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Bitcoin Price Analysis: Choppy Market Conditions Lead to Tests of Parabolic Resistance

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


The bitcoin market has been getting chopped to pieces for weeks as the market has faked up, faked down, consolidated and routinely stopped out traders. Last week, we discussed a potential large move due to a consolidated symmetrical triangle. However, the breakout failed to garner any momentum and ultimately flopped as the move upward quickly died down and ultimately reversed.

At the time of this article, however, the market is poised in a precarious situation as it tiptoes around historic support/resistance along the parabolic envelope:

Figure_1 (3).JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Parabolic Curve Test

As noted in previous bitcoin analyses, this parabolic envelope has been the dominating trend for the last three years:

Figure_2 (3).JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

Over Thanksgiving, the parabolic trend that was previously governing much of the three-year bull market broke upward as the market’s parabolic movement accelerated aggressively upward. Since the break to the top of the parabolic envelope, the market has been on shaky ground where, at one point, it even did a massive 50% retracement. Since that aggressive retracement, the market has yet to fully recover and resume any semblance of a bullish continuation. Currently, the once-supportive parabolic curve is now proving to be a point of resistance as the market has made several tests of the upper resistance.  

To date, this marks the fifth test of the parabolic trend. This time, however, we are testing it from the bottom of the parabola. Previous tests from the top side of the parabola were swiftly rejected causing very little market activity to take place below the parabolic trend. It seems, yet again, bitcoin is at a crossroads as it decides if the upper parabolic resistance is too strong to resume an uptrend.

If the market continues downward, we can expect to find support along the low boundaries of the trading range (shown in blue), the linear trend (shown in pink) and the lower parabolic curve (shown in black):

Figure_3 (2).JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Next Lines of Support

Summary:

  1. Choppy market conditions have led bitcoin to test the parabolic support — a previous guiding trend for the last three years.

  2. A failure to break the upper parabolic resistance may cause a test of lower values.

  3. Support will be found at the lower ranges of the trading range and along the linear and parabolic trend lines.


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: Choppy Market Conditions Lead to Tests of Parabolic Resistance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

‘Testnet Is So Boring’: TorGuard Accepts Bitcoin Mainnet Lightning Payments

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

The post ‘Testnet Is So Boring’: TorGuard Accepts Bitcoin Mainnet Lightning Payments appeared first on CCN

Virtual private network (VPN) service TorGuard has begun accepting Lightning Network payments on the main bitcoin network, even though the technology has yet to receive an official production release. TorGuard made the announcement on Twitter, stating that “testnet is so boring” and telling users to contact customer support for details on how to purchase the

The post ‘Testnet Is So Boring’: TorGuard Accepts Bitcoin Mainnet Lightning Payments appeared first on CCN

Beijing Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Bitcoin Exchanges

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

The post Beijing Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on CCN

A Beijing district court dismissed a lawsuit against a group of Chinese bitcoin exchanges, ruling that in the absence of clear evidence that exchanges are operating illegally, individuals are responsible for their own trading behavior. As first reported in the Beijing Morning Post, a Mr. Wang lost RMB 400,000 (~$61,500) trading bitcoin. Faced with this

The post Beijing Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on CCN

STOCKS FALL FROM RECORD HIGH: Here's what you need to know

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

mistake fall

US stocks slipped from record highs amid a report that Canadian officials think President Donald Trump will pull the US out of NAFTA.

The S&P 500 decreased 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid less than 0.1% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.14%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 25,372.26, -13.54, (-0.05%)
  • S&P 500: 2,748.22, -3.02, (-0.10%)
  • Nasdaq: 7,153.48, -11.97, (-0.14%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.55%, +0.004
  • WTI crude oil: $63.40, +$0.44, +0.70%

1. The 3-decade bond bull market is in danger. Yields on 10-year Treasurys hit their highest level in 10 months, prompting high-profile investors like Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach to start discussing the end of the more than 30-year rally.

2. Stocks are trading in a way not seen since the peak of the tech bubble. They're trading more independently of macro factors than at any point since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley.

3. Ripple's XRP has lost half of its value in less than a week. The negative spiral began on Monday, when popular data site CoinMarketCap opted to exclude prices from South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges from its data, causing the prices to show dramatic drops on its site.

4. DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach says the stock market will end its historic streak of gains in 2018. He says that higher interest rates could drive the stock market lower, and highlights the 2.63% as a threshold to watch.

5. It looks like Warren Buffett has narrowed his choice for successor down to 2 people. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO named Greg Abel and Ajit Jain to the company's board on Wednesday and also broadened their responsibilities, moves seen as positioning them to potentially take over running the firm.

ADDITIONALLY

Oil is at its highest level since 2014

JPMORGAN: Amazon's ready to take on the Google-Facebook duopoly in advertising

The Canadian dollar and Mexican peso are getting whacked after report says Canada is convinced Trump will pull the US out of NAFTA

Bitcoin cash is surging as other cryptocurrencies fall

Netflix still has a ton of room to grow — even with Disney in the ring

Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia

These stores made big moves to defy the retail apocalypse

SEE ALSO: The 3-decade bond bull market is in danger

Join the conversation about this story »

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

STOCKS FALL FROM RECORD HIGH: Here's what you need to know

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

mistake fall

US stocks slipped from record highs amid a report that Canadian officials think President Donald Trump will pull the US out of NAFTA.

The S&P 500 decreased 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid less than 0.1% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.14%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 25,372.26, -13.54, (-0.05%)
  • S&P 500: 2,748.22, -3.02, (-0.10%)
  • Nasdaq: 7,153.48, -11.97, (-0.14%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.55%, +0.004
  • WTI crude oil: $63.40, +$0.44, +0.70%

1. The 3-decade bond bull market is in danger. Yields on 10-year Treasurys hit their highest level in 10 months, prompting high-profile investors like Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach to start discussing the end of the more than 30-year rally.

2. Stocks are trading in a way not seen since the peak of the tech bubble. They're trading more independently of macro factors than at any point since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley.

3. Ripple's XRP has lost half of its value in less than a week. The negative spiral began on Monday, when popular data site CoinMarketCap opted to exclude prices from South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges from its data, causing the prices to show dramatic drops on its site.

4. DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach says the stock market will end its historic streak of gains in 2018. He says that higher interest rates could drive the stock market lower, and highlights the 2.63% as a threshold to watch.

5. It looks like Warren Buffett has narrowed his choice for successor down to 2 people. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO named Greg Abel and Ajit Jain to the company's board on Wednesday and also broadened their responsibilities, moves seen as positioning them to potentially take over running the firm.

ADDITIONALLY

Oil is at its highest level since 2014

JPMORGAN: Amazon's ready to take on the Google-Facebook duopoly in advertising

The Canadian dollar and Mexican peso are getting whacked after report says Canada is convinced Trump will pull the US out of NAFTA

Bitcoin cash is surging as other cryptocurrencies fall

Netflix still has a ton of room to grow — even with Disney in the ring

Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia

These stores made big moves to defy the retail apocalypse

SEE ALSO: The 3-decade bond bull market is in danger

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitmain Expands to Switzerland as China Cools to Bitcoin Miners

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

Bitmain, the China-based bitcoin mining giant, has set up a new subsidiary in Switzerland.

United Continental jumps after reporting high traffic in December (UAL)

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

united airlines

  • Shares of United Continental rose 6.57% on Wednesday after news that its traffic increased in December.
  • The airline reported that its traffic increased 2.7% last month, and its consolidated capacity increased 3.7% year-over-year.
  • The company also said its fourth-quarter sales were flat, exceeding its earlier guidance that its revenue would fall 2%. 
  • United also announced on Wednesday that it is opening up half a dozen new routes to domestic destinations in California, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin. 
  • United's stock is trading at $72.96 per share and is up 5.79% this year.
  • You can see United's stock price move in real time here.

To read about how competitor American Airlines is changing its uniform and image, click here. 

United Continental stock price

SEE ALSO: American Airlines has found a replacement for the uniforms that thousands of workers said made them sick

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

Travelers are reportedly still waiting for 5,000 bags to be returned from New York's JFK airport days after a pipe burst and caused a flood

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

jfk luggage

  • Travelers who landed at JFK International Airport over the weekend are reportedly waiting to receive around 5,000 bags.
  • Over the weekend, travelers using the airport dealt with delays, cancellations, and a burst pipe that submerged some bags in cold water.
  • The Port Authority said in a statement Monday that domestic airlines "have expedited the process of returning baggage to customers," adding that it has urged international airlines to do the same.

 

Travelers who landed at JFK International Airport over the weekend are waiting to receive around 5,000 bags, NBC News 4 reports.

Over the weekend, travelers using the airport dealt with delays, cancellations, and a burst pipe that submerged some bags in cold water. Much of the dysfunction was attributed to last week's "bomb cyclone," which resulted in frigid temperatures and snow that was difficult to clear from the airport's runways. At the peak of the weekend's chaos, travelers were waiting to receive tens of thousands of bags, according to NBC News 4.

"Domestic airlines have expedited the process of returning baggage to customers including dedicated phone lines for customers. The Port Authority has directed that all such bags should be on their way to customers by the end of today. The Port Authority has directed international carriers expedite their baggage return operations as well," the Port Authority said in a statement on Monday. 

The agency also said in the statement that the airport is returning to normal operations.

The Port Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: A JFK airport employee filmed a ceiling collapsing on his co-worker's desk after a pipe burst

Join the conversation about this story »

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

It looks like Warren Buffett has narrowed his choice for successor down to 2 people

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

warren buffett

  • Warren Buffett appointed two senior executives — Greg Abel and Ajit Jain — to Berkshire Hathaway's board of directors on Wednesday.
  • The decision is seen as narrowing down Buffett's succession decision to the two individuals, who will now assume broader responsibilities.


Warren Buffett's succession plan is coming into focus.

The billionaire founder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway named two senior executives — Greg Abel and Ajit Jain — to the company's board on Wednesday, while also appointing each of them to run large portions of the firm. The move is seen as positioning either Abel or Jain to eventually take over running the firm.

Abel, currently chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, will assume the role as vice chairman of non-insurance business operations. Meanwhile, Jain, who's now executive vice president of National Indemnity, will be vice chairman of insurance operations.

"It’s part of the movement toward succession," Buffett said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. "They are the two key figures at Berkshire."

The announcement helps solidify Berkshire's eventual succession plan by giving both Abel and Jain experience with broader corporate responsibilities. It's the clearest sign yet of what Buffett will do, after years of speculation. It had long been expected that the billionaire CEO would promote from within his firm's ranks, and this news would seem to confirm that.

SEE ALSO: Warren Buffett says bitcoin 'definitely will come to a bad ending'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

Goldman Sachs: Bitcoin Could Be Viable Money In Troubled Economies

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

A new report published by Goldman Sachs highlights how bitcoin and cryptocurrencies could serve as alternative forms of money in troubled economies.

The Canadian dollar and Mexican peso are getting whacked after report says Canada is convinced Trump will pull the US out of NAFTA

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

donald trump usa hat

The Canadian dollar and Mexican peso are getting whacked following a Reuters report suggesting Canada is convinced President Donald Trump will pull the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement

The Canadian dollar trades down 0.91% at 1.2575 per dollar. 

Canadian dollar

The Mexican peso is down 0.85% at 19.4034 per dollar. 

Mexican peso

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Carlos Capistran and Ethan Harris say the decision to withdraw from NAFTA wouldn't solve Trump's issues with the deal, which include the US trade deficit with other countries and the loss of manufacturing jobs.

"Most economists agree that trade deficits are the result of saving and investment decisions rather than trade agreements," Capistran and Harris said in an October note. "In particular, trade deficits are financed by net capital inflows. Capital flows into the US are strong because of low private savings and large budget deficits in the US and elevated savings in China and other EM economies."

The duo also shared a chart showing that American manufacturing jobs have seen a decline similar to those in other developed countries amid improvements in technology.

Manufacturing

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin cash is surging as other cryptocurrencies fall

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

bitcoin cash price

SEE ALSO: Here's why cryptocurrencies appeared to take a major hit this week

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin cash is surging as other cryptocurrencies fall

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

bitcoin cash price

SEE ALSO: Here's why cryptocurrencies appeared to take a major hit this week

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin cash is surging as other cryptocurrencies fall

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

bitcoin cash price

SEE ALSO: Here's why cryptocurrencies appeared to take a major hit this week

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

Bitcoin cash is surging as other cryptocurrencies fall

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

bitcoin cash price

SEE ALSO: Here's why cryptocurrencies appeared to take a major hit this week

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Almost everyone has taken time off work and wondered, "Why the heck am I doing this? Do I like my job? Does it have a purpose?" Even President Obama fantasized about quitting the White House to sell T-shirts on a beach in Hawaii.

With bills to pay, most of us slink back to the office and say nothing more. But not Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, the head of global quantitative strategy and European equity strategy at Bernstein Research in London.

Fraser-Jenkins took six months off work for cancer treatment, and when he returned sent a 4,000-word note to clients questioning the purpose of the financial sector. You can read it here.

In other news, stocks are trading more independently of macro factors than at any point since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley. The bond bull market, which has been going strong for more than three decades, may soon come to an end.

You can see Jeff Gundlach's full presentation on markets and the economy in 2018 here. And here are nine highlights from SocGen's notoriously pessimistic "Woodstock for Bears" conference.

In finance news, real estate investing start-up Cadre has inked a $250 million partnership with Goldman Sachs. And Clint Carlson's hedge fund assets dropped $1 billion in five months after brutal performance.

In crypto news, Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia. Bitcoin could use more energy than Argentina this year, according to Morgan Stanley. And bitcoin can become a legit global currency — in theory, Goldman says.

Lastly, Gucci just opened a luxurious complex complete with a museum, boutique, and a restaurant run by a three-Michelin-starred chef — take a look inside.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Almost everyone has taken time off work and wondered, "Why the heck am I doing this? Do I like my job? Does it have a purpose?" Even President Obama fantasized about quitting the White House to sell T-shirts on a beach in Hawaii.

With bills to pay, most of us slink back to the office and say nothing more. But not Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, the head of global quantitative strategy and European equity strategy at Bernstein Research in London.

Fraser-Jenkins took six months off work for cancer treatment, and when he returned sent a 4,000-word note to clients questioning the purpose of the financial sector. You can read it here.

In other news, stocks are trading more independently of macro factors than at any point since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley. The bond bull market, which has been going strong for more than three decades, may soon come to an end.

You can see Jeff Gundlach's full presentation on markets and the economy in 2018 here. And here are nine highlights from SocGen's notoriously pessimistic "Woodstock for Bears" conference.

In finance news, real estate investing start-up Cadre has inked a $250 million partnership with Goldman Sachs. And Clint Carlson's hedge fund assets dropped $1 billion in five months after brutal performance.

In crypto news, Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia. Bitcoin could use more energy than Argentina this year, according to Morgan Stanley. And bitcoin can become a legit global currency — in theory, Goldman says.

Lastly, Gucci just opened a luxurious complex complete with a museum, boutique, and a restaurant run by a three-Michelin-starred chef — take a look inside.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Bitcoin Price Will ‘Easily Double’ in 2018, Says Wall Street Strategist

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

The post Bitcoin Price Will ‘Easily Double’ in 2018, Says Wall Street Strategist appeared first on CCN

Tom Lee, co-founder of the market strategy firm Fundstrat Global Advisors and a well-known bitcoin bull, sees bitcoin’s price “easily double” this year. While speaking on CNBC’s “Futures Now,” the Wall Street strategist even considered the possibility of seeing bitcoin triple in 2018. As reported by CCN, Lee initially set his bitcoin price target for

The post Bitcoin Price Will ‘Easily Double’ in 2018, Says Wall Street Strategist appeared first on CCN

Ford CEO says using self-driving cars for deliveries will be an 'enormous' opportunity (F)

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

jim hackett ces 2018

  • Ford plans to use its driverless cars to form a new logistics business.
  • The company is building a platform that will allow businesses to use its autonomous vehicles to transport goods.
  • For example, a local grocer could begin delivering to customers by partnering with Ford and using its autonomous cars to make deliveries.
  • Hackett said the company still plans to build and sell cars, but that this new business model will allow it to tap into the "enormous" logistics opportunity. The new business could also help offset the loss of revenue during downturns in the auto industry, he said.


Ford has big plans to cash in on driverless cars, but not in the way you might think.

While most companies developing self-driving vehicles want to use them to move people, Ford wants to use them to move goods – at least at first.

On Tuesday, the company announced it is working on an open platform that allows any business to use its autonomous cars for transporting goods. This means that your local grocery or hardware shop could basically plug into Ford's system and automatically be able to offer on-demand delivery.

"The logistics opportunity is enormous," Ford CEO Jim Hackett told Business Insider. "For small businesses, this is a big advantage. They have been suffering. In retail right now, scale drives out the small retailers. Logistics equalizes some of that."

But the automaker isn't just pushing into logistics to help the little guy. Ford is looking to cash in. 

According to a 2016 McKinsey study, autonomous vehicles, including drones, will account for about 80% of all consumer parcel deliveries during the next 10 years. What's more, by 2050, transporting goods both locally and long distances with autonomous vehicles could generate $2.9 trillion in revenue, according to a recent study by Strategy Analytics

"We always had this intuition about moving goods and a part of it, when you look at the business model of automated vehicles, the way to make money is to be highly utilized. Most of the day these vehicles are moving and having productive revenue, so moving people is only part of it," Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets, told Business Insider.

ford driverless van

What's more, the new business could also help offset the loss of revenue during downturns in the auto industry, Hackett said.

"It's perfect as an adjacent capability for us," Hackett said. "This business, which is as big as any industries in the world, gets dinged from a price-earnings perspective because it's cyclical. That will probably even this out because in a downturn, smart cities and smart vehicles don't dissipate, so the revenue follows from all that will still be there, so that is why it's attractive."

Ford plans to begin testing its new logistics platform sometime during the first quarter in a city it plans to announce at a later date. The company's partners, Lyft, Domino's, and Postmates, will all participate in the trial. 

But Farley said that initially, the company won't use autonomous vehicles for the trial. Instead, the delivery vehicles will have drivers, but they will be limited in what they can do so that it imitates a driverless car. Ford will then use what it learns from the test to develop APIs for businesses using the platform.

Ford isn't abandoning autonomous ride-hailing

While Ford is putting a lot of focus on its delivering goods, the company isn't abandoning its inevitable future of using driverless cars to also deliver people.

But using the vehicles to transport people will be a gradual process, Hackett said.

"Ride-hailing is a very complicated task," Hackett said. "The whole world is wrestling with this problem. Ride-hailing will embody this technology, but it will happen in stages."

Autonomous cars still have limitations, he said. For example, they still can't operate in all weather conditions.

Ford still plans to roll out a fleet of self-driving cars in an unnamed city in 2021 for ride-sharing, but even these vehicles will only be able to operate under certain conditions.

So while the autonomous technology is still evolving, Ford wants to test its new business model centered around logistics so that it can lay the groundwork for a new era shaped by self-driving cars at the company. 

"This technology is unlike anything that has confronted the world in the last 100 years," Hackett said of autonomous vehicles.  

"We think there is a platform here for Ford that is unique and we are the first ones talking about it," he said. "We aren't going to cede the technology gains to anybody else. We aren't going to disappoint."

SEE ALSO: Ford CEO Jim Hackett has the toughest job in the auto industry ahead of him

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Biting the Dust: Bitcoin ETF Applications Forced to Withdraw Under SEC Scrutiny

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

The post Biting the Dust: Bitcoin ETF Applications Forced to Withdraw Under SEC Scrutiny appeared first on CCN

Several exchange-traded fund (ETF) providers have withdrawn their bitcoin ETF applications at the request of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since the launch of bitcoin futures contracts on regulated US exchanges CBOE and CME, a myriad of fund providers have tossed their hats into the ring in a bid to bring the first

The post Biting the Dust: Bitcoin ETF Applications Forced to Withdraw Under SEC Scrutiny appeared first on CCN

Netflix still has a ton of room to grow — even with Disney in the ring (NFLX)

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

Reed Hastings


 

Netflix used to be the only player in the streaming video space, but now everyone wants a piece of the pie, which has the majority of Wall Street analysts worried.

The company added more than 5 million subscribers in the most recently reported quarter, bringing its total user base up to 112.8 million. Rob Sanderson, an analyst at MKM Partners, thinks that Netflix's growth will continue to skyrocket.

"Anecdotes from early markets suggest the fifth year is generally the peak year for additions," Sanderson wrote in a note to clients. "This would suggest that 75% of the international footprint is still 2-3 years from peak net adds."

Sanderson's view differs from the rest of Wall Street, who think that rising competition and media consolidation will be a big draw on Netflix's growth. Disney recently charged onto the scene with its acquisition of a streaming video technology company and parts of 21st Century Fox.

If it plays out like Sanderson says it will, Netflix will eventually have 90 million US and 300 million international subscribers. At an average of $12.50 of revenue per user, and a content budget of $25 billion, Sanderson says Netflix will eventually report earnings of $30 a share.

In fiscal year 2017, the company reported earnings of $1.25 per share, meaning Sanderson sees the company's earnings growing to 24 times their current level. Netflix would need to more than triple its current subscription base to reach those numbers.

"We continue to believe that NFLX has the most potential for market cap appreciation of the FANG stocks over the next several years," Sanderson wrote.

Sanderson has a 12-month price target of $245, which is 15% higher than the company's current price.

Netflix is up 5.72% this year.

Read more about Nvidia's response to the Spectre hacks here.

netflix stock price

SEE ALSO: Nvidia is slipping after saying its chips are vulnerable to the biggest security flaw in recent memory

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

The State Department has overhauled its system for issuing travel advisories to make them easier to understand

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

department of state sign seal

  • The State Department has announced a major change to how it issues travel advisories.
  • This is the first major change to the advisory system in more than a decade.
  • The change comes in response to ongoing confusion over the old system.


The US Department of State today announced a new system for issuing travel advisories to Americans. Under the new system, every country in the world will have a standing advisory with a numerical level, ranging from 1 to 4, to indicate whether there are any safety concerns. If a country is ranked at a level two — "exercise increased caution" — or above, the score will be accompanied by a reason for the increased risk.

The change comes in response to persistent general confusion over the meaning of warnings issued under the previous system, according to a State Department spokesperson. Under that system, the department would issue either a "travel alert" or a "travel warning" when it deemed prudent, which generally included a briefing as to the reason.

But, the difference between the two types of advisory was not always clear. While alerts were generally shorter-term or related to specific events, and warnings were intended to be stronger, the new system is designed to provide additional clarity and guidance.

The levels are as follows, as described in a fact sheet shared by the State Department:

  • Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel.  Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time. 
  • Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.  Conditions in any country may change at any time. 
  • Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.  Conditions in any country may change at any time. 
  • Level 4 - Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance.  The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so.  The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

To check each country's level, you can visit a newly updated State Department Travel Advisory website. There's also a color-coordinated map that you can browse.

Some examples of countries listed at level two at the time of publication include Mexico, due to crime in certain areas, and the United Kingdom, due to elevated risks of terrorism. Level three countries include Russia, due to civil unrest in certain areas, and Venezuela, due to crime and a limited ability of the US to provide assistance to citizens. Level four countries include Iraq, Iran, and Libya.

SEE ALSO: US airlines have said goodbye to the 747 — but these foreign airlines still fly the iconic plane

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Telegram’s Privacy-Focused User Base Could Be TON Blockchain’s Killer App

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

Telegram ton

In December 2017, an interesting rumor surfaced: According to “sources familiar with the matter,” the messaging app Telegram, very popular among crypto-enthusiasts for its strong encryption and privacy features, would launch its own blockchain platform and cryptocurrency.

On January 8, 2018, TechCrunch reported that several unnamed sources had confirmed the news and quoted a secret Telegram white paper. According to TechCrunch, “the potential for a cryptocurrency inside a widely adopted messaging app is enormous.”

Of course, a leaked executive summary of the white paper is now available. The document has been shared by Cryptovest, and its authenticity has been independently confirmed by TNW. The 23-page executive summary often refers to an unreleased technical white paper which, according to TechCrunch, has 132 pages.

“This paper outlines a vision for a new cryptocurrency and an ecosystem capable of meeting the

needs of hundreds of millions of consumers, including 200 million Telegram users,” reads the white paper. “Launching in 2018, this cryptocurrency will be based on a multi-blockchain proof-of-stake system — TON (Telegram Open Network, after 2021 The Open Network) — designed to host a new generation of cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications.”

Scaling and Adoption

According to Telegram, while cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based technologies have the potential to make the world more secure and self-governed, no consensus-backed currency has been able to appeal to the mass market and reach mainstream adoption. Despite the utility of Bitcoin and Ethereum, “there is no current standard cryptocurrency used for the regular exchange of value in the daily lives of ordinary people.” This is what the TON project wants to change. According to Telegram, the world needs an electronic “decentralized counterpart to everyday money — a truly mass-market cryptocurrency.”

Scaling transaction throughput to the tens of thousands of transactions per second supported by major credit card networks such as Visa and Mastercard is an important requirement for a mass-market cryptocurrency. While Bitcoin and Ethereum developers are working toward achieving higher throughput, the Telegram white paper notes that Bitcoin and Ethereum are currently limited to a maximum of only seven transactions per second for Bitcoin and 15 transactions per second for Ethereum, resulting in insufficient speeds and higher transaction costs. The white paper does not seem to take second-layer protocols into account, however.

Existing cryptocurrencies face other roadblocks as well, according to Telegram. For example, they are still too complicated for average merchants and consumers, the demand for crypto-assets comes mainly from investors rather than consumers, and there’s no critical mass for the ecosystem to grow and “eventually become adopted by hundreds of millions of users.”

“Telegram will use its expertise in encrypted distributed data storage to create TON, a fast and

inherently scalable multi-blockchain architecture,” states the white paper. “TON can be regarded as a decentralized supercomputer and value transfer system. By combining minimum transaction time with maximum security, TON can become a VISA/Mastercard alternative for the new decentralized economy.”

The Tech Specs

The TON blockchain will consist of a master chain and (eventually) a huge number (2**92) of accompanying blockchains (shards) that can dynamically split and merge to accommodate changes in load and achieve optimal throughput. TON will use a proof-of-stake approach based on a variant of the Byzantine Fault Tolerant protocol and instant hypercube routing to partition the workload among shards. Network protocols for storage, TOR-like privacy and micropayments will be released after the TON blockchain core.

Of course, TON will be fully integrated in the Telegram messaging network. According to the white paper, this will permit leveraging Telegram’s massive user base and developed ecosystem to provide a clear path to cryptocurrencies for millions of people, with light wallets implemented in Telegram applications. The white paper notes that 84 percent of blockchain-based projects have an active Telegram community, more than all other chat applications combined, which makes Telegram the “cryptocurrency world’s preferred messaging app.”

According to the roadmap in the white paper, a Minimal Viable Test Network for TON will be launched in Q2 2018. Then, after a testing phase and a security audit, a stable version of TON and a Telegram wallet will be deployed in Q4 2018.

Funding with Grams

The TON coins will be called Grams. To fund TON, Telegram will launch a token sale in Q1 2018. Initially, 44 percent of the total supply (2.2 billion) of Grams will be sold at a price that will start at $0.10 per Gram and gradually increase, with each Gram priced one billionth higher than the previous one, reaching $1 per Gram once 2.2 billion tokens have been sold. Based on these projections, it seems that Telegram’s token sale could easily become the biggest in history.

Of the total supply of Grams, 52 percent will be retained by the TON Reserve “to protect the nascent cryptocurrency from speculative trading and to maintain flexibility at the early stages of the evolution of the system,” and the remaining 4 percent will be reserved for the development team.

According to current plans, the token sale will use a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT), to be converted 1:1 to native TON Grams after the deployment of the TON Blockchain.

Telegram wants to serve as a launch pad for TON, but it plans eventually to transfer ownership and governance of the TON system to a non-profit TON Foundation. “By 2021, the initial TON vision and architecture will have been implemented and deployed,” states the white paper. “TON will then let go of the ‘Telegram’ element in its name and become ‘The Open Network.’ From then on, the continuous evolution of the TON Blockchain will be maintained by the TON Foundation.”

The TON Killer App: A Privacy-Focused User Base

TON’s killer app is Telegram’s ability to leverage the enthusiasm of millions of cryptocurrency fans among the app’s 200 million users. At the same time, however, it’s worth noting that the greater population doesn’t really care much about encryption or cryptocurrencies. Many other messaging apps, such as Facebook’s Messenger and Whatsapp, are much more popular than Telegram.

Telegram is independent, self-funded and privacy-focused. The popularity of Telegram among cryptocurrency enthusiasts can be explained by the fact that the messaging app was founded “by libertarians to preserve freedom through encryption.” These features make it more attractive than other platforms, like Messenger or Whatsapp, to users who feel strongly about privacy protection.

It’s then interesting to speculate about possible moves of Facebook toward developing a cryptocurrency integrated with its social network and messaging platform.

In a recent post, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg notes that, contrary to the once widespread belief that technology could be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people's hands, it now appears that technology’s net effect is that of centralizing power in the hands of large corporations and governments.

“There are important counter-trends to this — like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people's hands,” says Zuckerberg. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I'm interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies and how best to use them in our services.”

In as speech by FBI Director Christopher Wray on January 9, 2018, to the International Conference on Cyber Security, he highlighted his concerns over encryption, pointing out that last year, 7,800 devices were rendered inaccessible to law enforcement.

“This problem impacts our investigations across the board — human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation and cyber,” he stated.

He called on the private sector to find ways that would allow them to “respond to lawfully issued court orders, in a way that is consistent with both the rule of law and strong cybersecurity.” It is these sorts of access measures that Zuckerberg will probably be considering.

While it doesn’t seem plausible that Facebook could become a staunch champion of privacy like Telegram, it will definitely be interesting to watch Facebook’s moves in the cryptocurrency space.

The post Telegram’s Privacy-Focused User Base Could Be TON Blockchain’s Killer App appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Cryptocurrencies Will Come to a ‘Bad Ending’: Bitcoin Bear Warren Buffett

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

The post Cryptocurrencies Will Come to a ‘Bad Ending’: Bitcoin Bear Warren Buffett appeared first on CCN

Legendary investor and billionaire Warren Buffett continues his bearish outlook on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In a televised interview on CNBC, Buffett was asked about JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s backpedaling take on bitcoin, after the latter expressed regret about calling bitcoin a ‘fraud’ last year. Queried if he too would re-think his recent remarks

The post Cryptocurrencies Will Come to a ‘Bad Ending’: Bitcoin Bear Warren Buffett appeared first on CCN

American Airlines has found a replacement for the uniforms that thousands of workers said made them sick (AAL, LE)

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

Flight Attendants at the gate waiting to board

  • American Airlines announced on Tuesday that Land's End will make its new uniforms.
  • The airline's employees have claimed that its current uniforms have made them sick.
  • American Airlines previously said the new uniforms will be made from different fabrics.

 

After American Airlines gave employees new uniforms in September 2016, employees began to claim that the uniforms were giving them headaches and making them break out in hives. The uniform update was the first the company had introduced in almost 30 years.

Though the airline claimed the uniforms were safe, in June 2017 the company said it would begin looking for a supplier to replace the controversial uniforms. On Tuesday, the company announced that Land's End would make the new uniforms, according to CNN.

CNN reports that American Airlines plans to begin testing the uniforms in October 2018 and roll them out to 51,000 employees in late 2019.

The airline has previously said that the uniforms will be made from different fabrics.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), a union that represents flight attendants, previously claimed it had received over 3,500 reports of "suspected reactions" by union members from the controversial uniforms, which were made by American Airlines and Twin Hill. American Airlines previously said it had received 14 reports from flight attendants about the uniforms.

SEE ALSO: American Airlines apologizes for accusing pro basketball players of theft and forcing them off the plane

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia

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

Japan Nikkei new year

  • Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is setting its sights on Asia.
  • Asheesh Birla, VP of product for Ripple, told Business Insider that banks on the continent are more open to innovation than US-based firms. 
  • The company is speeding up plans for XRapid, a product that enhances cross-border payments in emerging markets.


Ripple, the financial technology company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is setting its sights on Asia. 

XRP has gripped the attention of the financial media as its price soared by 1,400% in less than a month. But behind the headlines about a soaring cryptocurrency is an upstart financial technology company looking to simplify and expedite international currency flows. 

"It would be helpful to think of Ripple as a corporation," Asheesh Birla, VP of product for Ripple, told Business Insider. "We make software products and we sell them to banks, payment providers like MoneyGram, just as an example."

XRP is just part of the equation for Ripple. 

Leaning in on Asia

Birla told Business Insider he sees a big opportunity for both XRP and Ripple in Asia, where regulators are more open to innovation and banks are more willing to take a chance on nascent technology, such as distributed ledgers. 

"They have a bigger risk appetite," Birla said. "We have a big emphasis in India and Japan. In the US market it has been a little bit slow to be honest."

As such, Ripple is speeding up plans for XRapid, an XRP-powered product that seeks to enhance cross-border payments for emerging markets. Siam Bank in Thailand and Axis Bank in India are two financial services firms using the product, according to Birla. Neither bank responded to messages seeking comment. 

"I am blown away with how fast these banks are digging into this," Birla said. "Demand is off the charts."

In some parts of Asia, regulators have provided more guidance on cryptocurrencies than those in the US. Japan, for instance, deemed bitcoin a legal tender and its top financial regulator provided a clear definition for cryptocurrencies in its amended Payment Services Act in 2017. Singapore, another popular destination for cryptocurrency companies, promotes fintech innovation via a regulatory sandbox program.

"That makes institutional money feel more secure with the space," John Spallanzani of Miller Value Partners said.

This month, SBI Ripple Asia announced a partnership with 61 Japanese banks to run tests on how distributed ledger technology can simplify international money transfers. It could also lower costs, according to research by Deutsche Bank. 

"Fees for overseas remittances could fall as low as one-tenth the current level of several hundred yen," the bank said. 

Still, some market watchers are skeptical of whether Ripple will be able to attract big bank clients. New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper said he was unable to verify many of the cooperating banks the company had previously announced. CEO Brad Garlinghouse denied those claims. 

SEE ALSO: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

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

Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia

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

Japan Nikkei new year

  • Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is setting its sights on Asia.
  • Asheesh Birla, VP of product for Ripple, told Business Insider that banks on the continent are more open to innovation than US-based firms. 
  • The company is speeding up plans for XRapid, a product that enhances cross-border payments in emerging markets.


Ripple, the financial technology company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is setting its sights on Asia. 

XRP has gripped the attention of the financial media as its price soared by 1,400% in less than a month. But behind the headlines about a soaring cryptocurrency is an upstart financial technology company looking to simplify and expedite international currency flows. 

"It would be helpful to think of Ripple as a corporation," Asheesh Birla, VP of product for Ripple, told Business Insider. "We make software products and we sell them to banks, payment providers like MoneyGram, just as an example."

XRP is just part of the equation for Ripple. 

Leaning in on Asia

Birla told Business Insider he sees a big opportunity for both XRP and Ripple in Asia, where regulators are more open to innovation and banks are more willing to take a chance on nascent technology, such as distributed ledgers. 

"They have a bigger risk appetite," Birla said. "We have a big emphasis in India and Japan. In the US market it has been a little bit slow to be honest."

As such, Ripple is speeding up plans for XRapid, an XRP-powered product that seeks to enhance cross-border payments for emerging markets. Siam Bank in Thailand and Axis Bank in India are two financial services firms using the product, according to Birla. Neither bank responded to messages seeking comment. 

"I am blown away with how fast these banks are digging into this," Birla said. "Demand is off the charts."

In some parts of Asia, regulators have provided more guidance on cryptocurrencies than those in the US. Japan, for instance, deemed bitcoin a legal tender and its top financial regulator provided a clear definition for cryptocurrencies in its amended Payment Services Act in 2017. Singapore, another popular destination for cryptocurrency companies, promotes fintech innovation via a regulatory sandbox program.

"That makes institutional money feel more secure with the space," John Spallanzani of Miller Value Partners said.

This month, SBI Ripple Asia announced a partnership with 61 Japanese banks to run tests on how distributed ledger technology can simplify international money transfers. It could also lower costs, according to research by Deutsche Bank. 

"Fees for overseas remittances could fall as low as one-tenth the current level of several hundred yen," the bank said. 

Still, some market watchers are skeptical of whether Ripple will be able to attract big bank clients. New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper said he was unable to verify many of the cooperating banks the company had previously announced. CEO Brad Garlinghouse denied those claims. 

SEE ALSO: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Join the conversation about this story »

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

There are 2 ways retailers can fight off the retail apocalypse and counter the Amazon threat

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

shopping teenagers retail

  • Retailers must offer differentiated product and a unique customer experience to fend off the threat of Amazon.
  • Even then its tough to compete with Amazon because of its scale.
  • Retailers won't ever be able to compete with Amazon on price.


Retailers have watched Amazon uproot established industries with trepidation, but they can still compete with the ecommerce behemoth by offering items and services that it doesn't have or can't provide. That's according to Keith Jelinek, the managing director at Berkeley Research Group's retail and consumer practice unit.

He sees retailers developing private labels and private brands that the consumers can't find on Amazon. Target has seen some success with its private label brands, for example.

Retailers can also bank on the customer experience, particularly at brick-and-mortar locations. Jelinek said that the way the product is presented or the way trained staff can help a customer brings them into the store, and gives them more incentive to keep returning.

Walmart is doing a good job of this by creating spaces in its stores dedicated to trying out toys and a whole area for gifting and picking up. The big-box retailer is also increasing its online assortment and offering free two-day shipping for purchases valued over $35. Target has followed suit with its Shipt acquisition, a same-day delivery service aimed helping fend off the Amazon-Whole Foods merger. 

While some of the big box retailers are doing their best to stay afloat and remain relevant, there has been a wave of companies this year who just could not hold its weight against Amazon. Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September, even after announcing a partnership with the ecommerce giant. Payless and RadioShack have filed their own Chapter 11 bankruptcies, prompting hundreds of store closings.

Yet Jelinek said that it will still be hard for retailers to compete because of Amazon's scale. "There's only one game that you're never going to win and that's price," Jelinek said.

To read about how you can bet on the retail apocalypse and probably win, click here.

SEE ALSO: It's easier than ever to bet on the death of brick-and-mortar retail

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Buffett's a bitcoin bear

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

Warren Buffett

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.

Warren Buffett is officially a bitcoin bear. The billionaire investor said Wednesday he would "buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies" if he could, adding that "what's going on definitely will come to a bad ending."

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Join the conversation about this story »

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Buffett's a bitcoin bear

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

Warren Buffett

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.

Warren Buffett is officially a bitcoin bear. The billionaire investor said Wednesday he would "buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies" if he could, adding that "what's going on definitely will come to a bad ending."

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Join the conversation about this story »

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Buffett's a bitcoin bear

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

Warren Buffett

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.

Warren Buffett is officially a bitcoin bear. The billionaire investor said Wednesday he would "buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies" if he could, adding that "what's going on definitely will come to a bad ending."

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Join the conversation about this story »

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

CRYPTO INSIDER: Buffett's a bitcoin bear

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

Warren Buffett

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.

Warren Buffett is officially a bitcoin bear. The billionaire investor said Wednesday he would "buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies" if he could, adding that "what's going on definitely will come to a bad ending."

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Join the conversation about this story »

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

JPMORGAN: Amazon could be worth $1 trillion some day (AMZN)

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

jeff bezos happy

  • JPMorgan says that Amazon's market value could eventually grow to more than $1 trillion.
  • The firm says that Amazon is "investing in more major growth opportunities than any other company."
  • The stock would have to surge 66% from current levels to achieve a 13-digit valuation.


Amazon is already the fourth-highest valued company in the US market at $602 billion, but JPMorgan has its sights set much higher.

Which is saying a lot, since Amazon's 56% surge in 2017 was already the best in the hyper-elite "FANG" group, which also consists of similarly red-hot Netflix, Facebook and Google.

"We believe Amazon has the potential to be a $1 trillion dollar company over time, as it remains early in the e-commerce and cloud secular shifts," JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a client note. "And in our view, Amazon is investing in more major growth opportunities than any other company we cover."

That's lavish praise, and quite a lofty outlook — one that JPMorgan thinks Amazon can achieve through the right mix of positive catalysts, which it outlines as follows:

  1. Numerous major growth opportunities, which will drive revenue, along with better margin flow-through in 2018
  2. Margin expansion despite hefty internal investment, driven by the "ongoing third-party mix-shift" and outsized Amazon Web Services and advertising growth
  3. Amazon Prime subscription growth and expansion into new markets — JPMorgan has an estimate of 95 million global subscriptions
  4. Amazon Web Services will maintain its strong 75% market share, with only a modest revenue deceleration
  5. More international retail revenue, driven by India and recent market launches in Australia and Brazil
  6. "Outsized" growth from newer revenue streams, like advertising, grocery and Alexa/Echo products

Anmuth has a long-standing overweight rating on Amazon's stock, but just raised his price target on the company to $1,385 per share, up from $1,375. While he's not the most bullish analyst, Anmuth's estimate is still 5.3% above a consensus estimate that factors in forecasts from 42 firms.

While shareholders would surely rejoice at an eventual 13-figure valuation for Amazon — which would require a gain of roughly 66% from current levels — no one would benefit more than founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who was recently crowned the richest person in world history. If the stock achieves the full potential seen by JPMorgan, Bezos would hold an even more unprecedented level of wealth.

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 11.23.23 AM

SEE ALSO: Stocks are trading in a way not seen since the peak of the tech bubble

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

Kodak Debuts Bitcoin Miner as Blockchain Pivot Juices Stock Price

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

Kodak has licensed its name to a new bitcoin mining product.

A quant analyst took 6 months off work to deal with cancer, and when he returned sent this 4,000-word note to clients questioning the entire purpose of the financial sector

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

Inigo Fraser Jenkins

  • Bernstein analyst Inigo Fraser-Jenkins spent six months off work through illness. When he returned, he sent clients a 4,000-word note that reads like an existential crisis. It is titled, "Why I do this job."
  • The note warns that if bankers don't create "some semblance of social utility" then they are "at risk of simply being shut down and turned into a utility by an act of fiat of politicians."
  • "We all spend an awful lot of time staring at spreadsheets scrolled across screens or endure wasted evenings sitting exhausted in departure lounges at random airports. One can do that for years of course and even though it is a cliché to say it, a profoundly personal shock is often needed to make one assess whether one on balance actually enjoys doing it," he wrote.
  • Ultimately, Fraser-Jenkins concluded that the finance sector is at risk of being upended via artificial intelligence and passive index investing, and that financial analysts need to make sure capital allocation is "much more useful for society at large."


LONDON — Almost everyone has taken time off work and wondered, "why the heck am I doing this?" Do I like my job? Does it have a purpose? Even President Obama fantasized about quitting the White House to sell T-shirts on a beach in Hawaii. 

With bills to pay, most of us slink back to the office and say nothing more.

But not Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, the head of Global Quantitative Strategy and European Equity Strategy at Bernstein Research in London. 

Fraser-Jenkins is perhaps best-known for an essay he published in August 2016 titled "The Silent Road to Serfdom: Why Passive Investing is Worse Than Marxism." It argued that active investors are trying to allocate capital most efficiently; socialist governments are at least attempting to allocate capital with some rationality through planning; but passive index funds don't even do that: Mindlessly tracking the S&P 500 could generate bubbles through vast piles of incoming cash being invested with the least amount of thought and analysis.

And then he was diagnosed with cancer.

Between then and now he took six months medical leave to deal his lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He received chemo and radiation. "That kind of diagnosis makes you radically reconsider things," he told Business Insider. "Inevitably, when you get a big personal shock it would be odd to not have that thought."

"I've been really lucky in the scheme of things — my diagnosis was treatable," he says. He beat the cancer. 

On January 8, his first full day back at work, he sent his clients a 3,921-word long essay questioning why he does his job, the role financial services have had in creating inequality, and whether the sector has a future.

Capital allocation is worth devoting your life to

Perhaps unsurprisingly — given his previous writing — Fraser-Jenkins believes capital allocation (making sure money isn't wasted, in plain English) is worth devoting your life to.

His note begins like a cri de coeur from a man having a midlife crisis: "Coming back into the office after 6 months' absence for medical leave is a good opportunity to assess why one does one's job," he told clients.

But his conclusion is upbeat: The world of finance is going to be upended by artificial intelligence and passive index funds, so financial analysts have a lot to offer in making sure those issues don't turn into systemic threats or bubbles.

We live in 'Piketty world'

Piketty Pompeu FabraBankers have been the beneficiaries of an increasingly unequal "Piketty world," he wrote, and this has created a political threat to their existence:

"... Maybe the yearning for a social function is personal and merely the result of being older, or having been ill. But I suspect there is also a reason of more general applicability to the readers of this note. That is the finance industry has vastly expanded its share of the economy, of listed market cap and of the share of total wages paid over the last 40 years and now this appears to sit very uneasily with a zeitgeist of harder times and changed social and political reality. We find ourselves in the Piketty world where there is a realization (albeit a belated and still hotly debated one) that there has been yawning inequality growing in society."

"... if the financial industry does not recognize this then it is at risk of simply being shut down and turned into a utility by an act of fiat of politicians." 

Thomas Piketty was the author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), a towering work that suggests increasing inequality is a normal feature of capitalism, and that the post-war period of relatively widespread prosperity was a blip.

Financial analysts need to worry about "ESG," or environmental, social and governance investing, he told Business Insider. There is a "rapidly growing poll of cash attracted to ESG" he says, and analysts need to "help in getting society towards funding the things it cares about."

'In this industry, we all spend an awful lot of time staring at spreadsheets scrolled across screens or endure wasted evenings sitting exhausted in departure lounges at random airports.'

Much of the note is an investigation of whether finance still has some "social utility" beyond simply making finance employees rich. "If the job cannot fulfil the goals of interesting content and some semblance of social utility – however faintly remote – then there will likely be some lingering question about it," the note says. In one section, he suggests that working for Bernstein sometimes might not be a lot of fun:

"In this industry, we all spend an awful lot of time staring at spreadsheets scrolled across screens or endure wasted evenings sitting exhausted in departure lounges at random airports. One can do that for years of course and even though it is a cliché to say it, a profoundly personal shock is often needed to make one assess whether one on balance actually enjoys doing it."

What if the robots don't want to use Excel?

Interestingly, Fraser-Jenkins thinks the application of AI might render obsolete the data that humans use to make decisions, especially if that data is sitting in Excel:

... At a much more practical and mundane level this transition also raises the question of what financial models need to look like. At the moment I suspect that more than 95% of analyst models for companies physically manifest themselves in Excel. In an AI and big data world do we need a larger proportion of them to exist in code instead? How are we to manage this transition, with its implications for the skill sets of individuals and accessibility of data?

And he believes the success of passive exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will inevitably come to an end, making analyst advice for active investors more important:

"... Yes, passive took market share in part because there were too many active managers hugging the benchmark in the past. But it also took market share because nearly all asset classes went up and did so with low correlation. That second support of passive is going to come to an end and I think many investors need help understanding the implications of this."

"Moreover, with this change the industry will likely be much more useful for society at large and so comes back to the point we made earlier about fulfilling a role of social utility," he wrote.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Mark Wahlberg raked in $68 million in 2017 — but he's the most overpaid actor in Hollywood

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

Mark Wahlberg

  • Mark Wahlberg is the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, according to Forbes.
  • Wahlberg was paid 1,500 times as much as his costar, Michelle Williams, for "All the Money in the World," according to USA Today.
  • But three of his recent movies made just $4.40 at the box office for every $1 he earned, making him the most overpaid actor of the last year.
  • Christian Bale and Channing Tatum round out the top three on Forbes list of most overpaid actors.


Mark Wahlberg earned $68 million in 2017, making him the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

Wahlberg was paid was paid 1,500 times as much as his costar, Michelle Williams, for "All the Money in the World," according to USA Today.

But he may not be worth his salt, according to a new analysis from Forbes.

Together, Wahlberg's three most recent wide-release films that debuted before June 1 — "Deepwater Horizon," "Patriots Day," "Daddy's Home" — brought in $4.40 at the box office for every $1 he earned making them.

Forbes calculated actors' box-office-earnings-to-paycheck ratio for its 2017 list of the most overpaid actors. The list, which was all men this year, ranks actors from Forbes' highest-paid-celebrity list by how much money their movies earn for every $1 they are paid to star in them.

Wahlberg also starred in "Transformers: The Last Knight," which was released in mid-June, and executive-produced his latest film, "Daddy's Home 2," neither of which were included in Forbes' calculation.

British actor Christian Bale came in at No. 2 on the list, largely thanks to his 2016 flop "The Promise." The big-budget film about the Armenian genocide earned back an estimated 11% of its $90 million production costs, according to Forbes. Together, Bale's three most recent movies brought in $6.70 at the box office for every $1 he earned.

And though his paychecks are modest compared to Wahlberg and Bale, Channing Tatum earned the No. 3 spot on Forbes' list. His three most recent movies, including 2017's "Logan Lucky," returned $7.60 for every $1 he earned making them.

Channing Tatum

To determine the ranking, Forbes deducted the estimated production budget from the global box-office earnings for an actor's three most recent, nonanimated, starring-role movies released before June 1, 2017. Forbes then divided that by the actor's estimated pay for those movies to determine a return on investment figure.

"While these returns sound exceptional to stock or bond investors, Hollywood accounting means they are far worse than they seem," wrote Forbes staffer Natalie Robehmed. "Studios and exhibitors must split global box-office totals; add in multimillion-dollar publicity and release costs not included in production budgets and films quickly become more expensive."

Rounding out the top five in the ranking are Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Brad Pitt, whose latest three movies brought in $10.50 and $11.50 at the box office, respectively, for every $1 they earned.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 20 celebrities who made the most money last year — a combined total of $1.7 billion

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Some economists want the US government to put up to $50,000 in 'Baby Bond' bank accounts

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

japanese baby

  • Two economists have proposed an idea for "Baby Bonds," a one-time deposit into a child's bank account at the time they're born.
  • The program would help create upward mobility and reduce inequality in the US, they claim.
  • Rich families would receive around $500 while poor ones would receive up to $50,000.


Darrick Hamilton and William Darity have a thought-provoking way to help families pay for college: Give every baby between $500 and $50,000 at the time they are born.

Hamilton and Darity, both economists, say these "Baby Bond" accounts could go a long way toward reducing inequality in the US, where a raft of research has found academic achievement is directly tied to familial wealth.

"The key ingredient of how successful you will be in America is how wealthy your family is," Hamilton, an economist at the New School, told Heather Long of the Washington Post.

The solution Hamilton and Darity presented at the recent American Economic Association conference was a federal government program that deposits between $500 for ultra-rich families, and $50,000 for extremely poor families, in an account they can't touch until the child turns 18.

Hamilton and Darity expect the average amount to fall somewhere around $20,000.

The two men claim such a program will cost approximately $80 billion, or 2% of the $4 trillion America's government spends each year. Compared to the existing ways the US tax code tries to promote asset ownership, which cost roughly $500 billion annually, the economists say the Baby Bond idea would be extremely cheap.

In exchange for that investment, they expect to see a leveling of the economic playing field, redistributing money over the long-term from the top 0.1% and 0.01% to middle-class Americans. The conclusion stems from Hamilton and Darrity's belief that wealth is largely a product of luck in the US.

"If you're not fortunate enough to get that down payment or have that resource at a key juncture of your life," Hamilton told the Institute for New Economic Thinking, "you will not have that pathway towards building economic security that somebody else has. You could be a jerk. You could be a good person. It has little to do with the particular individual."

The philosophy mirrors the one found in the basic income community, which has asserted that poverty isn't a lack of character so much as it's a lack of cash. Poor people should be trusted with handouts, they argue, because those in poverty know how to help themselves.

Some research on cash transfers has found people don't often spend the money on things like alcohol and cigarettes; in certain cases, purchases actually decrease.

Caroline Teti, field director for GiveDirectly, a charity currently awarding basic income for 12 years to certain villages in Kenya, said the logic and outcomes are both straightforward.

"People have needs," Teti told Business Insider. "Especially in poor communities such as this, if they get a basic income, it goes directly into those needs."

SEE ALSO: A village in Kenya is quietly disproving the biggest myth about basic income

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The first female big pharma CEO had the perfect response to a question about women in leadership

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

emma walmsley GSK

  • GSK CEO Emma Walmsley is the first woman to lead a big pharmaceutical company. 
  • At an investor conference on Tuesday, she was asked about female leadership in the industry. She responded with how she thinks of her job — that is, about the company and the medicine it makes first, rather than about her gender. 
  • Walmsley also said there needs to be a push for more diversity in pharma overall, whether that be through better representation of race, the LGBT community, or just more personalities. 


GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley made history in 2017, when she became the first woman to head up a major pharmaceutical company. 

In her first company presentation at an industry conference as the CEO of GSK, Walmsley was asked about female leadership in the pharmaceutical industry. She responded not by talking about gender, but by running through how she thinks about her responsibilities as CEO. 

"These jobs — and I’m new at it — come with an enormous privilege and a tremendous responsibility first and foremost to do the job that we do," she said, elaborating that it's all about drug discovery, development, and distribution of the medications. There's also the responsibility she has to shareholders of the company. 

“I try to define myself personally by my job to deliver on those two things first first rather than by my gender. But I recognize the responsibility I have as a leader, in brackets a little bit, as a role model, because you’re just more visible whether you like it or not, you just are more visible for that. And I have — I want to — represent diversity in that sense.”

But, she said, gender isn’t the only thing that needs to be better represented, pointing to the LGBT community, racial diversity, and personality.

"You cannot be a modern employer in an industry that should be future facing and modernizing arguably much more aggressively than it is without being very demanding on this topic," Walmsley said. "I really do think the part of our trust agenda is being a modern employer where whoever you are … you can bring the very best version of yourself to work without fear of any kind of inappropriate behavior."

When it comes to leadership rolse especially, that's important to promote. 

"We should be much more proactive about sponsoring and supporting all types of diversity to get to the senior leadership positions."

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MORGAN STANLEY: Bitcoin could use more energy than Argentina this year

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

argentina soccer fans smile

  • Bitcoin mining could use more electricity in 2018 than Argentina, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients Wednesday. It could also use more energy than electric vehicle power demand in 2025.
  • The cryptocurrency could make up 0.6% of the world’s consumption in 2018 and force utility stocks to adapt. 


Energy needed to mine bitcoin could be more than is used by the entire country of Argentina in 2018, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients Wednesday.

"We project this consumption to be greater in 2018 than Electric Vehicle power demand in 2025, yet this level is still far from being material to utility power demand" analysts at the bank said. "Will this and other blockchain technologies become increasingly more important over time (and push thoughts away from Electric Vehicles? Potentially, but we would expect these new technologies to take time to develop."

The bank estimates power for bitcoin mining, which has already been estimated to use more than 159 countries in 2017, will make up 0.6% of global demand, which is “not likely” to have any impact on utility stocks just yet.

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 10.42.30 AM

"To successfully mine a coin (add to the blockchain ledger) requires a large amount of computational and therefore energy use, given the "proof of work" system that this deploys,” the bank said. "This is 0.2% of the world's consumption currently. According to blockchain.info, Bitcoin accounts for c.62% of the cryptocurrency market,and so the total energy usage for cryptocurrencies is therefore likely higher than this."

Bitcoin miners have already flocked to areas of the world where electricity and labor are cheap, like China and South Korea, but the bank warns that this could be impacted by regulation, much like has happened in South Korea this week.

Miners have reportedly begun to flee China as the authoritarian country clamps down even tighter with rules on cryptocurrency trading and mining. The move could increase bitcoin transaction times, which can often take more than 10 minutes.

Still, there are plenty of places left where bitcoin mining can be lucrative, Morgan Stanley says, like the midwest and northwest US — and it could even fuel new renewable energy efforts.

"Bitcoin demand may represent a new business opportunity for renewable energy developers. The ultimate question is whether this could be a positive for the global utility sector,” the bank said. "Big Oil is also moving in to renewables (and have much larger balance sheets). And ICOs could mean new entrants raising capital to enter the market."

Bitcoin had an explosive year in 2017, rising over 1400% — but its gains have slowed to just 5% since the start of 2018.

Follow the price of bitcoin in real-time on Markets Insider here>>

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MORGAN STANLEY: Bitcoin could use more energy than Argentina this year

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

electric car charging street

  • Bitcoin mining could use more electricity in 2018 than Argentina, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients Wednesday. It could also use more energy than electric vehicle power demand in 2025.
  • The cryptocurrency could make up 0.6% of the world’s consumption in 2018 and force utility stocks to adapt. 


Energy needed to mine bitcoin could be more than is used by the entire country of Argentina in 2018, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients Wednesday.

"We project this consumption to be greater in 2018 than Electric Vehicle power demand in 2025, yet this level is still far from being material to utility power demand" analysts at the bank said. "Will this and other blockchain technologies become increasingly more important over time (and push thoughts away from Electric Vehicles? Potentially, but we would expect these new technologies to take time to develop."

The bank estimates power for bitcoin mining, which has already been estimated to use more than 159 countries in 2017, will make up 0.6% of global demand, which is “not likely” to have any impact on utility stocks just yet.

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 10.42.30 AM

"To successfully mine a coin (add to the blockchain ledger) requires a large amount of computational and therefore energy use, given the "proof of work" system that this deploys,” the bank said. "This is 0.2% of the world's consumption currently. According to blockchain.info, Bitcoin accounts for c.62% of the cryptocurrency market,and so the total energy usage for cryptocurrencies is therefore likely higher than this."

Bitcoin miners have already flocked to areas of the world where electricity and labor are cheap, like China and South Korea, but the bank warns that this could be impacted by regulation, much like has happened in South Korea this week.

Miners have reportedly begun to flee China as the authoritarian country clamps down even tighter with rules on cryptocurrency trading and mining. The move could increase bitcoin transaction times, which can often take more than 10 minutes.

Still, there are plenty of places left where bitcoin mining can be lucrative, Morgan Stanley says, like the midwest and northwest US — and it could even fuel new renewable energy efforts.

"Bitcoin demand may represent a new business opportunity for renewable energy developers. The ultimate question is whether this could be a positive for the global utility sector,” the bank said. "Big Oil is also moving in to renewables (and have much larger balance sheets). And ICOs could mean new entrants raising capital to enter the market."

Bitcoin had an explosive year in 2017, rising over 1400% — but its gains have slowed to just 5% since the start of 2018.

Follow the price of bitcoin in real-time on Markets Insider here>>

bitcoin price

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Ripple's XRP is the hot new cryptocurrency — here's how you buy it

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

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Following bitcoin's booming 2017, cryptocurrencies have become the hot new investment play.

One of the most talked-about cryptos is Ripple's XRP, which had grown by more than 3,000% since mid-2017. Its market cap of $7.6 billion makes it the third-largest cryptocurrency behind bitcoin and Ethereum.

Unlike those two other giants, if you want to buy Ripple it takes a bit more finagling than just taking a trip over to the popular exchange Coinbase (although it's still important).

Here's how to buy your first batch of Ripple's XRP coins.

There are several exchanges for Ripple's XRP, many of which are overloaded with requests at the moment. For the sake of convenience, I used Bitsane.

Bitsane is unique in that people in the US can't buy cryptos directly with their credit card, which is how Coinbase works. You have to exchange other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum for XRP.

For most people, this means using Coinbase to first buy some Ethereum, bitcoin, or bitcoin cash.

(Here's a walk-thru of how I bought bitcoin using Coinbase back in early 2017.)



Once you set up your Bitsane account, go to the Balances tab at the top. Then you can locate the crypto you'd like to exchange for your XRP. I chose Bitcoin Cash.

To buy XRP, you first want to deposit your other crypto in Bitsane. Click the Deposit button to display your unique wallet address.

This is the address you'll plug into Coinbase so it knows where to send the other cryptocurrency.



I decided to exchange 0.15 bitcoin cash for the equivalent amount in XRP. The fee was a few pennies.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Ripple's XRP is the hot new cryptocurrency — here's how you buy it

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

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Following bitcoin's booming 2017, cryptocurrencies have become the hot new investment play.

One of the most talked-about cryptos is Ripple's XRP, which had grown by more than 3,000% since mid-2017. Its market cap of $7.6 billion makes it the third-largest cryptocurrency behind bitcoin and Ethereum.

Unlike those two other giants, if you want to buy Ripple it takes a bit more finagling than just taking a trip over to the popular exchange Coinbase (although it's still important).

Here's how to buy your first batch of Ripple's XRP coins.

There are several exchanges for Ripple's XRP, many of which are overloaded with requests at the moment. For the sake of convenience, I used Bitsane.

Bitsane is unique in that people in the US can't buy cryptos directly with their credit card, which is how Coinbase works. You have to exchange other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum for XRP.

For most people, this means using Coinbase to first buy some Ethereum, bitcoin, or bitcoin cash.

(Here's a walk-thru of how I bought bitcoin using Coinbase back in early 2017.)



Once you set up your Bitsane account, go to the Balances tab at the top. Then you can locate the crypto you'd like to exchange for your XRP. I chose Bitcoin Cash.

To buy XRP, you first want to deposit your other crypto in Bitsane. Click the Deposit button to display your unique wallet address.

This is the address you'll plug into Coinbase so it knows where to send the other cryptocurrency.



I decided to exchange 0.15 bitcoin cash for the equivalent amount in XRP. The fee was a few pennies.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Down But Not Out: Ripple Bulls May Regain the Upper Hand

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

The 50 percent decline of Ripple's XRP token from the record highs may have strengthened the bears, but further downside may be limited.

Bitcoin can become a legit global currency — in theory, Goldman says

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

japan exchange traders kimono

  • Bitcoin can serve as a global currency in theory, according to Goldman Sachs strategists. 
  • The reality is that much of the developed world already has stable monetary systems, alternative stores of value, and the US dollar for foreign trade and reserves.  
  • Cryptocurrencies may be useful in parts of the global financial system where the traditional functions of money don't work as well. 

 

Bitcoin can be a legitimate and widespread form of money but mostly in theory, for now, according to Goldman Sachs strategists. 

That's because the key functions of money that bitcoin can serve are already well handled across much of the developed world. Many countries had stable currencies and inflation rates before bitcoin came along. The dollar is the standard for international trade, and for foreign-exchange reserves. Investors wanting to diversify their portfolios could use precious metals like gold.   

And so, cryptocurrencies seem to be trying to solve problems that don't exist — at least in the developed world. 

"The widespread use of the dollar outside the US — and full dollarization in some countries — suggests there is already demand for an internationally accepted medium of exchange and store of value," said Goldman's Zach Pandl and Charles Himmelberg in a note on Wednesday. 

"In those countries and corners of the financial system where the traditional services of money are inadequately supplied, bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies more generally) may offer viable alternatives."

The strategists said there's evidence that demand for cryptos is related to regions where there's already a dissatisfaction with the existing monetary system. For example, bitcoin exchange volumes surged in China after the country started clamping down on capital outflows in 2016.

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 9.51.46 AM

In that sense, there's demand for bitcoin as a form of money to make transactions. But as part of a currency portfolio, cryptocurrencies are "more consistent with a classic speculative bubble," the strategists said. They noted that Korea and Japan dominate bitcoin exchange volumes, but are also countries with stable monetary systems. 

The reality is that cryptocurrencies still have a high regulatory bar to clear in most places, the strategists said. To start with, governments can't track who's paying or receiving digital currencies. And as traders well know, cryptos are vulnerable to wild price swings that are rare with fiat currencies, making them bad stores of value.   

Goldman Sachs is reportedly preparing a cryptocurrency trading desk.

SEE ALSO: Warren Buffett says bitcoin 'definitely will come to a bad ending'

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Microsoft Restores Bitcoin Payments after Temporary Pause

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

The post Microsoft Restores Bitcoin Payments after Temporary Pause appeared first on CCN

Hardware and software giant Microsoft reportedly brought back bitcoin payments after “working to ensure lower amounts would be redeemable.” Per news.com.au, a company spokeswoman released a statement revealing the move after working with its provider, presumably to ensure customer satisfaction wasn’t affected by the bitcoin network’s current high fees and volatility. As reported earlier this

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The Pros and Cons of Bitcoin Gambling

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

The post The Pros and Cons of Bitcoin Gambling appeared first on CCN

This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. According to CCN, Bitcoin’s value is now almost $14,000. With this cryptocurrency’s quick and steady growth, it has become a viable digital currency. In fact, it is now

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Coinbase: Massive Buy Demand Caused Bitcoin Cash Launch Hiccups

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

Coinbase has blamed overwhelming demand from buyers for issues experienced during its launch of bitcoin cash trading last month.

Ripple Price Plunges 20% But Ethereum Continues to Rise in Shaky Market

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

The post Ripple Price Plunges 20% But Ethereum Continues to Rise in Shaky Market appeared first on CCN

The cryptocurrency markets made a bearish pivot on Wednesday, plunging nine of the 10 largest cryptocurrencies into negative territory. The ripple price bore the brunt of the blow and fell 20 percent to sink below the $2 mark, but the damage was not isolated to XRP. Ethereum, meanwhile, continued to advance toward record highs in

The post Ripple Price Plunges 20% But Ethereum Continues to Rise in Shaky Market appeared first on CCN

Kodak jumps over 70% a day after jumping on the blockchain bandwagon (KODK)

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

The Kodak logo is shown on a booth during the 2017 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

To read about companies you wouldn't expect to jump on the blockchain bandwagon, but have, click here.

Kodak stock price

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

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The 3-decade bond bull market is in danger

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

trader

  • The bond bull market, which has been going strong for more than three decades, may soon come to an end.
  • Legendary bond investor Bill Gross recently called the end of the bond bull market, while DoubleLine Capital chief investment officer Jeffrey Gundlach said the end may be very near.


For the past 8 1/2 years, stocks have been firmly locked in the second-longest bull market in history, repeatedly hitting new record highs along the way. And that's made it easy to forget that the bond market has been enjoying a bull market of its own — one that's been going on for more than three decades.

Given recent developments, investors should enjoy the bond bull market while it lasts.

Yields on 10-year Treasuries spiked to the highest level in roughly 10 months after Chinese officials recommended slowing or halting purchases of them. And that's just the latest event that has bond traders feeling uncertain following a similar action from the Bank of Japan, which recently trimmed its bond buying.

Over the past several months, debt traders have been growing increasingly wary of this type of monetary tightening by global central banks, who have been the biggest buyers of bonds for years. And that's majorly contributed to the increase in yields.

Legendary investor Bill Gross, who once ran the world's biggest bond fund and now manages a portfolio at Janus, fanned the flames on Tuesday. He said that bonds are already in a bear market, noting that 25-year trend lines have been breached in both five- and 10-year Treasury maturities.  

DoubleLine Capital Chief Investment Officer Jeffrey Gundlach is similarly wary of the signals being flashed by bonds, although he hasn't yet gone as far as to call the end of the bull market. However, if the 10-year yield goes above 2.63%, he thinks it would be a "big deal" that could accelerate the bond selloff.

Gundlach's trepidation about the bond market also extends to equities. He forecasted on Tuesday that the benchmark S&P 500 would have a negative rate of return in 2018. In his mind, rising yields could start to hurt stocks once the 10-year climbs above that same 2.63% threshold. The Treasury benchmark jumped to a 10-month high of 2.55% on Tuesday.

So if it truly is curtains for the bond bull market, how long will the bear period last? Some experts think it will be quite brief, especially if the spike in yields impedes Federal Reserve rate hikes.

“I’m not sure we’re heading for a long bear market,” said Allan von Mehren, chief analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, told Bloomberg. “If yields rise too much it would put a halt to growth momentum and slow down the Fed hikes and stock market performance — and then put a break on the bond sell-off.”

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 8.44.46 AM

SEE ALSO: Stocks are trading in a way not seen since the peak of the tech bubble

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Ripple's XRP loses half its value in less than a week

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

Ripple XRP price

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Ripple's XRP loses half its value in less than a week

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

Ripple XRP price

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Nvidia is slipping after saying its chips are vulnerable to the biggest security flaw in recent memory (NVDA)

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

jensen huang nvidia ceo ces talk



Initially, it seemed that Nvidia had been left out of the biggest story in tech this year. But, on Wednesday, the company said its chips are affected by the Spectre flaw.

Nvidia's stock is trading down 1.31% at $219.04 a share after the company disclosed it's products' vulnerabilities in a news release. Nvidia has released patches for the security issue on many of its products and announced a schedule of releases for products that don't yet have a patch.

Spectre is a flaw in the way computers handle requests to look at sensitive information stored on low levels of memory. The flaw was originally thought to only affect central processing units, which would exclude Nvidia's graphics processing units products. But, it now looks like the company is not immune to those flaws.

While CPUs exist in every computer, GPUs are mostly used in high-end gaming computers, cryptocurrency miners, and servers. Nvidia recommends checking its update page to download patches if your computer is running one of its chips.

News of Nvidia's vulnerabilities comes after the company rocked its CES keynote on Sunday. CEO Jensen Huang announced several new products, like giant gaming monitors and new autonomous driving chips.

Nvidia's stock has soared 107% over the past year.

Read more about Nvidia's keynote address here.

Nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: Nvidia is rallying after rocking its CES keynote

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

Real estate investing start-up Cadre has inked a $250 million partnership with Goldman Sachs (GS)

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

Manhattan real estate

  • Cadre, an online commercial real-estate investing platform that has raised more than $130 million in funding, has secured a partnership with Goldman Sachs.
  • The deal provides Goldman Sachs' private wealth clients with access to Cadre's platform.
  • Goldman clients have committed $250 million in capital so far, with a few-hundred million more in the pipeline.


Commercial real-estate investing startup Cadre has inked a partnership with Goldman Sachs that will provide the bank's private wealth clients easy access to the fast-growing online platform. 

Cadre, which offers users digital access to vetted commercial real estate opportunities, has closed $250 million in commitments from Goldman Sachs' clients, with a few-hundred million more in the pipeline, according to founder and CEO Ryan Williams. 

As part of the partnership, Goldman's private wealth clients are furnished with a log-in for Cadre, which will provide another option to the many funds and investment opportunities available to Goldman clients.

Goldman Sachs, in addition to the just announced strategic partnership, is an investor in the company. 

What sets Cadre apart is ease of access as well as a promise of transparency and lower fees compared with real estate private equity funds and real estate investment trusts. 

The way the platform works is that approved real estate "operators" can post carefully vetted commercial properties —from stores to apartment buildings to offices — and Cadre's clients, many of them high-net worth individuals who previously didn't have access to such deals, can invest large chunks of cash on individual properties, according to a profile in 2016 by Alyson Shontell:

On Cadre, the platform looks like an e-commerce store — just with price tags ranging between $50 million and $250 million.

When you click on one of the buildings, you're taken to a beautiful landing page full of stats and information that's presented like a baseball card, with a transaction overview, executive summary, the purchase price, how much equity is available, a dynamic FAQ section and more.

For sellers, Cadre is an opportunity to get a deal done relatively quickly and cheaply — if your property is accepted (only about 1% of everything Cadre's team vets gets listed on the platform).

The minimum investment Cadre typically accepts per transaction today, according to the company website, is $100,000. 

Ryan Williams cadre ceo founderThus far, Cadre's clients have come in roughly equal proportion from institutional investors (endowments, pensions, and foundations), family offices, and wealthy individuals, according to Williams, though the institutional client group has been growing more quickly in the past year. 

Partnerships like the one with Goldman will give the young company flexibility to expand the platform without focusing so narrowly on high-net worth clients.

"It's exciting because in many ways I see our vision being realized even faster than I had anticipated," said Williams, a Harvard graduate who worked at Goldman Sachs and Blackstone Group before founding Cadre three years ago.

The firm has closed about $1 billion in deals since inception, raising more than $130 million from high-profile investors like Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Ford Foundation, Jared and Josh Kushner's Thrive Capital, and General Catalyst.

"Our goal is to ensure we provide our clients with innovative and diverse investment opportunities to help them drive returns and protect capital,” Eric Lane, global co-head of Goldman Sachs' Investment Management Division, said in a statement. “Our ongoing partnership with Cadre underscores this commitment.”

Cadre is firmly focused on developing the partnership with Goldman Sachs, according to Williams, but he said that additional partnerships were likely to come down the line as well. 

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

Warren Buffett says bitcoin 'definitely will come to a bad ending'

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

Warren Buffett

  • "What's going on definitely will come to a bad ending," said Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's CEO, on cryptocurrencies. 
  • Buffett told CNBC the firm will never have a position in cryptocurrencies.

 

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said Wednesday that the firm had no interest in jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. 

"We don't own any, we're not short any, we'll never have a position in them," Buffett said in an interview on CNBC. 

"If I could buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I'd be glad to do it," Buffett said, referring to options trades that would profit from price declines.

He said Berkshire Hathaway remained focused on identifying good businesses and investing in them. 

The conglomerate announced Wednesday that it was expanding its boardadding Gregory E. Abel and Ajit Jain as directors to boost its size to 14 members.

Buffett and Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway's vice chairman, will keep their positions on the board.

SEE ALSO: 'This is a magic moment:' Here's Jeff Gundlach's full presentation on markets and the economy in 2018

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NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Trump can't take credit for the soaring stock market

Domino's Pizza slides on word the CEO who engineered its turnaround is leaving (DPZ)

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

2,000 calories dominos pizza

  • Shares of Domino's Pizza fell nearly 5% to $196.77 a share Wednesday after CEO J. Patrick Doyle said he would be stepping down in June.
  • Doyle was responsible for an impressive turnaround at the company, including a major reputation makeover and investments in new technology.
  • Since Doyle became CEO in March 2010, the company's shares have gained 1,388%.
  • Richard Allison, who is the president of Domino's International, will step in as the new CEO.
  • Domino's stock has climbed 10.39% this year.
  • View Domino's stock price in real-time here.

To read about some of the innovative things that Domino's was doing last year, click here.

Domino's Pizza

SEE ALSO: Domino's is testing a self-driving car to deliver pizza — but there's a catch

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Domino's Pizza slides on word the CEO who engineered its turnaround is leaving (DPZ)

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

2,000 calories dominos pizza

  • Shares of Domino's Pizza fell nearly 5% to $196.77 a share Wednesday after CEO J. Patrick Doyle said he would be stepping down in June.
  • Doyle was responsible for an impressive turnaround at the company, including a major reputation makeover and investments in new technology.
  • Since Doyle became CEO in March 2010, the company's shares have gained 1,388%.
  • Richard Allison, who is the president of Domino's International, will step in as the new CEO.
  • Domino's stock has climbed 10.39% this year.
  • View Domino's stock price in real-time here.

To read about some of the innovative things that Domino's was doing last year, click here.

Domino's Pizza

SEE ALSO: Domino's is testing a self-driving car to deliver pizza — but there's a catch

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

It is Not Possible to Arbitrage South Korea’s Cryptocurrency Premiums Without Breaking Laws

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

The post It is Not Possible to Arbitrage South Korea’s Cryptocurrency Premiums Without Breaking Laws appeared first on CCN

In December 2017, several Chinese traders were arrested for various charges including money laundering for taking advantage of the high premium values of cryptocurrencies in the South Korean market. The traders sold millions of dollars worth of bitcoin for profit, given the high premium rate of bitcoin in South Korea, and brought the money back

The post It is Not Possible to Arbitrage South Korea’s Cryptocurrency Premiums Without Breaking Laws appeared first on CCN

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

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

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) the day after the U.S. presidential election in New York City, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Morning, US futures were drifting just under the waterline early, then headlines "China Officials Are Said to View Treasuries as Less Attractive" accelerated selling in everything USA.  The S&P is down 50bp, but with Treasuries getting hit and the Curve getting steep, Tech is taking it worst, with Nasdaq off 70bp.  It’s pretty red overseas, where the DAX is down nearly 1% as the Euro jumps – Fins the only sector holding a bid, but Healthcare weaker but nearly 2% and Exporters breaking lower.  FTSE doing a touch better, up small, but we r seeing decent profit taking in the miners, while Homebuilders are getting whacked.  Grocers continuing recent momentum behind Sainsbury’s.   Volumes are strong, with most EU Exchanges 50% above normal trends.  In Asia, Nikkei finally retreats, losing 26bp - Hang Seng up 25bp -= Shanghai up 20bp - Taiwan hit for 70bp and KOSPI down 40bp as Sammy headers weighted on Tech in Asia 

The US 10YY is nearing 2.6% on the China headers, adding fuel to “bond gods” comments in the last 24 hours about a bear market setting in.  Better Chinese CPI certainly helped yields pop in Asia, but it’s still about BOJ headers yesterday on cutting bond-buying.  JGB’s kiss 10bp before retreating, while the Yen remains strong, with $/Y smashing southside 112 to 6week lows.  The Euro has jumped over $1.20 – while Good UK Manufacturing data was shrugged off, Sterling bid only by nature of Dollar weakness.  Ore was off 50bp, after gaining 5% in 2018, and we have metals jumping now, led by Copper up 1.5% and Silver 1%, with Gold just behind.  Oil adding to 3Y highs after a huge draw reported by API ahead of DOE data later toda

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

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

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Overstock Payments Glitch Mixes Up Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash: Report

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

Online retail giant Overstock.com has reportedly experienced a bug that meant it mixed up payments made in two different cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin? The Dollar is the Real Bubble No One Talks About

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

The post Bitcoin? The Dollar is the Real Bubble No One Talks About appeared first on CCN

The meteoric rise of Bitcoin in 2017 is by almost everyone dismissed as a bubble. But it is not the only one. In a world where stocks, bonds, objects of art, classic cars and real estate are also at record highs, an investor should ask himself a very important question. Why? Why we have this

The post Bitcoin? The Dollar is the Real Bubble No One Talks About appeared first on CCN

Downside Exposed? Bitcoin Continues Slide to Below $14K

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

Bitcoin is looking weaker on charts today, courtesy of a three-day losing streak, and could drop even lower in coming days.

The mysterious death of billionaire Barry Sherman remains unexplained — and the family's lawyer has criticised the police investigation

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

barry sherman death house

  • Barry Sherman and his wife Honey were found dead in the basement of their Toronto mansion last month, but Canadian police are yet to solve the mystery.
  • The Sherman family lawyer says a claim by the police that there was no forced entry to the Shermans' house may have misled the public.
  • Private detectives are also investigating the deaths as the family seeks answers.


It is nearly a month since Canadian pharmaceutical billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, were found dead in the basement of their $5.4 million (£4 million) Toronto mansion — but there are still no answers.

Police have not provided a meaningful update on the case since December 17, when they revealed that the couple died from "ligature neck compression," or strangulation from tying or binding — and the family is beginning to point the finger of blame.

Brian Greenspan, the powerful Canadian lawyer acting for the family, criticised the police's handling of the investigation in an interview with The Globe and Mail on Tuesday.

Specifically, he thinks a that police statement, which asserted that there were no signs of forced entry to the Shermans' mansion, may have misled the public.

"It's simply absurd," Greenspan said. "You have to know a lot more before that becomes meaningful and before that becomes public. Because the public may draw from that an inference that is just wrong and misleading."

Citing police sources, Canadian publications have posited the theory that the deaths may have been a murder-suicide, but this was strenuously denied by the family.

Through Greenspan, they have hired private detectives to investigate alongside Toronto police and "ensure that no stone is left unturned."

barry sherman

Greenspan said he had not been given any new information by the police. "We've not engaged in discussions about the ongoing investigation," he told The Globe and Mail.

The Toronto Police Service did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

The Shermans were found dead on December 15 in their basement by a real estate agent, who was visiting to help sell the mansion.

Barry is the founder of Canadian pharmaceutical firm Apotex Inc and had an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion, according to Forbes. The couple were known for their philanthropy, giving tens of millions of dollars to hospitals, universities, and Jewish organisations.

SEE ALSO: Private detectives are now investigating the mysterious deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman, the Canadian billionaires found strangled in their basement

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Singapore no longer has the world’s most powerful passport — and this European country has reclaimed the top spot

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

GERMAN PASSPORT

  • The annual Henley Passport Index has just been released.
  • It ranks all the passports in the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.
  • The ranking named Germany as the country with the most powerful passport in the world for the fifth year in a row.
  • Last October a separate ranking put Singapore at the top of the list, but Germany has since reclaimed the top spot on this list also.


Germany is officially the country with the most powerful passport in the world, according to the 2018 Henley Passport Index.

It's the fifth year in a row that the European country has topped Henley's list, which takes into account the number of countries a passport holder can visit without a visa.

The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of travel information.

German citizens can now visit 177 countries, up one from 2017, according to the report.

In October 2017, a separate list, the Global Passport Power Rank produced by advisory firm Arton Capital, named Singapore as the most powerful passport in the world. However, Germany has since reclaimed the top spot in this ranking also, meaning its passport truly is the most valuable.

Here are world's top 15 most powerful passports, and the number of countries their holders can visit visa-free:

1. Germany 177

2. Singapore 176

3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK 175

4. Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland 174

5. Ireland, South Korea, Portugal, US 173

6. Canada 172

7. Australia, Greece, New Zealand 171

8. Czech Republic, Iceland 170

9. Malta 169

10. Hungary 168

11. Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia 167

12. Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia 166

13. Estonia 165

14. Poland 163

15. Monaco 162

Ukraine (44th) and Georgia (53rd) were the biggest climbers on this year's list, moving up by 15 and 14 ranks respectively, following their recent visa liberalisation with the EU.

Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the index for the second year in a row, each able to access 30 or fewer countries visa-free.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, thinks that the need for visa-free access is greater than ever.

"Across the economic spectrum, individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale," he said. "The Henley Passport Index shows individuals where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility, revealing the strength that their passport has in relation to other passports."

SEE ALSO: This is now the most powerful passport in the world

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Stocks are trading in a way not seen since the peak of the tech bubble

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

jeff bezos old 2000

  • Stocks are trading more independently of macro factors than at any point since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley.
  • These types of market conditions are ideal for stock pickers, who make their living analyzing company fundamentals and betting on single stocks.


Stocks are partying like it's 2001.

They're trading independently of one another to a degree not seen since the height of the tech bubble, according to a study conducted by Morgan Stanley. And they've been operating with a mind of their own for months now, bucking a trend that's historically seen them trade more in lockstep in response to geopolitical and macroeconomic developments.

As of year-end 2017, 71% of the risk associated with the average S&P 500 stock was inexplainable by a set of six macro risk factors maintained by Morgan Stanley over the past 252 days. That's the highest in almost 17 years, the firm wrote in a client note.

And if you condense the period of comparison to 63 days, the measure of stock-specific risk is the highest since 2000, when the dotcom bubble was still swelling, Morgan Stanley data show.

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 3.19.40 PM

These types of market conditions are ideal for stock pickers, who make their living analyzing company fundamentals and betting on single stocks.

It's a stunning turnaround for them, considering robo-advisors and passive strategies were supposed to put them out of commission. And matters weren't helped much as volatility hovered close to the lowest levels on record, sapping the market of the price swings so crucial for active managers to prove their bonafides.

But stock pickers are fighting back. Almost 50% of US active equity funds beat their benchmarks in 2017, the highest percentage since 2013, according to data compiled by Credit Suisse.

They've gotten a huge boost from historically low pair-wise correlations between stocks in major indexes — a measure that reflects the degree to which they trade in tandem. For the benchmark S&P 500, the measure sits at its lowest since 1994, while companies in the Russell 2000 gauge of small-cap stocks are trading the most independently since the tech bubble, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data.

"The rolling three-year relative performance trend was extremely weak heading into 2017," Credit Suisse analyst Craig Siegenthaler wrote in a client note. "But it has started to reverse in 2017 which is hopefully the end of a bad cyclical period for active equity managers."

SEE ALSO: The chief investment strategist at $6 trillion fund giant BlackRock says Trump's trade policy is the biggest risk to markets

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

Microsoft Resumes Bitcoin Payments After Halt Over 'Instability'

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

Tech giant Microsoft is once more accepting bitcoin payments after it halted transactions in the cryptocurrency last week.

The crypto-friendly Gibraltar Stock Exchange is doing its own ICO

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

Gibraltar

  • Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange, subsidiary of the stock exchange, plans to raise $6 million selling digital "Rock Tokens."
  • Funds will be used to build a "licensed and regulated" crypto exchange and issuance platform.
  • The company has already raised $21 million selling "Rock Tokens" privately.


LONDON — A subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is planning to raise $6 million issuing its own digital currency as the British overseas territory looks to take advantage of exploding global interest in cryptocurrencies.

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), a subsidiary of the stock exchange operator, announced plans for its own "initial coin offering" (ICO) on Tuesday, saying it will issue its own cryptocurrency, "Rock Token," between February 7 and February 14.

GBX will sell up to 60 million Rock Tokens, named after the territory's iconic landmark. The company has already sold 210 million Rock Tokens, worth $21 million, in a behind-closed-doors "pre-sale," which concluded in December.

Gibraltar's Minister for Financial Services and Nick Cowan, the CEO and founder of both the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange and the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, will host an event in London next week to drum up interest in the ICO.

Crypto craze

The move comes after an explosion of interest in digital currencies in 2017. Bitcoin rose over 1,500% against the dollar last year. At the same time, startups raised over $4 billion issuing their own digital currencies structured like bitcoin through so-called "initial coin offerings."

The large sums of money involved mean traditional financial services and startups alike are looking to get involved in the sector. GSX, which launched in 2014 and only has a handful of funds and debt securities listed on its exchange, is among them. It says on its website it wants to turn Gibraltar into "crypto harbour."

Nick Cowan, GSX and GBX CEO and founder.The funds from GBX's ICO will be used to help develop the company as "the world’s first licensed and regulated token sale platform and digital asset exchange" in the EU, although its future in the EU could be jeopardised by Brexit. The more-than-1,300 cryptocurrencies that have been issued to date trade on online exchanges based around the world but most are either lightly regulated or entirely unregulated.

GBX CEO Cowan said: "The introduction of rules-based systems is necessary if the blockchain sector is to reach maturity and if actors are to be assured of market stability.

"Based upon principles of decentralisation and community consensus, the GBX seeks to create a new era of trust, openness and global acceptance for the crypto industry, one quality token listing at a time."

Once it is set up, GBX plans to help launch ICOs as well as function as a trading venue. It promises "a strict due diligence and admissions process as well as a high-quality digital asset exchange."

GBX said Rock Tokens will be used as the medium of exchange on its yet-to-launch crypto exchange, as well as a method of payment for exchange fees. 

British overseas territory Gibraltar has long been friendly to cryptocurrency and blockchain-based initiatives. The Gibraltar Stock Exchange hosted the launch of Europe's first regulated bitcoin product in mid-2016 and the territory's financial watchdog launched a new license for fintech companies using blockchain last December.

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WORLD BANK: Global growth will peak this year and then decline

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

world

  • Global growth is predicted to peak this year, due to slowing productivity, weak investment and changing demographics, the World Bank said.
  • Prioritizing productivity reforms could be one solution in the face of high employment and aging populations, the Bank's report said.
  • Long term, a slowdown in growth could worsen global living standards and exacerbate poverty levels.


LONDON — Global growth is likely to peak this year and decline going forward, due to a slowdown in productivity, weak investment and ageing workforces worldwide, the World Bank has said.

According to a new report, global economic growth will edge up to 3.1% in 2018 after a much stronger than expected 2017, driven by the recovery in investment, manufacturing and trade. But momentum is then likely to wane, and growth is projected to drop back to 3% in 2019 and 2020, with the slowdown likely to extend into the next decade.

"The broad-base recovery in global growth is encouraging but this is no time for complacency," said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

"This is a great opportunity to invest in human and physical capital. If policy makers around the world focus on these key investments, they can increase their countries' productivity, boost workforce participation, and move closer to the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting prosperity," he said.

Risks to growth include escalating trade restrictions, rising geopolitical tensions and global workforces operating at full or near full capacity, the report said. In the face of high employment and aging populations, productivity-enhancing reforms could be one answer, the Bank's economists said.

Over the longer term, slowing potential growth could jeopardize living standards and worsen global poverty levels, the report said.

This year, for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, most advanced and developing economies are expected to close the output gap between actual and potential economic growth, the report said.

This could mean a removal by central banks in advanced economies of the extraordinary policies pursued after the crisis to ease its effects, and policymakers must look beyond fiscal tools to generate growth, it said.

"An analysis of the drivers of the slowdown in potential growth underscores the point that we are not helpless in the face of it," said World Bank Senior Director for Development Economics Shantayanan Devarajan.

"Reforms that promote quality education and health, as well as improve infrastructure services could substantially bolster potential growth, especially among emerging market and developing economies. Yet, some of these reforms will be resisted by politically powerful groups, which is why making this information about their development benefits transparent and publicly available is so important."

Growth in advanced economies is expected to be 2.2% this year, while growth in emerging market and developing economies is projected to strengthen to 4.5%, as activity in commodity exporters continues to recover, the Bank said.

Here's the table:

GEP2018a_Table1 1

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

Beyond the Red Tape: The Path Ahead for Token Sales

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

Mason Borda is a tech entrepreneur focusing on blockchain infrastructure and security. He is currently the CEO and co-founder of TokenSoft Inc, a crypto treasury management and white label token sale platform. The following article is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk's 2017 in Review. It began with some source code and a white paper. Bitcoin, […]

Brexit is driving a recruitment slump in the UK as the world enjoys a hiring boom

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

Canary Wharf and the city are seen at sunset in London, December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

  • Demand for recruitment services in the UK is dropping sharply as much of the world enjoys a white-collar jobs boom.
  • Recruitment firm PageGroup said it had a record 2017 globally but saw gross profit in the UK shrink by 3.8%.
  • UK hiring slowed at big recruiters including PageGroup in the wake of the Brexit vote.


LONDON — Demand for recruitment services in the UK is dropping sharply as much of the world enjoys a white-collar jobs boom, further evidence that Brexit is weighing heavily on British business confidence. 

Recruitment firm PageGroup, which finds candidates for permanent roles, said in a full-year trading update on Monday that it had a record 2017 globally, with gross profit up 14.6% compared to 2016, and 22 countries posting record gross profits.

The firm said gross profit in the UK shrank by 2.8%, while other areas grew at double digit rates. France increased by 28%, Germany was up 14% and profit generated in China increased by 15%.

Chief executive Steve Ingham did not cite Brexit explicitly, but said "ongoing uncertainty" and had damaged confidence "particularly among some of our multinational clients and more senior permanent candidates."

PageGroup's results come the day after figures showed Eurozone unemployment reached 8.7%, a 9-year low according to figures released on Tuesday. UK unemployment rose in December for the second consecutive month, although it remains at a historic low of 4.3%, well below many forecasts made after the UK voted to leave the EU.

"Looking forward, we remain cautious in several markets as we enter 2018: primarily in the UK, where we will continue to focus on protecting margins whilst investing in structural opportunities," Ingham said.

"However, we will continue to invest in our Large High Potential Markets, as well as in markets with favourable trading conditions, both existing and new markets, such as India and the Nikkei market in Japan."

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Britain's financial watchdog has 'serious concern' about a 'high-risk, complex' corner of the market

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

A trader looks at his screen on the IG Group trading floor in London March 18, 2013. The surprise decision by euro zone leaders to part-fund a bailout of Cyprus by taxing bank  deposits sent shockwaves through financial markets on Monday, with shares and the bonds of struggling euro zone governments tumbling.

  • FCA says it has "serious concern" about the "contract for difference" (CFD) industry after a year-long review.
  • Watchdog says firms are not doing enough to safeguard customers in an industry where 78% of people lose money.
  • FCA tells firms to improve their practices or face action in a letter the CEOs.
  • The stock of CFD providers Plus500, IG Group, and CMC Markets all down on the news.


LONDON — Britain's top financial regulator has put the "contract for difference" (CFD) industry on notice, warning CEOs to improve their practices or risk action from the watchdog.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Wednesday published the results of its year-long review of the CFD industry, which targets ordinary investors with "high-risk, complex" products, the FCA said.

CFDs explained

Both CFDs and spread bets are short-term wagers on whether a stock, currency, index, or commodity will rise or fall in price over a certain period. They allow investors to make money from stock markets and asset classes without paying the fees associated with actually buying the underlying asset.

But the stakes are high — CFD providers let people buy on leverage, meaning they can bet with a higher amount of cash than they put down. If the trade goes right, it means the customer will net outsized returns relative to how much they bet. But if the price moves against them, they can lose far more than they put down — an initial bet of £100 could leave them will losses of £200. The FCA said on Wednesday that it found during its review that 78% of people lost money on CFDs.

'Serious concern'

Megan Butler, the FCA's Executive Director of Supervision for Investment, Wholesale and Specialist Division, said in a statement on Wednesday that the FCA has "serious concern" about parts of the industry.

Concerns centre around how much companies are doing to protect customers and what is being done to manage conflicts of interest.

Butler said the FCA's review of 19 CFD providers found that companies weren't properly defining who their customers were and, as a result, were pitching CFDs to people who should not be using them.

Football Soccer - Atletico Madrid v Espanyol - Spanish Liga BBVA - Vicente Calderon, Madrid, Spain - 28/11/15 Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates his first goal"Many relied on broad investor descriptions such as 'experienced', 'sophisticated' and 'financially literate', without setting out what these terms actually mean in practice," Butler said.

CFD providers sit on the other side of trades with clients and the FCA's review found "conflict of interest management arrangements that were either ineffective or needed improvement" at all firms it looked at.

"Several firms failed to record a single instance of a conflict of interest affecting their business and a number of others claimed there were no potential conflicts of interest," Butler wrote. In one instance, the CEO was also the head of compliance.

Other concerns include a lack of oversight of third-party brokers and affiliate marketers who funnel customers to CFD brokers, a lack of appropriate due diligence on these partners, and issues around how employees in the industry are paid.

"Some firms paid their employees on a 100% variable basis," Butler wrote. "This arrangement significantly increases the risk of mis-selling since staff may feel pressured to achieve minimum sales targets, regardless of whether this delivers good outcomes for customers."

'Significant weaknesses'

"Given the significant weaknesses we found across our sample, we believe there is a high risk that firms across the sector are not meeting our rules and expectations when providing and distributing CFDs," Butler said. "As a result, consumers may be at serious risk of harm from poor practices in this sector."

The FCA said several firms are pulling out of the CFD market altogether following the watchdog's revenue and one is facing further action from the FCA because its processes were so bad.

Butler warned CEOs in her letter: "You should consider the issues we raise in this letter against the conduct of your firm as a CFD provider or distributor. If, when reviewing your arrangements, you identify any areas of concern, we expect you to have regard to the applicable rules and guidance in this letter and take action to ensure compliance."

The FCA has already proposed stricter rules on leverage and risk warnings for the industry. Regulators in Germany and the EU are also leading a crackdown on the industry.

Shares hit

The share prices of UK-listed CFD providers have been hit on Wednesday as a result of the FCA's warning.

Atletico Madrid shirt sponsor Plus500 is down over 6% at the open in London:plus500

CMC Markets, which helped popularise the products in the 2000s, is down 5% on the news:cmcAnd IG Group, another CFD pioneer, is down 5%:ig

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¥300 Million: Japan’s First Crypto Fund to Invest in Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies

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

The post ¥300 Million: Japan’s First Crypto Fund to Invest in Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies appeared first on CCN

Japanese financial information provider Fisco will launch a cryptocurrency fund worth over300 million yen ($2.66 million) to invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this month. Tokyo-based Fisco, a research and information prover covering stocks, foreign exchanges, bonds and commodities within and beyond Japan, is set to open an investment fund specific to cryptocurrencies. According to

The post ¥300 Million: Japan’s First Crypto Fund to Invest in Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies appeared first on CCN

An invisible banking reform that 'could fundamentally change how we manage our money' is days away

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

A sign for Money Changed is seen on the border between Lifford in Ireland and Strabane, Northern Ireland, August 16, 2017.

  • 'Open Banking' begins in the UK on January 13.
  • The legislation required banks to open up data on customers to third parties and let them execute transactions on customers' behalf — if customers agree.
  • The change is meant to encourage bank account switching but its long-term potential could shakeup the way banking is done in the UK.


LONDON — An invisible, but important, change is coming to British banking from Saturday: Open Banking. 

Regulators in Europe and the UK are ordering banks and credit card companies to share customer data with other companies if their customers agree. The companies will also be able to carry out payments on a customers' behalf.

The changes are meant to encourage switching and comparison in UK banking but it also has the potential to fundamentally disrupt how banks operate and make it easier for rivals to compete.

Open Banking "could fundamentally change how we manage our money," according to the project's chief UK architect.

Here's everything you need to know about Open Banking.

What is Open Banking?

At the moment, many startups wanting to access your banking data — transaction history, direct debits etc. — ask for your banking password and username, and then login on your behalf. Then they use relatively unsophisticated "screen scraping" techniques to harvest data. Some do plug directly into the banks but these are direct deals negotiated between startups and banks.

Open Banking forces lenders to offer a digital "fire hose" of data that any third party can use to get standardised access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data. They won't have to negotiate deals with banks, just plug into their digital systems and go.

Bud George Dunning CTO Ed Maslaveckas CEO"Companies have access to building blocks that they didn't have access to before, which is the ability to pull data or do transactions on behalf of customers wherever that customer is," said Ed Maslaveckas, CEO of fintech startup Bud.

Bud is working with HSBC to build an app based on open banking that will scan customer accounts to make sure they're on the best phone and energy tariffs — just one potential application of the technology.

Maslaveckas told BI: "No longer does the banking experience have to be siloed in one specific app or website, it can start to feel like your money is actually able to serve you wherever you might be."

Who's behind it?

There are two main strands to Open Banking: a piece of EU legislation — the second payment services directive (PSD2); and the "Open Banking" project specifically spearheaded by the UK's Competition and Market Authority (CMA).

Both have forced the UK's "Big Nine" banks —Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, RBS, HSBC, Danske, Bank of Ireland, Nationwide, and Allied Irish Bank — to open up customer data to third parties.

Credit card companies and other payment service providers, such as prepaid cards, will also have to share data eventually under PSD2 rules, although the timescale here is longer.

What is it trying to achieve?

The aim of Opening Banking is to give customers greater control over their data and to encourage account switching.

A combination of four photographs shows (top L-R) a worker silhouetted against an illuminated sign in a branch of HSBC; Two people walking out of the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland; (bottom L-R) a Lloyds bank branch near St Paul's Cathedral and a customer using a Barclays ATM, in central London July 23, 2010. Regulators have been looking at how banks would withstand another recession in an exercise similar to one in the United States last year which helped restore bank sector confidence. Some 91 lenders from 20 countries have faced the so-called stress tests. In Britain HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays, are being examined.

An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.

By opening up account data for analysis, people will hopefully be able to more easily compare and contrast bank accounts. Banks must provide a live feed of all the different products they are offering, which will help the comparison.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, a partner at accountant EY, has been running the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), which is charged with spearheading the project in the UK.

He said in a statement before Christmas: "This is the culmination of a huge amount of collaborative work done by the UK’s largest banks and building societies, the OBIE, and companies from across the technology and financial services sectors. It’s an extraordinary achievement which, in time, could fundamentally change how we manage our money."

How does it work?

The OBIE has been working with banks since 2016 to design APIs. These are a little like standardized digital doorways that will act as the gateway to the data stored by the banks.

Because the APIs are standardized, companies that want to access banking data will only have to build one API interface for all the banks, rather than build technology for each lender.

The banks will continue to safehouse all customer account data. PSD2 requires new security standards and banks have 18 months to develop these systems.

What does it mean for consumers?

We're likely to see much more sophisticated comparison apps and financial analysis services, as startups take advantage of the detailed product data that banks publish. One banking executive BI spoke to suggested we could soon see the financial equivalent of Strava, the popular fitness app that tracks and shares exercise data.

Samantha Seaton, MoneyhubBeyond this, Samantha Seaton, the CEO of financial dashboard Moneyhub, told Business Insider she is excited for the potential to build totally new financial "apps" that weren't possible before.

"When we did the Lloyds Bank hackathon recently we were able to get into your bank account and set up default limits so that as a consumer if your current account gets below say £300, you can move money from a savings account to top it up to X," Seaton said.

"Then when you have enough money, it moves back into your savings account. That's so that you never, ever go overdrawn. There's loads of stuff like that."

Maslaveckas said: "The uses of open banking are so numerate. You walk into a shop, you scan a barcode on an item, you press buy and you walk out. That's a new Sainsbury's experience, a new Tesco experience.

"That's the kind of stuff that, while it won't start happening on January 13, over the next 3 to 5 years these things will start happening."

But Peter Myatt, the CEO of subscription management startup Bean, said: "In terms of new products and services that will come to market, I don't see that many new exciting products out there.

"Companies like ours have already been saying what interesting stuff can we do with this data? There's not a huge number of new and exciting models that don't exist now that can exist with the read-only model."

Products like Bean may become slicker but they won't fundamentally change, he believes.

What does it mean for banks?

Open Banking is both a threat and an opportunity for traditional lenders. The threat comes from the fact that they will no longer be able to control their interaction with their customers — an HSBC mortgage could theoretically be sold on Google, for example. The fear is that they will be reduced to mean "dumb pipes" — providing banking infrastructure but with profit margins eroded to razor-thin levels as banking becomes commodified.

MoneyhubThe opportunity is the same as that offered to all other businesses looking at open banking: a huge wave of new data from rival banks could be used to build smarter, better products.

"I definitely think it allows challengers, whether challenger banks or challenger brands, to push forward," Maslaveckas told BI. "Equally, it allows banks to innovate and do things they couldn't before because they can create new products and services that sit outside of their ecosystem, so it's not a tech risk."

"A year ago, there were active blocking attempts [from banks] because they thought they could stop it," Myatt said. "About six months ago that changed because they realised they couldn't. They've now tried to actively embrace it."

Engineering Open Banking on such a tight timescale — the government kicked off the OBIE in 2016 — has been hugely challenging for banks dealing with a raft of other issues. Still, one executive at a High Street lender who spoke to BI on background said it is a "challenging but hugely opportunistic time," with executives hopeful that open banking could help spur innovation internally.

What does it mean for startups?

Open Banking has the potential to improve startups' services by offering a reliable, rich stream of customer data.

Christoph Riech, cofounder and CEO of online small business lender iwoca, said: "Innovative finance providers, like iwoca, will be able to use Open Banking data, which only the banks can currently access, to eliminate endless form filling and make fairer credit decisions – helping small businesses and unlocking faster economic growth."

Peter Myatt, BeanBut Bean's Myatt says it's not all upside for startups.

"Open Banking raises the bar and makes it harder to get access to it [data]," he said. "Now we have to get authorised by the FCA, we need to get a certain type of insurance, which is not cheap."

Myatt adds: "It's exactly the right thing to do — we should have to be authorised by the FCA, we should have insurance that means the customer is fully compensated. I'm 100% behind those parts of open banking.

"We are moving from essentially a wild west to [a system of] proper, authorised companies who are having conversations with banks and customers to produce good products."

Another downside is that customers will have to consent to share their data every three months — meaning companies will effectively have to re-win their business four times a year.

When does it start?

PSD2 comes into force in the UK on January 13, making the UK the first country in the world to implement the idea of "open banking." However, five of the nine banks involved have said they won't meet the deadline and have been granted an extension.

Bud is in conversation with many of the big High Street banks and Maslaveckas argues: "Some of the delays actually show the seriousness of this.

I really believe in three years time, when we look back, it will have changed the landscape significantly

"A bank could throw out a bunch of APIs that are non-functioning or not effective. The banks we deal with are very much taking hold of the opportunity."

Maslaveckas believes Open Banking will really start to take effect in two to three years time, with more ambitious projects coming in five years.

Bean's Myatt said that many of the banks that are set to launch some version of Open Banking on January 13 still have kinks to iron out.

"From what I understand from those companies [working with the APIs], it's just not working," he said. "If you try and authenticate your connection and your documentation isn't good enough, it just physically doesn't work.

"Realistically we should be entering another six months to a year of private testing before it goes fully public. That's realistically where we're at."

Moneyhub's Seaton said: "It's not going to go viral but I'm sure there's a lot of people who would like it to. It is significant. I really believe in three years time, when we look back, it will have changed the landscape significantly."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Ethereum hits a new record high — while bitcoin and Ripple's XRP slide

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

  • Ethereum breaks above $1,300 to hit a fresh all-time high on Wednesday.
  • The second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation is defying its major rivals, which have slumped during morning trade.
  • Both bitcoin and Ripple's XRP are significantly lower on the day.



LONDON — Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency in the markets, broke to a fresh all-time high overnight on Wednesday as investors continued to pour money into it.

Just after midnight UK time, ethereum's price broke as high as $1,375, having only surpassed $1,000 during trade over the weekend. Ethereum has since pared some of its gains, but remains in positive territory, up more than 3% as of around 7.30 a.m. GMT (2.30 a.m. ET), as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 07.27.39

Ethereum's recent rally first started after a fourth-quarter report on the performance of the currency — which is a decentralized network for people to run contracts on — showed that transaction volumes on its network doubled, according to a  blog post, "surpassing 10 transactions per second for days at a time."

Ethereum's gains on the day are in contrast with drops for the two other largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation, bitcoin and Ripple's XRP, both of which have seen falls on Wednesday. At 7.30 a.m. GMT, bitcoin is lower by around 1.5% to trade at $14,180, having briefly fallen below $14,000 earlier in trading.

XRP is taking even more of a hammering, falling as much as 14% against the dollar, as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 07.37.54

One possible reason for these falls is the announcement overnight that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is establishing a taskforce to monitor cryptocurrency transactions.

According to our colleagues at Business Insider Australia, the taskforce "aims to ensure cryptocurrency investors are paying the correct amount of tax. A team of specialists across tax law, technology, banking and finance will devise strategies to follow the money on gains made from investment in digital currency."

"We are consulting with key stakeholders who have expressed an interest in tax issues relating to cryptocurrencies," a spokesman for the ATO said. 

The falls could also be linked to a hangover from the news on Monday that CoinMarketCap.com, arguably the most popular and important site for cryptocurrency pricing data, had opted to remove South Korean exchanges from its data sources.

That announcement caused a major sell-off at the time, and is likely still having some impact on the market.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Ethereum hits a new record high — while bitcoin and Ripple's XRP slide

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

  • Ethereum breaks above $1,300 to hit a fresh all-time high on Wednesday.
  • The second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation is defying its major rivals, which have slumped during morning trade.
  • Both bitcoin and Ripple's XRP are significantly lower on the day.



LONDON — Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency in the markets, broke to a fresh all-time high overnight on Wednesday as investors continued to pour money into it.

Just after midnight UK time, ethereum's price broke as high as $1,375, having only surpassed $1,000 during trade over the weekend. Ethereum has since pared some of its gains, but remains in positive territory, up more than 3% as of around 7.30 a.m. GMT (2.30 a.m. ET), as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 07.27.39

Ethereum's recent rally first started after a fourth-quarter report on the performance of the currency — which is a decentralized network for people to run contracts on — showed that transaction volumes on its network doubled, according to a  blog post, "surpassing 10 transactions per second for days at a time."

Ethereum's gains on the day are in contrast with drops for the two other largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation, bitcoin and Ripple's XRP, both of which have seen falls on Wednesday. At 7.30 a.m. GMT, bitcoin is lower by around 1.5% to trade at $14,180, having briefly fallen below $14,000 earlier in trading.

XRP is taking even more of a hammering, falling as much as 14% against the dollar, as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 07.37.54

One possible reason for these falls is the announcement overnight that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is establishing a taskforce to monitor cryptocurrency transactions.

According to our colleagues at Business Insider Australia, the taskforce "aims to ensure cryptocurrency investors are paying the correct amount of tax. A team of specialists across tax law, technology, banking and finance will devise strategies to follow the money on gains made from investment in digital currency."

"We are consulting with key stakeholders who have expressed an interest in tax issues relating to cryptocurrencies," a spokesman for the ATO said. 

The falls could also be linked to a hangover from the news on Monday that CoinMarketCap.com, arguably the most popular and important site for cryptocurrency pricing data, had opted to remove South Korean exchanges from its data sources.

That announcement caused a major sell-off at the time, and is likely still having some impact on the market.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Ethereum Price Achieves New All-Time High at $1,410, Market Shifts From Ripple to Ether

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

The post Ethereum Price Achieves New All-Time High at $1,410, Market Shifts From Ripple to Ether appeared first on CCN

Ethereum (Ether) has solidified its position as the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the market as it overtook Ripple (XRP) by a staggering $60 billion within a five-day period. Ether Benefits From Ripple’s Downfall Since January 4, the market valuation of Ripple decreased from $148 billion to $73 billion, falling by nearly 2-fold in a

The post Ethereum Price Achieves New All-Time High at $1,410, Market Shifts From Ripple to Ether appeared first on CCN

Quebec Lures Cryptocurrency Miners as China Sours on Industry

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

Cheap and abundant electricity, cold weather and a stable political climate are making the Canadian province attractive to bitcoin mining operators.

You can now rent a Kodak-branded bitcoin mining rig — but you'll have to hand over half of the profits you make (KODK)

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

kodak kashminer bitcoin

  • Camera company Kodak is partnering with a company to get into bitcoin mining.
  • Its stock soared more than 100% on Tuesday after it announced it was launching its own cryptocurrency.
  • Critics have attacked the company over the mining scheme amid fears of a cryptocurrency bubble.


Another day, another unusual company taking the dive into the cryptocurrency space.

Kodak, the once-iconic camera company, is licensing its brand to Spotlite, which builds computers specifically designed to mine bitcoin, for a new line of bitcoin mining machines. The two companies plan to rent use of the machines to the public for thousands of dollars.

On Tuesday, at Kodak's booth at CES, the tech industry trade show going on in Las Vegas, representatives of the company handed out flyers to promote the arrangement and the new mining computer, dubbed the Kodak KashMiner.

Kodak and Spotlite are asking potential customers to sign a two-year deal and pay $3,400 upfront to rent the mining machines, which are used to support the bitcoin network and create new bitcoins. As part of the agreement, Spotlite gets to keep half of all proceeds the machines generate by mining bitcoin.

Spotlite and Kodak estimate customers will earn $375 a month — making $9,000 overall over the two-year rental period.

A Kodak representative did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment about the arrangement.

kodak kashminer bitcoin

But some Twitter users harshly criticized the new service on the social network. Some argued that Kodak jumping into bitcoin mining was evidence of a bubble in cryptocurrencies. Others pointed out that because the difficulty of mining bitcoin gradually increases over time, Kodak KashMiner customers may see far smaller returns than they anticipated.

Among the reactions:

Such concerns haven't put off some customers, however. Spotlite's existing capacity is already sold out, a company representative told the BBC.

"At this time we have 80 miners, and we expect another 300 to arrive shortly. There is a big pile-up of demand," the representative said.

The new bitcoin mining rental service was one of two blockchain-related announcements from Kodak at CES on Tuesday. The company also announced that it is teaming with Wenn Digital to launch a blockchain-based rights-management service and related cryptocurrency. The service is aimed at tracking the online use of licensed photographs and ensuring photographers get paid for their works.

Kodak's stock skyrocketed more than 117% Tuesday on the news.

The company is only the latest to see its stock soar after announcing bitcoin- or blockchain-related news. Long Island Ice Tea Company's stock price recently tripled after it renamed itself Long Blockchain, and the stock of a franchisee of the Hooters restaurant chain also jumped after it said it was moving into the space.

SEE ALSO: Kodak's the latest company to benefit from jumping on the blockchain bandwagon — but its move actually makes sense

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NOW WATCH: Thursday’s big net neutrality vote could drastically change the internet — here’s what it means for you

Coinbase blames extreme buyer demand for last month's bitcoin cash disaster

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

bitcoin_cash_chart

  • Massive demand for bitcoin cash sent prices spiking on December 19, the first day the popular exchange Coinbase let its users trade the new cryptocurrency, according to the company.
  • Some 90% of requests on the exchange were from people looking to buy, according to Coinbase, which meant demand for bitcoin cash far outstripped supply. 
  • Coinbase was highly criticized following its launch of bitcoin cash trading, with some users speculating that insider trading sent the price flying. 


Coinbase says extreme user demand is to blame for the huge spike in the price of bitcoin cash seen on its marketplace when the company opened up trading in the new cryptocurrency last month.

When the company first launched support for bitcoin cash on its GDAX exchange December 19, the price of the currency jumped from less than $2000 to $9,500, even as its price hovered around $3,600 on other exchanges.

That price surge occurred because 90% of the requests were from people looking to buy the newly added currency, Adam White, GDAX's general manager, said in a blog post published Tuesday. There simply wasn't enough bitcoin cash for sale for the amount of demand. 

"Despite our best efforts to create a fair and orderly market, the launch did not go as expected, and we understand why many of our customers and members of the community are upset," White said. 

In the post, White shared a detailed timeline of what went wrong. Coinbase kept trading in the currency open for a total of 2 minutes and 40 seconds on December 19 before cancelling all purchases until the next day. Around $15.5 million in trades were made, and 4,443 orders were placed, according to White, though most of the orders were cancelled by Coinbase because there wasn't enough bitcoin cash being sold. 

Coinbase reopened trading in bitcoin cash on the GDAX exchange on December 20 and has allowed it since.

Coinbase is still looking into whether insider trading occurred 

Brian Armstrong Price gains in the hours before Coinbase's official announcement, along with the subsequent halt in sales on the GDAX, led some users to accuse the company of insider trading and manipulating the exchange for its own benefit.

The company quickly responded to the criticism and launched its own investigation into the matter, though it has not made any results public. 

"Given the price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation into this matter," Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said at the time. "If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies  —  directly or indirectly  —  I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action."

Bitcoin cash is a relatively new cryptocurrency. It's a clone of bitcoin that operates separately and follows different technological protocols from the original. It was created on August 1 via a so-called hard fork in the original bitcoin blockchain.

Because of a longtime policy of supporting only established and vetted cryptocurrencies, Coinbase didn't support bitcoin cash when it launched. But after online uproar and a user exodus that jammed up its exchange, the company announced in August it would add support for the new cryptocurrency before the end of the year.

SEE ALSO: Coinbase is investigating insider trading after it enables — and then disables — bitcoin cash trading

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NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

GUNDLACH: The stock market will end its historic streak of gains in 2018

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

jeff gundlach

  • "My prediction for 2018 is that the S&P 500 will have a negative rate of return," Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder of DoubleLine Capital, said during an investor webcast on Tuesday. 
  •  Last year marked a record ninth in a row that the S&P 500 had a positive total return.
  • Higher interest rates could soon start to hurt equities, Gundlach said. 


The stock market is likely to end its record streak of positive returns this year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder of DoubleLine Funds. 

Last year was the ninth in a row that the S&P 500 had a positive total return, which is a record streak that was last seen in the 1990s. 

"My prediction for 2018 is that the S&P 500 will have a negative rate of return," Gundlach said during an investor webcast on Tuesday. "It may go up 15% in the first part of the year, but I believe when it falls, it will wipe out the entire gain of the first part of the year and end with a negative sign in front of it."

Higher interest rates are one catalyst that could drive the stock market lower, he said. If the 10-year yield rises above 2.63%, it could start to hurt equities, Gundlach said. The benchmark 10-year yield on Tuesday jumped to a 10-month high of 2.551% after the Bank of Japan trimmed its bond purchases. 

Gundlach noted that the market is in an "accelerating" phase that makes it unlikely that it reverses that trend this year. "It takes time for momentum to wane, it takes time for sentiment to disperse a little bit and generally it takes earnings to start going down before you start to see something happening," he said. 

Still, this year is likely to be more interesting and "less profitable" than 2017, Gundlach said. 

The S&P 500 has already zoomed past the year-end targets that two out of 14 equity strategists at major firms have. 

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 4.52.25 PM

SEE ALSO: 'This is a magic moment:' Here's Jeff Gundlach's full presentation on markets and the economy in 2018

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

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