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Bitcoin-Backed Square Named Yahoo Finance Company of the Year

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–While no one will argue the fact that 2018 has been a horrible year for cryptocurrency valuation, with the majority of altcoins down 90 percent or more since the start of the year, Bitcoin-supported payment portal Square has been named a top finance company of 2018.

Yahoo Finance, in its end of the year roundup, named Square their 2018 Company of the Year. Square, which has been around since 2009 but only began offering BTC trading in November 2017, has been a supporter of cryptocurrency despite the down market. While fiat makes up the majority use of the payment platform, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has managed to exert an influence over the company which has extended to digital assets.

According to the release by Yahoo Finance, the company’s stock has demonstrated just how powerful of a player Square has become in the fintech scene,

Square’s investors know it. The stock was up 72% through Dec. 14. Before the larger market pullback that began in October, shares were up 170% through the end of September.

The acquisitions Square has made over the last several years, leading the company’s offering and technology to outpace the growing competition of a digital payment processors, has led to Square being vaulted into the top echelon of a companies typically selected by Yahoo Finance for their end of the year reward,

Square, with $26 billion in market cap and 2,300 employees, might look like a surprising choice compared to our picks in the past few years, all much larger companies: Facebook in 2015, Nvidia in 2016, and Amazon last year. But Square is rapidly making itself a force to be reckoned with in financial services. In November, the company forecast 60% growth for 2018 and more than $3.2 billion in revenue.

With the help of Dorsey, who is also co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Square has managed to grow its Bitcoin division into a wing of the company that is seeing increased revenue. In November, Square quarterly reports announced that Q3 BTC revenue was $43 million, up $37 million from the previous quarter. While that figure represents a small drop in the bucket for the billion-dollar company, it also positions Square to be a market leader in the event of broader Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption.

Jack Dorsey, who has been outspoken in his support for Bitcoin, has been one of the most high profile tech industry figures to overlap into the world of cryptocurrency. In March, Dorsey made waves in the crypto space and beyond when he gave his opinion that Bitcoin could become the internet’s–and world’s–single currency over the next ten years,

“The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin,”

Considering the position that Dorsey holds with both Square and Twitter, it could provide an interesting proposition for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency over the coming year. With the bombshell rumor out of Facebook that the social media giant is developing a stablecoin for its WhatsApp messaging platform, Twitter could find itself in position to follow suit in order to keep up with the competition. Square, given its high profile development and app-focused usability, could provide a conduit for Twitter to make the leap into cryptocurrency.

At the very least, Dorsey’s presence with Square and his influence in Twitter is a positive focus for cryptocurrency investors looking to 2019 for further industry growth.

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Payoneer CEO Calls Single Currency Bitcoin (BTC) Unrealistic

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–With the crypto markets staging a small recovery on the day and looking to close out the year on a relative positive note despite 2018’s ongoing bear cycle, the number one currency by market capitalization continues to be divisive.

Speaking in an interview with CNBC published on Dec. 28, Scott Galit, CEO of New York-based payment processing firm Payoneer, made the claim that a single global non-fiat currency like Bitcoin was unrealistic.

Galit’s take on Bitcoin hinges more upon what he views as an unattainable position for BTC to become a single, unifying global currency as some have pushed as a possibility for the decentralized coin. Galit admits that the idea of a non-fiat, digital currency is appealing to large swaths of the internet as a way to get past the hurdle of international transaction barriers, but finds the application unrealistic,

“Despite the interests of lots of people out there in the Internet world who love the idea of frictionless commerce and frictionless money and avoiding fiat currencies, I don’t see it”

In particular, Galit cites the unlikelihood of the U.S. government accepting BTC for taxes on account of the extreme price volatility of cryptocurrency. As outlined by Galit, the U.S. government would be exposing itself to an exchange rate that fluctuates to the degree of BTC, an outcome that would never make its way through Congress,

“Now you could have a debate whether taxes are fair or unfair or whatever but they are a reality. There are going to be taxes because governments need revenues,” Galit says. “Countries actually need tax revenue in order to fund services for their residents.”

In November Ohio became the first state to allow taxes to be paid in Bitcoin, beginning with businesses and increasing in availability to individual filers. However, the process involves a trading platform which converts the paid BTC into dollars, protecting the state from the aforementioned volatility of cryptocurrency.

Galit also calls upon the responsibility of the Federal Reserve to maintain control over the nation’s fiat, a source of leverage that would become worthless in the event of BTC becoming a dominant currency,

“Central bankers are there to actually help manage the economies and provide kind of stewardship for those economies,” Galit says. “Part of that is actually managing currency in the interest rates [for lending] and in exchange rates. If you don’t actually have any control over a currency you’ve lost one of the major policy tools that you have, so what do you do?”

Galit’s comments come just one week after Yahoo Finance named payment platform Square as their company of the year. Square, which was founded by Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, began offering Bitcoin as a trading option in November 2017, with the company going to great lengths throughout 2018 to push the feature as a legitimate division of their service. In November, Square announced that BTC based revenue for Q3 had climbed steadily to $43 million, upt from $37 million in the previous quarter.

Dorsey, who also presides as CEO of Twitter–a social media platform likely feeling the pressure to enter cryptocurrency following rival Facebook’s ties to a stablecoin–has long been vocal in his support for Bitcoin. In March, Dorsey broke headlines by stating that he believed Bitcoin could become the world’s single currency, catalyzed by internet adoption,

“The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin”

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Bitcoin (BTC) Leads Google Trends Most Commonly Asked in 2018

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–While market prices continue to look shaky for cryptocurrency and the broader altcoin market, Bitcoin managed to score a minor win on the day. According to the analytics trending tool published by Google, “What is Bitcoin?” was the most searched phrase for the question-asking category for 2018. Both United States and United Kingdom Google users searched for information about the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization more than any other topic, giving an indication that–while some would proclaim the technology a bubble in the process of bursting–there still remains interest in the field of cryptocurrency.

Rounding out the top five included “What is racketeering,” “What is DACA,” “What is a government shutdown” and “What is Good Friday.” Bitcoin’s top position for Google’s rankings comes at a time when the currency is experiencing its relative lowest point for the year. Last week EWN reported on the state of the crypto markets in 2018, with BTC experiencing its worst monthly loss in November since August 2011. The price fall for Bitcoin comes at the tail end of an already bearish year for cryptocurrency, seeing the entire market capitalization tumble from over $800 billion to its present value of $110 billion.

Bitcoin, in particular, has ceded its share of losses, dropping from close to $20,000 at the end of December 2017 to today’s trading price of $3500. While some analysts have pointed to indicators that BTC and the crypto markets may be entering oversold territory, with a potential bounce coming for investors, others have pointed to a much dire future for crypto into next year.

News of search interest for the cryptocurrency is a welcomed sight for investors amidst the price fall, with many claiming a fundamental lack of understanding by the general population for being a catalyst to Bitcoin’s recent price drop. As opposed to learning about the technology and the potential for cryptocurrency, investors through money at BTC, altcoins and ICOs with abandon throughout 2017’s bull run, leading to the bloated market prices to start the year that would inevitably lead to the crash.

With the conversation shifting from the daily price movement of Bitcoin and the money to be made from investing in the digital asset, industry enthusiasts are hoping to garner more focus on the development and adoption for the technology. Last year saw “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” become to buzz words, similar to the social media and app-development frenzy in the early part of this decade, which fueled unrealistic expectations for the industry. Bitcoin, as a technology, was unprepared to handle the influx of consumers, which led to the service becoming nearly unusable with skyrocketing transaction fees and unacceptable confirmation times. Detractors of the digital asset quickly latched onto the flaws of the currency under high network stress, leading to a negative shift in sentiment for the viability of cryptocurrency and contributing to the growing investment uncertainty.

With the market turned at the start of the year, it did so with equal ferocity to the bull run which ended 2017. Now, entering the final month of 2018, the majority of currencies are sitting on over 90 percent losses since their last all time high, with most financial analysts calling for further crypto blood and claiming that the bubble has finally popped.

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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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Bloomberg Opinion Bitcoin Price Prediction: More FUD for 2019

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–While the crypto markets see a slight reversal in pricing to round out the final week of December, with Bitcoin creeping closer to $3700 after hitting a relative low earlier in the week, predictions on the outlook of the industry for 2019 continue to sour investors.

Last week, as reported by EWN, billionaire crypto investor Mike Novogratz lamented the state of the cryptocurrency markets throughout 2018, claiming in a conference call that,

“It’s been a horrible bear market in tokens. There’s plenty of reason to be depressed.”

However, Novogratz qualified his statement with some positive spin, reminding investors that coin prices may be down but adoption and general acceptance for crypto and blockchain has been on the rise throughout the year. Despite his crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital Holdings posting over $130 million in losses through 2018’s bear cycle, Novogratz remains confident in cryptocurrency extending into 2019 and beyond,

“I fundamentally think you’re going to see big adaption in 2019, 2020. Lots of the items in the digital world, the e-gaming space, are low value items so I think people will be more comfortable participating in blockchain. We’re making big investments in that area.”

While Novogratz, a long time Bitcoin bull and supporter for cryptocurrency, remains hopeful for a market recovery into next year, traditional financial outlets have fond more reason to be cynical. In a year end, opinion-based review for 2019 predictions, Bloomberg opinion column has struck a chord in crypto investors by publishing more of the FUD that has become part and parcel among mainstream publications.

Rounding out the top of the list for “egregious predictions of 2018,” the opinion piece by Barry Ritholtz lambasts Bitcoin and the litany of assumptions that were made at the start of the year in the midst of a bull run,

“The spectrum of predictions ran from the sublime to the criminally negligent to the utterly insane. It got so bad that a website was set up to track all of the Bitcoin prophesies.”

The article continues on to call out Fundstrat’s Tom Lee and the aforementioned Mike Novogratz for their predictions throughout the year,

“Fundstrat’s Tom Lee’s 2018 forecast for $25,000 Bitcoin was reduced last month to $15,000 by year-end. (The cryptocurrency recently traded at about $3,650.) As foolish as that sounds, it was modest compared to the rest of the asylum. Michael Novogratz forecast that ‘$40,000 was possible by the end of 2018.’”

While Bitcoin continues to trade close to a relative low for the year, with the digital asset slipping from near $20,000 in December 2017 to $3600 as of writing, the schadenfreude for BTC and cryptocurrency in general is mounting. From a combination of FOMO and “I told you so,” traditional finance analysts are lining up to cast stones at the number one cryptocurrency by market cap, despite failing to predict a similarly bullish run for the coin just a year ago.

Investors, still reeling from the losses of 2018’s ongoing bear cycle, have little to be excited for as we enter the final month of the year. However, they have managed to weather the storm of Bitcoin hate and claims of BTC “being dead,” which has led to the creation of websites tracking the obituaries for the coin. Time will tell if the current crop of predictions for the demise of Bitcoin will be added to the heap.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Subreddit Surpasses One Million Subscribers

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–While most investors run for cover amidst the falling crypto prices, as the bear market of 2018 extends into the final month of the year, the Reddit based community for the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization has hit a new milestone.

On Dec. 2, the subreddit for Bitcoin reached 1 million subscribers, marking a historic moment for the community that few other groups on the site have been able to achieve. Amazingly, given that coin price have fallen 70 to 95 percent from their high in January, the community of cryptocurrency has managed to show resiliency that could pay off in the long run.

Bitcoin, in particular, has cultivated a strong a following of investors who are looking for more than just profit. The community formed through Reddit has not only found ways to give back to need-based programs through the significant wealth created in last year’s bull run (such as the Bitcoin Pineapple fund which gave away a whopping $86 million to 60 charities–all from the generosity of one Bitcoin user), to consistently finding ways to form grassroots adoption.

While some have chosen to trade Bitcoin for the price speculation alone, the technology has a struck a chord with the majority of its following which extends beyond just being another appreciable asset. Each user may have their own reason for supporting the currency, ranging from a belief in the technology of blockchain and the superiority of digital currencies over their fiat alternatives, to a politically-oriented ideology that espouses decentralization and more libertarian views. However, the vast number of Reddit users and Bitcoin supporters around the world hold opinions that are a far cry from the one being attributed by mainstream outlets and economists–one that continually seeks to label crypto investors as gamblers, pyramid schemers or the propagators of a malicious virus.

With the subreddit now eclipsing 1 million subscribers, it contributes to the growing paradox of 2018 that was touched upon by Mike Novogratz in a conference call last week. As reported by EWN, the billionaire crypto supporter made no qualms about the state of the industry throughout this year, claiming it has been, “a horrible bear market in tokens,” with “plenty of reason to be depressed.” Despite the plummeting price of Bitcoin, which experienced its worst month of losses in November since August 2011, the support and adoption for the digital currency is on the rise, creating the bedrock for the technology to perform in 2019 and beyond.

While Google searches and general excitement for cryptocurrency has eroded with the market capitalization, down from nearly $900 billion in January, the industry has moved past daily appearances on CNBC and other popular outlets which were fixated on the climbing price and overnight millionaires being created in last year’s bull run. In place of that attention is a recognition that the industry still has yet to grow, with prices outpacing real world use at the start of the year. It’s not enough for Bitcoin to grow from exchange driven, price speculation alone: the currency has to find a footing in both usability and mindset for mainstream consumers before it can hope to match last December pricing.

Until then, the growing community for Bitcoin on sites like Reddit continues to provide a window into the state of crypto adoption, and the willingness for a segment of the population to try the technology that has been hailed as the next greatest innovation since the internet.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Subreddit Surpasses One Million Subscribers

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–While most investors run for cover amidst the falling crypto prices, as the bear market of 2018 extends into the final month of the year, the Reddit based community for the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization has hit a new milestone.

On Dec. 2, the subreddit for Bitcoin reached 1 million subscribers, marking a historic moment for the community that few other groups on the site have been able to achieve. Amazingly, given that coin price have fallen 70 to 95 percent from their high in January, the community of cryptocurrency has managed to show resiliency that could pay off in the long run.

Bitcoin, in particular, has cultivated a strong a following of investors who are looking for more than just profit. The community formed through Reddit has not only found ways to give back to need-based programs through the significant wealth created in last year’s bull run (such as the Bitcoin Pineapple fund which gave away a whopping $86 million to 60 charities–all from the generosity of one Bitcoin user), to consistently finding ways to form grassroots adoption.

While some have chosen to trade Bitcoin for the price speculation alone, the technology has a struck a chord with the majority of its following which extends beyond just being another appreciable asset. Each user may have their own reason for supporting the currency, ranging from a belief in the technology of blockchain and the superiority of digital currencies over their fiat alternatives, to a politically-oriented ideology that espouses decentralization and more libertarian views. However, the vast number of Reddit users and Bitcoin supporters around the world hold opinions that are a far cry from the one being attributed by mainstream outlets and economists–one that continually seeks to label crypto investors as gamblers, pyramid schemers or the propagators of a malicious virus.

With the subreddit now eclipsing 1 million subscribers, it contributes to the growing paradox of 2018 that was touched upon by Mike Novogratz in a conference call last week. As reported by EWN, the billionaire crypto supporter made no qualms about the state of the industry throughout this year, claiming it has been, “a horrible bear market in tokens,” with “plenty of reason to be depressed.” Despite the plummeting price of Bitcoin, which experienced its worst month of losses in November since August 2011, the support and adoption for the digital currency is on the rise, creating the bedrock for the technology to perform in 2019 and beyond.

While Google searches and general excitement for cryptocurrency has eroded with the market capitalization, down from nearly $900 billion in January, the industry has moved past daily appearances on CNBC and other popular outlets which were fixated on the climbing price and overnight millionaires being created in last year’s bull run. In place of that attention is a recognition that the industry still has yet to grow, with prices outpacing real world use at the start of the year. It’s not enough for Bitcoin to grow from exchange driven, price speculation alone: the currency has to find a footing in both usability and mindset for mainstream consumers before it can hope to match last December pricing.

Until then, the growing community for Bitcoin on sites like Reddit continues to provide a window into the state of crypto adoption, and the willingness for a segment of the population to try the technology that has been hailed as the next greatest innovation since the internet.

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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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