Boris, Brexit, and Bitcoin: How the UK’s General Election Might Impact Crypto

In yesterday’s UK General Election, the British people voted for the Conservative Party to take office for another term. The pound responded with a sudden rise in value reminiscent of a Bitcoin move.
However, with the now majority Conservative party campaigning to just “get Brexit done”, the future value of both the pound and euro is anything but certain. Economic uncertainty has long been linked with rising Bitcoin interest, and there is no shortage of that in the UK at the moment.
Does Bitcoin Become More Alluring in Times of Uncertainty?
Last night’s general election in the UK represented a serious upset to political norms of the nation. Several consistently held left wing strong holds fell to the rightist Conservative Party. The result, announced this morning, will see the first majority Conservative government take power since 1992.
The Conservative’s traditional opposition in the essentially two party British system is Labour. Led by Jeremy Corbyn, a very much love him or hate him, old school socialist type, business interests would have certainly been threatened if the UK’s largest left wing party got past the post first. The markets breathed a sigh of relief  as the party of business came out a clear winner in the early hours of this morning.

Pound shoots up like a Bitcoin pump. Up 2.3%. pic.twitter.com/ia3kOh138l
— West 93 (@ViewFromBlock93) December 12, 2019

Despite the sudden gain in the pound’s value, Brexit still looms and the nature of the UK’s now-as-good-as-certain departure from the European Union is anything but clear. Boris Johnson, the previous and continuing Prime Minister, campaigned and won alongside a ruthless media machine with the simple message to “get Brexit done”.
It seems likely that any exit from the European Union will see both the euro and pound devalued, at least in the short term. A particularly abrupt exit without any form of trade deal could leave the pound in a bad way for the foreseeable future. In times of such uncertainty, store of value assets become attractive.
Although Bitcoin has hardly proved itself a store of value yet, the leading digital currency does possess all the qualities of something typically highly valued – it’s finite in issuance and it’s incredibly difficult to create more of. For these reasons, Bitcoin has often been compared to gold. The only thing the digital currency lacks is the historical precedence of gold, which is something it’s working on.
It would be naive to assume that Brexit alone will encourage UK citizens to go out and buy Bitcoin in their droves. However, events like Brexit are clear symptoms of an increasingly fractured world. In a time of widespread distrust, it seems only a matter of time before a system that removes the need to trust a fallible human gains significantly in popularity. Many early Bitcoiners talk about the Greek or Cypriot banking crisis as fuelling their own interest in the digital asset. It, therefore, doesn’t seem like much of a leap to think that the threat of losing savings thanks to a badly handled Brexit will encourage more folks to explore alternatives too.
 
Related Reading: Faced with EU AML Regulations, Bitcoin Social Tipping Platform Terminates Service
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Faced with EU AML Regulations, Bitcoin Social Tipping Platform Terminates Service

A popular service for tipping social network users has announced that it will cease functioning on New Year’s Eve. BottlePay links social accounts with Bitcoin wallets to allow users to reward each other for agreeable content.
The news comes in response to EU anti-money laundering regulations. BottlePay has confirmed that users will still be able to withdraw funds up until the end of the year.
Regulations Force Bitcoin Tipping Tool to Call it Quits
According to a press release published earlier today by BottlePay, the social Bitcoin tipping service, will cease to exist at the end of the year. The company cited incoming EU money laundering regulations as the reasoning behind the sudden termination.

To maintain our integrity as service providers, and to protect the interests of our users, we have taken the painful decision to shut Bottle Pay down rather than become subject to the new #5AMLD regulations. Please withdraw funds within the next 2 weeks.https://t.co/dZltbf7vjn
— Bottle Pay (@bottlepay) December 13, 2019

The custodial wallet provider is based in the UK and since the nation is in Europe, for now at least, it would need to comply with new anti-money laundering regulations coming in on January 10, 2020. BottlePay claims that the measures would require it to demand too much information from its users to continue offering a service comparable to that it currently does. Rather than transform it into something barely recognisable, the team has decided to call it quits.
Those behind the service write:
“The amount and type of extra personal information we would be required to collect from our users would alter the current user experience so radically, and so negatively, that we are not willing to force this onto our community.”
BottlePay says it has already terminated all its tipping bots on Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Discord. It is also not accepting new signups or deposits as of the time of the announcement. Any funds that have already been sent but not claimed will be returned to the sender within a week.
For those already using the service, withdrawals will remain online until 13:00 GMT on December 31. BottlePay will donate any funds still in wallets after this time to The Human Rights Foundation.
The company assures its existing users that any Bitcoin held in wallets is perfectly safe. It encourages its users to take down any payment page links from social profiles, to withdraw funds, and to uninstall the browser extension.
This is not the first time the evolving regulatory landscape has left cryptocurrency companies in a difficult position. When faced with a similar predicament, the once-anonymity-focused exchange platform ShapeShift alienated many of its users by introducing “know your customer” checks and identification verification.
Evidently, BottlePay is keen to not disappoint its users in such a way. It writes:
“… we feel confident we can close Bottle Pay with our heads held high, knowing that we always acted with the well being of our users foremost in our minds.”
 
Related Reading: Stablecoins Could Be Crypto’s True Killer App
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Industry Reacts to Mark Cuban’s ‘No Chance’ for Bitcoin Comments

American businessman and investor Mark Cuban believes that Bitcoin has “no chance” of becoming a reliable currency. Amongst other criticisms, the billionaire believes the digital asset is too difficult to use for the average person.
Naturally, Bitcoin’s staunchest proponents disagree. Some have said that Cuban sounds like a critic of the early internet. Others have offered to educate him on the subject.
Mark Cuban Ruffles Bitcoin Industry’s Feathers Again
Billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban revealed that he thinks there is no possible scenario that Bitcoin becomes a reliable currency. In a interview, published today in Forbes, Cuban said:
“Not because it can’t work technically, although there are challenges, it could, but rather because it’s too difficult to use, too easy to hack, way too easy to lose, too hard to understand, too hard to assess a value.”
Despite Cuban’s apparent scepticism, the billionaire is no stranger to Bitcoin. The NBA team he owns is one of the few to actually accept the cryptocurrency in some capacity. He’s also been involved in a token launch and invested in blockchain funds.
His latest comments on Bitcoin have caused a stir amongst those involved in the industry. Lots of Twitter responses to the original article accuse Cuban of talking down the asset to create better buying opportunities.
There have also been offers to debate with Cuban about the subject. New York-based Attorney Manny Alicandro (@Manny_Alicandro) joked that he would handicap himself to make the discussion fair. Meanwhile, podcaster and Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano offered to fly out to Dallas to talk to Cuban on the former’s “Off The Chain” show.

.⁦@mcuban⁩ let’s debate this. I promise to keep one hand tied behind my back…
Mark Cuban Says ‘No Chance’ For Bitcoin To Become A Reliable Currency https://t.co/U9hsTGWCwl
— Manny Alicandro (@Manny_Alicandro) December 10, 2019

Hey @mcuban I read your recent comments on Bitcoin and think you may be missing some key information.
I’ll fly to Dallas and we can record a podcast episode to discuss why Bitcoin is likely to be the next global reserve currency.
You in??https://t.co/1dSZQNn8Pd
— Pomp (@APompliano) December 10, 2019

Others still called Mark Cuban out for seeming to miss similarities between Bitcoin and the internet. Rhythm (@Rhythmtrader) highlighted the irony of Cuban forgetting that the internet started out facing similar criticisms. The Twitter analysis account posted a clip of US TV presenters having a now hilarious conversion about the world wide web. After revealing that they couldn’t start to get their heads around even the “@” symbol, one says:
“What is internet anyway?… What do you write to it, like mail?”
The presenters struggled to understand anything about the innovation or its implications. The conversation sounds ridiculous now, given how deeply intertwined the internet is with our society today. However, many of the points that people criticised the internet for in its early days – difficulty to understand and use, easy to get scammed – are the very ones Cuban uses to say why Bitcoin won’t succeed as a world payments network.

Mark Cuban on Bitcoin:
"it's too difficult to use, too easy to hack, way too easy to lose, too hard to understand, too hard to assess a value"
Surprising from someone that made a lot of their money from the rise of the internet, facing ironicly similar comments: pic.twitter.com/oDzQBfLSLn
— Rhythm (@Rhythmtrader) December 10, 2019

 
Related Reading: Industry Execs Have Been Calling For $100k Bitcoin, But What’s it Actually Based Off Of?
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Crypto, Crypto, Crypto… CEO Says ‘Crypto’ 100K Times For Homeless Charity

The CEO of a digital currency exchange in the UK has set himself an incredibly bizarre challenge. People have been donating to Pete Wood of CoinBurp as he attempts to raise money for a homeless charity by saying the word “crypto” 100,000 times.
Wood is live streaming the challenge via YouTube with public addresses displayed for both Bitcoin and Ethereum donations. The proceeds of the fund raiser will be gifted to the Centrepoint – the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity.
UK Crypto Exchange Working with Homeless Charity to Promote Cryptocurrency Giving
According to the description on the YouTube live stream of the obscure fund raiser, the little-known UK crypto exchange CoinBurp will be working with the UK homeless charity Centrepoint over the course of December to raise money for those sleeping rough over the holiday season. The 100,000 “crypto” challenge is the first of a series of events the two organisations will hold together in the lead up to Christmas.

@pete_coinburp is now live on https://t.co/evj7N28NnG, streaming for charity. Tune in and show your support.#crypto #charity #homelessness pic.twitter.com/pfpYvC8m47
— CoinBurp (@coinburp) December 10, 2019

At the time of writing, Woods has been at the challenge for a total of five and a hour hours and is not even halfway done. At around the 5.5 hour mark, he had said “crypto” just over 46,000 times.
On the live stream, he looks increasingly fed up with his decision to say the word 100,000 times, occasionally entering a trance-like rhythm for a few hundred repetitions before staring longingly into the distance – no doubt thinking of literally any activity he could be spending his entire Tuesday doing instead of saying “crypto”. Face rubs, eye rolls, long breaths, and other telltale signs of an engulfing sense of ennui frequently punctuate his endless chant of “crypto, crypto, crypto”.
Unfortunately, Wood’s more than five hours of effort (that looks like it will end up being more than 12 by the time he has finished) hasn’t prompted any great outpouring of giving just yet. The Bitcoin address featured on the video has received just $90 via a total of eight transactions. Meanwhile, just $12.28 arrived at the Ethereum address. With the one percent boost that the UK-based exchange has promised to apply to any money given to Centrepoint, CoinBurp is looking at a massive donation themselves of just over one whole dollar at the time of writing. There is, however, still plenty of time for this to improve, as Wood is no doubt well aware.
The live stream is reportedly the first of a total of four events that will run during December. The exchange is yet to detail the others or whether they will involve the CEO partaking in any other mind numbingly pointless tasks. According to a blog post to CoinBurp’s website, the collaboration with Centrepoint is not only an effort to encourage people to donate to a worthy cause but to also raise the profile of cryptocurrency use and to encourage more charities to accept donations via digital assets.
 
Related Reading: #BitcoinTuesday: Tax Deductible Crypto Charity on International Day of Giving
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US Marshals Warn of Resurgence of Bitcoin ATM Fraud

The US Marshals Service and FBI have updated an earlier warning against scammers impersonating law enforcement officers. The agencies say those behind the scams accuse a potential victim of a crime and demand payment via a Bitcoin ATM or another somewhat obscure payment method.
It’s unclear how effective such scams are. The requested payment method should be enough of a red flag yet clearly the US Marshals feel it prudent to reissue its warning.
The US Government Doesn’t Take Payment in Bitcoin…
The US Marshals, a branch of the United States Department of Justice, has reissued a warning it first made in late 2018. It details a series of scams in which individuals call potential victims impersonating government law enforcement officers.
The scammer tells the potential victim that they have an arrest warrant out for them. Some relatively insignificant charge, such as skipping jury duty is given, and a fine is demanded. The receiver of the call is informed that failure to pay the fine will result in a jail sentence.

UPDATED FRAUD ADVISORY – Spoofers using government phone numbers, government employees’ names,demanding payment via bitcoin ATMs: https://t.co/ZMBG3hNJmj
— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) December 6, 2019

To pay the fine, victims are given some instantly suspicious payment options. They can top up prepay debit cards or buy gift cards and read the unique numbers to the caller. Alternatively, they can buy Bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM and send it to an wallet address provided over the phone.
Despite the obvious red flag that would make anyone remotely clued up about Bitcoin immediately hang up the phone, the scammers appear to be persisting. This has prompted the US Marshals to update a warning today that it first issued late last year. 
The latest iteration claims that those behind the scam are using government agency telephone numbers and real employees’ names to bring a greater sense of legitimacy to the cold calls. The US Marshals Service is appealing to those that think they have been affected by such scams to report to their local FBI office. The agency reminds the public that the US Marshals will never ask for payments via Bitcoin, gift cards, or seek financial information over the telephone.
To those of us well aware of Bitcoin’s legal position and history, such scams seem outright ridiculous. However, they must either be prevalent enough or effective enough for US Federal agencies to feel the need to warn the public against them. Granted, they do rely on little more than a telephone and the skills to spoof a caller ID. Such a low overhead, even in the face of a presumably low chance of success, is always attractive to scammers looking to dupe the vulnerable.
 
Related Reading: Ethereum: “I Don’t Think It’s a Scam,” Says Analyst in Interview
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Number of Plus Balance Bitcoin Addresses Hits All-Time High, is the Bottom in?

There are currently more Bitcoin keys with at least one satoshi associated with them than there has ever been before. The number of plus balance addresses is even higher than it was at the peak of the 2017 bull market. 
The figures, although problematic, give something of an indication of the number of Bitcoin users around the world. Despite the record numbers of plus balance Bitcoin wallets, the price remains a long way off its 2019 all-time high but some believe the current downtrend is close to a bottom.
All-Time-High: 28.39 Million Addresses Hold Some Amount of Bitcoin
The news of the all-time high in plus balance addresses comes from venture investor Alex Thorn (@intangiblecoins). Using data from CoinMetrics.io, he identified that the number of addresses holding any amount of Bitcoin has surpassed the previous all-time high of 28.38 million, achieved at the height of the bull market of 2017.

The total number of bitcoin addresses that hold any amount of BTC has hit an all-time high at 28.39M addresses, surpassing the previous ATH of 28.38M (achieved on 1/10/18). (Data via @coinmetrics Pro)
Short thread pic.twitter.com/y87ovxstWb
— Alex Thorn (@intangiblecoins) December 6, 2019

In a series of tweets following that above, Thorn states that the number of Bitcoin addresses with a positive balance is one of the best ways of determining how many individual Bitcoin users there are worldwide. He does, however, identify two major caveats with the metric. Firstly, there is nothing to suggest that each address represents a single user. Users can have many wallets and wallets often have multiple addresses. Alone, this would make the number of positive balance addresses much larger than the cryptocurrency’s user base.
Indeed, Satoshi Nakamoto even outlined the importance of users switching up addresses at the very beginning of Bitcoin’s story. In the whitepaper itself, the Bitcoin creator writes:
“As an additional firewall, a new key pair should be used for each transaction to keep them from being linked to a common owner.”
Clouding the figures’ accuracy further is the fact that huge numbers of Bitcoin users choose to leave their digital currency on exchanges. By doing so, their holdings will sit at an address with the Bitcoin of many other users. This would make the number of positive balance addresses much smaller than the actual user base.
Thorn reasons that the large number of people holding Bitcoin on exchanges makes it more likely that the 28.39 million plus balance addresses is less than the true number of users. He summarises that, although far from perfect, the rising number of plus balance addresses is a sign of growing Bitcoin adoption.
Another investor, Timothy Peterson of Cane Island Alternative Advisors, believes that similar data can be used to determine a local bottom in the market. Peterson says he is prepared to call a bottom to current downtrend when the median price of Bitcoin over the last 30 days comes in line with the number of active addresses reported by CoinMetrics. He also mentions other, unnamed indicators as supporting the theory that we are nearing a local bottom in the market.

In about 2 weeks this median #bitcoin price will be substantially lower at ~$7300, which is more in line with where active addresses sit today. I think I can safely call a bottom at that time. I also have several other indicators that say the 2019 bubble is fully popped. pic.twitter.com/OZSlrNOjVX
— Timothy Peterson (@nsquaredcrypto) December 6, 2019

 
Related Reading: Prominent Analyst: Bitcoin Likely on Cusp of Making a Major Price Movement
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A Bitcoiner in the Senate? Is Bakkt CEO in US Govt. Good or Bad for Crypto?

The CEO of the much-hyped Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt has been appointed to serve in the US Senate. Loeffler will replace Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, who is due to retire at the end of this month.
At first glance, Kelly Loeffler’s appointment, like the launch of Bakkt itself, looks like an unmitigated success for the crypto industry. However, not everyone is so convinced that Bakkt and Loeffler have the best intentions for Bitcoin.
Bakkt CEO to Replace Georgia Senator, Will Bitcoin Benefit?
As widely reported this afternoon, Georgia State Governor Brian Kemp announced Kelly Loeffler as the outgoing Senator Johnny Isakson’s replacement. Loeffler is expected to take office on the first day of the new year, the day following Isakson’s retirement.
According to a report in NationalPublicRadio, many people had expected Loeffler to take Isakson’s place in the Senate, despite being a political newcomer herself. However, the Bakkt CEO is still a controversial choice. President Trump’s closest allies in the Republican Party had reportedly wanted Kemp to decide in favour of Rep. Doug Collins, an ardent supporter of US head of state.
At first glance, the appointment of a US senator so clearly identified with Bitcoin seems wildly bullish for the industry’s future. Loeffler has written optimistically about digital currency in many Medium posts previously. Meanwhile Bakkt itself purports to be an effort to bring regulation to Bitcoin market and to offer institutional investors a way to take exposure to take receipt of physical Bitcoin in a way more familiar to them.
Increasing trading volumes since Bakkt’s September launch have excited the crypto asset industry. However, as NewsBTC reported last week, this volume has been almost exclusively comprised of Bakkt’s monthly, cash-settled Bitcoin futures, rather than its daily physically-settled contracts that had so many people believing a wave of institutional investors would suddenly use the new platform to buy Bitcoin.

Bakkt has two futures contracts, monthly and daily.
The daily settles every day rather than once a month, with physical delivery in the Bakkt warehouse. It's the one you buy if you want to buy bitcoin and store it in a regulated warehouse.
Its volume is … zero … everyday. pic.twitter.com/a1VPS1Ild7
— Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) November 27, 2019

By never requiring traders to take receipt of actual Bitcoin, many analysts argue that futures contracts can be used to exert downwards pressure on the price of an asset. In fact, the CME Group’s Leo Melamed told Reuters at the December 2018 launch of his own trading venue’s Bitcoin futures contracts that the then new product was an effort to “tame” Bitcoin.
Other commentators on the industry have even gone so far as to say that Bakkt, like the CME Group’s futures contracts, represents an attack on Bitcoin. In the video below, YouTuber Chico Crypto (@ChicoCrypto) argues that since there is scant information about withdrawing from the Bakkt Warehouse custody solution, it’s unclear if traders could ever even take receipt of the actual Bitcoin themselves. The YouTuber contends that the lack of clear information about receiving the asset traded makes Bakkt’s futures different from any they’ve ever encountered before since such information is usually publicly available. For them Bakkt represents:
“… just another product to attack [Bitcoin’s] growth and keep the dollar dominant.”

Youtube's Not Gonna Like Me For This…
F*CK IT
Exposing @Bakkt & It's Evil Agenda
A Place Where #BTC Goes, Never to Be Returned
Connections to @realDonaldTrump
Bought DACC, Their Custodian-For A Suspiciously Low $$
Why?
Tune In Here To Find Out>>https://t.co/YDFqWrLDC3 pic.twitter.com/ATaaAfcwgB
— Chico Crypto (Giving Away Eth-Jeez Greedy F***s) (@ChicoCrypto) November 13, 2019

In closing, Chico Crypto also raises a point about Loeffler’s own prior dealings with the US government. The YouTuber points out that the Bakkt CEO attended the final match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup as part of Trump’s Presidential Delegation. Such a selection seems curious given that Trump tweeted his strong disapproval of all things crypto the very same month he announced the names of those that would be accompanying him to the match.
 
Related Reading: Bakkt Bitcoin Futures Reach Record High as BTC Options Launch Nears
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Major European Firms Harness Blockchain to Track Renewable Energy

Two major companies from the Iberian peninsular have just announced the launch of a blockchain-powered system to verify the sustainability of electricity. Spain’s department store El Corte Inglés will use the system to prove the company’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions.
Supplying the clean energy to El Corte Inglés stores will be the firm’s long serving electricity provider EDP. A subsidiary of the company, EDP Renováveis, owns five wind farms in Spain that will power the branches chosen to first take advantage of blockchain technology.
Clean Energy Guaranteed by Blockchain?
According to a press release by El Corte Inglés, the Spanish department store chain will guarantee the power used in three of its largest branches is renewable using blockchain technology. The new system, devised through collaboration with the firm’s long serving energy supplier EDP, will allow real-time verification of the origin of power used in-store. The branches named in the release as first to benefit from the so-called “Blockchain Energy Tracking” service are those located in Seville, Malaga and Madrid.

EDP, El Corte Ingles form #blockchain-based #renewables partnership https://t.co/q7dO3qUwdH pic.twitter.com/CM3Y1y9eSc
— Earth Accounting (@EarthAccounting) December 4, 2019

Providing the clean power for the system is EDP ​​Renováveis, a subsidiary EDP. EDP ​​Renováveis is one of the planet’s largest producers of wind energy. It operates a series of wind farms on the Iberian Peninsula. The five powering El Corte Inglés stores are located in the provinces of Malaga, Seville, and Cádiz, and have a capacity of 169.4 MW.
In the press release, El Corte Inglés writes that each of its department stores operating on entirely renewable energy for a year will reduce carbon emissions by the same amount as if more than 100,000 cars suddenly disappeared off the road for a week, or by the amount produced by over 15,000 trees over the course of ten years.
After stating the importance of using the system with a client as large as El Corte Inglés, the CEO of EDP Renováveis, João Manso Neto, commented more generally on using blockchain technology to verify the source of electricity:
“Thanks to the Blockchain Energy Tracking, companies will be able to assure their stakeholders that they meet their environmental objectives and we will be able to advance in the technological and digital disruption of the energy sector.”
Blockchain technology is increasingly finding use in a huge range of industries. The most common application by far is to provide assurances to the authenticity of something. In addition to the new electricity tracking service in Spanish department stores, NewsBTC has recently reported on blockchain systems being use to help guarantee the authenticity of many disparate products, materials, and certifications. These include the artwork of a respected Chinese calligrapher andUS veterinary practitioners’ qualifications.
 
Related Reading: Bitcoin, the “Biggest Unicorn of the 2010s”: Market Cap Higher Than Uber & Airbnb Combined
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Two Years of Upside? Bitcoin Yearly Candles Hint Explosive Price Growth Incoming

Bitcoin prices might be a long way off their 2019 high of almost $14,000 but this year has still seen the cryptocurrency gain in price. The year opened with the leading digital asset trading at just below $3,800, considerably less than its current price of around $7,300.
Although yearly price data is clearly limited, if previous years are anything to go by Bitcoin looks set to post two more years of gains. There seems a pattern emerging that sees a year of decline follow three years of upside.
Will Bitcoin Price Continue to Follow Emerging Yearly Pattern?
Despite the admittedly meagre sample size (Bitcoin has only been around for a decade, after all), the price of the leading cryptocurrency by market capitalisation looks poised to post two more years of upside. Bitcoin price, when viewed as a yearly candlestick chart, appears to be repeating a pattern of three years of upside followed by a year of losses. Given that Bitcoin is such a young asset, there have only been two of these four year cycles to observe so far. That said, the first candle of the third looks to be falling in with the pattern with just over four weeks left in the year. Providing the price stays above $3,800, the pattern will remain intact.

Bitcoin yearly candles+ pic.twitter.com/zoWscMGqk0
— Bitcoin Charts (@ChartsBtc) December 2, 2019

Along with the general pattern of three up, one down, there is another interesting, potentially emerging trend. The last candle of the back-to-back price increases is typically much larger than the two prior. If the pattern holds true, it looks like 2021 will see explosive growth for the digital asset.
The oversized candlesticks every four years are likely partly the result of the halving event programmed into Bitcoin’s code. Every four years, the supply of new coins gifted to miners for adding a block of transactions to the blockchain decreases by half. This essentially increases Bitcoin’s stock-to-flow ratio (a measure of scarcity) and any uptick in demand has a much more magnified impact on prices than a similar increase would have done prior to the halving.
The next halving event is expected to occur during May of 2020. This will see the number of new Bitcoin added to the total circulating supply every ten minutes fall to 6.125.
Some traders and market analysts believe that the next halving will result in another parabolic run up in Bitcoin prices, like those seen in 2017 and 2013. PlanB (@100trillionUSD) argues that the reduction of new Bitcoin regularly hitting the market will eventually see the price rise to around $55,000 per Bitcoin. The analyst makes no prediction as to when this will occur. However, given that the stock-to-flow theory of Bitcoin’s value centres around the halving events every four years, if PlanB’s prediction comes true, we will see a $55,000 Bitcoin at some point within the four years following May 2020.

#Bitcoin halving .. 5 months to go
For miners: production cost of 1 btc will double
For investors: stock-to-flow (unforgeable scarcity, inability to inflate stock) will double pic.twitter.com/JWNbJyil4a
— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) December 1, 2019

 
Related Reading: Bitcoin Falls 20% Below Stock-To-Flow Forecast
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Australian Users of Crypto Exchange Can Now Make Instant Deposits with Ripple ODL

Australian users of the crypto exchange Bitstamp will now be able to deposit US dollars to their account instantly using a Ripple-powered money transfer service called Flash FX. Transfers to the long-running trading venue would previously take days.
Flash FX uses Ripple Labs’s instant global settlement service, On-Demand Liquidity. The service makes the digital asset XRP a bridging currency between the customer’s Australian dollars and the US dollars supported by Bitstamp.
Buy Bitcoin Instantly at Bitstamp Thanks to Ripple’s Crypto XRP
Australian users of the crypto asset trading venue Bitstamp will now be able to fund their accounts with US dollars much faster thanks to Ripple-powered global payments startup Flash FX. The company uses Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity service to facilitate the near-instant payments. The news comes via a post to Flash FX’s website.
Traditionally, Australian Bitstamp users would have been forced to transact via SWIFT through their bank or another payments firm. A now antiquated system, SWIFT transfers take days and incur significant fees.
Using Flash FX, traders no longer need to wait for funds to arrive in their Bitstamp accounts. The service uses the Ripple-associated digital currency XRP to allow the near-instant settlement. Once customers have loaded their Flash FX account with Australian dollars, they can send them to the exchange via RippleNet and take up exposure to any of the crypto assets supported by Bitstamp. Currently, these are Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and XRP itself.
The Flash FX service makes use of Australia’s new payments platform (NPP), as well as the On-Demand Liquidity service from Ripple. NPP is a national platform designed to simplify and speed up payments between participating financial institutions in Australia.

FlashFX: Fund Your Bitstamp USD Account in Minutes
Our users can now fund their Bitstamp account with USD in minutes. Experience the power of Ripple using the new FlashFX product offering.#Ripple #OnDemandLiquidity #Payments
https://t.co/XkRUFgZwvm pic.twitter.com/oIxUJLLBIV
— Flash FX (@fxflash) December 2, 2019

Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity service allows RippleNet participants to send payments in one currency and for them to be received in a different currency in seconds. It works by exchanging funds to XRP to make the transfer, before converting them into the receiving currency.
NewsBTC reported last month on Ripple completing its investment in the US money transfer firm, MoneyGram. The $50 million total investment will reportedly help to support MoneyGram’s use of the On-Demand Liquidity service.
Despite news of apparent growing XRP adoption amongst companies early to use the On-Demand Liquidity service, the price of the digital asset has not experienced any noticeable uptrend versus the wider crypto market. The dollar value of the third largest digital asset by market capitalisation has spent much of 2019 in decline to its current price of $0.219.
 
Related Reading: Under 6.8m Bitcoin Changed Hands in the Past Year: Does it Indicate Positive Sentiment?
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Bankers Might Not be as Clueless on Crypto as You Think, Says Analyst

Cryptocurrency naysayers associated with global finance may not be as misinformed about the industry as some observers might like to think. One popular analyst says those he encounters have researched crypto assets and often provide well-reasoned criticism.
However, others disagree, saying that there is a divide in the banking industry between those that don’t get it and are interested to know more and those that don’t get it and don’t want anything to do with it.
Bankers a Mix of Ignorant, Dismissive, Interested, and Critical of Crypto
Thanks to outbursts like those of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and billionaire investor Warren Buffet over the years, there seems to be a widespread belief around the crypto asset industry that people affiliated with the existing financial system are completely clueless about crypto. Dimon famously called Bitcoin a “fraud” without really saying why in September 2017 and Buffet later called it “rat poison squared” in a similarly amusing rant.
Such outlandish statements have been the subject of much ridicule and speculation in the crypto industry. Just how much research are they based on though? If they’re informed, are these and similar attacks based on a fear of an alternative system rendering the institutions they uphold obsolete, or do they have genuine criticisms? Of course, a lot of people like to stick with the assumption that bankers are just ignorant or stupid.
Crypto market analyst and partner at Castle Island Ventures Nic Carter believes that the banking industry is more informed than is popularly thought when it comes to crypto assets. In a recent post to Twitter, he describes his own interactions with bankers, saying that they have generally “done their homework”:

most actual bankers I talk to have done their homework on crypto. it's a mistake to think their dismissals come universally from a place of ignorance. some have very good critiques of a bearer-style /tokenized financial system
— nic carter (@nic__carter) November 29, 2019

Carter outlines some of the more convincing critiques he’s heard of a tokenised financial system in a subsequent post:
“- bearer style assets are user hostile and wont catch on
– conflating settlement and payments is bad news
– final settlement not required for payments
– hard to financialize something which resists regulation”.
However, others argue that the popular conception of bankers still holds some truth. Founder of DTAP Capital and Bitcoin proponent Dan Tapiero says he is yet to find much of merit in the banker critiques of crypto assets or decentralised finance that he’s heard.
Supporting Tapiero is Swiss crypto think tank 2B4CH founder Yves Bennaïm. He describes his own experience with bankers after learning that most of Carter’s interactions with the banking industry have been in a “crypto context”. He argues that in both a crypto and non-crypto context, bankers he’s spoken to have been “almost completely ignorant” and either “optimistic” or “dismissive” respectfully.

"Crypto context" helps a lot. My personal experience, in crypto/blockchain context they are mostly interested but almost completely ignorant (ie optimistic), and out of crypto/blockchain they are very ignorant and not at all interested (dismissive).
— ¥ves ₿ennaïm (@ZLOK) November 29, 2019

It would be naive to think that no bankers had read up on decentralised finance and crypto assets. Yet, it’s also clear that there remains a lot of cluelessness around the topics in the banking industry. Some intrigued bankers, like those referenced by Bennaïm seem optimistic about the two industries coexisting. Meanwhile, many of cryptocurrency’s staunchest proponents are waiting for the days when digital asset and decentralised finance has completely replaced the current system.
 
Related Reading: DeFi Don’t Care: Ethereum Investing Reaches Record Levels
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Why Ethereum Can’t Displace Bitcoin for Industry Expert Antonopoulos

Andreas Antonopoulos doesn’t foresee any change in the positions of the top two digital currencies by market capitalisation any time soon. The author, computer scientist, and long-time cryptocurrency advocate believes the first mover advantages of Bitcoin and Ethereum will be impossible to overcome.
Bitcoin currently enjoys a comfortable market capitalisation lead over its nearest rival, Ethereum. Ethereum too has a large advantage over the next largest smart contract platform, EOS.
There Will be No Flippening, Says Antonopoulos
Bitcoin and Ethereum have reigned supreme in their respected niches for long enough that displacing either is all but impossible, according to respected cryptocurrency proponent Andreas Antonopoulos. The industry expert gave opinions on the matter during a recent video interview broadcast on the Ivan on Tech YouTube channel. In response to a question about the likelihood of a rival smart contract platform overtaking Ethereum, he argued that first mover advantages were incredibly difficult to overcome:
“I think it’s very, very difficult to disrupt the network effect of an early starter.”

Basically @aantonop says below: Ethereum won't overtake Bitcoin and other smart contract platforms won't overtake Ethereum. The network effects are already too strong. I said the same months ago too.https://t.co/Y5VIZ82wUb
— BitcoinEconomics.io (@BitcoinEcon) November 28, 2019

Antonopoulos went on to argue that, thanks to the sheer weight of activity surrounding the respective networks, it would be almost impossible for a rival digital gold-like asset or smart contract platform to surpass either cryptocurrency. Not only is development activity important but market activity (volume and liquidity) and even social activity. The cryptocurrency author mentioned seemingly more trivial things like t-shirts, books, and conferences as also contributing to the overall power of  the network effect enjoyed by first movers.
For Antonopoulos, Bitcoin is already the de facto digital currency representing the hardest monetary policy ever and Ethereum has secured itself sufficient network effect to see it remain ahead of the other smart contract platforms out there:
“Ethereum can’t displace Bitcoin because they’re fundamentally different and Bitcoin has the early advantage network effect in a particular niche of super sound, super uncensorable money.”
He went on to state that even if a rival has better technology than Ethereum, the smart contract “niche is fully occupied”. The power of being an early mover means that the network has been able to grow much larger than its competition. This size makes developing on Ethereum more attractive too. Antonopoulos described a wider existing knowledge pool for developers to learn from, more software examples available, and better developer tools already out there as being a powerful lure to those wanting to build on blockchain systems.
After admitting he might be wrong, saying that there could indeed be some massive system-killing failure in either Bitcoin or Ethereum that could shake up the current market capitalisation distribution, Antonopoulos said:
“Just as Ethereum is not going to achieve a flippening over Bitcoin, just like all of Bitcoin’s competitors are not going to achieve a flippening over Bitcoin, I don’t see any other smart contract platform achieving a flippening over Ethereum.”
 
Related Reading: Bitcoin Bull Case Builds as Price Holds $7,500 Range; What’s Next?
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Bakkt Hits New All-Time High Volume but Analyst Pours Cold Water on Bitcoin Bulls

The much-hyped Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt has just hit a new all-time high in terms of its daily trading volume. After a meagre start back in September, interest in trading the financial product is finally starting to pick up.
However, the growth in interest isn’t quite the bullish news that many have welcomed it as. A crypto market analyst has reminded those optimistic about the platform’s recent performance that the number of Bitcoin actually changing hands at Bakkt remains close to zero.
Just 17 Bitcoin Were “Physically Delivered” in November at Bakkt
As per a tweet by Twitter-based Bakkt analysis service Bakkt Volume Bot (@BakktBot), yesterday saw a record number of Bitcoin futures contracts trade at the regulated venue. A total of 5,671 contracts traded, around $42.52 million at the time of writing.

ICYMI: Wednesday's Bakkt Bitcoin Monthly Futures:
Traded contracts: 5671 ($42.52 million, +148%) (New ATH ) All time high: 5671 (11/27/2019) Open interest: $4.16 million (+6%)@Bottlepay this bot: https://t.co/MJaZ58oPiu pic.twitter.com/3qpbBPgmt3
— Bakkt Volume Bot (@BakktBot) November 28, 2019

The volume represents a significant increase on the prior all-time high of $20.3 million, recorded on November 25. Although not spectacular when compared to either the CME Group’s own futures volume or trade volumes seen at leading crypto exchanges, the contrast between the recent performances and the sub-million-dollar days reported immediately following the Bakkt launch is notable.
The initial poor performance of Bakkt disappointed many Bitcoin proponents at its debut. However, with the rising volume, optimism about the platform’s impact on the market is once again growing.
Pouring cold water on the bullishness is trader and analyst Alex Krüger (@krugermacro). He reminds those getting excited about new all-time highs in Bakkt volume to consider the products on offer at the platform more closely. Bakkt offers two distinct products, and the all-time high in volume is not in the physically-settled daily Bitcoin futures contracts that had most people excited prior to the launch. Instead it’s in the monthly cash-settled futures also offered at the venue.

Bakkt has two futures contracts, monthly and daily.
The daily settles every day rather than once a month, with physical delivery in the Bakkt warehouse. It's the one you buy if you want to buy bitcoin and store it in a regulated warehouse.
Its volume is … zero … everyday. pic.twitter.com/a1VPS1Ild7
— Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) November 27, 2019

For Krüger, the rising interest in trading the products is positive for Bitcoin in general but he points out that it does not mean that institutions are suddenly keen to take receipt of Bitcoin themselves via the Bakkt Warehouse custody solution.
Unfortunately, the actually physically-settled Bitcoin futures (the daily ones) are not seeing anywhere near the same interest as the monthly ones. In fact, as Krüger points out their volume is “zero… everyday.” The low trade volume has meant that so far in November and October combined, just 32 Bitcoin have actually changed hands via physically-settled contracts.
Given that almost none of the trading at Bakkt currently involves Bitcoin being delivered, the platform will mostly only impact the price in the way that the CME Group’s futures do, rather than physical receipt driving the price up as people had hoped. Many commentators have previously argued that such futures products can exert downwards pressure on the price and are nowhere near as bullish as people believed them to be. Indeed, the CME Group’s Leo Melamed told Reuters at the December 2018 launch of his own trading venue’s Bitcoin futures contracts:
“That’s a very important step for Bitcoin’s history… We will regulate, make Bitcoin not wild, nor wilder. We’ll tame it into a regular type instrument of trade with rules.”
 
Related Reading: Bakkt Bitcoin Futures Reach Record High as BTC Options Launch Nears

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Bitcoin Pioneers’ Account Won’t Disappear, Confirms Twitter

Twitter has just announced that it will proceed with less haste than originally planned with regards removing inactive accounts. Public backlash against the proposed account cull, stemming in part from the Bitcoin community, has forced the company to reconsider the policy.
People largely objected to the sudden removal of important accounts of those now deceased. One of the most frequently referenced in need of preserving is that of the late Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney.
Historic Bitcoin Tweets Won’t Go in the Trash
Earlier this week, Twitter announced that it would begin indiscriminately deleting inactive accounts from its social network. The scale of the proposed account cull makes it the biggest in the company’s history. As per a BBC report, the company said it would remove all accounts that had been inactive for six months on December 11.
Twitter justified the account purge by arguing that users that don’t (or can’t) sign in cannot agree to updates in terms and conditions or privacy policies.
However, the proposal has been met with criticism from those that say certain accounts of now deceased users should remain. Twitter currently does not have a system to memorialise such accounts, meaning potentially important posts would be lost forever.
Particular criticism came from the Bitcoin community. One of the accounts that appeared to fall under the criteria for the chop was that of early Bitcoiner, Hal Finney. Finney was one of the first to even provide feedback to the initial posting of the Whitepaper in 2008. He also received the first Bitcoin transaction. The hugely influential and respected computer scientist passed away in 2014 and is, of course, unable to sign in to Twitter.
Just hours after Satoshi Nakamoto released the software into the wild, Finney tweeted the now legendary:

Running bitcoin
— halfin (@halfin) January 11, 2009

Naturally, the sudden removal of such a pivotal part of Bitcoin history has been pretty much unanimously criticised in the Bitcoin community. So much so, in fact, that Twitter has just announced that it will take a more measured approach to its account deletion process.

We’ve heard your feedback about our effort to delete inactive accounts and want to respond and clarify. Here’s what’s happening:
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 27, 2019

In a subsequent tweet, the company wrote:
“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.”
It looks like Hal Finney and other important accounts of those deceased will not suddenly disappear from the social network after all. Given Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s repeated endorsement of not just crypto or blockchain, but Bitcoin, it comes as little surprise to see the brakes applied quickly on an idea that might sacrifice such an important part of the cryptocurrency’s history for a privacy policy.
 
Related Reading: Bitcoin Bull Jack Dorsey’s Twitter Hack Is a Wakeup Call for Crypto Security
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Another eWallet Adds Further Crypto Support, But Are Efforts Like Skrill’s Missing the Point?

One of the most popular online e-wallet services has just overhauled its cryptocurrency offering. From today, customers of Skrill will be able to exchange the various crypto assets the platform supports directly for Bitcoin.
The expanded service is the latest example of a payments company offering some cryptocurrency functionality. However, modern financial services firms, such as Skrill, Square, and Robinhood, remain custodial services with limited functionality outside the realms of speculation. This brings their relevance as part of any potential crypto revolution taking place in finance into question.
Skrill Follows Market Trend by Increasing Scope of Crypto Offering
Major e-wallet provider Skrill has just announced changes to its crypto asset exchange service. The company has allowed its users to buy and sell a range of digital currencies from directly within their existing account since last year. However, before now, each exchange between supported assets would require converting back a fiat currency before taking on exposure to the new digital currency.

#BTC #XRP #BCH Initially, customers can convert between Bitcoin and other supported coins, with future pairings to be added soon.…Read more: https://t.co/SfOf1gn8t3
— webnow (@webnowcompany) November 27, 2019

From today, Skrill users will be able to trade between Bitcoin and those crypto assets it supports directly. The company now lists exchange pairs between the leading digital currency by market capitalisation and those altcoins it also supports. These are Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), EOS, Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Lumens (XLM), XRP, and 0x. There are plans to introduce additional exchange pairs at a later date.
A report in CasinoBeats, an online gambling-focused publication, cites the CEO of Skrill Lorenz Pellegrino as commenting the following on the new functionality offered to the company’s customers:
“Cryptocurrency is an important part of what we do in digital wallets and using our scale and vast experience of the payments industry, we’re continually enhancing our service to help our customers get the most out of the crypto ecosystem.”
Modern financial services companies, like Skrill and others, are increasingly eager to offer crypto asset services to their customers. The likes of Circle Pay and Robinhood have quickly taken a lead, encouraging Skrill and others to play catch up. Skrill is the first member of the global payments giant Paysafe Group to adopt the crypto-to-crypto support but there are already plans for sister company Neteller to add the same functionality in the coming months.
However, Skrill, like other e-wallet services offering cryptocurrency support do not exactly complement the permissionless nature of Bitcoin and other crypto assets. Once a customer takes up exposure to a digital currency through such a platform their only option is to sell it again for fiat currency or Bitcoin. They cannot withdraw any crypto to a wallet to which they hold their own private key. This severely limits the utility of the digital assets they are holding through the platform in question.
By not allowing crypto withdrawals, Skrill and others ultimately render each cryptocurrency a tool for speculation only. Yet, such peer-to-peer protocols are designed so that they can be used without middlemen at all. It feels a lot like those firms racing to offer some form of crypto exposure completely forgot this part of the programme.
 
Related Reading: Eerie Bitcoin Fractal Suggests Bottom in at $6.6k, Surge to $8k Likely
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