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Bitcoin’s ‘Bubble’ Cycle More Bullish Than Amazon’s Dot-Com Era Days

Bitcoin recovered more swiftly from its bear cycles than Amazon did during the boom and bust of the dot com era, new data reveals.

Bitcoin (BTC) recovered more swiftly from its bear cycles than Amazon did during the boom and bust of the dot com era, data from crypto analytics firm Messari reveals.

Bitcoin’s 2019 breakout ‘extremely bullish’ by comparison

Fellow industry analytics firm Ceteris Paribus shared Messari’s findings in a tweet on July 17:

“The latest $BTC cycle mirrors $AMZN during the dot-com bubble, but the recovery has been much more swift. Even with the recent sell off, bitcoin is 54% down from its high, vs. the 85% Amazon was trading at over a similar timeframe.”

Bitcoin and Amazon ‘bubbles’ comparison, 2015-2019

Bitcoin and Amazon ‘bubbles’ comparison, 2015-2019. Courtesy of Messari via @ceterispar1bus

In a further tweet, Ceteris Paribus argues that while the two assets are markedly different, they have both allegedly “traded on pure speculation” at different points in their histories. 

A comparison of the two reveals that Bitcoin’s breakout following crypto winter has been “extremely bullish” as compared with Amazon’s own tumultuous past, with Ceteris Paribus noting that the coin is “much further ahead than most people imagined in Dec. 2018.” 

Industry perspectives 

Interestingly, veteran trader Peter Brandt has this summer compared the likely fate of altcoins to the casualties of the dot com era, predicting that Bitcoin’s bull rally this will not extend to the cryptocurrency sector as a whole — unlike the historic rally of winter 2017. He remarked that:

“Following 2001-02 tech collapse, dotcoms with real value exploded. The ‘alt’ .coms went bankrupt.”

Meanwhile, Blockstream CEO Adam Back — the inventor of the hashcash proof-of-work (PoW) system later used in Bitcoin’s mining algorithm — has favorably compared the coin with earlier periods of innovation.

““Bitcoin has come much further and much faster than people expected,” he said. “There was a saying in the early dotcom era about “internet time,” and […] bitcoin time […] seems to be moving even faster.”

This April, Cointelegraph published an expert’s take on the so-dubbed Bitcoin bubble and its historical cousins — both the 17th century Tulip mania and the  dot-com bubble of 1999-2000.

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Fidelity, Deloitte, and Amazon Now Support Workshops for DLT Startups

Fidelity, Deloitte and Amazon have joined 20 other firms to support blockchain accelerator program Startup Studio.

Major global firms Fidelity, Deloitte and Amazon, have begun supporting a new blockchain accelerator program called Startup Studio, according to a press release on July 11.

The companies are backing the program along with 20 other firms, including Ethereum Foundation and ETH Global, Stellar Foundation, crypto analytics firm Messari, and Coinbase-backed NEAR Protocol, among the others.

The new blockchain accelerator is an initiative of IDEO CoLab Ventures, the venture capital division of United States-based design consultancy firm IDEO.

Supported by Fidelity, Deloitte and Amazon, as well as major crypto industry players, Startup Studio is set up to provide workshops to blockchain startups to help them enhance a variety of skills, including product design, law and engineering, smart contract development, finance and hiring, among others.

Starting today, blockchain entrepreneurs and startups can apply to participate in specific acceleration programs through Startup Studio’s website, as managing director of IDEO CoLab Ventures Ian Lee wrote in the blog post.

He added that some companies such as crypto lender Dharma, decentralized protocol 0x and crypto derivatives exchange dYdX, have already attended Startup Studio workshops.

In February 2019, IDEO CoLab introduced its “Distributed Web Investing Program,” announcing six investments in blockchain startups, including Messari.

Recently, a diplomatic academy in Brazil announced that it will require new candidates to have knowledge of crypto and blockchain.

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Bitcoin Startup Brings Lightning Network Payments to Amazon, Whole Foods

U.S.-based payments startup Fold has made Lightning Network payments possible at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber and other big name retailers.

United States-based payments startup Fold has made Lightning Network (LN) payments possible at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber and other big name retailers. The news was revealed in an official blog post published on July 10.

As previously reported, the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network is a second-layer solution to bitcoin’s scalability limitations, opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain, turning to the underlying blockchain only to record the net results.

In its announcement, Fold reveals that participating selected retailers will settle users’ LN payments — denominated in satoshis, or one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin — via their prepaid access programs in a currency of their choice. 

LN payments are thus processed via the Fold site, where users can select a retailer and pay the relevant invoice using their Lightning wallet. Once paid, this provides them with a gift card — at a maximum value of $25 — that is redeemable either in-store using a barcode or online via alphanumeric code. 

Beyond the evident scalability and accessibility benefits of providing LN support at major retailers, Fold underscores that its services more broadly aim to keep faith with the cornerstone principles of crypto: meaning no Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks, a non-custodial system and — in an outburst of Bitcoin maximalism — no support for altcoins.

Beyond the aforementioned Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber, Fold’s Lightning payment service is also available for REI, Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, Target, AMC, Whole Foods, and others. 

Fold follows other third-party crypto payment processors aiming to provide ways for users to use Lightning at major e-commerce and retail locations. 

This April, fellow startup Moon launched a web browser extension allowing online shoppers to use their Lightning wallets for purchases on Amazon and similar sites. As Fold, Moon serves as an intermediary — meaning that household names like Amazon are for now still not handling or processing the crypto directly.

As reported, Fold had rolled out its Bitcoin payments service — this time explicitly designed as a gift card — that was available for use at retailers such as Starbucks as early as 2015.

This March, blockchain development firm Lightning Labs announced the initial release of the Lightning offramp Lightning Loop, providing a non-custodial way to receive funds via the network.

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Bitcoin Marketplace with 300 Payment Methods Integrating into Large Crypto Exchange

A peer-to-peer marketplace offering more than 300 ways to buy Bitcoin is being integrated into a crypto trading platform with more than 600,000 users.

A peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace that offers more than 300 ways to buy Bitcoin has announced it is being integrated into BitMart, a global digital asset trading platform.

Paxful enables its users to purchase Bitcoin using bank transfers, debit cards, online wallets like PayPal and an array of gift cards — including well-known brands such as Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Steam Wallet. Many of these payment methods enable consumers to access the cryptocurrency instantly.

The platform has now entered into a joint venture with BitMart, a digital asset trading platform with a global user base of more than 700,000 people, which says it is passionate about “joining the fast-growing peer-to-peer financial revolution.” As a result of the partnership, BitMart users will be able to make payments using Paxful’s technology without paying listing fees, while Paxful users will have the opportunity to convert their Bitcoin into other cryptocurrencies through the exchange.

“A pivotal time for the crypto community”

Both companies say they hope to increase liquidity and scalability through their partnership — with Paxful focused on reaching emerging markets and the estimated 2 billion people worldwide who are unbanked. This emphasis on accessibility has been complemented through a free Bitcoin wallet, guiding users through the process of sending, receiving and storing Bitcoin. 

Ray Youssef, the CEO and co-founder of Paxful, said: “We’re excited to integrate with BitMart in efforts to bring more trading options to emerging markets. It has always been our mission to provide financial freedom worldwide and we see this as the next big step in the financial revolution.”

Sheldon Xia, the founder and CEO of BitMart, believes the collaboration will help the company fulfill its mission of providing a “convenient and secure financial service in the crypto market.” He added: “By offering users with more payment options, BitMart aims to lower the barriers to entry for new adopters of digital currency investment. An integration with a revolutionary company such as Paxful allows us to bring digital asset trading to those who would otherwise not have had the access.”

Paxful is available here

Growing demand

As reported by Cointelegraph, Paxful has reported growing demand for its service in recent months. Despite Bitcoin prices tumbling by 80% compared with the dizzying highs of almost $20,000 seen in December 2017, the volume of transactions on its platform has increased substantially — rising by 130% in Africa alone to an average of 17,000 trades on a daily basis. Difficulties in obtaining bank accounts on the continent, when combined with the impact that hyperinflation and political instability have had on African currencies, may have been a factor in the burgeoning interest that cryptocurrencies have been experiencing.

The partnership could see Paxful’s profile grow considerably — as at the time of writing, BitMart was the 17th-biggest crypto exchange in terms of trade volume on CoinMarketCap.

BitMart currently hosts 233 trading pairs and claims to offer the lowest withdrawal fees when compared with other mainstream exchange platforms. It says its user base spans more than 180 countries, with a 24/7 customer service team ensuring that support is available for consumers in every time zone. Its platform is also available in a multitude of languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Russian.

In describing what they hope the integration to achieve, both companies said they aim to provide “education, opportunities and allow the unbanked, underbanked and overbanked to participate in a growing peer-to-peer financial ecosystem.”

Learn more about Paxful

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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IBM’s Blockchain Division Largely Unscathed After Layoffs of 1,700: Report

Only a handful of the 1,700 layoffs recently announced by IBM affected its blockchain division, according to a report.

Only a “very, very tiny percentage” of this month’s 1,700 job losses at IBM affected its blockchain division, The Block reported on June 20.

Jerry Cuomo, the vice president of IBM Blockchain Technology, told the website that the tech giant is prioritizing blockchain skills when making hiring and firing decisions — adding it was “full steam ahead” for his department.

The layoffs have been described as a “realignment plan.” The consulting arm of IBM’s blockchain business experienced some losses of  redundant positions, but its engineering side reportedly escaped unscathed. A source told The Block:

“The product team had no layoffs, there was nothing out of development. It was very limited on the blockchain side.”

IBM currently has about 340,000 employees, meaning that it let go of roughly 0.5% of its workforce. As CNBC reported on June 7, this doesn’t mean a hiring freeze is on the horizon. More than 7,600 openings were listed on IBM’s website at press time, many of them for newer areas of the business.

Earlier this week, the company announced upgrades to its IBM Blockchain Platform so it can run on multiple cloud networks including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

IBM has also been involved in a blockchain platform known as “Device ID,” which officially launched last week. The solution is designed to authenticate digital signatures to clamp down on financial crime, and is set to be used by nine banks across Brazil.

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Satoshi Nakamoto Apparent Author of Two Upcoming Books on Amazon

Two new books published under Satoshi Nakamoto’s name have appeared on Amazon.

Two different books published under Satoshi Nakamoto’s name have recently appeared on Amazon.

According to Amazon, both of the books — Wave and Ripple Design Book and The Official Bitcoin Coloring Book — are scheduled for release on June 28. The profile of the author makes it clear that he indeed claims to be the same Satoshi Nakamoto who created bitcoin (BTC):

“Satoshi Nakamoto is the renowned inventor of Bitcoin.”

The author’s profile also states that “100% of his book royalties to support STEM and environmental education programs serving underprivileged youth.” The store descriptions of the books themselves seemingly contain inside jokes about the cryptocurrency space and the myth of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Wave and Ripple Design Book, for instance, appears to hint at both the Japanese roots of the bitcoin creator’s pseudonym, as well as to Ripple (XRP):

“A wonderful selection of wave and ripple designs curated by Satoshi Nakamoto. […] Yuzan’s designs were often used by Japanese craftsmen in the early 1900s to adorn their wares with wave and ripple patterns.”

The second book, The Official Bitcoin Coloring Book, contains less subtle jokes such as stating that it has been “printed on a brilliant white paper.” The product page also displays editorial reviews by Etheorum creator Vitallike Buttering, J.P. Morgain CEO Diamond James, and billionaire investor and Chairman of the Bored Buffet Warden, all misspellings of individuals and organizations famous within the space.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, many have claimed to be the mysterious Satoshi over the last 10 years, but their assertions have always been met with skepticism and have lacked any substantive evidence.

At the end of May, a Chinese citizen residing in California claimed copyright to bitcoin’s white paper, claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto. This copyright claim came on the heels of an identical one by Craig Wright, who has long declared himself to be the inventor of bitcoin, despite public backlash and his own periodic slip-ups while maintaining that narrative.

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Amazon Pay VP Says No Current Plans to Create Crypto: ‘We Don’t Deal in the Speculative’

A senior executive at the online giant says that the landscape right now means Libra is “fresh and speculative.”

Amazon would only consider discussing the creation of its own cryptocurrency like Facebook’s Libra in several years’ time, a senior executive said at a conference on June 10.

Speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Finance 2019 event, Patrick Gaulthier, vice president of Amazon Pay, said the kind of value transfer system Facebook unveiled this week was a step too far in the current climate.

“It’s fresh, it’s speculative; at Amazon, we don’t really deal with the speculative, in the now,” he said.

Facebook continues to cause a stir in cryptocurrency, financial and government circles in the wake of the first publicity material around Libra going live.

Billed as a network designed to allow users to send money like messages or pictures on social media, the scheme has attracted scorn for its technical setup and roadmap, while some lawmakers have already gone as far as to request the company halt development altogether.

As a potential alternative to fiat money and central banks, other commentators have suggested some governments, for example Russia, will seek to block Facebook and any other product supporting Libra.

In the United States, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a dedicated hearing on the cryptocurrency next month, Cointelegraph reported.

Amazon has so far steered clear of cryptocurrency implementation despite various rumors in recent years, favoring blockchain research.

Depending on how the space evolves, however, the retail giant may reconsider the Libra-style cryptocurrency option in the mid-term.

“At Amazon, we deal with data a lot, so I’ll be happy to have that conversation two or three years from now,” Gaulthier summarized.

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MetLife’s LumenLab Using Blockchain to Automate Life Insurance Claims

Bereaved families who place an obituary for a loved one in a newspaper will now be able to instantly trigger searches for a matching life insurance policy.

MetLife subsidiary LumenLab is using blockchain technology to automate life insurance claims, according to a news release published on June 17.

Known as “Lifechain,” the collaboration with Singapore Press Holdings and NTUC Income will enable bereaved families who place obituaries in a local newspaper to instantly trigger searches to see whether their loved one had a life insurance policy.

This month, 1,000 Income policyholders will be randomly selected to take part in a pilot scheme.

The technology works by submitting the deceased’s National Registration Identity Card to Lifechain as hashed data once consent from the family has been obtained. Families are notified within one business day when a matching policy is found, and a notification is automatically sent to the insurer so the claims process can commence.

Julian Tan, the chief of digital business at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH,) said:

“SPH hopes to expand Lifechain to include more insurers in time to come to bring greater convenience to family members attending to the deceased’s administrative matters securely.”

Insurance companies are increasingly turning to blockchain technology. Earlier this week, tech firm BlockClaim received $627,000 in funding for a platform that uses blockchain to automate car insurance claims.

Meanwhile, British insurance agency Legal & General recently announced it has teamed up with Amazon to create a blockchain system for managing pension deals.

At the Synchronize Europe conference in London on June 18, attended by a Cointelegraph correspondent, Accenture managing director Sarah Hazzledine said there were “huge opportunities for digitization” in the paper-based sector. She also confirmed that the global accounting giant is part of an insurance consortium building a distributed ledger (DLT) platform with two use cases that are scheduled to launch within the next six to 12 months.