Browsing Category

cryptocurrencies

cryptocurrencies,

Wozniak: I Like To Think Bitcoin Can Be The World’s Single Currency

Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder, has expressed his interest in cryptocurrencies several times so far. In May he praised Ethereum for its pivotal role in the development of distributed ledger technologies. He even went on to say that he sees Ethereum as the new Apple. Interestingly, he hinted that he likes Ethereum for the platform it is rather than its native token.

Most recently, he seemed positive about Bitcoin’s future as well. During the Money 20/20 conference in Europe Woz said in an interview that he digs the idea of a worldwide cryptocurrency that people can exchange at almost no cost.

“I buy into what Jack Dorsey says, not that I necessarily believe it’s going to happen, but because I want it to be that way, that is so pure thinking,” he said.

As you know, the CEO of Twitter and fintech platform Square, has long been a Bitcoin advocate, stating that in ten years time it will be the one and only currency used on the internet.

“The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin,” Jack Dorsey said.

It looks like Steve Wozniak has not changed his view on Bitcoin despite that he admits he had sold all of his tokens. He noted that cryptocurrency trade took too much of his time. What’s more, he even fell victim to fraudsters who drained his card during a Bitcoin transaction. Woz has often described Bitcoin as “pure digital gold” and “totally decentralized”.

“Bitcoin is mathematically defined, there is a certain quantity of bitcoin, there’s a way it’s distributed… and it’s pure and there’s no human running, there’s no company running and it’s just… growing and growing… and surviving. That to me says something that is natural and nature is more important than all our human conventions.”

It is good to hear some renowned tech gurus endorsing cryptocurrencies in times when the market is in the red once again.

cryptocurrencies,

What Does The Future Hold For Cryptocurrencies?

The world of crypto finance is gradually becoming more mature. While the Wild West days have their charm, times they are a-changing. Oh, boy, how naïve we were to believe cryptocurrencies will disrupt the financial system. As time passes by, we see that digital tokens are heading all in different directions. While this is not necessarily bad, it is not that cool either.

Just a year ago anonymous trade was king. This was the number one reason for Bitcoin and every other altcoin to skyrocket in 2017. Many people got quick-rich in a nick of time. Millionaires were born overnight. Cryptocurrency exchanges grow to billion dollar industries. In just a couple of months, the Bitcoin hysteria took over the world, thus impairing its future. Everything happened so quickly that we thought it’s gonna last forever. I’m not saying cryptocurrencies are dead, I’m saying that we weren’t ready for them. We jumped in, we poured tons of money into something we don’t particularly understand from both technical and financial point of view in hope to cash in on the trend.

Where do we go now?

The trend is still going but this time the watchdogs are ready for it. While cryptos caught them off-guard last year, today the governments are forcing online exchanges to comply with more and more regulations. Take a look at Coinbase, the average Joe made it marketplace number one but today Coinbase cares more about its institutional clients. Doesn’t that ring a bell? Cryptocurrencies are commercial now and popularity destroys them. Only a handful of privacy-oriented tokens like Monero resist ASIC miners and KYC policies. But for how long will they be able to do that? In a matter of time, large cryptocurrency exchanges will care more about their fees rather than decentralization. Then they will ditch privacy tokens and over time it will get harder and harder for us to use them.

Furthermore, central banks in countries like Switzerland, Norway, and England are already exploring the potential effects of state-issued cryptocurrencies on the economy. What will be the difference between an e-franc and a Swiss franc once this happens? Perhaps the most important question we have to ask ourselves is – do we want fast money or do we want free money? Short-term gains are great but they come with a price too. Should we pay that price?

cryptocurrencies,

Ledger Announces New Joint Venture With Nomura And Global Advisors

In a blog post from May 15, Ledger announced its pivotal partnership with Global Advisors and Nomura. More precisely, the three companies had established a new joint venture, Komainu, in an effort to pave the way to digital assets for institutional investors. This move doesn’t come as a surprise since the crypto market is in a desperate need of fresh money.

As per the report, the joint venture aims to bring the best of both worlds – digital assets and traditional investors. The idea is to create a secure marketplace where institutions can invest and trade with cryptocurrencies. By many, this is seen as a way to boost both cryptocurrency adoption but their development and liquidity as well. Moreover, the crypto space is still attractive despite the volatile market. What makes big names from participating is the lack of security and regulation which plague the space. Hopefully, Ledger can fix this problem. Meanwhile, Global Advisors and Nomura will use their best practices and integrate them into the world of crypto assets.

Komainu will also help non-blockchain financial companies comply with the current regulatory frameworks, thus making it easier for them to join the digital currency market. After all, it attracts them for a variety of reasons but many refrain due to lack of knowledge. That’s why we deem Komainu something positive. It will serve as the front door to the rapidly expanding world of crypto finance for institutional investors. However, Komainu is not the first project aiming to do that. Earlier in May Coinbase announced it is launching a plethora of products designed for the same target group. Here is what the head of Ledger, Pascal Gauthier,  had to say, regarding the new venture:

“By bringing together financial industry experts and digital asset security leaders, our new venture will provide, for the first time, services and solutions built for business.”

“Our new partnership will set the required standards that will bring peace of mind to digital asset investors, and provide tools and products to enable better integration with more traditional investment vehicles such as mutual funds,” added Jez Mohideen of Nomura.

Jean-Marie Mognetti, Co-Principal of Global Advisors Holdings Limited, said:

“This partnership is a progressive stepping stone towards the creation of the necessary prerequisites for further growth within the digital asset ecosystem. This will open new and exciting opportunities to global participants and contribute to move digital asset closer to mainstream offerings.”

cryptocurrencies,

Is Zuckerberg About To Launch A Facecoin?

As you may know, the last couple of months have been quite intense for Facebook. The social media giant had a hard time, after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Last week, it announced that it is exploring blockchain technologies. It is yet too early to suggest what this might mean for all of us Facebook users but perhaps it has nothing to do with privacy issues.

Facebook screwed up big time and the eventual addition of blockchain technologies to its platforms in the future is unlikely to bring trust to the community. There are however suggestions that Zuckerberg is investigating distributed ledgers not to improve privacy but to launch an in-house cryptocurrency?

Why should you go for it?

If Mark is really to issue a Facebook coin he would make life easier for the better part of his users. Now, let’s assume I owe 100 bucks to a friend of mine who I meet once every couple of months. It would be super convenient to just send him the same amount in Facebook’s native tokens. Furthermore, Zuckerberg is probably about to accept Facecoins as a payment method for sponsored content. In other words, I would be able to promote my band’s Facebook page with Facecoins. Sounds like a piece of cake right? It sure does, but some questions just popped up in my head. Are Facebook tokens going to have a fixed price? Will they be tradable in exchanges? How will we store them? In-house wallet, anyone?

Why are Facecoins a bad idea?

Because we have enough cryptocurrencies and most of them suck anyway. As simple as that. Facebook already knows too much about us anyway, so why would we let it peek at our finances as well. What’s more, who is gonna trust it after the recent data leaks. It would be much wiser to integrate already trusted tokens than creating one from scratch. For example, if Zuck adds Ethereum or Bitcoin support to Messenger or WhatsApp he would really show that he cares about Facebook users. However, he is not going to do that because the authorities are already monitoring him tightly and we know authorities don’t like cryptocurrencies.

cryptocurrencies,

Divide And Conquer: Hardforks Work Against Us

Cryptocurrencies have been around almost 10 years now but the space is largely in its nascent stage. It was only last year that digital tokens gained wide popularity. This affected the market in a positive way but we also have to note that the technology that underpins digital assets caught the eye of developers as well.

While the majority of traders show little interest in the different blockchain technologies, the IT community is somewhat more into developing them. The truth is, the crypto community is can be theoretically divided into two groups.

In for the money

The first group consists mainly of traders from all walks of life- students, physicians, engineers, anyone who is looking for short-term gains with small investments. The guys in this group want to quickly trade digital assets and seamlessly transact their funds from A to B. They are closely following the market for financial reasons and crypto features like decentralization and privacy are not their top priorities. Thanks to this group the financial specialists deem the crypto finance a bubble. Because the average trader would not involve in traditional stock trade, has almost no prior trading experience and is ready to pour his savings into the market. He is there for the money.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about this behavior. In fact, it is the average user that complains about bad UI/UX. This is why developers always listen to what the average Joe has to say. Because his words matter, a lot. If a product (crypto token) is difficult to work with, then it is going to lose popularity over time. Traders want everything to be easy-peasy, I want it too because it saves time, money and nerves.

Technology lovers

As I said, the second-largest group within the crypto space consists of developers, security researchers, people who are not programmers but are into technologies. And of course, those who believe that cryptocurrencies would disrupt the current financial system, the governments, and practically anything else.

The individuals in this group are more likely to neglect the financial aspect of cryptocurrencies. Instead, they focus on the technology. They want to make it faster, more efficient, adaptable, and large-scale compatible. Since everyone knows the major pain points of digital currencies such as high transaction fees and time-consuming transfers the members of this group often discuss these viral topics on Telegram, Reddit and GitHub.

Hard forks suck big time

Needless to say, when it comes to making the space better, smaller groups tend to form, as they all have different opinions on the matter. In 2018 alone a major cornerstone such as ASIC miners managed to divide the community. Some suggest cryptocurrency must remain ASIC-resistant and thus decentralized, while others prefer faster ecosystems over decentralization. As we know ASIC miners come with a cost, which not everyone is willing to pay. I am talking about both money and centralization.

One way to avoid ASIC miners is through a hard fork. Developers are also ready to fork a specific token to make the spin-off a better version of the original one. Unfortunately, the way I see it, hard forks do more harm than good.

Here is why:

– There are enough cryptocurrencies out there. Besides, there are enough good products that do not need a hard fork. I am not saying they are perfect, I am saying that instead of forking them and starting from scratch, the developing teams can execute slight modifications when needed.

Spin-offs fail. It is historically and statistically proven that forked versions have a short lifespan. Some traders like them because of the airdrops. Apart from the easy money made, spin-offs have no value. So far the community has lost interest in every forked token, apart from maybe Bitcoin Cash, which indeed managed to justify the hype.

– Hardforks flood the market. We do not need more tokens, we need a couple of coins that work on large-scale, we need tokens that bring trust and credibility, we need tokens that merchants accept. If we don’t achieve this we are playing with Sims money. Instead of stabilizing the market by investing in credible projects like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero or Ripple, we are cashing on obscure forks with the hope of getting quick-rich.

– They distract us from more important things. Whether we like it or not we have to find a way to keep the crypto momentum going, otherwise the market will die because let’s say it like it is – we have a shitload of problems to deal with. Here’s some food for thought – regulation, security, privacy, liquidity, adoption, trust, credibility, worldwide use.

Love it or hate it, this is my opinion on hard forks and their impact on the space. We all enjoy fast money but sometimes we have to think long-term in order to reap the benefits of distributed ledgers.

cryptocurrencies,

Savedroid Didn’t Actually Perform Exit Scam

This week has been quite intense for the crypto community. In fact, the last few weeks have been so but just a few days ago the blockchain startup Savedroid seemed to have performed an exit scam. Something that is not so strange for the industry. Perhaps this couldn’t have happened at a worse moment because the market was just starting to recover from the mid-March crash.

Fortunately, things turned around quite quick but let’s just follow the events in the order they took place. We are not discussing the Savedroid project here, just the awkward PR stunt. The startup was running its ICO smoothly when all of a sudden it shut it down on Wednesday. To really scare the sh*t out if investors it posted that meme on its homepage.

Savedroid

Apparently, everyone thought Savedroid performed an exit scam, along with the $50 million it collected through its initial coin offering. Now to make things even more bizarre the founder and CEO of the company Yassin Hankir published a post on his Twitter account:

savedroid twitter post

But what really happened?

Approximately 24 hours later Yassin Hankir was online again. This time clarifying that the whole fiasco was just a friendly reminder that it is really a piece of cake to raise some money a vanish out of thin air. In a video, he says that his reasons for the stunt were to raise awareness about the unregulated field of initial coin offerings. Hankir wanted to deliver the message that lack of regulation leads to too many scam options which in turn can ruin the whole crypto market.

While he has a point it is questionable whether this was the right way to raise awareness. It is more likely that his company has gained notoriety but hey, after all, the message is clear enough. Do your research before investing in the next big thing. Peace 🙂

cryptocurrencies,

The Pros And Cons Of Cryptojacking

The amount of money involved in cryptocurrency trade is huge but the industry has the potential to grow even larger. As of writing, the market cap is just above $320 billion, recovering from the recent weeks’ plunge. We have often discussed that the crypto world is far from being 100% secure but that doesn’t mean you should not join. You just have to be careful when trading.

Hackers have numerous ways to compromise security measures and while hacking websites and phishing are instruments from the past, the birth of digital currencies gave fraudsters another useful tool – cryptojacking.

What is cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the act of using someone else’s computing power to mine tokens for you. Of course, the action takes place without the knowledge of the victim. A wordplay of cryptocurrency and hijack. Unlike hacking a wallet or an exchange, cryptojacking requires far less skills. In fact, you don’t have to be IT specialist to take advantage of it. Usually, the scenario is as follows – the hacker embeds the mining script on a particular website. When visitors enter the website the mining script becomes active and forces the user’s CPU/GPU to mine a specific cryptocurrency and send it to previously set up wallet. There are even scripts that are ready for use so you don’t have to write them by yourself, apart from modifying the wallet address. Coinhive is such an example. The internet is full of guides on how to use it. What I am trying to say is, cryptojacking is easy to carry and it is profitable. However, as anything else, it has its advantages and disadvantages and we find it difficult to outright say cryptojacking is bad.

The pros of cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is actually something that can be beneficial to both hackers and victims. Yeah, I know it sounds strange but just think about it. For many websites the main source of income are advertisements. Needless to say, they are friggin’ annoying and this is exactly where cryptojacking might be of help. In order to provide ad-free experience to their users, some places on the net let their visitors choose between giving off computing power or being exposed to ads. In other words, if you hate ads, you can just let your device mine some tokens for the website owners. Usually when we talk about this kind of cryptojacking the mining script does not exert the CPU/GPU. But…

The cons of cryptojacking

Unfortunately, not all cryptojackers are that friendly. Sometimes hackers embed mining scripts in foreign websites or Wi-Fi networks. In these cases the script forces your device to fully use its computing power for mining. When this happens, users often report that their PCs and smartphones become super slow, while the batteries die in no time. There are reports of devices that have been subjects to cryptojacking and are no longer usable. Simply said, cryptojacking can sometimes be dangerous to your electronics. Luckily, there are many browser extensions that automatically block Coinhive-like scripts.

In conclusion, we have to say that while many deem cryptojacking a cybercrime, it is far less harming than other cybercrimes. At least because it does not collect private data like Facebook and Google do. On the other hand, it would be better if cryptojackers do not use it in a way that is harmful to the mining devices.

cryptocurrencies,

How To Detect Scam ICOs And Fake Projects?

The cryptocurrency space is sometimes ludicrous. On the one hand, the technology is indeed revolutionary as it keeps privacy away from data brokers and governments but on the other side, decentralization is one of the key factors contributing to the growing number of crypto-related frauds. Yes, the market is not in the shape we expected but the interest in digital currencies has not dropped a bit. In fact, ICOs and cryptocurrency fundraising campaigns are on the rise despite speculations on their future. However, a great number of startup projects are just there to take investors’ money and then vanish out of thin air. This is why we outlined the most important signs you should look for in order to avoid scam projects.

Whitepapers, whitepapers, whitepapers

When you are interested in a particular project always look for its whitepaper. This official document gives you all the information you need – the history of the project, its goal, the team behind it, why does the world need it, what problem does it solve, what made the team come up with the idea, how the raised money is going to be spent, what are the potential benefits for the participating parties, etc. The truth is, every copywriter can deliver a good whitepaper that makes sense. So, always take what you read with a grain of skepticism. If the project does not sound profound, move on. It may not be a scam but it may not be successful as well.

Ask the community!

Before pouring your hard-earned money into the next big thing see what Reddit and Facebook users have to say about it. Maybe others have already invested and can give you a valuable advice; maybe some of them have been victims to scam projects. Ask anything that bothers you, ask the developers of the project as well. If there is no way to get in touch with them, this should sound the alarm in your head.

And the developers are?

The success of one project depends highly on its developers. Let’s assume you have come across an ad on the net luring you to invest in the next big thing. The project promises bright future for everyone and massive gains for investors. You are somewhat reluctant to step in but then you suddenly discover that Vitalik Buterin has praised it on Twitter. Now, you are not reluctant anymore, you know that Vitalik’s words make sense since he is already a superstar in the cryptocurrency world and in charge of the most successful blockchain platform. Now, let’s imagine another scenario. You are checking the team members but hey, Google remains silent. This should make you drop this ICO immediately. If you cannot find any info about the developers, this project is most likely a scam. Yes, on the website each team member has an astonishing biography and professional skills in blockchain but hey, it doesn’t mean it’s the truth!

Think!

Ask yourself if you are going to use the product once it is publicly available. What about your friends? Is this product one of its kind or is it just a copycat? If there are alternatives, you aren’t they successful? Is the current project upgrading? Does it solve a real problem? Is it too good to be true? If you are not satisfied with the answers you’d better move on.

If you are new to crypto space, then you might find our beginner’s guide interesting.

 

cryptocurrencies,

Trezor Wallet Adds Important Bitcoin Cash Update

Two of the world’s largest exchanges, Coinbase and Bitpay have already integrated cashaddr in their platforms. That undoubtedly boosted the adoption of Bitcoin Cash as the community seems to enjoy cashaddr. What is even more exciting is that Trezor announced it has added cashaddr support to it hardware wallets.

If you don’t know what cashaddr is, here is a simple explanation. It is a Bitcoin Cash address format, specifically designed to differ from Bitcoin wallet addresses. The addition of cashaddr is a major step for both Bitcoin Cash and Trezor. Surely, the process took a lot of time and investment but we are sure it is for good. The announcement was brought by Bach N and Jochen Hoenicke via Twitter and GitHub respectively. They are both cashaddr developers in Trezor.

Developers discuss

Earlier, Pavol Rusnack (Satoshi Labs) expressed his opinion by stating:

“I suggest to change the address version to something different, so it is obvious the address is a Bitcoin Cash address. (It can start with C for example). Don’t forget to change also address version for P2SH!”

The cashaddr topic remained viral in the community as Amaury Séchet quickly continued the discussion, commenting, “Agreed. I have a plan to change the address format. Changing the address format is expensive, so I would like to investigate various other option than just changing the prefix before settling on something. I would also have to convince other in the space that this is a good address format.”

Hoenicke took the discussion on Github where he explained:

“This needs to be done outside the firmware for cashaddr support. Webwallet: compute cashaddr addresses from xpub. Note that only the last step from hashed public key to address needs to be changed. The webwallet checks that the address the Trezor returns is as expected. This check should also allow 1.. addresses so that it works with older firmware (so we don’t have to deploy both at the same time); allow cashaddr as send to address. The firmware supports both and both use SPENDADDRESS. The only difference is the confirmation message given to the user; the transaction format did not change at all.”

It is fascinating to see how different projects support each other, thus increasing the trust in the community. Stay tuned!

cryptocurrencies,

Why Did The Cryptocurrency Market Crash?

Last week the market crashed brutally. It was nothing close to the slight dip in January or the February happenings. This time the total market cap shrank below $250 billion. Something we have not seen since last summer. True, the prices are still higher than this time last year but hey, Bitcoin and practically every altcoin are more than 50% down from their all-time highs. Once Bitcoin was just under $20,000 and Ethereum was close to $1500. As of writing, they are $7000 and $380 respectively.

If you bought coins back in December, you are screwed big time. But why exactly did everything happen?

Uncertainty

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a lot of speculation regarding digital assets. Let’s look at South Korea for example. How many times did the authorities change their stance on cryptocurrencies? First, it was the justice minister that hinted on a possible ban on crypto trade. Than other officials claimed his comments are nonsense, then exchanges were raided, which in turn put on hold new accounts, then exchanges were forced to deploy KYC regulations, then we had insider trading, and so on. I mean, thanks to the chaos in South Korea your average crypto trader lost his nerves and this led to fear-induced sell-offs.

If that wasn’t enough China started to flirt with the idea of banning crypto trade with foreign exchanges and cryptocurrency mining. Now pay attention. China and South Korea are among the largest cryptocurrency markets in the world. What happens there affects the global market as well. At the same time, the US authorities are constantly monitoring online marketplaces and are on the verge of scrutinizing measures on traders and ICO launchers. Bart Stephens from Blockchain Capital perfectly summed up the situation:

“If U.S. regulators are cracking down if exchanges are being pressured by regulators, then liquidity could be materially hampered. The enemy of capital formation is uncertainty. When you don’t know the rules of the road, it’s hard to know whether to drive on the right side, left side, at 15 miles an hour or 50 miles an hour.”

Fear of losses

Let’s admit it. Most of the investors are hoping to get quick-rich. Few are those who care about the financial system that digital tokens create; few are those who are fascinated by the technology itself. The majority of traders are just trying to cash on the trend. When they purchase tokens they do not aim to use them as currencies, instead, they treat them as stocks. Tokens are expected to skyrocket and generate massive gains. When this doesn’t happen, inexperienced traders panic and sell off their assets. This, in turn, creates a situation where there is a finite supply of fiat money circulating in the cryptocurrency market. In other words, the cryptocurrency sector experiences a shortage of fresh money poured in.

Mt Gox

It has been four years since the Tokyo-based exchange filed for bankruptcy. Nevertheless, it still has an effect on the market. During its peak, Mt Gox was accountable for up to 70% of all bitcoin transactions. Once it declared insolvency hundreds of traders fired claims against it. This is why a group of trustees was put in charge of paying traders for the damages done. As a result, the trustees sold off approximately $400 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in a nick of time. In a nutshell – this flooded the already shaky market with thousands of tokens.

Of course, there are many reasons and factors that play role in the current events. Perhaps you have your own vision of the situation, so why don’t you share it in the comments.