As Bitcoin Struggles, This Minor Cryptocurrency Has Soared 1,000% In Just Over 12 Months – Forbes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have seen a surge in popularity in recent months due to unprecedented economic stimulus measures, with some smaller cryptocurrencies seeing massive gains.

The bitcoin price, after quickly rebounding from a coronavirus-induced crash in March, has been treading water at just under $10,000 per bitcoin since May and has been on a slight downward trend over the last year.

However, other cryptocurrencies have soared, including chainlink's link tokennow up a staggering 1,000% on May last year.

The bitcoin price has struggled over the last year, even as some smaller cryptocurrencies have made ... [+] massive gains.

Chainlink, an ethereum-powered cryptocurrency that trades under the name link, has been boosted by a surge of interest in decentralized finance (DeFi)the idea that blockchain entrepreneurs can use bitcoin and crypto technology to recreate traditional financial instruments such as loans and insurance.

The chainlink price this week hit an all-time high of $6.49 per link token, according to data from bitcoin and crypto exchange Coinbase, adding 60% over the last month and taking it to touching distance of the top ten most valuable cryptocurrencies. Chainlink, designed to bridge payment services and blockchains such as bitcoin and ethereum, was created in 2015 and offered its link tokens to investors in a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) at $0.11 per token, raising $32 million.

"We're seeing this spike as the chainlink network is getting scaled usage powering DeFi, connecting on-chain DeFi smart contracts to off-chain data feeds like commodities and crypto price data," Vance Spencer, co-founder of chainlink investor Framework Ventures, said via email.

"Firms outside of crypto are also starting to realize the power of enterprise smart contracts powered by robust oracle networks and the decision of the Chinese government to integrate chainlink oracles into their national blockchain services network is a legitimately huge deal."

Chinas Blockchain Service Network was launched on July 5 by Chinas State Information Center, China Mobile, China Unionpay, and Red Date Technologies with the aim of making blockchain development easier and uses chainlink's "oracles" to transfer data from blockchains to real-world data or a non-blockchain databases.

"Chainlinks adoption has created incredible community momentum," Spencer said, pointing to the likes of technology and banking giants Google, SWIFT, Docusign, and Oracle creating partnerships and pilot programs with chainlink.

"The link rally is being driven by a multitude of factors, the most important of which is its sheer potential to unlock all the promise that smart contract platforms have so far failed to deliver on," Spencer said, adding chainlink's technology could mean "were essentially witnessing the 'Uberization' of data," referring to ride-hailing app Uber's disruption of the traditional taxi market.

"Holders of the link token will eventually have the ability to participate in the crowdsourcing process, and will earn money for doing so. For a certain class of investors, the right to provide data for smart contracts is a potentially incredible opportunity to develop steady passive income streams based on the data economy."

As the link price has climbed over recent months, other bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors have bought in, somewhat driven by fear of missing out.

"Very real possibility that chainlink will be bigger than bitcoin one day," crypto analyst Timothy Peterson of Cane Island Alternative Advisors said via Twitter this week. "The applications are enormous. I moved all my excess dollars out of Chase and into link."

The chainlink price has risen 60% over the last month, hitting a fresh all-time high and pushing it ... [+] toward the top ten most valuable cryptocurrencies. The bitcoin price has lost 2% over the same period.

Vance is confident the link price will continue to climb and has predicted link, currently worth a total of $2.2 billion, will eventually eclipse ethereum's $26 billion market capitalization.

"We believe that the winner of the smart contract platform war will eventually be worth several factors greater than ethereums current market cap," Vance said.

"If that is the case, then it is only natural that the security layer of that winner, chainlink, will also grow significantly in value. We also expect interest in chainlink to further increase once staking is introduced, as people will scramble to essentially buy the right to become a data provider for the smart contract universe."

Some other cryptocurrencies that use so-called proof-of-stake instead of bitcoin's proof-of-work model have seen their price rocket in recent months.

Tezos, which styles itself as a "self-amending cryptographic ledger" and uses the proof-of-stake consensus model, has seen the price of its XTZ token double since the beginning of 2020.

Tezos holders, if their funds are stored in certain wallets, can "stake" their XTZ and receive additional tokens as a reward for creating and verifying new blocks in the chain.

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As Bitcoin Struggles, This Minor Cryptocurrency Has Soared 1,000% In Just Over 12 Months - Forbes

Bitcoin Trading Volume Slumps; Will TikTok Revive Dogecoin? – Forbes

Get Forbes' top crypto and blockchain storiesdelivered to your inboxevery week for the latest news on bitcoin, other major cryptocurrencies and enterprise blockchain adoption.

Mustafa Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency

Bitcoin enjoyed a modest breakout Monday, gaining close to 5%, though it soon retreated back near where it began the week. After rising more than 150% in a two-month period from mid-March to May, bitcoin has sputtered since its halving and its volatility by the end of June was its lowest since February. A report this week showed that bitcoin trading volumes sank by 36% in June, a decline reminiscent of the lead-up to the crypto winter in early 2019.

One small cryptocurrency did double in value this week with a push from young TikTok users. Dogecoin, which trades for less than half a penny, soared after a viral video with a million views encouraged users to invest.

Brock Pierce, a controversial cryptocurrency investor who cofounded the stablecoin tether, is running for president. While his vanity third-party run isnt getting as much hype as that of rapper Kanye West, Pierce promises that he would have used 21st century technology to get stimulus checks and unemployment to Americans much faster. In a wide-ranging interview, Pierce revealed more details on his policy positions and denied disturbing allegations that he provided drugs to minors and pressured them to have sex in 2000.

The first week of his campaign didnt go so well. A New York appeals court approved an investigation into a number of businesses behind tether, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar and has a market value of $10 billion. Questions about whether or not tether is actually backed dollar-for-dollar have circulated since 2018. The Bitfinex exchange is also a separate respondent in the New York attorney generals investigation.

Sigal Mandelker, a Donald Trump appointee for under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence who stepped down last year to work in the private sector, has reemerged as an investor and board member for Chainalysis. Her venture firm, Ribbit Capital, joined the crypto investigation startups expanded $49 million Series B funding round, and she expects to put her government experience tracing illicit activities to good use.

Bitcoins lightning network was built to speed up low-value bitcoin transactions by moving them off the bitcoin blockchain, but researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem warned that the network is vulnerable against cyberattacks if users arent careful. Computer scientists Jona Harris and Aviv Zohar wrote in a Medium post that since the network is susceptible to blockchain congestion, around $9 million worth of bitcoin could be looted by attackers.

The PlusToken Ponzi scheme masterminds disappeared in 2019 with a $3 billion profit after six people allegedly involved in the scheme were arrested, but after a long quiet period, the XRP holdings of PlusToken wallets are moving again, signaling that some Ponzi schemers may still be at large.

About 285 million XRP tokens were transferred to a pool of accounts on June 19 shuffling the money and making it difficult to trace, though the scammers dont necessarily control this shuffle-pool and it may be law enforcement simply selling seized assets.

Digital asset investment manager Arca launched the Arca U.S. Treasury Fund on Wednesday, making it the first SEC-registered product regulated under the Investment Company Act of 1940 to offer digital securities. The fund will use the Ethereum blockchain to offer shares of ArCoins, which will pay out quarterly interest to investors, and ArCoins value is expected to remain stable since the fund will invest primarily in low-risk Treasury securities.

The Federal Reserves Declining Balance Sheet Is Bearish for Bitcoin. Or Is It? [CoinDesk]

Crypto Stablecoins Face Increasing Regulatory Scrutiny [Bloomberg]

Could We Fight Misinformation With Blockchain Technology? [New York Times]

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Bitcoin Trading Volume Slumps; Will TikTok Revive Dogecoin? - Forbes

Comparing Apple to Bitcoin? Crypto Occupies a Class of Its Own – Cointelegraph

A recent article by a Cointelegraph Markets contributor proclaimed that Bitcoin is the new Apple, explaining just how Bitcoins (BTC) price could reach $60,000 by 2023: Bitcoin hangs near the chasm of the adoption curve, and its price looks similar to Apples stock in 2008 before it broke out with a 520% rally.

The technology adoption curve referenced was Everett Rogers famous diffusion of innovations model, published in 1962, which described the five stages through which technology becomes diffused i.e., goes mainstream: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.

In 2008, manufacturer Apples United States smartphone penetration was stalled at about 11% and still waiting to cross the chasm, the gap between the early adopter stage and the early majority stages in the Rogers lexicon. Any technical innovation worth its salt needs to cross that threshold. Apples smartphone surmounted that chasm, of course: Usage exploded, and Apples share price soared into the ionosphere. Bitcoin may well be in a similar place today.

But this comparison, satisfying as it may be, raises some questions. Is BTC even a technology like radios, PCs, and smartphones or is it something different: unique, sui generis i.e., in a class by itself? Is BTCs global penetration really anywhere close to 11% its putative U.S. penetration rate? Also, while smartphone usage indubitably crossed the chasm more than a decade ago, how does one extrapolate BTCs future price from AAPLs share price? Shouldnt it be compared with smartphones price?

The resemblance between Bitcoin and Apple in terms of growth and adoption is indeed there, but in short, is it fair to compare Bitcoin to younger versions of tech giants like Apple?

Arvind Singhal, a professor of communication at the University of Texas at El Paso, whose academic research has focused on the diffusion of innovation, told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin did indeed seem singular: It has tremendous barriers to adoption for most individuals and operates in a space of multiple familiar currencies and that peculiarity would greatly influence its adoption.

Michel Rauchs, the head of Paradigma a consulting firm focusing on the digital assets sector and a former research affiliate for the cryptocurrency and blockchain research program at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge, told Cointelegraph: Bitcoin is not a technology in itself, and any comparison [with traditional technologies] is misguided. He added: It is a social/economic system, a new monetary order that uses technology to represent its unit of accounts. Technology is just a secondary component, a means to an end.

Additionally, it may be important here to separate Bitcoin from the more generalized blockchain technology in which it partakes or risk misapplying Rogerss diffusion of innovation theory suggested Theophanis Stratopoulos, PwC Chair Associate Professor at the University of Waterloos School of Accounting and Finance, who further explained to Cointelegraph:

When decision-makers consider whether to implement blockchain in, lets say, their supply chain they develop expectations in terms of the cost of making the investment e.g., paying for the implementation of the software versus the benefits, such as increased revenues or cost savings. It is the difference in expectations among decision-makers that explains the adoption cycle that was observed by Rogers.

But Bitcoin does not behave the same way as other technologies typically adopted by firms like CRM systems, for instance. When it comes to Bitcoin, its the expected price that drives people to invest in Bitcoin. It is a matter of speculation, Stratopoulos continued, closer to a pyramid scheme than a capital expenditure. If I believe that more people will want to hold Bitcoin in the future, the price of the Bitcoin will rise. In a case like this, it makes sense for me to invest today rather than tomorrow.

Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, the CEO and founder of the BCB Group a digital assets financial services group agreed that BTCs adoption cycle was anomalous, telling Cointelegraph: The reason Bitcoins adoption path has broken formation with established adoption curves is quite technical: In the short term, the more users there are, the less useful it is as a currency.

With more users, the Bitcoin network self-regulates by raising the network fees as the mem pool bulges up in busy periods and breathes out in quieter ones. But this makes Bitcoin less effective as a payments processing system. As von Landsberg-Sadie explained: When fees are high, no one is going to pay a $5 transaction fee on a $5 coffee.

Many technical solutions have been proposed to solve this dilemma, some in the form of forks, others like the Lightning Network project that makes use of a second layer, but none have truly stuck in the core Bitcoin protocol, which has been the slowest to evolve. The good news is that it is evolving, and the increase in off-chain transactions is reducing barriers, but all of this means one cant expect Bitcoin to follow a classic Rogers technical adoption curve, according to von Landsberg-Sadie.

When U.S. smartphone penetration stalled at around the 11% mark in December 2008, Apples share price became volatile three-month volatility stood at 92%, according to the July 6 Cointelegraph article. In June 2020, with BTC penetration at 11%, three-month volatility was at 64%, indeed also a very high figure.

But Stratopoulos was unimpressed. I would not compare Bitcoin to the performance of Apple or Amazon or any other high-tech company. Rogerss adoption cycle applies to innovations emerging technologies not to the price of stock. Kevin Dowd, a professor of finance and economics at Durham University in the United Kingdom, agreed, telling Cointelegraph:

Since BTC is a form of product, then the natural comparison is with Apples smartphone product. Apples share price might have risen strongly, but the better comparison is with the price of smartphones, which have not.

It is relatively easy to find correlations like between AAPL in 2008 and BTC in 2020, commented Stratopoulos. It does not mean that there is causation, or it could be just a spurious correlation.

What, then, can be said about Bitcoin adoption? If measured by awareness e.g., recognition of the term Bitcoin then it has already entered the mainstream, said Rauchs. A Blockchain Capital survey reported 89% awareness of Bitcoin in the U.S. as of Spring 2019. A U.K. Financial Conduct Authority survey conducted in December 2019, which was recently published, found that 73% have heard about crypto, compared to 58% in 2019.

As for BTC ownership, the Blockchain Capital survey reported: In total, 9% of the [U.S] population owns Bitcoin including 18% of those aged 1834 and 12% of those aged 3544. The firm originally reported 11% but that was later corrected. In the U.K. survey, by comparison, an estimated 3.86% of the general population currently own cryptocurrencies. This projects to approximately 1.9 million adults within the U.K. population (over 18) of roughly 50 million.

Rauchs finds the lower U.K. adoption estimate more realistic if generalizing; that is, he would peg crypto ownership at 3%5% of the global population, which also includes indirect ownership e.g., individuals participating in a pension fund that invests in Bitcoin. But this clearly means that all crypto is in the first half of the early adopter stage nowhere near the so-called chasm.

Its not much different for blockchain technology. Stratopoulos co-authored a paper on blockchain technology adoption exclusive of cryptocurrencies that concluded: Despite the recent hype, the current adoption rate is relatively low, and blockchain has not become mainstream yet.

Bitcoin clearly means different things to different people. Its most popular use today is as a store of value, while back in 2011, its principal use was as a payment method for gaming and other purposes, said Rauchs. Depending on its applications, different adoption curve scenarios are possible. For his part, Rauchs believes that BTCs most likely future usage will be as an alternative, non-sovereign store of value.

According to von Landsberg-Sadie, Bitcoins true adoption pattern will be more like a wave, oscillating higher at each cycle. In this view, the biggest bets are on the most extreme outcomes: Bitcoin will either ripple slowly out of relevance, or it will amplify meaningfully into the mainstream. My money is on the latter.

In sum, BTC following the same growth pattern as Apple sounds like a fun version of what may happen, but ultimately, one shouldnt quibble that it is not based on a statistically valid experiment, as Dowd reminded Cointelegraph. Still, according to several experts, it doesnt make sense to compare Bitcoin to traditional technologies because Bitcoin does not have the ability to create value either in the form of increasing revenues or reducing costs, as Stratopoulous noted. Moreover, global BTC penetration is arguably closer to 4% than to the 11% mark where smartphones stood in 2008, immediately before they went mainstream.

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Comparing Apple to Bitcoin? Crypto Occupies a Class of Its Own - Cointelegraph

$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There’s Only 20000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent | Featured Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News

For many years now physical bitcoins have been a very popular trend, but one specific type called the Casascius physical bitcoin collection has intrigued people for years. Last December, someone redeemed a 100 BTC Casascius bar and since then 560 Casascius coins worth $5.1 million have been redeemed. As of today, there are only 20,901 Casascius coins or bars left in the world, with roughly $424 million worth of bitcoins loaded on them.

Bitcoins believe it or not can have nostalgic value, especially when they are tethered to a physical bitcoin. During the last decade, numerous manufacturers have created physical bitcoins that have been loaded with the digital currency.

Most all of these types of coins are collectors items, as the physical attributes can give the cryptocurrency numismatic value. One of the most popular physical bitcoin creators was Mike Caldwell who issued the Casascius physical bitcoin collection from 2011 to 2013.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government shut down Caldwells operation by telling him he could no longer load the physical coins with real digital bitcoin. However, during Caldwells tenure of making the Casascius physical bitcoin collection, he minted close to 90,000 BTC in various denominations.

On July 12, 2020, theres only 45,760 active BTC held on Casascius physical coins or bars in existence, as there were roughly 46,320 active BTC coins in December 2019. That means at todays BTC/USD exchange rates out of the 560 coins redeemed, $5.1 million in BTC was spent.

Last December when news.Bitcoin.com reported on the 100 BTC gold bar that was redeemed on the 23rd, it was the last 100 BTC peeled since then. So far the highest increment peeled between December and now, was a few 25 BTC coins. At the time of writing, there are still 48- 100 BTC bars that have not been spent, leaving $44.4 million left (100 BTC bars) unspent to-date.

Caldwell also minted a number of 1,000 BTC bars and so far, most of those have been redeemed. The series one 1,000 BTC bar data shows that 87% have been redeemed. The series two Casascius bars only stored 500 BTC and every single one of those bars have been peeled.

Although some individuals are lucky enough to own the series one 1,000 BTC Casascius coins minted in 2011. Only six were manufactured and there are four coins left, and that means only 33.33% of the BTC has been spent so far. It could be possible that due to the size of these coins being much smaller (28.6mm) than the bars (80mm x 40mm x 6mm), a few may have been lost.

In the Casascius collection, there are a lot more physical coins with smaller increments between 0.5 BTC to 25 BTC. As mentioned above, Casascius coins have given bitcoiners a lot of nostalgia, and lots of these coins have gathered numismatic value that far exceeds the BTC value stored on the coin.

For instance, on Ebay theres two Casascius coins selling for far more than the original BTC value. One example shows a rare 2011- 1 BTC physical Casascius coin selling for $101,000. Another seller on the eBay auction website wants $25k for his 2013- fully funded 1 BTC Casascius coin.

There are not that many Casascius coins on eBay, but theres a whole lot more coins from manufacturers like Denarium and BTCC Mint. Caldwell did make a number of unloaded Casascius bitcoins that contain no real digital currency value, and those trinkets sell for $25 a pop.

People can follow the redemption cycle of Casascius bitcoins on Twitter by following the bot called Casascius Coin Tracker (@Casasciusbot). When news.Bitcoin.com reported on the 100 BTC bar peel, it was the largest month between now and then for redemptions with 172 coins peeled. In mid-March 54 coins were redeemed and so far only 14 Casascius coins have been peeled in July.

Of course, the biggest month in a long while was December 2017, when the public witnessed 1,172 redeemed Casascius coins. As 560 Casascius coins worth $5.1 million have been redeemed since December 2019, it shows that these physical bitcoins are becoming rarer by the day. Its likely that as scarcity continues to take hold of these loaded physical bitcoins, they will always be worth more than the original digital load value.

What do you think about the number of Casascius coins left in existence? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, casasciustracker.com

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There's Only 20000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent | Featured Bitcoin News - Bitcoin News

Lets All Get RichTeen TikTok Traders Want To Send Joke Bitcoin Rival Dogecoin To The Moon – Forbes

The world of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has been set alight this week by the sudden surge of dogecoina "joke" cryptocurrency that's doubled in value in the last two days thanks videos posted on controversial China-based app TikTok.

Dogecoin, a tongue-in-cheek bitcoin rival named by Tesla TSLA chief executive Elon Musk as his "fav" cryptocurrency last year, is now worth $0.0046, up from $0.0023 earlier this week; effectively making it a cryptocurrency equivalent of a penny stock.

The dogecoin price rally was sparked by a viral TikTok video that's racked up almost 1 million viewswith the likes of Barstool Sports' David Portnoy pushing it onwards.

The doge meme is based on the Japanese Shiba Inu. The meme was turned into the "joke" currency ... [+] dogecoin, a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin, in 2013.

"Lets all get rich," TikTok user James Galante told his relatively small number of 5,700 followers in a video that's now been viewed over 900,000 times. Galante's previous video, also promoting dogecoin, has been watched around 250,000 times.

"Dogecoin is practically worthless," Galante told his global audience. "There are 800 million TikTok users. Once it hits $1, youll have $10,000. Tell everyone you know."

TikTok videos, usually short, tightly edited clips featuring predominately younger people and often set to music, can attract huge audiences even if the video creators have few followers. TikTok's algorithm is good at picking up on what people like and promoting it to a wider audience, meaning that if a video is engaging there's a good chance it will get seen by a lot of people.

TikTok, which has 37 million U.S. users according to Statista, is potentially facing a country-wide ban after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox host Laura Ingraham this week the Trump administration is "certainly looking at" a ban and downloading the app would put people's "private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."

TikTok, which has been downloaded more than two billion times globally, was banned in India last week amid security concerns and has also quit Hong Kong after China imposed a new security law on the city.

TikTok, now run by a former Disney top executive, Kevin Mayer, has said it would never share data with China.

But in the meantime, TikTok users continue to create, and watch, lots of dogecoin videos. There are now almost 10 million videos on TikTok with the hashtag "dogecoin," many with views well into the 10s of thousands.

"We're sending dogecoin to the moon," one TikTok user said, pointing his phone at a computer screen showing rocketing financial charts.

The sudden attention caused dogecoin trade volume to skyrocket by 1,000% at its peak on Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Meanwhile, the TikTok-inspired dogecoin rally caught the attention of Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports who has turned to stock market day trading amid coronavirus lockdowns and massive share price rallies brought on by unprecedented intervention by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"What's going on with dogecoin," Portnoy asked viewers of his Barstool Sports livestream Davey Day Trader, adding he "isn't in on bitcoin and litecoin" and other cryptocurrencies.

"Everyone is buying this dogecoin. It's a pump-and-dump. Dogecoin is bubbly ros," Portney told his viewers, a term he coined meaning a stock or commodity that's performing well.

The dogecoin rally, somewhat resembling the bitcoin and crypto mania of late 2017, comes after popular stock trading app Robinhood has seen massive uptake among young people in recent monthsmany of whom are out of work due to the severe economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the dogecoin price is now only a fraction of the peak it reached in early 2018. Dogecoin, along with bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies, have fallen sharply since hitting skyhigh values toward the end of 2017.

Elsewhere, veteran traders have also warned against people jumping on the dogecoin wagon.

"This is the most transparent pump-and-dump scam I've ever seen, though I'm not sure we can even call it a scam as everybody who gets involved knows it's a scam beforehand," Glen Goodman, a U.K.-based trader and author of The Crypto Trader, said via email.

"The TikTok videos urging people to bid up the doge price remind me of some of the world's most blatant pyramid schemes, where the sales pitch typically goes: 'Look, we all know this is a pyramid scheme that will collapse eventually, but you will be one of the winners who rakes in the cash, while only the later entrants will lose money.'"

The dogecoin price has almost doubled this week but the rapid rise is unlikely to hold, veteran ... [+] traders have warned.

A Twitter account associated with the cryptocurrency, @dogecoin, also cautioned potential buyers to beware.

"Be mindful of the intentions people have when they direct you to buy things," the unverified @dogecoin account that boasts almost 150,000 followers posted.

"None of them are in the spot to be financially advising. Make choices right for you, do not ride other people's [fear of missing out] or manipulation. Stay safe. Be smart."

For those wondering if they should buy dogecoin now to try to get in on the action, Goodman has some stark words of warning.

"With no fundamentals to support it, the price of dogecoin will only go up as long as the early buyers who are cashing out have new buyers to sell to," Goodman said. "Once the supply of willing suckers starts running dry, the price collapses."

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Lets All Get RichTeen TikTok Traders Want To Send Joke Bitcoin Rival Dogecoin To The Moon - Forbes

Listen: What a Bitcoin Researcher Says About Lightning – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

Chaincode Labs researcher Clara Shikhelman has been studying mathematics in university since she was 14 years old. Now, as the bitcoin companys newest post-doctoral fellow, she is exploring ways to optimize the Lightning Network.

Formore episodesand free early access before our regular 3 p.m. Eastern time releases, subscribe withApple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocketcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Stitcher, RadioPublica, iHeartRadioorRSS.

This episode is sponsored byBitstampandCrypto.com.

In this audio interview, CoinDesks Leigh Cuen and Chaincode Labs researcherClara Shikhelmantalk aboutbitcoinand what attracted them to it.

As a co-founder of the IsraeliWomen in Mathematics Association, Shikhelman has been researching complex math problems for nearly a decade. But she said bitcoin offers especially interesting puzzles to solve because this technology may have the potential to change the world. Shes one of many young researchers who identify with the cypherpunk movement.

There are a lot of people like me, their main thing is academic, Shikhelman said. They are not the classic cypherpunk people, but [t]hey believe in privacy, in political change.

Until recently, most people associated with thecypherpunk movementwere technologists in the 1980s and 1990s who circulated mailing lists about encryption and other privacy tech topics. The term was created byfeminist hackitvist Judith Milhon, although it is widely associated with software engineers such as bitcoin veteran Adam Back. Many of the original cypherpunks are still active in thecryptocurrency spacetoday. However, theyve also inspired a new generation of self-identified cypherpunks with different skills now also exploring the subcultures proverb that cypherpunks build things.

In Shikhelmans case, shes focused on mathematical research to make bitcoinsLightning Networkreliable. Like her predecessors, she shares a love of cypherpunk literature, such as novels by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson. These fantasy worlds help her think outside the box and apply math to ideas with cypherpunk potential, meaning the potential to use privacy tech to promote social change. Such solutions-oriented research is a fundamental part of building technology, just as valuable as adding open source code to a Github repo.

Lets talk big. Lets think huge. Lets talk about thousands of years in the future, changing humanity, Shikhelman said.

In order to build privacy into the bitcoin ecosystem, technologists first must understand the mathematical aspects of the system. Just as safety equipment works best when it fits the person (an oversized helmet can be more dangerous than none at all), software works best when designed with both the details and holistic value flow in mind.

Lightning will need more than justonion routingfor good privacy guarantees going forward, said cypherpunk journalistJanine Roemer, who writes anewsletterabout bitcoin privacy tech. Lightning is one of many adaptations that will expand Bitcoins ability to carry larger and larger portions of the global economy.

Similar to Shikhelman, Roemer is a researcher who views herself as part of the broader cypherpunk movement.

A lowercase c cypherpunk, she joked, acknowledging she was never involved with the movements founding fathers.

This social movement is not preoccupied with overthrowing or altering governments, in stark contrast with Bitcoin Twitters anarchist undertones. Instead, Roemer said, rather than seizing power the movement is focused on working to make things un-take-over-able. In short, unseizable assets, self-sovereign data and other types of independence in a digital world.

I prefer the term informational self-determination, which is used in the German constitution, Roemer said.

As for bitcoin, Shikhelman described Bitcoin Core as pretty much stable and running, meaning her focus has now turned to privacy-centric usability for the Lightning Network. With regards to bitcoins reliability so far, Roemer agreed.

I hope bitcoin will become/keep being something that survives under adversity, and gives the people who use it at least enough privacy that they can escape from whatever preys on them. Whether thats the state, banks, corporations, abusive family or partners, Roemer concluded.

Formore episodesand free early access before our regular 3 p.m. Eastern time releases, subscribe withApple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocketcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Stitcher, RadioPublica, iHeartRadioorRSS.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Listen: What a Bitcoin Researcher Says About Lightning - CoinDesk - CoinDesk

Bitcoin Will Never Be Truly Private Says Andreas Antonopoulos – Cointelegraph

Bitcoin educator Andreas Antonopoulos says he would like to see more privacy features on Bitcoin, but theyre unlikely to happen anytime soon.

In a livestream Q&A on Antonopoulos YouTube channel on July 7, he said Bitcoin (BTC) was unlikely to ever implement privacy features similar to those used by Monero (XMR).

Antonopoulos said creating such features on a cryptocurrency like BTC would create an enormous amount of controversy. In addition, he said the structure of Bitcoin simply doesnt allow ring signatures and stealth addresses.

I think what were going to see soon is Schnorr, Taproot, and Tapscript, which open the door to a lot of improvements, Antonopoulos said, But they still do not involve zero-knowledge proofs or the types of ring signatures and stealth addresses that are done in Monero. Bitcoin is not a privacy coin.

The features to which Antonopoulos is referring Schnorr, Taproot, and Tapscript (a scripting update to Taproot) have been cited by others in the crypto community as having the potential to make Bitcoin more private.

The director of research at blockchain firm Blockstream Andrew Poelstra has referred to Taproot as a system which could possibly render any transaction mostly indistinguishable from one another on the BTC blockchain. However, he noted that transaction amounts and the transaction graph are still exposed, which are much harder problems to address.

Multisignature schemes (MuSigs) from Schnorr are another possibility. Poelstra said using this method doesnt reveal the original set of signers, or even provide the number of signers for MuSig transactions.

Bitcoin can be better thought of as pseudonymous rather than fully anonymous, as many transactions on the BTC blockchain can still be traced even with these privacy improvements.

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Bitcoin Will Never Be Truly Private Says Andreas Antonopoulos - Cointelegraph

‘Fiat and Money Printing’ Street Mural Earns $500 in Bitcoin Donations in Five Days | News – Bitcoin News

A Parisian street artist is receiving hundreds of dollars every day in bitcoin donations from his painting that speaks about fiat and money printing.

Pascal Boyarts latest mural, Confessions of a Red Jester, is a modern interpretation of the 1862 painting Staczyk by Polish romanticist painter Jan Matejko. The original depicts a lonely jester against a lively ball in the background.

Boyart said he has earned about 0.0514 bitcoin (BTC) or around $500 in the five days to July 10. Since 2017, the artist, famed for his practical graffiti frescoes, has received over 1.3 BTC or $12,100 in donations from various artworks. His website also accepts donations in ethereum, litecoin and monero.

The latest piece, which can be seen on Paris rue de Montmorency, features a QR code, together with a spray-painted Bitcoin logo and a wallet address, allowing for direct BTC donations from admirers.

Boyarts rendition takes the crypto-angle a step further, with fiat money littering the floor around the solemn jesters feet.

The French artists past work has examined the relationship between art and money. In an interview published on Medium in 2018, Boyart said that digital financial assets represent a type of freedom thats reminiscent of the early days of the internet.

He stated that bitcoins decentralization is a good thing for creativity, and, therefore, good as a means for facilitating donations. Boyart said the top cryptocurrency provides a more direct relation with the people who love art and more horizontality in the business of art.

What do you think about Boyart tying art to bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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The Three Most Controversial Bitcoin Price Models and What They Predict – Cointelegraph

There are several well-known Bitcoin price models and theories that are often highly debated and considered controversial. Models like stock-to-flow, Hyperwave and Elliot Wave typically predict large price movements in the medium- to long-term.

The first and most widely acknowledged Bitcoin price model is stock-to-flow. The S2F model predicts the long-term trend of Bitcoins value based on its scarcity. Since Bitcoin has a fixed monetary supply, the biggest value proposition of the dominant cryptocurrency is its scarcity and the reducing supply of BTC.

The model takes the stock-to-flow of gold and silver as its benchmark. The term stock-to-flow refers to the flow of new supply relative to the amount of existing circulating supply. The model believes the value of gold held up over time because it is not possible to newly create all of the circulating supply of gold to render the precious metal worthless.

Unlike gold and silver, the supply of Bitcoin is fixed, and every halving decreases the rate of supply production. As such, in theory, Bitcoin is even more scarce than gold and silver. The model predicts the market capitalization of Bitcoin to exceed $1 trillion after the May 2020 halving. The prediction goes in line with the performance of Bitcoin following previous halvings in 2012 and 2016. PlanB, the creator of the model, explained:

The predicted market value for Bitcoin after May 2020 halving is $1trn, which translates in a Bitcoin price of $55,000. That is quite spectacular. I guess time will tell and we will probably know one or two years after the halving.

The main criticism around stock-to-flow comes down to two main arguments. First, some say the assumption that golds value derives solely from scarcity is inaccurate. Second, others think that the use of linear regression might lead to imprecise predictions. Nico Cordeiro, the chief investment officer at Strix Leviathan crypto hedge fund, wrote:

From a theoretical foundation, the model is based on the rather strong assertion that the USD market capitalization of a monetary good (e.g. gold and silver) is derived directly from their rate of new supply. No evidence or research is provided to support this idea, other than the singular data points selected to chart gold and silvers market capitalization against Bitcoins trajectory.

Cordeiro also argued that the use of linear regression to chart the S2F model poses a high probability of spurious results. The investor said that many random data points can be fit into the model as a result of the regression.

But, it is difficult to state that the S2F model is correct or flawed, because there is not enough data to definitively reject the predictions made by the model. As an example, evidence is lacking to support that the value of gold is dependent on its scarcity. Yet, it is also challenging to prove that scarcity has not been the main catalyst of golds longevity as a store of value.

The Elliott Wave Theory is widely utilized by technical analysts to determine market cycles. It spots both bearish and bullish cycles, by assuming that the market moves based on crowd psychology. Typically, the Elliott Wave Theory is applied in many bearish scenarios. It presents an eight-part move, where the price of the asset declines on a level-by-level basis.

The Elliott Wave Theory is often criticized because it is considered to be highly subjective. It also assumes that the market follows the same crowd psychology across varying time frames. As such, it frequently leads to extreme price predictions for both bearish and bullish scenarios.

A report on the Elliott Wave Theory by Binance Academy reads:Critics argue that the Elliott Wave Theory isnt a legitimate theory due to its highly subjective nature, and relies on a loosely defined set of rules. However, it also makes note that, There are thousands of successful investors and traders that have managed to apply Elliotts principles in a profitable manner.

The Elliott Wave Theory is not a specific technical pattern or market structure. It is a principle that can be adopted by traders on how they see fit, depending on the price trend of an asset at a certain time. It is difficult to establish that the Elliott Wave Theory is inaccurate or flawed, because it does not set specific targets. It is up to traders and technical analysts that adopt the principle to assess crowd psychology of a certain market.

The Hyperwave Theory, popularized within the cryptocurrency market by a well-established trader, Tone Vays, determines the formation of a potential bubble in the market. It is a seven-part market cycle that spots a bearish trend reversal typically at a peak. The Hyperwave structure is similar to the Elliott Wave principle, but it only pertains to bearish scenarios.

Hyperwave-based price predictions are often controversial because they assume the peak of an asset has been hit. Consequently, it often leads to extreme predictions, calling for an 80% to 90% drop from a local top. For instance, Vays said that he used the Hyperwave Theory in early 2018 to call for a price target of $1,500. Over the next year and a half, the price of Bitcoin dropped from around $18,000 to $3,100.

Referring to the Hyperwave Theory, Vays said: I was off by 12%. That was my margin of error. When I called $1,500 (from the January 2018 top), I was only off by 12% on the low of the bear market.

In a recent discussion about the Hyperwave Theory, Vays said that the model is still calling for a $1,000 price point for Bitcoin. But Vays emphasized that it does not mean he is waiting for BTC to drop to the $1,000s, suggesting that it is merely a theory and a point of reference. Vays noted:

I dont know why people think I am still waiting for $1,200 or $1,500. That is a ridiculous view. People seem to be very confused. And for some reason, people seem to be very upset that when I said Bitcoin has a high probability of going to $1,500, I said it when Bitcoin was here [at a record high].

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Bitcoin Up 27% in First Half of 2020, Beating Gold, Silver and Platinum – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

Bitcoin showed its luster during the first half of 2020 by rallying more than 27% percent amid mediocre returns from precious metals including gold, silver and platinum.

Gold underperformed bitcoin by nearly 11 percentage points despite gaining 16 percent in the first half of 2020 and making eight-year highs in late June. Silver and platinum both finished the first half of 2020 with negative gains.

Bitcoins strong performance is no shock to some analysts, especially in context of the benchmark cryptocurrencys increasing correlation with equity markets. Given that equities are now near, or in some cases above, their highs reached in February, its not surprising to see bitcoin do the same, said Ryan Watkins, bitcoin analyst at Messari.

Why compare returns from bitcoin to gold or other precious metals? Gold is bitcoins most aspirational asset, explained Watkins. Like bitcoin, gold is a scarce commodity whose value is derived almost entirely from its monetary premium.

Unlike gold, however, bitcoin investors have historically experienced more extreme volatility. Silver and platinum were also much more volatile than gold through the first half of 2020.

Bitcoin and gold could be seen more like complementary investments than competitives ones based on their performance over the past six months, said David Lifchitz, managing partner at Paris-based quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm ExoAlpha. Given bitcoins historic volatility, holding digital and physical gold together could provide a better risk-return profile than holding either of them individually, said Lifchitz.

Investors typically adjust their portfolios based on the amount of risk required to achieve a certain return. Increased returns often bring with it higher volatility or risk. Depending on how assets correlate, though, a properly weighted portfolio can achieve a higher expected return with a lower level of risk than would be found in a portfolio containing just one asset.

Investing in bitcoin and the less-volatile gold during the first half of 2020 could have reduced an investors risk without sacrificing returns, Lifchitz told CoinDesk. Equal investments in gold and bitcoin, for example, could have more or less matched returns from an investment only in bitcoin while suffering less of a drawdown in March, Lifchitz explained.

But risk-adjusted returns from bitcoin and gold over the last six months may not hold true going forward, said Lifchitz. For one thing, the cryptocurrency market has grown eerily quiet over the past few weeks as bitcoins volatility has plummeted.

A Bloomberg July report on bitcoin noted bitcoins 260-day volatility is at the lowest versus the same gold-risk measure since the crypto assets parabolic 2017 rally. Senior commodity strategist Mike McGlone, who authored the report, said, Volatility should continue declining as bitcoin extends its transition to the crypto equivalent of gold from a highly speculative asset.

Bitcoins dropping volatility to historic lows could quickly change directions, however. McGlone described bitcoin as a resting bull ready for a breakout, adding, We expect recent compression to be resolved via higher prices.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.


Bitcoin Up 27% in First Half of 2020, Beating Gold, Silver and Platinum - CoinDesk - CoinDesk

Bitcoin Transactions: New High for Argentina as Confidence in the Peso Tanks – Bitcoin News

Crisis laden Argentina saw bitcoin transactions worth $1.4 million (101 million pesos) being recorded in the past week, a new high for the country.

According to a report by Vorem, this figure is nearly double the previous high of $0.96 million recorded in the last week of June.

Citizens who have previously watched their currency lose value are now turning to bitcoin and those finding it difficult to transfer fiat money to other countries now make use of the cryptocurrency.

The Argentine financial troubles, which started in 2018, worsened following the Covid-19 induced economy lockdown.

The countrys peso currency is depreciating while the inflation rate is growing.

According to a World Bank report, issued just as the country implemented lockdown measures, Argentinas economic situation presents a precarious balance.

The Argentine peso has lost 68% of its value since 2018. Annual inflation is over 50% and after a 2.5% fall in GDP in 2018, the economy contracted an additional 2.2% in 2019.

Already government data for the first three months show the economy shrank 4.8%. Unemployment rose to over 10% in the same period.

Meanwhile, Vorem quotes analysts predicting the economy to shrink by 10% by the end of 2020.

Argentina, one of Latin Americas largest economies, has faced persistent economic troubles going back several decades.

The crises are blamed on several factors including an insistence on using an overvalued currency, large scale borrowing as well as a lack of financial support by multilateral institutions.

After the crisis between 2001 and 2002, the country dollarized as it tried to restore confidence. That policy was abandoned in favor of a returning peso.

Again, prominent economists are calling for a return to dollarization but as the Vorem report suggests, citizens might be seeking a safe haven in crypto assets instead.

What do you think about the recent demand for bitcoin in Argentina? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Bitcoin friendly Elon Musk is now richer than Bitcoin hater Warren Buffett – Decrypt

Tesla CEO Elon Musks wealth skyrocketed Fridaymaking him richer than billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Its out with the old and in with the new; the pair hold wildly different opinions about Bitcoin and the future of money and Musks tech-first business logic appears to have paid off.

Musks wealth shot up by $6.1 billion after Tesla stock rose by 11%, according to a Bloomberg report. The eccentric entrepreneurs net worth now stands at a staggering $70.5 billion, data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows.

While Buffettwho has clashed with Musk in the pastis worth just $69.2 billion. The SpaceX founders wealth spurt also means he is now richer than Larry Ellison, the CEO of tech giant, Oracle Corporation.

The Tesla boom also means Musk is the highest paid CEO in the US, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index: thanks to a deal the CEO made two years ago, he earned $595 million in one day.

Buffett has always criticized Bitcoincalling the cryptocurrency rat poison squared and saying it has no unique value at all. A $4.7 million charity dinner with the CEO of Tron, Justin Sun, didnt change his mind, even after Sun gifted him a Bitcoin.

Musk, on the other hand, has praised it, calling it pretty cleverbut has admitted he owns just $2,500 of the asset.

Musk then became the butt of Bitcoin enthusiasts jokes for not spending more of his fortune on the cryptocurrency. (In March, he said his favorite cryptocurrency was Dogecointhough it wasnt clear if he was being serious.)

Musk also said in January that Bitcoin can be a replacement for cash and in May responded to a JK Rowling tweet by telling her that Bitcoin looked solid by comparison to massive currency issuance by the government.

The differences dont stop there, though.

Buffett, one of Bitcoins most outspoken critics, runs the investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway. Known as the Oracle of Omaha, the investor has led a frugal life. In comparison, car-maker Musk is known for his outburstsparticularly on Twitterthat have caused him trouble in the past.

In May, the 49-year-old tech mogul wiped $15 billion off Tesla stock after a bizarre Twitter rant where he said his companys stock was too high.

Now Musk has an extra $6 billion to spare, maybe hell invest in Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin friendly Elon Musk is now richer than Bitcoin hater Warren Buffett - Decrypt

Correlation Between Bitcoin Price and Stocks Reaches a New All-Time High – Cointelegraph

Lately, Bitcoin price has been showing record-high levels of correlation with traditional markets and on July 9 the correlation between the S&P 500 and BTC reached a new all-time high.

Data from Skew shows that the one-year realized correlation reached 0.38 on Thursday, July 9 and this came after the metric had reached new highs earlier in the week.

Bitcoin - S&P 500 Realized Correlation. Source: Skew

The correlation with traditional markets has been growing at a steady pace recently, with the one-year reaching consecutive new all-time highs. Data from Skew also shows that the 1 month figure also reached its all-time high of 0.78 on Wednesday, but has since dropped to 61.5.

While Bitcoin has been showing increasing correlation with the stock market, the same cannot be said for gold which has surpassed $1,800 to set a new high not seen since 2011.

A recent report by Krakens research department found that correlation with the precious metal has been declining. Bitcoins 30-day rolling correlation also hit a four-month low of -0.49, a level far below its one-year average of 0.24.

The correlation between Bitcoin and the traditional stock market grew following the coronavirus outbreak and the March 12 crash to $3,750. A recent Cointelegraph research report suggested that this trend could end after the halving but the exact opposite has happened. This is possibly due to the continued economic consequences of COVID-19.

While a strengthening correlation between Bitcoin and equities markets is said to be a sign that the asset class is maturing, the nature of unregulated Bitcoin derivative products makes it prone to long and short squeezes.

Some analysts have suggested that Bitcoins correlation to traditional markets may signal that BTC is becoming increasingly represented across a wider range of traditionally structured portfolios and this would be a sign that adoption continues to occur.

With the halving and all the hype surrounding it long past, Bitcoin price appears to have flattened. The digital asset reached a record low volatility, with the 10-day realized volatility reaching the 0.2 mark, a low not seen since November 2018.

Monthly Bitcoin volume trading into fiat or stablecoin. Source: CryptoCompare

Bitcoins decreasing volatility is also occurring alongside decreasing trading volumes and recent data shows that the volume for the BTC-USDT and BTC-USD trading pairs fell by 56% and 44% in the month of June.

As the price continues to find resistance at the $9,300 level, the change of a sharp downside correction continues to increase. For this reason, traders are viewing $9,500 as the short-term level Bitcoin price needs to break. Failure to do so increases the risk that the price could drop to or below the $8,000 level.

This trend can be observed across crypto derivatives and spot products. In the month of June, derivatives volumes dropped by 35.7%, the lowest figure in 2020, and spot volumes dropped by 49.3%.

Dwindling volumes, low volatility, strong correlation with the equities, and a decreasing correlation to gold all seem to bring a bearish outlook to Bitcoin price, especially since other safe haven assets are performing well.

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I’m a Syrian Refugee. This Is How Bitcoin Changed My Life – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

Tey Elrjula is a tech entrepreneur, a refugee and the author of The Invisible Son, now available for pre-sale.

Bitcoin is good for whatever you need. Ive used it to order pizza and to build a fulfilling career, despite all types of hardships.

Ive been using bitcoin for years because my family needs it, not because I enjoy speculative trading. In 2013 I was introduced to cryptocurrencies while working with software engineers in the Netherlands. My idea was that if we created money from code, then money would become a way of communication and its value would represent the community.

I used to send money from the Netherlands to my family in Lebanon twice a month, and the fees were killing me. Even worse, the long waiting lines at money transfer shops were torture. There are still a lot of insurmountable restrictions on money transactions, especially those that exclude large populations around the world.

For example, a sizable segment of people in Saudi Arabia doesnt have residence permits and are not able to transfer money to their families in countries such as India or Pakistan. Bitcoin doesnt have those restrictions or involve exorbitant transactional charges.

Later in 2013, I started a Facebook group on bitcoin. I moderated the page and had discussions with many of the 10,000 people who came there, most of whom were from Egypt. I met a lot of interesting people in that group, such as Abdullah Almoaiqel. Abdullah is now the co-founder and partner of Rain, which is the first regulated digital currency exchange in the Middle East. The company is based in Bahrain and operates from Bahrain and Egypt.

Then, in 2014, everything started going wrong. My European residency card expired at the end of that year and there was a war going on back home. People said Hezbollah, the local militia, was fighting to keep ISIS out of Lebanon.

Technology is helping us live in a world where we need to trust less and verify more.

Half of Syria was flooding into the Netherlands back then, and smugglers were active on the other side of Europe. I bought a small book to teach me how to pray in Islam, then started to practice my prayers and listen to the Koran. I also started listening to Sayed Hassan Nasrallahs speeches, his recitals and calls to fight alongside Hezbollah in Syria. I was surrendering to my fate of being deported to Syria or Lebanon.

Sleepless nights went by, with the Facebook pages continuously broadcasting images of the brutality of war in Syria. I did not want to be part of this.

On Sept. 11, 2014, 500 migrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea attempting to cross tosafe land. It was at that moment I realized how blessed I was to be in Europe, and I surrendered to the idea of becoming a refugee.

Meanwhile, I kept working on the Facebook page I ran with a top Egyptian software engineer and early adopter of bitcoin. The Egyptian bitcoin users kept me busy. I chatted with a lot of people and answered their questions on the mining process, price speculation, buying bitcoin and selling it. They knew I was moderating from Holland, but didnt know I was now partially undocumented.

I turned 30 in the camp and lied to my parents, telling them I was in my nice European apartment waiting for the immigration authorities to renew my residency. Nobody knew I was living alongside the other Arab refugees in a camp except me.

Refugees do not have IDs, so they cant have bank accounts. They dont know anyone in the Netherlands, not yet at least. Bitcoin became an even bigger part of my professional work. The constant exposure to crypto landed me translation jobs for reporters who were covering bitcoin stories.

On sunny days, I earned a few hundred euros as an escrow agent connecting buyers and sellers of bitcoin. In July 2015, I earned a technical expertise certificate from the University of Nicosia and registered on the bitcoin blockchain. Finally, I was credentialed, a professional and no longer a hobbyist.

Slowly my Bitcoin identity was overcoming my refugee identity.

The general public looks at the Bitcoin network as a gambling game in which you can lose all your money. Many meetups were starting to appear in the Netherlands. I started working as a speaker. One such event in the Netherlands was called Bitcoin Wednesday, held on the first Wednesday of every month. Slowly, my Bitcoin identity was overcoming my refugee identity.

For years to come and every time I come out onto a stage, I would ask people to put their hands in their pockets and take the coins out. In return I would give them bitcoin for the same amount. Why? Because the best way to understand bitcoin, especially after they hear the pizza story, is to use it.

Money and identity have been hand-in-hand for centuries, yet I used bitcoin without an identity. Besides my email, I did not need anything to use money and transact digitally. However, I do need an identity to present myself to the world and interact with services like education and diplomas, health care and vaccines, travel and airline tickets. Technology is helping us live in a world where we need to trust less and verify more.

I have travelled to more than 20 different European cities and a few in the Middle East delivering keynotes, public presentations and leading workshops showing organizations the digital future of education, money and business where it is built on principles ofdont trust, verify.

Bitcoin may not be useful for everything, but it sure as hell changed my entire life.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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I'm a Syrian Refugee. This Is How Bitcoin Changed My Life - CoinDesk - CoinDesk

The Secret Service on tracking Bitcoin and cybercrime – Decrypt

The US Secret Service is one of the most enigmatic and entrenched law enforcement agencies in America; now, in a one-off interview, the service has revealed its views on cryptocurrency and cybercrime.

First established in 1865 and tasked with preventing the then-widespread counterfeiting of US currency, the Secret Service has since garnered a reputation as presidential protectors. But that's not its only duty.

Speaking to Forbes, US Secret Service cyber policy advisor Jonah Force Hill offered an on-the-record insight into the service's modernized role.

"In addition to our more well-known protective mission, is responsible for the investigation of crimes against the US financial system,' explained Hill. "This includes the investigation of modern computer crimes (such as unauthorized access to a computer system and crimes associated with digital currencies)."

The agency's job has been made slightly harder as the result of the global coronavirus pandemic. During a US house meeting in June, the FBI cited a 75% uptick in daily cybercrime since the onset of coronavirus. Additional testimony from Tom Kellermann, head of cybersec strategy at VMware, told of a monumental 900% rise in ransomware attacks between January and May this year.

A vast number of these ransoms demanded Bitcoin as paymentdue, in part, to the pseudonymity it affords. Despite the fact that criminals are using Bitcoin for ransom payments, the Secret Service acknowledges that crypto isn't to blame.

"The COVID-19 fraud spree is not a specific cryptocurrency issue," Hill explained. "Crypto is simply a component of the overall fraud."

Still, the question of cryptocurrency's position in the criminal underworld has prompted much speculation. Statistics from Chainalysis estimate that only 1.1% of unlawful activity involves cryptocurrency. This seems to contradict FBI statistics, which suggest that crypto is present in as many as 3 out of 4money laundering cases.

For Hill, the true number ranges between 1.1% and 75%. Why? Because crypto is a tool and not a classification of crime.

"The crimes that are prosecuted in crypto cases are generally categorized as "money laundering" or "larceny," etc., not "crypto crime," he explained. "How the crime was committed, via crypto or not, or what form of money was stolen, is often irrelevant to the prosecution and therefore not quantified for statistical purposes."

Hill also hit upon the rising phenomenon of "crime-as-a-service," noting that cybercriminals often tout their products and services for a fee.

On darknet markets, for example, ransomware is peddled for Bitcoin, allowing less tech-savvy criminals to get in on the action. It would perhaps go some way to explain the 900% jump in ransomware attacks. But Hill suggests that the process of carrying out these crimes could be more sophisticated; something more akin to "Ocean's Eleven," but with crypto.

"This crime-as-a-service model allows criminal groups to come together for a particular scheme, only to disassemble once the scheme is completed," Hill said, likening the model to the crews seen in old-school bank heists.

"You build a team for the job, Hill explained. Hire a guy who knows the bank layout, another guy who can break a safe, a guy who knows how to dismantle an alarm system, a getaway driver, a lookout, etc. It's the same thing here, but in the digital world."

Crime-as-a-service may be a scary prospect, but you can't deny it would make a great film.

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Bitcoin giveaways, other scams pull in $24 million so far this year – Decrypt

Crypto criminals are stealing more money than everand theyre not even trying very hard.

In the first six months of 2020 alone, $24 million in Bitcoin was bagged by scammers, according to a report released today by blockchain tracking and analytics provider Whale Alert. Its the first report from a new blockchain crime reporting, tracking, and analysis tool called Scam Alert that the firm launched two weeks ago.

The $24 million raked in by scammers so far this year makes up the most of ill-gotten gains by criminals over the last four years, which according to Whale Alert is $38 million in stolen Bitcoin. (Notably, Ponzi schemes are left out of the total, which themselves account for billions alone, said Whale Alert.)

Criminals, it seems, are able to steal more cash in crypto now than ever before, with little risk. And its becoming easier, too.

The scam market is characterized by high profits, no taxes, minimal effort and zero risk and by the end of 2020 we predict it will have grown over twenty fold since 2017 to an annual revenue of at least $50 million, the report said.

Whale Alert explained that crypto scams are doing so well because they have become more aggressive.

Scores of websites are being used by scammers to con people into thinking that what they are signing up to is legit: dodgy websites will often have customer support teams to make it all seem more real, the report said.

But the scams require little effort and almost no risk for the criminals, while victims lives are being destroyed, Whale Alert noted. One particularly successful scam featured a poorly done amateurish website that was riddled with spelling errorsbut it conned would-be investors out of an eye-watering $1.5 million in just six months.

Whale Alert added that it wont be long before deep fakes are used by criminals to make scams all the more believable.

It is therefore up to the blockchain and crypto community to play a part in reducing cyber-crime, the company urged. The culture of normalizing the idea of free money with giveawaysas many crypto exchanges and startups doneeds more scrutiny, Whale Alert said.

One thing is very clear: whatever is being done right now to stop these criminals is not enough and if we dont act as a community, the reputation of blockchain might not be able to recover in the long run, the report stated.

Scams promising huge returns on Bitcoin investments are on the rise, with fake celebrity endorsements are constantly used by cyber-criminals to promote their fraudulent websites.

Last year, the UK financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), warned that get rich quick fraudulent online trading platforms conned gullible investors out of 27 million ($34 million) in 2018 and 2019 by promising high returns with cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin giveaways, other scams pull in $24 million so far this year - Decrypt

ModiHost’s Token Is Live on HitBTC, the Leading European Bitcoin Exchange | Press release – Bitcoin News

Bitcoin Entrepreneur Brock Pierce Joins the 2020 US Presidential Election

Blockchain entrepreneur and former Disney child actor, Brock Pierce, is running for President of the United States this election. Pierce announced he was running during Americas Independence Day celebration on July 4, the same day Kanye West revealed his candidacy. ... read more.

700,000 Expedia Hotels Can Now Be Paid With Cryptocurrencies via Travala

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The Tokenized Metaverse: Non-Fungible Token Sales to Surpass $100 Million

On July 1, 2020, the partner of Polynexus Capital, Andrew Steinwold, detailed that the sales of blockchain-powered non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are about to cross the $100 million mark. The popularity of NFTs has grown massive since 2017, as blockchain cards, ... read more.

Bitcoin Volatility Hits Three-Year Low, Sparking Fears of Massive Sell-Off

The cryptocurrency data analytics and research company, Skew has warned that bitcoin could see a massive sell-off due to declining volatility. The data analytics firm says that bitcoin (BTC) realized volatility hit 20% over the past 10 days - it's ... read more.

European Blockchain Ecosystem Needs 350 Million for the Next 18 Months

A study report by Leadblock Partners, an appointed representative of Sapia Partners LLP, finds an accelerating growth of the European blockchain ecosystem.The findings of the Leadblock Partners study suggest European respondents have a funding need for 350 million for the ... read more.

Crypto Derivatives Volumes Crash 36% to $393 Billion in June, a Low for 2020

Crypto derivatives trading volumes plunged 36% to $393 billion in June, the lowest they have reached in 2020, according to a new report by Cryptocompare. The decline may be the result of a lull in investor interest in the instruments ... read more.

South African Investors to Lose $13 Million as Bitcoin Scammer Declared Bankrupt

A South African high court has declared an alleged bitcoin scam mastermind, Willie Breedt, bankrupt. The court decision follows an application by one disgruntled investor, Simon Dix, a News24 report states. Willie Breedt is the CEO of the defunct Vaultage ... read more.

Encryption Crackdown: Private Phone Network With 60,000 Users Dismantled by Law Enforcement

An international law enforcement team has brought down an encrypted phone network with 60,000 users worldwide. The platform was one of the largest providers of encrypted communications, widely used by organized crime groups. UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), Europol, Eurojust, ... read more.

Bitcoin.com Wallet Launches New Portfolio Breakdown and Stablecoin Swap Features

With over 11 Million Bitcoin.com Wallets created, were building new features our users need most in order to enjoy the best possible cryptocurrency experience. Our wallets latest features now provide seamless swaps between bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), and the ... read more.

Tiktok Ban: US May Join India in Banning Chinese Social Media Apps

The Trump administration is looking at banning Tiktok and other Chinese social media apps, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. India has already banned Tiktok in its country, along with 58 other mobile apps. Recently, a Tiktok video about ... read more.

Escalating Bank Runs Spur Chinese Government to Require Approval for Large Cash Transactions

A series of bank runs has prompted the Chinese government to begin requiring approval for large cash deposits and withdrawals at commercial banks, starting with banks in a northern province. Recently, two bank runs happened within a week as people ... read more.

The Popular Stablecoin Tether Is Now Circulating on the Bitcoin Cash Network

The most popular stablecoin tether (USDT) has officially been minted on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain via the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP). At press time theres only 1,010 SLP-based USDT in circulation, as the firm Tether Limited seems to be issuing ... read more.

Bitcoin Price Poised for 'Imminent' Breakout As Network Hashrate Hits Record Highs

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Renters Threaten US Real Estate Market, 20 Million Americans Face Eviction

The aftermath of the coronavirus-provoked business shutdowns in the United States caused a number of market observers to focus on the U.S. real estate and rental markets. As the federal moratorium on evictions reaches its expiry, a recent Aspen Institute ... read more.

Crypto Facilities Gets FCA Nod to Set up Crypto Futures Venue

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Major Indian Company TCS Launches Cryptocurrency Trading Solution for Banks' Customers

Leading Indian IT company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is launching a cryptocurrency trading solution for banks to allow their customers to invest in cryptocurrencies. TCS is part of the Tata group, India's largest multinational business group, and is listed on ... read more.

Market Update: Crypto Assets Slowly Gather Gains, Bitcoin Needs Capital Inflow, ADA Jumps 85%

Cryptocurrency market prices have improved a great deal since our last market update, as the overall market capitalization of all 5,700+ coins has gained $16 billion since June 14. Most of the top digital assets have remained in a consolidated ... read more.

About 90% of Bitcoin Investors Worried About Fate of Their Assets After Death: Study

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Permissionless Software Foundation Aims to Foster Open-Source Software With Bitcoin Cash

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John McAfee Launches Ghost Phone Service to Supplement His Cryptocurrency

Two-time U.S. presidential candidate John McAfee has launched a privacy-centric cell phone data service. McAfee said that his Ghost cell phone data service offers 4G data without using a physical SIM card, is compatible with most major phones, and works ... read more.

'Bitcoin Is Not a Privacy Coin' Says Crypto Evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos

Andreas Antonopoulos discussed how he desired to see Bitcoin have more privacy features in a recent live stream Q&A session published on Youtube on July 7. Antonopoulos discussed the privacy-centric coin monero and concepts like stealth addresses and ring signatures. ... read more.

Jeffrey Epstein Confidant Ghislaine Maxwell's Rumored Last Reddit Post Was About Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency community has been discussing the infamous Ghislaine Maxwell, the associate of the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was recently arrested and many speculators think she may see the same fate as Epstein before she talks. ... read more.

Famous Malaysian Actor Fined for Stealing $50,000 Worth of Crypto From His Producer

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South African Crypto Investment Company Issued Cease And Desist Order In Texas

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Romanian Programmer Admits Conspiring to Create $722M Bitclub Ponzi Scheme

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Read more from the original source:

ModiHost's Token Is Live on HitBTC, the Leading European Bitcoin Exchange | Press release - Bitcoin News

This street mural is pulling in $100 in Bitcoin per day in donations – Decrypt

In brief

Now heres a clever way of funding your artwork. Artist Pascal Boyart recently painted a mural in Paris called Confessions of a Red Jester, a modern interpretation of the 1862 painting Staczyk by Jan Matejko.

In Boyarts rendition, the titular jester is surrounded by fiat bills on the ground and has what appears to be a tablet on the table next to him. Boyart has described the painting as being about both fiat money and quantitative easing.

Theres another unique element to it: a large QR code in the lower left corner, along with a spray-painted Bitcoin logo and a wallet address below. The QR code allows anyone who scans it to donate Bitcoin directly to Boyart without any sort of intermediary.

And its working. Boyart tweeted today that he has thus far received 0.0514 BTC since first revealing the artwork five days ago, or just less than $500 to date.

Boyart is no stranger to the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain. He tells Decrypt that he has used QR codes on his paintings since 2017 and has received more than 1.3 BTC (nearly $12,000 as of today) in donations over the last three years. He even wrote a tutorial to help other artists do the same.

He also has crypto donation links on his website for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero. Furthermore, Boyart has tokenized his own artwork as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), selling several piecessome with added animationsplit into collectible fragments via OpenSea.

For Boyart, the ability to accept donations via Bitcoin from anyone who sees his outdoor paintings, even if they dont know his name or other work, lets him continue to produce compelling, conversation-sparking artwork.

It helps me to fund my next murals and keep my independence, he told Decrypt.

More here:

This street mural is pulling in $100 in Bitcoin per day in donations - Decrypt

Market Wrap: Stocks Tick Downward and so Does Bitcoin, to $9,200 – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

Bitcoin is back at $9,200 Thursday as crypto derivatives helped push its price down and equities closed lower.

When stocks overall trend lower, it often leads to bitcoin prices dropping, said Karl Samsen of Global Digital Assets. He added that as public companies continue to release their dismal quarterly business results, equities will drop even more. Were seeing a W-effect in terms of the COVID-19 reopening of the economy, he told CoinDesk. Thus, the stock markets arent performing well Thursday.

As spot bitcoin headed lower Thursday, the cryptocurrency derivatives market saw its first excitement in a week as sell liquidations popped up on BitMEX. Traders who were long bitcoin saw over $20 million in BitMEX positions exited as price dropped on the spot exchanges such as Coinbase.

Meanwhile, traders continue to place fewer bitcoin option bets, a sign they dont expect crypto volatility to return at least not yet, according to Vishal Shah, an options trader and founder of exchange Alpha5.

When volatility is much lower, as it is now, there is no natural game, said Shah. Its not worth it to sell options down here, and hence activity comes to a standstill, he added. Indeed, the volume on options market is much lower, and the amount of traders using the commodities exchange CME for bitcoin options have dried up in July.

Honestly, it is frustrating for all of us lower volatility and a narrower range, said Christopher Thomas of cryptocurrency broker Swissquote. Well likely explode out of it at some point. We need a trigger.

Nevertheless, things change, especially in uncertain times, said George Clayton, managing partner of New York-based Cryptanalysis Capital. Crypto never stays in one place for long, Clayton said. I dont like the technical picture, but a big move in either direction wouldnt surprise me.

Curve's value on the rise

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was down Thursday, trading around $239 and slipping 3.6% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

The total value locked in Curve is $71 million, the second-highest for a decentralized exchange, or DEX. Curve is used to quickly trade between stablecoins and has $12 million in daily trading volume, just behind Uniswap for DEXs.

Peter Chan, a trader at Hong Kong-based OneBit Quant, says Curve could see increased volume due to traders moving out of USDC and into other stablecoins amid recent news that CENTRE, the consortium behind USDC, froze $100,000 worth of the token in one account at the behest of an unspecified law enforcement agency.

I saw this news about USDC freezing assets of a few addresses, Chan said. Quite concerned about it. Might see flow on USDC switching to other stablecoins.

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mixed Thursday. Notable winners as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Notable losers as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

The rest is here:

Market Wrap: Stocks Tick Downward and so Does Bitcoin, to $9,200 - CoinDesk - CoinDesk

Bitcoin Undo Button & Fleeing Firms: Bad Crypto News of the Week – Cointelegraph

Maybe its time to start talking about boring Bitcoin. The dollar price has moved barely half a percentage point over the last week, remaining around the $9,200 mark. Bitcoins holders, though, dont expect the coin to remain a boring store of value forever. A survey by Bitcoin IRA found that 42 percent of the crypto custodians customers expect the price to reach $15,000 by the end of the year. Even that might not prompt sales though. Some 57 percent said they were holding for the long term.

Those optimists might be wrong, though. SteveCrypt0, a popular trader, has suggested that Bitcoin could fall to $6,000 though it would still remain bullish.

Of course, SteveCrypt0 could be wrong and he wouldnt be the only one to make a mistake. A survey has found that 55 percent of respondents have made errors when sending cryptocurrency, and 18 percent have lost funds that way. An Israeli blockchain startup has a solution. Its created a kind of undo button for crypto transfers. (Its a confirmation code).

An undo button might be useful in Russia at the moment. A court in that country has ruled that thieves who kidnapped someone and forced him to send them 99.7 BTC dont have to pay back the Bitcoins. Digital currency isnt property, the judge ruled.

Its not just Russia thats producing strange rules though. US senators are trying to pass a law that will give law enforcement access to encrypted data. It requires manufacturers to include a backdoor that will enable them to decrypt information.

Other countries are doing better. In China, the municipal government of Beijing has released a 20-point plan to make the Chinese capital a global hub for blockchain technologies. In India, a decision by the Supreme Court to reverse laws stopping banks from serving crypto traders and businesses has led to a surge of activity from the countrys crypto app developers.

But its not all good news. After trailblazing the development of blockchain technology, Estonia is grappling with the effects of the European Unions new Know Your Customer laws. Firms are fleeing.

Fortunately, their flights might be easier to book soon. Travel firms are rolling out more blockchain-based experiments and pilot projects to make travel cheaper and more efficient. Those moves come as analytics tools from the Big Four accountancy firms promise to make cryptotrading easier for institutional investors.

And finally, if you ever wanted to see crypto forecaster Mati Greenspan in red lycra and white underpants, heres your chance. Greenspan is Forecaster in the Bad Crypto Podcasts Blockchain Heroes set of digital trading cards. Who said Bitcoin was boring?

Check out the audio version here:

Joel Comm is an internet pioneer, New York Times best-selling author, futurist speaker and co-host of The Bad Crypto Podcast. Thats a fancy way of saying he writes words, says things and loves to play with cryptos

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.


Bitcoin Undo Button & Fleeing Firms: Bad Crypto News of the Week - Cointelegraph