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Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

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

Business Insider's Henry Blodget and Sara Silverstein talk bitcoin, which has dipped below 16,000 after almost reaching 20,000. Silverstein says that could be because the cryptocurrency's counterpart, bitcoin cash, was somewhat legitimized when it was added to Coinbase. Blodget notes the large number of cryptocurrency offshoots and says it reminds him of the late 90s dotcom bubble. He then highlights a recent report from investment manager and former Merrill Lynch chief investment strategist Richard Bernstein, which says that bitcoin meets all five criteria for a bubble. Blodget also says that bitcoin can be both a bubble and a profound new technology, stressing that those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive. 

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Bitcoin A Good Bet For Millennials, Says Bullish Strategist Tom Lee

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

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Tom Lee, co-founder of the market strategy firm FundStrat Global Advisors and an outspoken bitcoin bull, sees bitcoin as a valid investment for young people. Lee told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday that bitcoin makes a lot of sense as a store of value. One of the key advantages to bitcoin is that its value is

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THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

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

This week:

  • Business Insider editor-at-large Sara Silverstein discusses Mexican food chain Qdoba's sale to private equity firm Apollo for $305 million, and breaks down what it might mean for Chipotle's valuation. She notes that Qdoba is valued at under $1 million per store, while Chipotle is currently trading at about $3.5 million per store.
  • Business Insider CEO and noted Chipotle enthusiast Henry Blodget joins the discussion, admitting that he's never eaten at Qdoba, and that he'll continue to favor Chipotle. Silverstein outlines some of Qdoba's positives: it's always had queso dip, its queso and guacamole are free, and it has a bigger menu, including quesadillas. Blodget concludes that the comparison between the two is worrisome for Chipotle.
  • Blodget discusses Apple, whose stock is up more than 90% over the past five years. He references a research report from Nomura Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal, who lowered his rating on the company to neutral. Kvaal argues that Apple's shares have historically contracted after a product supercycle, and that the iPhone X cycle is nearing an end. He notes that the company's 15x valuation matches past supercycle highs, after which it's dropped to 8x-9x. Blodget mentions rumors around another iPhone X that will supposedly be even bigger than the current model, and says that could lead to another product cycle.
  • Blodget and Silverstein talk bitcoin, which has dipped below 16,000 after almost reaching 20,000. Silverstein says that could be because the cryptocurrency's counterpart, bitcoin cash, was somewhat legitimized when it was added to Coinbase. Blodget notes the large number of cryptocurrency offshoots, and says it reminds him of the late 90s dotcom bubble. He then highlights a recent report from investment manager and former Merrill Lynch chief investment strategist Richard Bernstein, which says that bitcoin meets all five criteria of a bubble. Blodget also says that bitcoin can be both a bubble and a profound new technology, stressing that those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive. 
  • Silverstein sits down with Jeffrey Kleintop, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, who outlines his equity outlook for 2018. He's optimistic and cites what should be back-to-back years of broad global economic growth. He also mentions that earnings growth will continue to be strong after a banner year in 2017. On the downside, he notes that yield curves have flattened, which could be a negative for stocks with high valuations.
  • Kleintop outlines his biggest stock market risks for 2018, which include a Chinese economic growth slowdown, natural disasters, and geopolitics. He says that these possible risks could come into play in the second half of the year, if economic growth starts to slow. Kleintop doesn't express any worry around the Federal Reserve or inflation, saying that we're starting to see a clearer path for inflation, which will make the central bank more data dependent again. He also says the market is already braced for the Fed's rate hikes in 2018.
  • In terms of a geographical preference, Kleintop says that he favors international stocks, which are more cyclical, inflation-sensitive and attractively priced. He notes that the correlation between stocks around the world is at the lowest in 20 years, which improves the market for global diversification.
  • Silverstein asks Kleintop about tech stocks, which are carrying high valuations. He says Schwab still likes tech, which will benefit from increased business spending. Kleintop says that corporate tax cuts are not just exclusive to the US, and notes that they're happening all around the world. He argues that this will continue to help profit growth, which is what many investors are looking for right now. He also says that the full effect of tax reform is not being priced in.
  • Kleintop discusses a possible bubble in bitcoin. He says a crash will be different than the type of downturns that have historically occurred in markets, because it's not yet embedded in the financial system. He urges investors not to worry about a bitcoin crash — unless they own it.
  • In the Fidelity Insight of the week, Silverstein speaks with Denise Chisholm, a sector strategist for Fidelity Investments. Chisholm talks about earnings growth, noting that the US market was in a corporate profit recession from 2013 to 2016, which she attributes to a defensive rotation. She says that cyclical sector outperformance will remain a key theme in 2018. Chisholm highlights a continued decline in the dollar, which she says will boost corporate profit growth and lead to accelerated inflation. She also notes that economically sensitive sectors tend to outperform with higher rates, even though a lot of investors think higher rates are bad for growth. Chisholm goes on to say that, based on past instances of tax reform, it will be good for cyclical stocks, like tech, consumer discretionary, energy, industrials, financials, materials, and REITs. 

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STOCKS GRIND HIGHER: Here's what you need to know

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

ski lift

If you're a small company that investors usually overlook, a recent trend has been to pivot the company to focus on the blockchain. Companies that have done so tend to see their stocks skyrocket as soon as investors find out about the pivot, drawing comparisons to the dot-com bubble.

Each day this week a company's stock has skyrocketed because of some sort of blockchain pivot. On Thursday, there were two such companies. The World Poker Fund said it was acquiring a cryptocurrency wallet company, causing its stock skyrocket more than 100%. Additionally, The Long Island Ice Tea company changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp. and saw a 400% bump.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all rose on Thursday.

Here's the scoreboard:

  1. A US financial watchdog is warning investors about crypto 'pump and dump' schemes. FINRA, the US financial regulator, put out an alert on Thursday to warn investors.
  2. US GDP revised slightly lower on weaker consumer spending. The Commerce Department bumped down third-quarter gross domestic product in a third estimate released Thursday.
  3. An econ professor turned small-business owner breaks down his 3 big problems with the GOP tax plan. Tim Wulf, a Jimmy John's franchisee, says the Republican tax plan doesn't help small-business owners.
  4. Trump may not sign the tax bill until 2018 to avoid a Medicare disaster. Trump may delay the signing of the tax bill until January 3, due to the PAYGO (Pay As You Go) provision.
  5. The Feds say they just blew up a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme aimed at thousands of elderly people in Florida. The SEC filed charges against Robert H. Shapiro, alleging that he bilked investors out of $1.2 billion.

Other Stories

PRESENTING: Art Cashin's annual Christmas poem featuring the Patriots, bitcoin, and Trump's tweets

We asked a top hedge-fund recruiter what it takes to get a senior-level job these days

The Long Island Iced Tea company said it's pivoting to blockchain — and its stock is soaring by more than 400%

Poker company’s stock almost doubles after announcing it'll buy a cryptocurrency wallet

SEE ALSO: The Long Island Iced Tea company said it's pivoting to blockchain — and its stock is soaring by more than 400%

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NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a cryptocurrency trading desk

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

Goldman Sachs

  • Goldman Sachs is building a cryptocurrency trading desk, according to reporting by Bloomberg News.
  • The bank is preparing for a June launch, Bloomberg reported.


Goldman Sachs is reportedly gearing up to dive into the market for digital currencies.

Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the investment bank was preparing a cryptocurrency trading desk to trade digital currencies like bitcoin.

The red-hot digital currency has soared as much as 1,700% this year, hitting above $19,000 on some exchanges.

"The bank aims to get the business running by the end of June, if not earlier," Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the situation. 

The trading desk would likely be located within the bank's FICC unit, according to the Bloomberg report.

The news is striking considering CEO Lloyd Blankfein told Bloomberg in November it was too soon for the bank to think up a strategy.

If Goldman follows through on the plan, it would become the first major Wall Street bank to trade in the nascent, and volatile, cryptocurrency market.

Press representatives for the bank did not respond immediately for comment.

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NOW WATCH: Warren Buffett lives in a modest house that's worth .001% of his total wealth — here's what it looks like

Thank Kim Jong Un for your crypto gains

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

 Due to heavy sanctions placed on the country for its nuclear weapons testing, North Korea has long run a series of “side businesses” like drug trafficking, endangered species trading, money laundering, and currency counterfeiting to provide hard cash to the Kim regime. Naturally, bitcoin trading came next. There are a couple of ingredients needed to perfect the North’s… Read More

Bitcoin Named ‘Term of the Year’ by Investopedia

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

The post Bitcoin Named ‘Term of the Year’ by Investopedia appeared first on CCN

Financial education outlet Investopedia named Bitcoin is 2017 term of the year, highlighting the extent to which cryptocurrency has become part of the mainstream financial conversation. Bitcoin Named ‘Term of Year’ by Investopedia Earlier this week, Investopedia released its annual list of the Top Financial Terms, as measured by search volume and percentage gains over

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The Feds say they just blew up a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme aimed at thousands of old people in Florida

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

senior citizens retirement

  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against Robert H. Shapiro, alleging that he bilked investors — many of them senior citizens — out of $1.2 billion as part of a Ponzi scheme.
  • All remaining assets have been frozen as the SEC pursues its case, which includes charges of fraud and violations of broker-dealer registration provisions.


The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against a group of unregistered investment funds and their owner, alleging a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

Robert H. Shapiro is being accused of using a group of unregistered investment firms, collectively called the Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC, to defraud more than 8,400 investors — many of them senior citizens. Formerly headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, the company allegedly promised to pay investors interest of 5% to 10% annually.

Woodbridge claimed that its primary business was the issuance of loans to supposed third-party commercial property owners, which they said paid 11% to 15% annual interest. Yet the SEC's complaint alleges that the "vast majority" of borrowers were companies owned by Shapiro that had no income and never made such interest payments.

"Our complaint alleges that Woodbridge’s business model was a sham," Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a release. "The only way Woodbridge was able to pay investors their dividends and interest payments was through the constant infusion of new investor money.

"Our complaint further alleges that Shapiro used a web of layered companies to conceal his ownership interest in the purported third-party borrowers,” added Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami regional office. “Shapiro used the scheme to line his pockets with millions of investor dollars."

Shapiro and Woodbridge are also accused of trying to keep investors from exiting their positions at the end of their terms, and in turn boasted of a 90% renewal rate in marketing materials. Further, they allegedly paid $64.5 million in commissions to sales agents who pitched the opportunities as "low risk" and "conservative" to potential clients.

The complaint also alleges that Shapiro funneled $21 million to himself, then spent that on chartered planes, country club fees, luxury vehicles and jewelry.

The SEC is pursuing the case in the wake of the alleged Ponzi scheme's collapse in early December, which came as Woodbridge stopped paying investors and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the complaint said. The commission has also frozen all affiliated assets.

Shapiro, Woodbridge, and certain related companies are being charged with fraud and violations of the securities and broker-dealer registration provisions of federal securities laws. As part of the proceeding, the SEC is pursuing the "return of the allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest and financial penalties."

An initial court hearing has been scheduled for December 29, 2017.

SEE ALSO: An econ professor turned small-business owner breaks down his 3 big problems with the GOP tax plan

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NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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.

Congress passed the final version of the Republican tax bill on Wednesday, capping off a furious seven-week push to bring about the most sweeping changes to the US tax code in decades. Here's what you need to know:

In markets news, Chipotle's latest health scare caught traders completely off-guard. And Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS, sent out his annual Christmas poem. And in crypto news:

Lastly, here are the 17 business books everyone will be reading in 2018.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund explains the value in cryptocurrency — and why the market will explode over the next 2 years

ZFX Token Fuels Investor Experiential Learning

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

ZFX Token Thumb

Common thinking suggests that investment markets are against you. 

This includes stocks, mutual funds and, of course, cryptocurrency. It’s in these sectors where unfair market advantages such as investors with better access to information and high-frequency trading are among the barriers that the average everyday trader is facing. This is why over half of investors lose money during their first year of investing. 

But one project believes there is a better way forward. ZFX Token, created by ZeroSumMarkets — a purveyor of peer trading foreign exchange (FX) competitions — aims to do that by revolutionizing the retail trading experience. In balancing the playing field by giving users a way to learn, test and compete against other traders, ZeroSum mitigates many of the trading fee barriers and market forces that hinder retail trader success. 

This innovative model is predicated on rewarding participants for their inherent skills as traders. It does this by eliminating trading fees and access to unfair advantages commonly seen in the FX world. In reducing costs, unfair algorithms, risks of trust and preferential access to information, ZeroSum opens up windows of possibility for retail traders to learn, experiment and compete against peers — and earn while doing it. 

In short, ZeroSum is a live ecosystem where FX traders compete head-to-head in skill-based competitions. No trading fees. No high-frequency traders. No algorithmic trading.

The ZFX Token fuels the ecosystem by serving as the conduit for exchanging and extracting monetary value from these fantasy competitions.  

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the tokens are designed to be highly transferable. It’s here where the ZeroSum platform aims to be the platform for all blockchain prediction markets competing against the likes of Augur and others in this nascent niche. Through the enabling of third-party application programming interface (API) support, a sentiment engine and the opportunity to create competitions tied to a data feed, the opportunities are immense. 

This ZFX tokenized model was seeded by a number of Wall Street traders who together brainstormed ideas about how to teach retail trading investors the tricks of the trade. They applied the concept of fantasy football to the world of trading so that both new and experienced traders could practice, learn and compete against one another. It’s designed to function as a peer-versus-peer platform, where winners of each competition take home real money. (ZFX tokens can be sold on the market for USD or other currencies.)

This concept, which has been in development since 2016, currently has thousands of active users who have tested it in beta. Over $300,000 of seed capital was initially raised for platform development and the beta launch. 

ZeroSum fantasy trading is experiential in the sense that users can participate without risking a ton of capital for FX trading or for cryptocurrency. By way of example, an otherwise reluctant newbie may see it as a way to test new investment strategies or try new options. For these reasons, it's a great way to get started for those unfamiliar with the deeper nuances of the industry. 

The Road Forward

The ZeroSum fantasy trading target market consists of FX, stock, cryptocurrency and retail investors in the U.S., primarily in Chicago and on the East and West Coasts. Three emerging trends are informing this path ahead: 

  1. FX markets continue to move the most amount of money per day.
  2. Cryptocurrency markets are highly volatile and will get more so as institutional investors pour into the space (through futures trading, options trading and more).
  3. Educating investors through a hands-on approach, where they can test, try and learn — without having to invest a lot of money or spend huge amounts on FX or cryptocurrency trading fees.

ZFX aims to become the fundamental means of exchange for fantasy competitions of any type that have a reliable data feed. Think FX competitions, stock trading competitions, weather prediction competitions, traffic prediction competitions — literally anything that has a reliable and accurate data feed will be possible.

The ZFX token sale is scheduled to begin January 3, 2018. This will allow further development to take place in terms of the platform, including more trading competitions as well as a sentiment data feed to find alpha signals. It is expected that the token will be listed on exchanges shortly thereafter. 

Included is a token bounty program where participants can earn up to 75 million ZFX tokens. It allows users to participate interactively and earn entries for every new participant they bring into the program.

Click here for more information and to sign up.

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high-risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.


The post ZFX Token Fuels Investor Experiential Learning appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Poker company’s stock almost doubles after announcing it'll buy a cryptocurrency wallet (WPFH)

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 21 at 12.39.56 PM

  • Shares of World Poker Fund Holdings, an over-the-counter name that develops "social gaming platforms," spiked nearly 100% Thursday after announcing it would acquire a cryptocurrency digital wallet company.
  • World Poker Fund Holdings was founded in 2011 and is based in Los Angeles, California.
  • It has a market cap of roughly $98,000.
  • Shares eventually settled in near $0.89, or up about 60%.
  • It’s the latest in a string of companies, including a Chinese juice manufacturer, a British video game company, and a New York tea bottler, that have seen similar spikes after announcing pivots to blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies.

SEE ALSO: The SEC just halted trading of a crypto company whose shares have soared 17,000% in three months

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NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Scared to Talk Bitcoin Over Christmas Dinner? Here Are 5 Points That Will Make You Sound Smarter

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

The cryptocurrency rocketed from $800 to $19,000 this year. Is it a scam or here to stay? Business leaders from Fidelity to Overstock.com cut through noise.

Bitcoin: My 400 coin bet paid off, but is it too late for others?

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

An entrepreneur funded her business by speculating on the crypto-currency, but is it too late for others?

GOLDMAN SACHS: Here's how to make a killing in early 2018

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

trader celebrate

  • Goldman Sachs finds that January has historically been filled with stock price-moving events, and recommends investors position accordingly.
  • Most of the fluctuations result from corporate guidance and preannouncements that take place leading up to fourth quarter earnings season.


Stock traders would be best advised to avoid a holiday hangover, because there have historically been huge money-making opportunities in January, when fourth quarter earnings season kicks off.

That's according to Goldman Sachs, which also notes that the options market isn't adequately priced for the stock fluctuations that are likely to come, despite the huge number of earnings preannouncements made during the first month of the year.

After analyzing 3,200 guidance updates since 2011, Goldman finds that 24% of them for the full year have come in January. And of those, 60% were from stocks in the healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors. The firm also says that price swings could be even more pronounced in 2018, in the wake of the recently passed GOP tax bill.

That data informed a handful of recommendations made by Katherine Fogertey and the Goldman equity derivatives team in a recent client note, which can be found below.

Screen Shot 2017 12 21 at 10.20.46 AM

Goldman's key first-quarter events that could whip up volatility, and accompanying suggestions:

  • Healthcare conferences that take place throughout January — These events are a hotbed for healthcare companies talking about their forward guidance and performance during the prior quarter. Goldman specifically recommends buying Illumina straddles ahead of potential updates and management presentations.
  • Retail holiday sales updates — A large number of retail companies either preannounce or discuss holiday sales trends during January. The firm specifically recommends buying GoPro puts, because the company's sales are trending below expectations, and the stock could dip on any sort of update.
  • The ICR Conference for retail and restaurants — This event has historically been a source of volatility for stocks in those industries. Goldman specifically recommends buying Jack in the Box straddles ahead of a January 9 investor presentation at the conference.
  • Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — This four-day event features many tech and consumer discretionary companies, and can be a time of considerable single-stock volatility. GoPro management is set to present, reiterating the put-buying recommendation above.
  • Detroit Auto Show — This six-day event draws attendance from all the major auto manufacturers and parts suppliers, and has historically been a source of price swings. Goldman notes that autonomous vehicles will be in focus in 2018.

In conclusion, don't sleep on the potential for major stock price shifts in January, because you could miss some serious chances to make a quick buck. After all, the unofficial start of earnings season comes January 17, when the market bellwether Alcoa reports.

SEE ALSO: An econ professor turned small-business owner breaks down his 3 big problems with the GOP tax plan

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

RAY DALIO ON TAX CUTS: 'We’re still not dealing with the bigger issues'

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

Dalio smaller 2x1

  • Republicans passed the Tax Reforms and Jobs Act this week, slashing corporate taxes while lowering them for some American individuals.
  • Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, took to LinkedIn to voice his concerns about the new policies.
  • He says the bill ignores key investments that will affect the economy's future. 


Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, has some concerns about the GOP's newly passed tax plan.

"When we look at the tax plan holistically, it looks to me like it’s a short-term minor boost to the economy that will have some minor positive longer-term impacts," the billionaire wrote on LinkedIn Thursday

Dalio expressed two concerns. First, the tax bill won't have a significant impact on economic conditions for the bottom 60% of the Americans who are struggling.  He said: 

It won’t have any notable effect on our biggest economic, social, and political issue, which is the conditions of the bottom 60% and the growing disparity with the top 40% (especially the growing disparity between the bottom 90% and the top 10%).

And second, it doesn't deal with the "impediments that are holding back investment and productivity in the US economy." Specifically, Dalio points to two places where the government should be investing more money. 

"The reforms to the structure of corporate taxes at the core of the bill will certainly make the US a more attractive environment to do business," he said. "But the impact of those changes is likely to be small relative to the improvement that could be achieved by investing more in things like infrastructure and education, which more directly boost productivity."

Dalio added: 

"There’s a tremendous opportunity cost arising from common sense sorts of things not being done or being cut back on—from not investing in infrastructure because of budget concerns and regulatory bureaucracy, to not improving education for similar economic and bureaucratic reasons.  So we’ll do the tax adjustment tweak and the regulatory tweak—a little bit here and a little bit there—but we won’t change things materially.  In other words, the headline is that we’re still not dealing with the bigger issues."

SEE ALSO: The founder of the world's largest hedge fund just shared brutal analysis of the US economy

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NOW WATCH: We talked to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman about tax reform, Trump, and bitcoin

A US financial watchdog is warning investors about crypto 'pump and dump' schemes

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

Richard Ketchum, chairman and CEO of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), speaks during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in New York, June 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

  

  • FINRA, the US financial regulator, put out an alert on Thursday to warn investors about risks associated with investing in companies linked to the cryptocurrency space.
  • Share prices of companies connected to the booming crypto market have skyrocketed recently.
  • Even companies with no history in the space have jumped on the crypto bandwagon.

 

Cryptomania is in full swing and one US regulator wants investors to be vigilant about scammers and fraud in the booming market for digital coins and blockchain technology.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) said in an alert Thursday investors should consider the risks associated with putting money into companies linked to the cryptocurrency space.

"Cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin) are in the news daily," the agency said. "FINRA is issuing this Alert to warn investors to be cautious when considering the purchase of shares of companies that tout the potential of high returns associated with cryptocurrency-related activities without the business fundamentals and transparent financial reporting to back up such claims."

Pivoting to blockchain is proving to be lucrative for some otherwise unheard of companies. On Thursday,  The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation announced it was changing its name to Long Blockchain. Gaming company Veltyco saw its stock price leap higher on Thursday after telling investors it has "commenced discussions with blockchain and cryptocurrency providers" about potential partnerships. The growing trend is reminding some people of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990's.

screen shot 2017 12 21 at 85032 am

FINRA said investors should do their research before investing in such companies, warning about potential "pump and dump" schemes.

"And don’t be fooled by unrealistic predictions of returns and claims made through press releases, spam email, telemarketing calls or posted online or in social media threads," the agency said. "These actions may be signs of a classic "pump and dump" fraud."

The US Securities and Exchange Commission, another US financial regulator, has also up its scrutiny of the cryptocurrency space. It temporarily suspended trading of securities of The Crypto Company, a California-based firm whose shares have skyrocketed more than 17,000% since it first began trading in September.

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

Bitcoin Price Drops Near $15,000 from $19,530 Within 5 Days: Major Factors

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

The post Bitcoin Price Drops Near $15,000 from $19,530 Within 5 Days: Major Factors appeared first on CCN

The bitcoin price has dropped from $19,530 to $15,150 within the past five days, since December 17. While analysts have attributed the recent decline to many factors, one major factor seems to be high transaction fees of bitcoin. Factors Behind Decline Analysts and experts have offered two explanations to justify the recent price decline and

The post Bitcoin Price Drops Near $15,000 from $19,530 Within 5 Days: Major Factors appeared first on CCN

Texas Slaps Bitcoin Investment Firm With Cease-and-Desist

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

Regulators in Texas have obtained a cease-and-desist order against a firm they say is unlawfully pitching bitcoin mining investment plans in the state.

The GOP's big tax break for landlords could make America’s housing crisis worse

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

Lennar homes construction homebuilder housing market

  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has a new break for the owners of pass-through companies,  including some real estate developers. 
  • Because it applies to income-generating properties, it could encourage developers to prioritize multifamily apartments over single-family houses, according to brokerage Redfin.
  • There's already a shortage of affordable single-family homes.

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act awaiting President Donald Trump's signature contains a big tax break for real estate investors.

Senate Republicans added it to the bill at the eleventh hour last week Friday to provide relief for owners of businesses that hold some depreciable assets like apartment buildings, shopping malls, and office parks. 

The owners of so-called pass-through companies will get a 20% deduction on their income under the new law, with some restrictions. This was done to ensure that these entrepreneurs, who "pass through" their business profits to themselves (instead of through dividends, for example), aren't paying disproportionately more than the 21% corporate tax rate public companies will have. 

But what's good for property owners may not be the same for the homebuyers in the long run, according to the real estate brokerage Redfin.

The housing market already faces a shortfall of affordable units. This tax break at the very least doesn't improve the situation, and worse, could tighten supply, Redfin forecast.  

Because apartment buildings generate income, developers may see the tax change as a new incentive to build these units instead of single-family houses, which are in short supply.

This has actually been the broad trend since the housing crisis plunged the value of single-family houses for homeowners and developers. 

But in 2017, single-family housing construction picked up while multifamily new construction slowed. Permit issuance for single-family homes hit a new post-recession high in November, Census Bureau data showed on Wednesday, indicating that construction is set to continue picking up in the months ahead.

But according to Redfin, the tax change may incentivize apartment building again if real estate investors start focusing on income-generating properties. 

Also, the pass-through tax break benefits leased office space, which may start to compete with housing development outside of city centers — the same places where many single-family homes are built, Redfin said. 

SEE ALSO: Rich homeowners in blue states are among the biggest losers in the GOP tax bill

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NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

Amazon pioneered a new market potentially worth $10 billion (AMZN)

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

Amazon echo

  • Amazon's Alexa devices have the potential to bring in more than $10 billion in revenue by the year 2020.
  • Sales of the devices, along with voice-enabled ordering from Amazon, bring a whole new business opportunity to the company.
  • Watch Amazon's stock price move in real time here.


Amazon was one of the first to bring smart speakers to a mainstream audience with its Echo device, a decision that could generate a fresh $10 billion in revenue by 2020, according to Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC.

"With tens of millions of users and 20K+ skills, we see Alexa’s value prop as becoming increasingly powerful as awareness and ownership ramp," Mahaney said in a note to clients.

To get an insight into how big of a business Alexa devices can be, Maheny surveyed more than 2,000 people about their awareness of Amazon's Alexa and how they use the devices. Over the past nine months, survey respondents' awareness of Alexa devices grew by 12 percentage points to 89%. A total of 15% of respondents own an Alexa devices and nearly 60% of those owners use the device every day.

Amazon benefits when you buy an Alexa device, of course, but they can make even more money if users buy more products through voice interactions. Mahaney found that 15% of Alexa device owners use them to place orders on Amazon.

Mahaney thinks that a combination of voice-enabled sales, device sales, and revenue from the Alexa platform will generate $10-$11 billion in revenue for Amazon by 2020. About $5 billion of that will come from device sales, and $5-$6 billion will come from voice sales, Mahaney said.

"In terms of Platform revenues, nice things happen when you have a 100M+ installed base, which we believe Alexa can reach by 2019," Mahaney said.

With the holiday season in full-swing, devices powered by Alexa represent nine of the top 10 best-selling electronics products on Amazon. Mahaney is optimistic and rates the company an "outperform" with a target price of $1,200.

Amazon shares are up 52% over the past year.

Read more about Mahaney's predictions for the tech world in 2018 here.

amazon stock price

SEE ALSO: TOP TECH ANALYST: Only one thing could stop the FANGs from skyrocketing in 2018

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Trader Bets $1 Million that Bitcoin Price Will Reach $50,000 in 2018

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

The post Trader Bets $1 Million that Bitcoin Price Will Reach $50,000 in 2018 appeared first on CCN

An unknown trader or group of traders has placed a million-dollar bet that the bitcoin price will reach $50,000 by the end of 2018. As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, trading data from LedgerX — the first U.S. exchange to list bitcoin derivatives — shows that an unidentified trader or group of traders

The post Trader Bets $1 Million that Bitcoin Price Will Reach $50,000 in 2018 appeared first on CCN

This new platform gives cryptocurrency holders an in-store payment option

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

Price of Bitcoin

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Payments Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

Wearables provider Fit Pay and Cascade Fintech, a US prepaid card and peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services provider, are teaming up to develop a new platform that enables cryptocurrency holders to make in-store purchases.

The platform, which is expected to launch in 2018, enables users to transfer cryptocurrencies into widely accepted forms of payment, and then stores that value on devices capable of making contactless payments. These cryptocurrency holders can then make transactions with the funds on their accounts at millions of retail locations worldwide with NFC-enabled POS terminals.

High consumer interest coupled with the stabilization of cryptocurrencies could turn this platform into a popular commerce tool in the near future. Cryptocurrencies made major headlines in 2017 as they saw massive gains in value — for example, Bitcoin reached highs of around $800 in 2016 and exploded to over $19,000 in 2017. This has garnered the interest of consumers, as millions of people have decided to buy these currencies as investment opportunities. However, once these currencies start to flatten out and consumers no longer fear missing out on large gains, many will likely try to find convenient ways to use these funds. 

It's important to note that cryptocurrencies still have a long way to go because even if consumer interest does rapidly increase, merchant acceptance is still low. Merchant acceptance of Bitcoin was at an all-time low in July, for example, according to report from JPMorgan covered by Bloomberg — out of the leading 500 internet sellers, just three accept Bitcoin, down from five last year. In anticipation of rising consumer interest, players in the payment space will likely begin integrating the payment option into their offerings, which could lead to significant increases in merchant acceptance.  

To receive stories like this one directly to your inbox every morning, sign up for the Payments Briefing newsletter. Click here to learn more about how you can gain risk-free access today.

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Here's How Blockchain Could Transform the Advertising Industry

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

The technology behind Bitcoin is transforming industries and institutions from healthcare to government. Here's why advertising is next in line.

CRYPTO INSIDER: A rush of companies are pivoting to blockchain

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

friends pivot scene

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Pivoting to blockchain is proving to be lucrative for some otherwise unheard of companies. This morning it was The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation and a British video game company. The growing trend is reminding some people of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990's.

Here's the scoreboard as of Thursday morning: 

What's happening:

  1. Bitcoin has "all the hallmarks of a bubble," UBS said. However, the Swiss bank is more bullish on the underlying blockchain technology.
  2. Tether, a US dollar-linked cryptocurrency that was hit with a $31 million attack last month, is pushing back against criticism, calling it "uninformed and baseless."
  3. Legendary trader and director of floor operations for UBS, Art Cashin, just sent out his annual Wall Street Christmas poem. As usual, he mentioned some of the year's financial highlights such as the exploding value of bitcoin.
  4. The New York Stock Exchange has made its first major foray into the nascent digital coin space with two new ETF's. 
  5. Ari Paul, CIO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, laid out the three biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

CRYPTO INSIDER: A rush of companies are pivoting to blockchain

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

friends pivot scene

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Pivoting to blockchain is proving to be lucrative for some otherwise unheard of companies. This morning it was The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation and a British video game company. The growing trend is reminding some people of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990's.

Here's the scoreboard as of Thursday morning: 

What's happening:

  1. Bitcoin has "all the hallmarks of a bubble," UBS said. However, the Swiss bank is more bullish on the underlying blockchain technology.
  2. Tether, a US dollar-linked cryptocurrency that was hit with a $31 million attack last month, is pushing back against criticism, calling it "uninformed and baseless."
  3. Legendary trader and director of floor operations for UBS, Art Cashin, just sent out his annual Wall Street Christmas poem. As usual, he mentioned some of the year's financial highlights such as the exploding value of bitcoin.
  4. The New York Stock Exchange has made its first major foray into the nascent digital coin space with two new ETF's. 
  5. Ari Paul, CIO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, laid out the three biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

CRYPTO INSIDER: A rush of companies are pivoting to blockchain

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

friends pivot scene

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Pivoting to blockchain is proving to be lucrative for some otherwise unheard of companies. This morning it was The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation and a British video game company. The growing trend is reminding some people of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990's.

Here's the scoreboard as of Thursday morning: 

What's happening:

  1. Bitcoin has "all the hallmarks of a bubble," UBS said. However, the Swiss bank is more bullish on the underlying blockchain technology.
  2. Tether, a US dollar-linked cryptocurrency that was hit with a $31 million attack last month, is pushing back against criticism, calling it "uninformed and baseless."
  3. Legendary trader and director of floor operations for UBS, Art Cashin, just sent out his annual Wall Street Christmas poem. As usual, he mentioned some of the year's financial highlights such as the exploding value of bitcoin.
  4. The New York Stock Exchange has made its first major foray into the nascent digital coin space with two new ETF's. 
  5. Ari Paul, CIO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, laid out the three biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us)

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

With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us)

“Forkcoins," or “Initial Fork Offerings” — alternative coins that “split off” from Bitcoin — are all the rage right now.

The latest trend in the cryptocurrency world was kicked off last summer with the launch of Bitcoin Cash. The Bitcoin offshoot is a top 3 cryptocurrency by market cap according to websites like Coinmarketcap. Perhaps even more importantly, it is now offered by some of the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges and wallet providers, including Coinbase, Bitstamp and Blockchain. The second Bitcoin offshoot, Bitcoin Gold, also claimed a top 10 cryptocurrency spot seemingly out of nothing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, a series of new forkcoins has been announced over the past couple of weeks, ranging from Bitcoin Diamond to Lightning Bitcoin to United Bitcoin and many more.

Since this week, anyone can easily create their own forkcoin with the click of a few buttons. Forkgen lets users tweak Bitcoin’s parameters and other properties to fork into a unique Bitcoin offshoot by simply filling them in on a user-friendly website.

The service is created by a pseudonymous developer who simply goes by the name “One,” who is assisted by "Two," Forkgen’s "social media intern.”

Two told Bitcoin Magazine that the service intends to democratize the creation of Bitcoin forks.

“Even leading developers have shown it is too hard to create forks of the Bitcoin blockchain without making critical errors,” Two said, referring to the recent failed SegWit2x launch. “Forkgen creates a level playing field where anyone can easily create working forks. Then it reduces to a much simpler problem of marketing your new altcoin. More people are good at that part.”

Introducing Bitcoin Magazine Cash

To test the service, Bitcoin Magazine decided to create our own Initial Fork Offering.

Right now, Forkgen lets users pick a name and three-letter-ticker for their forkcoin, as well as a block weight limit and a block height for the fork to take place. Additionally, Forkgen users can choose whether they want to implement replay protection to ensure no one accidentally loses their forkcoin. Further, they can opt for a mining difficulty reset to make new coins easier to mine at first. Forkgen users can also pick the letters and numbers to start the coin addresses and private keys with — and they can decide how much they want to tilt the Bitcoin logo to distinguish it from the original, like Bitcoin Cash did.

Given these tools, we designed our forkcoin: “Bitcoin Magazine Cash,” with the ticker “BMG.” We opted for strong replay protection and a difficulty reset, to make the coin as usable as possible. The Bitcoin Magazine Cash protocol will have a block weight limit of 20120501, an ode to Bitcoin Magazine’s launch date (May 2012), which is also five times bigger than Bitcoin’s limit. Addresses will start with a B or an M, and private keys with an i. Finally, the logo will be tilted 45 degrees counterclockwise, for no particular reason.

Bitcoin Magazine Cash forked away from Bitcoin at block 500400: a couple of hours before publication of this article. Anyone who held Bitcoin private keys at 12 PM UTC on December 21, 2017, has now been awarded their free BMG. It should be possible to claim these coins with the Bitcoin Magazine Cash software and your Bitcoin private keys — though we don’t actually recommend this (for reasons explained below).

As of yet, it unclear whether any exchanges will support the fork, but Two suggests that all of them really must:

“Exchanges should be obligated to split and distribute all arbitrary fork coins despite the systems expense and security risk. Who are they to decide what makes one fork more legitimate than any other?"

Interactive Performance Art

Although the service should work, on its website Forkgen describes itself as “interactive performance art.”

A play on Coingen, a now-defunct altcoin generator, Forkgen emphasizes how easy it is to create Bitcoin forks, that — like the thousands of altcoins out there — in the end are of questionable relevance. Where Coingen was created during the first big altcoin boom of 2013 and 2014 that birthed Bitcoin codebase forks such as Dogecoin, Vertcoin and Viacoin, the recent trend of forkcoins is really the same thing, the Forkgen project seems to suggest.

Two ardently denied Forkgen is something akin to joke.

“This is VERY SERIOUS. Read the FAQ,” he said. “Forkgen is the embodiment of Satoshi’s True Vision™ where if big blocks are good for scaling then many chains are even better.”

Instructions and Disclaimers

Binaries for Bitcoin Magazine Cash (BMG) can be downloaded here for Windows, Mac and Linux. However, Bitcoin Magazine cannot in any way guarantee the authenticity of these binaries that were provided by Forkgen — nor does Forkgen. Download and run the software at your own risk; and keep in mind that exposing private keys that hold value to untrusted software is a particularly bad idea.

Additionally, keep in mind that Bitcoin Magazine merely created this software as an experiment; we have no intention of actually maintaining it, nor will we support Bitcoin Magazine Cash in any other way.

Want to create your own Bitcoin fork? With the coupon code "GreatLeaderCraig", Bitcoin Magazine readers get 50% off for the next 6 days. (Make sure to double check that this discount is really subtracted before making the payment; the Forkgen website was having some issues at the time of writing this article.)

Finally, Bitcoin Magazine does not endorse using this service: We cannot guarantee the authenticity of Forkgen or its software in any way.


The post With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us)

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

With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us)

“Forkcoins," or “Initial Fork Offerings” — alternative coins that “split off” from Bitcoin — are all the rage right now.

The latest trend in the cryptocurrency world was kicked off last summer with the launch of Bitcoin Cash. The Bitcoin offshoot is a top 3 cryptocurrency by market cap according to websites like Coinmarketcap. Perhaps even more importantly, it is now offered by some of the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges and wallet providers, including Coinbase, Bitstamp and Blockchain. The second Bitcoin offshoot, Bitcoin Gold, also claimed a top 10 cryptocurrency spot seemingly out of nothing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, a series of new forkcoins has been announced over the past couple of weeks, ranging from Bitcoin Diamond to Lightning Bitcoin to United Bitcoin and many more.

Since this week, anyone can easily create their own forkcoin with the click of a few buttons. Forkgen lets users tweak Bitcoin’s parameters and other properties to fork into a unique Bitcoin offshoot by simply filling them in on a user-friendly website.

The service is created by a pseudonymous developer who simply goes by the name “One,” who is assisted by "Two," Forkgen’s "social media intern.”

Two told Bitcoin Magazine that the service intends to democratize the creation of Bitcoin forks.

“Even leading developers have shown it is too hard to create forks of the Bitcoin blockchain without making critical errors,” Two said, referring to the recent failed SegWit2x launch. “Forkgen creates a level playing field where anyone can easily create working forks. Then it reduces to a much simpler problem of marketing your new altcoin. More people are good at that part.”

Introducing Bitcoin Magazine Cash

To test the service, Bitcoin Magazine decided to create our own Initial Fork Offering.

Right now, Forkgen lets users pick a name and three-letter-ticker for their forkcoin, as well as a block weight limit and a block height for the fork to take place. Additionally, Forkgen users can choose whether they want to implement replay protection to ensure no one accidentally loses their forkcoin. Further, they can opt for a mining difficulty reset to make new coins easier to mine at first. Forkgen users can also pick the letters and numbers to start the coin addresses and private keys with — and they can decide how much they want to tilt the Bitcoin logo to distinguish it from the original, like Bitcoin Cash did.

Given these tools, we designed our forkcoin: “Bitcoin Magazine Cash,” with the ticker “BMG.” We opted for strong replay protection and a difficulty reset, to make the coin as usable as possible. The Bitcoin Magazine Cash protocol will have a block weight limit of 20120501, an ode to Bitcoin Magazine’s launch date (May 2012), which is also five times bigger than Bitcoin’s limit. Addresses will start with a B or an M, and private keys with an i. Finally, the logo will be tilted 45 degrees counterclockwise, for no particular reason.

Bitcoin Magazine Cash forked away from Bitcoin at block 500400: a couple of hours before publication of this article. Anyone who held Bitcoin private keys at 12 PM UTC on December 21, 2017, has now been awarded their free BMG. It should be possible to claim these coins with the Bitcoin Magazine Cash software and your Bitcoin private keys — though we don’t actually recommend this (for reasons explained below).

As of yet, it unclear whether any exchanges will support the fork, but Two suggests that all of them really must:

“Exchanges should be obligated to split and distribute all arbitrary fork coins despite the systems expense and security risk. Who are they to decide what makes one fork more legitimate than any other?"

Interactive Performance Art

Although the service should work, on its website Forkgen describes itself as “interactive performance art.”

A play on Coingen, a now-defunct altcoin generator, Forkgen emphasizes how easy it is to create Bitcoin forks, that — like the thousands of altcoins out there — in the end are of questionable relevance. Where Coingen was created during the first big altcoin boom of 2013 and 2014 that birthed Bitcoin codebase forks such as Dogecoin, Vertcoin and Viacoin, the recent trend of forkcoins is really the same thing, the Forkgen project seems to suggest.

Two ardently denied Forkgen is something akin to joke.

“This is VERY SERIOUS. Read the FAQ,” he said. “Forkgen is the embodiment of Satoshi’s True Vision™ where if big blocks are good for scaling then many chains are even better.”

Instructions and Disclaimers

Binaries for Bitcoin Magazine Cash (BMG) can be downloaded here for Windows, Mac and Linux. However, Bitcoin Magazine cannot in any way guarantee the authenticity of these binaries that were provided by Forkgen — nor does Forkgen. Download and run the software at your own risk; and keep in mind that exposing private keys that hold value to untrusted software is a particularly bad idea.

Additionally, keep in mind that Bitcoin Magazine merely created this software as an experiment; we have no intention of actually maintaining it, nor will we support Bitcoin Magazine Cash in any other way.

Want to create your own Bitcoin fork? With the coupon code "GreatLeaderCraig", Bitcoin Magazine readers get 50% off for the next 6 days. (Make sure to double check that this discount is really subtracted before making the payment; the Forkgen website was having some issues at the time of writing this article.)

Finally, Bitcoin Magazine does not endorse using this service: We cannot guarantee the authenticity of Forkgen or its software in any way.


The post With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us)

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

With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us)

“Forkcoins," or “Initial Fork Offerings” — alternative coins that “split off” from Bitcoin — are all the rage right now.

The latest trend in the cryptocurrency world was kicked off last summer with the launch of Bitcoin Cash. The Bitcoin offshoot is a top 3 cryptocurrency by market cap according to websites like Coinmarketcap. Perhaps even more importantly, it is now offered by some of the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges and wallet providers, including Coinbase, Bitstamp and Blockchain. The second Bitcoin offshoot, Bitcoin Gold, also claimed a top 10 cryptocurrency spot seemingly out of nothing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, a series of new forkcoins has been announced over the past couple of weeks, ranging from Bitcoin Diamond to Lightning Bitcoin to United Bitcoin and many more.

Since this week, anyone can easily create their own forkcoin with the click of a few buttons. Forkgen lets users tweak Bitcoin’s parameters and other properties to fork into a unique Bitcoin offshoot by simply filling them in on a user-friendly website.

The service is created by a pseudonymous developer who simply goes by the name “One,” who is assisted by "Two," Forkgen’s "social media intern.”

Two told Bitcoin Magazine that the service intends to democratize the creation of Bitcoin forks.

“Even leading developers have shown it is too hard to create forks of the Bitcoin blockchain without making critical errors,” Two said, referring to the recent failed SegWit2x launch. “Forkgen creates a level playing field where anyone can easily create working forks. Then it reduces to a much simpler problem of marketing your new altcoin. More people are good at that part.”

Introducing Bitcoin Magazine Cash

To test the service, Bitcoin Magazine decided to create our own Initial Fork Offering.

Right now, Forkgen lets users pick a name and three-letter-ticker for their forkcoin, as well as a block weight limit and a block height for the fork to take place. Additionally, Forkgen users can choose whether they want to implement replay protection to ensure no one accidentally loses their forkcoin. Further, they can opt for a mining difficulty reset to make new coins easier to mine at first. Forkgen users can also pick the letters and numbers to start the coin addresses and private keys with — and they can decide how much they want to tilt the Bitcoin logo to distinguish it from the original, like Bitcoin Cash did.

Given these tools, we designed our forkcoin: “Bitcoin Magazine Cash,” with the ticker “BMG.” We opted for strong replay protection and a difficulty reset, to make the coin as usable as possible. The Bitcoin Magazine Cash protocol will have a block weight limit of 20120501, an ode to Bitcoin Magazine’s launch date (May 2012), which is also five times bigger than Bitcoin’s limit. Addresses will start with a B or an M, and private keys with an i. Finally, the logo will be tilted 45 degrees counterclockwise, for no particular reason.

Bitcoin Magazine Cash forked away from Bitcoin at block 500400: a couple of hours before publication of this article. Anyone who held Bitcoin private keys at 12 PM UTC on December 21, 2017, has now been awarded their free BMG. It should be possible to claim these coins with the Bitcoin Magazine Cash software and your Bitcoin private keys — though we don’t actually recommend this (for reasons explained below).

As of yet, it unclear whether any exchanges will support the fork, but Two suggests that all of them really must:

“Exchanges should be obligated to split and distribute all arbitrary fork coins despite the systems expense and security risk. Who are they to decide what makes one fork more legitimate than any other?"

Interactive Performance Art

Although the service should work, on its website Forkgen describes itself as “interactive performance art.”

A play on Coingen, a now-defunct altcoin generator, Forkgen emphasizes how easy it is to create Bitcoin forks, that — like the thousands of altcoins out there — in the end are of questionable relevance. Where Coingen was created during the first big altcoin boom of 2013 and 2014 that birthed Bitcoin codebase forks such as Dogecoin, Vertcoin and Viacoin, the recent trend of forkcoins is really the same thing, the Forkgen project seems to suggest.

Two ardently denied Forkgen is something akin to joke.

“This is VERY SERIOUS. Read the FAQ,” he said. “Forkgen is the embodiment of Satoshi’s True Vision™ where if big blocks are good for scaling then many chains are even better.”

Instructions and Disclaimers

Binaries for Bitcoin Magazine Cash (BMG) can be downloaded here for Windows, Mac and Linux. However, Bitcoin Magazine cannot in any way guarantee the authenticity of these binaries that were provided by Forkgen — nor does Forkgen. Download and run the software at your own risk; and keep in mind that exposing private keys that hold value to untrusted software is a particularly bad idea.

Additionally, keep in mind that Bitcoin Magazine merely created this software as an experiment; we have no intention of actually maintaining it, nor will we support Bitcoin Magazine Cash in any other way.

Want to create your own Bitcoin fork? With the coupon code "GreatLeaderCraig", Bitcoin Magazine readers get 50% off for the next 6 days. (Make sure to double check that this discount is really subtracted before making the payment; the Forkgen website was having some issues at the time of writing this article.)

Finally, Bitcoin Magazine does not endorse using this service: We cannot guarantee the authenticity of Forkgen or its software in any way.


The post With Forkgen, Anyone Can Now Create Their Own Bitcoin Fork (Even Us) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Drops Another 5% as Mid-Week Slump Continues

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

The post Bitcoin Price Drops Another 5% as Mid-Week Slump Continues appeared first on CCN

The bitcoin price declined another five percent on Thursday as it endured a midweek slump that reduced its market share far below the 50 percent threshold. Several altcoins, meanwhile, posted impressive single-day returns, enabling the cryptocurrency market cap to add roughly $20 billion and return to a record level. Bitcoin Price Declines by Five Percent

The post Bitcoin Price Drops Another 5% as Mid-Week Slump Continues appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Price Drops Another 5% as Mid-Week Slump Continues

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

The post Bitcoin Price Drops Another 5% as Mid-Week Slump Continues appeared first on CCN

The bitcoin price declined another five percent on Thursday as it endured a midweek slump that reduced its market share far below the 50 percent threshold. Several altcoins, meanwhile, posted impressive single-day returns, enabling the cryptocurrency market cap to add roughly $20 billion and return to a record level. Bitcoin Price Declines by Five Percent

The post Bitcoin Price Drops Another 5% as Mid-Week Slump Continues appeared first on CCN

The Long Island Iced Tea company said it's pivoting to blockchain — and its stock is soaring by more than 400%

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 21 at 8.50.32 AM

  • Shares of The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation soared as much as 432% pre-market Thursday morning after the company said it would change it’s name to Long Blockchain Corp.
  • The company will continue to sell its line of bottled drinks based on the eponymous cocktail, it said, but its parent company "is shifting its primary corporate focus towards the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology," according to a press release.
  • Shares were trading near $13 — or roughly 433% above Wednesday’s closing price — prior to Thursday’s opening bell.
  • This pivot to blockchain is the latest in a trend of companies rebranding, refocusing, or announcing new efforts related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, sending their stock through the roof.

Subscribe to our Crypto Insider newsletter for the best of the blockchain every day.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

The Long Island Iced Tea company said it's pivoting to blockchain — and its stock is soaring by more than 400%

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 21 at 8.50.32 AM

  • Shares of The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation soared as much as 432% pre-market Thursday morning after the company said it would change it’s name to Long Blockchain Corp.
  • The company will continue to sell its line of bottled drinks based on the eponymous cocktail, it said, but its parent company "is shifting its primary corporate focus towards the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology," according to a press release.
  • Shares were trading near $13 — or roughly 433% above Wednesday’s closing price — prior to Thursday’s opening bell.
  • This pivot to blockchain is the latest in a trend of companies rebranding, refocusing, or announcing new efforts related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, sending their stock through the roof.

Subscribe to our Crypto Insider newsletter for the best of the blockchain every day.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

PRESENTING: Art Cashin's annual Christmas poem featuring the Patriots, bitcoin, and Trump's tweets

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

art cashin

  • Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS, sent out his annual Christmas poem.
  • The poem recaps the year's financial highlights, as well as its top sports and celebrity moments.

 

Legendary New York Stock Exchange floor trader and director of floor operations for UBS Art Cashin just sent out his annual Wall Street Christmas poem.

As usual, he mentioned some of the year's financial highlights such as the exploding value of bitcoin.

But he also wove in a few of the year's top sports and celebrity moments. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, President Donald Trump's tweeting.

In any case, it's certainly worth the read as we head into the holidays.

 

‘Tis four days before Christmas
and at each brokerage house

The only thing stirring
was the click of a mouse

Down on the Exchange
the tape inches along

Brokers bargained and traded
as they hummed an old song

The Fed hiked in December
as they said they would do

They plan to hike again next year will we see three or just two

The Astros took the series
and the Pats took the bowl

But Tiger still struggles
to get the ball in the hole

Bitcoins just exploded
we saw self-driving cars

Elon Musk has a new plan to take us to Mars

The Prez keeps on tweeting on all kinds of stuff

But the White House staff tells him enough is enough

No more will kids marvel
at elephants or a clown

The circus is no more
Barnum and Bailey shut down

There were hacks by the million lots of floods, lots of fires

If you look at all that stuff
there's not much that inspires

From Weinstein through Lauer there was little to cheer

But it's Christmastime, Alice and Santa is near

So stop looking backwards
have a cup of good cheer

And kiss you a loved one
raise your hopes for next year

And amidst all the trading
Christmas themes we will heed

And share our good fortune with families in need

And Friday they’ll pause
as we wait on the bell

To sing a tradition
a song for old “Nell”

Don’t let this year’s problems impede Christmas Cheer

Resolve to be happy
throughout the New Year

And resist ye Grinch feelings let joy never stop
Put the bad at the bottom

keep the good on the top

So count up your blessings along with your worth

You’re still living here
in the best place on earth

And think ye of wonders
that light children's eyes

And hope Santa will bring you that Christmas surprise

So play ye a carol
by Mario Lanza

Unless you are waiting
to celebrate Kwanzaa

Hanukkah’s just ended
and Ramadan’s gone

Different folks, different holidays yet each spirit lives on

Whatever your feast is
we hope you all still

Find yourself just surrounded by folks of goodwill

Friday, as the bell rings
hark to your heart’s call

And as Santa would shout Merry Christmas to All!

 

Elena Holodny contributed to this story.

SEE ALSO: Here's what 12 Wall Street pros are predicting for the stock market in 2018

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: One market expert says the financial system could collapse at any moment

Ripple Price Surges by Nearly 40%, Surpasses $1 For First Time in History

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

The post Ripple Price Surges by Nearly 40%, Surpasses $1 For First Time in History appeared first on CCN

The Ripple price has surged by nearly 40 percent over the past 24 hours led by the US and South Korean cryptocurrency markets. For the first time in history, the price of Ripple has surpassed $1, an important milestone for the cryptocurrency and the global Ripple community. Factors Behind Ripple’s Price Surge Earlier this month,

The post Ripple Price Surges by Nearly 40%, Surpasses $1 For First Time in History appeared first on CCN

Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

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

Traders stand outside the New York Stock Exchange prior to the opening bell October 31, 2012. .  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Morning, and Happy Winter Solstice!  US Stocks are in rally mode, with the Russell up 30bp – still exhibiting the outperformance we saw yesterday.   STOXX dealing with its biggest three-day loss in more than a month, and the DAX struggling to hold a bid as Bunds get slammed.  Comments ECB looking at shifting from asset purchases continues to weigh across Europe.   Telecom rallying behind Nokia headers, while those Metals still in Rally mode.  Some angst in Spain ahead of today’s Catalonia Election, with the IBEX underperforming the small rally in Germany.  In London, FTSE continues to love Sterling action, and those Miners remain well bid.   Volumes are quite pathetic tho, with London’s turnover 40% below trend.  In Asia, Nikkei off small - Hang Seng added 45bp - Shanghai up 40bp - KOSPI got smoked for 1.8% as Sammy was hit for almost 4% - Aussie off 25bp as a strong rally by the miners offset drops in Banks.  The Terror attack in Melbourne happened near the close of Trading, while  Jakarta rallied over 1% as Indonesia wins a second sovereign rating upgrade this year

Bunds still getting hit, with Germany’s 10YY up 13 bp the last few days, propelling the US 10YY to test 2.5% 2x in the last 24 hours, while that US 30YY holding upside 200d.  DXY is making small gains as Sterling off small on the Damian Green resignation and Euro seeing some profit-taking from the week’s rally.  Yen broke a touch lower as Hawks were nowhere to be found in BOJ commentary, while South Africa’s Rand continues to whipsaw around.   Ore was up 60bp overnight, but all metals are under a bit of pressure early as the greenback rallies.   Focus remains on the Energy Complex, with WTI failing to hold $58 as projections on the Forties outage continue to weigh.   Natty Gas is seeing continued pressure from yesterday’s heavy selling ahead of inventory data later this morning.

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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US GDP revised slightly lower on weaker consumer spending

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

american factory work industrial production

The Commerce Department on Thursday lowered its estimate for US economic growth in the third quarter, as consumer spending was a little weaker than previously reported

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the total value of every thing and service produced in the US, was revised to 3.2% from 3.3% in the third estimate. 

It was also above the 3% pace that President Donald Trump had promised for the US economy while he was campaigning. A strong fourth quarter with growth around this pace will be needed to achieve 3% GDP on an annual basis. 

The House passed the final version of the GOP's tax bill on Wednesday, ending a seven-week push to put the monumental piece of legislation on Trump's desk by Christmas. Republicans expect the extra disposable income that consumers get and wage increases from corporate tax cuts to boost economic growth. 

But with the impact still largely unknown, some economists are forecasting only a small increase to growth in the years ahead. The Federal Reserve said last week that tax cuts  were a factor supporting its modestly stronger outlook, but warned that there's still uncertainty. 

More to come ...

SEE ALSO: Here's what 12 Wall Street pros are predicting for the stock market in 2018

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

Buyer Beware? Credit Creeps Into Crypto

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

An influx of get-rich-quick types could encourage the sort of behavior that bitcoin was designed to escape.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just released their official engagement photos — take a look

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

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released official engagement photos — and they're incredibly romantic.

The photos — which were taken by fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski earlier this week at Frogmore House in Windsor — were tweeted by Kensington Palace on Thursday.

One photo, in black and white, depicts the couple in an intimate embrace. It also shows off Markle's ring.

harry meghan engagement photo

A second photo shows the pair in more glamorous outfits on the steps of Frogmore House. 

harry meghan engagement photo

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NOW WATCH: We talked to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman about tax reform, Trump, and bitcoin

Ripple Price Passes Historic $1 Milestone

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

The price of Ripple's XRP token has passed a dollar for the first time in its history, thanks to a boost from Asian traders.

Breaking: Russia to Reveal Bitcoin, ICO Draft Regulation Bill Next Week

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

The post Breaking: Russia to Reveal Bitcoin, ICO Draft Regulation Bill Next Week appeared first on CCN

Russia’s upcoming draft law on regulating cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and fundraising through ICOs will be submitted on December 28. Speaking to reporters today, member of Parliament Anthony Akasov revealed details of the upcoming draft bill on the regulation of cryptocurrencies and ICOs, currently being worked on by Russia’s central bank and the ministry of finance.

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(+) Flash Analysis: Ripple Hits New All-Time High, Challenging the $1 Level

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

The post (+) Flash Analysis: Ripple Hits New All-Time High, Challenging the $1 Level appeared first on CCN

The post (+) Flash Analysis: Ripple Hits New All-Time High, Challenging the $1 Level appeared first on CCN

South Korea’s Bitcoin Cash Frenzy: 2x Higher Volume Than Bitcoin

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

The post South Korea’s Bitcoin Cash Frenzy: 2x Higher Volume Than Bitcoin appeared first on CCN

The demand for Bitcoin Cash in the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market has been skyrocketing over the past two days. 2x Volume of Bitcoin on Bithumb Yesterday, on December 21, CCN reported that the price of Bitcoin Cash increased by more than 50 percent, to over $3,300. Since then, the price of Bitcoin Cash has

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An econ professor turned small business owner breaks down his 3 big problems with the GOP tax plan

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

jimmy johns

  • Jimmy John's franchisee Tim Wulf says the GOP tax plan doesn't help small business owners.
  • He's also a former economics professor, and says the tax bill lacks measures to boost labor productivity, which he identifies as the most important driver of US economic improvement.
  • To that end, Wulf is most concerned with the expensing of equipment, interest on debt, and the tax cut being offered to S-corps and partnerships.
  • Wulf is a Republican, but keeps his politics out of his economic analysis, which includes regular written contributions to trade publications and local outlets.


Tim Wulf, a Jimmy John's franchisee in Reno, Nevada, was hoping the GOP tax bill would help him pay his employees more. After all, one of the long-running stated missions of tax reform has been to boost wages and improve the standard of living for US workers.

Instead, it looks like the legislation — which officially passed on Wednesday — could end up making things even tougher for people like Wulf, a former economics professor turned entrepreneur.

A franchisee of multiple Jimmy John's sandwich shops, Wulf is just one part of a rapidly growing network of restaurants that prioritize super-fast delivery. In order for a Jimmy John's store to receive an order, prepare it using fresh ingredients, and then schlep it to your front door in a tight window of time, it needs both skilled employees and top-of-the-line equipment.

Under the new plan, Wulf doesn't expect to be able to meaningfully upgrade either of these areas — at least not in the long-term fashion befitting a growing business. And as someone who also serves as the Nevada chapter chair for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Leadership Council, it troubles him to see how tax reform has played out — not just for his own operation, but for small businesses as a whole.

There are three areas of the tax bill that have him particularly concerned, of which the first two directly impact the higher wages and machinery upgrades he's so keen to deliver. They include:

1) Expensing of equipment

On first blush, the portion of the tax bill that will allow businesses to immediately deduct the cost of new equipment for a five-year period is a big improvement on the previous set-up, which made them take depreciation, then apply the tax benefit over multiple years.

While Wulf acknowledges the boost this would offer, he wants to see it instated on a permanent basis. That way, owners can invest in their businesses with a clear growth plan in mind — with none of the restrictions that might accompany a finite time horizon.

So how does this relate to wages?

Remember, Wulf is an economics professor — so he explains it that way: it all boils down to making labor more effective, which then translates to better pay. In his mind, investing in technology and machinery are the elements most crucial in boosting overall labor productivity.

By making labor more valuable, we can pay employees more

"By making labor more valuable, we can pay employees more — and we want to pay them more, we want to keep them," he said in a recent phone interview. "And in order to be able to do that, they have to be more productive. And for that to happen, they have to have the tools of productivity."

2) Interest on debt

While the equipment expensing part of the tax bill at least offers an immediate-term positive, there's no such silver lining when it comes to the GOP's plans for interest on debt.

Previously, interest counted as a business expense. But under the new tax bill, the net interest deduction is capped at 30% of Ebitda for four years, followed by an even tougher threshold going forward. Wulf sees this hampering growth for small businesses by making it more difficult to borrow money.

"You could grow your business on retained earnings," he said. "But that's no way to do it."

This issue also ties back to the equipment conundrum outlined above. Without the ability to borrow as easily, small businesses will have a tougher time purchasing the machinery that could ultimately enhance labor productivity. In the end, this provision leaves companies more hamstrung financially and doesn't help boost pay.

I thought that small business had dodged a bullet on deducting interest, but now the government is telling me how much leverage I can assume

"I thought that small business had dodged a bullet on deducting interest, but now the government is telling me how much leverage I can assume," said Wulf. "I would have slowed the growth of my restaurants when I was building them, as I know early on our interest exceeded 30% of Ebitda."

3) Corporate tax cut

Simply put, so-called pass-through businesses like S-corporations and partnerships don't look poised to realize as much of a benefit from tax reform as their C-corporation counterparts — although it's tough to make a direct comparison between the two.

The new tax bill includes a 20% income deduction for pass-through entities, which looks on the surface like it's less than the 21% C-corp tax rate put forth in the plan. However, when you combine that 20% deduction with the lower top tax rate on ordinary income, it actually comes out to a 29.6% top rate on that income, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

tim wulf

While Wulf realizes that there are many moving pieces when it comes to comparing the tax structures of C-corps and pass-throughs, he ultimately just wants small businesses to be on equal footing with large US corporations.

At the end of the day, a favorable and competitive tax rate provides more money to sink into capital expenditures. And that reinvestment then improves labor productivity, which then allows a business to rationalize paying higher wages.

It's all connected, and all aimed toward the ultimate goal of expanding the economy — of which 70% is small businesses. In Wulf's mind, the GOP bill doesn't go nearly far enough toward realizing its professed objective of boosting US growth.

An eye on the future

It's worth noting that Wulf's outspoken advocacy for small businesses comes with little self interest attached. He's in the process of selling his Jimmy John's stores, with an eye on retirement, and has just one store left to offload. In January, he'll close on his final location, the 12th best-performing Jimmy John's in the nation. 

And his personal politics don't play a role either. Wulf is a Republican, but he looks at political policies from a strictly economic viewpoint. That much can be seen through multiple pieces he's written for various trade publications and local outlets in recent years. 

At the end of the day, he wants to see small businesses thrive, and he doesn't see the shiny new GOP tax bill allowing that. Which is ironic to him, considering their original stated objective.

"That's the anchor here," said Wulf. "There's a problem with what they're saying is going to happen, and what the policy will actually create."

SEE ALSO: Here are the areas of the stock market that'll get the biggest boost from Trump's tax overhaul

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

Bitcoin's Most Pressing Issue Summarized in Two Letters: UX

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

Bitcoin adoption will be a design problem, not a technology problem.

Should we care about Bitcoin price?

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

With so much volatility there is arguably limited value in reporting the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency.

Japanese Tech Giant GMO Begins Mining Bitcoin in Europe

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

The post Japanese Tech Giant GMO Begins Mining Bitcoin in Europe appeared first on CCN

Japanese internet and technology conglomerate GMO Internet Co. has kicked off its cryptocurrency mining venture in Northern Europe. First revealed in September, Tokyo-based GMO Internet announced its intention to invest over $3 million toward a bitcoin mining operation in the first half of 2018. “We believe that cryptocurrencies will develop into ‘new universal currencies’”, the

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Bank of England Chief: Bitcoin Isn't a Threat to Financial Stability

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

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said that bitcoin's meteoric price gains do not pose a threat to global financial stability.

UK gaming company's stock jumps 20% after it says it's getting into 'blockchain and cryptocurrency'

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

Khoie Seyed Davoud of Iran competes in the e-Sports, FIFA 13 semi final against Chen Wei of China at Samsan World Gymnasium during day four of the 4th Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games on July 2, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. (Photo by )

  • Veltyco said it has "commenced discussions with blockchain and cryptocurrency providers" about potential partnerships."
  • Stock jumps 20% at the open in reaction to the news, before settling back to a 14% gain.
  • A growing number of small, listed businesses are pivoting to cryptocurrencies and seeing a bump in their stock, as investors clamour to get a slice of rocketing bitcoin prices.


LONDON — Gaming company Veltyco saw its stock price leap higher on Thursday after telling investors it has "commenced discussions with blockchain and cryptocurrency providers" about potential partnerships.

Veltyco, which provides online marketing services to gaming companies, said it hopes to create a cryptocurrency wallet that it can market to its customers.

The company said: "Veltyco is planning to offer its customers the use of a crypto wallet that can be used across the platforms of all of Veltyco's partners, allowing customers access to each platform without having to make separate deposits on the individuals platforms as well as enabling Veltyco to cross-sell the different platforms to its customer base."

The announcement sent Veltyco's shares, which are listed on London's AIM growth market, jumping 20% at the open. The stock has pulled back a little since then but, as of 9.05 a.m. GMT (4.05 a.m. ET), it is still up around 14%:veltycoCryptocurrency has become one of the hottest areas of investment in 2017 thanks to the rapid rise of bitcoin, up over 1,500% against the dollar this year, and the proliferation of new digital coins created through "initial coin offerings", where companies issue their own digital currencies.

Blockchain refers to the cryptographic technology that underpins digital currencies, allowing them to be decentralized, open systems. Investors see huge amounts of potential for this technology in everything from healthcare to voting. (UBS said this week it believes bitcoin is a bubble but urged clients to back blockchain.)

Veltyco is not the first company to see its stock jump after piggy-backing on the recent cryptocurrency boom. On-line, another AIM-listed company, saw its share price rocket 394% after adding "blockchain" to its name. Fintech business LongFin rallied 2,600% in a week after buying "a blockchain-empowered global micro-lending solutions provider" that handles cryptocurrencies.

Bloomberg on Wednesday highlighted a current craze for small-cap companies to pivot to cryptocurrencies, with everything from furniture manufacturers to gold miners, and even a sports bra designer, getting into digital currencies. In most cases, the move has resulted in a bump in the stock price.

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Agency workers are paid £400 million less a year than full-time counterparts

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

sad worker

  • Agency workers are missing out on £400 million a year because they are paid less than their employee equivalents, the Resolution Foundation found.
  • Agency workers were paid 23p less per hour than their employee equivalents, the report said.
  • The report called on the government to reform the "loophole" that allows agencies to pay lower rates.


LONDON — The agency workforce is missing out on £400 million a year because they are paid less than their employee equivalents, costing the average agency admin worker £990 a year, the Resolution Foundation has said.

Thursday's report found 85% of agency workers surveyed had been in their jobs for more than three months, entitling them to equal pay under the law in almost all circumstances. But between 2011 and 2017, these workers were paid 23p less per hour on average than employees in comparable jobs and with comparable characteristics (such as age and ethnicity).

"Many workers prefer the flexibility that agency work can sometimes offer, and are willing to be paid less as a result, but those doing the same job on the same terms as employee colleagues deserve to take home the same day’s pay," said Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

"We, in advanced western societies, have allowed situations to develop which prioritise the interests of the consumers over the interests of the workers. Are we happy with this bargain?" said John Hayes, founder of Constantine Law.

The average administrator working through an agency will earn £990 less per year, the average sales or customer service worker will earn £800 less and the average skilled trade worker will earn £453 less, the report found. This is despite the 2010 Agency Worker Regulations, which give those with 12 weeks or more of continuous service in the workplace pay parity with comparable employees.

But agency staff can forgo this right in return for a contract that offers pay between assignments, a loophole which is "widely abused," this year's Taylor review of modern working practices found. Reforming this law should be a "key element" of the government's forthcoming response to the review, said Judge.

Jenn O'Donnell, Founder of domestic cleaning company Jane Jefferon Cleaning, employs her workers directly and pays Living Wage, but says many cleaning firms operate as agencies and pay cash-in-hand to a largely "unregulated" workforce.

"The black market is absolutely huge," she says. "People think I'm a premium service... it's a huge challenge to stay in business."

In November, a report by the Trust for London and Middlesex University estimated unpaid wages in the UK amount to at least £1.3 billion per year, and unpaid holiday to £1.8 billion per year, and affect at least 2 million workers. Sir David Metcalf, the Director of Labour Market Enforcement, called these findings "very important" and "timely," and pointed out there are only nine inspectors in the UK who oversee 18,000 employment agencies.

Employment agency legislation, he said, "dates back to 1973," but "the world of work has changed profoundly since then." Certain apps, said Metcalf, were essentially a modern form of employment agency, but are largely unregulated.

However, the Resolution Foundation found agency-employed managers were paid more than employee equivalents, which could in part be a compensation for missing out on pension contributions. There are also premiums for being an agency worker in less predictable sectors, such as social care where legally required staff rations allow agencies to command a higher price to fill last minute gaps.

The government is due to respond to the Taylor Review's findings, which Judge branded "abuse," next year.

"We’re hopeful that 2018 will be the year of action on fair pay for agency workers," she said.

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

Bitcoin Has Our Heightened Attention: EU Financial Regulation Chief

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

The post Bitcoin Has Our Heightened Attention: EU Financial Regulation Chief appeared first on CCN

The European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – is keeping a close eye on bitcoin markets and is reportedly urging EU banking and markets watchdogs to issue risk warnings to investors. In statements at a news conference on Wednesday, European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis expressed a ‘concerned’ take on the

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STUDY: Brexit will hike wine prices by 20% and have us all drinking a lot less

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

theresa may drink red wine glass alcohol

  • Wine prices in the UK set to rise by 22% by 2025 thanks to Brexit.
  • New paper from the Journal of Wine Economics analyses the impact of leaving the EU on wine consumption and costs.
  • Price of wine is already at a record high thanks to the pound's post-referendum depreciation.

LONDON — The price of wine in the UK is set to increase more than 20% over the coming years, as a direct result of Britain electing last summer to leave the European Union, according to a major new academic paper.

This week, the Journal of Wine Economics presented its new paper, titled "UK and Global Wine Markets by 2025, and Implications of Brexit" — and the results are likely to be troubling for anyone who likes a glass or two of an evening.

The journal found that in its "large" Brexit scenario — essentially a harder Brexit — the consumer price (effectively how much we pay in the shops for a bottle) of wine in the UK will increase 22% by 2025.

Several factors would contribute to that price increase, the paper argues, and the rise would be compiled as such: "20% because of real depreciation of the British pound; 4% because of new tariffs on E.U., Chilean, and South African wines; and –2% because of slower U.K. income growth."

Rising wine prices mean that the amount of wine Brits actually consume will plummet, with 28% less being drunk.

"The volume of U.K. wine consumption is 28% lower: 16% because of slower U.K. economic growth, 7% because of real depreciation of the British pound, and 5% because of new tariffs," the paper argues.

"Superpremium still-wine sales are the most affected, dropping by two fifths, while sparkling and commercial-premium wines drop a bit less than one quarter."

Perhaps counterintuitively, domestic consumption of British wine is also set to fall in the "large" Brexit scenario. That's because of "shrunken demand for all wines resulting from lowered U.K. incomes and raised local prices because of devaluation of the British pound."

There is already some evidence that Brexit is starting to hit wine prices in the UK, with data from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association showing over the summer that the cost of a bottle of wine in the UK has hit a record high.

"Last year the WSTA predicted that Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound, compounded by rising inflation, would force the UK wine industry to up their prices. Sadly this is now a reality as an average priced bottle of wine in the UK is at an all-time high," Miles Beale, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association's chief executive said back in June.

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Cryptocurrency Tether, hit by a $31 million hack, calls criticism 'uninformed and baseless'

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

tether

  • US-dollar linked cryptocurrency Tether hit by $31 million hack in November.
  • Since then, there has been speculation that the company doesn't hold the dollar reserves it says it does.
  • Tether calls criticism "uninformed and baseless" in a new statement and says it is beefing up security and changing its terms of service.

LONDON — Under-fire cryptocurrency company Tether has hit responded to criticism in the press and online, telling customers it is building new, more secure digital wallets, changing its terms of service, and reopening withdrawals.

Tether created a cryptocurrency called USDT that is pegged to, and backed by, the dollar. It is meant to function as a more stable cryptocurrency than bitcoin and is often used when trading bitcoin. It allows you to avoid the volatility of bitcoin but still have the operability of a cryptocurrency (i.e. being able to send to digital wallets and exchanges.)

The cryptocurrency was hit by a $31 million heist in November. The attack led to online rumours that Tether, which is closely linked to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, is facing deeper issues around its solvency. The press has also raised questions about Tether's handling of its cryptocurrency.

The New York Times wrote shortly after the hack: "One persistent online critic, going by the screen name Bitfinex’ed, has written several very detailed essays on Medium arguing that Bitfinex appears to be creating Tether coins out of thin air and then using them to buy Bitcoin and push the price up."

Bloomberg wrote earlier this month: "Among the many mysteries at the heart of the cryptocurrency market are these: Does $814 million of a digital token known as tether really exist?" The article highlighted suspicions that the company may not hold the dollar reserves to back Tether that it claims to.

'The amount of due diligence being performed is substantial'

Tether has strongly denied these allegations, saying all tethers are backed by physical dollars held by the company. It has also hired a law firm to take legal action against Bitfinex'ed.

The company said in a statement on its website on Thursday that it is aware of "questions and doubts throughout the community" but said it "cannot disclose much about ongoing investigations."

"We can provide the following information about actions which have taken place over the past month to recover, secure, and move forward from the security breach," Tether said.

An audit of its books by accountants Friedman LLP is ongoing and Tether said accusations that it does not hold dollars to back up its cryptocurrency are "uninformed and baseless."

"We understand that the public is anxiously awaiting the completion of this process, but it cannot be rushed and we are not Friedman’s only customer," the company said. "Moreover, the amount of due diligence that is being performed by Friedman is substantial."

Tether is overhauling its terms of service, as they have been "widely misunderstood as meaning that Tethers are not redeemable at Tether’s whim or that Tethers are not backed by their underlying assets.

"This is false. Absent a reasonable legal justification not to redeem Tethers, and provided that you are a fully verified customer of Tether, your Tethers are freely redeemable. However, we must and will take steps to prevent terrorists and other bad actors from trafficking in Tethers."

'We cannot create or redeem tether for any U.S.-based customers'

As well as addressing recent criticism, the company on Thursday also discussed the latest developments in the hacking case. Tether said it has been able to "freeze and blacklist stolen Tethers" using a software update. Following this action, the company is restarting its wallet services, which enable people to hold and transfer their cryptocurrencies. The company cautioned that it has a big backlog to get through and it may take a while to process transactions.

Photo illustration of Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange website taken September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017.Tether is now developing new wallets and a new platform and has disabled new sign-ups in the meantime. It is also telling existing customers not to deposit any money in the existing, old wallets.

Despite reassuring customers that Tether is redeemable against the dollar, the company said: "Until we are able to migrate to the new platform, the purchase or sale of Tether will not be possible directly through tether.to.

"For the time being, though, we invite you to use the services of any one of a dozen global exchanges to acquire or dispose of Tethers for either USD or other cryptocurrencies. Such exchanges and other qualified corporate customers can contact Tether directly to arrange for creation and redemption."

"Sadly, however, we cannot create or redeem tether for any U.S.-based customers at this time."

The company gave no details as to why it cannot serve US customers. The New York Times noted in its November article that Bitfinex, the exchange that is run by the same people at Tether, has been "been fined by regulators in the United States and cut off by American banks."

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10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

Mark Carney

Good morning! Here's what you need to know.

1. Investment bankers working on emerging market dealmaking will reap record fees in 2017 thanks to unprecedented levels of debt issuance and stock market flotations across the developing world. Fed by cheap global borrowing costs and a blistering rally in asset prices, EM fees will this year top $20 billion for the first time, data compiled by Thomson Reuters shows.

2. Chinese conglomerate Fosun International is taking a large chunk of Tsingtao Brewery after Japan's Asahi Group said it would sell its entire 19.9% stake for a total of 106 billion yen ($937 million). Asahi said in October it was considering selling its stake in Tsingtao, China's second largest brewer which was founded in 1903 by German and British merchants.

3. Canada's BlackBerry beat third-quarter earnings forecasts, sending its Toronto-listed shares surging 12% to a four-year high. The company secured 36 deals with US federal government agencies in the quarter, seven of which were each worth more than $1 million, Chief Executive John Chen said.

4. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney believes there is no reason that the City of London cannot be covered by any bespoke Brexit deal. Speaking to the House of Commons' Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday afternoon, Carney was asked about comments from the EU's top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier claiming that the UK's financial services sector will not be included in any Brexit deal if the UK leaves the single market.

5. Global cryptocurrency markets are now averaging the same daily trading volumes as the New York Stock Exchange. Twenty-four-hour trade volume in the cryptocurrency market passed the $50 billion mark on Wednesday, according to the data provider CoinMarketCap.com.

6. An Italian judge has ordered former executives from oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Eni to stand trial over an alleged $1.1 billion bribery scheme. Mrs Justice Barbara handed down the ruling on Wednesday, stating top executives are to be tried on charges of aggravated international corruption for their role in a $1.1 billion deal for Nigerian oil block OPL 245 in 2011.

7. Leaving the European Union has "the potential to reshape the structure" of the British economy as the UK's future relationship with the EU becomes more clear, the International Monetary Fund said. The IMF said that it sees the potential for a shift in the way Britain's economy is structured as Brexit alters the sectors that are most important to the UK's growth.

8. Uber is a transport service, according to Europe's top court, a decision that is a massive blow for the firm. The European Court of Justice issued its ruling Wednesday morning, opening up the possibility for European Union governments to regulate Uber much more closely at a local or national level or even to ban it altogether.

9. UBS has reiterated its view that bitcoin, and wider cryptocurrency markets, are in a bubble. The Swiss investment bank said: "High turnover, against limited real-world use, suggests that many buyers are seeking speculative gain. And while the supply of Bitcoins is limited, the broader stock of cryptocurrencies is not, with thousands of potential substitutes."

10. The US passed the final version of the tax bill on Wednesday, capping off a furious seven-week push to bring about the most sweeping change to the US tax code in decades. The nearly $1.5 trillion tax cut required a second vote in the House after a Senate rule forced Republicans to remove three minor details from the bill on Tuesday. 

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NOW WATCH: Economist Jim Rickards on gold versus bitcoin — intrinsic value is meaningless for both but the bitcoin prices aren't real

CNBC’s Jim Cramer: Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold Anytime Soon

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

The post CNBC’s Jim Cramer: Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold Anytime Soon appeared first on CCN

The TV commentator made a case for gold making a comeback in the near future, implying bitcoin didn't influence its price.

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UBS: Bitcoin 'has all the hallmarks of a bubble'

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

A street artist performs with soap bubbles outside the Natural History Museum in London, Britain, December 12, 2017.

  • UBS on bitcoin: "We believe this has all the hallmarks of a bubble."
  • But bank tells clients to bet on blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin.
  • UBS's position is in line with ING, but other banks are warming up to bitcoin.

LONDON — UBS has reiterated its view that bitcoin, and wider cryptocurrency markets, are in a bubble.

The Swiss investment bank said in its weekly "House View" note: "We believe this has all the hallmarks of a bubble. High turnover, against limited real-world use, suggests that many buyers are seeking speculative gain. And while the supply of Bitcoins is limited, the broader stock of cryptocurrencies is not, with thousands of potential substitutes."

The note, from the Chief Investment Office of UBS' Wealth Management branch, reiterates a position the bank set out in October. UBS said then that it thought the entire cryptocurrency market was in a "speculative bubble."

"We don't advise clients either to invest in Bitcoin or to short it – on the principal that markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent," UBS wrote in its note this week.

When UBS first warned against cryptocurrencies in October the market was worth around $175 billion at the time. As of Wednesday, it is worth over $600 billion.

While the bank is dismissive of bitcoin, it recommends clients invest in blockchain, which is the technology that was first developed to underpin the bitcoin network. 

"We expect [blockchain] to generate USD 300bn–400bn of global economic value by 2027," UBS said. 

UBS' skepticism of bitcoin puts it in league with Dutch bank ING, which said on Monday that it believes the cryptocurrency will become a "niche asset" despite its current popularity.

Other investment banks have taken a more positive position towards the cryptocurrency space. Goldman Sachs said in August: "It’s getting harder for institutional investors to ignore cryptocurrencies." Despite public criticism of bitcoin from its CEO, JPMorgan said earlier this month that bitcoin has the potential to be an "emerging asset class." And Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said in September that bitcoin is "more than just a fad."

Join the conversation about this story »

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US Think Tank Links Rising Bitcoin Price to Uptick in Terrorist Interest

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Magic Leap headset is finally unveiled to the public, Bitcoin Cash comes to Coinbase and Litecoin founder sells all of his Coins. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Coinbase may have given away its own Bitcoin Cash surprise

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 On Tuesday, when Bitcoin Cash hit Coinbase, the popular user-friendly U.S.-based exchange, cryptocurrency’s reputation as the financial wild west was on full display. While anyone following along was well aware that Coinbase planned to add Bitcoin Cash, the currency created in August’s Bitcoin hard fork, things still got weird immediately. After some suspicious pre-launch… Read More

A Chicago trading firm is hiring for a new cryptocurrency team

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

trading desk

  • XR Trading, a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm, is looking for talent to fill a new cryptocurrency team.
  • The firm is advertising on LinkedIn and its website for cryptocurrency traders and cryptocurrency software developers.


XR Trading is the latest trading firm to catch the cryptocurrency bug.

The Chicago-based prop trading firm is looking to fill the ranks of a new cryptocurrency team, according to two job postings on LinkedIn seeking both a cryptocurrency trader and a cryptocurrency software developer for its Chicago office.

In the ad posted on LinkedIn for a cryptocurrency trading position, the firm said it is looking for someone to assist "a new team with learning the landscape of bitcoin and other digital currencies."

The software developer would work close with traders to "develop systems that will contribute to our low-latency trading platform."

On the firm's website, it is advertising for two additional cryptocurrency positions for its London office. The firm, which describes itself as a "leader in derivatives," trades across a number of asset classes according to its website. It has offices in New York, London, Chicago, and Ottowa.

A number of trading firms have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon, including DRW and DV Trading in Chicago. Such firms typically find more profit opportunities in volatile markets. But when the markets are calm, as they have been for much of the year, those opportunities are harder to come by.

"Given the historic low volatility we are observing in all traditional asset classes, it is no surprise that prop firms see opportunity in cryptocurrencies where volatility is currently very high," Garrett See, the CEO of DV Chain, a cryptocurrency trading firm based in Chicago told Business Insider.

XR Trading did not respond to messages requesting comment.

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