Dubai just got its first official cryptocurrency

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

IMF Head – Cryptocurrency Could Be the Future. Really.

IMF Head - Cryptocurrency Could Be the Future. Really.

IMF Head – Cryptocurrency Could Be the Future. Really.

Christine Lagarde sees a path ahead for cryptocurrency.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, talked up the potential of virtual currencies to supplant traditional monies in coming decades on Friday. Cryptocurrencies, or virtual currencies, are a new class of digital assets powered by blockchains, distributed ledgers that made their name underpinning networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Unlike JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and billionaire hedge fund founder Ray Dalio, who have recently disparaged Bitcoin, the world's most well known cryptocurrency, Lagarde shared a rosier vision of the general technology's future with attendees of a Bank of England conference in London. "In many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money," she said.

"It may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies," Lagarde told the audience. "Instead, citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies."

Lagarde devoted a third of her talk, which envisioned how financial tech may reshape the world by the year 2040, to the subject of cryptocurrency. She noted that digital money could gain popularity as engineers work through technology issues related to processing more payments through blockchain networks in the future.

"Why might citizens hold virtual currencies rather than physical dollars, euros, or sterling? Because it may one day be easier and safer than obtaining paper bills, especially in remote regions," Lagarde said. "Virtual currencies could actually become more stable."

Lagarde couched her predictions with the pretense of sci-fi ("Are you ready to jump on my [hovering drone] pod and explore the future together?" she said), but her forecast matches the view of other big-name optimists, like Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson. "I'm a believer," Johnson said at an industry conference earlier this year about digital currencies.

Other topics Lagarde touched on included the possible disruption of the traditional banking business model by fintech upstarts as well as the advent of artificial intelligence.

You can read Lagarde's prepared remarks in full here, or read on for the segment about cryptocurrency, below.

1. Virtual currencies

Let us start with virtual currencies. To be clear, this is not about digital payments in existing currencies—through Paypal and other “e-money” providers such as Alipay in China, or M-Pesa in Kenya.

Virtual currencies are in a different category, because they provide their own unit of account and payment systems. These systems allow for peer-to-peer transactions without central clearinghouses, without central banks.

For now, virtual currencies such as Bitcoin pose little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks. Why? Because they are too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive, and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable. Many are too opaque for regulators; and some have been hacked.

But many of these are technological challenges that could be addressed over time. Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies.

Better value for money?

For instance, think of countries with weak institutions and unstable national currencies. Instead of adopting the currency of another country—such as the U.S. dollar—some of these economies might see a growing use of virtual currencies. Call it dollarization 2.0.

IMF experience shows that there is a tipping point beyond which coordination around a new currency is exponential. In the Seychelles, for example, dollarization jumped from 20 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2008.

And yet, why might citizens hold virtual currencies rather than physical dollars, euros, or sterling? Because it may one day be easier and safer than obtaining paper bills, especially in remote regions. And because virtual currencies could actually become more stable.

For instance, they could be issued one-for-one for dollars, or a stable basket of currencies. Issuance could be fully transparent, governed by a credible, pre-defined rule, an algorithm that can be monitored…or even a “smart rule” that might reflect changing macroeconomic circumstances.

So in many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money. The best response by central bankers is to continue running effective monetary policy, while being open to fresh ideas and new demands, as economies evolve.

Better payment services?

For example, consider the growing demand for new payment services in countries where the shared, decentralized service economy is taking off.

This is an economy rooted in peer-to-peer transactions, in frequent, small-value payments, often across borders.

Four dollars for gardening tips from a lady in New Zealand, three euros for an expert translation of a Japanese poem, and 80 pence for a virtual rendering of historic Fleet Street: these payments can be made with credit cards and other forms of e-money. But the charges are relatively high for small-value transactions, especially across borders.

Instead, citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies, since they potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash—no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities. If privately issued virtual currencies remain risky and unstable, citizens may even call on central banks to provide digital forms of legal tender.

So, when the new service economy comes knocking on the Bank of England’s door, will you welcome it inside? Offer it tea—and financial liquidity?

Author: Robert Hackett

Posted by David Ogden Entrpreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency entreprenur

 

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

AngelList Creator Naval Ravikant Backs S&P-Style Cryptocurrency Fund

AngelList Creator Naval Ravikant Backs S&P-Style Cryptocurrency Fund

 

 

A startup led by former Facebook and Google employees is launching a cryptocurrency index fund.

Backed by AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, Bitwise Asset Management is today coming out of stealth mode to reveal its first product, the Bitwise Hold10 Private Index Fund – a market cap-weighted basket of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by network value. With the launch, investors who participate in the fund will own shares meant to reflect the value of the underlying assets, allowing them to achieve what BitWise argues is a broad exposure to the cryptocurrency market.

The fund's co-founders are Hunter Horsley, a former Facebook and Instagram project manager and Wharton graduate, and Hong Kim, a Google veteran and former Korean military software security expert. One of the key goals of the fund, Horsley said is to create a way for investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrency with the ease and economy of investing in an S&P 500 index fund.

Horsley told CoinDesk:

"We want to create a meaningful and secure way to own a portfolio of cryptocurrency. We feel that, today, it's too hard and it's too expensive."

Bitwise's basic thesis breaks down rather neatly along those lines – particularly the assessment of the founders that existing investing options now present significant challenges to retail investors. According to Horsley, prior to March of 2017, investors could gain broad exposure to the cryptocurrency asset class simply by owning bitcoin, which until then represented 85 percent of the total market value. However, with the rise in the total market capitalization of the various different networks to more than $100 billion, he contends that achieving such exposure now requires more active management and, given the nascent stage of the market, specialized expertise.

Fees and features

But amidst a boom in the number of investment options available, Horsely intends to compete on more than simply market knowledge. Notably, the fund charges just 2 percent on an annualized basis. Further, it does not charge a fee on profits, making it more reasonably priced than alternatives, he claims. By comparison, other funds are charging investors a traditional hedge fund-style "two and twenty" fee, which includes a sizable 20 percent fee charged against any profits the fund generates. While the fund requires investors be both accredited and based in the U.S., the minimum investment is a relatively modest $10,000.

Also, in what he argued puts the fund in contrast to a wave of other hedge funds launched over the summer, Horsley said Bitwise will seek a passive investment strategy. While other funds actively trade crypto assets in an attempt to generate a larger return, he said BitWise will simply hold a portfolio of assets that represents the broader market.

Another advantage, Horsley said, is that retail investors won't have to take ownership of any cryptocurrencies themselves, or to devise a strategy to ensure the security of their investments. "We are 100 percent 'cold storage'," he said, in reference to the way the fund stores its assets in a more secure, offline environment. The only time the assets will come out of cold storage, he added, is when the fund rebalances itself – meaning the times when the fund must buy or sell coins in order to reflect the same relative market capitalizations of the market more broadly.

Horsley explained:

 

"I think for some people it can be feasible to store things in hardware wallets, and do it themselves, but there are, of course, a lot of risks to doing that. I think, from a security perspective, having a titled share – the assets of which are then backed by our storage – is really helpful."

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

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

Dragonchain, Originally Developed at Disney, Opens Limited Supply Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

Dragonchain,
Originally Developed at Disney,
Opens Limited Supply
Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

Dragonchain, the blockchain platform originally developed at Disney
SEATTLE, Oct. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Dragonchain, the blockchain platform originally developed at Disney, opens its public Initial Coin Offering (ICO) today, the one-year anniversary of Disney releasing it as open source. Running Oct. 2 – Nov. 2, the tokens issued during the ICO (Dragons) will provide access to Dragonchain platform services, project incubation, and professional services to support enterprises, start-ups, and entrepreneurs building applications on the platform.

Dragonchain simplifies the integration of real business applications on a blockchain and provides features such as easy integration, protection of business data and operations, currency agnosticism, and multi-currency support. The company also provides professional services to build-out development and successful tokenization ecosystems with long term value utilizing an incubation model. Please visit and contact us at https://dragonchain.com/.

"Our vision for Dragonchain is a secure and flexible blockchain platform paired with a crowd scaled incubator," said Joe Roets, Founder and CEO of Dragonchain, Inc. "The system is modeled to create feedback loops and accelerate blockchain projects and market success." Dragonchain was originally developed at Disney's Seattle office between 2015 and 2016 under the name "Disney Private Blockchain Platform." The project launched as open-source by Disney on October 2, 2016, and is now maintained by the Dragonchain Foundation.

In addition, Dragonchain officially announces the formation of its Advisory Board to provide strategic guidance on future endeavors. "Dragonchain's context-based approval ushers in a new era of inter-linked blockchain databases, multi-dimensional datastores that scale to customer requirements," said Jeff Garzik, co-founder at Bloq and Dragonchain Advisory Board member. "Joe and the Dragonchain team are bringing a unique solution to market – the latest in blockchain technology, combining ease of integration, cloud scalability and secure grounding in public blockchain networks."

Dragonchain Advisory Board members include:

Jeff Garzik, co-founder, Bloq
A futurist, bitcoin entrepreneur and software engineer, Jeff is co- founder and CEO of Bloq, a code-for-hire service that delivers enterprise grade blockchain technology to leading companies worldwide.

Matthew Roszak, co-founder, Bloq and founding partner, Tally Capital
Co-founder at Bloq and founding partner at Tally Capital, Matthew is an avid supporter and investor in the exciting technology frontier of blockchain.

Ed Fries, tech industry advisor and co-founder of the original Xbox
Ed joined Microsoft in 1986, and as a VP, spent 10 years as one of the early developers of Excel and Word. He left the Office team to pursue his passion for interactive entertainment and created Microsoft Game Studios. Over the next eight years he grew the team from 50 people to over 1200, published over 100 games, co-founded the Xbox Project, making Microsoft one of the leaders in the video game business.

Collin LaHay (Collin Crypto), Gambit founder
Blockchain expert, Bitcoin angel investor, ICO advisor, founder at Gambit, entrepreneur, internet marketer and founder of CollinLaHay.com a search engine marketing business offering.

Tom Bush – former assistant director, FBI CJIS Division
National security, homeland security and law enforcement subject matter expert with over 33 years in federal law enforcement and owner at Tom Bush Consulting.

Chris Boscolo – Founder, lifeID
A specialist in cloud-computing, Amazon Web Services, network security, TCP/IP network protocols embedded systems and Linux kernel drivers, Chris has more than 20 years' experience building commercially successful products. "With increased concerns around security and privacy, blockchain is a transformative technology," said Tom Bush, owner at Tom Bush Consulting and Dragonchain Advisory Board member. "Dragonchain is positioned to be a notable player in this sector."

About Dragonchain
Dragonchain simplifies the integration of real business applications on a blockchain and provides features such as easy integration, protection of business data and operations, currency agnosticism, and multi-currency support. The company also provides professional services to build-out development and successful tokenization ecosystems with long term value utilizing an incubation model.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

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

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Chinese money dominates bitcoin, now its companies are gunning for blockchain tech

Beijing, China

It’s a sweltering summer night when I’m invited to join a bitcoin miner from Shenzhen at a “bitcoin club” somewhere in downtown Beijing. I’ve just returned from visiting one of the world’s largest bitcoin mines and find myself at a gathering of cryptocurrency enthusiasts at a craft beer brewery in the Sanlitun nightlife district.

I excuse myself from the bitcoin meetup and resort to jumping in a pirate taxi because I don’t have a mobile wallet from Alibaba or Tencent—the primary way to hail and pay for taxis in the city. After paying in cash—now a rarity in China’s mobile payment saturated cities—I disembark, then get lost amid Beijing’s ancient hutongs, the narrow alleyways that link China’s traditional courtyard residences.

My host puts me out of my misery by sharing his location on a real-time map over our WeChat direct messages. Now drenched in sweat, I meet Jack Liao, who runs a bitcoin mining firm called Lightning Asic. He leads me through a dark hutong, coming to a set of carved wooden double-doors. Pushing them open, we enter into the courtyard of a palatially renovated villa. This is my first look at the elusive “bitcoin club.”

The club is located in a 2,000-square-foot villa with a staff of 15, including cooks, cleaners, and wait people. It has two guest rooms, a dining room that hosts two dozen people, a professional Texas Hold ‘Em table emblazoned with the legend, “Faith in Bitcoin,” an automated mahjong table; shelves stacked with fine wine and liquor, a room for practicing Chinese caligraphy, and so on. The table stakes are bitcoin, AliPay credits, and sometimes even yuan, the only non-virtual currency accepted. Guests can sleep, eat, drink, and gamble for free if they’re acquainted with the miners who run the place. “People come here just to chat about projects,” Liao says.

The eye-popping villa bankrolled by bitcoin mining is a symbol of just how lucrative the cryptocurrency industry has been for some on the Chinese mainland. China is home to the world’s largest bitcoin mines, thanks to abundant and cheap electricity, and at one time the country accounted for 95% of the volume traded in global markets. Its central bank is experimenting with a blockchain-backed digital currency, and its biggest companies, from tech giants to industrial conglomerates, are racing to bake blockchain tech into major new projects.

All this points to a central question: How did stateless cryptocurrencies get so big in China, a country where the national currency—along with so much else—remains tightly controlled by the government? Why has bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, flourished with so much vigor here in China? A two-week journey through bitcoin trading operations in Shanghai, mining operations in Inner Mongolia, and the club in Beijing hasn’t answered the question definitely—but it’s gotten me much closer.

Bitcoin is a political statement

Bitcoin began as an experiment in economics and politics, as a project to create electronic money that anyone could use but no one controlled, especially a sovereign authority. The code behind the new currency gave life to libertarian ideals like: money free from government controls on spending and taxation; transactions that could ignore a global, sometimes corrupt banking system; and freedom from central bank targeting of interest rates and inflation. It was also rebuke to the very notion of conventional money.

Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, encoded a headline from the Times of London in the first block of transactions ever created on the bitcoin blockchain. It read: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Given bitcoin’s political bona fides, it’s a great irony that Chinese companies and individual users are so dominant in its daily activities. The world’s biggest bitcoin miner is a Beijing-based company called Bitmain, which operates two mining pools that control nearly 30% of all the processing power devoted to bitcoin mining. It might seem that Chinese bitcoiners are carrying out some kind of libertarian protest against China’s ruling communist party, subverting the status quo by processing cryptocurrency transactions towards a yet-to-be-revealed political end.

They aren’t.

“In China, bitcoin is one thing and in America and Europe it is another thing,” Liao said as we sipped tea from porcelain cups on the villa’s top floor. Our host, Wu Bi, explains there is no competition between cryptocurrencies and the government-controlled renminbi, at least as the government sees it. “In China our government says bitcoin is not a currency, it is a commodity, so there is no chance it will compete with the renminbi,” Wu told me in Chinese, with Liao translating. “Bitcoin is a great idea, but in China we care more about blockchain.”

Wu and his Chinese compatriots are focused not on the currency, but on the technology behind it. Blockchain is simply a technical way to record encrypted transactions that are distributed across a computer network; once entered they cannot be altered. Instead of using blockchain, or bitcoin, as a permissionless cryptocurrency, banks want to shoe-horn some of bitcoin’s features into current transaction systems to create a low-cost network that, crucially, would require administrators to grant users access. Those administrators, of course, would be banks, or central banks. “Different countries may have different ideas about what is government, and what is the liberty of individuals,” Wu says.

Bitcoin users I met in Beijing were similarly dismissive of bitcoin’s libertarian politics. They did not want to be named or quoted directly, but their argument was essentially this: People in China simply aren’t interested in bitcoin’s potential for political change. And besides, China’s closely controlled economy has delivered prosperity for now—what benefits does bitcoin bring besides as an investment that might appreciate?

Object of speculation

Ordinary Chinese bitcoin users I spoke to, and those who are served by the exchanges and wallet providers, are far more interested in the ability to speculate on bitcoin’s wild price swings—it’s just another way to make money as China continues to adopt characteristics of a market economy.

As it happens, bitcoin arrived just as a class of retail investors in China is growing in size, and seeking better returns than those offered by a restricted financial products market. Even the market for property in China’s top-tier coastal cities, usually reliable for spectacular returns, has been subjected to ever tightening lending restrictions by a government eager to curb speculation. “[Chinese consumers] have had such limited channels for so long, and [bitcoin] was finally one that was not tightly controlled by the government,” says Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow specializing in Chinese internet finance at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC.

One seasoned observer of the Chinese bitcoin scene concurs. Eric Zhao is n engineer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai and runs the widely followed Twitter account CN Ledger. Bitcoin became popular almost by default, because of the paucity of products for the Chinese retail investor, he says. “There are not many good investment choices for common people in China. Many people worry about inflation and lots of people feel insecure about their financial status,” he says. “They buy it simply because they believe it will appreciate in value.”

Uncorrelated to major asset classes and generally disconnected from the Chinese economy, bitcoin has been hugely attractive to Chinese investors already overweight domestic stocks and property. Indeed, research from Pantera Capital, a venture fund for blockchain companies, shows that bitcoin is almost completely uncorrelated to major equity, debt, and commodity asset classes. “Because [bitcoin] is globally connected, it’s not easily affected by the Chinese economy,” says Isaac Mao, a longtime entrepreneur and investor in China’s technology scene. “It may be the only economic activity fully connected to the global economy.”

Crackdown

The wild ride on bitcoin in China, however, braked to a stop Sept. 4, when China’s central bank began to take steps to halt domestic bitcoin trading. It started with a ban on “initial coin offerings,” followed by a shutdown of local bitcoin exchanges. China’s authorities have clamped down on bitcoin trading before, most notably in 2014, when the cryptocurrency was on a historic rally driven, in part, by Chinese money.

Now rumors are swirling that a ban on bitcoin mining may be enacted. But if the government has found bitcoin to be a potentially dangerous element in the country’s socio-political mix, why didn’t it crack down before? Instead, it has been relatively tolerant of a technology that was designed to weaken the state’s grip on money.

The rare true believer in bitcoin’s libertarian properties is Bobby Lee, an American who runs the world’s oldest bitcoin exchange, BTCC, in Shanghai. His firm was forced to shut down domestic trading through its BTCChina arm, although it still runs an exchange for non-Chinese traders. When we spoke before the crackdown in August, Lee was enthusiastic about government regulation, saying it would help the market mature. But he also struck a defiant note, saying that bitcoin’s design made it impossible for China’s regulators to shut down. “There is nothing [the Chinese government] can do. That is the beauty of [bitcoin],” he said.

I pointed out that the government could seize exchanges, and even bitcoin mining facilities, and compel their owners to run certain types of code or mess with transactions, thus damaging the cryptocurrency. Lee was sanguine. “They’ll want to control it, but bitcoin was not meant to be controlled,” he said. “You can make all the rules you want, and the question is, can they be enforced? With guns you can say, let’s make guns illegal. But with bitcoin, there’s nothing physical. It’s information, and there’s plausible deniability.”

The reality may be more prosaic. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are simply too small to bother the Chinese government much, says Isaac Mao, the investor and entrepreneur and one of China’s earliest bloggers. “The [Chinese Communist Party] doesn’t recognize it as a threat, so bitcoin actually grows very quickly in China,” he told me at a cafe in Hong Kong, where he is now based. “But it’s too small. There is no scale. The market capitalization of bitcoin is about the same as PayPal,” or about $70 billion.

I spoke to Mao in August, but the crackdown doesn’t signal any political threat, writes Chorzempa of the Peterson Institute. It’s more likely that bitcoin trading is just collateral damage from a wider set of restrictions on alternative financial products that have caused billions in consumer losses. Regulators have reigned in not just crypto trading but peer-to-peer loans, trusts, and lending to non-bank institutions this year, Chorzempa writes: “The clampdown thus fits into a broader set of efforts to lessen financial market risks perceived by Chinese policymakers.”

Everyone hates inflation

To the extent that bitcoin trading and mining is a political statement, it’s a demonstration against inflation. Prices in China grew rapidly in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, hitting their highest level in decades in 2007. Inflation has moderated since then, but ordinary Chinese say they still feel the pinch.

Bitmain’s Micree Zhang, who developed its proprietary mining chips, says worry about inflation chewing up his earnings was one reason why he first became interested in bitcoin. “Before I knew about bitcoin I disliked, and was very worried about, inflation. Especially in China in the last 10 years,” he said when I visited with him at Bitmain’s main facility in Inner Mongolia. “When I discovered bitcoin, I knew it was a good idea, very quickly.”

One bitcoin user I met in Beijing told me he was attracted to the cryptocurrency because the government couldn’t devalue it by printing more money, unlike the yuan. The Chinese government controls its currency far more tightly than other major economies.

This level of control can lead to panics. In 2015, the Chinese government devalued the yuan in an attempt to boost economic growth, sending shockwaves through global markets. While today the central bank’s move is seen as astute, at the time Chinese consumers were hit hard, worrying about paying more for everything from Australian beef to New Zealand milk.

Digging for digital gold

China has been the world’s largest electricity producer since it surpassed the United States in 2011. Cheap electricity is the crucial ingredient for a profitable bitcoin mining operation—and China has it in spades. So it’s no surprise that China has become a world center for the activity.

Take Beijing-based Bitmain, for instance. It’s the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, but the company doesn’t divulge its financial data, and there’s no easy way to find out because its beneficial owner is a trust in the Cayman Islands. But one longtime commentator in the bitcoin space, Jimmy Song, has performed an analysis of the firm’s likely profitability. His estimate: $77 million in mining profits for the firm this year, of which electricity and other operational costs come up to about $23 million.

It’s estimated that two-thirds of the world’s processing power devoted to mining bitcoin resides in China. These bitcoin mines take the form of giant warehouses filled with thousands of custom-designed machines and chips, all whirring away to check bitcoin transactions and compete for a slice of the 12.5 bitcoins awarded to a miner every 10 minutes. Collectively, bitcoin miners have collected more than $2 billion in revenue over the cryptocurrency’s nine-year lifespan.

Bitmain leads the pack as both a creator of bitcoin mining rigs and chips, and an operator of vast server farms. It’s now raised $50 million from marquee Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital to expand to the US—perhaps reducing its exposure to Chinese regulations—and to develop a new set of chips for artificial intelligence.
 

Sheer scale

Bitmain’s position as the world’s largest miner is only the tip of Chinese industrial interest on blockchain technology. Last May, a Chinese company called Wanxiang Group, one of the world largest automotive parts makers, sponsored a blockchain hackathon at the Deloitte offices in Rockefeller Center in New York. Wanxiang plans to embed blockchain technology into a new “smart city“—a nine square kilometer plot of land with a planned population of 90,000 people and $30 billion in investment—that it is building from scratch near Hangzhou in eastern China. It was looking for the world’s brightest blockchain developers.

Wanxiang was offering $15,000 to teams who came up with an enticing blockchain project for the smart city, with an additional $1 million in funding. As Wanxiang executive Peter Liang clicked through his slides detailing how blockchains would power everything from the city’s electricity grid to its traffic control system and be embedded in Wanxiang’s factories, the handful of programmers in the room grew both skeptical and awed. “It’s so huge, it’s hard to even believe,” one developer told him.

Wanxiang isn’t the only Chinese conglomerate with blockchain dreams. Beyond cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, some of China’s biggest firms are betting on the technical ideas behind it to revolutionize their businesses. They’re placing much bigger bets than their counterparts elsewhere in the world, who are mired in small-scale trials, proofs of concepts, or slow moving consortia. Chinese companies “are not only moving faster, but the scale of their blockchain ambitions dwarf what we’re seeing elsewhere,” says Garrick Hileman, of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The Chinese e-commerce giant JD has already launched a food supply tracking system using a blockchain in Beijing supermarkets and online stores. The tech giant Tencent has partnered with Intel to develop a blockchain architecture. And the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has said it’s researching blockchain technology as a way to potentially digitize the yuan.

Blockchains for industry

Unlike firms elsewhere in the world, Chinese companies sense an opportunity to unify the fragmented data flows flowing through their stupendously large and complicated factory floors and supply chains by marrying a blockchain data layer with Internet of Things devices. Conveniently, these applications are also free of the regulation and scrutiny that can slow down financial applications. “I personally believe that non-financial [applications] will go commercial sooner,” says Vincent Wang, Wanxiang’s chief innovation officer.

Foxconn, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers of electronics and best known for manufacturing Apple’s iPhone, sees blockchain as way for its suppliers to get easy financing. “In China, 85% of SMEs can’t get financing,” Foxconn executive Jack Lee told a conference in New York in May. “They have to go to shadow banking … so it’s very inefficient and costly.” If Foxconn can leverage its current data on small businesses through blockchain, it could create a highly efficient supply chain that could also track delivered goods.

Just as mobile phones allowed China and emerging economies to leapfrog the rich world’s telephone landlines, blockchain technologies could help its industries skip the development of antiquated financial services models. After all, Chinese tech firms Alibaba and Tencent are already processing trillions of dollars through their mobile payments businesses. “We are more interested in getting to a next-generation financial services business,” Foxconn’s Lee says. “That’s the key. As a side benefit for Foxconn, it will streamline the supply chain.”

Those kinds of observations make less worrisome the recent drop in China’s share of bitcoin trading volume as well as rumors on Telegram chat groups about an imminent crackdown on even China’s powerful bitcoin miners. Because Chinese money’s waning influence over the bitcoin markets may be replaced by control over an even greater prize.

As it continues to move from a rural to an industrial economy, China needs to leapfrog the incumbents and assert itself as a technology leader. Bitcoin and the ideas behind its blockchain may be one way to do that—and it may be why China has been a leader of a stateless cryptocurrency for so long.

 

Author: Joon Ian Wong

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
david ogden cryptocurrency entrepreneur

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

A Victory For Bitcoin

A Victory For Bitcoin

 

While Bitcoin remains highly speculative

– I think it can continue to strengthen from here.  Bitcoin is so volatile that I want to reiterate my belief that it only belongs in your portfolio as part of your highly speculative allocation (link).  I also think it is worth reviewing my 3 Rules of Bitcoin (link).

The bullish case is that Bitcoin survived the recent bearish case so well.

Back on September 15th it appeared to me as though not only China, but a number of public figures were trying to crack down on Bitcoin (link).  It was successful at first, as Bitcoin continued its decline, dropping from over $5,000 to as low as $3,000.  Bitcoin has rebounded sharply since then. The ‘evangelists’ of bitcoin argue that the fact it isn't controlled by governments is precisely why you should own it.  Bitcoin is meant to be function outside of the realm of central banks and governments.  Bitcoin seems to have navigated this recent crackdown with great success.

By passing the recent test with flying colors, Bitcoin should attract some new investors.  There are many investors who have watched the rally in cryptocurrencies from the sidelines because they have concerns about the ability of cryptocurrencies to deliver as advertised.  It seems likely that some of these investors will dip their toe in the water now – creating new demand for cryptocurrencies in the near term. This additional new demand should help keep prices rising. If there were easier ways for 'mainstream' investors to get involved in Bitcoin (like ETFs) the rally would be even stronger.

The cynic in me, needs to point out that many people have strong incentives to prop up the price of Bitcoin.  Bitcoin miners, in particular, come to mind.  Bitcoin mining remains very profitable at these prices.  In a world where there are no rules (Rule #2 of my 3 Rules of Bitcoin) we have to consider that some of this rebound may be driven by those who have the most to gain.  That incentive and risk of manipulation is always an issue in thinly traded markets, but I think it is an even greater concern in the sometimes murky world of cryptocurrencies.While I still don't have a strong conviction on the long term viability of cryptocurrencies, I do think it is impressive that they recovered from this China crackdown, which is positive for prices in the near term.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

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

Finance Gurus Who Believe Bitcoin May Be Worthless

Finance Gurus
Who Believe Bitcoin May Be Worthless

It may be the year of the cryptocurrency,
but not everyone's a fan.

 

If 2017 goes down in the books as anything,

it'll probably be "the year of the cryptocurrency." Headed by bitcoin, the aggregate cryptocurrency market cap grew by more than 800% at one point this year.  Bitcoin comprises nearly half of the aggregate cryptocurrency market cap by itself. By comparison, it's taken decades for the broad-based

it'll probably be "the year of the cryptocurrency." Headed by bitcoin, the aggregate cryptocurrency market cap grew by more than 800% at one point this year.  Bitcoin comprises nearly half of the aggregate cryptocurrency market cap by itself. By comparison, it's taken decades for the broad-based S&P 500 to deliver a similar return.

Beam me up, bitcoin

Why the sudden surge in digital currencies?

Some would say it has to do with the blockchain technology that underlies most cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is nothing more than the digital decentralized ledger that records transactions without the need for a financial intermediary like a bank. Because these networks are often open source, it's practically impossible to alter data while going undetected, which makes blockchain a potential upgrade in safety and security.

  More than 150 organizations are currently testing out

a version of Ethereum's blockchain network via the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and bitcoin recently completed an upgrade to its network known as SegWit2x, which is designed to boost capacity, while lowering transaction fees and settlement times. It should help bitcoin appeal to big business in much the same way Ethereum has thus far.

The falling U.S. dollar has been another catalyst for bitcoin and other digital currencies in 2017. The dollar hit more than a two-year low against the euro, and more than a one-year low against a host of other currencies, in recent weeks. While that's bound to put a smile on President Trump's face, as it should boost U.S. exports, it's bad news for investors who are seeing their cash devalue relative to other currencies. Traditionally, investors seek the safety of a finite resource like gold as a store of value when the dollar drops. Lately, though, some have turned instead to bitcoin, since it, too, is considered to be a finite resource. Bitcoin's protocols limit the number of coins that can be mined to 21 million.

Momentum is another catalyst that can't be overlooked, albeit it's far less tangible than the two other catalysts. Since bitcoin isn't recognized as legal tender by most governments (Japan recognized bitcoin as legal tender earlier this year), financial institutions are often barred from trading or holding it in their investment portfolios. That leaves bitcoin's pricing predominantly up to retail investors, who are far likelier to trade based on emotion than logic. It's quite possible the "don't miss the boat" mentality has been pushing bitcoin higher.

Bitcoin may be worthless according to these well-respected finance moguls

While numerous bitcoin enthusiasts and pundits have come out with price targets of $10,000, $25,000, and even $1 million on bitcoin, other respected finance moguls have taken an exceptionally bearish view on bitcoin. In fact, a few are unsure if it holds any value at all.

Warren Buffett

That's right — the most revered stock investor in the world, and the greatest buy-and-hold investor of our generation, believes bitcoin to be something of a sham. In an interview with CNBC back in 2014,

Here's what Buffett had to say: 

Stay away from it. It's a mirage, basically. It's a method of transmitting money. It's a very effective way of transmitting money, and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money, too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can transmit money? I hope bitcoin becomes a better way to do it. But you can replicate it a bunch of different ways. The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke, in my view.

Admittedly, Buffett hasn't exactly been correct about bitcoin, with the digital currency significantly increasing in value since his opinion back in 2014. Nevertheless, Buffett raises an exceptionally good point that modes of payment, and even blockchain technology, have a very low barrier to entry. There isn't much to protect these digital currencies against competitors entering the space.

Jamie Dimon

Jamie Dimon, the current CEO of the largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), might be bitcoin's biggest critic of all. A few weeks ago, in an interview with CNBC at its annual Delivering Alpha conference, Dimon didn't mince his words when referring to bitcoin as a "fraud." Said Dimon, bitcoin is "just not a real thing." At a separate conference earlier in the day,

Dimon also said:

It's worse than tulip bulbs. It won't end well. Someone is going to get killed. Currencies have legal support. It will blow up.

In addition to this commentary, Dimon noted that if any of JPMorgan Chase's money managers were to trade or hold bitcoin, they would be "fired in a second." It's pretty evident that bitcoin represents a threat to traditional banking if it continues to grow in popularity, but Dimon may also be correct that without any sort of central backing, legitimizing digital currencies like bitcoin may prove impossible.

 Paul Krugman

Lastly, Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has had serious doubts about the long-term survival of bitcoin for years. Back in 2013, Krugman penned an op-ed for The New York Times in which

he said:  

So far almost all of the bitcoin discussion has been positive economic — can this actually work? And I have to say that I'm still deeply unconvinced. To be successful, money must be both a medium of exchange and a reasonably stable store of value. And it remains completely unclear why bitcoin should be a stable store of value.

You'll note that while bitcoin has been the asset of choice instead of gold as of late for some investors, it's not a true finite resource like gold. Bitcoin's protocols could always be changed, meaning more than 21 million coins could eventually be mined. Plus, without government backing, there's nothing placing a floor underneath the value of bitcoin. Though all three of these finance gurus have been dead wrong about bitcoin thus far, I'm mostly in agreement with their theses. Bitcoin has been driven higher by emotion, the technology behind it is relatively easily to duplicate, and its decentralized nature makes legitimizing the currency all that much tougher. We very well could be on the verge of a bitcoin bubble.

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Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble

Will bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble?

The boss of JP Morgan was unequivocal about bitcoin at a recent conference in New York: the digital currency was only fit for drug dealers and would eventually blow up. “[It] isn’t going to work,” said Jamie Dimon. “You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that the people who are buying it are really smart.”

A few days after Dimon’s comments, the value of bitcoin plunged when the Chinese authorities announced a crackdown on it. It has been an eventful month, even in the context of a currency that is less than a decade old. Since the start of the year the value of a single bitcoin has gone from $1,000 (£750) to almost $5,000.

The spiralling price of the cryptocurrency, along with the controversy it has attracted in the past few weeks, has meant that interest from buyers has peaked and more consumers are considering whether to invest – or gamble, as some commentators say – in it.

“We continue to see a rise in demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” says Obi Nwosu of Coinfloor, an exchange where people can buy and trade bitcoin. “When senior leaders in the financial community, regulators and government bodies share their views about bitcoin, it further raises interest and awareness in the market.”

So amid the warnings, should investors see the spiralling price as reason enough to buy?

How it began

Established in 2009 after the financial crash, bitcoin is a digital currency that has no central bank or regulatory authority backing it up. The coins don’t exist in a tangible form but are made by computers and stored in a digital wallet or on the cloud. They can then be exchanged and used in transactions.

There is a finite number of bitcoin that can be supplied – 21m – and there are currently 15m in circulation. Its price has fluctuated wildly since it was launched. Seven years ago, two pizzas were bought for 10,000 bitcoin. At its peak at the beginning of September this year each bitcoin was worth almost $5,000. As it can be used as an anonymous way to carry out cross-border money transfers, it has been linked to drug dealing and money laundering.

There are bitcoin ATMs that allow the cryptocurrency to be exchanged for cash, and an increasing number of businesses accept it. Lady Mone, co-founder of underwear brand Ultimo, launched a property development in Dubai with prices in bitcoin, while a London property developer is to allow its tenants to pay their deposits using it.

Growing interest

The renewed attention on bitcoin has led to a spike in interest from people wanting to invest. “BTC [bitcoin] and crypto[currency] more broadly have hit the mainstream consciousness,” says Lex Deak, chief executive of alternative investment aggregator Off3r. “I am getting an increasing number of enquiries from late adopters who want to learn more about accessing investment opportunities in the space. It has matured rapidly since the beginning of the year, courtesy of the jump from $1,000 to over $4,000, with a feeling that there is now a little less volatility.”

Guy Halford-Thompson, the founder of brokerage Quickbitcoin, says he would not be surprised if mainstream brokers and investors started to invest heavily in the near future. At the same time, the financial regulator has warned against a speculative frenzy over initial coin offerings (ICOs) – a digital way of raising funds from the public using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – because of their unregulated nature and lack of investor protection.

While some investors may be attracted by the massive rises this year, others will be wary of the volatility. In mid-January one bitcoin was valued at $800. By June this had gone to $3,000. One month later, it was at less than $2,000 and then almost $5,000 by the start of September. Two weeks later, it was at $3,200.

“Whether it is suitable or not is down to individual circumstances,” says Deak. “If you are an experienced investor with a balanced portfolio and relatively small exposure, then BTC is an exciting and potentially lucrative investment. It needs to come with a clear warning that there is potential for significant losses and investors need to carefully consider the method of investing.”

Tread carefully

Electronic payments expert Dave Birch has said in the past that “one doesn’t invest in bitcoin, one gambles on bitcoin”. Those working in the area advise anyone planning on buying the currency to only invest as much as they are prepared to lose.

“The general sensible view is that the more volatile the investment, the smaller proportion of your wealth you should consider storing in it,” says Marc Warne, founder of bitcoin exchange Bittylicious. “I have heard of people moving their life investments into bitcoin and this is a bad idea.

“The flipside is simple – why not give it a try? If you have £20 to spare, for instance, buy a tiny amount and track its price. If something goes hideously wrong the £20 can be written off and it can be considered a learning experience. If you can, spend it somewhere like at a few pubs that accept it.”

Because the typical protections surrounding investment are not present with bitcoin, prospective investors should ask for help from those who have traded in them already, says Halford-Thompson. “My advice to anyone thinking about investing in bitcoin is to do their own research, but also to speak to people who have already gone through the experience of investing in it,” he says.

“Most of the dangers are because the protection that investors would normally enjoy on a stock market are not present. If you own bitcoin, you need to make sure you know how to buy, sell and store it properly or you risk losing your entire investment.”

Is it secure?

Concerns about the security of the cryptocurrency have continued to shadow it. Last year, almost 120,000 bitcoin worth around $78m (£58m)were stolen from Hong Kong-based Bitfinex, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, which resulted in a 20% drop in the value of the currency at the time.

“Similar to online banking, people need to take care with their bitcoin account credentials,” says Nwosu. “Whether you secure your bitcoin yourself or with a third party like Coinfloor, we recommend the safest way to go is to keep your security credentials offline.”

Daniel Scott of Coincorner says the currency itself is secure, but the problem surrounds businesses in the industry and the wallets where the bitcoin are stored. “Unfortunately, IT security is a real-world issue, not just for bitcoin but within any industry that uses technology. You only have to do a quick Google search for recent hackings of large global companies to see that any company is open to security issues regardless of size or industry.”
 

AS RISKY AS TULIPS

When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, dismissed bitcoin as a currency for drug dealers and murders that would end up imploding, he compared its rise to an infamous bubble from the 1600s. “It is worse than tulip bulbs,” he said.

Dimon was referring to one of the most notorious periods of speculation in history when the value of tulip bulbs rocketed amid a mania for the flowers. The popularity of the bulbs hit its peak in the 1630s.

They were traded “frantically”, according to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and some people even put their homes down as collateral. However, the market crashed in February 1637, leaving many investors penniless.

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