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Pantera Capital Posts 10,000% Gain Over 5 Years, Calls For Bitcoin To Head Higher

Pantera Capital, one of the foremost cryptocurrency and blockchain-centric investment firms, recently announced that it has reached its five-year anniversary, issuing a report on the progress it had made in that span of time.

Humble Origins: The 2013 $5k Bitcoin Call 

Shortly after the grand opening of Pantera, Dan Morehead, the firm’s fervent leader and CEO, released an email to his investors, highlighting the first price prediction they made for the foremost, and most successful digital asset. In the email, titled “Bitcoin Forecast V” on August 21, 2013, Morehead wrote:

I was discussing bitcoin with an investor yesterday and he replied somewhat dismissively “It’s just like buying gold”. No, it’s like buying gold in 1000 B.C. 99% of the financial wealth has yet to address bitcoin. When they do, bitcoin is either going to be worth zero or $5,000 /BTC.

The Pantera CEO went on to talk about how there is a “north of 50% chance” that the world will adopt a cryptography-based payment system, replacing the high fees charged by traditional institutions. Dan also noted that if a cryptocurrency, whether it may be Bitcoin or not, can succeed, it will become the first global currency since gold and the first borderless payment system.

It is important to note that at the time this email was released, Bitcoin was a mere $104, with a $1.4 billion market capitalization. While it wasn’t clear what time frame the CEO was allotting to the prediction, looking back, we can clearly see that Bitcoin had surpassed his original price prediction.

However, despite going above and beyond the $5,000 mark, the “July Blockchain Letter” noted that this logic remains true to this day.

Pantera’s Lifetime Return = 10,000%

According to the aforementioned report, the fund now has a return of just around 10,135.15% net of fees and expenses, a gargantuan feat that goes without saying.

The success of the firm can be attributed to a variety of investments made into an array of crypto firms and projects, including Augur, Brave, ShapeShift, 0x, Circle, Earn, Xapo and Ripple. It was also noted that the investment fund has a close relationship with Augur, as Joey Krug, the Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera, co-founded Augur just four years ago.

Pantera plans to continue investing in innovative new startups through the firm’s third venture round, which is set to occur within the upcoming months after a series of lunches held all across the world.

Bitcoin To Hit 21k By The End of 2018, And $67.5k By The End of 2019

To the minds of many, a highlight of the report was the firm’s Bitcoin price prediction, which forecasted Bitcoin hitting $21,000 by the start of 2019, and seeing a further three-fold gain to reach $67,500 by December 2019. While this may not be the most outlandish prediction, it still stands above and beyond the current expectations of many industry leaders. 

Releasing a statement alongside the chart seen above, the firm wrote:

This chart plots bitcoin’s price history since July 2010 in log scale to show its very consistent exponential growth. The gold line is the trend line during this period. Projecting price through the end of 2019 using this historical trend line as a guide would put the price of bitcoin at around $21,000 by the end of 2018, and $67,500 at the end of 2019. Seems eminently reasonable to me. Those are our current bitcoin price forecasts.

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Dow Jones Media Trials Blockchain With Brave Browser

Dow Jones Media Group has partnered with the privacy-oriented browser startup Brave to experiment with a blockchain content delivery system, the companies announced Wednesday.

The partners said they will test content delivery using Brave’s blockchain-based platform for digital advertising, on which Dow Jones Media group subsidiaries Barron’s and MarketWatch will also become “verified publishers.” The partnership will also furnish selected Brave users – of which there are approximately 2 million – with access to Barron’s and MarketWatch premium content, according to a press release.

“Our new model reconnects users and publishers without compromising privacy,” Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave, said in the statement. “We look forward to our users enjoying Barron’s and MarketWatch premium newsletters.”

Launched in 2015, Brave’s browser blocks ads and activity trackers, while also allowing users to contribute microdonations in BAT to their preferred publishers. It concluded its $35 million ICO last spring.

The company also revealed last year that it planned to integrate the aforementioned blockchain-based digital advertising platform, which measures user attention and rewards publishers proportionately. Brave has not yet launched the platform.

Daniel Bernard, senior vice president of Barron’s commented in the statement:

“As global digital publishers, we believe it is important to continually explore new and emerging technologies that can be used to build quality customer experiences.”

Brave’s partnership with Dow Jones Media Group marks a significant departure from its early reception by media companies. In 2016, 17 members of the Newspaper Association of America sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company, arguing that its browser was illegal.

The Washington Post, the Guardian and Vice are among the publishers who now accept BAT.

Brave browser on phone image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Researcher Finds Nearly 50,000 Websites Running Cryptocurrency Mining Malware

Troy Mursch from Bad Packets Report recently conducted an investigation, in which he found that the ongoing cryptojacking trend has infected nearly 50,000 websites. According to his report, 48,953 websites are running cryptocurrency mining malware.

Cryptocurrency mining malware essentially consists of a few lines of JavaScript code that allow a website’s admin to use its visitors’ computer resources to mine privacy-centric cryptocurrencies, the most popular one being Monero (XMR).

Mursch’s research was made using source-code search engine PublicWWW. Using it, he scanned the web for pages running cryptocurrency mining malware. Out of the 48,953 affected websites he found, 7,368 are powered by WordPress.

The researcher further revealed that Coinhive is the most widespread mining script out there. It accounts for nearly 40,000 infected websites, which roughly translates to 81 percent of all cases. Back in November, Mursch’s research found 30,000 websites running Coinhive’s script.

The remaining 19 percent of websites were found to be running Coinhive alternatives, like Crypto-Loot, CoinImp, Minr, and deepMiner. The report reads:

“The four Coinhive clones discussed were found on a total of 9,028 websites. CoinImp had the largest market share at roughly 45% while Minr had the smallest at nearly 8%. Crypto-Loot and deepMiner shared the remaining portions at nearly 23% a piece.”

The researcher published a document on PasteBin, detailing all WordPress websites infected with the cryptocurrency mining malware. The document notes that some have already removed the malware, although most are still likely to mine with user’s computers. “Browse at your own risk,” the document reads.

Per the researcher, users looking to protect themselves from the ongoing cryptojacking trend should install the minerBlock extension for Chrome and Firefox. Browsers like Opera and Brave already have built-in tools that block mining attempts as well.

The ongoing cryptojacking trend has been making headlines for affecting high-profile victims, including government websites last month. As reported, Tesla was also hit with a cryptocurrency mining malware attack, as hackers used its cloud to mine.

As covered by Ethereum World News, hackers aren’t just using people’s CPUs to mine Monero. They are now stuffing Monero ransom notes inside distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, to get victims to pay them to stop.

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Underpaid YouTube Stars Can Now Earn Brave Browser Tokens

Users of the Brave Browser can now donate cryptocurrency, including the company’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), directly to YouTubers.

With today’s release of version 0.19.x, the ad-blocking browser built by Mozilla co-founder and Javascript creator Brendan Eich now allows automatic and anonymous cryptocurrency donations to individuals on YouTube, an expansion of its service which before now was limited to domain-level projects, such as websites like CoinDesk.

With Brave’s update, however, views of YouTube videos no longer count toward Google’s page views. Instead, the browser will start logging viewing time on behalf of the creators who made the content. Previously, the site only credited URLs specifically, so it couldn’t track individual accounts on the video-sharing platform.

But “YouTube was squarely in our sites from the beginning,” Eich told CoinDesk in a phone call.

In a blog post, the company wrote:

“Previously, YouTube creators could not be listed as individual publishers in Brave Payments. This change allows BAT contributions to flow directly into their wallets. The Brave browser determines the YouTube creator name from a YouTube video, no matter what site embeds it.”

There are approximately 243,000 Brave browser wallets that have been opened so far, allowing users to hold crypto funds, originally bitcoin, for later distribution to publishers and video creators. But in order to create a faster, less invasive internet browsing experience, Brave held a $35 million initial coin offering for its Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Within the new version, Brave’s wallets will hold either BAT token or bitcoin that can be used to donate to YouTubers, which could disseminate the cryptocurrencies to a wider user base.

The average funded wallet amount has roughly $45 worth of crypto in it, though this could be largely due to the growth in bitcoin’s value after users deposited funds in their wallets. Older Brave users automatically have bitcoin as their default currency, but the company is actively working to get users to update their browsers to a new version that automatically converts funds to BAT.

Potential appeal

But, YouTube is just the beginning. Basically, all video sites use the same protocol, OAuth, to verify that publishers are who they say they are. Brave will be able to tap into that as well, in order to make sure it pays the right people.

Once it knows that process is working for YouTube, it can roll the payments out to creators on other sites, for instance Vimeo.

“This is an induction exercise. We’re really trying to disintermediate the unfair and fraud-prone ecosystem,” Eich said.

Brave Payments page (Courtesy of Brave).

Should the system work, YouTube is likely an influential one to get right.

YouTube stars have incredible reach and influence with their followers. Many of them have been dissatisfied over the last year with automated demonetization of their videos.

While Brave blocks YouTube ads natively, it will give videomakers a way to continue to use YouTube and still earn money off their videos, whether YouTube thinks the content merits it or not.

And at the very least, if some popular YouTubers start talking about the system, it will educate a lot of young fans about cryptocurrency and ad-blocking.

“We hope they’ll promote Brave to their followers,” Eich said.

YouTube image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.