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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin was all the rave last year, with its high-profit margins and an influx of new investors. However, it is safe to say that over the span of one year, it has matured considerably. Like Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin told CNBC, Bitcoin may never have as much hype as it did in 2017 because so many people are now aware of cryptocurrency and how it works.

A lot of things have changed in the cryptocurrency sector since over-the-top forecasts were made in 2017, including a $160,000 price estimation for Bitcoin. One of such changes is the introduction of Bitcoin Futures which control the price of BTC by allowing large investors to exert pressure on it.

This means that predictions of large price values like the one above are unlikely to be met in the near future. Another change is the start of Bitcoin institutional investing. For example, both the Bakkt and the Nasdaq platforms claim to be open to offering cryptocurrency investing to institutions.

While stakeholders struggle to keep the BTC price at bay, one daunting question still looms: Will Bitcoin crash again in 2019 or will it peak and stabilize at a better price point than it currently has?

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

The last major cryptocurrency crash which followed the December 2017 peak brought about a need for an evolution in Bitcoin investment. Where Ethereum had ICOs as a new way to pour funds into the cryptocurrency industry, Bitcoin lacked one.

Soon, industry experts like the Winklevoss twins started looking towards exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to create long-term sustenance of Bitcoin as an investment vehicle. Unfortunately, these ETFs cannot function without approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission, so the industry is at a crossroads: evolve and survive, or continue at the same pace and end in a bubble burst.

 

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AN EMPHASIS ON NON-PHYSICAL BITCOIN ETFS

An exchange-traded fund is a security that tracks underlying real-world assets like gold, equities, oil, bonds, commodities or cryptocurrency. It allows investors to buy into it and earn dividends from their investment. Such shares are easy to trade like stocks and can get rid of any barriers faced by investors when trying to purchase those underlying assets themselves.

The submitted ETFs proposals describe funds that are primarily derivatives. They can be shorted or coordinated with a Bitcoin future. Only physical Bitcoin ETFs are currently a good fit for the Bitcoin market since derivatives bring about the unfavorable market to another state.

Bitcoin exchange-traded funds have been in the headlines lately, mostly for their rejections. Just recently, theWinklevoss twins faced a rejection of their own. This has not deterred other parties who are bent on seeing this new form of investment come to life.

Unfortunately, the SEC is building up quite a track record of rejections with a toll of up to 15 rejected Bitcoin ETFproposals since 2013.

BITCOIN PRICE FORECAST VS. BITCOIN USAGE     

One major factor to consider when looking at the possibility of another crash is the adoption rate of Bitcoin. Currently, ownership is still quite low, only a few points higher than last year. This implies stagnation and also that investors have found other coins which they deem more competitive. The younger generation is generally more bullish on Bitcoin usage since they consider it a product of their age, but the older generation remains skeptical.

However, this brief stagnation does not prove that Bitcoin will crash. If anything, the introduction of Futures and the demand for ETFs make up for it and shows that Bitcoin is here to stay.

It also shows that users are serious about integrating it into their daily transactions, which may eventually save the pioneer digital currency.

The introduction of stable coins like tether and application-tolerant platforms like Ethereum and EOS have given Bitcoin a serious run for its money. The high price point, which has been Bitcoin’s most attractive feature in the past has also turned out to be its Achilles’ heel.

Percentage increases in profit are simply not as good as those in cryptocurrencies with lower prices. For example, a user who buys $2000 worth of XRP at $0.3 can afford to purchase 6666 tokens while the same amount will only purchase about 0.3 BTC at $6000 per unit. While XRP can easily rise by 100% to $0.6, it will take a lot more for BTC to hit $12,000. This makes it more profitable to buy into smaller cryptocurrencies.

But what about the earlier forecasts of Bitcoin? How do they tie in with this new usage information? Simple, they do not. Several forecasts were made with assumptions of an ideal situation in which adoption would progress quickly and at a steady rate. Some of these forecasts have been revisited, with extended timelines that seem more realistic in light of Bitcoin’s recent performance.

WHAT ARE THE BITCOIN PRICE PREDICTIONS FOR 2019 AND 2020?

The recent issues faced by Bitcoin have not stopped industry figures from making future predictions about its price. Industry predictions generally fall between $25,000-$29,000 as a realistic price point for Bitcoin.

This is especially because it has been trending in its transition band, in which it will trade most of the time, since May 2018. This signifies an imminent major bull run in the cryptocurrency industry.

Some other significant Bitcoin price predictions for 2019 include:

  • $28,000 by the end of 2019, according to Ronnie Moas, crypto bull and founder of Standpoint Research, in a report published by Cointelegraph.
  • $36,000 by the end of 2019, according to Sam Doctor, Quantamental Strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors, who based his prediction on the historical average 1.8x P/BE multiple.
  • $25,000 according to Thomas Lee, Co-Founder and Head of Research at Fundstrat Global Advisors
  • $1 million, according to John McAfee, Founder of McAfee Associates, who earlier predicted a $500,000 price point before modifying it. McAfee claims that he used the same model which was used to predict $5000 at the end of 2017.
  • $10,000-$100,000 in the next 5 years, according to Joe DiPasquale, CEO of BitBull Capital.
  • $10,000 by the end of 2020 according to Fred Schebesta, Co-Founder and CEO of Finder.
  • $61,900 by the end of 2020 according to Bobby Ullery, CTO of Waysay who also predicted a shared market capitalization of $4.5 trillion between Ethereum and Bitcoin.
  • $30,000 by the end of 2020, according to Matias Dorta, Founder of ICO Informer, who also sees several countries adopting Bitcoin as a reserve currency by 2030.
  • $30,000 by the end of 2020, according to Craig Russo, Co-founder of sludgefeed.com
  • $75,000 by the end of 2020 and a market capitalization of $1.3 trillion, according to Brandon Quittem, a cryptocurrency analyst & writer.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Due to all the factors discussed above, including pending ETF proposals, stagnation, the introduction of Bitcoin futures and the competition among cryptocurrencies, it is difficult to say whether Bitcoin will indeed crash again in 2019. Considering its current performance, the leading cryptocurrency is at a point where it could either crash again or blossom into a widely accepted medium of exchange and investment.

As with almost everything else in this relatively new industry, the future of Bitcoin is shrouded in unpredictability and falls heavily in the hands of investors and regulators. However, there is no denying that Bitcoin is evolving every day as more people become exposed to it, including those who are not direct users.

This article was originally published at MinDice.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

Have you ever thought about how blockchain could affect the diamond industry? Probably not, right? But now diamond blockchain technology could improve how we track diamonds, from the mine to the jewelry store.

But there’s an issue with diamonds. As with any popular industry, the diamond market isn’t exactly squeaky clean. Some diamonds, known as conflict diamonds, are illegally traded to fund wars abroad. You may not know this due to the high demand for diamonds. Almost 50 percent of the demand for diamonds come from the US — and it isn’t a surprise. After all, it is the go-to jewel of engagements and weddings. And because of its hardiness, diamond is ideal for industrial use.

That said, mining for diamonds can be a violent affair. The 2006 hit Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, introduced the travesties related to diamond mining in Africa to the world’s stage.

Regardless, stakeholders in the diamond industry rightfully want to stop the trade of conflict diamonds, and blockchain might be the solution.

What Is a Conflict Diamond?

For those who don’t know, a conflict diamond is an uncut diamond that is mined in an armed conflict zone. The diamond is then traded, and the funds are used to finance the fighting. These blood diamonds are usually associated with conflicts in central and western Africa.

According to CNN, about 4 percent of the world’s diamond population came from Sierra Leone during its civil war (1991-2002). And that’s from just one country! In an article by CBS, experts suggested that blood diamonds could make up 15 percent of the diamond trade.

Despite these statistics, there are measures in place that attempt to smother the illegal industry. The primary actor is the Kimberley Process. This certification scheme connects local governments and international organizations to solve the problem. Their solution: Ensure every shipment of diamonds from these areas has certification.

Does It Work?

The Kimberly Process says it does and claims a 99.8 percent success rate.

But with so many intermediaries, and so many steps between mining and selling the diamonds, fraud is still highly probable. Many believe the process could be more effective, including the diamond giant De Beers.

The Diamond Blockchain

The De Beers Group, which owns over 30 percent of the diamond market, has recently announced its intent to pursue blockchain tech. That’s right. One of the industry leaders wants to utilize the blockchain to curb conflict diamonds.

From what we knew about blockchain, it should work. Cataloging diamonds on the blockchain will create transparency. Only a select few will have access to the ledger, in order to ensure that each individual in the process does their job correctly. You no longer need to trust governments, the mines, the shipment team. If the diamond is certified on the blockchain, it’s legit.

De Beers plans to track the diamonds from initial mining to final sale. That way, you can trace every move of the diamond on the digital ledger.

Their blockchain venture, Tracr, launched in January 2018. Despite being founded by De Beers, the company stresses that it has no access to the data unless it’s shared by the data owner. Using the Kimberly Process as a guide, they’ve invested with diamond offices, producers, graders, retailers, and other stakeholders to make the project a reality.

Diamond Blockchain: A screenshot from the Tracr website, listing the problems of supply chain

A screenshot from Tracr’s homepage. These supply chain vulnerabilities are exploited by the trade of conflict diamonds.

But they aren’t the only ones using blockchain to kill conflict diamonds.

In 2015, Everledger was used to securely track diamonds. It came back in 2017 with a new Diamond Time-Lapse plan (DDLP). This new initiative tracks the whole process, from mining to certification, in real time.

But Everledger isn’t completely unrelated to De Beers, either. This tech was built by Dharmanandan Diamonds, a trust of the DDPL and a sight holder of De Beers. In other words, the creators of Everledger are authorized purchasers of rough diamonds by De Beers.

Is De Beers the Solution?

IBM joined the diamond-tracking trade in April of 2018, partnering with various jewelry firms, and they weren’t alone. In fact, a Canadian NGO, Impact, left the Kimberly Process altogether, citing that the De Beers solution was unsatisfactory.

If this is true, there could be more room for blockchain tech development in the diamond industry.

Summary

Saying conflict diamonds are an issue is an understatement. The funds from these illicitly traded gems are funding violence and terror. Blockchain offers a stunning solution.

So far, we’ve seen industry leaders accept the new tech with open arms, but there’s still room for the technology to grow, and the process can still evolve.

But one thing is certain: These initiatives are making us think about how we can prevent the trade of blood diamonds and pave the way to peace.

 This article was originally published at CoinCentral.com.
 
 
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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency

Eminem recently turned heads when Bitcoin was referenced on hip hop song “Not Alike,” his recently released song featuring Royce da 5’9” on Spotify. Part of Kamikaze, his 2018 surprise album released on the 31st of August, the song has quickly become a hit on several streaming platforms including Apple Music.

On the Bitcoin line from the song, Royce da 5’9” states “Remember everybody used to bite Nickel, now everybody doing Bitcoin.” This is a direct comparison that shows how the world has moved on from the traditional way of handling finance and encapsulates all that cryptocurrency is currently achieving. It also points to the notion that cryptocurrencies and other distributed ledger technologies are set to usurp fiat currencies as the primary global means of exchange.

In pop culture, Eminem is seen as one of the most influential voices, with 15 Grammy Awards to prove it. More than 700,000 tickets for his 2018 tour were sold out in minutes thanks to his large active fanbase. Naturally, his fanbase consists mainly of Generation Z and millennials who are gradually showing far more enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies than the older generations.

By referencing Bitcoin in his hip hop song, Eminem is contributing to making it more popular among his audience. Following the release of the song, Bitcoin saw a 5% weekly increase. For now, blockchain and digital assets still have a dissociative aura to them, where they are seen as a new phenomenon that people should be cautious of.

Those who already hold virtual currencies are likely to find them more relatable when they hear their favorite rapper mentioning it casually on a song. Even the members of his audience who do not know much about cryptocurrency may be motivated to find out more about it. Combining these factors, this small move by Eminem does a lot for the adoption of cryptocurrency.

Although like most Eminem songs, “Not Alike” contains profanity and violence, it is a major way that cryptocurrencies have made an appearance in pop culture. The line of the song containing Bitcoin shows its growing importance and popularity. It also shows its utility beyond scams and fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes.

WHO IS EMINEM?

Eminem is one of the most highly decorated, yet controversial American rappers. He is also a celebrated record producer and actor. Easily one of the best selling artists of the 21st century, he has accumulated a huge following over the years. He has contributed to pop culture since the 2000s, including coining the term “stan” which is now popular among fans.

He was Born on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri as Marshall Bruce Mathers III and attended Lincoln High School in Warren, Michigan. He had a turbulent childhood and eventually dropped out of school at the age of 17 due to his inability to pass his classes.

Although he performed poorly at school, he always had an affinity for language and studying the dictionary. As a teenage dropout, Eminem identified with the emerging rap scene of the 90s and frequently participated in rap battles. He continued to penetrate the Detroit rap scene, despite being white when rap was a predominantly black genre of music. Soon he became one of the most prominent rappers in Detroit’s underground scene. A while later, he was discovered by Dr. Dre, a legendary rapper and former producer of N.W.A at the time.

DISCOGRAPHY

By early 1999, he had released his first album, The Slim Shady LP, which achieved multi-platinum status and earned him two Grammy Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, he released The Marshall Mathers LP which is famous for its status as the fastest-selling album in the history of rap.

Ten years later, he released Recovery, another Grammy Award-winning album which documented his struggle with addiction and his subsequent journey to rehabilitation. His fourth album titled Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released in 2013, earning him numerous awards and a positive reception. This was followed by Revival in 2017 and Kamikaze, his latest album, in 2018.

Eminem also ventured into acting with a small role in The Wash, a 2001 film, after a brief stint as a music video extra in 1998. However, he made his big Hollywood debut in 2002, with a leading role in 8 Mile, a quasi-autobiographical film showcasing his later childhood in Detroit. The movie included various original soundtracks like “Lose Yourself” which won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It also set the record as the longest-running No. 1 hip-hop single.

The rapper also voiced the character of a corrupt police officer on the 50 Cent: Bulletproof video game as well as the Slim Shady show, a web cartoon at the time. He was offered the lead role in Elysium, a 2013 Sci-Fi film but turned it down due to disagreements with the director.  He also had a cameo appearance in The Interview, a 2014 satire film about the North Korean leader.

Eminem has never been afraid to speak boldly on the topics that interest and bother him. He has been at the forefront of rap music for decades and still remains relevant in the industry.

WHICH OTHER CELEBRITIES HAVE MADE CRYPTOCURRENCY AND BLOCKCHAIN MORE MAINSTREAM?

Virtual currencies are becoming a normal part of everyday life, in part because of celebrities that serve as influencers. Although Eminem’s mention of Bitcoin has caused excitement in the community, he is not the first notable celebrity to reference cryptocurrency in pop culture. Through movies, TV shows, celebrity interviews, and music, digital assets are gaining more exposure and adoption every day. The following are instances in which cryptocurrency has been referenced in pop culture:

  • Crypto, a new Hollywood movie, is scheduled for release in 2019. It centers around the cryptocurrency money laundering efforts of Gilmore Girls star Alexis Bledel and Kurt Russell.
  • Big Bang Theory, a prominent science comedy show, aired an episode during the Bitcoin peak of 2017. In the episode, the characters had to find a laptop containing Bitcoin that they mined some years before. When they finally found it, they discovered that the Bitcoin was downloaded to a flash drive that was eventually lost. The seventh season of the show had an average of 20.4 million viewers per episode.
  • In 2014, Tatiana Moroz, a singer-songwriter, launched a virtual currency called “Tatiana Coin.” Her aim is to connect artists and their fans using blockchain technology and she originally raised funds with Adam B. Levine of Let’s Talk Bitcoin. She also organized an ICO through CoinPowers.
  • John Barrett, a popular country singer, wrote “Ode to Satoshi” to honor Satoshi Nakamoto, the legendary founder of Bitcoin, stating that he “came to save the day.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

Popular culture is clearly reflecting the rising awareness of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In today’s world, where influencer marketing is a billion dollar market, free press from figures as influential as Eminem is highly valuable. The mention of Bitcoin on his song could be the push that several of his fans need to start investing in it.

The gradual referencing of cryptocurrencies in media plays a huge role in future mainstream adoption. But even more, it shows how far the industry has come since the creation of Bitcoin. Since new developments continue to emerge every day, it is easy to understate the progress that has been achieved so far. Soon, the placement of digital currencies may become the norm, instead of the exception.

This article was originally published at MinDice.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency market is a high-octane playground for day Lambo dreamers and investors. It has made some super-rich, almost overnight and reduced others to the brink of bankruptcy. And of course, amid all these chaotic happenings is a rambunctious side of the industry, where questionable practices make the market tremendously murky.

The cryptocurrency exchange has led to the fast rise of one too many companies. Two-year-old exchanges are now trading billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies every day, something which many traditional financial institutions have struggled to achieve for over a century.

BitForex, for example, handles over $5 billion in transactions daily, while the London stock exchange, a global force that has been in existence for over two centuries still struggles to consistently match its figures. The platform also beats its more popular competitors in trade volume, despite it having contrastingly less traffic.

That said, a recent investigation carried out by Bloomberg on cryptocurrency exchange services such as Bitforex paints a rather skewed picture. It found that most crypto exchange networks with huge trade volume discrepancies allow users to abuse the system or encourage the inflation of trade volumes.

The result is that investors are unsuspecting investors are likely to be lured in by the impressive trade volumes, which give false credibility to an exchange through artificial activity. However, the reality of what’s actually going on hits clients once they try to cash out, which can turn out to be a major headache.

This is because such platforms incentivized users to carry out mirrored transactions, and so few users are actually interested in buying or selling crypto within the platform. According to Garrett Jin, BitForex’s Vice President, the exchange’s high trade volume is a result of its reward system that encourages transactions.

He revealed this via an email to Bloomberg. The exchange’s transactional mining system allegedly pays out $1.20 in digital tokens for every $1 paid in transaction fees. This promotes wash-trading, the practice of repeatedly buying and selling crypto assets to inflate activity.

According to the VP, the system is designed to reward Bitforex users to encourage them to trade among themselves. He also highlighted that the company is against all forms of market-manipulation and abuse, and said that the present reward system will end soon anyway.

Garrett highlighted the complexities of preventing wash-trading saying all it takes are users with two accounts to start trading with themselves. Exchange clients are allowed to have multiple accounts and carry out trades with whomever they choose to, hence the loophole.

Numerous other platforms also feature similar incentivized programs and they include, DOBI Trade, CoinSuper, FCoin, and CoinBene. In Bitforex’s case, it is not regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and operates in an opaque market where there are no guarantees for investors. This is according to a statement issued by MAS, which also revealed that the network may not have enough buyers and sellers, which results in significant withdrawal issues.

Hard to Clamp Down on the Cryptocurrency Exchange Practices

Wash-trading is a practice that is hard to stop because there are trades that look similar to it that are undertaken for legitimate reasons. In a recent interview with Unchained, Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ highlighted the complexities of curbing the practice as well as other market-manipulation activities.

He spoke about measures undertaken by his company to curb market-manipulation and insider-trading, and revealed that Binance requires employees who buy cryptocurrency to hold the digital funds for 30 days before selling. The company apparently discourages its employees from day-trading trading, which is not a productive endeavor anyway, according to the crypto exec.

Binance cryptocurrency exchange CEO, Changpeng Zhao (right) with Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong (left).

He also talked about the wash-trading problem affecting the market, asserting that there has never been any evidence in regard to insider-trading or market-manipulation at Binance. He also explained that there is a difference between wash-trading and manipulation.

According to the CEO, it is not easy to determine the stage at which wash-trading becomes market-manipulation, stating, ” So like conceptually yes, if Bitcoin is $6,300 on other exchanges right now and it is trading at $7,000 on others, then most likely there is some type of manipulation but how do you define that, how do you prevent that?”

Asked about his views on the recent move by ShapeShift to introduce stringent Anti Money Laundering (AML) and (Know Your Customer KYC) after being accused of indulging in market-manipulation prices, CZ declined to comment saying it is hard to judge allegations from the outside.

On the company’s move to adopt new policies following the market-manipulation claims, he said that there are many internal factors taken into consideration when making such decisions. He expressed confidence that Erik Tristan Voorhees, ShapeShift’s co-founder most likely made the best decision for his company.

This article was originally published at CoinCentral.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

While cryptocurrency is currently the center of the hype in the finance sector, most big industry players are gravitating towards its underlying technology: blockchain. Several top-tier executives like Warren Buffett have been pushing the “Blockchain not Bitcoin” mantra which other’s have adopted.

Such executives believe that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are a bubble which will burst, leaving their underpinning technology behind. The technology, which has been applied in problem-solving processes within several industries including agriculture and real estate is quickly gaining traction in the finance industry as well. It has recently been used to solve several complex payment problems, including bartering.

WHAT IS BARTERING?

Bartering involves the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services of perceived equal value. Today, money is a generally acceptable means of exchange, but before the creation of money, bartering was the primary means. People could barter exchange things like clothes for food, and services like a shoe repair in exchange for a cleaning service and so on.

This method was one of mankind’s most significant inventions, but like any other invention, it became obsolete with the arrival of a better option. However, several individuals and businesses still practice bartering to date.


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WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A BARTER SYSTEM?

Although the barter system is no longer commonplace, it worked efficiently when it was. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, it was a popular means of exchange due to the lack of money. It worked great for many reasons:
  • The system is easy to use. While the modern day monetary system may seem simple to a person who has used it for a long time, it is still leagues ahead of a barter system in complexity. A lot of the problems associated with today’s financial system were avoided during the bartering period.
  • Since bartering caters to the specific needs of society, there is no point in producing more or less than needed. As a result, there is never an issue of overproduction, underproduction or artificial scarcity in a barter system. It has a moderation that is difficult to recreate with the current financial industry standards.
  • A barter system focuses on the exchange between people within the same vicinity, so there is no international trade. This means that bartering helps people avoid the issues typically linked with international trade.
  • Another major advantage is that due to the nature of goods and services exchanged within the system, economic power is shared evenly. Since they cannot be stored, there is no accumulation of excess wealth. Unlike today’s system, there is no concentration of economic power among a small group.
  • The system minimizes the occurrence of waste and maximizes the use of natural resources. This is because things cannot be bought, only exchanged for items of equivalent value.
  • The barter system also promotes division of labor which leads to better results than in a system where people practice several trades without mastering any.

WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF A BARTER SYSTEM?

Like any system, the barter system also has its drawbacks, seen below:
  • People who want to exchange one item or service for another must find other people who are in need of what they are offering. This situation is known as a double coincidence of wants and leads to a waste of time and effort. It is also inconvenient especially when a person can’t immediately find someone whose wants coincide and may have to make several third-party exchanges in the process.
  • Although barters take place between items of equivalent value, there is no unit to determine what is equal and what is not. This creates a huge problem because irrespective of perceived worth, one unit of an item is equal to what the receiver of that item determines it to be. For example, in a typical barter exchange, one unit of strawberries can be equal to one unit of wheat depending on the receiver of the strawberries.
  • Another disadvantage of the barter system is that due to the absence of a conventional means of exchange (money), there is no divisibility. For example, a cow may be equal to the cost of 12 pairs of shoes. A person who wants to exchange a cow for just 2 pairs cannot divide it into smaller cows. In a modern financial system, dealing with such an issue would only require payment and the receiving of change.
  • Under a barter system, it is difficult for individuals and businesses to accumulate wealth because there is no system of storage. Since the items exchanged are not predetermined, the transactions within the system are random. This leads to the absence of real purchasing power and extra bartered expenses to store specific goods like food for long periods.
  • Since each item being exchanged is different, it is difficult to draft contracts concerning deferred and installment payments. It is also difficult to take loans as well as transfer wealth to someone else. This is because the quality and value of goods and services being swapped may change in the future.
  • In a barter system, it is difficult to transport goods from one place to another, as opposed to the cost of transporting money in a modern system.

HOW DOES BLOCKCHAIN SOLVE THESE ISSUES?

A blockchain is a distributed digital ledger on a peer-to-peer network, which records every transaction carried out on it. To effectively use the technology, most blockchain platforms have their own cryptocurrencies which serve as means of exchange.

By allowing traders to barter using a consensus mechanism that allocates values to specific goods and use, the network digital asset as a means of exchange, many of the issues associated with bartering can be solved. Several companies are already working on such solutions, and one prominent example is MYTC.

WHAT IS MYTC?

MYTC is a blockchain startup that is creating a decentralized platform to support trade and bartering activities. Small and medium enterprises on the platform can easily carry out barter without worrying about any of the issues associated with a typical barter system. The MYTC blockchain platform aims to give merchants the chance to automate their exchanges so that more time can be spent focusing on their businesses and sales. It will also serve as an upgrade for the outdated financial technology used by vendors.

HOW CAN MYTC BLOCKCHAIN HELP SOLVE BARTERING ISSUES?

The MYTC blockchain uses its own form of digital currency that solves the problem of double coincidence. Since all trade will be done using the company’s tokens, there is no need to conduct a manual search for an exchange partner. The tokens also serve as a common measure of value for any barters that take place.

The platform allows its users to store divisible tokens in a wallet and retains a balance which is debited. As a result, there are no divisibility restrictions. The tokens can also be transferred, and wealth can be accumulated.

MYTC tokens are also easily transported on the network and contracts can be arranged for deferred payments as participants see fit. Another advantage of the MYTC platform is that its digital currency can be used from anywhere in the world. This eliminates location barriers and promotes international trade.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Like any other system, barter systems are not close to perfect. However, with digital enhancements such as blockchain technology, they can work well. MYTC is one of the companies ensuring that businesses are free to choose whether to deal with money or goods and services. This freedom to choose is part of the core principle behind decentralized systems and currencies. Hopefully, with a more efficient and cost-effective system, bartering will become widely accepted again.

This article was originally published at MinDice.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
Venezuela has suffered from egregious economic issues for decades. Hospitals lack necessary supplies, people are struggling to find each meal, and the national currency—the bolivar—lost 96 percent of its valuein 2017. In an effort to combat Venezuela’s dire situation, its government became the first country in the world to implement a national cryptocurrency (and declare it as its primary currency) earlier this year. It was undoubtedly a bold move, intriguing blockchain advocates around the globe. So how is the cryptocurrency, known as the Petro, faring? Truthfully, not well. The Petro is still young, and numerous doubts and concerns are circulating around its execution. While some members of the Venezuelan government are fierce proponents of the Petro, others (along with international parties) regard it with suspicion, which negatively influences the public’s willingness to take it seriously.
President Nicolás Maduro — image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

President Nicolás Maduro — Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Off to a Rocky Start

The Petro’s initial announcement was broadcast during a television Christmas special in 2017. The President, Nicolás Maduro, noted his belief that the cryptocurrency would improve issues of financial sovereignty.

Daniel Pena, the executive secretary of Venezuela’s Blockchain Observatory, said that he expected the Petro to positively impact the nation’s economy within three to six months after inception:

“There are many advantages, among them is that the inflationary scheme of the Venezuelan economy breaks down… It is a digital currency that is safe to handle and has more functionality. The intermediaries will disappear; it will be a directional purchase. The waiting time for transactions will be reduced, because it will be faster than the banking system.”

What Pena describes, though, are the fundamental elements of general cryptocurrency. The Petro itself has failed to deliver.

The cryptocurrency’s launch was fraught with misinformation and controversy. In January, the National Assembly of Venezuela declared the cryptocurrency illegal, believing that it intends to circumnavigate financial sanctions and legitimize illicit transactions. Parliamentarians voted “absolute nullity” on issuing the Petro, stating that the Assembly would deliberately make efforts to prevent the public from accepting the cryptocurrency as legitimate.

Despite the government’s rejection, President Nicolás Maduro ordered all government institutions to recognize the Petro as legal tender in April, giving them 120 days to comply. The President claimed that the Petro raised $735 million during the first day of its pre-sale, but no other experts or sources have found evidence supporting this statement.

What Supports the Petro?

There is also confusion surrounding the Petro’s platform. At one point, the official whitepaper stated that it would be an ERC-20 token but later changed to say that NEM was involved with the cryptocurrency. NEM confirmed in a tweet that the Venezuelan government intended to use its blockchain application.

The NEM technology is freely open to any individual or organization that wants to use it. The NEM Foundation abstains from political endorsements. We can confirm that the Venezuela Government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain.

Prensa Presidencial@PresidencialVen
 

#ANUNCIO “Hemos firmado dos convenios fundamentales para que circule El Petro en las plataformas más avanzadas del mundo, gracias a la confianza de las empresas Zeus y NEM” declaró @NicolasMaduro #AlFuturoConElPetro

View image on Twitter
However, the Petro’s whitepaper has reverted to its original statement that it is an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain platform. This back-and-forth doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the Petro. If its developers cannot make up their minds about its foundation, will people already wary of economic changes feel comfortable using it? Supposedly, Petro coins are backed by Venezuela’s expansive oil reserves. Individual tokens are worth the equivalent of one barrel, of which there are said to be five billion. Forbes notes that at the end of May, the West Texas Intermediate was trading at about $67 per barrel with a 52-week high of $72.83 and a low of $42.06.

Working with the Petro

President Maduro ordered an initial 100 million tokens for distribution (valued at over $6 billion USD). He made 82.4 million available upon pre-sale on February 20, which closed March 19.

The Venezuelan government, however, pre-mined Petro coins. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, residents cannot mine Petros by solving complicated math problems. Instead, they can only purchase them from the government.

This raises the question: Is Petro a cryptocurrency at all? If the government controls it, it’s not decentralized.

Another red flag: You cannot purchase Petro with Venezuelan bolivars—only dollars and other cryptocurrencies.

Venezuela’s impoverished population does not have much (if any) access to dollars, so the Petro is consequently out of reach. The people the cryptocurrency is intended to help cannot actually obtain it, and the people who can obtain it have little to no incentive to use it.

Oil doesn’t back the Petro in practice, either. The Venezuelan government will value coins at whatever price it calculates oil to be. According to legislator Jorge Milan, “This is not a cryptocurrency, this is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil. It is tailor-made for corruption.”

Oil in metal barrels

Oil in metal barrels — Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Foreign Reactions

Foreign responses to the Petro have been mixed. Before its release, 133 countries, including China, expressed intention or interest to invest in the cryptocurrency. Brazil, Poland, Honduras, Norway, Denmark, and Vietnam also noted earlier this year that they would be willing to accept Petro in exchange for food and medicine.

Other nations are much more suspicious if not outright condemnatory. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) composed an open letter to Secretary of the Treasury Department, Steven Mnuchin, which says:

“Maduro has proven that he will use every tool at his disposal to perpetuate his authoritarian objectives… As such, we are concerned that a cryptocurrency could provide Maduro a mechanism by which to make payments to foreign lenders and bondholders in the United States, actions that would clearly thwart the intent of US-imposed sanctions.”

U.S. President Donald Trump went so far as to sign an executive order banning Americans from investing in or buying Petro. Not only did U.S. advisors warn that the original ICO was a scam, but dealing with the Petro could potentially violate international sanctions.

Conclusion

While the Petro is proving itself seemingly useless to the Venezuelan populace, numerous families in the capital city of Caracas are opening Bitcoin mining rigs, despite doing so being illegal.

They only make a few dollars per day, but with the country’s cheap electricity, taking advantage of other cryptocurrencies is the only way some residents are finding a way to survive.

The Petro is still young, but it has so far failed to make a difference for its people while the bolivar continues to decline. Though other countries are experimenting with national cryptocurrencies, Venezuela has not established itself as a pioneer on the front.

This article was originally published at CoinCentral.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

Digital Asset market is worth $270 billion now. Eyeing this massive opportunity, Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has launched the Bakkt ecosystem which will provide a marketplace for digital assets like cryptocurrencies. This ecosystem will be federally regulated to ensure full legal compliance. The Intercontinental Exchange has joined hands with big companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, and BCG to provision various services required for the success of this project. The Bakkt ecosystem is expected to incorporate federally regulated markets and warehousing along with consumer and merchant applications.

Achieving mainstreaming of leading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is the founding imperative of Bakkt. The Intercontinental Exchange intends to transform Bitcoin into a highly trusted currency with a global usage. At present, most of the big financial institutions shun it due to various reasons. The aim to offer Bakkt is to enable significant money managers to offer Bitcoin ETFs, pension funds and mutual funds. Jeffery Sprecher is at the forefront of this project, which is expected to create a considerable influence of Wall Street on cryptocurrencies. =

ABOUT THE INTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE

The Intercontinental Exchange is a Fortune 500 and Fortune Future 50 organization, which was established in May 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia to revamp commodities markets. In the year 2013, The Intercontinental Exchangeachieved a substantial milestone by acquiring NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the NYSE. Currently, it is the second-largest exchange group globally and controls 23 regulated exchanges and six clearing-houses located all over the world.

The Intercontinental Exchange began with a primary focus on the energy market with products like natural gas, oil, power, jet fuel, and emissions trading. However, with gradual acquisitions of other entities, the Intercontinental Exchange has expanded into other commodities like coffee, sugar, cotton, commodity derivatives, and futures contracts as well. Moreover, they also provide trading of interest rate products and foreign exchange.

Greater price transparency, efficient trading platforms, and enhanced liquidity helped the Intercontinental Exchange in getting the required trader confidence, helping it to cement its reputation as the leading commodities exchange. It has enabled companies to trade various types of commodities without any time or space constraints, assisting them to generate more capital than any other exchange in the entire world. The Intercontinental Exchange joins various markets to let them trade and manage risks across the global commodity market.

Information services are pivotal for traders for making their investment decisions and managing risks associated with commodity markets. The Intercontinental Exchange Data Services is a subsidiary of, which was formed in the year 2003 and provides the connectivity and information services across nearly all types of asset classes. It was established considering the ever-rising demand for data exchange as various markets become more automated. The Intercontinental Exchange continues to invest in its data arm to cater to the fast transforming regulatory environment and market diversification, along with a growing need for data security and independent valuations.

BAKKT ECOSYSTEM PROS

  1. It will help in curtailing the rivalry between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies. With a financial industry giant like the Intercontinental Exchange launching a cryptocurrency ecosystem there is an increased likelihood of more institutionalized investor making investments in cryptocurrencies.
  2. Introduction of Bakkt by various established players points to the fact that traditional investors are joining the crypto bandwagon and they want to regularize this industry through enhanced participation.
  3. Currently, the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, is inherently slow as every transaction is broadcast to every node on the network. However, with the introduction of Bakkt, the speed problem can be resolved to a great extent. There would be no need to broadcast all the transactions occurring inside the Bakkt ecosystem. Only the payments coming in and out of the Bakkt’s warehouse would need to be broadcast on the blockchain.
  4. Bakkt will also act as a qualified custodian for cryptocurrencies enabling various institutions to make investments in the crypto asset class. According to SEC rules, the presence of a qualified custodian is mandatory for investment advisors managing above $150 million.
  5. Financial regulators will be more comfortable with the whole crypto sector due to the involvement of the Intercontinental Exchange.
  6. Lower frictional costs associated with cryptocurrencies will allow investors to raise capital using the Bakkt ecosystem. With cryptocurrencies, there are no trustees or transfer agents. Moreover, counterparty risk is also minimal.   

BAKKT ECOSYSTEM CONS

  1. Traditional cryptocurrency supporters are staunchly against the idea of placing a large exchange in the middle of Bitcoin payment systems. They argue that the Bitcoin was created with a decentralized architecture in mind, without the need for a centralized custodian acting as the middle-man and charging a transaction fee.  The idea of creating a giant regulated crypto exchange may be a popular step in the short term, but in the long term, a decentralized peer-to-peer network is the only mechanism which will fulfill the ultimate goal of creating Bitcoin.
  2. Experts believe that Bakkt is Wall Street’s attempt to control cryptocurrencies through financialization via leverage. This tactic involves the creation of more financial claims to the coins when there are less underlying coins in actual reality. Wall Street can easily influence coin prices through derivatives markets.

HOW BAKKT WILL EVOLVE THE CRYPTOCURRENCY INDUSTRY

The Bakkt ecosystem is expected to unite several financial players together in their quest for cryptocurrency trading profits. The diversity of services in the form of custody solutions, asset-tokenization and derivatives will substantially attract consumers, merchants and institutions towards this trading platform encouraging mass crypto adoption.

It is further predicted that Bakkt will help in curtailing cryptocurrency volatility, at least for the Intercontinental Exchange customers. Several experts consider volatility as the most significant barrier to entry. This reduction will be achieved by profiting from Bitcoin volatility through hedging against Bitcoin.

Bakkt will significantly boost the number of applications which can use cryptocurrencies, through its consumer and merchant applications. The system will enable any institutional investor or company to profit from both digital assets and fiat currencies and that too with minimal volatility and regulatory hurdles.

Bakkt has scheduled to launch Bitcoin’s future contracts and warehousing solutions in November 2018 depending on CFTC’s approval. This ETF factor will lead to a heightened demand for digital assets especially when there would be a physical delivery of that asset. There are several advantages of cryptocurrency ETF. Additional security layer provided by the custodian bank saves investors from several types of risks. Moreover, crypto ETF will enable investors to easily track many different digital tokens simultaneously.

Tokenization is another feature which is expected to come from this platform. Various physical assets can be tokenized through Bakkt which can allow investors to tap untapped liquidity.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Bakkt is definitely a giant leap towards formalizing and regulating cryptocurrency trading. Due to the backing of several financial industry giants, this platform is sure to get lots of attention, both negatively and positively. However, the struggle between Wall Street champions and cryptocurrency purists should not hinder the progress of this long-awaited development.

This article was originally published at MinDice.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

Like any other system, the global economy is susceptible to failure at many different points. Unfortunately, due to the interconnectedness of the world, an economic crash in one country could have disastrous consequences for other countries. This was the case during the United States economic crisis of 2008 in which the stock market crashed.

Economic collapse on any scale usually happens as a result of disparities in the system that can easily be overlooked in the absence of clarity. However, blockchain technology could help avoid a financial crisis due to its transparency, security and decentralized mechanism. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are powered by this same technology which acts as a ledger for all transactions carried out on a network.

The endless benefits of the technology have attracted countless investors over the years. Now, it is fast becoming an addition to every major corporation, from IBM and Mastercard to Nasdaq. Its properties are also attractive to financial institutions which constitute the industry that is most in need of the benefits it provides.

The financial crisis of 2008 caused by a lack of transparency, greatly impacted various significant financial institutions and economies on a global scale. Blockchain technology affords banks full transparency, allowing them to spot such a crisis from a mile away. This way, they can take the appropriate preventive measures to ensure that it does not happen again. Banking authorities must make an effort to study the technology and better understand how it can be a force for the prevention of the next financial crisis.

WHAT WAS THE 2008 ECONOMIC CRASH?

The economic crash of 2008 was the worst economic disaster in the U.S. and the world since the 1929 Great Depression. The crisis caused a great recession after the cost of housing fell by 31.8%, even lower than that of the Great Depression. Although the crash occurred in 2008, the first signs were observed in 2007 when the prices of homes were too high.

As a result, homeowners began to default on mortgage payments, leading to a downward economic turn which spread to the U.S. financial sector and eventually affected other countries. At the time, houses became extremely cheap, and homeowners were given loans worth up to 100% of the value of their new homes. Taking advantage of the profitable real estate sector, banks also made investments in subprime areas.

The affected institutions stretched from investment banking corporations to commercial banks, insurance companies, and lenders. The situation was so bad that financial institutions had to lay off their staff. Apart from financial institutions, the crisis affected individuals and businesses that were reliant on credit payments at the time. The economic disaster led to massive suffering on the part of businesses because banks stopped giving loans out. They did not trust anyone to pay back the loans due to the state of the economy.

Shortly after the crisis began, the American auto industry was on the edge of destruction and pleaded for a federal bailout. Unfortunately, banks were in the middle of damage control and bailouts were nearly impossible to get. Globally, share prices plunged, and the recession trickled down to other countries.

By the end of the year, most countries in the world including Germany, Japan, and China had gone into an economic recession as well. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the great recession had begun in December 2007, making it the third longest recession in the country since World War II.

In Europe, investors who had been involved with real estate securities in the U.S. took a hard hit. The same could be said for investors in smaller countries. However, China and Japan were able to escape that situation but registered huge losses where export was concerned. Their American and European markets were experiencing a fall in demand due to the recession.

Developing countries that depended on foreign investments for growth capital also lost their markets and investments. Since the largest countries were in a recession, the situation became a hopeless one with no chance of an easy recovery. Two years after the end of the recession, the unemployment failed to fall below 9 percent.

WHY ARE BANKS LOOKING TO USE THIS TECHNOLOGY?

Banks are looking to use blockchain technology because its transparency can reduce the issue of financial losses that stem from a lack of it. There are three major ways in which the banks hope to achieve this:

1. MAINTAINING FINANCIAL SECURITY

When banks have a bird’s eye view of all the financial transactions within an economy, it is easier to find discrepancies and adjust them. Due to the immutability and append-only function of a blockchain, it is easy for banks to keep open records of transactions that can be tracked easily.

Tracking cash flow can help institutions find and mitigate economic threats that may arise due to bad policy and bank operations. Using this technology, the banks can determine whether a financial institution, including shadow banks, requires support or control.

Another way that blockchain technology promotes financial security as a way to prevent an economic crisis is by providing access to information. With this information, these institutions can determine risks and potential points of failure within the system. It can also clarify the effects of various monetary policies and help out in the gathering of statistics for research purposes. Generally, if the banks have more information, then they can perform better and cut the costs associated with running separate systems as opposed to a single blockchain.

2. PREVENTING FRAUD

Banks can prevent fraud and bad debtors using smart contracts and digital cryptographic identities. Each institution can create smart contracts between the customers and banks, as well as between the banks and the central bank. This creates an immutable record of the exact terms of the contract and will only execute when the terms are fulfilled. Banks can also avoid loan fraud by using digital identities to find out the loan history of each customer, drastically lowering the chances of bad debt in the process.

The use of a cryptographic ledger ensures that stored information can only be accessed using cryptographic keys which are usually in possession of the owner of that information. A hacker would have to compromise every single system on a network to break such a system. This makes blockchain a secure way to store information.

3. ELIMINATING SHADOW BANKING

According to the People’s Bank of China, shadow banking falls into three main asset classes–  entrusted loans, trust lending, and banks’ acceptances — which saw a $555 million increase in 2017. Using blockchain technology, banks can eliminate shadow banking since all transactions will be recorded.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The financial crisis of 2008 left many nations utterly devastated. The trickle-down affected various sectors even outside the financial sector, resulting in a near collapse of the economy. However, the world moved on from the effects of that event, and most countries have been able to pull themselves out of recession. However, it is essential to take measures that ensure that the crisis is not repeated.

For banks, the best bet may be the use of blockchain technology to securely store data, access information and ensure transparency in the system. Used properly, it can serve as an open system in which all transactions within the economy are recorded. With a clearer view of all banking processes, banks and other financial institutions can successfully prevent another economic crisis.

This article was originally published at MinDice.com.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

Crypto users could soon be enjoying more hardware choices. Multiple smartphone manufacturers announced plans to integrate blockchain technology into their products in the coming months. Blockchain telecommunications is taking crypto users to the next level with integrated decentralized applications (Dapps) and much more. Get ready for crypto phones.

Blockchain Telecommunications

The telecommunications industry is undergoing the start of a blockchain revolution that has the potential to reshape the market for years to come. Analysts have long predicted the integration of these technologies. One study placed the level of future blockchain investment by telecommunications manufacturers at around $1 billion over the next five years. The majority of these future investment funds target the development of Dapps. Dapps are at the core of this blockchain telecom infusion.

Additionally, phone manufacturers are now looking to blockchain technology as the answer to their aging infrastructures. Blockchain technology provides users with more security than the traditional methods used by the world’s telecom giants. After recognizing the possibility for improvement, firms are now looking towards this emerging tech to position their products in the digital economy.

Cryptocurrency Phones: The Future Is Now

Cryptocurrency phones may look like ordinary smartphones, but a closer inspection reveals a plethora of unique features to keep your conversations and crypto safer. These units are specially designed to meet the demands of a growing crypto community. The melding of these technologies will give crypto enthusiasts access to greater security among other exciting features.

The Race to Blockchain Telecommunications

The race is on to be the first manufacturer to release a blockchain-based phone to the public successfully. As you are about to learn, the competition is growing with every passing month. Let’s take a moment to examine some of the most anticipated projects that have been brought to light so far.

Sirin Labs Finney: $1000.00

One of the most anticipated projects in this space is the Sirin Labs Finney platform. This unique project was made possible through a joint venture with the smartphone manufacturing giant Foxconn. The device already has over 25,000 units pre-ordered.

Finney includes a built-in hard wallet, which enables users to store their crypto directly on the device. You won’t need an exchange to swap your crypto either, because the device utilizes an integrated crypto exchange. The in-phone exchange also comes with zero fees.

Siren Labs Finney via Engadget

Siren Labs Finney via Engadget

The phone’s developers continue to release small details on the project. Their latest functionality upgrade includes the ability to monetize your hotspot. This means you can charge individuals cryptocurrency in exchange for hotspot data.

The Finney project took flight in December of last year following the successful completion of a $158 million initial coin offering (ICO). Sirin Labs hopes to gain additional momentum through the remainder of the year, and developers are predicting millions of units sold shortly after public release.

HTC Exodus: $1000.00

The HTC Exodus project represents the culmination of years of research conducted by the smartphone manufacturing giant. The Exodus project made recent headlines with the announcement that Litecoin creator Charlie Lee had joined the project as an advisor. HTC wants to take Lee’s in-depth understanding of the crypto community and apply it to their years of research and development of the project.

Details remain limited, but HTC did release a few essential features to the public regarding this device. In the fashion of most crypto phones, the Exodus features a built-in cold storage wallet to keep your crypto safe. You’ll enjoy encrypted calls and texts as well. Additionally, the phone comes loaded with the hugely popular Ethereum-based Cryptokitties game.

HTC Exodus via Digital Trends

HTC Exodus via Digital Trends

The HTC Exodus is the only blockchain-based phone supporting the Lightning Network to date. The Lightning Network is an off-chain scaling solution that utilizes private payment channels to reduce Bitcoin blockchain congestion. While still in its Beta testing stages, developers have embraced the protocol with a steady stream of Lightning Network apps entering the market over the last year.

Blacture Motif: $395

The Motif project burst onto the crypto scene with the help of world-famous recording artist Pras Michel. The phone is part of the star’s Blacture project, which seeks to provide futuristic tech to black communities with the hopes of stimulating a black renaissance.

The Motif project includes numerous high-level telecommunications experts, such as former Nokia mobile OS programmer, Alpesh H. Patel. Motif users will get paid in tokens for phone use. As expected, the device includes a built-in hard wallet to store your crypto.

Blacture Motif via Bitcoin Exchange Guide

Blacture Motif via Bitcoin Exchange Guide

Uniquely, you receive a linked debit card with your purchase that allows for daily transactions as well. The card also helps to facilitate remittance payments. Remittance payments constitute international funds that are sent back to an immigrant’s country of origin. Blockchain technology handles these tasks more efficiently, and the integration of this functionality into the Motif platform is sure to fill a much-needed niche in the market.

Unlike many of its competitors, the Motif utilizes a new blockchain-based operating system known as the Zippie OS. The interface rewards users via tokens. The Motif includes a simple registration and full digital encryption. The phone’s developers expect a fall release date. Considering its unique features, and the fact that the price tag is half as much as its closest competitor, experts expect a strong response from the community.

Blockchain Telecommunications: Cryptocurrency Phones

 

These projects highlight the current shift towards blockchain-based telecommunications projects globally. You should expect to see a continued push in this direction directly following the release of these highly-anticipated devices. In the future, you could see features such as hard wallets become the norm, as cryptocurrencies continue to gain popularity. For now, the blockchain telecommunications race is just heating up.

This article was originally published at CoinCentral.com.
 
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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
Although digital currencies have shown a substantial amount of progress over the past few years, recent volatility in the crypto world is giving skeptics more reason to stay doubtful.

While we have seen a consistent stream of innovation with new currencies, particularly in the past 18 months, there are now more than 800 of them that have been pronounced dead. This means that the coins have no value, trading at less than 1 cent. Most commonly the failure of these coins is due to their lack of integrity — being a scam or a joke — or because the product did not materialize. Many of the obsolete cryptocurrencies are listed on the website Dead Coins, which describes itself as a “strategic partnership to clean up crypto.” Coinopsy is another site that has reported dead coins. When considering reports from both sources, the number of dead projects accumulates into the thousands, with reasons ranging from true abandonment to outright scams.

CREATING NEW TOKENS: RISKY BY NATURE

A process called an initial coin offering (ICO) can create new digital tokens. In this process, a start-up can issue a new currency that is available for purchase by investors. While the investor does not obtain an equity stake in the company, the purchased cryptocurrency can be used on the product of the company. Since the coins are cheap while holding potential for substantial returns down the line, people often buy into an ICO.

By their very nature, ICOs are highly risky. Moreover, these kinds of investments have been riddled with fraud. Just in 2018, a scam ICO called Giza was reported by CNBC. It was a fake startup that ran off with $2 million in investor money, giving plenty of fuel to skeptics to continue to doubt the legitimacy of this industry.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone expects the startups to fail. The problem is the massive amount of cash that floods into these projects before they are ready — this is the primary cause for concern. When startups receive more fuel than they can keep up with, the resulting conflagration ultimately consumes both the company and the founders, which is not helpful to the investors in return.

The conflagrations are, unfortunately, a global phenomenon. In 2017 alone, dead ICOs and scams raised $1 billion, and nearly 300 startups had been marked as questionable. The lock-ups and pricing scams within the ICO market are using greed rather than rational thinking, and are hurting the industry more than helping it. In the end, it is crucial to invest only what you can afford to lose and expect any token that you invest in to fail. Then if it succeeds, you will be pleasantly surprised, and if it fails, you will avoid devastation.

Even Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization or value, has had a tough year.

Although it hit a record high of nearly $20,000 last year, it has since decreased by nearly 70%, according to data from CoinDesk. While Bitcoin is still among the stronger of coins, many others have not been as fortunate. To note are five of the greatest failures in cryptocurrency history thus far.

THE BIGGEST CRYPTO TOKEN FAILURES 

SPACEBIT

SpaceBit has long held the status of one of the most ambitious cryptocurrency projects thus far. And perhaps rightly so, as this is the company that wanted to launch several “nano-satellites” into orbit to provide a globally-accessible blockchain, which would be used for the storage of Bitcoin as well as helping unbanked regions access financial services. This announcement attracted much attention and enthusiasm from the public, gaining massive support behind them. However, the project ultimately disappeared. There was never any prototype or proof-of-concept, and eventually, all talk about SpaceBIT faded out completely. Supposedly the team behind SpaceBIT is now completely focused on a new project called BlockVerify, so SpaceBIT has been put on the shelf for good.

GEMS

Originally branded as “Gems” but now named “GetGems,” this was a social networking platform that uses cryptocurrency to pay members that view advertisements within the app. Having made grand claims in 2014 about disrupting social media, the result was somewhat disappointing with an underwhelmingly low crowdsale that year. Since then, GetGems has been overtaken by competitors, but they are still running; they have seen the most success in the country of Uzbekistan, ranking in 63rd place among apps.

DOGECOIN

Although this cryptocurrency began as a joke, it quickly evolved into a success with a passionate community behind it that became known for donating to charity with DOGE. After a successful streak, the Dogecoin collapsed. To make matters worse, founder Alex Green had disappeared with everyone’s money, shutting down the exchange. This led to the crashing of DOGE and disbandment of its community.

PAYCOIN

Launched in 2014, PayCoin grew to be one of the largest cryptocurrencies worldwide by market capitalization. The coin’s white paper presented a vision for new variations of blockchain technology that would produce a new breed of cryptocurrency. However, it quickly became evident that the coin would not live up to this vision when its founder converted PayCoin into a generic altcoin clone, which made it easier to push onto the market faster. As it lacked follow-through, people ultimately lost faith in the coin. By 2015, GAW shut down entirely and faced a federal investigation, with its founder fleeing the United States.

DAO

Taking first place in cryptocurrency failure is the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), an Ethereum-based coin. While its beginnings were met with great enthusiasm, including large purchases of the token, one incident had changed the entire course of this currency transactions. When an attacker exploited a vulnerability in the DAO smart contract, this led to a loss of more than $50 million. After information about the attack became well known, the token became abandoned by traders, throwing it into a downward spiral.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There has been intense pressure and skepticism placed on the crypto world, perpetuated by consistent news of novel scams or unsuccessful coins. However, optimism for the industry remains strong. Proponents of crypto expect regulators to learn to be more favorable towards the field, which could boost participation in the market. Similarly, there is a lot of optimism for the future of ICOs as an alternative to initial public offerings and venture capital funding. It is true that many coins have not survived, but there are also many coins that have. Every impactful innovation has its trials and tribulations, but that does not mean that it cannot evolve into a success that improves the way we live our lives.

This article was originally published at MinDice.com.

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