CFTC Warns Against Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

CFTC Warns Against Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

CFTC Warns Against Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies is of great concern. Especially when it comes to pump-and-dump schemes, there’s reason to be concerned. As such, the CFTC issued an official warning against this type of market manipulation. They advise customers to avoid such schemes, especially when it comes to small and new altcoin markets. It is evident doing one’s research is always the best course of action.

In the world of cryptocurrency, pump-and-dump schemes are nothing new. In fact, they are a lot more common than some people might think. The CFTC has issued an official warning on this topic earlier this week. This is quite a surprise, even though it is evident consumers need to be aware of these manipulative efforts. Especially smaller cap coins and new alternative cryptocurrencies pose a significant risk in this regard. Moreover, it is always best to avoid any promotion on social media altogether.
 

Avoiding Cryptocurrency Pump-and-dump Schemes

This seems to stem forth from the recent BitConnect issues. That pump-and-dump scheme caused hundreds of millions in financial losses. It was mainly promoted on social media and YouTube. The CFTC doesn’t want history to repeat itself in this regard. They now want consumers to blow the whistle on any suspicious currencies first and foremost. It’s always better to submit tips than ignore pump-and-dump schemes altogether. Whether or not the general public will follow this guideline, remains to be seen.

According to the CFTC, pump-and-dump schemes in the cryptocurrency world take place on social media first and foremost. Online chat rooms, such as the ones on Telegram, are also problematic in this regard. Ignoring these buy signals will prove to be rather difficult for a lot of novice users. It is these people the marketers and scammers prey on first and foremost. A lot of people never do any research for specific coins or projects, even though they really should.

For now, the CFTC will not undertake further action against pump-and-dump schemes. They are not in a position to do so either, unfortunately. It is evident users need to conduct their due diligence first and foremost. Those who purposefully defraud other investors will face legal issues sooner or later, though. Anyone participating in market manipulation also violates the law. It is evident this new financial industry needs some boundaries first and foremost. Cracking down on pump-and-dumps is the right way to go in this regard.

 

Author JP BUNTINX • FEB 18, 2018 • 03:02

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
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What Could Lift Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, And Litecoin Prices Back Towards New Highs

What Could Lift Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, And Litecoin Prices Back Towards New Highs

The cryptocurrency party is on again.

After being in a deep correction for a few weeks, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin have been coming back nicely over the last week, gaining 19.87%, 10.48%, 30.57%, and 53.90% respectively—see table 1.

 

Table 1
 

7-Day Price Change For Major Cryptocurrencie

Source: Coinmarketcap.com 2/16/18 at 10:30 a.m.
 

The turnaround in cryptocurrency markets comes as equity markets rebounded from the sell-off early in the month, with NASDAQ gaining close to 5% in the last five days—see table 2.
 

Table 2

Source: Finance.yahoo.com 2/16/18 at 10.30 a.m.
 

Most notably, the cryptocurrency “technicals” remained strong, with 83 cryptocurrencies advancing and only 17 declining among the top 100 listed currencies—see table 3.
 

[Ed. note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment. Disclosure: I don't own any Bitcoin.]

 

Number of Cryptocurrencies That Advanced/Declined In The Top 100 Ranks

The strong rebound in major cryptocurrencies is a cause of celebration for investors who purchased near the market bottom.
 

How long will the party last? Will major cryptocurrencies prices test the old highs? It’s hard to tell. Still, there are a few scenarios that could help major cryptocurrencies move in that direction.

One of them is the proliferation of Wall Street products like ETFs and Futures contracts that will allow a broader investor participation in cryptocurrency markets. In fact, it was the introduction of Futures contracts that created a great deal of buzz for major cryptocurrencies last December, and taking some of them to new highs.

Another scenario is an improved access to cryptocurrency exchanges that will ease the difficulty of buying cryptocurrencies by the average investor. “The biggest tailwind I can see right now is greater acceptance of cryptos by mainstream investors and improving ease-of-access to the crypto exchanges,” says Jesse Cohen Senior Analyst with Investing.com. “Trading app RobinHood for example has a waiting list of around 1.2 million users for its new crypto trading service, which would allow easy, quick and most importantly safe investing in all the major coins."

A third scenario is the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a medium of payment by major merchants. Already, there has been talk that Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are considering accepting Bitcoins for their products.

While all this talk sounds like pie in the sky, the likelihood for one of these companies to adopt a cryptocurrency is very appealing, for an obvious reason: it will create a great deal of buzz among younger customers.

And it will drive cryptocurrency prices higher, provided that big governments, big banks, and hackers do not spoil the party again.

 

Author Panos Mourdoukoutas ,

 

 

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 16th Feb – One More Hurdle to Clear

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 16th Feb – One More Hurdle to Clear

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price has broken past its inverse head and shoulders pattern neckline to show that an uptrend is in the cards.

  • Price is hitting another upside barrier at its descending trend line, though, and this might prompt profit-taking.

  • Technical indicators are also suggesting that the rally is overdone.

  • Bitcoin price is testing the descending trend line on its 4-hour time frame, and moving past this hurdle could mean more gains.

 

Technical Indicators Signals
 

The 100 SMA is below the longer-term 200 SMA to signal that the path of least resistance is to the downside. This suggests that the downtrend is more likely to resume than to reverse.

The 200 SMA also lines up with the descending trend line to add to its strength as resistance. This means that it would take a strong catalyst to trigger and sustain an upside break.

Stochastic is indicating overbought conditions, though, so selling pressure could still pick up. Similarly, RSI is in the overbought region and looks ready to turn lower, so bitcoin price might follow suit.

Market Factors
 

Bitcoin price has drawn a lot of support from easing regulatory concerns, stemming from the US Senate hearing and remarks from South Korean officials suggesting that they are open to introducing something like BitLicense.

Recall that Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton mentioned that they have no plans on banning bitcoin. Instead they plan on regulating the industry without quashing development.

More positive updates like these could help improve the sentiment in the industry. Apart from that, the continuation of risk-taking in higher-yielding assets like stocks and commodities has also benefitted bitcoin.

Besides, the move all the way to the $10,000 area of interest could bring more buying interest as this could signal an end of the correction. A sustained move past the next $12,000 area of interest could confirm that buying momentum is in play, attracting even more buyers.

Author SARAH JENN • FEB 16, 2018 • 05:02

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
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Cryptocurrency latest – Unprecedented Bitcoin legal battles BAFFLE top regulation lawyers

Cryptocurrency latest - Unprecedented Bitcoin legal battles BAFFLE top regulation lawyers

Cryptocurrency latest – Unprecedented Bitcoin legal battles BAFFLE top regulation lawyers

UNPRECEDENTED legal battles are set to take place in the UK after it was reported that divorce lawyers are struggling to come up with settlement agreements over cryptocurrencies.

The unusual legal cases are said to concern at least three couples looking to legally separate.

One pair has a fortune of £600,000 in cryptocurrencies that they are currently struggling to agree how to split.

The lack of regulation surrounding the digital currencies means that there is little legal cover for those looking to protect their online assets in the case of a divorce.

Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple and Ethereum are all understood to be at the centre of online money involved in the divorce cases.

Vandana Chitroda, a partner at the law firm Royds Withy King, said: “These are the first cases we have seen, and we expect to see many more.

“We believe that cryptocurrencies will be a significant feature in a large number of divorces.

“Whilst cryptocurrencies are volatile, they are not going to go away.”

Bitcoin has dramatically seen its value plunge throughout 2018 from a record high of nearly £15,000 in December 2017 to now under £7,000.

However, there is evidence to suggest the number of people investing in cryptocurrencies is rising.

Ms Chitroda added: “It is important that if you believe your husband or wife has invested in or purchased cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, and you are separating, you tell your legal adviser.”

Countries around the world are currently looking at implementing regulation for digital currencies in an effort to catch up with the latest financial craze.

The finance minister and Central Bank Governors of France and Germany have requested that talks on policy and monetary implications of cryptocurrencies be part of G20 talks in March.

They want world leaders to come up with a global strategy for the online assets.

Some countries have already begun to act unilaterally to increase regulation.

South Korea introduced a raft of measures last month aimed at regulating Bitcoin and similar currencies such as Ripple and Ethereum.

A ban on anonymous trading was implemented by the Asian power in a bid to crack down on all possible criminal activities the secret nature of trading Bitcoin allowed.

Meanwhile, India’s Government has said it does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender and will try to phase out payments using the online money.

 

 

 

Author DAN FALVEY UPDATED: 05:29, Thu, Feb 15, 2018

 

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 14th Feb – Sitting Tight for a Breakout

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 14th Feb – Sitting Tight for a Breakout

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 14th Feb – Sitting Tight for a Breakout

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price is currently consolidating, forming higher lows and lower highs inside a triangle pattern.

  • Price is bouncing off support and might be due for a test of resistance soon.

  • Technical indicators are also suggesting that the bounce could take place, possibly even leading to an upside break.

  • Bitcoin price is finding support at the bottom of its triangle consolidation and may be due for a move past the resistance if buyers are strong enough.

 

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is above the longer-term 200 SMA to confirm that the path of least resistance is to the upside. This means that support is more likely to hold than to break. It could also indicate that the top of the triangle could be broken.

In addition, the 100 SMA is currently holding as dynamic support and keeping losses in check as it lines up with the triangle bottom. A break past the $8,000 level could be enough to signal a bullish break and further gains.

Stochastic is pointing up to signal that buyers are in control of bitcoin price action while RSI also seems to be turning north. However, hitting overbought levels could draw sellers back in and lead to a move back to the triangle support.

Market Factors

Equities still closed slightly in the green to confirm that risk appetite extended its stay in the financial markets. Note that bitcoin has been tracking these higher-yielding assets these days instead of taking risk-off flows.

But as mentioned, the gains were smaller this time, signaling a slowdown in momentum and a potential correction. US CPI and retail sales figures are up for release and apart from influencing USD price action, it could also have a significant impact on overall sentiment.

Other altcoins like litecoin are starting to enjoy a bit more bullish support, so it’s possible that bitcoin could follow suit. Analysts point to easing concerns about regulation as the crackdown news in South Korea are no longer hitting headlines as one of the factors propping prices up.

 

Author SARAH JENN • FEB 14, 2018 • 04:02

 

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Bitcoin Price Analysis – The bottom is likely in

Bitcoin Price Analysis – The bottom is likely in

Bitcoin (BTC) has risen ~50% over the past week following a ~60% drop throughout early January and February. The leading cryptocurrency now has a market cap of ~US$150 billion, with over US$3.5 billion traded over the past 24 hours.

The mining sector is heating up rapidly all over the world, bringing additional decentralization to an industry that has been concentrated in China for many years. While being compared to a gold rush, there is an increasing focus on hardware and energy demands.

Nvidia stock continues to soar, in part due to GPU mining demand. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang admitted crypto was a “real part” of their business in Q4 2017 and that, “crypto is a real thing, it’s not going to go away.” Later this month the Toronto stock exchange will list the Vancouver-based Hut 8 Mining Corp, a company backed by Georgian mining company Bitfury – one of the main competitors of China-based Bitmain.

In order to maximize returns, miners are generally concentrated where electricity is cheap. These geographic locations typically have renewable or alternative energy sources, as is the case in Washington State and Iceland.

Washington State has seen a large uptick in mining activity recently due to relatively cheap hydroelectric power and a large quantity undeveloped land. Mining is slated to become a multimillion-dollar business in Chelan County, where the local power provider, Chelan Public Utility District (PUD), is dealing with a surge of requests to build large-scale mining facilities. The county of 72,400 residents already has 16 cryptocurrency mining operations up and running.

Iceland may be using more power to mine BTC than they use to power homes by the end of 2018, according to reporting from the BBC. Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, a spokesman for Icelandic energy firm HS Orka, said that there is so much demand for BTC mining data centers in Iceland that the country wouldn't have enough electricity to supply them all were they to be built.

Japanese e-commerce company DMM also announced plans for a 1,000 unit mining farm in the Ishikawa Prefecture, taking advantage of low ambient temperatures and cheap electricity costs, while Italian utility company Enel Italy has decided against selling power for the purposes of cryptocurrency mining as it is an “unsustainable practice that does not fit with the business model.”

While mining operations across the globe expand, crypto has entered the zeitgeist of several central bankers and economists. The previous U.S. chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, held a hawkish stance on BTC, calling it a “highly speculative asset” that “doesn't constitute legal tender.” The Executive Director of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Austria’s central bank, agreed. Kurt Pribil said that “bitcoin price is pure speculation.” French and German finance ministers have also raised concerns over education and risk management, and plan to propose restrictions on BTC at the Argentinian G20 meeting in March.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde believes international crypto regulation will be necessary and “inevitable,” in regards to activities involving dark markets rather than crypto itself. President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, has a warmer approach, suggesting “banks will show positive interest” and that the ECB cannot and will not regulate BTC.

Arizona state legislators have taken a warmer stance as well. A bill recently passed into legislation that allows taxes to be paid using cryptocurrencies. Several Libertarian-leaning U.S politicians have already accepted campaign donations in BTC, including; Colorado Democrat Jared Polis in 2014, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul in 2016, and most recently, Missouri Republican Austin Petersen.

In the meantime, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and other police agencies remain focused on money laundering and other illicit activities using cryptocurrencies. The Executive Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, estimates that about 3-4% of the £100bn in illicit proceeds in Europe are laundered through cryptocurrencies.

In the U.S., a resident of Ohio was recently arrested for allegedly running a fake ID ring where US$4.7 million of BTC was confiscated. In Russia, scientists were recently arrested for using a nuclear supercomputer to mine BTC. Computers within nuclear facilities are rarely connected to the internet as a preventative measure against hacking. However, the scientists apparently connected the computer and were promptly arrested.

In less nefarious bitcoin adoption this week, real estate sales for BTC transactions also continue to increase. A Florida company recently completed its third bitcoin-only transaction, selling a Miami townhouse for 41.35 BTC, or US$338,878. A previous bitcoin-only Miami transaction included a penthouse for 33 BTC, or US$547,000 at the time. Fifty luxury apartments were recently sold for BTC in Dubai as well, with one buyer taking 10 units.

However, banks outside the U.S. have begun to ban BTC purchases with credit cards, including the Bank of Ireland as well as several banks in the United Kingdom. Pantera Capital CEO, Dan Moorehead, continues to remain extremely bullish saying, “there’s such an institutional appetite to get exposure to this. It’s a half a trillion dollar asset class that nobody owns. That’s a pretty wild circumstance.” Institutional traders continue to gain exposure to crypto through CME’s BTC cash-settled futures.

Exchange traded volume this week has been led by U.S. Dollar Tether (USDT), U.S. Dollar (USD), and Japanese Yen (JPY) trading pairs.

Over the counter volume globally is nearing record highs set in December.

Technical Analysis

The current BTC trend is roughly neutral, based on high timeframe metrics. Indicators such as the Ichimoku Cloud, Exponential Moving Averages (EMA), Relative Strength Index (RSI), Pitchfork, and basic chart patterns help determine entry and exit points, as well as the state of the trend.

The Ichimoku Cloud on the weekly chart remains bullish, but its metrics do not provide any long entry or exit signals. Price bounced off the 50 day EMA, and 50 on the RSI, for the first time in several months. This indicates a sustained bull trend with a complete momentum reset. Bullish continuation is likely if the 50 level on the RSI continues as support. The previous weekly candle formed a dragonfly Doji, a bullish reversal candle, which will be confirmed as a reversal following a consecutive green candle this week.

The Ichimoku Cloud metrics on the daily chart are all bearish. Although this would typically trigger a short entry, the distance of price from the Kijun suggests that the asset remains heavily oversold. An optimal short entry would occur when price returns to, but does not breach, the Kijun. This would indicate bearish continuation.

February 6th also marked the highest daily trading volume since China banned trading in early 2017. Volume spikes such as this are highly suggestive of an interim trend reversal, as was the case on September 15th.

The next long entry signal indicated by the Ichimoku Cloud on this time frame, will not trigger until all its metrics flip bullish again. This may not occur for several weeks. The Kumo twist on March 6th is the zone with the highest likelihood of price breaching the Cloud. If price is below the Cloud at that time, it will treat this zone as a magnet for upward momentum. Price is also currently near but below the 200EMA, a litmus test for trend status.

 

A Pitchfork on the daily chart with anchor points in February, May, and July shows price reaching the 1.618 level on the recent drop. The 1.618 level is borrowed from Fibonacci extensions and was also roughly seen as resistance at US$15,700 and US$17,000.

Buying in the current zone comes with the risk of a bearish invalidation of the Pitchfork. A significant break below the lowest diagonal support would invalidate the Pitchfork entirely. The upside potential is a return to the median line, followed by a test of the upper limit.

A bullish reversal pattern, the inverted head and shoulders, with a 1.618 fib extension and measured moves of US$11,500 and US$13,105, continues to form. The horizontal levels of this pattern strongly correlate with support and resistance levels from previous order blocks.

Lastly, market cycles are loosely correlated with the OKEX (previously OKcoin) quarterly futures expiration dates. January and July have preceded the beginning of relative bearish reversal periods (red), whereas April and October have preceded the beginning of relative bullish reversal periods (green). This has occurred irrespective of the macro trend.

Conclusion

The ever-expanding mining data centers across the globe continue to add pressure to regional power supplies. Although mining profitability will inevitably be affected by any rise in the cost of power, the additional investment in the crypto industry lends sustainability to the industry as a whole.

Following the generally dovish Senate hearing on cryptocurrency last week, regulators around the world continue to reveal their positions. While most regulators have adopted a wait and see approach, law enforcement continues to report on illicit activities, in spite of the relatively minor use of cryptocurrency.

Technicals are neutral based on the trend metrics with a complete momentum reset. Exchange-traded and OTC volume continue to sustain levels seen during the ATH period in December. Low timeframes show a bullish reversal pattern which should conclude within the next 24 hours, eventually bringing BTC back above US$10,000 once the pattern completes.

 

Author osh Olszewicz, 13 Feb 2018

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

 

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Prices Aside, Crypto’s Tech Stack Is Steadily Improving

Prices Aside, Crypto's Tech Stack Is Steadily Improving

Prices Aside, Crypto's Tech Stack Is Steadily Improving

Rachel Rose O'Leary and Alyssa Hertig

Feb 11, 2018 at 14:45 UTC

 

A look at the headlines of late may leave you with a familiar conclusion – with all the ups and downs in the market, it's just too early to take crypto seriously.

And it's true, despite the best efforts of even the industry's most notable developers, the world's largest cryptocurrencies remain not just volatile, but difficult (and risky) to use, at least in a way that their creators' intended.

Still, heading into 2018, enthusiasts the world over are hard at work on improvements.

As such, there's optimism advances could start to compound, creating a user experience that finally starts to transcend the issues – namely, the high fees and long wait times – users of most blockchains have become all too accustomed to.

In fact, in the year ahead, blockchain users could see exciting new features and scientific firsts that just might help push the industry closer to that vision:

 

1. Off-chain channels

What if it was possible for blockchain-based transactions to avoid using the blockchain at all?

That's the big idea behind off-blockchain payment channels, an idea that harkens back to 2015, but whose time may have finally come this year. Most associated with Bitcoin's Lightning Network, the idea is actually more general than this specific instance.

Essentially, off-blockchain payment channels would allow two people using any one cryptocurrency to send small payments back and forth, settling to the blockchain (and dealing with its high fees and slow transaction times) only when absolutely necessary.

Due to the potential impact, the idea is catching on – ethereum developers, while they often don't see eye-to-eye with their bitcoin peers, are at work on the same type of solution.

But there's more than just a rivalry at play, there's also reason to believe 2018 might be different in that actual live transactions could be sent in significant numbers.

The developers behind bitcoin's Lightning Network have declared the technology almost ready based on successful tests. Meanwhile, ethereum's developers have also unveiled successful tests for their versions of the concept, Raiden Network, with a more ambitious version, Plasma, potentially around the corner.

 

2. Real-live staking

As their popularity grows, attention is also being paid to the electricity required to sustain cryptocurrencies.

While the relevant data is difficult to pin down, proof-of-work, the consensus protocol that underlies bitcoin mining, is best defined as an energy-intensive process. As such, there are concerns about its electricity use could have large-scale environmental effects.

This is leading to new research on an idea from 2011. Called proof-of-stake, or "consensus by vote," the idea has been implemented, however, not at the scale intended by ethereum.

As such, it's long-awaited project Casper is likely to be under significant scrutiny this coming year, and early versions are beginning to see the light.

In a testnet released on New Year's Eve, one variation of Casper, was claimed to be functional. Karl Floersch, a leading developer behind the technology, told CoinDesk at the time that the code is working with "no hiccups."

Work remains to adapt this early version of Casper across the different ethereum clients, but ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has said he expects the technology will be tested alongside proof-of-work sometime in the future.

 

3. Privacy advances

Privacy has been a somewhat neglected promise in the majority of blockchains, but it's nonetheless an issue that could see improvement this year.

Most notable is the advances in zero-knowledge proofs, what Buterin has called "the single most under-hyped thing in cryptography right now," are getting cheaper and easier to deploy.

A form of cryptography that hides information without risking validity, it's already been adapted to a small degree into ethereum, which could lead to a wave of startups experimenting with private smart contracts in novel and unexpected ways.

Plus, in a white paper published earlier this month, a system for achieving zero-knowledge without compromising trust – a point of contention in some earlier iterations of the tech – was released, an update which could have exciting consequences.

And as existing tech matures, privacy-centric cryptocurrencies such as monero and zcash are also set to improve.

In preparation for an upgrade, zcash has been steadily reinforcing its security, while monero is stepping up to implement "bulletproofs," a feature that could cut fees by 80 percent.

 

4. Decentralized exchanges

No, this isn't just a new version of Coinbase or Kraken.

As the industry's largest exchanges struggle to cope with the influx of new adopters, an increasing number of projects are at work developing something called a decentralized exchange. The term denotes not just a new browser-based exchange, but rather a type of software users can use to swap one cryptocurrency with another without a central entity.

2017 saw a flood of new decentralized exchange projects, such as ShapeShift's Prism, 0x, OmiseGo, Kyber Network, and many others.

Expect those efforts to accelerate this year.

So far, hardware wallet Ledger has already integrated with decentralized exchange Radar Relay, allowing users to trustlessly exchange tokens based on ethereum.

While functionality is limited (it's only supported by a single wallet and only ethereum-based tokens can be sent), many in the industry see it as a glimpse into the future of not just cryptocurrency exchanges, but the technology itself.

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur
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Is Darknet Done With Bitcoin

Is Darknet Done With Bitcoin

Is Darknet Done With Bitcoin?

A new study by Recorded Future has found that Bitcoin is losing its position as the number one currency on the Darknet markets. The Internet tech company analyzed 150 of the most active message boards, marketplaces, and illicit service providers and noticed that the Darknet communities sentiments toward Bitcoin have taken a turn.

The Darknet economy

The Darknet is an Internet that uses non-standard communication protocols and ports to make it a bit more difficult for the digital identities of users to be revealed. The Darknet requires users to run a special software, the most popular being TOR. to connect to the Internet. One of the main purposes of using the Darknet is to make the information provider and the person accessing the information difficult to trace. Because of this privacy feature, the Darknet has become famous for its Darknet markets like Silk Road that allowed users to effectively exchange anything, legal or illegal over an Amazon-like marketplace. The anonymous Internet is said to attract criminals and those interested in black market activities as well.

A backlogged network

In mid-2016, Recorded Future noticed that the 150 entities they were analyzing were all expressing concerns regarding the functionality, usability and security of Bitcoin in the Darknet economy. Although it was a relatively mild increase compared to the increase in interest in Bitcoin in the latter half of 2017, the Bitcoin network was beginning to become overloaded with traffic which resulted in higher transaction fees for those using the Darknet markets. On Dec. 23, 2017 transaction fees were $52.18.

Recorded Future found that the average transaction size on the Darknet is $50-$300. If an individual tried to transact on Dec. 23, 2017 – it could have been the case that the transaction fee was more costly than the amount being transacted. One member of a Darknet message board posted this on the forum he uses:

“What's happening at the moment is incomprehensible. Despite that I've used the recommended commission fees, my transactions have remained pending for the past three days, and my work has been paralyzed. Dear vendors, please implement alternative payment options; otherwise, I will miss out on this Christmas season.”

A Christmas miracle

The backlogged queue on the Bitcoin network was making it difficult for some individuals in the underworld to conduct their business. This users transaction was logged so far back in the queue that it took several days for it to become verified. To combat double-spending attacks, most vendors on the Darknet adopted a rule requiring three confirmations before treating transactions as complete. Because a transaction cannot be complete until the payment has been confirmed, this user was effectively frozen out of conducting his “business.”

Although he was worried he would “miss out on this Christmas season,” his Christmas miracle was about to occur. To combat, the exuberant transaction fees that were increasing daily, vendors began accepting alternative payment options. The study found that Litecoin was the second most popular currency with 30 percent of all vendors accepting LTC, and Dash the third most popular currency, with 20 percent of all vendors accepting DASH.

Other Darknet studies

Back in 2016, economist Tuur Demeester was in the process of researching the Darknet markets. Demeester turned to r/DarkNetMarkets to see if the community could provide him with the statistics he was looking for: what percentage of trades on the Darknet was conducted with BTC? Was DarkCoin used and how often? How many Bitcoins were spent on the Darknet on a daily/monthly/yearly basis? But Demeester was not met with any useful answers from the community.

Prior to Demeester's endeavor, The Digital Citizens Alliance released a table with statistics about the number of drug listings on the Darknet markets in August 2014, but this table provided no information regarded prices, trade volumes and preferred payment methods.

Furthermore, Nicolas Cristin, an associate research professor in the School of Computer Science and in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) together with Kyle Soska, a Ph.D. candidate in CMU’s school of electrical and computer engineering back in 2013, conducted a study from 2013-2015 to get a handle on the Darknet market economy.

When the Silk Road was shut down in October 2013, Cristin and Soska noticed that the take-down spawned the development of anonymous online marketplaces, which continue to evolve to this day. Cristin and Soska used long-term measurement analysis on 16 different marketplaces for over two years (2013– 2015) to calculate the growth of the online anonymous marketplace ecosystem. Their research documented the types of goods being sold, the effect – or lack – of adversarial events, such as law enforcement operations and large-scale frauds, on the overall size of the economy. The two also gained insights into how vendors are diversifying and replicating across marketplaces, and how vendor security practices (e.g., PGP adoption) are evolving.

Payment methods are evolving

Recorded Futures study concluded by stating that the efforts that vendors are taking to diversify acceptable payment methods on the Darknet markets will continue. Although payment methods like Litecoin and Dash are becoming more popular, Recorded Future still expects Bitcoin to have a place in the Darknet economy- just a much smaller market share than it currently has. Recorded future also warns that with increased popularity in digital currencies will come an increase in malicious tools like ransomware that will try to take advantage of the mainstream trends in cryptocurrency.

 

Author Patrick Thompson

 

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Russian nuclear scientists arrested for Bitcoin mining plot

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for Bitcoin mining plot

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for Bitcoin mining plot

Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies.

The suspects had tried to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say.

The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a restricted area.

The centre's press service said: "There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining."

The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet – to prevent intrusion – and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted. They were handed over to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian news service Mash says.

"As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them," the press service told Interfax news agency.

Crypto-currencies like Bitcoin do not rely on centralised computer servers. People who provide computer processing power to the crypto-currency system, to enable transactions to take place, can get rewards in Bitcoins.

In the Cold War the USSR's first nuclear bomb was produced at Sarov, during Joseph Stalin's rule.

The top-secret town was not even marked on Soviet maps and special permits are still required for Russians to visit it.

Putin, power and poison: Russia’s elite FSB spy club

Sarov is surrounded by a tightly guarded no-man's-land, with barbed wire fences to keep the curious away.

There are suspicions that the radioactive polonium-210 used to kill ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 came from Sarov.

The Federal Nuclear Centre reportedly employs up to 20,000 people and its supercomputer boasts a capacity of 1 petaflop, the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

Mining crypto-currencies requires great computational power and huge amounts of energy.

There have been reports of some other industrial facilities in Russia being used for crypto-mining, and one businessman reportedly bought two power stations for the activity.

 

Source BBC News 9th February

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

David ogden Cryptocurrency entrepreneur

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 9th Feb 2018 – Slow But Steady Climb

Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 9th Feb 2018 – Slow But Steady Climb

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price is testing an area of interest at the $8,000 major psychological level which lines up with several support levels.

  • For one, this is the bottom of a short-term ascending channel visible on the 1-hour time frame.

  • This also coincides with the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level, which already appears to have held as a floor.

  • Bitcoin price could be due for a small bounce off these short-term support levels as bullish pressure appears to be slowly returning.

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is still below the longer-term 200 SMA to indicate that the path of least resistance is to the downside. This means that the selloff is more likely to resume than to reverse.

However, the gap between the moving averages is slowly narrowing to indicate that bearish pressure could be fading. The 100 SMA might also hold as dynamic support if this keeps up.

Stochastic is turning slightly higher to signal that buyers are returning, but RSI is still on its way south so bitcoin price might follow suit. If the $8,000 level holds as support, price could bounce up to the swing high or the channel resistance closer to $9,000.

Market Factors

Risk aversion returned to the financial markets and these days bitcoin price has been tracking equities and commodities, unlike in the past when the cryptocurrency tends to benefit from safe-haven flows.

However, analysts are confident that the market slump is just a mere correction from the overdone rallies earlier in the year. If so, higher-yielding assets including bitcoin could see the longer-term uptrend resume at some point.

For bitcoin price, it seems that traders are mostly waiting for a strong catalyst that could encourage investors to reopen their long positions. One possible factor could be the Senate hearing that called upon regulators to increase oversight without hampering development, something that could still be overall positive for the cryptocurrency industry.
 

Author SARAH JENN • FEB 9, 2018 • 05:02

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden