Top Crypto News – 18/12/2017

Analyst who predicted bitcoin’s rise now sees it hitting $300,000-$400,000

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Bitcoin will surge past $20,000 and continue its meteoric march into six figures, according to independent research analyst Ronnie Moas.

“Bitcoin is already up 500 percent since I recommended it in the beginning of July, and I’m looking for another 500 percent move from here,” said Moas, the founder of Standpoint Research, a self-described “one-man operation” based in Miami.

Over the summer, Moas put a $5,000 price target on bitcoin for 2018. At the time, the digital currency was trading at just $2,600. Since then, it has surged to $18,168 as of Monday, according to prices tracked on Coinbase.

“The end-game on bitcoin is that it will hit $300,000 to $400,000 in my opinion, and it will be the most valuable currency in the world,” Moas told CNBC’s “The Rundown.”

“I don’t know how much gold there is in the ground, but I know how much bitcoin there is, and in two years there will be 300 million people in the world trying to get their hands on a few million bitcoin.”-Ronnie Moas, founder, Standpoint Research

The analyst’s comments came as the CME, the world’s largest futures exchange, launched its own bitcoin futures contract. The Cboe did the same earlier this month.

His aggressively bullish call — a near-$380,000 dollar appreciation on today’s prices — is based on the idea that since only 21 million bitcoin can ever exist. Increasing demand for the digital currency will naturally drive its price up, he said.

“I don’t know how much gold there is in the ground, but I know how much bitcoin there is, and in two years there will be 300 million people in the world trying to get their hands on a few million bitcoin. This mind-boggling supply and demand imbalance is what is going to drive the price higher,” Moas said.

Not everyone agrees

Moas said he believes his price target is a conservative call, but others disagree.

“We think that it’s risky,” Vasu Menon, vice president of Wealth Management at Singapore-based bank OCBC, told CNBC.

“I don’t see strong fundamental drivers for this bitcoin rally,” he said.

But Moas says the party is just getting started.

“I look at bitcoin the same way I look at Amazon,” he said. “The way to play Amazon for the last 15 years was to buy it, hold it, and add on the dips. That’s exactly the way I think people should be playing bitcoin.”

Written by CNBC

Bitcoin trading starts on the huge CME exchange

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Bitcoin has moved another step towards mainstream investing with the start of trading on the huge Chicago Mercantile Exchange financial futures market.

It comes as the value of the digital currency approached $20,000 on Sunday, before drifting below $19,000.

Last week, Chicago’s CBOE exchange began Bitcoin futures trading – bets on a future price – but CME is far bigger.

On Sunday, the chairman of UBS bank and former Bundesbank head Axel Weber joined the chorus of Bitcoin warnings.

“Bitcoin is not money,” he said in an interview, and urged regulators to intervene.

Meanwhile the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, has called for the issue to be discussed at the G20 summit of major economies in April.

“There is evidently a risk of speculation. We need to consider and examine this and see how… with all the other G20 members we can regulate bitcoin”, Mr Maire told the French news channel LCI.

Bitcoin prices have surged this year: a single bitcoin stood at less than $1,000 in January and hit a record $19,783 on Sunday, according to Coindesk.

Analysts believe CME’s entry into the Bitcoin market will generate more interest in the crypto-currency, possibly pushing the price higher.

The CBOE futures contract is based on a closing price of Bitcoin from the Gemini exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs and brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

However, the CME contract price will be culled from multiple exchanges, potentially offering investors more transparency about the value.

“The CME [futures] contract is based on a broader array of exchanges,” said Matt Osborne, chief investment officer of Altegris, which has $2.5bn in alternative investments.

“So there is a possibility that the CME contract may generate more interest and more volume.

“Volumes are going to slowly increase as professional traders get comfortable with the price action and more importantly get comfortable with the volatility.”

Institutional investors are prohibited from buying Bitcoin directly because the market is unregulated, but they can buy futures contracts.

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What are futures?

Futures are contracts that allow investors to bet on the price of something at a future date.

Investors can now bet on Bitcoin rising or falling in price without actually owning them.

Futures are typically based on the price of a real commodity – such as oil.

One of the controversial aspects of Bitcoin is that some do not see it as a “thing”. Although it is called a currency, it can be argued it is an asset, or commodity, without any actual use or real assessable value.

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CBOE Bitcoin futures surged nearly 20% on their debut last Monday, and more than 4,000 contracts changed hands by the end of the day.

But as interest in the digital currency increases, so do the warnings.

Mr Weber told the Swiss Sunday newspaper that investors should resist jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon, saying the bubble would inevitably burst.

‘Not sustainable’

He said Bitcoin does not fulfil the three main functions of money because, in his view: it is not an effective means of payment; it is not a good measure of value (since prices are not written in Bitcoin); and it is not an effective way to store value, since it is inherently unstable.

UBS advises clients against investing in the virtual currency, he said, because the bank does “not consider it valuable and not sustainable”.

To protect investors who do not take the bank’s advice, “regulators are needed,” Mr Weber said.

However, many people say financial regulation is difficult, if not impossible, because transparency was not part of Bitcoin’s creation.

Bitcoin was set up in 2008 by an individual or group calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto, and was the first digital currency to successfully use cryptography to keep transactions secure and hidden.

Written by BBC News

A State-Issued Coin Could Unleash Untapped Potential For Cryptocurrencies

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In the wild, wild west of cryptocurrency, anything goes and volatility prevails. It is what makes things so thrilling. Yet even the most venturesome of cowboys crave stability from time to time. Without some semblance of it, any initial excitement quickly turns into a lurking fear, a constant looking over the shoulders.

Enter stablecoins, or coins that have value stable in fiat or other real-world assets. One attempt is Tether, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, but it was compromised recently. DAI, an asset backed by a basket of digital currencies, is another try but it is not yet ready for public utility due to its complex structure — even though it has been under development for three years.

As regulation struggles to keep up in the blockchain space, state-issued stablecoins have become an increasingly important means of curbing some of this volatility.

Curbing the volatility

A state-issued stablecoin is an encrypted digital asset whose value is pegged 1:1 to a country’s fiat currency. Such an asset would be able to withstand the unrestrained volatility of cryptocurrencies today. Bitcoin, whose value has been on the inexorable rise, is still subject to large price fluctuations and this unpredictability makes it an unreliable store of value. Tokenizing local currency on the blockchain will fill this gap and restore market confidence, all while providing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies time to mature and stabilize. A stablecoin will also expedite the process of blockchain adoption, since it allows traders, merchants and consumers to complete transactions using a currency that is strong, steady and familiar to them.

A national stablecoin will also enable a government to monitor transactions, thereby curbing tax evasion and money laundering activities.

Is this antithetical to the initial ideals of cryptocurrency and trustless decentralization? Perhaps. But it is one thing to have small, private payments using virtual currencies, and another to eliminate central-bank-issued money altogether and have corporation-scale transactions that are fully anonymous. The social costs of financial crimes would be too high and the global economy as we know it might go into meltdown.

Moreover, even if those issues can be addressed, full decentralization takes time; it is probably naïve to expect a fiat world to transform into a crypto one overnight. State-issued digital dollars would serve as the bridge for the fiat and crypto world, allowing for harmonious co-existence and mutual infrastructural support in the interim. Whether we can transition fully to a new world economy with just cryptocurrency remains to be seen. Whether that is desirable, remains to be fought over.

State efforts to issue digital dollars are already underway: Russia is hoping to launch its very own CryptoRuble; Kyrgyzstan plans to create its own cryptocurrency backed with gold; the Swedish central bank has proposed an e-Krona; and China is arguably ahead of the pack with its tests to build a domestic cryptocurrency that will exist alongside the yuan.

Singapore might have the most to gain

Singapore is also in the race. In 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the launch of Project Ubin, a payment system prototype on the Ethereum platform aimed at enabling local inter-bank transactions using a tokenized Singaporean dollar. Major financial institutions including DBS Bank, UOB Bank, OCBC Bank and technology companies participated in the project. Project Ubin has since concluded two successful phases and launched software prototypes that transfer funds efficiently, protect transaction privacy, and mitigate the risks of a single point of failure. The insights gained from these two phases will pave the way for further development of the digital SGD (e.g. scaling and cross-border payments).

One can only speculate where Singapore currently stands relative to other countries in the scramble to launch a national stablecoin, but the larger point is this: It must emerge as the victor in this race to become the smart financial center it wants to be.

It must channel more resources into creating a roaring blockchain hub, one that will deliver economies of scale and attract even more developer talent, creating a positive feedback loop of growth. Successfully launching its own stablecoin will allow the nation-state to sustain its first-mover advantage, enhance financial security, and develop the infrastructure for a thriving blockchain ecosystem, all of which will lead to greater adoption, fintech dominance and economic prosperity.

Written by Forbes

 

Why The Massive Fears Around Cryptocurrency Will Rise And What’s Next for 2018

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There is no doubt that cryptocurrency is a word that elicits a very strong response these days.  On one hand, Team Crypto heralds the arena as the next big thing as they speak in blue sky terms about the future of this new form of currency that takes digital shape and is beyond restriction. In direct opposition is Team Tradition that warns of the perils of decentralization and fraud around pure digital currency.  Indeed, there was nothing short of a frenzy around trading on the CBOE  bitcoin futures a few days ago, while the day after reports detailed a large digital heist surrounding Ethereum.  Doomsday sentiment around this new area of tech convergence with that of the financial spectrum is plentiful.  Just why is there so much fear around the area of cryptocurrency, and what will 2018 mean for this pioneering area, particularly as we move to a general cashless society that is easily driven and adopted by the massive Millennial demographic?

To answer this question, it’s best to turn to those well-entrenched in the crypto area on a day-to-day basis. The following are real-time insights from a number of crypto executives as they see reasons behind the  fears as well as key predictions for 2018 so that you can be prepared:

Konstantinos Karagiannis, Chief Technology Officer, Security Consulting Practice, BT Americas on why there is so much fear around crypto:

    • There’s fear on two sides: financial and technical.
      • Financial is mostly that it’s a bubble. Every time Bitcoin pulls back in price, someone says it’s a bubble.
      • Technical is that coins will be: lost, stolen/hacked, or just plain frauds (as is the case with some ICOs).

His top three trends in this space for 2018:

  • Fraud. We’re not done with scams like ICOs that are not real, or sites that will get you into a ‘pool’ of some sorts for a set fee.
  • Creative theft in the real world. Someone was just kidnapped to try and get their coins. This could get worse.
  • Hacking, of course. A lot of exchanges still make basic security mistakes. Ethical hacking needed here!

John Monarch, CEO of ShipChain, a blockchain based logistics software company, on why there is so much fear around crypto:

  •  It’s a new asset class that has taken the world by storm since Bitcoin first hit the scene.  The volatility in the market often is what leads to the fear, but the excitement around the tech itself is outpacing that.  I’d say most people actually involved are more happy about the evolution of cryptocurrencies and blockchain than they are fearful.

His top  three major trends in this space for  2018:

  • Regulation.  Governments will jump in and try to process very old securities laws, for instance from 1933 in the United States, and apply it to cryptocurrencies, or create new legal asset classes entirely.  Many people see this as crypto ‘growing up’, though many of the purists don’t like it.  This includes the ICO market, which the SEC recently issued some guidance on as well.
  • Legacy companies entering the scene.  You’ll see an increase in crypto payment acceptance from larger companies. Overstock took a leap and did it.  Many are rumoring and hoping that Amazon and eBay will soon enough as well.  Most of these companies will be happy if they are able to immediately liquidate to fiat currencies, which with higher volume in the market will allow for that.

 

  • Governments and businesses utilizing blockchain.  Aside from just cryptocurrencies, government and businesses will figure out where blockchain has a place in their world and using this technology to better their operations.

 

Jim Angleton, President for Aegis FinServ Corp (which owns BitcoinBankUS and is a manufacturer of ATM-Kiosks offering CryptoCurrencies for qualified investors) on why there is so much fear around crypto:
  • Fear in the CrytpoCurrency space runs with the wind. Essentially the facts speak for themselves. They can be compromised via selected, targeted Cyber Intrusion leading to a hack with malware or ransomware.   In addtion,  your unregistered (not registered with Blockchain) are safer from hack than Registered. Many complaints filed with CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) relate to Consumers indicating their blockchain registered bitcoin, litecoin, dodge coin and others are being hacked. Since there is no insurance or guarantees, investors fear is properly placed as their hard earned funds could be stolen hours, weeks or months after purchase.  Many Cryptocurrencies have not been audited by their regulators (CFPB, IRS, SEC, FTC) and in 2018 they will become examples of financial audits. Many suspect their coin miner or exchanger will be closed or shut down due in part to noncompliance.  Fear also is set when Governments have publicly banned their digital currency thus having zero recourse or refund.  Buyer beware means more to a Cryptocurrency investor than any other type of public domain investment.

His top three trends in this space  for 2018:

  • We see Blockchain becoming more diverse and adaptive offering new methods of privacy, security, ID security, Metrics to Secure online service and more.
  •  108 Countries are experimenting with issuing digital currencies in favor of eliminating their paper currency and exiting dependence upon the U$D. We believe 20+ Countries will begin Beta Testing towards their goals.
  •  Bitcoin will see less “buyers’ and more sellers. Once this occurs the price per coin will reduce and or it could be classified as a ponzi style investment. The flip side is bitcoin continues along with their ETF Investment theories and become priced much higher thus leaving many individuals to lose interest.
Peter Loop, a blockchain expert with IT services and consulting company Infosys decided to get right to his top three trends in this space for 2018:
  • With the rise of ransomware attacks demanding cryptocurrencies, blockchain and IoT cybersecurity will emerge with defenses based on cryptocurrency technologies.
  •  Blockchain will drive digital transformation of the enterprise specifically with automation, digitization of processes, tokenization of physical assets and activities and codification of complex contracts.
  • JPMorgan will open a cryptocurrency trading desk, despite Jamie Dimon’s viral ‘fire in a second’ comments to any JPMorgan trader who was trading bitcoin.

In short, 2018 will be a rollercoaster ride when it comes to this new area of tech.  Below is a quick infographic from Coinlist to help you stay a bit ahead of the curve. But in such a wild west scenario as cryptocurrency, there will be new developments in the game probably before you reach the end of the image below.  Stay tuned for much, much more in the year ahead.

Written by Forbes

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