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Tom Lee: Bitcoin, XRP, Ether Have Staying Power — BTC To Do “Very Well” In 2019

Tom Lee Chalks Up Recent Bitcoin Crash To “Macro Meltdown”

Diehard Bitcoin bull Tom Lee, the head of research at New York-based Fundstrat Global Advisors, recently sat down with CoinTelegraph to provide his insights into the recent Bitcoin (BTC) crash. Although Lee is often lambasted for his overly bullish calls, such as his forecast for BTC to eclipse $15,000, the Fundstrat representative staved away from issuing price predictions in this interview.

Doing his best to attribute Bitcoin’s foray under $6,000, then $5,000, then $4,000 to a catalyst, Lee, contradicting sentiment that crypto assets act against traditional markets, noted:

Global markets are down more than 10% between October and November. While crypto actually had a negative correlation, in the last six weeks, it has flipped to one of the highest levels of correlation to global markets. So I think that the macro meltdown has actually finally hit the crypto, which further contributed to the essential panic selling.

As reported by Ethereum World News, in the past three to four months alone, the world’s five foremost technology stocks have lost a collective $822 billion, evidently instilling boatloads of fear in the hearts of investors, both in the crypto and stock markets.

While others have attributed crypto’s most recent crash, which sent the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies freefalling under $140 billion, to others factors, more investors are getting convinced that the tumultuous stock market has been a strong bearish catalyst. Still, the fact of the matter is that markets aren’t cut and dried, so the contentious BItcoin Cash hard fork, coupled with the SEC’s recent crackdown on ICO-funded tokens, likely only accentuated the downturn.

Advice To “HODLers”

CoinTelegraph, aiming to get an inside scoop on Lee’s market outlook, asked the prominent market researcher, formerly of JP Morgan, if he had some advice to give to “HODLers” — zealous cryptocurrency investors that are hesitant to capitulate.

Surprisingly, seemingly contradicting his EOY price prediction and undying bullish sentiment for Bitcoin, Lee noted that investors “need to be patient,” adding that Fundstrat itself advises its clients to have small exposure to crypto — a mere 1% to 2% of their investment portfolio. Giving this statement some rationale, he explained:

So, number one, they’re not worrying about it every day. But also that’s 2% could become 50% in a decade it can grow dramatically.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP Have Staying Power

Although Lee went on to note that “some crypto projects are probably hopeless,” the Fundstrat in-house crypto savant explained that notable players, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP, likely have the highest chance of surviving, especially in stormy market conditions.

Explaining why this is the case, Lee noted that unless the aforementioned projects are inherently broken, they are likely to maintain a semblance of value. So, when asked if now is an optimal time to buy into Bitcoin, the Fundstrat researcher explained:

So to me, crypto is exactly this moment that Bitcoin may have a downside in the near-term. But this doesn’t change the fact that it’s still the earliest days of crypto, and it’s about to become an emerging asset class. So, [these factors] are going to carry much higher prices… adoption is going to grow. and that we have institutional investors that will have opportunities to invest. So I think 2019 is a great year for Bitcoin.

Crypto Assets Have Room To Grow

Speaking on-stage at the most recent installment of Blockshow, held in Singapore, Lee made similar claims, noting that Bitcoin is “bent, not broken,” before adding that there is still “enviable” profitability in the cryptosphere, estimating that BitMEX is poised to make $1.2 billion in fiscal 2018.

This profit alone would make BitMEX, an infant crypto mercantile platform, more profitable than Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing and Nasdaq, even while Bitcoin is just a decade-old creation. Like they say, “the proof in the pudding.” So, crypto isn’t going anywhere, and, more importantly, has a copious amount of leg room and big shoes to fill.

Title Image Courtesy of tian kuan on Unsplash

The post Tom Lee: Bitcoin, XRP, Ether Have Staying Power — BTC To Do “Very Well” In 2019 appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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IT Analyst Jason Bloomberg: What I’m Really Saying Is ‘Shut Down Permissionless Blockchains’

IT industry analyst Jason Bloomberg tells CT why he doesn’t believe in trustless systems and how he sees permissionless blockchains being “shut down.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Aside from occasional blisteringly anti-crypto commentary from the likes of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, one of the crypto industry’s most consistent and vocal naysayers is IT industry analyst Jason Bloomberg.

Bloomberg is a published author, Forbes contributor and president of the firm Intellyx, which helps enterprises integrate new technological developments and trends into their business models.

Bloomberg also devotes a significant amount of his time to attending crypto and blockchain-related conferences and events, speaking and debating with industry leaders. His public stance, however, can be characterized as anti-crypto, but more accurately it is anti-decentralized, permissionless crypto — against the original dream of truly decentralized, peer-to-peer interactions laid out in the Bitcoin (BTC) white paper that captured the imaginations of early adopters.

Last month at BlockShow Americas in Las Vegas, Cointelegraph had a chance to speak with Bloomberg about why he wants to “shut down” decentralized crypto, what he sees as the threat of crypto-related crime and why he comes to blockchain industry events like BlockShow.

What’s wrong with permissionless blockchains

Olivia Capozzalo: So, you have a reputation for saying some pretty bold things about cryptocurrency. This spring you wrote an article in which there was a sentence stating something like “We need to make cryptocurrency as we know it illegal.”

Jason Bloomberg: Right. The challenge that most cryptocurrencies have is that they run on a permissionless blockchain infrastructure. By permissionless, we mean that there’s nobody in charge, right?

In a proof-of-work system, every transaction processor has to process the transactions. Because it’s permissionless, anybody can sign up as a miner, including criminals.

Now, not all miners are criminals, obviously, but criminals are welcome to be miners. There’s nothing stopping them from being miners. As a result, many criminal enterprises, including organized crime syndicates, have gotten into the mining business.

There’s really no way to stop this, aside from moving away from permissionless blockchain-based approaches.

So, when I say, “Shut all the cryptocurrencies down,” what I’m really saying is “shut down the permissionless ones.” If cryptocurrency is going to survive, we’ll have to move to a permissioned infrastructure.

OC: Just hypothetically, if people start taking you up on this call to action, what would that look like? Do you have a vision of how that would start to affect what we know today as the crypto industry?

JB: Well, in practical terms, it would be very difficult to shut down, say, Bitcoin, because it doesn’t exist in any one country. So each country would have to decide what laws it wanted to create in order to make transactions illegal, or whatever it would be.

What I would expect to happen is, over time, as various organizations and governments, as well as banks and Wall Street trading firms realize that permissionless cryptocurrency has these issues, then gradually the trend would be to encourage permissioned systems versus permissionless — and that would drive down the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that run on permissionless systems.

So if you drive down the value sufficiently, then it is no longer cost-effective to mine the cryptocurrency. And at certain point, then, essentially it will fall apart.

Nobody will be running transactions because there will be no money made in conducting transactions, and fewer and fewer countries will allow cryptocurrency. And hopefully, other cryptocurrencies that are based on permissioned systems will essentially take the line and investment is going to move to them.

But I would say that the permissionless ones will essentially fade over time. There will be less interest in them, they’ll be less valuable, and fewer and fewer people will want to mine them.

Watch the full interview with Jason Bloomberg here:

Against a trustless system

OC: For many, if not most people in the crypto industry, the fact that anyone can send money from one person to another directly — without intermediaries, without an enterprise, without a bank — is a core value.

What do you say to the people who really care about the decentralized aspect of cryptocurrency when you are talking about shifting the entire value system?

JB: You’re quite right, and this is a very astute point — the whole perspective on decentralized cryptocurrency blockchain versus the centralized permissioned approach. And for many people in this community, it’s all about decentralization, and some of them don’t even see permissioned blockchain as being blockchain at all.

In terms of decentralization, I still don’t see that there’s a way to implement decentralization without opening the doors to criminal enterprise.

And so, all of these people with these libertarian priorities, libertarian visions for a decentralized world with no government intervention — the problem there is that, if you don’t have sufficient regulation, if you don’t have sufficient permissioning of the transaction processors, then essentially, it becomes just a playground for criminal enterprise.

OC: What about the fact that not all cryptocurrencies are proof-of-work, you don’t need to mine all of them. You can have permissionless and proof-of-stake blockchains, right?

JB: Well, this is an important trend away from these permissionless systems to the more permissioned approach. And there could be a lot of different variations, whether it’s proof-of-stake…you know, Ripple is an example of a centralized, permissioned approach — and I would say that is really where the focus will be.

But whether or not there’s a way to solve the crime problem and still be decentralized, I just don’t see that because I think the whole point is that we need to have, essentially, a centralized entity that people put their trust in, who is now extending their trust to the participants in the infrastructure to the miners.

And without that, we are just allowing criminals in. And this has happened over the years with various approaches, right? This is nothing new.

Crypto and crime

OC: In the research that you’ve done, you see that the criminal involvement is increasing?

JB: The criminal involvement in cryptocurrency was one of the original reasons why cryptocurrency took off, so it’s one of the reasons why Bitcoin became as popular as it did in the earlier days.

And now, it’s only continuing to expand. I mentioned in my panel this morning that in 2017, the most active form of hacking of big business was ransomware. Ransomware is only practical when you can pay the ransoms in some sort of cryptocurrency. Before cryptocurrency, there was no ransomware, it just wasn’t feasible. So, cryptocurrency now gave the criminals a way to conduct ransomware.

That was 2017. Ransomware is no longer the most popular. In 2018, the most popular is cryptojacking — or illicit crypto mining — where the hacker puts crypto mining software either in a browser, but increasingly on servers, both in enterprise centers and cloud environments that essentially sucks up electricity and pays the criminal in some sort of cryptocurrency.

This is now the most popular, the most predominant way of hacking a big company.

So essentially, what cryptocurrency has become is not only a way for criminals to get into the mining, but it’s a way to conduct criminal transactions, it’s a way to conduct hacking.

If you look at the dark web, the whole economic context for the dark web is cryptocurrency. The dark web wasn’t really practical — because there was no good way of exchanging funds — until cryptocurrency came along.

OC: But one of the arguments that people make is that crime-related transactions are not the majority of the transactions happening with cryptocurrency.

There’s always going to be crime, so why would you fight the medium of exchange — cash, crypto, whatever it is — rather than looking for other ways to prevent or prosecute crime?

JB: Well, criminals have been using cash since the invention of cash, obviously. But that’s actually a false comparison. You’re saying, “Well, because criminals can use cash, we shouldn’t worry about criminals using cryptocurrency.”

It’s like saying, “Well, if I get stopped for speeding, my argument to the cop should be that other people are speeding,” or, “Other people were going faster than I was.” No cop is going to let you off of a ticket because you said that somebody else has committed a crime. That is not a justification for a crime.

OC: But here’s the comparison. Why can the car go faster than the speed limit? Why don’t they just make cars that can’t go faster than a certain speed?

If you start controlling the means, it restricts people’s freedom. And I think that is a really important thing for people in crypto — it’s like, I want the freedom to be able to send you, transact with you on a peer-to-peer basis. I feel like It’s sort of crushing the dream of a decentralized world.

JB: Well, I don’t think it’s a question of crushing the dream, it’s that the technology that people have come up with does not support the dream. The dream of being able to conduct a transaction as easily as giving you a dollar bill, but be able to do it internationally, electronically — okay, well that makes sense on the superficial level, so why come up with this huge technology infrastructure that is hugely valuable to the criminals and becomes a central element of organized crime, globally speaking.

And this has happened over the years. In fact, I’ve just read some research that came in a newsletter this morning, about how this notion of decentralized network communication — we’ve never come up with a way of doing it without it just ending up being a means for criminal activity.

Back in the 80s, hardcore pornography was hard to come by. The web wasn’t around. You’d go to your local store, you could get Playboy — but that wasn’t hardcore — so this was it. And it was mostly illegal until the Clinton administration relaxed the obscenity rules in the 1990s. Once the Clinton administration did that, mainstream pornography moved to the web, and it’s been there ever since.

Now along comes BitTorrent. We’re now using the internet, internet speeds are going faster, we’re now able to download videos. So, what do we do? We come up with a peer-to-peer, decentralized protocol that allows anybody to exchange big files with anybody else. So, what do you use that for? Well, pirated software, pirated videos and illegal pornography. Because that was the primary use. This is just human nature: If you have a way of exchanging information or files that is hidden from view, then it is going to be primarily used by criminals to conduct criminal activity.

The problem with BitTorrent was that BitTorrent itself was not particularly anonymous — you had to identify your IP address — so it wasn’t very good for organized crime. It became, sort of, a disorganized crime protocol. It also didn’t provide a payment mechanism. It was more about sharing that illegal porn with your buddies than building a business.

What do we need? We needed a way of greater anonymity in the payments and a payment infrastructure. And along came Bitcoin. That’s why Bitcoin exploded, it was because BitTorrent did not have those things.

Now, you add Bitcoin to BitTorrent and now you can build a global, professional black market for illegal contraband and that’s the dark web.

This is the history of distributed technologies — it’s been one of facilitating criminal enterprise. Bitcoin played right into that, and now we have the dark web and now we have hackers who are leveraging the technologies as well.

This is the story. This is the story of cryptocurrency.

And people are pretending or fooling themselves that it’s about some sort of a libertarian ideal, where people are going to behave. No, people will not behave. Criminals are going to come in, and they are going to take over, and it’s going to be the whole reason why we have this stuff.

The cryptojacking threat

OC: You have this arguably pessimistic vision of how this all will turn out. Let’s get back into the nitty-gritty of cryptojacking, that particular type of hacking. What’s the exact harm being done there?

JB: So, with illicit crypto mining or cryptojacking, the early days were all about the browsers — you have some sort of compromised website that would give you some Javascript you would run on your browser. And so, your own computer would spin for a while, and it steals a little bit of electricity and a little bit of processor power from you.

That software has gotten better and now, even when you close your browser, it will still run on your computer. So, it’s sucking up your processor on your laptop. That is relatively minor compared to crypto mining software on a server. You put it on a server, it’s getting more sophisticated, it’s now consuming electricity and processor power on the server. If it’s in the cloud, it’s running up the cloud bill.

So, companies are paying money for their cloud services, including any crypto mining that is running on there. If it’s on premises, it’s still consuming electricity and processor power, and will continue to do so until the miners proliferate and take the entire network down. It’s not just one hacker doing this. If a company is vulnerable, then multiple different bad guys are going to figure this out and put mining software, which is forming itself into botnets.

So, many different computers mining software, consuming electricity and processor power, unbeknownst to the other crypto mining software on the same servers.

Essentially, at certain point, it just uses up all the processing power, the server stops working and this could happen across the entire network. It could take down the entire company’s data center.

But because it is running behind the scenes, the way that criminals make their money is simply processing transactions and they get money from the Bitcoin or Monero infrastructure directly. The money isn’t going directly from the victim to the perpetrators. It’s indirect.

But as a result, it’s catching a lot of the CSOs, the chief security officers, unaware until such time that it takes down their entire network. So, this is already the biggest problem on corporate networks today, but it’s not going to take as much attention as perhaps it should because it doesn’t have the command-and-control link and, in the early days, it doesn’t have much impact.

OC: Okay, I see. And you think the solution, just to clarify, is not to deal with preventing that kind of an attack or mitigating it in some way, but actually shut down cryptocurrency because cryptocurrency is the problem here.

JB: Well, I don’t think this is really a practical solution. It would be great if I could say, “Well, we’ll just shut down cryptocurrency, that’s going to stop crypto mining.” And yes, it would, but I don’t think it’s practical for the reasons I listed: There’s no one country, it’s no one country’s laws.

So, it’s going to take a lot of time. And it’s going to be, really, the economic forces, right? It has to be less valuable to own certain cryptocurrencies over others. And once we shift the economy to the safer cryptocurrencies, then that is going to be a long-term, gradual solution.

In the short term, yes, it’s essentially traditional cyber security methods: malware detection and threat prevention. And this is where a lot of big companies are spending their cybersecurity dollars today.

Why we’re here

OC: Let me ask you a question that’s a little bit pointed, but what are you hoping to do by coming to BlockShow or any other crypto/blockchain-related events? Like, why are you here exactly?

JB: Why am I poking my stick into all these people? Well, I write for Forbes. I am a Forbes contributor, so I write five articles a month for Forbes. I’m always looking for good stories, and that’s a part of the story.

But I’m also, essentially, looking for the gems in the rough. I’m looking for those enterprise blockchain companies that have real solutions, at least in the works — obviously, it’s still early days, so it’s usually proofs-of-concept — but real solutions in the sense that they are solving business problems for companies who aren’t just other companies in the blockchain echo chamber.

Those are the stories that I think are the most important to tell. But yes, I can tell the stories about the flaws of cryptocurrencies or the problems with the libertarian perspective on things, but that only gets you so far.

Really, it’s more important to focus on the positive stories, right? The real business cases for real companies, who are solving real customer problems. And that’s really what I am looking for.

OC: Great, thank you so much.

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Experts Debate Crypto’s Future and Discuss Use Cases at BlockShow Americas 2018

The second day of the BlockShow Americas 2018 kicked off with a robust debate on the usefulness of cryptocurrencies between Nouriel Roubini, CEO of Roubini Macro Associates and predictor of the global financial crisis in 2008, also known as ‘Dr.Doom,’ and Alex Mashinsky, founder of Celsius Network. Roubini argued that “in the space of crypto there is zero security,” claiming there is “no democratization and decentralization.”

Mashinsky responded “the current system does not work for seven billion people in the world,” while “only people who work on Wall Street can pay their bills.” He added, “saying that fintech has nothing to do with crypto is not true.”

The conference continued with a discussion of blockchain deployment in e-commerce, and how it can benefit retailers and customers. Some of the speakers expressed doubts regarding crypto use in everyday life like Austin Kimm, COO at Crypterium.

Kimm said that there is “no real use case, [the industry has] to find a reason why older people will pick up using crypto.” Eric Benz, founding member of the U.K. Digital Currency Association, said that the ecosystem was very small, and that consumer uncertainty around cryptocurrencies is affecting its growth and its use.

“The size of this ecosystem is an amoeba… At the end of the day from a consumer perspective, I want to know that my money is with me at night.”

Later on, Roubini joined a debate on how blockchain is seen from the perspective of major institutions, joining industry players like Tone Vays, an ex-Wall Street professional and researcher, Sterlin Lujan, communication ambassador at Bitcoin.com, and David Drake, founder and chairman at LDJ Capital. Roubini asserted that “everything in the crypto space is useless,” and questioned the necessity of blockchain integration:

“Fintech is not blockchain. Why we need blockchain?! Billions of people doing billions of transactions using digital companies – PayPal, etc. What has it to do with blockchain? Zero. A farmer in Kenya can use Intesa. Why does he need blockchain?!”

Speaking about tokenization of physical assets, Mike Butcher, Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch, claimed that a robust legal infrastructure is necessary for the industry to thrive. Butcher said “regulation is the key”, noting that “Poland and France are embracing crypto as a legal methodology.”

Vladimir Tomko, CEO of Blockchain Cuties, argued that by 2019 the gaming industry will embrace tokenization “for sure.” While Tomko admitted that a lot of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were scams and some crypto games are ponzi schemes, Tomko said that the community and developers are working to make the environment more transparent and safer.

In a discussion on how blockchain can affect the Americas’ emerging economies, the panel moderator Michael Gasiorek claimed that there are “a lot of good intentions,” however the “problem is how to get citizens to be involved.”

While Manish Sharma, Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, proposed to give “power back to the people,” Dan Itkis, co-creator of blockchain payment processor GRAFT, argued that “blockchain is all about decentralization. The more you could divide through people, the more you are towards decentralization.”

During the Bitcoin ETF panel discussion, blockchain media advisor Dallas Santana said he is bored with crypto because “there is no real business behind it,” adding that he is “sick and tired of the Bitcoin story” as it is hurting the development of the industry. Santana argued that funds that do well will build portfolios “the old fashioned way”, by researching companies and their business models.

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BlockShow Americas 2018 Day Two Kicks Off, Discusses Benefits of Crypto, Bitcoin ETF

BlockShow Americas 2018 has started yesterday in Las Vegas, bringing together more than 1,500 attendees and 80 speakers in the crypto and blockchain industries to discuss widely debated topics on the new technology and its impact on the global community.

At the first day of the event on August 20, industry experts discussed major issues, including the new perspectives offered by the technologies and the question of interaction between major financial institutions and crypto, as well as the role of a proper regulatory approach to bring on the “blockchain future.”

Specifically, BlockShow speakers expressed their stance at a number of panels such as “Building Democracy on Blockchain,” “Wall Street vs Crypto,” “How Proper Regulatory Development Can Lead us to the Blockchain Future,” and others.

Today, August 21, BlockShow will gather major industry experts such as Dr. Nouriel Roubini, the CEO of Roubini Macro Associates who predicted the global financial crisis of 2008, Celsius founder Alex Mashinsky, and legal advisors Mike Miglio and Leslie Katz.

The second day of the event features closely studied topics in the industry such as the benefits of crypto, crypto regulations in the U.S., payment technologies, and crypto-based games, as well as one of the most recently discussed questions of a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF). Today’s event will also feature the BlockShow Oscar awards ceremony, where startups are selected by an expert jury based on the originality of their projects.

The first day of BlockShow featured a panel about democracy and blockchain, where the panelists were largely in agreement about blockchain’s potential to transform the concept of democracy by enabling higher levels of accountability and engagement.

Dimitris Vassiliadis, director of product and business development at credit software company EXUS, claimed that blockchain is about “reinventing the model of democracy.” Vassiliadis, who is also a Tech Expert Evaluator at the EU Commission, stressed that the technology will not only allow for more accurate electing and voting, but will also propel more engagement and participation:

“[Blockchain] is not just the electing and the voting part, which is very fundamental in the entire thing, but it actually is also maintaining the engagement and the participation in the nature of the democracy, following the election results.”

Herb Stephens, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and co-founder and treasurer at the Democracy Earth Foundation, supported Vassiliadis’s stance, stating that blockchain is “actually moving to real democracy that is ruling by the hundred percent.”

However, Stephens also questioned the deployment of blockchain by centralized authorities, claiming that blockchain was not invented because someone “needed the trust of the third party.” Stephens argued that society is “not gonna build trust when it’s in a centralized authority,” claiming that “in the next ten years exchanges will go away, including crypto exchanges, including NYSE, NASDAQ and all the other exchanges.”

Also yesterday, BlockShow had seen a heated discussion on how the traditional financial space could potentially “merge” with crypto at the panel “Wall Street vs Crypto,” where field experts disputed over the current level of awareness of crypto at major financial institutions and crypto’s susceptibility to criminal activity, as well as the crucial role of crypto regulatory approaches.

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Experts Discuss Blockchain and Democracy and The ‘Freedom of Money’ at BlockShow Americas

BlockShow Americas 2018 kicked off this morning in Las Vegas, gathering over 1,500 attendees and 80 speakers from the blockchain industry from more than 50 countries worldwide to discuss the hottest topics that affect the blockchain community.

Today, the Main Stage brought into focus governmental initiatives, blockchain’s impact on major industries, and the latest updates on technological and legal aspects, while the Second Stage provided a forum for ideas and conflicting opinions, where companies and global experts challenged each other’s positions.

The conference hosts industry leaders and professionals, who shed light on the disruptive nature of blockchain in the fields of AI, advertisement, real estate, and more. Johanna Maska, Ex-Head of White House Press Advance for President Barack Obama, delivered a speech on the possibility of building democracy with blockchain.

Herb Stephens, co-founder and treasurer at Democracy Earth Foundation, also spoke at the conference about blockchain-powered democracy. Stephens argued that “corruption exists in centralized databases. We are moving from corruptible to incorruptible.” Dmitry Matskevich, CEO and co-founder of Dbrain added:

“Democracy is about inclusion of minorities and  those without access including to technology. Ability [sic] to distribute the power from majority to minority.”

Bobby Lee, board member of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange BTCC, spoke about the “freedom of money.” According to Lee, financial institutions and regulators currently “have absolute control over your money.” He said:

“For me the crypto revolution is about freedom of money. Like freedom of speech.”

The famous Bitcoin advocate also outlined the top four mistakes to avoid in crypto investment; indecisiveness in investing, not buying enough, selling after a small gain, and selling after a panic crash.

The conference continued with debates on how proper regulation can foster blockchain development, featuring both industry players and tax, law, and accounting experts. Julian Zegelman, angel investor and founding partner at TMT Blockchain Fund, argued that the industry has been experiencing “jurisdictional agnosticism.”

Discussing challenges for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Naeem Aslam, CMA at ThinkMarkets and columnist at Forbes, said that “price stability is the key factor for ICOs and regulations.” Andrew L. Rossow, attorney and Adjunct Law Professor, commented:

“It starts with just being smart. Make sure you are protected. Not always believing in what you are seeing.”

Stay tuned to Cointelegraph for more news from BlockShow Americas 2018.

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BlockShow Americas 2018 Goes Live With ‘Wall Street vs Crypto’ Panel Discussion

The BlockShow Americas 2018 conference kicked off Monday, Aug. 20 in Las Vegas. The first panel discussion involved a heated debate between proponents of two opposite views of how — and if — blockchain should be regulated and adopted by institutions around the globe.

BlockShow is a series of fintech and crypto events, usually held in Singapore and Europe; the previous BlockShow took place in Berlin in the spring of this year.

The opening panel, titled “Wall Street vs Crypto,” brought together a number of industry experts to discuss the future potential of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), and the importance of regulatory involvement in the crypto sphere. Panelists debated the role of governments and financial institutions in paving the way for a “tsunami of innovation” enabled by blockchain.

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Moderated by TechCrunch’s editor-at-large Mike Butcher, the panel was comprised of five experts from the finance and crypto industries, including leading IT analyst and Forbes contributor Jason Bloomberg, CEO of Celsius Network Alex Mashinsky, and CEO of Regulated Transactions at Titan DX exchange Rich Gupta.

Addressing the main question of when the two industries — crypto and Wall Street — are going to “merge,” Gupta claimed that the “mergence is happening right before us,” and that the underlying technology of crypto is being adopted by a number of companies. Specifically, Gupta mentioned the important role of blockchain deployment in backend development and settlement processes.

Speaking from a different point of view, Jason Bloomberg argued that one of the most important reasons for Wall Street to stay away from crypto for now is the “time bomb” that is the “permissionless” nature of cryptocurrency, making it an “arm of organized crime.”

Mashinsky challenged Bloomberg’s claim by saying that the “[U.S.] dollar is the number one [currency for] criminal activity.” Bloomberg retorted by calling the argument the “most common fallacy” adding that it is incorrect to believe that the volume of crimes conducted with fiat currencies makes cryptocurrency’s susceptibility to criminal activity acceptable.

Bloomberg added that the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries need to be heavily regulated, and that the only cryptocurrencies that will survive long-term are those of “permissioned nature,” meaning that they are not decentralized and are instead controlled by a single entity.

Another issue brought up during the panel was how the U.S. regulates investment in the crypto space. According to Mashinsky, the financial requirements for becoming an accredited investor — either an annual income of $200,000 or a net worth of $1 million — precludes retail investors from turning a profit by investing in stocks directly, making crypto an accessible alternative for the public.

Titan DX’s Rich Gupta argued that the crypto industry needs similar regulations to protect the potential investors.

Stay tuned to Cointelegraph for more news from BlockShow Americas 2018, a cryptocurrency and blockchain themed conference that has brought together more than 1,500 speakers and attendees from all over the world.

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Blockchain for Good: How New Technology Is Helping Those in Need in Novel Ways

There has been a lot of discussion about how cryptocurrencies and blockchain can transform the world’s economy — leaving paper money behind and going truly digital. Indeed, many crypto businesses are pursuing solutions which can eradicate inefficiencies in practically every industry, positively affecting the goods and services we use every day.

But away from the profit margins, is there any way that blockchain can be a force for good? Some not-for-profit organizations — as well as companies and individuals who want to give back to the community — have shown that there’s a promising future in which this technology can address some of the biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

A real game “chainger”

Back in February, the international humanitarian charity UNICEF concocted a novel idea for helping children affected by the Syrian civil war. The premise was simple: enroll PC gamers with sophisticated graphics cards to use their spare capacity for mining Ethereum.

Whenever they were taking a break from the game or heading out, UNICEF’s program could be turned on — enabling them to make donations to war-torn families without losing out financially. It’s fair to say that the project, called Game Chaingers, was a success — over 59 days, with more than 12,000 computers involved, 85 ETH was raised to go toward UNICEF’s work in Syria.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme is using blockchain to tackle hunger in impoverished areas through the “Building Blocks” scheme, with more than 100,000 refugees benefiting so far. Back in April, the Belgian government made a €2 million contribution to the project.

Encouraging voting

Around the world, there can be a lot of mistrust concerning the integrity of elections. Voters are often left disillusioned by results, and over time, this can result in disappointingly low turnouts. In a prime example of blockchain being used for good, several nations are exploring whether this technology could help return confidence to the electoral process.

Ukraine’s Electoral Commission is working with NEM on a pilot voting system, and American troops overseas are being given the chance to use a blockchain-based smartphone app for casting their ballots in the midterm elections — if they are from West Virginia. A Russian polling research center also announced its use of blockchain to monitor exit poll results for the presidential elections earlier this year.

Delivering scientific advancement

There are several companies working to improve patient safety by championing blockchain as an ideal place for storing patient records — eliminating the inaccuracies, inefficiencies and geographical barriers that can arise from paper-based documents. Not only would such solutions enable someone to receive identical treatment based on their medical history even if they were thousands of miles away from home, but their data could also be anonymized and used to make exciting discoveries that pave the way for new treatments and revolutionary drugs.

Blockchain is also helping cutting-edge scientific disciplines, such as genomics. Public South Korean biotech enterprise Macrogen, the country’s leading gene sequencing service provider, announced they were developing a blockchain-based platform together a with local tech firm. The partnership aims to allow the secure and private storage and transfer of large amounts of sensitive genomic and personal information.

Meanwhile, the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which is home to 60 million people, has started to embrace blockchain, with the view to give their population better access to predictive and personalized treatments. It has signed an agreement with Shivom, a genomics company, which will allow locals to sell their genetic information for research purposes, improving databases that are heavily focused on people of European descent instead of ethnic minorities. Both parties also hope this will advance treatments for cancer and other genetic diseases.

While India says blockchain is promising, government officials say they are “categorically denying” the future use of cryptocurrencies themselves in any manner — including in payment systems.

Giving back

Of course, the act of doing good doesn’t necessarily need to involve creating an entire blockchain platform. Following the rise in the value of cryptocurrency in recent years — especially during 2017 — many of those who invested wisely in this technology decided it was time to give back and started philanthropic projects where they could donate to the causes they were most passionate about.

One such example was the Pineapple Fund, where an anonymous benefactor turned their 5,104 BTC into $55 million with the sole goal of donating it to good causes. More than 60 charities have been supported since. In May 2018, the person behind the fund announced that their work was complete — and as reported by Cointelegraph, projects delivering clean water to sub-Saharan Africa, along with initiatives focused on digital rights prevention, were among those that received help.

Helping the unbanked

Other blockchain startups are attempting to address an issue which is leaving hundreds of millions of people financially disenfranchised. Across certain regions, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, overwhelming numbers of adults are described as unbancarized, meaning they do not have access to bank accounts, credit cards or the other financial services we take for granted.

A major reason why these individuals struggle to benefit from these services is because they lack a credit history. Based in the United States, BanQu allows refugees, the displaced and the world’s poorest individuals to establish an economic identity on the blockchain. When they interact with the organizations, businesses and governments around them, it helps to build a “vetted financial and personal history.” This information is then accepted by financial institutions as legitimate identification information.

Stellar, a payment technology built on the Ripple protocol, was also being put to good use by Oradian, which assists microfinance institutions in developing countries. In an example of remittances being successfully completed over blockchain, fostering financial inclusion, Oradian’s payment network has been built on Stellar’s platform. As of data from 2016, the results show that 300,000 Nigerians — the vast majority of them women — were able to transfer money using blockchain.

At the conference BlockShow Americas 2018, which is being held in Las Vegas on Aug. 20 and 21, 2018, Alex Mashinsky, founder of Celsius Network, and other experts will share their ideas about the usefulness of cryptocurrencies and how they can help the underprivileged. Celsius Network says it is working on a wallet that will help provide financial services to the underbanked.

BlockShow Americas, powered by Cointelegraph, follows the conference in Europe, which took place in Berlin back in May 2018. The event will be a place for dozens of exhibitors to come together — promising to offer new insights into the ways blockchain can be a force for good. BlockShow Americas will also address some of the key questions that affect the blockchain community — governmental initiatives, insights from central banks and the evolution of law and regulations.

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Blockshow Announces Blockshow Americas 2018 Conference in Las Vegas August 20-21

Blockshow, a major international blockchain event powered by Cointelegraph, announced the new conference Blockshow Americas 2018, which will be held in Las Vegas August 20-21, 2018. The event comes on the heels of the successful Blockshow Europe 2018 in Germany in May 2018.  According to the Blockshow team, the upcoming conference will be focused on the crucial questions that affect the blockchain community — governmental initiatives, insights from central banks, and the evolution of law and regulations.

Blockshow Americas will be held on the premises of the Venetian, one of the most famous hotels in Las Vegas. More than 80 international speakers — from fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency — are expected at the event. The list of speakers include Alex Mashinsky, founder of the Celsius Network, a serial entrepreneur and venture investor; Mike Butcher, editor at large at TechCrunch — awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2016; Nouriel Roubini, the founder and chairman of Roubini Global Economics; David Schwartz, CTO at Ripple; Johanna Maska, CEO of Global Situation Room and former White House Director of Press Advance (for President Barack Obama); and other well-known personalities.

Innovations on display

Blockshow Americas 2018 is planned to be a platform for companies in the blockchain and allied space to show off their latest and greatest products, releases and projects. The companies will feature their important developments in different sectors, such as voting and elections, e-commerce, and supply chains.

One of the highlights for the participants will be the Blockshow Oscar, a startup competition for young and innovative blockchain companies. In the previous editions of the contest, six companies were awarded almost $90,000 in total. A previous Blockshow Oscar winner has reportedly reached a full hard cap of $30 million and the previous participants have raised more than a combined total of $500 million.

Bringing the blockchain world together

The previous Blockshow conferences had become the venue for over 7,000 private meetings and over 170 exhibitors, with more than 1000 startups presented. There have been over 1,000 media publications about Blockshow. Describing how the conference has been able to bring people together, Rachel Wolfson — a Forbes journalist — said:

“l’m really impressed with the European crypto conference scene. This conference brought a lot of people together. Coming from San Francisco, it is really refreshing to see. It is exciting.”

Bobby Lee, co-founder of BTCC and board member of the Bitcoin Foundation, told Cointelegraph about his previous experience at Blockshow,

“I really enjoyed Blockshow Europe. It was great to see a lot of enthusiasm from the attendees and the organizers did a wonderful job. It was very professionally done and everything was on schedule. I think conferences are important to get the word out there, to educate people and help them learn about cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is how we get on-board the next billion people.”

More than 100 organizations and companies — such as Achain, Changelly, iExec and Iconiq Lab — provided support for the Blockshow event in Europe. BuzzFeed quoted Addy Creeze, CEO of Blockshow as saying,

“Among conferences, Blockshow is like the Cirque du Soleil of the circus — we stand out from the competitors. We are not your typical conference: We remove standard, official stuff from it and focus on a casual atmosphere where community feels like home and where people can network and sign contracts. We disregard the word ‘official,’ and like to replace it with ‘informal.’ We are a show for blockchain business representatives to spend their time efficiently.”

Registration for Blockshow Americas 2018 is already open on the website. There is a special offer which allows to save on ticket purchase.  

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BlockShow in Berlin Sets New Record With Largest Turnout Yet

The BlockShow Europe 2018 conference ended yesterday, May 29, after two days of panels and speakers, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and BTCC co-founder Bobby Lee.

Speaking about the conference, Bobby Lee told Cointelegraph: “I think conferences are important to get the word out there, to educate people and help them learn about cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is how we get on-board the next billion people.”

Sarah Jordi, Marc P. Bernegger, and Olga Feldmeier at BlockShow Europe

Sarah Jordi, Marc P. Bernegger, and Olga Feldmeier at BlockShow Europe

This year’s BlockShow Europe was five times bigger than the previous one in Munich last spring, and twice as large as BlockShow Asia this past fall. 3,000 people attended, 93 companies had exhibitions at the event, and over 90 companies supporting it as sponsors.

Leading up to the event, BlockShow Europe held meetups in Paris, Rome, and Zurich where voting took place for the best startup for the BlockShow Oscar competition. Asset distribution network Shelf.network took the 50,000 euro (about $58,000) prize after being chosen in the second round by a five-person industry expert jury.

 

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BlockShow Europe also released a study during the conference outlining the best European countries for starting a blockchain company. The study examined Initial Coin Offering (ICO) regulations, regulations on crypto as a payment service, and taxation frameworks for crypto. Switzerland took the number one spot, with Gibraltar and Malta in second and third.

The conference included the results of its blockchain industry leaders poll, where users of the BlockShow app globally could vote on the top woman and top EU business in blockchain. Dr Quy Vo-Reinhard, Chief Data Officer and co-founder of the HIT Foundation was selected by 2000 voters as the most influential woman in the blockchain space, and blockchain tech firm Bitfury selected as the most game-changing company.

Benny Giang, co-founder of CryptoKitties, said that he was “thoroughly surprised by the diversity of attendees at BlockShow,” stating:

“This was my first time in Europe and being exposed to so many great projects in this region was eye opening. It certainly will help us build our future roadmap in Europe.”

Jimmy Wales spoke at the conference about his WikiTribune project, designed to support responsible journalism, also touching on the subject of crypto by referring to Bitcoin (BTC) as “definitely” a bubble.

BlockShow’s next stop is the U.S., with a conference coming to Las Vegas this August.

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Crypto World ‘Absolutely, Definitely in a Bubble’: Jimmy Wales at BlockShow

The second day of the BlockShow Europe 2018 conference kicked off with a keynote speech by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. Wales said that cryptocurrency and blockchain are “in a bubble” Tuesday, May 29.

Speaking as part of a presentation on the objective future of crypto assets versus their representation in the press, the veteran internet entrepreneur delivered frank words about the nascent industry.

“I think this is a space where we’re in serious need of real journalism,” he began.

“…Right now, we are in a bubble, the cryptoworld is absolutely, definitely in a bubble. I don’t think there’s many people who would deny that.”

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His comments come as Bitcoin prices continue deflating, hitting lows of $7050 May 28 while so far maintaining support above $7000, something commentators nevertheless this week doubted would last.

Wales echoed broader skepticism of blockchain projects surfacing in the past weeks.

Both Andreas Antonopoulos at a Polish conference earlier this month, along with Bitcoin developers Jimmy Song and Johnathan Corgan at the Consensus 2018 conference delivered damning blockchain versus bitcoin verdicts.

This week, even the Chinese government determined the average lifespan of a blockchain project was just 15 months.

“I’m not here to tell you that it’ll pop tomorrow; things might get even more intense first,” Wales meanwhile continued.

“The thing about bubbles is that you never know when they’re going to end… it might pop tomorrow, but more importantly, it will pop.”