Top Crypto News – 06/11/2017

Bitcoin Price Achieves New All-Time High at $7,598; Why is the Market So Optimistic?


Once again, the bitcoin price has achieved a new all-time high at $7,598 on November 5, as the market continues to be optimistic about the mid-term performance of bitcoin.

Rapid Adoption in Major Regions

In Japan and South Korea, two regions in Asia that are known to have extremely conservative investors and traders, have seen an exponential increase in the demand for bitcoin from local traders. In an interview with Nathaniel Poppers of the New York Times in October, Korbit founder and CEO Tony Lyu emphasized that once people are invested in South Korea, they encourage others to join the “party.”

“Word just spreads really fast in Korea. Once people are invested, they want everyone else to join the party. There’s been this huge, almost a community movement around this,” said Lyu.

Over the past two weeks, Japan and South Korea have seen a massive portion of conventional investors in the traditional financial industry allocate their funds to bitcoin, given the increasing liquidity of bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market in general.

Specifically, in South Korea, the popularity of offline exchanges of Bithumb and Coinone, the country’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, started to grow, as investors without solid technical knowledge or expertise in dealing with bitcoin began to seek for direct person-to-person assistance in purchasing, trading, storing, and managing bitcoin.

As a 53-year-old bitcoin investor stated:

“Due to the emergence of physical cryptocurrency exchanges and offline customer service operations launched by CoinoneBlocks and Bithumb, many investors in South Korea are rushing to sell their stocks and equity in public companies to invest in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Since the beginning of 2017, the demand for bitcoin has increased significantly and investors have been able to build trust over the cryptocurrency exchange market through offline exchanges.”

Japan and the US

Japan has always remained as the driving factor of the bitcoin price, especially in its new all-time highs and strong rallies. Japan is one of the very few countries that has adopted bitcoin as a currency and a payment method, using bitcoin to transact at hotels, online e-commerce platforms, retailers, and restaurants.

Today, Japan’s largest retailer in Bic Camera, budget hotel chain Capsule, major airline Peach, and the country’s largest grid operator Remixpoint accept bitcoin as a currency for all of their operations, services, and products.

Investors in the US are also optimistic in regards to the launch of a bitcoin futures exchange by CME and CBOE, the two largest options exchange both domestically and internationally. CME’s bitcoin integration is expected to offer immense liquidity for institutional and retail investors, who have been looking to allocate their “money on the sidelines” into bitcoin for many months.

The overwhelming performance of major regions such as Japan and South Korea, along with the integration of bitcoin by leading financial institutions in the US have contributed to the recent price surge of bitcoin.

In the mid-term, by early 2018, analysts expect the price of bitcoin to surpass the $10,000 mark. But, some strategists including Wall Street analyst Tom Lee of Fundstrat have warned investors to be cautious, as bitcoin price has increased from $3,300 to $7,400 in the past month alone, and such abrupt surge in the price of bitcoin could lead to a correction.

Featured image from Shutterstock,
Written by Cryptocoinnews


Bjork to Embrace Cryptocurrency With Upcoming Album Launch


Icelandic musician and composer, Bjork, has sought to embrace cryptocurrencies with the release of her new album. Bjork’s ninth studio album, Utopia, will be made available for purchase using bitcoin, litecoin, dash, or audiocoin. Purchasers of the album will also receive 100 free Audiocoins – a little-known altcoin valued at less than $0.004 USD.

Bjork’s Record Label Has Teamed Up With U.K.-based Blockchain Startup Blockpool

One Little Indian Records will team-up with B2B blockchain solutions company Blockpool to accept and distribute cryptocurrency as part of the release of Bjork’s new album, Utopia.

Fans will be able to purchase Bjork’s ninth studio album using one of four cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, litecoin, dash, or audiocoin. Purchasers of the album will also receive 100 Audiocoins as a bonus ‘reward’. CEO of Blockpool, Kevin Bacon, has stated “this isn’t about jumping on a bandwagon or trying to get rich quick. It’s about doing things where you use blockchain and the crypto benefits in ways that people haven’t thought of yet.”

Blockpool’s website states that the collaboration employs “its proprietary blockchain integration technology to build a smart rewards system,” alongside their “cryptocurrency checkout plugin.” When a customer proceeds through the checkout after purchasing Bjork’s album, they will be invited to claim their Audiocoins using the Blockpool’s ‘myblockpool’ portal.

Bjork’s New Album Is Available for Purchase Using Four Cryptocurrencies

Audiocoin (ADC) was launched in 2015, seeking to incentivize both consumption and production of music through distributing Audiocoins to music consumers in exchange for streaming and downloading music. According to Gizmodo, individuals are able to mine audiocoins by streaming music using the Aurovine platform.

Since the start of November, the value of audiocoins has approximately doubled, likely owing to the news of Bjork’s album launch in conjunction with the altcoin’s diminutive market capitalization. As of this writing, the price of a single audiocoin is less than 0.4 of a cent, and ADC has a total market capitalization of approximately $3.2 million USD (it had a total market capitalization of less than $1 million USD until midway through this year).

In July, Grammy award winning DJ, RAC, made his fifth album available for purchase using Ethereum tokens. RAC launched his album via Ujo Music, a subsidiary of Consensys.

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Bitcoin Regains Over 60% Crypto Market Dominance For First Time in 7 Months


As of this writing, bitcoin has a market dominance of 62.7% – representing more than 60% of the entire cryptocurrency markets for the first time since April 2017.

Bitcoin Continues to Reclaim Market Dominance

Bitcoin’s current total market capitalization is more than $126.5 billion USD – currently comprising approximately 62.7% of the $202 billion USD cryptocurrency markets.

At the beginning of 2017 bitcoin had a market dominance of approximately 87% percent, as bitcoin confidently ramped up to test the $1000 USD area for the first time since December 2013. Starting in March, many altcoin markets started to rally, with many leading altcoins making gains of over 1000% in a matter of just weeks. The ensuing altcoin bubble quickly gave birth to an initial coin offering bubble as well – both of which eroded bitcoin’s market dominance, which reached a historic low of just under 40% in June. Bitcoin quickly bounced back to hover around the 50% dominance area from mid-July until October. During October bitcoin’s market dominance steadily rose from 50% to 60%.

Ethereum Comprises the Second Largest Cryptocurrency Market, Accounting 14% of the Total Market Capitalization

Following Ethereum’s first major rally in 2016, ETH fell from holding approximately 10% market dominance, down to less than 4% at the start of 2017. During the altcoin bubble, Ethereum sharply increased its market share, reaching a peak of approximately 30% during June. Since June, Ethereum’s market dominance has steadily fallen.

The third largest cryptocurrency is Bitcoin Cash, which comprises 4.9% of the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies – down from a top of 8.06% on the 20th of August. The fourth largest market is Ripple – accounting for 3.84% of all crypto markets. Fifth is Litecoin – with 1.45%, followed by Dash – 1.03%, Neo – 0.84%, Nem – 0.75%, and Monero – 0.66%. According to the data available on Coinmarketcap, the remaining 1251 cryptocurrency markets combined account for 9.26% of the total crypto market cap.

At the end of October, bitcoin’s market cap broke above $100 billion USD for the first time ever.

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Britain’s Royal Mint Reveals Details on ‘Live’ Blockchain for Tracking Gold


You wouldn’t think you’d lose a 1kg gold bar worth more than $40,000.

But during the London Blockchain Summit this week, Nicola Robinson, senior strategic marketing manager at the U.K.’s Royal Mint, which owns 5.4 percent of the global bullion market, did just that.

Sure, Robinson had handed the bar over to audience members (it was eventually recovered), but the stunt was designed to give a sense of the difficulty inherent in tracking and managing gold, and to set up how a blockchain might relieve some of that.

While the blockchain can’t, obviously, store the physical gold, it has – through the group’s Royal Mint Gold (RMG) blockchain – proved helpful in managing the ownership of the commodity.

Originally revealed in November 2016 as a way to provide a reliable record of gold ownership and the near instantaneous sale of the precious metal, at the event, Robinson revealed that the first test transaction on the RMG blockchain was completed Aug. 2, with a genesis block that includes a picture of the developers.

Robinson said:

“It’s simple, it’s so simple, it’s just a digital representation of real gold. The most exciting thing about RMG is that it’s live, it’s out there, it’s working.”

And while the blockchain – which was created in partnership with financial market giant CME Group using wallet startup BitGo’s technology – is not yet open to the public, it has currently verified more than 50,000 blocks, Robinson said.

In her eyes, the blockchain could help manage smaller amounts (such as a single ounce) of gold, which some believe would lower the barrier to entry for potential gold investors and increase the liquidity of the market.

Robinson also used her talk at the blockchain event to hint at the Royal Mint’s broader initiatives.

For one, she revealed that the launch of a blockchain-based bullion trading platform was imminent. And touched on the fact that the RMG platform could someday be used to accommodate requests to prove the provenance of gold and, even more broadly, in the provisioning of collateral of global trades.

Currently the Royal Mint is in discussions with potential partners and traders, though Robinson didn’t give a specific date the platform would launch.

Robinson minced no words when describing the impact she believes the blockchain will have on gold trading:

“We think RMG is the start of a global revolution. We think it’s a bit of a game changer.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Bitgo.

Gold bars image via Shutterstock
Written by CoinDesk

Saudi Arabia arrests Billionaire Prince – Could Uncertainty Boost Bitcoin?


Political uncertainty in the Middle East has risen to an all-time high, with Saudi Arabia arresting the richest Arab in the world, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Could this result in a shift to Bitcoin, the digital safe haven, in the Middle East?

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown

Saudi Arabia has initiated a sweeping crackdown, ostensibly against corruption, today. King Salman has ordered the arrest of senior princes and ousted many senior officials from ministerial roles. The list of people arrested includes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest Arab in the world.

Prince Alwaleed was in the news recently for his negative views on Bitcoin, saying that Bitcoin would face an Enron-like collapse. While the public reason given by King Salman for the arrests is his drive against corruption, many commentators believe that the King could be clearing the route for his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to take over as the King.

Qatar under siege

From early June 2017, Qatar’s neighbors – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and UAE have imposed a blockade on the country, accusing the country of harboring Islamic militants and maintaining a relationship with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s staunch enemy.

Qatar is a small country in the Middle East, with large natural gas reserves. According to the World Bank, it is the country with the highest per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity ($127.5K in 2016). It will also play host to the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Many believe that the actual reason for Qatar’s neighbors imposing a blockade is Qatar’s support for Al Jazeera, a news organization which has aired views contrary to the established position in the Middle East. Given the absolute power enjoyed by governments in the Middle East, an independent news channel in the region has raised many hackles.

Bahrain on the verge of collapse

Bahrain is one of the smallest economies in the oil-rich Middle East, with its GDP five percent the size of that of Saudi Arabia. Its economy is oil dependent and the recent lull in oil prices has resulted in its economy getting strained.

The Central Bank of Bahrain has pegged its currency to the US dollar (0.376 Bahrain Dinar = 1 US dollar), but this has come under strain with dwindling foreign currency reserves. According to Bloomberg, Bahrain has approached Saudi Arabia for support to stave off a financial crisis and impending devaluation. Currency devaluation in Bahrain would spark a contagion effect in the Middle East, where most currencies are pegged to the US dollar.

Bitcoin rises when governments screw up

Misconduct by governments, either in the political or monetary space, results in people trying to find safe havens for their wealth. Traditionally this has been gold, but Bitcoin is fast developing as an alternate safe haven, with its decentralized and boundary-less nature.

The Middle East is strategically important, both because of its vast oil and natural gas reserves and the tremendous wealth of its citizens. If rich sheikhs in the Middle East think that parking a fraction of their wealth in Bitcoin makes sense given the uncertainty in the region, Bitcoin’s price could scale new highs.

Written by Cointelegraph

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