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Fedcoin Could Be Coming Soon, But Would It Really Challenge Bitcoin?

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

Watch out Bitcoin (and Cash), Fedcoin Could Be Coming Soon

The idea of Fedcoin,” a cryptocurrency sponsored by the U.S. government and managed by the Federal Reserve, has been around for quite some time. “Imagine that the Fed, as the core developer, makes available an open-source Bitcoin-like protocol (suitably modified) called Fedcoin,” a Federal Reserve VP speculated already in 2015. The idea gained traction also in Europe in connection with the financial crisis in Greece, and was notably discussed in a “Eurocoin” context by former Greek Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis.

Earlier this year, Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said he believes “very strongly” that the U.S. could and should move to a digital currency and get rid of physical currency. While Stiglitz is persuaded that “the main use of bitcoin has been to circumvent tax authorities and regulation,” he appeared to be in favor of digital currency technology for government.

“The technology underlying bitcoin could fundamentally change the way we think of money,” said Campbell R. Harvey, a finance professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, in the Washington Post. “It is only a matter of time before paper money is phased out.”

Phasing out physical cash — the reserve of drug dealers and black marketers — would be one of the main advantages of a national cryptocurrency, according to Harvey, since it would make it far more difficult for criminals to hide and launder money if all transactions could be recorded on the government’s blockchain.

The potential for privacy isn’t considered a desirable feature for state-owned cryptocurrencies. On the contrary, as Harvey argues, the introduction of digital currencies would be partly motivated by the desire to eliminate the anonymity of cash. On the other hand, even in a future Fedcoin-like, all-electronic economy, it’s easy to predict that there would be a strong black economy on the side, powered by privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, Monero and other emerging alternatives able to offer stronger privacy.

“Despite the negative press about bitcoin being used for illegal transactions, bitcoin is not anonymous, and criminals who use it often do not understand that their transactions are being recorded,” notes Harvey. In fact, while a Bitcoin address isn’t explicitly associated with its owner, blockchain network analysis can often de-anonymize Bitcoin users. To support law enforcement, companies like Chainalysis and Elliptic offer sophisticated blockchain network analysis tools and services to trace Bitcoin transactions back to their participants and de-anonymize users.

In a recent presentation, Harvey defined Fedcoin as “a digital USD currency where the complete history of all transactions is visible to the Fed via a Fed blockchain.” That blockchain technology, initially thought of as a libertarian means to escape government control, could become a killer app for governments to have complete control over the citizens, and enforce compliance and tax collection, seems surreal to say the least.

Indeed, as Saifedean Ammous, an economics professor at the Lebanese American University, told Bitcoin Magazine, “The importance of Bitcoin is that it makes monetary policy and payment settlement according to predetermined software, free of third-party control. This defeats the point of having a central bank, and is anathema to central banks’ mission, to control monetary policy and supervise money flows.”

In the presentation, Harvey cited economist Kenneth Rogoff’s 2016 book “The Curse of Cash,” which proposes to gradually phase out cash, eventually leaving only small notes and coins in circulation, and move to electronic money, perhaps “a government-run version of the virtual currency Bitcoin.”

While Rogoff is not persuaded that the “potentially disruptive” technology of today’s cryptocurrencies is sufficiently mature, he thinks a next-generation “Bitcoin 3.0” could be a precursor to a government-controlled digital currency. “If the private sector comes up with a much better way of doing things, the government will eventually adapt and regulate as necessary to eventually win out,” says Rogoff.

Ammous disagrees with this sort of argument. “The only thing central banks can do with Bitcoin is accumulate it as a monetary reserve asset. At some point, central banks around the world will start asking themselves if they might be better off holding Bitcoin, with its apolitical monetary policy, than other countries’ national currencies.”
Central banks have as much to learn from Bitcoin’s operation as horses have to learn from car engines. It’s a technology meant to displace central control of money.

“The Fedcoin idea was presented by David Andolfatto, Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, at the first P2PFISY workshop that I organized at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt, 2015,” Paolo Tasca, executive director of the University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies, told Bitcoin Magazine.

“The idea of dispensing with cash in favor of alternative, more efficient means of payments is not new. Pre-1900 utopian thinkers devoted a lot of effort to finding a way to allow people to get rid of what Robert Owen called the ‘insane money-mystery.’ In more recent years, economists have also begun to study the implications of living in cashless societies, especially referring to the role of central banks and to the conduct of monetary policy.”

Other governments and central banks are considering their own versions of Fedcoin. Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, is considering whether the country should introduce a purely digital form of government-backed money, perhaps using distributed ledger technology (DLT). The proposed e-krona would be a digital complement to cash guaranteed by the state, and work as a means of payment, unit of account and store of value. It’s worth noting that usage of cash in Sweden is declining, and there are indications that the country could go entirely cashless in five years.

The Riksbank isn’t the only central bank to consider issuing its own digital currency. The central banks of Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Canada and others are considering similar moves. A recent research paper issued by the Bank of Canada, which considers a possible Bitcoin standard similar to the gold standard, is especially interesting. A discussion paper published by the Bank of Finland, which describes Bitcoin as a revolutionary, marvelous economic system, could indicate that the bank is considering with interest the possibility to someday launch its own digital currency. Even China’s central bank is cautiously testing a digital currency.

“Other central banks (Bank of England, Bank of Canada and European Central Bank, among others) are studying the idea of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as a non-ordinary monetary tool that could improve the central banks’ ability to stabilize inflation and the business cycle, and as a new payment channel that could permit tracing the network of payments and record the payment history of each individual,” added Tasca.

Another reason for governments to like the idea of a national cryptocurrency, according to both Harvey and Rogoff, is the possibility to strengthen the power of monetary policy to help manage the economy, for example by making it easier to impose negative interest rates.

Harvey notes that, were the Federal Reserve to adopt its own cryptocurrency someday, it will become a major (and far less volatile) competitor to bitcoin and other digital currencies. “In fact, it’s not clear whether [F]edcoin would want that competition, and the Fed is in a position to impose a regulatory environment that tilts the playing field,” warns Harvey.

“So watch out, bitcoin.”


The post Fedcoin Could Be Coming Soon, But Would It Really Challenge Bitcoin? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

BITCOIN PLUNGES: Here's what you need to know

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

santa rope

Cryptocurrencies dominated the markets on Friday.

Bitcoin ended its worst week since 2013 with a plunge below $11,000 in a reversal that skeptics, and even some investors, expected after a breathtaking surge.

The cryptocurrency was down by as much as 45% from its recent high of nearly $20,000, before recouping much of the losses. Its move prompted trading halts on Coinbase, the largest US crypto exchange, and in futures trading at CME Group. The sell-off spilled into smaller digital currency markets including ethereum and litecoin.

Major equity indexes closed lower but little changed on the last working day of 2017 for some traders. 

Here's the scoreboard: 

  • Dow: 24,754.06, -28.23, (-0.11%)
  • S&P 500: 2,683.34, -1.23, (-0.05%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,959.96, -5.40, (-0.08%)
  • 10-year yield: 2.485%, +0.002
  1. President Donald Trump signed the massive GOP tax bill into law before heading to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas. The bill overhauls the tax code for individuals and businesses, eliminates the Affordable Care Act's so-called individual mandate, and opens parts of Alaska up to oil drilling.
  2. Bank of America Merrill Lynch will pay employees making up to $150,000 per year a one-time $1,000 bonus, according to a memo cited by The Wall Street Journal. Also, Texas Capital Bank and Sinclair Broadcast Group on Friday announced special bonuses because of the tax cuts.
  3. Mike Novogratz, the famed hedge funder turned crypto-junky, is shelving a plan to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund. He told Bloomberg he thinks bitcoin could fall to as low as $8,000 a coin.

Additionally: 

The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

The biotech company that pivoted to blockchain is looking for a CTO and a background in cryptocurrency is a 'big plus'

An industry insider just blew the lid off the racket that makes American drugs so expensive

7 companies whose stocks surged — then slumped — after jumping on the crypto bandwagon

We now know who was behind the $1 million bet that bitcoin could soar to $50,000

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

BITCOIN PLUNGES: Here's what you need to know

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

santa rope

Cryptocurrencies dominated the markets on Friday.

Bitcoin ended its worst week since 2013 with a plunge below $11,000 in a reversal that skeptics, and even some investors, expected after a breathtaking surge.

The cryptocurrency was down by as much as 45% from its recent high of nearly $20,000, before recouping much of the losses. Its move prompted trading halts on Coinbase, the largest US crypto exchange, and in futures trading at CME Group. The sell-off spilled into smaller digital currency markets including ethereum and litecoin.

Major equity indexes closed lower but little changed on the last working day of 2017 for some traders. 

Here's the scoreboard: 

  • Dow: 24,754.06, -28.23, (-0.11%)
  • S&P 500: 2,683.34, -1.23, (-0.05%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,959.96, -5.40, (-0.08%)
  • 10-year yield: 2.485%, +0.002
  1. President Donald Trump signed the massive GOP tax bill into law before heading to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas. The bill overhauls the tax code for individuals and businesses, eliminates the Affordable Care Act's so-called individual mandate, and opens parts of Alaska up to oil drilling.
  2. Bank of America Merrill Lynch will pay employees making up to $150,000 per year a one-time $1,000 bonus, according to a memo cited by The Wall Street Journal. Also, Texas Capital Bank and Sinclair Broadcast Group on Friday announced special bonuses because of the tax cuts.
  3. Mike Novogratz, the famed hedge funder turned crypto-junky, is shelving a plan to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund. He told Bloomberg he thinks bitcoin could fall to as low as $8,000 a coin.

Additionally: 

The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

The biotech company that pivoted to blockchain is looking for a CTO and a background in cryptocurrency is a 'big plus'

An industry insider just blew the lid off the racket that makes American drugs so expensive

7 companies whose stocks surged — then slumped — after jumping on the crypto bandwagon

We now know who was behind the $1 million bet that bitcoin could soar to $50,000

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

We now know who was behind the $1 million bet that bitcoin could soar to $50,000

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

Ari Paul


 

On Wednesday an unidentified entity made a $1 million bet that bitcoin would trade above $50,000 by December 2018. Cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital was behind the bet, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the bet, which was made on LedgerX, a cryptocurrency options exchange. At that point it was unclear whether one entity was behind the options bet, and whether it was made up of one or more trades.

The call options expire December 28 and give BlockTower Capital the ability to buy 275 bitcoin at $50,000 per coin. 

BlockTower Capital is among the best known crypto hedge funds in a booming space that now includes over 175 such firms, according to fintech analytics firm Autonomous NEXT. BlockTower was founded by Ari Paul, formerly of trading firm Susquehanna, and Matthew Goetz, a former VP at Goldman Sachs.

Paul tweeted about the WSJ story on Thursday: 

He followed up that tweet by saying: 

"One thing to understand with options: a deep out of the money call is not a bet that something *will* happen, it's a bet that something *might* happen. Risk a little to win a lot."

Bitcoin has been under pressure this week as bears storm the market. It was trading down 16% at $12,970 Friday as the entire cryptocurrency market shed over $100 billion in market cap in just 24 hours.

Still, bulls remain resolute that better days are ahead for the crypto-market.

"The holidays are a notorious time for crypto prices to drop — that has been the case over the past several years," Dan Novaes, chief executive office of Current Media, a blockchain technology company, said.

"After the holidays, I expect the prices to rebound," he said.

SEE ALSO: A partner at one of the top bitcoin trading firms told us why crypto is 'such an amazingly fun space to be in'

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

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Expect Some Lower Lows Before the Next Bounce

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

Bitcoin Price Analysis


Two days ago, I outlined a potential BTC-USD price breakdown due the broken hypodermic trendline.  Since then, the price has dropped nearly $7,000 and is showing signs of further downward continuation.  Let’s take a look at the chart from the last BTC-USD market analysis:


Figure_1.JPG

Figure 1:  BTC-USD, 4-Hour Candles, Trend Prior to Breakdown


As you can see, the price was holding on by a thread near the red, hypodermic trendline.  Once it managed to break this trend, the price immediately and aggressively dropped.  Thus, the market signaled the end of the current parabolic breakout.  Currently, it is finding support on the parabolic curve; but on the lower timescales, it shows signs it might take one last move downward before a proper bounce occurs.  Since the hypodermic trend occurred once the market broke the linear trend, there is likely going to be very strong support there:

Figure_2.JPG

Figure 2:  BTCU-SD, 4-Hour Candles, Hypodermic Breakdown


In the event that BTC-USD sees new lows, we can expect solid support in the upper $9900s to low $10,000s.  From there we will likely see a bounce leading to a consolidation period, where the market will ultimately decide if it wants to resume the downtrend or break upwards.  Given the fact that we broke out of a distribution trading range, it is likely that we will resume this down trend after any potential consolidation.  

Distribution is the top of the market cycle and leads to a markdown in price once the trading range is broken.  However, this is all up in the air right now and we will still have to see how bitcoin handles the next phase of consolidation.  For now, I don’t anticipate any radical lows ranging beyond the linear trend support shown above.


At this point, it doesn’t appear we have reached a selling climax.  Although the selling has been intense, there is nothing terribly notable on the macro view of last nights aggressive moves:


Figure_3.JPG

Figure 3:  BTC-USD, 12-Hour Candles, Macro Volume


There was a lot of volume during last night’s moves, but there wasn’t a selling climax that would notably mark what we would expect from such a fantastic drop in price.  Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I’m anticipating lower lows in the coming days and weeks.

Summary:

  1. Bitcoin broke down out of its hypodermic trend.

  2. It is currently finding support on its macro parabolic trend.

  3. Another shove downward is likely, but I believe it will lead to a bounce to a medium-term consolidation period.


Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Expect Some Lower Lows Before the Next Bounce appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

This the final edition of Finance Insider in 2017. We'll be back in 2018. 

Almost every major cryptocurrency, from the flagship bitcoin to lesser known digital tokens like litecoin and dash, took a hit Friday. Here's what you need to know:

In non-crypto news, Bank of America joined the tax-plan after party with $145 million in bonuses to employees. Big money investors haven't been this fired up about stocks since before the financial crisis.

We asked the founder of a tech advisory firm with over $1 million in revenue per employee how they sort the real unicorns from the pretenders.

Lastly, looking to buy some stolen credit card numbers? Just head to Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

This the final edition of Finance Insider in 2017. We'll be back in 2018. 

Almost every major cryptocurrency, from the flagship bitcoin to lesser known digital tokens like litecoin and dash, took a hit Friday. Here's what you need to know:

In non-crypto news, Bank of America joined the tax-plan after party with $145 million in bonuses to employees. Big money investors haven't been this fired up about stocks since before the financial crisis.

We asked the founder of a tech advisory firm with over $1 million in revenue per employee how they sort the real unicorns from the pretenders.

Lastly, looking to buy some stolen credit card numbers? Just head to Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Analyst: Bitcoin Price Can Still Rally in the Short-Term, Despite Major Correction

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

The post Analyst: Bitcoin Price Can Still Rally in the Short-Term, Despite Major Correction appeared first on CCN

Alan Silbert, a long-time bitcoin investor and analyst, has predicted a “gut-wrenching correction” to occur and the bitcoin price to decline in the short-term. On December 6, Silbert wrote: Next 12 months in #Bitcoin : (1) MSM: bubble! bubble! bubble! (2) BTC keeps going higher (3) Gut-wrenching correction (4) MSM: we told you so! (5)

The post Analyst: Bitcoin Price Can Still Rally in the Short-Term, Despite Major Correction appeared first on CCN

7 companies whose stocks surged — then slumped — after jumping on the crypto bandwagon

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

bitcoin mining supercomputers

Bitcoin is in the midst of its worst weekly sell off since 2013, and almost every other major cryptocurrency slumped on Friday. 

That’s especially bad news for the handful of companies who recently announced a pivot to blockchain or another crypto focus. Their stock prices skyrocketed after announcing their pivots to the red-hot space, but most have settled back down — some even lower than where they were trading ahead of the announcements.  

Business Insider rounded up the companies who recently announced pivots to see how much the share prices initially jumped — and where the dust settled after Friday's slump:

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

Bioptix

Ticker: RIOT

New name: Riot Blockchain

New focus: Blockchain

Initial spike: +375%

Current price: $22.92

Change since announcement: +278%

Full story>>



World Poker Fund Holdings

Ticker: WPFH

New name: n/a

New focus: The company acquired a digital cryptocurrency wallet. 

Initial spike: +100%

Current price: $0.43

Change since announcement: -5.88%

Full story>>



The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation

Ticker: LTEA

New name: Long Blockchain

New focus: "The exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology.

Initial spike: +432%

Current price: $5.71

Change since announcement: +146.53%

Full story>>>



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Coinbase halts trading after volatile bitcoin price fluctuation (updated)

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

At 11:11am ET this morning, the cryptocurrency marketplace Coinbase temporarily disabled buying and selling for all currencies on its site. This came after wild surges in bitcoin's price in the last 24 hours: It plunged from a high of $15,800 late la...

Tim Swanson: “Enterprise Blockchain is in Trough of Disillusionment”

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

LTB_Swanson.jpg

There are few people who have worked in the blockchain technology space for so long and maintained such a seemingly disinterested and skeptical perspective on the emerging technology as Tim Swanson. Through numerous books and a blog, Tim has shown a knack for going out of his way to do deep market research within the blockchain space.

This week on Let’s Talk Bitcoin, Tim Swanson, Director of Research at Post Oak Labs, talked with Epicenter’s Brian Fabian Crain and Sebastien Couture.

His most notable work within the space has happened as Director of Market Research at R3, the first blockchain enterprise consortium for the financial services industry. During his time at R3, Tim assessed several hundred entities — companies, startups and universities — working on some type of blockchain initiative. His experience gave a full range of good, bad and ugly business operations and blockchain propositions that existed in the early stages of this industry.

Whether you agree with his stoic perspective or not, it may be a good remedy for the mania that has resulted from Bitcoin’s phenomenal price increase this year. As new investors flood in the crypto community and more and more people begin talking about blockchain technology, it’s never a bad idea to be reminded of how the industry has developed.

“Historically, we’ve seen a lot of manias happen in tech: social media, solar panels, AR, VR, etc. I don’t see the benefit in becoming a fanboy in anything at this early, early stage.”

On the current state for the enterprise blockchain market

Swanson proposed that there has been a significant shift of attention in 2017 from enterprise blockchain to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), due in large part to the amount of money that has been raised this way. Referencing the Gartner Hype cycle, Swanson believes blockchain enterprise adoption is currently in the “trough of disillusionment.” This stage comes after the initial peak of expectations where interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. This is also where many producers of the technology either give up or receive continued investment for improving the products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

BTC-gartner-hype-cycle-graph_(1).pngBTC-gartner-hype-cycle-graph_(1).pngBTC-gartner-hype-cycle-graph_(1).png

“The problem as a whole for the enterprise blockchain space is that it hasn’t managed any of the expectations it initially set out to accomplish. In the beginning, there were brash claims like putting the entire United States equities market on a blockchain in less than a year. Over time, it became clear that something like that was not possible. Because of the unmanaged expectations coupled with the retail enthusiasm coming from the consumer side seeing how blockchain could help them, where in reality, enterprise is a long-term cycle and build-out, many people lost interest once they realized they could make money much faster through ICOs.”

Swanson listed a number of startups working on the enterprise blockchain side in New York, London and the west coast, including Digital Asset, ConsenSys Enterprise, Cobalt DL and Ripple, among others, as well as Clearmatics and R3, both of which Swanson still advises.

“If you look at funding for those companies — as an aggregate they’ve raised maybe $400-450 million dollars. For comparison — and it’s not an accurate comparison — ICOs in the month of June raised over $600 million dollars. It was a shift in enthusiasm from people who wanted to get very rich, very quickly. The fact of the matter, even for ICOs, is that you can’t bypass the requirement-gathering necessary to build a platform that can work with existing institutions and existing regulatory and industry requirements.”

“You can’t just build an aeroplane, convert it into a helicopter then sell it to a bunch of helicopter enthusiasts. Ultimately, somebody will have to build applications and that’s why building an ecosystem and community is so important.”

Why Aren’t There Any New Enterprise Blockchain Companies?

Swanson attributed the lack of new enterprise blockchain companies to the difficulty new startups face in working against the existing competition within the space. Established companies have a head start in acquiring the essential ingredients for success in the enterprise blockchain space: capital and some kind of partnership with regulators or players of the existing infrastructure.

Furthermore, Swanson suggested that most of the obstacles encountered by enterprise blockchain companies could be easily surmounted by larger players:

“Large enterprises like Oracle, IBM, Sap, Microsoft have the capacity and budgets to acquire any of the enterprise startups. Oracle alone could acquire all the enterprise startups themselves and not blink much of an eye.”

Transitioning from Proof of Concept to the Pilot Stage

Swanson stated that one of the most critical obstacles for enterprise blockchain startups to be mindful of are the principles of financial market infrastructure (PFMI). These are a set of standards adopted after the 2008 financial crisis which the international community considers fundamental to strengthening and preserving financial stability.

“These principles are intended to prevent a snowball/domino affect where a local problem could potentially take down an entire system,” said Swanson. Due to the nature of these principles and how they interact within existing financial infrastructure, changing legacy infrastructure by integrating a blockchain that does not comply with these principles is far more time consuming and costly.

“Within these large corporations, you can’t just turn off legacy infrastructure, then turn on your blockchain version and continue production. Things have to be run in parallel for a while. It takes time and talent.”

The future of the blockchain in enterprise is not necessarily tied to more infrastructures, Swanson concluded. “Instead of building out more infrastructure, I am much more interested in seeing applications built on top of existing infrastructure.”

Watch the full episode to hear Swanson on busting hype, the recent ICO spike and the rise of cryptocurrencies as a new asset class among other things.

The post Tim Swanson: “Enterprise Blockchain is in Trough of Disillusionment” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tim Swanson: “Enterprise Blockchain is in Trough of Disillusionment”

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

LTB_Swanson.jpg

There are few people who have worked in the blockchain technology space for so long and maintained such a seemingly disinterested and skeptical perspective on the emerging technology as Tim Swanson. Through numerous books and a blog, Tim has shown a knack for going out of his way to do deep market research within the blockchain space.

This week on Let’s Talk Bitcoin, Tim Swanson, Director of Research at Post Oak Labs, talked with Epicenter’s Brian Fabian Crain and Sebastien Couture.

His most notable work within the space has happened as Director of Market Research at R3, the first blockchain enterprise consortium for the financial services industry. During his time at R3, Tim assessed several hundred entities — companies, startups and universities — working on some type of blockchain initiative. His experience gave a full range of good, bad and ugly business operations and blockchain propositions that existed in the early stages of this industry.

Whether you agree with his stoic perspective or not, it may be a good remedy for the mania that has resulted from Bitcoin’s phenomenal price increase this year. As new investors flood in the crypto community and more and more people begin talking about blockchain technology, it’s never a bad idea to be reminded of how the industry has developed.

“Historically, we’ve seen a lot of manias happen in tech: social media, solar panels, AR, VR, etc. I don’t see the benefit in becoming a fanboy in anything at this early, early stage.”

On the current state for the enterprise blockchain market

Swanson proposed that there has been a significant shift of attention in 2017 from enterprise blockchain to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), due in large part to the amount of money that has been raised this way. Referencing the Gartner Hype cycle, Swanson believes blockchain enterprise adoption is currently in the “trough of disillusionment.” This stage comes after the initial peak of expectations where interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. This is also where many producers of the technology either give up or receive continued investment for improving the products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

BTC-gartner-hype-cycle-graph_(1).pngBTC-gartner-hype-cycle-graph_(1).pngBTC-gartner-hype-cycle-graph_(1).png

“The problem as a whole for the enterprise blockchain space is that it hasn’t managed any of the expectations it initially set out to accomplish. In the beginning, there were brash claims like putting the entire United States equities market on a blockchain in less than a year. Over time, it became clear that something like that was not possible. Because of the unmanaged expectations coupled with the retail enthusiasm coming from the consumer side seeing how blockchain could help them, where in reality, enterprise is a long-term cycle and build-out, many people lost interest once they realized they could make money much faster through ICOs.”

Swanson listed a number of startups working on the enterprise blockchain side in New York, London and the west coast, including Digital Asset, ConsenSys Enterprise, Cobalt DL and Ripple, among others, as well as Clearmatics and R3, both of which Swanson still advises.

“If you look at funding for those companies — as an aggregate they’ve raised maybe $400-450 million dollars. For comparison — and it’s not an accurate comparison — ICOs in the month of June raised over $600 million dollars. It was a shift in enthusiasm from people who wanted to get very rich, very quickly. The fact of the matter, even for ICOs, is that you can’t bypass the requirement-gathering necessary to build a platform that can work with existing institutions and existing regulatory and industry requirements.”

“You can’t just build an aeroplane, convert it into a helicopter then sell it to a bunch of helicopter enthusiasts. Ultimately, somebody will have to build applications and that’s why building an ecosystem and community is so important.”

Why Aren’t There Any New Enterprise Blockchain Companies?

Swanson attributed the lack of new enterprise blockchain companies to the difficulty new startups face in working against the existing competition within the space. Established companies have a head start in acquiring the essential ingredients for success in the enterprise blockchain space: capital and some kind of partnership with regulators or players of the existing infrastructure.

Furthermore, Swanson suggested that most of the obstacles encountered by enterprise blockchain companies could be easily surmounted by larger players:

“Large enterprises like Oracle, IBM, Sap, Microsoft have the capacity and budgets to acquire any of the enterprise startups. Oracle alone could acquire all the enterprise startups themselves and not blink much of an eye.”

Transitioning from Proof of Concept to the Pilot Stage

Swanson stated that one of the most critical obstacles for enterprise blockchain startups to be mindful of are the principles of financial market infrastructure (PFMI). These are a set of standards adopted after the 2008 financial crisis which the international community considers fundamental to strengthening and preserving financial stability.

“These principles are intended to prevent a snowball/domino affect where a local problem could potentially take down an entire system,” said Swanson. Due to the nature of these principles and how they interact within existing financial infrastructure, changing legacy infrastructure by integrating a blockchain that does not comply with these principles is far more time consuming and costly.

“Within these large corporations, you can’t just turn off legacy infrastructure, then turn on your blockchain version and continue production. Things have to be run in parallel for a while. It takes time and talent.”

The future of the blockchain in enterprise is not necessarily tied to more infrastructures, Swanson concluded. “Instead of building out more infrastructure, I am much more interested in seeing applications built on top of existing infrastructure.”

Watch the full episode to hear Swanson on busting hype, the recent ICO spike and the rise of cryptocurrencies as a new asset class among other things.

The post Tim Swanson: “Enterprise Blockchain is in Trough of Disillusionment” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Cannabis Science pops after announcing it is entering blockchain

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

Cannabis Science

  • Cannabis Science announced on Friday it's entering the blockchain space.
  • The announcement comes after a number of companies have seen explosive moves higher in their stock prices following similar pivots in their business.
  • Shares spiked off session lows and are now trading up close to 6%.

 

Shares of Cannabis Science, a company that specializes in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, climbed into positive territory Friday afternoon after it said it will enter the blockchain space. Shares were trading down more than 6% ahead of the announcement, now they're up about 6% - a 12 point move.

The company says it will launch an initial coin offering, a crypto-based fundraising method, in January 2018, following the completion of pre-launch sales. 

"We have been studying the industry for some time now, we certainly believe that we have found something special for this blockchain arena, not just for the cannabis industry, but for so many unexplored industries and applications," President & CEO, co-founder, Raymond Dabney said in a release. "This endeavor is outstanding for Cannabis Science for a number of reasons as our blockchain currency can be backed with real-world assets for additional ICO trading security and comfort."

Entrance into the blockchain/crypto area has been a popular theme in recent days as companies who have made such announcements have seen share prices spike.

On Thursday, both Long Island Iced Tea and World Poker Fund announced pivots into the space. Their share prices spiked about 400% and 100%, respectively.

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

CBOE Joins Race to List the First Bitcoin ETF, With 6 Filings

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

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The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) hopes to be the first U.S. exchange to list a Bitcoin ETF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the price of bitcoin futures contracts. CBOE Files to List Bitcoin ETF According to documents posted on the exchange operator’s website, CBOE filed several proposed rule changes with the U.S. Securities and

The post CBOE Joins Race to List the First Bitcoin ETF, With 6 Filings appeared first on CCN

Mike Novogratz is reportedly putting plans to launch a crypto hedge fund on hold

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

Michael Novogratz, President of Fortress Investment Group, speaks  at the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 6, 2015.   REUTERS/Rick Wilking

  • Mike Novogratz, the famed hedge funder turned crypto-junky, is shelving a plan to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund, according to a Bloomberg News report.
  • The crypto investor thinks the price of bitcoin could hit as low as $8,000 a coin.
  • Previously he told CNBC in November it could reach as high as $40,000 in a couple of months.

The wheels are coming off the massive crypto rally.

Now, a famed hedge funder turned crypto enthusiast is a bitcoin bear, according to a Bloomberg News report.

"Michael Novogratz shelves plans to start a crypto hedge fund," Bloomberg reported Friday. "He says bitcoin may drop as low as $8,000 in the near term."

Just last month, Novogratz said bitcoin could go as high as $40,000 within a couple of months during an interview with CNBC. It was first reported by Bloomberg that Novogratz was planning to raise $350 million or more for a crypto-fund by January from institutional investors and family offices.

Cryptocurrencies across the market were under pressure Friday. Bitcoin was trading down more than 15 % at last check.

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NOW WATCH: Cryptocurrency is the next step in the digitization of everything — 'It’s sort of inevitable'

Bank of America joins the tax-plan after party with $145 million in bonuses to employees (BAC)

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

Bank of America

  • Bank of America is the latest to join the tax-plan bonus party, paying $1,000 bonuses to roughly 145,000 employees.
  • That works out to a $145 million payout by the Charlotte-based bank, which makes about $93 billion in annual revenue.

 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the latest company to offer employees a cash reward following the passage of the $1.5 trillion GOP tax plan. 

The bank will give $1,000 bonuses to its roughly 145,000 employees who make less than $150,000 a year, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal

That works out to a $145 million payout by the Charlotte-based bank, which takes in about $93 billion in annual revenue.

A handful of companies have announced employee bonuses following the tax plan's passage this week, headlined by $200 million in bonuses AT&T announced Wednesday for 200,000 of its employees. 

Other companies who've joined the tax-plan after party: Boeing, Fifth Third Bank, Wells Fargo, Comcast NBC Universal, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Texas Capital Bank.

 

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NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Coinbase halts buying and selling as crypto market plunges

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

Brian Armstrong Coinbase

  • Coinbase, the largest platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, has put a halt on trading Friday.
  • The entire market for digital currencies was under intense pressure with bitcoin trading down 20% on Coinbase's GDAX exchange.

 

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency trading platform, has disabled buys and sells on its platform amid a massive cryptocurrency sell-off.

The company said it is "working on a fix," adding that it apologizes for inconveniences.

Meanwhile, all major cryptocurrencies were trading in the red. Bitcoin was down more than 20% at the time of writing on Coinbase's GDAX exchange. It was trading at $12,650, down from an all-time high above $19,000 earlier in December.

This story is developing check back for updates.

Coinbase outag

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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

Bitcoin Cash Price Takes the Biggest Hit, Down 42% in 24 Hours

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

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Out of the 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies in the market, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has taken the biggest hit on Friday, as Bitcoin Cash price declined by more than 41.8 percent. Even Bitcoin Cash Could Not be Saved Over the past week, the South Korean cryptocurrency market’s Bitcoin Cash frenzy and the integration of BCH on

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2 of the world’s biggest chipmakers are sinking as cryptocurrencies get smoked (NVDA, AMD)

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 10.41.49 AM

  • Nvidia and AMD are two of the largest producers of graphics processing unit cards for cryptocurrency mining.
  • Both stocks took a hit Friday morning after cryptocurrencies large and small slumped. 


Shares of Nvidia and AMD, two of the world’s largest chipmakers whose businesses have recently been fueled by supplying graphics cards for cryptocurrency mining, are falling Friday morning after almost every single cryptocurrency slumped. Some were down by as much as 35%.

NVDA was down 1.52% at $192.92 a share, while AMD was lower by 4.65% at $10.38.

Both companies have profited from the explosion in interest surrounding cryptocurrencies and the necessity of so-called mining, which was born alongside bitcoin in 2009.

Miners quickly figured out the type of math required to mine digital coins was made faster by introducing graphics cards initially used to improve video game graphics. Nvidia, as well as rival AMD, has profited massively from the trend.

Some analysts have already argued that the two companies' moat was shrinking as bitcoin and ethereum begin to slow their astronomical ascent, but an RBC Capital Markets analyst said last week that there’s still room to run on smaller cryptocurrencies that aren’t as large as the big three (bitcoin, ethereum and bitcoin cash).

Unfortunately, even smaller coins were getting smacked down on Friday — and things could really go downhill for Nvidia and AMD from here.

Ethereum, which has a market cap of $60 billion according to coinmarketcap.com, is contemplating a shift to a "proof of stake" system instead of the industry-standard "proof of work." This means payments on the Ethereum blockchain might soon happen via a sort of voting system rather than a race to find the answer to a complicated math problem, which is the current verification method. That could decimate the impact a GPU has on the mining prices.

Still, Wall Street remains rather bullish on both stocks. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg give NVDA and AMD prices targets of $224 and $14.60, respectively — both healthy premiums to where they are currently trading.

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

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NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

2 of the world’s biggest chipmakers are sinking as cryptocurrencies get smoked (NVDA, AMD)

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 10.41.49 AM

  • Nvidia and AMD are two of the largest producers of graphics processing unit cards for cryptocurrency mining.
  • Both stocks took a hit Friday morning after cryptocurrencies large and small slumped. 


Shares of Nvidia and AMD, two of the world’s largest chipmakers whose businesses have recently been fueled by supplying graphics cards for cryptocurrency mining, are falling Friday morning after almost every single cryptocurrency slumped. Some were down by as much as 35%.

NVDA was down 1.52% at $192.92 a share, while AMD was lower by 4.65% at $10.38.

Both companies have profited from the explosion in interest surrounding cryptocurrencies and the necessity of so-called mining, which was born alongside bitcoin in 2009.

Miners quickly figured out the type of math required to mine digital coins was made faster by introducing graphics cards initially used to improve video game graphics. Nvidia, as well as rival AMD, has profited massively from the trend.

Some analysts have already argued that the two companies' moat was shrinking as bitcoin and ethereum begin to slow their astronomical ascent, but an RBC Capital Markets analyst said last week that there’s still room to run on smaller cryptocurrencies that aren’t as large as the big three (bitcoin, ethereum and bitcoin cash).

Unfortunately, even smaller coins were getting smacked down on Friday — and things could really go downhill for Nvidia and AMD from here.

Ethereum, which has a market cap of $60 billion according to coinmarketcap.com, is contemplating a shift to a "proof of stake" system instead of the industry-standard "proof of work." This means payments on the Ethereum blockchain might soon happen via a sort of voting system rather than a race to find the answer to a complicated math problem, which is the current verification method. That could decimate the impact a GPU has on the mining prices.

Still, Wall Street remains rather bullish on both stocks. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg give NVDA and AMD prices targets of $224 and $14.60, respectively — both healthy premiums to where they are currently trading.

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin is crashing

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

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.

Almost every major cryptocurrency, bitcoin included, is getting smoked this morning as "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" grip the market.

Here's the scoreboard as of Friday morning: 

What's happening:

  1. Two factions of bitcoin investors — the newcomers and the old holders — are now at war with each other
  2. Bitcoin speculators are "getting burned" and taking companies that recently pivoted to blockchain down with them.
  3. Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a cryptocurrency trading desk
  4. A US regulator is warning investors about cryptocurrency "pump-and-dump" schemes
  5. The equity chief at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market.
  6. On the other hand, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge told Business Insider that cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system.
  7. A biotech company that pivoted to blockchain is looking for a CTO and a background in cryptocurrency is a "big plus."
  8. Finally, a partner at one of the top bitcoin trading firms told us why crypto is "such an amazingly fun space to be in."

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has identified 12 stocks that are perfect if you don’t want to own it

Join the conversation about this story »

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin is crashing

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

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.

Almost every major cryptocurrency, bitcoin included, is getting smoked this morning as "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" grip the market.

Here's the scoreboard as of Friday morning: 

What's happening:

  1. Two factions of bitcoin investors — the newcomers and the old holders — are now at war with each other
  2. Bitcoin speculators are "getting burned" and taking companies that recently pivoted to blockchain down with them.
  3. Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a cryptocurrency trading desk
  4. A US regulator is warning investors about cryptocurrency "pump-and-dump" schemes
  5. The equity chief at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market.
  6. On the other hand, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge told Business Insider that cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system.
  7. A biotech company that pivoted to blockchain is looking for a CTO and a background in cryptocurrency is a "big plus."
  8. Finally, a partner at one of the top bitcoin trading firms told us why crypto is "such an amazingly fun space to be in."

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has identified 12 stocks that are perfect if you don’t want to own it

Join the conversation about this story »

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin is crashing

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

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.

Almost every major cryptocurrency, bitcoin included, is getting smoked this morning as "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" grip the market.

Here's the scoreboard as of Friday morning: 

What's happening:

  1. Two factions of bitcoin investors — the newcomers and the old holders — are now at war with each other
  2. Bitcoin speculators are "getting burned" and taking companies that recently pivoted to blockchain down with them.
  3. Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a cryptocurrency trading desk
  4. A US regulator is warning investors about cryptocurrency "pump-and-dump" schemes
  5. The equity chief at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market.
  6. On the other hand, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge told Business Insider that cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system.
  7. A biotech company that pivoted to blockchain is looking for a CTO and a background in cryptocurrency is a "big plus."
  8. Finally, a partner at one of the top bitcoin trading firms told us why crypto is "such an amazingly fun space to be in."

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has identified 12 stocks that are perfect if you don’t want to own it

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin speculators are 'getting burned' and companies that recently pivoted to blockchain are going down with them

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 10.28.19 AM

  • Bitcoin is in its worst weekly sell-off since 2013. 
  • The plunge is dragging companies in the cryptocurrency space, including some that recently changed their core businesses.

 

Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies are tumbling on Friday along with the shares of several companies in the space.

Some of these companies recently announced they were changing their core businesses to focus on cryptocurrencies. Others added "blockchain" to their names and saw triple-digit-percent surges in their stock prices.

But some companies that have traditionally been associated with bitcoin, such as the GPU-maker AMD, are also weaker on Friday amid the heavy crypto selling. 

Here's how some of the companies are trading at 10:02 a.m. ET: 

Bitcoin fell by as much as 25% below 11,000 per dollar on Friday, and was on track for its worst week of trading since 2013. 

"What we’re seeing in Bitcoin in recent days is what many people have been anticipating for a while which is speculators getting burned by a sharp and aggressive correction," said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note. 

"The rally over the last couple of months has left bitcoin vulnerable to this kind of move and it seems the run up to Christmas has triggered some profit taking on the rally and even a shift into some alternative coins."

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin plunges — losing as much as $2,500 in a single session

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has identified 12 stocks that are perfect if you don’t want to own it

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Wall Street’s brightest young analysts share their best career advice

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

BI Graphics_Rising stars of euity research 2x1

Business Insider recently published the Rising Stars of Equity Research, a comprehensive list of Wall Street’s brightest young sell-side analysts.

We spoke to dozens of finalists, all under 35 years old, about the stock market, their careers, and what has helped propel them to success at such a (relatively) young age.

One thing that was echoed by nearly every single rising star was the importance of mentors. We’ve rounded up some of the best nuggets of advice from the Rising Stars of Equity Research. Here’s what they had to say:

Make your own luck

"My Dad told me to 'make your own luck' – that’s not to say people don’t just get lucky (they definitely do), but he was saying you need to do a lot of hard work ahead of time to put yourself in a position to catch a break, rather than just waiting around ‘hoping’ to catch a lucky break.

Jessica Fye, JPMorgan

Be honest

"The best piece of advice I’ve ever received (and try to pass along whenever someone asks) is to be honest with yourself. Have the (sometimes difficult) internal conversation to understand what you are good at, rather than what you want to be good at.  That doesn’t mean to sit back and stay within your comfort zone. But everyone has their own innate set of skills; so figure out what those are, then nurture and stretch them. Said another way, swing for the fences, but know your best pitch.”

Simeon Siegel, Nomura Instinet

Know your strengths

"The best equity research-specific advice I ever received came from a PM while I was at my first conference. He pulled me aside and told me that an analyst has three roles: (1) know the industry you cover and its dynamics, (2) know a company’s business model inside and out, and (3) be a great stock picker. A good analyst can do one of these, a great analyst can do two. The best analysts know which of these three is their strength, and makes a career of it.

Stephanie Davis, Citi

Humility

"The best piece of advice one of the — if not the — best biotech analyst on Wall Street once gave me early in my career is: 'No matter how much success you’ve had, you can never have enough humility.' I have found it to be very insightful and try to incorporate it in everything that I do."

Tyler Van Buren, Cowen

You can see the full list of Rising Stars on Business Insider Prime here>> 

SEE ALSO: How Wall Street's brightest young analysts are viewing the markets today

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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

Flash Crash: Bitcoin Price Dives Below $11,000 as Retrace Deepens

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

The post Flash Crash: Bitcoin Price Dives Below $11,000 as Retrace Deepens appeared first on CCN

The bitcoin price briefly dove below $11,000 on Friday as the market searched for a support level to stem its severe correction. Bitcoin Price Flash Crashes Below $11,000 The bitcoin price endured a violent correction on Friday, headlining a day in which the cryptocurrency market cap crashed by more than $165 billion and many new

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The biotech company that pivoted to blockchain is looking for a CTO and a background in cryptocurrency is a 'big plus'

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

Capture.PNG

  • Riot Blockchain is searching for a chief technology officer a couple months after it announced it would enter the crypto market.
  • Originally, it made diagnostic machinery for biotech companies under the name BiOptix Diagnostics.
  • Its stock has soared more than 300% since announcing the pivot.

 

It looks like Riot Blockchain put the horse before the carriage.

The company, which pivoted to blockchain after operating for more than a decade as a biotech firm under the name BiOptix Diagnostics, is on the hunt for a chief technology officer, according to a job posting on LinkedIn.

"Riot Blockchain is seeking a technically experienced and highly motivated CTO candidate with a passion for blockchain technology," the ad said.

The candidate should be able to juggle a number of tasks, including the "implementation of technical aspects, recruit top developers and blockchain specialists, and build bridges and network with blockchain community."

The CTO will also help build out the firm's crypto-mining operations. Still, a technical background in cryptocurrencies is not required.

"Technical experience in cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency mining is a big plus," the ad said.

Riot Blockchain has soared more than 300% since it announced in early October that it was pivoting toward buying cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses. It previously focused on making diagnostic machinery for the biotech companies.

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.

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NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Major stock exchange wants to launch Bitcoin ETFs

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

US attitude towards crypto

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The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list two exchange traded funds (ETFs) that would track Bitcoin futures.

The funds, offered by ETF provider ProShares, are called the ProShares Bitcoin ETF and the ProShares Short Bitcoin ETF. Neither fund would purchase Bitcoin, instead they would invest in futures contracts, with the former benefiting when the value of those contracts rises, and the latter when the value falls.

Cryptocurrency ETFs would be a big step toward bringing Bitcoin into mainstream investing. The funds’ custodian would be Brown Brothers Harriman, whose head of emerging markets strategy, Win Thin, said he believes the ETFs indicate the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies. That’s likely because ETFs have wide accessibility due to the fact they typically have higher liquidity, and lower fees, than many other investment vehicles. Additionally, as regulated instruments, the new ETFs would result in more regulatory oversight for the cryptocurrency investment space, Thin says. That could draw in more cautious investors.

But NYSE still needs the SEC’s approval. The exchange is by no means the first to file a cryptocurrency ETF with the SEC, but none have yet been approved by the regulator. The SEC’s reasons for rejecting past applications largely centered on poor regulation of cryptocurrency markets, and the potential that raised for market manipulation. NYSE will likely be hoping that the regulatory approval given to the futures on which its ETFs are based will calm those fears, and enable it to become the first exchange to offer the instruments.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on blockchain in banking that:

  • Outlines banks' experiments with blockchain technology. 
  • Details blockchain projects at three major banks — UBS, Credit Suisse, and Banco Santander — based on in-depth interviews. 
  • Discusses the likely trends that will emerge in the technology over the next several years.
  • Highlights the factors that will be critical to the success of banks implementing blockchain-based solutions.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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The Bears Are Back in Town: Cryptocurrency Market Cap Crashes, Loses $125 Billion

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

The post The Bears Are Back in Town: Cryptocurrency Market Cap Crashes, Loses $125 Billion appeared first on CCN

The bears are back in town. Following a yearlong rally, the cryptocurrency markets turned crimson on Friday as the bitcoin price began what appears to be a significant retrace. Cryptocurrency Market Cap Plunges by $125 Billion The retreat was as precipitous as it was comprehensive. Bitcoin plunged by more than 20 percent, while dozens of

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Big money investors haven't been this fired up about stocks since before the financial crisis

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

traders yell excited animated

  • Active mutual fund managers are the most bullish on US stocks since 2006, when data was first collected.
  • There are many factors simultaneously driving this sentiment, including earnings growth, optimism around tax reform, and a buy-the-dip investment mentality.


Equity investors are closing out 2017 on an optimistic note.

A recent survey from the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) shows that active mutual fund managers are the most bullish on US stocks since it began collecting data in 2006. It's part of a weekly assessment conducted by the NAAIM that gauges the degree of overall equity exposure for all of its member firms.

NAAIM exposure index

It's no coincidence that this unprecedented level of confidence comes at a time when so many things are simultaneously going right for the stock market. Let's run down three of the biggest drivers of future bullishness, all of which also explain the market's run up to record highs:

Earnings growth

Profit expansion has historically been the biggest driver of equity gains during the 8 1/2-year bull market, which stands as the second-longest on record. At its core, appreciation in major stock indexes is built around the ability of companies to grow their bottom lines.

The S&P 500 has seen earnings growth in the past five quarters after a multi-year profit recession. This resurgence has mirrored a climb to new all-time highs for the benchmark gauge. And looking ahead, the S&P 500 is expected to expand profits by 13% in 2018, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Tax reform

While the stock market certainly fluctuated for months on expectations around the GOP tax bill, the consensus among Wall Street analysts is that its effect hasn't been fully priced in. As such, since the legislation passed, multiple firms have boosted their 2018 year-end price targets.

In a recent note, UBS said the S&P 500 could end up surging 25% in 2018 on the back of tax reform. Meanwhile, JPMorgan boosted its forecast to 3,000 this week, citing the underpriced impact of the tax bill.

"The upcoming reduction of US corporate tax rates may be one of the biggest positive catalysts for US equities this cycle," Marko Kolanovic, who serves as JPMorgan's global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy, wrote in a client note. "We think that little is priced into the market and hence there is potential for market upside."

A buy-the-dip mentality

Stock market pullbacks don't worry investors anymore — they embolden them.

For much of the 8 1/2-year equity bull market, traders have deployed a strategy called "buying the dip," which involves adding to bullish positions whenever stocks drop. Even the briefest market decline gives these traders a chance to buy more of a stock that they're into at a lower price.

It's a tactic that's been crucial in keeping the stock market rally afloat, with the ever-present undercurrent of optimism providing a backstop of sorts for major indexes. And it's been so effective that investors are now embracing brief rough patches, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"Investors no longer fear shocks but love them," a group of strategists led by Nitin Saksena wrote in a client note. "Since 2013, central banks have stepped in — or communicated that they may step in — to protect markets, leaving investors confident enough to buy the dip."

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

Join the conversation about this story »

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

The equity chief at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

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

Business Insider editor-at-large Sara Silverstein sits down with Jeffrey Kleintop, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, to chat about 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.

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Every major cryptocurrency is getting smoked

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

A plume of smoke above Mount Agung volcano is illuminated at sunset as seen from Amed, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Almost every major cryptocurrency, from the flagship bitcoin to lesser known digital tokens like litecoin and dash, took a hit Friday morning, with some down as much as 33%.

Here’s the scoreboard as 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday:

There is one small glimmer of hope amid all the red, however. Ethereum classic, which split from its namesake in July 2015, was up 3.4% at $38.20 per coin.

Bitcoin, easily the most well-known and largest cryptocurrency by market cap, hit an intraday low of $12,439 early Friday — 37% below its peak of $19,843 hit on December 18, according to data from Markets Insider.

Litecoin, which saw astronomical gains last week, has been steadily declining since Tuesday. Charlie Lee, the creator of the cryptocurrency, announced early Wednesday he had sold his entire stake. The digital coin is down 41% from this week's record high, according to Markets Insider data. 

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

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

Every major cryptocurrency is getting smoked

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

A plume of smoke above Mount Agung volcano is illuminated at sunset as seen from Amed, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Almost every major cryptocurrency, from the flagship bitcoin to lesser known digital tokens like litecoin and dash, took a hit Friday morning, with some down as much as 33%.

Here’s the scoreboard as 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday:

There is one small glimmer of hope amid all the red, however. Ethereum classic, which split from its namesake in July 2015, was up 3.4% at $38.20 per coin.

Bitcoin, easily the most well-known and largest cryptocurrency by market cap, hit an intraday low of $12,439 early Friday — 37% below its peak of $19,843 hit on December 18, according to data from Markets Insider.

Litecoin, which saw astronomical gains last week, has been steadily declining since Tuesday. Charlie Lee, the creator of the cryptocurrency, announced early Wednesday he had sold his entire stake. The digital coin is down 41% from this week's record high, according to Markets Insider data. 

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

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

Every major cryptocurrency is getting smoked

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

A plume of smoke above Mount Agung volcano is illuminated at sunset as seen from Amed, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Almost every major cryptocurrency, from the flagship bitcoin to lesser known digital tokens like litecoin and dash, took a hit Friday morning, with some down as much as 33%.

Here’s the scoreboard as 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday:

There is one small glimmer of hope amid all the red, however. Ethereum classic, which split from its namesake in July 2015, was up 3.4% at $38.20 per coin.

Bitcoin, easily the most well-known and largest cryptocurrency by market cap, hit an intraday low of $12,439 early Friday — 37% below its peak of $19,843 hit on December 18, according to data from Markets Insider.

Litecoin, which saw astronomical gains last week, has been steadily declining since Tuesday. Charlie Lee, the creator of the cryptocurrency, announced early Wednesday he had sold his entire stake. The digital coin is down 41% from this week's record high, according to Markets Insider data. 

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

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

Bitcoin loses third of value over week

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

The roller coaster ride continues for the virtual currency as it falls from almost $20,000 to $13,400.

Ripple Price Swims Against the Raging Crimson Tide

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

The post Ripple Price Swims Against the Raging Crimson Tide appeared first on CCN

The ripple price posted a solitary advance on Friday as the wider cryptocurrency markets plummeted by a combined $125 billion. Ripple Price Fights Against the Crimson Tide Traders woke up to a sea of red on Friday, and virtually every top-tier cryptocurrency saw its price crash by more than 20 percent against the dollar. However,

The post Ripple Price Swims Against the Raging Crimson Tide appeared first on CCN

Futures Firm Cboe Filed for 6 Bitcoin ETFs This Week

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

Cboe has filed with the SEC to list multiple bitcoin futures ETFs in the past week, public records show.

South Korea Suspects Kim Jong-Un’s Regime Behind Bitcoin Exchange Youbit Heist

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

The post South Korea Suspects Kim Jong-Un’s Regime Behind Bitcoin Exchange Youbit Heist appeared first on CCN

South Korean investigators believe North Korean hackers are to blame for Youbit's demise due to "telltale signs and historical evidence."

The post South Korea Suspects Kim Jong-Un’s Regime Behind Bitcoin Exchange Youbit Heist appeared first on CCN

Trump will build a wall in Ireland to protect his golf course from climate change

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

trump doonbeg

  • Donald Trump just got permission to build two seawalls around his Irish golf resort.
  • Environmentalists say the barriers could damage the resort's surrounding natural resources.
  • Trump Doonbeg cited climate change as a reason to build the walls — even though Trump doesn't believe in it.


Donald Trump's golf resort in Ireland has received permission to build two seawalls to prevent water from eroding part of the course.

Local authorities in Doonbeg, Ireland, gave Trump International Golf Links the go-ahead on Thursday to build the two long barriers along a nearby coast, The New York Times reported.

One wall will be 2,000 feet long, while the other will be 840 feet long, the Times said.

The barriers will be made out of limestone rock, and placed in front of holes one, nine, and 18 on the course, The Irish Independent reported. The walls will weigh a total of 38,000 tonnes.

trump golf walls

County Clare Council's decision angered environmentalists, who said the walls could damage the resort's surrounding natural resources, which include a beach, dunes, and greenery.

Some residents also said the barriers could alter tidal movement and cause water to flow into their own properties instead, the Times reported.

However, County Clare Council, which granted the permission, said the wall was unlikely to significantly impact the resort's surroundings.

Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said, as cited by The Guardian: "It's disappointing. We should be altering the golf course, not the coastline."

Ryan said he didn't believe Trump's ownership had influenced council members but said: "They wouldn't be human beings if they weren't sensitive to the fact that the golf course in question is owned by the president of the United States."

Environmental groups plan to appeal the decision, the Independent said.

Donald Trump golfing

In its 2016 permit application, Trump International cited rising sea levels and extreme weather as its reason to build the wall, Politico reported.

Trump, however, previously claimed that climate change was a "hoax" and was "created by and for the Chinese." His administration also removed climate change from its list of national security threats earlier this week.

Trump placed his business holdings in a revocable trust managed by his sons before becoming president. While this removes Trump from making day-to-day decisions at his businesses, his lawyers said earlier this year that Trump could draw money from his businesses at any time.

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

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, NKE, GS, PZZA, GOOG)

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

Worlds smallest hotel

Here is what you need to know.

Congress averts a government shutdownThe Republican-led Congress narrowly passed a temporary spending bill, averting a government shutdown.

Bitcoin plunges againThe cryptocurrency plunged below $13,000 for the first time in more than two weeks. It's now down about 30% from Monday's record high. 

The Feds says they blew up a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme targeting elderly people in FloridaThe US Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Robert Shapiro for allegedly using a group of funds called the Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC, to defraud more than 8,400 investors.

Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a crypto trading desk"The bank aims to get the business running by the end of June, if not earlier," Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the situation. 

Eric Schmidt is stepping down as Alphabet's executive chairmanSchmidt, who was previously Google's CEO and has been with the company since 2001, announced he was resigning as Alphabet executive chairman to spend time on philanthropy and on "science and technology issues."

Papa John's CEO departsJohn Schnatter, the pizza chain's controversial founder and CEO, announced plans to leave his position following backlash for his criticism of NFL anthem protests.

Nike beats despite weakness in North AmericaThe sneaker giant beat on both the top and bottom lines, but revenue from North America fell 5% due to weakness in footwear and sports equipment.

South Korea reportedly plans to buy 20 more F35sSouth Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration has begun the process for procuring an 20 additional aircraft, just two months after President Donald Trump announced Seoul would spend billions of dollars on new equipment, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources.

Stock markets around the world trade mixedHong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.72%) led in Asia and France's CAC (-0.28%) lags in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,687.

US economic data is heavyPersonal income and spending and durable goods orders will all be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before new home sales and University of Michigan consumer confidence cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.48%. 

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2 factions of bitcoin investors are now at war with each other

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

rollercoaster scream

  • "It's clear by now that the entire crypto market is in a massive retracement," one analyst says.
  • People who have made money on bitcoin are now selling out, while newer buyers are taking losses. The two factions are essentially at war.
  • Volatility is a normal state of affairs for bitcoin, which is not backed by an underlying asset. 

Every day, senior market analyst Mati Greenspan of eToro sends out a mass email summarising what he thinks is going on in the cryptocurrency markets right now.

This morning the first line of that email said it all: "It's clear by now that the entire crypto market is in a massive retracement," he wrote. Bitcoin is seeing a "massive pullback."

Bitcoin fell $3,000 overnight, moving down 17% to under $13,000. It was at $20,000 a few days ago. That's a loss of 35% in just a few days. A lot of people — new entrants to the market — have lost a lot of money.

And so people are asking, are we looking at a Christmas Crypto Crash — the bursting of the bitcoin bubble that bears have been expecting for weeks now

Two factions of bitcoin investors are now at war

Mati GreenspanWhat you are looking at is a war between two factions inside the crypto speculator community, who have completely opposite vested interests to each other:

  • Faction 1: "Old holders": A massive percentage of all bitcoin is owned by a small number of investors who bought in years ago. Many of those people are now millionaires or even billionaires, or just very, very rich. They have been holding bitcoin since 2011, or they bought in prior to the beginning of 2017. They have seen bitcoin go from close to zero, through $100, $1,000, and all the way up to $20,000. And now they have to sell at least some of their holdings into fiat currency if they want to realise those gains, before the market destabilises and makes them poor again. They don't care if the price falls a bit. They have made their money.
  • Faction 2: "Newcoiners": This is everyone who bought in this year. Many of them are undereducated on the risks of alt-coins and have been attracted by media coverage and the idea that they could get very rich, very quick, if they ride this rollercoaster. They need the price to rise — and that means that every seller is their enemy.

The newbies' problem is that the old holders own vastly more bitcoin than the newcoiners, and thus can control the market, even though the newcoiners vastly outnumber the old holders. When the oldies sell, the price goes down. (The Winkelvoss twins, for instance, own 1% of all bitcoin, worth more than $1 billion, although there is no indication that they are selling.)

Right now the newcoiners are being dragged along for a ride they don't want. 

There is a thread satirising this phenomenon on the bitcoin subreddit titled "Old holders vs newcoiners." It shows a clip from an old episode of Mr Bean, in which Rowan Atkinson's nerdy character sits unmoved on a rollercoaster while the other passengers scream behind him:

Mr Bean Dec 22 2017 10 03 34

"It started with a bit of profit taking but it seems that the FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt] is now gripping the market. Comments from enthusiasts like Charlie Lee probably didn't help either," Greenspan wrote this morning. Lee is the creator of Litecoin, who warned on Monday night that his currency is so unstable investors ought to be prepared to lose 90% of their entire investment in it. "

"Sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit…," Lee wrote. "Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can't handle LTC dropping to $20, don't buy!" 

eToro's Greenspan said he could easily see bitcoin sink to $10,000 — a loss of half its value. "In fact, $10,000 was exactly the level that bitcoin was trading at the beginning of this month and so it would not be surprising to see it there again," he wrote.

Greenspan thinks this is temporary. "Those who have been in this market for a while are not nervous though. We've seen this type of action many times before. In fact, the traders out there have been expecting it," he says. "You don't get quadruple-digit gains without a few double-digit pullbacks. For the true believers, this is the time to consider buying the dip."

There is reason to believe that buyers might outnumber sellers in the short-run. Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a crypto trading desk. The investment bank also wants to clear bitcoin futures, and those type of derivatives are also being provided by Cboe and CME. All of those will likely bring new buyers into the market, and more demand will bid up the price. 

What kind of asset loses half its value in just a few days?

Eventually, drops like today's will force all those investors to question what bitcoin actually is. What kind of asset — or currency — rises by 100% and then declines by 50% in just a few days?

The answer is that the price is so volatile precisely because it is neither a currency nor an asset. A currency comes with an interest rate and, crucially, can be used to pay taxes. Those two underlying factors keep a currency's value relatively steady. An asset entitles the buyer to some underlying "thing" that may have a value of its own aside from its mere price — a house, a stock or a bond, for instance, which can give off rental income (or simply provide you with shelter), dividends, or interest.

Bitcoin has none of these. Bitcoin represents nothing. It entitles its holders to nothing more than its price. Its price is set merely by supply and demand. On that measure, volatility is bitcoin's optimistic scenario. The worst-case? That's the day when holders realise they don't own anything except other people's beliefs about the future. Bitcoin can go to zero, on that basis (as Lee helpfully pointed out, in terms of litecoin).

Right now, the old money appears to be bailing out of the market, forcing losses onto the newbies. Whether they have enough belief to stay in is anyone's guess.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why some Hong Kong skyscrapers have gaping holes

2 factions of bitcoin investors are now at war with each other

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

rollercoaster scream

  • "It's clear by now that the entire crypto market is in a massive retracement," one analyst says.
  • People who have made money on bitcoin are now selling out, while newer buyers are taking losses. The two factions are essentially at war.
  • Volatility is a normal state of affairs for bitcoin, which is not backed by an underlying asset. 

Every day, senior market analyst Mati Greenspan of eToro sends out a mass email summarising what he thinks is going on in the cryptocurrency markets right now.

This morning the first line of that email said it all: "It's clear by now that the entire crypto market is in a massive retracement," he wrote. Bitcoin is seeing a "massive pullback."

Bitcoin fell $3,000 overnight, moving down 17% to under $13,000. It was at $20,000 a few days ago. That's a loss of 35% in just a few days. A lot of people — new entrants to the market — have lost a lot of money.

And so people are asking, are we looking at a Christmas Crypto Crash — the bursting of the bitcoin bubble that bears have been expecting for weeks now

Two factions of bitcoin investors are now at war

Mati GreenspanWhat you are looking at is a war between two factions inside the crypto speculator community, who have completely opposite vested interests to each other:

  • Faction 1: "Old holders": A massive percentage of all bitcoin is owned by a small number of investors who bought in years ago. Many of those people are now millionaires or even billionaires, or just very, very rich. They have been holding bitcoin since 2011, or they bought in prior to the beginning of 2017. They have seen bitcoin go from close to zero, through $100, $1,000, and all the way up to $20,000. And now they have to sell at least some of their holdings into fiat currency if they want to realise those gains, before the market destabilises and makes them poor again. They don't care if the price falls a bit. They have made their money.
  • Faction 2: "Newcoiners": This is everyone who bought in this year. Many of them are undereducated on the risks of alt-coins and have been attracted by media coverage and the idea that they could get very rich, very quick, if they ride this rollercoaster. They need the price to rise — and that means that every seller is their enemy.

The newbies' problem is that the old holders own vastly more bitcoin than the newcoiners, and thus can control the market, even though the newcoiners vastly outnumber the old holders. When the oldies sell, the price goes down. (The Winkelvoss twins, for instance, own 1% of all bitcoin, worth more than $1 billion, although there is no indication that they are selling.)

Right now the newcoiners are being dragged along for a ride they don't want. 

There is a thread satirising this phenomenon on the bitcoin subreddit titled "Old holders vs newcoiners." It shows a clip from an old episode of Mr Bean, in which Rowan Atkinson's nerdy character sits unmoved on a rollercoaster while the other passengers scream behind him:

Mr Bean Dec 22 2017 10 03 34

"It started with a bit of profit taking but it seems that the FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt] is now gripping the market. Comments from enthusiasts like Charlie Lee probably didn't help either," Greenspan wrote this morning. Lee is the creator of Litecoin, who warned on Monday night that his currency is so unstable investors ought to be prepared to lose 90% of their entire investment in it. "

"Sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit…," Lee wrote. "Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can't handle LTC dropping to $20, don't buy!" 

eToro's Greenspan said he could easily see bitcoin sink to $10,000 — a loss of half its value. "In fact, $10,000 was exactly the level that bitcoin was trading at the beginning of this month and so it would not be surprising to see it there again," he wrote.

Greenspan thinks this is temporary. "Those who have been in this market for a while are not nervous though. We've seen this type of action many times before. In fact, the traders out there have been expecting it," he says. "You don't get quadruple-digit gains without a few double-digit pullbacks. For the true believers, this is the time to consider buying the dip."

There is reason to believe that buyers might outnumber sellers in the short-run. Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a crypto trading desk. The investment bank also wants to clear bitcoin futures, and those type of derivatives are also being provided by Cboe and CME. All of those will likely bring new buyers into the market, and more demand will bid up the price. 

What kind of asset loses half its value in just a few days?

Eventually, drops like today's will force all those investors to question what bitcoin actually is. What kind of asset — or currency — rises by 100% and then declines by 50% in just a few days?

The answer is that the price is so volatile precisely because it is neither a currency nor an asset. A currency comes with an interest rate and, crucially, can be used to pay taxes. Those two underlying factors keep a currency's value relatively steady. An asset entitles the buyer to some underlying "thing" that may have a value of its own aside from its mere price — a house, a stock or a bond, for instance, which can give off rental income (or simply provide you with shelter), dividends, or interest.

Bitcoin has none of these. Bitcoin represents nothing. It entitles its holders to nothing more than its price. Its price is set merely by supply and demand. On that measure, volatility is bitcoin's optimistic scenario. The worst-case? That's the day when holders realise they don't own anything except other people's beliefs about the future. Bitcoin can go to zero, on that basis (as Lee helpfully pointed out, in terms of litecoin).

Right now, the old money appears to be bailing out of the market, forcing losses onto the newbies. Whether they have enough belief to stay in is anyone's guess.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why some Hong Kong skyscrapers have gaping holes

We asked the founder of a tech advisory firm with over $1 million in revenue per employee how they sort the real unicorns from the pretenders

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

a trip to unicorn island

  • Union Square Advisors is a boutique investment bank focused on tech companies.
  • Now in its 10th year, the firm keeps tabs on all the unicorns roaming the world and primarily works on transactions in the $1 billion neighborhood. 
  • Founder and chairman Carter McClelland says sorting out the real unicorns from the pretenders requires investigating businesses up close and knowing every single board member and investor. 
  • Union Square is private and doesn't disclose revenue, but it has had record performance in three of the last four years, and the firm pulls in well over $1 million in revenue per employee, McClelland said.


The past decade has seen an unprecedented rise in tech entrepreneurship, with $1 billion "unicorns" morphing from a rare creature to a mundane sighting in the process.

And as enthusiastic investors clamored to grab equity in the next Google, Facebook, or Uber, many entrepreneurs have commanded valuations inflated more by hype and gusto than true potential. Besides inducing a chorus of "bubble!" proclamations, this has also led in recent years to some painful initial public offerings as well as late-stage investments at deflated valuations.

Blue Apron and Cloudera, for instance, each saw their valuations buckle under public market pressure this year. 

Union Square Advisors — a boutique investment bank tailored toward tech mergers and acquisitions — has had a front-row seat for the whole spectacle, getting its hands dirty assessing startups and entrepreneurs for the past 10 years. 

Carter McClelland, a technology investment banker who first started covering the space in the the 1970s with Morgan Stanley, left his job as chairman of Bank of America Securities in 2006, believing that if he assembled a crew of bankers that actually understand tech, he could steal advisory business away from the bulge bracket banks that dominated the arena. 

So far, it's worked out for the Union Square founder, partner, and chairman, whose company primarily focuses on deals in the $1 billion valuation neighborhood and below but has in recent years worked on deals involving Dell, eBay, IBM, Nasdaq, and Salesforce.

Part of the strategy at the tech investment firm — a team of less than 40 bankers — is to keep close tabs on the more than 150 unicorns roaming the world, as well as the portfolios of the top venture-capital firms.

"We have a very sophisticated venture portfolio inspection system. We know, we think with pretty good accuracy, where the next 400 companies are coming out of the top-30 venture capital funds," McClelland told Business Insider. "So we cover those to try and be in the way of exits as they occur." 

Sorting the real unicorns from the pretenders

Because there's so much capital available right now — dry powder to invest has been at all-time highs in venture capital and private equity — there are more competitors with funding working on a given idea or technology than there really should be, McClelland said.

Seven startups have venture backing where there's really only room for two or three. Hence the rash of tech companies experiencing painful revaluations. 

He said his bank has advised a couple tech companies this year that raised capital at a valuation over $1 billion but now are reckoning with the prospect that they're actually worth half that.  

"You just have to go to these meetings and listen to the gnashing of teeth," McClelland said. 

McClelland estimates about a third of unicorns will fail, another third will take a decade to grow into their business model, and the last third are more imminent winners on the track for initial public offerings.

So how does Union Square sort out the true gems from the pretenders? 

"You meet with the companies, you figure out what the business plan is, you try to assess whether it has legs and is it going to survive," McClelland said. "You've got to know every single board member and investor, because they're not aligned."

One mistake McClelland often sees is VC investors cowing to a confident, charismatic startup CEO who's convinced success is right around the corner when in reality the company is headed toward the scrap heap. 

"I think this is just the nature of America, technology, and entrepreneurs — it's their baby, right? Quite frankly, venture capitalists are susceptible to, 'Just give me another year, and I'll get this right,'" McClelland said. He continued: "They did it because they think they can build something great, and they maybe take longer to give up than they practically should."

"We usually just get the phone call."

But business is good for McClelland's boutique investment bank, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017.

The firm is often approached directly to work on deals rather than having to pitch its capabilities or compete in a "bake-off" with other investment banks, according to McClelland. Of the roughly 50 assignments the firm typically secures each year, it competes for less than 10% of them, he said. 

"We usually we just get the phone call. And we don't get it just because we're tall and good looking, we get it because we've invested a year or year and a half with these companies, we get way ahead of the decision, and by the time they have to make the decision, we're the choice," McClelland said.

He added the caveat that many firms they're hunting don't wind up in their laps, of course. "It's not a 1,000% batting average."

Union Square is private and doesn't disclose revenue, but it has had record performance in three of the last four years, and the firm pulls in well over $1 million in revenue per employee, McClelland said. And given their size and lack of overhead, employees will keep most of that cash, too.

"Part of the reason you see so much more of the M&A business being done in boutiques is just because it's a better model," McClelland said. "We pay our people a lot more than what the big banks can pay their people."

Join the conversation about this story »

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

A partner at one of the top bitcoin trading firms told us why crypto is 'such an amazingly fun space to be in'

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

trader trading desk

  • Akuna Capital, a Chicago-based trader, was one of the first firms to trade bitcoin futures.
  • Partner Toby Allen told Business Insider why the cryptocurrency market provides an amazing opportunity for trading firms.


The news that Cboe Global Markets was going to launch a futures market for bitcoin was a landmark moment for trading firm Akuna Capital. 

"That's when we started dedicating resources," Toby Allen, a partner at Chicago-based Akuna Capital, told Business Insider, referring to crypto trading. 

Today the firm, which has traditionally made markets in currencies and energy futures markets, is electronically trading in spot bitcoin in the $1 million to $5 million range. It is currently hiring new talent to expand the cryptocurrency desk.

It was also one of the first trading firms to make markets for Cboe's bitcoin futures market, which launched in early December. It's also trading bitcoin futures at the CME, and trades bitcoin options through LedgerX, a US cryptocurrency options exchange.

Allen said the company takes a unique approach when it comes to its cryptocurrency trading operations. Whereas other trading firms have entire units devoted solely to crypto, Akuna has everyone working together across assets. 

"We don't really silo anything here," he said. "We have a lot of people from tech, quant, and support teams working on crypto. It's touching everyone."

The big opportunity for firms such as Akuna isn't so much the explosive price of bitcoin, which this year has soared by as much as 1,700%, according to Allen. 

Rather it is the arbitrage opportunities available in the space. Bitcoin can trade at wildly different prices on any given exchange. At the time of writing, bitcoin was trading at a more than $1,000 premium on US-based Coinbase's GDAX exchange to Kraken, another US cryptocurrency exchange, according to CoinMarketCap data.

"There is sometimes 10% exchange arbitrage," Allen said. "As a trader it is such an amazingly fun space to be in compared to traditional assets because of the spreads and technology gaps."

Crypto traders can buy up bitcoin on an exchange where it is priced lower and then sell for where it is trading higher for a profit.

Capture.PNGTo be sure, capitalizing on arbitrage opportunities is sometimes easier said than done in crypto, which is known for its immature market infrastructure. If two exchanges show different quotes, it is for a limited quantity and depends on whether a trader can access the exchange and the trade settling. Exchange latency, the speed at which information is communicated between exchanges and trading firms, is far slower in crypto than it is elsewhere on Wall Street.

"Wall Street operates in nanoseconds not tens of seconds," he said.

Still, Allen said the space provides a "breath of fresh air" for his traders who face much calmer markets on Wall Street. With volatility close to all-time lows and wild price-swings harder to come by, it is more difficult for traders to pinpoint big profit opportunities in US stocks.

As for profits, Allen described volumes as "fantastic" when pressed about how much money the firm was making.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund reveals why you should be cautious of the ICO bubble

New Bitcoin Fork Adopts Interest Payments

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

The post New Bitcoin Fork Adopts Interest Payments appeared first on CCN

This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned

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Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency crashed hard today

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

 Bitcoin has been on a tear this past with the value of the cryptocurrency jumping from $8,000 to nearly $20,000. Well that run hit an abrupt end today as the price crashed as much as 23 percent on Coinbase. The price briefly dipped below $12,000 on some exchanges at around 7:30 am London time. The drop — which wiped more than $4,000 from the value of bitcoin at one point — was… Read More

Major cryptocurrencies are crashing as 'fear, uncertainty, and doubt' grips the market

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

A bull styrofoam figure is pictured in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange September 16, 2008.

  • Bitcoin sells off aggressively as investors cash out before Christmas.
  • The sell-off spreads into other cryptocurrencies.
  • Litecoin, ethereum, and bitcoin cash all see losses of double digit percentages.


LONDON — Major cryptocurrencies around the world are selling off aggressively on Friday as the market is gripped by "fear, uncertainty, and doubt."

The price of bitcoin crashed overnight with no apparent catalyst, with the general lack of liquidity in the market exacerbating that move and wiping as much as $3,000 off the value of the cryptocurrency in early morning European trade.

Earlier in the week, bitcoin's price had started to plunge after one of the founders of influential website bitcoin.com announced that he was selling his stake in bitcoin.

"It's clear by now that the entire crypto market is in a massive retracement," Mati Greenspan, a Senior Market Analyst at trading platform eToro said in an email a little earlier.

"It started with a bit of profit taking but it seems that the FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt] is now gripping the market." While bitcoin's drop was the first to accelerate, its fall has spilled into other major cryptocurrencies, with the likes of ethereum and bitcoin cash also seeing huge losses during Friday's trading session.

Here's a brief round-up of how things look in the market right now:

Bitcoin is down by more than 11%, having dropped nearly $3,000, but has now found support at around $13,000 as of 9.50 a.m. GMT, as the chart below shows: Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 09.50.35 "Looking at the overall cryptomarket, we're now 25% from the top. Timewise we're back to the levels last seen on December 13th. All in all, not too much damage so far but the fear is certainly setting in with many and there is a possibility to go further," Greenspan said.

Ethereum, probably the second most recognisable cryptocurrency, is down by a similar margin to bitcoin.Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 09.52.12

And here's bitcoin cash, which forked from bitcoin earlier in the year:

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 09.55.37

Litecoin, which saw major news earlier in the week when its creator Charlie Lee exited his entire stake in the digital currency, citing a "conflict of interest," has also plunged on Friday.

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 10.00.45

"Has the bubble finally popped? It’s hard to see the bell tolling just yet. Large price swings have become so normal that it’s hard to decide – we can easily see this market bounce back in very short order," Neil Wilson, an analyst at ETX Capital noted.

"Whilst there have been some hacks, public infighting in the mining community, lots of rumoured forks  and regulatory pressure building on some fronts, this is likely to be a simple bout of risk-off selling as investors rebalance towards year-end."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Cryptocurrency is the next step in the digitization of everything — 'It’s sort of inevitable'

Major cryptocurrencies are crashing as 'fear, uncertainty, and doubt' grips the market

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

A bull styrofoam figure is pictured in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange September 16, 2008.

  • Bitcoin sells off aggressively as investors cash out before Christmas.
  • The sell-off spreads into other cryptocurrencies.
  • Litecoin, ethereum, and bitcoin cash all see losses of double digit percentages.


LONDON — Major cryptocurrencies around the world are selling off aggressively on Friday as the market is gripped by "fear, uncertainty, and doubt."

The price of bitcoin crashed overnight with no apparent catalyst, with the general lack of liquidity in the market exacerbating that move and wiping as much as $3,000 off the value of the cryptocurrency in early morning European trade.

Earlier in the week, bitcoin's price had started to plunge after one of the founders of influential website bitcoin.com announced that he was selling his stake in bitcoin.

"It's clear by now that the entire crypto market is in a massive retracement," Mati Greenspan, a Senior Market Analyst at trading platform eToro said in an email a little earlier.

"It started with a bit of profit taking but it seems that the FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt] is now gripping the market." While bitcoin's drop was the first to accelerate, its fall has spilled into other major cryptocurrencies, with the likes of ethereum and bitcoin cash also seeing huge losses during Friday's trading session.

Here's a brief round-up of how things look in the market right now:

Bitcoin is down by more than 11%, having dropped nearly $3,000, but has now found support at around $13,000 as of 9.50 a.m. GMT, as the chart below shows: Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 09.50.35 "Looking at the overall cryptomarket, we're now 25% from the top. Timewise we're back to the levels last seen on December 13th. All in all, not too much damage so far but the fear is certainly setting in with many and there is a possibility to go further," Greenspan said.

Ethereum, probably the second most recognisable cryptocurrency, is down by a similar margin to bitcoin.Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 09.52.12

And here's bitcoin cash, which forked from bitcoin earlier in the year:

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 09.55.37

Litecoin, which saw major news earlier in the week when its creator Charlie Lee exited his entire stake in the digital currency, citing a "conflict of interest," has also plunged on Friday.

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 10.00.45

"Has the bubble finally popped? It’s hard to see the bell tolling just yet. Large price swings have become so normal that it’s hard to decide – we can easily see this market bounce back in very short order," Neil Wilson, an analyst at ETX Capital noted.

"Whilst there have been some hacks, public infighting in the mining community, lots of rumoured forks  and regulatory pressure building on some fronts, this is likely to be a simple bout of risk-off selling as investors rebalance towards year-end."

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(+) How Low Can Bitcoin Go?

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

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Buying Bitcoin? Investment Funds Will Be on the Blockchain, Too

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

The future of tokenized monies calls for a tokenized investment fund. The road there is being paved, but it's not so cut and dry.

Down 22%: Bitcoin Price Drops From $17,000 to $13,300 in a Single Day

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

The post Down 22%: Bitcoin Price Drops From $17,000 to $13,300 in a Single Day appeared first on CCN

Earlier today, on December 22, the bitcoin price fell by more than 22 percent from $17,000 to $13,300. Analysts have attributed the fall to the rapid surge in the price of bitcoin over the past month. Bitcoin Price Still Up 70% on Monthly Basis Since November 22, within the past 30 days, the price of

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There's one finance job where graduates can earn £85,000 straight out of university

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

woman banker money

  • Graduates working in quantitative analysis can expect to earn £85,000 a year straight out of university.
  • They outstrip other entry level finance workers by as much as £25,000, according to data from Emolument.
  • "We are in the midst of a structural change in the pay landscape, especially for graduates," Alice Leguay, Emolument's cofounder and chief marketing officer said.

LONDON — Graduates working in the world of finance and banking can earn as much as £85,000 a year straight out of university, new data from salary benchmarking site Emolument shows.

Emolument surveyed young professionals working across a variety of jobs in the UK financial services sector, and found that those with quantitative skills are likely to be the best paid when they first enter the job market, picking up an average salary of £65,000, topped up with a £20,000 bonus.

"Quants complete their studies with highly technical knowledge with which they can hit the ground running, making them some of the most sought-after graduates," Emolument notes.

It should be noted that, generally speaking, quants tend to require a masters degree, while many other roles require only a bachelors.

Quantitative analysts on the buy-side earn almost £25,000 than their nearest rivals, bankers working in structuring, who earn total compensation of £60,500 — a combination of a £54,000 salary, and £6,500 bonus.

Below structurers, graduates working in institutional sales earn roughly £58,000, about the same as those in mergers and acquisitions, although M&A bankers have scope to rapidly increase their earnings as they ascend the corporate ladder.

By the time M&A bankers reach a senior position they can generally expect to be among the best paid people at their bank.

Rounding off the five best paid jobs for finance graduates is trading. Traders can expect to earn the same basic salary of £51,000 as graduates in M&A, but tend to receive a bonus of just £1,300, compared to £6,500 for their compatriots.

"We are in the midst of a structural change in the pay landscape, especially for graduates," Alice Leguay, Emolument's cofounder and chief marketing officer said.

"For the last 30 years, a clear path pointed to finance as not only the best paying sector for young employees, but also a guarantee of substantial paychecks throughout their career."

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15 people voluntarily paid £200,000 extra tax last year in 'patriotic gifts'

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

Queen Elizabeth II smile crown fur royal

  • Fifteen people made donations of nearly £200,000 in the year to March, according to figures from the Debt Management Office.
  • These donations are known as "patriotic gifts" and date back to the nineteenth century.
  • The value of donations has reduced significantly since the financial crisis, while national debt has increased.


LONDON — Fifteen British citizens volunteered to pay nearly £200,000 in extra tax last year, according to figures from the Debt Management Office.

A total of £180,393 was donated by 15 people in the year to March 2017 in what are known as "patriotic gifts." This is a tradition dating back to the Napoleonic wars and the National Debt Reduction Act of 1823, in which citizens help reduce national debt by gifting money to the Treasury.

This year's figure compares to £14,558 donated in 2016 and £7,823 in 2015. But austerity appears to be biting: four times as much money was donated in the seven years before the 2008 financial crisis as in the eight years following it, according to analysis by the Financial Times.

Their analysis shows about 200 gifts have been made since 2000, and the government's "donations and bequests account" has received a total of £8.3 million.

But this is loose change compared to the UK's national debt, which more than doubled since the crisis and has reached a record high of nearly £2 trillion.

According to think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the national debt is unlikely to fall to pre-crisis levels, of 40% of national income, until after 2060.

In comparison to Treasury gifts, the British public donated £9.7 billion to charity last year, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, with more than half of people giving money and one in six volunteering.

HM Revenue and Customs also encourages people to make "voluntary restitutions" if they owe tax but are unlikely to be pursued for it by the authorities.

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Bitcoin plunges — losing nearly $3,000 in a single session

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

A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (top L) at a cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea December 13, 2017

  • Bitcoin price drops below the psychologically significant $13,000 mark.
  • Price is down from $20,000 just a few days ago.
  • Fears now abound that a major crash in the cryptocurrency's price could be underway.


LONDON — The price of bitcoin has dropped almost $3,000 in early trade on Friday morning sparking fears that a full scale crash of the world's biggest cryptocurrency could be underway.

As of 8.15 a.m. GMT (3.15 a.m. ET) bitcoin's value is down close to 17%, or $2,650 as investors sell out of the illiquid asset aggressively. Here's the chart:

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 08.15.13

As is often the case with large scale moves in either direction for bitcoin, there doesn't seem to be any obvious catalyst for the sell-off, but given the general lack of liquidity in the market small moves can turn into big ones very fast.

Bitcoin does not have any mechanism to halt trading when there are large losses in its value like more traditional markets — these are often known as circuit breakers, and automatically pause trading when assets fall by a set percentage.

As Business Insider Australia's Paul Colgan and David Scutt point out, the day's sell-off has rippled into other major cryptocurrencies:

"The price action appears to be spilling over into other cryptocurrencies, with the second-largest by overall market value, Ethereum, down 26%, and bitcoin spinoff Bitcoin Cash — which was moving in the opposite direction to bitcoin earlier this week — down a whopping 38% in 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap," they noted a little earlier.

Earlier this week, Dr Garrick Hileman, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge told Business Insider that he believes cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system.

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

Bitcoin plunges — losing nearly $3,000 in a single session

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

A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (top L) at a cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea December 13, 2017

  • Bitcoin price drops below the psychologically significant $13,000 mark.
  • Price is down from $20,000 just a few days ago.
  • Fears now abound that a major crash in the cryptocurrency's price could be underway.


LONDON — The price of bitcoin has dropped almost $3,000 in early trade on Friday morning sparking fears that a full scale crash of the world's biggest cryptocurrency could be underway.

As of 8.15 a.m. GMT (3.15 a.m. ET) bitcoin's value is down close to 17%, or $2,650 as investors sell out of the illiquid asset aggressively. Here's the chart:

Screen Shot 2017 12 22 at 08.15.13

As is often the case with large scale moves in either direction for bitcoin, there doesn't seem to be any obvious catalyst for the sell-off, but given the general lack of liquidity in the market small moves can turn into big ones very fast.

Bitcoin does not have any mechanism to halt trading when there are large losses in its value like more traditional markets — these are often known as circuit breakers, and automatically pause trading when assets fall by a set percentage.

As Business Insider Australia's Paul Colgan and David Scutt point out, the day's sell-off has rippled into other major cryptocurrencies:

"The price action appears to be spilling over into other cryptocurrencies, with the second-largest by overall market value, Ethereum, down 26%, and bitcoin spinoff Bitcoin Cash — which was moving in the opposite direction to bitcoin earlier this week — down a whopping 38% in 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap," they noted a little earlier.

Earlier this week, Dr Garrick Hileman, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge told Business Insider that he believes cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system.

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

Newsflash: Bitcoin Price Plummets Near $12,000, Down 40% from Record High

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

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Bitcoin price is down nearly 40% from Sunday’s all-time highs near $20,000, falling to a 15-day low near $12,000. Friday’s early trading session saw bitcoin price drop to low of $12,110 (Bitfinex) at 07:20 (GMT), near levels last seen over two weeks ago on December 7. The figure represents a 39% drop from the all-time

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British passports will be blue and gold after Brexit

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

Blue passports

  • The British blue passport was introduced in 1921 and was changed to burgundy in 1988.
  • New blue passports will be available from October 2019.
  • Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world."

LONDON – British passports will revert back to blue from burgundy once the UK leaves the European Union, the Home Office said.

The new passports will be available from October 2019. Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world."

"That is why I am delighted to announce that the British passport will be returning to the iconic blue and gold design after we have left the European Union in 2019," Lewis said.

The British blue passport was introduced in 1921 and was changed to burgundy in 1988 – 15 years after the UK joined the European Union in 1973.

The redesigned passports will also have updated security features. The Home Office said "the current paper-based picture page will be replaced with a new, super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter."

A supplier for the passports will be announced in spring next year, in a deal that could be worth up to £500 million.

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

10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

eric schmidt

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

1. Pro-European campaigners accused ministers of failing to take preparations for Brexit seriously enough, after a committee of lawmakers published the government's sector-by-sector analysis on the impact of leaving the European Union. The analyses have become a focal point for critics of the government's approach to Brexit since last year's referendum vote to leave.

2. Workers at Amazon's main logistics hub in Italy refused to work overtime during the current peak season for making deliveries. On Wednesday workers at the Castel San Giovanni plant, near Piacenza, cut short every shift by two hours as a series of protest meeting were held throughout the day, FILCAMS CGIL union leader Fiorenzo Molinari told Reuters.

3. OPEC has started working on plans for an exit strategy from its deal to cut supplies with non-member producers. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other non-OPEC producers on Nov. 30 extended an oil output-cutting deal until the end of 2018 to finish clearing a glut.

4. 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.

5. Super-wealthy property developers and brothers Nick Candy and Christian Candy have won a £132 million court case against their former friend and fellow developer Mark Holyoake. The long-running court battle saw Holyoake accuse the pair of blackmail, extortion, and intimidation in relation to a complex London property deal that turned sour.

6. Shares of The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation soared as much as 432% pre-market 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.

7. US sanctions imposed on five Russians and Chechens are grotesque and groundless, and Moscow will hit back with tit-for-tat sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. The US Treasury imposed the new sanctions on the five people, including on Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, for alleged human rights abuses.

8. Renewal of Swiss stock exchanges' temporary access to the European Union depends on Bern reaching a deal with Brussels on a new treaty to govern relations. All EU governments except for Britain approved a European Commission proposal to recognise shares trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange and BX Swiss as equivalent to exchanges based in the EU and vice versa for one year from Jan. 3.

9. Bitcoin has found itself on the end of another vicious sell-off, adding to the substantial losses this week. After hitting a record high of nearly $US20,000 just a few days ago, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation fell to as low as $13,300 before rebounding back to around $15,000.

10. Eric Schmidt, who helped oversee Google's rise from a search startup to a global behemoth, is stepping down as the executive chairman of Alphabet, the search giant's parent company. The change will be effective as of the company's next regular board meeting, in January, Alphabet said in a statement on Thursday. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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Bitcoin could trigger the next financial crisis

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

dollar 653241_960_720

  • Cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system, according to one cryptocurrency expert.
  • Although cryptocurrencies do not yet pose this risk to the system, if they become more widely embraced they could be destabilising.
  • The lack of reliable investment advice about cryptocurrencies could also cause many investors to "get hurt."


LONDON — Cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis if they become a systemic risk to the financial system, a cryptocurrency expert has said.

A growing range of financial institutions are expressing interest in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum. But in what is a fast moving situation, they could become "systemically important" to the point of posing a "systemic risk," according to Garrick Hileman, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge told Business Insider.

To date, said Hileman, "there haven't been enough people who hold them [cryptocurrencies] or institutions that own them, or enough credit or leverage used. Having said that, I can imagine scenarios — although I'm not predicting this — where they do become systemically important," he said.

Bitcoin has soared in value this year, rising over 1,000% against the dollar so far. This has prompted both increased interest and concern from investors and financial executives. EU and UK authorities are planning to crack down on bitcoin as concerns grow that cryptocurrencies are being used to facilitate financial crimes and launder money.

Were there to be another crash, said Hileman, it's possible there would be an even greater backlash against traditional banks than after 2008 — in the wake of which bitcoin was first developed — and cryptocurrencies could be even more widely embraced.

But, as a growing range of financial institutions enter the space, cryptocurrencies could also "trigger" the next crisis. Indicative of change, said Hileman, "we're seeing more hedge funds come into the space," and new investments such as a bitcoin futures market emerge.

A survey published on Tuesday by the Centre for Macroeconomics found the predominant view among economists is cryptocurrencies do not yet pose such a risk, because they are "too small and too detached from other financial markets."

But integration with more traditional financial markets is "starting to happen," said Hileman, and things are "moving very quickly."

Not only could cryptocurrencies threaten stability, said Hileman, they could also "exacerbate" the next crisis.

"You can now exit [traditional banking systems] relatively easily into something that is disconnected, and that could exacerbate a crisis," he said.

One crucial problem, said Hileman, is the lack of reliable information about the value of cryptocurrencies. The existence of "pump and dump" scams, where traders artificially inflate prices at investors' expense, is problematic, and this is compounded by the fact that valuation models "are still being developed."

"There's a fear of missing out — who can you trust is a difficult question," he said. This is an area that needs significant attention, said Hileman, or "a lot of people are going to get hurt."

Join the conversation about this story »

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Goldman is reportedly getting into bitcoin and crypto trading

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

 Global banking giant Goldman is setting up up a trading desk focused on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to a report from Bloomberg. The bank is said to be in the early stages of setup, which means hiring and figuring out the logistics, including how the bank will hold the assets and keep them secure. The ultimate goal, Bloomberg claimed, is to begin trading by June 2018.… Read More

Bitcoin Price Drops Below $15k, Down 25% from All-Time High

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

The price of bitcoin is down more than 25 percent from its recent all-time highs, spurred by futures listings from major derivatives exchanges.

North Korea may be behind a massive cyber attack on a South Korean bitcoin exchange that caused it to collapse

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

A projection of cyber code on a hooded man is pictured in this illustration picture taken on May 13,  2017. Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, hackers staged a cyber assault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

  • South Korea is investigating the North's possible involvement in stealing from the Youbit bitcoin exchange.
  • Youbit had been hacked in April when nearly 4,000 bitcoins were stolen in a cyber attack by a spy agency linked to the North Korean government.
  • Investigators say they have reason to believe North Korean agents were also behind the recent attack.


South Korea is investigating whether North Korea was involved in a massive cyber attack on a bitcoin exchange in Seoul which caused the exchange to collapse on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Investigators are looking into Seoul-based cryptocurrency exchange Youbit, which was forced to file for bankruptcy Tuesday after it was hacked for the second time this year.

Youbit was previously targeted in April when nearly 4,000 bitcoins were stolen in a cyber attack by a spy agency linked to the North Korean government, Reuters said, citing local South Korean reports.

Investigators may have reason to believe North Korean agents were also behind the latest attack, according to The Journal, given the proximity and nature of the cyber-attacks on Youbit.

According to Reuters, Youbit announced on its website that the latest attack occurred at 4:35 a.m. local time Tuesday. The site did not say how many bitcoins were stolen in the heist, but did say 17% of its total assets were gone.

South Korean police and the Korea Internet & Security Agency said an investigation into the attack was underway but they are still determining the source and scope of damage done, The Journal said.

North Korean cyber attacks are on the rise

Pyongyang has reportedly been involved in several high-stakes hacks in recent years.

On Tuesday, the White House accused North Korea of masterminding this year's WannaCry cyber attacks, which affected computer systems in schools, hospitals, and businesses across 150 countries. The malware demanded ransom payments in the form of bitcoin.

While cryptocurrencies themselves are believed to be secure thanks to encryption technology, some cyber thieves are able to hack into digital wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges and steal user information, The Journal said.

And hacking has become a lucrative business for cyber thieves, particularly in North Korea where sanctions have taken a toll on its economy.

“North Korea is an ideal country to use hacking and financial tools like bitcoin,” Troy Stangarone, a senior director at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, told The Journal. “They’re experimenting with ways to earn back lost money from sanctions.”

North Korea has denied any involvement in recent bitcoin hacks.

SEE ALSO: Cyberattack brings a cryptocurrency exchange to its knees

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