepaid coffee on their charge cards in advance”.
He also commented positively on the efforts by Facebook and JP Morgan to create their own cryptocurrencies, calling the former “the next big one that’s coming”.

 

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Bitcoin’s First Golden Cross in 3 Years Emerges

Bitcoin’s First Golden Cross in 3 Years Emerges

Bloomberg analysts Eric Lam and Matt Turner have hit upon what they claim is yet another strong sign that the crypto bear is retreating into the winter, and that the bull might just be emerging with a much anticipated crypto spring.

According to the Bloomberg trading analysts, the first bullish “golden cross” for Bitcoin has emerged since October 2015, making it the first appearance in over three and a half years.

According to Bitstamp pricing that includes weekend moves, the recent uptrend, which continued into the early hours of today in Asian trading, is showing up only a year after the dreaded Death Cross showed up in early 2018.

The golden cross is a candlestick pattern that is a relatively short-term moving average that crosses above a long-term moving average. It is seen a s hugely positive signal for traders and Bitcoin bulls will take heart at this milestone, as golden crosses can be the portent of a major buying spree for investors. This was indeed the case with the last Golden Cross in late 2015, the bottom levels from which were never breached again until three years later 2018.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin continues to make new gains for 2019, scaling new heights at impressive volumes. Bitcoin currently trades just above USD 5,500 and shows no signs of letting up.

 

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Bitcoin Smashes 2019 Record, Surges Past Gold, Oil, Nasdaq

Bitcoin Smashes 2019 Record, Surges Past Gold, Oil, Nasdaq

Only three weeks after a sudden April Fool’s surge in Bitcoin price, followed by a mild correction, Bitcoin prices reached a new high for the year, trading above USD 5,600 during Asian trading time, before settling down now to around USD 5,500. The year to date profitability for Bitcoin has now reached 40%, outstripping the performance of any other traditional asset, including gold, oil and even Nasdaq.

While oil has enjoyed changing fortunes this year, black gold only has risen 37% since the start of the year, while three major indices (Nasdaq, S&P 500, Dow Jones) have all rallied since Christmas Crash, but only recording year to dates of 20.5%, 15.9% and 13.9% respectively. Gold is the biggest loser, literally, posting a 0.4% loss since 1 January 2019.

The 35% rally in April ensures that the world’s most speculated cryptocurrency is on track to enjoy its best monthly gain since the tumultuous bull run of December 2017. Other parts of the Bitcoin market also showed resounding gains, with the futures market at CME Group Inc recording its highest ever contract trading volumes for Bitcoin.

The tide certainly seems to be turning, with even adamant Bitcoin bears now putting forward positive sentiments, and accumulation patterns showing up for Bitcoin, amid increased demand for the currency in deteriorating economies like Venezuela and Iran, where hyperinflation and economic sanctions are taking their toll on national fiat.

 

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US Law Firm Installs Division for Blockchain Practice

US Law Firm Installs Division for Blockchain Practice

A US-based business law firm Greenspoon Marder has opened up a blockchain practice division in Miami with the sole aim of providing an advisory role to blockchain related businesses, according to a press release.

In order to fit into the scope of an emerging digital tech marketplace, and a rise in the demand of legal practitioners, Greenspoon Marder launched its Blockchain, Digital Assets and Technology Transactions practice group situated in its Miami office and to be headed by its newest partner Katya Fisher.

Speaking about the new development, co-managing director of Greenspoon Marder, Gerry Greenspoon said:

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the way the world does business. Our firm is committed to remaining forward-facing in the evolving areas of law, including blockchain, so we can continue to meet the ever-changing business landscape affecting our clients.”

Greenspoon Marder hopes to gain an advantage by leveraging its multidisciplinary and extensive experience to port into the blockchain legal market. The new division will allow the firm to manage their prospective clients who want to onboard blockchain technology into their business processes by offering its services in related subject matters such as corporate securities, business, government relations, labor and employment, regulatory compliance and taxation.

The firm also claims to have renowned expertise in real estate, entertainment, litigation, and cannabis and would use this to help their clients navigate the opportunities the blockchain ecosystem provides.

Fisher, who will be managing the firm’s new division, has professional and community experience that spans a couple of organizations including IBM blockchain accelerator. She has apparently secured her firm’s confidence as the other co-managing director of the firm Michael Marder attests: “Katya’s vast understanding of the complex legal challenges that face companies implementing blockchain technology made her the perfect fit for the launch of the practice.”

Recent reports revealed the high rise of demand in legal practitioners with expertise in blockchain technology and its underlying emerging asset class, with a majority of practitioners having to saturate the cryptocurrency field exclusively from a regulatory practice angle.

Earlier this month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was reportedly seeking out an Attorney-Adviser for its Division of Trading and Markets (TM) to provide expertise and coordination related to crypto and digital asset securities at the division.

 

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Serena Williams Invests in Coinbase

Serena Williams Invests in Coinbase

American tennis superstar Serena Williams has just announced an investment into cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase, further cementing the reputation of blockchain and crypto-related businesses among savvy investors.

Posting to her tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, Williams shared that her investment company, Serena Ventures, had already invested in at least 21 companies, based on their respective logos in a slideshow. The Coinbase logo was nestled among the “few brands” in the firm’s portfolio:

While celebrity affiliation with cryptocurrency is not new, with even more popular global sports figures such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo already affiliating themselves with branded cryptocurrency, this announcement comes with a slightly more significant flavor. While others were simply promoting a particular crypto-themed product, Serena Ventures has actually invested in startups and companies that “embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity”. Clearly, the Coinbase selection goes far beyond cryptocurrency and blockchain, and proves that it can show its mettle alongside more easily understood industries.

Launched in 2014, the fund has now invested in 30 startups. The official website shows that invested firms now have a combined market cap of over USD 12 billion. The exact amount invested in Coinbase was not revealed. Williams, who has won four Olympic gold medals, has so far received over 27,000 likes on Instagram for the post after only five days.

 

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Bitcoin Bear Converts to Bull, Says 75% Chance Bottom is Done

Bitcoin Bear Converts to Bull, Says 75% Chance Bottom is Done

With the second quarter of 2019 just barely begun, Bitcoin’s price movement has stubbornly shown signs of long-term strength and gathering momentum, converting even some of the most adamant Bitcoin bears into bulls. These are now joining the ranks of those who believe the bottom has already been met, and that Bitcoin is about to embark on a long journey upwards, without looking back.

The latest is prominent market analyst Murad Mahmudov, who, until as recently as February 2019, insisted that we would have to wait until February 2020 at the least to witness a recovery for Bitcoin prices.

Bottom Q2 2019
No Bull Run till Q2 2020

— Murad Mahmudov 🚀 (@MustStopMurad) February 10, 2019

However, continued growth trajectories, with increasingly strong technical and fundamental indicators for the world’s most used cryptocurrency, have resulted in renewed belief from even the critics that an unexpected Bitcoin recovery is now on the cards. This includes Mahmudov, an ex-analyst at Goldman Sachs, who has now declared that he has a new, bullish stance.

Speaking on the Understanding Bitcoin podcast with experienced trader Tone Vays, the analyst said that there was a 75% chance Bitcoin price had bottomed. He underlined two key metrics that backed up his new predictions: the 200-day moving average (200 MA) and 200-day median for Bitcoin price. He iterated:

“We tried plumbing the 200-day median and… when that median is broke, that usually signifies… either the late stages of accumulation or the early stages of the next bull cycle.”

Even Vays, who previously said that Bitcoin would still hit lows of USD 1,000, has now lowered the probability of that happening, to now only 40%, with that likelihood decreasing with every week. Willy Woo of woobull.com also said that there was a 95% chance that Bitcoin price had bottomed at USD 3,130.

 

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Afghans Look to Sovereign Crypto Bond to Raise $5.8 Billion for Economy

Afghanistan is planning to jumpstart its ailing economy with a blockchain-based sovereign crypto bond. The announcement to attempt a cryptocurrency solution to three decades of economic turmoil came at a meeting of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington recently.

According to the Central Bank of Afghanistan’s governor Khalil Sediq, the target figure is USD 5.8 billion in order to support the country’s critical mining, energy, and agriculture sectors, and with 25% of the country’s population currently unemployed and living under the poverty, critical measures are being assessed.

Afghanistan, as the of the world’s largest suppliers of lithium, could utilize Bitcoin with metals futures in bond form, according to the Afghan delegation, although IMF president Christine Lagarde believes such a bond will need thorough testing before it can be sold on markets.

Bitcoin has gained popularity in Afghanistan and its thought that cryptocurrency could find real leverage in the county if local money-sellers, called sarafis, were to start trading in digital currency. Afghans are generally untrusting of financial institutions and turn to sarafis, who deal with numerous fiat currencies across Afghanistan.

It appears that Afghanistan is not the only nation, considering some kind of a sovereign Bitcoin bond, as both Tunisia and Uzbekistan, both also represented by delegates at the Spring IMF and World bank forum, have also expressed interest in similar solutions.

Uzbek Ambassador to the United States Javlon Vakhabov sees an Uzbek bitcoin bond being linked to the country’s cotton futures market, much along the lines of Afghanistan’s plan for lithium futures. Uzbekistan has recently legalized crypto trading in the country and has announced some initial regulations for both trading and mining. The new decree, “On measures to organize the activities of crypto-exchanges in Uzbekistan”, states any company providing for the purchasing of or sale of crypto assets on a platform will be recognized as a legal exchange.

 

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South Korea Crypto Investors Spent $6,000 Average in 2018

South Korea Crypto Investors Spent ,000 Average in 2018

The Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation (KFIPF) has published a new report which shows that South Koreans who invested in cryptocurrency last year put aside an average of USD 6,000 per individual, as reported by Finance Magnates.

The original news report in Korean referenced a survey from the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation, which was given to about 2,500 adults. Of these, about 7.4% had said that they had bought cryptocurrency. What was more interesting was that, those who had already bought before in the previous survey in 2017, had ended up buying even more, indicating that the belief in crypto had remained high even in a rocky year for crypto markets.

Compared to the results of the survey in 2017, the USD 6,000 figure was up 67%, and there appears to be some explanation. While the majority of crypto investors were millennials in 2017, older – and wealthier – age groups had formed the majority in 2018. Those in their 50s were now the biggest group of investors, followed by those in their 30s, and then those in their 40s.

Nevertheless, crypto investment is still a relatively niche investment in South Korea, with only a 1% growth from 2017. This does mean that it’s not too late for most still considering to dip their toes, to be an early adopter, especially with signs that the crypto market has likely bottomed out, en route to a new growth cycle.

 

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Will It, Wont It? Where Bitcoin Goes Now: The Next Hot Debate

Will It, Wont It_ Where Bitcoin Goes Now_ The Next Hot Debate

It is always interesting to get two entirely different opinions on a topic which divides even the best of friends, especially when they are not about Brexit, and here are two presented by UBS and Adamant Capital over Easter.

Bitcoin Bear or Bull, what’s it to be? Recovery appears to be on the way, but Kevin Dennean, technical analyst at Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company UBS thinks it won’t fly.

Dennean doesn’t agree with analysts who see Bitcoin’s recent upward movement past USD 5,000 as an illustration of something bigger just around the corner, citing Dow Jones in the Great Depression, the Nikkei in 1989, the Dotcom Boom and Bust, oil in 2008, and China’s recent stock market crash. He argues: “We’re struck by how long it took other asset bubbles to recover their peak levels,” with a reminder that it took the Dow Jones 22 years to come back after the depression years.

“Maybe crypto bull contingents should consider what happens after the bubble, not every bubble that bursts, recovers the old highs,” Dennean, offers with a somewhat sobering reminder of things past.

Not so Adamant Capital’s latest report, simply warning that investors just need to hold their cool and live with a Bitcoin market between a short term range of USD 3,000 and USD 6,500 and then there should be another bull run ahead.

The current sentiment has recovered from capitulation and the blockchain shows us that Bitcoin HODLers are committing for the long-term again. This is confirmed by our drawdown and volatility analyses,” the report states.

When the report states that “the long term risk-reward ratio for Bitcoin is currently the most favorable of any liquid investment in the world”, hodlers might be looking at holding on just a little bit longer, although a USD 20,000 would be a lot to ask for. Whilst lower prices may still be a reality, although undervalued according to Adamant, the report brings good cheer for adopters. The report concludes:

“Supported by over 10 years of infrastructure development, we believe the stage is set for mass market adoption in the coming five years. In our assessment, during this phase (its “Windows moment”) Bitcoin will become widely recognized as a portfolio hedging instrument and reserve asset, and will begin making significant inroads as a payment network.”

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 15th to 21st April, 2019

North America

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

USA

CFTC Commissioner says rapid pace of innovation presents difficulty in approving proposal like Bakkt: In the current period of innovation, it will be harder to approve proposals like Bakkt, according to Christopher Giancarlo, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner. CFTC is responsible for regulating options and futures markets.

Recently, prospective clients were promised by Bakkt that CFTC will be requested to permit the issuance of the first physically deliverable Bitcoin futures. Moreover, Bakkt will be looking to store Bitcoin in a physical warehouse on their client’s behalf. Industry is changing at a rapid rate, hence it is difficult for regulators to catch up with upcoming technological innovations, believed Giancarlo.

John McAfee relied on mathematics to predict BTC price: By the end of 2020, Bitcoin (BTC) price will be no less than USD 1 million, claimed John McAfee in a recent tweet. He stated that his prediction is based on mathematics and it will be “mathematically impossible” to experience a lower price. In 2018, BTC price experienced a 20 times increase which, according to many experts, was extremely unexpected and will not likely happen again.

Nevertheless, BTC currently sits at USD 5,277, meaning that it will have to increase by 20,000% to achieve USD 1 million target. It is important to note that previously, in 2017, McAfee predicted that BTC price will touch USD 500,000 mark by the end of 2020.

2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang criticizes BitLicence, demands clarity on crypto regulations: More lucidity is demanded by Andrew Yang (democratic presidential candidate) on crypto regulations. Yang, who is known as a supporter of Bitcoin, stated that BitLicence is “onerous”.  According to the reports, the New York State Department of Financial Services will issue BitLicence, which will serve as the business license for cryptocurrency activities.

Yang said that federal government must bring clarity in regulations so that investors can proceed with relevant information. It is worth noting that Yang announced to accept crypto donations. He is among a few presidential candidates to do so. Moreover, he himself is an entrepreneur and has worked in multiple startups during the span of 2000-2009.

Russia allegedly used BTC to purchase computer hardware for hacking into Clinton’s emails: Bitcoin (BTC) was used by Russian intelligence to secure computer infrastructure required for hacking purposes, which aided in interfering in the 2016 US Presidential Election, stated the Mueller Report. As per the report, Russia damaged Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign by using hacking, which in turn helped Donald Trump and “smoothed his path”.

However, Donald Trump was not found guilty of collusion.  The operation was carried out by the main intelligence directorate of the general staff of the Russian army (GRU). GRU was responsible for hacking into computers of Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and leaking the hacked material, states the report.

IBM and University of Louisville will join hands to open blockchain academy: A blockchain skills academy will be setup by IBM in collaboration with the University of Louisville, reports the media. The academy will aim at reducing the gap between existing supply and demand for blockchain expertise.

The curriculum of the said academy will be comprised of eight developing and emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and Internet-of-Things (IoT). The academy will be established in Kentucky state (USA). IBM is expected to extend this program to other universities as well.

ETFs should drop “blockchain” tags in their names, warns SEC: Fund providers looking to offer blockchain exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been warned by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to lose “blockchain” tags in their names.

The said step is taken to avoid “misleading investors”. During 2018, one out of every three companies changed their names during the SEC approval process, owing to the increased scrutiny. As per the reports, one of those companies replaced the word “blockchain” with “transformational data sharing”. Many ETFs changed their names even before their funds started trading.

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