Saturday, April 29, 2017
Antigua and Barbuda Drafts Laws to ‘Implement’ Bitcoin By Kevin Helms Antigua and Barbuda Drafts Laws to 'Implement' Bitcoin Bitcoin Games The government of Antigua and Barbuda is drafting laws “for the implementation of Bitcoin,” according to a local publication. The decision may have been influenced by online gambling mogul Calvin Ayre and even self-proclaimed “Bitcoin creator” Craig Wright. Also read: Craig Wright-associated Nchain Claimed to Be Largest Acquisition in Bitcoin History Drafting Bitcoin Laws Antigua and Barbuda Drafts Laws to 'Implement' Bitcoin EP Chet Greene, Antigua & Barbuda Minister of Trade and Consumer Affairs The Cabinet of the twin-island country Antigua and Barbuda has instructed their Attorney General, Steadroy Benjamin, “to draft laws for the implementation of Bitcoin,” reports the Antigua Observer. Antigua and Barbuda is a Commonwealth nation located in the Caribbean Sea, east of Puerto Rico. The move follows the Cabinet’s meeting with a group connected with the Antigua Leisure and Gaming Association on Wednesday, the publication describes, adding that Bitcoin was discussed as “a new method of transacting the sale of goods and services.” At the post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, the Minister of Trade and Consumer Affairs, EP Chet Greene said: “Here in Antigua & Barbuda we know we are always very much front and centre of new developments; we are leaders, trendsetters in the Caribbean.” He then explained his country’s interest in Bitcoin: This new currency [bitcoin] is immutable; you can always go and trace transactions, so in the context of allegations of our country being involved in tax havens, it allows for better traceability. Primarily a tourism-driven economy, Antigua and Barbuda has a few casinos on the island as well as a growing Internet gaming industry. Greene also said: “The currency benefits us in Antigua & Barbuda in respect to our Internet gaming sector. It will allow us the satisfaction needed as a jurisdiction in respect to questions that would be asked of us in the global environment,” the Antigua Observer wrote. Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre’s Influence Antigua and Barbuda Drafts Laws to 'Implement' Bitcoin Craig Wright Last June, Reuters reported that the self-proclaimed “Bitcoin creator” Craig Wright had been building a large portfolio of Bitcoin and blockchain patents. Applications for more than 50 patents were filed in Britain through Antigua-registered EITC Holdings Ltd, with plans to apply for about 400 patents in total. Originally known as Ncrypt, EITC Holdings later rebranded as Nchain following its acquisition by Sicav plc. The Antigua Observer’s article erroneously notes that the price of bitcoin “has increased in value several times since it was patented.” Bitcoin is open source and uses the MIT license for free software, therefore it cannot be patented. Antigua and Barbuda Drafts Laws to 'Implement' Bitcoin Calvin Ayre Moreover, a document reviewed by Reuters reveals that, in 2015, Wright “planned to propose to the Antigua government that the island adopt bitcoin as its official currency.” His proposal for Antigua reads: “Bitcoin is not just a currency.[…] It’s a new backbone and commercial foundation for the internet.” Wright also has the backing of Calvin Ayre, a wealthy Canadian entrepreneur who lives in Antigua. Ayre has been indicted in the U.S. on charges of running illegal online gambling operations, which he has denied. He began construction of a $25 million call center in Antigua in October, claiming “it was part of his vision for Bitcoin and online gaming,” Reuters reported and quoted Ayre saying: I see a growing convergence of Bitcoin, online gaming, virtual reality and gamification technologies, and progressive countries like Antigua are poised to take advantage of this convergence by developing a truly global services industry. While the government prepares to draft the laws concerning Bitcoin, Greene is encouraging the public to learn more about the cryptocurrency online, the Antigua Observer reports. William P. Eason MarketHive Entrepreneur/ Contributor http://markethive.com/wlmeas TradeCoinClub – Top 10 Cryptocurrency Trading Platform http://www.jointcc.me/ http://perfectincomes.com
Friday, April 28, 2017
Markets Update: Bitcoin Price Rise Climbs to Uncharted Territory By Jamie Redman - The price of bitcoin has seen a spontaneous rise during the last week of April as the cryptocurrency’s fiat value has climbed to new highs. Over the course of the afternoon and evening of April 27 bitcoin’s price spiked to an all-time high of US$1360 across global exchanges. Also read: Japanese City Accepts Bitcoin Donations Bitcoin Price Weekly View: April’s All Time Highs Bitcoin markets are currently in an uncharted price territory as the digital asset once again surpassed its all-time high jumping in value 10 percent over the past 24 hours. The price has dipped a touch during the morning of April 28 as the global average on exchanges is roughly $1330 per BTC at press time. Bitcoin’s overall market capitalization is also higher than ever before as it currently captures a market share of $21.3 billion. Trading volume is also substantial as over $500 million worth of BTC has been traded daily over the past three days. Markets Update: Bitcoin Price Rise Climbs to Uncharted Territory The weekly view and technical indicators suggest the bull run is not over but could see a hiccup in the short term. Bitcoin’s 100 Simple Moving Average SMA is still well above the 200 SMA trendline which means the ascending climb upwards may continue over the long term. With the Relative Strength Index (RSI) one can assume that buyers are still playing their cards and may continue to prop the price upwards. However, as we reported in our past three market updates the Stochastic indicator readout shows that sellers could pull the price down at any given time. Furthermore, market data from Bitfinex and traders on the trading forum Trading View show a lot more ‘short’ positions than ‘long’ positions. Markets Update: Bitcoin Price Rise Climbs to Uncharted Territory Trading View trader Nixholas predicts a bull rally ahead for BTC/USD markets. “Three drives now, cup and handle broken. With CNBC and the other major news reporters coming into shill us, $1.5K won’t even be a problem,” explains Nixholas. Cryptocurrency Markets Rise Capturing a $33 Billion Capitalization Markets Update: Bitcoin Price Rise Climbs to Uncharted Territory Overall Cryptocurrency Market Cap: $33,812,543,483 / 24h Vol: $1,085,012,433 / BTC Dominance: 63.1% on April 28, 2017. Overall cryptocurrency markets with altcoins included have also reached an all-time high of $33.6 billion USD at the time of writing. The second largest market capitalization held by Ethereum has skyrocketed to $5.7 billion over the past 24 hours. One ether is roughly $63, and Ethereum markets are trading a daily average of over $300 million in trade volume. The third runner-up Ripple (XRP) has seen a spike, as well, as the price has risen to over 4 cents per XRP. Litecoin (LTC) markets continue to do well, after the network recently locked-in Segregated Witness activation. At the moment LTC is over $14 per token with a $750 million dollar market capitalization. Dash has seen an increase too as the price stayed stable at $70 over the past two weeks. The price per Dash is now $78 per coin seeing a 6 percent price increase over the past 24 hours. The other top ten cryptocurrency contenders are also seeing price rises, probably due to bitcoin’s ascending value. This includes price rises from Ethereum Classic ($4), NEM ($0.04), Monero ($21), Augur ($14), and Maidsafecoin ($0.23). Golem, Zcash, and PIVX are still trying to enter the top ten with 8-15 percent increases this week. Speculators Look Towards the ETF, Japan, and Bitfinex USD Issues, but No One Really Knows Why the Price Is Rising Markets Update: Bitcoin Price Rise Climbs to Uncharted Territory Bitcoin proponents seem happy with the price increase, but some people are skeptical due to seeing considerably higher price spreads between Bitfinex and other USD bitcoin exchanges. Mainstream media is giving bitcoin coverage because of the price spike and are attributing the increase to the SEC reviewing the Coin bitcoin ETF again. Other news outlets say that Japan’s recent bitcoin payment legalization law has also propelled the price upwards as well. Many are unsure of where the boost is coming from, and a lot of the uncertainty is stemming from the $100 difference between Bitfinex and the global average. Bear Scenario: Bitcoin’s fiat value has dipped during the early morning hours of April 28 since reaching its all-time high. A deeper correction could continue leading to prices below the $1300 mark. Order books across popular exchanges show current support looks very healthy in the $1250 per BTC price range. ‘Short’ positions are also starting to increase as the price has reached new territory. Bull Scenario: If bitcoin breaks current resistance the path upwards could easily trend past the $1400 range this week and even towards $1500. Buyers have control over the market and SMA and RSI technical indicators show the price ascent should continue. The current price territory is highly psychological, and there will be many breaks and scalps in between. Intra-range and day traders will likely find price sweet spots over the course of the next week.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Bitfinex Bitcoin Games One week has passed since bitcoin exchange Bitfinex announced issues with banking partners and halted fiat withdrawals for its customers. Since then the price of bitcoin has been rallying upwards reaching new highs across global exchanges. As the price surges, Bitfinex prices have been $100 higher than at other exchanges, making traders worrisome a bubble is forming. Also read: SEC Approves Petition to Review Bitcoin ETF Rejection Bitfinex Price Spread Causing Fear and Uncertainty Bitfinex Price Spreads Bring Uncertainty to Bitcoin's Price Rally Everybody loves a good bull run, but this particular bitcoin price spike is being seen as unusual. The reason being one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges has halted USD withdrawals and other fiat currencies until further notice. There was no adverse market reaction to the news, and Bitfinex prices began rising higher than every other exchange. At the time of writing the price per BTC on Bitfinex is $1405 but the price on Bitstamp is only $1306. This price spread has provoked fear and uncertainty among traders due to similar instances in the past. Traders don’t feel confident in the market because of the 2013 Mt Gox scandal which shook the bitcoin community to the core. For instance in September of 2013 Forbes columnist Donald Marron wrote an article that is eerily similar the current price spike called “How Bitcoin Spreads Violate a Fundamental Economic Law.” Marron notes that Mt Gox started having some price fluctuations when the exchange had issues with Wells Fargo and Dwolla. Price spreads began to happen slightly then picked up when Mt Gox suspended USD withdrawals. “Spreads briefly normalized until Mt Gox announced that it was suspending U.S. dollar withdrawals,” the author writes. Mt Gox had become a Roach Motel (or, if you prefer, a Hotel California) for U.S. dollars. Traders could check their dollars in, but they couldn’t check them out. ‘A Territory of Greed’ Bitfinex Price Spreads Bring Uncertainty to Bitcoin's Price Rally Bitcoin.com spoke with Petar Zivkovski, COO at Whaleclub, the Hong Kong-based bitcoin trading platform, about the current market price trends. Zivkovski said he’s been getting together with many industry experts and insiders over the past few weeks, and the tone is generally bearish. “I personally believe we are entering a territory of greed when it comes to bitcoin prices,” Zivkovski tells Bitcoin.com. “We’ve seen less than 2% of positions come in the past 24 hours to short BTC/USD on Whaleclub. That means almost nobody out of millions of dollars in volume is betting against the currency.” The reason is simple. Bitfinex is leading BTC/USD price at the moment while other USD exchanges follow. Bitfinex, however, has cut off USD withdrawals, which has worried many of its customers who have only one option left to take their funds off the platform: to buy BTC with their USD, then proceed to withdraw the BTC. This process artificially props up the price, which results in the $100 spread we’re seeing. Withdrawals and Thinning Books The Whaleclub executive says figures show that fifty percent of Bitfinex’s cold wallets have been drained in the past couple of weeks due to customer withdrawals. Bitfinex Price Spreads Bring Uncertainty to Bitcoin's Price Rally “As a result, the books on Bitfinex have become even thinner, particularly on the ask side,” explains Zivkovski. “So when a customer comes in to buy BTC (at market, because of the urgency), they move the price upwards more easily. Which is why we’ve seen a perpetual price rise. This reminds me of the Mt Gox debacle, where price only kept going up, for the same reasons (blocked USD withdrawals).” Bearish Sentiment During All Time Price Highs There hasn’t been any word from Bitfinex since April 20 and traders are wondering what will happen if and when the exchange allows fiat withdrawals. Aside from that particular uncertainty, Zivkovski says insiders are still bearish even with the current spike. The network scaling quagmire has many people worried, especially since nobody has a solution that everyone can agree on, Zivkovski explains. “Once the exchange withdrawal issues get resolved, or a bearish event hits (such as an exchange liquidation), bitcoin’s price is likely to drop aggressively since it’s currently artificially inflated,” Zivkovski adds.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Dual Blockchain Token Mobile Go Raises $4.5M First 4 Hours of Crowdsale This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release. Mobile Go, a cryptocurrency aiming to bring smart contract technologies to the world of mobile gaming, raised $4.5 million dollars after 4 hours of funding. The coin is backed by an experienced team of game and blockchain developers and will help fund the first crypto-based mobile game store. With an impressive start, the Mobile Go crowd sale raised $4.5 million dollars after 4 hours of its launch. The crowdsale will last four weeks, with different discounts for each week of investments. A minimum of 50% of funds raised will be used to market the GameCredits Mobile Store, where 10% of store profit goes to buying back and burning MobileGo. The remaining 50% of funds raised will be used for building MobileGo technologies, legal fees, team expansion, and gamification of the mobile platform. With these funds the team hopes to popularize the mobile store and create a competitive mobile gaming ecosystem. MobileGo is a dual blockchain cryptocurrency using Waves and Ethereum, aiming to bring smart contract technologies to the world of mobile gaming. These technologies include a virtual item exchange, player run wager tournaments, and player to player wager matchplay. They will exist on the Game Credits Mobile Store, a demo of which was released last week. MobileGo and Game Credits share a symbiotic relationship. GAME is the single coin used for in-game purchases, while MobileGo offers more ways for gamer to interact with their favorite games. Both coins are used for unique purposes and together will maximize user experience and interactivity on the mobile store. When asked why a second token was developed, Sergey Sholom, Game Credits VP of Business Operations and VP of Operations at MobileGo said, “Game Credits has been built to scale with the vast number of payments made in the gaming industry, however, it cannot use smart contracts. Creating MobileGo allows us to use smart contracts to solve several problems in the mobile gaming industry, while also expanding the market potential of the GameCredits Mobile Store. Together the two coins will create a mobile gaming experience where gamers can win money by playing their favorite games.” The GameCredits Mobile Store will greatly affect Mobile Go. As more gamers join the store due to marketing, the mobile platform will begin to have greater profits generated by in-game payments. As stated early, 10% of all profit will then go to buying back MobileGo from investors quarterly. The gamers on the mobile store will also be the target audience of Mobile Go's smart contract technologies, furthering demand for the token. The team behind Game Credits is also running the MobileGo crowdsale. Week one investors can enjoy a 15% discount on all currencies, with an additional 7% discount if they invest with GAME. The Mobile Go crowd sale represents one of the greatest opportunities in the world of cryptocurrency. Not only does the project have an experienced team of game and blockchain developers, but it is also targeting a rapidly growing 50-billion-dollar industry, with a product launching shortly after the crowd sale ends. Gamers using Mobile Go and the Game Credits Store can enjoy the benefits of blockchain technology, without having to understand it. The funds raised will go to acquiring these gamers, bringing mainstream adoption to the MobileGo and GameCredits ecosystem. Virtual currency investors looking for the latest information on the MobileGo can register and join the crowdfund here: https://mobilego.io/ About Game Credits, Inc.: Game Credits delivers blockchain-based products to the gaming industry. Founded in 2016, GameCredits allows game developers to accept the game credits cryptocurrency (GAME) to securely purchase existing in-game items without the inconvenience and cost of traditional banking and payment alternatives. Users can purchase GAME directly inside their own Game Credits wallet for USD, Euro and bitcoin, as well as on major exchanges globally, including Bittrex and Poloniex. William P. Eason MarketHive Entrepreneur/ Contributor
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Techshares Help Enterprises Better to Finance During Blockchain Bitcoin Games This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release. If 2015 was the year when many first heard about blockchain, 2016 was the year when many pretended to understand what it was, then 2017 will be the year when many try to apply it. 2016 saw the emergence of several open-source platforms for the financial services industry, several more platforms exist in the proprietary space, and many of these will head into open-source territory in 2017. Their proprietors will come to acknowledge that any chance of long-term success at the protocol level lies in the network effect. Many enterprises also aware that blockchain technology could better help with their busniesses, TechShares decentralization exchange will allow all others to reach their highest potential: money. Money is the lubricant of our economies and its value is in being the most frictionless asset of all. Unregulated cryptocurrencies have outperformed fiat currency in this regard and the financial world has woken up to this. TechShares decentralization exchange will allow other financial instruments such as bonds, equities, derivatives, to be migrated to the same blockchain and permit a plethora of use cases to come to full fruition. We will see the custodians of our fiat currencies, central banks, move closer to harnessing the power of blockchain technology for the benefit of entire economies. William P. Eason MarketHive Entrepreneur/ Contributor
Friday, April 21, 2017
Abra Now Offers Deposits and Withdrawals at 60+ U.S. Financial Institutions Coinsbank Blockchain Cruise bitcoin conference The Bitcoin payments startup Abra has been busy adding to its service offering since Bitcoin.com reported on its progress in January. Abra users in the U.S. and the Philippines can buy bitcoin via their bank account or with cash. The list of supported banks has been growing fast. On Thursday, the company announced that over 60 U.S. banks and credit unions are now supported for both deposits and withdrawals. Also read: Abra to Finally Launch Global Bitcoin Network Next Month 60+ U.S. Financial Institutions Supported Abra Now Offers Deposits and Withdrawals at 60+ U.S. Financial InstitutionsAbra users load money into the company’s smartphone app in two ways; with a bank account or with cash. The company started offering the option to buy bitcoin via bank accounts in early March, but only to users in the U.S. and the Philippines. There is no fee to add, send, or withdraw money from a bank account. Initially, only 17 U.S. banks were supported. However, on Thursday, the company announced the addition of many more U.S. financial institutions, stating that: Our latest update adds support for 46 new US banks and credit unions, bringing the total number of supported US banks and credit unions to 63. “In the U.S., these banks are supported for adding and withdrawing funds held in the Abra app,” the company’s website states. At press time, there are 34 banks and 29 credit unions supported. They include Bank of America, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Chase, Citibank, Commerce Bank, Fidelity, Suntrust, TD Bank, USAA, Union Bank, and Wells Fargo. In the Philippines, adding funds to an Abra account can be done through only three banks: BDO Unibank, BPI, and Unionbank. Withdrawals can be done via most major banks, according to the Abra’s website, including Bank of Commerce, Citibank, HSBC, Metrobank and Union Bank. A full list of supported financial institutions for both the U.S. and the Philippines can be found here. Abra Now Offers Deposits and Withdrawals at 60+ U.S. Financial InstitutionsWhat makes Abra unique, however, is its network of human tellers, which currently supports over 50 currencies globally. While users outside the U.S. and the Philippines will have to use bitcoin to add and withdraw money from the Abra wallet, a teller can give them their local currency. The company is currently working to build out its teller network so that users can cash in and out from anywhere around the globe. At the end of March, the company revealed that there are Abra tellers in over 100 different cities worldwide including over 1,500 locations in the Philippines. Abra users in the Bitcoin community are starting to describe on social media their experiences using the app. Reddit user “Pdubl” mentioned that he has tested out the new features successfully. “ACH transfer was relatively quick compared to Coinbase/Glidera, about 2-3 days,” he recalled and noted the new fee structure as well. He added: The exchange rate seems to be about 1.5% but it’s built into the price. You also pay the BTC transaction fee when you withdraw. ACH Transfer Limits, Rates, Time Abra advertises “No transfer fees. Low exchange rates” on its website. “There’s a $500 daily limit on ACH-based cash loads,” the startup also noted. Once the money is loaded into the Abra app, users can hold, spend and send bitcoin to other Abra users anywhere in the world, as well as receive it in their own local currency. Abra Now Offers Deposits and Withdrawals at 60+ U.S. Financial InstitutionsThe company claims to offer “the least expensive ACH-based option for buying bitcoin today.” At launch, it used Coinbase for bitcoin price conversion but has recently changed to using Tradeblock’s XBX Index. “This will result in a conversion rate that more closely tracks the global average across institutional bitcoin exchanges,” Thursday’s announcement reads. Abra Now Offers Deposits and Withdrawals at 60+ U.S. Financial InstitutionsIn addition, Abra is “running tests to shorten the amount of time it takes to add money via bank deposit from 2-3 business days to 1-2 business days,” the company also revealed on Thursday. “In some cases we may require additional verification to protect the security of our customers’ accounts, which could add more time.” One of Abra’s main goals has always been to jumpstart the mass adoption of Bitcoin. In its recent statements, the company wrote: “Bitcoiners can now send bitcoin to pay people without having to explain Bitcoin.” In addition, “they won’t even know the sender sent them bitcoin. Recipients can then cash out their wallet balance to their bank account in any of our supported countries or find an Abra Teller nearby if they need or prefer to withdraw physical cash.”
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Research Shows How Bitcoin Can Be Attacked Via Internet Routing Infrastructure Forum Researchers from ETH Zurich and the Hebrew University have found how “internet routing attacks” and “malicious Internet Service Providers (ISPs)” can attack the Bitcoin network. In their research paper entitled “Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies”, they describe the attacks as well as countermeasures against them. The paper will be presented at the 2017 IEEE Symposium on security and privacy in May. Also read: Attacks on Data Privacy May Get Scarier in 2017 Internet Routing Attack Vector There are already many known Bitcoin attack vectors such as double spending, the 51% attack, DDoS, eclipsing, and transaction malleability. However, the authors asserted that: One important vector has been left out though: attacking the currency via the Internet routing infrastructure itself. Research Shows How Bitcoin Can Be Attacked Via Internet Routing InfrastructureWhile a Bitcoin node can be run from anywhere on earth, the researchers found that most of them are hosted with a few ISPs. Specifically, they found that 13 ISPs host 30% of the entire Bitcoin network. In addition, 60% of all possible Bitcoin connections cross 3 ISPs. “Together, these two characteristics make it relatively easy for a malicious ISP to intercept a lot of Bitcoin traffic,” they wrote, adding that “any third-party on the forwarding path can eavesdrop, drop, modify, inject, or delay Bitcoin messages such as blocks or transactions.” Two Types of Attacks Warned Research Shows How Bitcoin Can Be Attacked Via Internet Routing InfrastructureThe paper then describes two types of attacks claimed to be practical and possible today. The first is called a “Partition attack” which aims to partition the Bitcoin network or “completely disconnect a set of nodes from the network”. The second is called a “Delay attack” which aims to delay the propagation of new blocks to a set of Bitcoin nodes without disrupting their connections. To determine their effects, the authors set up a network and initiated the attacks on themselves. They performed a hijack in the wild against their own Bitcoin nodes to learn the effect of a Partition attack. For a Delay attack, they used an interception software against their own Bitcoin nodes. They eventually came to the conclusion that: The potential damage to Bitcoin is worrying. By isolating parts of the network or delaying block propagation, attackers can cause a significant amount of mining power to be wasted, leading to revenue losses and enabling a wide range of exploits such as double spending. Possible Countermeasures The paper offers various suggestions to combat the routing attacks of Research Shows How Bitcoin Can Be Attacked Via Internet Routing Infrastructureboth kinds. While nothing is a cure for all attack types, the more countermeasures deployed, the more effective a defense Bitcoin users will have. Both long and short-term countermeasures were suggested. Recommended strategies include increasing the diversity of node connections, selecting Bitcoin peers that are routed further away, monitoring round-trip communication times, and even encrypting all node traffic. The research team also proposes monitoring any other additional statistics so that deviations from normal behaviors can be immediately identified at each node. William P. Eason MarketHive Entrepreneur/ Contributor
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
More Bitcoin Exchanges Fall Victim to Banking Problems Forum Following Bitfinex’s announcement to disable fiat deposits, more bitcoin exchanges are having the same issue. The other trading platforms have also disabled incoming USD wire transfers, citing bank account and “intermediary bank” problems. Also read: Bitfinex’s Problems Pile Up: Deposits Disabled, Withdrawals Delayed Deposit Problem Spreading to Other Exchanges Bitfinex is not the only bitcoin exchange which has disabled fiat deposits. The bitcoin exchange Btc-e has also announced on Twitter that it is not accepting U.S. dollar wire transfers until the end of the month, citing a bank account problem. More Bitcoin Exchanges Fall Victim to Banking ProblemsThe Chinese exchange, Okcoin, is also reportedly having the same issue. A Reddit user posted a message supposedly displayed on the user’s account stating that U.S. dollar deposits have been temporarily suspended since Wednesday “because of the issues with intermediary banks.” The announcement further reads: “Please do not make further deposit as your wires may be rejected by intermediary banks. We are now actively looking for alternatives to resume deposit as soon as possible.” A few other cryptocurrency services and money service businesses are reportedly encountering the same problem as well. Third Party Banks “De-Risking” Intermediary banks and correspondent banks are third party banks. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Regardless of any slight differences, they both facilitate international fund transfers as well as transaction settlements. More Bitcoin Exchanges Fall Victim to Banking ProblemsWhen Bitfinex filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, it was revealed that Wells Fargo was acting as a correspondent bank for the Taiwan-based banks which Bitfinex uses. Big banks have been known to “de-risk” correspondent banking relationships that are considered high risk for their businesses. It is a common problem. According to the World Bank, “this risk avoidance would typically occur on a wholesale basis, without a case-by-case assessment of the risk associated with individual customers, or the country or region involved, or as a result of an analysis indicating that the business relationship as a whole was no longer profitable.” Therefore, it would not be uncommon for a bank such as Wells Fargo to sever its correspondent banking relationships with other Bitcoin businesses in the same way it did with Bitfinex. Taiwan Banks Tightening AML Requirements Following Wells Fargo’s de-risking decision which only affected outgoing wires, Bitfinex informed customers that all its incoming wires will be “blocked and refused” by its Taiwan banks. According to an article by Whalecalls, banks in Taiwan did not previously have strict AML/KYC requirements, but they were enough to comply with U.S. regulations. However, the U.S. has recently revised these requirements. The U.S. Department of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) is now requiring businesses operating as a money transmitter to report any suspicious activities. “A report must be filed when a transaction that is conducted by, at or through the MSB [money service business] is both: suspicious, and $2,000 or more,” Fincen wrote on its website. Bitcoin exchanges are classified as money transmitters, according to the agency. More Bitcoin Exchanges Fall Victim to Banking Problems Taiwan’s Premier Lin Chuan While the U.S. has tightened its control over activities of money transmitters, Taiwan also has its own agenda when it comes to ramping up its AML/KYC efforts. On March 16, the Taiwanese government established an office to combat money laundering to help build a more transparent and orderly financial environment, according to Focus Taiwan publication. It also aims to beef up “money laundering prevention before the third evaluation round of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) next year,” the publication reported the country’s Premier Lin Chuan saying, adding that Taiwan is currently on the APG watch list. In August last year, the New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) fined Taiwan’s Mega Bank US$180 million “for its poor compliance practices, after identifying ‘a number of suspicious transactions’ between the bank’s New York and Panama branches,” the publication further details. The Taiwanese Deputy Justice Minister Tsai Pi-Chung then noted that this incident damaged the credibility of Taiwan’s financial activities worldwide, which should be rectified. Bitcoin exchanges’ deposit problems started soon after the Taiwanese regulators set up the AML office. While U.S banks are de-risking and Taiwan is determined to regain its credibility, so that it is taken off the APG watch list, the situation is looking grim for any bitcoin exchanges using banks in Taiwan. William P. Eason MarketHive Entrepreneur/ Contributor
The Most Promising Cryptocurrencies To Buy In 2017 The Most Promising Cryptocurrencies To Buy In 2017 The year 2017 kicked start with a booming bullish wave that pushed the price of bitcoin and many altcoins up to unprecedented levels. Bitcoin recorded its all-time high a few weeks ago, as it exceeded the $1300 price level for the first time ever since the genesis block was mined. This rise in the market capital of bitcoin, ethereum, monero and others was fueled by uncertainty towards the fiat economy secondary to Trump’s winning of the US Presidential elections, Brexit and the unrest in the Middle East.Throughout this article, we will point out the most promising cryptocurrencies that have the potential to grow massively and hence, can represent good investment opportunities in 2017. Ethereum: Ethereum is a unique cryptocurrency that presents a distributed computing platform that features the “smart contract” functionality. Many crypto-enthusiasts think that ethereum is undervalued at the moment and others believe that its real value is even greater than that of bitcoin. Ethereum is by far the most promising coin to invest in this year. During the past couple of months, ethereum has been witnessing a bullish wave that led to more than %300 rise in its price in March. Even more, ethereum has recorded last March its all-time high of $54. In my opinion, ethereum has the potential to be worth more than $100 by the end of this year. Monero: Monero is one of the most promising altcoins that will definitely witness enormous gains in 2017. Apart from most other cryptocurrencies, Monero’s transactions are anonymous, thanks to its CryptoNote protocol that relies on ring signatures. Similarly to ethereum, monero’s price spiked, recording more than 100% gains during the past few weeks. Interestingly enough, monero has also recorded, in the later half of last March, its all-time high of $25. Monero has the potential to grow to over $50, especially after AlphaBay, one of the major darknet marketplace, has chosen to add monero as a payment method late in 2016. Oasis, another darknet marketplace, also started to accept monero payments, and more markets are expected to do so too, during 2017, which will take the price of monero to the moon. DASH: DASH currently represents the third biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Similarly to monero, DASH’s transactions are anonymous via a unique coin mixing service known as “PrivateSend”. The year started with a bullish wave that has been controlling DASH’s market since then. The bullish wave climaxed later in March by scoring DASH’s price all time high of around $116. DASH was the second cryptocurrency to be added as an accepted payment method on darknet’s marketplaces. It has the potential to grow to over $200 this year, especially that DASH is by far the cryptocurrency with highest anonymity levels. Other Coins: There are other coins that hold great potential for growth in 2017. Augur is a promising altcoin as it is presenting a new concept for decentralized market predictions. STEEM also holds enormous potential as it is by far the most successful decentralized social network. MaidSafeCoin’s price can also skyrocket during the upcoming months as it is supporting a new concept of crowd-sourced internet. GameCredits also hold great potential for growth during 2017, especially that it is introducing a new concept for online gaming markets. William P. Eason MarketHive Entrepreneur/ Contributor http://markethive.com/wlmeas TradeCoinClub – Top 10 Cryptocurrency Trading Platform http://www.jointcc.me/ http://perfectincomes.com
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
should you accept cryptocurrency in you small business Despite the controversy and challenges that occur — small-business owners are embracing cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin. The main reason, according to the more savvy entrepreneurial-types, is that by using the latest technology they can stand out from other businesses. Does that mean that accepting cryptocurrencies is the right fit for your business? It actually depends on your business’s particular situation and needs, but for the most part, cryptocurrencies can offer the following advantage for business owners. In years past U.S. merchants have had to pay over $78 billion in credit and debit card processing fees. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning that they don’t require a bank to verify each transaction, you can eliminate those transaction fee which normally cost 2 percent up to 5 percent for each transaction. In other words, it costs almost nothing for your customers to transfer funds to you. As for you — as a business owner — don’t have to share your hard-earned revenue with that third party financial institutions. More privacy and security for your customers. According to a research by Statista, 17 percent of shopping cart abandonment is over payment security concerns, with another 18 percent is due to excessive payment security checks. With cryptocurrency transactions, customers don’t have to share personal data when making purchases because they rely on a send-only protocol, meaning that counterfeiting and identity theft are decreased because there aren’t any number for hacker to steal. Transactions are processed quickly. Waiting for a funds to become available in your bank account isn’t just frustrating, it can negatively impact your cash flow. That’s not the case with cryptocurrency transactions. In most cases, these transactions occur in real-time because there aren’t multiple banks holding-up the payment process. Even if it’s not that quick — funds are typically available in just a couple of minutes. It’s an international currency. If your business exports goods and services, or purchases supplies or materials from other countries, then cryptocurrencies like bitcoin can help you get around those expensive foreign transaction fees, exchange rates, or currencies. Since eCash, like bitcoin, is a global currency and it’s not tied to any single government or company. In other words, it ignores border restrictions. So as long as both parties accept bitcoin, you’re good to go. No fraud, no chargebacks. Cryptocurrencies are similar to cash, in that you either have it or you don’t and all transactions are final. This is because transactions are added to the blockchain via a complex system called mining. This system verifies funds and makes it pretty much impossible to spend more than you own. Also, since both parties must approve the transaction, there aren’t any disputes to worry about it. This means that chargebacks don’t occur and are a thing of the past. Acquire new customers. There are serious die-hard fans of cryptocurrencies. Having your customers already familiar with cryptocurrencies is a plus and can be a major assist for your business since they actively seek out businesses that accept digital currencies. Of course, that’s a niche market. However, as a general rule of thumb, when you offer more payment options the more customers you’ll be able to attract. In fact, it’s been found that up to 28 percent of shopping cart abandonment is caused by the lack of a payment option a shopper prefers to use. We’re moving away from paper. Both cryptocurrencies and digital wallets are continuing to grow. In fact, both the blockchain and bitcoin had banner years in 2016. Bitcoin was the top currency in 2016 and is being valued at around $1,000. It’s expected this trend will continue in 2017 and and began a high growth beyond 2017 as people become more familiar with this digital currency. Instead of resisting this change, it would make more sense for your business to become an early adopter and embrace cryptocurrencies so that you can set yourself apart from your competitors. The bottom line. While accepting cryptocurrencies can set you apart as an innovator and an early adopter of fintech. Cryptocurrencies are faster and cheaper than processing traditional payments, and are relatively secure. As yet, cryptocurrency is not equally regulated. Some countries are working to restricted cryptocurrency use. If is not considered as stable, yet. Cryptocurrency isn’t as regulated as the price of eCash and it can fluctuate suddenly. Limited scaling. The system is designed to only process so many transactions at this time. However, the fintech revolution is solving many of the issues surrounding the scaling. Lack of applications. There aren’t as many applications to process virtual currencies as compared to apps that can process credit or debit cards. However, several companies are in the race to come up with the MVP app for cryptocurrencies. Security. While identity theft and counterfeit can be greatly reduced with this type of system, there’s no system in place to prevent human error, technical glitches, or fiduciary fraud. (Of course, there never has been anything to stop those very same issues in traditional banking, either. Cryptocurrency still remains the most secure banking method as a result of the blockchain process.) Makes planning more challenging. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, and 100 percent digital, it can make preparing financial statements, determining taxes, and figuring out your prices difficult. If you do decide to start accepting cryptocurrencies after weighing the pros and cons, you can easily get started by using digital wallets like Due and Coinbase. There’s also POS systems like XBTerminal that allows customers to pay from any mobile bitcoin wallet by using NFC or QR code. William Eason Entrepreneur This article was originally published on Due.com.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Bitcoin Startups Challenging Big Banks Profits By Kevin Helms Bitcoin Startups Challenging Big Banks Profits Coinsbank Blockchain Cruise bitcoin conference Big banks are increasingly worried about losing profits to fintech companies such as Bitcoin startups. Eighty-eight percent of banks’ executives believe that their businesses are at risk of losing revenues to these new entrants, according to a recent survey. This profit loss could be as high as 10 percent at Santander Bank, a leaked memo shows. Also read: Mexico’s New Bill Could Be a Game Changer for Bitcoin Big Banks’ Profits Challenged One of the “Big Four” audit firms, Pricewaterhousecoopers (Pwc), published “A Global Fintech Report 2017” early this month, showing that 88% of surveyed incumbents’ executives believe their businesses to be at risk of losing revenues to fintech startups. The firm wrote: Many [banks’ executives] fear losing business to innovators, starting with payments, fund transfer and personal finance sectors. […] More consumers will adopt nontraditional financial services providers. Last week, Guardian Money reported on a leaked internal memo of Santander Bank which reveals that 10% of the bank’s profits come from its international cash transfer business. The documents detail how the bank charges six times more than its fintech Bitcoin Startups Challenging Big Banks Profitsrivals, making huge profits by giving customers poor exchange rates. Rather than charging them fees directly, big banks cash in on the difference between the money markets exchange rates and the rate they offer customers, which is known as the “FX margin”. “Santander made €585m from money transfers – equal to nearly a tenth of its 2016 global profit of €6.2bn – and that it charges six times as much as rival Transferwise for sending £10,000 from the UK to Spain,” the publication wrote. The memo informs Santander executives that new startups entering the money transfer business are “attacking the profitable slices” of the bank’s business, noting that: 10% of the group’s profits at risk when international transfers repricing takes place. Known Disruptor: Transferwise The Santander’s memo draws attention to money transfer service company Transferwise, stating that the service charges “€64 to move £10,000 from the Bitcoin Startups Challenging Big Banks ProfitsUK to Spain” while “Santander charged €394 – six times as much”. If Santander were to charge the same as Transferwise, “its revenue would collapse from €585m to €95m, a fall of 84%,” Guardian Money wrote. Launched in January 2011 and headquartered in London, Transferwise is a peer-to-peer money transfer service with eight offices worldwide. The company says it has more than a million customers and processes over $700 million in transactions every month. Unfortunately, the company states in its “Acceptable Use Policy” that it does not provide services to businesses involving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Upcoming Disruptors: Bitcoin Startups Many money transfer startups today use Bitcoin in their businesses. Most of them offer low rates and no transfer fees. Below are some examples. Bitcoin Startups Challenging Big Banks Profits Luis Buenaventura Recently, Bitcoin.com interviewed Luis Buenaventura, Chief Technology Officer at Bitcoin remittance startup Bloom Solutions who has also written a book on remittances. He said that Bitcoin’s “strongest use case was probably remittances,” at least in his country, the Philippines. Bloom Solutions’ website claims to offer a solution for agents and resellers in the international remittance market a way to “reduce your international settlement and FX Costs by up to 50%.” The Singapore-based Coinpip is an example of a Bitcoin remittance company which offers services in more than 40 countries worldwide. The company charges “no forex and other hidden charges”, its website states. Another example is the Hong Kong-based Bitspark, which offers bitcoin-backed remittance service in five different currencies. The company told Bitcoin.com in an interview in February that “in competitive corridors, total costs can be as Bitcoin Startups Challenging Big Banks Profitslow as 2-3% with traditional providers on an average transaction size of $250 equivalent”. Then there is Abra, which has a different business model. The startup uses Bitcoin, smart contracts, and a peer to peer human teller network to transfer money directly from a sender to the recipient globally without a middleman. The company’s recently-launched app charges no transfer fees and advertises “low exchange rates”, allowing users to add and withdraw funds in bitcoin as well.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Recently Bitcoin.com reported on the release of a comprehensive cryptocurrency study by the University of Cambridge. One area discussed in this report is the number of users of cryptocurrencies and wallets. This article explores how the study derives the number of active Bitcoin users and holders. Also read: Lots of Data in Cambridge University’s First ‘Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study’ Total Number of Cryptocurrency Wallets How Big is Bitcoin?Twenty-six wallet providers participated in the survey, including Airbitz, Armory, Bitgo, Blockchain, Coinbase, Greenaddress, Ledger, Jaxx, Mycelium, Samourai, and Xapo. The study defines a wallet provider as “any volunteer project or company that provides a standalone wallet that anyone can use.” First, the total number of wallets is estimated using data collected from study participants, in addition to “the number of software downloads of major wallet providers and Bitcoin’s reference implementation.” The estimate represents all cryptocurrency wallets, not just Bitcoin. While citing “a potentially infinite number of wallets could be created from a single software download,” the study uses a conservative assumption that one software download equals one wallet created. Some numbers are unavailable and therefore omitted such as the number of downloads for some open-source wallets, resulting in a “lower bound” estimate. Overall, the report’s authors wrote: It is estimated that the total number of wallets has increased more than 4x from 8.2 million in 2013 to nearly 35 million in 2016. Number of Active Cryptocurrency Wallets Second, the number of active cryptocurrency wallets is calculated from the total number of wallets. The report notes that estimating the number of active wallets poses a challenge, since publicly reported wallet numbers do not reflect whether or not they are active. In addition, the definition of “active” varies for different wallet providers. The study, therefore, uses data obtained from survey participants to estimate the number of active wallets instead. This data “suggests that the number of active wallets ranges from 7.5% to 30.9% of the total number of wallets,” the report reveals, adding that: The number of active wallets is thus estimated to have increased from between 0.6 million and 2.6 million in 2013 to currently between 5.8 million and 11.5 million in 2017. How Big is Bitcoin? Number of Unique Users of Cryptocurrency Wallets Third, the study conservatively derives the number of cryptocurrency wallet users from the number of active wallets, using the assumption that a user holds two wallets on average. Some types of wallet users are also unaccounted for in the study, such as those using exchange accounts as their de facto wallet, or those using payment service providers or platforms that can store cryptocurrencies. “The total number of active cryptocurrency users is likely considerably higher than our estimate of unique active wallet users,” the report’s authors wrote, noting that: We estimate that currently there are between 2.9 million and 5.8 million unique users actively using a cryptocurrency wallet. How Big is Bitcoin? Number of Bitcoin Holders How Big is Bitcoin? Finally, the researchers attempt to find the number of cryptocurrency users and holders. However, they admit that “estimating both the number of cryptocurrency holders and users is a difficult endeavor as individuals can use multiple wallets from several providers at the same time.” In addition, the authors explain how one user may also use different wallets for different cryptocurrencies and be counted multiple times. “Many individuals are using centralised wallet, exchange or payment platforms that pool funds together into a limited number of large wallets or addresses, which further complicates the picture,” they further detail. “It is impossible to know precisely how many people use cryptocurrency.” Without deriving their own numbers, the authors reference external estimates. The first, but a rather outdated one, is by the Boston Federal Reserve in a 2016 report. It states that 0.87% of U.S. consumers had adopted cryptocurrencies in 2015, which “amounts to around 2.8 million people in the US alone,” the Cambridge authors relay. A more recent estimate mentioned is an independent research by Coinbase and ARK Invest Research, which covers only bitcoin instead of all cryptocurrencies. In their January report, they wrote: More than ten million people around the world hold a material amount of bitcoin.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Bitcoin mining has become a competitive industry within the cryptocurrency economy. With all the large data facilities and pools these days people often wonder what it takes to get involved with mining. Also Read: Bitcoin Mining: A Closer Look Under the Hood A Few Calculations Before You Start Mining Many people are interested in mining bitcoins from home, but these days it’s become increasingly harder for home-based miners to make a profit. In order for an individual to join the mining environment, they need to figure out if it is worth it by calculating a bunch of different factors. Then they must either build a machine capable of mining or purchase a pre-built mining rig to join this aggressively competitive sector. The first thing people need to do is check a few statistics. This includes the mining hardware’s hashrate execution, the Bitcoin network’s current difficulty, and the electrical costs associated with a mining device. These steps are needed to assess the performance of a custom built or purchased a mining computer. Building custom mining rigs are slowly becoming a dying art as pre-assembled mining computers with Application-Specific Integrated Circuitry (ASIC) have become a dominant force within the industry. The Four Variables Hashrate A pre-built mining device from a well-known manufacturer will give you the details of the machines hashrate execution or the speed at which the device can perform mining calculations. Device performance is typically measured in terahashes for every calculation solved per second. This statistic can be measured against the current bitcoin difficulty [the calculation of how difficult it is to find a hash] which can give a person a rough idea if their machine performs well. Mining difficulty changes every 2016 blocks and the current network difficulty is 460,769,358,091 at the time of writing. Things to Consider When Starting a Bitcoin Mining Operation Electricity Things to Consider When Starting a Bitcoin Mining OperationMining also includes the cost of electrical consumption. Unless someone is stealing or getting free electricity, the cost to power a mining rig always comes into play. In order to figure out a machines return on investment (ROI) miners must divide the hash execution performance by the number of electrical watts consumed. Large mining facilities have found ways to offset electrical costs by utilizing more different types of resources such as hydropower and geothermal power. Electric power has different costs depending on where you live, for instance, the U.S. the average people pay is roughly 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. In other areas around the world, electricity is cheaper particularly in regions like China, and India. Device Cost Another calculation to figure into the equation is the cost to acquire a mining device. Pre-manufactured mining rigs can be anywhere from US$500 to $2,000 depending on performance and if the device is new or used. To get ahead of your original investment you have to mine enough bitcoins to cover the price of a machine and only after meeting this cost a person then can profit. Other things to consider are buying racks for multiple machines, connectors to tether all of the miners together in unison, and keeping capital handy for replacement parts. Time and Maintenance Things to Consider When Starting a Bitcoin Mining OperationBitcoin mining also takes time to set up the machines and maintain them. Also just like any computer that operates consistently, factory parts can malfunction, and bitcoin miners often need fan replacements because devices run so hot. Additionally, it helps to be computer savvy and know how to use software, command lines, and be able to configure wiring and replacement parts. Larger data facilities hire employees to take care of thousands of machines running 24-hours a day. Popular 2017 Mining Rig Companies and Products Currently, there are only a few dedicated mining rig manufacturers that produce mining rigs. The two most popular mining rigs available in 2017 from the Bitmain Antminer brand include the R4 home miner and the S9 series. Both machines consume roughly 845-1375 watts and calculate hash solving at 8.6-12.9 terahashes per second (TH/s). Things to Consider When Starting a Bitcoin Mining Operation Furthermore, this past November another mining device manufacturer Canaan announced the launch of the Avalon 721 ROQ Solid Miner. The latest release from Avalon uses custom 16 nm ASIC chips and what the firm calls a “Smart Layout.” The Avalon 721 operates at six TH/s and uses 900-1200 watts while operating. Avalon also boasts an open source repository for its mining software. Things to Consider When Starting a Bitcoin Mining Operation People can also build their own custom mining rigs or assemble a data station using devices and parts from multiple companies. Parts to make a homemade rig and mining machines made by a manufacturing company are in high demand and can be expensive. Anyone can estimate a mining ROI with variables given from the machine’s performance and today’s bitcoin difficulty statistics. There are also calculators on the web that can assess the performance of a miner and estimate an ROI. However, every day after the ROI timeframe will be different due to increases in electrical cost, and changes to the network’s mining difficulty. Bitcoin Mining Can Be for Money and for Fun Getting into the bitcoin mining game isn’t easy, and it can be difficult meeting the original investment. For some machines, it could take a year or longer to get an ROI with today’s difficulty. Moreover, machines have to be maintained and being technically savvy can help a great deal as there are a lot more variables to deal with when beginning to mine bitcoins. A lot of people say that individual mining isn’t worth it these days so many people join pools to better their chances at reward. Furthermore, some people mine just to help support the network and participate because it can be a fun hobby. Whatever the case may be preparing to mine bitcoins is a bit more complicated than it used to be.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Week in Review The Week in Review: Bitcoin Surges as Syrian War Looms Posted by Mate Cser on April 8th, 2017. Weekly Recap Asset Current Value Weekly Change S&P 500 2355 -0.30% DAX 12225 -0.71% WTI Crude Oil 52.23 2.78% GOLD 1257.50 0.81% Bitcoin 1090 10.10% EUR/USD 1.0599 -0.53% The second quarter started with a hectic week for global financial markets, as the central banks remained in the center of attention before the US missile attack in Syria took over the headlines. Stocks remained stable with a slight rotation between the main indices, as the previously strong DAX and Eurostoxx 50 were among the weaker benchmarks during the period. The Fed’s and the ECB’s meeting minutes were the most anticipated announcements of the week (dwarfing even the expectations regarding the usually crucial US employment report), and the US Dollar came out as the strongest currency after the choppy period, as the Fed still seems to be the most committed to raising interest rate and tackling inflation. Crude oil was among the winners of the period, despite the rally in the Dollar. Gold had a mixed week, as it finally topped $1260, but plunged back below the crucial resistance on Friday as stock markets recovered, possibly pointing to a more significant correction ahead. The Euro was very weak in the second half of the week, as the dovish comments from Mario Draghi cooled down expectations regarding an imminent monetary tightening in the Eurozone. The Pound also lost ground against its major peers although British equities were holding up well. Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis Bitcoin and Litecoin dominated the cryptocurrency market, as the stellar weekend rise of Ripple was halted by a deep correction. Bitcoin rose back near the $1200 level just two weeks after testing the 880 level, while Litecoin hit $12.50 following a strong breakout from below the $4.50 zone. Ethereum traded sideways throughout the week above the $40 level, while Monero drifted lower after a failed rally attempt. Dash found support near the $60 level after rising 5-fold from $20 to $100 between the end of February and mid-March. The UK provided a number of negative surprises on the economic front this week, as the manufacturing PMI, the construction PMI, manufacturing production, and industrial production all disappointed, with only the services segment showing strength. US and other European numbers were mixed, but remained mostly in line with the stable growth narrative. The ISM non-manufacturing PMI provided the biggest negative surprise, but it still shows robust growth in the sector. US initial jobless claims dipped lower after a worrying jump, although the employment report was mixed once again. Canada is still a bright spot globally, despite the weakness in the local real estate market. Technical Corner Range contraction was the name of the game for the most watched stock index in the world, as last week’s bounce stalled out near the upper boundary of the dominant technical pattern (a so-called Megaphone). The benchmark got stuck in a narrow interval towards the end of the week, and this phenomenon often precedes a significant move, as the “tension” in the market grows. The MACD also shows how compressed the recent days were for US stocks, as the indicator didn’t leave the neutral zone, and failed to give a meaningful signal in any direction. S&P 500, 4-hour Chart The S&P 500 finished the week right in the middle of the crucial 2350-2355 support/resistance zone that played a key role in recent weeks. The recent all-time high near the 2400 level is the most important resistance ahead, while the 2332 support could also be in play next week, should the index leave the current holding pattern on the downside. The financial sector that we have been monitoring recently also traded in a narrow range throughout the week, so the first few sessions could be critical next week. Key Economic Releases of the Week Day Country Release Actual Expected Previous Monday AUSTRALIA Retail Sales (monthly) -0.10% 0.30% 0.40% Monday UK Manufacturing PMI 54.2 55.1 54.6 Monday US ISM Manufacturing PMI 57.2 57 57.7 Tuesday AUSTRALIA RBA Rate Decision 1.50% 1.50% 1.50% Tuesday UK Construction PMI 52.2 52.5 52.5 Tuesday CANADA Trade Balance -1 billion 0.7 billion 0.8 billion Tuesday US Trade Balance -43.6 billion -46.7 bill -48.5 bill Tuesday US Factory Orders (monthly) 1.00% 0.90% 1.2% Wednesday UK Services PMI 55 53.5 53.3 Wednesday US ADP Employment Change 263,000 184,000 298,000 Wednesday US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI 55.2 57 57.6 Wednesday US Crude Oil Inventories 1.6 millon -0.1 million 0.9 million Wednesday US FOMC Meeting Minutes – – – Thursday GERMANY Factory Orders (monthly) 3.40% 3.50% -0.80% Thursday EUROZONE ECB Meeting Accounts – – – Thursday CANADA Building Permits (monthly) -2.50% – 5.40% Thursday US Initial Jobless Claims (weekly) 234,000 251,000 258,000 Friday CANADA Employment Change 19,400 5,700 15,300 Friday CANADA Unemployment Rate 6.70% 6.70% 6.60% Friday US Hourly Earnings 0.20% 0.20% 0.20% Friday US Employment Change 98,000 175,000 235,000 Friday US Unemployment Rate 4.50% 4.70% 4.70% The Story of the Week: Quarterly Performance of Asset Classes Performance of different asset classes in Q1, Source: Deutsche Bank If you follow financial markets on a daily basis, it is sometimes inevitable that you lose track of the big picture. As the first quarter of 2017 ended last week, we take a look at the performance of the major global asset classes with the help of Deutsche Bank’s cheat sheet. Generally speaking, the quarter was quiet, as volatility remained tame, especially in the US where the Volatility Index (VIX) hit record lows, as the S&P 500 didn’t fall by 1% for more than a 100 trading days in a row. Interestingly commodities are found on both ends of the performance chart, as Crude Oil was the worst performing asset thanks to the technical breakdown of the last week of March, while precious metals sit at the top of the list after a healthy rally. Emerging markets were also among the best places for investors in the quarter with the Brazilian Bovespa Index yielding more than 10%. The Hang Seng (Hong Kong) and the DAX were the strongest major indices, but the FTSE and the main US benchmarks also performed well. Russian equities lagged their global counterparts as the weakness in oil coupled with the increasing political tensions weighed on the country’s assets. Looking at currencies, the Dollar’s correction was the main theme of the quarter, as the greenback retreated a bit, off its multi-decade highs against the Pound and the Euro after the post-election euphoria faded away. Donald Trump’s first months in office were less significant to financial markets than most analysts expected, although the media-hype was constant. US indices hit all-time highs throughout the period as the global bull market turned 8 on the 6th of March.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Cyprus SEC gets Tough on International Forex, Bitcoin Traders International Forex trading hub Cyprus has signaled that “comply or close shop” standards will be enforced within nine months, causing uncertainty among FX companies, some of them holding Bitcoin/fiat positions. Retail trading companies located on the island offering clients Bitcoin/fiat pair options have yet to be instructed on Bitcoin options but the latest Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) statements and the Central Bank of Cyprus’ view on cryptocurrencies may put these operations into question. Cyprus is host to about 80 percent of the world’s retail FX and binary options companies, nestled in the financial district of Limassol. The rising number of complaints risks tarnishing the industry that is still growing at a fast pace. Abrupt meeting On Tuesday, CySEC Chairman Demetra Kalogerou lined up the executives of the island’s Forex firms for an abrupt closed doors meeting. Sources presented at the meeting told Finance Feeds that the change is coming to the industry in what may be a make or break phase The retail forex trading industry grew rapidly lately, surviving some scandals. Some firms have already paid heavy fines, already to the tune of over three million euros on the island alone. Uncertainty As early as 2014, the Central Bank of Cyprus issued a warning on the risks associated with virtual currencies when certain companies have introduced the dollar/Bitcoin pair. It still holds a neutral stance, while suggesting traders or holders of virtual currencies take steps to protect themselves as they are yet to be regulated. It is uncertain how the latest development will influence companies offering dollar/Bitcoin pairs. New regulations aimed at protecting clients might affect the cryptocurrency trading options Call centers to be banned Calling out the boiler room tactics used via call centers, Kalogerou looks to ban them entirely. Sales staff will be required to change from cold callers into CySEC licensed and examined professionals starting this year. A warning was raised against reports of giving clients financial advice and offices will have to be set up in countries where a substantial number of clients reside to better represent them Affiliate marketing has yet to be called out for a strict ban or not, while Ms. Kalogerou sternly raised concerns as to how to monitor marketers on how and what they advertise to potential clients. “We do not like introducing brokers at all, we do not like affiliates,” said Kalogerou on the topic of affiliates. Leverage limits Leverage limits will now be set to a maximum of 1:50 until clients request and show an aptitude for more. Currently, leverage as high as 1:500 is available to retail clients. The commission already requested a 1:50 cap in November 2016, calling anything above that “excessive leverage. With European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and Markets in Financial Directive II (MiFID II) legislation set forth by the EU, the market it set to get its act together. Furthermore, CySEC has made it clear that the corporate tax efficient environment of Cyprus will not play host to those who cannot or will not comply.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
If you didn't know already - we are living in a reputation economy. And Google has become the new background check. Everyone is googling, all the time - to find information, opinions, background info, but also checking out people. Did you know that 80% of people will google you before they decide to meet you? Asking themselves: Who is the person I'm meeting? What makes him or her tick? What does he or she do outside their job? Where are they heading for in life? Questions that Google can easily answer by showing what's being posted online. On all social media channels, just recently or maybe some time back. If nothing fresh is being posted, this keeps popping up and you might not like it. Basically, you are who Google says you are. My question to you: is your online reputation in line with you are? The index (10 hits each page) is based on available online content and is taken from websites and blogs, but also articles, news and social media posts. And this picture drawn on Google page 1 will determine whether people choose to do business with you, or go elsewhere. You might never know why you missed the much needed investment, got skipped for the new job or that board position you pitched for. It's just inevitable: Google has become the first stage of the background check and the first elimination point. My advice would be to start producing new, or re-purposing older, content. This will help to get your 'online-me' in sync with your 'offline-me'. Uploading good content (including photos and videos) improves your chances of being found online. And remember that in order to rank on search engines, you need to have fresh content that is relevant to your audience. Google not only indexes your page based on keywords, but also the relevancy of a page’s semantic relevance and back links to credible websites. Key to all this: a strong online reputation will help generate more business opportunities. And who doesn't want that? William P. Eason Entrepreneur/ Contributor http://markethive.com/wlmeas
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Reports of China Banning Bitcoin Are Greatly Exaggerated China On November 3 the Bitcoin price took a dive from a high of US$745 to a low of $675 with news of China circling the internet. A so-called report from the publication Bloomberg had other media outlets assume that China was planning on curbing Bitcoin use in the near future. However, the reports have remained unconfirmed, and many believe the headline was fictitious. Rumors of China Curbing Bitcoin Use Goes Viral The stories that surround China and Bitcoin are quite vast. From “secret” mining operations to “free” electricity, to a large portion of Bitcoin transactions being traded for yuan the list goes on forever. The fact is news from China plays a significant role in a lot of people’s speculation. The November 3rd fiasco is no different as the news spread through the market and the community went wild. Early in the morning the publication ZeroHedge published the article “China Prepares To Impose Curbs, “Capital Controls” On Bitcoin.” The news outlet is well known for writing stories regarding the global economy and subjects like gold and Bitcoin. At times the publication writes editorials predicting the cryptocurrency’s value will pump. Many of these articles are very popular throughout the Bitcoin community. The November 3rd article was also quite popular, and some believe it made a difference in the market. The anonymous reporter Tyler Durden states within the article, “According to Bloomberg sources, Chinese officials are considering policies including restricting domestic bitcoin exchanges from moving the cryptocurrency to platforms outside the nation and imposing quotas on the amount of bitcoins that can be sent abroad.” However, the Bloomberg report cannot be confirmed as legitimate, and the article in question does not appear on their website. Reports Are Unconfirmed and Remain Rumors What’s interesting is that many people within the Bitcoin industry have claimed the reports are false. For instance, the CEO of Vaultoro explains that the recent Chinese headline may be false. The Vaultoro founder says while speaking with a friend who works for the Chinese Bitcoin company BitBank he was told the reports are misleading. The BitBank representative says that if anyone wants to know how Chinese authorities feel about Bitcoin to read this editorial. The article written by Bitcoin.com’s Jon Southurst detailed a blockchain conference hosted by the Chinese government. Within the editorial, it explains that Chinese officials had no problem discussing Bitcoin. In fact, Ji Xiaonan, of China’s State-Owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission said some positive words towards Bitcoin stating it was “the only mature blockchain technology today.” Questionable Sources Push Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Another interesting aspect of the story is the controversial Bloomberg article has similarities to another published piece this past May. The headline for November 3rds article read “China Said to Mull Curbing Outflows Via Bitcoin on Yuan Drop.” This title and the paragraphs that follow it are very much the same as this article published in May by the Bloomberg news outlet. The story called “China to Mull Curbs on Domestic Backdoor Listing Valuations” has almost identical wording as the alleged Bitcoin article with certain words replaced throughout. Furthermore historically when the price of Bitcoin rises stories of China and other countries banning Bitcoin have appeared in great number. When Bitcoin was on a tear in 2013 reaching close to $1150 per BTC, these stories came out often. Publications like Bloomberg reported on China cracking down on Bitcoin as well as Forbes, the New York Times, and many others. Typically when these reports published, the price took a dive, but government officials banning Bitcoin never materialized. The price of Bitcoin has managed to regain its upward push slightly below the $700 range. Reports of China curbing Bitcoin outflows seems to be just another rumor that shook up the market. Many wonder if these headlines will affect the value of BTC again in the future. Moreover, the question is how much does China’s stake in Bitcoin really matter when it comes to this industry?
Monday, April 3, 2017
By Dr. David Jockers DC, MS, CSCS 68,997 Total Views | 12,861 Facebook Shares Share 12.9K Tweet Pin 7.5K Email SHARES 20.3K nutrition-Block-Cancer-Metastasis In a hurry? Click here to read the Article Summary... Diet plays a major role in both the prevention of cancer and the contributing factors of cancer growth and cancer metastasis. In fact, 75%-85% of cancers diagnosed in one study in the United States showed that unhealthy lifestyle factors were the primary causes of these diagnosis and may have been prevented with improved dietary changes. Researchers believe that 30% of deaths associated with cancer today can be prevented from diet alone. Evidence links plant-based foods with some of the best known chemoprotective (cancer-preventing) properties. The phytochemicals they contain interfere with cellular communication that triggers inflammation and stimulates the progression of cancer in the body. 8 Nutrients That Help Block Cancer Metastasis The following 8 nutrients are some of the best dietary compounds you can introduce into your diet daily to inhibit the spread of cancer. Incorporating foods containing these nutrients will help starve cancer growth, substantially reducing your risk of developing cancer and may even reverse the progression of cancer that has already spread. #1. Ursolic Acid: Ursolic acid is a plant oil and phytonutrient. It is found in herbs like holy basil and oregano, the skin on apples, and bilberries. One of the key characteristics of cancer cells is their ability to disable the normal mechanism of cells to undergo apoptosis. This programmed cell death also referred to as cellular suicide prevents abnormalities in cells from multiplying but is turned off in cancer cells. Disabling apoptosis contributes to the activity of cancer to metastasize and promote tumor growth. An increase in dietary ursolic acid is associated with the treatment of cancer pertaining to the pancreas, cervix, lung, colon, skin, and breast. Ursolic acid has been shown to disrupt cancerous activity by destroying the survival mechanisms that cancer cells are reliant upon. For instance, ursolic acid turns on apoptosis thus inhibiting the replication of damaged DNA and cancer metastasis. #2. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is critical to the production of a cancer-fighting protein called GcMAF. GcMAF inhibits cancer metastasis and even has the capability to reverse the devastating effects of cancer on the body. Receiving a healthy dose of vitamin D daily supports GcMAF synthesis and consequently shuts down pro-cancer receptors and enzymes that encourage metastasis. Another protein linked to a reduction in cancerous activity is DBP-maf (vitamin D binding protein-macrophage activating factor). DBP-maf directly stimulates the immune response by suppressing blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) required for cancer cell migration and tumor growth. DBP-maf requires vitamin D for transport through the bloodstream. Vitamin D intake is shown effective at inhibiting the growth and development of tumors including its metastasis associated with prostate cancer, colorectal, breast cancer, and melanoma. Increase your vitamin D levels by exposing your skin to sunlight daily without added sunscreen protection. Add vitamin D-rich foods to your diet including wild caught salmon, organic and pastured eggs, mushrooms, and fermented (not pasteurized) dairy or whole milk from grass-fed cows. #3. Curcumin: Curcumin is the compound that gives turmeric its yellow color. It is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent and treat diseases associated with chronic inflammation like cancer. Curcumin has been traditionally used as an herbal remedy in Chinese and Indian medicine for a variety of health ailments. By regulating apoptosis and inhibiting cancer cell growth, curcumin is included in numerous medical products as a therapeutic agent to support a healthy immune system. Curcumin is shown in studies to act as a potent free radical scavenger. It also blocks the production of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) which increases pro-inflammatory signals and stimulates tumor growth. Curcumin has been demonstrated in clinical studies to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and metastasis associated with a variety of cancers. These include breast, uterine, ovarian, kidney, bladder, renal, brain, leukemia, colorectal, liver, pancreatic, lung, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Add curcumin to your diet by incorporating the spice turmeric into marinades, soups, chili and stews, herbal teas, or a preparation of what is called “golden milk” (a combination of the yellow spice turmeric along with coconut milk and/or coconut oil. #4. EGCG: The cancer-preventive effects of EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) has been closely studied for almost three decades now. EGCG is a polyphenolic compound that is commonly known for its concentration in green tea. It is one of the primary nutrients associated with improving health and healing in ancient Chinese medicine. Consumption of EGCG is believed to suppress tumor growth associated with several tissues in the body such as the prostate, bladder, intestines, liver, pancreas, lungs, and oral cavity. Although many of the biological pathways that this nutrient influences to inhibit cancer metastasis remain unknown, it has been recently discovered that EGCG binds to a protein receptor, 67LR, responsible for cancerous activity. By attaching itself to this cancer-causing protein, EGCG inhibits metastasis by preventing angiogenesis responsible for cancer cell migration. EGCG also induces apoptosis supporting the destruction of cancer cells. The high EGCG content in green tea exhibits various ways to promote health of the whole body. Research indicates that daily green tea consumption improves gut microflora which is essential to optimizing the health of the immune system. Coupling a healthy whole foods and plant-based diet with at least one cup of green tea daily can support your fight against chronic diseases and prevent the spread of cancer in your body. #5. Sulforaphane: One of the best chemoprotective nutrients that prevents the formation of free radicals and growth of tumors is sulforaphane. This nutrient reduces inflammation and protects against cancer growth by boosting the body’s natural detoxification pathways to eliminate toxins and support the immune response. Sulforaphane is shown to fight the spread of cancer by inhibiting the activation of cancer cells. Sulforaphane inhibits metastasis of cancers associated with the spleen, colon, prostate, stomach, and breast. Broccoli sprouts are one of the best foods to eat to inhibit the spread of cancer in your body. Other excellent food choices are cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale. These foods are also high in chemoprotective nutrients glutathione, amino acids, chlorophyll, and a variety of other vitamins and nutrients to improve health. #6. Quercetin: Quercetin is a super antioxidant that stimulates the body’s natural detoxification pathways and exhibits natural anti-cancer properties. High intake of quercetin in an individual’s diet suppresses cancer cell proliferation, reduces oxidative damage, and inhibits the activity of a mutant gene associated with tumor growth known as P53. This dietary flavonoid shows promising evidence in treating breast cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, neuroblastoma, and colon cancer. Foods high in quercetin include onions, capers, blackberries, raspberries, black and green tea, dark cherries, cocoa powder, kale, apples, and herbs like sage and parsley. #7. Apigenin: This flavonoid exhibits chemopreventive properties by inhibiting the invasion of cancer cells to new tissue and the growth of tumors. Apigenin reduces free radical activity and aids in the elimination of toxins from the body. It has been extensively used to maintain the health of the stomach, kidneys, liver, and blood. The protection against cancer cell migration is one of the best influences apigenin has on preventing cancer metastasis. Researchers have even found that topical treatments containing extracts of apigenin are effective at suppressing the growth of skin tumors and reducing the signs of damage associated with UV exposure to the skin. Apigenin is found in many fruits and vegetables like grapefruit, onions, and oranges. It is also found in beverages sourced from plants including chamomile teas. Parsley is one of the best dietary sources of apigenin that you can easily add to your diet. Consider juicing parsley, adding it to salads, and flavoring your favorite dishes. #8. Luteolin: Another anticancer flavonoid present in a plant based diet is luteolin. Luteolin is found in green peppers, chamomile teas, and celery. Its antioxidant effects are shown to protect the lungs, liver, and heart tissue from inflammation and exhibit protection against the degenerative effects of cancerous activity. Despite the extensive investigation into the chemoprotective effects of luteolin on the body over the past half millennium, not all of its biological health benefits are known. Scientists are certain however that these citrus flavonoids, luteolin and apigenin, are generally found in low concentrations in foods but exhibit a greater effect at preventing metastasis than do common dietary compounds. Luteolin inhibits the activation of cancer cells by suppressing pro-cancer enzymes, blocking the accumulation of carcinogens in new tissue and supporting the elimination of toxic agents. Consequently, luteolin is an effective dietary antioxidant that produces an anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic effect on the human body. Summary Avoiding processed foods, sugars, and conventional meats and dairy products that break down your body’s natural immune defenses is critical to your health. Eat to starve cancer by feeding your body the 8 nutrients listed above to stimulate apoptosis in cancer cells, prevent angiogenesis and consequently inhibit tumor formation and cancer metastasis to other areas of the body. 8-nutrition-Block-Cancer-Metastasis Want to stay abreast of new ways to stay healthy? Be notified each week when cutting-edge articles are added by clicking here. You’ll be glad you did. Share 12.9K Tweet Pin 7.5K Email SHARES 20.3K Article Summary Diet plays a major role in both the prevention of cancer and the contributing factors of cancer growth and cancer metastasis. Researchers believe that 30% of deaths associated with cancer today can be prevented from diet alone. The phytochemicals in plant-based foods contain some of the best known chemoprotective (cancer-preventing) properties. The following 8 nutrients are some of the best dietary compounds you can introduce into your daily diet: Ursolic Acid Vitamin D Curcumin EGCG Sulfuraphane Quercetin Apigenin Luteolin