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Bitcoin (BTC) ‘I Told You So’ At All Time High

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–Not much has changed in a year.

While the price of BTC has slipped precipitously since ending 2017 trading near $20,000, the industry of cryptocurrency has remained as polarizing as ever. Throughout the bullish run that characterized last year, economists, financial reporters and Wall Street moguls continued to point out the flaws of the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ranging from the dangers of deflationary currencies to the extreme price volatility of the crypto markets, Bitcoin had no shortage of detractors who attempted to steer away investors even during the height of price appreciation.

Rather than focusing on growth through adoption, educating a population on a novel technology or establishing legitimate uses that extending beyond “digital money,” the narrative surrounding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency became one of greed and confusion. The relentless media cycle at the end of 2017 fluctuated between arrogant perplexity and annoyed FOMO, with early crypto adopters being hailed as visionary innovators or just plain lucky depending who you asked. The water cooler conversation for crypto made an abrupt change from “What is Bitcoin?” to “How can I get rich?”

The end result, which should have been predictable from a standpoint of a nascent industry, was over-inflation of value and even greater expectations. The bull run to end 2017 and extend into the first weeks of January was built upon investors who felt fearless in their decisions, not taking the time to learn about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or the extensive altcoin market–including a litany of ICOs that would prove disastrous over the year. A white paper and a promise was enough to drive billion dollar valuations, with most investors simply looking for the next coin of the day to get pumped on exchanges.

As opposed to the organic growth that most technology needs to establish itself in the mind of Main Street, Bitcoin became the unfortunate recipient of overextending expectations. Investors  bought into crypto with not just the expectation of asset-appreciation but ludicrous overnight wealth to be obtained. Few asked where the technology was at in terms of development, and why certain barriers to scale–such as transaction fees and speeds–would still be months and years away from being solved.

The market collapse that followed in January and February, extending into the final month of the year with Bitcoin and altcoins hitting their relative low, has brought out a host of schadenfreude, with nearly every economist and analyst waiting to cast stones at the industry of crypto and the investors who bought in during the fall. For most in the industry of crypto, the financial narrative is producing an ongoing annoyance, with Bitcoin having been proclaimed “dead” many times before. But the overtone being applied to the more recent articles on Bitcoin’s demise is one filled with glee over the failure.

While some take pleasure in painting Bitcoin as the greatest bubble in history that finally popped, it’s becoming increasingly hard to take serious the opinions of financial professionals and experts who are allowing their emotional sides color their analysis. Somehow, Bitcoin transformed into as much an ideology as a technology, one that detractors feel compelled to stamp down upon to the extent of being irrational.

If anything, that might be all the indication supporters of Bitcoin need to find continued hope in the future of the currency.

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Drop in Bitcoin (BTC) Mining Increasing Network Risk

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency, Mining–As previously reported by EWN, the drop in Bitcoin hash rate which has accompanied the most recent price fall throughout the month of November has raised a debate over the cause of decreased mining, and the potential ramifications.

Some Twitter users pointed to an outright abandonment of cryptocurrency mining, with drop in valuation from $6500 to the recent lof of $3500 (including nearly $100 billion wiped in market cap from all coins) as being the catalyze to spark a mass exodus in miners. Given the state of the cryptocurrency industry just one year ago, where mining rigs were in high demand and even established companies were jumping ship to join the mining craze, the end of 2018 has seen a compelling shift in attitude.

A video published last week, which shows hundreds of expensive mining rigs sitting unused in a warehouse, sparked an uproar in the crypto community, with some believing the footage to be doctored in an attempt to publish more FUD at an already low point for the market.

However, other outlets have vouched their support for the incidence, giving some credence that the industry of crypto mining is in decline with the falling prices. In some respect, it’s not surprise. The cost of equipment in conjunction with the amount of electricity required to mine at a profitable rate had inevitably led some once enterprising individuals to cut their losses and exit the industry. But, as many have pointed out, there could also be a general shift away from BTC at present, with the mainstay of miners seeking out more profitable coins in the interim until Bitcoin prices show a more promising outlook.

For the remaining miners, the decreased competition means an increased chance of coin rewards. However, for the industry of cryptocurrency and the integrity of Bitcoin transactions, the decreased rate of mining and hash rate for the top currency by market cap also increases the network risk for attack. While the direction of the industry was, to the regret of many fans of decentralization, trending towards consolidation prior to the recent dropping hash rate, the most recent exodus has led to a worsening effect.

According to data published by Bloomberg,

At least 100,000 individual miners have shut down, according to Autonomous Research LLP. Fundstrat Global Advisors LLC estimates that about 1.4 million servers have been unplugged since early September.

Malachi Salcido, head of Salcido Enterprises–one of the largest mining groups in North America–says that the falling profitability of crypto mining is shaking out the weak hands, but also causing a concentration of power for the remaining few,

“We are entering in the phase when there’s a flushing out of the market. There will be relatively few operations that come out the other side.”

Bitcoin’s network relies upon the decentralization of mining services. With hash rates falling 36 percent since their peak in August, and problem-solving difficulty down 10 percent, the conglomerate mining networks are raking in newly minted coins, but also posing an increased risk of a 51 percent attack. With less variable rigs contributing to the network’s hash rate, the opportunity for one mining group, or a coalition of miners to gain control of the service also greatly increases.

Not only would controlling miners hold the lion’s share of new coins being produced, but they would also be able to influence the transaction landscape–with the ability to inflate fees, reverse specific transactions, or halt them all together.

Many within the industry have pointed to the mutualism of the Bitcoin ecosystem as being sufficient to prevent such an attack. If miners put a stranglehold on transaction services, the overall usability of the platform plummets which in turn leads to fewer transactions (and fees) in addition to a falling valuation for BTC. According to this logic, miners benefit as much as users for maintaining a fair ecosystem.

However, only time will tell the effects of such consolidation of power. Without true decentralization in its pocket, the appeal of Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies begins to fall to that of traditional fiat.

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Bloomberg: $500 million in Tether (USDT) Has Made No Impact on Bitcoin (BTC) Price

Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT)–Despite Tether (USDT) printing over half a billion dollars worth of new coinage throughout the month of August, financial news outlet Bloomberg reports the move has had little to no impact upon the crypto markets.

While the company behind the most popular stablecoin cryptocurrency, now ranked 8th in total market capitalization with $2.84 billion in circulation, has been the target of numerous investigations, particularly those pertaining to the assets backing the coin, August’s massive influx of new tethers is apparently not swaying the crypto markets. Despite adding an additional $500 million worth to the total market capitalization, a move that has in the past brought accusations of Tether and its partners artificially propping up the price of the industry, Bloomberg reports that the link between new USDT hitting exchanges and an increasing Bitcoin price has eroded over the past year. Whether because of the prolonged bear cycle of 2018, which is already drawing attention for its investor fatigue, or a new market force at work, Tether no longer has the same impact as in the past.

Several economists and market analysts, most recently a group out of the University of Texas, have been observing Tether, it’s regular injecting of USDT into the market and the impact that has upon crypto prices to conclude that some form of manipulation or price stabilization is occuring. With the massive influx of freshly minted Tethers throughout the month of August, Bloomberg feels confident concluding that the input of the high-profile stablecoin is no longer swaying prices. Bloomberg also refutes another paper by the research group Chainalysis, which made the claim that USDT is influencing prices of altcoins and smaller capitalization cryptocurrencies, even if the stablecoin fails to move the price of BTC as it did with some regularity throughout 2017. Citing as an example, Bloomberg looks at August’s push of half a billion dollars worth of USDT into the crypto markets, without a corresponding price increase–or stabilization–for Bitcoin, in addition to other popular currencies such as EOS and NEO. Instead, altcoins have been largely in decline, with the price of Bitcoin fluctuating throughout the $6000 – $7000 range since the beginning of the month.

Whereas past injections of Tether, particularly to the tune of half a billion dollars (or roughly 17 percent of the total Tether now in circulation) would have corresponded to a significant price movement for Bitcoin, and the crypto markets in general. Instead, August 2018 has seen one of the steepest declines across the board for BTC and altcoins, with most currencies experiences double-digit losses in an already prolonged bear market. This has led some to the conclusion that either Tether is not directly manipulating the market with its timing and method for USDT injection–or at the very least not attempting to do so–or that the same forces that coupled Bitcoin rallies so closely with Tether injections have evaporated from the market.

Some have found stablecoins to be an interesting caveat to the high volatility, high risk of cryptocurrency investing. Compared to BTC and other altcoins, USDT and its brand of stablecoins provide the benefits of cryptocurrency while pegging the valuation to a fixed amount–in this case the U.S. dollar. Some find that the currencies exhibit too much centralization, and lack the departure from government fiat that has been so enticingly portrayed in the majority of cryptocurrencies. However, with the slumping crypto markets throughout 2018, Tether has become a safe harbor for investor funds, particularly those left on exchanges to ride out the price volatility of the market.

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Australians Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin (BTC)–In terms of adoption for cryptocurrency, being able to pay for real world goods and services with the digital currency has long been viewed as the gold standard. The bear market of 2018 has led to a shift in focus away from the fundamentals of crypto and the usability of blockchain transactions in favor of wild price speculation. However, an Australian-based partnership is attempting to provide a solution for customers looking to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchange Cointree announced a joint-venture with billing platform Gobbill to give Australian customers the opportunity to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency. The goal of the union is to provide a solution for automated billing via crypto, with Gobbill functioning as the intermediary in the exchange, taking user funds in crypto and making the payment in fiat.

Using the Cointree wallet, users of the cryptocurrency exchange will be able to convert stored coins automatically into utility bill payments, giving customers the opportunity to pay in BTC, XRP, and nearly 40 other currencies. While Australian utility companies will not be accepting crypto directly for payment (the exchange involves a conversion to fiat), it does represent a way for Australian crypto users to get around having to cash out of their denomination on exchanges to free up funds for utility payment. The service is being aimed at small businesses and average investors, with the co-founder and CEO of Gobbill, Shendon Ewans, expounding upon the planned form of payment,

“We anticipate a surge in the number of customers who would like to pay their bills in crypto in the coming years. Our partnership with Cointree will cater to this market and ensure Gobbill continues to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to allowing our users to pay their bills automatically, while knowing they’re protected from fraud and scams.”

According to Ewans, Gobbill views this partnership with Cointree as getting ahead of the curve, a refrain we have heard several times from tangential businesses attempting to capitalize on cryptocurrency. By offering a service that automatically takes payments in cryptocurrency, Gobbill is exposing itself to the growing, and vocal, userbase of cryptocurrency, in addition to paving a future for their company that involves a takeoff in the digital currencies.

Cointree also sees partnerships for bill payments and automatic drafting as a way to increase their customer base, with efforts already enacted for several years on the front of crypto-to-bill payment. Jess Rendon, operations manager of Cointree, reported that the company has processed $100 million in bills paid in 2017,

“Last year alone we had about AU$100 million of bills paid and saw ten times growth in this payment feature.

CCN reports that paying bills with cryptocurrency has seen an explosion in Australia over the last several years, having grown by 3300% in a three-year period. While the system devised by Gobbill is still a step removed from utility companies accepting Bitcoin and altcoins directly, it does provide another avenue for investors looking to use their coins outside of exchange speculation.

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Top 10 Cryptocurrencies See Green After a Tumultuous Week

Bitcoin (BTC)–After one of the hardest hitting weeks to the crypto markets in an otherwise bearish year, the top ten currencies by market capitalization appear to be in recovery.

On Monday, the total market capilization of cryptocurrency dipped below $200 billion for the first time since last year, signaling a relative low from January 2018’s near-trillion dollar valuation. Altcoins in particular experienced a severe decline, with currencies across the board posting double-digit losses throughout the week.

Ethereum, an otherwise stalwart coin that has both developers and investors excited over, dropped to a valuation not seen since last year, making for a full retraction in value following the bull run to start the year. Various analysts disagreed over the exact reason for the plunging price of Ether, but two predominant theories emerged. The first was proposed by Biswas Das, director of crypto hedge fund BloomWater Capital, who blamed the ICO market for causing a decline in Ethereum. According to Das, the falling crypto markets in addition to jumpy venture capitalists were leading to a mass sell-off in the Ether collected for ICOs–in part to cover costs, but also to lock in profits ahead of a total market collapse,

“These startups are raising a lot of funds but they don’t have treasury management or enough cash management experience, so they’re selling too early and causing a lot of pressure in the market. It was fine last year but right now the the market is so fragile that it causes a lot of pressure.”

Arthur Hayes, CEO and co-founder of crypto exchange BitMex, echoed the sentiment that ICOs were hurting the price of Ethereum, making a bold claim that he believed price depression would lead to Ether dropping below $100.

While Ethereum benefited through most of 2017 and early 2018 from the massive boom in ICO development, of which almost every project is built upon the ERC-20 platform, the plunging price of crypto has led the initial coin offering venture capitalists to force sell Ether. However, in a statement to CCN, eToro’s Mati Greenspan blamed the sinking price of cryptocurrency and Ethereum on a strengthening dollar. According to Greenspan, efforts to stave off inflation in the United States is leading to a stronger dollar, which means investors have less incentive to shelter their funds from inflation in cryptocurrency, particularly with the massive price volatility currently wreaking havoc on the market,

“As the United States moves to tighten its economy and avoid strong inflation, they’re taking action that is strengthening the Dollar. Because the US Dollar is the global reserve currency, many smaller economies rely heavily on a stable exchange rate with the greenback. So too, as the Dollar is being seen as a stable store of value at the moment, there really isn’t much incentive for people to store their money in digital assets.”

Most of the market is still hinging upon a decision by the United States Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) over whether to approve a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund. The belief is still that institutional investors and most Wall Street players are waiting for greater government regulation in the cryptomarkets before entering, which has produced a large amount of interest over ETFs.

As of writing, total market capitalization was holding at $210 billion.

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Ethereum Co-Founder: Sinking Price of Crypto Will Not Hurt Growth

Ethereum (ETH)–Joseph Lubin, one of the co-founders to the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization Ethereum and current CEO of ConsenSys Inc., told Bloomberg in an interview published yesterday that he is not concerned with the sinking price of cryptocurrency or the overall impact it will have upon the growth of the industry.

While investors across the world reel from double-digit losses to extend an already taxing market in 2018, Lubin is confident that the industry will continue it’s march of adoption and growth that has characterized 2018 despite the otherwise bearish atmosphere. In particular, Lubin cites last December’s massive bull run, which bled over into the early weeks of 2018, as being bubble-like developments that are similar to price increases in the past. As Lubin points out, the past occurrence of BTC and cryptocurrency in general spiking in price, followed by a crash (hence creating multiple bubbles over time) is just par for the course, and each time getting slightly worse. While the bubble makes for a terrible experience to investors having to survive the bear market, it doesn’t indicate that the industry is failing in terms of development or adoptive achievement. Lubin claims there have been,

“six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening.”

Despite being all consuming during the bubble, looking back on the ebb and flow of the market reveals a more steady movement in price, which Lubin refers to as ‘pimples’ on the chart. He also finds, in some small part, the severity of the crash to be indicative of the industry’s growth. The most recent crash has been that much more severe due to the fact that cryptocurrency is spreading, ICOs are on the rise, more projects are being developed with intriguing concepts compelling investors to pour money into,

“…we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive… I absolutely expect that there is a strong correlation between the rise in price and the growth of fundamental infrastructure in the ecosystem and the growth of development in the ecosystem. We are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or 10 months ago.”  

Lubin, like other leading authorities in the industry of cryptocurrency, blames part of the crash and price volatility on the large number of speculative investors swaying the market, creating unhealthy conditions and myopic goals. Lubin, who helped co-found Ethereum alongside the outspoken Vitalik Buterin, has put his primary focus on growing the cryptocurrency industry in terms of utility and building greater adoption rather than through a price-focused discourse. Having the market dominated by speculative-driven investors is not a proper indicator of how the actual industry and underlying technology is performing,

“So we can look at the price and make growth plans and projections, and we’re still on track, basically. So this is not unexpected.”

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Rich Dad Poor Dad Bullish on Bitcoin, Calls Fiat ‘Scam’

Bitcoin (BTC)–Despite the sinking valuation of the cryptomarkets, Bitcoin continues to find advocates from various sectors of society. Robert Kiyosaki, author of the best selling financial advice book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, came out in a recent podcast with strong support for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, in addition to describing the US-backed dollar as a “scam” and saying that fiat would fail to outlast crypto and a re-emergence of precious metals.

Echoing other sentiments like Peter Schiff, Mr. Kiyosaki stated that he believes the U.S. economy and mainstream financial system predicated on Wall Street is heading towards an immense collapse, one that will eclipse 2008 in terms of financial loss and damage to investors,

“Unfortunately we had a big crash in 2000, they called it the dotcom crash, then in 2008 it was the subprime real estate crash. The next is going to be the biggest of all. When it’s coming I don’t really know, but the foreshocks are sounding right now.”

In addition, the personal finance author had harsh criticisms for fiat and other government-controlled forms of money, in particular finding fault with an argument so often levied against Bitcoin: that there is little intrinsic value backing the dollar aside from what the government ascribes it. As some have pointed out, governments are required to accept fiat for taxes, thereby giving it some measure of real-world value over an alternative like cryptocurrency, But Mr. Kiyosaki doesn’t buy into the belief that fiat holds a sacred position in society, one that cryptocurrency or precious metals could never replace,

“There’s so much fake money. In 1971 Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard and the US dollar became fake money.”

The author also continues to by slamming the propensity for government-caused inflation, again finding support in the deflationary nature of cryptocurrencies–or at least the inability of rampant new printing of money,

“The problem is it also became invisible, so they could print as much as they wanted. That’s why savers got wiped out.”

Mr. Kiyosaki echoes some of the similar arguments of Peter Schiff, who has been labeled by many in the cryptocurrency industry as a detractor of crypto despite holding overlap in views towards decentralization. Like Schiff, who is credited for warning ahead of the 2008 collapse and now predicting a new crash in the market, Mr. Kiyosaki finds safety in the precious metals industry, saying that the average person can protect themselves from the influence of Wall Street and reckless behavior by the banking conglomerate by seeking refuge through gold and silver,

“For the average person just buy some Aussie gold or silver coins from the Perth Mint. When the dollar goes down, gold goes up.”

In his most bullish statements towards cryptocurrency, Kiyosaki commented that he believes government fiat will fail to have the same lifespan as cryptocurrency and precious metals, stating that crypto will come to be seen as the people’s money. Speaking in an interview on the Sane Crypto Podcast, Kiyosaki had this to say,

“God’s money, which is gold and silver, will be here after the cockroaches go extinct, and people’s money, which is [crypto] currency…I think the dollar is toast because gold and silver and cyber currency are going to take it out.”

Kiyosaki concluded his sentiment with “The U.S. dollar is a scam.”

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Poll: Cryptocurrency Will Make Up 5% of U.S. Investing in 2019

Cryptocurrency–A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll has found that cryptocurrency represents a decent portion of the expected investment by Americans for 2019. Despite the continued decline in Bitcoin price and overall valuation for the crypto markets, outlook for future investment still remains strong as more Americans are planning to get involved in the coming year.

Traditional stocks, bonds and real estate still hold the lion’s share of market interest, but perception is growing among U.S. investors that cryptocurrency might be the next big asset class to take part in, particularly to a degree that mitigates overall portfolio risk while still gaining exposure to the upside. Commissioned on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), The Harris Poll survey found that among the 35 percent of Americans who classify themselves as current investors or plan to invest in 2019, cryptocurrency will make up 5 percent of their overall investment. To put that number into perspective Exchange Traded-Funds (ETFs), which have dominated cryptocurrency headlines following the back and forth process through the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, constitute 8 percent of projected investment funds. With the SEC delaying decision on VanEck’s bid to form a Bitcoin ETF to the end of September, it’s possible there will be a crossover of the two investment classes by the time 2019 rolls around.

In addition to judging investment interest into cryptocurrency, the survey sought to gauge education and understanding of the industry within America’s active investors. While the numbers were in line with other reports of lower-than-desired education levels, the poll reports just under 50 percent of respondents had little to no understanding of cryptocurrency–a sign of the times that the industry still has a long way to go before reaching market saturation and greater adoption. In a statement addressing The Harris Poll findings, the AICPA remarked upon the level of familiarity exhibited by American adults towards cryptocurrency, despite the promising numbers for future investment,

“Cryptocurrency appears to be foreign to many investors. The survey found that nearly half of U.S. adults (48 percent) are not familiar with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.”

The poll also found that current investors into cryptocurrency and those who were familiar with the industry held disagreeing opinions over the future of the market, an understandable sentiment given the volatility experienced throughout 2018. Among respondents who fit this criteria, 24 percent expected cryptocurrency to continue to appreciate in price, despite the current bear trend, while 29 percent reported that the market was in for further decline. Respondents also identified market volatility, with 35 percent believing that the price would continue to fluctuate wildly, and only 12 percent reporting that prices would stay the same.

Reflecting the balanced portfolio approach of polled investors, which weighed cryptocurrency as only a small, but risky portion of their overall investment, the AICPA report cautioned over the risks associated with crypto while taking a long-term approach on the market,

“Before Americans invest their hard-earned money, it is important they take control of their financial future and do some research … A well-researched and properly diversified portfolio that matches an investors risk tolerance will give confidence to stay focused on long-term strategy and protect from the temptation to sell during short-term price swings.”

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UBS: ‘Lack of Stability’ Preventing Bitcoin Going Mainstream

Bitcoin (BTC)–One of the world’s largest investment banks has commented upon the rise of cryptocurrency, and found fault with the scalability and price volatility associated with Bitcoin.

The Union Bank of Switzerland, an investment bank and financial services company, has joined the list of Bitcoin detractors who point out the obvious flaw with the currency: price volatility will continue to repulse the average person from using it as a form of money. As reported by CNBC, UBS strategist Joni Teves wrote in a letter to clients that Bitcoin should not be considered a “legitimate asset class.” The strategist warned that increased regulatory support is still warranted, and that technical hurdles related to scalability continue to prevent the coin from going mainstream. In addition, he also found fault with the price volatility–a refrain that has become common in and outside of the industry–that makes Bitcoin difficult to use as a regular currency,

“Bitcoin is still too unstable and limited to become a viable means of payment or a mainstream asset class. Owing to its lack of price stability, bitcoin falls short of criteria that need to be satisfied to be considered money.”

As Bitcoin’s price continues to tumble towards $7000 and prolong 2018’s bearish cycle, the cryptocurrency critics highlighting price volatility seem to be announcing themselves in droves. Despite the belief by many within the industry that a Bitcoin based ETF is going to overcome the hurdle of SEC approval, UBS remains skeptical of BTC’s ability to function as money,

“Fixed supply and unusual demand dynamics make the system susceptible to high price volatility, in turn making it difficult for bitcoin to step into the role of money or to be a viable new asset class.”

However, the investment bank is not entirely writing off the future of cryptocurrency–instead they find scalability and erratic valuation to be a barrier to going mainstream. Regulatory support, such as the aforementioned SEC approved ETF, would be the first major step to overcoming the hurdle of acceptance. At present, institutional and Wall Street money has yet to fully back crypto, in part because of the murky regulatory and legal landscape of the investment. Scalability is also highlighted in the paper as an area for the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization to improve upon. In January, as the crypto markets were reaching their pinnacle for the year, the utility of BTC transactions ground to a halt in the form of high fees and slow confirmations. According to BitInfo, average BTC transaction fees hovered around $55 at the beginning of the year, creating an expensive, congested network just when the cryptocurrency was getting its widest global exposure.

Despite the harsh words on price volatility, the UBS report contends that Bitcoin could find a future as a payment platform or investment vehicle, stating BTC could one day become,

“a viable payment mechanism and/or a legitimate asset class in which even the most conservative and traditional investors can participate.”

The UBS report reiterates a commitment to continued research and investigation into cryptocurrency, particularly for the benefit of the underlying blockchain technology.

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Gallup Poll: 26% of U.S. Investors ‘Intrigued’ By Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin (BTC)–Potential adoption for the top ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization looks a whole lot better following the release of a new Gallup poll.

On Friday, the results of a Wells Fargo/Gallup poll revealed that while only a small percentage of Americans are currently invested in Bitcoin, over a quarter of investors are intrigued by the cryptocurrency. The study’s published results found that 2 percent of U.S. investors polled reported owning BTC, while 26 percent said they were ‘intrigued’ by the prospect of investing in the high profile cryptocurrency. In addition, three in four investors who had heard of Bitcoin reported it to be “very risky” as a source of investment, reflecting the typical sentiment of general media outlets that focus on the price volatility of the currency.

Gallup, Inc., an American research based company, is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive analytics firms for public opinion polls across the globe. Between May 7 – 14 of this year, the company conducted an online survey among U.S. investors with more than $10,000 in stocks, bonds and/or mutual funds. The results of the poll reflected a general lack of understanding about cryptocurrency by much of the investment market, as well as the aforementioned fixation on price volatility. While 96 percent of polled investors had heard of Bitcoin, only 29 percent reported knowing something about digital currencies, with another two-thirds of investors reporting having heard of other cryptocurrencies but not knowing much about them. Price volatility and risk emerged in the poll results, with 75 percent of polled investors reporting BTC to be “very risky,” and another 23 percent calling it “somewhat risky.”

As the papers outlines, polled investors seemed to ignore or not be entirely aware of Bitcoin’s utility as a tool for digital payment, instead choosing to focus on the price volatility that provides potentially high reward but for a tradeoff in risk,

“[Bitcoin’s] more popular as a high-risk/high-reward investment than as an online currency — although acceptance of Bitcoin for electronic payments is growing.”

Younger males made up the largest demographic for being aware or invested in Bitcoin and other digital currencies, with a divide in age difference also revealing a similar statistic for younger investors with less capital,

“investors with less than $100,000 in investments (who tend to be younger) are more likely to be familiar with the innovation than those with higher asset levels.”

The poll concludes that Bitcoin, in large part due to 2018’s sharp decline in price, is still primarily viewed by many investors as a bubble, with the majority of uninvested respondents preferring to wait and see how the price swing plays out,

“The price of bitcoin is back on an upswing after crashing earlier this year, causing some to say its bubble is again about to burst and others to argue that its value will only accelerate as more merchants inevitably adopt it. For now, most investors are on the sidelines, knowing little to nothing about bitcoin. Few are already invested in it, and even fewer plan to jump in soon.”

Clearly education, particularly in the form of greater understanding about what cryptocurrencies are, how they function, and what the underlying technology provides to both the world and financial markets would help improve the adoption of the currency with well capitalized investors.

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