Tag Archives: bitcoin

This Is How Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Could Solve Asia’s Financial Inclusion Issue

This Is How Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Could Solve Asia's Financial Inclusion Issue

  

In 2016, staff members within the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

suggested that virtual currencies could promote financial inclusion. The IMF issued the standard cautions about how virtual currencies (VCs) might be used for money laundering, terrorism and other nefarious purposes. But it also wrote that, “VCs offer many potential benefits, including greater speed and efficiency in making payments and transfer–particularly across borders–and ultimately promoting financial inclusion.”

The “across borders” benefits have led to the launch of Bitcoin startups in places like the Philippines, where remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) contribute more than $26 billion to the economy. Such was the case with Coins, a mobile-first, blockchain-based platform that facilitates remittances, bill payments and mobile airtime top-ups. “I was initially looking for a way to solve the issue of expensive cross-border payments, which lead me to blockchain technologies and how they could be used to provide widespread financial access in general,” said Justin Leow, head of business operations for Coins.

Since its launch in 2014,

Coins has signed up half a million users and partnered with retail outlets, banks, and other financial service institutions to create a distribution network of more than 22,000 cash disbursement and collection locations in the Philippines. In late 2016, the company raised $5 million in a Series A fundraising round. “Our mission is to make sure our customers are able to access the financial services that they need, and building our platform on top of the blockchain has been an important component of that effort,” Leow said via email. “As long as people will continue to need cheap remittances [and] money transfers and access to financial services, we see blockchain technology as a growing area that would be able to affect positive change.”

Leow said Coins has been able to lower remittance costs from 7-8% to about 2-3% for its customers, including those who use it for bill pay and remittances, as well as merchants and service providers who accept bitcoin. The company’s ultimate goal is “to increase financial inclusion by delivering financial services directly to people through their mobile phones.”

Experts see remittances as an area that could be ripe for VC disruption. The Philippines is not the only country with a high population of overseas workers whose families depend on their remittances. High transaction fees and slow or inconvenient transfer services create extreme hardships on people who can’t afford to spend hours claiming one payment, or who live far from banks or shops that manage remittance payments.

The costs of these transactions 

which can average as high as 12% in Sub-Saharan Africa – hit the poor the hardest. Technological advances like cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers may offer a solution,” Dr. Garrick Hileman, a cryptocurrency researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, told Phys.org. "It would be surprising to me if in 30 years from now we aren't looking back and saying yes this was a watershed moment for financial inclusion, and that cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers played a significant role in opening up access to the financial system in developing economies."

A 2016 KPMG article indicated that more than 70 percent of the population in Southeast Asia is unbanked, leaving hundreds of millions at steep disadvantages for achieving financial security. Not having a bank account excludes people from a range of financial products, but fintech companies see mobile technology as a means of closing that gap. Startups like Coins, which use cryptocurrencies behind the scenes to offer fast, low-cost services to their customers, may be on the front lines of improving financial inclusion in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Thanks to growing mobile phone penetration, even low-income consumers can take advantage of their services.

“One of the important ways to increase financial inclusion is facilitating the transition from people being purely cash-based to be able to access and use [their] money online. In this regard, cryptocurrencies work very well as railways for seamless fund transfers and being able to pay for services,” Leow said. “The advantage that cryptocurrencies provide relative to other closed-loop systems is that anyone can be connected to the payment network very easily and services can be made available to anyone else on the network.” Remittances and mobile payments aren’t the only ways blockchain technology facilitates inclusion.

“I think payments will continue to be a key functionality for blockchain technologies with adoption continuing to increase as more businesses recognize its advantages,” Leow said. “At the same time, I think that there are also a lot of application-specific solutions using the blockchain for purposes such as digital identity management and smart contracts that are actively being explored that are causing us to rethink how many (typically expensive) business processes are being done.”

For instance, Acudeen, a Filipino fintech startup that helps small businesses by streamlining the invoicing process, uses blockchain technology to ensure that its clients’ contracts are secure. If cryptocurrency does become mainstream, it will likely do so quietly, at least as far as the average consumer is concerned. Luis Buenaventura,  chief technology officer of Bloom Solutions and author of Reinventing Remittances With Bitcoin, told me for a previous article that Bitcoin is “probably best off as a backend technology." Similar to the protocols behind email systems, blockchain technology may drive common services, but users won’t ever interact with it.

Leow shared a sentiment similar to Buenaventura’s. “The challenge from a financial inclusion standpoint is how to facilitate access to these technologies in such a way that easily transitions people from using purely cash,” he said. “We should remember that at the end of the day, people want to get things done and generally care less about the actual implementation of how that happens.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Meet Bitcoin Plus – The Next Great Cryptocurrency

Meet Bitcoin Plus –
The Next Great Cryptocurrency

  

Let’s face it,

Bitcoin is currently dominating the market, but altcoins cannot be just brushed off, they are maturing as well and are ready to provide a keen and tough competition. There is one coin, however, which, as claimed by its founders, cannot even be called an “altcoin.” Meet Bitcoin Plus – the next great cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, but “reincarnated”

The history of Bitcoin Plus goes back to early 2014 when the coin was launched through an ICO held on the Poloniex Exchange. However, it turned out that the ICO was carried to fund not the cryptocurrency but holidays of the original developer who escaped with collected funds somewhere in the south direction. Later on, Bitcoin Plus went into rehab as a few truly dedicated community members formed a team, hired a coder to fix the wallet and introduced the sustainability plan.

Yule Mills, one of the team leaders at Bitcoin Plus, explains to Cointelegraph:

“The original developers created a great coin but it appeared they had ulterior motives, therefore they soon abandoned the coin. I was the original investor and have loved it since I first found out about it in May 2014. I think it is Bitcoin but reincarnated with many improvements and rarities, hence the added Plus in the name of the coin.”

How it will drive the market wild

The cryptocurrency has evolved greatly, especially during the last year. Originally, XBC was purely a Proof-of-Stake coin, however, a bunch of recent updates included the ability to secure the network using Proof-of-Work, therefore Bitcoin Plus is what is now known as a hybrid POS/POW. This means that if the network ever faces a serious issue, things can be moved along manually by switching on Proof-of-Work for a short period.

Bitcoin Plus has one mln coins to respond to 21 mln Bitcoins, it is characterized by a much faster block processing time and can handle eight times more transactions than Bitcoin. Mills points out that the best feature of Bitcoin Plus is the 20 percent annual staking until all one mln coins have been staked. In his opinion, this feature alone is currently driving the market wild.

Mills comments:

“Bitcoin Plus went from $.08 in January 2016 to a high of $131 just last month. That's serious.”

Bitcoin Plus, scalability issues minus

There is an opinion that what is good for Bitcoin has a positive impact on other cryptocurrencies. But what about the problems currently faced by Bitcoin, are they any relevant in the rest of the cryptocurrency space? Scalability has always been an issue for Bitcoin but recently the network has been running out of capacity, transaction fees have been getting higher, while the speed of processing was significantly decreasing.

The SegWit vs. BU debate has been going on and on for months and it doesn’t look like we are going to see a conclusion any time soon. How do these block games affect Bitcoin Plus? Well, XBC has a much shorter average block processing time – 60 seconds compared to that of Bitcoin, therefore the Bitcoin Plus network is able to handle 10 times more transactions every 10 minutes. Besides, the block size limit of Bitcoin Plus is much larger standing at 1.5 MB. The average transaction size of Bitcoin Plus is very similar to its predecessor, therefore every block is able to fit as many as 3,030 transactions or 50.5 transactions per second.

The Bitcoin Plus team assures that it will take a long time before users have to start worrying about any scalability issues.

Mills says to Cointelegraph:

“Regarding scaling issues, the original Bitcoin can handle, as fact, less than seven transactions per second compared to Bitcoin Plus which can handle 50+ transactions per second. We are keeping a close eye on SegWit vs. Unlimited and, truthfully, I don't think either idea is a good one. The thing about Bitcoin Plus that works is we have a team that agrees on things. If Bitcoin Plus needs to scale we will scale to Visa level if needed.”

Engaging community into development of the coin

The current team of Bitcoin Plus consists of several community members who run the website, BitcoinTalk Forum Thread, Block Explorers, 24/7 nodes and ensure the sustainability of the coin. The team is open, accessible and their intentions are transparent. It also seems that they are trying to engage the community in the development of the coin, offering ideas for updating of the network for voting and extensively reporting on the completion of upvoted ideas.

Isn’t it what the cryptocurrency space is all about? Absolute freedom, flexibility and the ability to reach consensus? With all this packaged in Bitcoin Plus, it is expected that the project will attain great success.

Mills concludes:

“Bitcoin would be an altcoin if it wasn't so successful. I don't consider Bitcoin Plus an altcoin. It's a force to be reckoned with, and you are going to see Bitcoin Plus on a mass scale soon.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Q1’s Top Performing Cryptocurrencies Saw Big Gains

Q1's Top Performing
Cryptocurrencies Saw Big Gains

   The first quarter of 2017 saw dramatic price gains

for the top cryptocurrencies, as the total market added nearly $7bn in value. The so-called 'blue chip' cryptocurrencies – those with a market cap greater than $30m – saw aggressive growth in the first quarter, as bitcoin's waning dominance set the stage for new players to assert themselves. Others, too, saw impressive gains that occurred relatively quickly in recent weeks. All told, the cryptocurrencies posted a median price increase (in USD terms) of 180.56% over the course of the quarter.

Top performers

The two top performers from Q1 2017 were Decred (DCR) and Golem (GNT), which gained 2,410.6% and 835.5%, respectively. Decred is a cryptocurrency that uses a hybridized consensus system instead of relying on either solely proof-of-work (POS) or proof-of-stake (POW). Similar to bitcoin, the DCR protocol sets a 21 million cap to the number of coins generated on the network.

Currently, the largest trading pair for DCR is DCR/BTC. Poloniex serves as the largest marketplace for DCR trading. The majority of DCR’s gains came toward the end of the quarter, and the highest daily volume was achieved on 27 March with $14.03m. As for Golem, most of its gains came during the latter half of Q1. Cryptocurrency exchange announced markets for the token on 17th February, and following the announcement, the price rose approximately 100% with 48 hours, from $.02 to $.04 on 19th February, with a volume of $6.67m.

Prior to the Poloniex announcement, average daily volume was between $20k and $100k per day. A second spike in price occurred on 21st March, following the release of news that GNT would be integrated into Shapeshift.io, an altcoin exchange platform. That particular day, the price increased approximately 22% from $0.045 to $0.055 on $5.28m in 24-hour volume. The final day of Q1, Golem developer Grzegorz Borowik published a blog post announcing Golem for macOS. The news buoyed the market, which boosted GNT to an all-time-high of $0.094 on volume of $11.4m.

Bitcoin struggles

Bitcoin's performance in the first quarter was more muted. The CoinMarketCap's Bitcoin Dominance Index – which measures bitcoin's market share relative to other cryptocurrencies – shed nearly 20%, ending the quarter at 68%. A weakening Bitcoin Dominance Index points to investor preference for alternative cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC) gained just 7.8% over the course of the quarter. This was a noticeable decrease from its 35.4% gain in Q4 2016.

General fear, uncertainty, and doubt has permeated the bitcoin community and can arguably be blamed for the anemic performance of the cryptocurrency in comparison to alternatives. Furthermore, bitcoin's volatility has tapered off as a result of its maturation, coupled with the evolving narrative that the cryptocurrency is a safe-haven asset.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

OneCoin Claims To Have Largest Cryptocurrency Market Cap After Doubling Event

OneCoin Claims To Have Largest Cryptocurrency Market Cap After Doubling Event

OneCoin Is A Scam Regardless Of What They Tell You

Yesterday was quite an interesting day in the world of Bitcoin scams and Ponzi Schemes. OneCoin, the world’s biggest pyramid scheme to date, doubled all user coins last night. This brings the total supply of “coins” to 2 billion, which is ridiculous. In fact, this means that OneCoin is now a bigger cryptocurrency than Bitcoin, according to OneCoin CEO, Ruja Whatsherface. The allure presented by this global pyramid scheme should not be underestimated. People from all over the world are falling for what OneCoin promises, even though they have no blockchain or coins in existence to speak of. The scheme entails the distribution of incoming funds to early investors, whereas new members have to recruit hard to make money.

Now that all of the non-existent Onecoin balances have been doubled, the Ponzi Scheme camp is over the moon regarding its success. Creating a 100% value increase out of thin air is ludicrous, yet millions of people seem to fall for it anyway. In fact, the team claims that their market cap is now bigger than Bitcoin’s. To put this into perspective, OneCoin’s new “blockchain” will allow for 50,000 new coins to be generated every minute. The team is also planning to “go public” with the coin come 2018. How this will be achieved is anybody’s guess, as there is no OneCoin blockchain or coins to speak of in the first place.

What is rather worrisome is how every OneCoin is valued at nearly 7 euros per piece. Keeping in mind how this is all vaporware, one can see that the team is making big money off the backs of gullible people. In this day and age, fooling people with financial promises has become very easy, especially when it’s related to “virtual currencies”.

Anyone who still believes OneCoin is a legitimate scheme will be in for a rude awakening very soon. Governments and law enforcement agencies all over the world are looking to investigate what this cult is offering its members, and it will be shut down sooner or later. Everyone who has funds in OneCoin should pull them out as soon as possible and see if they can pay out. In most cases that will not be possible.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

From Here To Where? Bitcoin And The Future Of Cryptocurrency

From Here To Where?
Bitcoin And The Future Of Cryptocurrency

  

There’s a number of reasons why cryptocurrencies

are so inherently popular. They are safe, anonymous and utterly decentralized. Unlike conventional currency, they are not controlled or regulated by some singular authority, their flow is determined entirely by market demand. They are also nigh impossible to counterfeit, thanks to the paranoidly complicated code system that encrypts each and every transfer, ensuring complete anonymity and utter safety to each and every user. They even make for a genuinely rewarding, if risky, investment endeavor, despite the fact that any financial advisor in their right mind will caution you against them. Therefore, despite the admittedly high stakes that this sort of dealing entails, not to mention the lack of any government agency to lend credence to them, cryptocurrencies can only thrive and multiply.

If I were to tell you of the history of cryptocurrencies, I would have to begin with cryptographer David Chaum, who in the 1980s devised an extraordinarily secure algorithm that allowed for the kind of encryption required in electronic fund transfers. Chaum’s “blinding algorithm” laid the groundwork for the future development of all types of digitalized currency transactions, be it alternative currencies like Bitcoin or just plain old digitalized cash transfers.

“I am personally excited for the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in general. Current innovations such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are just the beginning for this technology that can help revamp many industries. There is plenty of opportunity in this space.”

In the later part of the 1980s, Chaum relocated to the Netherlands, and, with the help of a few fellow enthusiasts, laid the foundation of DigiCash, a for-profit cryptocurrency network based on his “blinded money” algorithm. Unlike newer cryptocurrencies, DigiCash exercised full monopoly over its supply, a far cry from being a decentralized mode of transaction such as Bitcoin. While DigiCash was founded with the idea of trading directly with individuals, the Netherlands government imposed severe restrictions on the company, forcing it to sell only to licensed banks. This seriously curtailed the company’s profits, and after a decade of struggling and being partnered with by Microsoft, the company finally closed doors in the 1990s. Chaum did go on to try his luck on a few similar cryptocurrency startups at the time, though none of them were really successful, to begin with.

Fast forward to 2008, when a whitepaper was released under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, detailing what would be widely regarded as the first modern cryptocurrency initiative. The idea combined concepts such as decentralization, perfect anonymity, finite supply and blockchain technology to pave the way for what we know as Bitcoin. Nakamoto, a pseudonymous individual or individuals operating under a fake name, released Bitcoin to the public in 2009. This idea was soon taken up by a gazillion different startups such as Litecoin. In 2010, Bitcoin received recognition as a proper currency after merchants such as WordPress, Expedia and Microsoft began accepting it as a mode of payment.

Cryptocurrencies can better adapt to the prevalent challenges of both funding and the emerging digital economy in addition to being a way to engage communities through P2P tech and crowdfunding platforms. There are over 2 billion people without access to the financial economy and even basics of modern civilization. Here at Humaniq, we are a blockchain fintech startup aiming to tackle some of these challenges by tapping into the power of digital currencies to leverage social impact. Approaching these issues from the angle of Initial Coin Offerings, we have so far managed to secure over 10,000 investors and $4M in investments in the last two weeks.”

Speaking for 2017, we’re still far from Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency initiative, being officially recognized by a state government as a preferred mode of currency. Mere months ago, Bitcoin saw a 35% fluctuation in price range after a proposed exchange-trade fund by the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust was denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission due to concerns that the currency could be used for illegal purposes such as black market trading. However, hope is anything but out, and 2017 will be a year to watch out for as far as alternative currencies are concerned.

While Bitcoin experienced a drop in its prices, a cheaper cryptocurrency by the name of Ether reached its all-time highs at $40 a unit. While Ether’s current setup prevents it from being used as a direct method of payment, the cryptocurrency still seems to have a bright future ahead thanks to the concept of smart contracts. In the meantime, more privacy-concerned cryptocurrency alternatives are starting to gain prominence in favor of institutions such as Bitcoin, which despite their vigilant security measures, continue to have loopholes that could be exploited for access to personal data.

“In a reminder of just how fickle the market for such newfangled assets can be, just after 4 p.m. Friday, the Bitcoin price took a U-turn and plummeted to lows not seen in months, dipping below $1000 to as low as $980, after Bitcoin investors received some bad news from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.” – Jen Wieczner, Fortune Magazine

Another interesting turn of events is the acceptance of Bitcoin in the educational industry, what with the University of Ohio hosting classes about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a part of its MFE curriculum. Several colleges have even begun to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, a move which will clearly help bring this alternative currency to the mainstream. The acceptance of Bitcoin, in general, has already led to a few companies considering genuine investment opportunities in the currency, further fueling its journey to mainstream.

Will cryptocurrencies be the new norm after 2017? Perhaps it is too soon to tell. But if there is one thing we know for sure, it is that the currency seems to have a wide appeal with a particular section of technologically-savvy individuals, a point that is sure to soon work in its favor.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

AT&T Explores Cryptocurrency Car Payments in New Patent Filing

AT&T Explores Cryptocurrency Car Payments in New Patent Filing

  

Digital currency payments in motor vehicles

may not be far off, if the ideas in a new patent application from telecom giant AT&T enter real-world use. Yesterday, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released the application, dubbed "Vehicle System with System Report Generation and Methods For Use Therewith". Within this innocuously titled document, however, is a concept for integrating cryptocurrency payments into vehicles, attributed to AT&T Mobility, a subsidiary of the firm.

Here’s how the patent’s description explains it:

"A processor is configured to perform operations including generating a vehicle report based on the vehicle data; generating in accordance with a cryptocurrency protocol, a digital currency record that is unique to the vehicle report, wherein the digital currency record indicates a digital currency value associated with the vehicle report. The digital currency record is stored in a memory and communicated in conjunction with a purchase of goods or services by the user, wherein the digital currency value is credited to a purchase price of the goods or services."

Notably, the application distinguishes between blockchain-based cryptocurrencies and other iterations of electronic money – though, in the case of Beenz and e-gold, some them are currencies that did not stand the test of time. Specific cryptocurrencies mentioned include bitcoin and monero, among others. The application goes on to conceptualize what these payments may actually entail, including what are essentially micropayments that occur depending on what happens during a drive.

"For example, an hour highway driving may be worth only one dollar, but identification of a pothole, a damaged road sign or malfunctioning traffic signal may increase the value by differing amounts, based on the condition detected," the application explains. The submission is AT&T’s second related to the technology. In October, the USPTO released a patent application for a kind of home subscriber server that utilizes a blockchain.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Top Respected Cryptocurrency Developers

Top Respected Cryptocurrency Developers

Every Cryptocurrency in the World needs a Team

of developers to take things to the next level. It is no surprise to find out people take a liking to specific developers, simply because they create new features or bring improvements to a particular cryptocurrency ecosystem. Below are some of the most respected cryptocurrency developers listed in a random order.

Evan Duffield

Most people will know Evan Duffield as the person responsible for creating the Dash ecosystem. The project was formerly known as XCoin and DarkCoin before switching to a more marketable name. Even though some people still question initial coin distribution once the project launched, Evan Duffield has become one of the most recognized developers in cryptocurrency. Given the recent price increase Dahs has gone through, it is evident his efforts – as well as those made by all of the other contributors – are receiving well-deserved recognition.

Charlie Lee

The infamous creator of Litecoin has proven time and time again to be a valuable member t o   the cryptocurrency community. Even though little changes have been made to Litecoin over the past few years, Charlie lee remains an active developer to this very date. Moreover, he often weighs in on discussions pertaining to bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. One of his latest feats of development revolves around porting Segregated Witness to Litecoin, although it remains to be seen if this solution will ever be activated.

Riccardo Spagni

Better known as Fluffypony, Riccardo Spagni has made quite a name for himself for being involved in cryptocurrency projects since 2012. Most people know him for his role in the development of Monero, a popular cryptocurrency focusing on anonymity and privacy. Riccardo is also a well-respected speaker at various conferences and meetups, during which he tried to explain the intricate working of Monero.

Gavin Andresen

When talking about cryptocurrency developers, it is impossible to overlook Gavin Andresen. He has been one of the most prominent members of the bitcoin developer team ever since discovering the cryptocurrency project in 2012. He also used to operate a bitcoin faucet in those early days, through which he helped distribute this now-popular cryptocurrency to novice users looking to get acquainted with the ecosystem

Although most people have nothing but respect for Gavin Andresen as a developer, his reputation took a small hit during the entire Craig Wright debacle. Wright had seemingly convinced Andresen that he was the one and only Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of bitcoin. When Wright failed to produce the evidence validating his claims, some people briefly questioned Andresen’s role in the bitcoin development team. Despite what some people may think, Gavin is still one of the most-respected bitcoin developers and his expertise is invaluable.

Vitalik Buterin

The career path of Vitalik Buterin is quite interesting taking note of. He co-founded Bitcoin Magazine many years ago and later on became the well-respected for developing the Ethereum protocol. Ever since inventing this ecosystem, he has been working on the project full-time. Moreover, he is a popular speaker at all types of events, including Ethereum’s very own Devcon conferences. Buterin is also known for his contributions to open source software projects, including DarkWallet, Egora, and Kryptokit.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency Mining Warning – Foxminers

Cryptocurrency Mining Warning – Foxminers

Beware of Foxminers And Their Pre-orders

The cryptocurrency world has seen its fair share of nefarious mining hardware manufacturers. A lot of companies claim they are building new hardware and accept pre-orders. However, very few of these products ever come to the market. Foxminers, a new company claiming to offer dual-mining hardware for bitcoin and litecoin, are offering miners that are seemingly too goo to be true.

Everyone who has kept tabs on bitcoin and altcoin mining is well aware of the dangers associated with pre-ordering mining equipment from unknown companies. So far, no one has even heard of the Foxminers company, as their website doesn’t even show up in the first 10 Google results. However, that is not preventing them from announcing their new spectacular mining hardware, known as the F24 and F48 models. According to the press releases sent out by the company, their miners are building on a proprietary mining chip called the FM9800-XD1112. Once again, no one has heard about this chip so far, and it seems highly unlikely such an unknown company has the money and resources to develop a cryptocurrency mining chip. Then again, they did provide a white paper, which can be found here. 

Foxminers claims their unknown and untested chips can mine both SHA-256 and Scrypt, making it the “world’s first dual mining hardware.” Quite a bold statement, although the company fails to provide any evidence to back up these claims whatsoever. Cryptocurrency investors must proceed with caution if considering buying into this company’s pre sell. As one would expect, Foxminers is hoping to collect money from users by offering attractive pre-order discounts. In fact, customers can save $500 – on the $2,500 device – if they pre-order before May 14th. Foxminers has provided no evidence of mining hardware to speak of, only a sneak peek on their homepage, which looks awfully similar to the Zeus Miner chassis.

To make this offer even more ludicrous, Foxminers claims to pay for all shipping and customs fees. That is quite spectacular, as shipping a dual-mining unit is quite expensive. Moreover, a lot of countries charge high customs fees for these types of items, either based on their normal value or depending on the weight of the package. No mining hardware manufacturer can afford to pay such vast amounts of money out of their own pocket. Foxminers also claims the company was founded in 2016, yet the website was not registered until a few months ago. That seems rather strange, to say the least. Additionally, the company claims to have headquarters in California, yet the domain registrant information is hidden from the public. Nothing about Foxminers is adding up, responsible investors should wait for further information.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

The US government’s ongoing extensive surveillance

on the global banking system and payment, transfers are demonstrating an urgent necessity of a decentralized financial network such as bitcoin. Over the past few months, various organizations including Wikileaks and Shadow Brokers have exploited most of the malpractices of the National Security Agency of the US. One of the recent tools of the NSA that was leaked and exploited on the dark web was the NSA’s surveillance tool on the Swift global banking system.

Motive of the US Government

Government agencies and law enforcement are required to undergo a lengthy process of filing a complaint and request to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (Swift) in order to gain necessary financial information of certain bank accounts of businesses and individuals.

With a surveillance and hacking tool, however, the NSA can surpass the above-mentioned process by simply gaining access to the actual Swift network without alarming its system and infrastructure. According to representatives of Shadow Brokers, a hacking group that has leaked many pieces of malware in the past, the hacking tool of the NSA allows the US government to surveil financial transactions settled within the Swift network with full transparency. Matt Suiche, founder of the United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm Comae Technologies, said in an interview with Reuters:

“If you hack the service bureau, it means that you also have access to all of their clients, all of the banks.”

While some security analysts and firms including EastNets denied the claims of Shadow Brokers, prominent whistleblowers and security experts including Edward Snowden explained that if the exploitation of the NSA hacking tool by the security firm Shadow Brokers is in fact, true, it could be described as the “Mother of All Exploits.” In the meantime, Swift announced that its cyber security and research team were not able to find any evidence to conclusively determine the surveillance allegation against the US government.

“We have no evidence to suggest that there has ever been any unauthorized access to our network or messaging services,” said the representatives of Swift.

Necessity of Bitcoin

Whether the US government actually utilized the NSA’s hacking tool to surveil the Swift network without permission from Swift and its clients is not the major issue. The main problem is that such hacking tools exist and they are capable of unraveling transactions settled across the world. Any centralized financial networks such as Swift impose such vulnerability, as any network, server or database connected to the Internet is vulnerable to hacking attacks, surveillance and data breaches if it is not designed to be immutable or decentralized, unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Each transaction on the bitcoin blockchain is identified with cryptographic proof and it can be accessed on the bitcoin blockchain. Most importantly, because the bitcoin blockchain is public, it cannot be manipulated by a government agency like the NSA with sophisticated hacking tools. Although there exists strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer systems in place on the majority of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges, government agencies and law enforcement agents must go through proper channels to obtain the data.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

What Is a Bitcoin Worth?

What Is a Bitcoin Worth?

The virtual currency has seen its value soar in recent years.

  

Bitcoin has existed for less than a decade,

but it has achieved amazing popularity across the globe, and its value has risen along with its use. Shortly after its creation in 2009, one could buy the virtual currency for less than a penny per bitcoin. Now, a bitcoin is worth about $1,250, and many believe that the upward trend for bitcoin could continue indefinitely. Despite there being plenty of skepticism about the inherent value of bitcoin, the currency has survived dramatic volatility without losing favor among its core users.

The history of bitcoin's value

During the first couple of years of its existence, bitcoin saw dramatic gains in price. From its penny valuation in 2009, bitcoin rose to $0.10 by 2010 and first hit the $1 mark in early 2011. That ignited a huge wave of new demand for bitcoin, sending the currency up to more than $10 by mid-2011. Yet at that point, bitcoin showed its propensity for big ups and downs. Within just a few months, bitcoin prices dropped 80%, punishing those who had gotten in at the top and were looking for quick gains. Still, those who stuck with bitcoin earned back their losses, with the currency reaching the $10 mark again in late 2012.

From there, the next wave of interest in bitcoin took the currency to the $100 mark and beyond, climbing to nearly $200 by early 2013. The bankruptcy of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange briefly took a big toll on prices, cutting bitcoin's value in half, but before the year was out, the digital currency climbed above $1,000 as market participants increasingly believed that bitcoin would achieve global currency status and prove to be a better alternative to traditional government-issued currency. The frequency of financial crises across the globe during the first several years of bitcoin's history certainly helped feed that theory and added to bitcoin's appeal.

Since then, bitcoin has remained volatile, but not to the same extent as it was earlier in its existence. Prices sank to around $200 in 2015, but the currency picked up steam again more recently. This year, bitcoin regained the $1,000 level and has climbed as high as nearly $1,300.

The true measure of bitcoin's worth

One concern that some have expressed about bitcoin is that the currency has no intrinsic value. Gold coins, by contrast, represent a given weight of an actual commodity with practical applications, and gold investors take comfort in the fact that their bullion is worth something beyond monetary terms. That's not true of bitcoin, which one receives as a reward for solving complex mathematical problems.

Yet bitcoin advocates note that the same is true of paper currency. It used to be that Federal Reserve notes were tied to the value of gold or silver, but those days are long gone. Just as a dollar bill only has whatever value a buyer and seller assign to it, so too does bitcoin have practical value to the extent that those who make exchanges of the digital currency agree on what it's worth.

One reason why bitcoin has become more valuable likely has to do with the fact that one can use it more widely now than early in its history. Many major technologies and retail companies accept bitcoin in the same way they would older currencies, and small businesses have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon as well. Moreover, with relatively low transaction fees for transfers, bitcoin has become a popular way to move money while avoiding the costly charges that banks and other financial institutions often impose.

Keep an eye on bitcoin

Bitcoin has seen dramatic price increases recently, but the one thing investors in the currency can be certain of is that volatility in both directions will continue. With some calling for continued exponential growth in the value of bitcoin while others believe it's a bubble waiting to burst, the market for bitcoin is sure to be exciting for the foreseeable future.

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Chuck Reynolds
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Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

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