Bitcoin Goes Parabolic, Blows Past $14,000 to Post $2,500 Single Day Gain
Today Bitcoin surged past the $14,000 level, topping out at $14,400 for a $2,500 gain in a single day. This makes today the largest one-day gain in the history of the currency. To put it in perspective, today Bitcoin’s price increased by more twice as much as it’s 2013 all-time high of $1,100. A single Bitcoin can now buy more than 11 ounces of pure gold.
It’s about the futures, baby
The price is likely being driven by news of the imminent launch of Bitcoin futures trading. CBOE will be launching their futures market this coming Sunday, December 10, with CME Group following on December 18. Nasdaq plans to launch futures trading in the summer of 2018 and Japan’s Tokyo Financial Exchange is preparing to launch futures trading as well.
Bloomberg has announced that brokerage firms TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest will be offering Bitcoin futures trades to their clients. Even J.P. Morgan Chase may follow suit, despite CEO Jamie Dimon’s infamous views on the digital currency.
GDAX, Coinbase’s digital currency exchange, has been leading the rally all day. The price on GDAX is currently about $500 ahead of other Western Bitcoin exchanges. The likeliest – and most bullish – explanation is that Coinbase is the easiest way for new Bitcoin investors to get involved. Consequently, when GDAX leads the charge as it has today, it probably means new “retail” investors are fueling the rally.
Written by CoinTelegraph
Goldman Identifies 8 Huge Trends That Are About to Change the World
From meatless meats to digital twins, the latest “emerging trends” identified by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. include technologies and investing strategies that have been around for a while.
“What happens when everything old becomes new again?” the bank asked Wednesday in the second edition of its “Outsiders” series, meant to help investors “separate the hype from reality.”
Some items on the list are more familiar than others. The full eight are: facial recognition, esports, digital twins, meatless meats, quantum computing, ethereum, alternative risk premium and special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs.
“Facial recognition technology dates back to the 1960s, veggie burgers have been a meat alternative for decades and gaming made headlines in 1980 with Atari’s National Space Invaders tournament,” the Goldman team, led by Robert Boroujerdi, wrote. “Digital Twins were used in NASA’s space exploration days, academics have spent decades identifying market risk premia and SPACs can trace their roots back to 18th century England.”
Meanwhile, according to Goldman, meatless meats are benefiting from rising demand for protein across the globe. Digital twins — “virtual” models of physical systems that can be tested and tweaked earlier in the design process — are expanding into new industrial uses. Esports are drawing massive global audiences, and “monetization opportunities abound,” according to the note.
“Despite their history these products and platforms have reached a potential tipping point as they demonstrate real world usability and rise in adoption,” Boroujerdi’s team concluded.
Written by Bloomberg
Behind South Korea’s Cryptocurrency Boom
It’s well known that South Korea is one of the world’s most wired societies, with near-ubiquitous broadband access and blazing-fast Internet speeds. Now the country is also becoming a hotbed for cryptocurrency trading. South Korea is the world’s No. 3 market in Bitcoin trading, after Japan and the U.S., and the largest exchange market for Ether, Ethereum’s cryptocurrency, accounting for more than 33 percent of its market share. The country is also home to two of the top 15 global digital-currency exchanges(Bithumb and Coinone), both of which have built walk-in centers where investors can conduct transactions in person. Overall, South Korea is believed to have about one million registered daily traders in virtual currency, which is equivalent to about one out of every 50 citizens.
But while the booming digital-currency market is delighting local entrepreneurs, it’s worrying the South Korean government. Authorities are particularly concerned about a new method of fund-raising called an initial coin offering, in which companies create blockchain-based digital tokens, which can be used to purchase a specific product or service in the future, and sell them publicly (See “What the Hell Is an Initial Coin Offering?”). In September, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) ordered a ban on ICOs. “Cryptocurrencies are neither money nor currency nor financial products,” said the agency in a written statement at the time. “The South Korean government has reaffirmed an earlier stance that the state doesn’t guarantee the proper value of virtual currencies.”
The move could hinder local startups that deal in digital currencies and work with blockchain technologies. In South Korea, as in other countries, such startups have been using ICOs to raise funds because the campaigns require little paperwork, let entrepreneurs solicit money directly from investors rather than rely on banks or venture-capital firms, and enable founders to maintain total ownership of their companies. In September alone, South Korean startups raised about $89 million in digital token sales, according to government data. When the FSC announced its ban in late September, 20 South Korean startups said they had planned to raise seed money through ICOs but would fund-raise in foreign countries instead.
South Korea’s restriction came several weeks after China issued its own ban on ICOs, characterizing them as an unauthorized form of fund-raising and “disruptive to economic and financial stability,” and ordered companies to issue refunds to investors. Chinese regulators also instructed digital-currency exchanges to shut down their mainland trading platforms, compelling them to relocate overseas.
Many people have likened the two countries’ decisions, but South Korea’s stance on cryptocurrencies is unique. Unlike China, South Korea has yet to implement its ICO rule and did not make companies return ICO funds. It also continues to let Korea-based investors put money into foreign ICOs and digital-currency exchanges to operate within its borders. In November, Choe Heung-sik, who heads South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service, said that the agency is monitoring cryptocurrency trading inside the country but has no immediate plan to “directly supervise” exchanges
However, South Korea has signaled it may start levying taxes on cryptocurrency transactions. Currently, trading virtual currencies in the country incurs only commission fees. But on October 13, the chief of the country’s National Tax Agency, Han Seung-hee, told lawmakers that the group is mulling imposing a value-added tax, a capital gains tax, or both on trades, with the help of financial authorities.
An official decision is expected within the first quarter of 2018. If the plan gets implemented, South Korea will become one of the few countries to tax cryptocurrency-cash exchanges. Germany and Singapore levy taxes on virtual-currency trading depending on factors such as the amount of gain and the length of the holding period, but other countries—among them Australia and Japan—recently eliminated their fees.
Retail investors aren’t the only South Koreans excited about cryptocurrencies; some of the country’s biggest corporations are pouring money into virtual-currency businesses and related technologies. Nexon, one of South Korea’s biggest video-game developers, is the leading shareholder in Korbit, the country’s No. 3 cryptocurrency exchange. Dunamu, an affiliate of Kakao, a leading South Korean Internet services company, recently launched a cryptocurrency exchange called Upbit. And the DB Group, another South Korean conglomerate, partnered with the local firm Sentbe in August to offer remittance payments in Bitcoin.
Even Samsung, South Korea’s largest conglomerate, is getting involved in the blockchain technology that makes cryptocurrency possible. In May, the company’s IT solutions unit, Samsung SDS, announced a pilot project that will use this system of widely distributed, frequently updated cryptographic ledgers to track shipping imports, exports, and the location of cargo shipments in real time. That month, the Samsung affiliate also joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an industry group that is developing business-grade software based on blockchain. “Samsung SDS doesn’t have plans to start up a digital coin business, but the company does intend to develop [new] business models using blockchain technologies,” said spokesman Jo Joo-hong to MIT Technology Review.
South Korea’s fervor for cryptocurrency is notable given that the country has an urgent reason to be skeptical: cyberattacks from North Korea. Hackers probably hailing from North Korea targeted officials at four South Korean Bitcoin exchanges in July and August, according to South Korea’s National Police Agency. The “spear-phishing” plots involved sending messages from stolen e-mail addresses and attaching malicious code that was identical to viruses previously proved to be of North Korean origin. Experts such as the American cybersecurity firm FireEye have theorized that the hackers were responding to increased economic sanctions on North Korea and were interested in Bitcoin because of its relative anonymity, since people can buy and use the currency without revealing their true identities.
“The rampant use of digital currency offers both opportunities and risks,” says Kim Kyung-soo, head of the Ethereum research center in South Korea. “Risk takers are attempting to make profits by delving into these high-volatility assets. But digital currencies could also be used as seed money to lift the next wave of technology developments.”
Written by Technology Review
Cypherpunk Lopp – Crypto Hands Power Back to People
Well-known Software Engineer Jameson Lopp believes that cryptocurrencies are placing power back in the hands of people – who have trusted banks and financial institutions to be responsible with their money, investments and transactions for far too long.
One only needs to look at mainstream media headlines as Bitcoin price continues to soar after a month long bull run.
Heads of traditional financial institutions and banks have hit out at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as they fight to keep hold of the status quo. Countries like China have gone as far as banning the use of cryptocurrencies.
But as the current Bitcoin price would suggest, more and more people are putting their faith and money in cryptocurrencies as a superior transactional technology.
Bitcoin turns banking on its head
Speaking to Max Keiser, host of RT’s Keiser Report, Lopp believes that the successful development of Bitcoin has turned conventional thinking about banking and money on its head:
“At least from the monetary standpoint, we said let’s turn this whole thing upside down. Instead of us trusting certain entities, instead we are going to track everything ourselves, validate our rules and not trust anybody.”
“We will create protocols and use the technology developed over the last generation in order to automate our communication and trust with each other.”
Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has slowly crept its way into mainstream consciousness and has risen to the fore in the second half of 2017. So much so that institutional investors are lining up to get in on the action, with their entry point the launch of Bitcoin futures on the CBOE and CME.
It wasn’t always that way, as self-proclaimed cypherpunk Lopp reminds us that the development of cryptocurrencies has followed an incredible journey of trial and error over the past 30 years.
“The origin of the cypherpunk goes back to the 1980s. A bunch of nerds who saw the promise of the internet and these new communication technologies but they also saw the dark side.”
These cyber revolutionaries predicted the future threat of surveillance agencies and began developing technology that ensured private communication, which has culminated in encrypted peer-to-peer communication technology and eventually Blockchain. Lopp continues:
“They wanted to bring privacy-enhancing technologies into the internet itself, on top of the internet protocols and it just so happens that digital money was one of those interesting things the cypherpunks thought was important for society to have. A number of cypherpunks worked on it for decades and it wasn’t until 2009 that Satoshi came along with an elegant solution.”
“There were many, many attempts and failed solutions that happened before Bitcoin.”
Fast-forward eight years and Bitcoin remains the father of cryptocurrencies – but it is undoubtedly entering uncharted waters with the introduction of futures and other Wall Street trading practices.
Lopp doesn’t entertain the notion that futures will cause Bitcoin to crash – saying anyone who tries to do that will not get very far:
“There are some people that think it’s going to short Bitcoin into the ground. I think a more likely outcome is that shorting Bitcoin is a terrible idea and anyone who tries to do that is going wrecked pretty hard.”
It’s going to be another interesting month for cryptocurrencies in general, as everyone waits to see how Bitcoin will react to the introduction of futures.
Lopp, on the other hand, has his eyes on a different horizon. The very fact that Bitcoin’s value is referred to using fiat currencies shows that there is some way to go before it becomes a heavyweight in the world economy.
Lopp says the end goal is for Bitcoin to be a unit of measurement for other currencies.
“This is just a transitional period. We’re still using the dollar as the unit of account. We’re trying to get to the point where we’re using Bitcoin as the unit of account. I think it’s going to be a few more years until we get to that point of hyperbitcoinization that some people are dreaming about.”
Written by CoinTelegraph