Bitconnect, which has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme, shuts down

Bitconnect, the lending and exchange platform that was long suspected by many in the crypto community of being a Ponzi scheme, has announced it’s shutting down.

In a release on its website the platform said the shutdown is attributed to “continuous bad press” surrounding the platform, two discontinue and desist letters from both Texas and North Carolina’s securities committees, and continuous DDoS assaults on the platform.

While the platform says they’re refunding all outstanding loans at a rate of $363.62 USD( an average of the token’s price over the last 15 days ), the Bitconnect token is currently trading down~ 80% and worth less than $40, so while users may have been made whole on a BCC-equivlent, many are certainly suffering severe financial losses in terms of USD or Bitcoin( which is how they stimulated their original investment ).

Many in the cryptocurrency community have openly accused Bitconnnect of operating a Ponzi scheme, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.

The platform was powered by a token called BCC( not to be confused with BCH, or Bitcoin Cash ), which is essentially useless now that the trading platform has shut down. In the last The token has plummeted more than 80% to about $37, down from over $200 just a few hours ago.

If you aren’t familiar with the platform, Bitconnect was an anonymously-run site where users could loan their cryptocurrency to the company in exchange for outsized returns depending on how long the loan was for. For example, a $10,000 loan for 180 days would purportedly give you~ 40% returns each month, with a. 20% daily bonus.

Bitconnect also had a thriving multi-level referral feature, which also made it somewhat akin to a pyramid scheme with thousands of social media users trying to drive signups using their referral code.

The platform said it produced returns for users use Bitconnnect’s trading bot and “volatility trading software”, which usually averaged around 1% per day.

Of course profiting from market fluctuations and volatility is a legitimate trading strategy, and one used by many hedge funds and institutional traders. But Bitconnect’s promise( and pay) of outsized and guaranteed returns resulted many to believe it was a ponzi scheme that was paying out existing loan interest with freshly pledged loans.

Below is the chart that would determine how much users would build the using the platform.

All Bitconnect loans were denominated in U.S dollars but had to be made in BCC, the platform’s native cryptocurrency. So in order to make a loan users would have to deposit bitcoin into the platform then exchange it for BCC at whatever the market rate was. And loan interest and principal was also only paid out merely in BCC, meaning users would have to convert it back to bitcoin( and then if desired, USD) after the loan term was finished.

The requirement of having BCC to participate in the lending program led to a natural spike in demand( and price) of BCC. In less than a year the currency ran from being worth less than a dollar( with a market cap in the millions) to a all-time high of ~$ 430.00 with a market cap above $2.6 B.

But now with no other uses for the token, it’s likely that the price will continue to plummet. The company did say that the ICO for their Bitconnect X trading platform will still happen ,~ ATAGEND and that trading for the BCC token will continue there.

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Coinbase hires a new VP of Operations to lead its customer service effort

Coinbase only announced they’re hiring Tina Bhatnagar as VP of Operations and Technology to lead all operational squads at Coinbase and GDAX.

But perhaps more relevant right now is the fact that her responsibilities will include overseeing the fast-growing startup’s customer service division.

It’s no secret that Coinbase is in need of some assist when it comes to support and customer service. The company has struggled to manage both technological and customer support operations during the massive spikes in cost, new users and transactions over the last few months.

Tina Bhatnagar

But Coinbase isn’t blind to these shortfalls, and about six months ago unveiled a plan to revamp their customer service experience and roll out phone supporting and shorter response times. They also recently hired Asiff Hirji, former COO at TD Ameritrade and promoted Dan Romero as GM of Coinbase to oversee all of Coinbase’s retail platform.

Bhatnagar comes from Twitter, where she was VP of Operations and User Services and helped scale the customer support team from 20 people to thousands across six offices.

When deciding to join Coinbase, I was not blind to the challenges ahead of me. But when I gratified Brian and the team, I knew it would be a truly joint effort to run our customer operations how we envisioned it. It’s an exciting day, with Coinbase and crypto in the public eye more than ever before, but that also means it’s an even more critical moment to stake our position. And this can only happen if we do right by our clients every single day.

— Tina Bhatnagar, VP of Operations and Technology at Coinbase.

In a blog post, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong noted that Bhatnagar will work to meet the company’s commitments to double their support team over the next three months, as well as roll out 24/7 phone support to all customers by Q2 2018.

Coinbase also noted that last week when cryptocurrencies all sank around 20 percentthe startup again find record volume and traffic, but was able to meet demand and avoid any major outages or down time.

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Scammers are cashing in on Telegrams upcoming ICO

Desperate for an opportunity to jump aboard in the next big thing, cryptocurrency owners are losing money by investing blindly in fake Telegram ICO websites.

Chat app Telegram’s upcoming ICO promises to break records with a target create of $1.2 billion, which may be extended to$ 2 billion according to new reports. The public marketing component isn’t scheduled to launch until March, as noted by multiple media including TechCrunch, but that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous someones seizing the opportunity.

News of Telegram Open Network( TON ), the Telegram ICO project, first broke in the final weeks of December before TechCrunch reported exclusively on the full details.

Expectation was palpable. “Telegram is already the de facto communication channel for the global cryptocurrency community, making a natural home to its own coin and Blockchain, ” TechCrunch’s Josh Constine and Mike Butcher wrote. At the same time, English and Russian versions of its whitepaper and investor prospectuses, including precise information around the ICO, were widely leaked across the internet.

That gave would-be scammers the two conditions they needed — hype and legitimate datum — and numerous websites sprang up offering apparent immediate investment opportunities.

Gramtoken.io was the most prominent fake. The website, which is now offline, used details extracted from the whitepapers including project roadmap, squad members and more. It even posted a transcript of the whitepaper — which, again, had been leaked already — to give a sense of authenticity. The site’s tracker purported to have’ raised’ more than$ 5 million before it went dark last Wednesday.

A number of those who invested in the scam took to Twitter in annoyance after it was uncovered. TechCrunch hasn’t been able to verify how much Gramtoken.io raised.

Gramtoken.io screenshot via cafebitcoin.vn

It isn’t clear why the site went offline. NameCheap, the company that hosted the Gramtoken.io domain, declined to comment when we would like to know whether it had taken action. If Namecheap didn’t step in, it could be that the people behind Gramtoken.io decided to shut the party down before it depicted too much attention.

Of the rest of the fakes, ton-gram.io, grampreico.comand tgram.cc remain online, Gramtoken.tech is offline, while a number of Facebook Pages, including one for Gramtoken.io, were taken private or removed after being called out as scams.

In addition, it’s reported that some scammers turned to email to blast out fake Telegram ICO investment opportunities.

In the case of one website, Ton-gram.io, more than 70 people have invested over $30,000 in Ethereum, according to a billfold address connected to the website.

Gramtoken.io use paid Facebook ads to reach users

Some users on social media felt the need to highlight these sites as investment possibilities while in the same breath cautioning that they may be swindles. Perhaps in search of traffic or favorable Google search positioning, a number of ICO tracking sites listed TON which added further uncertainty.

In an email to TechCrunch, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov acknowledged that Gramtoken.io was not associated with his company.

Weeks earlier, when the first the reporting of Telegram’s TON project surfaced, Durov cautioned users to rely only on info from Telegram’s broadcast channel but he made no further remark other than responding to one question on Twitter.

It goes without saying that ICO investments are risky, those thinking of taking part are often advised do their homework thoroughly. That includes making sure that the company has actually announced a token sale through official channels. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

“The more hyped the project the more likely are scammers going to resort to phishing sites, ” a partner at a crypto-focused investment firm told TechCrunch on condition of anonymity due to sensitivities. “In some examples these sites even show up as top outcomes in search. So it is extremely important that investors carefully substantiate the details from multiple sources before participating in a token sale.”

Disclosure: The author owns small amounts of cryptocurrency .

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dYdX is a decentralized protocol for cryptocurrency derivatives

While some fiscal derivatives like futures trading are slowly coming to Bitcoin, we’re still a long time away from these financial products being widely available for the entire cryptocurrency asset class.

So dydX is constructing a decentralized protocol for derivatives, built on the Ethereum blockchain and the 0x protocol. The protocol lets you take out peer-to-peer short sells, long positions and options on any ERC2 0 token. It also provides the ability for traders to make fully-collateralized loans, which are used to to money short sellers.

As a refresher, a decentralized protocol means that no single entity controls the process. No one can cancel your order, steal your funds or rip you off as long as the smart contracts powering the protocol are securely written and properly vetted. There are already a few examples of decentralized exchanges like EtherDelta, where you can exchanges crypto assets peer-to-peer. But most of these platforms restriction you to exchanging one token for another, which is why dYdX’s focus on more complicated financial positions is unique.

When the platform launches in the spring there will be a decentralized open protocol that anyone can access, as well as a centralized relay built by dYdX that acts as a user interface to the protocol.

The UI will look like a traditional trading site but will never take control of user funds, and dYdX will charge a small fee on all trades that use their interface. Of course anyone else can also build private or public interfaces to interact with the dYdX protocol for free. Order volumes will be off chain with on-chain settlements, which allow for faster trading, especially during times of network congestion.

At first you’ll only be able to trade with ERC2 0 tokens( and Ethereum itself) but technologies like cross-chain atomic swaps may enable trading of non-Ethereum-based tokens in the future like Bitcoin.

dYdX was founded by Antonio Juliano, a former software engineer at Coinbase and Uber. The startup has raised a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital, with participation from Coinbase founders Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong, Elad Gil and others.

Juliano schemes on using the funding to build out a team of engineers( it’s currently a one-man store) and undergo extensive third-party security audits on the protocol before launching. As explained earlier the only thing that could bring down a decentralized protocol is flaws in its code, building crypto security audits very important for any serious decentralized protocol.

Both the decentralized protocol and centralized relay are expected to launch around April, with the independent security audits being the biggest roadblock before launch.

You can check out dYdX’s white paper here.

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People have spent over $1M buying virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain

Launched a few days ago, CryptoKitties is essentially like an digital version of Pokemon cards but based on the Ethereum blockchain. And like most viral sensations that catch on in the tech world, it’s blowing up fast.

Built by Vancouver and San Francisco-based design studio AxiomZen, the game is the latest fad in the world of cryptocurrency and likely soon tech in general.

People are spending a crazy amount of real fund on the game. So far about $1.3 M has been transacted, with multiple kittens selling for~ 50 ETH( around $23,000) and the “genesis” kitten being sold for a record~ 246 ETH( around $113,000 ). This third party site ways the largest buys made to date on the game. And like any good viral sensation costs are rising and fluctuating fast. Right now it will cost you about. 03 ETH, or $12 to buy the least expensive kitten in the game.

So now we have people employing Ether, an asset with arguably little tangible utility- to purchase an asset with unarguably zero tangible utility. Welcome to the internet in 2017.

In all seriousness, it’s a little bit reminiscent of the beanie baby tendency where people were paying insane sums of fund for stuffed animals. But if the popularity continues to increase these people may be able to make a return by reselling or breeding their rare kittens, or they’ll be stuck holding the virtual cryptographic keys to a virtual rare kitten when the market crashes in a few days, like eventually happened with beanie babies.

There are a few cool things about the game though, and putting aside the valuation sillines it’s actually a cool way for novices to interact with the Ethereum blockchain.

First off, it’s important to understand that since it’s played on the Ethereum blockchain there’s no central entity managing the game. This means users literally own their kittens. Unlike playing Neopets where everything was stored under a central database and your pet was deleted where the business shut down, CryptoKitties is decentralized and will live forever on the Ethereum blockchain.

The game is run via a decide of five Ethereum smart contracts written by AxiomZen, and users interact with it via their own Ethereum address. Right now the easiest style to do that is by using the Chrome extension MetaMask which gives you the ability to send and receive Ethereum immediately in your browser. You then would navigate to the CryptoKitties site which is essentially an interface to interact with their smart contracts so you can buy sell and breed kittens.

Right now about 15% of all Ethereum network traffic is dedicated to the game, constructing it the more popular smart contract on the network. For reference, number two with about 8% of network transactions is EtherDelta, the popular decentralized token exchange.

This traffic is building it hard to play CryptoKitties, and a lot of transactions( like buying and selling cats) are taking longer than usual to process and requiring multiple attempts.

Not only is this attaining it hard to play the game, but this scaling issue is a real concern for the Ethereum network in general. If one viral game that hasn’t even spread beyond the tech world can slow down the network, what happens when the blockchain expands to real world applications?

Anyways, back to the game. Still confused? Us too. Here’s an explanation of how it works 😛 TAGEND

How to Play

The game was seeded with 100 “Founder Kitties”. There’s also one new “Gen 0” cat released ever 15 minutes, which are listed for the average cost of the last five sold, plus 50%- but the sale price deteriorations over 24 hours until person eventually buys it.

And anyone can sell their kittens via an auction, where they pick a starting price and an ending cost and the price declines over period until someone buys it. So for example I could set a kitten up for sale for a the working day auction for 1 ETH starting cost and 0 ETH ending price, and if anyone buys it 12 hours after the auctions starts they’d be paying me. 5 ETH.

Kittens can also be created by breeding them, which the game calls Siring. You can put your own kitten up for sire for a specified amount of ether and someone can breed with it, and they get the offspring and you get the ether. Or, you can pay to breed your cat with someone else’s and you keep the offspring and they keep the ether.

It can take anywhere from an hour to a week in “cooldown time” to breed a new kitten. The shorter the time the better, since you can sell the progeny sooner and breed again. This entails kittens with shorter cooldown period usually sell for more.

Each kitten has a 256 -bit genome that holds the genetic sequence to all the different combinings kittens can have. These include things like background colouring, cooldown day, whiskers, beards, stripes and so on. Some of these genes can be recessive, meaning a kitten without stripes could still breed one with stripes.

It’s important to note that there’s no “rare scale” established by the game that designates rarity values to these genetic sequences. That means the community is independently choosing what traits are rare by paying a premium for them. For instance, kittens with a gold background have been selling more than kittens with other colors.

Users can only self-customize the name of their kitten, and often use this space to advertise rare attributes like coloring or generation.

Right now there’s no way to ensure the actual genetic sequence for a kitten on CryptoKitties’ site, but since it’s all open-source code within an Ethereum contract it’s merely a matter of time before person figures out how to “read” your cat’s genetic sequence and build breeding recommendations based on it. There’s also some randomness built in, which maintains it fun by giving someone with a less rare kitten the chance to breed a rare one.

Each time a cat breeds the generation increases one. So the progeny of a Gen 0 kitten would be a Gen 1, and so on. Earlier generation kittens seem to be selling for more money, both for the intangible rareness factor and the tangible fact that earlier generation kittens usually have shorter cool down times.

Axiom stimulates money by maintaining the ether collected from selling the initial 100 kitties, plus the freshly made kitties sold each 25 minutes. They also take a 3.75% fee of all auctions or siring transactions. If you sell a kitten by interacting directly with the smart contract( and not “re going through” CryptoKitties’ website) you wouldn’t have to pay the 3.75% fee.

What’s Next?

Unlike some viral projects, the team behind CryptoKitties was set on building out this product regardless of this hype. Mack Flavelle, the project lead for the game explained to me that the team has at least a year’s worth of product improvements in the pipeline, the most immediate of which is improving the UI on the web platform.

They also want to work to stimulate the on-boarding process easier, because at the end of the day it’s still not easy for the average person to setup MetaMask and figure out how to buy ether and use it to transact on the network.

The project has a pretty good FAQ here which explains a bit more about the game’s future plans and how it works today.

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In Israel, a blockchain and crypto hyper-cluster is just getting started

In recent times, it’s Eastern Europe and Russia which have become a hot-bed of crytpocurrency developing. But on a recent trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, I took part in what might well turn out to be a historic lunch.

The lunch took place just after well-known tech investor Moshe Hogeg announced he would invest in every Israeli blockchain that approached him. That investor group, called Alignment, consisted of the Singulariteam Technology Group, along with CoinTree Capital, and BlockchainIL.

Held at Alignment’s new blockchain Hub in Tel Aviv, we got to hear from an array of new companies.

Dubbed by many as “Startup Nation”, Tel Aviv has begun to produce a new breed of tech giants, but it’s now turning its hand to blockchain and crypto companies. In recent months, my mailbox has become inundated with pitchings from companies claiming to be the next blockchain phenomenon, with plans to revolutionize the finance world, healthcare landscape, travelling industry, you name it. The problem is, which one, if any, can deliver? However, after getting deep into the subject with the companies I met, I realise many were at least’ on to something’. Whether they would survive or not…

Here’s a run-down of who I met with 😛 TAGEND

Erachain

The idea of a blockchain network that works for the average person still seems far off. But Erachain wants to address that. Russian programmer Dmitrii Ermolaev, co-founder and CEO has grown it from a small operation to a distributed organization. Erachain is a decentralized blockchain platform that has incorporated European and World-Wide AML laws, potentially eliminating the need for traditional banks. It ties all coins with physical assets, reduces the cost of normal crypto transactions, and claims to eliminate anonymous transactions by substantiating all users upon registration.

It’s been four years in development and is all about creating a Proof of Stake system where verified accounts exist as nodes. The utilize examples are enterprise and government, where use these technologies is often a huge obstacle to entry. Right now it’s about document management and digital signatures.

In the future, most applications of large-scale are going to require some kind of verification platform.

Zen Protocol

This team has been involved in the Bitcoin space since 2011. After the DAO hack, founder Adam Perlow wanted to focus on constructing Bitcoin better, more usable and useful. He has spent the last year generating Zen Protocol, leveraging the blockchain technology and the popularity of Bitcoin to try to decentralize the financial system by constructing a new protocol purpose-built for finance. Zen’s pitch is that it allows anyone to generate financial transactions, at any time, anywhere in the world using Bitcoin. Zen is designed to be open, frictionless, transparent, and completely decentralized across a Proof-of-Work Blockchain. Zen Core is implemented in the. Net stack and uses the F* functional programming language, built by Microsoft Research, to power contracts.

Perlow says: “Today it’s very hard to enforce agreements. You set monies with the exchange and enter an agreement with a broker. But on the blockchain you don’t require a trusted 3rd party. Banks have huge control and too much control over our lives.”

Zen wants to bring the entire financial world onto the blockchain, connecting digital and crypto assets with fiat stocks and commodities. “If we had a mechanism by which to enforce contractual obligations you wouldn’t need this trusted third-party, ” he says.

COTI

Its global world and commerce is global but it doesn’t tap into the full potential because of trust. Trust is centralized and held by banks, Visa etc. These are centralized, high on fees and the approving rate is not good for rest of the world outside of the G10. Meanwhile, Ethereurm and ripple not designed for payments. So the solution is a system built from the ground up to be payment mechanism which is instant, zero fees, reversible, and has anti-fraud mechanisms.

Founder Nir Gazit says: “Bitcoin is not good for stuff, it’s not reversible, there’s no mediation.” So they are building a full stack, an exchange, a billfold, a credit card.

COTI aims to build the global economy genuinely global by providing instant, scalable, and secure transactions using the COTIcoin. COTI, which appropriately stands for Currency of the Internet, is aimed at incentivizing honest conduct between sellers and buyers by creating a’ unique behaviour scoring’ feature on the Bitcoin sidechain. Users who achieve an “honest” score, entailing those vendors who ship products on time, or buyers who pay when they’re supposed to, are rewarded. The system lets both buyers and sellers see the score of another user before he or she chooses to interact with them. COTI aims to reduce high checkout abandonment rates and eradicate uncertainty while shopping online.

There are currently over 1,000 digital currencies operating on a decentralized basis, however , none can provide the services resulting centralized payment providers can. By combining a centralized mediation process and a decentralized payment process, COTI says it has created a technological solution for the consumer payments sector.

Jelurida

Jelurida is the development company behind Nxt and Ardor blockchain platforms. It generates customized commercial versions of these platforms while endlessly supporting and maintaining the decentralized public Nxt blockchain. With the upcoming Ardor platform, Jelurida will be creating custom child chains for its customers and partners as well.

Whereas many blockchain companies are still in the fundraising stage, Nxt is fully operational and trading with a market cap of over a hundred million dollars. The company, which has in the past offered functions specifically designed for crypto developers, is turning its focus to utilize occurrences which have to do with everyday life, from introducing new voting mechanisms to offering transparent international bank transfers that consumers can enjoy. Ardor is the newest blockchain platform Jelurida has been working on, and functions as kind of a Nxt 2.0. Ardor features a unique parent-child chain structure, which helps combat blockchain bloat.


Investor Moshe Hogeg has created the Alignment investment vehicle to invested strictly in Israeli blockchain and crypto startups .

CrowdWiz

CrowdWiz, which is a fully decentralized crypto investment platform that lets users trench third-party fund administrators, recently began its ICO on November 20 th. The company has already raised over$ 5 million in a public pre-sale, and plans to use the money to develop their investment platform. CrowdWiz relies on the so-called’ wisdom of the crowd’ to make funding decisions. The CEO Slavena Savcheva claims that a collective entity makes a better decision as a whole than the most intelligent person in the group alone.

CrowdWiz allows the crowd , not money managers, banks or middlemen, to decide on how members of the general fund is expended. Users of CrowdWiz will use the company’s cryptocurrency, the OPX token, to vote on which asset they want funds to go to. The platform then distributes based on the majority opinion of the crowd. CrowdWiz solves some of the issues associated with traditional funds today, such as high entryway costs and large fees. Savcheva wants to construct the trading process fun, easy, and completely transparent use the wisdom of the crowd to choose where the money goes.

Prior to founding CrowdWiz, Savcheva was the Business Development Manager for TRADOLOGIC, one of the world’s leading FinTech software providers, where she operated and steered the firm’s business in Asian markets.

Orbs

Orbs sits under Cointree and is based on the “Spector” paper written by Hebrew university researchers. It takes the blockchain and turns it into a DAG, another database structure, so it can then process many more blocks in a second. The notion is that it sets the bottleneck at the communication layer not the not the consensus layer. Since the more forks in a blockchain the less secure and slower it become, Orbs claims to be able to process a transaction at whatever velocity the network is.

Alignment

Alignment came about because the VC firm Singulariteam partnered with two local Israeli firms, Blockchain IL and CoinTree Capital, to form a sort of blockchain and ICO consultancy which they dubbed “Alignment.” The company aims to groom and support the next blockchain unicorn coming out of Israel. The company consults, develops and funds Blockchain early-stage projects and existing companies, from inception through ICO, and later.

Startups will need to pay for the privilege, of course. Its listed clients to date include Bancor, messaging app Kik, and Stox. Of those, Bancor conducted a $153 million ICO, while Kik raised $98 million in its token marketing earlier this year.

Since many people are skeptical of ICOs at the moment( especially in light of the Tezos dispute ), Alignment supports blockchain companies, in a climate that’s at best lukewarm towards ICOs. Moshe Hogeg, VC, Founder& Chairman of the Singulariteam, pledged Alignment would “invest, without exception, in every Israeli blockchain company in 2017. ”

Bancor

If you’ve been following the blockchain revolution, you’ve probably heard about Bancor. This company constructed history when it held one of the most successful ICO’s( at the time it was a world record ), creating over $153 million from over 10,000 participants in less than 3 hour. Bancor has created a market maker application that aims to facilitate trading with other digital coins. The Bancor protocol enables built-in price-discovery and a liquidity mechanism for tokens on smart contract blockchains. Bancor’s claims it allows anyone to make their own cryptocurrency and operate it independent of a third-party exchange. The Bancor Protocol allows for the creation of thousands of cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum blockchain, creating a interconnected asset exchange ecosystem which unlocks the long tail of user-generated tokens. Smart tokens are designed with additional functionality such as “delegated account recovery” and “vaults” to address security issues. The aim of these features is to stimulate cryptocurrencies more accessible and to encourage mass adoption.

Stox

You may have heard the news about Stox’s ethereum based prediction marketplace platform when Floyd Mayweather boasted he would “make a$ reach t$ n of fund … on the Stox.com ICO.”

Following Mayweather’s bullish words, Stox created $33 million in an ICO last August. Stox claims users can predict and trade the outcome of events in almost any imaginable category: Finance, sports, politics and even the weather, as they might in a traditional stock market.

Unlike a lot of crypto companies which tailor their services to blockchain experts, the Stox platform is designed to accommodate, and be intuitive for mainstream audiences.

As you can see, Israel, and specifically Tel Aviv, is creating a huge force in this new world. If they play their cards right, they could well start to competitor the co-called’ Crypto Valley’ in Switzerland.

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One bitcoin is now worth $10,000

It happened. One bitcoin is now worth $10,000.

The milestone was hit on international exchanges earlier in the day( where prices are usually a few percentage higher) and was just intersected on U.S exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini a few minutes ago.

This comes two days after bitcoin reached$ 9k, and eight days after it crossed$ 8k.

This $ 10,000 marks a bull rally basically never before seen in modern financial markets. For perspective, bitcoin is now up 1,258% over the past year, with the cumulative value of all cryptocurrencies up 2,174% to a total of $316 B. Bitcoin alone currently represents about 54% of this total marketplace cap.

BTC 1y cost graph, from coinmarketcap.com

It’s a strange time in bitcoin land. There’s never been an asset, with the exception perhaps being Tulips, that’s risen so much in such a short sum of day. So without any precedent or style to designate a “book value” to the currency , no one truly knows what to think or do.

Some say this is the nascent start of a trillion dollar the enterprises and the biggest thing to happen in technology since the internet was fabricated. Some think that bitcoin will replace gold and U.S dollars and every monetary instrument in between. Yet others say that this is the biggest speculatory bubble the world has ever seen, and that bitcoin will crash to zero tomorrow.

And of course there’s the majority of us who think something in between, or really simply don’t know what to think. It’s hard enough to predict how technology will develop, and even harder when you add the feelings attached with trying to independently value and assess a tradable, liquid asset like bitcoin.

So the question likely on your mind right now…what’s next?

No one knows. Even the most passionate cryptocurrency believers admit that we’re very likely in a bubble, and that some type of correction will happen. Of course no one knows if this will be a 20% or 2,000% correction, or if it will even happen at all. But don’t be surprised if it eventually happens on some scale.

But despite the fact most of us can’t open Twitter or turn on CNBC without hearing about bitcoin, it’s adoption is still relatively small. Many Americans still have no idea what a bitcoin is, what it does or how to purchase one. The same goes for Wall street, and even though there have been over 100 cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund opened in the last year many institutional investors still haven’t take a stake in bitcoin.

So this could just be the beginning. Or the end. Either style, this milestone is a perfect time to step back and appear just how crazy the last year has been in the world of cryptocurrencies.

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Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer is coming to the US

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer announced today it’s expanding to the U.S ., with approving to operate in 42 countries starting today. This includes regulatory acceptance in New York via the state’s Department of Financial Services’ “BitLicense”, which merely five other cryptocurrency companies currently have.

For comparison, Coinbase has approval to operate in 48 states( including Washington , D.C .) and Gemini is operating in 46 states( including Washington , D.C .).

The exchange is by far the biggest in Japan, trading about $180 million worth of bitcoin per day. In words of traditional exchange volume this ranks as the 14 th largest exchange worldwide ,~ ATAGEND but when you add margin volume to the computation the exchange is actually the largest in the world in terms of total exchange volume.

Founded in 2014, bitFlyer has raised a total of $36 million in venture funding.

At launch bitFlyer’s U.S. exchange will merely support bitcoin/ USD pairs, but “plans to expand its cryptocurrencies to include altcoins such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Cash and more.”

Right now the exchange merely supports deposit and withdraw via bitcoin and USD wire transfer, which means early users will likely be institutional or high net worth investors. Eventually the exchange wants to add additional forms of money inflow and outflow like ACH transfer, making it easier for the average consumer to deposit or withdraw cash.

Like most exchanges bitFlyer will have tiered verification levels. The first level asks for personal information like your name and address and email and cell phone verification, and in return you can deposit and withdraw up to $2,000 in bitcoin per day and trade up to $3,000 in bitcoin per day. The second tier asks for additional information like bank account verification and proof of identity via photo ID, and allows users to deposit and withdraw up to $50,000 in bitcoin per day and trade an limitless sum of the cryptocurrency.

With Bitcoin spiking 1,200 percentage over the past year, there’s a ton of demand to trade the cryptocurrency and not a lot of places to do it. While there are dozens of established exchanges around the world only a few operate legally in the United States, with the two main ones being Gemini and Coinbase. And even these exchanges get flack for slow customer service response times, an almost unavoidable byproduct of the insane spike in customers they are seeing.

If bitFlyer can provide a solid trading and customer service experience, there’s a lot of room for them to establish themselves in the U.S. market.

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Bitcoin just passed $8,000

Stop me if you’ve hear this before…

This morning bitcoin shot past ** INSERT PRICE MILESTONE **, and is now hovering around ** INSERT CURRENT PRICE ** — up nearly ** INSERT% ** percentage from yesterday.

Just kidding. We don’t actually use that template, but if you’ve been following bitcoin over the last 6 months it probably sounds very familiar.

In all seriousness, bitcoin has been on a wild run. Yesterday the cost shooting past $8,000 for the first time, and per usual when it breaks through a milestone is now trading solidly above it at $8,250.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening in bitcoin world the last few weeks.

On November 2nd the price of Bitcoin passed $7,000 for the first time, fueled by demand before the Segwit2x hard fork that was supposed to happen a few days ago. Anyone that held a bitcoin prior to the opening of the fork would receive an equal quantity of the forked coin, which some assured as being akin to free money.

When the hard fork was canceled on November 10 th the price plummeted down to $5,800 as people moved their fund back into alternative cryptocurrencies. This sudden plummet also coincided with some very strange motion in the price of bitcoin cash( BCH) which considered the price and hash rate spike for about 24 hours, temporarily stimulating it the second most valuable coin and the coin with the most hash rate( even outshining bitcoin ).

Bitcoin’s price over the last month- from coinmarketcap.com

Anyways , now that the drama has passed the price is on a steady climbing again and well past $8,000. So what’s causing this?

While I made this argument when it passed $5,000 in early October, I still think that institutional interest is the main cause of this extended rally.

Over 100 cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds have been created in the least year, which are acting as a conduit for large amounts of fiat being be transformed into bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Even old-school hedge fund and investment institutions are getting in on the action, to the extend that there are services that allow them to safely do so.

And these services are coming. Just last week Coinbase announced a service to securely store $10 M or more of cryptocurrency for institutional investors. Additionally, CME group will launch the first ever governed bitcoin futures product on December 10 th. Both of these offerings will make it easier for big diversified investment vehicles to enter the market.

So what’s next? No one knows, but at this point it looks like $10 k before the end of the year is possible. Of course it’s just as likely for the cost to plummet, as many say we are due for a correction.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com

Cryptocurrencies have crashed 20% in two days

The cryptocurrency correction may have started.

After months of unprecedented appreciation, almost every digital currency is seeing double digit losses over the last 48 hours. While a quick glance at the chart above or at coinmarketcap.com shows how bad things have been, you can get a sense of where things are by looking at loss in the two largest currencies: Bitcoin is down 16.5% over the last few days and Ethereum is down 23.5%.

The cryptocurrency market as a whole has lost 20% in merely two days as it fell to $142 billion, down from a total market cap of about $180 billion on Saturday. This crash is large enough to make a noticeable dent on the all-time chart of cryptocurrency’s market cap- meaning this could be a crash that won’t be forgotten about quickly.

Of course it’s important to put things into context- this “crash” still leaves Bitcoin at double the cost “its just” four months ago. But it presents why “investing” in cryptocurrencies isn’t for the swoon of heart.

Could you imagine is looking forward to the sidelines for months as the market basically doubled, then putting a sizable chunk of money into cryptocurrency 48 hours ago, only to watch your investment plummet? Not fun.

This 20% drop represents years of gains in the U.S stock market- which if invested into cryptocurrency this weekend was basically wiped out in a matter of hours.

So why did cryptocurrency crash this weekend? A few reasons 😛 TAGEND

This morning China outlawed ICOs, saying they have “seriously interrupted the economic and financial order”. Whenever a government sanctions bitcoin or cryptocurrencies the market always takes a hit, especially right after the SEC warned against the legality of some ICOs.

And since the Chinese government ordered all ICOs to return funds to investors, there’s likely some doubts about what will happen to the price of mainstay currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum when smaller tokens received in ICOs are re-converted back. For instance, NEO( formerly AntShares ), a Chinese-based ICO/ cryptocurrency, is down 50% over the last few days.

Another possibility- the market was simply overheated. This crash started right around the time Bitcoin made an all-time high of a few dollars under $5,000. In other words this may be a natural cool down- if you look at Bitcoin’s history periods of rapid growth are always followed by some type of downturn- the same thing happens when traditional equities rapidly appreciate.

The next day or so will tell us if this was a temporary bump in the road or the start of the next major correction. For now, all anyone can do is watch and let the market do it thing.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com