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8 surprising places where you can pay with bitcoin

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

VirginIn a 1999 interview, Professor Milton Friedman, an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and the complexity of stabilization policy. He had this to say: 

"I think the internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing but that will soon be developed is a reliable e-cash."

In November 2008, a paper was posted to a cryptography mailing list titled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." In this time the value of the first Bitcoin transactions were negotiated by individuals on the bitcointalk forums with one notable transaction of 10,000 BTC used to indirectly purchase two pizzas.

In 2011, based on Bitcoin’s open source code, other cryptocurrencies started to emerge. By 2017, a single bitcoin's worth reached more than $4000

This is greatly attributed to the fact that more people are getting educated on how Bitcoin works. The convenience of receiving payments within seconds, with minimal transaction fees means a lot to a business. More online stores are opening up to accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment from their customers.

"Not only is Bitcoin exciting, it’s also going to play an “important role” in the future of PayPal." - John Donahoe, CEO of eBay

There are many other small e-commerce stores that accept cryptocurrency for purchases. Some industries even have custom cryptocurrencies, which serve like means of payment between parties. 

The use of cryptocurrency is on the rise as it has many benefits, such as security, speed, minimal transaction fees, easy to store and manage and relevance in the digital era. It is evident that we won’t have to wait very long to see cryptocurrency as a globally accepted means of payment.

Expedia.com

Expedia teamed up with Coinbase in implementing the world's largest travel booking agency found online.  Since mid 2014, users have been able to make hotel bookings using the Bitcoin payment option. Expedia currently accepts Bitcoins for hotel bookings only, but are expected to expand to include flight bookings and other activities.



Microsoft

Microsoft users can use Bitcoin to purchase games, movies and apps in the Windows and Xbox stores, as well as the Microsoft online stores.



Virgin Galactic

Since 2013, Virgin Galactic, a commercial space flight venture owned by Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, that includes companies such as Virgin Mobile and Virgin Airline, accepts purchases using Bitcoin. You can even pay for space travel with Bitcoin.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Xapo Receives Criticism Over its Plan to List Bitcoin as BC1 if it Becomes Minority Chain

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Xapo Receives Criticism Over its Plan to List Bitcoin as BC1 if it Becomes Minority Chain appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Virtu, the 'ultimate play' on volatility on Wall Street, is set for a rough quarter (VIRT)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Virtu trader

We won't know exactly how Virtu Financial fared during the third quarter until November 7, when the high-frequency trader unveils its earnings, but one UBS analyst is betting things won't look good. 

Times are tough for high-speed traders, which do better during more volatile market conditions. The firm posted weak earnings for the second quarter, which came in below Wall Street's estimates. Alex Kramm, an analyst at UBS, said the third quarter will be even worse. 

The bank slashed its expectations for the firm's Q3 earnings per share by nearly 80% to $.04 from $.19. The firm delivered $.13 per share to investors in the second quarter of 2017. 

"We view VIRT as the ultimate play on our belief that trading volumes remain cyclically depressed and are poised to increase as the debate around global interest rates plays out and geopolitical uncertainty continues," UBS said. 

Virtu acquired KCG, another high-frequency trading firm, earlier this year. Low volatility and rising technology costs have forced a number of HFTs to merge or close up shop. UBS thinks the acquisition will weigh on Q3 EPS.

"While VIRT announced that it had already taken actions to achieve half of the expected run rate synergies of $250mm exiting the 3Q, we believe that those actions will weigh heavily in the near-term, resulting in a messy quarter," Kramm said. 

As liquidity providers, HFTs are scanning the markets for opportunities in which buyers and sellers aren't matched up. But when volatility is too low, like it has been for the past four months, those opportunities are hard to come by because there are fewer price swings. Cifu addressed this low volatility environment during the firm's last earnings call on August 10. 

"We remain confident that the core results are a consequence of the terrible environment for a market-maker," Cifu said. "While we are not happy with the results, we are proactively managing our business to grow and to continue to earn an acceptable return in this environment."

Markets haven't gotten more active since Q2. Average equities volatility were down 17% compared to Q3 of 2016 and volatility for commodities were down 27%, according to UBS. There were some bright spots, however. FX volatility was up 2% over quarter 2 of 2017. 

UBS has not changed its $18 price target for Virtu, a stock for which the bank has a buy rating. It is looking to the fourth quarter to see where the company stands when Virtu and KCG are fully integrated. 

"We believe this demonstrates the potential of the combined firm as costs are removed and the company delevers," Kramm wrote. "As such, we believe the dividend will remain secure, and there could still be upside in a more normalized environment."

Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 1.56.49 PM

 

SEE ALSO: The fastest traders on Wall Street are in trouble

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

STOCKS HIT RECORD HIGHS: Here's what you need to know

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trader celebration

Stocks inched higher to a new record as traders digested minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting and prepared for an earnings season that's set to kick off.

The S&P 500 gained 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Dow increased 0.1% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.2%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 22,872.89, +42.21, (+0.18%)
  • S&P 500: 2,555.24, +4.60, (+0.18%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,603.55, +16.30, (+0.25%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.35%, 0.00
  • WTI crude oil: $51.31, +0.39, +0.77%

1. Trump took credit for stock-market records again on Wednesday — so we graded his claims. We found that while he's been responsible for some periods of strength, there have been other times when the market has risen due to other factors.

2. The stock market is on the verge of making history. Deutsche Bank points out that the S&P 500 has delivered positive total returns in first nine months of the year, rivaling only 1995.

3. The Fed is worried that it won't achieve its inflation target for a while. Officials are concerned that inflation will remain lower for longer, according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's September meeting.

4. Jefferies says Google has 'the right pieces in place to win the race' to a $1 trillion valuation. The firm's analyst has set his price target at $1,200 per share, compared to the $992.31 where it currently stands.

5. Credit Suisse says the headlines around the Amazon-Whole Foods deal have been focusing on the wrong thing. Their analyst argues that the focus has been on price cuts, while the real path to lasting shareholder value is through fulfillment and delivery.

ADDITIONALLY:

Snap is destroying Facebook in a key demographic

Some of America's top restaurants are being accused of 'conspiracy' in a bizarre lawsuit

A seemingly benign viral game about paperclips reveals why AI could be a huge danger to humanity

Millennials are being 'left behind,' and it poses a huge risk to the US economy

Balyasny, a $12 billion hedge fund that's trailing its peers, is ramping up for a critical few weeks

Coach is changing its corporate name to Tapestry

Kroger surges after announcing it may sell its convenience-store business

SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN SACHS: Here's how to make a killing this earnings season

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The 'Trump trade' is back and Ray Dalio breaks down the bitcoin bubble

The CEO of a startup founded by college dropouts sent a brutally honest pitch to potential investors

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 3.29.57 PM

One of the hardest parts about getting a company off the ground is finding the right investors to help keep the lights on during the early days. 

If you've ever watched the hit show "Shark Tank," then you'll know it's no easy feat convincing investors to pour money into your company — especially in its early days. As such, young startups need to be confident, persistent and ready for rejection when trying to pitch venture capitalists. 

One startup is taking a bit of an unorthodox approach to pitching potential investors. 

Exeq, the New York-based startup founded by four New York City college drop-outs, blasted an email out to 400 venture capitalist and angel investors, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

In an email seen by Business Insider, Exeq CEO Derek Brown, a former engineer at LinkedIn and Addepar, laid out the value of the company, which seeks to change the way millennials think about spending their money.

But before he did, he was brutally honest.

Here's Brown (emphasis ours):

"At Exeq, we don’t have everything together. We don’t know the future for our product and platform. We don’t know or control the external circumstances around our company."

The point of the app is to help people make more efficient decisions about their spending. It does so by notifying users when slight changes to how they spend can be made. For instance, the app might alert a person who frequents a coffee shop on their way to work that there is a more affordable alternative nearby. The app, which is only available in New York City to iPhone users, has 6,000 users. But, like most startups, their sights are set higher. 

"By combining financial and lifestyle data, we’re able to build a consumer product that enables consumer behavior…responsibly," Brown wrote in the email. 

The company already counts Barclays, the British financial services company, as a backer. Here's Brown on why others should jump in:

"Because you have a fiduciary duty to your LPs to make the best investments you can. We’d fall in that category. ;) On a more serious note, the answer’s simple: if you don’t see the shape of the world in the way that we’ve described above, then you shouldn’t invest in us."

Let's see if the cheekiness pays off. 

SEE ALSO: A startup that wants to change the way people think about saving money has named a new CEO

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

Bitcoin Price Slightly Corrects to $4,780 After Increasing by $530 in Three Days

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Bitcoin Price Slightly Corrects to $4,780 After Increasing by $530 in Three Days appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Snap is destroying Facebook in a key demographic (SNAP, FB)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

teens selfie

Snapchat is adored by the teens of the world.

According to a recent survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, Snapchat is the favorite social media platform among teens, who are considered a key demographic for tech.

Nearly half, 47%, said that Snapchat was their preferred social media platform, blowing  Instagram (24%) and Facebook (9%) out of the water. Twitter and Pinterest trailed the pack, earning just 7% and 1% respectively.

The good news for Snapchat is teen interest in the app isn't just stagnant, it's growing.

Since the spring of 2015, Snapchat has grown from being the favorite app of just 11% of teens to being the favorite app of 46% of the key demographic. It's mostly stolen market share from Twitter, but Facebook and Instagram have also lost share as well. Snap is the only platform Piper Jaffray measured that has won over more teens since the spring of 2015.

This is perhaps why Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have copied many of Snapchat's most popular features, including stories. Piper Jaffray said that these efforts haven't impacted Snapchat users engagement too much. 

The results aren't all rosy for Snapchat, however. Even though more teens place Snapchat at the top of their favorites list, the app's user base isn't unique. Piper Jaffray's survey found that more than 90% of Snapchat's user base also uses Instagram. While Snapchat engagement is high, the recent moves Instagram has made have brought its engagement numbers in line with Snap's, Piper Jaffray said. 

In another telling survey result, Piper Jaffray said that close to 60% of teens responded that Instagram was a good platform to reach them with advertising. Email came in second, and Snapchat a distant third, with about 45% of respondents saying it was a good platform to reach them on. 

Piper Jaffray surveyed 6,100 teens in 44 US states . The teens were 54% male and were, on average, 16 years old.

Snap is down 10.8% since its $17 initial public offering in March. Facebook is up 42% this year.

Read more about Facebook embedding employees in 2016 campaign teams here

snap stock price

SEE ALSO: The shock and outrage over Facebook and Google 'embedding' people in the Trump campaign is dumb

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Is bitcoin a bubble or the future of everything?

Some of America's top restaurants are being accused of 'conspiracy' in a bizarre lawsuit

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

danny meyer

Some of the biggest names in fine dining are being sued over their conversion to a no-tipping policy in their restaurants.

The restaurateurs named in the lawsuit — filed by a diner who claims to have been overcharged — include Danny Meyer of the Union Square Hospitality Group (and Shake Shack fame), Tom Colicchio founder of Craft Hospitality, David Chang of Momofuku and others, Law360 first reported.

The suit is seeking class-action status.

The lawsuit argues that Meyer spearheaded a price-fixing "conspiracy" that lead to Bay Area chefs meeting in 2014 and joining his movement to steal tips from their employees and enrich themselves while overcharging diners in the process. 

From the complaint:

...The conspiracy is in its early experimental stage, focused on developing and disseminating best practices for switching to a no-tipping, “hospitality-included” business model. The no-tipping movement is the most significant issue in the industry today. One conspirator predicts that “ten years from now we’re going to look back and go, ‘Oh, God, do you remember when we used to tip?’”

The ongoing conspiracy unlawfully transfers millions of dollars from customers and servers to restaurant owners in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Participating restaurants and a compliant media have portrayed the no-tipping/higher prices movement as intended to promote social justice and equality, while the real aim and effect is greater profit at the expense of workers and consumers.

This collusion, say the plaintiffs, is a violation of anti-trust laws, the Federal Sherman Act, the California Cartwright Act, and the New York Donnelly Act. They also say that it doesn't matter if the defendants had no idea that they were violating the laws, or what their motives were because there is a “conclusive presumption that [horizontal price fixing] is unreasonable.”

"Persons overcharged as a result of a price-fixing conspiracy are entitled to recover triple their damages plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees," the lawsuit says. "Injured servers and other customarily-tipped employees may also have a viable claim for treble damages."

Momofuku Milk Bar

We should note that some of the restaurants cited in this lawsuit have gone back to their tipping policy. We should also note that it cites tweets discussing the policy change between defendants Meyer in Colicchio as proof of collusion.

"We undertook the challenging and lonely journey of introducing Hospitality Included to create clear and transparent growth paths for our people while beginning to address the decades-long growth of inequality among restaurant professionals," Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group said in a statement. "We believe hospitality can and should be a viable career with competitive wages, and we are more committed than ever to Hospitality Included getting us there."

Business Insider reached out to Chang and Colicchio's groups for comment and has yet to hear back. 

On the other hand

The no-tipping movement sent shockwaves through NYC's fine dining a few years ago. It coincided with a decision to raise minimum wages to $9 from $8.75. The wage hike was pretty straightforward when it applied to workers who don't earn tips. Their hourly wage merely went up.

But things got more complicated for workers who earn a huge portion of their pay in the form of tips. Some consumer advocacy groups argued that they already made enough money and that giving the minimum wage hike unilaterally throughout the restaurant industry was unfair to untipped workers.  

New York state, however, did not agree. This prompted a lot of soul-searching in the restaurant community, and this inequity is one of the reasons Meyer and others have cited for doing away with tipping altogether. We talked to a bunch of restaurateurs at the time, and they were all pretty mixed on getting rid of tipping. Tipping, they said, was part of the NYC dining ethos.

On the other hand, the inequities it caused within restaurants is and was real.

John Meadow, the CEO and founder of LDV Hospitality, a group that includes steakhouse American Cut and Italian restaurant Scarpetta told Business Insider at the time: "People who work making $7 to $8 an hour without tips, maybe they should get $15 an hour — God bless them," he said. 

"But my server making $90K a year? I'm proud I created a business that made that happen. Treating fast food the same as fine dining? That's totally inappropriate."

SEE ALSO: The kings of New York dining are agonizing over a decision that could change their business forever

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork

It’s forking season.

After Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) forked from the Bitcoin blockchain to create a new cryptocurrency (BCH), and ahead of the SegWit2X fork that may do the same thing, a third Bitcoin fork is in the making: Bitcoin Gold (Bgold; BTG). But where Bcash and SegWit2X are scaling-related forks — both mainly increase Bitcoin's block size limit — Bgold wants to re-decentralize mining by implementing a new proof-of-work algorithm.

“What was born as decentralized is now centralized,” Bitcoin Gold contributor J. Alejandro Regojo told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to the current state of Bitcoin mining. “With this fork, we want to show how Bitcoin can be as ‘Satoshi’ as possible, as social as possible, and as decentralized as possible.”

Mining Centralization

Bitcoin Gold was initiated by Jack Liao, CEO of Hong Kong–based mining hardware producer LightningASIC, and was first announced in late August. The open project has been gaining traction and support in the wider cryptocurrency space since, with a dedicated Slack as a main hub for discussion and organization. Bgold is currently being developed by the pseudonymous developer “h4x3rotab” along with a small group of volunteers contributing to the project in other ways.

The attention Bgold has attracted is probably in part because anyone who owns bitcoin (BTC) on October 25th will receive the equivalent amount of BTG. While this model has been criticized, particularly because it presents a burden on service providers and users, it has also proven successful. With the launch of Bitcoin Cash in particular, users eagerly accepted their batch of “free money,” while exchanges, wallets and other service providers proved relatively willing to integrate the new coin.

Further, the Bgold team believes that this distribution method should also benefit Bitcoin over altcoins as it provides an extra incentive to hold BTC on particular dates.

“But the key goal that we are trying to achieve with this fork is to build a perpetually ASIC-resistant version of Bitcoin,” said Robert Kuhne, another Bitcoin Gold contributor, in explaining the purpose of the project to Bitcoin Magazine.

Bgold contributors like Regojo and Kuhne think that Bitcoin’s proof-of-work hashing algorithm was essentially broken by the introduction of specialized ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining hardware. In the early years of Bitcoin’s existence, individual users were often also miners; this has since become concentrated into relatively centralized data centers operated by professionals.

“And we’re now in a situation where 65 percent of hash power comes from a country that doesn’t like Bitcoin,” Regojo noted, referring to China’s recent clamp down on cryptocurrencies.

An Uneven Playing Field

And while mining is centralized, ASIC production is even more centralized, the Bgold contributors pointed out. Only a handful of companies currently produce such specialized chips.

This means that anyone who wants to be a miner in any meaningful way is beholden to these companies, Kuhne argued.

“The way the monopoly manufacturer currently operates is abusive to its customers — individual miners — and the industry at large,” he said, referring to major Chinese ASIC producer Bitmain. “Manufacturers can produce ASICs at a tiny cost, but miners have to buy at a high price. This violates the one-CPU-one-vote ethos as described in the Bitcoin white paper, because while everyone can buy CPU at the same price, the same is not true for ASIC hardware.”

Regojo and Kuhne see this as a fundamental problem — not something that free market dynamics can realistically resolve. They suggest that the barrier of entry to the ASIC market to compete with existing manufacturers is fundamentally too high to allow for open competition.

“You can't build a factory without approval from the government and banking system. So there are really only a handful of entities in the world that have total authority over who can and can't manufacture ASIC machines. And all this could potentially get much worse if and when those institution really start feeling the disruption from Bitcoin, which hasn't begun in earnest yet,” Kuhne said.

Bitcoin Gold

As opposed to the Bitcoin Cash and (especially) the upcoming SegWit2X forks, Bitcoin Gold very specifically does not make a claim to be the “real” Bitcoin. Instead, the Bgold project hopes it can prove a valuable exercise for Bitcoin; a sort of test case for a hard fork that Bitcoin itself may one day require.

Concretely, Bitcoin Gold is now implementing the Equihash proof-of-work algorithm. This is already used by Zcash and is relatively ASIC-resistant.

Full ASIC-resistance, however, is thought to be impossible: Any mining algorithm could be subject to specialized chips. Like Vertcoin, the Bgold community therefore plans to re-deploy a new proof-of-work algorithm hard fork if it is found out that ASIC-chips for Equihash are being produced. (This plan alone, of course, could be a deterrent for any potential ASIC-producer.)

For security, the project plans to implement strong replay protection to avoid loss of funds for unsuspecting or non-technical users. It will also adopt a new difficulty re-target algorithm to prevent the blockchain from stalling: Difficulty is re-adjusted at every block instead of once every two weeks.

While the coin is set to launch two weeks from now, the Bgold codebase is not yet fully developed and ready to be deployed. Implementation of the new proof-of-work algorithm and replay protection, as well as the new difficulty re-adjustment scheme, are yet to be finished.

Nor are all the details for the project even ironed out.

Early announcements indicated that Bitcoin Gold would have a closed launch and a presale of coins. A new batch of BTG was to be mined in the first week after the fork and subsequently distributed to designated investors, not unlike an ICO. Proceeds of this “ICO” were then to be used for development and other Bgold-related purposes.

However, as interest in the project grew, this idea became more controversial. Not everyone involved with Bitcoin Gold likes the idea of an additional founders reward — something Bcash, for example, did not have.

Kuhne addressed the issue by stating: “We have heard a lot of feedback from the community, so this proposal will be replaced with an updated and improved plan. But we will not completely rule out the possibility of a modest pre-mine to provide a basic level of funding for the project.”

Disclaimer: The author of this article holds BTC and will therefore also own BTG at launch.


The post Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork

It’s forking season.

After Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) forked from the Bitcoin blockchain to create a new cryptocurrency (BCH), and ahead of the SegWit2X fork that may do the same thing, a third Bitcoin fork is in the making: Bitcoin Gold (Bgold; BTG). But where Bcash and SegWit2X are scaling-related forks — both mainly increase Bitcoin's block size limit — Bgold wants to re-decentralize mining by implementing a new proof-of-work algorithm.

“What was born as decentralized is now centralized,” Bitcoin Gold contributor J. Alejandro Regojo told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to the current state of Bitcoin mining. “With this fork, we want to show how Bitcoin can be as ‘Satoshi’ as possible, as social as possible, and as decentralized as possible.”

Mining Centralization

Bitcoin Gold was initiated by Jack Liao, CEO of Hong Kong–based mining hardware producer LightningASIC, and was first announced in late August. The open project has been gaining traction and support in the wider cryptocurrency space since, with a dedicated Slack as a main hub for discussion and organization. Bgold is currently being developed by the pseudonymous developer “h4x3rotab” along with a small group of volunteers contributing to the project in other ways.

The attention Bgold has attracted is probably in part because anyone who owns bitcoin (BTC) on October 25th will receive the equivalent amount of BTG. While this model has been criticized, particularly because it presents a burden on service providers and users, it has also proven successful. With the launch of Bitcoin Cash in particular, users eagerly accepted their batch of “free money,” while exchanges, wallets and other service providers proved relatively willing to integrate the new coin.

Further, the Bgold team believes that this distribution method should also benefit Bitcoin over altcoins as it provides an extra incentive to hold BTC on particular dates.

“But the key goal that we are trying to achieve with this fork is to build a perpetually ASIC-resistant version of Bitcoin,” said Robert Kuhne, another Bitcoin Gold contributor, in explaining the purpose of the project to Bitcoin Magazine.

Bgold contributors like Regojo and Kuhne think that Bitcoin’s proof-of-work hashing algorithm was essentially broken by the introduction of specialized ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining hardware. In the early years of Bitcoin’s existence, individual users were often also miners; this has since become concentrated into relatively centralized data centers operated by professionals.

“And we’re now in a situation where 65 percent of hash power comes from a country that doesn’t like Bitcoin,” Regojo noted, referring to China’s recent clamp down on cryptocurrencies.

An Uneven Playing Field

And while mining is centralized, ASIC production is even more centralized, the Bgold contributors pointed out. Only a handful of companies currently produce such specialized chips.

This means that anyone who wants to be a miner in any meaningful way is beholden to these companies, Kuhne argued.

“The way the monopoly manufacturer currently operates is abusive to its customers — individual miners — and the industry at large,” he said, referring to major Chinese ASIC producer Bitmain. “Manufacturers can produce ASICs at a tiny cost, but miners have to buy at a high price. This violates the one-CPU-one-vote ethos as described in the Bitcoin white paper, because while everyone can buy CPU at the same price, the same is not true for ASIC hardware.”

Regojo and Kuhne see this as a fundamental problem — not something that free market dynamics can realistically resolve. They suggest that the barrier of entry to the ASIC market to compete with existing manufacturers is fundamentally too high to allow for open competition.

“You can't build a factory without approval from the government and banking system. So there are really only a handful of entities in the world that have total authority over who can and can't manufacture ASIC machines. And all this could potentially get much worse if and when those institution really start feeling the disruption from Bitcoin, which hasn't begun in earnest yet,” Kuhne said.

Bitcoin Gold

As opposed to the Bitcoin Cash and (especially) the upcoming SegWit2X forks, Bitcoin Gold very specifically does not make a claim to be the “real” Bitcoin. Instead, the Bgold project hopes it can prove a valuable exercise for Bitcoin; a sort of test case for a hard fork that Bitcoin itself may one day require.

Concretely, Bitcoin Gold is now implementing the Equihash proof-of-work algorithm. This is already used by Zcash and is relatively ASIC-resistant.

Full ASIC-resistance, however, is thought to be impossible: Any mining algorithm could be subject to specialized chips. Like Vertcoin, the Bgold community therefore plans to re-deploy a new proof-of-work algorithm hard fork if it is found out that ASIC-chips for Equihash are being produced. (This plan alone, of course, could be a deterrent for any potential ASIC-producer.)

For security, the project plans to implement strong replay protection to avoid loss of funds for unsuspecting or non-technical users. It will also adopt a new difficulty re-target algorithm to prevent the blockchain from stalling: Difficulty is re-adjusted at every block instead of once every two weeks.

While the coin is set to launch two weeks from now, the Bgold codebase is not yet fully developed and ready to be deployed. Implementation of the new proof-of-work algorithm and replay protection, as well as the new difficulty re-adjustment scheme, are yet to be finished.

Nor are all the details for the project even ironed out.

Early announcements indicated that Bitcoin Gold would have a closed launch and a presale of coins. A new batch of BTG was to be mined in the first week after the fork and subsequently distributed to designated investors, not unlike an ICO. Proceeds of this “ICO” were then to be used for development and other Bgold-related purposes.

However, as interest in the project grew, this idea became more controversial. Not everyone involved with Bitcoin Gold likes the idea of an additional founders reward — something Bcash, for example, did not have.

Kuhne addressed the issue by stating: “We have heard a lot of feedback from the community, so this proposal will be replaced with an updated and improved plan. But we will not completely rule out the possibility of a modest pre-mine to provide a basic level of funding for the project.”

Disclaimer: The author of this article holds BTC and will therefore also own BTG at launch.


The post Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin.org Publicly ‘Shames’ SegWit2x Supporters

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Bitcoin.org Publicly ‘Shames’ SegWit2x Supporters appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

A seemingly benign viral game about paperclips reveals why AI could be a huge danger to humanity

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

paperclips

A game about making paperclips has gone viral, and it's a sly nod to a famous thought experiment about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.

The game, as described by Business Insider's Matt Weinberger (one of the many staffers at Business Insider, myself included, who have become quickly addicted) is fairly straightforward: You are in charge of making as many paperclips as possible. As you progress and sell paperclips, you unlock various upgrades that make the process of paperclip-making ever more efficient and automated, until the game is basically playing itself.

The idea of an ever-more efficient automated paperclip factory has a history in the world of philosophers and futurists contemplating the dangers and possibilities of a "technological singularity" in which artificially intelligent machines rapidly outpace human abilities.

In 2003, Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom published a paper titled "Ethical Issues in Advanced Artificial Intelligence," in which he discusses what could happen if humanity creates a "superintelligent" machine capable of quickly improving itself.

The paper discusses some of the pluses and minuses of such an entity. On the plus side, a benevolent superintelligent machine would be able to solve all of humanity's problems, potentially ushering in a utopian golden age of health and prosperity for all. On the minus side, a malevolent superintelligence would be able to crush our species more efficiently than we could remove an ant-hill.

ex machina

While the latter scenario has been explored innumerable times in science fiction — "Terminator," "The Matrix," and Harlan Ellison's classic "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" to name a few — one of Bostrom's key insights in the paper is that a superintelligence wouldn't have to be actively opposed to humanity to present an existential risk. Instead, a superintelligence with a very un-humanlike psyche and poorly-defined goals might not realize that it's causing immesurable harm to its creators.

This brings us back to our friendly browser game. The example Bostrom gives of a non-malevolent but still extinction-causing superintelligence is none other than a relentlessly self-improving paperclip maker that lacks an explicit overarching sense of being pro-human (emphasis ours):

"The risks in developing superintelligence include the risk of failure to give it the supergoal of philanthropy... Another way for it to happen is that a well-meaning team of programmers make a big mistake in designing its goal system. This could result, to return to the earlier example, in a superintelligence whose top goal is the manufacturing of paperclips, with the consequence that it starts transforming first all of earth and then increasing portions of space into paperclip manufacturing facilities... We need to be careful about what we wish for from a superintelligence, because we might get it."

So, while you're having fun improving your browser-based paperclip enterprise, remember that you're essentially simulating the total extinction and eradication of humanity and everything it's ever created. Enjoy!

SEE ALSO: If you can solve this math problem you'll get a $1 million prize — and change internet security as we know it

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Here come the Fed minutes ...

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

janet yellen watch time

The Federal Reserve at 2 p.m. ET will release minutes of the policy meeting it held in September. 

The minutes will reiterate the thinking behind the Fed's key decisions at that meeting, including no change to the benchmark interest rate. They may also provide some detail on the central bank's inflation outlook and its expectations for a third rate increase later this year. 

At the meeting, the Fed confirmed it would soon start shrinking the $4.5 trillion balance sheet it grew after the recession. The Fed bought Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to keep borrowing costs low, and will gradually stop reinvesting these securities as they mature.

Besides this major policy shift, another big topic on the Fed's agenda was inflation, specifically the lack of it. The textbook stipulation that low unemployment should push up worker pay, spending, and subsequently prices, is not showing up as obviously as it should.

Low inflation, even with higher energy prices and a weaker dollar is "more of a mystery," Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a post-meeting press conference. "I will not say that the Committee clearly understands what the causes are of that."

The minutes come two days before Fed Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer is set to step down; he cited "personal reasons" in a September 6 statement. And, President Donald Trump said two weeks ago Friday that he would make an announcement on the next Fed chair in two to three weeks. Yellen's first four-year term ends in February.

More to come ...

SEE ALSO: The Fed is putting too much faith in dubious economic models — and American jobs are at stake

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The Las Vegas shooting is just the beginning of a nightmare for the Mandalay Bay hotel

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Mandalay Bay las vegas shooting

  • A 21-year-old victim of the Las Vegas shooting has filed a lawsuit against the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the staging point for the deadliest shooting in modern US history.
  • Legal experts say it's almost certain that other victims of the Las Vegas shooting will attempt to hold the hotel liable in court.
  • Even if hotel employees couldn't have prevented the shooting, it could be used to argue that hotels need to take stronger measures to prevent mass shootings.

A victim of the Las Vegas shooting has filed a lawsuit against the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

She is unlikely to be the only one to do so.

On Monday, Paige Gasper filed a lawsuit against the Mandalay Bay and MGM Resorts International, the hotel's parent company, as well as concert organizer Live Nation Entertainment Inc., bump stock maker Slide Fire Solutions LP, and the estate of Stephen Paddock. The 21-year-old was shot in the chest when Paddock opened fire from the hotel on 22,000 people attending a music festival in Las Vegas, according to the complaint.

Paddock stockpiled weapons in his hotel room before firing from the windows of his 32nd-floor suite into the crowd of people across the street, leaving 58 people dead and more than 500 others wounded before Paddock killed himself as security forces closed in.

Before Gasper filed the case, legal experts told Business Insider that victims of the shooting were likely to bring lawsuits against MGM Resorts and the Mandalay Bay. Plaintiffs will most likely seek damages for things like medical expenses or disabilities resulting from the shooting.

"The tragic incident that took place on October 1st was a meticulously planned, evil senseless act," MGM Resorts spokesperson, Debra DeShong, said in a statment to Business Insider. "As our company and city work through the healing process, our primary focus and concern is taking actions to support the victims and their families, our guests and employees and cooperating with law enforcement."

"Out of respect for the victims we are not going to try this case in the public domain and we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels," DeShong continued. 

Gasper's case provides an early glimpse at arguments other victims may make against the hotel.

'Negligent' preventative measures

Paige Gasper

The crux of Gasper's argument is that the company failed to "maintain the Mandalay Bay premises in a reasonably safe condition."

First, there's an apparent lack of surveillance. The plaintiff claims that the Mandalay Bay failed to properly surveil guests and failed to monitor premises using security cameras. Additionally, it argues that the Mandalay Bay "failed to adequately train and supervise employees on the reporting and discovery of suspicious individuals and/or person and/or activity."

Employees at major hotel chains are trained to report suspicious behavior from guests, said Dick Hudak, a managing partner of Resort Security Consulting. In Paddock's case, however, they seemed to miss a few potential red flags.

Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting

In the three days between when Paddock checked into the hotel and when he carried out the shooting, he brought at least 10 suitcases filled with firearms into his room. Police officials said Paddock also constructed an elaborate surveillance system in the hotel, placing two cameras in the hallway outside his suite — one on a service cart — as well as a camera in his door's peephole.

The complaint highlights the Mandalay Bay's failure to notice or prevent Paddock's weapon stockpiling and surveillance cameras as two failures for which the hotel should be held legally liable.

"He gave us a clue there that something bad was going to happen," Hudak, a former FBI agent who was previously the director of security at Sheraton and is not involved in the investigation, said of the cameras.

Finally, the complaint cites statements from law-enforcement officers in saying that a Mandalay Bay security officer was shot by Paddock before Paddock began shooting into the crowd. The complaint therefore accuses the Mandalay Bay of failing to "timely respond or otherwise act" in response to the officer's shooting.

"As evidenced by law-enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review," DeShong said Tuesday night in a statement. "We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate."

Setting a precedent

mandalay bay windows las vegas shooting

If Gasper and other victims win their cases, it could help set a precedent for what hotels are legally responsible to do to ensure guests' safety.

As more mass shootings take place in the US, it's increasingly likely that attorneys will argue that hotels and other venues should see the potential for such a crime and make changes to prevent it.

"Foreseeability is one of the key components of liability," Hudak said.

The industry today has no national standards for security, and hotels aren't typically held accountable for guests' behavior.

Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law School, says it's "entirely feasible" that an attorney would make this argument based on the fact that mass shootings have taken place at other entertainment venues.

"If Congress isn't regulating gun ownership, it is going to be private parties ... who end up regulating their own premises," Feldman said.

SEE ALSO: A 21-year-old who was shot in the chest during the Las Vegas shooting is suing the Mandalay Bay hotel

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CREDIT SUISSE: The headlines around the Amazon-Whole Foods deal have been focusing on the wrong thing (AMZN)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Amazon

Price cuts are not the only thing that Amazon's Whole Foods deal can deliver.

According to Credit Suisse Analyst Stephen Ju, delivery and order fulfillment services is where the money is at.

"While most of the headlines around the Whole Foods acquisition have been about price cuts, we believe the real path for Amazon to create lasting shareholder value is through fulfillment and delivery via Prime Now," Ju wrote in a note sent out to clients on Tuesday.

Ju believes it has a lot to do with untapped potential in the Amazon's Prime Now delivery service, which can  deliver products to consumers within two hours

As it currently stands, there is only a 50.4% overlap with Prime Now delivery service availability and Whole Foods brick-and-mortar stores.  Ju predicts that the expansion of Prime Now to areas where it is currently unavailable will go from 50% to 70% of zip codes with Whole Foods stores by 2022. Should that number reach 100%, Amazon's value could increase by 22%, Ju says.   

Additionally, Amazon has increased its spending on streaming and media content to compete with Netflix and Disney, and has injected cash into its ecommerce segments to better integrate its robot army of workers, which should also prime it for a solid third quarter, according to Ju.

This is welcome news after Amazon's second-quarter earnings fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

Shares of Amazon's are up 31.32% this year.

To read more about the next phase in ecommerce delivery, click here.

Amazon stock price

 

SEE ALSO: The next phase of online shopping is delivery right into your home or car

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein speaks during the plenary session titled Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

All you need is a working Twitter account to know that President Donald Trump tries to take credit every time the stock market hits a record high. 

It's a routine that has played out in 2017 as the S&P 500 has stretched well into the ninth year of a bull market that has brought it back to unprecedented highs. And Trump was back at it again Wednesday morning, with a series of tweets playing up his role in the stock market's latest ascent to record levels.

So is Trump right? Business Insider's Joe Ciolli graded his claims

In Wall Street news, Balyasny, a $12 billion hedge fund, is ramping up for earnings season – and it has a lot on the line

A longtime exec at Bridgewater, the world's largest hedge fund, is reportedly stepping down. Billionaire Steve Cohen has lost his top trader ahead of his supersize hedge fund launch. And BlackRock posted a 8.2% rise in quarterly profit

Goldman Sachs made a big hire for a newly created role, and it hints at the future of the Wall Street giant. And the bank has created a "brain trust" to pitch mega deals to the likes of Warren Buffett.

Blackstone chief Steve Schwarzman was asked what the president is doing for women, and it got pretty awkward.

In economics, millennials are being "left behind," and it poses a huge risk to the US economy.

In markets news and views: 

Lastly, go inside New York City's most expensive rental, which will set you back $500,000 a month.

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October Surprise: Ripple Price Surges 30% as RippleNet Adds 100th Member

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Millennials are being 'left behind,' and it poses a huge risk to the US economy

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 12.00.29 PMThe unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% in September, its lowest since February 2001, and yet consumer loan defaults keep creeping up.

In fact, the divergence between the labor market on one hand, and consumer credit performance on the other, is at a record. What figures?

UBS analysts led by Matthew Mish and Stephen Caprio set out to answer that question, and their findings highlight the financial difficulties many millennials are facing. 

According to Mish and Caprio, there are two cohorts that have been left behind by the labor market: lower income households, and millennials. 

"The most underappreciated factor explaining consumer stress is the two-speed recovery in US consumer finances," they said. 

The two strategists dived into the Fed's latest Survey of Consumer Finances to calculate a bunch of metrics, including the the levels of debt to assets and income across across different age cohorts. Those ratios are near record levels, with the millennial debt-to-income ratios in line with 2007 levels. 

Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 11.27.47 AMAnd that might not tell the whole story. The Fed survey suggests 38% of student loans are not making payment, while the structural shift from owning a home and paying a mortgage to renting means that more households are paying rent and making auto lease payments. In other words, they might have significant outgoings that aren't being captured in the debt figures. 

"We believe this is particularly problematic when assessing the financial obligation ratios of US millennials and lower income consumers," UBS said. 

 

So what does this mean? Here's UBS: 

"Longer term, the two-tier recovery in consumer finances suggests key segments of the US population (lower income, millennial households) are more financially vulnerable than aggregate consumer credit metrics imply. In turn, these groups will be more sensitive to fluctuations in labor market conditions and interest rates ceteris paribus."

That's a touch worrying, especially at a time when interest rates are going up.

For context, millennials hold 18% of debt outstanding, according to UBS, and make up 19% of annual consumer expenditures. Together, the two cohorts "left behind," lower income households and millennials, make up about 15% to 20% of debt, and 27% to 33% of expenditure.

So if they're struggling, it has the potential to negatively impact the economy pretty significantly.

Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 11.46.01 AM

SEE ALSO: Millennials have very different spending habits than their parents

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Balyasny, a $12 billion hedge fund that's trailing its peers, is ramping up for a critical few weeks

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Trader

  • Balyasny, a $12 billion hedge fund, has been ramping up for the earnings season, when companies report their quarterly results.
  • The firm has struggled of late to put up strong numbers, and previously told clients that earnings are the big catalysts they'll need to get right "because that is when dispersion is most likely to occur."
  • The firm's funds gained 2.7% and 3.8% this year, lagging hedge fund peers.

Balyasny, a $12 billion hedge fund, is ramping up for earnings season – and has a lot on the line.

The Chicago-based firm has posted slight gains this year but is still losing to competitors, according to a September client letter seen by Business Insider.

The Chicago-based firm's Atlas Global fund gained 0.24% in September, bringing its year-to-date performance to 2.16%. The Atlas Enhanced fund gained 0.41% in September, bringing its year-to-date performance to 3.78%.

Those are slight gains for Balyasny. At mid-year, the firm's Atlas Global was close to flat while the Atlas Enhanced fund was up 0.78%, Business Insider previously reportedStill, Balyasny is lagging competitors. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index gained 5.7% this year through September.

Over the summer, founder Dmitriy Balyasny told clients that the stock market was challenging traditional stock pickers. In the letter, which was reported by Business Insider, he said that rise of passive investing, quant funds and a surge in hedge-fund assets had made the stock market more efficient, leaving fewer easy money-making opportunities.

"We think the challenges, consolidation, and changes in the industry are due to one main factor: There isn't enough alpha to make everyone happy," Balyasny said in the earlier letter.

A spokesman for Balyasny didn't respond to a request for comment.

Earnings catalysts

In the summer letter, Balyasny also said that the rise of passive investing had given increased importance to certain catalysts, such as earnings releases. Earnings are "extremely important to play — and play correctly — because that is when dispersion is most likely to occur," Balyasny wrote at the time.

Balyasny added: "We believe that as we continue to scale up deployment and enter summer earnings season, returns should improve back to our target range," Balyasny said.

In a September letter to clients reviewed by Business Insider, Balyasny says it is now ramping up for earnings season. "We are identifying fresh, variant ideas on both the long and short side," Balyasny wrote, adding:

"We are keeping an eye on the upcoming elections in Japan, the stand-off with North Korea, the possible selection of a new Fed chairman, and U.S. tax reform legislation as potential catalysts for shaking up the low volatility environment. "

Earnings season is just kicking off, with more than 200 companies due to report earnings on Thursday and Friday

Quick gains 

The September letter indicated that Balyasny's investment picks typically delivered a big chunk of their returns within a month of a position being initiated, but that the firm was also posting gains on positions it had held for a month or longer. 

"Year-to-date, 48.4% of our alpha has been made within one month of initiating a position," Balyasny wrote in the September letter. "While most of the alpha has been generated in first month, the 1-3 month bucket has improved considerably as the stock picking environment continues to normalize this year."

Performance in the Atlas Enhanced fund was driven by bets in the tech and consumer spaces, he added.

Balyasny managed $12.6 billion as of the start of the year, according to the HFI Billion Dollar Club ranking.

SEE ALSO: Billionaire Steve Cohen has lost his top trader ahead of his supersize hedge fund launch

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(+) Analysis: Bitcoin Corrects Below $4750 as Ripple Rebounds

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(+) Analysis: Bitcoin Corrects Below $4750 as Ripple Rebounds

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Trump ally Steve Schwarzman was asked what the president is doing for women, and it got pretty awkward

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trump steve schwarzman

At a conference about women in the workplace, Blackstone Group founder and CEO Steve Schwarzman was asked about what President Donald Trump was doing for women.

Things got awkward.

Schwarzman, a close friend and ally to the president, initially hesitated before largely talking around the question, redirecting the focus to the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and placing the burden on Congress.

"What is your long-term view on what President Trump is doing for women," a moderator asked Schwarzman on stage this week at The Wall Street Journal's Women in the Workplace conference

"Geez," Schwarzman responded, stammering for a several seconds before gathering a response.

He continued:

"The leader in the administration is Ivanka Trump. She's got a whole agenda of things to do for women. She's quite aggressive, in a lovely way, to try and press that agenda.

"I'm not an administrative spokesman, I'm just here for women's event. I think there's a real focus by here and responsiveness actually by her father to that. "

Trump has often come under fire regarding his treatment of women, the most serious instances including allegations of sexual assault and the vulgar "Billy Bush" audio recording in which he described groping women. He's called the allegations fabrications and passed off the audio recording as "locker room talk." 

As recently as last week, he came under fire for rolling back rules requiring employers to provide women birth control, provided it contradicts their religious or moral beliefs. 

When the moderator followed up with Schwarzman about the timeline for Ivanka Trump's agenda to show some results, Schwarzman deflected responsibility to Congress.

"Some of that's really stuff that the Congress has to do," Schwarzman said. "The US Congress has found some pretty unique ways to not accomplish things." 

You can watch the exchange below:

 

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Nearing Bottom? Litecoin Prices Consolidating After Rough September

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

September was a tough month for litecoin's price, but recent developments suggest that a floor may be forming in the market.

39-Year Old Father-of-3 Sells Everything for Bitcoin, Waits for Boom Time

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Kroger surges after announcing it may sell its convenience-store business (KR)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

kroger grocery store

Kroger said Wednesday that it was considering a sale of its convenience stores amid fierce competition in the grocery business. Its shares jumped 5% in early trading after the news. 

"We want to look at all options to ensure this part of the business is meeting its full potential," said Mike Schlotman, Kroger's CFO, in a premarket announcement. "Considering the current premium multiples for convenience stores, we feel it is our obligation as a management team to undertake this review."

Kroger's shares have dropped 12% since mid-June when Amazon stunned the grocery industry with its acquisition of Whole Foods. The company reported an 8% drop in second-quarter profits after aggressive cost cuts aimed at overcoming competition from Walmart and other retailers.  

Kroger said Wednesday it was unveiling a plan to revamp its stores, including bigger investments in ecommerce and more cost cuts.  

The 784 convenience stores under consideration for a sale earned $4 billion in revenues last year, including fuel. Kroger's supermarket fuel centers and its Turkey Hill Dairy brand are not under review. Kroger also operates pharmacies, jewelry stores and health clinics. 

Last week, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway said it agreed to acquire 38.6% of Pilot Travel Centers, the owner of the Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain.Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 9.41.09 AM

SEE ALSO: Amazon enacted a huge change in the way Whole Foods stores operate — and it could threaten food startups

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A former hedge fund manager says bitcoin is headed to $10,000 in 6-10 months

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Novogratz, Mike Novogratz, Fortress CEO, SALT

The Bitcoin bubble will continue blowing up until it inevitably pops, according to Michael Novogratz, a former manager at the $72 billion investor Fortress.

"It would not surprise me if, in the next six to 10 months, we're over $10,000," Novogratz told CNBC on Tuesday. Bitcoin traded near $4,823 per dollar at 11:31 a.m. ET on Monday, up 657% for the year.

At a recent meeting with institutional investors in San Francisco, he realized the "herd" was approaching to cash in on the booming demand for cryptocurrencies. The CEOs of major investment banks including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have recently commented publicly on bitcoin.

Novogratz is starting a $500 million crypto fund that invests in bitcoin, ethereum, and initial-coin offerings.

"Yes, it's a bubble," Novogratz said. "It's going to be one of the great manias of all time."

He said bubbles typically happen around things that that fundamentally change the way we live, like railroads and the internet. 

"We could never have understood the ubiquity of the internet in 2017 even at the height of the bubble," Novogratz said. "Ten years, 15 years from now, blockchains and decentralized systems will be everywhere."

Bitcoin is the bellwether of this "decentralized revolution" and is the easiest way for investors to get exposure, Novogratz said. He's betting that the underlying technology of bitcoin, which creates a decentralized and permanent ledger of every transaction made on the network, will thrive into his four kids' adult lives. 

"One day their boyfriend's going to give them digital flowers and they're going to enjoy the flowers," Novogratz said. "My mom would say 'I want real flowers.' As we move into a digital world, having a digital store of value makes more and more sense." 

SEE ALSO: KEN ROGOFF: Bitcoin will eventually collapse

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CREDIT SUISSE: Facebook is making more money on targeted ads than ever amid Russian controversy (FB)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Mark Zuckerberg happy

Facebook's main source of revenue, selling advertisements on its platforms, has come under intense scrutiny lately due to alleged election influence exerted by Russia through the company's platform. But, while not great for Facebook's public image, it doesn't seem to have put a dent in the company's business, according to Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju.

"It is the rising advertiser propensity to spend a greater portion of budgets on more targeted buys at effective CPMs more than double that of the untargeted buy," Ju said in a recent note to clients.

Ju said that concerns about a slowing ad business at Facebook look to be overblown. The social media giant hasn't added a significant number of ads to its platform, but the price of those ads has gone up as advertisers have opted for more expensive targeted ads, raising the average price per ad.

Increasing the average selling price of its ads is good news for Facebook, in that it doesn't need to increase the number of ads on its platform to see a bump in revenue. Wall Street analysts, like Ju, were concerned Facebook would eventually hit a wall in the number of ads it could place in its feed and therefore see business stall. But the increase in the average selling price seems to have solved those fears.

Facebook is working through issues around its targeted ad system, like the ability for advertisers to use racist terms when buying ads, or the propensity of bad actors to use targeted advertisements to spread false information, in the case of the Russian-bought ads during the 2016 presidential election.

Despite the controversies, it looks as if Facebook's advertising business is still healthy. Ju thinks the increase in the average selling price of Facebook's ads could lead to a $0.11 bump in the company's yearly earnings to $5.73 per share in 2017. The firm raised its price target for Facebook to $235 from $190 in anticipation of its third quarter results, which are due out on November 1.

Facebook is up 47.34% this year.

Read more about Facebook's chief security officer responding to criticism over fake news and ads here.

facebook stock price

SEE ALSO: Facebook's chief security officer hits back at people criticizing the company over fake news and ads

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Bitcoin-Ethereum Atomic Swap Code Now Open Source

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Developers have directly traded bitcoin for ethereum using an in-progress technology that aims to replace cryptocurrency exchanges with code.

CREDIT SUISSE: Advertisers are finally warming up to Snapchat (SNAP)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

snapchat

Advertisers that are used to producing ads in traditional, horizontal formats might finally be warming up to Snapchat's unique vertical orientation.

The app's parent company, Snap Inc., in July launched a new self-service 'Snap Publisher' tool for advertisers to cut vertical ads in less than two minutes, which should entice more advertisers to try out the platform, according to Credit Suisse.

"As most of the large brand advertisers are already sitting on horizontally-formatted creatives, taking the friction down in porting the ad content into a vertical format vs. creating a new ad should bolster the incentive to test the platform," analyst Stephen Ju said in a note Wednesday morning.

The Swiss bank has raised its price target for Snap ahead of earnings to $20 from $17 — a price the stock hasn't traded at since June, and well above Wall Street's consensus of $15, according to Bloomberg data.

"While we concede that it has taken longer than anticipated," Ju said. "We submit that Snap is taking the necessary steps in the background to reduce friction against incremental ad budget allocations."

Credit Suisse estimates that the cost per one thousand clicks fell as low as $2.35 during the second quarter of 2017,  but have begun to rebound.

"As the company takes additional steps to evangelize the platform and attract more advertisers, we are hoping to see greater auction pressure build throughout 3Q and 4Q," said Ju.

Shares of Snap are up 2.79% in trading Wednesday morning, but are still down more than 40% from its $29.44 peak, hit just after shares began trading in March. The company is expected to report earnings on November 15. 

Snap stock price

SEE ALSO: Snap just made it easier for brands of all sizes to create ads on the platform

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Bitcoin Price Will Reach $10,000 in 6-10 Months: Billionaire Wall Street Mogul

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The number of US job openings fell in August

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

lightning

Job openings in the US fell in August, which may have been impacted by the hurricanes that swept through much of the southern coastal parts of the country.

Openings totaled 6.082 million from a downwardly revised 6.14 million in July, according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released by the Labor Department.

The numbers missed expectations from a survey of Wall Street economists conducted by Bloomberg, which forecast 6.125 million openings as a result of the extreme weather events.

Healthcare had the biggest increase in job openings, adding 71,000, followed by durable goods manufacturing, which added 31,000. However, the areas hardest hit were in services, education, and nondurable goods manufacturing, according to the report.

The pace of hiring was little changed at 3.7% from 3.8% the previous month, with 5.4 million hires in August.

The JOLTS report also found that the number of quits dropped off slightly to 3.1 million in August from 3.2 million in the previous month, the report found. Quits fell in the information and mining and logging sectors.

In September, the US economy lost more jobs than it created for the first time in seven years, according to the Labor Department's last jobs report. The unemployment rate hit to its lowest rate since February, at 4.2%.

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The 'Trump trade' is back and Ray Dalio breaks down the bitcoin bubble

The number of US job openings fell in August

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

lightning

Job openings in the US fell in August, likely due to the hurricanes that swept through much of the southern coastal parts of the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Openings totaled 6.082 million from a downwardly revised 6.14 million in July, according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The US fell in line with expectations from a survey of Wall Street economists conducted by Bloomberg, which forecast 6.125 million openings as a result of the extreme weather events.

The pace of hiring was little changed at 3.7% from 3.8% the previous month, with 5.4 million hires in August.

In September, the US economy lost more jobs than it created for the first time in seven years, according to the Labor Department's last jobs report.

Healthcare had the biggest increase in job openings, adding 71,000, followed by durable goods manufacturing, adding 31,000. However, the areas hardest hit were in services, education, and nondurable goods manufacturing, according to the report.

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The 'Trump trade' is back and Ray Dalio breaks down the bitcoin bubble

Op Ed: Is There a Future for Banking in a Cryptocurrency-Dominated World?

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Op Ed: Is There a Future for Banking in a Cryptocurrency-Dominated World?

What is the future of banking, central banking and financial intermediation in a world in which cryptocurrency is dominant? Let’s speculate a bit, with the proviso that no one can fully anticipate how these markets will evolve.

We can find hints in the speech by IMF head Christine Lagarde at a Bank of England conference in September 2017. She dropped some words that likely sent some chills down a few spines in the audience. She explained that cryptocurrency is not a passing fad but a genuine innovation in money. The only remaining barriers to widespread adoption are technical, fixable and likely to be overcome as the sector develops. This, she argued, has profound implications for the future of financial intermediation and central banks.

“In the future,” she explained, “we might keep minimal balances for payment services on electronic wallets. The remaining balances may be kept in mutual funds, or invested in peer-to-peer lending platforms with an edge in big data and artificial intelligence for automatic credit scoring … Some would argue that this puts a question mark on the fractional banking model we know today, if there are fewer bank deposits and money flows into the economy through new channels.”

She continued to press the point, as it relates directly to the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve.

“How would monetary policy be set in this context? Today’s central banks typically affect asset prices through primary dealers, or big banks, to which they provide liquidity at fixed prices — so-called open-market operations. But if these banks were to become less relevant in the new financial world, and demand for central bank balances were to diminish, could monetary policy transmission remain as effective?”

She put a question mark after that last sentence, but she might as well have made the statement: Monetary policy cannot be effective in this world. In fact, it is worse. It might not matter at all.

It’s an astonishing thing to consider. For more than a century, academics, regulators, captains of finance and high-level government officials have worked to find the perfect monetary policy to stabilize the macroeconomy, provide liquidity for growth without inflation and otherwise become masters of economic planning.

But this entire machinery is premised on two important conditions. First, the government must have the monopoly on money. It has held this for more than a century. Government prints the money, controls its supply, imposes legal tender and regulates against the enforcement of contracts denominated in unofficial currency. And second, most of this money has to be held in some way in the banking system. If you take away both of those, the cause of central banking has a serious problem pursuing any form of monetary planning at all.

That is indeed a very different world. And it is no wonder that the ruling class is concerned.

Today, banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are experimenting with blockchain technology and cryptoassets. And Lagarde’s own statement might be seen to portend the issuance of a new global cryptocurrency to replace the Special Drawing Right. The core problem of these large-scale attempts to reproduce the power of the distributed ledger is that it might be too little, too late. The model of a new world of banking and credit is already revealing itself.

Would Banks Exist?

How is conventional banking affected by cryptocurrency? Lagarde offers that it raises questions about fractional-reserve banking, the practice of keeping fewer deposits on hand than can be immediately paid out to customers at any one time. The practice has been well established for hundreds of years, and yet it can lead to unwarranted expansions of credit and fuel system-wide instability.

Consider the history of banking. What was the purpose of the bank? There have been traditionally three primary functions that banks have provided since the ancient world.

The first has been to provide safe storage for money itself. This is the warehousing function. It is essential and worth paying for. People need a safe place to store their money.

The second is the loan function. The more credible the warehousing function becomes, the more the bank is in the position to leverage its specie holdings for its credit-granting functions. This is the origin of fractional-reserve banking. The bank cannot pay all depositors on demand. Instead, it relies on its financial soundness and a rate of return for depositors who entrust the bank with the responsibility of maintaining its balance sheet.

The third is the clearing system. Because there is always counterparty risk in such transactions — the bank and the depositor must trust each other to tell the truth and make good on promises — the system settles transactions and certifies that all promises to pay have been kept. In the period between the transaction and the clearing, money becomes a credit issued and accepted based on trust.

What happens to these three functions in a crypto-based monetary economy? Let’s go through them.

Warehousing

That money needed a warehouse has always been taken for granted. This was a technological limitation of salt, gold, silver and so on. Specie takes up space. You need a secure space for it. It is also weighty and impractical for moving from space to space by a single individual. Murray Rothbard, in his book “Mystery of Banking,” regrets that these factors even exist and pointedly says that if people had carried coins rather than relying on paper money from banks, we could have avoided a century of financial panic and inflation. That’s a theoretically sound point that runs into practical limitations. The reason for notes to represent specie is to facilitate trade in a way that meets the needs of consumers.

However, thanks to Bitcoin, we can now see that this warehousing service was in demand due to physical factors and not fundamental ones. Bitcoin has all the attributes of traditional money but adds two advantages: it is weightless and takes up no physical space.

The money is “stored” in the cloud on the blockchain. The personal wallet serves the function of providing access via double-key cryptography. If you have your private key — and this can be on physical paper or on a device not even connected to the internet — you have all you need to set up your own private banking empire. Anyone in the world can do it without trust relationships, personal identification or credit history. The institutions that seem like banks — services like Coinbase that hold your key for you — maintain a full-reserve policy or risk losing the trust of their customers.

It is impossible to anticipate what kinds of crypto-derivatives will end up being securitized and traded in the future. Surely, the last nine years of the previously impossible should cause everyone to be humble in their predictive outlook. That said, there is good reason to believe that the diminution of counterparty risk inherent in every non-cash transaction will drive markets toward greater accountability in every sense. And this alone might solve the age-old debate about fractional versus full reserves with the best possible resolution.

The question does not have to be resolved by intellectuals and policies. It is settled by the market, so long as technology permits people to pay for goods and services with a spaceless and weightless money that requires no warehousing.

Clearing

As for clearing, the single most difficult-to-grasp feature of Bitcoin is the manner in which it reduces or eliminates counterparty risk associated with monetary exchange. Transactions are cleared as they are made. This has never before been possible in the history of money and finance on a geographically noncontiguous basis. With traditional money, for clearing to occur instantly, you have to actually be there, trading physical dollars for goods and services.

Cryptocurrency reproduces this exact financial arrangement on a peer-to-peer basis between any two individuals anywhere in the world. You are literally trading your stuff for his or her stuff. Ownership titles are rearranged when the transaction is confirmed in the ledger.

What role is then here for traditional banks to be the guardians of settlement? When it comes to clearing services, so far as I can tell, that role is eliminated for all transactions that are settled in the instant of their confirmation (the time delay involved in moving crypto is nothing more than a delay; it creates no credits).

What About Credit?

We are habituated into thinking that the whole world runs on credit. That’s because it does. This isn’t because we are financially irresponsible, are unable to say no, absolutely adore large financial institutions or are willing to pay high rates of interest. It’s because the sophistication of modern financial technology has been hobbled by old-fashioned payment technology that still operates today the way it did in the time of the Medicis.

In any case, the fundamentals are the same in conventional finance today as compared with the Medicis. It still relies on trust relationships, credit instruments that represent property but do not embody it, and a time delay for transactions to clear. As a result, every transaction that is not conducted in person via cash depends on some extension of credit and thus involves intermediating third parties, and that in turn necessarily involves some counterparty risk.

It is fascinating how little we understand this today, but the truth becomes obvious on close examination: Every transaction today is either based on cash (instant title exchange and clearing) or credit (which involves trust relationships and counterparty risk). Services like Venmo, Google Payments, PayPal or dozens of others are no different in this respect from Visa, Mastercard or American Express. They can be more or less expensive, charge different user fees, and employ different interfaces and security protocols. But in the end, these services all rely on credit terms and do not offer instant clearing. They simply cannot because the decrepit technology of national monies does not allow it.

Cryptocurrency as a means of facilitating exchange is different in another respect. Its value is not tied to a nationalized currency at all. Not only that, it has no value as a commodity or asset at all. Its value is based on the use value of services provided by the cloud-based distributed ledger.

The massive use of credit-based exchanges as we see in national monies would not exist in Bitcoin precisely because the technology disintermediates the financial industry, removing both the need for trust relationships as well as clearing services. Might there emerge a market for crypto-substitute monetary derivatives? Only the evolution of these markets can reveal this for sure, but this much remains true. It will not be about creating new money being allowed by the protocol. The distinction between money and money substitutes will be clear and not obscured by retrograde documentation technology.

At the same time, the scaling problem of prevailing blockchain solutions will likely necessitate a convention of using off-chain platforms for smaller transactions, as Nick Szabo has suggested. Such transactions do involve counterparty risk but not credit creation as such; such networks operate more like debit cards. The main blockchains will likely be used for final settlements while “lightning networks” become trust-based credit tools (money substitutes) — by choice but not by necessity.

Additionally, the massive industry associated with credit-based transactions includes a vast machinery of fraud prevention and prevention of identity theft. This is also made unnecessary because identity is cryptographic and not personal.

Credit Markets

All this said, there is still a role for credit markets in cryptocurrency. They emerge precisely as they would in a purely specie-based monetary regime in which everyone carried around their own coins or stored them in the home. If you have excess monetary reserves in your own possession, you may be willing to loan them for others to use and do so at a profit. In order to reduce the risk of default and guarantee your investment, you need collateral; this can take any form. You also need to establish a trust relationship, same as with any other loan market.  

The difference is subtle but foundational. When you loan virtual money, you lose title to that money, just as if you had transferred physical property. Contractual terms would specify the ways in which a later exchange would occur in accordance with the terms of use. Again, the way to think about this is how it works in a cash economy: You loan a friend $20 and hand him cash. You cannot get it back by force. As the lender you rely on establishing a contractual relationship that creates expectations for future payment, along with some measure of risk.

These markets have already developed. Companies like Bitbond and BTCPOP offer services both for lending money and borrowing money, with the terms of exchange favoring both parties. For now, such standalone services are risky simply because the upstart sector is replete with sketchy schemes and fraud (“Lend your BTC to me and I will pay you back, I promise.”).

Much more promising is a simple margin lender service provided by dollar/Bitcoin exchanges themselves. The borrower does not take direct possession of the coins but is rather extended by the exchange at the behest of the customer who wants to earn a regular rate of return. An example is the lending service provided by Poloniex. The trouble these markets have so far encountered is that holding crypto is more profitable than lending it at prevailing rates. This might not always be true.

As these markets develop, it would not be a surprise to discover that the rate of return for the lender would be above the rate one would earn from nationalized money. The risk of default would not be guaranteed in any way as with government-backed financial institutions, much less a central bank that is capable of printing unlimited amounts of money. On the other hand, this would also eliminate the moral hazard of making unwise loans or securitizing debt obligations without proper documentation, such as happened during the housing bubble.

In the century of central banking, we’ve seen interest rates decline inexorably and the terms of credit issuance shifting dramatically to favor longer terms, ever less collateral and ever more confusing titles for ownership. In cryptocurrency-based credit markets, we are likely to see the opposite trend: shorter terms, higher collateral requirements, very clear titles demarcating indisputable rights of ownership and enforcement of terms built into lending protocols.

The Future of Sound Money

Christine Lagarde is right: There are dramatic challenges to the status quo that are being offered up by the advent of cryptocurrency. Monetary exchange will operate the same as cash exchange, and the sophistication of our payment and settlement technologies will sync up with the sophistication of our financial tools.

In some respects, cryptocurrency might appear to be more stingy than our current highly leveraged, unstable and centrally regulated systems. In contrast, the new world will be financially sound, stable, radically disintermediated, decentralized and democratized because anyone, of any financial means and access to financial institutions, can participate within it.

We’ve only begun to think about what a radical change it would be if our money actually gained value over time (as crypto has for nine years, and the dollar did in the late 19th century), so that you actually grow more wealthy merely by not spending. Such a change would be huge, not only for finance but also for the culture at large.

For more than a century, the banking system has been used to fund the state, destabilize the economy, loot private savings, exclude people who don’t have access, promote financial dependency and even make violence possible on an unprecedented scale, all because we didn’t have a different technology for making possible monetary exchange. That monopoly is now being shattered. Sound money is born. The panic of the ruling class has just begun.

The post Op Ed: Is There a Future for Banking in a Cryptocurrency-Dominated World? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Settles Down to $4,830 as Altcoins Initiate Minor Recovery

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Bitcoin Price Settles Down to $4,830 as Altcoins Initiate Minor Recovery

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Billionaire Mike Novogratz: Bitcoin's Price Will Reach $10k in Less Than a Year

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ex-fund manager Michael Novogratz has said in an interview that he believes the value of a bitcoin will reach $10,000 in six to 10 months.

Globitex Launch Token Sale for Spot and Derivatives Exchange in Bitcoin

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Bitcoin isn't money — its a 'censorship-resistant asset class'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin money laundering virtual currency transactions

LONDON – Cryptocurrency Bitcoin isn't technically money in the full sense of the word, according to analysts at Bernstein.

While it allows transactions in a similar way to cash, Bitcoin is still just a "censorship-resistant asset class," out of the reach of state control and yet to form a part of the system of settlement and credit that defines money.

"Fiat money is still the final form of settlement – governments still collect taxes in fiat money and salaries are still paid in fiat money," a team of analysts led by Gautam Chhugani and Gaurav Jangale said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

"Thus, for now, Bitcoin has only emerged as a 'censorship resistant' asset class," Bernstein said.

The cryptocurrency, which is hovering around the $4,800 mark, is more like an economy run by its users rather than a threat to mainstream money.

"Bitcoin could be seen as virtual 'bearer cash' economy supported by a decentralized 'trustless' network – a new crypto economy with its own protocol or policy," Bernstein said. "The faith of its citizens– software developers, miners, investors, early individual and sovereign state adopters would drive the value of that network."

Bitcoin hit nearly $5,000 at the beginning of September, but quickly saw its price decline amid news of a crackdown in China and criticism from JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. After bottoming out near $2,900 per coin on September 15, it has since rallied.

Bernstein said that money evolved as a system of keeping track of and clearing IOUs, rather than as a metal token in lieu of a barter system, a function that Bitcoin is yet to fulfil in the wider economy.

Here's the chart to explain:Bernstein money history

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NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

The dollar is under pressure ahead of the Fed minutes

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

us dollar index

The dollar is under pressure ahead of the Fed minutes.

The US dollar index was down by 0.2% at 93.14 at 8:16 a.m. ET.

"The dollar remains under pressure this morning, as a few familiar themes run in the background," Mark McCormick, North American head of FX Strategy at TD Securities, said in emailed commentary.

"[W]e expect the downside to persist this afternoon, with the market likely to overreact to any dovish headlines in the minutes."

The Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes from its September meeting at 2 p.m. ET. 

Traders will be looking for further indications that the central bank will hike interests rates again later this year.

As for the rest of the world, here was the scoreboard at 8:19 a.m. ET:

  • The euro was up by 0.3% at 1.1837 against the dollar.
  • The Japanese yen was higher by 0.3% at 112.15 per dollar.
  • The British pound was little changed at 1.3191 against the dollar.
  • The Indian rupee was little changed at 65.150 per dollar.
  • The Russian ruble was stronger by 0.3% at 57.8311 per dollar.

SEE ALSO: The winner of this year's Nobel Prize in economics says he's 'nervous' about stocks

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The 'Trump trade' is back and Ray Dalio breaks down the bitcoin bubble

Bitcoin Stumbles Near New High But $5k Price Still in Play

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin bears may have had the upper hand in their fight with the bulls on Tuesday, but the cryptocurrency is still on the hunt for $5,000 levels.

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, EFX)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Trudeau Ivanka

Here is what you need to know. 

The US stock market is on the cusp of historyThe S&P 500 has delivered a total return gain for every month of 2017, matching 1995 as the only occurrences in history, Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid says. It's on track to break the record with a 10th straight month of gains, trading up 1.24% so far in October. 

Stocks are behaving in a way not seen since the tech bubbleAs of earlier this month, 65% of the risk associated with the average S&P 500 stock was inexplainable by a set of six macro risk factors maintained by Morgan Stanley over the past 252 days, the highest since 2001 Morgan Stanley data show.

Bitcoin hits a record highThe cryptocurrency touched a record high of $4,926 a coin on Tuesday, Bloomberg data shows, and currently trades near $4,820. 

Steve Cohen loses his top traderPhil Villhauer is leaving Point 72 ahead of Cohen's return to managing outside money, the New York Times reports, citing an internal memo. 

The extent of the Equifax hack keeps growingThe credit reporting agency announced on Tuesday that hackers accessed the records of 15.2 million clients in Britain, Reuters says. Overall, about 145.5 million clients have had their information compromised.    

Japan's Kobe Steel is under fire for fudging its metals dataJapan's third largest steel maker has plunged more than 35% over the past two sessions after admitting to selling aluminum and copper materials using falsified data on such things as the products' strength, the Associated Press reports. 

The FOMC releases the minutes from its September meetingTraders will be looking for further indications the central bank will hike rates again later this year. The minutes will cross the wires at 2 p.m. ET. 

Japan's Nikkei closes at its best level since 1996. The Nikkei gained 0.28% on Wednesday, supported by defensive names. Elsewhere, Germany's DAX (+0.08%) leads a quiet session higher in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,549.

Earnings reports trickle out. BlackRock and Delta Air Lines report ahead of the opening bell.  

US economic data is lightJOLTS Job Openings will be announced at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 2 basis points at 2.34%. 

Join the conversation about this story »

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, EFX)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Trudeau Ivanka

Here is what you need to know.

The US stock market is on the cusp of history. The S&P 500 has delivered a total-return gain for every month of 2017, matching 1995 as the only occurrences in history, Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid says. It's on track to break the record with a 10th straight month of gains, trading up 1.24% in October.

Stocks are behaving in a way not seen since the tech bubble. As of earlier this month, 65% of the risk associated with the average S&P 500 stock was inexplainable by a set of six macro risk factors maintained by Morgan Stanley over the past 252 days, the highest since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley data.

Bitcoin hits a record high. The cryptocurrency touched a record high of $4,926 a coin on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg data, and now trades near $4,820.

Steve Cohen loses his top trader. Phil Villhauer is leaving Point72 ahead of Cohen's return to managing outside money, The New York Times reports, citing an internal memo.

The extent of the Equifax hack keeps growing. The credit-reporting agency on Tuesday announced that hackers accessed the records of 15.2 million clients in Britain, Reuters says. Overall, about 145.5 million clients have had their information compromised.

Japan's Kobe Steel is under fire for fudging its metals data. Japan's third-largest steelmaker has plunged more than 35% over the past two sessions after admitting to selling aluminum and copper materials using falsified data on such things as the products' strength, the Associated Press reports.

The FOMC releases the minutes from its September meeting. Traders will be looking for further indications that the central bank will hike interests rates again later this year. The Federal Open Market Committee minutes will cross the wires at 2 p.m. ET.

Japan's Nikkei closes at its best level since 1996. The Nikkei gained 0.28% on Wednesday, supported by defensive names. Elsewhere, Germany's DAX (+0.08%) leads a quiet session higher in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,549.

Earnings reports trickle out. BlackRock and Delta Air Lines report ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data is light. Jolts Job Openings will be announced at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 2 basis points at 2.34%.

Join the conversation about this story »

BitJob Partners with Bitcoin Brains for ATM Access

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post BitJob Partners with Bitcoin Brains for ATM Access appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Financial Forecaster Gary Shilling Won't Invest In a 'Black Box' Like Bitcoin

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Financial forecaster Gary Shilling has said in an interview that he does not understand bitcoin and has no plans to invest in it.

Ripio Raises $31 Million in Private Ethereum Token Sale

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin startup Ripio has raised $31 million as part of a token presale ahead of a new credit network launch.

Billionaire Steve Cohen has lost his top trader ahead of his supersize hedge fund launch

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

steve cohen

Billionaire Steve Cohen's longtime top trader is leaving ahead of the hedge fund manager's expected supersize return to managing outside money.

Phil Villhauer is leaving Cohen's family office, Point72, after working for Cohen since 2002, the New York Times reported earlier Tuesday, citing an internal memo.

Villhauer got his start at Cohen's SAC Capital, which was shut down for insider trading. Cohen turned SAC into an $11 billion family office following a settlement with the government. Cohen is widely expected to accept outside money again starting next year, when a ban on him managing outside money ends.

A spokesman for Point72 confirmed that Villhauer is leaving and declined to comment further.

Cohen's relaunch is highly anticipated on Wall Street. Business Insider previously reported that investors are expected to pony up a minimum of $100 million for the chance to invest.

A person with direct knowledge of the launch earlier told Business Insider that the new fund is targeting close to $2 billion in outsiders' money – a steep drop from previously cited figures nearing $10 billion.

SEE ALSO: There's a big question hanging over the most anticipated hedge fund launch in history

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

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