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The fall of Bitconnect was as certain as night follows day. A pyramid scheme wrapped inside a Ponzi with a side order of WTF, Bitconnect was as crazy as it was calamitous. The only miracle was that the racket lasted so long. When the ringleaders shut up shop on Wednesday, causing the token to plummet from $ 290 to $ 8, that ought to have been the end of the matter. Remarkably though, BCC continues to be actively traded, and has even recovered some of its value. The reason for the mini revival? Bitconnect is launching an ICO.
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
It was no secret, prior to its collapse, that Bitconnect was running an ICO. Its Bitconnect X website has been accepting contributions since January 10. When Bitconnect closed its doors a week later, after its original website had been offline for days, it was assumed that Bitconnect X would follow suit. After all, no one would be gullible enough to get fooled twice, surely. Apparently so. Not only is the Bitconnect ICO going ahead as planned, but investors are actively throwing money at it.
When Bitconnect announced that it was closing its lending platform on Wednesday, $ 1.5 billion worth of value was wiped off its market cap in less than two hours. Those losses weren’t borne by the company though – it was ordinary investors who were left out of pocket. Bitconnect’s execs were doing just fine, sitting on the stash of bitcoin they’d pocketed from investors in the months prior. But then, as Twitter traders eagerly watched to see the first altcoin drop to zero in real time, something strange happened. BCC stopped falling and started to climb.
The Ponzi Scheme That Just Won’t Die
On January 17, BCC was the worst performing cryptocurrency on Coinmarketcap. Incredibly, 24 hours later, it was the best performing coin on the site, up 410% in 24 hours to reach $ 43 a token. This revival will have been of little consolation to investors, who were still heavily in the red. Nevertheless, it showed that against all reason, people were still buying the coin. In the past 24 hours, $ 18 million of BCC has been traded and a coin that was written off as being utterly worthless is now changing hands for $ 28.
The reason for this is BCC can be used to purchase BCCX, the new Bitconnect token that’s being launched via an ICO. Each BCCX is priced at $ 50. To reiterate then: Bitconnect duped thousands of investors, selling them BCC coins at up to $ 290 apiece. It then crashed the market, and is now encouraging the same investors to exchange their BCC for BCCX at a ratio of 2:1 in an event that ought to be dubbed The Halvening.
Lambs to the Slaughter
By late 2017, it was apparent to Bitconnect that the Ponzi scheme they had constructed was on the verge of toppling. Not content with riding off into the sunset with their ill-gotten gains, they decided to have another bite of the cherry. The Bitconnectx.co domain was registered on the penultimate day of 2017, and the crowdsale commenced less than two weeks later. The company is seeking to sell 11.76 million BCCX, which will earn it $ 588 million. It will also retain another $ 145 million in coins, bringing its total assets to $ 733 million.
The new-look Bitconnect X platform, for the record, “allows you to earn interest for helping maintain security on the network by holding BCCX in a Qt Desktop wallet that is attached to the network and allowing transactions to flow through it”. Which sounds suspiciously like Bitconnect mk I.
One of the first tasks on the Bitconnect X roadmap is to attain a listing on Coinmarketcap, which shouldn’t be a problem, as the site had no qualms about heavily promoting the previous scam. After that it will spend the summer performing vague tasks such as “adding more security layers in Exchange platform”, presumably while Bitconnect execs put as much distance between themselves and their creditors as possible.
Bitconnect Keeps Playing While the Titanic Sinks
In the days after the collapse of Bitconnect, the company’s social media account continued glibly tweeting bitcoin news, as if nothing had happened. Each new story it posted was met with hundreds of thunderous replies, until the account finally broke its silence to audaciously issue the following claim:
Before cryptocurrency was invented, gullible individuals were defrauded via Nigerian bank scams. After the mark had lost almost everything, and the princes’ fortune they’d been promised had failed to materialize, the scammer would go in for one last trick. They’d “come clean” with the victim and confess that they too had been duped. For a small fee, they could get the mark’s money back, and set everything right.
Amazingly, many victims, out of desperation, would take them up on this offer. The majority of Bitconnect X’s investors will be the same souls who lost thousands in Bitconnect. Despite all the warning signs, they’re willing to go for broke and pray that this time they can get out before the pyramid collapses. In the words of Winston Churchill, never was so much owed by so many to so few.
How long do you think Bitconnect X will last? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The post Not Content with Scamming $ 1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $ 500 Million for Its ICO appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Bitcoin has had a rocky week to say the least. At its lowest point, the cryptocurrency dipped to $ 9,200 before a rising green candle sent it scurrying back into the safety of five figures. That candle was sparked by the release of $ 100m worth of tethers – surrogate US dollars – and was followed by another $ 100m issued for the next three days in a row. Tethers are propping up the bitcoin market right now, but what happens when the music stops? Should regulators wade in or Tether shut up shop, the loss of fresh capital could be cataclysmic.
Tether – Savior or Sinner?
The bitcoin community have mixed decidedly mixed feelings on Tether. One the one hand, this ersatz fiat currency is instrumental in shoring up prices. But if that supply line were to be cut off, the crypto markets would be starved of new money. While Bitfinex, which controls Tether, is in charge of issuing these dollar-pegged tokens, other exchanges are also reliant on them including Kraken and Bittrex. What happens to Tether affects everyone.
The amount of new bitcoins created each day is worth approximately $ 18 million. Miners need to sell most of these coins to cover their utility costs. This means that $ 18 million of new money needs to enter the markets daily just to maintain current prices. Given that $ 400 million of tethers has been issued over the past four days, and yet the price of BTC has remained sluggish, this is alarming. If it wasn’t for tether’s torrent of newly created cash, this week’s dip would have cut deeper still.
Don’t Stop Believing
In the short-term, the issuance of tethers serves as a form of quantitative easing that keeps the markets ticking over, even amidst negative news and regulatory uncertainty. As one commenter pointed out, “Tethers aren’t really ‘backed’ by USD fiat, but rather by confidence in Bitfinex itself. Similarly the USD isn’t ‘backed’ by hard assets, but rather confidence in the US economy. What happens to USD if the Fed shuts off the insane volume of their printing press?”
So long as we collectively believe that tethers are real, they are real, or at least as real as any other global currency that’s magiced out of thin air, which has generally been the case ever since the gold standard was dropped. But what are markets if not manifestations of human psychology; global sentiment etched into every line, chart, and candle? No one, at this stage, realistically believes that Tether is receiving $ 100 million a day in customer deposits via its diminutive Polish bank and then converting these into USDT. That just ain’t happening.
Beware the Changeling
In folklore, a changeling was a child that fairies were reputed to leave in cradles after snatching the human baby. It looked like the cradle’s original inhabitant on first glance, only to prove to be anything but. If the fairies performed the old switcheroo, unexplained diseases, disorders, and failed crops were sure to follow. Tether is valued like a real dollar and works like a real dollar – at least until the time comes to cash out. In the past month alone, over $ 1 billion of tethers have been issued. If Tether doesn’t hold a corresponding amount in its bank, the whole house of cards could come tumbling down, destroyed by a changeling swaddled in the mantle of the US dollar.
Do you think the volume of tethers entering the market is cause for concern? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Two Jacksonville students are facing up to two decades behind bars after pleading guilty to stealing $ 4 million worth of bitcoin. The pair hacked darknet site Sheep Marketplace in 2013 and made off with 5,400 BTC. Under forfeiture laws, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office will share in a $ 1.7 million windfall.
LEA Celebrates Another Bitcoin Bonanza
Bitcoin thefts end badly for hackers who don’t cover their tracks, but spell great news for law enforcement. Across the US, federal and state agencies have been treating themselves to new computers and other equipment, all paid for with confiscated digital assets. It’s common practice for law enforcement to keep a portion of the proceeds from major crimes, but bitcoin’s rising value, coupled with the glacial pace at which criminal trials move, has caused payouts to balloon.
This week, Sean Harrison Mackert and Nathan Gibson pled guilty to wire fraud for hacking drug marketplace Sheep in late 2013. The pair, who are in their mid twenties, face a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail, in a case that news.Bitcoin.com first reported on last year. But one legal official believes they deserve to walk free.
“These young men, yes, they stole this money but there aren’t victims in the traditional sense,” said Jacksonville defense attorney Richard Landes. “If there were victims, the federal government would be returning this money to the victims; instead, the federal government is not returning this money. The federal government is keeping this money.”
Officials Divvy Up the Spoils
At a press conference, officials smugly congratulated one another on their stellar work and the multi-million dollar windfall it had brought about. The first major cash boost US agencies received from bitcoin was after auctioning off the 144,000 BTC seized from Silk Road admin Ross Ulbricht. Since then there have been scores of similar cases, including a pending auction of $ 52 million worth of BTC by US Marshals. The proceeds from this week’s Jacksonville case will be divvied up between the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, JSO, and the Florida National Guard, who will put the the money towards “equipment upgrades”.
While law enforcement are duty bound to go after crime wherever it occurs, be it on the dark web or in the hood, they seem to reserve particular fondness for bitcoin seizures. It helps to portray agencies as being on the cutting-edge of technology and attuned to emerging cyber threats. The reality is often more prosaic: Mackert and Gibson got caught after cashing out their bitcoins into five banks including Jacksonville Federal Credit Union, Bancorp Bank, and Bank of America. They then blew the profits on luxury goods including jewelry. They may have been capable hackers, but master criminals they were not.
How do you feel about law enforcement getting rich off bitcoin seizures? What do you think should be done with the proceeds of cyber crime in cases like this? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Good news for everyone that has been trying to get their hands on a hardware wallet but found retailers to be completely out of stock in your area – the situation has urged investors to step in and the shortage might be addressed soon. Bitcoin hardware wallet maker Ledger has secured an extra $ 75 million to expand its production capabilities, in one of the largest VC investments in the space to date.
Ledger Raises Another $ 75M
Paris-based cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer, Ledger, has announced today it raised $ 75 million (EUR 61 million) in a Series B funding round, led by venture capital fund Draper Esprit. The company says this investment will be used to significantly scale up its operations to answer growing market demand.
Ledger had already raised $ 8.3 million in a Series A back in March 2017 to build a new factory in China. The latest round has brought additional funding from Draper Venture Network funds, Firstmark Capital, Cathay Innovation, and Korelya Capital. Existing investors, Caphorn Invest, Gdtre and Digital Currency Group, also participated in the round. Seed and Series A investor Xange remains at the capital.
Billionaire bitcoin investor, Tim Draper, commented: “Ledger creates security for cryptocurrency far beyond what I get from my bank. This is where people store money now. Ledger lets me take control of my currency rather than having to ask my bank. We’re seeing digital currency blossom across every continent and so several of the Draper Network funds, from Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia have come together to fund Ledger and help them expand globally.”
From Paris to Silicon Valley
Ledger was founded in 2014 by a team of eight and now employ 82 people in San Francisco, Paris and Vierzon. The company, which says it is already profitable, claims to have sold over one million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries. They are also launching a new solution for financial institutions, the Ledger Vault, enabling banks, hedge funds and family offices to manage their crypto assets.
Eric Larchevêque, CEO at Ledger, said today: “We initially designed our Ledger hardware wallet as an enabler for the blockchain revolution. Three years later and with this Series B, we are reaching a significant milestone in our path to build a technological giant in the promising space of cryptocurrencies. These funds will be used to keep investing significantly in R&D while scaling our operations and deploying our teams globally. I am delighted to bring on board Draper Esprit and a truly global group of investors who will support the company as it grows rapidly.”
The Ledger executive board is now composed of Simon Cook at Draper Esprit, Fleur Pellerin at Korelya Capital, Cyril Bertrand at Xange as well as Nicolas Bacca, Pascal Gauthier, and Eric Larchevêque, respectively CTO, President and CEO at Ledger. Matt Turck at FirstMark Capital and Ming-Po Cai at Cathay Innovation are also joining as board observers.
Matt Turck, Managing Director at FirstMark Capital, commented: “While the price of individual digital currencies and tokens may be subject to volatility, the general crypto and blockchain space has emerged as a fundamental new paradigm that will only continue to increase in importance. Considering the massive amounts of money flowing into the ecosystem, there is no more pressing need at this stage than a bullet-proof security infrastructure.”
Will this news help reduce the current shortage in hardware wallets? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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Virginia Beach, Virginia isn’t exactly known as a hotbed of bitcoin mining activity, but that appears to be changing, and soon. A local company has sunk 65 million USD into a giant facility, as the resort town attempts to become a hub for data centers.
Also read: Have Lunch with Bitcoin Jesus in Paradise
65 Million USD Mining Facility is Nearly Completed
It almost wasn’t to be. Local firm Bcause, LLC was actually looking to plunk down their 65 million dollars elsewhere. And then its hometown, Virginia Beach, Virginia cut business property taxes for data centers at the end of last year, according to The Virginian-Pilot online newspaper. The city’s Director of Economic Development, Warren Harris, told the paper, “We’re poised to be a hub for data centers. To reduce that tax has put us in a very, very competitive position.”
If mining facility news seems to be saturating headlines of late, that’s for good reason. Enthusiasts in the crypto world are used to instantaneous, frictionless, easy, quick. And for the most part that’s what it is. However, in the physical world there are still a myriad of limitations when it comes to brick and mortar construction: permits, haggling with politicians over their cut, and so forth.
What the ecosystem witnesses now is the fruit of thousands of percent run-ups in bitcoin prices last year. So even though its price might’ve shaved much of those gains down, decisions were made back then which result in concrete being poured now.
Virginia Beach, Virginia rests on the southeast coast of the state, and it is cooled by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean; it can also get quite hot and humid in the Summer – a climate fact usually making mining operations less hospitable. It’s home to religionists such as Pat Robertson’s CBN television outfit, but makes room for paranormal advocate Edgar Cayce and his devotees. It’s also a place filled with history, as its Cape Henry hosted the first English colonists to arrive.
The city is once again hoping to make history some four centuries later. It awarded Bcause “a $ 500,000 grant for the expansion. The company will add 100 full-time employees with an average annual salary of $ 60,000,” the local paper reported.
Bcause LLC, only five years old, has a pretty great grasp of what bitcoin means. Its founder, Tom Flake, makes an elevator pitch for why the world’s most popular cryptocurrency matters (see video below). He describes it as having solved the age-old third party trust problem, which is spot-on. The data center is meant for more ordinary people to participate in bitcoin, and interestingly he mentions bitcoin cash mining as well, by way of the mining process. For under five thousand dollars a year, individuals can lease a machine. Thus, Bcause eliminates many barriers to entry for average folks in terms of machinery, noise, housing, and heat.
According to the paper, Mr. Flake insists the facility’s 84,000 square feet of space will be the largest data center of its kind in North America.
Do you think more public/private partnerships will happen in bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, donated $ 33 million to fund 1,000 scholarships for Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
The money will go to TheDream.US, the largest scholarship program for Dreamers. Each student receives…
Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is granting $ 33 million in college scholarships for undocumented immigrant high-school graduates in the U.S., according to TheDream.US, a nonprofit education group.
WSJ.com: US Business
Billionaire investor Michael Novogratz pulled back from bitcoin toward the end of last year, citing market volatility, and ultimately scrapped his much-anticipated crypto hedge fund as a result. He’s since returned with a market-defining announcement of plans to open a full service crypto merchant bank, which some are describing as the ecosystem’s Goldman Sachs, and he’s betting his entire $ 400 million worth of crypto assets on the ambitious project.
Also read: Bitcoin’s Amazing 9th Birthday!
Michael Novogratz is All-In
The new year kicked off with a bang in only its second full week, as Canada-based Bradmer Pharmaceuticals revealed an ambitious partnership with famed investor Michael Novogratz to create what amounts to a crypto merchant bank, Galaxy Digital Holding. Embargoed against US newswires, the cumbersomely announced title, Galaxy Digital, First Coin and Bradmer Pharmaceuticals Announce Business Combination and Establishment of Blockchain, Digital Asset and Cryptocurrency Platform, hit the web on 9 January 2018, timestamped at 08:10 EST.
“The Proposed Transaction will establish Galaxy Digital as a full service, digital assets merchant bank, with distinct trading, asset management, principal investment, and advisory business lines,” the release carried in subtitle. Bradmer, First Coin Capital Corp., and Galaxy Digital will form a merchant bank, publicly listing it on the TSX Venture Exchange, a Canadian electronic trading platform.
Shortly before Christmas, News.Bitcoin.com reported Mr. Novogratz frosty feet at a double-digit bitcoin price dip, causing him to cancel plans for a historic crypto hedge fund. “We didn’t like market conditions, and we wanted to re-evaluate what we’re doing,” he was quoted as explaining. “I look pretty smart pressing the pause button right now,” he said, emphasis evidently on the word ‘pause.’
This Time, It’s Personal
At present, “the personal investing business of Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital is undertaking the transaction in order to raise primary capital towards building a best-in-class, full service, institutional-quality merchant banking business in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space,” today’s announcement explained. Mr. Novogratz will be that rare investment bird, one that philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb refers to as “skin in the game.” It is perhaps relatively easy to risk someone else’s fortune, and entirely different when it’s yours.
“Galaxy Digital will leverage its deep ties into bitcoin, ethereum and other protocol communities to drive returns from four core business segments,” which will include trading, principal investments such as initial coin offerings, third party asset management, and with First Coin they will establish an advisory, consulting business. Most of the legalities and regulatory hurdles are expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter, using the popular reverse take-over technique (RTO) to avoid expensive initial public offerings. Essentially, all the companies will roll into the new arrangement within Galaxy Digital “under the laws of Cayman Islands.”
Mr. Novogratz “is expected to be the initial Chairman of the board of directors of Bradmer. Further, the board will have committees with charters and memberships consistent with TSX-V requirements,” the announcement explained.
What do you think about a giant crypto merchant bank? Tell us in the comment section below!
Images via Pixabay, Galaxy Digital.
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It looks as if Silicon Valley and Wall Street are coming together just to see who can shower cryptocurrency ventures with more money.
Blocktower Capital Crypto Hedge Fund
Blocktower Capital is a cryptocurrency hedge fund headed by former Goldman Sachs vice president Matthew Goetz. The new venture was only launched in August 2017 and has already said to have raised about $ 140 million.
Investors in Blocktower reportedly include family offices and other entities such as venture capital firms such as Union Square Ventures LLC and Andreessen Horowitz.
Some of the raised funds were apparently redirected towards boosting the company’s staff, now estimated to sport eight executives. On Thursday Blocktower issued a statement that it hired Michael Bucella, who was also with Goldman Sachs since 2008. Bucella’s last role at the bank was related to multi-asset sales in Canada, where he headed strategic partnerships and business development.
Alpha Potential Is Abundant
On its sparse website Blocktower Capital’s only description of its investment strategy, goals or operation is “bringing professional trading and portfolio management to an emerging digital asset class.” There is no mention of what cryptocurrencies they will focus on for trading, as well as whether they will invest in ICO tokens or stocks of any ‘blockchain’ companies.
However, CEO Goetz, described what is the opportunity the fund can capitalize on: “It’s a wildly inefficient market where alpha potential is abundant — more than anything we’ve seen in our careers. We think it’s a rare opportunity for investors. It’s not often there’s a new capital market being born in front of you.”
This sentiment appears to be shared among more and more investors in both the finance and the venture capital worlds. A few notable examples include legendary value investor Bill Miller who now holds half of his hedge fund in bitcoin, TechCrunch and CrunchFund founder Michael Arrington‘s $ 100 million XRP hedge fund, billionaire investor Michael Novogratz and most recently Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.
Would you invest in a cryptocurrency hedge fund run by former ex-Goldman Sachs executives? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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