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With the introduction of Joule Allowances, the Bitcoin network takes one step closer to achieving its potential for automated micropayments and ‘streaming money.’

Joule Allowances Enables BTC Auto-Micropayments

Since its inception, Bitcoin has been trying to live up to its promise of being an enabler of frequent, low-value, instant payments. However, this is difficult to achieve on-chain, particularly when a block is mined roughly every 10 minutes

Now, a web-based tool is promising to make Bitcoin a reliable, seamless and affordable payment option. On June 13, 2019, software developer and co-founder at Grant.io, Willie O’Beirne gave an introduction of Joule Allowances.

Automatic #LightningNetwork micropayments are coming to @LightningJoule soon, here's a little preview. Still in the polish stage, so feedback is welcome!https://t.co/pRY4Thaiou

— Will O'Beirne (@wbobeirne) June 13, 2019

Joule is a WebLN-enabled browser extension that utilizes the user’s own lightning node to enable seamless micropayments in the background.

To avoid confusing Joule’s users and to make its operation more practical, O’Beirne notes that for now Joule Allowance payments will be restricted to payments made via WebLN only.

WebLN is a library that comprises of specifications for lightning apps and client providers to facilitate secure communications between apps and users’ lightning nodes.

To transact payments with Joule, the user needs an app that accepts or makes Lightning payments, as well as a compatible web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Soon, Brave will also become compatible.

When configuring the allowance, the user will have the options of setting the maximum amount of satoshis that the application use, the maximum amount per payment, and the frequency with which the payments can be made.

Joule Allowances is still under development. O’Beirne explains,

Joule’s interface is just the start of automatic payments while browsing the web with Lightning. There’s currently ongoing discussion of how to programmatically request, configure, and inspect allowances via WebLN, a discussion of using the HTTP 402 response code for payments (that could be done automatically), and new features that would make programmable auto-payments more feasible (e.g., customizable LND macaroons.)

Bitcoin Micropayment Capabilities Improving

Regardless of whether a fee is high or low, transactions have to wait to be confirmed with the next block, which usually takes around 5-15 minutes.

According to Bitcoinfees.earn.com, as of this writing, the fastest and cheapest transaction fee is 72 satoshis/byte. And for the median transaction size of 225 bytes, the charge is 16,200 satoshis. (One bitcoin equals 100 million satoshis.)

However, technical innovations such as Lighting Network and SegWit are easing network congestion, particularly in terms of scalability and reduced transaction fees. Now, the advent of automated payments such as Joule Allowances gets Bitcoin one step closer to become a viable micropayment option as well.

What impact do you think Joule Allowances will have on Bitcoin micropayments? Let us know in the comments below!

Images via Twitter/@wbobeirne, Shutterstock

The post Automatic Bitcoin Micropayments Are Coming to Lightning Network appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Tom Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors believes bitcoin can go as high as $40,000 before the end of 2019 off the back of increasing hype.

Bitcoin at $10,000 Will Trigger Massive FOMO

According to Bloomberg, Tom Lee expects bitcoin to go as high as $40,000 within the remainder of 2019. The Fundstrat co-founder and chief analyst conveyed his forecast in a note to clients issued on Monday (June 17, 2019).

For Lee, FOMO-driven hype will fuel BTC’s 400% price climb causing the top-ranked cryptocurrency to set a new all-time high (ATH). The Fundstrat analyst also identified the $10,000 price level as a massively important psychological milestone that will trigger this new wave of ‘cryptomania.’

Lee is no stranger to optimistic price targets having predicted an end-of-year price of $25,000 for BTC in 2018. However, last year turned out to be a prolonged bear market for cryptocurrencies in general as prices sank by more than 80% across the board.

Bitcoin is currently enjoying a stellar performance in 2019, especially since April. BTC is up almost 150% since the start of the year, adding more than $5,000 to its price since the ‘April Fool’s day’ surge.

Crypto Winter Well and Truly Over

Lee isn’t the only one waxing optimistic about BTC. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital expects bitcoin to have a mammoth 12-18 months given the current state of the global economy and the policies being enacted by central bankers across the world.

Analysts at CNBC are even talking up bitcoin once again. Although, like many in the crypto industry know, CNBC tends to be something of a “reverse indicator” for BTC.

Bitcoin is booming to its highest price in a year and the Chart Master says it's heading straight for $10K $BTC pic.twitter.com/91R9GhfIgT

— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) June 17, 2019

All of these positive sentiments agree that the crypto winter is well and truly over. Even analysts at CNBC point to the $3,100 of mid-December 2018 as bitcoin’s long-term bottom.

Not only is the price on the upward trajectory, but network fundamentals are also reaching new heights. Last Friday, the hash rate reached a new all-time high indicating a healthy mining scene.

Back in late 2018, there had been fears of a mining death spiral as the BTC price slipped even lower. There were reports of miners capitulating and downing tools.

However, the recent growth in hash rate and mining difficult means the network is now more secure than ever.

Do you think bitcoin will top $40,000 by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Tradingview and Twitter @CNBCFastMoney.

The post Bitcoin to $40k in the Next Few Months, Says Tom Lee appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Bitcoin price posted an impressive 8.7% surge over the weekend has left another sizeable gap in the CME Bitcoin Futures chart – this time around the psychological $9K mark. Are we going to be in for a turbulent week? Let’s take a look.

4-Hour Bitcoin Price CME Futures Chart

Between the 15-16 June, bullish traders catapulted Bitcoin price 00 over the critical $9K level after rejecting a bearish rising wedge pattern the day before. Because of this new impulse movement during the traditional financial market close, it caused a $570 gap to appear on the CME bitcoin futures chart between $8,485 and $9,055.

As mentioned in a previous analysis, these CME gaps have a tendency to act like magnets on the price action and often invite traders to close them by moving in the opposite direction. A gap like this, as shown above, was caused by a freak surge in bullish momentum over the weekend, and so now bearish traders are being tempted to sell or short the market in order to close it.

The distance between last week’s close and the new week open represents a considerable 6.39% difference in price. If Bitcoin’s price continues to correct from its recent YTD-high, it runs the risk of retracing back the $9K level and triggering bears to fill the gap.

Looking at the current market momentum, we can see that BTC price appears to be losing altitude as buying volume on the histogram decreases and the RSI returns back into the index channel.

If the 12MA bearishly diverges with the 26MA as well, we will have another firm bearish signal that BTC is likely to continue declining.


Bitfinex BTC/USD Shorts


Looking at the Bitfinex BTC derivative market, we can see that there’s been a substantial 40% hike in short positions over the last 7 days despite Bitcoin’s price reaching a new YTD-high. This is the biggest rise in shorts since Bitcoin hit the $5K level. 

These extra 7,359 shorts tell us two things.

  •  Derivative traders are bearish right now and are not expecting Bitcoin’s price to print a new high above the strong $9.4K sell wall. It’s likely that they’re anticipating bullish traders to become exhausted and the CME gap to close back down to $8,485.
  •  IF Bitcoin buyers do manage to break above the $9.4K mark off the back of another surging rally, however, then the resulting short squeeze would undoubtedly catapult Bitcoin’s price even further – potentially above and beyond the fabled $10K mark.

Either way, we could be in for a very volatile week if any of these two scenarios play out.

Which way do you think Bitcoin is heading this week? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tradingview.com

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Surge Leaves $570 CME Gap appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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On the day of its unveiling, Facebook’s cryptocurrency has already sparked forecasts that governments worldwide will ban it.

Libra Heading For Crypto Blacklist?

Libra, the protocol Facebook today revealed to the world via a somewhat clumsy website, will initially host a cryptocurrency of the same name.

It will function as a value transfer system – a stablecoin – across Facebook’s family of social media platforms and messengers, and will be “easy” to cash out into fiat, say developers.

This utility, however, is leading to worrying prognoses for the cryptocurrency before it has even launched. Governments, seeing Libra as an alternative to central bank monetary control, may well wish to keep citizens away from it.

Facebook says it will demand government-issued ID for anyone using its coin, but the idea of the company itself becoming a centralized hub of payments and value for a user base, which could number in the billions, is frightening for the powers that be.

One example, as suggested by a Kremlin economist, is that Russia will stop its citizens using Libra – by blocking Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

“Facebook’s Libra will have no alternative but to face being blocked on Russian territory,” Vladislav Glinko tweeted following publication of a dedicated whitepaper.

He added that its appearance would nonetheless lead to a surge in demand for Bitcoin, despite the fact that, in his view, Libra “is not a cryptocurrency” at all.

Facebook’s Crypto ‘Federal Reserve’

Worries over government reactions meanwhile also came from sources including the mainstream media, the Financial Times describing it as “nothing more than a brazen attempt to override national monetary sovereignty by creating a global-scale Federal Reserve equivalent.”

“I would not be surprised if the tech companies involved think they have sufficient power to get away with it this time,” Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd meanwhile .

Responding an assertion that Libra would last “three months” before seeing widespread shutdowns, Todd argued it was complacency which was fuelling Facebook’s 100-strong list of corporate partners.

“Possibly a cognitive blindspot amongst the execs from being privileged enough to never have been arrested; don’t really understand the power of courts/guns,” he added.

‘Not Actually A Blockchain’

Analysis of the whitepaper casts further doubt on long-term prospects, even if regulatory hurdles disappear.

Libra sounds fairly well designed as a permissioned system, but it is facing quite a few long-term challenges. Oh, and it's not a blockchain. https://t.co/B3pRC8860J

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) June 18, 2019

Developers promise a transition to Proof-of-Stake algorithm, but this implies overcoming issues faced by coins such as Ethereum on its journey, Statoshi.info creator, Jameson Lopp, writes.

“I’m pretty sure that would be a world first of a distributed network transitioning from permissioned to permissionless,” he summarized, noting that the Libra network is missing obvious characteristics of a blockchain.

Todd agreed.

“It’s remarkable how dishonest the Facebook Libra technical documents are. They repeatedly describe Libra as decentralized, when it obviously isn’t,” he concluded.

Reminds me of how often academics have lied to my clients, claiming their trusted consensus solutions are trustless/decentralized.

What do you think about Libra’s chances of regulatory acceptance? Let us know in the comments below!

Images via Shutterstock

The post ‘It’s Not a Blockchain’ – Why Gov’ts Could Ban Facebook’s Libra appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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For Bitcoin maximalists who only want to pay Bitcoin Cash fees, SideShift AI has just launched a solution.

So Many Questions… What Is SideShift AI?

Best to start at the beginning, yes.

SideShift AI is an automated coin swap, essentially allowing users to swap coins between chains.

The application allows exchanges between over twenty different cryptocurrencies, including BTC, BCH, BNB, ETH, DASH, LTC, USDT, and more.

Simply select your chosen currencies for conversion, input the destination wallet address, and send your source tokens to the address/qr provided.

It’s a bit like ShapeShift was, before it got all ‘mandatory KYC‘ on us, and handing customer data over to law enforcement.

SideShift is still currently at ‘Early Adopter’ stage, and requires an access code, which potential ‘early adopters’ can apply for.

Okay, So How Does That Help With Lower Bitcoin Fees?

I’m so glad you asked. SideShift AI came up with BTC2, bedecking it with the slogan, ‘Core Cash: Where Store-of-Value meets Medium-of-Exchange’. Snappy, I think you’ll agree.

BTC2 is a token on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain (using SLP technology) which is fully pegged to and backed by on-chain BTC. SideShift AI early adopters can convert BTC2 to BTC at 1:1 for free and vice versa. Transactions are therefore processed on the BCH blockchain, with BCH blockchain fees.

It has similarities to Tether, in that USDT is like an IOU for USD, where Tether hold the dollars (or at least 74% of them). Essentially, BTC2 is the IOU and SideShift AI acts as custodian of the on-chain BTC.

Great. But Wasn’t Something Else BTC2 Too?

You’ll be thinking of Bitcoin2. This Bitcoin fork hit the news a couple of weeks ago after pumping 5500% in a day. It looked like a classic ‘pump and dump’ scheme, which made it all the more unusual when its official Twitter account responded to the SideShift AI announcement.

“Could you not manage to do a simple google search for BTC2 before naming your silly token?” it asked.

Could you not manage to do a simple google search for BTC2 before naming your silly token?

— Bitcoin 2 (@Bitc2org) June 14, 2019

This (and that awful animated GIF) aside, there were some who applauded SideShift AI’s BTC2, notably BitRefill COO, John Carvalho, who tweeted:

I feel a new respect for [SideShift AI founder Andreas Brekken] for being adept at transcending both shitcoinery and bitcoin maximalism at the same time.

“This, too,” he asserted, “is good for Bitcoin.”

What do you make of Sideshift AI’s new BTC2 coin? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post BTC2 Token Levels Bitcoin Fees with Bitcoin Cash appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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When we think of cryptocurrency adoption, we often assume that South Korea, Japan, or the United States take the lead. Not so, according to the latest results from Statista.

For those of us engulfed in the world of cryptocurrency, it feels like we live and breathe Bitcoin–and we expect everyone else too as well. But while the percentage numbers may still be low relative to the entire population, check out the top five countries where cryptocurrency adoption is highest.

Cryptocurrency Adoption Is Highest in Turkey

Perhaps it’s not surprising that 20% of Turks own cryptocurrencies of some degree. In countries where government and bank trust is low, where the currency is subject to sudden devaluations, and its rulers have a tenuous relationship with the United States, cryptocurrencies seem to breed like rabbits.

With a dictatorial ruler at the helm willfully censoring content and throwing opponents in jail, Turkey has all the ingredients to make cryptocurrency adoption high.

Interestingly, though, if you check out the top countries for Bitcoin searches, Turkey never makes the list. It would seem that the astute Turks already know exactly what it is and how to buy it.

Brazil Picks Up Second Place

Brazil is hardly in economic tatters like its neighbor to the north. However, inflation did hit its highest rate in four years in April. In the same month, Brazil traded a record 100,000 bitcoins in 24 hours. That’s a massive 2 billion BRL (almost $500 million USD).

While the battle with banks is an ongoing saga here, progress is being made. Santander bank was forced to keep cryptocurrency exchange Bitcoin Max’s account open by the Justice system in February. 

With rising inflation and an infamously corrupt government, it’s no surprise that the cryptocurrency scene in this country is booming.

Cryptocurrency Adoption Equally High in Colombia

In joint second place for citizens who own some amount of cryptocurrency is Colombia at 18%. With a Bitcoin-friendly government and home to well over a million Venezuelan refugees, many people here are using Bitcoin as a way of shielding their wealth. Yet others are managing their international businesses or using it as an investment vehicle.

Argentina and South Africa in Joint Third Place

From South America to Africa, both Argentina and South Africa show high cryptocurrency adoption at 16% of the population each.

Argentina regularly appears high up in the Bitcoin Google searches. Its population is clearly interested in finding an alternative to stuffing U.S. dollars in their mattresses to shield their wealth.

With 54% inflation, and a high level of Bitcoin education (you can use it to pay for public transport) it’s logical that cryptocurrency adoption is high here.

As for South Africa, interest remains  strong despite recent regulatory clampdown. Many see it as a practical way of sending international payments, of shielding wealth, and investing.

Japan Brings Up the Rear, South Korea Doesn’t Appear

Japan brings up the rear when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption. Just 3% of its highly tech-savvy population has owned or trading cryptocurrencies according to the survey.

Perhaps most surprising, though, is the fact that South Korea, a major player in the cryptocurrency space, doesn’t even appear in the survey. Considering that this country makes up around 30% of all trading, it seems a little strange. Is it a very tiny percentage of Koreans moving all those digital coins around or was Statistica asking the wrong people?

What are your thoughts on the global crypto distribution? Let us know in the comment section below!

Images via Shutterstock

The post Cryptocurrency Adoption Is Highest in These 5 Countries appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Facebook has finally unveiled its cryptocurrency offering, revealing a custodial wallet and making suspicious claims about what gives it value.

Facebook To ‘Make Money Better’ As Website Crashes

Dubbed ‘Calibra,’ the wallet will serve Facebook’s coin, which will be known as ‘Libra’ in line with previous hints surfacing in the press in recent weeks.

The social media giant describes Libra as “a new cryptocurrency that will make money work better for all of us.” Calibra is still in development and is not yet live.

“Imagine if cash became digital,” Calibra’s official website – which has since crashed – reads.

Imagine if more people had more access to the global economy. Imagine a new global currency on a new global network. We think this is how money should be.

Calibra website goes down moments after launch.

Welcome to crypto Facebook!! pic.twitter.com/30PukzT9Tz

— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) June 18, 2019

As Bitcoinist variously reported, Facebook’s cryptocurrency scheme was always tipped to revolve around cross-platform payments over its various products.

The wallet launch material appears to confirm this, the company giving a use case of sending money “the way you send a message or a photo.”

The website features the logos of affiliate products WhatsApp and Messenger.

“Libra is built on a secure, scalable, and reliable blockchain and is designed to help bring people everywhere equal access to financial services,” the website description continues.

In line with comments from executives, Libra itself will indeed be a stablecoin, backed by as yet unspecified “assets” which will likely be multiple fiat currencies.

“…Libra is backed by a reserve of assets so that its value stays stable,” Facebook continues.

Regarding liquidity, the website says Libra “can easily be sent to anyone and exchanged into local currencies.”

Libra Brings KYC, Custody And Lack Of Trust

The rollout came sooner than many anticipated, with rumors previously claiming it would be at least 2020 before a product hit the market. Facebook has already faced criticism over its plans, concern heightening after a list of partners for Libra went public this week.

Including companies such as PayPal, commentators highlighted the possibility of data-sharing, manipulation and mistreatment on a major scale, with internet users potentially facing a ban on transacting online for transgressions.

PayPal and Visa were among the partners which agreed to pay $10 million to run a Libra node.

No sooner had the website gone live, however, did cryptocurrency figures reiterate the need for caution.

“Calibra is a *custodial* digital wallet. Users won’t manage keys. It is fully owned by Facebook, and will probably be the main way people use Libra, the token,” developer Udi Wertheimer wrote on Twitter, additionally noting any user will have to reveal their identity before using the coin.

Also causing concern is Facebook’s explanation of what gives a cryptocurrency value.

“Cryptocurrencies are built on blockchain technology, and the value of a cryptocurrency depends on the type of blockchain it is built on,” it claims.

Wertheimer described the explanation as “very silly.”

Final poll results: 79% of respondents would not trust Facebook’s digital coin (GlobalCoin/Libra) more than payment and financial services provided by banks while only 21% would. Poll duration: 3 days. Number of respondents: 3,644. Results and comments link in thread. pic.twitter.com/gvD4Z2N4Y8

— Gabor Gurbacs (@gaborgurbacs) June 17, 2019

Meanwhile, a poll conducted by VanEck digital asset director Gabor Gurbacs revealed almost 80 percent of respondents would not trust Libra any more than bank-based alternatives.

Would you use Libra? Let us know in the comments below!

Images via Shutterstock

The post Facebook Unveils Wallet For Pseudo-Cryptocurrency ‘Libra’ – Site Crashes appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Big partnership announcements have been thin on the ground for many of the major crypto companies recently. That changed for Ripple a few hours ago when the firm announced a strategic partnership with one of the world’s largest money transfer companies, MoneyGram.

XRP Climbs 15% in a Week

Compared to bitcoin and litecoin, XRP has been asleep for the past two months. Even Ethereum has outperformed it in terms of percentage gains.

That all changed a few hours ago when XRP awoke from its range bound channel at $0.42 and surged almost 10% to hit an intraday high just over $0.46. A minor pullback followed in the hours after the announcement but XRP is still one of the day’s top performers.

XRP price 1 hour candles – Tradingview.com

XRP 00 has climbed almost 15% over the past week as it was trading just under $0.40 this time last Tuesday. Daily volume has just topped $2 billion as XRP market capitalization approaches $20 billion.

The gap to ETH in second place is still $10 billion in terms of market cap, however. It has been one of the best weeks for XRP in terms of gains as the Ripple token has only made 27% since the beginning of the year.

Big Partnership Driving FOMO

The San Francisco based firm announced the partnership on its company blog late last night. It stated that the initial partnership will last two years during which Ripple will become the key partner for MoneyGram’s cross border payments and foreign exchange settlements.

A substantial capital commitment of $50 million has also been pledged by the blockchain company enabling MoneyGram to draw it over a two year period in exchange for equity.

Ripple’s xRapid system will be deployed for the partnership. It facilitates on-demand liquidity enabling instant transactions by reducing reliance on pre-funding. The XRP token will be used as the ‘real-time bridge’ between different currencies. Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, stated;

This strategic partnership will enable MoneyGram to greatly improve its operations and enable millions of people around the world to benefit from its improved efficiency. This is a huge milestone in helping to transform cross-border payments and I look forward to a long-term, very strategic partnership between our companies.

MoneyGram has a $600 billion global remittance market supporting multiple currencies in more than 200 countries. Traditional forex markets requiring advance purchases are currently used for international transfers.

The partnership and leverage of Ripple’s native token are expected to reduce costs and increase transfer speeds for the firm. Alex Holmes, MoneyGram Chairman and CEO, added;

Through Ripple’s xRapid product, we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from US dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management.

Will XRP hit $0.50 this week? Add your comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Tradingview.com

The post XRP Spikes 10% on Ripple MoneyGram Partnership News appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Bitcoin smashed through the $9K barrier over the weekend and all the indicators are looking good for the bull run to continue. How will it be different this time around?

The Last Time Bitcoin Reached Over $9K

Cast your mind back to November 2017, the first time BTC was trading at this price 00. What’s changed since then and why is it so much better placed this time around?

Big Businesses Weren’t Scrambling to Get In

When Bitcoin soared over $9K the last time, the entire panorama looked completely different. There may have been a handful of companies accepting Bitcoin payments but many of the U-turned on their policies when its volatility became too complicated.

Flash forward to 2019, and the number of big-name businesses scrambling to get in long–and getting longer all the time. Microsoft is building on the Bitcoin blockchain and adding the BTC symbol to its flagship Excel product. Apple added the BTC symbol to its character set.

Facebook rather than trying to ignore it is now busy trying to jump on the ‘cryptocurrency’ hype with it, and companies like Whole Foods are accepting payments. 2019 is a completely different ecosystem surrounding Bitcoin with greater awareness, deeper understanding, and a solid institutional investment.

Institutional Investment Was Few and Far Between

CBOE and CME may have been about to launch their Bitcoin futures products (which may have contributed to its price fall last time around) but beyond a few hedge funds and dedicated blockchain investment firms, there were no major names on board.

Institutions were watching on agape as retail FOMO saw the price surge… but they weren’t getting in.

This time around, major investment firms like Fidelity are storing it, ICE markets backed Bakkt is soon to be launching physically settled futures contracts with it, and TD Ameritrade is now trading it.

The banks were staunchly opposed, advising their customers not to invest in it. Most notably, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin “stupid.” Now in 2019, one of the world’s largest banks has its own “cryptocurrency” the JPM Coin.

Bitcoin Infrastructure Was Less Solid

Since 2017, the Bitcoin blockchain has been building and improving. Now, transaction speed, usage, hash rate, and block size are all up, while transaction fees are down massively by 68%.

Yes, payments and volume are also down, but these are signs that people realize the value Bitcoin has. Fewer people are paying for things in Bitcoin and using it as a store of value.

Congress Wasn’t Debating It

The SEC had yet to declare that Bitcoin was not a security, and regulators were watching on with caution. But now that there is a greater understanding of the use cases and worth of Bitcoin, it’s actively being debated at the highest level.

A group of Congressmen is fighting to push through a Token Taxonomy Act to exempt many coins from being securities with U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang pledging to help push it through if voted in.

In 2017, most people hadn’t even heard of Bitcoin. This time around, it’s a word used fairly often in people’s vocabulary even reaching the political dialogue at the highest levels of government.

A lot has changed since the last time Bitcoin reached this peak–almost everything, in fact. And there’s an awful lot to encourage us that this is just the start.

What other things have changed for Bitcoin since 2017? Add your thoughts below!

Images via Shutterstock

The post What’s Changed Since Bitcoin Was at $9K in 2017? – Everything appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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BTC in Hong Kong is currently trading $175 above its spot price according to other Bitcoin indexes, as political instability is driving demand for a safe haven.

Hong Kong Protesters Seek Safety in Bitcoin

Bitcoin demand in Hong Kong is starting to surge as an increasing amount of citizens are seeking refuge in the decentralized currency.

The extradition bill, which will bring in new laws to deport all non-mainland criminal suspects back to China for court proceedings, has caused a great deal of economic uncertainty.

It is this uncertainty, which has understandably driven more people towards the world’s best-performing asset class right now. Not only does Bitcoin offer unrivaled privacy when compared with other assets, but it is also free from the control of a centralized governing authority.

This political neutrality, in particular, is what makes Bitcoin such a popular hedge during times of economic uncertainty and is why we often see a rise in price around these events.

As reported by Bitcoinist, there have been reports that rioters in Hong Kong are no longer using prepaid cards or other traceable payment options when traveling in a bid to remain anonymous from authorities.

High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) have also allegedly begun redistributing capital overseas to secure their wealth.

One Man’s Crisis is Another Man’s Arbitrage Opportunity

In a recent tweet posted by senior eToro senior market analyst, Mati Greenspan, it was highlighted that Bitcoin’s price was trading at a $160 premium on Hong Kong-based crypto exchange, Tidebit, compared to the rest of the market.

He explained that this was a result of protesters flocking to Bitcoin as a ‘safe haven.’

Bitcoin is trading at a premium of about $160 in Hong Kong.

Pictured is the HK exchange TideBit where a single BTC is going for 73,120 HKD ($9337). A total of $159 above Coindesk's current rate.

This is where the safe haven play comes in. pic.twitter.com/HNZWQkJ61j

— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) June 17, 2019

This premium has since climbed a further $15 compared to the spot price on Marketwatch’s index, over the last 5 hours. Right now, BTC is up at 74,100 HKD (1.34%) which stands at approximately $9,462. We could expect to see this number to rise further if the Hong Kong government continues to uphold the new bill.

This would be a great opportunity for arbitrage traders if Tidebit’s trading volume wasn’t so thin right now.

Despite the climbing price, only 21.459 bitcoins have passed through the order book so far, which is tiny when you compare it to Binance’s 24-hr trading volume of 45,221 BTC. This could be a direct result of people not being in their homes transacting over exchanges whilst the protesting is going on.

Or perhaps Hong Kong investors are resorting to purchasing bitcoins by other means such as with cash to protect their privacy. 

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin’s price right now? Let us know in the comment section below!

Images via  Shutterstock, Tidebit

The post Hong Kong Paying a Premium for Bitcoin That Beijing Can’t Stop appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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