Top Crypto News – 03/11/2017

Could Amazon Be Launching Its Own Cryptocurrency?

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THE BEGINNING OF AMAZON CRYPTOCURRENCY?

Last month, a rumor began circulating that suggested Amazon would soon announce plans to begin accepting bitcoin. The retailer still hasn’t made any such announcements, but recent domain purchases may signify the start of their cryptocurrency plans.

Domain Name Wire (DNW) reports that three domains were registered this week that are related to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies: amazoncryptocurrencies.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com and amazonethereum.com. Initially, one may think the retailer is preparing to reveal something related to Ethereum and Ether tokens, or that it’s about to launch its own crytocurrency.

CoinDesk notes the new domains are tied to Amazon’s subsidiary company Amazon Technologies, Inc; phone numbers listed on the registration are associated with the company’s legal department. This means Amazon may just want to own the domains in order to cover its brand, or so it’ll have the domains ready in the event it ever decides to incorporate blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies into its business. It could also be a move made to further distance Amazon Coins from cryptocurrencies.

ANTICIPATION AND SPECULATION

This isn’t the first time Amazon has purchased a domain related to a cryptocurrency. In 2013, the retailer bought AmazonBitcoin.com, which has nothing to do with Bitcoin. In fact, it redirects to Amazon.com’s homepage — a sign that these new domains may be used for similar purposes.

Interestingly enough, today’s news comes a little over a week after Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin graded Apple, Google, and Amazon on their respective plans for blockchain technology. On Amazon, Lubin simply said, “we’ve not seen that much, so we’ll see.”

Amazon has previously stated it wouldn’t accept cryptocurrencies until their was a demand. As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise — potentially a sign of its own rising popularity and demand — we may soon see Amazon giving its consumers the means to use it.

The much more interesting situation, however, is one in which Amazon introduces its own currency or coin. Not only would such a move potentially force the average person to finally learn what cryptocurrencies are, but Amazon’s currency could become incredibly popular or the preferred form of payment, especially if there are incentives for Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon Prime is currently $99 a year, but what if you could get it for “cheaper” through the use of “Amazon Ether tokens?” The only ones who know what Amazon is up to are the higher ups at Amazon, so we’ll have to wait and see how this situation plays out.

Written By Futurism

 

Big Investors Are Taking Sides in Bitcoin’s Great Bubble Debate

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Is bitcoin a legitimate asset, or a super-bubble waiting to implode? As prices for the cryptocurrency skyrocket, investors and pundits are increasingly taking sides.

Whether you’re a backer or a detractor, what’s not in doubt is bitcoin’s dizzying rally this year. The most widely used digital currency crossed the $7,000 mark on Thursday and is up more than 650 percent in 2017. It’s managed to whip past the $100 billion total value mark despite governmental crackdowns and mainstream market skepticism. Bitcoin was trading at $7,207 at 3 p.m. Hong Kong time on Friday.

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With the rhetoric for and against heating up this week amid bitcoin’s barreling gains, here’s a look at where some big names in finance stand — from those who see it as the natural evolution of money, to the naysayers waiting for the asset to crash and burn.

Bitcoin’s Backers

  • The digital currency’s evangelists are led by Roger Ver, known in the industry as “Bitcoin Jesus.” Ver remains optimistic about bitcoin’s sustainability amid attempts from governments like China to curb some of the more speculative elements of trading. “The only way to stop (bitcoin) is to turn off the entire Internet in the entire world and keep it turned off,” he said in a September interview with Bloomberg News.
  • Some countries are jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon, with Argentina’s most important futures market considering offering services to investors in digital currencies, while Turkish Central Bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya said digital currencies may contribute to financial stability if designed well.
  • Former Legg Mason Inc. fund manager Bill Miller has boosted his Miller Value Fund’s holdings in bitcoin to 30 percent from 5 percent a year ago. The investment has paid off — his fund is up 72.5 percent this year.

Bitcoin’s Detractors

  • Speculation around bitcoin is the “very definition of a bubble,” Credit Suisse Group AG CEO Tidjane Thiam told reporters in Zurich on Thursday. “The only reason today to buy or sell bitcoin is to make money,” and such speculation “has rarely led to a happy end,” Thiam said.
  • Themis Trading LLC raised a red flag this week after CME Group Inc. announced plans to introduce bitcoin futures, saying the world’s largest exchange owner appeared to have “caved in” to pressure from clients. “A bitcoin future would be placing a seal of approval around a very risky, unregulated instrument that has a history of fraud and manipulation,” the firm said in a blog post.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon remains one of Wall Street’s most strident bitcoin opponents, saying in October that people who buy the currency are “stupid”and that governments will eventually crush it.

On the Fence

  • While CME’s decision to offer bitcoin futures by the end of the year appears to be an endorsement of the currency’s viability, CEO Terry Duffy demurred when asked whether he’s concerned about a potential bubble. “I’ve seen a lot of different bubbles over the last 37 years,” he said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s not up to me to predict if it’s a bubble or not — what I’m here to do is to help people manage risk.”
  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein isn’t sure what to make of bitcoin and is unwilling to reject the digital currency just yet. “I know that once upon a time, a coin was worth $5 if it had $5 worth of gold in it,” Blankfein said in another Bloomberg TV interview. “Now we have paper that is just backed by fiat … maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus.”
  • While Thomas J. Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors has turned cautious on bitcoin in the short term because of its big gains, he remains a long-term bull on the digital currency — maintaining a 2022 price target of $25,000.
Written by Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: I’m Open to Bitcoin

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Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says that he isn’t comfortable with bitcoin, but open to it.

In an interview with Bloomberg at the Goldman Sachs Sustainable Finance Innovation Forum in New York, the CEO said that he has a “level of discomfort” over bitcoin as he has with anything that is new. His comments were in response to questions of his feelings over bitcoin futures, as recently proposed by CME Group.

Citing new technology evolutions like cellphones, Blankfein continued, “I’ve learned over the years that there’s a lot of things that workout pretty well that I don’t love.”

Talking about bitcoin’s future, he added:

“Maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus … If we went into the future and bitcoins were successful, I would be able to explain how it’s a natural evolution of money.”

The bank chief’s comments come a remark last month on his Twitter account in which Blankfein he is “still thinking about bitcoin” and that he is not “endorsing or rejecting” it. The comment was in contrast with that of his counterpart at JPMorgan Chase, CEO Jamin Dimon, who now-famously stated bitcoin is a “fraud.”

On a concluding note, Blankfein said he doesn’t hold any investments in the cryptocurrency.

Lloyd Blankfein image via The Aspen Institute/Youtube
Written by CoinDesk

Isle of Man Grants License to Ethereum-Based Lottery

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The Isle of Man has approved a gaming license for a blockchain lottery.

The ethereum-powered lottery was developed by Qanta, which describes the drawing as fully transparent and fair, with provably random results. Smart contracts manage the process from end to end, the company said.

Obtaining a license from a national government was part of Qanta’s business development strategy, it said. The first step in its ticketing process verifies that the purchaser meets know-your-customer requirements.

The Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission has been “an incredibly supportive regulator, committed to understanding our unique technology” said Lee Hills, chief operating officer of Qanta, in a press release.

At the same time, he said, the commission is

“maintaining absolute dedication to the principles of ensuring the Island’s gambling industry remains crime free, protects the young and vulnerable, and ensures our services are fair and that players receive their true winnings.”

The lottery is available independently or as a white label product. Qanta does not appear to be operating an open lottery yet. The company was not immediately available for further comment.

“We are delighted to welcome a new company to one of the Island’s fastest growing sectors,” Daphne Cain, a member of the island’s Department of Economic Development, said in the release. “The Isle of Man’s regulations and compliance procedures are specifically designed to accelerate cryptocurrency and e-Gaming industry growth on the Island.”

Lottery balls photo from Shutterstock.
Written by CoinDesk

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