Top Crypto News – 12/10/2017

Bitcoin hits a new record high above $5,100

bircoin-kOuF--621x414@LiveMint

  • Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $5,144.97
  • This was above the cryptocurrency’s previous all-time high of $5,013.91 hit on September 2

Bitcoin hit a new record high Thursday with rising investor interest causing a rally for the price of the cryptocurrency.

The bitcoin price hit an all-time high of $5,144.97 in early trade on Thursday, according to data from industry website Coindesk. This surpassed the previous high of $5,013.91 hit on September 2.

Investors appear to have shrugged off much of the negative news from regulators around bitcoin.

Last month, Chinese regulators banned cryptocurrency exchanges with some of the largest in the country shutting down operations. The government also banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), a way for cryptocurrency start-ups to raise money through issuing tokens.

But reports have emerged in the last few days that trading in the world’s second-largest economy could resume. A report by Cryptocoinnews.com, citing Chinese state-owned news company Xinhua, said that bitcoin trading will likely resume with more regulation. This could include new licensing and anti-money laundering regulations to be implemented by exchanges.

“Speculators are bullish on bitcoin’s value with the anticipation of China’s reintegration with global crypto markets,” Aurelien Menant, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Gatecoin, told CNBC by email on Thursday.

Investors have appeared to look past some of the negative tones from big business leaders and regulators.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that “buyers of cryptocurrencies could be involved in unlawful activities,” according to a Reuters report. Russia’s central bank also said it would block websites of exchanges that are offering cryptocurrencies.

At the same time, business leaders have also poured cold water over bitcoin. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently called bitcoin a “fraud”.

“The bull is back in the market,” Charlie Hayter, CEO of industry website CryptoCompare, told CNBC by phone on Thursday.

“Putin and Russia’s comments were water off a duck’s back whilst positive sentiment from industry players are driving long positions.”

Written by CNBC

Bitcoin Is Retaking Its Place as King of the Cryptocurrencies

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Bitcoin is so close to making a new record and it could be because it’s taking market share from its smaller cousins.

The largest cryptocurrency crossed $4,500 on Monday and is now hovering right below the $5,000 line. Behind the rally could be reports saying the Chinese government will ease recent regulations and that Goldman Sachs is exploring how it could help clients trade cryptocurrencies. Also, there’s yet another split — a.k.a “hard fork” (or even two) — looming, but that might be bullish as bitcoin rallied after the split into Bitcoin Cash earlier this year.

But it could also be that bitcoin is benefiting as investors are becoming wary of tokens sold in initial coin offerings — maybe the Wu-Tang Coin, or Paris Hilton and Floyd Mayweather publicizing their ICO investments on social media was a bit much, and somebody losing $70,000 in one of those sales today adds to many other cautionary stories.

“There has been a rotation of money out of the lower-quality names and into bitcoin,” Ronnie Moas of Standpoint Research said in a message.

Bitcoin’s market capitalization as a percentage of all cryptocurrencies’ market cap of $155 billion has climbed to 52 percent, from a low of 38 percent in June, according to CoinMarketCap.

Written by Bloomberg

 

Ransomware market soars 2,500% amid high-profile attacks, rise of cryptocurrencies

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Demand for ransomware, the type of malware that encrypts your computer files and make them useless unless you pay up, saw a boom in 2017, helped along by the emergence of cryptocurrencies and anonymity services.

In a report released by Carbon Black on Wednesday, the Waltham, Mass.-based computer security company found the market for ransomware on the so-called dark web has soared to $6.24 million year to date, compared with just over $249,000 in 2016, an increase of 2,500%. While a $6 million software market may seem small, Carbon Black found that do-it-yourself ransomware kits can sell for as little as 50 cents to $3,000, and have a median price of $10.50.

“For CEOs out there, they need to realize they’re battling a software industry, and it’s not some random person that sits and decides ‘I’m going to ransom you,’” said Rick McElroy, Security Strategist at Carbon Black and lead author of the report, in an interview. “Much like the commercial software side, they’ve adopted cloud vendors and cloud infrastructures to gain scale and speed.”

The ransomware market carries with it an enormous return on investment for criminals: Ransomware payments amounted to about $1 billion in 2016, up from $24 million paid in 2015, according to FBI figures. But even McElroy admitted that $1 billion figure is an estimate and the true number may be even higher, as it’s only based on reported instances of ransom payments.

Carbon Black estimates that about 6,300 vendors of ransomware exist on the dark web, with more than 45,000 listings. These are websites where anyone can buy anything from software for $1 that can lock up a smartphone to customized ransomware packages complete with source code for $1,000 or more, according to the report.

The rise in the ransomware marketplace has been influenced by cryptocurrencies, the preferred means of ransom payments, not only because of the difficulty of tracing the transactions, but because of the skyrocketing values of the virtual currencies. Over 2016, the price of one bitcoin BTCUSD, +5.93%  traded from the high $300s to the mid-$950 range. But in 2017, the price of one bitcoin surged 388% to a recent high of just over $4,900, essentially a more than 1,000% surge since the beginning of 2016.

“Based on the resilience of the currency and the growth rate, it’s more attractive. It’s actually attracting more people to do this stuff,” McElroy said. “Because it’s an accepted form of pseudo-anonymous currency and very hard to track, it’s fueled a number of people who really wouldn’t be in crime otherwise.”

The rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, and anonymous browsers like Tor, which obscures IP addresses by routing traffic through different networks, have allowed the marketplace to flourish, Carbon Black said in the report, because it poses a huge problem for traditional law enforcement methods. The value of all current cryptocurrencies stands at a market cap of about $155 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com. As a means of comparison, that’s around the market cap of S&P 500 SPX, +0.18%  companies like PepsiCo Inc. PEP, +0.66%  and Mastercard Inc. MA, +0.82%

“As a result of the maturity with these innovations, the underground ransomware economy is now an industry that resembles commercial software — complete with development, support, distribution, quality assurance and even help desks,” the report said.

The root of the problem appears to be classic when if comes to ransoms: The more people pay them, the more criminals will try to exploit them.

Source: Carbon Black

“The system only works if victims choose to pay,” Carbon Black said in the report. “Until people decide not to pay, this problem will only continue to grow.”

The report went on to say:

The growth in the underground ransomware economy highlights a few unsettling trends. Namely, as an industry, we are often getting the fundamentals of security wrong. In too many instances, we are failing to do the basic blocking and tackling of security such as: backing up files and systems; testing restorations; patching; having adequate, enterprise-wide visibility; and implementing outdated prevention measures, such as legacy antivirus.

McElroy said Carbon Black intends to run a yearly version of the report to track the evolution of the ransomware industry and identify better ways to fight it.

“So from a business perspective, if I can understand the industry and the business model behind it, that can be impacted,” McElroy said. “It’s not going to take one individual or one individual company to do that, but now we know it’s an industry. How do I cut the money out of this thing? How do I cut their legs off? It’s not one CEO that’s going to have an impact on that, it’s the awareness, then the education, then we do something about it. And so we want to drive a larger conversation around ransomware.”

Major ransomware attacks of late include the Petya attack in June; WannaCry in May, which also affected several hospitals; and one even on Apple Inc.’sAAPL, +0.42%  Mac users, who are less likely to use antivirus software than their Windows counterparts and were targeted early in 2016 for the first time.

Carbon Black has raised nearly $192 million in funding from firms such as Sequoia Capital, Atlas Venture and .406 Ventures, according to Crunchbase. Back in September 2016, Carbon Black confidentially filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Written By MarkWatch

 

Why Big Banks are so Nervous About Bitcoin

 

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There was a time where Bitcoin was not even on the radar, it was a novel idea that was primarily used by thieves and drug dealers on the dark web. Nothing to be afraid of in terms of holding a monopoly on money.

However, that same little upstart is now disrupting the system of things; from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, ICOs and the ever impressive Blockchain technology. This is now a legitimate threat on traditional banks.

“Bitcoin’s skyrocketing run in value, as well as adoption and mainstream acceptance, has led to banks – and regulators, getting very nervous and instigating a few knee jerk reactions. These reactions are, however, simply asserting the fact that Bitcoin is a legitimate disruptive threat.”

Bitcoin taking on the banks

Regulators are trying to play catch up with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, realising now that it’s not going away. In fact, it is challenging their monetary system which is intrinsically linked to banks, and especially central, government-backed, banks.

China, especially, Russia, recently, Japan and the US have played their hands in varying degrees of harshness in efforts to try and control the decentralized monetary idea.

In fact, traditional centralised, powerful organisations like banks, governments, regulators and technology behemoths are all spending billions in figuring out how to use and control distributed trust technologies.

A powershift

Banks have existed unchallenged for hundreds of years, and that is the key issue here; Bitcoin, backed by a solid platform such as Blockchain technology, is a ghost that is incredibly hard to control due to its decentralized nature.

“John McAfee has been brazen about regulators’ power plays to try and control Bitcoin, saying that they will never be able to ban it.”

The power and control of money is being ripped away from traditional institutions, which can also be seen on Wall Street. Some of these traditional investors are siding with what could be the future, while others vehemently denounce it.

Individuals can now enter into direct peer-to-peer trusted exchanges with strangers. They no longer need a central institution to vouch for the other party.

Just like the fax machine, the library, even metered taxis, new technologies have come along and made others obsolete. Banks are now in the sights of Bitcoin and are in their death throws, as they lash out with the power of states behind them.

However, there’s no stopping progress, and even with state-backed regulations trying to wrestle the money of the people under control, banks have every reason to be nervous.

CoinTelegraph

 

Cryptomania? Hardware Wallet Makes No.8 On Amazon Bestseller List

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Cryptocurrency hardware wallet Ledger Nano S has made the top ten bestselling items in Amazon’s computers and accessories department. The wallet, costs just under $80 on Amazon.com, currently stands at number 8 in the retail giant’s listings.

Ledger beats major rivals such as Trezor and KeepKey, which came in at 133 and 231 in the rankings respectively.

Amazon Best Sallers

The findings caught the attention of the cryptocurrency community Wednesday after being posted to Reddit by user u/hunk_quark, who suggested they were a good indicator of digital currency’s push towards mainstream adoption.

Hardware wallets have received considerable publicity over the last year as exchange hacks and other security compromises become widely known by increasing numbers of users. Aside from offering superior protection against theft compared to other wallets, hardware options offer digital currency holders a simpler way to access the several forks that Bitcoin has undergone, or will face, by November.

Web wallet providers retain the right not to support forks or do so at their leisure as witnessed with Bitcoin Cash, with users of Blockchain.info wallets still waiting for easy access to their new coins.

Competitor Trezor has also experienced strong sales, if not through Amazon, as evidenced by their running out of stock several times this year, with units being resold unofficially at considerably inflated prices.

Coin Telegraph

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