Blockchain Expert Predicts EOY Price For Bitcoin

After experiencing a less than favourable year in 2018, the crypto community is left wondering what 2019 will hold for Bitcoin and the gang. Will they drop further or surge near highs of what we saw in 2017? No one knows for sure but here’s hoping we see some big things this year.
Investors, traders, entrepreneurs all want to know how the crypto prices will act over the course of the next year. The blockchain expert, Julian Hosp recently wrote an article for Hackernoon looking into this topic and said that he asked himself the same questions for the past four years after he entered the blockchain field in 2014.
Let’s take a look at some of the previous years of crypto with how accurate previous predictions were for Bitcoin and altcoins.
2016
Throughout this year, the price was volatile and often shot up and down in a wild fashion with a steady backlash with extreme intraday volatility confused a lot of investors at the time. Hosp said that even though the industry was scared at this time that everything would just crash, he didn’t sell and focused on the long-term gains of what crypto could hold.
In addition to this, he said that at the start of 2016, the sentiment in the market was mixed but a lot of the negative players had cashed out. Nevertheless, not many people players replaced them. Even so, Hosp says that it was clear to him that the positive trend would drive on and continue due to the indicators within the crypto space around progress in technology and firms with Bitcoin adoption suggested this for insiders.
Hosp’s prediction was for the price of Bitcoin to get between $500-$1,000 for the end of 2016. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin was priced at $960 on 31st December so Hosp’s prediction was pretty accurate.
2017
2017 was an interesting year for crypto. The Bitcoin halving in 2016 meant that only half as many new Bitcoins came into creation through the mining reward. In 2016, Bitcoin jumped to just under $1,000 and as Hosp says, his assumptions of the strength and potential in Bitcoin has been more than confirmed. Altcoins like Monero and Ethereum just started up in the crypto ecosystem which seemed to have gone quite well and then Hosp doubled his investment. Things that occurred in 2017 made Hosp’s prediction quite difficult though.
 

“In 2016 we saw the first ICOs on Ethereum.

The topic of forks became increasingly important.

For the first time since 2014 the press became interested again in Bitcoin.”

Hosp says he had the right tendency and everyone who invested with him them made quite a lot of money but his price target was very wrong. By the end of 2017, instead of doubling, Bitcoin saw a twentyfold increase and was worth $20,000 by the end of the year. Even Ethereum saw a big increase up to $1,000 from just $8.
It seemed like the world was our oyster but in the year that followed, things didn’t exactly go to plan…
2018
The less said about 2018 the better but even so, everyone was saying that Bitcoin would get jacked and reach $100,000 by the end of the year when in reality it was actually closer $1,000.
That’s it, we’d rather not talk about 2018 anymore…
2019
So where do we go from here?
There are numerous ways in which the ecosystem could push Bitcoin down quite significantly from the $4,000 mark until the end of 2019.
 
Regulation
If a government declared a ban on cryptocurrency then who knows what would happen. All we do know is that it won’t be good.
If a big country like the USA puts a ban on crypto then this will have a huge negative impact on the crypto sphere. There isn’t much point worrying about this though as it is unlikely, but still possible.
Market crash
Not just in the crypto space but if the economy outside of cryptocurrency crashes, this will have a massive impact on the industry.
This is a controversial issue among experts but as Hosp says “I personally can not imagine that such a volatile asset class as cryptocurrencies could be considered a safe haven during a financial meltdown — rather the opposite.”
Though, we do often wonder if Bitcoin will begin to shine in the wake of a global financial crash.
2019 Prediction
Hosp finished off by giving his end of year price prediction for 2019. The blockchain expert predicts that Bitcoin will be $8,000 by the end of the year. Whereas this isn’t a massively bullish statement it is still a big improvement on what the price of Bitcoin is today.
Not to mention that an end of year price of $8,000 would be great! Much better than the continuous downtrend that we saw in 2018.
Source: Crypto Daily

Why We Think JP Morgan Weren’t Behind Bitcoin’s Recent Surge

Ever since the start of cryptocurrency with Bitcoin ten years ago, things seem to have come a long way. Over the course of the crypto space, we’ve seen highs and lows and more recently, JP Morgan Chase announced the development of the JPM Coin which came as a surprise to many since the CEO Jamie Dimon said many years ago that Bitcoin was a ‘fraud’. Nevertheless, the financial institution plans to deploy the cryptocurrency in its corporate payments operation in the near future.
The cryptocurrency company BitRail, said that the announcement from JP Morgan was certainly a validating moment for the crypto space. Nevertheless, participation from the traditional financial services sector isn’t necessarily a requirement when it comes to the adoption of cryptocurrency, even when it comes to the B2B payments market.
Rumours are suggesting that the announcement is what has caused the leading cryptocurrency to gain some momentum over the past few days such as Tuesday afternoon when Bitcoin was priced at $3,982.
If this value can stay at similar levels or even bolster above it until the end of the month, then Bitcoin will score its first positive month since the crypto prices started to drop in the summer of 2018.
The senior online market analyst for the trading platform eToro, Mati Greenspan said that the recent gains we have seen Bitcoin experience could “suggest that the long-awaited bull market is not far away”. Greenspan added, that “until bitcoin sees a strong breakout above the psychological level of $5,000 (£3,860), the longest bear market in cryptocurrencies short history continues.”
Was JP Morgan behind the surprise price surge?
Some experts have got a incline that the unexpected price surge from Bitcoin is a result of the move by JP Morgan’s to launch their own cryptocurrency.
The companies JPM Coin is based on blockchain technology and so it will be used to facilitate extremely quick transactions of money transfers.
Even though this freshly announced cryptocurrency will only be used for internal online payments at the bank which isn’t available for public trading, the decision to move suggests that the wider financial sector isn’t ready to adopt the controversial tech.
Speaking on the matter, Forbes have said:

“At the end of the day, the fact is that JPM using the digital coin for cross-border payment only strengthens the entire space” and “fosters the very concept that these digital coins are the future”

Food for thought
It’s worth noting that over the recent months we have seen both good and bad news yet none of it seemed to shift the market. When one of the commissioners from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission said that the Bitcoin ETF WILL be get accepted at some point this year, the markets didn’t move. This was news that thousands of enthusiasts will have wanted to hear but the markets didn’t move.
This could be a sign that news and what’s going on in the surrounding environment in the crypto space isn’t affecting the coins and tokens anymore.

Driving the market
So with this in mind, did JP Morgan even have an impact on the market or adoption?
Whether the market of adoption is being driven by big banks or not, cryptocurrency is clearly no longer “in the land of the lawless.”
The co-founder and Vice Chairman of BitRail Cameron Chell said that it is the fact that the technology is able to reduce the friction of payments and implement compliance and security is what will drive the adoption of cryptocurrency.
Following on from this he said that “adoption is like water. It’s going to go where cost savings are the greatest, and where there is the least amount of risk. I don’t think the key factor is having banks adopt it.”
Even though the announcement of the JPM Coin from JP Morgan was sudden it was also ‘validating’ according to Chell. The desire of merchants will help drive adoption in order to enable seamless digital payments. This is without having to pay the fees or give up the customer data to third party service providers such as Visa or PayPal. For example, this information can be valuable to businesses that wish to develop their own loyalty programs.
The low-hanging fruit of the corporate payments space is probably vendor payments. And in the ability to implement verification into transactions. Based on BitRail’s own conversations with other companies and potential customers, people are intrigued by the idea of using cryptocurrency in accounts payable, particularly among logistic companies that want to use blockchain technology for track and trace functionality.
In addition to this, Chell added that there would have been multiple gig economy players who would express their interest in using cryptocurrency for real-time payments for gig workers. Even though there have been some interesting inquiries amongst treasurers at big firms exploring the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency for things like foreign currency conversion and automatic sales tax calculations.
Source: Crypto Daily

Is This A Sign That Coinbase Could Start A Partnership With Google?

Coinbase are one of the world’s most notorious cryptocurrency firms. They have been in the industry from almost the very start and aim to provide one things – a complete, regulated and safe space for the facilitation of cryptocurrency storage, payments and transfers. Of course, Coinbase doesn’t come without its flaws, though the service provided by Coinbase is often second to none, especially given that recently the Coinbase exchange has been able to list a huge number of altcoins too.
Until 2018, Coinbase had limited themselves to just listing a handful of major cryptocurrencies including; Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin. This was down to the fact that within Coinbases’ license and their own rules and regulations, they could only list cryptocurrencies that met very specific criteria. During 2018 however, the team at Coinbase realised a need to expand in order to access a wider investor market. After a thorough review and a change of policy, Coinbase eventually announced that they would be set to list a number of altcoins. Since the middle of 2018, this list has grown and now covers tokens such as XRP, XLM and even BAT.
It is thanks to this innovation and this need to grow that Coinbase has seen such a huge amount of success over the years. Tie this in with a clean and easy to use interface, and you’ve got a perfect product ready to help drive cryptocurrency adoption.
What will the next step be
Many believe that for Coinbase, the next step in their journey will be integrating with larger mainstream companies in order to help attract a mainstream audience and display a sort of certificate of trust. If a major firm like Google (for example) get behind Coinbase, the general population will find it far easier to actually trust that Coinbase are legitimate and that their operations are safe and secure.
How this might come about is hard to pinpoint, Coinbase aren’t exactly going to offer Google a lot, so therefore they need to give Google a good reason to want to enter a partnership. They do say that everybody has their price however, let’s face it, a Coinbase and Google partnership will rake in the big bucks, so perhaps there is a financial incentive for Google in this?
We are of course just speculating, there are no big indications that Coinbase plan to partner with Google or Apple, or any major tech firms any time soon, recent reports however do suggest that at the very least, Coinbase are starting to integrate with some of the services that the likes of Google and Apple provide. According to Cointelegraph:

“San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that users of its Coinbase Wallet can now back up their private keys on cloud storage, namely on Google Drive and iCloud. The move has received mixed reaction from crypto community and cybersecurity experts, some of whom seem skeptical about the idea of storing private keys on centralized servers. Others are confident about the new feature, stressing that it entails encryption.”

Your private key is the password to your Coinbase holdings. If you lose your private key, you are unable to move any of the assets stored within your Coinbase wallet, or other secure cryptocurrency wallet. It’s hard to remember your private key as generally speaking, they are very complex passcodes, so having the ability to back up your private key within an encrypted filestore service such as Google Drive is quite an exciting idea, providing that as investors, you remember to use Google Drive safely and activate 2-factor authentication, as well as having a secure password and practicing normal online safety procedures.

With their official announcement, Coinbase have cited the risk of losing private keys as their main justification for this new Google Drive/Apple iCloud integration:

“The private keys generated and stored on your mobile device are the only way to access your funds on the blockchain. Owners of ‘user-controlled wallets’ like Coinbase Wallet sometimes lose their devices or fail to backup their 12 word recovery phrase in a safe place, thus losing their funds forever.”

The cryptocurrency community however do seem to be a little less optimistic about this, with Taylor Monahan, the CEO of MyCrypto saying:

“Regardless of the strength of the encryption, the weak link will always be the user selected password (on both their wallet AND their cloud storage account). People simply aren’t capable of generating a password with enough entropy, nor do they always use unique passwords for every service. Players like Coinbase should not be encouraging this type of unsafe behavior. I understand the desire for a better user experience, but the worst user experience is one where people lose all their crypto assets due to theft.”

This does not mark a Coinbase partnership
We have to reiterate that this does not suggest Google and Coinbase, or Apple and Coinbase are entering a partnership, it is interesting however to consider how Coinbase are using ready made technologies like iCloud and Google Drive to improve their own service, regardless of what the crypto community thinks. This is a good thing for cryptocurrency adoption and, providing that you use Google Drive and iCloud safely, it’s quite a good way to ensure you don’t lose access to your Coinbase wallet through forgetting or misplacing your private key.
Hopefully, this could be the start of a new move towards the adoption of newer and more mainstream technologies by Coinbase, perhaps after all, a Google/Coinbase partnership could be on the horizon?
Source: Crypto Daily

BTC Holding, XRP Join UAE Exchange & Justin Sun Shows His Charitable Side

As always, the crypto space has come out with a lot of fresh news this week with brand new announcements, interviews and price speculation. This week saw one Bitcoin billionaire give his thoughts on BTC and why you should hold it now when ‘no one really cares’. We also saw UAE exchange join Ripple based payments in Thailand and we also saw the charitable side to the CEO of TRON, Justin Sun.
Bitcoin (BTC)
One Bitcoin billionaire from China has taken to WeChat to discuss the industry. Zhao Dong predicts no thaw of crypto-winter in 2019 but does say that now is the best time to stock on on your digital assets like Bitcoin while their cheap and hold them for the foreseeable future.
Dong made his comment in the WeChat group ‘The Public Chain Alliance Crossing The Bulls And Bears Elite Team’ which we can only assume will sound better in Chinese.
The Bitcoin billionaire said that there was obviously less people getting involved in the Bitcoin and following it’s footsteps than there was during the 2017 bull run. Dong indicated that the same kind of people that jumped on the bandwagon in 2017 won’t be coming back until Bitcoin reaches those levels once again.

“For most people, if they don’t pay attention to Bitcoin now, they won’t pay much attention to most of the time, so for them, only how many tens of thousands of bitcoins will break them will be noticed again. If you and I believe in the future of Bitcoin, so it is best to hold as much as possible when nobody cares.”

As for this year, the Bitcoin billionaire warned that investors shouldn’t get their hopes up saying that there will be a lot more companies who fail over 2019. Despite this, Dong does say that from the ashes of the failed projects, a new wave of innovation teams will learn from their mistakes and be better for it.
Ripple (XRP)
As written in a press release posted on the 11th, the international payment platform and foreign exchange operator, Finablr has recently teamed up with Ripple’s RippleNet blockchain network.
Based in the United Arab Emirates, Finablr’s network brands a payment platform Unimoni will use the blockchain based platform provided by Ripple to follow through with real-time transactions to Thailand.
On top of this, the firm has said that it is aiming to expand their services to other countries in the future.

“The first partner in the service major Thai bank, Siam Commercial Bank, letting UAE Exchange and Unimoni customers globally send money to Thailand. The bank has been working with RippleNet since September 2018, when it became the platform’s first financial institution to trial a key feature dubbed “multi-hop.”

Finablr owns several brands outside of UAE Exchange and Unimoni such as Xpress Money, Travelex, Remit2India, Swych and Ditto which looks to launch blockchain technology some of their services as well.

“While most clients have opted to use its payments infrastructure without the XRP cryptocurrency that Ripple helped develop, Euro Exim Bank became the first bank to publicly announce it is using XRP for cross-border payments in early January.”

TRON (TRX)
Justin Sun is one of the most prominent faces in the crypto industry and is also the CEO of the popular decentralised platform TRON. Sun has always been known to keep his community up to date and earlier this week he even showed his charitable side after offering a job to a former BitTorrent employee who lost all of his life savings following the end of the QuadrigaCX exchange.

It quickly became apparent to the former employee Tong Zhou that he had made a huge mistake after he decided to keep all his life savings in one exchange. When the news reached the Justin Sun, he decided to give him a helping hand.
There is a lot of people in the crypto space that were both shocked and saddened to hear Zhou’s story who was just one of the 115,000 customers of the QuadrigaCX exchange.
After hearing the news on Twitter, Sun said this:

Tong Zhou was an ex-@BitTorrent employee and I am saddened by the news of the loss of his life savings in Quadriga CX’s digital EX. I sympathize with his predicament and would like to hereby extend an offer to him to once again return to #BitTorrent. #TRON https://t.co/TFh41DWD77
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) February 11, 2019
To reiterate what we said earlier in the week, despite the bear market getting the community down, this is proof there is some good people in the crypto space who are willing to give a helping hand to those who need it.
Source: Crypto Daily

Finnish Exchange Claim XRP Isn’t A Real Cryptocurrency

A cryptocurrency exchange based in Finland has recently claimed that XRP is not a cryptocurrency and that it is heavily centralised by its parent company Ripple. This news surfaced a day after the crypto exchange-listed XRP on its platform.
The Coinmotion exchange recently posted a blog post, just a few hours after listing the digital asset on its trading platform, with the title ‘XRP is a Centralised Virtual Currency’.
The post goes into detail on the opinion of the exchange operators that XRP isn’t a typical cryptocurrency and isn’t backed up by a traditional blockchain. It also says that it is massively centralised in the hands of a parent company, Ripple Labs.

“What one needs to know about XRP is that it is not cryptocurrency in the strict meaning of the word… What differentiates XRP from cryptocurrencies is that it is not based on blockchain, it is not mined and it is heavily centralized. Ripple network is a suite of different applications by Ripple Labs. XRP, is the currency of Ripple network, which the apps use.”

This is one opinion but it is shared by many people in the crypto community. Every few months there is another enthusiast or popular investor who attempts to reveal the ‘shady truth’ that XRP is a centralised asset rather than a decentralised one.
But as reported by CCN, the difference this time is that these allegations are coming from something that has something they could potentially lose.
The Finnish exchange doesn’t have anything to gain by spreading FUD about Ripple’s native token and the fact that they released this blog post contrasts with its listing of XRP, despite getting waves of demand from their customers in Finland. This only demonstrates how worried and concerned they must be.
Taking Control
At its core, Ripple is a payment network with the cryptocurrency XRP used in the said network which is operated by Ripple Labs. At the current time of writing, XRP is the third biggest cryptocurrency in space but we have seen the digital asset make some impressive surges in the past and was the second largest crypto in the space for a significant amount of time over the past few months but now it has sunk back to be the third biggest instead. Nevertheless, this is still an impressive feat for a ‘centralsied’ cryptocurrency.
There are claims that Ripple doesn’t use a blockchain to make secure transactions and instead uses a method known as HashTree which is actually patented by Ripple Labs.
As it says in the blog post:

“In HashTree all the transactions and balances are combined to a single number, which servers compare to each other to reach consensus. This kind of system is faster than blockchain, but far more centralized.”

The Finnish based exchange goes on to state the specifics for XRP’s supply data saying:

“XRP isn’t mined like typical cryptocurrencies. All 100 billion ripple coins have already been created. Ripple plans to release about half of them on to the markets while keeping the other half. Currently there are about 39% of ripple in the open markets, while 61% are kept by Ripple Labs.”

In addition to this, the control of XRP in the hands of a single firm amounts to a monopoly, one of which is antithetical to the standard principles of a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

“Ripple Labs has also the control on how and when to release new ripple on the markets. This is strackly (sic) in contrast to how decentralized cryptocurrencies work: with Bitcoin everybody knows and agrees on how new bitcoin are minted. With Ripple it is the monopoly of Ripple Labs to make the decisions.”

How Ripple Could Fight Back
At the end of the blog post by Coinmotion, they finish by indicating that XRP could still succeed despite everything they previously said. Even if they don’t consider XRP to be a proper cryptocurrency or blockchain solution, it still qualifies as a modern fintech solution.

“As a centralized system it could also be easier to jump on than decentralized blockchain systems. Grand institutions such as large scale companies and banks are often quite conservative in adapting new systems. Centralized system might seem less intimidating than a decentralized one.”

By January this year, Ripple Labs announced the addition of thirteen more financial institutions to its RippleNet which takes the overall total to more than 200. During this time, the former chief technical officer of Ripple Jed McCaleb found the time to take a few digs at some of the competition by calling TRON “just garbage”.
Final words
In the last sentence of the article, Coinmotion simply put:

“Nonetheless since You, our dear customer, have asked for it, we have offered you the possibility to buy and sell XRP on Coinmotion.”

Sounds a bit dramatic to me but for all you investors in Finland, XRP is now available via Coinmotion.
Source: Crypto Daily

Huge Applications For Bitcoin, XRP And VeChain

Last year saw a lot of banks in the finance industry adopt blockchain-based solutions and as the technology blockchain becomes more sophisticated, it is expected to spread across various industries throughout this year.
Trying to predict the future isn’t an easy thing to do but the guys over at Forbes asked Technology Council members to predict which industries will get involved with blockchain next. If you work in one of the following industries then you should probably start to think about how your company might be able to get on the blockchain bandwagon to assist your growth.
Education
So there are a lot of industries that are looking into blockchain as a potential technology to help bolster them above the competition and here is why education should look into it too.
There are a lot of big organisations that have got common interests and wish to enable transfer of credentials which could greatly benefit from a common blockchain. Storing the credits you’ve earned through this method could help preserve and ensure liquidity for the data by helping both students and institutions.
For crypto projects, Ripple is the best one for this field as they have recently partnered up with 11 universities from across the globe. This results in Ripple having 29 partnered institutions in the field.
According to Ripple Insights:

“In education, we’re partnering with leading universities around the world to support increased research and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and FinTech through the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), launched in June.”

Power
Power and energy supply firms aren’t usually thought of as using bleeding-edge technology but blockchain might be something that stands out. Blockchain technology is able to assist real-time transactions like energy trading, which could speed up the whole process because a third party verification isn’t needed.
This should also be the result in greater transparency and cost reductions.
Online Commerce
As you would expect, online commerce, e-commerce, is something that occurs online. There is always the worry about cybersecurity and online payments with e-commerce and that there is always that extra step in order to prevent security breaches. Blockchain technology is known for being very hard to hack into and so people are able to feel safer as e-commerce make bigger and more complex fiscal transactions online. When Bitcoin wallets eventually get adopted, the process will be a lot smoother.
Crypto projects like Bitcoin is one of the biggest currencies for this industry. With Bitcoin ATMs on the rise across the world (more than 4,000 in the US), being able to spend your Bitcoin is easier than it has ever been!

Healthcare
The healthcare industry is always busy and new technologies like blockchain could help make processes in the space a lot easier.
There is a lot of test work that has been executed in the health industry such as supply chain, slow payments and the claim dental issues in revenue cycle management value-based contracting arrangements for bundled payments, referral management and patient record sharing. Throughout this year, a lot of this test work will be most likely moved towards a production level.
The crypto project that will tie in with healthcare is VeChain.
During China’s tragic vaccine scandal, it was reported in August that vaccine manufacturers in the nation provided hundreds of thousands of faulty and falsely documented vaccines to Chinese school children. The scandal has incited widespread fury in both China and abroad. VeChain introduced their drug and vaccine traceability solution last year which was developed in partnership with DNV GL and leveraged public blockchain technology to quickly advance drug traceability, security, monitoring and auditing.
Agriculture
As reported by Forbes, food contamination issues can damage businesses and whole. Supply chain traceability can recall precise losses as well as putting a cap on them too. Blockchain and in-field Internet of Things devices enable high granularity of traceability from the field block and picker to the consumer. “Expect this first for leafy greens and later throughout agriculture.”
IoT
Speaking of Internet of Things, this is something that blockchain would be perfect for. A key use case for blockchain will be in solving problems of identity management. While digital certificates provide a first factor of authentication there are a lot of other factors that don’t apply to machines such as biometrics. Blockchain allows transaction history to be used as an alternative method to establish confidence in a machine’s identity.
Delivery
Last but certainly not least is delivery. Shipping and logistics is a potential domain where blockchain could be used. Currently, there is a lot of bureaucracy involved when consignments are delivered from one source to another which can result in a loss of consignments as well as a manipulation of proper records. “Blockchain could provide the solution for secure recording of data and transactions.”
Hopefully from this you have gained some insight into some of the other applications for blockchain technology. Remember, the blockchain is far more than just cryptocurrency, it’s a technological revolution!
Source: Crypto Daily

Can You Store Your Bitcoin Without Fear Of Hacks?

When you invest in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you are faced with several options on where you can store it to keep it safe, but the question has to be asked as to whether you can really keep your crypto safe? In an industry that is threatened by hacks and theft, what do you need to do to rest easy, knowing your Bitcoin is safe?
Over the years, exchanges have been hacked or compromised which has seen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency stolen from people’s accounts never to be seen again, this is due to the decentralised manner of the cryptocurrency and the fact that stolen funds are often impossible to trace.
Hacking has been a major problem in cryptocurrency circles ever since Bitcoin was introduced in 2008. There have been hacks and problems even before Bitcoin reached its all-time high of $20,000. This isn’t to do with the growing popularity of Bitcoin, no, it’s more to do with the fact that crypto criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated.
A good example is the Mt. Gox exchange which was hacked for 740,000 Bitcoin in 2014. This was worth more than $460 million at the time and even with the prices of 2018, it would have been over $1 billion.
In the near future, Mt. Gox is set to come back online but the question still remains as to whether you should store any Bitcoin or cryptocurrency on exchanges such as Mt. Gox, Coinbase or other online sites.
More recently, this year, we saw the crypto exchange QuadrigaCx left unable to repay $190 million in its client holding after its founder suddenly passed away, he was the only one who knew the private key to the holdings and thus, customers have been unable to retrieve their funds.
Exchanges aren’t the only thing to get hacked, as in 2017, one of the leading mining services, Nicehash was hacked for more than $70 million. Even last year, reports surfaced that over $1 billion was hacked from various other crypto-based services.
With exchanges and mining pools out of the question, where exactly can we turn to secure our Bitcoin?
Computer Wallets
Yes, obviously you can store your cryptocurrency in a wallet on your computer but there are some problems with this.
If your hard drive dies, or you just forget about it, it’s gone forever.
As reported by Riz Virk in a recent Hackernoon article, he knew someone who had some Bitcoin on his laptop from 2014 but he forgot it was on there and when the price started to rise in 2017, he realised that he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin somewhere on his laptop. When he went to look for it, he found that the Bitcoin. “When he went to look for it, he found that the bitcoin client he was using was so old that it didn’t work anymore! Luckily he was able to get the private key and put it into a new wallet”. Virk’s friend had a lucky ending but from this story alone, individual laptops are clearly not very secure and can be hacked!
In addition to wallets on your laptop or desktop, hardware wallets are a popular option too. In the Nano ledger USB device, you simply plug it into your computer and away you go. The private key is only stored on the hardware wallet and not actually stored on the computer if you follow me.

Cold Storage
You can keep your cryptocurrency safe in an office or bank. As Virk writes, “I know many founders of crypto companies and one approach is to store your ether in, for example, a hardware wallet or the seed phrase and have it stored in a physical safe or in a physical safe deposit box at the bank.”
So there are some serious disadvantages to both hardware wallet and cold storage and you can’t access them when you travel from more than one place. For companies, there will be multiple people who would need access to it and so it becomes very time consuming having to take a trip to the bank every time you want to gain access to your crypto.
Don’t Stick it in Just One Place
Another option is to spread out your crypto to different exchanges. If you travel a lot and need access to your crypto but don’t want your crypto stuck on your computer, this is the best option for you. Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop any exchange or site from being hacked but it will reduce potential losses, if one of your storage providers is hacked. You will need to remember all the passwords (wouldn’t recommend using the same one as you will be very vulnerable if an exchange gets compromised) so therefore, this could be a little inconvenient.
Where you Bought it
Last but not least, you can just store it where you bought it! For many people, this is ideal because you can log in anywhere and access it.
Again, the obvious problem here is that it is hackable like all major hacks such as the ones previously mentioned.
It’s worth saying that just because the site or exchange that you use hasn’t been hacked yet, doesn’t mean that it won’t be in the future. Whilst this option is easiest, it’s certainly one of the least secure ways to store your Bitcoin.
Honestly, it’s up to you. Your Bitcoin and crypto is your investment, therefore you should be confident in deciding exactly how it is stored. Do your research and keep your assets safe in the way that you deem most appropriate.
Source: Crypto Daily

Why The Best Is Yet To Come For Bitcoin

Binance CEO and Bitcoin billionaire Changpeng Zhao has got an bullish message for fans of crypto that think that they have missed out on the cryptocurrency bandwagon saying that the Bitcoin revolution is still “at the beginning of the beginning” so there is still time to get on the back of the booming industry.
The founder of the cryptocurrency exchange was responding to someone on Twitter who said that he wished he had jumped on the bandwagon in 2013 when Bitcoin was still in its infancy.
In 2013, the price of a Bitcoin was changing somewhere between $10 and $950 but today, the price of Bitcoin seems to be staying around the $3,600 mark after a horrible beating over the past 12 months.
In response to the Twitter user, Zhao said that the best is yet to come and that he hadn’t missed the bandwagon just yet.

“That’s exactly what I thought back in 2013, ‘damn, I am too late. I wish I started early like those other guys.’ and I will say the same thing I heard back then. We are still early, the beginning of the beginning.”

This all came after the CEO of the Shapeshift crypto exchange, Erik Voorhees complimented Zhao for the incredible success that Binance has achieved over such a short amount of time.

“One cannot but be impressed and inspired by the incredible success that Binance has achieved over the last 1.5 years. CZ Binance, it’s been awesome watching your ascent, keep up the good building.”

During the interaction on Twitter, Zhao echoed the the sentiment saying that when he met Voorhees in 2013, it was a turning point in his career and that it was a great inspiration for him.
Shapeshift is one of the more recent victims of the harsh crypto winter. Last month, Voorhees’ cryptocurrency exchange laid off a third of its workforce after being battered by the massive Bitcoin crash of 2018.
Voorhees took all the responsibility for the car crash state of his company but said that taking financial risks is part of his job as the CEO.

“As a company, our greatest and worst financial decision is the same: to embrace substantial exposure to crypto assets. Much of our balance sheet is comprised of them. We accept the volatility, we accept the risk…I can lay this mistake at nobody’s feet but my own.”

Despite the protracted market slump, there are a lot of strong believers like Zhao that are undeterred in their vision of a dazzling crypto revolution that will disrupt whole industries which includes the legacy financial system. Because cryptocurrency is still in its initial stages, Zhao is confident that Binance will still be standing strong in 100 years.

“Binance is ready to survive any number of years, no matter if it’s bear or bull…Our aim is much longer than another year. Our aim is 10, 50, 100 years. So we’ll be here for a while…Once I learned about crypto and how bitcoin works, I just understood that’s the future.”

The Future Direction of Crypto
The tech billionaire Tim Draper has a similar outlook regarding the crypto industry. Draper is confident in predicting that cryptocurrency will eventually take over fiat money and make up two-thirds of the world’s total currency value. Draper said:

“It’s going to be better for people. They’re going to move to crypto, and they’re going to go away from the political currency — they call it fiat. That’s the way it’s going to move.”

Draper made an estimate for Bitcoin last year saying that the price would hit $250,000 by 2022. He still stands by this statement too. The short term setbacks that the market experiences don’t unnerve Draper in the same way to day traders.

We should again highlight that we are not investment advisors, though Draper is well known within the industry, his word cannot be taken as concrete advice, there is no way to know what price Bitcoin will hit in the future. This is a volatile industry and thus, investment should be made by your own accord and not as a result of what these ‘experts’ are saying.
Draper believes that crypto is a disruptive, and a game-changing asset. As observed by the French author, Victor Hugo, nothing can stop an idea like crypto, which has a lot of time to evolve.

“I tend to move my dollars into bitcoin, because why would I want this currency that’s tied to some political force when I have a currency that is going to be frictionless and global? I would much rather have a global currency than one that is sort of tied to a political force.”

In addition to this, Draper said that crypto will eventually experience its share of ups and downs like all great inventions do. But the market will without a doubt move forward.

“The Internet started in the same way. It came in big waves and then it kind of came crashing down. And then the next wave comes concentrated but much bigger. I suspect the same thing will go on here.”

Source: Crypto Daily

How Will These New Regulations Impact XRP And Stellar?

Ripple XRP and Stellar XLM are best known for their remittance payment solutions. Both cryptocurrencies have been designed to change the way international, cross-border transactions are made. Current FIAT services are slow and expensive, therefore it’s hardly a surprise that blockchain technology is able to make remittance payments more efficient.
For those that aren’t sure how all of this works, let’s explore exactly what remittance payments mean, according to Investopedia:

“A remittance is the funds an expatriate sends to his or her country of origin via wire, mail, or online transfer. These peer-to-peer transfers of funds across borders are economically significant for many of the countries that receive them. Remittances have played an increasingly large role in the economies of small and developing countries.”

Furthermore:

“Remittance payments also comprise a substantial amount of the flow of capital between countries. In 2014, $583 billion in USD was transferred between countries – $436 billion of which was received by developing countries. The countries receiving the largest share of remittances are the BRIC nations China and India. Those countries received $69.97 and $59.49 billion dollars in 2013 by 2015 estimates.”

Venezuela
Venezuela is a bit of a political hotspot at the moment and is also one of cryptocurrencies ‘most mentioned’ countries. During the recent crash of local currency, Venezuela has seen a huge surge in the adoption of DASH, historically as well, Venezuela have also been involved in the production of an ‘oil backed’ cryptocurrency called the Petro. The recent news is not crypto-specific (by this, we mean that these regulations are not focused on just one cryptocurrency) so to speak, but it will have a big impact on how remittance payments can be made with cryptocurrency in the country. Given that XRP and XLM is the most popular solutions for remittance, we can only expect that the pair will remain the ‘payer’s choice’ when it comes to sending money home.
According to Bitcoin.com:

“The Venezuelan government has begun regulating cryptocurrency remittances. The regulator has set a monthly limit and will be collecting commissions of up to 15 percent of the transaction amount. Additionally, new details of its comprehensive registry of crypto service providers have been announced.”

This announcement came last week via The National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (Sunacrip) the Venezuelan cryptocurrency regulator. Part of the new ‘decree’ outlined by Sunacrip, covers:

“The requirements and procedures for the sending and receiving of remittances in crypto assets to natural persons in the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

The decree goes on to state that anyone making remittance payments with cryptocurrency into Venezuela will be liable to pay a heft taxation fee of 15%:

“The sender of the remittances referred to in this ruling is obliged to pay a financial commission in favor of Sunacrip up to a maximum amount of 15% calculated on the total of the remittance.”

The minimum commission that Sunacrip will take as a result of these new laws is around $0.28 per transaction.

Regulations
As stated, it’s not just taxation that Sunacrip have established within Venezuela, new regulations have come into force that also limit the way people can send remittance payments. Sunacrip have essentially given themselves the power to change levels, set standard values for cryptocurrencies against the Venezuelan Bolivar, can set tariffs (such as the 15% taxation) and can even request personal data from those actually involved in the transactions. Basically, everything that cryptocurrencies like XRP and XLM stand for, has been revoked.
There is now also a monthly limit on remittance payments which stands at 10 PTR. PTR refers to the Petro, the oil backed currency. According to Bitcoin.com:

“This cap translates into US $600 per month, according to the quote set for the PTR. Any amount that exceeds this limit will require the Sunacrip endorsement, which will authorize up to a maximum of 50 PTR ($3,000).”

What does all of this really mean?
Of course, we now need to explore what this all means for cryptocurrencies like XRP and XLM. Remittance payments can in theory be made with any cryptocurrency, though as we have stated XRP and XLM are the markets favourites, so we’ll focus on them. This does mean that payments can be taxed, and it also means that Sunacrip can also delve into the personal data that is driving transactions into Venezuela. The limits simply mean that Sunacrip have far more control over how much money enters circulation in Venezuela from outside, in a bid that aims to stabilize their own financial system. One thing we should consider however – will people actually abide by these rules?
The anonymity of the blockchain does make these new regulations quite hard to police, in theory, there’s nothing stopping somebody sending a remittance payment to a friend or family member in Venezuela without anybody knowing. However, in an increasingly totalitarian state, this does put the recipient at risk. Our advice – if you do send remittance payments to Venezuela, follow the rules and stick to these new regulations. Since Sunacrip can make amendments to these regulations as and when they like (by the looks of it) it’s going to be pretty essential for you to ensure you’re up to date with the rules to make sure you don’t make any drastic errors when sending your payments.
Source: Crypto Daily

Bitcoin ETFs, XRP and Facebook?

It’s time for another weekly round-up of the news that matters in the cryptosphere this week. We have seen numerous suggestions that a Bitcoin ETF may see approval in the coming months, news regarding XRP market cap manipulation, and even a massive blockchain acquisition from Facebook. It’s an exciting time to be in crypto, that’s for sure.
SEC & the Bitcoin ETF approval
One interesting story that came out of this week was that a solicitation notice was issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. With institutional finances getting ready to flood into the market and save cryptocurrency (we hope), the SEC’s chairman has spoken out about the lack of surveillance as well as an instance fraud at the CoinDesk Consensus Invest Conference. In addition to these topics, Jay Clayton said why he isn’t prepared for the Bitcoin ETF to occur:

“It’s an issue (manipulation) that needs to be addressed before I would be comfortable. We’ve seen some thefts around digital assets that make you scratch your head. We care that the assets underlying that ETF has good custody and that they’re not going to disappear.”

A solicitation notice was released earlier this week that aimed to push cable firms to provide viewable data of the most common blockchains in a way that “there is no loss in data completeness and accuracy due to the data transformation tools and processes applied.”
The United States SEC said that potential companies aim to:

“Provide blockchain data to support the SEC’s efforts to monitor risk, improve compliance, and inform Commission policy with respect to digital assets. The SEC is seeking information for potential sources to support the goal of acquiring data for the most widely used blockchain ledgers, including the universe of available information and transaction details.”

It was just pure coincidence that the notice came when the OCIE (Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations) made cryptocurrencies the top of their list for assets to examine in more depth over this year. The OCIE published a report saying that they:

“Will continue with their mandate, complementing and advising the SEC in their effort to protect the American people.”

Will a Bitcoin ETF be approved any time soon? We sure hope so, but for now, we are doubtful.
XRP Speculation
Earlier this week, Ripple moved more than $300 million worth of XRP from one of its escrow accounts to an unknown wallet. The transaction had had a simple message attached to which said, “crawl… walk… run ;)”. There are rumours there the firm has locked $80 million worth of the total transfer.
Last year, there was around $535 million worth of XRP sold by many of its buyers, which now looks more like an attempt at pumping the price of XRP and dumping it again. The idea of this is to allow investors to work together to sell at a prime price point. Now there is a chance that this is true as Ripple currently holds around 60 percent of the overall supply of XRP, but there’s no way of knowing if Ripple themselves are behind this pump and dump scheme.

There have been several rumours surrounding Ripple’s price and one of the people who has been at the front of these rumours is Ryan Selkis, the CEO of Messari. Selkis believes that Ripple has been lying about the market cap for XRP. In fact, there have been numerous reports by the Messari CEO, one of which says that billions of XRP are being added to supply from nowhere.
There is a lot of argument that Ripple is centralised rather than decentralised because the company holds such a large amount of its native token. Despite this, a recent Twitter poll by the user @MrLedson asked his followers as to which cryptocurrency will see the biggest gains in 2019 out of HOLO, TRON, Ripple and Monero. Just under 2,000 votes later Ripple got 79 percent of the vote.
Facebook integrate Blockchain?
There are many people in the crypto space that are expecting to see Facebook integrate blockchain, as a major tech firm, the social network always seems to be on top of emerging technologies. With this, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Zuckerberg’s company are already exploring blockchain technology.
There are several rumours that indicate Facebook could be on the verge of launching their own in-app cryptocurrency which could be used in Messenger and WhatsApp. There are others though that believe that Facebook isn’t actually that bothered about cryptocurrency and that their real focus is on the underlying technology that drives them, blockchain.
In the end, it won’t really matter what they are planning since the massive scope Facebook has will make whatever they launch very significant. There are more than a billion people on Facebook which means that whenever the system gets confirmation to go live, one billion people will have access to the blockchain.
There’s almost no limit to what this could do for the adoption of blockchain technology and of course, the adoption of cryptocurrency too.
Source: Crypto Daily

Ethereum Constantinople, What’s Going on with the Upgrade?

The Ethereum hard fork was set to go underway on 16th January but has been massively delayed, now we are left wondering what is happening with the upgrade.
The update, known as Constantinople, is the latest in Ethereum’s recent network system upgrades but because of a vulnerability in Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP), 1283, which allows for a reentrancy attack, Constantinople was delayed. The core Ethereum developers had a meeting two days after the update was initially meant to go live to talk about the next steps and ultimately decided to postpone the network upgrade until 27th February, leaving investors and fans a little bemused to say the least.
The hard fork will be released in two parts, simultaneously. The first hard fork upgrade will include all five EIPs (this will include the 1283 bug) and on the second upgrade, 1283 will be removed, the developers feel that this is the most appropriate way to roll out the upgrade given the circumstances.

What is the Network Upgrade?
So you may have heard about the upgrade and you might be wondering what it actually is and what it means for the Ethereum network.
If you already know, let this refresh your memory, otherwise, Constantinople is one of the latest forks for the Ethereum network and has 5 EIPs. EIP’s mean that no single process can decide what happens within a network upgrade (so to speak). This means that anyone in the community will be able to submit suggestions in order to improve the network. To imagine EIPs, think of a suggestion box with developers reading the submissions and going on to implement them.
The five current EIPs will tackle cost, speed, function, efficiency and more.

EIP 145 – Bitwise Shitfing Instructions

This EIP will add Bitwise shifting instruction to the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The instructions allow for bits of binary information to move to the left and to the right. This will mean that the execution of shifts in smart contracts will be a lot cheaper. Lowering the gas required for sending transactions, making the network more efficient.

EIP 1014 – CREATE2

EIP 1014 was developed Vitalik Buterin himself. The upgrade will improve the enablement for state channels, an Ethereum scaling solution which is based on off-chain transactions.

EIP 1052 – Smart Contract Verification

EIP 1052 enables smart contracts to verify one another by taking the hash of the other smart contract. Prior to Constantinople, smart contracts would have to pull the whole code of another in order to verify. There is a lot of time and manpower put into performing this. Lowering the volume of computing power needed to verify smart contracts

EIP 1234 – Block Rewards & Difficulty Bomb Delay

This EIP is one of the most well known discussed in regards to the Constantinople upgrade. There are two components, which are Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Reduction

EIP 1283 – SSTORE

The fifth EIP reduces the gas cost for the SSTORE operation. The full name of this proposal is ‘Net Fast Metering for SSTORE Without Dirty Maps’. The reduction allows for several updates to occur within a transaction at a much cheaper cost.
What Constantinople Will Change?
All of the above EIPs are part of a bigger plan for ETH 2.0 in which the Ethereum protocol will undergo many fundamental changes to improve the functionality in the long term. Some of the changes are:

“Proof of Stake

Improved scalability via sharding

EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) improvements

Improvements to cross-contract logic (e.g. abstraction)

Improvements to protocol economics”

Vulnerabilities on the Hard Fork
The day before the Constantinople upgrade was set to go live, the smart contract auditing company ChainSecurity noted a crucial vulnerability on EIP-1283 which would make current contracts susceptible to a re-entrancy attack.
On 15th January, ChainSecurity posted a Medium article which mentions that the EIP-1283 could create a loophole in the Ethereum network through which attacks could gain access to the network and be able to steal funds. The attack was dubbed a ‘re-entrancy attack’ because it would give hackers a chance to enter into specific functions on the network on more than just one occasion without letting users aware.
In the end, an attacker would have been able to steal funds from the network without a trace.
In addition to this, ChainSecurity also said that:

“exploitation of this vulnerability would be highly unlikely as they were unable to find any pre-existing contracts that would be at risk.”

Despite the client developers, core developers and the whole community decided to delay the network upgrade after further testing. Furthermore:

“The Core Ethereum Devs held a meeting two days after the intended network upgrade to discuss how to move forward and when to reintroduce the Constantinople upgrade. On the call, the developers came to consensus on pushing the update for another 6 weeks in order to give a reasonable amount of time to test clients.”

What Does the Future Hold?
What the future holds all depends on how the community interact with the open-sourced Ethereum network.
If you are a holder of Ethereum, a smart contract or simply interact with the network at a high level, you won’t have to do anything more, so you can just wait for things to unfold from here.
For miners and exchange runners, you will have to update your parity clients when they are released.
Source: Crypto Daily

Look How Close We Are To Blockchain Adoption

A term that gets thrown about a lot these days is ‘blockchain adoption’, it has slowly grown into something with more meaning over the years, this is because the adoption of the blockchain is now a very realistic idea. Two years ago, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) could’ve been a way to disrupt the traditional means of finance and fundraising. In addition to this, the insane growth of Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market saw everyone with an extremely positive outlook on their investments in cryptocurrency. All in, these things have contributed well to the future of this technology.
As a result of the recent crypto winter, the hype train that crypto arrived on has departed, leaving the mainstream at a loss when it comes to cryptocurrency. 2018 seems to have truly marked the end for blockchain technology.
Or did it?

Yes, the cryptocurrency hype train might have departed, however, the hype around the future of blockchain adoption is hotter than ever.
Now sure, the current level of hype for cryptocurrencies is a lot less than what it was a few years ago, but this lack of hype and over the top excitement had a sense of uneasiness initially but that has somewhat created a space for the real technological advances to happen.
There are three key factors for what is driving the adoption of blockchain which is the private sector, public sector and the general public.
Private sector
If we ignore the government bodies that are taking an interest in blockchain for a minute, the next big thing in the private sector that is pushing for adoption is huge private institutions. Specifically, the ones that have shaped the world into what is today. There are a lot of these institutions that you will most definitely have heard of and eventually, they will encourage smaller companies to experiment with blockchain technology.

Allianz – the insurance company based in Germany have been putting a token to the test for moving money between its international affiliates to reduce currency conversion costs and other inefficiencies between the units.
Amazon Web Services – the blockchain business cloud Kaleido has recently partnered with AWS for Amazon to offer a full stack blockchain enterprise platform on the cloud that will implement blockchain services with AWS services.
Walmart – the famous American multinational retail store has partnered with IBM to use blockchain to improve food safety via enhanced supply chain tracking.
Tencent and Huawei – these two firms are spearheading a blockchain consortium of more than 100 different Chinese companies called Fisco. This is also launching its own blockchain focusing on faster transactions while also providing ‘observatory’ nodes for Government regulators and auditors.
UN – the United Nations is also exploring blockchain technology for climate action and the sustainability of the planet. Therefore, Climate Chain Coalition was born.

These are just a few example of bigger firms which have put in the time and effort for blockchain technology. It is possible to think that these blockchain-as-a-service solutions will start making its way to smaller business.
The next few years could be vital for the advancement of blockchain in the private sector
Public sector
Even though the markets aren’t performing as well as we’d hope, there seems to be news surfacing every week about a government body that is starting a new blockchain initiative. If a government starts to accept blockchain, it can be seen as a validation of blockchain’s massive potential.
Here are some examples of how a country backs blockchain technology;
USA
A bill was recently introduced by the Washington State Senate that encourages the development of distributed ledger and blockchain technology. The US bill provides legal recognition in digital signatures and licenses. This is an attempt to validate blockchain as a cryptographically secured database.
Italy
The Italian government had initially announced the first set of regulation for Blockchain technologies. The law states that now any record on the blockchain can be deemed as legal validation. Despite this, it still needs presidential approval, this is a great move by a government to make blockchain technology more legitimate.
Croatia
The government in the capital of Croatia are hoping to adopt blockchain and implement it into the daily running of the country. Authorities in Zagreb is going to look at safeguarding sensitive documents and the monitoring of business processes of local companies. In addition to this, blockchain technology was cited to be used as a way to keep official documents and digital certificates.
Middle East
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East are allegedly launching official interbank cryptocurrency. At the moment, the project is still in its pilot stage without much information being given. The aim of this is to get a better understanding of blockchain technology in facilitating cross-border payments.
General Population
In just five years, the number of WhatsApp users increased to 1.5 billion users which is 20 percent of the world’s population.
As reported by Hackernoon:

“Today, it is unthinkable for someone to be without one of these messaging apps. As the world continues to be connected by the availability of the internet, we should be able to see blockchain being adopted by everyone.”

On the Horizon
Even though solutions have cropped up to the address the issue with more colleges and universities putting in resources and focus on blockchain development. The existing developers are encouraged to explore blockchain technicalities. Experimenting is the next step after spreading the word about blockchain and with governments and big companies spearheading the charge, blockchain adoption is just on the horizon.
As you can see, the concept of blockchain technology is not dead. The future for these technologies is bright and indeed, we see a very bright future for crypto, distributed ledger technologies and everything to do with the blockchain industry. Adoption might seem far off but when you scratch the surface, it’s far closer than we think.
Source: Crypto Daily

Why Monero (XMR) Mining Just Doesn’t Add Up

The crypto and blockchain space has been going through a rough time over the past year, the start of 2019 hasn’t changed that. News of exchange hacks and the now-delayed Ethereum Hard Fork haven’t given 2019 the best head start to unhinge the bad name that is associated with cryptocurrency. For Moneo miners though, they have been looking at a very unusual event, waiting for it to unfold.
It’s no secret that the profitability of mining Monero has decreased over recent months, given that the value of XMR has sunk significantly within this bear market. There are a number of ideas that we need to explore in order to understand what might happen next with Monero.
ASIC
Monero is well known to be a very against ASIC. last year, the project went through two forks in an attempt to combat the rise of ASIC miners. The first of these forks occurred in April and against in October to the newer Cryptonight V8 algorithm. The two forks resulted in more than five Monero chains which all promised to be bigger and better with more security features.
For those that don’t know what Cryptonight is, as reported by mycryptopedia.com:

“CryptoNight is a proof-of-work hashing algorithm originally designed by the Bytecoin and CryptoNote developer teams. It was originally designed to accommodate CPU and GPU mining whilst at the same time being resistant to Application-Specific Integrated Circuits, or better known as, ASICs.”

A good way to think of CryptoNight is as an algorithm that is similar to the mining code for Bitcoin or the Litecoin protocol. With all this in mind, however, as you would expect, in the end, the main Monero chain prevailed in the end.
Profitable
Monero’s all-time high was around $490 and since then, the cryptocurrency (much like the rest of the market) has seen some big losses. If we take a look at Ethereum, we can see that there is still some marginal profits to made from this cryptocurrency, depending on the type of mining equipment used – Ethereum is profitable by around $2 a day, whereas, Monero would leave you with a loss of $0.50 on a daily basis. Mining XMR is simply not worthwhile.

If we take a look at Mimblewimble coins such as BEAM and Grin, there are some profit levels here that the industry hasn’t seen in a long time, so it’s worth noting that not all aspects of cryptocurrency mining are dead in the water, juet yet.
So where does the hashpower for Monero come from? One thing is for sure that small miners who do it as a hobby aren’t going to be contributors to this, and the large enterprise GPU mining rigs are most likely still mining on Ethereum.
To sum up, it doesn’t really make any sense to mine Monero at the minute. But this still doesn’t explain why the hashrate is increasing, does it?
Questionable Behaviour
The CEO of Lunar Digital Assets, blockchain enthusiast and entrepreneur Han Yoon wrote a recent article for Hackernoon. In the article, he goes on to explain what the possible causes of this could be and tries to pinpoint who these mysterious miners are.
To start with, Yoon explains one of the most unlikely possible causes of the Monero hashrate:

“An entity is pushing up difficulties to all time high levels at a huge loss to push out small-to-mid GPU miners.”

As the GPU miners steer away from the network, the entity is sneakily accumulating enough hash power to perform a 51 percent attack. This is the same attack which happened to Ethereum Classic last month.
Continuing with his next theory, Yoon states:

“An entity has already developed an ASIC miner with efficiency and power for the Cryptonight V8 algorithm, propelling the never-ending cat and mouse chase between anti-ASIC coins and ASIC producers.”

There is the possibility that this entity could be mining in secret up until a time to dump the ASICs into the market.
For his third and final speculative reason behind Monero’s hashrate, Yoon talks about Botnets which have finally made the upgrade to Cryptonight V8 and it’s spreading with speed. For those that don’t know a botnet is a number of computers which are infected by hackers and script kiddies depending on the sophistication of the virus. This can have full control of your computer without you even knowing. This was a big issue for Cryptonight V7 as there were around half a million servers compromised to secretly mine Monero.

“When Monero switched over to Cryptonight V8, it essentially rendered all those infected computers useless for Monero mining. There is a real possibility that these infected computers have been slowly but surely upgraded to mine CN v8. Since the infected computers are using the electricity costs of the victim, the cost is irrelevant for the hackers — for them it’s a pure numbers game. Infect as many computers as possible.”

I think Yoon puts it best by saying that there is a lot of us who are lost for words. To be perfectly honest, the maths behind the increasing hashrate, while profits go down, doesn’t make any sense.
The world of Monero mining remains to be one of uncertainty. One day, XMR will turn a profit, however the general consensus is that at the moment, Monero is at risk of slipping behind its rivals, simply as an organic result of this crushing bear market.
Source: Crypto Daily

New Stats Show ETH Blockchain Is Scammers Paradise

The crypto analytics specialists Chainalysis recently published a report which indicates Ethereum has become a crypto platform which scammers seem to thrive on. The research suggests that last year saw a lot more sophisticated, higher-earning scams being carried out using Ethereum, although the specific number of the crimes has plummeted significantly year on year.
The amount that was stolen through Ethereum based scams doubled from $17 million in 2017 to $36 million last year. This sums up to 0.01 percent of ETH in circulation.
Chainalysis identified more than 2,000 false Ethereum addresses which managed to secure funds from almost 40,000 unique users in the network. In around two years, the way that the scammers are operating has seemingly changed according to the data to analytics specialists.
Pyramid schemes, initial coin offerings and phishing are still sticking around though and they are still the most prevalent but even so, there has been a change in the trend.
Two years ago, phishing scams were a big thing and led to a big surge in that kind of crime. Users seemed to catch on to the continuously increasing number of these attacks which led to a decrease in the effectiveness of phishing scams.
A result of this, the average amount sent to a scam address was nearly half of the amount that it was in 2017. There was a significant rise in Pyramid schemes last year though and ICO exit scams yielded millions of dollars in income.
As reported by CoinTelegraph, one of the key reasons for Ethereum’s popularity with scammers is due to the “utility as a platform in which people can start and launch their own native cryptocurrency tokens through ICOs.”
With the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies surging in 2017, investors were happy to sell their crypto holdings in the hope for seeing to massive returns on the investments. During this time, fraudsters took advantage of the situation which has inevitably swindled many investors.
As a platform, Ethereum doesn’t directly provide the right tools nor environment for scammers to carry out their numerous schemes and ideas. Entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a decentralised, blockchain based project should look to the Ethereum platform because it is what it was designed for.
There are three main scams used on the Ethereum platform which scammers seem to favour when they play out their schemes, plans and things of the sort.
ICO exits
To start with, ICO exits. This a type of scam that quickly grew in popularity over the course of last year. Fraudsters would set up a fake company or project with elaborate marketing and websites. Funds are then raised through ICOs but after that is complete then the fraudsters will then sell off the proceeds and *poof*… vanish into thin air. Not only are they gone so there isn’t anyone to point the finger at but the capital is gone leaving investors with nothing.

Phishing
Next, let’s talk about phishing. This is perhaps the most popular type of Ethereum scam which has been going on over the past few years. The idea behind this type of scam is when scammers send potential victims emails or another form of digital communication, they get tricked into sharing private financial information and thus, the scammers will have access to their Ethereum wallets.
Pyramid Schemes
Pyramid schemes – also known as Ponzi schemes – have also occurred a lot over recent years. The schemes promise investors an unusually high return on their investment which are then paid out by new investment funds coming in. In the end, the scammers make off with most of the funds and leave the investors with nothing. A good example of a Pyramid scheme in the crypto space is Bitconnect which officially died in September last year.
Chainalysis explains that in 2017, phishing scams were the most popular method of scamming but in the following year, users became a lot more aware of what was happening with them so fewer scammers attempted it. In addition to this, when criminals started to change up their methods of attack, the median amount of money stolen from individuals seemed to decrease too.
Which is the most Effective?
As technology develops and people wise up to scams, the overall success of fraudsters seems to be sinking. There is a small number of these activities which have managed to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors.

“What this could indicate is that criminals have had to get smarter in the way they dupe potential victims, with complex scams that have garnered massive amount of money. To this end, Chainalysis notes that twice as many users lost up to four times as much in 2018 compared to 2017.”

There is a possibility that channels like Telegram and WhatsApp could be utilised by scammers in the future but as for cryptocurrencies, they will continue to be a method to launder money and regulatory moves will be made by the authorities.
Overall, Ethereum remains a very safe and secure platform, though caution should be exercised when dealing with Ethereum based technology. Never give away your personal details and never get involved in any giveaways or schemes that sound too good to be true – this tends to mean they are too good to be true and thus, are of a fraudulent nature. Stay safe out there!
Source: Crypto Daily

All You Need To Know About NEO’s Devcon

To celebrate the upcoming NEO Devcon, Crypto Daily will be giving away FOUR FREE TICKETS to the event, giving you the chance to access the event and attend what looks to be the biggest NEO gathering of the year. Please note that these tickets will only give you access to the conference and that you will need to arrange your own travel to and from the event, as well as arranging your own accommodation during your stay. The conference kicks off on the 16th of February 2019, therefore you will need to be available to attend from this date.
To enter the competition, simply comment on this video and tell us why you deserve two free tickets to NEO Devcon! Two winners will be selected from the comments of this video on WEDNESDAY 6TH OF FEBRUARY and will be contacted by a member of the Crypto Daily team.
Good luck!
What is NEO Devcon
Devcon is the annual NEO developers conference and is known as one of the most important annual events from within the blockchain industry. It is rare that an event manages to attract so many creative and technical minds in order to discuss the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Devcon is a truly innovative platform that attracts both experienced and new developers alike, in order to share, collaborate and learn. As a part of the event, prolific speakers take to the stage to share their knowledge and insight with the NEO community in order to help highlight the next steps for NEO, as well as in discussing important parts of NEO’s history and the current work from the NEO development team.
The event, takes place at the Hyatt Regency in Seattle, Washington, between the 16th of February and the 17th of February 2019.
According to the Devcon website:

“NEO is a community-driven, open-source blockchain platform. The project was initiated in 2014 and open-sourced on Github in 2015. Its mainnet has maintained stable operation for two and a half years. It upholds the vision of realizing a programmable, digitized and trustless ‘smart economy’ with millions of community members making active contributions across the globe. NEO is one of the most developer-friendly public blockchain projects and decentralized application platforms, offering robust infrastructure,  a variety of APIs and SDKs, a comprehensive smart contract system and easily accessible support to community developers.”

The event allows developers to showcase their latest ideas and products on a truly international scale, reaching a huge audience of like minded individuals, all of whom are equally bullish about the technology behind NEO. Some of the Devcon prolific speakers include Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang, the Co-Founders and CEO’s of NEO. Zhao Chen, the General Manager for NEO Global Development, Drew Gude, the Managing Director for Microsoft Digital World-wide and Harry Pierson, the Program Manager for Xlang, Microsoft.
Some of the important topics covered by the speakers include; ‘The promise of smart economy’ presented by Da Hongfei, new improvements in NEO 3.0, presented by Erik Zhang and even a speech about the ‘Big trend in Blockchain’ presented by Miha Kralj, the Managing Director at Accenture.

How do I take part
There are a number of ways the blockchain community can get involved with this years Devcon. Of course, by entering our giveaway, you are in for a chance of winning a couple of free tickets (what better way to get started), otherwise though, tickets can be purchased online using either NEO, or USD.
Buy your tickets with NEO
Buy your tickets with $USD
Students and developers are also able to access free tickets, in a bid to make this event as transparent as possible for the entire blockchain community. As highlighted in our recent coverage of this story:  

“The NEO team expects to attract young developers and students to the event with free tickets so they can learn more about the ambitious ‘smart economy’ project and pick up valuable blockchain development skills at the workshops. Free access to the event and expert workshops is part of the NEO team’s strategy to unleash a wave of innovation and development activity on the NEO blockchain. Young students and developers can learn how to develop their first decentralized application (dApp), create a smart contract, or deploy solutions on the blockchain. Widening the base of young blockchain experts is seen as a way to augment the already thriving NEO developer community.”

To book tickets or reserve one of the limited seats at the developer workshop, contact the NEO team at devcon@neo.org. For more details, please visit https://devcon.neo.org/.
NEO Devcon promises to be one of the most exciting events of the year, we can’t wait to see what exciting developments come out as a result of this and we can’t wait to find out more about the future of NEO, and NEO 3.0.
Good luck to those taking part in our ticket giveaway. Remember, you simply just need to leave a comment this video via YouTube before Wednesday the 6th of February. Two winners will be selected to win 2 tickets each and will be able to use them to attend the conference next week!
Source: Crypto Daily