The Future is Now
The Future is Now
The price of Bitcoin has been growing steadily in what seems to be a recovery from the setback it suffered on Wednesday, January 18 following reported allegation of irregularities in the operations of major exchanges in China by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
Officials of the Bank had met with key exchanges – BTCC, OKCoin and Huobi – on January 11 to remind them of their responsibility to conduct their activities according to the laws of the country. The news of the meeting dipped the price of Bitcoin from the $916 range to as low as $761 due to panic selling which emanated from fears that the onsite inspection could jeopardize investment in the digital currency.
However, after a review of messages from all indications – the PBOC, the exchanges and cryptocurrency insiders, nothing new came out of what was misconstrued for a ban in some quarters aside reiterating what the Chinese government had earlier established about Bitcoin and other digital currencies not being legal tender in China.
It is not new for a ban on cryptocurrency-related activities to come to mind when it comes to China as the country is estimated to be handling about 90% of the world’s Bitcoin operations and holdings. This is a view that has been held for long and hinged on the need for the digital currency’s distribution to be considered a geopolitical risk exposure.
The PBOC’s involvement in bitcoin trading could lead to regulation of the industry. Image from Shutterstock
Rather than a ban in this instance, the government called for a “self-examination” which, in retrospect, means the exchanges and other stakeholders’ need to manage the digital currency’s price fluctuation responsibly owing to the price sudden rise in the first few days of 2017.
The CEO of Decent, Matej Michalko, blamed the “bad players” for the situation. He says in a chat:
“The heated discussion about BTCC compliance with People’s Bank of China showed a palpable misunderstanding of context. The point was to adopt the set of regulatory policies called AML/KYC, that calls for detailed anti-corruption due diligence information sharing and anti-money laundering. Bitcoin came under fire because of the outright abuse of the technology. Various people avoided capital outflow laws and transferred large sums of money, what grabbed the attention of financial agencies. Fault isn’t precisely on the state, nor currency itself, but on the bad players.”
The Chinese government’s expressed concern seems to indicate that it wants to see the price of Bitcoin remain stable. And that was what has been seen in the market for the following days. After the dramatic drop, the price started building up again from January 13 moving between the $801 and $831 range for four days when Theresa May’s speech on the Brexit plan triggered interest in Bitcoin.
It gained more than $80 in the less than 24-hours that followed until the news came out that the results of the PBoC probe into China exchanges would be released on Friday, January 20. The $913 height was back to $864 but has been climbing back to $877 (according to CoinMarketCap) as at the time of this writing.
While it is clear that China has not come down hard on Bitcoin and its recent involvement could be seen as a legitimate concern that could obliquely publicize Bitcoin as recognized by the government, what would happen in the next few days would be critical for Bitcoin owing to the caution that is being exercised presently by the three most influential exchanges in China as well as observing Bitcoin investors.
It is unclear whether the price stability that is currently at play will be sustained for longer to bring about the real growth that is anticipated in the long term based on predictions that 2017 would be a better year for Bitcoin. However, what is clear is that the quick spike to over $1000 in the first five days of the year has put all the major stakeholders on alert and we just have to wait to see what the year would bring for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin prices passed $900 today, though this feat was diminished by several rallies that ultimately failed to push its value above this benchmark. Overall, the digital currency rose to as much as $904.76, after falling below $880 earlier in the session, climbing above this level amid modest volatility.
Later in the session, the price mounted another comeback, hitting a high just above $905, according to the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). At press time, however, the price had dipped again to a value of $894.95. This upward movement represented the latest session of relatively mild price volatility, at least compared to the sharp price fluctuations experienced earlier this month.
Most notable, however, about the day's trading, may have been the lack of any serious decline over the day's trading. Bitcoin prices enjoyed their latest climb in spite of new Chinese regulatory developments that found the nation’s exchanges responding publicly to pressures from the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank.
Still, market sentiment has been bullish, according to figures provided by a handful of exchanges, even with the confirmation that major Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin had stopped offering margin trading. The market was 91% long on 19th January, Whaleclub figures reveal. In addition, more than 53% of Bitfinex orders that were executed in the 24 hours through 22:15 UTC were buy orders, according to BFX Data.
Many netizens have heard of bitcoin, the digital currency. This means it exists electronically. To be more precise, bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency – the implication of security and encryption is important. Cryptocurrency, or digital currency, is an invention of the Internet. Basically, someone out there thought, "hey, what if…Read more. In this post, we attempt to identify 10 questions about Bitcoins that can give you a clearer understanding of what it is, what it does and how you can use it to buy products or services online.
Bitcoin (capitalized) refers to the software or network (ie: the Bitcoin Network), while bitcoin (not capitalized) refers to the digital currency itself (ie: two bitcoins). he price fluctuates, depending on what people were willing to pay for it. It traded for as low as pennies (during the infancy stage) to as high as USD1200 during its peak in 2013.
The idea of Bitcoin was conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous figure. In May 2008, he shared a white paper [PDF] about Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Without disclosing who he was, Satoshi outlined how the currency would work: bitcoins would be ‘mined’ by computer software, transferred directly amongst users and recorded in an untamperable ledger without the need of a third party.
Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is Satoshi Nakamoto’s anonymity, who many view as a selfless act towards a new era of financial revolution. Online detectives have identified a few candidates, including a real-life Japanese person sharing the same name. Some even theorized that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym for a collective.
In May 2016, the Bitcoin community was shocked when Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. Some people believe his claim, some didn’t, but on the whole the Bitcoin community is unaffected – the Bitcoin ecosystem is decentralized, and cannot be controlled by any person(s), including the creator.
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency and runs on a system which allows you to send and receive bitcoins without a third party. To put simply, fiat currencies rely on third parties, such as banks or payment processors like Visa, to verify the transaction. This is how you and I can ensure payment sent was indeed received. However, bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public ledger called the bitcoin blockchain. This information are permanent and publicly viewable on Blockchain.info and cannot be edited or deleted.
This means that the transaction records act as proof of transaction. Bitcoin is also programmed to be non-duplicable, which means double spending is highly unlikely.
Bitcoin is also a decentralized currency, as in no one government, individual or group holds authority over it. This makes bitcoin spendable anywhere in the world as long as the receiver accepts bitcoins as payment.
Decentralised currencies are a unique concept. Similar to the internet, it is free from geographical boundaries – this is why bitcoin is also dubbed ‘the currency of the internet’.
Due to lack of control and regulations, many countries are understandably wary of bitcoin – and other cryptocurrencies in general – but some progressive countries such as Japan have started to recognize it as currency.
Bitcoin’s anonymity is a myth. Or rather, it is now much harder to make anonymous transactions with Bitcoin. Because as the ecosystem matures, many bitcoin service providers have started implementing KYC/AML regulations. KYC/AML stands for know your customers/anti-money laundering . This requires users to submit proof of identity and proof of residence.
It is also fairly easy to trace bitcoins. Bitcoins are usually bought from bitcoin exchanges, received as payment, or donated. With transaction details publicly viewable online, it is possible to trace where the bitcoin came from.
Bitcoin can be used for spending, similar to money. Some people also keep them for investment purposes, while others prefer to use them as a method to make international money transfer. Bitcoin exists electronically and is kept in ‘bitcoin wallets’. There are many types of bitcoin wallets: desktop wallet, mobile wallet, online/web-based wallet, hardware wallet and even paper wallet.
To read more about bitcoin storage, check out this article by CoinDesk. You can have as many wallets and bitcoin addresses (where you receive money from others) as you like.
Estimates vary – it is hard to find out the exact number of people who use Bitcoin. One way to measure number of bitcoin users is by measuring the number of bitcoin wallets. According to CoinDesk’s State of Bitcoin and Blockchain 2016 report, bitcoin wallets doubled to 12.77 million in one year, from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. Even though many bitcoin users have more than one wallet (it is common to hold a few wallets), this is an indication that the number of bitcoin users worldwide is increasing.
Another way to estimate bitcoin usage is by the number of bitcoin transactions, which has steadily increased. Although this could mean that the same people are simply making more bitcoin transactions, it is fair to assume that there are new bitcoin users in the mix, too.
There are three main ways to get bitcoins: mine them, buy them, or work for them.
Bitcoin wallets come with bitcoin addresses, which represent a destination, similar to an email address. Bitcoin addresses are alphanumeric, between 27-34 characters in length. Many bitcoin service providers have user-friendly user interface which allows users to generate bitcoin addresses, send and receive bitcoins.
To send bitcoins, users simply have to ensure positive balance in their bitcoin wallets, insert the receiver’s bitcoin address, and hit send. There is a small miner’s fee to process the transaction – miner’s fees are given as a reward and incentive to Bitcoin miners for maintaining equipment. Bitcoin transactions usually take less than an hour to arrive, but it can take longer or shorter depending on the fee amount and the bitcoin service provider.
You can spend bitcoins anywhere that accept bitcoins as payment. You can also use a Visa/Mastercard-linked bitcoin debit card issued by companies like Wirex or Coinbase.
Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers. Coders and programmers might argue that bitcoin is already an outdated network, compared to some of the newer cryptocurrency networks available. Here we will concentrate on bitcoin’s disadvantages to the casual user:
Bitcoin can be stolen in many ways. It is the bitcoin owner’s responsibility to keep them safe, and this meant implementing additional layers of security such as 2-factor authentication. Keeping them in web wallets can be dangerous. If you have a significant amount of bitcoins, you are advised to keep them in hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger.
The biggest names have failed the Bitcoin community. Who can forget the Mt. Gox incident in 2014. It was the biggest bitcoin exchanger at the time and practically disappeared overnight along with almost 745,000 bitcoins. More recently in 2016, thieves stole almost 120,000 bitcoins during the Bitfinex hack – and experts still don’t know how they did it.
Cold hard cash is still the widest and most used form of payment – it’s acceptance is second to none. By contrast, bitcoin is only accepted at a handful of shops. However, bitcoin debit cards help to address this issue – linked to payment processors, they help make bitcoin spending a bit easier.
In general, bitcoin is not considered legal in most countries around the world. Therefore, theft or scam victims have almost no option for recourse. However, the legal landscape is ever-changing and one of the best spots to update yourself on where bitcoin is acceptable or not is Bitlegal.io.
While many countries around the world mainly cautioned the public against the risky nature of Bitcoin, some politicians or political parties have extreme views about bitcoin. Russian and French lawmakers are considering banning it altogether.
Bitcoin is cool, but the underlying technology behind it – the blockchain – is even cooler. Turns out, having a method to record data in a way that cannot be tampered or deleted is a good thing. It is also a cost-effective method to store information. Many companies including major banks have expressed interest in the blockchain technology.
Russian Authorities: Bitcoin Poses No Threat, Won’t Be Banned
Russia’s deputy finance minister has now stated that the country’s Central Bank and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service do not see any threats in the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
More notably, the much-publicized and long-deliberated bitcoin ban by the Bank of Russia will not be pursued any longer, the bank’s deputy chairwoman Olga Skorobogatov revealed.
According to a report by Russia’s largest news agency, TASS, the Russian Federation’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev – who notably spearheaded the effort to ban bitcoin from 2014 – is now adopting a wait-and-see approach with the cryptocurrency.
“We will discuss this law [to ban bitcoin] in the current session of Parliament, and possibly even pass it then, or at the very latest by spring next year,” said Moiseev in September 2014. “We are currently dealing with comments from the law enforcement agencies, about the specifics of legal measures, and we will take their remarks into account. But the overall concept of the law is set in stone.”
Having consulted with those experts over the past two years, amid considerable opposition by other Russian governmental authorities against the Finance Ministry’s proposed bitcoin ban bill, Moiseev has now told reporters that bitcoin poses no threat. This, despite comments by Russia’s Investigative Committee chairman Alexander Bastrykin who claimed that bitcoin posed “ a real threat to the financial stability of Russia”, in 2016.
In statements reported by TASS, the deputy finance minister stated:
"So far, we decided just to watch carefully how it is developing. We decided that teh Central Bank and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service should monitor cryptocurrency for Russia’s economic security. So far, these agencies believe that there is nothing critical [as a threat] in it. That means that they [the threats] may appear in the future, but now they do not exist."
The comments represent a remarkable turnaround for an official who vehemently pushed for the approval of the bitcoin ban bill through the Russian house of Parliament. One draft of the ban infamously proposed a 7-year prison term for bitcoin use in Russia, less than a year ago. Ban No More
In statements echoing those made by the Minister of Finance, deputy chairwoman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova has separately stated that the central bank will not be taking prohibitive measures with the use of bitcoin.
In statements reported by regional publication CryptoRussia, the central bank official stated:
"With Bitcoin – a private currency, it became clear that [regulation] was not simple. Regulators and authorities agree that they would not like to specifically prohibit [Bitcoin]. [We] would instead like to understand it and on this basis build a regulatory framework."
The telling statements come within months of Moiseev stating that the ban proposal was on hold. While bitcoin could possibly see regulation in Russia, the adoption, mining or use of the cryptocurrency will no longer be considered a criminal offence.
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Yesterday evening at 1700 GMT the value of bitcoin surpassed the value of gold, this is the first time any currency has reached that level, could this mean raise the possibility of a change to a new standard.
Below is an extract from wikipedia
limited and predictable supply of the anchor of the monetary system
no central bank or monetary authority controls the supply
low or non-existent inflation
virtually no arbitrage costs for international transactions
Governments have less control over their domestic economies
Governments lose seigniorage revenues that they obtain from the ability to almost costlessly create money
Edward Hadas and Michael Hiltzik noted that monetary systems based on Bitcoin and gold have some similar disadvantages:
George Gilder, a proponent of gold standard, proposed breaking "the government monopoly on money" by using a combination of Bitcoin for the internet and treating gold in tax terms as currency.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a thorn in the side for conventional Fiat currency which have all abandoned the gold standard of the past when they started to print money as and when they needed. In time of Crisis many people move investments into gold as a safe haven, however holding gold presents a problem its heavy and incurs storage costs and not convenient for day to day shopping. In early times it was not unusual to chip bits off a coin to make payments.
cryptocurrencies can be used both for shopping and person to person transactions protected by blockchain’s. They can easily be moved across borders, even though some countries and the EU are looking at ways of restricting this. It is only when you exchange fiat currencies to and from cryptocurrency that governments may be able to glean information from exchanges. It might make sense for forward looking governments to accept cryptocurrency payments/
Banking is already starting to suffer because the cost of moving money from one country to another via cryptocurrency is minimal compared to fees charged by banks. Also ordinary people are now moving savings into cryptocurrencies which are building a history of yearly growth higher than saving rates.
The use of bitcoin as forex instrument has been explored by banks in the past. A notable example is that of Shinhan Bank, a major South Korean financial institution that began a remittance service in the Korea – China corridor, with bitcoin. Faster, near-instant settlements at significantly lower costs are some of the straightforward benefits of using bitcoin in remittance.
You can never say it enough: back up your wallet. If you haven’t yet backed up your wallet, do it now.
Most hardware and software wallets use an industry standard backup protocol called BIP 39 that allows your wallet backup to be 15 English words.
It's important to write the words down, on paper, in order, and securely store the backup somewhere safe from people, water and fire. If you don’t back up your wallet, you could well lose your bitcoin. Forever. Greater security involves using a brain wallet https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Brainwallet
The new year is a perfect time to check on your important papers, including your wallet backups. Can you still access them? Can you still read the words? Are they secure from fire, water and theft? If you've given the backups to someone else (lawyer, accountant), ask them to check their storage.
While we all know we should be checking our backups, wallets and estate plans regularly, it's hard to remember to do it. Add a reminder to your calendar now, to check all these things again in three, six or at most 12 months.
I have never been a fan of having money or bank information on my phone and with the increase in the Cryptocurrency prices, you might be shocked at how much money you've been carrying around on your smartphone.
Now is a great time to move your coins onto a hardware wallet or into cold storage. Hardware wallets are very easy to use, with user-friendly software components, and are considered one of the safest ways to store bitcoin.
While it's great to carry petty cash or spending money on your phone, never carry more Cryptocurrency on your smartphone than you would carry as cash in your wallet. maybe create a separate wallet just for your phone
If you have coins sitting on an exchange, move them out today to a wallet you control.
Most of the popular exchanges pool coins and while you have a "balance" showing on your account, you do not actually control the keys. If the exchange gets hacked you could lose your money. Remember that you only control the chryptocoins if you control the keys: "not your keys, not your bitcoin".
Add two-factor authentication to your bitcoin-related accounts and to all other important online accounts. The best two-factor solution is a hardware token and you can buy one for just $20–$30.
Otherwise use a smartphone authentication app, such as Authy or Google Authenticator. SMS is not a very good two-factor solution, though it is still better than none at all.
Humans are great at identifying patterns and that makes us terrible at randomness. Password best practises – choose a different random password for each site, never write them down – pose management problems.
For most people, the only way to accomplish this is to use a password manager – one which generates and stores your passwords securely on multiple devices. Popular managers include 1Password, Roboform, LastPass, and the open source KeePass.
Many offer free basic services, with premium services costing less than $80 per year. They're easy to use and in just a couple of weeks you’ll never want to be without one again.
If something happened to you tomorrow would your family be able to access your cryptocoin? While this tip takes time to implement, it's worth it.
It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to make a plan and decide who you want to get what, write down instructions and tell your family about your plan.
Be sure to consult an attorney, to make sure your plan is consistent with local law and can’t be challenged in a court. If you have a will, trust, or other estate plan, let your attorney know that you have new assets that need to be included in your plan.
Getting your first Cryptocurrency is becoming easier and easier, but keeping it safe from hackers, insolvent exchanges, and loss isn't as easy.
These 8 tips will help you bring in the new year with a renewed sense of confidence that you can safeguard the Cryptocurrency that you have, especially now that it’s worth a lot more.
Source: https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/republic-georgia-introduce-blockchain-platform-real-estate-documents/ Samburaj Das on 02/01/2017
The country of Georgia is set to introduce and implement a blockchain platform that will enable citizens to receive information about real estate digitally from documents stored on the distributed ledger.
Announced last month by Georgia’s Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani, the blockchain platform will be put to use this year, in 2017.
Reported by regional publication CBW, the official added:
“Thanks to efforts of Public Registry, Georgia is ready to join this system. We suppose that in 2017, as the first step of insertion of documents, we will store real estate extracts in the system. We will provide detailed information for our citizens. The main thing is that we have attained technical compatibility. As a result, Georgia will be one of the first countries in our regions and western Europe to establish this technology.”
News of Georgia’s sweeping state-backed move to store real estate documents on a blockchain follows other similarly notable endeavors in recent times. For instance, the Dutch city of Rotterdam announced its aim to develop a blockchain project pilot that will conclude legally binding lease contracts in real estate within the city.
Sticking with Netherlands, banking giant ABN AMRO launched a blockchain application called Torch, last month. Developed in partnership with IBM, the blockchain app will record details accessible by buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, banks, notaries and even regulators.
Moving stateside, properties in Cook County in Illinois, US, will be the first to be conveyed on a blockchain by a government agency. Developed by Velox, a blockchain technology provider, the project will help provide better information on vacant Chicago buildings to prevent fraudulent conveyance of property. The government office sees blockchain technology to enable a ‘next generation land records system’ and is among the earliest known efforts of a government agency tapping the bitcoin blockchain for a real-world project.