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1  Economy / Games and rounds / Game of Thrones Betting Odds on: July 14, 2018, 02:23:38 AM
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2  Economy / Trading Discussion / Why Never Sell At A Loss Is A Terrible Advice on: June 17, 2018, 11:31:34 PM
In this bear market, we have seen some coins that has plunge so much and it seems that it will be having a hard time to go back up again. If you become a bag holder of a coin and just holding strong to your coin because you believe that it will go back up again someday then you might want to think again if it is really worth it to hold it or sell it at a loss to find another opportunity. Many people would advice to not sell at a loss because it will go back up again anyway so why sell it? Here are some of the reasons why it's time to sell your coins at a loss.

1. If you can re-enter lower
2. If you don't believe in the project
3. If you chased a pump
4. If the project has had a catastrophic failure
5. If the coin is getting de-listed due to low volume
6. If the project has a successful double spend attack
7. If your satoshis will grow faster elsewhere

You can find further explanation here https://steemit.com/crypto/@ashr/7-reasons-why-never-sell-at-a-loss-is-terrible-advice.
3  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-03-20] US National Security Agency (NSA) Has Been Tracking Bitcoin Users on: March 21, 2018, 02:08:40 AM
Not to be mistaken for another Jason Bourne thriller, the Edward Snowden papers show a US government/bitcoin connection. The Intercept is reporting classified documents leaked by Snowden prove that the US National Security Agency (NSA) in fact was keeping tabs on bitcoin users globally, as evidenced by a report that’s surfaced from March 2013. The timing is curious, with the ink barely dry on an executive order signed by President Trump to ban Americans from transacting with Venezuela’s Petro coin.

In true spy agency style, the report is filled with code names and numbers as well as the cataloging and cross-referencing of data that ultimately helped them to “track down the senders and receivers of bitcoins,” top secret excerpts reveal. The NSA called its bitcoin spying project Oakstar, and the initial focus of the mission was counterterrorism-focused.

It doesn’t appear that the NSA was randomly targeting people. They at least appear to have been monitoring groups that were using the level of anonymity allowed by bitcoin transactions for clandestine purposes, such as money laundering activities. If you’ve ever wondered what a top-secret NSA entry looks like, here’s a glimpse:

“[NSA agent] is hoping to use the access for their mission of looking at organized crime and cyber targets that utilize online e-currency services to move and launder money. These illicit finance networks provide user access to international monetary systems while providing a high degree of anoymity.”

Here’s how it went down. The NSA was seemingly able to use the sophisticated tools available to the US spy agency to collect and analyze internet data, capabilities that were bolstered by let’s call it a super software program that protected the identity of users.

Bitcoin was one of three areas of activity that were being watched, in addition to Liberty Reserve, which has since been shuttered amid money laundering with cryptocurrencies, and one other. Even though bitcoin isn’t the most anonymous cryptocurrency out there, it was the “No. 1 priority” of the NSA.

Network Access
While the blockchain is a public ledger, the NSA didn’t stop there. They apparently gained access to user computer systems, collecting information such as passwords, user sessions and a media access control address. They also seem to have captured personal info such as billing details and IP addresses. The agency was set on uncovering the connection between what they called “bitcoin targets” and the data they had.

As for the timing of the reveal, it could just be a coincidence. But regardless, the more that the government tries to get its grips on the blockchain movement, the more it seems to only embolden the cryptocurrency community to distance themselves further from the centralized financial system.

Source: https://www.ccn.com/big-brothers-watching-bitcoin-whistleblower-papers-reveal/
4  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-02-07] Cryptocurrency Trader Sues T-Mobile on: February 07, 2018, 03:39:10 AM
Cryptocurrency Trader Sues T-Mobile For Inability to Prevent Account Hack

Just last Sunday, a Washington man filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile for failing to protect his phone number, which eventually led to thousands of dollars’ worth of his cryptocurrency being stolen.

Back in November, Carlos Tapang was faced with a grim situation in which his phone number was compromised by malicious actors. The hackers were able to port his number to an account under their control on AT&T, and reset his account passwords most likely though SMS-based two-factor authentication.

According to a recent report from Law360, Tapang’s complaint involves targeting T-Mobile for their inability to provide adequate security measures to protect his account. The failure on the carrier’s end allowed malicious actors to port Tapang’s number out, and steal his cryptocurrency by gaining access to associated accounts.

“As a result of this breach of security, Mr. Tapang’s exchange account was subjected to unauthorized transfers; he was deprived of his use of his cell phone number and required to expend time, energy, and expense to address and resolve this financial disruption and mitigate the consequences; and he also suffered consequent emotional distress.”

Hackers reportedly drained Tapang’s accounts of the OmiseGo and Bitconnect tokens that he owned, and likely won’t be returning them anytime soon.

Although T-Mobile’s sales and marketing materials claim that there are security measures in place to prevent these forms of attacks, it seems as if that wasn’t the case with this recent breach.

T-Mobile never added a pin to Tapang’s account as requested, and hackers called the service repeatedly in order to reach a representative willing to make the transfer. After the porting, Tapang was unable to access his phone number and had to do whatever he could to secure his holdings and rescue his accounts.

Number-Jacking: A Growing Trend
Hacks of this nature began as early as 2016, with a case notably involving another T-Mobile customer that had his number changed and cryptocurrency stolen. The hackers transferred the number of the affected party to their control, reset his passwords, and took control of his exchange accounts in order to drain him of his holdings. As soon as the hackers had the phone number in their possession, resetting passwords on critical accounts was as easy as pushing a button.

The process involves calling up the targeted party’s mobile provider and asking to port their number to a device in the hacker’s possession. The hacker will pose as the targeted party, and provide any answers to security questions that they might have access to through a variety of means.

One of the major ways in which exchanges can prevent these types of hacks and further protect their customers is disabling two-factor authentication through SMS, and route it through a proprietary authentication application. Although not bulletproof, it may have the power to lessen the frequency of these cases in the future.

At the end of the day, users might have control of their physical devices, but their assigned phone numbers are in the control of their carrier.

Source: https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-trader-sues-t-mobile-for-inability-to-prevent-account-hack-leading-to-thousands-of-dollars-stolen/
5  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-02-02] Bitcoin's Brutal Week Is Even Worse in South Korea on: February 02, 2018, 03:42:33 AM
Bitcoin’s brutal start to the year is proving especially painful in South Korea.

While prices for the cryptocurrency are falling on major exchanges around the world, nowhere have the declines been faster than in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. The losses have erased a 51 percent premium for Bitcoin on Korean venues, sending prices back in line with those on international exchanges for the first time in seven weeks on Friday.

The so-called kimchi premium had been so persistent -- and so unusual for a large market -- that traders named it after Korea’s staple side dish. While its disappearance is partly explained by selling pressure from arbitragers, it also reflects a dramatic reversal of sentiment in one of the world’s most frenzied markets for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin has tumbled more than 60 percent from its high in Korea after the country’s regulators took several steps over the past two months to restrict trading and said they may ban cryptocurrency exchanges outright. Policy makers around the world have been moving to rein in the mania surrounding digital assets amid concerns over excessive speculation, money laundering, tax evasion and fraud.

“The bubble in crytpocurrencies has burst” in Korea, said Yeol-mae Kim, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul.

The kimchi premium began shrinking in mid-January as fears of a regulatory clampdown escalated. Selling by arbitragers -- who have been buying Bitcoin on international venues to offload at a higher price in Korea -- also played a role, although the country’s capital controls and anti-money-laundering rules made it difficult to execute such transactions in bulk.

Bitcoin traded at about 9.1 million won ($8,449) in early Korean trading on Friday, according to a CryptoCompare index tracking the country’s major exchanges. That compared with the $8,601 composite price on Bloomberg, which is derived from venues including Bitstamp and Coinbase’s GDAX exchange. When the kimchi premium reached its peak in January, Bitcoin’s price was about $7,500 higher in Korea.

The country’s cooling frenzy has been reflected in declining activity on domestic exchanges. Data compiled by CryptoCompare.com show that volumes have dropped by about 85 percent from December highs.

Read more here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-02/bitcoin-s-huge-arbitrage-play-just-vanished-as-korea-bubble-pops
6  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-01-30] South Korea Starts Real-name Trading System for Cryptocurrencies on: January 30, 2018, 03:42:18 AM
A real-name trading system for cryptocurrencies became operational in South Korea on Tuesday (Jan 30), with the use of anonymous bank accounts in transactions banned to prevent virtual coins from being used for money laundering and other illegal activities, Yonhap news agency reported.

The trading system is also part of the South Korean government's latest measures to curb speculative investment into virtual coins amid growing fears that a cryptocurrency bubble may be set to burst.

About 3 million people in South Korea are estimated to have invested in cryptocurrencies, and the nation's six banks have started verifying cryptocurrency investors' identities, Yonhap said.

A ban on the opening of cryptocurrency accounts have been in place for weeks while banks work on installing the system, which ensures only real-name bank accounts and matching accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges for deposits and withdrawals.

In South Korea, foreigners and underage investors are banned from opening cryptocurrency accounts.

The new system also requires cryptocurrency exchanges to share users' transaction data with banks, a move that could potentially allow the government to impose taxes down the line.

Some cryptocurrency traders and exchanges predicted that prices of virtual coins will rebound when banks allow opening of new cryptocurrency accounts, according to Yonhap.

Others said prices will adjust further amid media reports that only four major exchanges - Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone and Korbit - are likely to attract new investors as banks are expected to reject transactions with small and mid-sized exchanges.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum have rapidly gained popularity among South Korean investors hoping to make quick money.

Despite a boom in cryptocurrency transactions, the exchanges go largely unregulated in South Korea as they are not recognised as financial products, with the country having no rules for protecting virtual currency investors.

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/south-korea-starts-real-name-trading-system-for-cryptocurrencies
7  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-01-21] Bitcoin Futures: A Way to Control Cryptocurrency Markets? on: January 21, 2018, 11:47:05 AM
Can Wall Street investors manipulate the cryptocurrency markets via Bitcoin futures? Based on the recent fall in the markets during the week of January 15th, it seems that “yes” is the answer to that question.

During the market slump last week, there was some banter on Reddit that the crash was going to end Wednesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM EST when the markets closed the first Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE expired at $10,900 per Bitcoin. There was even a countdown posted by one Reddit user. While the price of Bitcoin did not rocket back up in the immediate aftermath, altcoins started to rebound hours after the futures contracts expired.

Futures Strategy
Many institutional investors are wise to use the futures contracts to lower the Bitcoin price to buy in lower by setting the stop-loss triggers at support levels to push down the price further and further to make it look like a crash. This scares novice investors to support the bears and sell to avoid a total loss. By taking this strategy, the Wall Street investors are strategically pushing down the price for in order to re-enter at much lower levels and potentially set Bitcoin up for another rocket rise to unprecedented highs. Then, assumingly, collect profits and repeat the cycle, increasing profits each time Bitcoin rises and falls.

United: We All Fall and Rise Together
Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market seems to rise and fall simultaneously with the altcoins. Is a systemic issue that causes this harmonious rise and fall of prices on the exchanges? The answer is a little fuzzy, but there are several factors at play. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as the universal trading currency, which leads to many investors buying and selling Bitcoin to buy and sell altcoins. When bitcoin starts a bull run, many of the altcoins fall, as investors jump on the Bitcoin train and vice versa. It’s also systemic because most exchanges require Bitcoin rather than fiat currency to transact. It is easy to invest fiat currency in the market and then leave there as an investor trades it; moving it from one currency to another and not cashing it back to fiat currency. Furthermore, When the Bitcoin price falls or rises against the fiat currency, all the altcoins will usually follow. This is because all altcoin prices are based on their Bitcoin exchange rate, not their fiat currency exchange rate. The value of an altcoin in fiat currency is the value of the altcoin in Bitcoin and then Bitcoin’s value in that fiat currency. It is Bitcoin that strongly affects pricing.

With much of the market tied into Bitcoin, it makes it easy for the Bitcoin Futures contracts to manipulate the entire cryptocurrency market because it is not just the value of the altcoins is the value of the altcoins in relation to the value of bitcoin.

The next litmus test is coming this Friday, January 26th when the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures contracts on Bitcoin are set to expire. Given that the cryptocurrency market is recovering, it is likely that the contracts could continue the bull run or not.

Source: https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-futures-way-control-cryptocurrency-markets/
8  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-01-16]China's 'Nasdaq' Tumbles To 6-Month Lows As Crypto-Related Stocks Cr on: January 17, 2018, 03:15:24 AM
China's 'Nasdaq' Tumbles To 6-Month Lows As Crypto-Related Stocks Crash

CHINEXT - China's index of small cap and tech stocks - has tumbled in the last few days (while the major Chinese indices have risen), as blockchain-related stocks across Asia have crashed along with the cryptocurrency carnage.

As Bloomberg notes, stocks with exposure to digital currencies decline in Asia after Bitcoin and rival cryptocurrencies slumped Tuesday amid fears of regulatory crackdowns. Bitcoin pares some of loss with 5.6% gain as of 10:03am in Hong Kong.

Japan: Ceres Inc. -9.8%, GMO Internet Inc. -7.2%, Infoteria Corp. -5.1%, SBI Holdings Inc. -5%, Fisco Ltd. -5.4%, Remixpoint Co. -4.4%, Metaps Inc. -4.6%
Korea: Vidente Co. -18%, Omnitel Inc. -13%, Kakao Corp. -3.2%
China: Ygsoft Inc., Brilliance Technology Co. and Shenzhen Forms Syntron Information Co. all tumble by 10% daily limit

Source: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-16/chinas-nasdaq-tumbles-6-month-lows-crypto-related-stocks-plunge
9  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-01-12] Bitcoin Set for Worst Weekly Slide Since 2015 as Scrutiny Rises on: January 12, 2018, 02:38:57 AM
Bitcoin slumped again on Friday, leaving the largest cryptocurrency heading for its worst weekly performance in three years as regulators around the world step up scrutiny out of concerns ranging from investor losses to strains on power systems.

Bitcoin was trading at $13,019 as of 8:24 a.m. Hong Kong time, putting it on track for a 22 percent slide this week, the deepest since January 2015, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. The token is down about 33 percent from its mid-December peak, which came just after the introduction of futures trading on regulated exchanges in Chicago.

Among the blows to cryptocurrencies this week was the South Korean justice minister’s reiteration of a proposal to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges, though the comments were later downplayed by a spokesman for the president. Meanwhile, bitcoin mining -- the process needed to facilitate transactions -- is set to become more expensive as China’s government cracks down on the industry.

In the U.S., scrutiny is set to increase amid concerns about the potential use of cryptocurrencies for fraudulent purposes such as money laundering. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo are set to testify to the Senate Banking Committee on risks tied to bitcoin and its counterparts, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The committee intends to hold a hearing in early February, the person said.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-12/bitcoin-set-for-worst-weekly-slide-since-2015-as-scrutiny-rises
10  Bitcoin / Press / [2018-01-08]Fund Managers Say Bitcoin ETF Proposals Withdrawn Due To SEC Concern on: January 09, 2018, 03:28:41 AM
Two U.S. companies shelved proposals to launch bitcoin exchange-traded funds, citing ongoing concerns by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), filings showed on Monday.

Staff at the regulatory agency "expressed concerns regarding the liquidity and valuation" of futures contracts based on the digital asset, according to one of the filings.

The move adds a new hurdle to the bid by Wall Street firms to capitalize on investor interest in cryptocurrencies, and it opens a rare public divergence between two financial regulatory agencies over how to regulate them.

Trusts controlled by Rafferty Asset Management LLC and Exchange Traded Concepts LLC each canceled plans to launch three bitcoin funds that could be traded by retail investors as easily as stocks. Neither firm could be reached for comment.

Fund managers thought the proposals had a chance at winning approval given the launch last month of futures contracts based on bitcoin on both the CME and the CBOE exchanges.

Regulators have been scrambling to figure out how to deal with this relatively new asset, and no single one has control.

The SEC has dominion over funds, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) governs futures contracts. The CFTC has been under pressure to address concerns it did not fully assess the potential risks that bitcoin poses to the financial system.

Bitcoin is a virtual asset that can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government. Trading has been expensive, difficult and fraught with wild price swings.

The SEC's decisions also face close scrutiny given its power to clear the way for products that could be among the more volatile traded in U.S. equity markets.

The SEC and the CFTC could not immediately be reached for comment.

One of the ETFs being proposed would be designed to rise or fall in price twice as fast as the price of bitcoin on a given day. Over the last two years alone, bitcoin has gained or lost more than 10 percent on a single day 26 different times, according to data from the Bitstamp exchange.

Bitcoin's price was little changed at about $15,000 Monday evening on the Bitstamp exchange.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/08/fund-managers-say-bitcoin-etf-proposals-withdrawn-due-to-sec-concern.html
11  Bitcoin / Press / 2018-01-04 China Said To Plan Power Curbs For Some Bitcoin Miners on: January 04, 2018, 03:45:36 AM
China plans to limit power use by some bitcoin miners, people familiar with the matter said, a potential challenge to an industry whose energy-intensive computer networks enable transactions in the cryptocurrency.

The People's Bank of China outlined the plan on Wednesday (Jan 3) at a closed-door meeting, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because it wasn't public. They didn't detail how authorities plan to enact the curbs.

Chinese officials are concerned that bitcoin miners are taking advantage of low power prices in some areas and affecting normal electricity use in some cases, the people said. Local officials have been asked to investigate the high consumption associated with the industry, they said. Some Chinese miners have set up around hydroelectric facilities in the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

The curbs will also involve other regulators such as the National Development and Reform Commission, which oversees the power supply. The PBOC didn't immediately respond to a fax requesting comment sent after the close of regular business hours.

"This may have contributed to bitcoin coming off its daily highs and electricity usage certainly appears to be a significant challenge for the cryptocurrency in the years ahead," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at online trading firm Oanda in London.

Bitcoin, which surged 15-fold last year, pared gains on Wednesday and traded around US$15,086 on Thursday.

China is home to many of the world's largest bitcoin miners, who use massive computing power to verify transactions in the cryptocurrency. The global industry uses as much electricity as 3.4 million US homes, according to the Digiconomist Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index.

Beijing's scrutiny of miners follows a sweeping cryptocurrency crackdown last year. Authorities outlawed initial coin offerings in September and have called on local exchanges to halt virtual currency trading.

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/china-said-to-plan-power-curbs-for-some-bitcoin-miners
12  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-12-16] Bitcoin is "Lifesaving" Currency in Venezuela on: December 16, 2017, 04:33:41 AM
Bitcoin is now becoming a constant part of many Venezuelans’ everyday life.

Whether they’re buying food, plane tickets, or even paying employees, Bitcoin is now a common mode of payment for Venezuelans. Frankly, many people in the country rely on cryptocurrencies for survival.

Survival of fittest
Venezuela’s hyperinflation has rendered the national currency, the Bolivar, nearly worthless. Thousands of ordinary people have begun turning to the world of cryptocurrency to salvage what little value remains in their savings..

One Venezuelan, John Villar, knows the struggle of having a his national currency become worthless, so he sticks with Bitcoin for all of his transactions. He said that his situation, choosing digital currency is not a matter of politics but of survival. Bitcoin transactions are relatively swift for anyone with a smartphone: Websites like LocalBitcoin and Colibit function as exchanges where Venezuelans can buy and sell bitcoins using a local bank account.

Government’s move
Cryptocurrencies have become so fashionable that even President Nicolas Maduro has proposed a government-backed version called the Petro. Members of his administration have met with Venezuelan Bitcoin entrepreneurs to determine how such a currency might work. Though few details have been released, many in the Bitcoin world have responded skeptically to the idea. It seems unlikely that Venezuelans will trust a digital currency issued by a government they have little faith in.

In Venezuela, the so-called "crisis currency" is allowing desperate Venezuelans to make potentially life-saving purchases.

Villar had been unable to find several of the medications needed to treat his wife's multiple sclerosis in Venezuela for the last two years, a story not uncommon in a country whose public health system has been crippled by shortages. Instead, he purchased them abroad with Bitcoin and used courier services to deliver them to Venezuela.

Authorities have largely permitted trading of Bitcoin in Venezuela, though they have heavily fined and detained people who attempt to mine the digital currency. For Villar, the stakes are especially high, and not just for his business. An engineer who once ran a biometrics enterprise, he is staking his financial future on the development of a game involving an alternative cryptocurrency called PepeCash.

A dozen employees operate from a small office filled with computers in an industrial community east of the capital. All receive part of their salary in Bitcoin. His wife, also an engineer, is now largely bound to a wheelchair.

"At this moment, I don't have a single bolivar."

Ambassadors from other digital currency projects, such as Dash, have been trying to familiarize Venezuelans with an array of cryptocurrencies. Earlier this fall, Dash sponsored 12 free conferences in the country in order to raise awareness.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/adoption-of-bitcoin-picking-up-speed-in-venezuela-called-lifesaving-currency
13  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-12-15] US Authorities Move To Cash In As Seized Bitcoin Soars To $8.5M on: December 15, 2017, 03:07:54 AM
Attorneys prosecuting a multi-million-dollar opioid drug-ring in are moving quickly to sell seized bitcoin that's exploded in value to about $8.5 million since the alleged ringleader's arrest a year ago.

The US Attorney's Office for Utah cites the digital currency's volatility in court documents pressing for the sale.

The bitcoin cache was worth less than $500,000 when Aaron Shamo was arrested on drug charges, but the value of the digital currency has skyrocketed since then.

Bitcoin was created as a digital alternative to the traditional banking system, and is prone to swings in value based on what people believe its worth.

For federal prosecutors in Utah, sales of seized assets like cars are routine, but bitcoin is new territory, spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch said yesterday.

Shamo is accused of selling pills containing the powerful opioid fentanyl on the dark web — an area of the internet often used for illegal activity — to thousands of people all over the US, at one point raking in $2.8 million in less than a year.

The 500,000-pill bust ranked among the largest of its kind in the country, and authorities also found $1 million of cash stuffed into trash bags.

The proceeds of the bitcoin sale will be held until the case is resolved, and then decisions will be made about where the money goes, Ms Rydalch said.

Seized asset sale proceeds usually goes to the agency that investigated, like the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Defense attorney Greg Skordas is not contesting the sale of his client's bitcoins.

Although there's no global consensus over the status of bitcoin — debate rages whether the virtual money is an asset or a currency — that hasn't stopped officials in the U.S. and elsewhere from cashing in on the digital hauls seized from cybercriminals.

In 2014 the US Marshals Service announced the auction of almost 30,000 bitcoins seized from notorious dark web drug marketplace Silk Road. Other seizures have since netted the American government millions of dollars in a series of sales.

Other governments — from Australia to South Korea — have set up similar auctions over the years.

Source: https://www.9news.com.au/world/2017/12/15/13/14/us-authorities-move-to-cash-in-on-8-million-in-seized-bitcoin
14  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-12-13] Lowe Slams Bitcoin But E-dollar Could Come on: December 13, 2017, 02:35:38 AM
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe thinks bitcoin is mostly attractive to criminals and speculators but has acknowledged there could one day be an electronic Aussie dollar based on similar technology.

Dr Lowe on Wednesday said unregulated cryptocurrency was attractive to black market operators and that the central bank was not convinced the time is right to issue an electronic dollar to operate in tandem with physical banknotes.

But a blockchain-based so-called eAUD could eventually lead to more efficient, lower-cost business processes and payments, Dr Lowe said.

"It is possible that the RBA might, in time, issue a new form of digital money - a variation on exchange settlement accounts - perhaps using distributed ledger technology," Dr Lowe said in a speech to the Australian Payment Summit in Sydney.

"The case for doing this has not yet been established but we are open to the idea."

The eAUD would be used in specific settlement systems but, while bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies and tokens on a public ledger are mined, the dollar would still be backed by the central bank.

"It is certainly possible that this type of system could lead to more efficient, lower-cost business processes and payments," Dr Lowe said.

"My working hypothesis here is that such a case could develop, although we need to work through a range of complex operational and policy questions."

Dr Lowe said the use of privately issued electronic tokens representing dollars was feasible, but history showed that people prefer to hold centrally backed currency in periods of uncertainty or stress.

"It is hard to see them being issued as cryptocurrency tokens under a bitcoin-style protocol, with no central entity standing behind the liability," Dr Lowe said.

"So, while a privately issued eAUD is conceivable, experience cautions that there are significant difficulties and dangers associated with privately issued fiat money."

Dr Lowe repeated the claim made by many financial institutions that bitcoin - which has increased in price from about $US800 at the start of 2017 to more than $US17,000 - was mostly attractive to criminals and speculators.

"When thought of purely as a payment instrument, it seems more likely to be attractive to those who want to make transactions in the black or illegal economy, rather than everyday transactions," Dr Lowe said.

"So, the current fascination with these currencies feels more like a speculative mania than it has to do with their use as an efficient and convenient form of electronic payment."

Source: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/lowe-slams-bitcoin-but-e-dollar-could-come
15  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-12-12] Analysts Blame Gold’s Fall On Bitcoin’s Rise on: December 12, 2017, 02:32:48 AM
As bitcoin’s price has surged, gold has suffered. Some market analysts see a correlation. Gold and bitcoin have both been viewed as safe havens for capital during periods of uncertainty for asset values.

As bitcoin’s price has soared, some analysts think investors are favoring bitcoin as an investment, causing gold to lose value.

Gold Hits Low Point
GDX, an exchange-traded fund for gold miners, has lost 15% of its value since September while gold prices have fallen to its July low point.

Larry McDonald, who oversees U.S. macro strategy at ACG Analytics, said gold’s declines have been accompanied by lower bond yields, a situation the strategist calls unusual.

McDonald told CNBC that every time rates have declined in the last two years, gold has increased. There has been an 82% correlation between bonds and gold prices, he said, but this past week, that correlation dissolved. He pointed to bitcoin as the cause for this.

The growth of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies could bring an even greater downside for gold, McDonald said.

Bitcoin Eats Into Gold
Cryptocurrencies currently have a market capitalization equal to 23% of liquid tradeable gold, McDonald said. That figure has increased 2% or 3% over a year ago, so cryptocurrencies are definitely eating into the gold.

While gold has declined more than 2% in the last month, bitcoin has more than doubled its value.

Sunday’s launch of the CBOE bitcoin futures took bitcoin to close to $16,800 by Monday morning. Gold, meanwhile, has remained near its July lows.

Phillip Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures, said bitcoin futures contracts will hold a key indicator for gold’s future. If bitcoin futures collapse, gold will gain, he said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” Gold will regain its attraction as a safe haven store of value.

CME, another exchange, will launch its bitcoin futures on Dec. 18.

Source: https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/analysts-blame-golds-fall-bitcoins-rise/
16  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-11-27] Bitcoin Euphoria Drives It Up $1,000 in Single Day on: November 27, 2017, 02:37:34 AM
Bitcoin surged past $9,000 for the first time, less than a week after topping $8,000 and taking its year-to-date rise to more than 850 percent.

The price of the largest cryptocurrency by market value is soaring as it gains greater mainstream attention despite warnings of an asset bubble. Everyone from Wall Street executives to venture capitalists has been weighing in with their thoughts on the digital currency, with some more skeptical than others. Bitcoin has climbed more than 40 percent over the past two weeks.

The surge has swept along individual investors. The number of accounts at Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading bitcoin and rival ethereum, has almost tripled to 13 million in the past year, according to Bespoke Investment Group LLC.

Bitcoin climbed as high as a record $9,518 on Sunday in New York before paring gains, according to composite pricing available on Bloomberg.

The rapid appreciation has made it difficult for bullish analysts and investors to keep their predictions up to date. Hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz, who is starting a $500 million fund to invest in cryptocurrencies, said last week that bitcoin would end the year at $10,000. A day later, Fundstrat head of research Thomas Lee doubled his price target to $11,500 by the middle of 2018.

In a move toward mainstream investing, CME Group Inc. has said it plans to start offering futures contracts for bitcoin, which could begin trading in December. JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank, was weighing last week whether to help clients bet on bitcoin via the proposed futures contracts, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Bitcoin’s surge in value is forcing Wall Street banks to balance clients’ interest in speculating on the cryptocurrency with executives’ skepticism about its future. JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has been one of bitcoin’s most prominent detractors, calling it a fraud and deriding buyers as “stupid,” while his finance chief, Marianne Lake, has struck a more measured tone. The firm is “open minded” to the potential uses for digital currencies so long as they are properly regulated, she said last month.

The total market cap of digital currencies now sits north of $290 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com’s website.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-26/bitcoin-surges-past-9-000-as-euphoria-reaches-a-fever-pitch
17  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-11-25] Iran Welcomes Cryptocurrencies on: November 25, 2017, 02:43:12 AM
Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace, one of the main entities deciding the fate of virtual currencies in Iran, has welcomed the idea of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies if they are harnessed by clearly-stated regulations.

“We [at the HCC] welcome Bitcoin, but we must have regulations for Bitcoin and any other digital currency. Studies are necessary for considering a new currency,” Abolhassan Firouzabadi, HCC secretary, told ILNA.

He said HCC and the Central Bank of Iran are currently studying virtual currencies, as they have captured the attention of the world.

However, he points out that even though the CBI has yet to devise definitive regulations for Bitcoin and similar currencies, “many in Iran are dealing with Bitcoin, be it purchasing, selling or mining it, and even dealing with it in exchange shops, creating content and establishing startups”.

CBI has envisioned six documents on fintechs and cryptocurrencies that will be unveiled by the end of the next fiscal year in March 2019. Two of them, dealing with payment initiators and payment facilitators, have already been published with a third covering micropayments and related technologies in fintech to be announced in the next few weeks.

The fifth document exclusively deals with cryptocurrencies and will be unveiled by the time the sixth month of the next fiscal year comes to an end in September 2018.

As CBI has announced, it will be a regulatory framework instead of clear-cut regulations.

Firouzabadi said Iran’s central bank, like that of many other nations, has not come to a stable and defined stance on Bitcoin, noting that many countries look at it as a potentially dangerous option in light of its violent price fluctuations and investment risk.

Less than two weeks ago, the head of CBI’s Innovative Technologies Department, Nasser Hakimi, asked investors and the public to refrain from dealing with virtual currencies without proper knowledge and to remain cautious.

“Mechanisms of control and supervision over the supply of cryptocurrencies are being implemented through the collaboration of the central bank and related entities, but the people must be aware of their risks and dangers on the demand side,” he added.

Read more here: https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-business-and-markets/76776/iran-welcomes-cryptocurrencies
18  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-11-23] Whoever Converts Digital Currencies To Fiat Monies Should Beware on: November 23, 2017, 03:05:06 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: Whoever converts cryptocurrencies into fiat monies will be scrutinised under the anti-money laundering laws beginning next year, says Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim.

These “reporting institutions” will come under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

The Bank Negara governor said the move was to prevent abuse for criminal and unlawful activities and to ensure the stability and integrity of the financial system.

He said recent advancements in financial technology provided new opportunities for anonymity.

“The advent of digital currencies will mark the beginning of a new era in the financial sector and as authorities, we cannot be oblivious to these developments.

“As such, Bank Negara has initiated the development of a regulatory structure for digital currencies,” he said during the Third Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit 2017 here yesterday.

It was organised in partnership with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Indonesian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

Muhammad told the delegates from over 30 countries that fund-raising through social media and other online platforms had increased in prominence.

He stressed that rapid technological developments offered immense potential for economic growth.

Unfortunately, these also spawned new ways for terrorist organisations to acquire, move and manage their funds, he added.

He suggested strategies that would erect stronger defences within the financial system.

The central bank is also finalising the details of a new requirement for the banking and money services business sectors to report remittances in high-risk areas. These will then be determined based on intelligence from law enforcement agencies on areas that may pose higher risks for terrorism funding.

“Greater access of intelligence information for financial institutions and the increased threats from the Islamic State had resulted in the upward trend of reporting of suspicious transaction reports (STR),” he said.

Between January and July this year, Bank Negara received 346 terrorism financing related STRs, which led to 34 disclosures to law enforcement agencies, compared to 93 in 2015, which led to 14 disclosures.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/23/whoever-converts-digital-currencies-to-fiat-monies-should-beware/
19  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-11-19] Pac-Man Meets Bitcoin at Blenheim Arcade on: November 19, 2017, 06:05:04 AM
An old-school arcade, in the retirement capital of New Zealand no less, complete with Pac-Man, pinball and teddy bear claw machines, has started using cryptocurrency.

And actually, it's not that cryptic. Gamers at the Arcadia, in Blenheim, just need the bitcoin app on their smartphones.

The amount they want is entered into the till, a unique code is scanned with their phone, they hit 'pay' and they're away.

Customers are then given tokens to slot into the machines. 

Scoon's son Adam Scoon, the mastermind behind bringing bitcoin to the arcade, said he anticipated everyone would be using bitcoin in the future.

"It is getting more and more attention and more people are learning about it and getting into it which pushes its value up even more, we think that eventually everyone will be using it to pay for everything," Adam Scoon said.

University of Canterbury senior lecturer of finance Bill Rea said bitcoin was a "highly secure" form of transferring money.

"It does offer quite a secure way to do transactions," Rea said.

It did however require some technology and IT skills, he said.

More companies and individuals were starting to pick it up as a form of transaction. 

"[But] your corner dairy is probably not going to be using it anytime soon," he said.

Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/98948778/.html
20  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-11-18] Coinbase Custody Targets $10 Billion in Institutional Funds for Bit on: November 18, 2017, 03:25:02 AM
Coinbase Custody Targets $10 Billion in Institutional Funds for Bitcoin Investment

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong officially introduced Coinbase Custody, a platform targeted at institutional investors. The new product is intended to be ultra-secure:

We are designing Coinbase Custody to meet the needs of institutional clients. In particular, we feel that institutional clients require:

Strict financial controls (multiple signers, audit trails, limits, etc)

Dedicated account representatives and phone support

SLAs on funds transfers

A regulated digital currency custodian

Multi-user accounts with separate permissions

Support for a wide range of digital assets and currencies

Insurance (in some cases)

And high levels of cyber and physical security

According to Armstrong, Coinbase currently holds $9 billion in user funds in various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. Coinbase Custody is exclusively for institutional investors with at least $10 mln on deposit. There is a $100,000 initial setup fee and a fee of 10 basis points per month on all deposits stored on the Coinbase Custody platform.

Money waiting to enter market
Armstrong further emphasized that the finance market currently has over $10 billion in institutional money that has been sitting on the sidelines. Coinbase believes these investors want to purchase digital currency, but have been waiting for a safe way to buy and hold it. Armstrong wrote:

“Over 100 hedge funds have been created in the past year exclusively to trade digital currency. An even greater number of traditional institutional investors are starting to look at trading digital assets (including family offices, sovereign wealth funds, traditional hedge funds, and more). By some estimates there is $10B of institutional money waiting on the sidelines to invest in digital currency today.”

Coinbase to target institutional investors
Upon the finalization of its $100 million Series D funding round which increased the market valuation of Coinbase to $1.6 billion, Armstrong promised Coinbase investors and customers that the company would provide necessary infrastructure for institutional and retail investors in order to address the demand for Bitcoin from the traditional finance sector.

With the launch of Coinbase’e new platform next year, there will be three products specifically designed for large institutional investors: Coinbase Custody, CME Group’s regulated futures exchange, and LedgerX’s regulator-approved futures exchange. LedgerX is the only one that has launched to date; it has already seen an increase in its volumes since its launch in October.

Armstrong added:

“We already store billions of dollars worth of digital assets on behalf of our customers. We serve thousands of institutions via our GDAX product, the leading digital currency exchange in the U.S. We’ve raised $216M from venture capital firms and financial institutions like the NYSE/ICE, USAA, BBVA, Westpac, and MUFG.”

In the long-term, Armstrong further emphasized that Coinbase will focus on facilitating the investment of institutional money into the Bitcoin market, with its capital and strong teams of developers.

Last week, Leo Melamed, the chairman of CME Group, the largest options exchange in the world, stated that he has gradually altered his viewpoint of Bitcoin in the past few years. This came about as he continued to study the decentralized structure and peer-to-peer protocol of the Bitcoin network.

In the upcoming months, the Bitcoin market will see a shift in trend, as institutional investors and retail investors begin adopting Bitcoin as a robust store of value and a legitimate financial network. It will be more difficult for public figures and bank executives to offer baseless condemnation of Bitcoin, given the crackdown on major banks this past week on money laundering and fraud charges, and the rapid increase in mainstream adoption of Bitcoin.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/coinbase-custody-targets-10-billion-in-institutional-funds-for-bitcoin-investment
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