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How Tyler Winklevoss Converted His Biographer Into a Bitcoin Believer

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are portrayed as the good guys this time in Ben Mezrich’s new book.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

I don’t normally write the stories here at Cointelegraph — I edit them. But when I got an email from a publicist asking if I was interested in speaking with Ben Mezrich, author of “Bitcoin Billionaires,” and oh, did I want the Winklevoss twins to jump in on the interview? I couldn’t say no.

Ben had the lucky chance — as he calls it — to already have an in with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, as they had been portrayed as the Men of Harvard, slightly “bad” guys in his book that ended up being adapted into the film “The Social Network.” As Ben tells it, after he saw The New York Times article about their bitcoin billionaire success, a book about their crypto escapades that picks up right as their court battle with Mark Zuckerberg ends seemed to be an obvious next step.

The timing for the publication of “Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption” couldn’t be better or more coincidental. The book spends almost 300 pages detailing the journey of how the Winklevoss twins have succeeded in crypto to the extent that it has wiped away the stain left by their battle over Facebook’s origin with Zuckerberg, only to then coincide with Facebook’s public unveiling of the Libra cryptocurrency project.

However, Ben’s latest book involving both the Winklevii and Zuckerberg — which was reviewed by Cointelegraph this week — reverses his previous narrative of Zuckerberg as the good guy and the Winklevii as his opponents. But, as Ben explained, it wasn’t the writing that got it initially wrong, but the reality that changed the perspective over time. He told me:

“I think reality flipped everything on its head, not just in the writing of it, but Facebook went from being something that everyone saw as this revolution and Zuckerberg as this revolutionary that was going to free the internet and make us all happy, into something much more nefarious, and Zuckerberg is now somewhat reviled.”

And Zuckerberg’s cryptocurrency project has not been without criticism from those that align themselves more with the cypherpunks of the 1990s than with the Winklevii of today. That is an important distinction that Ben makes in his book, shown through the twins’ highly skeptical attitudes toward the manic bitcoin passion of Charlie Shrem and the slightly dangerous libertarianism of Roger Ver. The twins, albeit very sincere bitcoin believers, could kind of care less about the sacredness of decentralization.

When asking Tyler Winklevoss about Facebook’s Libra project, I expected potential scorn, derision, maybe even thinly veiled frustration about losing some crypto limelight to a past adversary. But Tyler surprised me with his even keel:

“So, first off, I think that Facebook being in this space is huge validation for it.”

I waited for him to continue.

“I think that if you are a company in 2019, and you don’t have a crypto story or game plan, it’s kind of crazy. And if you don’t, I’m sure you’re scrambling around to get one.

“Ultimately we think it’s great validation in the space. I’ve read some of the technical papers and whatnot and it looks like it is evolving and they’re still figuring out exactly all the details. But there’s a plan to start, in some way move it to more decentralization.

“It’s still really early, and this is all one big experiment and iteration on the evolution of money. And I think it’s really healthy that people are trying different approaches. It’s not necessarily one size fits all.

“If you’re trying to be digital gold, decentralization may be the most important thing. If you’re trying to be more like a currency, then perhaps you can give on decentralization for speed. So I think it is really good. All approaches are very valid and we’ll sort of see how it plays out.”

On the straight and narrow

The main takeaway from Tyler’s comments throughout our entire conversation was regulation, regulation, regulation. Once you got past the “bitcoin does gold better than gold” standard line, he was ready to explain his somewhat unusual (what I would dub “hodler traditionalist”) views.

For starters, he was not onboard with my joking idea about selling “Bitcoin Billionaires” for actual bitcoin:

“Maybe you shouldn’t buy it with bitcoin, because if you believe in bitcoin, it is going to only appreciate in value.”

According to Tyler, there is no reason for bitcoin to even become a medium of exchange or a “good currency” because of “how regulation is allowing that to play out, at least in the U.S.”

And now that he’s started speaking about regulation, he gets on a roll that is nevertheless persuasive despite being well-practiced.

“We need to speak the same language as the largest funds and players in capital markets today,” Tyler said over the phone, in as far a cry from a cypherpunk as can be found. “I think it’s just really important to do things the right way. And that may not be the fastest way in the short term, but I think in the long term, it’s the one that ultimately will bring in the right audience and be the pay-off in the long term. Our sort of motto is: Look, we’re just trying to be the fastest tortoise in the race. And we’re playing on a game board that not everybody else is necessarily playing on.”

“We’re playing chess and, you know, there is checkers, but that’s a different game and we’re not playing that.”

What bitcoin lacks

When asked about the upcoming Bakkt physically-backed bitcoin futures testing, as well as the seemingly never-ending process of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision on a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), Tyler continued to play the role of the tortoise in it for the long haul:

“I think that people, traders, investors and consumers will ultimately want to see the same opportunities to express opinions through financial instruments in bitcoin as they see in gold. But because we live in the world of cryptocurrency, there may be much more, too. There may be decentralized exchanges and more decentralized finance applications that you can’t create outside of the crypto world.

“I think you’d expect to see what exists in gold but also much more in crypto.”

This attitude toward regulation, compliance and doing things the “right way” came from the twins’ negative experience with now defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox, when they first started acquiring their bitcoin hoard. This is the main goal of the Winklevoss’ cryptocurrency exchange, the New York-based Gemini — to do everything the opposite of Mt. Gox.

And according to Tyler, doing things the right way is really the only way:

“We don’t believe in hacking our way around regulation or being too clever about it. We are transparent. We go into the front door, not the side door or in the back door. And that’s been our strategy and our DNA from day one.”

Ben Mezrich’s interest is piqued

According to Ben, Tyler’s passion for crypto and its regulation, obvious even over the phone on a group call, was one of the things that got him interested in the story and kept him interested:

“If there is a really, really smart person who gets incredibly passionate about something and everyone else is telling him that he’s wrong, that often leads to that thing that changes the world. People who are very smart get truly passionate about something, and you have to wonder why. How did they get so into this? That’s sort of rabbit hole that you go down.”

In fact, Ben — who admits that he knew almost nothing about cryptocurrency before he began this book — has become a bitcoin evangelist in a way that is abundantly clear both in the book and in our conversation. He tells me this on the phone with the conviction of a true believer:

“There’s no question that cryptocurrency is the future. That’s the way we’re going. It’s the science fiction money that we read about. And now, suddenly, it’s going to be adopted by everybody in the next couple of years.”

And Ben underlines that he was inspired specifically by the Winklevii, compliant, “right path” way:

“If you just talked to the Charlie Shrems and the Rogers of the world, it would frighten me, because it comes from this kind of crazy libertarian, anarchistic, Silk Road world, which is not something that would appeal to me, necessarily. But the way I think the twins came at it was completely different, and that perspective really won me over and it just made sense.

“The idea of digital money and the idea of digital gold — and something that you trust because it’s math and not people — just made a lot of sense to me.”

Ben’s goal in writing the book may have originally been to chase down his next interesting story, but his conversation with me sounds a lot like the Winklevoss twins in their early circuits of the crypto conferences — back when bitcoin was still in its nascency.

And according to Ben, people have seemed to take his past books to heart — as he noted that “Accidental Billionaires” and “The Social Network” actually launched many people toward Silicon Valley — which could spread the bitcoin gospel even further.

He told me confidently:

“I think this will launch all these people into this whole new world of money, and not just that, but the whole philosophy behind it.”

Tyler agreed with Ben’s assessment of the previous past influence of his books, noting that “if someone invested behind what Ben Mezrich found interesting, they’d probably have done pretty well.”

Ben concurred, joking that a hedge fund had once even wanted to rent him an office so that it could pick his brain as he searched for a new book topic. He didn’t end up taking the fund up on its offer.

Ben did add the caveat that “I foolishly never invest in anything I write about for a couple of reasons,” stating that he didn’t want to own bitcoin while also promoting his book, a highly moral stance for someone that also admitted he didn’t buy Facebook stock when writing “Accidental Billionaires” almost a decade ago.

Friend or foe?

I was curious how the characters that were portrayed in a more negative light viewed the book. After all, Ben had obviously gotten close to them in order to write a book that detailed all the various ways that BitInstant’s Charlie Shrem could be sweaty.

His answer also surprised me:

“Charlie loves it. Charlie read the book and the first thing he did was he texted me and said he cried, and thank you, thank you, thank you.

“I think Charlie’s a complicated character. So, even though you saw him warts and all, it really was his story. So, he liked it.”

Tyler chimed in to say, very seriously, that he and his brother Cameron are “cordial with everyone in the book. I’m friends with Eric [Vorhees], cordial with Roger [Ver], we’ve exchanged emails, obviously it’s no secret that we’ve had our differences with Charlie, but that’s all behind us now.” He went on, saying:

“I feel like we’re all cordial and respectful of the different viewpoints and opinions we have and paths we’ve taken.

“Everybody’s entitled to their different views and philosophies, and you know we don’t always have to agree, but we can respectfully have our differences.”

When I noted that his speech was more respectful than what goes on in crypto Twitter, he replied “someone’s got to set the example, you know?”

As for speaking with Zuckerberg for the second iteration of the Facebook-turned-crypto saga, Ben seemed doubtful, but as he said, “you never know, you never know.”

“I like to think of it like ‘The Avengers.’ You have ‘The Avengers’ as ‘The Social Network,’ and like the Marvel Universe, we go off into each character. Now, we’re talking about Wolverine, and next we’ll be talking about whatever. But it is really an incredible story that just keeps on going. And it’s definitely not finished yet.”

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Pariahs of Silicon Valley: How Ben Mezrich Writes About the Winklevoss Twins

Ben Mezrich’s new book about the Winklevoss twins highlights their dislike of both Mark Zuckerberg and Roger Ver.

Molly Jane Zuckerman is the head of news at Cointelegraph. The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of Cointelegraph. This article contains spoilers.

The irony of a book about the Winklevoss twins’ journey into cryptocurrency — which stresses over and over again how important it has been to their legacy to eclipse their past dealings with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg — getting published less than a month before Facebook’s secretive cryptocurrency project was unveiled to the world is almost too obvious a way to begin this book review.

“Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption” is the latest book in a series of flashy exposés of some of the world’s biggest financial success stories from writer Ben Mezrich. Most well-known as the man that penned the book behind “The Social Network,” a movie that brought the Winklevii into the millennial zeitgeist as two tall, overly handsome, not-so-lovable Men of Harvard, Mezrich’s latest book explores the beginning of Facebook from the perspective of these mirror twins all the way through the making of their own billions in crypto.

However, the story behind the all-hail Mark Zuckerberg movie, “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal,” shares a lot more than just a title full of billionaires, genius and betrayal — it now shares cryptocurrency.

Going back to the start, before this week when Facebook’s Libra project blew up both crypto and mainstream media, the Winklevoss twins were (and still are) arguably two of the biggest names in cryptocurrency. As a managing editor of a crypto publication, I’d been trained to look out whenever either of the twins said or did anything, as even a tweet of 120 characters from a Winklevii could get a story a high number of views.

Mezrich’s story gave me a new perspective on this Winklevoss celebrité: Apparently, before they became two of the kings of crypto, they were the black sheep of Silicon Valley. After the drawn-out court case between the twins and Zuckerberg over their right to a small part of Facebook due to their arguably initial idea that inspired Zuckerberg to create the global social network, Silicon Valley apparently cut the twins loose.

They sued Facebook and won. Now what?

The way Mezrich writes it, these two newfound millionaires (who had insisted on taking part of their settlement in Facebook stock, an idea that is portrayed as over-exaggeratedly opposed by their lawyers at the time) just could not give their money away. Their pariah status comes to a head in a well-known-ish diner in the valley, when a visibly nervous potential startup founder rejects their money after a previous acceptance, appears scared to be seen with them (although this attitude begs the question, why had he agreed to meet the two very tall, large investors in such a public place?), and explains to them in much overwrought, sweaty detail why their money will never be welcome in Zuckerberg’s Silicon Valley.

While this particular conversation with this degree of specificity may or may not have taken place, Mezrich’s point is clear: The Winklevii were not welcome in Silicon Valley.

The rest of the book flies by their introduction to Bitcoin for the first time (in a club in Ibiza) —

“‘Cryptocurrency,’ Cameron repeated, from his daybed. ‘It sounds criminal. Is it legal?’”

— to their fateful first meetings with Charlie Shrem

“Cameron couldn’t help feel the nervous energy bleeding out of the kid — Charlie was actually trembling — or smell the hint of marijuana seeping from his plaid short-sleeve shirt and distressed khaki pants.”

— the mutual intense dislike between them and “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver

“As far as Ver was concerned, the Winklevoss twins, celluloid ‘Men of Harvard,’ were the Establishment’s wet dream.”

— and the eventual investment in both Shrem’s now-defunct BitInstant and bitcoin (BTC) itself, leaving the twins with 1% of the crypto’s entire supply.

Charlie Shrem enters the stage

Shrem, at this point, has become a major, manic character in both the book and the twins’ life. The book describes their relationship as being on friendly grounds for the majority of their connection to each other, although each time Charlie is introduced, his adjectives become more childlike and a bit more dismissive, up to the point that he is sometimes alluded to as the CEO of his favorite nightclub rather than of BitInstant.

By the time that Shrem is jailed, which coincides with the New York State Department of Financial Services’ infamous cryptocurrency hearings with the now-hated Ben Lawsky (the anti-crypto-legislator-turned-entrepreneur who advises New York crypto firms on how to follow the confusing laws he himself created), the twins have written Shrem off as a bad investment.

It would be interesting to see how Shrem has reacted to his characterization here, but he’s left me unread on Telegram since November 2018, when I texted him for comments about the Winklevoss’ now-settled lawsuit against him for theft of 5,000 bitcoin around this same time (which, for some reason, was not covered in Mezrich’s book).

Roger Ver: The antihero

Bitcoin Jesus Roger Ver is brought in by Mezrich in the role of Charlie’s best friend, mentor and antithesis to the Winklevoss twins. The Winklevii hate him, Mezrich makes that abundantly clear — to the extent that they will never meet with him in-person throughout most of the book.

This seems to be a rather extreme reaction as investors in a common project that has a relatively incomptentant CEO that they both know well, but Mezrich paints over their strange inability to even have a normal business conversation with Ver by portraying this Jesus character as what your mom would call a “very bad influence that you shouldn’t play with.” And thus, the Winklevii will not play with him.

Taking Bitcoin mainstream

The move from the Winklevoss twins owning bitcoin to starting a cryptocurrency exchange is explained very quickly, but the point behind the idea has been hammered into the reader’s head the entire book: The Winklevoss twins really, truly love regulation. And what better way is there to ensure regulation in the crypto space than to create an exchange, base the business in New York (the state with the most stringent crypto laws) and then make sure people regulate it?

And this is what the Winklevii have done. They started Gemini Capital, received the BitLicense for Genesis Global Trading, and they were the first to get the SEC rolling on whether or not to accept a bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

Back to the book, up to almost the present day, the ending trails off with an almost-unidentified man (surprise! it’s Mark Zuckerberg!) penning a ridiculous letter in January 2018 about his marathoning, Mandarin skills and newfound interest in cryptocurrency.

But this book’s author could not have predicted that more than a year later, when the book came out, Zuckerberg’s over-the-top Christmas missive would lead to a media frenzy surrounding the Libra Association, libra stablecoin, Libra Investor Token, and the list goes on.

All of this makes the similar titles of Mezrich’s books a bittersweet joke, especially when juxtaposed with the scene in the book in which the Winklevii are pleased that crypto-focused New York Times journalist Nathaniel Popper doesn’t use the word “Facebook” in the headline of his second article about the twins and crypto. Zuckerberg has definitely caught up to them in the crypto space célébrité, even though his project has been met with a significant amount of scorn over its decentralization — or lack thereof.

And to add insult to injury — depending on your opinion of Zuckerberg’s pettiness (mine was amplified by a very early scene in the book wherein the Facebook mogul insisted on only meeting with one twin during a mediation due to an apparent fear of being punched) — libra stablecoin, gemini dollar… can anyone here read a horoscope?

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Winklevoss Twins and Charlie Shrem Settle Long-Running Legal Fight Over 2012 Bitcoin Deal

The Winklevoss twins and Charlie Shrem have agreed to end a long-running legal fight over 5,000 missing bitcoins after reaching a confidential settlement.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have reached an agreement with bitcoin (BTC) entrepreneur Charlie Shrem to end a lawsuit the twins filed against Shrem last year. The news was revealed in court documents filed on April 16.

The twins, who founded crypto exchange Gemini, had accused Shrem of stealing 5,000 bitcoin (worth about $26.1 million at press time) and using the crypto to buy Maseratis, powerboats and other luxury goods. He denied the allegations, which dated back to 2012.

Attorneys for both parties have signed the document filed with a federal court in New York, which says the entire civil action is being voluntarily dismissed with prejudice. It adds that the Winklevoss Capital Fund and Shrem will pay their own legal costs and fees, concluding: “The case will not be reopened.”

In an earlier court document filed on April 5, reviewed by Cointelegrpah, both parties confirmed that they had reached a settlement. At the time, they were given 30 days to “fully effectuate” their agreement, with an option of proceeding to trial if it was not fulfilled.

Following the case’s dismissal, Shrem told Cointelegraph in a statement today:

“From day one, I’ve maintained the allegations are bogus, and they are of course. After their attorney was sanctioned and they were ordered to pay my legal fees twice, we recently reached a confidential resolution, and I’m dismissed from the case.”

“I’m thankful for Brian Klein and my legal team and pleased to have this case behind me,” he added.

The legal firm representing the Winklevoss twins has not replied to Cointelegraph’s request for comment by press time.

As previously reported, a judge had ordered the Winklevoss brothers to pay Shrem $45,000 after the District Court of the Southern District of New York reduced the scope of the twins’ claims.

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Crypto Markets Tumble as SEC Rejects Winklevoss Twins’ Second Bitcoin ETF Application

Crypto markets have taken a sharp downturn, today, July 27, with all of the top ten coins by market cap hit by hefty losses and Bitcoin (BTC) dipping back below the $8,000 psychological price point, as data from Coin360 shows.

The grim market picture is likely due to yesterday’s breaking news that the Winklevoss Twins’ application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) has now been rejected for a second time by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading around $7,915 to press time, down about 4 percent on the day. After leading last week’s impressive market uptick and hitting as high as $8,431 July 25, the coin tumbled over $400 within the space of 3 hours earlier today.

Bitcoin has since slightly recovered from its intraday low at around $7,874 ––  and its weekly and monthly price performance remains in the green, up around 6 and 30 percent respectively.

Bitcoin’s 24-hour price chart

Bitcoin’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $462 at press time, down about 3 percent on the day. The altcoin took a similarly sharp plunge to Bitcoin, losing roughly $20 in value within 3 hours, and later dipping yet further to see a 24-hour low of around $459. Ethereum’s weekly price performance is now just shy of half a percent in the negative, but it’s monthly gains remain at a firm 6 percent.

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

On CoinMarketCap’s listings, all of the top 10 coins by market cap are down between 3 and 7 percent on the day.

Stellar (XLM) has seen the steepest loss of the top ten, 6.5 percent in the negative and trading around $0.305 to press time. Cardano (ADA) is down almost 7 percent, trading around $0.16 per coin, with IOTA (MIOTA) down around 5.4 percent at $0.98 and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) down almost 5 percent to trade at $802 to press time.

Of the top 20 coins on CoinMarketCap, VeChain — ranked 18th by market cap — has somehow been immunized from the declining fortunes of most crypto assets on the day. After a major surge yesterday to hit as high as $2.66, the token is still up around 13.5 percent today and is trading at around $2.36 to press time.

VeChain 7-day chart

VeChain 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Crypto exchange Binance’s native token Binance Coin (BNB) — ranked 17th on CoinMarketCap — is also up a solid 6 percent on the day, trading around $13.81 to press time –– its highest price point yet during its bullish run this week.

Binance Coin 7-day chart

Binance Coin 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Over $12 billion has been wiped from the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies on the day. After yesterday’s peak at $303.7 billion, total market cap is now around $290 billion.

Total market capitalization

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap, just seven coins are in the green on the day to press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

Crypto entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has argued on Twitter yesterday that the SEC’s second rejection of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF it is in some sense “old news.” He stated that a pending decision over the Bitcoin ETF that has recently been filed by VanEck & SolidX for trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will be more pivotal for the industry –– and would likely generate more price-impactful “ETF excitement.”

Shrem moreover argued that regulators will be more likely to grant a stalwart mainstream institution such as CBOE the right to trade an ETF, and that this was a more decisive factor in the Winklevoss rejection than the SEC’s alleged qualms over inadequate “resistance to price manipulation” yesterday. In response to Shrem’s argument, other commentators have nuanced his perspective, saying that:

“The VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust ($XBTC) will trade on the CBOE. Its pricing relies on the MVIS Bitcoin OTC Index, not a [single crypto] exchange like Gemini. It seems like the SEC would have to deem OTC markets as having better investor protections and liquidity. More investigation is required.”

Other simply consider that the SEC’s broadcasting of its concerns over vulnerabilities to market manipulation in an insufficiently sized regulated derivatives (futures) market will be “hard to overcome” –– it appears that these fears have been borne out by markets, at least in the immediate-short term.

Meanwhile, on July 24 the SEC delayed its decision on a Bitcoin ETF application from investment firm Direxion, the same day as digital asset manager Bitwise filed its own application with the regulator for an ETF that would track an index of ten cryptocurrencies.

Yesterday, the CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) said the institution would not be introducing futures on cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin anytime soon, reiterating his earlier comments that it would be “a little irresponsible” to launch altcoin futures contracts given that they are still “highly volatile and new.”

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‘Renowned’ Crypto Entrepreneur Joins Blockchain-Based Commerce Platform’s Advisory Board

A start-up which aims to make Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency payments an everyday feature of mainstream shopping has announced that “one of the most renowned representatives of the crypto community” is joining its advisory board.

Eligma is developing an e-commerce platform enabling consumers to shop on multiple websites through a unified account, along with an artificial intelligence (AI) system which uses the data this generates to offer personalized recommendations on new products and deals. An inventory is going to allow users to keep track of their purchases and discover the best (and most profitable) time to sell unwanted items on second-hand websites. Meanwhile, customers in brick-and-mortar stores will be able to buy items using cryptocurrency through a system called EliPay.

Building an advisory team

Charlie Shrem, a vocal advocate of cryptocurrency who was one of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin, is the latest adviser to join Eligma.

The company claims he has substantial entrepreneurial experience, including senior roles at a multi-platform cryptocurrency wallet venture and a firm promoting the use of cryptocurrency in the business community.

His arrival comes at a critical time for Eligma, with its technology yet to be tested in real-world environments, and the company hopes his background will enhance its progress.

Shrem, whose interests include commerce and the development of a social economy, told Cointelegraph (CT): “Eligma stands for an exceptional revolution, not only in the shopping sense, but also in terms of making the general public aware of the practical advantages that cryptocurrencies offer.”

Shrem is joining other advisers who each bring expertise from their time collaborating with some of the world’s biggest companies.

Eligma describes Andy Baynes as a “consummate visionary” who previously worked with Steve Jobs and Tim Cook at Apple – and introduces Hermann Eul as a “seasoned top executive in telecommunications and security” following his time at Intel. Gary Dillabough worked at eBay for a decade, while Peter M Moricz served as the vice president of the JP Morgan Private Bank in London between 2014 and 2016.

Dejan Roljic, the founder and CEO of Eligma, told CT that he is certain the contributions of these advisers – and others – “will result in a product that is far-reaching in its technology but easy and practical to use at the same time.”

Preparing for “Bitcoin City”

Mr Shrem’s arrival comes as Eligma prepares to put its system for cryptocurrency transactions to the test at a mall in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. The company claims that its technology is going to make Bitcoin City, a complex with more than 450 stores and the first shopping center in the world where cryptocurrency payments can be made.

According to Roljic, the starting phase of testing is going to go ahead as planned after the company signed letters of intent with five of Bitcoin City’s biggest retailers. Eligma says further features are going to be trialed gradually over the coming months, paving the way for expansion to the United Kingdom in the middle of 2019.

“We are planning to make Eligma a worldwide platform, but we need to start on a smaller scale to gather enough data and figure out the best practices to proceed further,” he told CT.

Roljic is continuing to spread the word about his business – with an energetic speech at the Crypto Summit 2018 in Zurich helping Eligma win the award for best pitch with 47.7 percent, seeing off competition from 22 other initial coin offerings.

Eligma’s crowdsale is beginning on April 17 and is going to conclude on May 8. 60 percent of the company’s supply of 500 mln ELI tokens are being offered to the public.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Bitcoin's 2 Month Low – Sign of the Time

2018 has been particularly cumbersome for the cryptocurrency markets, as Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren have endured a bashing. The preeminent cryptocurrency has hit a two month low sitting around $8,800 according to Coinmarketcap data at the time of writing.

There are a plethora of reasons why the market has been trampled in the first month of the new year. Much of this has been due to uncertainty over regulatory moves by governments around the world, in reaction to what was a revolutionary year for the cryptocurrency market as a whole.

A couple of weeks of serious uncertainty in South Korea, a tightening of the regulatory belt in massive economies like China and India, and some harsh commentary coming from financial heads and world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos have led to a sell-off in the cryptocurrency markets.

The overall market capitalization has dipped to $415 bln, with Bitcoin’s market dominance sitting at around 35 percent. Its price drop has been mimicked by almost every altcoin in the top 50, all in all, summing up the current mood in the space.

However, its not all doom and gloom as industry experts, those cryptocurrency gurus who’ve been around since it all started, have seized the moment to highlight vital characteristics that led to cryptocurrencies being adopted around the world.

Casting aside fear, uncertainty and doubt, core members of the community believe the very qualities that underpin the revolutionary aspects of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will inevitably be their saving grace from market manipulation and governmental crackdowns.

Shrem’s take

Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem posted some insightful comments on Twitter this week, as Bitcoin continued it’s slide to recent lows.

In an eight-part series of Tweets, Shrem unpacked the prevailing sentiment towards cryptocurrencies by banks and government institutions.

Starting off, he said that “Bitcoin and other privacy-focused and decentralized cryptocurrencies are the biggest innovation of my lifetime. They literally take the power and control of money out of the hands of government and into the hands of people that use it.”

He hit out at recent ICOs that have created ‘a dilution of our beautiful technology’ calling ‘permissioned Blockchains’ and ‘digital ledger technology’ glorified ‘google spreadsheets.’ He also said anything that claims to be Blockchain technology but is controlled by a single entity is not Blockchain.

Following that, he explained why this ‘liberating’ technology will be targeted and undermined by established institutions.

“Of course governments are going to do the same. What did you think? They would roll over while we built our alternative financial system and people started using it? Governments don’t like competition.”

The World Economic Forum in Davos also provided a glimpse of the future, as more governments are likely to follow in the footsteps of Russia and Venezuela, that are issuing state-owned virtual currencies.

Shrem also cautioned against this move, saying we will “see a systemic push for regulated and controlled Blockchains by ‘DLT’ companies, banking consortiums and governments. THESE ARE NOT CRYPTOCURRENCIES. Do not be fooled!”

Check out his full post:

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Bitcoin Cash Passes $1,500 Again As Lead Dev Pronounces Bitcoin Dead

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has seen another major growth spurt as the altcoin’s lead developer pronounces Bitcoin (BTC) dead.

Capping what appears to be Bitcoin’s 191st life, Deadal Nix tweeted Tuesday as BCH began picking up steam that the August hard fork meant Bitcoin already no longer existed.

“Bitcoin is dead. It was split in two. There is Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Core/Legacy. Deal with it,” he wrote in response to a warning about BCH from online commentator Alphonse Pace.

The Core community was quick to respond, Charlie Shrem noting that Nix publicly describes himself as a “pro shitlord.”

The continuing tension comes as BCH is on the way to doubling its USD value since recent lows of $947 Nov. 17.

Current cross-exchange data shows prices approaching $1,600 per coin, yet November’s second maneuver is having a markedly lesser impact on Bitcoin prices.

BTC is trading around $8,200, near all-time highs poster several days ago. During BCH’s previous bull run, Bitcoin plummeted, albeit to quickly regain value to continue to break $8,000 for the first time.

Meanwhile, the strange consequences of BCH’s “malicious” hard fork are still playing out, with the Bitcoin Clashic Twitter account putting out calls for miner support.

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All Eyes On Dash As Currency Surges 60% Despite Crypto Market Turmoil

It’s been a tumultuous week for cryptocurrencies, yet with all eyes on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, the digital currency Dash has experienced an impressive surge over the past 24 hours. Earlier in the day, Dash was valued at $319 each. Less than 12 hours later, the price had surged to $520 before retreating to $460 at press time.

Among a sea of red, Dash stood out as one of the day’s biggest gainers, up over 60 percent at its peak. The obvious question is why.

Big blocks activation

As Bitcoin’s big blockers gave up hope following the cancellation of SegWit2x, Dash had already begun the process of activating a block size upgrade on its own network, boosting blocks to 2MB. While Bitcoin Cash is by far the favorite of the big block crowd, it’s possible some have placed at least a portion of their funds in Dash.

Earlier this year, Dash received some positive attention from big blockers Roger Ver and Charlie Shrem.

Dash has its own scalability plan, and it’s chosen an on-chain path. Rather than deploying payment channels like Bitcoin’s experimental Lightning Network or Ethereum’s planned Raiden Network, Dash intends to use ultra-large blocks. Dash’s founder Evan Duffield posted on Medium earlier this year:

“Many projects in the space believe that on-chain scaling is impossible. That’s simply because they haven’t explored alternative P2P architectures for higher performance. We intend to show just how far an incentivized second tier [masternode] architecture can take a project like Dash.”

Version 12.2 and Evolution

The bigger blocks come as part of a network-wide upgrade to version 12.2 of the Dash software. Core developer UdjinM6 posted on the Dash forums:

The most notable changes are:

  • DIP0001 implementation (which is a 2MB block upgrade);
  • Transaction fee reduction 10x (activates via DIP0001 activation);
  • InstantSend vulnerability fix (activates via DIP0001 lock in);
  • PrivateSend improvement which should allow user to have mixed funds available much faster;
  • Various RPC changes;
  • Lots of backports from Bitcoin Core and refactoring of our own legacy code which should improve performance and make code more reliable and easier to review;
  • Experimental HD wallet with BIP39/BIP44 support.

These changes help pave the way for Dash Evolution, expected later next year. Evolution aims to make cryptocurrency use so simple that “even your grandma [could use it].” Since Evolution is expected to be a major upgrade, any steps toward that goal are likely to be favored by the market.

Pump and dump teams at work?

When Dash’s price rose rapidly in March of this year, many believed that pump and dump teams were at work. We’ve seen such pumps and dumps repeatedly this year, as big money quickly buys up an asset, squeezes the shorts, then sells once new investors come in and push the price even higher.

Pump and dump teams are something that no project has any control over, and while most currencies would prefer gradual, organic growth, sometimes market manipulators have other ideas.

Whether due to pump and dump teams or because of sudden appreciation of the project’s prospects, Dash has experienced an unprecedented surge while the overall market dropped. Of the top 10 currencies by market capitalization, Dash is up 33 percent, Ethereum is up four percent and Monero is up seven percent. The others are all flat or down. Indeed, 36 of the top 50 currencies by market cap are in the red today.

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Charlie Shrem “Among The First” To Apologize Over SegWit2x Bitcoin Fork

The botched attempt to upgrade the Bitcoin network via SegWit2x is settling quickly. However, some in the Bitcoin community are bent on making its crusaders feel the heat.

They took to Charlie Shrem‘s Twitter page to vent their displeasure as he apologizes for supporting the upgrade. The SegWit2x upgrade was abruptly called off yesterday, about a week before its proposed launch, due to lack of consensus.

Mea culpa

Shrem tweeted:

For many, his words didn’t have the intended effect. Several commenters showed disdain for Shrem because of his support of the software upgrade. Vake‏ @vakeraj notes it would have been better if Shrem had realized this long ago, rather than wasting countless hours of developer time.

Another respondent, Hunter Shields‏ @huntershieldz, claims it would be hard to trust Shrem in the future, asserting that he’d lied about consensus. The tweet says: “You didn’t follow the BIP process of SCIENCE/CONSENSUS. You almost rushed a HARD FORK costing billions of OTHER people’s money.  And wasted time/energy/money of others the past six months. Someone lied about consensus.”

Others reference his previous roles in the community and credit his ability to come out and make a public apology.

ARD‏ @ar_d2012 tweets: “Charlie I watched documentaries about you when I was learning about Bitcoin. I made my girlfriend watch. You were a hero for me. If I see you I WANT to take a picture with you.. But I was devastated to know you supported #segwit2x.”

Others like Chris Ani‏ @Christianani1 and 1X Gonzo‏ @gonzoucab praise Shrem’s “good heart” what he has done for Bitcoin. A. Hannan Ismail‏ @A_Hannan_Ismail simply states: “You’re a good man.”

A Bitcoin entrepreneur and advocate, Shrem is a founding member of Bitcoin Foundation. He was made the business development director for Jaxx, a multi-platform cryptocurrency wallet, in May.

Shrem’s hope in his apology that his intentions – as well as that of others – would be seen in the long term as good, as this was also questioned. Two respondents refer him to the saying that “the way to hell is paved with good intentions.”

There have also been calls for crypto users to push for signers of the New York Agreement such as BitPay, BitGo, Coinbase and Gemini to start using SegWit.