Top Crypto News – 02/11/2017

Bitcoin Price Gains Continue with Record High Just Shy of $7,000

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Another day, another record…

Bitcoin prices have continued to climb overnight, building on consecutive highs in recent days and ultimately reaching a new all-time high close to $7,000.

At 07:00 UTC, bullish bitcoin trading saw the cryptocurrency soar to a peak of $6,994.01, having opened the session at $6,750. At press time, the price of a bitcoin is $6,939, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index – a 2.8 percent gain for the day so far.

As per CoinMarketCap, bitcoin is up over 20.56 percent for the last 7 days, and its market capitalization has now peaked at over $116 billion.

Elsewhere in the markets, newly created cryptocurrency bitcoin cash (BCH) is again making significant gains, trading at around $546. BCH has risen 13.63 percent over the last 24 hours, and an astonishing 62.16 percent over the last 7 days.

The combined market cap for all cryptocurrencies is again at record highs, sitting at $188.5 billion at press time.

Hot-air ballooon image via Shutterstock
Written by CoinDesk

 

Japan: A Forward Thinking Bitcoin Nation

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By 2014, Bitcoin was just about ready to hit the mainstream in Japan. Mt. Gox was a Tokyo based bitcoin exchange which boasted 70% of the global turnover of Bitcoin trading. However, in February of 2014 Mt. Gox suddenly closed its website and shut down its exchange when it was discovered that it had been hacked. Approximately 850,000 bitcoins worth about $450 million at the time was missing and presumed to be stolen. The CEO Mark Karpeles was eventually arrested in Japan and charged with fraud and embezzlement, and the saga was widely broadcast throughout Japan. The true nature of the incident is still a mystery and due to the widely publicized saga, the word “Bitcoin” in Japan continued to have a strong association with fraud, theft, and ponzi schemes for many years to come.

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Moving past Mt. Gox

Right around the same time, however, there were some new developments in Japan. Bitflyer was a bitcoin exchange that was started by a group led by an ex-Goldman Sachs trader. QUOINE was another Singapore based company that opened an exchange in Japan. As these exchanges slowly gained a quiet following, some homegrown Japanese cryptocurrencies also emerged. One of them is Monacoin, a popular virtual currency among online gamers that can also be used to buy goods online. Currently Monacoin is ranked the world’s 35th largest crypto currency in terms of market cap.

First mover advantage

2017 was a watershed year for “virtual currencies,” as the Japanese by now liked to call them. Early in the year China and Korea had cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges and shut them down. All cryptocurrency related funding activities, called ICOs (initial coin offerings) were also prohibited. It was precisely these events, combined with a very important law amendment, that led to the explosive growth of crypto trading in Japan. On April 1st of this year, the Payment Services Act (which is a part of the Banking Act) was amended to allow “virtual currencies” as a legal form of payment.

The combination of the official stamp of approval from the Japanese government and restrictive policies in neighboring countries helped catapult the price of Bitcoin to $7000. In addition, as of today turnover of the digital currency that originates in Japan can be as high as 60% of global Bitcoin volumes on some days.

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Another milestone was when the financial regulators of Japan, the FSA, approved the operationof 11 cryptocurrency exchanges officially in September. At the same time 17 cryptocurrencies were approved to be traded on these exchanges, including the major ones such as Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, Litecoin, and Monacoin.

ICOs propel crypto prices 

With the exponential increase in Bitcoin prices this year, the rate of ICOs also ramped up. ICOs are a form of fundraising activity where the new company issues new “coins” in the form of a new cryptocurrency in exchange for a payment in Ether or Bitcoin. Compared to IPOs, these are extremely easy to do and this year alone we have seen $3 billion raised already. This is a huge increase from just a few hundred million dollars last year.

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Interpretation of financial securities

The contentious issue is whether a jurisdiction considers these ICOs as financial securities being issued. The approach varies depending on the country. If the coin was used as a token only to transact goods, for example, they would be considered to be a “virtual currency”. If, however, there were some profit sharing schemes like dividends, then they would be considered to be financial instruments as they resemble equity. In the case of Japan, there are no clear regulations in place. The rules are still grey.

Drawing the line

A token that “looks and smells” like a financial security that is sold in an ICO would be considered a “collective funding scheme,” thereby falling under the FSA’s Financial Instruments Exchange Act. The catch is, if the payment is not paid in fiat currency (for example in Ether or Bitcoin), the rule does not apply. At this time, the FSA is said to be working closely with the blockchain industry in Japan to make sure the proper framework is put in place quickly, so as to prevent problematic ICOs and ensure healthy growth of this new funding scheme.

Tokyo may have lost its status as Asia’s financial hub, but it appears regulatory framework is being built so as to not lose its place in the cryptocurrency space. We hope this trend will continue, and Japan regains its stature as a leader in technological and financial innovation.

Written by Forbes

 

Amazon just bought three domain names related to cryptocurrency

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  • Amazon has registered three new cryptocurrency-related domains, according to trade publication DomainNameWire.
  • The domains are amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com.
  • Amazon already owns the “amazonbitcoin.com” domain name, according to Coindesk.

Amazon has secured three new domain names related to cryptocurrency, sparking speculation that the e-commerce giant could be preparing a move into the cryptocurrency space. 

However, Amazon Pay’s VP Patrick Gauthier told CNBC last month that Amazon had no plans to accept cryptocurrency because there hasn’t been much demand yet, and Amazon may simply be protecting its brand name.

The domains are: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com.

Trade publication DomainNameWire was the first to report on Amazon’s move. The report said Amazon registered for the domains on Tuesday.

The news comes as bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, smashed through a new record high price on Wednesday, reaching $6,600 for the first time, following news of CME’s plan to launch bitcoin futures later this year.

There have been some rumors of Amazon eventually accepting cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, but the company has never acknowledged these plans. Just last month, another unfounded rumor about Amazon’s acceptance of bitcoin drove up bitcoin’s price immediately.

In any case, Amazon seems intent on owning multiple cryptocurrency-related domain names. According to Coindesk, Amazon signed up for the domain “amazonbitcoin.com” three years ago. Amazonbitcoin.com now takes you straight to Amazon.com.

Written By CNBC

Cryptocurrency: The Great Equalizer

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Cryptocurrency is an early blockchain invention that still has the market obsessed. Bitcoin was its first real application in 2008, thanks to the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, and has since become synonymous with blockchain itself. The currency has gained over 500% in value this year alone, but despite its steady trajectory towards the moon, blockchain has emerged from bitcoin’s shadow entirely. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the power of the infrastructure as bitcoin’s primary contribution to the tech world, and around the globe they are using it to create revolutionary digital inventions.

However, a key function of blockchain is its support for smart contracts, which are computer contracts that use cryptocurrency, bringing the technology back to its roots. Smart contracts can understand when their conditions have been fulfilled absolutely thanks to the permanence of blockchain, and have made cryptocurrency a sort of digital tender with unique value. Not only do smart contracts make cryptocurrencies available, but they can also mirror other digital assets like stocks, bonds, commodities, ETFs, and other instruments. Achieving digital parity unlocks a new decentralized market of investors for innovators to cater to.

Cryptocurrency Gives Ideas Value

The system of trading assets today cannot boast such capabilities. Before blockchain, the most efficient way of serving a high volume of requests was to centralize servers and use huge arrays of hardware to handle the load. This method of handling data is obsolete due to hackers who can do system-wide damage just by entering a single “door”. Additionally, the system is stratified between geographical borders and asset classes as well. Single exchanges handle different assets, like commodities on the CBOE or stocks on the NYSE. Americans must jump through several annoying hoops to own stock in companies on the DAX, and the bureaucracy required of such a system is fraught with middlemen and fees.

Blockchain-based exchanges like trade.io can store information, power data transactions, verify users, and handle trading volume securely and efficiently by simply relying on the network. For their hard work, network participants like traders and funds are rewarded with cryptocurrency. Much like a dividend, the cryptocurrency gains value as it becomes more useful, which is a direct result of the success of the platform itself. This “tender of services” quality of cryptocurrency literally gives value to ideas, because it is required for the idea to work, much like a trader would use TradeTokens to invest in assets on trade.io. Accordingly, as blockchain continues to evolve and more coins are minted, it will not be their speculative value but their backing by a solid product that informs value.

Radical ideas like this serve to widen the chip on bitcoin’s shoulder, which has long suffered talk about its relative uselessness compared to solutions like ethereum. Imminent blockchain upgrades like the Lightning Network will further change the landscape. The Lightning Network wants to make it possible to immediately exchange any cryptocurrency for any other, without the need for exchanges to connect the blockchains involved. It might be a way off, but would ultimately level the playing field for blockchain.

With Great Power…

As the value of any single cryptocurrency grows increasingly attached to its underlying usefulness, it is incumbent upon innovative blockchain firms to use the technology responsibly, or risk the whole industry. After all, with great power, comes great responsibility. The process of onboarding blockchain into our modern financial system won’t happen overnight, so it falls on companies to show their compliance with these standards and innovate from the inside. Trade.io is an apt example on this front as well, having met investment bank regulatory requirements and employed the best in banking compliance.

Thanks to creative platforms for blockchain, word will spread quickly. The next year will undoubtedly be a gold rush of innovation, as all the current processes we engage in are quickly outmoded by new blockchain interfaces. New functionality is a byproduct of these new systems, and people have high hopes for their potential. Once critical user mass is reached, blockchain will be another taken-for-granted tech term, heard as often as others like “the internet” or “Wi-Fi”. This optimistic painting of the future all depends, however, on the willingness of those with a stake in the status quo to be flexible.

Written by the Huffington Post

 

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