Cryptos: China threatens to ban bitcoin mining

The cryptocurrency industry was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a leading state planning agency in China recommended the government ban mining of bitcoin and other digital currencies. The National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, said it had added crypto mining to its list of industrial activities it plans to curtail because they do not adhere to current laws or were a drain on the environment. A translated version of the document lists it as: “virtual currency ‘mining’ activities (production process of virtual currency such as bitcoin).” According to Reuters, state-owned newspaper Securities Times said the draft list “distinctly reflects the attitude of the country’s industrial policy” towards the digital currency industry. This follows the government’s 2017 decision to ban initial coin offerings and its repeated attempts to shut down local cryptocurrency exchanges. An initial coin offering, or ICO is a crowdfunding tool for crypto-related ventures. However, Charles Hayter, co-founder of CryptoCompare, said the Chinese government is going to face significant headwinds, should it go ahead with the NDRC’s recommendation. “It’s going to be very hard for them to stamp it out,” he said. “There will be some examples made, but with VPNs (virtual private network) and the like, it’s not going anywhere.” Read: ICOs continue to raise money via SEC back door Bitcoin mining has fast become a hotbed for debate with critics arguing its a drain on global energy resources. According to the Bitcoin Consumption Index, the energy required to mine bitcoins in equivalent to the entire country of Bangladesh. However, other surveys have debunked this notion, including a November 2018 report from CoinShares, a digital asset management firm, that said nearly 80% of bitcoin mining uses renewable energy, making it “greener than almost every other large-scale industry in the world.” Read: Bitcoin mining is greener than
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Report: Cryptocurrency ransomware payments up 90%, thanks to Ryuk

Ransomware attacks are still doing the rounds and one in particular appears to be gaining pace. Cryptocurrency payments made to ransomware attackers increased nearly 90 percent in Q1 2019 over the previous quarter, according to ransomware support firm Coveware’s latest report. In the first quarter of the year, the average daily ransom being paid to attackers rose to $12,762 from $6,733 in Q4 2018. According to the report, an increase in expensive infections is responsible for the jump. Credit: Coveware As ever, Bitcoin remains the most popular payment method for ransomware; 98 percent of attacks ask for the cryptocurrency as payment. Coveware compiled anonymized data gathered by their incident response team to collect the data. It should be noted, the findings are indicative only of those that contacted the data recovery firm for help. One ransomware in particular, Ryuk, appears to be single-handedly responsible for this dramatic increase. On average, Ryuk demands around $288,000 per attack; other attackers generally demand less than $10,000 per attack. Credit: Coveware “Ryuk is just one of dozens of types of Ransomware observed impacting companies during the quarter,” CEO and co-founder of Coveware told Hard Fork. “Ryuk ransoms are much higher than others, [it] was not even close to being in the top 3 in our last report (Q4), so its increase in market share and corresponding high average ransoms pulled the average up,” he continued. Ryuk‘s market share sits at 18 percent, putting it in third place behind GrandCrab and Dharma, with 20 percent and 27.8 percent respective market share. Credit: Coveware Ransomware like Ryuk encrypts the targets’ hard drives, locking data until victims contact the hackers and pay a Bitcoin ransom to have their data restored. The financial costs associated with ransomware attacks extend far beyond the cost of data recovery. The report
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Cryptos: Bitcoin scores a ‘golden cross’ — and now everyone is bullish

Once beaten down, bitcoin aficionados are growing louder by the day. On Tuesday, the best-known digital currency surged through $5,500, trading at a five-month high and homing in on key resistance around $6,000. And as momentum picks up, a closely watched bullish indicator suggests further gains are in sight. “The technical picture for [bitcoin] is looking increasingly bullish on the daily charts with the fabled bullish ‘golden cross’ slowly coming into play,” said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst in a Tuesday note. A golden cross occurs when the 50-day moving average crosses above the longer-term 200-day moving average, an infrequent event where short-term momentum overtakes a broader longer-term trend. And in midmorning trade on Tuesday the bullish indicator was hit with the 50-day moving average at $4,489 and the 200-day at $4,478. In most recent trade a single bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.73%  fetched $5,576.99, up 3.6% since late on Monday. The digital currency has gained more than 70% since its cycle low in mid-December. Bitcoin golden cross Read: Don’t look now, but bitcoin is showing signs of life Adding to the growing sentiment, data compiled by DailyFX show retail traders are becoming more bullish. DailyFX said, 80.9% of retail traders are now long net-long bitcoin. Additionally, their data shows retail traders are even more bullish some smaller digital currencies, or altcoins, with 97.7% of traders are net-long Ripple’s XRP coin, XRPUSD, -0.79%  92.1% net-long Ether ETHUSD, -1.07%  and 92.2% are net-long Litecoin. LTCUSD, -3.05%   However, others say the turnaround goes beyond the fabled golden cross. “Bitcoin’s price is up almost 50% since the start of 2019. Instead of obsessing over the volatile price movements, it is important to stay focused on the underlying fundamentals of the transaction settlement network,” said Anthony Pompliano, founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, citing the
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The Tell: Bitcoin jumped as much as 20%: Here’s what experts are saying about the move

Even the most ardent bitcoin maximalist would agree it’s been a difficult 12 months for the world’s best-known digital currency. After trading near $20,000 in late 2017, the best-known cryptocurrency tumbled as much as 80%, demolishing portfolios and ending dreams of early retirements. But on Tuesday, bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.13%  stormed back, climbing as much as 20% and trading above $5,000 for the first time in more than four months. It remains up nearly 15% on the day, trading at $4,752 in recent action. While bitcoin holders, or HODLers — the colloquial term for those that refuse to sell their bitcoin — are counting their chips, others are scouring websites and forums asking: what’s behind the surprise surge in the value of the digital currency? “There’s always a myriad of possible reasons why bitcoin has had a surge in price. The fact that there was $415 million worth in short positions on the Bitmex exchange may have been too succulent a target for the market not to move against,” said George McDonaugh, CEO of KR1, a London-based digital asset investment company in an email to MarketWatch. When bets on an asset like bitcoin — long or short — reach significant levels it can serve as a contrarian indicator and any move against the herd can see traders cover their positions, exaggerating the move. Read: The crypto market is healthier than you probably think, so this chart says Bitcoin took the mainstream media by storm in 2017 when it rallied more than 1,000% to peak near $20,000 in late December of that year. But, the only thing faster than the rise, was the fall. Bitcoin plummeted 70% inside two months, and all-told its 12-month decline wiped as much as 85% off the value of the cryptocurrency, which fell to around $3,200 by
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The Tell: Bitcoin is a hedge against ‘new world’ of central bank policy, says fund manager

Bitcoin prices in recent days have been resurgent, rising as much as 20%, and seemingly turning industry sentiment on a dime. However, as pundits debate potential catalysts for the sudden surge that took hold in an asset that had otherwise been locked in sideways trade for months, one fund manager said the shift in attitude in bitcoin goes beyond the recent rally in the best-known cryptocurrency. “I would say broadly it was central banks,” said Travis Kling, founder and chief investment officer of Ikigai Asset Management. “We had the Fed do a complete U-turn into dovish mode, then everyone else followed (European Central Bank and Bank of Japan). We now have this set up where they [central banks] have become politicized both in the U.S. and globally. It’s the new world we are living in.” And as the world of politics and monetary policy become more and more intertwined, investors are using digital currencies as a bet against traditional monetary policy — a hallmark the early Libertarian utopian-type characters saw in bitcoin at its birth in 2009. “It’s become a hedge against irresponsible monetary and fiscal policy,” said Kling. Read: Bitcoin jumped as much as 20%: Here’s what experts are saying about the move Kling, who traded energy-related stocks for Point72 Asset Management before launching Ikigai, says the combination of quantitative easing, also known as QE, while running fiscal deficits is the “largest financial experiment,” adding that despite what you think of monetary policy “you’ll never win betting against the Fed.” Most recently, the Federal Reserve caught markets off guard when the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee adopted a more dovish stance than expected at its Jan. 29-30 meeting, which some attributed to political pressure from President Donald Trump. This apparent about-face from the Fed only heightened crypto proponents argument
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Moving Towards web3.0 Using Blockchain as Core Tech

The invention of Bitcoin and blockchain technology sets the foundations for the next generations of web applications. The applications which will run on peer to peer network model with existing networking and routing protocols. The applications where centralized Servers would be obsolete and data will be controlled by the entity whom it belongs, i.e., the User. From Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 As we all know, Web 1.0 was static web, and the majority of the information was static and flat.  The major shift happened when user-generated content becomes mainstream. Projects such as WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others are nominated as Web 2.0 sites where we produce and consume verity of contents such as Video, Audio, Images, etc. The problem, however, was not the content; it was the architecture. The Centralized nature of Web opens up tons of security threats, data gathering of malicious purpose, privacy intrusion and cost as well. The invention of Bitcoin and successful use of decentralized, peer to peer, secure network opens up the opportunity to take a step back and redesign the way our web works. The blockchain is becoming the backbone of the new Web, i.e., Web 3.0. History of blockchain The invention of blockchain came to the mainstream after the boom of the Bitcoin in 2018. Have a look at the graph below; Bitcoin was at its peak around $20000. But the technologies that power the blockchain network is not something new. These concepts were researched and developed during the ’90s. Have a look at this timeline. The concepts, such as proof of work, peer to peer network, public key cryptography and consensus algorithms for distributed computing which powers the blockchain have been researched and developed by various universities and computer scientists during the ’90s. These algorithms and concepts are mature and
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Flaws in Bitcoin make a lasting revival unlikely

“BE MORE BRENDA,” said the ads for CoinCorner, a cryptocurrency exchange. They appeared on London’s Underground last summer, featuring a cheery pensioner who had, apparently, bought Bitcoins in just ten minutes. It was bad advice. Six months earlier a single Bitcoin cost just under $20,000. By the time the ads appeared, its value had fallen to $7,000. These days, it is just $4,025 (see chart).While the price was soaring, big financial institutions such as Barclays and Goldman Sachs flirted with opening cryptocurrency-trading desks. Brokerages sent excited emails to their clients. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), one of the world’s leading derivatives exchanges, launched a Bitcoin futures contract. Hundreds of copycat cryptocurrencies also soared, some far outperforming Bitcoin itself. Ripple rose by 36,000% during 2017.Get our daily newsletterUpgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.The bust has been correspondingly brutal. Those who bought near the top were left with one of the world’s worst-performing assets. Cryptocurrency startups fired employees; banks shelved their products. On March 14th the CBOE said it would soon stop offering Bitcoin futures. Bitmain, a cryptocurrency miner, appears to have pulled a planned IPO. (Miners maintain a cryptocurrency’s blockchain—a distributed transaction database—using huge numbers of specialised computers, and are paid in newly minted coins).The speed with which the bubble inflated and then popped invites comparisons with past financial manias, such as the Dutch tulip craze in 1636-37 and the rise and collapse of the South Sea Company in London in 1720. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts like to claim a more flattering comparison—with the 1990s dotcom bubble. They point out that, despite the froth, viable businesses emerged from that episode. But the cryptocurrency fiasco has exposed three deep and related problems: the extent of genuine activity is hugely exaggerated; the technology does not scale well; and fraud may be endemic.Consider
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Moonday Morning: Bitcoin dev ordered to prove Craig Wright isn’t Satoshi

It’s Monday which means it’s Moonday Morning and time to catch up with the top news from over the weekend. Let’s get to it. 1. Canadian financial regulators are learning from the QuadrigaCX debacle and are taking action to begin regulating cryptocurrency exchanges to mitigate the risks associated with virtual currency exchanges. In a joint paper, published last week, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) explores how regulations need to be tailored to the unique business models of cryptocurrency businesses. The regulators are using the feedback from cases such as QuadrigaCX’s to develop regulatory frameworks that address risks to investors and can deliver more integrity to the market. Brace yourselves, Canadian cryptocurrency regulations are coming. 2. Bitcoin BTC developer Jeff Garzik has been served a subpoena ordering him to provide information relating to a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed against Bitcoin SV front man, Craig Wright, according to a tweet posted last Friday. The lawsuit filed by the family of David Kleiman, who is believed to be one of the first Bitcoin developers, alleges that Wright stole up to 1.1 million BTC ($4.4 billion at press time) after Kleiman passed away in 2013. Garzik has to provide 28 types of evidence pertaining to the case, including all “documents, communications, and agreements that support [Garzik’s] “personal theory” that David Kleiman is Satoshi Nakamoto. Garzik has 30 days to provide the evidence. 3. A further five US states could be getting dedicated cryptocurrency regulations akin to New York‘s BitLicense, according to a recent state senate hearing. If the proposal is successful, residents of Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Hawaii could end up having a highly restricted opportunity to cryptocurrencies. New York‘s BitLicense for example restricts what cryptocurrency exchanges are allowed to operate in the state,
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‘Drug-dealing’ football coach sues Bitcoin fund manager over $14M loss

In Australia, a suite of high-profile cryptocurrency investors (which could include accused drug trafficker and former football coach Mark “Bomber” Thompson) are preparing to take their Bitcoin BTC fund manager to court over $14.2 million (AU$20 million) in losses. Stefanos Papanastasiou (39), founder of what claims to be Australia‘s first online bed retailer, is under fire by a number of disgruntled investors who had been convinced of his power to reduce volatility in the cryptocurrency markets, reports The Age. Under the name Stefan Papas, he reportedly told clients he had spent $355,000 (AU$500,000) to develop a special computer algorithm capable of providing massive financial returns on money contributed to his fund, dedicated to trading Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens. Thompson, the disgraced AFL coach and accused ecstasy trafficker, is said to have contributed more than $709,000 (AU$1 million) Papanastasiou’ fund, alongside notable lawyers and business figures. Property developer Savvas Alexiadis (Sam) and his wife have already taken action. Reported legal documents showed claims of being owed more than $1.9 million (AU$2.7 million) from investments made between July and November 2017 – just as the infamous $20,000 bull market was reaching full steam. Court documents reveal how Papas operated. “I promise this much, I intend to ensure everyone gets a head start, a huge break or hit the jackpot. It’s there for us to capitalise from,” he wrote in an SMS message. “Sam, the numbers are staggering, seemingly unequivocally within reach. This transition in history, is like no other before it.” “Sam, don’t get caught up in the details. Leave it to me. Let me know password login for [your stock trading account]. I’ll deal with whatever funds are in there … Eyes on the prize Sam. Understood? Got your back,” Papanastasiou continued. A series of misappropriations, or ‘something more sinister?’ Papanastasiou is
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This app exposes which cryptocurrency a user is most likely to shill on Twitter

It’s a challenge to navigate the cryptocurrency space. The entire community pretty much resides within the confines of the Twitter hellscape, where differences in investment portfolios often lead to in-fighting and disinformation. This is why one ingenious software developer created a new browser extension to help the general public figure out exactly what’s going on. It’s called ‘Coinflict of Interest.’ It’s a simple add-on that presents estimates of an author’s bias towards four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash. Hmm…The idea is that the composition of someone’s Twitter following could be an indicator of their digital currency preference. If someone regularly interacts with a certain community, they could be filtering information to make it suitable for that particular audience, and thus arises the conflict of interest. This risk is compounded within the blockchain industry, as the line between cryptocurrency pundit and venture capitalist is often blurred. Is it always advisable to blindly trust information provided by someone who might be heavily invested in that particular technology? This is the question Coinflict of Interest is trying to help answer. This one checks out While this is totally cool (and sometimes hilarious), its usefulness boils down to how reliable these bias ratings really are. “It’s just a proof-of-concept at this point, really,” creator Luke Childs told Hard Fork. “The results shouldn’t be taken too seriously. I think, in general, the results are accurate enough to be helpful. But there are quite a few anomalies and there’s plenty of room for improvement.” Coinflict of Interest relies on another cryptocurrency project, hive.one, for community data. It’s a service that ranks the cryptocurrency crowd on their influence by measuring the amount of attention received by the overall community. If a ton of Bitcoiners follow someone in particular, or regularly interact with someone’s posts, hive.one considers that person
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