Top Crypto News – 21/12/2017

ICE Exchange Unit Seeks to List Bitcoin Futures ETFs

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NYSE Arca has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed rule change that would allow for the listing of two exchange-traded funds tied to bitcoin futures.

Public records dated Dec. 19 show that the company wants to list two ETFs – the ProShares Bitcoin ETF and the ProShares Short ETF – that were originally proposed in September. According to the document, NYSE Arca, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), submitted the proposed rule change on Dec. 4.

As indicated in the filing, the ETFs would track two recently launched futures contracts, released in the past week and a half by Cboe and, later, CME Group.

“According to the Registration Statement, the investment objective of the Fund is to seek results (before fees and expenses) that, both for a single day and over time, correspond to the performance of lead month bitcoin futures contracts listed and traded on either [Cboe] or [CME],” the company wrote.

The filing is a notable one, given the recent momentum behind financial products connected to the cryptocurrency market. While the past few months have seen several filings with the SEC related to cryptocurrency-tied ETFs, NYSE Arca’s submission suggests that at least some of those proposed products are entering the agency’s formal approval stage.

NYSE Arca previously sought to list an ETF from startup SolidX, but the SEC denied the proposed rule change in March of this year.

That move closely followed the rejection of another ETF proposed by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, though in that case, the SEC has since begun a review of that decision following a request from the Bats BZX exchange.

Written by CoinDesk

Bitcoin Is Not a Systemic Financial Risk, Say Top Economists

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A new survey finds that nearly 75% of a pool of top European economists do not think cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are, or will become, a threat to the stability of the financial system.

The latest survey from the London-based Center for Macroeconomics didn’t ask whether the Bitcoin or cryptocurrency markets were in a bubble, though many economists and commentators believe they are. Instead, the survey asked whether they were a systemic risk, and whether they should be more tightly regulated.

73% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea that cryptocurrencies threaten the financial system, or could become a threat in the “next couple of years.” That rebuts surprising claims by a Deutsche Bank economist earlier this month that a Bitcoin crash was a major risk for markets in 2018.

Of the nearly fifty respondents, including researchers at universities including Oxford and University College London, most downplayed the risk simply based on the total market value of cryptocurrencies, which all together are still worth only about $600 billion, or about 20% more than Facebook.

Some respondents also pointed out that cryptocurrency holdings aren’t currently ‘systemically interconnected,’ reducing the possibility of the sort of contagion triggered by mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis.

But cryptocurrency is actually designed to ‘threaten the financial system,’ though in a quite different sense: by undermining the dominance of institutions like central banks. Jurgen von Hagen of Bonn University downplayed the risk of this sort of disruption, saying that “cryptocurrencies would become attractive if central bank issued currencies became very unstable. [Cryptocurrencies’] widespread use in the financial system would be a result, not a cause, of instability.”

On the survey’s second question, the economists were slightly less united – 61% agreed or strongly agreed that cryptocurrencies should be more strongly regulated, with most focusing on the need to crack down on their use in tax evasion. Cryptocurrency regulation has been slow to arrive, though some Asian countries have moved to rein them in, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has begun cracking down on so-called Initial Coin Offerings.

Written by Fortune

The World’s First Bitcoin Lottery is Offering a 1,000 BTC Bounty

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Anyone kicking themselves for not buying bitcoin sooner now has a novel way to make amends. One of Ireland’s best known lottery operators is offering a bitcoin bounty worth millions of dollars. In exchange for picking six numbers, entrants – who aren’t limited to the Republic of Ireland – will be entered into a draw whose current jackpot stands at 1,025 BTC. The odds of success are slender to say the least, but Lottoland are confident that plenty of bettors will be willing to take their chances.

Play With Fiat, Win With Bitcoin

Lottoland, established in 2013, is one of Ireland’s best known lottery operators. It’s courted controversy in the past for allowing punters to bet on lotteries held in other jurisdictions such as America’s Powerball and Europe’s Mega Millions. Nevertheless, the company has gained a sizeable market share in the Emerald Isle, helped by its savvy marketing tactics.

In launching its own bitcoin lottery, Lottoland is cashing in on the craze for cryptocurrencies that is sweeping the world, with bitcoin at the head of that charge. “The world is going Bitcoin bonkers and so are we!” proclaims the Lottoland website. A daily draw, held at 8:30pm GMT Monday to Saturday, has a 1,000+ BTC jackpot up for grabs. Players will need to match all six numbers on their card to scoop the USD $18 million bonanza, although smaller payouts can also be won. One in seven bets will win a prize of some kind.

The World’s First Bitcoin Lottery is Offering a 1,000 BTC Bounty

Nocoiner No More

Players who find themselves in the enviable position of winning will be faced with a conundrum: to accept their prize in fiat currency or to have the sum sent as cryptocurrency directly to their bitcoin wallet. With annual revenue of around $355m, more than 300 employees and around six million customers – many of whom hail from outside of Ireland – Lottoland have been enjoying great success.

“Bitcoin is a worldwide phenomenon, and Lottoland is giving our customers the opportunity to get involved in the big league,” gushed the company’s Irish country manager Graham Ross.

Bitcoin and betting have long been bedfellows, with hi/lo gambling site Satoshidice one of the first applications for spending the cryptocurrency. In more recent years, bitcoin has gained traction at a number of ‘provably fair’ cryptocurrency casinos, and many more online casinos and sportsbooks have added BTC as a deposit and withdrawal option.

Whether any victor, suddenly faced with a multi-million dollar windfall, will be brave enough to take it all in bitcoin remains to be seen. With even one bitcoin priced beyond the means of most investors today, Lottoland’s offer is sure to attract interest. The odds might be slim, but the prospect of going from nocoiner to bitcoin thousandaire in an instant is certainly enticing.

 Written by Bitcoin.com

 

Early Bitcoin Investor Says Bitcoin Could Drop 50% Before Going Higher

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This past weekend, Dash surpassed $1,000 for the first time, and today the digital currency reached – and passed – $1,500 per coin. The last few months have been particularly kind to Dash; after a two month period of consolidation, Dash began to rise rapidly in early November.

November 6 saw Dash lift off from a base of $274; just six weeks later, the currency reached a high of $1,570 today. Dash began 2017 at a price of only $11.26, bringing about 139-fold gains so far this year.

Software update and bigger blocks

On November 8, Dash released its anticipated software upgrade – Dash 12.2. The new version of Dash included a number of fixes, code to increase the blocksize to 2 MB and other changes that will be needed for the project’s major Evolution release in 2018. Core developer UdjinM6 wrote of the 12.2 update:

The most notable changes are:

  • DIP0001 implementation (which is a 2MB block upgrade);
  • Transaction fee reduction 10x (activates via DIP0001 activation);
  • InstantSend vulnerability fix (activates via DIP0001 lock in);
  • PrivateSend improvement which should allow user to have mixed funds available much faster;
  • Various RPC changes;
  • Lots of backports from Bitcoin Core and refactoring of our own legacy code which should improve performance and make code more reliable and easier to review;
  • Experimental HD wallet with BIP39/BIP44 support.

The update also introduced the code for bigger blocks which had already been approved by a vote of masternode owners in 2016. Dash’s blocksize increase activated a month later, on December 5.

The obvious question to ask is “why?” Even in the current manic market, a 575% gain in six weeks is significant. There are a few possibilities for Dash’s sudden and rapid rise: big blocks, integrations and Dash Evolution.

Bigger blocks and Bitcoin Cash

A sizeable minority of the Bitcoin community supported scaling on-chain through the use of bigger blocks. While most of them migrated to Bitcoin Cash following the cancellation of SegWit2x, some big blockers may have hedged their bets by purchasing Dash. Bitcoin Cash has performed far better than most people ever expected, surpassing $4,000 today following Coinbase’s addition of the currency.

It’s possible that Dash is benefiting from the renewed attention on Bitcoin Cash, and by extension, on-chain scaling and bigger blocks. Dash’s 2 MB upgrade was just a start, with 5 MB blocks planned for the not-too-distant-future. Eventually, Dash plans to increase its blocksize to hundreds of megabytes.

Cofounder Evan Duffield points out that because masternodes earn 45% of the block reward owners of these nodes will be able to upgrade to custom hardware housed in high-speed colocation centers. At $1,500 per Dash, masternode owners currently earn $10,500 per month, per masternode.

Increasing integrations

As Cointelegraph covered in detail earlier, Dash has announced a number of integrations and partnerships this year. The currency has partnered with Alt36 to integrate Dash payments into a point-of-sale system for the legal marijuana industry. Dash has also been added to several high-profile exchanges, including Kraken, Bitfinex, Huobi and others. Arizona State University has partnered with Dash to start a Blockchain Research Lab to look into key questions such as mining decentralization. Dash has also integrated with several multi-currency crypto debit cards, allowing owners of the currency to use it at 40 mln retailers worldwide.

At Dash Conference 2017, Dash Core CEO Ryan Taylor hinted at more to come, including:

  • Global brokerage service with free bank transfers
  • New exchange integrations
  • Dash will have access to 20 new fiat currencies
  • An additional ATM manufacturer
  • Integration with several large retailers
  • A healthcare integration

Dash Evolution

Dash’s developers have been working on a major upgrade for over a year, and updates like 12.2 (and 12.1 that came earlier this year) are laying the foundation. Dash’s team wants to make cryptocurrency so easy “even your grandmother can do it.” They argue that digital currencies are too difficult to buy, to store, to transfer, to sell and to use.

Taylor writes:

“Think of Evolution as online payments, a system similar to PayPal or Venmo, but completely decentralized, so that a user is always in control of his or her own money.”

Dash Evolution will be a massive undertaking and it remains to be seen whether the team can truly replicate the ease and convenience of PayPal in a decentralized form. If they do manage to simplify the famously complicated cryptocurrency world to that extent, the price will almost certainly skyrocket. Investors may be seeing Dash’s recent development work as promising for 2018’s planned release of Evolution and buying the currency in expectation of gains.

Follow the money

Then again, maybe the answer is even simpler: Dash has a gargantuan monthly budget. The network reserves 10% of the block reward each month for projects which are approved by the masternode owners. There are no restrictions on what proposals qualify – they just have to advance the ecosystem in some way. At present prices, Dash’s annual budget is $124 mln per year.

Along with community-submitted proposals, Dash’s development team is funded entirely from the monthly budget. With that much money, Dash can afford to hire dozens of the best developers in the industry. In fact, Dash presently has 50 paid team members earning a total of $300,000 per month. Other digital currencies, such as Ethereum, have large endowments, but none have such a large recurring source of revenue.

Bitcoin’s development is entirely funded through donations, so when a group of Bitcoin holders suggested a donation scheme to fund a Superbowl ad, Duffield couldn’t resist. He commented:

“Dash can afford this.”

According to Forbes, a 30-second Superbowl ad costs $5 mln. That’s half of Dash’s $10.3 mln monthly budget. Nobody could possibly predict whether further price increases are coming, but the effects of a $124 mln annual budget should not be underestimated.

Written by CoinTelegraph

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