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This past week has seen Latin American peer-to-peer markets continue to set records for trade volume. For the week ending Dec. 8, Argentina and Venezuela posted a new record for Localbitcoins trade when measured in fiat, while Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela also posted records for trade measured in BTC.
Fiat Volume Records Posted by Argentina and Venezuela
Argentina posted a new record for fiat P2P trade volume on Localbitcoins this past week, with over 9.4 million pesos worth of BTC changing hands. The week also saw a significant uptick in the number of BTC traded, with the 65 BTC comprising the most bitcoins traded in a single week since March 2017.
Venezuela set a new record in fiat volume for the third consecutive week, with 3.2 billion Venezuelan bolivars’ worth of trade. The week of Dec. 8 also saw the third consecutive record for trade when measuring in BTC for Venezuela, with 1,636 BTC changing hands.
BTC Records for Colombia and Peru
660 BTC were exchanged for Colombian pesos via Localbitcoins this past week, the most in the market’s history. The same week also comprised the fifth strongest when measuring in fiat currency, with 7.1 billion Colombian pesos’ worth of trade taking place.
Peru also posted a new record for the number of BTC traded on Localbitcoins in a single week, with 213 BTC exchanged. This comprised the eighth strongest on record when measuring in fiat, with roughly 2.68 million Peruvian sol of trade.
Chile and Mexico Post Strong Volume
The week of Dec. 8 was the sixth strongest on record for Chilean P2P trade, with 196.4 million Chilean pesos’ worth of BTC changing hands. The week also comprised the fourth strongest on record when measuring in cryptocurrency, with 69 BTC traded.
Mexico also saw a strong week for P2P trade, posting the 10th strongest week on record for trade between BTC and Mexican pesos. The week also comprised the strongest since May 2017 when measuring in BTC, with 99 BTC worth of trade occurring.
Do you think recent Latin American volume records will continue to be broken in the coming weeks? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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The Lightning Network (LN) is a second-layer protocol that was long promised as a solution to BTC’s scalability problem. However, the off-chain system is still very far from being able to support actual commence according to a new review by business management technology company Scipio ERP.
LN Is Incredibly Difficult to Use
The report’s developers created a Lightning Add-on for Scipio ERP that provides businesses with the ability to use the system. They then tested the network in order to see if it was really ready for commerce. On the positive side, the tests confirmed that under best conditions payment confirmations were reached within 5-10 seconds. However, they also revealed many crucial flaws.
LN makes it very hard to implement clustering, meaning running several redundant servers simultaneously, which is a critical feature for online retailers. Implementing it, in particular in a dynamic cloud setup, would require a lot of workarounds, the developers explain.
The network has a bad user experience, in sharp contrast to that provided by most payment providers, who make the process of setting up and integrating as fast and painless as possible. The system is also incredibly difficult to use. The report lists over a dozen steps needed for merchants and close to 10 steps required of customers to make payments.
It is also a resource hog, requiring a Bitcoin node and a Lightning node installed on the same server as the business application. “All of which will require a lot of time to set up and configure. If one of the systems fails, your business application will not be able to handle cryptocurrency transactions. This is even more problematic, as redundancy cannot be easily achieved,” the developers lament.
Slower Than an Average Credit Card Payment
The tests found that LN is still in a very early stage of development. “We have been operating the system for four months and crashes can and will happen all the time. Transaction channels can close or may not have enough peers at any time. There are no push notifications for these events, so you won’t know until a new transaction is placed and fails.”
Moreover, the network only allows small payments to be accepted due to limitations on the amount each channel can handle. And the process of opening a channel, needed once the limit on the previous one has been reached, makes it extremely difficult to automate for business applications.
As it stands, the Lightning Network is not useful for professional clustered environments, the developers insist. “Yes, Lightning does allow multiple nodes in its network, but at the same time it limits the number of systems that can connect to a Lightning node. And sure, payments are considerably faster than Bitcoin, but they are not ‘instant’. Even under best conditions, it still takes more time for transactions to be secured and processed than with your average credit card payment. In addition, Lightning is neither easy to set up, nor convenient to run.”
All of the above made the Scipio ERP developers conclude that LN payments are not yet suitable for business transactions.
Will the Lightning Network eventually help to scale BTC? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Josh Henderson, star of E!’s The Arrangement, was arrested on Tuesday in Los Angeles, ET can confirm.
Delphi Digital has taken a deep dive into bitcoin core in its first “The State of Bitcoin” report. The 59-page document from the digital asset investment company leaves no stone unturned, covering everything from BTC payments to coin distribution and rolling returns compared to stocks and gold. The report brings together a plethora of interesting statistics that attest to bitcoin’s growing evolution and adoption.
Better Understanding Bitcoin
Few people, save for a handful of terminal haters and discredited economists, dispute that Bitcoin is valuable. But quite where that value lies, and what the primary purpose of Satoshi’s creation should be, is a matter of some dispute. “In its current state, BTC is easier to dismiss than understand,” acknowledge the authors of The State of Bitcoin. “We believe the primary long-term value drivers for BTC revolve around its ability to serve as 1) a censorship-resistant store of value and 2) a ‘check’ on governments as an alternative, country-agnostic digital reserve currency.”
The report itself offers something for everyone, addressing BTC’s current deployment as both a medium of exchange and a store of value. Delphi Digital devotes particular attention to charting BTC’s progress in the countries that need it most – inflation-hit Argentina and Venezuela. Here, as well as in regions where many of the world’s unbanked can be found – primarily Africa – cryptocurrencies have huge potential. The report identifies three primary drivers behind BTC adoption in these countries:
- As an alternative to local currencies suffering from high or hyperinflation
- Allowing citizens to hold their wealth directly, rather than trust a local bank
- To improve the speed and reduce transaction fees of sending remittances
The average cost of remittance for sending $ 200 is as high as $ 36 between South Africa and Botswana, for example, showing significant scope for cryptocurrencies to provide a low-cost alternative. But BTC’s use cases don’t end there. “In the past, when high inflation took hold in a person’s country, there was little that they could do except watch as their purchasing power evaporated,” continues the report. Now, “any person with internet access has the option to insulate themselves from local currency risk by switching to [BTC]. Essentially, bitcoin can offer a check on government power and policy while providing a vital safe haven for people from all around the world.”
Divining Trends Through UTXO Analysis
Examining unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs) offers up clues as to the market cycle that BTC is currently enduring, and hints at what may come next. Delphi Digital has used a green line to represent UTXOs that are at least a year old – i.e. coins that haven’t been spent in over a year. Monitoring the percentage of 1yr+ UTXOs, as part of BTC’s entire UTXO set, shows when bitcoin holders begin to move their coins once more, be it to sell, trade, or purchase goods and services. “In the second half of 2018, the 1-Year UTXO band began exhibiting a positive growth trajectory directly in tandem with the 1-2 Year band as older UTXO bands remain flat,” reads the report. “We believe we are in the midst of an accumulation process taking similar to the one in the 2nd half of 2014.”
For those searching desperately for signs of a market recovery, one of the key takeaways from the report, based primarily on UTXO analysis, is that “Bitcoin may face additional selling pressure in the near-term, but we believe prices will bottom in Q1 2019 based on our analysis of holder dynamics during prior boom-bust cycles.”
10/ The maturation of #bitcoin, driven largely by the gradual adoption among both individual and institutional participants, should suppress volatility over time, allowing $ BTC to function as a reliable MoE, especially in developing markets threatened by excess inflation. pic.twitter.com/qScmmV1qKa
— Delphi Digital (@Delphi_Digital) December 10, 2018
From Banks to the Unbanked, Bitcoin Is for Everyone
Much of Bitcoin’s beauty lies in the fact that it can be many things to many people. While it can provide a lifeline to citizens suffering from hyperinflation or prone to having their assets seized by despotic governments, BTC can be equally valuable to governments themselves, central banks, and the so-called one percent. “There is a case to be made for central banks to hold a small portion of bitcoin in their reserves as a complement to gold if it matures into an accepted store of value,” ventures the report. It continues:
If the ~$ 1.4 trillion of gold reserves held by central banks grows at a similarly modest 2% rate per year, the expected value of bitcoin would be roughly $ 10,000 assuming a 25% chance it captures half the total value of future gold reserves … The upside potential for bitcoin is immense assuming it captures even a modest portion of the total assets held in offshore bank accounts, the investible gold market, and central bank gold reserves.
While it’s easy to speculate future use cases and users of bitcoin, what’s indisputable is that BTC is unlike any monetary system that’s gone before. Even now, 10 years on from the Bitcoin whitepaper, new applications for BTC are being discovered. It would take a brave soul to bet against bitcoin being worth more and transacted more 10 years from now.
Do you think it’s likely that BTC will start to recover from Q1 of 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti faced protesters and was forced to exit while delivering a speech Monday at the University of Southern California (USC), according to reports.
Jamal Khashoggi’s last words were the same as those uttered by New York City man Eric Garner after police put him in a fatal chokehold, according to CNN , which cites a source who has seen a translated transcript of the journalist’s last moments in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate. The source…
In today’s chatter report, Emin Gun Sirer debates with Diego Gutierrez-Zaldivar on cryptocurrencies being a good store of value and Changepeng Zhao crowdsources Twitter for ways to trigger the next crypto bull run. Some, like Richard Heart, believe that bull runs are determined by technical indicators while others argue that fundamental changes need to be made to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Are Cryptocurrencies a Good Store of Value?
When the director of research at Pension Partners Charlie Bilello pointed out that most cryptocurrencies had fallen by over 90% from their all time highs, Cornell Professor Emin Gun Sirer responded that cryptocurrencies were a poor store of value.
These assets are volatile. Anyone who utters the phrase "Store of Value" is not to be trusted. https://t.co/yeWfPKxB49
— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) December 9, 2018
Every cryptocurrency listed by Bilello had fallen by over 90 percent from their all time highs, except for BTC, which had fallen by 83 percent. Despite having a bad financial performance in 2018, cryptocurrencies has performed greatly since Bitcoin’s inception. As one twitter commentator pointed out, BTC is a good store of value because its price had appreciated from 10 cents to $ 3000 since its creation.
Sirer strongly disagreed, arguing that the quality of a good store of value is not price appreciation, but having little variance in price movement. CEO of RSK Diego Gutierrez-Zaldivar jumped into the conversation and pointed out that the time frame of measurement is what determines a good store of value.
Depends on the timeframe you want to store value. Fiat money is designed to be stable in the short term sacrificing long term value preservation (USD lost 90%+ value in the last century). Scarce money (Gold & Bitcoin) is designed to preserve long term value sacrificing stability.
— Diego 'Not giving away Crypto' Gutierrez-Zaldivar (@dieguito) December 9, 2018
Zaldivar points out that fiat money like the USD is a tremendous store of value in the short term, but has lost over 90% of it’s value since it’s inception. On the other hand, assets with a fixed supply like gold and bitcoin are a good store of value in the long term with a price volatility tradeoff.
When Bull Market?
With cryptocurrency prices near their 2018 lows, founder of Binance exchange Changpeng Zhao took to twitter to brainstorm what it would take to “trigger” a new crypto bull market.
What do you think will be the trigger for the next bull run?
(I get asked this question often, and honestly, I don't know the answer, other than keep building)
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) December 8, 2018
The responses were a dichotomy of searching for technical indicators in prices and calling for fundamental changes to be made to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Cryptocurrency pundit Richard Heart belonges to the former category, explaining that the prices of cryptocurrencies have to break and hold over the 200-day moving average.
Price breaking over and holding over the 200 day moving average.
— Richard Heart [BitcoinHEX] (@RichardHeartWin) December 8, 2018
A similar argument was also put forward by prominent bitcoin commentator Vortex, who argued that crypto prices had to break and hold over the 30-day moving average and expected this to happen between June and August of 2019.
Fundamental Changes to the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem
While Zhao didn’t comment on the technical arguments put forward, he had a lot to discuss with those who wanted to change the way the cryptocurrency ecosystem worked. One such commentator was Lawrence Digital who claimed that 3 fundamental changes to the cryptocurrency ecosystem would usher in the next bull market.
3 is sort of taken care of by this bear run. Will never be 100%. 2 is interesting. 1. I fully agree.
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) December 8, 2018
Lawrence Digital argued a combination is needed for an increased adoption of BTC, producing decentralized application products that are used daily, and purging out the scam projects that are so entrenched within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Zhao agreed with the need for adoption and also pointed out that the bear market was currently killing off most of the scams in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Are cryptocurrencies a good store of value? Or is the USD a better store of value? Let us know in the comments below!
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The Indian government panel appointed to recommend cryptocurrency measures has reportedly submitted its report to the country’s finance minister, suggesting a new legal framework for cryptocurrencies. The actual content of the report has yet to be announced publicly. Industry participants weigh in on speculation about the report’s content.
Panel Report Submitted
The panel appointed by the Indian government to draft a set of standards for cryptocurrencies has submitted its report to the finance minister, Cnbc Tv18 reported on Friday. Quoting anonymous sources, the news outlet wrote:
Ending the speculation on virtual currencies such as cryptocurrencies and bitcoins, a government panel has suggested that the government should consider framing a new law for regulating that space.
This panel is headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, the country’s Economic Affairs Secretary. In November, Quartz India reported that the government’s counter-affidavit filed with the country’s supreme court stated that this panel would “deliberate the draft report and the provisions of the draft bill on virtual currencies” in December.
The sources also said that the panel suggested “a new sovereign backed virtual or cryptocurrency may be proposed considering global circumstances; probably at a later stage,” Cnbc Tv18 wrote.
Content of the Report in Question
The report by Garg’s panel has not been made public and no official announcement has been made about its content so there is only speculation at this point.
Cnbc Tv18 did not offer any concrete information about the content of the report either. The news outlet was only able to quote anonymous sources as saying, “The panel has suggested that a new legal framework within the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines should be brought in to ban cryptocurrencies and the law should clearly specify that any kind of dealing in such currencies should be treated as illegal.”
Commenting on Cnbc Tv18’s reporting, Nischal Shetty, the CEO of Indian crypto exchange Wazirx, told news.Bitcoin.com:
Several times we’ve heard such stuff in the news before. Until we get to see the report I would not suggest anyone to jump to conclusions.
Shetty has been running a Twitter campaign to urge the government to introduce positive regulation for the crypto industry in India.
The word “ban” has been used in Indian crypto-regulatory references before but its meaning has so far been open to interpretation. Quartz India reported in October on a government meeting which discussed “an appropriate legal framework to ban use of private cryptocurrencies in India.” Crypto Kanoon, a platform engaged in crypto regulatory analysis, pointed out to the news outlet that “the word ‘use’ may imply that buying, selling, transacting, or its conversion into rupees may be banned but not possession itself.”
Furthermore, several announcements by the Indian government have been mistaken by some as cryptocurrencies being banned or made illegal. For example, in his February budget speech, the finance minister said that the Indian government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender. Some media outlets subsequently misinterpreted his words as meaning cryptocurrency are illegal.
The CEO of Indian crypto exchange Unocoin, Sathvik Vishwanath, told news.Bitcoin.com:
The finance minister was clear: cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say that they are not legal in India. There’s a huge difference.
The RBI crypto banking ban has also been mistaken by some as a general ban on crypto.
Challenges of Banning Crypto
Naimish Sanghvi, founder of Coin Crunch India publication, shared with news.Bitcoin.com that “Recommendations [such as from Garg’s panel] don’t always immediately convert to law.” While expressing his doubt about the Cnbc Tv18 news report, he explained some challenges the government would face in implementing such measures. “If they ban it, they have to change the coinage act which currently defines only INR coins and currency as official legal tender,” adding that any change to the existing law to account for cryptocurrency “has to go to parliamentary approval as a law.”
Vishwanath additionally told news.Bitcoin.com that, at the most recent supreme court hearing of the petitions against the RBI crypto banking ban, “our lawyers have asked for a date where significant time is given to us to hear on the matter and move towards an order,” noting:
I foresee a significant chance that the supreme court will provide an interim relief. In India, regulation takes a long route – so there may be some drafts by December but not the regulation itself.
As for whether the Indian government would be able to ban crypto, Shetty told Quartz India in November that “even if the government decides to ban possession [of cryptocurrencies], it will be just impossible to implement it.” He elaborated that even if “The government can successfully ban the known, big exchanges; but then small, hyperlocal exchanges will possibly come up and it will be extremely difficult to keep track of, and block them.”
What do you think the Indian government will do about crypto regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The city of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley, has been named the fastest growing technology community in Europe. Zug ranked atop the “State of European Tech” report by London-based global investment firm Atomico last week, on the strength of its year-on-year growth of attendees to tech-related meetup events.
Zug Tech Ecosystem Grows
According to the report, Zug recorded a 177 percent increase in the number of tech meetups in 2018, compared to last year. The city’s crypto activity has been warmly supported by the Swiss government, which is fine-tuning its legislation and policies to improve financial innovation, with particular emphasis on virtual currencies.
“There is a huge geographic diversity among the top 20 fastest-growing tech hubs in Europe, as measured by the annual growth in attendees to tech-related meetup events in those cities. Zug in Switzerland, home to a growing crypto community, ranked number one as the fastest-growing community overall,” the report said.
Novosibirsk in Russia follows Zug with 173 percent increase in tech meetups, while Ghent (Belgium), The Hague (Netherlands) and Katowice (Poland) complete the top 5 of the fastest-growing tech communities.
Novosibirsk has reported startup activity in its science and technology hub, Akademgorodok, also known as the Siberian Silicon Valley. Success stories out of the suburb include nanotechnology firm Ocsial, precision laser manufacturer Tekhnoscan and banking software company CFT.
The Atomico report emphasized community-building, measured by the meetups of technological talent, as necessary for attracting investment to cities. This year, the density of meetups in Europe equated around 200 events per day throughout the year.
Switzerland has taken a progressive stance towards cryptocurrency, legalizing its use and formalizing crypto transactions in a range of contexts. The country sees virtual money and blockchain technology as strategic innovations in global finance and is intent on maintaining the growth of the industry, while expanding the number of jobs it has to offer in the field.
The city of Zug has led this growth. According to a report by CV Venture Capital in October, the top 50 cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies in Switzerland’s version of the Silicon Valley are now worth $ 44 billion combined, underscoring the steady growth of the Swiss crypto industry.
The report shows that the number of companies working either with digital coins or blockchain technologies in Zug has almost doubled to 600 in the past year. About 350 entities were featured in the directory when the CV Maps database was first launched in April of 2017.
Of the top 50 companies listed, five are unicorns that are either based in the Crypto Valley or originated from the area. They include the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, Bitmain, as well as other leading cryptocurrency organizations such as Cardano, Dfinity, Ethereum and Xapo, CV said. Bitmain’s revenue soared 1,700 percent to $ 2.5 billion in 2017, from just $ 137 million two years earlier. Its full-year net profit rocketed to $ 1.2 billion.
According to the Atomico study, Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank is the second most active corporate investor in Europe, after being involved in 20 financing rounds in the last 12 months. In terms of tech destinations, however, the country fell behind its European counterparts at the tenth position, while the U.K., Germany and France led the pack. Switzerland also failed to make the list of 12 destinations for U.S. software engineers looking for jobs in Europe.
Swiss state enterprises are making power moves as far as cryptocurrency is concerned. The country’s postal service, Swiss Post, and telecom provider Swisscom, both state-run, recently announced that they are collaborating on a “100 percent Swiss” blockchain infrastructure, with a view of meeting the security requirements of banks and retaining all data within Switzerland. The country was named the most “blockchain-friendly” European country earlier this year.
Apart from Switzerland, major economies, most recently the U.S., higher learning institutions and legacy financial institutions have been taking a second look at their look books and policy frameworks to keep up with crypto disruption. Areas of concern have included security and issues of access.
What do you think about the Atomico rankings? Let us know in the comments section below.
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A quarterly ratings report has upgraded the score previously given to seven cryptocurrency exchanges, while downgrading four. It has also added seven new exchanges, rating them on such metrics as trading volume, security, and compliance. In related news, Crypto Exchange Ranks (CER) has begun tracking the hot and cold wallets of exchanges as part of a drive to champion greater transparency.
Okex Downgraded, Bithumb Upgraded
Cryptocurrency exchange ratings, much like cryptocurrency ratings, are highly subjective. Any attempt at rating and ranking the constituents of a particular set using specific benchmarks is bound to cause controversy. Nevertheless, quarterly ratings reports continue to grow in popularity and in number while shining the spotlight on various verticals within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Tokeninsight’s latest report tracks the progress of crypto exchanges over the past three months, amid difficult market conditions.
Unique visitors have dropped across the board during the last quarter, with the sole exception of Bithumb, whose traffic and aggregated score has risen. Okex, by way of comparison, has seen its weighted score fall, exacerbated by the fact that it “has repeatedly unilaterally changed its trading rules during our rating period, including data rollbacks and modifying its contract delivery rules.” The report continued:
In the case of the BCH hard fork, Okex delivered the last transaction price of BCH contract ahead of schedule at 16:05 p.m. on November 14, 2018 (GMT+8), and issued an announcement only one hour in advance, causing unnecessary losses to a large number of investors.
Hitbtc, Kraken, and Kucoin all saw their ratings upgraded by Tokeninsight, while Poloniex and Gemini were among the exchanges given ratings for the first time.
Trans-Fee Mining Exchanges Score Poorly
Transaction fee mining exchanges, often linked with wash trading and fake volume, have scored poorly in Tokeninsight’s report. Hong Kong’s Fcoin exchange is one such casualty, its score lowered, with the report noting how “Transaction mining trends once brought a large amount of traffic to the platform, due to the notion that the vast majority of transactions of transaction fees or dividends were free, and transaction volume has dropped significantly in the past three months. In terms of compliance, Fcoin has lagged behind in development and has not obtained any license of relevant regulatory agencies.”
Exchange analytics service Crypto Exchange Ranks has been instrumental in uncovering fake volume on Asian platforms such as Fcoin, Coinbit, and GDAC. Its latest initiative involves launching a crowdsourced framework for crypto exchange transparency. CER is seeking the help of “transparency hackers” to help it identify and then track the hot and cold wallets of all leading cryptocurrency exchanges.
The CER dashboard is already populated with wallet balances for several major exchanges. Results can be filtered according to the size of the exchange wallet, and clicking on the wallet balance will reveal the distribution between hot and cold wallets, where such information is available. Eventually, CER hopes to add this data for every exchange, and in doing so to bring greater transparency to the sector through a combination of self-reporting and public diligence.
Do you think ratings reports incentivize exchanges to provide greater transparency and to act ethically? Let us know in the comments section below.
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