Altcoin Crypto Trading Axed For Americans as Bittrex Follows Binance

News that the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, Binance, has curtailed services to US customers sent shockwaves across the crypto community yesterday. Today it is the turn of Bittrex which has followed suit by announcing that certain markets will no longer be accessible to US clients.
Crypto Assets Moving to Bittrex International
In an email to its users and an official announcement on its website, Seattle Washington-based Bittrex stated that it would be making major market availability changes for US customers on June 28. What followed was a list of altcoins that it would be moving to its international platform.
Altcoin markets closing to US customers.
The exchange added that US customers will be sent an additional email advising what they can and cannot do with their affected tokens. After the affected change date US customers will not be able to buy and sell any of these tokens.
Any open orders will be cancelled on the change date but users can still withdraw or hold the tokens in their Bittrex wallets as long as they are still supported on Bittrex International. Non-US customers will still be able to trade all of the affected tokens. The notice added;
“Like other industry participants, we will continue to advocate for laws and regulations that foster innovation.”
In the FAQ section below the announcement elaborated that certain markets will no longer be accessible to US customers and they will have access to a more limited number of markets than are available to non-US customers on Bittrex International.
Bittrex stated that wallets and custody will remain ‘reasonable time after the market is removed’ to US users. There was a vague answer to the question; “Is Bittrex leaving the US?” which appeared to indicate that the company was slowly shifting its primary operations to its international platform.
The crypto sphere is still reeling from yesterday’s Binance announcement that it would be launching a US based exchange with a limited number of tokens. US regulators have been constantly pressuring the industry which has resulted in drastic measures by crypto exchanges that end up punishing US citizens by limiting their options.
Neither Binance nor Bittrex would want to lose the huge slice of the trading pie that the US represents but they need to play ball with fickle regulators and stringent policies. Binance has decided to partner with FinCEN-registered firm, BAM Trading Services, in order to launch a US compliant exchange there.
Market Reaction
A number of the lower cap altcoins mentioned in the Binance list did dump a little on the announcement but generally crypto markets are up today, lifted by Bitcoin which has broken through resistance and reached $8,700 again.
Image from Shutterstock
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Bitcoin Mining Report By Coinshares and Fidelity Breaks Rhetoric on Profitability and Geo-fencing

CoinShare released its third edition of Bitcoin Mining Report along with Fidelity Center for Applied Technology. It is an expansive piece of research to address one of the most daunting and rather important aspects of Bitcoin, the mining process.
In a game of supply and demand, supply should account for 50% of the price consideration. However, Bitcoin [BTC] is a speculative asset; hence, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Bitcoin Mining is Profitable, and the Network is Growing
The report suggested that the overall hash rate of the network has increased by 25% in 7 months. Hence, the number of nodes and innovation in the space is continually growing. Moreover, this completely contradicts the assumption that Bitcoin mining is a loss-making business. Because if it were, then miners would have been quitting instead of adding to the process.
“Since our last report of November 2018, the hash rate has grown from approximately 40 EH/s to approximately 50 EH/s, an increase of 25%.”
According to the reports, Bitcoin mining with the given hardware and associated cost is still ‘highly profitable.’ The institutes have considered long term cost associated with the mining process by accounting for the depreciation cost of hardware, electricity cost, the marginal cost of production, cooling cost, and other overheads.
The results reveal that the cost of mining 1 Bitcoin in the range of $6800-$5600 approximately with the current miners. It varies for miners around the world, and the miners also switch between new and old machines due to fluctuations in prices, which varies the cost further. Nevertheless, the process was much costlier as projected in the last report in November 2018.
At current Bitcoin prices, it is profitable by 28%. Furthermore, during the quarter of 2019, the process was yielding an equivalent loss as Bitcoin traded in the $4000 range. Hence, while the half-yearly balance seems to have been maintained with the price, the marginal profit is difficult to estimate.
Geographic Statistics
The report suggested that China continues to dominate mining around the world. The percentage dominance of China was estimated at 60%. The mining industry of China is mainly concentrated in the Sichuan region, which provides cheap hydro-electric power and a habitable climate that reduces the cost of cooling.
Geographic Statistics for Mining (Report) 
Also Read: Bitcoin (BTC) Price Analysis June 7: Enjoys A Cluster of Technical Support Levels
Some of the other countries involved in the process are predominantly New York, UK, Canada, Sweden, Quebec, Norway, Iceland, Armenia, New Foundland and Labrador, Georgia and Iran. The report also estimated that the entire process is run predominantly by renewable energy.
Moreover, the miners are running huge farms and are in it for the long haul. The news around the mining ban in China seems to have slight to no effect on the process in China. Moreover, it is generating enormous profits for the local government. Furthermore, mining is spread out across the world. Hence, the chances of the network going down due to a Government crackdown as bleak.
Disclaimer: Neither the report, not this article should be considered as investment advice. Moreover, the story is also not authorized, but an attempt to understand the extensive process. 
Do you think that more countries would start running nodes? Please share your views with us. 
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Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin [BTC] rose by over 50 percent in May alone; did the US-China trade war have anything to do with it?

Bitcoin [BTC] finished April 2019 in incredible stead, holding on to the bulls that amassed a massive 17 percent daily gain on the second day of the month, with the following month surpassing expectations yet again. Despite May beginning with news of the Binance hack, the month saw the king coin rise by over 50 percent, while two pivotal players of the cryptocurrency world engaged in a modern war, the United States and China.
With no clear source behind the price rise and the bulls persisting in their rage, economist and cryptocurrency analyst Alex Krüger, analyzed the online chatter in the two giants, while looking at Bitcoin’s price rise during the ongoing US-China Trade war. The economist initially laid out Baidu’s [China’s Google equivalent] search history, something which showed that China’s interest in Bitcoin is on the rise, fueled primarily because of the recent price pump.
Source: Twitter
To further provide context to the link between BTC’s popularity and its price, Krüger showed how the four price breakouts moved in cahoots with Baidu search spikes. In reference to the same he stated, “Interest in Bitcoin spiked either after price breakouts or during breakouts.” This trend was mirrored on a worldwide basis, with Google search results as well.
However since May 14, three days prior to a $700 pullback, “interest dropped drastically,” which Krüger equated to a “bearish divergence.” With the price rally losing steam since June commenced, the Bitcoin fever of the common Chinese populace declined.
Source: Twitter
The economist stated,
“In both China and the World interest dropped drastically since May/14, while price kept moving higher — a bearish divergence. As of Sunday Jun/2, the Baidu Trends level was back to May/9 levels, when bitcoin was trading at $6,000.”
Enter the Trade War
The trade war between China and the USA was rekindled after the President of the United States, Donald J Trump, tweeted that tariffs on China would be hiked. For a brief period, the term “trade war” spiked over “Bitcoin,” with the terms “stock” and “Trump” also trending. However, “Bitcoin” was the only term that saw constant attention, whereas the other recorded short-lived upticks.
Between 15th May and 3rd June, “Bitcoin” was queried on Baidu over the other three terms, despite constant back and forth between the administrations of the United States and China. “Bitcoin” took off only after the price cracked $6,000 and hours later, it broke $7,000.
Source: Twitter
As China called for a “People’s War Against the US,” search engines saw massive traffic for USD/RNB as well, which moved in line with Bitcoin since May 15, with spurts of outgrowths.
Krüger contends that this pattern is analogous to last May, during the predecessor to the current trade war, which indicated that the correlation was not isolated. He added that BTC search results moved together with the USD/RMB currency query and the trade war questions of May 2018 as well.
Source: Twitter
To sum up, Krüger stated that common interest in Bitcoin broke out when the coin surpassed $6,000, which also coincided with the Trade War and the Yuan queries. However, during this period, the trade war had already been raging. In light of these facts, the economist believes,
“It’s possible the BTC – Trade War narrative was driven by media and resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy…I believe it’s likely news outlets and pundits fabricated a Bitcoin – Trade War narrative that has now taken a form of its own.”
Given Bitcoin search results’ correlation or lack thereof, with questions regarding Trump and the Yuan, in context of the larger US-China trade war, Baidu search results do not point to a cause and effect. Bitcoin seems to have escaped the Chinese shadow and is moving to different regions to amass growth as the government is currently in the process of phasing out the China Bitcoin mining industry, deeming the process too “energy intensive.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Despite Crypto Winter, US Bitcoin Awareness, Knowledge, and Perception Increased “Dramatically” Since 2017

Research suggests that Bitcoin is more fully understood and accepted today across US society than it was at the height of the bull market of 2017. According to a recent study, young adults are way ahead of other demographics with regards awareness, familiarity, perception, and likelihood to buy Bitcoin in the future.
Blockchain Capital recently asked 2,029 randomly selected American adults a series of questions relating to Bitcoin. The survey was a follow up to a similar one conducted in October 2017, when prices were rising and overall market sentiment was entirely different.
US Public Becoming Increasingly Knowledgeable About Bitcoin
The test was divided into various categories. First, the participants were asked if they had even heard of Bitcoin. A massive 89 percent answered that they had. This was up from 77 percent in October 2017. This is hardly surprising given that the spectacular crash of late 2017/early 2018 was covered by just about ever mainstream media outlet on the planet.
Next, the participants’ familiarity with Bitcoin was gauged. They were given the question: How familiar are you with Bitcoin? along with a series of responses: “never heard of it”, “heard of but not familiar”, “somewhat familiar”, “very familiar”, and “I own/have owned Bitcoin”.
The percentage of people that are “at least somewhat familiar” with Bitcoin rose by nearly half — from 30 percent in October 2017 to 43% in April 2019.
Amongst those aged 18 to 34, 60 percent described themselves as at least ‘somewhat familiar’ with Bitcoin — up from 42 percent in October 2017. An equally large increase was observed in the age group 45-54. Previously, just 25 percent were at least familiar with Bitcoin. Now that figure is 43 percent.
The percentages of those familiar with the cryptocurrency really diminish in older generations but still show an increase over those from 2017. Of  those aged 55 to 64, 32 percent were at least familiar with it. This was up from 22 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, just 20 percent of those over 65 claimed to be knowledgeable about the decentralised payment tech, up from the 15 percent observed in the previous study.
Next, the participants were asked how much they agreed that Bitcoin is a positive financial and technological innovation. Again, there was a significant increase in those answering favourably here too. In 2017, 34 percent of those asked agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. This rose by 9 percent in the recent survey to 43 percent.
Younger respondents were much more likely to view Bitcoin positively. Of those aged between 18 and 34, a massive 59 percent said that they though Bitcoin was a positive innovation versus 48 percent in the previous survey.
The figures relating to the likelihood that Bitcoin will be widely used in the future show similar tendencies too. A third of US adults now believe that the digital asset will be in common use in the next 10 years. This is a five percent increase to the figure observed in the previous study.
Raising this overall average once again is the younger generation. A massive 48 percent of those aged between 18 and 34 agree that Bitcoin will be widely used within the next decade.
The findings also indicate that 27 percent of people are considering buying Bitcoin in the next five years. Despite the bear market, this figure is up from just 19 percent in 2017.
The write up of the report, summarised by Spencer Bogart, concludes by inquiring about people’s store-of-value preferences. The respondents were asked which asset they would like to own $1,000 of between Bitcoin and a traditional investment:

Over one in five people said they would prefer the cryptocurrency to government bonds.
Bitcoin was preferable to stocks for 17 percent of those asked.
Fourteen percent of respondents would prefer Bitcoin to real estate.
Just 12 percent said they would rather have digital gold over physical gold.

Again, the figures for the youngest age group in the sample reflect a much greater acceptance of Bitcoin than the rest of the US public. Almost one in three prefers Bitcoin to government bonds, more than one in four prefers Bitcoin to stocks, just under one in four would rather own Bitcoin than real-estate, and over one in five would favour the crypto over gold.
Younger Generations Championing Crypto Revolution
The figures show that the younger generations are much more knowledgeable of, familiar with, and accepting of Bitcoin. This is summed up by Bogart himself when he states:
“Ultimately, Bitcoin is a demographic mega-trend: Younger demographics are leading in terms of Bitcoin awareness, familiarity, perception, conviction, propensity to purchase, and ownership rates.”
As a purely digital currency, it figures that the first to get to grips with the concept would be those that have grown up in a purely digital world. In that vein, crypto investment fund Adamant Capital’s CEO Michiel Lescrauwaet neatly summed up why digital cash might be alluring for millennials earlier today in response to the research detailed above:

It makes sense that Millennials like Bitcoin most:
1) found their way through 2008 crisis as young adults
2) grew up with P2P (BitTorrent, Limewire)
3) digitally native & familiar with open source (Linux, Wikipedia)
5) first investments in zero interest rate environment https://t.co/bQQLmwFk0u
— Michiel Lescrauwaet (@MLescrauwaet) April 30, 2019

 
Related Reading: Global Bitcoin Acceptance Up More than 702% Since 2013
Featured Image from Shutterstock.
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Petro [PTR]: Venezuela files complaint against US sanctions at the WTO; calls it ‘discriminatory’

Venezuela has been fighting consistently against US sanctions before the World Trade Organization [WTO], which included the one imposed against its controversial cryptocurrency, Petro, amongst many others.
The Venezuelan government filed a complaint to the WTO last month, which was recently published, and it states various actions taken by the US recently. It claims that the US is interfering on Venezuela’s rights under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT], which was signed in 1994, and the General Agreement on Trade in Services [GATS]. The complaint states:
“The United States has imposed certain coercive trade-restrictive measures on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the context of attempts to isolate Venezuela economically.”
Venezuela had announced the development of a cryptocurrency, Petro, in 2017 and the launch of the same took place in 2018. The cryptocurrency has since been in use in various industries on orders by their President, Nicolas Maduro.
However, this did not go down well and has seen pushback from the US lawmakers, who have criticized the cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency faced more resistance from the President of US, Donald Trump, who signed off on an executive order targeting Petro in March 2018.
Venezuela’s government claimed that these sanctions by the US are discriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures. The complaint also claims that the Venezuelan financial services and financial suppliers receive “less favorable” treatment in comparison to other WTO nations.
The Venezuelan government notes that these measures are violating the Article II:1 of the GATS, that stated that no member nation will treat another member less favorably than any other nation, reported Cryptoscanner. The complaint submitted also states that:
“Furthermore, inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favorable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS.”
Article XVII:1 states that the nations part of WTO will not treat financial services and service suppliers of other nations less favorably than they treat such providers in their own country. As per Reuters, the US has 60 days to respond to the complaint filed by Venezuela. If the US fails to respond to this, Venezuela can ask the World Trade Organization to decide upon the complaint.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Crypto Ecosystem Needs to Evolve as Coinbase Censors Accounts

The entire premise set in motion by Satoshi Nakamoto ten years ago was one of a decentralized peer to peer currency beyond the control of governments, banks and mega corporations. Fast forward to 2019 and we have yet to achieve that goal as banks are still controlling the inflow and outflow of fiat to crypto, and huge exchanges are still controlling user accounts.
Coinbase Censoring Merchant Accounts
They don’t come much bigger than Coinbase which has set itself us as the standard and king of crypto exchanges. In the early days the exchange was seen as a good thing for the industry providing a relatively easy on-ramp for laypeople to get into crypto. Today it has grown in size and wealth beyond imagination and rules the realm with an iron fist.
A quick Google search will return thousands of results on complaints about Coinbase and frozen or closed accounts, and lost funds from disgruntled users and the company does not rank very well on review websites. A few days ago reports emerged that Coinbase had started censoring accounts beginning with the merchant account of social media platform Gab’s founder Andrew Torba.

As predicted: the on ramps and off ramps (exchanges) are going to start censoring not only companies, but also individuals. @coinbase has now banned both Gab's merchant account and Andrew Torba's personal account.
Decentralized exchanges are the future. pic.twitter.com/LXkjblrdgu
— Gab.com (@getongab) January 4, 2019

According to Breakermag.com Gab is a platform that welcomes those that have been banned my mainstream social media. This has caused it to be on the wrong end of stick from payments providers such as PayPal, BitPay and now Coinbase. Granted, Gab had a merchant payment account which a decentralized exchange cannot help or facilitate.
The problem lies in US policy which forces companies to practice suppression and censorship. This is partly why so many other exchanges and crypto companies refuse to deal with US customers, that and the fact it has one of the harshest personal tax laws on the planet. Thirdly is the ever increasing cost of covering subpoenas as pointed out by Kraken;

Peek at our Compliance team's 2018 Transparency Report. You can see why many businesses choose to block US users. Cost of handling subpoenas (regardless of licenses) is quickly becoming a barrier to entry. Inquiries up 3x YoY. pic.twitter.com/YbyLEqhOUf
— Kraken Exchange (@krakenfx) January 5, 2019

The land of the free appears to be the complete opposite and censorship laws run deep. This is not the first time the crypto industry has run up against American policy, in April last year the merchant account of Wikileaks was closed by Coinbase at the behest of the government.
Decentralized exchanges will be the answer for individuals but are not the solution for merchant accounts. Organizations may need to form their own body and method of financial exchange to free themselves from states that wish to oppress them. Relying on crypto exchanges such as Coinbase is evidently not the way forward.
 
Image from Shutterstock
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No, Governments Can’t do a Better Job Developing Crypto

Would a state-backed cryptocurrency be better than its decentralized counterpart? International media has already rolled out their opinions on the matter. It’s a YES-IT-CAN.
The opinions find their inspirations in comments made by Christine Lagarde last week. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that a government-backed cryptocurrency would eliminate the issues of trust that have clogged the decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
New York Times reacted to the IMF chief’s remarks, calling it “a hopeful sign for digital tokens,” while predicting it could “have a chilling effect on existing, nongovernmental tokens.” The Guardian offered its editorial space to a long-time Bitcoin critic and economist Nouriel Roubini to further his plan. He outright called cryptocurrencies worthless when compared to central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
“If a CBDC were to be issued, it would immediately displace cryptocurrencies, which are not scalable, cheap, secure, or [actually] decentralized,” Roubini claimed.
Missing Links
The comments mentioned above appear at a time when the cryptocurrency market cap has plunged by more than 70 percent since its all-time high. It has allowed critics to jump to the conclusion that decentralized digital currencies, mainly Bitcoin and Ethereum, have no intrinsic value, that they are highly speculative unlike central-bank issued fiat money. Yet, critics have ignored the whys and whats that prompted the launch of decentralized assets at the first place. They have been unable to respond to how Federal Reserve stimulus programmes, secret bailouts, and money production have destroyed the value of the US Dollar.
Their focus has turned more towards proving Bitcoin as a sugar-coated false promise of a financial revolution while ignoring the very bads of the existing financial system. Economy believes that an asset has value when it checks scarcity and utility. The US Dollar lacks scarcity, for its supply is governed by a centralized body called Federal Reserve. There is no check on how many dollars would get printed, allowing insiders to manipulate a greenback-backed market on their whims.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a set cap of 21 million tokens. Its supply is governed by mathematical algorithms, meaning no corrupt human involvement would be able to topple it. As far as the use-cases are concerned, Bitcoin has been constantly looked at for its potential of becoming a store-of-value asset like Gold, while being constantly considered for settling cross-border payments despite its price volatility.
The critics then say that bitcoin has no intrinsic value. But even gold and paper money suffers from the same stigma. According to the World Council, only 15 percent of the global Gold supply is used in industrial applications. The rest goes into making bars, bullions, and jewelry – mainly because people trust they have value.
Trust is the Only Factor
The launch of Bitcoin was a response to a global financial crisis in which – let’s accept it – banks had f***ed up the economy. The digital currency – more or less – follows the philosophy of the Austrian Monetary Theory. According to it, money can be sound only when its supply is limited. It believes that money should not be controlled by the state. These facts are missing from the reports and opinion pieces of anti-Bitcoin economists.
The Federal Reserve and central bankers believe that only they have the right to print money. Bitcoin is only a beginning towards breaking the myth. As long as the central banks do not innovate and protect people against currency inflation – as evident in the case of Zimbabwe and Venezuela – there is no chance they would be able to outrun crypto. People need to trust their banks, but mainstream media and economists are avoiding a broader discussion.
The next financial crisis should bring more evidence to the theory. No rush.
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SEC Orders Airfox and Paragon to Return Millions to Investors on ICO Registration Violations

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges against two cryptocurrency companies which were accused of violating ICO securities offering registration rules.
Both firms, Carrier EQ (Airfox) and Paragon Coin sold digital tokens in ICOs in 2017 after the regulator’s official stance on the ICO. Some crypto fundraisers can be considered securities offerings, according to its DAO Report of Investigation.
Airfox and Paragon Settle Charges with SEC for ICO Registration Violations, $250 in Penalties
As part of the settlement, both cryptocurrency companies will return funds to harmed investors, register the tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay $250,000 in penalties.
Neither one has admitted or denied the findings made by the SEC, but they have consented to the orders.
Carrier EQ (Airfox), a firm which facilitates the transfer of mobile airtime, data and currency, as well as payments for goods and services, raised $15 million from selling over a million AirTokens on October 2017.
The company had closed its $6.5 million ICO pre-sale weeks earlier than scheduled. The Boston-based blockchain company intended to use the money to develop a micro-loans program and expand abroad to emerging markets.
Paragon Coin, which focuses its blockchain platform on the cannabis industry, raised approximately $12 million worth of digital assets to work toward legalization of cannabis and implement its business plan.
Related Reading: Crypto Week in Review: SEC Fines EtherDelta, Binance to Attract Institutions
The funds would be used to make supply chains more efficient and manageable, increase transparency regarding the origin of seeds and produces, as well as allowing payments between different parties.
These are the Commission’s first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations. Airfox and Paragon Coin failed to register their crypto fundraisers pursuant to the federal securities laws nor did they qualify for an exemption to the registration requirements, Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement.
“We have made it clear that companies that issue securities through ICOs are required to comply with existing statutes and rules governing the registration of securities. These cases tell those who are considering taking similar actions that we continue to be on the lookout for violations of the federal securities laws with respect to digital assets.”
Munchee was the Commission’s first non-fraud ICO registration case. The visual review and social networking app for food failed to register with the financial watchdog, but stopped its offering before delivering any tokens and promptly returned proceeds to investors.
The company was seeking to raise up to $15 million from thousands of investors ‎to develop an iPhone app for restaurant meal reviews. The SEC did not impose a penalty or include undertakings from Munchee.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Cryptocurrency Markets Find Stability as US Elects Multiple Pro-Crypto Politicians

The cryptocurrency markets have found stability following a period of large gains, with Bitcoin trading steadily in the $6,500 region and altcoins trading sideways. The stability comes after an important mid-term election cycle in the United States, in which multiple pro-crypto and pro-blockchain politicians were elected into public offices.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at approximately $6,520, up just over 1% over a 24-hour trading period. Bitcoin is still trading in the middle of its long-established trading range, which has proven on multiple occasions to be between $6,200 and $6,700.
Bitcoin fell into this aforementioned range in early September, following its gradual move to $7,400 and its sharp drop to $6,200. Since then, BTC has bounced between the top and bottom of this range, only briefly breaking through it in mid-October when its price temporarily went above $6,800 before falling back into the range.
Over the past couple of weeks, Bitcoin’s price action has further affirmed that this is in fact a powerful trading range, as its price rebounded quickly after it dipped into the $6,200 region in late-October.
Altcoins Profit Immensely from Bitcoin’s Stability
Although this type of low volatility is a new thing for many cryptocurrency investors who are used to seeing massive swings, it has proven to be advantageous for many altcoins that have posted massive gains over the past week.
XRP is one such altcoin that has had a very successful week, currently trading up 20% from its weekly lows of $0.446. XRP posted the majority of its gains in the past couple of days, sharply rising from $0.464 on November 5th to highs of $0.557 on November 6th. It has since stabilized at its current price of $0.53.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is another altcoin that has had a good week, trading up nearly 50% at $620 from its weekly lows of $420. BCH’s massive price rise, which first began on November 2nd, is the result from an upcoming hard fork event, which is scheduled to occur on November 15th.
Mid-Term Elections Positive for Cryptocurrency Markets
Another factor that could contribute to the stability of the cryptocurrency markets is the results of yesterday’s mid-term elections, in which multiple pro-cryptocurrency and pro-blockchain politicians were voted into public office.
Jared Polis (Democrat) was one such politician who was elected to serve as the Governor of Colorado. In the past, Polis has expressed his interest in cryptocurrencies, and has gone as far to state that he would ardently defend Bitcoin during his tenure as a U.S. Representative in Congress.
Another example of a pro-crypto politician that won a major mid-term election was Gavin Newsom (Democrat), who was elected to serve as the Governor of California. Newsom was one of the first politicians to accept Bitcoin donations for his campaign in 2014 and has notably said that he supports the progression of technology.
It is unclear what impact these politicians will have on the adoption of cryptocurrencies as both technologies and means of payment.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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U.S. Midterms: Bitcoin-Friendly Politicians Elected in Colorado, California

To many crypto savants, the modern political scene, which promotes centralization and censorship in some cases, is far from a topic of importance. But, as Tuesday’s U.S. midterm poll results have started to roll in, the ears of cryptocurrency enthusiasts have metaphorically perked up, as it was unexpectedly divulged that pro-Bitcoin/crypto politicians have been sworn into office in the nation’s highest levels of government.
Pro-Bitcoin Jared Polis & Gavin Newsom Elected As U.S. Governors
Amid the mainstream media’s coverage of the U.S. midterms, which has become the western world’s flavor-of-the-month, key details important to crypto advocates have slipped far under the radar. But, Francois Pouliot, a Quebecois-Canadian Bitcoin proponent, has sought to change this, doing his utmost best to raise his digital voice over a clamoring crowd of commentators.
On Tuesday night, Pouliot, a self-proclaimed “skin-in-game Bitcoin entrepreneur,” took to his Twitter page, which sports 40,000 dedicated followers, to announce that Colorado’s Jared Polis (Democrat) has been elected into Congress via the democratic process.

Congratulations to early Bitcoin advocate @jaredpolis on being elected Governor of Colorado!
"Polis said that he will use his powers in Congress to fight against any attempts by the government to enact policies that restrict the growth of bitcoin" – 2014 pic.twitter.com/LOjTsYwiyK
— Francis Pouliot (@francispouliot_) November 7, 2018

So why does this pertain to crypto? Well, Polis, who is arguably one of the most progressive governors in America’s political environment, has long been a fan of cryptocurrencies and is open to aiding the asset class on a regulatory stage.
In an exclusive interview with CoinDesk just months before 2014’s midterms, the Boulder, Colorado native explained that he would do everything in his power to hamper anti-Bitcoin policies, whether it be through rallying against governmental agencies or touting the benefits of crypto assets. Furthering this sentiment, speaking from the point of view of an innovator, Polis added that “it’s about time” for cryptocurrencies to rise to prominence.
And in spite of the relative age of this interview, the politician’s pro-crypto views have persisted well into 2018, even to this day. In February of this year, NewsBTC reported that the Colorado governor requested for Congress to draft a guideline for crypto holding disclosures. Although this could be seen as an anti-crypto move, especially considering that this industry values pseudonymity, at the time, the lawmaker claimed that the growing legitimacy of crypto necessitated the body to take appropriate action.
Regardless of the fallout caused by his request, the bottom line is that Polis is seemingly poised to tackle Congress’ crypto issues head-on.
Pouliot, following up on his aforementioned tweet, issued another message just half-an-hour later, making it apparent that Polis isn’t the only Bitcoin-friendly politician to be voted in as a governor.
Gavin Newsom (Democrat), one of the first politicians to open his war chests to accept Bitcoin (BTC), has been elected as California’s new governor.

Congratulations to early Bitcoin adopter @GavinNewsom on being elected Governor of California!
"I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I'll accept bitcoin in the campaign". "I'm ready for it". "But how the hell do I explain it to anybody?" – 2014 pic.twitter.com/4RLGa9BdMf
— Francis Pouliot (@francispouliot_) November 7, 2018

Considering that California is a hotspot for innovation, with the Bay Area and Silicon Valley being world-renowned for its proclivity for all things tech (crypto included), Newsom’s office could catalyze the widespread use of blockchain technologies and crypto assets in the region.
In 2014, Newsom, remaining cautiously optimistic on Bitcoin, claimed:
“I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign… I’m ready for it, but how the hell do I explain it to anybody?”
Although two is far from a crowd, and Newsom’s acceptance of BTC donations is far from all-in, these governors could be the match that sparks regulatory change in favor of crypto assets. But for now, there’s going to have to be a waiting game, as seldom have politicians kept all their promises, especially those made in a bid to garner voter traction.
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FCC Chairman Admits Antiquated Regulation May Hurt Emerging Blockchain Technology

Aijt Pai, U.S. FCC Chair, has said it’s a challenge to level the playing field between emerging technologies, including blockchain, and not disadvantage any of them.
US Telecoms Regulator Studies How to Evolve Blockchain
The chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the government agency in charge of regulating radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable – told the Indian Express there might be a need for expanding the ambit of a telecom regulator to include the evolving tech.
“So one of the challenges is to figure out how we find a level-playing field that promotes investment and innovations for all these firms without disadvantaging any one of them. The second issue is that these are very dynamic industries and one can foresee in coming decades – things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing will have significant impact on how communications networks operate.”
While not having jurisdiction over these firms yet, the FCC is studying the matter and “how should [their] thinking about regulation evolve” as emerging technologies gain impact on the space. “No time ever has been more challenging than the 21st century”, he added.
In the United States, convergence has made a lot of the regulatory structure antiquated, Pai argued, adding that the Communications Act, which the FCC administers, was first developed in 1934 and subsequently amended in 1992 and 1996.
“That Act still contemplates that wireless service is separate from regular telephone services, which is completely separate from cable service, which is separate from satellite service. When it comes to broadband, all four industries are vigourously competing.”
The FCC chair, who was directly appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, came to the limelight for his attempts to roll back net neutrality, which restricts internet service providers from arbitrarily controlling bandwidth access to specific websites and apps.
The issue may threaten the cryptocurrency ecosystem as, without net neutrality, an internet service provider, which is owned by a conglomerate decides to absorb an exchange, they can charge users extra or toggle down speeds.
Restricted access to cryptocurrency exchanges may result in lower industry growth, trading volumes, and digital currency market prices. New operators will face more difficulties entering the market and Bitcoin miners may also see profitability decline with higher rates for nodes or even bans from internet service providers.
In February 2018, the FCC issued a Notification of Harmful Interference to a New York-based Bitcoin miner who was ordered to turn off his mining rig – Antminer S5 Bitcoin Miner – for interfering with T-Mobile’s wireless network.
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SEC Establishes FinHub to Engage Public on Cryptocurrencies

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced the launch of the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) to promote public engagement on fintech-related issues and initiatives, including blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
SEC Launches FinHub Portal in Connection with the Issuance of Its DAO Report
FinHub, which replaces several internal working groups at the SEC, includes other areas involving the financial markets sector, including automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Acting as a portal for industry and the public, FinHub will publicize information regarding the agency’s initiatives and create a forum focusing on blockchain and digital assets, according to a press release.
To be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s division of corporation finance, FinHub will also serve as liaison to other domestic and international regulators regarding cryptocurrencies and other issues, according to the entity chaired by Jay Clayton.
“The SEC is committed to working with investors and market participants on new approaches to capital formation, market structure, and financial services, with an eye toward enhancing, and in no way reducing, investor protection,” he added. “The FinHub provides a central point of focus for our efforts to monitor and engage on innovations in the securities markets that hold promise, but which also require a flexible, prompt regulatory response to execute our mission.”
The new SEC portal, FinHub, was established in connection with the issuance of DAO Report on July 25, 2017. The document defined ICO tokens as securities, which caused great concern for many players in the crypto space as they prepared to launch their own initial coin offerings. The SEC has also made it clear that the token sales during the ICOs don’t qualify as crowdfunding.
“SEC staff across the agency have been engaged for some time in efforts to understand emerging technologies, communicate the agency’s stance on new issues, and facilitate beneficial innovations in the securities industry. By launching FinHub, we hope to provide a clear path for entrepreneurs, developers, and their advisers to engage with SEC staff, seek input, and test ideas”, said Szczepanik.
The portal invites public input on matters such as fund innovation and crypto holdings, blockchain applications, and the listing of of VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust shares. The financial watchdog has been conservative regarding the entry of Bitcoin ETF applications.
By August, the SEC denied nine applications from ProShares, Direxion, and GraniteShares via three recently published documents.
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The US-China Battle of Global Supremacy Enters Cryptocurrency Industry

China and the USA have been competing with each other in every field to gain global dominance. The same competition seems to have entered the cryptocurrency industry as White House, understanding China’s Bitcoin Dominance is now backing Ripple Labs.
Its BTC vs XRP as two global superpowers look at a crypto world
China is, by far, the undisputed world leader in bitcoin mining — with Chinese mining pools controlling more than 70% of the bitcoin network’s collective hash rate, the measuring unit of the processing power of the bitcoin network.
Many in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry have expressed concern about how much control this gives China over bitcoin, with the Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies mining more than half the world’s bitcoins creating an oligopolistic to near monopoly situation.
While China’s dominance is fairly visible, the United States doesn’t want to stay behind in this race. According to the reports coming in from the White House, it appears U.S. president Donald Trump’s White House is also worrying about China’s bitcoin dominance and Ripple Labs executive, are suggesting the U.S. administration is interested in ripple (XRP) adoption to offset China’s bitcoin strength.
Ripple Lab’s chief strategist, Cory Johnson, was quoted saying in a wide-ranging interview with crypto-focused magazine Breaker that
“The White House, in particular, seems to be thinking about what it means to have 80% of bitcoin mining taking place in China and a majority of ether mining taking place in China,”
“When you look at XRP, there is no mining, so from a foreign-control aspect or from an environmental aspect, XRP is a very different beast. And in conversations we’ve had with the administration, they seem to get that and think that might matter.”
China manufactures most of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining equipment and its massive mining farms are supported by the country’s cheap electricity prices, giving it dominance in bitcoin while for Ripple, Ripple Labs controls 60% of the ripple supply and the XRP tokens don’t require any mining. This situation of Bitmain’s dominating control over Bitcoin’s mining and Ripple’s majority control over XRP has received a lot of criticism from the industry as these being centralized in hands of few. A lot of experts believe that this war of the US vs China may intensify the centralization issues as both global superpowers would want to control these cryptos.
But according to Weiss Rating’s latest tweet Ripple’s XRP is more decentralized. The tweet says Ripple is moving towards decentralization whereas the open-to-everyone model of Proof-of- Work mining resulted in oligopolies instead of decentralization it promised to create.

China’s #BTC dominance worries Trump’s White House, pushing it toward XRP. The open-to-everyone model of PoW mining resulted in oligopolies instead of decentralization it promised to create. #XRP is moving towards decentralization, while BTC seems to be doing the opposite.
— Weiss Ratings (@WeissRatings) October 16, 2018

The attention and backing the crypto curries are getting from respective global giants could do amazing news for cryptocurrencies but concerns over-centralization and control still looms. One can only wait and watch how these countries play out their moves to gain supremacy in global as well as crypto worlds
Who will win this battle of cryptocurrencies – China or the USA? Do let us know your views on the same.
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Source: CoinGape

Europe Surpasses US and Asia in Cryptocurrency Token Sales

Europe is rapidly becoming the world’s cryptocurrency hub, with a significant amount of EUR funding being directed into cryptocurrency projects.
So far this year, the value of token sales in Europe is close to exceeding that of Asia and the U.S. combined.
Fabric Ventures, a venture capital fund investing in blockchain and decentralized network projects, released a report detailing the possible reasons behind the surge in European ICO funding in 2018.
It cited positive regulatory revelations, the separation of economies in the European Union, and increasing development activity.
According to the report, in 2018 alone, ICO fundraising in Europe is approximately $4.1 billion, nearly double that of the $2.3 billion that has been raised so far in Asia, and significantly more than the $2.6 billion that has been raised in the United States.
Friendly Regulation Beginning to Take Form 
One major factor behind increased global ICO funding in 2018 is an increasing amount of “do-no-harm” regulation, especially from European countries.
The report notes that in Asia, ICO funding may be slightly hampered by the fact that regulatory authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore, two major Asian cryptocurrency hubs, are defining cryptocurrencies as security products, which subject them to greater regulatory scrutiny.
This is compared to multiple nations in the European Union, which are quickly gaining ground as cryptocurrency hubs due to incredibly light and non-restrictive regulations.
European Nations Accounting for Significant Amount of ICO Funding
The report specifically explains that Gibraltar and Malta, two of the EU’s smallest nations, are drawing a significant amount of ICO funding, totaling at approximately $300 million.
Despite their widely-known status as “crypto nations,” they are still behind larger nations, which are pulling the majority of the European ICO fundraising weight.
So far in 2018, $490 million has been raised in the U.K., who is slightly behind Switzerland, which has raised $556 million in ICOs this year. Lithuania has also secured its place as a cryptocurrency hub, raising $271 million so far this year.
The report also notes that the increase in European ICO fundraising can also be attributed to a strong project formation in Europe, with most notable cryptocurrency projects locating themselves in a handful of major European cities.
“While an increasing number of countries strive to attract crypto projects by creating a regulatory ‘sandbox’, the majority of founding teams and developer talent remain Europe-based. London, Zug, Berlin, and Tallinn are just a handful of cities leading Europe with robust blockchain talent. It comes as no surprise that these cities have historically been hubs for attracting top fintech startups,” the report explains.
According to ICO fundraising tracker, CoinSchedule, 2018 has been a great year for ICO fundraising despite the cryptocurrency bear market, with a total of 889 ICOs raising over three times as much as what was raised in 2017.
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Europe Leading the Crypto Race with Favourable Regulations & Top-Notch Talent

In the ICO market, Europe is beating the US and Asia by implementing favorable regulations in order to become the hub of this new technology along with a vast talent pool in terms of developers.
Europe leading the “Token Sales”
European countries are in the dominant position when it comes to cryptocurrencies. About $4.1 billion of “token sales” this year belongs to Europe in comparison to $2.6 billion in the US and $2.3 billion in Asia.

The latest report “State of the Token Market” by Fabric Ventures notes,
“While an increasing number of countries strive to attract crypto projects by creating a regulatory ‘sandbox’, the majority of founding teams and developer talent remain Europe-based. London, Zug, Berlin, and Tallinn are just a handful of cities leading Europe with robust blockchain talent. It comes as no surprise that these cities have historically been hubs for attracting top fintech startups.”
Out of all the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), 42 percent were the successful ones while majority that is 58 percent have been the failures that either reported a full refund of token sale proceeds or failed to disclose the data on fundraising completion.

Talent pool
According to the report, favorable regulation and talent in the form of developers are behind this boom.
With about 5.5 million developers, as per Stack Overflow, Europe is in a good position in terms of talent in comparison to 4.4 million in the US. Furthermore, it has twice as many STEM PhDs as the US. The report states,
“…with this wave that’s democratizing access to capital, the technical talent doesn’t need to migrate to the US to raise venture capital and build global companies. As a result, the value created by founders coming from different corners of Europe has significantly outraced any other geographic region: $4.1bn has been raised by European projects in 2018 alone – versus $2.3bn in Asia, and $2.6bn in the US.”
Regulatory favourableness
France will not “miss out on the blockchain revolution,” as openly stated by France’s Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, and is planning to become the global hub for ICOs.
Moreover, the UK Chancellor has announced a crypto asset task force while Switzerland has already issued a clear regulatory framework. Additionally, smaller countries like Malta and Liechtenstein are moving ahead with open regulatory approaches to become global hubs for cryptocurrencies and decentralized networks.
The report shares,
“Throughout European countries, a competitive race has begun to provide the most founder-friendly & forward thinking regulatory environment for decentralized networks and their native crypto-assets.”
The report also takes the nature of European “city-states” another reason as “As a continent made of 50 vastly different countries, Europe is accustomed to working in distributed teams as well as building with a global outlook.”
Diverse and multinational teams are the way to go as every budding company in Europe knows the way to avoid the small domestic economies is to spread internationally.
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Source: CoinGape