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African Holding Company VP Urges Central Bank to Buy Bitcoin and Ditch Dollar

January 4, 2018 |

African Holding Company VP Urges Central Bank to Buy Bitcoin and Ditch Dollar

Concerned about the US dollar’s predicted drop in value, and many African countries relying on USD cash reserves, vice president of Groupe Nduom, a leading financial holding company, Papa-Wassa Chiefy Nduom, has taken to Linkedin and Twitter to make the case for less reliance on greenbacks and more investment in bitcoin.   

Also read: Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming Book

African Holding Company VP Urges Central Bank to Buy Bitcoin and Ditch Dollar

Unnecessarily Prolonging Gut-Wrenching Human Suffering on the African Continent

“What if this continent could finally build consensus around a new digital reserve asset – and figure out ways to fund infrastructure development by leveraging it,” Mr. Nduom asks via his Linkedin account. He’s “concerned about the US Dollar. The experts say it’s going down” this year especially, he fears. It’s of particular worry for Africa due to the reliance many nations have on US currency, and a crash of the predicted double-digit magnitude could lead to “unnecessarily prolonging gut-wrenching human suffering on the African Continent” if action isn’t taken, and soon.

The alternative Mr. Nduom advocates is for more investment in bitcoin. Placing himself in context, he notes “I am a lawyer / member of a family business group / small time investor. My only interest in this particular bombastic argument is a kind of black globalist fomo (fear of missing out),” he writes. Referring to a map (see inset) “Bitcoin nodes are all over the world but Africa is a very conspicuous dark spot. Africa keeps getting left behind,” he urges.  

African Holding Company VP Urges Central Bank to Buy Bitcoin and Ditch Dollar

Much more than a mere speculative instrument, Mr. Nduom views bitcoin as a chance for Africa to almost be borderless like the currency, building a less arbitrary group of political units, something Ghana’s independence leader referred to as “United States of Africa.” Bitcoin might also be a hedge against endemic government corruption, the sort he claims could easily steal fiat reserves. “That’s not so easy with reserves on a public blockchain that has never gone down and has the data being broadcast for free on a network of satellites,” he writes.

“Citizens can put alerts on the address,” he argues, “and definitively off limits to political sticky fingers. And eventually you can borrow against them to build things these countries desperately need.”

African Holding Company VP Urges Central Bank to Buy Bitcoin and Ditch Dollar

Tired of Begging

In a recent interview with Modern Ghana he’s said to have asked Ghana’s central bank to risk one percent of its reserves on bitcoin. “On the investment case, for a central bank, especially for a country that needs to come up with solutions, we need more funding for investments and my view is, by making that investment and by signalling that it’s an enabling environment for investments,” he stressed. “For example, if the exchange is domiciled in Ghana trades in the digital currency will not be subject to tax or capital gains but will tax the profit that the exchange is made. That could result in massive inflows of foreign currencies to Ghana.”

He limited his research to 13 African nations, English speaking mostly, and found rebalancing away from over-dependence on the dollar and more in cryptocurrencies could be very much worth the gamble. If response is any indication, his Tweets to this effect have gone viral with over 70K likes thus far.

“I will be looking for the first African Central Banker who says – I’m tired of putting my hat in my hand and begging – let’s take some risk and dig into this new global, permission-less, robust and extensible financial ecosystem. Everything we need to learn is for free on the internet,” he wrote.

What do you think about Ghana investing in bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Twitter. 


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The post African Holding Company VP Urges Central Bank to Buy Bitcoin and Ditch Dollar appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bitcoin Futures Are a Threat to Whole Banking System, Fears ECB Director

January 3, 2018 |

Bitcoin Futures Are a Threat to Whole Banking System, Fears ECB Director

While major stock brokers are lining up to add bitcoin futures to their platforms, central bankers are apparently not too happy about it. A member of the European Central Bank (ECB) executive board has called the instruments a threat to the financial stability of the entire banking system.

Also Read: After Ripple’s Rise BTC Dominance Falls Below 40%

Major Threat to Financial Stability

In an interview with German financial daily Börsen-Zeitung, ECB director Yves Mersch sounded the alarm on financial institutions investing in bitcoin futures like those offered by the Cboe and CME. “There are now banks which hold positions in bitcoin. It is a matter for the supervisors to judge how big the risks are, he said. “What concerns me most, is when financial market infrastructures such as stock exchanges enter this business. That poses a major threat to financial stability.”

Regarding the systematic risks and his position on the central bank’s involvement, he explained: “If these transactions are kept separate from others, it’s a secondary matter who wins and who loses. However, if all the participants in these financial centers are jointly liable, that can create difficulties, for instance, for banks or the whole system. And if the banking system gets into trouble, there will again be demands for support from the ECB. I would say from the outset: we shouldn’t do this.”

Money Needs Trust, Blockchain is the Real Threat

Bitcoin Futures Are a Threat to Whole Banking System, Fears ECB DirectorThe ECB director, who proposed just a month ago that commercial banks create digital cash to compete with the growing popularity of bitcoin, now claims that the cryptocurrency can’t become a real alternative to central bank money. “Money needs trust. Public currencies, for example the euro, have the backing of public institutions such as the ECB. Many of these currencies have no backing, nothing.”

As is common for bankers and bureaucrats to do today, he hyped ‘blockchain technology’ instead. “That’s a challenge we all have to face, especially banks. Each institution has to know that in the future financial intermediation will no longer be heaven-sent, but has to be fought for.”

Bitcoin trading itself is not at present an issue for monetary policy because “turnover is between €250 and €350 billion. The volume is therefore comparatively low.” Regarding the cryptocurrency’s massive 2017 price rally he added: “We are seeing speculative hype that might be a cause for concern. But of course individual investors are free to gamble. However, if something goes wrong, they should not come to us and say we should have outlawed it and protected them from themselves.”

VAT on Bitcoin Cult?

Bitcoin Futures Are a Threat to Whole Banking System, Fears ECB DirectorBitcoin doesn’t appear to have many fans at the ECB beyond just Yves Mersch. At least two officials spoke out against the cryptocurrency and its users today on European media.

Ewald Nowotny, ECB governing council member and head of Austria’s central bank, called for new taxes and regulation on bitcoin in an interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. He said: “We need a value-added tax on bitcoin, since it’s not a currency. It can’t be allowed that we’ve just decided to stop printing 500-euro notes to fight money laundering, that we’ve slapped strict rules on every tiny savings club, and then have to watch people blithely laundering money around the globe with bitcoin. One ought to apply what the basic rule is in any other financial transaction: everyone involved should reveal their identity.”

Estonia central bank governor and ECB Governing Council member, Ardo Hansson, told the Estonian news paper Eesti Paevaleht that rationality has disappeared from the cryptocurrency sector. He thus concluded that the “cryptocurrency bubble is like a religious sect,” driven by emotions which will burst sooner or later.

What are the chances that the ECB will make a major move against bitcoin in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Bitcoin Futures Are a Threat to Whole Banking System, Fears ECB Director appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Chinese Central Bank Hosts Closed-Door Meeting on Electricity Usage of Bitcoin Miners

January 3, 2018 |

The PBOC Hosts a Closed-Door Meeting Over Electricity Usage of Bitcoin Miners

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) today had a closed-door meeting on the use of electricity for bitcoin mining. The legitimacy of the news has been confirmed by Tencent Finance. 

Also Read: Peter Thiel, Bitcoin Astronaut, Moves Markets with Crypto Moonshot

The PBOC Investigates the Power Usage of Bitcoin Mining

Tencent Finance said that China’s central bank recently had a closed-door meeting to discuss how to regulate bitcoin mining. Two sources reveal that the authority doesn’t plan to shut down mining farms, but to regulate the power usage of bitcoin miners. 

A Sichuan-based bitcoin mining farm owner said that the local government is investigating a list of bitcoin mining data centers in the area.

Governments at all levels were asked to clarify the location and numbers of bitcoin miners and report relative information to the monetary authority.

He added that the move is currently targeting small-scale mining farms. “Large mining farms are still operating as usual  But future development of bitcoin mining might be limited.”

The PBOC Hosts a Closed-Door Meeting Over Electricity Usage of Bitcoin Miners

Chinese Press Are Talking About a Bitcoin ‘Bubble’

China Economic Weekly, the official newspaper subsidiary for the People’s Daily reported on the first working day of 2018 the government acted “with an iron fist” to ban initial coin offerings back in September for financial stability. The next day, China’s People’s Daily published a story saying that the discussion over a Bitcoin bubble is necessary.

The so-called advantages such as scarcity, fidelity, strong liquidity, transparency and decentralization are only disguises for speculation. How come bitcoin price rallied hard in 2017 while it hasn’t made any improvement over the years?

The official press of the Chinese government believes that investors try to make bitcoin look mysterious by highlighting its anonymous creator and bragging about its free liquidity. “the current tumble is a warning signal,” said the newspaper. “Investors must remain cautious of these pump-and-dump schemes.”

What do you think of the closed-door meeting and press’s weighing in on bitcoin? Leave your comments below. 


Images via Shutterstock.


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We’ve Come A Long Way – Bitcoin Block Zero Was Born Nine Years Ago Today

January 3, 2018 |

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

On this day nine years ago, quietly, bitcoin and its blockchain network were birthed with block zero, the Genesis Block. Without government permission or wealthy backers, it has generated a quarter trillion in value. In combination with the resultant industry it spawned, comprising thousands of alternatives, cryptocurrency is a seven hundred billion dollar market. Nearly a decade on its creator still remains unknown. More than half a million mined blocks later, enthusiasts can only imagine what is to come in bitcoin’s next nine years.    

Also read: 2017: The Year of Altcoins, Forks, and Five Digit Bitcoin Prices

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

Zero

Pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, perhaps one person, maybe a group, set loose a hinge of human history: the blockchain database and its resultant cryptographic currency, bitcoin. The first block, block zero, and its fifty bitcoin reward, now worth over 700,000 USD as of this writing, was locked, unable to be transacted, and for all time. Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 6:15pm, the Genesis Block also contained, smuggled in the code, text from the morning’s Times of London, a cultural timestamp and allusion to what bitcoin was meant to explicitly address: yet another taxpayer bailout of legacy banking screamed in a below-the-fold headline.

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

MAY 22, 2010 COMMENTER LASZLO CONFIRMS PURCHASE OF A PIZZA FOR 10,000 BITCOIN

 

The Great Recession metastasized from the world’s reserve currency, the United States, to all first world nations, and quickly. Shakey investment vehicles, largely in real estate financing with risks insured by governments, proved a moral hazard, taking down the Royal Bank of Scotland, Alliance & Leicester, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Freddie and Fannie, among many others.

At least a few people appeared ready for something radical, something different, when it came to organizing one half of all transactions. Money, a main measure of wealth, had been nationalized, tethered to instruments of coercion, of force. The issue in the first decade of the 21st century was divorcing money and state, getting around governments and their incessant push to monitor and control and inflate.

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

JANUARY 28TH, 2011 WITH BLOCK 105,000 GENERATED JUST OVER A QUARTER OF ALL BITCOIN TO BE MINED ARE IN CIRCULATION

 

Bitcoin, or something like it, might just be an answer. Despite previous attempts at competing currencies to government money, there was always a central point of failure, a place in its distribution or creation where it became exposed, fragile. Gold, certainly not new, was easily confiscated. Digital cash companies had offices, a creator or head, and were intimidated out of existence. Still others were litigiously hammered by government minders, dragging proponents into court, threatening livelihoods with jail time.

Hard-coded in its origin and open source, bitcoin could be run by anyone. In fact the more people who ran its software, the better. The more nodes in existence, the less points at which the network could be shut down. Passing the mathematical bits back and forth, capping their generation at 21 million units, would become a snap, easy and deflationary. As far as anyone has been able to determine, all of this was done by one person until a little more than a year after creating and maintaining bitcoin, he vanished. By either laws of self-preservation or wanting to obey the logic bitcoin demanded, Satoshi Nakamoto’s disappearing act meant the last limit to anti-fragility was lifted. No one was in control.

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

Trillion in 2018

Without a patent, no incorporation to limit liability, no billionaire genius bankrolling the project, lacking a visionary CEO spouting words of wisdom, swanky marketing budgets were nonexistent, and exactly no government backing, bitcoin has amassed a quarter trillion in market capitalization. Combined with its spawn, the thousand-plus alternative coins and variations on bitcoin’s theme are approaching seven hundred billion dollars in value. It’s probably not out of the question to assume the trillion dollar mark will be met in 2018.

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

MAY 8TH, 2012 SATOSHI DICE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVER HALF OF ALL BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS

 

Often overlooked is the transfer of wealth. For sure, much of it could be chimera due to, ironically, the very same issue that gave it a reason to exist in the first place: easy government money sloshing about, distorting valuations. Putting that aside for the moment, consider what bitcoin could mean to millions who have just begun investing.

Previously, all real money had been made. Slobs and regular Joes could open a brokerage account, be fee’d to death, and hope for beating inflation, maybe. Onboarding rules. Taxes. Regulations. All of it combined to insulate Wall Street from competition by ordinary people with a little cash. Bitcoin changed that, potentially.

Bitcoin Block Zero Born Nine Years Ago: The Wild Ride to Over 500,000 Blocks Later

MARCH 23RD, 2013 BITCOIN MARKET CAPITALIZATION TOTALS ONE BILLION

 

Anyone could receive or earn or buy bitcoin. And the value of that token, coin, payment system would rise. And rise. Crashes? Sure. But its price resilience has ushered in a new era of wealth for a great number of people who never otherwise could have participated. Wall Street, legacy money, was initially kept out due to their regulatory burdens, their protecting of themselves, their arrogance and natural sheep-like behavior. For maybe the first time in recorded financial history, small money was ahead of big money.

The implications of block zero go much further than the above. More remains to be written and studied, obviously. But taking a minute to appreciate participation in an honest-to-goodness historical moment might allow enthusiasts, veterans and newbies alike, to appreciate being active participants.

At what point did you discover bitcoin? Tell us in the comment section below! 


Images via Pixabay.


Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

The post We’ve Come A Long Way – Bitcoin Block Zero Was Born Nine Years Ago Today appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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”Facebook of China” Renren to Stage ICO

January 3, 2018 |

”Facebook of China” Renren to Stage ICO

Renren, the first generation of Chinese social media, has announced its plan to start an ICO project called RR Coin. In reaction to the news, its shares spiked 13.57%.

Also Read: From Mansions to Prisons: Bitcoin and Real-Estate Doesn’t Mix So Well

From Renren to RR Coin

”Facebook of China” Renren to Stage ICO

Launched in December 2005, Renren has been dubbed “The Facebook of China” with its Facebook-like features and its popularity among students in the early years. It represents one of the most important and successful “real-name registration” SNS companies in China.

Over the years Renren has seen rise of new players such as microblog platform Sina Weibo and Tencent’s mobile app Wechat. Unlike the two blooming products, Renren is losing traction in appealing to the new masses of Chinese Netizens. The only solution is constant product innovation. And the social company decided to turn its strategic attention to the blockchain industry.

According to the whitepaper released by Renren, they will develop a blockchain-based open source platform that can record user interactions and trading behavior. And the token RR Coin will be used in multiple scenarios from rewarding users who contribute content to charging for advertising.

The Facebook of China RenRen Is to Stage an ICO

RR Coin has 1 billion coins in total, among which 40% will be used for ICO sale, 25% for the RR Coin Foundation, 15% will be given to the team for marketing and development and the remaining 20% for business expansion. “The project is going to raise 100,000 ETH,” said a Beijing-based ICO investor. “I think it’s highly overvalued. RR Coin is more like QQ coin of Tencent that is totally centralized. They are just selling a new concept to make users active again.” But it seems that new concepts work. Renren’s stock (NYSE: RENN) spiked around 19% in reaction to the news.

 Companies Continue Rebirth in Blockchain

In just a few months, China’s top dot-com companies are all making blockchain a powerful new solution across their businesses.

The fifteen-year old Xunlei Networking Techinologies(NASDAQ: XNET)started a new service that is completely divorced from its fundamentals. The company launched “Wanke coin mining” cryptocurrency project on October 12th, and its stock went from less than $ 5 per share to nearly $ 25 per share, and continued to witness a 475% gain in less than two months.

Qihoo 360, a leading antivirus software provider recently went all-in with its futures plans for the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. On December 20th, the company launched a blockchain research center to explore how the technology can be used to improve financial services. The President of 360 Finance noted: “The research center will create a mode of ‘Blockchain Plus Finance’ that integrates distributed ledger with smart contracts,  asymmetric encryption and consensus mechanisms.”

Then on DecemberThe Facebook of China RenRen Is to Stage an ICOr 29th, it launched a brand new website covering cryptocurrency news and price analysis. The website consists of a live cryptocurrency price chart, detailing trading volume and price change over the past 24 hours, which resembles that of coinmarketcap. At the bottom of the web page, it notes that the website copyright belongs to 360 Internet Security Center. However the website has been inaccessible since January 2nd.

Do you think these top Internet giants will pose a threat to small-sized blockchain startups? Leave your comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, RenRen.com


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Bitcoin Fees Are Falling Amidst Greater Segwit Adoption

January 3, 2018 |

Bitcoin Fees Are Falling Amidst Greater Segwit Adoption

Transaction fees, a bugbear for many in the bitcoin community, are on their way down. Spiraling fees were a contentious issue that reached fever pitch in the twilight of 2017. But with the dawn of a new year, bitcoin has been blessed with reduced fees, set against a backdrop of increased Segwit adoption.

Also read: Peter Thiel, Bitcoin Astronaut, Moves Markets with Crypto Moonshot

Fees Have Halved from Their December Peak

After spending the final quarter of 2017 ramping up, transaction fees on the bitcoin network have finally begun to decline. Bitcoinfees.info indicates an average fee of $ 15.79 to have a transaction mined within the next six blocks, rising slightly to $ 16.54 for the next three blocks and $ 17.29 for the next block. The median withdrawal fee from exchanges such as Bitfinex this week has been closer to $ 14 however.

While $ 14-$ 16 is still more than many people would like to spend, it’s an improvement at least over the $ 30 bitcoin fees that were reached during December. Estimatefee.com quotes an average of 358 satoshis/byte to move a transaction within the next six blocks. The number of transactions in the mempool waiting to be confirmed is now below 90,000, from a peak of over 115,000 on December 30.

Bitcoin Fees Are Falling Amidst Greater Segwit Adoption
The average cost per transaction in $ has dropped considerably.

More Bitcoin Wallets Add Segwit Support

In the last 24 hours, Localbitcoins.com and BTC.com have added Segwit support to their wallets. In a blogpost, mining pool and bitcoin wallet provider BTC.com wrote: “As a BTC.com wallet user, you will experience a drop in the transaction fees and faster transaction times when you send bitcoin to another address.” It has now added this functionality to both its mobile and desktop wallets.

Bitcoin Fees Are Falling Amidst Greater Segwit Adoption

Peer-to-peer exchange and online wallet Localbitcoins.com has also followed suit. The site is used extensively in countries as diverse as the Dominican Republic and Poland, and has reached record weekly trading volume of almost $ 140 million in the US. It will be a while before recent Segwit adoption by wallet providers filters through and impacts upon average bitcoin fees across the network. Segwit adoption is only around 11%, showing there is still a long way to go before the scaling technology nears universal adoption.

Bitcoin Fees Are Falling Amidst Greater Segwit Adoption

As always, the greatest absentee from Segwit is Coinbase, which has yet to formalize plans for introducing the Segregated Witness technology. CEO Brian Armstrong appears to be more interested in experimenting with ethereum Dapp browsers, much to the chagrin of many Coinbase users. Bitcoin pioneer Nick Szabo, meanwhile, has been urging the community to favor Segwit, endorsing a Whalepool tweet listing Segwit wallets.

Bitcoin Fees Are Falling Amidst Greater Segwit Adoption
Segwit adoption is still barely into the double digits.

2018: The Year of Cheaper Fees?

Bitcoin fees are likely to remain a hot topic throughout 2018 as efforts to lower the median cost of transacting the decentralized currency intensify. With the Lightning Network now having been successfully tested live, there are hopes that the off-chain scaling solution could be introduced sooner than initially expected, bringing with it the prospect of lower fees for all.

The high cost of sending bitcoin has forced many to look elsewhere, either to bitcoin cash, with its famously low fees, or to other altcoins which can be sent for less than a cent in many cases. In bitcoin’s earliest days, when blocks were empty, it was equally easy to complete low-cost transactions. The cryptocurrency markets are no exception to Metcalfe’s law, however, and should any altcoin start to approach the size of the bitcoin network, it will succumb to the same problem: a growing number of users trying to use a resource that can only process a finite number of transactions per second.

Speaking of laws, prominent bitcoin thinker Tuur Demeester cited Kleiber’s law, which governs the size of the world’s largest cities. Applying it to cryptocurrencies, he tweeted:

If “Bitcoin City” remains the largest of cryptocurrencies, Kleiber’s law suggests that over the long run it will be the ecosystem where resources are allocated in the most efficient way.

Fees and transaction times are still higher than desired, but if Kleiber’s law applies, it’s only a matter of time until the bitcoin metropolis becomes a model in city planning.

Do you think bitcoin fees are still too high? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Segwit,party and Bitcoinfees.info.


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Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin and Usher In “The Rippening”

January 3, 2018 |

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin and Usher In “The Rippening”

First came ethereum, which threatened to unseat bitcoin as the dominant cryptocurrency in an event dubbed The Flippening. Then came bitcoin cash, which lay a glove on bitcoin core in The Cashening. Now, a revitalized ripple (XRP) is eyeing bitcoin’s top spot. Could the centralized cryptocurrency usurp bitcoin’s market cap, heralding The Rippening?

Also read: Is the Centralized Ripple Database With the Biggest Pre-Mine Really a Bitcoin Competitor?

Big Ripple in a Small Pond

Scarcely a month passes when an alternative cryptocurrency doesn’t make huge inroads on bitcoin’s dominance. Percentage gains are easy – any coin outside of the top five can realistically double or triple in price within a week. Overtaking bitcoin’s market capitalization however is significantly harder, and while ETH and BCH have both given it their best shot, they’ve yet to achieve that feat.

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin, Ushering In “The Rippening”

The Numbers Behind the Letters XRP

Despite bitcoin making gains of 14% in the last 24 hours off the back of news on Peter Thiel’s involvement, XRP has outperformed BTC, recording gains of 16%. Ripple at the time of writing had a market cap of $ 104 billion versus bitcoin’s $ 245 billion. In other words, ripple is worth 40% of bitcoin’s valuation. Each XRP token is currently trading at around $ 2.70. If XRP were to reach $ 6.75 while BTC stood still, it would overtake bitcoin to become the world’s most valuable crypto asset.

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin, Ushering In “The Rippening”

It is much easier for a sub-$ 10 coin to double in value than it is for one costing well into five figures. On December 29, ripple soared from $ 1.52 to a high of $ 2.50. If another similar ripple run were to occur, it could send XRP above bitcoin in the space of a week. One ripple will never achieve parity with one bitcoin, as there are a lot of ripples out there – around 39 billion as it stands. Put them all together and, priced at $ 6.75 a coin, you would be looking at the new cryptocurrency market leader.

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin, Ushering In “The Rippening”The psychological effect of bitcoin being toppled, for the first time in cryptocurrency history, would be huge. It would be the equivalent of a rival search engine overtaking Google. The mainstream media would have a field day and the crypto community would be up in arms, but beyond that, not much would change. Bitcoin would retain its use as a store of value, medium of exchange, and pseudonymous digital currency, and ripple would retain its use as, well…what is ripple’s use?

Who’s Buying Ripple?

Ripple was designed as a SWIFT alternative, providing banks with a means to send funds across borders quickly and at low cost. Like many assets, however, it is primarily used as a speculative instrument. It is the users who determine how an asset is purposed, but it is the markets that set the price – and right now the markets are buying a whole lot of XRP.

Most of the trading volume is coming from Korea, although that holds true for the majority of cryptocurrencies. Anecdotal evidence suggests there’s something about ripple that’s alluring to non-traditional cryptocurrency investors. An increasing number of women seem to be taking an interest in XRP, and mainstream coverage has been extensive, with ripple surfacing in the unlikeliest of publications including British tabloid newspapers.

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin, Ushering In “The Rippening”
Bitcoin’s dominance of the cryptocurrency markets is at an all-time low.

Investors are piling into ripple because they see it as a profitable purchase, and thus far they’ve been vindicated. But what happens when the music stops and ripple drops? Naysayers have been predicting a major correction ever since ripple approached the dollar mark, and yet the coin is showing no signs of slowing down.

Many crypto newcomers know and care little of Satoshi, decentralization, full nodes, and Bitcoin Improvement Proposals, but they recognize profit when they see it, and right now XRP is providing that. The question that would-be investors should be asking themselves is not who’s buying ripple now, but who bought it back in the day when it was trading for cents. The answer to that question includes a number of crypto billionaires. Cofounder and former CEO Chris Larsen owns 5.19 billion XRP, around 13% of the total circulating supply. Forbes reports that this makes ripple’s executive chairman the 15th richest man in America.

Whales Making Ripples

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin, Ushering In “The Rippening”
Jed McCaleb: owns a lotta ripple.

Current ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse also holds a significant number of ripple tokens, with Forbes calculating his net worth to be at least $ 9.5 billion. Then there’s the 5.3 billion XRP cofounder Jed McCaleb owns. These are held in a fund and released on a monthly basis to prevent the former ripple boss from cashing out and crashing the market. Finally, there’s the additional 55 billion XRP that ripple holds in escrow, over and above the 38.7 billion tokens currently on the market.

Add that together and you get a whole lot of ripples, with as much as 35% of the total circulating supply in the hands of just three people. Realistically, Larsen, Garlinghouse, and McCaleb aren’t about to offload 20 billion ripples onto the market. It is not in Larsen’s or Garlinghouse’s interests to do so, while McCaleb, who now runs Stellar (and owns one billion XLM) is unable to do so.

Reasons to Be Cautious

There are evident risks inherent to investing in a project whose market price is hostage to a handful of whales. But there are also other reasons why ripple is a controversial cryptocurrency that should be approached with caution. News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on how ripple has the power to “freeze” funds at its discretion, and the 55 billion XRP currently on lockdown at ripple XRP are effectively the biggest pre-mine of any digital currency.

Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin, Ushering In “The Rippening”

As one dissenter pithily put it: “Ripple can f– off. They’re the Intel of crypto – backdoored from the start”. Cryptocurrency maximalists, who are passionate about matters such as financial freedom and the decentralized economy, are especially skeptical of ripple. One thing ripple’s rise arguably does show is that there is an appetite for a centralized currency that isn’t beholden to community concerns. Obtaining consensus for improvements to bitcoin core is notoriously tricky; ripple on the other hand, can be modified by the company without consultation or advance warning.

Ripple’s rise means little to the average bitcoiner, whose preference for decentralized financial systems will remain unwavering. The success of XRP could mean a lot to central banks, however, who are watching the token’s ascent with keen interest. How fitting if Ripple, a centralized cryptocurrency, were to prove the gateway drug to a centralized banking coin.

What are your thoughts on ripple and where do you see its price going? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coincodex, and Coinmarketcap.


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The post Rising Ripple Threatens to Usurp Bitcoin and Usher In “The Rippening” appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Gavin Andresen Drops A New Concept On Github for Bitcoin Cash

January 3, 2018 |

Gavin Andresen Drops A New Concept On Github for Bitcoin Cash

On January 2 one of the most well-known developers for the original bitcoin protocol, Gavin Andresen, contributed an idea to Github called “Storing the UTXO as a bit-vector.” Andresen has been active on Github for the past month as his contributions have been focused on general (Unspent Transaction Output) UTXO sets, but this particular idea is for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network.

Also read: Putin Wants to Use Cryptoruble to Evade Sanctions But Bank of Russia Skeptical

The Developer Who Was Given the BTC Codebase Permissions from Satoshi Offers an Idea for BCH Network  

Gavin Andresen Drops A New Concept On Github for Bitcoin CashGavin Andresen has been lurking around Github for the past twenty-seven days, and on the second day of the new year, the developer contributed an idea for the BCH network. The concept Andresen called “Half-baked thoughts exploring a different way of implementing a fully-validating BCH node,” is an idea on shifting the storage of full transaction data to wallets. The developer explains the concept is to let every node in the new network store a bit-vector for every block which can be highly compressible even for gigabyte-sized blocks.

“This isn’t a problem today (the UTXO set easily fits in the RAM of an inexpensive server-class machine), but might eventually be at very large transaction volumes,” explains Andresen.

Initial block download is a problem today (it is annoying to have to wait several hours or days to sync up a new node), and this scheme could make it orders of magnitude faster by shifting the time when full transaction data is broadcast from initial block download to new transaction announcement.

‘Full-Node Operators Have the Right Incentives to Always Serve Correct UTXO Bit-Vectors’

Andresen believes the best option is to let “node operators hand-pick one or more semi-trusted nodes to get fast boot-strapping.”

“That is simple, and there are plenty of full-node operators who have the right incentives to always serve up correct UTXO bit-vectors,” Andresen adds.     

To ponder: is speeding up initial block download and saving memory at the cost of 2-3 times the bandwidth for new transaction announcements the right tradeoff? A gigabit per second connection is 75 gigabytes every ten minutes, so plenty of bandwidth for a few gigabytes of transaction data that translates into a gigabyte-sized block.

Bitcoin Cash Community Asks: Is Gavin Back?

The bitcoin cash community seems elated that Andresen has contributed a new idea for the BCH network. On enthusiast on the /r/btc Reddit forum writes, “this is the first official confirmation that Gavin is building for BCH, unless I’m mistaken.” Many BCH supporters recollected the Tweet Andresen published this past November stating;  

Bitcoin Cash is what I started working on in 2010: a store of value AND means of exchange.

What do you think about Gavin Andresen proposing the UTXO bit-vector idea for the Bitcoin Cash network? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, and the Bitcoin Cash logo. 


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From Mansions to Prisons: Bitcoin and Real-Estate Doesn’t Mix So Well

January 3, 2018 |

From Mansions to Prisons: Bitcoin and Real-Estate Doesn't Mix So Well

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding purchasing real-estate with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. However, even though bitcoin has spiked considerably in value using the asset for purchasing properties and homes is not so easy.

Also read: Dancing With the Devil: ‘Cashing Out’ Cryptos Into Fiat Not So Easy

Bitcoin Real Estate Purchases Come With Difficulties

From Mansions to Prisons: Bitcoin and Real-Estate Doesn't Mix So WellLately, there’s been a considerable amount of attention given to cryptocurrency entering the real-estate industry and homes for sale priced in bitcoin. Earlier this year Sotheby’s International Realty sold a luxury Austin, Texas home for bitcoins, and in Miami, a 950-square foot condo is selling for roughly 60 BTC. There are also more extravagant sales out there in the real estate market as well as bitcoiners can now purchase an abandoned prison facility for around 88 bitcoins. Although, according to the publication Mansion Global, many real estate agents and attorneys have revealed that offering to purchase a home with bitcoin may come with some issues.

For instance, most BTC to real estate purchases are treated like an “all-cash” buy, and users usually transact between wallets or a payment facilitator like Bitpay. Due to the type of transaction, both parties will need a lawyer for the closing of the deal and it’s likely they will only accept fiat. In addition to having lawyers present, the two parties also have to utilize an underwriter and an insurance company as well. Moreover, some real estate deals have been made but fell by the wayside due to bitcoin’s price fluctuations.

From Mansions to Prisons: Bitcoin and Real-Estate Doesn't Mix So Well
Some cryptocurrency real-estate transactions have been completed like this Austin, Texas home purchased using bitcoins.

The Complexity of Lawyers, Titles, Underwriters, and Potential Tax Implications When Purchasing Real Estate With Cryptocurrency

The San Francisco-based Redfin real-estate agent, Carina Isentaeva, explains to the publication that not all cryptocurrency home purchasing attempts close their deals. Isentaeva dealt with a home sale in Silicon Valley that fell through because the buyer couldn’t sell his bitcoins by the time of the closing day. There are also tax implications involved in many different countries, as the U.S. requires 20 percent capital gains and more for the net cryptocurrency investment appreciation. Some potential buyers have had troubles with people who have had second thoughts about accepting bitcoin as well.

Some Bitcoiners Are Opting for Collateralized Loans

From Mansions to Prisons: Bitcoin and Real-Estate Doesn't Mix So Well
Startups offering loans for cryptocurrency collateral are starting to become a popular business model.

Bitcoiners with enough funds to purchase a home must then find a brokerage service or merchant processor to convert their cryptocurrency back to fiat reserves. Another option for cryptocurrency buyers is securing a collateralized loan with their bitcoins, but there’s not that many companies or financial institutions offering this type of service. Collateralized cryptocurrency loan companies are far and few between but there are a few startups like Salt Lending and Unchained. The firm Unchained Capital based in Austin Texas is a company that’s been offering loans that are backed by the buyer’s crypto assets.     

“Unchained allows bitcoin owners to borrow up to $ 1 million with interest rates between 10% and 14% — The company has gone all the way up to $ 5 million in rare instances,” explains Joseph Kelly, the co-founder, and CEO.

The Unchained executive explains the company has also finalized longer-term contracts and has seen quite a few customers use the loan service for real-estate purchases. “We see a lot of people getting cash for a downpayment,” Mr. Kelly noted.

What do you think about the challenges presented when trying to purchase or sell real estate using cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Bitcoin.com, Pixabay, Unchained, and Salt Lending.


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New Code Release Means Bitcoin Cash Addresses Are Just Around the Corner

January 3, 2018 |

New Code Release Means Bitcoin Cash Addresses Are Just Around the Corner

The bitcoin cash community moved one step closer to having their own address format today with the release of Bitcoin ABC 0.16.2. The full node implementation of BCH includes a switch to a proprietary address format to distinguish it from bitcoin core. It is hoped that this will eliminate issues of BCH being sent to Segwit BTC addresses in error and help further distinguish bitcoin cash from the rest of the cryptocurrency market.

Also read: The Bitcoin Cash Community Prepares for ‘Change the Address Day’

Moving to a New Address

As news.Bitcoin.com reported two weeks ago, the bitcoin cash community is gearing up for “Change the Address” day, which is scheduled to take place on January 14. That’s when the address format proposed by Bitcoin ABC developer Amaury Séchet will be adopted. Today, those plans were formalized with the release of Bitcoin ABC 0.16.2. It includes a number of improvements to the bitcoin cash protocol, but the most notable is the addition of Cashaddr.

New Code Release Means Bitcoin Cash Addresses Are Just Around the Corner

This utilizes the bech32 codebase and will apply benefits over and above a less confusing wallet address format. For instance, the new address system will make it easier to create QR codes and will pave the way for multi-party smart contracts to be added further down the line. A basic bitcoin cash address conversion tool is already in place, which demonstrates how the new address format will look. Security researcher Dean Pierce has also created his own version, which shows how legacy BCH addresses compare to their new bech32 counterparts.

The new Bitcoin ABC code is available for scrutiny now ahead of its implementation later this month. With the growth of Localbitcoincash, increased merchant adoption and codebase enhancements, 2018 looks set to be a good year for fans of the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency.

What do you think about ‘Change the Address Day’ scheduled for January 14? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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