Top Crypto News – 05/12/2017

A little-known digital currency surges 70% after teaming up with firms like Microsoft

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A digital currency has added more than $3 billion to its market value after the firm behind it said it was teaming up with a number of big tech firms, including Microsoft and Samsung on a “data marketplace.”

Called IOTA, the cryptocurrency saw a spike on Sunday evening, rallying just over 70 percent in the last 24 hours, according to data from industry website Coinmarketcap. Its price soared to an all-time high of $2.54 at 8:29 a.m. London time, up 71 percent from Sunday’s price of $1.48. It is now the fifth-largest digital asset by market capitalization, dethroning altcoin Dash.

The rally followed an announcement by the IOTA Foundation, a German non-profit firm that oversees the virtual currency, last Tuesday, that it had partnered with the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and Fujitsu on a blockchain-based marketplace that lets them sell data.

David Sonstebo, IOTA’s co-founder and CEO, said data is “the new oil,” and that the marketplace project is letting firms sell data to incentivize them to share this data that would otherwise be wasted.

“At present, up to 99 percent of this precious data gathered is lost to the void,” he told CNBC in an email. “IOTA incentivize sharing of data through its zero fee transactions and by ensuring data integrity for free on the decentralized distributed ledger.”

He added that the marketplace is currently a pilot project, and that examples of data being shared included weather and air quality data.

IOTA ‘a sleeping giant’

Sonstebo said that the cryptocurrency’s surge in price was due to its approach to blockchain technology and partnerships with established firms.

“IOTA’s seemingly ‘out of nowhere’ explosive growth can be traced back to the fact that it has been somewhat of a sleeping giant,” Sonstebo said.

“IOTA has resolved the three major issues of blockchain — fees, scaling limitations and centralization — and built up real-world partnerships and projects with world-leading companies since 2015.”

Sonstebo added that the cryptocurrency’s growth was also owed to its increased publicity.

“Unlike the overwhelming majority of projects in this space, IOTA has not done any paid promo, so now that there’s a steady stream of these large news stories the major technological advantages become known to the wider audience,” he said.

“I believe this is the reason for the rally, as well as the fact that IOTA just entered China and Korea, which are naturally huge markets, meaning a lot of new people buying.”

‘Blockless’ blockchain

A blockchain is a massive, decentralized database that records cryptocurrency transactions. Its original use-case was as the ledger for all bitcoin transactions.

But IOTA’s open-source blockchain platform differs to mainstream blockchain networks which use encrypted “blocks” to record those transactions.

Instead the firm’s digital ledger, inspired by internet of things technology, is “blockless,” and allows users to make transactions on the network for free.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, has been faced with several splits this year due to frustration over the speed and cost of transactions. Users currently have to pay bitcoin miners a transaction fee to add transactions to the blockchain.

People within the bitcoin community have been pushing for an upgrade to the blockchain to increase block size and speed up the process of mining.

Although the upgrade was shelved in November, some went ahead with the creation of a new bitcoin offshoot called bitcoin diamond.

Written by CNBC

Ethereum’s blockchain is jamming up because of a new game that lets people buy virtual cats

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  • “CryptoKitties,” a blockchain-based game that let’s users buy and sell virtual cats, is exploding in popularity.
  • It’s putting pressure on Ethereum, the blockchain fueled by ether.

Just when you thought the world of cryptocurrencies couldn’t get zanier, along comes “CryptoKitties.”

The online cat breeding game, which has been likened to both Beanie Babies and Pokemon, has taken the crypto-world by storm. Based on Ethereum’s blockchain, the game allows users to breed, buy, and sell kittens with ether, a rival cryptocurrency to bitcoin. It was created by AxiomZen, a San Francisco- and Vancouver-based company.

Just like bitcoin, the game has blown up with $3.3 million worth of transactions. Some kittens are listed on its site for more than 50 ether, or approximately $22,500 at ether’s price at the time of this writing. More than 20,000 cats have been sold thus far.

“CryptoKitties” appears to be pushing Ethereum to its limits with pending transactions on Ethereum’s blockchain reaching new highs since the game exploded in popularity, according to data from Etherscan.

“[It’s] causing a backlog of transactions,” Josh Olszwicz, a bitcoin trader and writer for Brave New Coin, told Business Insider in a Twitter direct message.

The game accounts for more than 10% of the activity on Ethereum’s blockchain, according to EtherGasInfo.com.

Screen Shot 2017 12 04 at 12.55.54 PMEthereum Scan

“Ethereum is very actively managed by well-known founders,” according to Joe DiPasquale, founder of BitBull Capital, a cryptocurrency fund of funds. “I am confident management will be able to improve the transaction speed.”

“I am surprised by the success of the game,” he added.

Ethereum’s blockchain was designed to provide the basis for a number of use-cases outside of digital currencies. Companies ranging from 4G Capital, which seeks to help grow businesses in Africa via smart contracts, to WeiFund, a crowdfunding platform, are running applications on Ethereum.

Written by Business Insider

Bitcoin hits new high above $11,500 as the Winklevoss twins become the first bitcoin billionaires

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The entrepeneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss arriving at the Met Gala to celebrate the opening of “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” in New York City on May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Bitcoin hit a new high of $11,826.76 a coin on Sunday, according to Markets Insider data.
  • Bitcoin’s meteoric recent rise means the Winklevoss twins’ $11 million bet on the cryptocurrency in 2011 is now worth over $1 billion.

LONDON — Bitcoin is back to its winning ways, posting a record high on Sunday and making billionaires of the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

Bitcoin suffered big price falls last week but recovered over the weekend. The digital currency hit a new high of $11,826.76 a coin on Sunday, according to data from Markets Insider, surpassing its previous high of about $11,300.

The digital currency retraced some of its gains Sunday after hitting the peak. As of 8.05 a.m. GMT (3.05 a.m. ET) on Monday, bitcoin was up 2.79% against the dollar to $11,554.83.bitcoin

Bitcoin has attracted interest from both ordinary investors and institutions. Last week it emerged that the exchange operator Nasdaq could follow its rival CME Group in launching bitcoin future contracts next year, a sign that professional investors are increasingly taking the asset seriously.

Investors are being drawn in by the promise of big gains. The Telegraph reported over the weekend that the Winklevoss twins, known for suing Mark Zuckerberg saying he stole the idea for Facebook from them, had become the world’s first bitcoin billionaires.

The two former Olympic rowers disclosed in 2013 that they owned $11 million worth of bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise since then — it has risen by over 1,000% this year — has propelled that investment to over $1 billion, according to The Telegraph. The Winklevoss twins are long-time bitcoin bulls and are also investors in the crypto exchange Gemini.

Written by Business Insider

Largest US Options Exchange CBOE to Enable Bitcoin Futures Trading by December 10

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The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the largest US options exchange with an annual trading volume of around 1.27 billion contracts, will enable Bitcoin futures trading at 5 p.m CT on December 10.

Ed Tilly, the chairman and CEO of Cboe Global Markets, stated:

“Given the unprecedented interest in Bitcoin, it’s vital we provide clients the trading tools to help them express their views and hedge their exposure. We are committed to encouraging fairness and liquidity in the Bitcoin market. To promote this, we will initially offer XBT futures trading for free.”

Drastic increase in liquidity

Last month, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of the world’s largest Bitcoin brokerage and wallet platform Coinbase, revealed that at least $10 billion in institutional money are awaiting to be invested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Armstrong wrote:

“By some estimates there is $10B of institutional money waiting on the sidelines to invest in digital currency today. When we speak with these institutions, they tell us that the number one thing preventing them from getting started is the existence of a digital asset custodian that they can trust to store client funds securely.”

With the scheduled launch of CBOE and CME Group’s Bitcoin futures exchanges on December 10 and December 18 respectively, large-scale institutional and retail investors in the traditional finance market will have a robust platform and infrastructure to invest in Bitcoin.

Over the past year, the market valuation of Bitcoin has increased from less than a billion dollars to $195 billion, without the involvement and entrance of large-scale institutional and retail investors, hedge funds, and investment firms. If Armstrong is right, the movement of tens of billions of dollars into this market would lead to a price surge for Bitcoin, as new investors from the traditional finance market reallocate their capital from conventional assets to Bitcoin. Indeed, Bitcoin’s price could grow exponentially, as predicted by billionaire hedge fund legend Mike Novogratz.

However, it should be noted that highly liquid regulated futures markets will make it much easier for large institutional investors to short Bitcoin. Though the contracts are cash-settled, major futures traders could likely move the underlying spot market. There exists the possibility that Bitcoin’s price could drop as a result of the futures markets opening.

CBOE partners with Gemini

CBOE will launch its Bitcoin futures exchange through a strategic partnership with US-based regulated Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, operated by the Winklevoss twins.

Tyler Winklevoss, the CEO of Gemini, explained that the company has worked for several years to build necessary infrastructure for investors in the traditional finance market, and will continue to develop a regulated derivatives Bitcoin market. Winklevoss said:

“Developing a regulated derivatives market is the next logical and crucial step towards advancing the broader digital asset market. We have been working for years to build infrastructure to grow the digital asset market and today’s news marks a significant milestone.”

Upon the launch of CBOE and CME’s Bitcoin futures exchanges, many leading hedge funds including the Man Group, with over $100 bln in funds under management, will begin trading Bitcoin.

Written by CoinTelegraph

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