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Tom Lee Claims Market is Wrong, Calls for Bitcoin to be Valued at $14,800

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–While some are calling for the final demise of Bitcoin, with the currency exhibiting price movement that would indicate the bubble has popped, long-time cryptocurrency bull Tom Lee claims that an irrational market is to blame for the falling price of BTC.

Compared to previous predictions, which have the currency falling to $2500 with little support to turn around the losses of November, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors Tom Lee finds the value of Bitcoin significantly lower than what it should be. In a note to investors published on Thursday, the advisor gave some surprising and hopeful news for those who left confused over the precipitous drop in BTC pricing throughout November–a month which culminated in the worst losses for Bitcoin since August 2011.

Lee, who has been a long time cryptocurrency advocate and Bitcoin bull, claims that the fair value for the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization should be between $13,800 and $14,800. As apart of his analysis, he cites the large number of active wallet addresses, how often BTC is used by accounts and the deflationary supply of the currency all pointing to a much higher valuation than the current price of $3400.

While some continue to chide Lee for his predictions, particularly following his oft-remarked, bullish claim in May that Bitcoin would climb to $25,000 by the end of 2018–putting the price of the currency above its most recent all time high–he remains confident in the outlook for the industry and his own valuation. As opposed to a flaw in his analysis for the worth of Bitcoin, Lee blames an irrational market for creating the current state of cryptocurrency valuation, with other indicators such as adoption pointing to a higher value,

“Fair value is significantly higher than the current price of Bitcoin,” he wrote. “In fact, working backwards, to solve for the current price of Bitcoin, this implies crypto wallets should fall to 17 million from 50 million currently.”

Lee cites a similar argument made by analysts and supporters of cryptocurrency, that while market prices are falling the adoption and influence of the industry is expanding. Mike Novogratz, another Bitcoin bull and CEO of Galaxy Digital Holdings which is heavily invested in cryptocurrency, described a similar sentiment in a conference call to investors reported on by EWN at the beginning of the month. While Novogratz remarked that it had been a horrible year for token prices, including losses for Galaxy Digital which have exceeded $130 million in 2018, he stuck by a strong outlook for the industry in 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.”

With the potential for Bitcoin growth and cryptocurrency adoption still climbing in spite of falling prices, both Lee and Novogratz are hinting at a market turn that could happen unexpectedly. Similar to the crash in internet stocks that occurred prior to wide-scale dissemination for both Wall Street and Main Street, cryptocurrency could be in the latency phase as investors and users wait for improved development.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Losses in November Worst in 7 Years

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–With Bitcoin again slipping below $4000, the market of cryptocurrency is continuing the bear trend into the final month of the year.

After several months of low price volatility, where the fluctuation in value for the number one cryptocurrency by market cap dropped below that of tech stocks, it appeared that the crypto markets were going to make an eventful upward turn in November. Part of the influx of investment was driven by Bitcoin Cash, as buyers anticipated the minting of new coins following its hard fork on November 15.

However, the opposite occurred, with the coin plummeting in value in the hours leading up to the split and dragging most of the market with it. Instead of providing a resurgence to market prices, the forking of Bitcoin Cash into Bitcoin ABC and SV created a strong degree of investor uncertainty which in turn led to falling prices. The two camps, helmed by crypto figureheads Roger Ver and Craig Wright, created an all out “hash war,” which drew the wrong kind of attention for crypto and led to a general fire sale for the market.

Bitcoin plummeted alongside altcoins, and nearly $100 billion was wiped from the market capitalization in less than two weeks. While BTC watched a steady erosion in price throughout 2018, falling from an all time high of $20,000 at the end of last year to its stable trading point around $6500, the bottom fell out for the currency. Bitcoin dropped further to $3500, with nearly all analysts predicting a bleak outlook for the recovery of cryptocurrency prices that could continue into next year–and possibly beyond.

As reported by Bloomberg, the most recent price fall for Bitcoin was as bleak as it appeared to investors, with November constituting the worst month for BTC in the last seven years. While investors were flush in the midst of a bull run for Bitcoin at this time a year ago, November saw the currency drop 37 percent to a relative low for 2018, which constitutes the biggest loss since August 2011 when BTC fell 39 percent to $8.90. As previously reported by EWN, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital Holdings admitted to the steep drop in valuation for cryptos and his crypto-based fund. Speaking in a conference call on November 30, Novogratz made no attempt to sugar coat the situation,

“It’s been a horrible bear market in tokens.”

However, as prices continue to find shaky ground in their lowest trading range of the year, general enthusiasts for cryptocurrency continue to find developments to be excited for, in addition to the catalyzing work of some development teams. Last week, EWN reported on a commitment by the TRON Foundation, makers of the TRX currency, to pay out $100 million over three years to spur innovation and creation of blockchain gaming for their network.

As token prices continue to cause headaches for long-term investors, adoption and blockchain growth is a positive for cryptocurrency advocates to hang their hat upon. While Novogratz, a long time Bitcoin and crypto bull, admitted defeat in 2018, even he pointed out that bubbling adoption today could lead to big moves–including institutionally backed investments–in 2019 and 2020.

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Drop in Bitcoin (BTC) Mining Increasing Network Risk

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

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

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

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

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

According to data published by Bloomberg,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Satis Group Price Analysis: Bitcoin and Monero Biggest Gainers Over 10 Years

Bitcoin (BTC), Monero (XMR)–According to a report by the initial coin offering (ICO) advisory and research firm Satis Group, both Monero and Bitcoin look to be the biggest winners in terms of price gain over the next decade. Satis, which publishes outlooks for both ICOs and current cryptocurrencies, as well as advising on  the forces that will shape the industry, has released a new forecast for the next ten years that puts XMR as the greatest price gainer while predicting XRP to be in for a historic crash.

According to the report, Monero is predicted to have a price appreciation of 38391 percent over the next ten years, bringing the price to a whopping $39,584 (up from its current value of $108 as of writing). The report also predicts Monero having a strong performance over the next year, predicting a four-digit percentage increase in price to bring the valuation of XMR to $1476.

In addition to being bullish on Monero, the new report also finds more profit to be made through Bitcoin, claiming that the number one currency by market capitalization will eclipse it’s previous all time high of $20,000 at some point in the next year to bring the total value of BTC to $32,914. The five and ten year outlook for Bitcoin is equally positive, with the coin poised to hit $96,378 and $143,900, respectively, over the coming decade. Ethereum and Litecoin were also listed in the report with positive gains, however Satis Group predicts neither coin to perform anywhere near as well as Monero and Bitcoin. Litecoin has an expected 10-year price outlook of $225, failing to eclipse December 2017’s all time high, while Ethereum’s outlook is pegged at $588–again failing to retest previous highs.

Interestingly, Satis Group finds XRP to have an overwhelmingly negative outlook, predicting the coin to reach a historic low in investment price. The former product of blockchain startup Ripple and current third overall cryptocurrency by market cap is predicted to be worth a penny in five-year’s time, and less than that over the full decade forecast. XRP, which once traded for as high as $3.84 per coin during the January’s bull run, is expected to continue a slow decline worth up to 90 percent of the current value, a price point that would result in a 99.7 percent decline since the last all time high.

The reasoning behind such a meteoric rise for Monero stems from the belief by Satis Group that anonymity-providing currencies will form the dominant share of the market rather than the current projection towards Dapps. Satis Group finds penetration into offshore deposit markets as the natural extension for the growth of cryptocurrency, making the value of a currency like XMR–which rebuffs censorship and can hide user transaction information–more attractive if the industry shifts towards providing greater privacy services.

Bitcoin also received a positive review from Satis Group, with the company highlighting that the high marketability and brand appeal of the coin would continue to climb with the growing penetration of cryptocurrency into society. Taken from the report,

“Despite a lack of appeal during retail frenzies, we continue to believe that BTC and its network effect will dominate end-market share within Currencies and the overall cryptoasset market, driven by: 1) increasing liquidity and purchasing avenues, 2) increasing brand recognition, 3) its position as the default base-pair within the crypto markets, 4) declining relative volatility, 5) relative lack of attack vectors, 6) network capacity alleviation through the maturity of layer-2 solutions, and 7) an increasingly high attack and overthrow cost.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bitcoin Energy Consumption Could Drive Innovation, Says Research Associate

Bitcoin (BTC)–By now, most within and outside of the industry of cryptocurrency are familiar with the narrative surrounding Bitcoin energy usage. The argument goes that as Bitcoin becomes a more popular choice in terms of digital currency, the increase of miners looking to capitalize on transaction fees and reward payouts will increase, thereby also raising the hashing difficulty of the cryptocurrency.

The end result will be more rigs competing for the ultimate prize of the mined blocks–and also consuming a proportionally higher amount of energy. The debate has grown so large that environmentalists and other conservation oriented researchers and politicians have weighed in on cryptocurrency as “evil,” saying it promotes a type of waste that is not necessary in today’s digital age. Others have pointed to the overwhelming benefits of proof of work, and the associated electrical costs as a by-product of a maturing industry. In addition, many cryptocurrency projects have started to emerge that forego energy-intensive Proof of Work systems, while still providing the benefits of blockchain and secure digital payments.

Now, a researcher out of the University of Pittsburgh is weighing in with a bold claim: that energy consumption related to Bitcoin is being unnecessarily criticized by people who find Proof of Work to be a flaw for Bitcoin, when in reality it constitutes a usable feature. Dr. Katrina Kelly-Pitou, electrical and computer engineering research associate at the University of Pittsburgh, wrote an article for the outlet The Conversation in which she claims that the environmental conservation slant against Bitcoin is being used to spread false claims, in addition to being grossly oversimplified in terms of the impact of the technology. In particular, she uses the idea of Bitcoin’s energy crisis as a ‘red herring,’ that distracts people from pursuing a deeper understanding of digital currencies in favor of the knee-jerk reaction to mounting energy costs,

“I am a researcher who studies clean energy technology, specifically the transition toward decarbonized energy systems…New technologies – such as data centers, computers and before them trains, planes and automobiles – are often energy-intensive. Over time, all of these have become more efficient, a natural progression of any technology: Saving energy equates to saving costs.”

As Dr. Kelly-Pitou points out, technologies naturally follow a curve of becoming more resource efficient, which includes Bitcoin and miners finding a way to cut costs while still retaining the benefits of blockchain and reward payouts. Instead of focusing on how much energy Bitcoin mining consumes, Dr. Kelly-Pitou makes the argument that the technology should be focused on developing into a more efficient model, while the greater portion of society should look to renewable resources as a way to supply the power for advancing technological innovation.

Instead, the current narrative is one to shun the growth of a new industry–cryptocurrency being one of several technologies to draw the ire of environmental conservationists–thereby slowing down the overall progress of society as opposed to finding ways to merge technology with more efficient energy production. As she puts it, energy-focused conversations have the effect of keeping Bitcoin in a category of misunderstood, with people failing to go beyond a surface-level of understanding,

“Like many other aspects of the energy industry, bitcoin is not necessarily a ‘bad guy.’ It’s simply a new, and vaguely understood, industry. The discussion about energy consumption and bitcoin is, I believe, unfair without discussing the energy intensity of new technologies overall, specifically in data centers.”

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Australians Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin (BTC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UBS: ‘Lack of Stability’ Preventing Bitcoin Going Mainstream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Payment Platform Square Sees $37 Million in Revenue From Bitcoin Integration

Bitcoin (BTC)–Despite the growing perception that cryptocurrency offers little value to digital payment platforms, Square has published figures that show a gain in revenue valued in tens of millions of dollars for the second quarter of the year.

Square, Inc., the brainchild of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has been a positive driving force for cryptocurrency via the integration of Bitcoin dating back to last year. In November 2017, the payment application worth $16 billion began implementing BTC for buys, sells and storage, giving the king of cryptocurrency a high-profile, mainstream outlet with an easy to use smartphone app. Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square since 2009, has been a huge proponent of Bitcoin and one of the most bullish figures to emerge from the social media culture of Silicon Valley, going on record in March that Bitcoin could be the world’s “single” currency in a decade.

Published in a quarterly report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Square revealed generating over $70 million in revenue via Bitcoin alone through the first half of 2018. In addition, despite the falling price of cryptocurrency throughout 2018, the company reported a growth in revenue between the first and second quarter of the year, posting $34 million and $37 million, respectively. Total revenue for the second quarter was $814 million, with BTC making up 4.5 percent of that value. The numbers reflect a similar quarterly report out of Ripple, whereby the total valuation of XRP sales had dropped substantially (as the coin fell from nearly $4 USD at the beginning of the year to below $0.50), while customer volume increased. Revenue coming out of sources like Square gives the impression that although the crypto markets are struggling to turn around from a prolonged bear cycle, adoption in the industry and customer growth is moving at a reasonable pace.

In June, Square completed a milestone in operating within the crypto space, acquiring a BitLicense to allow buy and sells for customers living in New York. While the company has yet to see substantial profit from the addition of cryptocurrency (most of the reported revenue has been offset by operating and implementation costs), the stepping stone of increase is promising to that end.

Despite Dorsey’s bullish remarks on Bitcoin, his dual presence with Square and Twitter has created one of the more perplexing contradictions surrounding cryptocurrency. Twitter, alongside Google and Facebook, implemented a ban against cryptocurrency advertisements earlier in the year, contributing to the substantial fall off in price. While Dorsey may not have had a hand in bringing about such a one-sided ruling against crypto, it’s telling to hear his opinions on Bitcoin combined with the actions Square has taken to become a legitimate player in the market.

Most community members of cryptocurrency would prefer to see adoption beyond payment processors and platforms of exchange–as the currency is capable of accomplishing transactions without an intermediary. However, the recognizable nature of Square in conjunction with its high profile CEO Jack Dorsey, is a tailwind for the king of cryptocurrency. Square is in prime position, like most mobile-based crypto portals, to pivot into a more user friendly option for those intimidated by the private/public key approach to BTC transactions. At the very least, with adoption next spreading into the mainstream and less tech-savvy crowd, the need for custodial outlets will be beneficial to the industry.

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