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| October 20, 2019

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Growth Archives -

California defies recession fears to post job growth, record low unemployment

October 19, 2019 |

Joblessness stood at 4% in September, less than any month since the current methodology was introduced in 1976, state officials reported. That was down from 4.1% in August and a year earlier.

L.A. Times – Business

Netflix returns to subscriber growth in ‘make or break’ quarter

October 17, 2019 |

The results were an improvement over the previous quarter and allayed investor concerns that Netflix was facing a slowdown as rivals enter the market.

L.A. Times – Business

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up

September 23, 2019 |

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Perseverance Continues to Strengthen

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) adoption continues this week as there’s been a slew of announcements associated with BCH acceptance and activism. For instance, a massive electronic billboard in the middle of Tokyo displayed a huge BCH symbol indicating that Japan’s largest luxury watch and jewelry shop, Gem Castle Yukizaki, now accepts bitcoin cash at all 15 locations.

Also read: Devs Remove BIP70 Payment Protocol From Bitcoin Core’s Default Settings

Livenpay Supports Bitcoin Cash

BCH proponents take pride in spreading adoption and during the third and fourth weeks of September, there’s been a bunch of new announcements. The Australian-based rewards platform Livenpay recently announced that bitcoin cash is now supported. The Liven ecosystem allows people to pay for food and beverages via the Liven app which is accepted at 1,000 restaurants, cafes, and bars in Australia.

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up
Bitcoin cash (BCH) is now accepted at all of Livenpay’s partners.

Liven users can earn 10-30% rewards back from their bill which then can be stored or spent through Liven’s merchant network. The Livenpay app has more than 400,000 users and the platform has a native currency called LVN, an ERC20 token used for reward payouts. “With Livenpay as the ‘on-ramp’, we want to entice users and businesses around the world to enjoy the benefits of using frictionless, global cryptocurrency payments,” Liven CEO William Wong stated during the BCH announcement. The Liven executive continued:

With our future pipeline of cryptocurrency integrations, Bitcoin Cash is the next step to expanding cryptocurrency support and being truly blockchain and currency agnostic.

World-Renowned Jewelry Shop Gem Castle Yukizaki Displays Giant Bitcoin Cash Electronic Billboard

Four days ago, residents of Tokyo noticed a very large electronic billboard displaying the Bitcoin Cash symbol in the middle of Roppongi at the lavish jewelry shop Gem Castle Yukizaki. The owner of Yukizaki has disclosed the company has been accepting BCH for goods and services at the fine jeweler’s 15 locations throughout Japan. The founder Mr. Yukizaki first revealed accepting BCH back in June and told our news team that a few people had already made purchases using the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up
Yukizaki has 15 locations that accept bitcoin cash and the electronic billboard with the BCH logo is displayed in downtown Roppongi.

On September 17,’s executive chairman Roger Ver visited the Yukizaki shop in Roppongi and purchased a luxury watch. Pictures from the day were shared across social media and BCH fans were thrilled to see the large electronic billboard display the BCH logo. The sign really stands out on one of the busiest streets in Roppongi, in the heart of Tokyo.

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up
On September 17, Roger Ver purchased a luxury watch at the jewelry shop Gem Castle Yukizaki.

Washington Elite AI and Blockchain Summit Gives 33% Discount to Those Paying in Bitcoin Cash and Other Cryptocurrencies

On September 23, Washington Elite announced the Washington Elite AI and Blockchain Summit – Smart City Edition conference in Vienna, Austria. The event held on October 11-12 will be accepting digital currencies for admission and people who pay for event tickets with a cryptocurrency like bitcoin cash (BCH) will receive a 33% discount at the Washington Elite conference.

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up
People interested in attending the Washington Elite AI and Blockchain Summit can save 33% by paying in crypto.

The Washington Elite event will showcase a lineup of well known blockchain executives and crypto influencers like the President of Liberland Vit Jedlicka, Globalboost CEO Bruce Porter Jr., and’s CEO Stefan Rust. The conference will cover popular topics like cryptocurrencies and blockchain but also delve into subjects like artificial intelligence (AI), energy and mining, STOs, IEOs, virtual reality (VR), identity solutions and smart cities. Moreover, the summit will also host a variety of blockchain classes that will teach participants how to mine, send digital assets via SMS/text message, and how to operate a node.

Eatbch Gets a New Website and the Nonprofit’s South Sudan Representatives Visit the UN’s Climate Action Summit

Recently the bitcoin cash-powered food drive @Eatbch published a new website called The charitable organization is a well-known food drive that purchases food for families in Venezuela and South Sudan with BCH donations. Eatbch is easily the most popular charity among BCH supporters for all of the work the group has accomplished since its inception. The new website design was produced by Coinbase engineer Josh Ellithorpe and the web portal gives a description of all the work the team does in Venezuela and South Sudan. The website also details why the charity decided to use bitcoin cash in contrast to other cryptocurrencies. In addition, shares updates as well like how the “peer-to-peer electronic cash-to-food system” has raised over $ 10,000 to feed the South Sudanese people.

Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up
The charitable organization Eatbch has published a new website to show the world the work being done in Venezuela and South Sudan.

Additionally, Emmanuel Lobijo, an Eatbch South Sudan leader, was one of 100 recipients to be invited to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit that took place on Monday, September 23. Lobijo shared pictures of the event in New York and joined the popular climate activist Greta Thunberg at the opening of the Climate Action Summit. “Honored to share our work in South Sudan: using BCH to bridge access to the world — So amazing to hear our elders asking we the youth to hold them accountable, to help us make the world better,” Lobijo stated during the event. Lobijo shined a light on how the charitable organization is using bitcoin cash solutions to fight water wars, drought, and famine that plagues the residents of South Sudan. “[We] need humanitarian innovation, not military intervention,” the Eatbch South Sudan leader concluded.

Passionate bitcoiners continue to show the benefits of bitcoin cash through merchant adoption and the eye-opening activism Eatbch displays every day. BCH proponents wholeheartedly believe that bitcoin cash can transform the world by offering permissionless, decentralized, and censorship-resistant money. Every week, there are new BCH announcements pertaining to significant development, spreading more adoption and new noncustodial services. These are the continuance of the ultimate goal: a pure, peer-to-peer electronic cash that allows permissionless payments without the need for financial institutions.

What do you think about the recent announcements in regard to BCH adoption and progression? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Akane Yokoo, Yukizaki, Eatbch Twitter and, Washington Elite, and Livenpay.

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The post Bitcoin Cash Acceptance and Community Growth Ramp Up appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

California job growth was healthy in August, but the labor force is shrinking

September 20, 2019 |

California’s labor force is shrinking, but the state continues to add jobs. Unemployment remains low at 4.1%

L.A. Times – Business

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019

September 9, 2019 |

Despite Setbacks Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019

Since the birth of the Silk Road, there’s been a cat and mouse game between global law enforcement and darknet market (DNM) operators. Over the last two years, law enforcement agencies have knocked out a slew of markets like Hansa and the massive Alphabay. Months later, Dream and Wall Street disappeared and online DNM communities were deplatformed. Despite the obstacles along the way, there are still more than 12 active DNMs today and forums filled with hidden market participants that are growing in number once again.

Also read: This Short Animation Might Make You Think Twice About Taxes

The Last Two Years Have Been Hard for Darknet Market Participants

Global law enforcement has been dedicating significant energy toward shutting darknet markets down. It’s similar to the drug war on the streets, but the investigations and battles are fought in the deepest recesses of the web. In the summer of 2017, investigators made headway when a major operation orchestrated by the FBI, DEA, Dutch National Police, and Europol told the world it had shut down the massive DNM Alphabay. The marketplace, just like the Silk Road, sold illicit narcotics for cryptocurrencies and managed to attract 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors.

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019
One of the biggest DNM takedowns was the fall of Alphabay in 2017 and that year the Dutch police force and Europol operated Hansa for more than 30 days collecting information.

People could choose between 100,000 listings for fraudulent documents and more than 250,000 listings for marijuana and chemical substances. After the police teams shut down Alphabay, they also took over the DNM called Hansa, which saw a huge influx of users after Alphabay went dark. The law enforcement agencies operated Hansa undercover, collecting info on customers and vendors while recording data stemming from more than 50,000 cryptocurrency transactions.

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019
The publication Deepdotweb was seized by global law enforcement last year.

Many people believe that the Hansa undercover operation led police to discover a lot more information about the DNM ecosystem. After the two marketplaces were shut down, the following year was filled with random DNM vendor and buyer arrests almost every other day. One particular website, Deepdotweb, a portal that published stories on these arrests, alongside DNM links and reviews, was seized in May 2019. Western District of Pennsylvania prosecutors published a 13-page indictment against, Deepdotweb’s (DDW) owners. The month prior, Reddit banned a subreddit called /r/darknetmarkets after the forum had gathered 180,000 subscribers.

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019
/r/darknetmarkets was banned last year for breaking Reddit’s rules.

Reddit admins said the ban followed a new rule, which forbids the discussion of certain types of goods on the Reddit platform. The subreddit /r/darknetmarkets violated “Reddit’s policy against transactions involving prohibited goods or services,” according to the company. A few months later, Reddit also shut down /r/darknetmarketsnoobs for the exact same violations. Following the online community and the DDW publication takedown, the popular Dream Market closed its doors and Wall Street followed in a suspected exit scam.

Over 12 Active Markets in 2019 and a New Forum

Despite the loss of all these markets and the online communities, both parts of the DNM ecosystem are continuing to grow relentlessly. On Sep. 8, 2019, there are 12 darknet marketplaces that are still active according to The site is updated regularly with DNM information and the last update was two weeks ago. The chart does not provide a comprehensive list of all the DNMs available, as there’s a whole lot more on a hidden list. Well known and established DNMs currently listed as “online” and “active” include the Majestic Garden, Samsara Market, Cannazon Market, Berlusconi Market, Empire Market, Agartha Market, Yellow Brick Market, Horus Market, Genesis Market, Cryptonia Market, Grey Market, Dark Market, and Nightmare Market. has published descriptive information on seven of the current operational DNMs as of June 2019. All of them offer different wares for sale, and different marketplace features like multi-currency support, multi-signature and escrow systems, and on some of them you need an invite from a participating member to join.

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019
There are more than 12 active darknet markets online as of mid-August 2019.

In addition to the slew of DNMs still available, a new Reddit forum called /r/darknet has been growing exponentially. Since the subreddit forum’s inception, there have been more than 61,000 subscribers. In the same manner, like the old forum, the new /r/darknet has a ‘marketplace Monday discussion,’ which is quite lively, a ‘marketplace mega-thread,’ and everyday conversations about things like dab cartridges, Netflix accounts, vendor reputation, and operations security (opsec) methods.

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019
/r/darknet has more than 61,000 subscribers and is very active.

The forum has grown so large that subscribers have been begging /r/darknet moderators to clean up the place. For instance, a popular post written on Sep. 7 is called “Mods if you don’t clean this place up you’re going to be featured on CNN.” In the thread, /r/darknet subscribers discuss how big the forum has become and a few people insist that the forum’s mods needed to do something about some of the posts.

“[The OP] maybe a bit extreme about the whole CNN thing, but everyone’s publically asking the most stupid questions that reveal much more than they think are, mods should nuke some threads every once in a while,” one person commented on the thread. “The mod team needs a revamp — There are tons of rule-breaking posts,” another Redditor remarked.

The Continued Strength of the Agora

Despite the paranoia, there are posts every hour with people asking all types of DNM questions on the forum. The mods do have rules like accounts younger than four days can’t comment or post and discussing carding schemes is strictly prohibited. Moreover, posts that ask about markets going down are automatically removed as well. “These posts are low effort and fill up the forum,” explain the /r/darknet mods’ rules. Even though some of the largest DNMs have bitten the dust over the last two years, the ecosystem’s participants don’t seem to care. Just like the mythical serpentine water monster the Hydra, every time law enforcement chops off a DNM head, several more DNMs appear.

Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019
The tighter law enforcement grips, the more DNMs slip through their fingers.

As long as the globalized drug war continues, law enforcement and DNM participants will battle for supremacy, with one group taking the lead at times. Even though it sometimes seems the three-letter agencies are winning, there will always be people who believe that vices are not crimes and consenting adults will continue to do what they want. Just like the founder of the Silk Road once stated, these markets derived from an anti-authoritarian stance tied to Agorism and the movement is much larger than it was back in 2011-2012.

“Every single transaction that takes place outside the nexus of state control is a victory for those individuals taking part in the transaction, so there are thousands of victories here each week and each one makes a difference, strengthens the agora, and weakens the state,” the Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) told the DNM community back in 2012.

Looking at the plethora of DNMs active today and the rise of the /r/darknet forum shows the anti-authoritarian belief system and market economy is still thriving.

What do you think about the DNM ecosystem, the active markets, and the growing darknet Reddit forum in 2019? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned marketplace domains, vendors, and products associated with this article. or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services, products, websites, and vendors mentioned in this article. This editorial review is for informational purposes only.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Various DNM logos, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, and Reddit.

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The post Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

California job growth is outpacing the nation’s

August 16, 2019 |

California’s job market powered ahead in July amid the longest expansion since the 1960s, and unemployment remained at a record low.

L.A. Times – Business

Bitcoin Mining Industry’s Exponential Growth Just Won’t Stop

August 11, 2019 |

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Quit

A decade ago when Satoshi Nakamoto unleashed the Bitcoin network, the security behind the protocol was guarded by only a few miners. These days, mining the SHA-256 algorithm has become a thriving industry that hasn’t stopped growing.

Also Read: Exploring the SLP Token Universe Built on the Bitcoin Cash Chain

Bitcoin Mining Pools and ASICs Change the Game

Every waking second of the day, bitcoin miners are crunching numbers, humming away in facilities that few people who use the network have ever seen. Miners from large facilities who form giant pools stem from a variety of provinces around the world. In the early days up until 2010, individuals mined bitcoin with a central processing unit (CPU). This was until people like Laszlo Hanyecz, the man who traded 10,000 BTC for two pizzas, and Artforz mined the cryptocurrency with a graphics processing unit (GPU). Artforz was an anonymous individual but became the talk of the bitcoin community during the early days after he created the first “farm” of GPU miners. In July 2010, Artforz said he had about 4% of the global hashrate at the time, mining 1,700 coins in six days. Less than three months later, people claimed the anonymous individual’s “Artfarm” controlled between 20-30% of the network hashrate.

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
In September 2012, the second year of the nascent BTC network, the processing power was only around 10,000,000,000,000 (ten trillion) hashes per second (10 TH/s)

A year before Artforz fired up his GPU farm to mine bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto asked the community to slow down on the mining arms race in December 2009. “We should have a gentleman’s agreement to postpone the GPU arms race as long as we can for the good of the network. It’s much easier to get new users up to speed if they don’t have to worry about GPU drivers and compatibility. It’s nice how anyone with just a CPU can compete fairly equally right now,” Nakamoto said at the time. The GPU arms race sparked the creation of the first mining pools in November 2010, when Marek Palatinus, otherwise known as “Slush,” formed a pool (Slushpool) because “mining became very hard for other people” after GPU enabled computers entered the fray. With mining pools, a collective of individual miners sharing profits became all the rage, and the summer of 2011 saw the inception of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
The infamous Artforz was one of the first individuals to start a GPU mining farm called the “Artfarm,” which was estimated to control between 20-30% of the network hashrate in 2010.

As soon as FPGAs were created, many bitcoiners knew application-specific integrated circuits (abbreviated as ASIC) were on the way very soon. Unlike the machines used in the past, ASICs are integrated circuits that have one specific job, which is to mine the SHA-256 algorithm. ASICs and pools quickly turned bitcoin mining into an industry and hobbyist miners began to contribute less over the next few years. Moreover, mining bitcoin without an ASIC became unprofitable and the CPU, GPU and FPGA days quickly came to an end in 2013. Roughly around this time, Avalon released its first set of ASICs and bitcoiners witnessed the birth of companies like Bitmain, Kncminer, Hashfast, Bitfury, Cointerra, and Butterfly Labs (BFL). From here the mining ecosystem went into overdrive and digital currency fans saw giant mining pools like and Btcguild gathering 51% of BTC network’s mining power. Many of the mining manufacturers are now bankrupt but some companies like Bitmain, Bitfury, and Slushpool have remained relevant over the years.

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
The BTC network hashrate didn’t touch 1 exahash per second (EH/s) until January 2016.

The Exahash Era, SHA256 Between Two Chains and Pool Distribution

The BTC network’s hashrate did not surpass 1 exahash per second (EH/s) until January 25, 2016. A year later, after August 1, 2017, well known and unknown mining pools processed both BTC and BCH transactions that summer and still do to this day. In mid-November, during the crypto bull run of 2017, the BTC network processed 10.8 EH/s, while the BCH network was around 5 EH/s. Interestingly, when markets plummeted downward in 2018, SHA-256 hashrates continued to climb, seeing little downward pressure. This was the highest profile split in history where two chains with the same algorithms saw large mining pools jump back and forth between chains depending on profitability. Moreover, on November 15, 2018, when the BCH/BSV split occurred, miners from the BTC network stepped in during the hashwar. Additionally, after the BSV fork, both BTC and BCH chains saw a considerable drop in hashrate and price per coin. Both chains have been gradually increasing in value and gathering far more processing power in 2019.

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
BTC hashrate on August 11, 2019 – 75-80 EH/s.

Currently, between BTC and BCH, there’s a whopping 75-80 EH/s processing both chains, with 75 EH/s on BTC and 2.24 on the BCH network today. There’s no doubt 80 EH/s is a monumental milestone for the BTC network and the metric is steadily approaching 100 EH/s, which would be 20% of one zetahash. One zetahash per second (ZH/s) is an unfathomable 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one sextillion) hashes per second. After the November 2018 hashwar, the 4-5 EH/s of processing power split into two (BCH and BSV) and both chains saw a low of under 1 EH/s. The BCH chain has gradually seen an increase of hashpower and has gathered over 2 EH/s in recent months.

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
BCH hashrate on August 11, 2019 – 2+ EH/s.

During the second year of the nascent BTC network, the processing power was only around 10,000,000,000,000 (ten trillion) hashes per second (10 TH/s). Because the tech has improved a great deal, a single mining rig can produce over 10 TH/s these days. After the second year anniversary of the split in 2017, the BCH hashrate is thousands of times larger with the network’s maintained two quintillion hashes per second. The BCH chain has roughly 14-15 known miners and around 29% of the overall hashrate from unknown pools. There are 12 known miners processing BTC transactions at the moment and 14% of the mining power is controlled by unknown miners as well. Additionally, six well-known BTC mining pools also mine the BCH chain as there’s sustained hash dedicated to both networks at all times. The three largest BCH mining pools are, Antpool, and is also the biggest pool mining on the BTC network followed by F2pool, and Antpool.

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
BTC and BCH hashrate distribution on August 11, 2019.

2019 Mining Rigs and Next-Generation Semiconductors

In December 2018, during the crypto winter’s lowest of lows, only five SHA256 mining rigs were profitable at the time. At an average electricity cost of $ 0.13 per kWh, machines that produced more than 28 TH/s profited at only $ 0.27 to $ 1.39 per day depending on the model. Now more than 40 mining devices on the market are profitable at 13 cents per KWh based on electric costs at current exchange rates. The top mining rigs profiting the most include a device by Microbt Whatsminer, and three models by Bitmain. The Microbt Whatsminer M20S (70TH/s) is profiting by $ 9.93 per day and the three newly manufactured Antminer S17 series (50-56 TH/s) can make a touch under $ 9 a day. Top mining manufacturers in the second half of 2019 include firms like Bitmain, Canaan, Ebang, Innosilicon, Strongu, and Microbt.

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
The top six most profitable SHA-256 mining rigs during the month of August 2019. (At an average electricity cost of $ 0.13 per kWh)

It will be interesting to see how the mining industry develops over the next 10 years. There’s a lot of money and electricity being used to mine SHA256 coins and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Many of the aforementioned mining chip manufacturers above have made massive amounts of money and have become some of the largest IT companies in the world. Because of this, large mining firms like Canaan and Bitmain have filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. Last December, the mining equipment maker Ebang filed a draft IPO prospectus with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
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Mining has also bolstered the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors by introducing machines that utilize the 7 nanometer (7nm) node design. Production of 256 Mbit SRAM semiconductors using a 7nm process started in 2017 in Taiwan. China-based mining manufacturers have deployed a variety of newer mining devices that use next-generation 7nm semiconductors. Bitmain has released more than five different miners in 2019 with 7nm chipsets stemming from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Local reports in China have revealed that Bitmain recently placed an order for “30,000 7nm wafers from TSMC.”

Bitcoin Mining Industry's Exponential Growth Just Won't Stop
7nm semiconductors have bolstered the SHA-256 mining industry a great deal.

The Taiwan-based foundry also reportedly expanded capacity for 7nm wafers due to large orders from IT companies like Bitmain. SHA256 mining rigs using the 7nm technology are producing hashrates between 30-70+ TH/s according to 2019 device specifications. If mining continues to be popular and there’s enough demand to improve the mining process and industry, spectators will see much faster machines in the next few years. For instance, TSMC has already announced a 6-nanometer (N6) process is in the works and the tech is scheduled for risk production in Q1 2020.

For now, the SHA256 mining industry remains a lucrative business even though there’s been a number of failed operations along the way. The ecosystem has grown mature since the days of Butterfly Labs, Cointerra, and Hashfast. Instead of hearing about individuals commanding a lot of hashrate like Artforz, you now hear about giant size pools racing to find newly minted coins. It’s safe to say that the industry will continue to move at a breakneck pace and even the largest pools will have to remain vigilant in order to stay relevant.

What do you think about the SHA-256 mining industry in 2019? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned software, companies, mining manufacturers, mining devices, pools, and any of their affiliates. or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, company, software or service mentioned in this article. This editorial review is for informational purposes only.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Coin Dance,, Whatsminer, Bitmain, Innosilicon,, CG Miner 2012, and Pixabay.

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Bitcoin News

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019

August 3, 2019 |

More than half the year is behind us and the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to move forward, showing relentless growth over the last six months. 2019 has also seen a new theme arise as speculators believe the cryptocurrency ecosystem is experiencing an influx of institutional interest and regulatory crackdowns. A variety of cryptocurrency research reports analyzing the first two quarters of the year show the space has seen a lot of growth, despite regulatory headwinds.

Also Read: Banks Stopped Walmart Bank – Now the Retail Giant Hits Back With Crypto

The Cryptoconomy 2019: Institutionalization, Facebook and Exchange Tokens

Coinshares and cryptocurrency corporation Circle have recently published very detailed research reports concerning the digital asset space over the last six months. Over the last few weeks, the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has ranged between $ 250-300 billion. The U.K.-based firm Coinshares’ H1 report says that the last six months should be considered a net positive for the young industry. “The continuing professionalisation of the protocol services and corresponding technologies has been impressive and most assets have reacted by recovering substantially from last year’s brutal bear market,” explains Coinshares’ H1 study. It notes that there’s been “no shortage of speculation” when it comes to people guessing what’s driving the rally.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019
Coinshares’ study shows data on H2’s top five BTC markets by volume, volume by fiat pair, and volumes by geography.

The research also shows that retail interest in BTC is “relatively tepid compared to 2017.” This makes Coinshares’ believe the H1 recovery was “largely driven by the long-awaited entrance of institutional money.” The firm says that the company’s sales division has “anecdotal evidence” that supports the institutionalization theory. Coinshares mentions financial incumbents like Fidelity and the Intercontinental Exchange (Bakkt) as institutional examples. Moreover, in terms of legitimizing the industry, the company’s report also highlights Facebook’s Libra coin attempt. The report’s authors opine that even though the digital currency may be centralized, it could be beneficial.

“While Libra is centralised, permissioned, trust-based, not censorship-resistant, not scarce, and arguably not even a cryptocurrency at all (though this term is poorly defined),” Coinshares’ H1 report notes. “It does offer potential benefits to the world’s unbanked that currently don’t have access to services we take for granted in the West, such as online shopping.”

Record Open Interest and Volumes in CME Bitcoin Derivatives and Defining Crypto Regulations

Circle’s 80-page report is far more in-depth, and also notices the growth of institutionalization within the crypto space. The company’s research says that some notable signs of institutional interest stem from data like inflows into Grayscale’s products and CME’s futures open interest and trade volumes reaching all-time highs. To Circle’s researchers covering 2019’s Q2, the announcement from Facebook was a watershed moment for some people although others have been skeptical. As far as stablecoins are concerned, the company said it witnessed its own USDC regulated stablecoin market cap rise a great deal.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019“Grayscale recently provided a second-quarter update, showcasing continued strength since market lows at the end of 2018,” Circle’s report notes when researching the distinguishing signs of institutionalization. “Assets under management were up 125% quarter over quarter (q/q), driven by an increase in underlying prices, among other factors. The portion of inflows from institutional investors has been experiencing step function growth, rising from 59% in 3Q18 to 84% in 2Q19 — Grayscale notes this figure was dominated by hedge funds.”

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019

As far as CME Bitcoin futures interest, Circle notes that Gareth MacLeod, partner at Gryphon Labs, suggested that the recent surge in CME’s crypto futures volumes is likely due to “traditional finance taking a greater interest in bitcoin.” Circle’s research also claims that defining regulatory developments may be strengthening institutionalization within the cryptoconomy.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019

The report shows established regulatory changes like the SEC’s framework for investment contracts (April 3), China’s proposed ban on crypto mining (April 9), Ohio representative Warren Davidson reintroducing the “Token Taxonomy Act” (April 9), NY’s Attorney General announced investigating Ifinex (April 26), FinCEN issuing guidance on BSAs and digital currencies (May 9), the SEC postponing Vaneck/Solidx ETF (May 20), IRS announcing new tax guidelines for cryptos (May 16), and the Egyptian central bank proposing digital currency regulatory action (May 29). Other regulation topics include the SEC’s action against the Kik initial coin offering (ICO), India’s recent crypto discussions, the G7 taskforce, and the recent A+ token offerings granted approval by the SEC in mid-July.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019

Crypto Funding Gathers New Tailwinds, Noncustodial Trade Volumes Increase, and Lightning and Maker Network Usage Declines

After the rise and fall of ICOs, the new trend Circle sees is the “rise of exchange tokens.” Exchange tokens are sold similarly to ICOs but are exclusively used on the trading platform for various benefits like discounted trading fees, rewards, governance systems, and token burns. The researcher highlights 2019’s prominent exchange tokens including Binance (BNB), Huobi (HT), Coinflex (FLEX), and the LEO token launched by Bitfinex. Even though these tokens are slightly different to the prior ICO model, Circle researchers say that the issuers may face regulatory hurdles. “A major challenge that exchange tokens face is around how they should be classified by regulators — as utility tokens or security tokens,” the authors of Circle’s Q2 study remark.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019

2019 saw a bunch of seed funding rounds and venture investments into crypto-based companies according to Circle’s study. This includes startups like Sparkswap ($ 3.5 million), Cambridge Blockchain ($ 3.5 million), Flexa ($ 14.1 million), Chainalysis ($ 6 million), and Celo ($ 25 million). The 80-page report also underlines subjects like the number of funds involved in cryptocurrency staking. According to Circle’s study, there’s $ 6.5 billion worth of digital assets locked up in (proof-of-stake) staking networks. Circle notes that the increase of staking this year is driven partly by projects like Cosmos and V Systems.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019

Additionally, Circle measured the activity of decentralized applications (dapps) and found there were +43 added per month in 2019 on Ethereum and +16 on the EOS network. Circle’s research also shows that there’s been increasing trade volumes on noncustodial exchanges as this metric has increased by 32% q/q. During the first week of June, recently launched a peer-to-peer, noncustodial BCH marketplace called, adding another option to the slew of accessible noncustodial platforms introduced in 2019. Additionally, the report explains that there’s been an activity decline on both the Lightning Network on BTC and the declining dominance of ETH locked into the Maker contract.

Research Reports Show Positive Crypto Industry Growth in H1 2019Overall, both reports show there’s been a lot of cryptocurrency activities and positive outlooks throughout H1 and a good score of steady growth increases quarter over quarter. Coinshare’s report underscores that “nothing is certain in this space and things often feel like they move at a breakneck pace.” However, the company looks forward to seeing what the next half of the year brings. Circle’s research also shows a net positive for 2019’s Q2 and it will be interesting to see if the cryptoconomy’s action and the underlying network development behind these projects continue to rise in H2.

What do you think about the overall activities and market action of the cryptoconomy in H1 2019 described by Coinshares and Circle’s reports? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Circle Research, Twitter, Coinshares, Kaiko, Coingecko, and Pixabay.

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