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Daily Archives: May 25, 2020
Posted: May 25, 2020 at 10:46 pm
Eczema typically causes areas of a persons skin to become inflamed, itchy, and red. There are several different types of eczema, including atopic eczema, contact dermatitis, and discoid eczema.
Eczema is a common skin condition that affects over 30 million people in the United States. In general, eczema can affect the skin by causing:
Eczema is not contagious, which means that a person cannot catch it or pass it onto another person.
In this article, we look at six different types of eczema, their symptoms, and what causes them. We also cover diagnosis, treatment, and how to prevent flare-ups.
Atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema, is the most common type of eczema.
Symptoms often present in childhood and can range from mild to severe. A child is more likely to develop atopic dermatitis if one of their parents has had it.
Children with atopic dermatitis have a higher risk of food sensitivity. They are also more likely to develop asthma and hay fever.
Some children may grow out of atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis tends to cause patches of dry skin that can become itchy, red, and inflamed. These patches often appear in the creases of the elbows and knees and on the face, neck, and wrists.
Scratching the patches can worsen the itching and make the skin ooze clear fluid. Over time, repeated scratching or rubbing can cause the patch of skin to thicken. This is known as lichen simplex chronicus (LSC).
People with atopic dermatitis usually experience flare-ups, where the eczema gets worse for a time. Triggers of flare-ups include:
Some people experience a skin reaction when they come into contact with certain substances. This is known as contact dermatitis.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis can include:
A person with atopic dermatitis has an increased risk of contact dermatitis.
There are two types of contact dermatitis:
Irritant contact dermatitis can result from repeated exposure to a substance that irritates the skin, such as:
People who regularly use or work with these substances have a higher risk of developing contact dermatitis.
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a persons immune system reacts to a particular substance, known as an allergen.
A person might not react to an allergen the first time they come into contact with it. However, once they develop an allergy, they will usually have it for life.
Possible allergens include:
Dyshidrotic eczema, or pompholyx eczema, typically appears in adults under 40 years of age. It usually occurs on the hands and feet and has characteristic symptoms, including intense itching and the appearance of small blisters.
In some cases, the blisters can become large and watery. The blisters may become infected too, which can lead to pain and swelling. They may also ooze pus.
Blisters typically clear up within a few weeks. Following this, the skin often becomes dry and cracked, which may lead to painful skin fissures.
It is unclear what causes dyshidrotic eczema. However, it is more common in people who have:
People who work with certain chemicals or have their hands immersed in water throughout the day are also at greater risk of developing dyshidrotic eczema.
Other triggers include emotional stress and changes in the weather.
Dyshidrotic eczema may be a form of contact dermatitis. People with dyshidrotic eczema also tend to experience flare-ups from time to time.
Discoid eczema, or nummular eczema, is recognizable due to the disc-shaped patches of itchy, red, cracked, and swollen skin that it causes.
The discs typically appear on the lower legs, torso, and forearms. Sometimes, the center of the disc clears up, leaving a ring of red skin.
Discoid eczema can occur in people of any age, including children.
As with other types of eczema, the causes of discoid eczema are not fully understood. However, known triggers and risk factors include:
Varicose eczema is also known as venous, gravitational, or stasis eczema. It is common in older adults with varicose veins.
Getting older and being less active can weaken the veins in a persons legs. This can lead to both varicose veins and varicose eczema.
Varicose eczema typically affects the lower legs and symptoms can include:
The skin on the lower leg may become fragile, so it is important to avoid scratching and picking at the spots and blisters.
Asteatotic eczema, also called xerotic eczema and eczema craquel, generally only affects people over 60 years of age. This may be due to the skin becoming drier as a person ages.
Asteatotic eczema typically occurs on the lower legs, but it can also appear on other parts of the body. Symptoms include:
As with other types of eczema, the causes of asteatotic eczema are unknown, but triggers can include:
People who experience symptoms of eczema should see a doctor or dermatologist. Eczema can indicate a new allergy, so it is important to determine what is causing the reaction.
Eczema can also increase the likelihood of staph infections and have a severe effect on a persons mental health. A doctor can recommend a treatment plan to manage symptoms and flare-ups.
There is no specific test to diagnose most types of eczema. The doctor will want to know the individuals personal and family medical history. They will also ask about recent exposures to potential allergens and irritants. It is essential that people let the doctor know if they have hay fever or asthma.
The doctor may also ask about:
A physical examination of the rash will help the doctor to diagnose which type of eczema it is.
The doctor may also perform a patch test, which involves pricking a persons skin with a needle that contains potential irritants and allergens. A patch test can determine whether or not someone has contact dermatitis.
There is no cure for eczema, so treatment involves managing the symptoms and trying to prevent further flare-ups.
Some treatment options for eczema include:
Some general tips that may help to prevent eczema flare-ups include:
People with eczema will also benefit from working with their doctor or dermatologist to identify what triggers or worsens their symptoms. Avoiding specific triggers or allergens can help to prevent or minimize flare-ups.
Read the original here:
6 types of eczema: Symptoms and causes
Posted: at 10:46 pm
Eczema may ruin your spring and summer wardrobe the itchy, red inflamed skin can ruin any outfit, no matter how wonderful the clothes look. There's one surprising irritant you may not know about.
The National Eczema Association (NEA) states: "There are several distinct types of eczema.
"[And] it's possible to have more than one type at a time."
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with irritating substances or allergens.
As a result, the exposed area of skin may burn, itch and become red.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include: redness and rash, burning or swelling, or blisters that may weep or crust.
And the surprising irritant is fragrances did you know that trying to smell good could lead to such an adverse reaction?
The NEA confirms that "fragrance sensitivity" is seen in "eight to 15 percent of people with contact dermatitis".
READ MORE:Coronavirus symptoms: Pernio is a symptom explained by a dermatologist what is it?
And fragrances aren't restricted to perfumes and aftershaves fragrant cosmetics are just as bad.
In fact, the organisation adds: "Fragrances are most likely to cause allergic contact dermatitis accounting for up to 45 percent of reactions in cosmetic products."
Other common irritants include solvents, detergents, fumes, paints, bleach and wool.
Additionally, some people may experience contact dermatitis after coming into contact with tobacco smoke, some soaps and astringents.
The NHS comments that the skin reaction typically takes place within a few hours or days after exposure to the irritant.
The best way to manage contact dermatitis is to avoid the irritant.
However, this may not always be possible, and so the NHS advises to use emollients and topical corticosteroids.
Emollients are moisturisers that are applied to the skin to stop it from becoming dry.
This is because side effects may develop with prolonged use of steroid treatment.
Fortunately, most people with contact dermatitis would only need a short course.
Should the inflammation become infected at any stage, a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
However, infections are rare for those with contact dermatitis.
Go here to read the rest:
Eczema rash: The one surprising irritant you may be wearing - Express
Eczema treatment: The best oil to prevent dry skin – and you’ve probably got it at home – Express.co.uk
Posted: at 10:46 pm
Eczema is a long-term condition that causes the skin to become dry, itchy, red and cracked, according to the NHS. But, moisturising the affected skin with sunflower oil could help to get rid of the condition, it's been claimed.
Young children are most at risk of developing eczema symptoms, but it could also develop in later life.
If you have eczema, your symptoms can vary between small patches of dry skin, to widespread, inflamed areas of cracked skin.
But you could lower your risk of dry skin by regularly moisturising with sunflower oil, its been revealed.
It can be used on almost all types of skin, including oily or acne-prone skin.
READ MORE:Should you be worried about itchy blisters on your hand?
"Sunflower oil contains several compounds that have benefits for skin," said the medical website.
"They include oleic acid, vitamin E, sesamol, linoleic acid.
"Linoleic acid helps to maintain the skins natural barrier, supporting its ability to retain moisture. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect when used topically.
"This makes it beneficial for dry skin and for conditions, such as eczema."
Posted: at 10:46 pm
These creams will hydrate and restore your hands and help protect your skin from increased washing.
Whether youre still practicing strict stay-at-home safety measures or carefully exploring the parts of the country that are cautiously reopening, its never been more important to disinfect your hands. While its obvious to most that clean hands are critical during times of pandemic, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at New Yorks Mount Sinai Hospital, warns that avid hand care is always important, especially when traveling:
Whether there is a pandemic or not, travelers should always be extra vigilant about hand washing. Whether youre on a plane, bus or train, you are in close contact with hundredsof other people who are all touching the same doorknobs, counters and seats. This creates a breeding ground for microorganisms that can easily spreadan infection from one person to many others.
Unfortunately, as many are already experiencing, increased washing can lead to a host of skin issues, especially when the wrong products and techniques are used. As Dr. Zeichner explains, Many people end up disrupting the skin barrier. When there are cracks in the outer skin layer, the skin loses hydration and becomes inflamed.
Happy Hands is a four-part series rounding up the best products to keep your hands clean and comfortable during the COVID-19 pandemic now, and as you travel back into the world after. In this edition, the 15 best hand creams from Cuticle Convenience to Avo-mazing Antibacterial are presented.
Oatmeal Hand Cream
Originally intended to relieve eczema sufferers, the Oatmeal Hand Cream from Eczema Honey blends the hydrating powers of honey with the emollient properties of colloidal oatmeal and the soothing touch of aloe and shea butter for all-around relief to dry, irritated hands. Pro Tip: Avoid getting to that stage by using this cream on a daily basis!
Beeswax Hand Cream
Plenty of products incorporate honey, but few take advantage of the whole hive like Savannah Bee Companys Hand Cream, incorporating all four ingredients (royal jelly, beeswax, propolis and honey) for hydration, protection and repair. Its available in Cedar, Honey Almond and the newly-released Rosemary Lavender.
Honey Almond Whipped Body Butter
This one doesnt actually have honey in it, but the Honey Almond Whipped Body Butter from 100% Pure gets high marks for its honey-almond scented blend of shea, cocoa and avocado butters with aloe and rose hydrosol for added hydration. If sweet scents arent your thing, try the more spa-like fragrance of the equally decadent Eucalyptus Hand Buttercream.
Manuka Honey Hand Cream
If youre not familiar with manuka honey, consider it the superhero of the honey-verse. With antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, its the king of honeys and the power behind Manuka Honey Hand Cream from A. Combined with grapeseed extract and ponga fern seed, the trio of natural New Zealand ingredients balances your skins microbiome to maintain moisture and protect from external damage (and signs of aging!). Pair it with Prepare Brightening Lotion for ultimate results.
Kana Vita Cream
Kana Vita Cream contains double the typical CBD potency of comparable creams for ultimate relief of inflamed or irritated skin, and rehydrates your dried-out hands with Swiss Alps spring water and edelweiss flower extract in combination with jojoba oil and almond kernel oil. The thick cream has a refreshingly light scent and can be applied to trouble spots like dry hands or swollen feet, or even be used as a regular face mask for more vibrant skin.
CBD Muscle Cream
CBD Muscle Cream from Extract Labs was designed for heavy-duty muscle relief with 1500 mg of potency to soothe the most overworked bodies from pro athletes to pro caregivers, and anyone else who could use a little muscle relaxation. Cooling menthol, anti-inflammatory arnica, and calming rosemary and lavender are whipped together (not heated, to preserve the ingredients powerful properties), and each batchs lab certificate of analysis is published online for total transparency and authenticity. (This one is not intended for your face).
CBD + Mankua Cream
If youre torn between the honey creams or the CBD creams on this list, stop debating and choose CBD + Manuka Cream from Medterra. Combining the age-old wisdom of applying manuka honey to protect and hydrate skin with the growing research supporting the use of CBD to relieve soreness and irritation, this cream comes in two travel-friendly sizes (1 oz with 125 mg and 2 oz with 250 mg).
If your hands arent yet brutalized by constant washing, help prevent future irritation with regular use of Hand Food from Soap & Glory. This hydrating cream brings moisture and relief from shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow in a rose and bergamot fragrance with mandarin, jasmine, peach, strawberry, and soft musk and amber for a results thats almost too tempting not to taste (dont).
Rich Hydrating Cream for Body & Hands
Fork & Melon draws on its signature French watermelon seed oil to bring moisturizing, anti-aging and detoxifying comfort to your sore skin with Rich Hydrating Cream for Body & Hands. Blurring the boundaries between lotion, cream and butter, this cream goes on thick but absorbs rapidly, leaving only smooth, calm skin and a light citrus scent behind.
Sea Spa Hand Cream
Where better to find the most moisturizing magic than in the sea itself? Repchage brings the moisture-binding properties of seaweed together with shea butter in Sea Spa Hand Cream and adds green tea and vitamins C and E to soothe already-dry hands with a non-greasy cream. Bonus: Lavender and chamomile will help soothe your mind along with your hands each time you apply.
Antibacterial Hand Cream
While olive oil and eucalyptus can be found in a host of hand creams, not many also incorporate avocado extract for additional hydration and nourishment, and even fewer are also antibacterial. The new Antibacterial Hand Cream from Sunytizer, developed in the very early stages of COVID-19s arrival in the United States, is all of these things, providing relief to over-washed hands and a boost of protection with each application.
Orange & Rose Hand Cream
While rose-scented products generally tend to take too deep a dive into that unmistakable fragrance, Orange & Rose Hand Cream from John Masters Organics relies far more on the skin-restoring properties of the flower than on its scent. In fact, despite containing both rose and palmarosa (an Indian grass with a sweet floral nose), this cream smells nothing like your grandmothers perfume and provides serious relief to overworked hands.
Black Fig + Vetiver Hand Cream
You might think of sunflower oil as more of a kitchen ingredient, but its high vitamin E content provides long-lasting moisturizing benefits and omega 6 acid helps reduce inflammation and generate new, healthy skin cells. The Hand Cream collection from Paddywax blends sunflower oil with sweet almond oil and shea butter for a hydrating hand cream as wonderfully aromatic as its beloved candle collection, with fragrances like Eucalyptus Santal, Black Fig + Vetiver and Rosewood Vanilla.
Matte Cuticle Cream
With so much attention to restoring and protecting your hands, dont forget your cuticles, where dryness often leads to cracks and opens you up to infection. KBShimmers Matte Cuticle Cream combines jojoba, cocoa butter and shea better to moisturize this often-overlooked part of your hands, and comes in a keychain-friendly screw-top container for worry-free convenience on the go. It comes in 7 scents, but if youre already using other scented products on your hands youll be most interested in the Barely There variety.
Shea Hand & Nail Cream
It should be no surprise that shea butter is one of the most sought-after ingredients in the Travertine Spa Collection of organic skincare, but youll be shocked to discover how effective a tiny dose of its Shea Hand & Nail Cream is. A small dab of this thick cream with enhanced hydration from aloe, watermelon and rose will treat not just your nails but your whole hands, making the quarter-ounce travel container the perfect fit for pockets and purses (a larger size is also available). Bonus: Youll appreciate the light floral blend of lavender and geranium adding an extra ounce of spa sensation to your revived hands, too.
(These specific products are not endorsed by Dr. Zeichner, whose participation in this series is solely as an expert on the general importance of skin care. Consult your physician or dermatologist to discuss the best practices and products for you.)
You can find Happy Hands, Part 1: Soaps and Sanitizers here.
Posted: at 10:44 pm
Paying with crypto has long been at the center of the discussions of why cryptocurrencies exist and why they are useful.
But despite promising growth and excitement during cryptos bullish phases, payments with crypto still remain a fringe niche at best. Cointelegraph interviewed both merchants and industry leaders to find out why.
As a general rule, crypto payments are used where they make sense. This remains the case for darknet markets, which according to a January 2020 Chainalysis report continue posting new volume highs.
Despite their tiny share of the overall crypto activity, marketplaces selling primarily illegal goods simply cannot use traditional payment mechanisms. Nevertheless, these markets pale in comparison to the traditional cash-based drug trade, whose volume is estimated at approximately $400 billion yearly.
In legal settings, Crypto.coms CEO Kris Marszalek told Cointelegraph what kinds of products see meaningful usage of crypto:
Its still mostly crypto stuff. So we've got Travala, which is the travel merchant that accepts crypto. Ledger.com [...] when we launched on day one we were doing similar volume to Mastercard.
Marszalek cited figures from leading crypto payment providers BitPay and Coinbase Commerce, which report yearly volumes of $1 billion and $200 million, respectively.
The numbers are very small, Marszalek said bluntly.
Indeed, compared to Visas figure of $2 trillion for a single quarter in 2018, crypto payments have a long way to go.
Marszalek identified a series of issues that are preventing crypto payments adoption, with lack of trust one of them:
For the vast majority of the merchants out there, just like for the vast majority of retail banking users out there, crypto is still something unknown, something they still didnt learn to trust.
Peko Wan, the chief ecosystem officer of crypto point of sale provider Pundi X, told Cointelegraph a similar story:
For the mainstream, the general perception toward crypto are complicated to use or risky to own cryptos.
This attitude is reflected by a U.K.-based business owner operating a recreational plane simulator, whom Cointelegraph interviewed. Despite adding the crypto payment option, they said that no one has ever paid using crypto. They further said to be wary of all cryptos as there are so many scams out there.
Even among crypto enthusiasts, payments are a low priority use case. This is best exemplified by the issuance of WBTC for Ethereum decentralized finance, which is now more than double the size of the entire Lightning Network.
Marszalek believes that part of it is the chicken and egg problem, which limits the amount of merchants accepting crypto:
Because if you only have 50 million people in crypto globally, merchants have very little incentive to deploy this, unless they are in a business that is covering a similar demographic as crypto.
One of the biggest problems of crypto payments is the volatility of even the most established assets. Marszalek believes that most people only know about cryptos price swings, which is not really conducive to merchant adoption, he added.
Furthermore, the premise of many crypto payment providers is that merchants can completely avoid exposure to cryptos volatility.
Marszalek believes that stablecoins are super powerful for e-commerce transactions, citing their speed and cost, and sees Crypto.com eventually creating its own stablecoin as part of its vision of a complete ecosystem.
Claudio Barros, the Portugal-based owner of DBR Electronica and one of merchants using Pundi Xs solutions, believes that stablecoins would be a great addition to the ecosystem:
Any improvement in stability of coins will be a benefit, we need a range from pegged coins to super volatile coins to cater for different needs.
Crypto is competing both with established e-money systems like WeChat in China, and novel technologies like Calibra. Marszalek believes that it is better than either of those, both due to better performance and better privacy.
Marszalek, who is based in Hong Kong, personally witnessed how the cashless transition in China left him unable to pay in a Beijing restaurant, as Hong Kong WeChat does not work in mainland China. Either way, WeChats extreme level of surveillance makes him feel uncomfortable.
Wan also pointed to developing countries, noting:
For the past two years, we also observed that in the countries where the local currency has decreased over time [people] are more aware of crypto or interested in having cryptos.
For Crypto.com, payments are just at the beginning of the beginning, Marszalek said. But he strongly believes that it is the companys most important product, which will take our overall platform to a hundred million users in five years.
For crypto in general, the same statements could likely be made as well.
What to Know About Billions’ Cryptocurrency Drama If You Know Nothing About Cryptocurrency – Vulture
Posted: at 10:44 pm
Photo: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME
If youre a fan of the Showtime drama Billions but having a tough time following the current seasons cryptocurrency story lines, youre not alone. Not only do the actors have trouble keeping up with the series twists and turns, even those who work in the financial sector dont necessarily understand crypto mining, a subject that pops up several times in season five. Half the people in finance couldnt explain what mining is to you, says New York Times best-selling author Ben Mezrich, who joined the Billions writers room this season as a consulting producer. A large percentage of them have no idea, because its complex.
As the writer of Bitcoin Billionaires and The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal the latter of which was adapted into the movie The Social Network Mezrich is a natural fit for the Billions team. His expert knowledge of cryptocurrency has provided the series with an opportunity to further explore this once-dark, underground area of finance. He also wrote this seasons third episode, which has Gordie Axelrod (Jack Gore), son of billionaire Bobby Axe Axelrod (Damian Lewis), running his own crypto-mining operation.
From the safety of his home in Quechee, Vermont, where hes riding out the COVID-19 pandemic, Mezrich was kind enough to guide Vulture through the intricacies of these esoteric plotlines. The result is this useful explainer for those of us who love Billions, but are still lost when characters like Axe and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) start talking Bitcoin and blockchain.
Its a form of electronic money that sparked interest in recent years due to its skyrocketing prices. Its money that goes instantly from one person to the other, and theres no middleman, says Mezrich. A can be sent from person-to-person via their phone, just like a text.
The most well-known example of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created in 2009. But theres almost an infinite amount of cryptos at this point, says Mezrich.
This is the process of how the money is transferred from person-to-person. Because cryptocurrency doesnt use banks, miners are the ones who verify each transaction. Say I send you a Bitcoin, says Mezrich. The way that transaction is verified is, miners are working on computers attached to the network, which are doing these mathematical equations. And these equations, when theyre solved, they verify our transaction, and as a reward, the miner gets a certain amount of Bitcoin.
The process is very much like a contest, because all these different miners are competing to solve the equation, with the winner getting the Bitcoin. Mezrich likens mining to the race for the golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: You open all these wrappers and one of them is gonna have a piece of gold in it. But you dont know which one, and so youre incentivized to get all the [chocolate bars] you can. This is what these miners are doing: Theyre just continually trying to solve these equations. Because whoever solves it first, gets the golden ticket the Bitcoin.
You probably remember this term being bandied about by Chuck last season regarding mobile voting. A blockchain is a digital database containing information that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large, decentralized, publicly accessible network, according to Merriam-Webster.
Because its where all crypto transactions are logged. If I send you one Bitcoin, says Mezrich, that transaction is logged onto the blockchain. And the way it becomes verified is by these miners. Theyre the ones who essentially put these equations onto the blockchain.
Those guys are miners, and they were dealing with the aforementioned mathematical equations, which are not only very complicated, but require enormous amounts of computing power, says Mezrich. If you walk into a crypto mine, its computer after computer after computernot unlike what was inside the sketchy warehouse that served as the miners base in the episode.
The miners were drawing power from a town in upstate New York, which is where the legal issue comes into play. The problem is, if youre mining Bitcoin and you need to draw tons and tons of power, eventually, that cost can be more than what youre earning, explains Mezrich. So miners are always trying to find cheaper electricity. Enter the small town in question: The town gave the miners priority over their electrical power. By doing that, the miners are saving a lot of money, and they make a kickback deal with the town to get cheap electricity, but the way they get the cheap electricity is its being routed to them rather than the rest of the town, causing brownouts.
Axe is involved because hes the leader of a consortium that combined its resources to fund this operation. In the general scheme of things, its not a bring-down-Axe crime, but its certainly a way in [for Chuck], says Mezrich. So for now, there isnt enough evidence connecting him to this venture for Chuck to take legal action yet.
Instead of just mining Bitcoin, Gordie was mining a lot of different cryptos at once out of his prep-school basement. The way Axe describes his sons scheme to Wags (David Costabile) Its the smart way to do the stupid thing he was doing isnt much different from how Mezrich explains it. With multi-mining, you have a better chance of making money and you have less of a chance of getting caught, because youre hacking electricity on a smaller scale.
He was trying to pull down enough electricity to power a whole bank of crypto mines a bunch of computers to run all these calculations, says Mezrich. In so doing, he ended up short-circuiting and causing a massive power-grid failure.
Mezrich admits that Billions took a bit of dramatic license here.
He absolutely committed a crime by tapping into his schools (and the towns) power grid. If he had had his own power source, if he was just working at home with that, it wouldnt be illegal, says Mezrich. As for the actual crypto mining, Mezrich used Gordies tradition-bound prep-school headmaster as a stand-in for those who still see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the dirty part of the finance world. The mainstream has still not accepted it, he says. The headmaster would be one of the types who sees [Gordies behavior] as an affront to the men of honor that these kids are supposed to become.
View original post here:
What to Know About Billions' Cryptocurrency Drama If You Know Nothing About Cryptocurrency - Vulture
Posted: at 10:44 pm
Aren't we all searching for a safe haven? Whether we mean literal shelter four walls and a roof over our heads or something more sophisticated, the craving for a dependable defense against random chaos has always been our instinct.
With the COVID-19 pandemic rearranging society at every level, the allure of a safe haven reigns supreme for our battered psyches. In the realm of financial instruments, the search for the safest of safe havens, also known as a store of value, has taken on a new urgency. Is Bitcoin (BTC) a safe haven? Will cryptocurrency prove to be a store of value above all?
Many Bitcoin believers have been confident in crypto's ability to securely serve as a safe haven. But even the most devout blockchain boosters would admit that the coronavirus is betraying their store of value expectations, at least in the short term, as Bitcoins price has not remained resolute since COVID-19 became a global concern. It has exhibited big swings from around $10,000 to a low of near $4,100 in the first quarter of 2020 and now sits at approximately $9,500 at the time of this writing.
While Bitcoin has the potential to shelter value for many more of us than other safe-haven options, we will need a well-coordinated effort among the crypto community and regulators to get us there.
Safe havens have long played a key role in economics and investing. Traditionally, a safe haven has been an investment in an instrument expected to increase its value during market uncertainty. Safe havens add diversification to portfolios and are crucial investment strategy components for retail players and institutional investors alike.
With their deep history in serving humanitys sense of well-being, there is not surprisingly a long list of safe havens that predate Bitcoin. These include commodities, United States Treasurys and select fiat currencies, equity strategies and hedge funds, as well as more tangible assets such as precious metals (gold and silver), real estate and even art.
Now, cryptocurrencies have been added to that list. Although Bitcoins origins are firmly rooted in a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, a funny thing happened on the way to fulfilling those utilitarian aims. Satoshi Nakamotos blockchain-based creation morphed into something much more akin to a security, as long settlement and transaction times make it a less attractive method of payment. Meanwhile, its rise in value over the last decade has far exceeded anyone's expectations: Bitcoin has outperformed every other asset class including real estate, gold and the S&P 500.
Bitcoins financial status has evolved yet another step and is seen in many circles as a safe-haven instrument. Complete decentralization is at its core, keeping Bitcoin away from the whims of central banking and governments appetites for quantitative easing. In a brilliant stroke, digital scarcity is hardwired into its DNA: The supply of tokens is firmly capped at 21 million, a key characteristic that should continue to drive its price higher over time and has led to the widespread perception that Bitcoin equals digital gold.
And as a bonus, Bitcoin trumps all other safe havens as a tool for global trade. While that aforementioned transaction time currently standing at a tick over nine minutes is unacceptable for buying your proverbial cup of coffee, it sure beats trying to transact with gold bullion over the internet.
To be sure, Bitcoin has flaws preventing it from becoming a rock-solid store of value. Global regulation of cryptocurrency is still maturing. With few universal rules on how trades can be executed, there is room for market manipulation, which can lead to questions regarding how authentic some crypto price movements are. And while Bitcoin currently trades at gains that are positively astronomical compared with when it first came online, cryptocurrency remains a very volatile asset class.
That shouldnt stop Bitcoin from succeeding in a big part of its core promise: helping the worlds population to be better prepared for unforeseen global economic crises such as the current market crash that was brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
In perhaps an ironic twist to Bitcoins borderless ethos, this progress starts at the government level. With solid regulation of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, everyday people can be more in control of their wealth. Peer-to-peer lending, instead of loans and mortgage rates from banks, would make loans easier to access for everyone globally, leading to more accessible and affordable credit.
While increased oversight introduces more processes, more regulation also enables the market to progress. A lack of regulation means a lack of trust, which means a lack of adoption and when theres a lack of adoption, theres a lack of markets. Institutional investors stand to see great gains with solid regulation, which will open doors to the mass adoption of products. Investor confidence and trust will naturally follow, as will fresh innovation opportunities, with the overall market capitalization increasing commensurately.
And for a planet under quarantine, crypto only becomes more important. For the 1.7 billion people who are currently unbanked, living under physical mobility restrictions makes sending or receiving money that much harder. Whether they need to transact internationally or with a neighbor, people who are sheltering in place can use layer-two protocols to send crypto payments anywhere and settle within seconds, 24/7. The cost of doing business can also be drastically reduced with crypto, thanks to relatively low fees. In 2019, for example, a $1 billion BTC transaction cost a frugal whale a mere $690 in transaction fees such a low fee would be impossible to achieve in the foreign exchange markets with interbanking rates applied.
Better regulation is just half the battle. As has often been the case with all things blockchain, the bottleneck to wider cryptocurrency adoption therefore making it a safe haven for billions more people is a lack of reliable information.
Were more than 10 years into the blockchain revolution, yet only a very small percentage of the global population understands what it is and even fewer understand its connection to cryptocurrency. When the average person has a firm grasp of the blockchain/crypto ecosystem, adoption will face less friction.
As popular as crypto seems to those of us in the industry, we must exit the echo chamber and accept that it is not in the mainstream. The general public mostly hears about Bitcoins large price fluctuations or negative stories about how it could be used in a money-laundering operation. Very few journalists outside of our vertical know what to make of it.
A lot of people use fiat currency without understanding central banks and monetary policy, but they do know how to spend it and access it. Cryptocurrency faces an extra hurdle in that regard: Not only do people not understand it, they also dont know how to spend or gain access to it.
No wonder, then, that theres insufficient engagement in cryptocurrencies. We suddenly have thousands of currencies on blockchains, but most people cant comprehend how a currency can work, or be worth something, without a bank or a government backing it.
Engagement will require more people to grasp what a blockchain does and what the various cryptocurrencies can accomplish in their jurisdictions. Every person in the industry is responsible as a pioneer to educate as many people as possible on the benefits of crypto and how it can become one of our everyday means of payment and value storage. We also need to take some time out of our busy schedules to pass the message on to regulators as to how they can best manage the role of cryptocurrency in the global economy.
When Bitcoin and cryptocurrency make sense to everyone, well truly see it as a digital safe haven one that diminishes our fear of the economic impact of pandemics and other disasters. The more we can put our time into education and disseminating clear information, not just perfecting our investing, the sooner we can build a bigger boat with blockchain.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Arthur Wiseberg is the head of institutional sales in Europe at Apifiny, a digital asset marketplace that facilitates institutional access to regulated, global financial markets. He began his career in investment banking, focusing on regulation, portfolio structuring and sales across various traditional asset classes for firms such as BlackRock, Barclays Capital and Societe Generale. Prior to Apifiny, Arthur worked with various digital assets as the head of CIS institutional business for Huobi Global.
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Cryptocurrency and COVID-19: Bitcoins Path to a Safe Haven - Cointelegraph
Bitcoin prices slip amid speculation that a block of the cryptocurrency possibly linked to creator Satoshi Nakamoto just changed hands – MarketWatch
Posted: at 10:44 pm
Bitcoin prices retreated Wednesday afternoon amid speculation that a long-dormant block of coins, with links to the presumptive creator of the virtual asset, just changed hands.
A Twitter account set to issue tweet alerts when coins tied to certain addresses trade, indicated a trade of a batch of virtual currency that is possibly tied to Satoshi Nakamoto, the person or persons who wrote the software code for the digital currency back in 2009. The identity of Nakamoto has long been speculated on but the originator of bitcoin has never been verified.
Read:Elon Musk says hes not bitcoins mystery man Satoshi Nakamoto
Check out: Legendary sci-fi author says suggestion he invented bitcoin flattering but untrue
About 11 years ago, he created, or mined, the original batch of bitcoins that are widely known as the genesis block.
The tweet suggests that the batch of some 40 or 50 bitcoins that changed hands on Wednesday were mined within the first month of the creation of bitcoin.
See:Craig Wright Claims He Is Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto
To be sure, the anonymous nature of the bitcoin makes it impossible to know the owner of the coins but the technology that underpins bitcoin makes tracking addresses of the certain blocks of coins possible.
Sleuthing for coins tied to the progenitor of the digital asset has become a regular pastime in the crypto community. Tracking big blocks of bitcoin also helps to understand the habits of those who hold substantial influence on bitcoin prices by dint of their holdings.
Bitcoin futures, representing a single bitcoin, were off 1.3% in Wednesday afternoon, with the most-actively traded May BTCK20, -2.72% BTC.1, -2.72% at $9,550, while bitcoin spot prices BTCUSD, -0.25% were off 1.8% at $9,525, according to data from CoinDesk.
Bitcoin futures are up more than 32% so far in 2020, and they had been trading at an intrasession peak at $9,895 on Wednesday before settling lower.
A number of industry participants have pointed out that the fact that the bitcoins are 2009 vintage doesnt necessarily mean that they are related to Nakamoto.
However, that didnt stop interest in bitcoin surging on Twitter, with the term satoshi becoming a viral term on the social-media platform Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
Bitcoin was created as an alternative payment system 11 years ago, one that operated anonymously and peer-to-peer, eliminating the so-called trusted third party.
The cryptocurrency was born amid worries that modern currency is manufactured by central banks printing fiat money to boost economic growtha view that has gained increasing traction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proponents of bitcoin argue that because the digital asset is decentralized from central banks or governments, individuals can conduct transactions without an intermediary. That is part of the appeal of bitcoin.
However, the nascent asset hasnt made significant headway in price since hitting a December 2017 peak near $20,000.
Critics also point to the cryptocurrencys association with money laundering as one of its biggest drawbacks. So far, bitcoin hasnt achieved sufficient scalability to make it a legitimate currency much less a store of value, other opponents say.
That said, bitcoin has managed to hold its own compared with gold thus far this year, with gold futures GC00, -0.14% up 15% in the year to date. By comparison, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.23% is down 8.1% so far this year and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.03% are off nearly 14% after a coronavirus-induced downturn virtually brought the equity markets to their knees in March.
Read:What is the bitcoin halving and which day does it happen?
Posted: at 10:44 pm
Mining reward halvings are a hot topic in the crypto markets, as they alter a cryptocurrencys supply and often have a significant impact on prices.
Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value, underwent its third halving on May 11, which reduced the reward per block mined to 6.25 bitcoin from 12.5. Bitcoin offshoots bitcoin cash and bitcoin SV also witnessed halvings in April.
Next in line is zcash (ZEC), a privacy-focused cryptocurrency first created in 2016 that uses a proof-of-work (or mining) algorithm and encrypts user information within shielded transactions.Currently, it is the 26th largest cryptocurrency by market value, as per data source CoinMarketCap.
Rewards per block mined on the zcash blockchain launched and supported by the Electric Coin Company are scheduled to be cut by 50% from the current 12.5 ZEC to 6.25 ZEC at block 1,046,400 this year. Zcashs first ever halving, the block subsidy reduction is expected to happen sometime in November.
While ZECs supply is capped at 21 million like bitcoin, its inflation rate is significantly higher than other major cryptocurrencies.
At press time, ZECs annualized inflation rate is 28.19% the highest among major cryptocurrencies, according to data source ViewBase. Meanwhile, bitcoins inflation rate is 1.44.
Zcashs high inflation rate has long been a cause of concern among the investors and the analyst community. If ZEC were a country, itd have the 8th highest inflation rate worldwide at 32%, popular analyst Josh Olszewick tweeted in December 2019.
The cryptocurrency was one of the worst-performers in the first nine months of 2019, largely due to its disproportionate supply hitting the market, tweeted economist and trader Alex Krger in September 2019. ZEC ended 2019 with an 88% decline, while bitcoin achieved gains of over 90%.
These concerns, however, may ease following Novembers supply cut.
After the halving, the inflation rate will effectively get cut in half from its current level, so any concerns about the inflation rate should be alleviated or be considered a non-issue, said Connor Abendschein, a crypto research analyst at Digital Assets Data.
Pre-halving price boost?
In recent months, the cryptocurrency has been languishing not far above all-time lows against both the U.S. dollar and bitcoin. After Novembers halving, though, investors may give up on punishing ZEC for its high inflation rate and cheer the emission cut.
The upcoming halving could give Zcash the boost it needs to stay relevant in the high-cap ecosystem, said Abendschein.
Further, cryptocurrencies, in general, tend to rise ahead of halvings, which are widely considered to be price-bullish events.
For instance, litecoin, which underwent its last reward halving on Aug. 5, 2019, doubled in the first quarter of last year despite lackluster price action in bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value and price anchor for the broader crypto market. Litecoin, the seventh-largest cryptocurrency, rose another 100% in the second quarter.
Many observers argue that halvings create supply deficits and thus put upward pressure on prices. The belief mainly stems from the bitcoin market, which witnessed stellar bull markets in the months following its first two halvings in November 2012 and July 2016.
The narrative has further strengthened due to bitcoins rise from $3,867 to $10,000 witnessed in the two months running up to its third halving earlier this month.
Bitcoin halving a guide?
Miner selling encompassed a significant percentage of total volumes in bitcoin ahead of its first halving in late 2012.After the event, a large drop in selling pressure from miners led to a price rally.
As seen in the chart above, potential miner selling pressure as a percent of total volume fell from 135% to 67% at the 2012 halving.
Bitcoins price extended its pre-halving bull run by 6% from $12.75 to $13.50 in the two weeks after halving and went on to hit a record high of $260 in April 2013.
Some investors are looking at Zcash similarly and its first halving could bring about the largest drop in potential mining sell pressure (as a percent of total volume) compared to future halvings, Wilson Withiam, research analyst at data provider Messari, told CoinDesk in a Telegram chat.
Goodbye Founders Reward
Alongside the halving, zcashs so-called (and not universally popular) Founders Reward expires in November to be replaced by a new development fund.
Zcash was launched in 2016 with a Founders Reward to be allocated over four years. Of all Zcash mining rewards, 80% was allocated to miners, about 15% was allocated to a group of people that included investors and founders, and about 5% was available to Electric Coin Co. to fund core support functions, according to the official blog of the Electric Coin Company.
The new fund, which was approved by the zcash community, will distribute 20% of the networks mining rewards to infrastructure and marketing development, of which 8% would go into a third party grant program, 7% to the Electric Coin Company and 5% to the Zcash Foundation. The other 80% will go to miners.
So, November looks set to be a major month for zcash and the discussion about the halvings potential impact on price and non-price metrics is likely to pick up the pace as we move closer to the final quarter of 2019.
So far this year, the cryptocurrency has moved pretty much in line with bitcoin and broader markets. Prices fell from $70 to $20 in the four weeks to mid-March as bitcoin as nosedived amid the coronavirus-led crash in the equity markets. The subsequent 150% price rise in bitcoin pulled up ZEC. The privacy coin recently clocked a high of $50 and was last seen changing hands at $45.
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 Global Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Market is expected to grow by $ 2.80 bn during 2020-2024 progressing at a CAGR of 7% during the forecast…
Posted: at 10:44 pm
Global Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Market 2020-2024 The analyst has been monitoring the cryptocurrency mining hardware market and it is poised to grow by $ 2. 80 bn during 2020-2024 progressing at a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period.
New York, May 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report "Global Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Market 2020-2024" - https://www.reportlinker.com/p05772590/?utm_source=GNW Our reports on cryptocurrency mining hardware market provides a holistic analysis, market size and forecast, trends, growth drivers, and challenges, as well as vendor analysis covering around 25 vendors. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current global market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment. The market is driven by the rising popularity of mining pools, increasing number of product launches, and growing demand for cryptocurrency-specific hardware. In addition, rising popularity of mining pools is anticipated to boost the growth of the market as well. The cryptocurrency mining hardware market analysis include product segment and geographic landscapes
The cryptocurrency mining hardware market is segmented as below: By Product ASIC GPU
By Geographic Landscapes APAC North America Europe South America MEA
This study identifies the increasing popularity of ICOs as one of the prime reasons driving the cryptocurrency mining hardware market growth during the next few years. Also, use of clean energy to mine cryptocurrency, and market capitalization will lead to sizable demand in the market. "The analyst presents a detailed picture of the market by the way of study, synthesis, and summation of data from multiple sources by an analysis of key parameters. Our cryptocurrency mining hardware market covers the following areas: Cryptocurrency mining hardware market sizing Cryptocurrency mining hardware market forecast Cryptocurrency mining hardware market industry analysis"
Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05772590/?utm_source=GNW
About ReportlinkerReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need - instantly, in one place.
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