Bitcoin Cash War Begins: Hash Power of BCH Increasing Rapidly

Bitcoin Cash’s controversial chain split scheduled for today has been activated at block number 556,766.
Around three hours after the split, it appears that one of the main instigators of the fork is struggling to keep pace with the mighty combined hash rate of and Bitmain.
Where’s All That Hash Power Then Craig?
According to data provided by cryptocurrency statistics website Coin.Dance, at the time of writing,, supporting the Bitcoin ABC side of the hard fork, had mined seven of the eight Bitcoin ABC blocks produced so far with adding the last.
Meanwhile, SV Pool, has only mined four of the five Bitcoin SV blocks created so far. Mempool picked up the remaining block reward.
Despite big boasts of their ability to 51% attack Bitcoin ABC from the SV camp, notably originating from the lips of their head honcho, Dr Craig Wright, the Bitcoin SV chain has thus far failed to establish itself as the longest chain. Not only that, but just two hours after the split, Bitcoin SV looks redundant to deliver on the kind of threats Wright and company have been making recently.
Wright had gone so far as to state that he would command around 70% of the total Bitcoin Cash rate thanks to his connections to CoinGeek mining firm founder Calvin Ayre. However, judging by the current statistics, pools supportive of Wright’s ambitions would struggle to get anywhere near the necessary hash rate to compromise the security or operation of the Bitcoin ABC chain.
Wright has spent much of the run up to today’s hard fork posturing on Twitter about the terrible vengeance he will wreak on first the Bitcoin ABC side of the Bitcoin Cash fork and following this, to Bitcoin (BTC) itself.
The man whose claims to be Bitcoin’s creator have been largely debunked also appeared on technical analysis specialist Tone Vays’s YouTube channel to boast about the seemingly endless hash power he commands. Additionally, he sent a rather abusive email to Roger Ver demanding the early Bitcoin proponent support Wright or face some largely implied consequences.
However, earlier today, Roger Ver, one of Bitcoin Cash’s biggest proponents and recent victim of Wright’s efforts to assert his control over BCH, tweeted that the pool now boasted more hash rate than that of the entire Bitcoin Cash network just hours previously:

The pool now has more hash rate on it than the entire BCH network had earlier today. Bitcoin is cash for the world! #BitcoinCash #bitcoincashfork
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) November 15, 2018

Others also provided their take on the situation and how the posturing of Craig Wright now seemed more likely to be hot air than anything else…

Possible Bitcoin Cash hash war scenario
Bitcoin dot com added 4 exahash. If Bitmain and Jihan's camp redirects more hash power to BCH (estimated to be 20 EH), it's game over for faketoshi.
All depends on Calvin Ayre, but it's becoming more likely that faketoshi will lose out.
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) November 15, 2018

… before summarising the current hard fork situation and its likely winners and losers:

Bitcoin Cash (ABC) ahead, more hash power, more activity, higher price. 4x higher price (margin).
Seems like a win for BCH. Jihan Wu and Chinese miners not even needed. Certainly not enough for a 51% attack on BCH. BSV nodes reportedly crashing.
Faketoshi lost, community won
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) November 15, 2018

For further explanation, this is more hashpower than $BCH had in the last 24hrs. I.e. if Coingeek / nChain / SV Pool / etc. don't have a lot more miners, then ABC is immune to attack
— Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) November 15, 2018

According to sources close to the founder of Chinese mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain, there are still 90,000 mining units reportedly mining the BTC chain that could also be switched to Bitcoin ABC should a significant threat of 51% attack from Wright arise.
Evidently, Wright would need many times as much hash rate than he currently appears to yield. For now, his talk of 51% attacks and “2014 prices” for months seem to be little more than idle threats.
It appears that today’s hard fork might blow over as quickly as Roger Ver stated it might. The early investor and advocate of digital currencies had previously compared the situation to that of the Y2K bug thought to destroy computer systems around the world at the turn of the millennium.
However, nothing of the sort occurred and the event was quickly forgotten. If the current situation remains, this too could be the fate of today’s split between Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV.
Related Reading: BCH Fight: Bitcoin Cash Bashing Heats Up, Rivals Duke It Out Ahead of Hard Fork
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European Central Bank Exec: Bitcoin is the “Evil Spawn of the Financial Crisis”

Yet another prominent member of the established financial industry has expressed scepticism about Bitcoin. This time it is European Central Bank executive, Benoit Cœuré.
Cœuré: Bitcoin Is a Clever Idea, Just Not a Good One
Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency space has not had a very pleasant 24-hours. With prices plummeting and speculation over whether the Bitcoin Cash split occurring today is the cause, now probably is not the best time to be bringing news of yet another naysaying banker. Unfortunately, I must do just that.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Cœuré, a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), has become the latest member of the banking old guard to discredit the financial and technology innovation. The executive spoke in Basel, Switzerland, earlier today.
During his musings, he admitted there was some genius behind Bitcoin, but the digital currency was not necessarily positive for society:
“Lightning may strike me for saying this in the Tower of Basel — but Bitcoin was an extremely clever idea. Sadly, not every clever idea is a good idea.”
Cœuré went on to echo the sentiment of Mexican economist Agustín Carstens who famously said that Bitcoin shared characteristics with speculative bubbles, and Ponzi schemes, along with being a pending environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. Finally, Cœuré dismissed the importance of a decentralised monetary system by stating that such thinking was “evil spawn of the financial crisis.”
Although he did correctly identify that the crypto asset emerged immediately following the 2008 financial crisis, it is not made immediately clear how exactly an honest effort to free the world of the ill-effects of a corrupt central banking system is evil.
Related Reading: Crypto Economist Claims Bitcoin is the “Medicine You Need”
During the crisis, markets around the globe dropped in what was the largest crash since the Great Depression. It seems perfectly reasonable for people to seek an escape from such a system and Bitcoin offers just that escape. Like many of the insults coming from the banking sector towards Bitcoin, however, Cœuré makes little effort to explain why such a trustless, potentially democratisating system is so bad.
Alongside the likes of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s famous “fraud” outburst, investing legend Warren Buffett’s “rat poison squared”, and Buffett’s sidekick Charlie Munger’s “scum-ball activity”, Cœuré’s “evil spawn” descriptor will certainly go down as one of the more creative insults against the cryptocurrency.
Of course, it is perfectly understandable for such leading bankers to reject Bitcoin publicly.
It would be much more convenient for this whole cryptocurrency thing to just disappear and we could go back to before when huge parts of the world’s population were not thinking quite so critically about money and the way the banking system works.
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Crypto Economist Claims Bitcoin is the “Medicine You Need”

The author of the hugely popular The Bitcoin Standard has said that Bitcoin is “not optional” and that it’s “here to stay.”
Dr Saifedean Ammous, has been interviewed in the mainstream press. As you might expect from the economist and professor, the piece makes for some stirring reading for all those interested in the future of Bitcoin.
Dr Ammous: Bitcoin “Kicks Every Other Money’s Ass”
One of the most popular thought leaders in the digital asset space has featured in a widely viewed U.K. news publication.
Dr Ammous, the author of The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking, was interviewed by the Express for his views on the most valuable digital asset to date, Bitcoin.
During the interview, he spoke openly about Bitcoin’s revolutionary potential. For the professor of economics at the Lebanese American University, Bitcoin offers something fundamentally new in terms of a form of money:
“The point is: Bitcoin, in terms of its design and monetary policy, has a very unique property which is that it is the first monetary asset we’ve ever had whose supply is completely unresponsive to demand.”
According to the economist, “Bitcoin is not optional. It is here to stay” and when major players in the global financial system realise how well optimised it is for use as a store of value they will beg for a complete modernisation across the entire financial sector.
Dr Ammous is most well-known in the Bitcoin space for his book on the importance of Bitcoin and its unique opportunity to replace a rotten fiat system that systematically enriches those at the top whilst stealing from the majority of its users.
For him, Bitcoin represents a remedy to the corruption of central banks around the world. He states:
“Bitcoin is not the toy you want, it is the medicine you need.”
In terms of its discussion on Bitcoin’s monetary policy and its setting within the context of the history of money itself, Ammous’s The Bitcoin Standard, is second to none.
It discusses the current fiat system as an anomaly in terms of humanity’s past and demonstrates the prosperity a hard monetary standard can yield through his discussion of gold-backed currencies of old. For Dr Ammous, Bitcoin much better serves the purpose of hard money than gold. This is why he believes:
“It kicks every other money’s ass because its supply is just completely set.”
For those familiar with his work, Ammous’s comments are consistent with his other content on the topic of Bitcoin. In both his U.K. mainstream media appearance and his book, YouTube appearances, and Medium articles, the Austrian-inspired economist repeatedly hammers home the importance of Bitcoin’s hard monetary policy.
However, what is interesting is the choice of the Express to include such a “radical” thinker. The kind of societal change Dr Ammous predicts in his book, and spoke about with their reporter, severely threatens a status quo, which such mainstream publications such as The Express is usually keen to uphold.
Related Reading: Bitcoin Unspent Transaction Output Accumulation Could Signal Crypto’s Next Bull Run
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How Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, Became a Crypto Billionaire

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency startup Coinbase has had a spectacular couple of years. A recent funding round valued the firm at $8 billion, making its CEO, Brian Armstrong, worth $1.3 billion.
Coinbase Expanding into All Areas of Cryptocurrency
For many getting started in the space, Coinbase serves as a gatekeeper to the rabbit hole that is crypto. Launched in 2012, the company has become one of, if not the, most recognisable in the industry thanks to an ever-expanding list of features, services, and, surprisingly, robust security record.
The exchange made a name for itself by offering a no-nonsense entry into cryptocurrency. By using the San Francisco-based startup’s brokerage service, those intrigued by digital assets can get exposure to them in a familiar way using a wide range of common deposit options.
The firm also operates an exchange service offering more advanced trading features. Formerly known as GDAX, like the main brokerage service, Coinbase Pro generates fees on every trade made. The direction of the market is irrelevant to Coinbase, and by extension, its recently named billionaire CEO.
According to Bloomberg, a recent funding round managed to raise $300 million for Coinbase, which in turn received a valuation of $8 billion. Based on that figure and Armstrong’s stake in the firm, the CEO is worth $1.3 billion. Compare this to his estimated net worth of $900 million to $1 billion in January of this year. Clearly, there is money to be made in the exchange game during bear markets too.
For those who follow the cryptocurrency industry closely, such figures should hardly come as a surprise. The crypto exchange has had a very busy 2018, launching a variety of products and services, making high-profile hires, and receiving prestigious licences to operate.
This summer the firm launched four new products aimed at the institutional market: Coinbase Custody, Coinbase Prime, Coinbase Institutional Coverage Group, and Coinbase Markets.
Following this, in September, the firm was reported to be exploring the possibility of launching their own Bitcoin ETF. To aid in their research, members of Coinbase are believed to have consulted with BlackRock Inc. – the world’s largest global investment management firm.
More recently, it has added several new digital assets and expanded the trading pairs offered to include additional stablecoin pairs. To provide such functionality, the firm partnered with Circle to launch their own dollar-backed digital currency – USDC.
Related Reading: Coinbase Bear Market Revenue Projected to Beat Last Year’s Bull Run
No Guarantees in Cryptocurrency
Although the exchange is certainly making all the right moves in the digital asset industry, they do face fierce competition – particularly when it comes to an institutional market.
With announcements from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) of their soon-to-be-launched, one-stop crypto shop, Bakkt, and multitrillion-dollar Fidelity Investments planning to launch their own trading desk, the success of Coinbase’s efforts at appealing to a wealthier class of investor looks in doubt.
Can we really expect the planet’s largest money managers choosing to use Coinbase over one of these huge established names to buy and store billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency for them?
In the face of such competition, it’s encouraging to see that the crypto exchange appears wise enough to remember its roots.
The firm’s success, up to this point, has been largely driven by retail investors and lower volume traders. Along with the launch of a series of new digital assets, the firm has provided a platform for crypto education for retail investors. Coinbase Learn provides analysis and information into a range of assets both supported and not on the brokerage and trading desk at the exchange.
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Forthcoming Crypto Fund Extremely Bullish on Crypto Infrastructure and Adoption

A cryptocurrency fund that is scheduled for launch early next year believes that the current slump in prices is distracting people from the ever-growing adoption rates of both consumers and investors alike.
Circuit Capital has also created an index to measure mainstream adoption of blockchain-related technologies.
Circuit Capital Index Shows Adoption is Rising, Even if Price Isn’t
According to a report in Bloomberg, the founders of a new San Francisco-based cryptocurrency hedge fund believe that the poor performance of digital asset prices during 2018 has made it more difficult to observe the ever-rising interest in the space from both consumers and investors.
Former Deutsche Bank derivatives and Circuit Capital co-founder, Eugene Ng, told the publication:
“Despite what is happening with prices, we’re seeing adoption growing and a lot of people are looking to scale crypto businesses… We are starting to see talent moving into this space and institutional infrastructure developing.”
Supporting Ng’s statements are recent moves from the likes of Coinbase, Circle, and Blockchain to expand their platforms to an institutional class of investor.
Likewise, the coming Bakkt platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and the interest multitrillion-dollar asset manager Fidelity Investments has shown in the space also represents an evolution of the underlying digital asset investment infrastructure.
Meanwhile, many individuals are turning their backs on employment in the traditional finance sector in favour of positions at cryptocurrency startups. Recent hires by Coinbase and others are examples of such a migration of talent.
Circuit Capital is hoping to ride the next wave of investor interest. It plans to raise $30 million and launch in January 2019. Bo Nam, a former tech stock analyst and one of the four co-founders of the new fund, said Circuit plans to grow assets to over $100 million.
Completing the team of Circuit Capital co-founders is Aaron Tay, former analyst at Tikehau Capital, and venture capital investor Richard Jahnke.
The plan is for Circuit Capital to operate in both the U.S. and Asia. Tay and Ng will oversee the eastern wing of the hedge fund. Meanwhile, Nam and Jahnke will manage the company’s interests in the United States.
Circuit Capital has also developed an index to track interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. It draws data from a variety of sources. These include: the number of active crypto wallets, transaction volumes, different crypto’s hash rates, hiring rates in the industry, and web searches for content relating to digital assets.
According to the Circuit Capital index there is an increasing adoption of cryptocurrency. However, prices have yet to register this heightened interest.
Presumably, since most institutional investors that have already taken up positions in cryptocurrency have done so in over-the-counter trades, and it was retail investors who drove the late 2017 up movement bearing the brunt of the crash earlier this year, it will take more recovery time before typical exchange demand increases again.
When  it does, the infrastructure will be much more prepared for huge surges in demand than it was last time round.
They’ll also be a lot less Bitcoin to buy thanks to these OTC accumulators, and we all know what reduced supply and increased demand means.
Related Reading: Overstock CEO Predicts Mass Crypto Adoption as Bitcoin Price Rises
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Manhattan Real Estate Worth $36.5 Million to be Tokenised and Sold to Investors

A blockchain startup has partnered with a broker-dealer company to create a tokenised real estate investment opportunity.
Fluidity and Propellr will offer tokens representing shares in a multimillion-dollar block of condos in Manhattan, New York, allowing buyers to invest as much or as little as they like.
Blockchain Continues to Disrupt the Real Estate Industry
Michael Oved, the co-founder of blockchain firm Fluidity, believes blockchain and smart contract technology could completely revolutionise the very concept of investing in real estate.
In a promotional video for his company’s joint venture with broker-dealer Propellr posted to Bloomberg, Oved spoke of the existing inefficiencies in the current process of buying property as an investment and how blockchain technology could address them:
“When we started to look at the real estate industry, it’s probably one of the most inefficient industries that exists currently. A lot of middlemen, a lot of lawyers, a lot of bankers.”
The idea behind the partnership is to allow investors to buy shares in a $36.5 million block of condors. Rather than sell each of the 12 luxury apartments individually, the plan is to sell many tokenised shares to those wishing to add the Manhattan real estate opportunity to their portfolio. These tokens will be issued on a blockchain and should therefore allow for greater transparency, security, and efficiency than previously possible.
By tokenising the sale of the property, those behind the idea also believe they will be able to start repaying the loan that allowed for its construction earlier. One of the team’s real estate agents, Ryan Serhant, explained:
“We have a bank deadline on us where we have to sell a certain amount of units or repay the entire loan by a certain date. If construction has been delayed, if the market turns, if competition pops up, and we’re not gonna be able to hit that deadline, what do you do? So, by tokenising the debt it gives everyone breathing room to sell at a normal pace with the market instead of against it.”
There are other perceived advantages to the Propellr/Fluidity joint venture too. Transferring and monitoring ownership of shares in the property should be much more straightforward for one. Additionally, there is the increased flexibility investors enjoy. Serhant continued:
“Literally 25-30 million people can own a piece of this at a dollar a pop. When has that ever been possible?”
Successful crypto entrepreneur and “Off The Chain” crypto podcast presenter, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano believes the future of investing will involve far more tokenisation:
“There’s only four assets you can own in the world: stock, bond, currency, or commodity. We think every single one of those is going to get digitised. Tokenise the world.”
The Manhattan condo block is not the first example of a tokenised real estate investment opportunity we have come across.
Earlier this year, NewsBTC reported on Aspen Digital and IndieGoGo’s sale of tokens representing shares in a luxury ski resort. Following this in September, we reported on the redevelopment of Keppel Island being financed by an ICO in which each token represents a share of the luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef island.
Judging by the increasing frequency of these tokenisation stories, it seems that Pomp is already being proved right in his assessment of where the future of investments is heading. The blockchain revolution is already in motion.
Related Reading: A Fifth of UK Millennials Would Rather Invest in Bitcoin Than in Real Estate
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Marshall Islands President Survives Vote of No Confidence over State Crypto Plans

In a vote of no confidence against the president of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, the only female head of state in the Pacific region has narrowly avoided losing power.
The issues prompting the vote are the proposed national digital currency being planned at the moment, as well as Chinese foreign policy ambitions in the area.
Senators Join IMF in Opposing the Sovereign Digital Currency
According to reports today in the Nikkei Asia Review, Heine has survived a vote of no confidence by the skin of her teeth. The 67-year-old Marshall Islands leader split the domestic parliament right down the middle as they voted 16 in favour of toppling her and 16 opposed.
The main issue causing the division in the Nitijela (Marshall Islands parliament) is the plan to launch a national digital currency that would benefit from the status of legal tender in the jurisdiction.
The sovereign, as the currency will be referred to as, is supported by Heine and will be considered equally as valid a means of payment as the U.S. dollar in the nation. The vote itself was triggered by a total of eight senators who stated that the president was damaging the nation’s reputation with the scheme.
Despite opposition, Heine is optimistic about the idea. She stated that the currency would represent an “historic moment” for the islands.
However, Heine and the sovereign digital currency face opposition from outside the nation as well. The IMF stated back in September that the costs of setting up the scheme seemed to far outweigh the potential benefits. The supranational body agreed with the Marshall senators in their view that the state risks reputational damage, as well as suffering economic hardships, and promoting money laundering and terrorism.
The Marshall Islands’s government first started exploring the idea of launching its own digital currency after an Israeli startup successfully sold it as a way of potentially generating more than $30 million for the small country. Providing it goes forward as both Heine and the nation’s Finance Minister, Brenson Wase, are hoping, Neema will be helping to make the currency a reality for the 53,000 inhabitants of the Marshall Islands.
Another issue dividing the Marshall Islands government at the moment involves China and its plan to turn Rongelap, an atoll in the proximity of a U.S. nuclear testing facility, into a special administrative zone. Some of those opposed to the idea see it as undermining the sovereignty of the Marshall Islands.
Whilst the Marshall Island system is not one of party politics, Heine faces high-profile opposition from the nation’s former president, Casten Nemra. In addition to his scepticism over the plan to launch the sovereign, Nemra accused Heine’s government of negligence in investigating the loss of $1 billion from the Marshall Islands Trust Fund -established to compensate those impacted by the nuclear testing at Rongelap. Also mentioned during the motion of no confidence were issues with voting procedures.
Related Reading: Marshall Islands to Make Cryptocurrency Legal Tender in 2018, Optimistic Outlook
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Fusion Whisky and Adelphi Distillery Launch Whisky on the Blockchain

Fusion Whisky and the Adelphi Distillery have announced the launch of The Winter Queen – their latest product to use blockchain technology to track its provenance.
The Winter Queen Marries 17th Century Royalty with 21st Century Tech
It is not only finance that blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt. Other industries are rapidly making moves to explore the innovation’s implications. One of these is the whisky distillation and distribution sector.
Fusion Whisky have joined forces with the Adelphi Distillery to launch a special blend called The Winter Queen. Each bottle of the special edition whisky will be registered on the blockchain. This will allow buyers to be sure that the product they receive is exactly what the makers claim it to be.
The Winter Queen is the second whisky from either firm to use such a distribution method. The previous one was an Australian blend by Fusion Whisky called The Brisbane. It was released in March of this year. Adelphi has also launched two editions of its own AD spirit on the blockchain.
The blend launched today is also the second time The Winter Queen has been released. The previous occasion was in February of this year. This edition is to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth Stuart, a Scottish princess crowned Queen of Bohemia in the seventeenth century. The whisky itself is said to have echoes of Parma Violets (a popular U.K. candy) and highland toffee, whilst retaining a smokey finish.
Master blender and managing director of Adelphi Distillery, Alex Bruce, spoke to BQ Live about the decision to use blockchain technology to distribute the second release of the spirit:
“Such was the success of and acclaim for The Winter Queen, we were very keen to bring out another edition. This is our most complex fusion to date, with more than six different malt whiskies going into the blend.”
The idea behind releasing whisky using blockchain technology is to allow its drinker to check the provenance of their liquor for themselves. It is supposed to let them see the “whisky’s journey” from field to bottle. Further details about the history of Elizabeth Stuart are also provided on the entry to the distributed ledger.
The two firms have worked with Arc-Net in creating the architecture needed to make the idea a reality. Drew Lyall, the general manager of the tech firm, stated:
“We are thrilled to be continuing our project with Fusion Whisky and supporting their work as they bring fresh innovation to the industry. The Winter Queen has a wonderful and unique story to tell and the arc-net solution provides Fusion Whisky and Adelphi the means to share that story with their passionate customers.”
Related Reading: Chinese Startup to Use Blockchain to Track Wine Imports
More Firms Experiment with Blockchain for Supply Chains
Although it might sound gimmicky, there is a very real problem with fake offerings to the whisky connoisseur community. This is the problem that endeavours such as the Adelphi/Fusion partnership and ideas such as CaskCoin seek to tackle.
Similar initiatives have been worked on in other distribution industries too. The U.K.’s Food Standards Agency piloted a scheme in which participants in the supply chain of British beef could check various details of the produce changing hands as it travels from pasture to plate, for example.
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Survey: Four in 10 Brits Don’t Think Crypto Will Be Used as Cash or Card

YouGov internet market research and data analysis group has conducted a survey about cryptocurrency use today and in the future in Great Britain.
The results found that more men than women were interested in the technology, it was a younger crowd who mostly saw Bitcoin and other digital assets’ potential, and just one in five felt that it was a good idea to reject central banking in favour of a cryptocurrency future.
YouGov Survey Provides Insight into U.K.’s Knowledge and Acceptance of Crypto
YouGov took a sample from its 800,000 registered members to determine which demographics in the U.K. were most interested or involved with crypto. This collection of people supposedly represents a diverse range of ages, genders, social classes, and academic backgrounds.
The YouGov website published the outcomes of the series of questions put to the sample today. The first addressed whether the respondents had even heard of Bitcoin. Here, an impressive 93% of Brits said they had.
The follow-up question addressed how many “feel they understand how Bitcoin works.” To this, only 9% of those answering stated that they understood the cryptocurrency “very well.” This compared to 65% who admitted to having the poorest understanding of BTC.
Interestingly, far more men claim to understand the financial and technological innovation than women. Compared to the 39% of men who said they understood Bitcoin either “very well” or “fairly well,” just 14% of women said they felt the same.
As you’d probably expect, young people were much more likely to have a stronger grasp on crypto. Over two in five of those responding to the survey said they understand Bitcoin “fairly well.” This compared with just 16% of those aged over 55. The results on age demographics are in keeping with U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTTC) chair Christopher Giancarlo’s opinion that interest in digital assets is generational.
The survey then addressed who had actually bought Bitcoin. Again, the results support the idea that younger people are more receptive to the ideas of decentralised money and digital scarcity. A total of 45 respondents aged 18-24 said they had either bought the digital asset themselves or knew someone who had. At the other end of the spectrum were those older than 55-years-old again. Just 1% had bought BTC themselves and 7% knew a Bitcoin investor personally.
Next, those involved in the survey were asked if they believed that cryptocurrencies would play an important role in the future of finance. Over one in five respondents stated that they felt digital assets would eventually be as widely used as card or cash payments. The answer distribution between the men and women was much closer in response to this question with 22% of men and 19% of women saying they thought a cryptocurrency future was likely.
Finally and perhaps most telling, the sample was asked about how they felt about the idea of a currency controlled by the public rather than one provided by a centralised institution such as the Bank of England. Just 3% of those asked said they felt “very positive” about the idea and 9% were “fairly positive.” The most popular answer by a sliver was “neutral” at 25%. Just behind was “fairly negative” at 24% and “very negative” at 20%. Finally, 18% of people asked said they didn’t know how to feel about it.
Presumably, if you were to ask the same question in a nation such as Zimbabwe, Turkey, or Venezuela you would get a very different answer. In terms of banks, the Bank of England is one of the least likely to abuse their power and trust in the institution has certainly been reflected in the responses to the survey.
Of course, there are issues with these kinds of online polls. The chief of these is the fact that we must assume that an overwhelming majority of the respondents are computer literate. If they were not, they would be highly unlikely to be a registered member of the YouGov platform in the first place.
This is immediately problematic with a topic such as digital currencies. Since a huge number of those surveyed are obviously regular internet users, they are much more likely to have encountered cryptos previously. The figures are therefore likely exaggerated when compared with a true survey of the entire British public.
Related Reading: Survey: A Quarter of Millennials Hold Crypto, Wary of Current Financial System
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Reddit Co-founder: Bear Market is Good for Crypto Innovation

Alexis Ohanian has spoken about the current state of the cryptocurrency markets.
The Reddit co-founder believes that the dwindling prices experienced throughout 2018 are good for the space and will allow those committed to it to work with fewer distractions.
Ohanian Silent on Previous Ether Price Call
One of cryptocurrency’s most committed bulls, Alexis Ohanian, has stated that the current bear market is actually good for the digital asset and blockchain industry.
Ohanian founded the wildly successful social news forum Reddit from his university dorm room in 2005. A few years later the site became a useful resource for Bitcoiners and this gave the entrepreneur a rare early opportunity to observe, engage with, and learn about the community and tech.
This led to Ohanian developing a keen interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
In 2013, he decided to take a more hands-off approach to Reddit and pursue a venture capital fund known as Initialized Capital. The early stage investment group has previously invested in Coinbase and other crypto-related startups.
In a recent interview with Breaker Mag, Ohanian was joined with his Initialized Capital partner Garry Tan to discuss the state of cryptocurrency as well as what the pair looked for in terms of blockchain startups to invest in.
The Initialized Capital co-founders first addressed their approach to picking prospects from the digital currency space. Tan told the publication that there was little difference between how they evaluate blockchain firms and non-crypto ones. He said if the company in question was able to outperform the competition then it mattered little if they were centralised or decentralised. Ohanian supported this point, but added that Initialized Investments believes blockchain can provide “better, cheaper, faster” services.
The interviewer then addressed current market conditions. In response to a question about whether Ohanian and Tan believed the current bear market to be permanent or simply a passing phase, the pair agreed that prices would eventually resume an upwards trajectory. Commenting on what could break the downtrend, Tan stated:
“How it comes out of the current crypto winter, we still think it will come back to real use cases.”
Rather than dwelling on the dropping prices, the partners instead focused on the positives of such a bear market. For them, the bursting of the late 2017 bubble allows those developing projects to concentrate on more important matters than price. Tan said:
“The last time this happened, Bitcoin went from north of $1,000 down to $250, and that winter lasted years. People started losing hope, and out of that came etherium [sic]. Truly useful things come out of the nadir of the last hype cycle.”
Ohanian added that the price action had pushed many speculators away from the market. For him, such a move causes the space to realign and “really incentivises the people who are building to just build.”
Interestingly, during the interview there was no mention of Ohanian’s early 2018 price call for ether tokens. The Reddit co-founder famously stated in May that he believed the number two digital asset on earth would reach a staggering $15,000 this year.
With the price floating around the $213 mark at the time of writing, a prediction that looked far-fetched then now looks all but impossible.
Related Reading: Reddit Co-Founder Bullish on Bitcoin Despite Current Price Slump
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Will Recent Economic Sanctions Drive Iran to Cryptocurrency?

A recent FinCEN advisory has stated that the re-imposition of economic sanctions on November 5 could drive Iran to get more serious about the cryptocurrency experiments it began in 2013.
Could Iran Follow North Korea’s Lead Evading Sanctions Using Crypto?
Iran has made little secret of its interest in cryptocurrency. The nation is believed to have been exploring the financial technology’s use since 2013.
In an advisory issued on October 11, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) stated that the Gulf State may be forced to increase its forays into how digital assets can help it to evade the economic sanctions recently re-imposed:
“FinCEN expects that Iranian financial institutions, the Iranian regime, and its officials will increase their efforts to evade U.S. sanctions to fund malign activities and secure hard currency for the Government of Iran.”
The advisory went on to state that the Iranian government uses various deceptive tactics to help them skirt the economic sanctions that were reintroduced on November 5. Amongst these methods is thought to be the use of digital assets:
“Financial institutions should also be aware of possible Iranian abuses of virtual currency and precious metals to evade sanctions and gain access to the international financial system and to conceal their nefarious actions.”
Despite being something the U.S. is monitoring closely, experts cited by the Asia Times believe Iran’s current use of cryptos to evade economic sanctions is limited. A senior associate at Washington DC’s Financial Integrity Network, Omar Bashir, told the publication:
“FinCEN’s October 11 advisory states that Iran has been involved in at least $3.8 million worth of Bitcoin-denominated transactions per year since 2013. The advisory also notes that this is a comparatively small number.”
However, considering the Central Bank of Iran supposedly banned the use of digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum this April, any figure is surely a large one. Also, a lot has advanced in the cryptocurrency industry in terms of privacy technologies since 2013 and for a large period since then the sanctions against the nation had been lifted. Faced with renewed economic pressure, Iran could be planning to, or be in the process of, upping their efforts to get a grasp on the technology.
It has also been reported previously that Iran is exploring the development of its own cryptocurrency that is to be backed by its local currency, the rial. However, Bashir strongly doubts how such a scheme would aid sanctions evasion.
He also suggested that Iran may end up being inspired by North Korea in its use of cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions:
“I can only speculate, but the North Korean example is likely an aspirational one for Iran.”
However, the senior associate went on to state that it would be incredibly difficult for either nation to use digital currencies to make any “real purchases.” He concluded that, if anything, cryptocurrency use by Iran will form part of a larger strategy to evade sanctions. It is therefore worth monitoring, but not a concern as of yet.
Meanwhile, Yaya Fanusie, the director of analysis at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, also commented that she felt any international actors helping Iran to skirt economic measures against it using cryptos were likely already involved with the rogue nation prior to its interest in digital assets. For Fanusie, there is therefore no new risk.
Fanusie also dismisses any link made between North Korea and Iran in their cryptocurrency use. He stated that he does not think “there is much connection.” North Korea, of course, has been connected with various schemes involving digital assets. These have ranged from malware attacks to fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs).
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Shrem’s Lawyer Responds to Allegations, Claims Client Didn’t Steal 5,000 BTC

Charlie Shrem’s lawyer has responded to the Winklevoss allegations that he stole 5,000 BTC from the pair in 2012.
The early Bitcoin adopter refutes the claims saying he cannot have taken the Bitcoin because it never belonged to the Gemini exchange founders to begin with.
Shrem’s Lawyer: Charlie “Has Never Owned 5,000 Bitcoins”
In a lengthy court document published today, early Bitcoin investor Shrem has denied using stolen money from the Winklevoss Capital Fund (WCF) to buy 5,000 BTC for the pair in December 2012.
The twins had filed the original complaint on September 11, 2018 saying that Shrem had spent $61,000 of their money to buy Bitcoin and was now living lavishly off the gains made largely thanks to last year’s bull market. However, Shrem was only made aware of the allegations on October 26, hence the delayed response from his legal team.
Shrem’s lawyer, Brian E. Klein, has responded to the allegations by stating that the 5,000 BTC mentioned in the Winklevoss’s original complaint never belonged to the twins. It instead was that of an anonymous contact of Shrem who, for confidentiality’s sake, is referred to as “Mr X” and a “prominent Bitcoin industry member” in the court document.
Klein claims that Mr X had sent an email out to various people in the Bitcoin community in December 2012 asking for help putting a large amount of Bitcoin into cold storage. Shrem agreed and responded that day saying so. He included one of the addresses referenced in the Winklevoss complaint — “1Shremdh9tVop1gxMzJ7baHxp6XX2WWRW ” — for Mr X to sent the 5,000 BTC to.
Mr X obliged and transferred the Bitcoin to Shrem’s wallet on December 31 after agreeing to meet to setup the cold storage. Klein claims that the pair made the final transfer of funds to Mr X’s wallet from Shrem’s office at a later date.
The receiving wallet, “1MQ3K9aPcEDCekpFBGyDAgtD1uPss8E7rY”, is also referenced in the original Winklevoss complaint. However, Klein asserts that his client never had control of the private key to Mr X’s wallet and since he has “never owned 5,000 all at one time” has no idea where the Winklevoss allegations stem from.
During the document, there is little mention of the whereabouts of the $61,000 that Shrem supposedly owes to the twins. Instead, it focuses on explaining the origins of the 5,000 BTC mentioned in the Gemini exchange founders’ original complaint.
Presumably Klein’s client would much prefer to be ordered to pay back just $61,000 instead of the more than $32.5 million in Bitcoin that Tyler and Cameron claim is rightfully theirs should their allegations carry any truth whatsoever.
Shrem’s lawyer is demanding the New York District Court award legal fees to his client and stated:
“Shrem engaged in no wrongdoing. Period… The Court should also exercise its supervisory powers and dismiss the entire case at this time in light of its false premise and the unfair, significant disruption it has caused to Shrem’s life.”
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What is Initiative Q Really All About? Does it Beat Bitcoin? Don’t Bet on It

By now, you’ve probably heard of the pseudo-cryptocurrency Initiative Q.
Many people with little understanding of either economics or technology have been sharing social media marketing relating to the scheme, which promises to change the future of finance, but appears little more than a successful data mining scam.
Initiative Q: Not Decentralised, Not Limited in Supply, Not Crypto
Even if you have no interest in the digital currency space whatsoever, there is a good chance you will have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, perhaps Litecoin, and if you have browsed social media recently, Initiative Q.
The revolutionary new monetary system that poses more questions than it answers has blown up all over Twitter and Facebook with people sharing posts inviting their friends to sign up.
A lot of Initiative Q’s marketing bares the hallmarks of a classic pyramid scheme.
You recruit your friends to signup. The more you recruit, the more Q tokens you will eventually receive. I do mean eventually too. The team behind the psuedo-cryptocurrency state that they will only be building the payment network itself in mid-2019. The eventual roadmap is much longer than this too.
Despite this slow-roll out and sparse detail-less future plans, there is an emphasis on speed for users to signup.
This too is something of a red flag. Each day the total number of Initiative Q tokens awarded for completing all the tasks given to each member of the scheme reduces. The current number of tokens given to each full member is close to 30,000. At their $2 trillion network valuation (more on that later) tokens are supposed to be worth a dollar each.
$2 Trillion?!
Then comes the scheme’s economics…
The total market capitalisation of all the Q tokens in existence is one day expected to be a massive $2 trillion.
There is no indication based on solid economic theory as to where this value has come from. The “ex-PayPal guys” behind Initiative Q clearly have no idea of the concept of value since they are saying they will create two trillion tokens out of thin air and give 80% of them away for nothing, whilst hanging on to 20% of them for themselves.
That’s a payday of $400 billion for the founders if this works – which it won’t because there will be zero buying pressure and a hell of a lot of selling pressure.
The Worst Part of All…
What follows is perhaps the feature of Initiative Q that makes it standout most as either an incredibly poorly conceived idea at best, or a straight up data mining scam at worst.
To combat what those behind Initiative Q believe to be a negative quality of Bitcoin and other cryptos – volatility – the company themselves state that they have the power to create new tokens to stabilise the price of the currency.
Essentially, Initiative Q’s only published grand plan is to replace the central banking system with one of their own. In comparison to the headless, independent, incorruptible base asset of Bitcoin to form a future financial system around, Initiative Q offers a centralised, unaccountable, barely known firm to play central banker for you. Revolutionary.
Clearly, none of this is going to work. Initiative Q will simply be shut down if it threatens national currencies in anyway.
That said, Initiative Q must be praised for its marketing department.
As a viral campaign it has been ruthlessly efficient. On my own social media channels I have seen people I would expect to have zero interest in disrupting national currencies sharing the links. What will become of Initiative Q seems an obvious “fail” based on the information it provides about itself. However, what becomes of the enormous cache of emails gathered from those wanting to cash in is much more interesting.
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eToro Launches Cryptocurrency Management Mobile App

Multi-asset brokerage eToro has launched an application for their users to store their Bitcoin and other cryptos on their mobile phones.
The software sounds a lot like a cryptocurrency wallet – only its entirely permissioned, isn’t open-source, and doesn’t allow users to access their private key or seed phrases.
eToro “Wallet” Entirely Misses Point of Crypto
According to a press release, the social trading platform has today launched a cryptocurrency wallet.
However, the software misses some key features that make its labelling as a wallet problematic. It more closely resembles a mobile eToro account management suite. Absent, amongst other things, is private key generation that only the user can see.
Once fully live, eToro customers can use the software to receive one of the four supported cryptocurrencies. This selection of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin will be expanded in the future.
Eventually, there are plans to allow the transfer of cryptocurrencies to and from the platform, as well as allowing fiat deposits, and a host of other features. The eToro wallet is available now for both Google Play and Apple devices.
Yoni Assia, the CEO at eToro, spoke about how the launch of the application fit in with the wider societal transformation underway thanks to cryptocurrency:
“Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise finance and we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain… Just as eToro has opened up traditional markets for investors, we want to do the same in a tokenised world. The eToro wallet is a key part of this.”
The launch of eToro’s latest software is being staggered to “ensure the best customer experience for clients.” This will be done on a country-by-country and functionality basis. Initially, for example, only Platinum Club (high depositing) members will be able to use the function to transfer their eToro balances to the wallet.
Unfortunately, eToro’s digital asset storage suite software seems to largely miss the point of cryptocurrency. Firstly, the firm is touting the fact that users do not need to be responsible for their own private keys as a strength:
“No need to write and save keys or phrases. No need to be worried about losing them. eToro secures the private key. It just works.”
This is of course problematic since one of the most liberating aspects of permissionless blockchains is the fact that there needs be no trust in any central entity. Evidently, eToro are appealing to a class of users who are more interested in percentage gains than they are redressing the imbalances of society through democratisation of money itself.
In the press release, the term “multi-signature” is also used. This also feels like a coy way of presenting the software as entirely permissioned. Multi-signature is, of course, a way of increasing wallet security.
However, if the two parties signing are yourself and a massive honey-pot for hackers, the eToro wallet presents a far greater attack surface than even traditional single signature desktop applications.
Large centralised institutions have been hacked many times before and they will be again. Those wanting to store any amount of cryptocurrency should research hot and cold open-source wallets and use whichever suits their purposes rather than the services provided by the likes of eToro.
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Another Report Says Crypto Mining Uses More Power than Traditional Mining

A report published today has stated that mining $1 worth of Bitcoin requires more electricity than mining almost any material traditionally dug from the earth.
The authors state that between three million and 15 million tons of carbon emissions have been caused by the sector over the last two years.
Another Report into the Environmental Impact of Bitcoin
According to research conducted for the Nature Sustainability, a British journal, it requires more energy to create a single dollar’s worth of BTC than it does to mine the same value of precious metals, rare earth metals, gold, or copper.
In fact, the only material mentioned in the report that Bitcoin was less energy efficient than was aluminium.
The report, titled “Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mining cryptocurrencies” was authored by Max Krause and Thabet Tolaymat. Both contributors work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, they claim it was completed entirely independently and without funding from the organisation.
It was not just the most popular digital asset that the authors tested the green credentials of, however. During the document, the power required to create $1 worth of three other large market capitalisation cryptocurrencies were compared with one another. It was found that Bitcoin and Monero are the most power hungry networks. These required 17 and 14 megajoules (MJ) respectively. Meanwhile, at around half this figure are Litecoin and Ethereum.
The same data was then presented for different materials requiring “mining.” Rare earth metals – neodymium, cerium, etc -, precious metals, gold, and copper all required less energy to produce than either Bitcoin or Monero at nine, seven, five, and four MJ respectively.
All of these figures are averages for the two-and-a-half year period between January 2016 and June 2018. Krause and Tolaymat state that the four blockchains included in the report are responsible for between three million and 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the same time span.
However, the report neglects the fact that a lot has changed in cryptocurrency over the course of that period. Possibly most importantly is that mining is rapidly spreading outside of China. With mining rig operators seeking the cheapest energy possible, many have settled in Canada thanks to its abundant hydro-electric resources or Iceland with its geothermal energy.
A green mining operation running off surplus hydro-electricity barely has any impact on the environment whereas a warehouse full of rigs sucking fossil fuel-generated power direct from the Chinese grid is obviously orders of magnitude less sustainable.
Krause spoke to BuzzFeed.News about some of the report’s other shortcomings. He said that despite both being mined, digital currencies and physical metals are not “functional substitutes” meaning the comparisons were always going to be problematic. He said the aim of the self-funded report was to create awareness about the impact digital currencies could be having on the environment rather than make some profound comparison between the two “mined” assets.
The author also acknowledged that the environmental impact of a Bitcoin once created is far less than that of a physical metal that needs shaping, transporting, and storing in ways that are simply not required for the intangible asset Bitcoin.
The voices of protest against Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on strictly environmental grounds seem to be growing louder lately.
At the end of last month, a study was published by Nature Climate Change warning that energy-demanding Bitcoin transactions would easily sling the global temperature past the 2-degree threshold set under the Paris Climate Agreement.
However, all transformative technologies start off as hopelessly inefficient. If they prove their utility to society, it then becomes a race towards efficiency. We already see this occurring today as mining manufacturers strive to create less energy-hungry units and operators seek cheaper, renewable energy.
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