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Litecoin (LTC) Flips Bitcoin Cash (BCH) In Crypto Bear Plunge

The Flappening

During 2018’s earliest months, as Ethereum (ETH) surged above $1,000 in a surprising turn of events, many began to expect for the platform-centric cryptocurrency to overtake Bitcoin (BTC) — crypto’s undoubted leader — in terms of market capitalization. Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin, a former Coinbase employee, and seeming ETH skeptic, took to his Twitter feed to defend BTC, noting that the aforementioned “will never happen.”

At the same time, Lee added that the cryptocurrency of his own creation, Litecoin (LTC), could overtake Bitcoin Cash (BCH), as many believe that the former accomplishes what the latter has sought to do — a cryptocurrency that closely resembles the “OG” Bitcoin, but with slightly altered characteristics to be classified as “true digital cash.”

In response to Lee’s tweet, the ardent Litecoin community quicked to the industry insider’s side, launching LTC v.s. BCH data aggregator Flappening.watch, whose name is an evident nod to the “flippening” (ETH>BTC) and Lee’s mascot — a chicken clad in armor. For most of the year, the valuation of all BCH stayed far ahead of LTC’s capitalization, moving relatively higher on the back of Bitmain’s stamp of approval and other catalysts.

Yet, with the recent market downturn, coupled with the hard fork of the Bitcoin Cash chain, Charlie Lee’s brainchild has begun to gain on the favorite cryptocurrency of Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver, Bitmain, and Jihan Wu.

Litecoin (LTC) Overtakes Bitcoin Cash (BCH) On Crypto Leaderboard

On Friday afternoon, in the midst of a further BTC sell-off to $3,150, BCH began to capitulate hard, falling below key support levels and underperforming the market at large. At the same time, LTC began to undergo a slight recovery, bouncing off its year-to-date lows at ~$22.5, posting the only positive performance in crypto’s top 20.

And as that happened, to the chagrin of Bitcoin Cash’s diehard proponents, who have clung onto the asset for dear life since November 14th’s contentious network upgrade, Lee, who is a brother to BTCC co-founder Bobby Lee, took to Twitter to give an update.

Through the use of three emojis, the likeness of a chicken, a flying dollar bill, and a rocket ship, coupled with a GIF, Lee accentuated the fact that his prediction had come true, tagging the Flappening Twitter in pure ecstasy.

Per data from Flappening.watch, the market capitalization of LTC is $5 billion higher than its rival in BCH. Not only has coblee’s creation ousted the most prominent Bitcoin fork in terms of standing, but Litecoin also touts 384% more active addresses, 340% higher daily transactions, and 288% more in trading volume.

Data gathered from CoinMarketCap also indicates that this pertinent industry event has occurred, with the price tracker making it more than clear that Litecoin has passed Bitcoin Cash on crypto’s long-standing leaderboards — filled to the brim with every brand of cryptocurrency.

It remains to be seen whether LTC will stay on top of its altcoin brethren, but considering the trajectory that BCH is taking, some believe that Litecoin’s relative surge will be a permanent play.

Title Image Courtesy of Taras Chernus on Unsplash

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When There’s Blood in the Street (Why It’s Not Quite Time to Be Long Crypto)

Timothy Enneking is the founder and the primary principal of Digital Capital Management, LLC (DCM). ——————- Two members of the Rothschild family are credited, perhaps incorrectly, with the (in)famous quote regarding investing: “When there is blood in the street” (James (mid-19th century) and Nathan (after the battle of Waterloo)). The family has been one of […]

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Telecoms Giant AT&T Seeks Patent for Blockchain-Enabled Social Media ‘Mapping’ System

Telecoms conglomerate AT&T is seeking a patent for a blockchain-based system that would create a “mapping” platform for content on social media networks

American telecoms giant AT&T is seeking a patent for a blockchain-based social media history “map.” The patent application was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Dec. 13.

AT&T’s patent application describes a blockchain-powered system that may include a transaction history controller to store subscribers’ data, which may be used for various purposes. The file outlines a number of particular cases, such as creating and sharing information, ideas, and career interests through virtual communities and networks.

Broadly speaking, by deploying the system users could purportedly track “micro-culture transactions,” like tracing current trends at a particular time or place, or behavior of their friends. That ability, per the patent application, “may have enormous value in e-commerce, marketing, and targeted advertising.” The document further states:

“The social media history map platforms described herein may take advantage of the immutable and permanent nature of blockchain records to store, and provide access to, data representing online transactions that occur on multiple social media applications.”

Per the filing, content creators would keep ownership of their data on the “mapping” platform:

“However, instead of passing ownership of blocks or data between users, a social media account owner maintains primary ownership of his or her online transaction data. What passes from the social media account owner to other users of the social media history map service, such as followers of the social media account owner, is a notion of elevated visibility rights.”

In November, the USPTO awarded printing and digital copying appliances manufacturer Xerox a patent for a blockchain-driven auditing system for electronic files. The technology offered by Xerox can supposedly detect whether a file has been altered and tracks the history of changes to documents. Owing to the decentralized verification mechanism, the system thus becomes resistant to tampering, the filing states.

Also that month, financial services giant American Express (Amex) filed a patent for a blockchain-based system to capture and transmit the image of a receipt. The filing describes how the system lets a user with a mobile device capture the image of a receipt. The system then, via “optical character recognition,” deciphers the image and matches it with “related records,” namely transaction history.

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Bloomberg Editor Critical Of Bitcoin (BTC) — Wants Blockchain, Not Crypto

Bloomberg Former Editor-In-Chief Bashes Bitcoin (BTC)

Amid 2018’s tumult and market downturn, Matt Winkler, the former editor-in-chief at Bloomberg News, recently cut out some time to speak with the outlet’s Emily Chang to discuss cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin (BTC).

Speaking with the outlet’s anchor in a short interview, Winkler, a world-renowned reporter in the business realm, first explained that Dotcom startups were valued by their cash earnings, a questionable indicator in the eyes of fundamentalists. With the essential second coming of the Dotcom Bubble in Bitcoin, the Bloomberg reporter explained that it’s hard to value cryptocurrencies by their “intrinsic worth,” adding that commentators do “mental gymnastics” to come up with target prices for this nascent asset class.

Winkler added that “even Warren Buffet” has lambasted cryptos, like Bitcoin, as assets that do not have actual value — failing to recognize that many believe that cryptocurrencies and related technologies have untapped potential and upside.

When asked about if BTC could see a recovery, Winkler responded with caution, stating:

I’m not clairvoyant and I think that this answer is way above my pay-grade. What I can do as an observer, newsman is to look at this and say what justifies its valuation which we see in the marketplace. And when it’s difficult to find the answers, you ought to be pretty cautious.

In closing, responding how countless centralists have in recent days, the member of Bloomberg top brass noted that while he’s cynical of cryptocurrencies, he sees value and innovation with decentralized ledger technologies.

Bloomberg Bashed As Crypto “FUDders”

And interestingly, Winkler isn’t the only Bloomberg-affiliated journalist or reporter that has been lambasted by crypto’s community. In recent days, there has been an uprising (of sorts) on Crypto Twitter, whereas this nascent industry’s leading participants, including Mike Dudas, pseudonymous analyst “I Am Nomad,” and Armin Van Bitcoin, have bashed the prominent outlet’s coverage of Bitcoin and related technologies.

Notable fintech entrepreneur Mike Dudas, who currently acts as the founder and CEO of The Block, drew attention to Bloomberg’s most recent piece on Bitcoin being a bubble, one of the first in a line of many.

I Am Nomad, known for both his industry skepticism and optimism, exclaimed that the New York-headquartered outlet has been “rifling” out the crypto “op-ed FUD,” questioning if the propagation of such negative press could be done “on purpose.”

Armin Van Bitcoin, a prominent advocate of his nickname-sake from Canada, quipped that Bloomberg journalists essentially believe that global debt isn’t a concern, centralized parties should control monetary supply, “Ethereum is the next Bitcoin,” and we don’t need the flagship crypto asset, as it’s purportedly dead.

The Crypto Fam, who also claimed that the site’s coverage of Bitcoin has been shoddy, noted that employees are paid to “‘move markets’, a practice that lends itself to sensationalism and hyperbole.” The account, which represents a community of crypto enthusiasts, cited a Business Insider expose on Bloomberg’s potentially questionable and immoral practices to back their claim.

Others recently bashed Bloomberg’s anti-crypto ATM piece, with trader “Needacoin” and journalist Joseph Young both noting that automated tellers that “dispense” BTC are far from mediums of money laundering, as there are measures in place (transaction limits, CCTV, etc.) that prevent such heinous acts.

No matter the form that the criticism took, it is becoming apparent that crypto’s most prominent participants have taken issue with Bloomberg, as some fear that the organization is in bed with centralized financial institutions — who would stop at nothing to see Bitcoin fade to dust.

Still, @crypto, as Bloomberg News’ crypto branch goes on Twitter, has seemed hell-bent on pushing on content pertaining to this decade-old asset class. And seeing the influence that media has over society today, some wouldn’t be surprised if criticism continues to fly crypto’s way.

Title Image Courtesy of Icons8 Team On Unsplash

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Ethereum-Based Chat Platform Lays Off 25% of Staff Due to Crypto Market Decline

Ethereum-based mobile app Status is laying off 25 percent of its staff following the crypto market crash.

Ethereum (ETH)-based chat platform Status is laying off 25 percent of its staff due to the recent cryptocurrency market decline, according to a post published Dec. 11.

Founded in 2017 in Switzerland, Status is an open source Ethereum-based mobile app that enables its users to chat, transact, and access decentralized applications (DApps).

In the announcement, the startup’s co-founder Jarrad Hope said that Status is “much larger than we can sustain” in the environment of the declining market, wherein the company was not prepared for scenarios of ETH dropping over 80 percent since August.

“This was compounded by not having solid banking partners due to the difficulty in opening banking accounts for crypto projects until Q2 of this year, and have been hedging since then accordingly,” the announcement further reads.

According to Status, 25 percent of its staff is “non-essential” to the company’s long-term growth projects, and are therefore being laid off. Remaining employees have been asked to take a paycut and will purportedly be given a sum of Status’ native virtual currency SNT “to help offset the cut and align with the network’s success.”

In order to set up a “runway measured in years,” Status is going to tap into its remaining fiat money and “large” ETH holdings. The startup has also asked remaining employees to actively contribute to the development of its two priority projects, which are to “deliver on white paper promises” and get the app to a “usable state.”

In November, another cryptocurrency-based startup, Steemit, laid off more than 70 percent of its staff due to the cryptocurrency market crash, and began a structural reorganization. The recent drop in crypto markets purportedly resulted in a decrease in fiat currency returns from the company’s automated STEEM token sales. Additionally, the cost of running Steem’s nodes has increased.

The crypto market experienced a harsh fall on Nov. 14, with Bitcoin (BTC) slumping from its average trading price of around $6,400 to as low as $5,506. This week, the leading coin dipped even lower, to as low as $3,199, while ETH’s lowest price point was $83.50.

At press time, SNT is the 67th largest coin by market capitalization and is trading at $0.0134, down 4.41 percent on the day. The coin’s market capitalization is nearly $47 million, and its total supply is over 6.8 billion coins, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Blockchain Incubator Binance Labs Releases First ‘Batch’ of Blockchain Projects

Blockchain Labs has graduated its first blockchain projects from its Incubation Program.

Binance Labs, the venture wing of the largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has released its first “batch” of blockchain projects from its Incubation Program, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Dec. 14.

Binance Labs is an initiative that seeks to help early-stage blockchain and digital assets projects and entrepreneurs through direct investments and technical assistance. The Binance Labs Incubation Program is an onsite program that was launched in August 2018.

Following a try-out tour with over 500 applicants, Binance Labs selected only eight projects, each of which received $500,000 in seed funding and access to necessary resources and mentors. Over the course of the 10-week program, seven projects have shipped working products and signed on users, while three of those teams have paying customers.

Among others, the eight projects selected by Binance Labs include hardware wallet SafePal, fictionless logins for decentralized apps (DApps) Torus, Internet security project Nym, and market prediction startup Deaux.

In an “Ask me Anything” (AMA) session on Reddit in June, Ella Zhang, Head of Binance Labs, said that decentralization is “the core value of Bitcoin and blockchain,” stating that the company had launched a number of initiatives in this direction.

In the beginning of October, Binance Labs reportedly invested millions of dollars in decentralized digital content ecosystem Contentos. The startup is set to develop a decentralized ecosystem, which will offer transparency and monetization of content, without third-party censorship or removal of content.

Last month, Binance launched an analysis division Binance Research to conduct “institutional-grade” research reports. The division will prepare institutional-grade research reports with the objective of increasing transparency and improving the quality of information within the cryptocurrency space.

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(Former?) Kid Crypto Millionaire Bashes Bitcoin (BTC), Calls It “Dead”

Erik Finman, The “Teenage Bitcoin Millionaire”

Erik Finman is likely a name you have heard in crypto’s lore. If this name doesn’t ring any bells, here’s some background on this near-mythical figure in Bitcoin’s history.

As revealed in a Buzzfeed News video posted on Youtube, which has garnered 5.94 million views in its one and a half year lifespan, Finman was formerly an average American adolescent with dreams of grandeur, and an unbridled hate for college. Due to his hate for higher education, his parents decided that he wouldn’t have to attend college, only if he was worth $1 million by 18.

So, when $1,000 was given to Finman by his grandmother to start a college fund, the then-tween decided to play his cards in a risky manner. This, of course, was an all-in allocation into Bitcoin (BTC), valued at ~$2.5 a piece at the time of purchase.

Speaking with Buzzfeed, Finman, who currently resides in a lofty New York high tower, divulged the reasoning behind this unique investment. He explained that prior to his grandmother’s gift, his brother, who also saw $1,000 come his way, had begun to dabble in cryptocurrencies. The now-early-stage adopter followed suit, finding interest in cryptocurrencies, and, as is now ingrained into the internet’s immortal stone, purchased 403 BTC.

With the funds he garnered, which reached a maximum valuation of $8 million in late-2017, he has since purchased a flashy apartment block in New York, one of the world’s most expensive housing markets, and funded and participated in a number of innovative startups, including a satellite-centric project most recently.

From what Ethereum World News can gather, Erik has not divulged how much BTC he has sold, at which price, and subsequently, how much he has directly profited from his investment.

Change Of Heart?

Yet, speaking with MarketWatch, the now-millionaire entrepreneur has hinted that he may have liquidated his entire cryptocurrency portfolio into fiat, likely to fund his ambitious ventures. In an interview with the financial outlet, Finman exclaimed that putting too many eggs in one basket, namely cryptocurrencies, could produce dismal results.

He said flat-out that “Bitcoin is dead,” adding that the fragmented nature of the crypto community, as made by apparent by the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, could spell the end for the asset… eventually. Finman noted that while he could see BTC undergoing one more bull run, the asset is likely to fail in the long-term, presumably due to the theory that Bitcoin hasn’t been able to keep up with blockchain’s rapidly expanding value.

Finman then bashed Litecoin, explaining that the project has been “quite dead for a while,” likening the asset to the setting Sun when it’s about to go under the horizon.

In closing, he told MarketWatch that he expects project/platform cryptocurrencies to continue operations in the long haul, drawing attention to Ethereum (ETH) and ZCash (ZEC).

Regardless, his investment in the world’s first cryptocurrency likely changed his life entirely for the better, as Finman has since embarked on a number of ventures, as aforementioned, while catalyzing quite the growth in his social media following.

Graveyard Title Image Courtesy of Echo Grid on Unsplash

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Bitcoin (BTC) Price Conversation Missing the Point

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–With the crypto markets continuing to slip into December, with Bitcoin and altcoins hitting their new relative low for the year, the tone surrounding the industry of cryptocurrency has made a decided shift towards the negative. While crypto, particularly the investment landscape, has become a punching bag throughout the year, with the bear market extending into the final month of 2018, the situation has never been seen as dire as what has transpired in the past several weeks.

Traditional, financial media outlets such as Bloomberg and CNBC have regularly covered the market shifts, but are now beginning to take an almost gleeful interest in the demise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The language towards the digital asset has shifted from “I told you so” to personal attacks against investors, with the aggressors positioning themselves on a false pedestal of authority. However, while these outlets are justified in their criticism and reporting on the continued price fall for crypto, they ultimately contribute to the number one problem plaguing the industry at present: an incessant focus on price movement, price predictions and the 24-hour trading cycle of crypto–and the average investor and enthusiast is as much to blame.

Cryptocurrency is in free fall for the primary reason that expectations outpaced realistic performance, with the money being poured into the industry throughout 2017 and the beginning of this year being an exponential reflection of that disconnect. While many have found novelty in using Bitcoin as an alternative form for digital transactions, storage of value and other wealth safeguarding, the limitations of the technology failed to meet the anticipation of user needs.

When transactions fees and wait times for BTC soared in the first month of 2018, newcomers to crypto were left scratching their head over the hype they had bought into. The result was just one facet of uncertainty introduced into the market that led to the collapse, like a house of cards, that was built on a series of shaky propositions. For one, the media had inundated the public with stories of overnight millionaires–and billionaires–being minted by Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, a narrative that investors were all too eager to buy into with coin prices rising four-digit percentage points on the year.

Again, expectation and speculation created the bloated market conditions that in no way could have been reasonable for the present level of adoption and advancement for the technology. It would be akin to saying that pre-dot.com websites deserved the same stock valuation and outlook as today’s landscape for Google and Facebook.

However, the greatest failure on behalf of supporters of cryptocurrency came in the form of allowing the technology become hijacked by the emphasis on price. When Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin made the claim that all centralized exchanges should burn in hell, he was in part criticizing an industry that is beholden to price speculation, driven through the activity of investors on exchange. Few care to delve into the depth of cryptocurrency, the layers to the technology, and the implications for the world that extend beyond “digital money.”

With Bitcoin having been declared dead hundreds of times before, it’s difficult for anyone to correctly predict that this is the ultimate end for the number one cryptocurrency by capitalization. However, if there is a path forward for cryptocurrency, it lies in not just a reset of market prices, but investor and user expectations, with an emphasis on building use for the technology that exceeds value.

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Report: CEO of Largest Romanian Crypto Exchange Arrested on US Warrant

The CEO of Romanian crypto exchange Coinflux was reportedly arrested for alleged fraudulent activity.

The CEO of Romania’s largest crypto exchange Coinflux was reportedly arrested on a warrant from the United States for fraud, organized crime, and money laundering, local news outlet Mediafax reported Dec. 13. Coinflux has subsequently stopped all digital currency exchanges.

Founded in 2015 in the Romanian city of Cluj, Coinflux is an online digital currency trading platform, with reportedly more than 200 million euro worth of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP) in transactions.

Vlad Nistor, the CEO and founder of Coinflux, was supposedly arrested on the territory of Romania upon the request of U.S. prosecutors. Nistor is accused of alleged fraudulent activity, organized crime and money laundering. The issue of extradition of Nistor to the U.S. will reportedly be heard by the Appeals Court of Bucharest.

Following the purported arrest, Coinflux published an announcement saying that the exchange has temporarily suspended all digital currency exchanges, while the company’s bank accounts have been frozen. Coinflux states that the ongoing investigation has also restricted its access to some parts of the platform.

In July of 2018,  the Ministry of Finance of Romania released a draft Emergency Ordinance, which regulates the issuance of electronic money (e-money). Per the document, any legal entity looking to issue e-money must have a share capital of no less than €350,000 ($395,000), while its members are subject of approval by the Romanian National Bank (BNR).

While the first Bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) in the country appeared back in 2014, it took Romanian authorities about three years to come up with an expanded comment on cryptocurrencies. In 2017, Ilan Laufer, Romania’s Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Environment Minister, expressed his belief in cryptocurrencies, but pinpointed that the area should be officially regulated.

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Major US Crypto Exchange Coinbase Adds Cash Withdrawals to PayPal

U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase enhances its services, introducing cash balance withdrawals to PayPal.

Major American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has introduced free of charge cash withdrawals to online payment system PayPal, according to an announcement published Dec. 14.

From now on, Coinbase’s United States-based customers are able to withdraw their cash balances to Paypal. The service for other countries will reportedly be rolled out some time in 2019.

Coinbase and PayPal previously integrated in 2016, when Coinbase added support for the payment platform in addition to major credit cards. At the time, Coinbase users were able to sell Bitcoin (BTC) and have their fiat funds deposited to a PayPal wallet. The integration was subsequently terminated due to technical difficulties.

With this move, Coinbase has enhanced its range of services, which has been actively expanding over the past several months. This month, the exchange began “exploring” the possibility of providing trading support for 31 cryptocurrencies. Potential new additions include Ripple (XRP), EOS and Cardano (ADA). Coinbase “will be working with local banks and regulators to add them in as many jurisdictions as possible.”

As Cointelegraph reported in September, Coinbase announced a new process that will purportedly allow it to list more digital assets faster. Issuers who want to submit tokens at Coinbase via the newly adopted process will have to use a special form, which will subsequently be evaluated by the exchange team against their digital asset framework.

In November, Coinbase launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional customers. Christine Sandler, head of sales at Coinbase, revealed that the OTC service is likely to be combined with Coinbase Custody, a service crypto custodian tool for institutional investors launched on July 2, 2018.

In March, PayPal  filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to increase the speed of cryptocurrency payments. The patent describes an “Expedited Virtual Currency Transaction System”, involving the use of secondary private keys to shorten wait times for transactions between consumers and merchants.