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Property Investors from Wenzhou, Zhejing Province, which has a reputation as the home of China’s savviest businessmen, are dabbling in the cryptocurrency market for new investment opportunities. Instead of holding Bitcoin, their focus is on forked coins. 

“Bitcoin Will Evolve into a Capital Game”
In 2008, a Wenzhou merchant surnamed Chen set up a real-estate speculation squad with twenty of his friends. They bought houses on the same street, negotiated on the sale price, and went to the same agent to sell houses. If anybody sold at a lower price, Chen would kick him out of the squad. Now as housing prices decline month-over-month due to the central government’s tightened property policy, Chen has sold off his houses and used the profits to invest cryptocurrencies.

He started with Bitcoin, but only focuses on forked coins. “Bitcoin will evolve into a capital game for rich bankers and financiers,” Chen explained. “I don’t have enough capital to compete with them, but the bitcoin price will keep rising and simultaneously the price of forked coins will increase.” He learned the concept of a fork when he realized he had received some free Bitcoin Cash in his account this August.

Bitcoin users usually get free forked coins at a rate of 1:1 like BCH and BTG, but some forked coins are distributed at a rate of 1:10 like BCD, even 1:10000 like Bitcoin X. Chen believes that this is the most direct way for forked coins to attract users. Normally, when a new coin is created, it is hard for it to gain brand recognition. These forked coins, however, don’t have to work their way up like other coins did, because they have the same userbase as Bitcoin.

Are Forked Coins Sustainable?
“Forked coins were worthless at first, but as trading volumes soars, price rises and falls, they are attracting more attention,” said Chen. Over the past three months, he has first invested in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), then Bitcoin Gold (BTG) and now Bitcoin Diamond (BCD). He bought BCH when the price was 2000 rmb ($300) and sold out when it hit 19000 rmb ($2800). He is looking for the next BCH.
Chen believes that four factors matter most for a forked coin to sustain.
First, the team. Who is behind the project? Do they have the ability to develop? Second, the price. If the price is already too high, then there is no room to rise further. Third, the user base. Is it listed on multiple exchanges? A coin must go global to rein in political risks. Fourth, patience. Forked coins will gain more traction, but it takes time.
Chen is now inviting public figures and big whales to join his crypto squad. He sees his squad as a small venture capital fund. As long as a project initiator has resources and welcomes small investment, he would get involved.
His investment portfolio is 10% BTC, 40-50% forked coins and 10% ICO tokens. He explained that his investment philosophy is to invest in the unknowns. “The world is changing so fast, it’s easy to miss an opportunity before you realize it. Keep an eye on what you don’t understand and that’s where opportunities lie.”

Do you see great potential in forked coins? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 




alfwesh22

It’s now possible to buy real gold with digital gold, should customers desire, according to an announcement from APMEX.

According to the post, the company has integrated with BitPay merchant services and is now able to receive digital currencies, with buyers receiving the 4% discount usually reserved only for cash payments. The post continues by explaining why Bitcoin is a good integration for the company, saying:
"Buyers can make purchases with Bitcoin at any time, from nearly anywhere, just as with most credit cards. International orders become significantly easier as cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is accepted worldwide without conversion. Also, many customers prefer Bitcoin payment because of the anonymity offered by a Blockchain purchase.”
Gold or digital gold
While the site offers crypto holders the chance to diversify into precious metals, many in the crypto world have already seen the price of Bitcoin investments explode over the past weeks. With the price now firmly stabilizing over $15,000, many investors expect still further growth, which may keep them from making the trade.




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Ameer Rosic is a serial entrepreneur, Blockchain evangelist and the founder of BlockGeeks, an online education platform. He also is a YouTube personality, crypto-expert and jawline enthusiast.

Ameer Rosic sat down with Stephen Chase, Cointelegraph's VP for Strategic Partnerships, after moderating this year’s BlockShow Asia to talk about his journey from getting kicked out of high school to becoming one of the most comprehensible voices in the world of cryptocurrency, the trials and tribulations of creating an education platform and the undeniable reality of Bitcoin.

CT: How did you manage to find yourself here talking with us about such a new industry?
AR: I stumbled upon this industry about three years ago. I had an underwear company in Hong Kong and I sold my shares for that. Then, my journey started off with the exact same questions like, where can I learn more about this stuff? I understand technology. I am not a developer, but I do understand technology and the most common answer I got was 'go to Reddit' and I forking hate forums, I'm not going to Reddit, I am not spending hours. I wanted someone to just tell me, right? Time is the most important thing to me. I want to conserve my time. So I realized, nothing exists and I've got to create my own and that is where BlockGeeks came from. And then, I love video; I love YouTubing. I've been doing that for about four-five years and I just do it for fun. People think that it's a professional thing, but it is far from it. I do it for fun. There is no business behind it. Whatever I think about, I do it.
Education Platforms With Dmitry Buterin: A Love Story


CT: Not monetarily, but deep in your heart what is the best thing that has happened to you personally since you started this series?
AR: This dates before I started doing Blockchain. For me, I'm a big proponent of education. I never went to high school, I got kicked out. I started doing business when I was fifteen years old. I'm 32 right now, so I've had many.
I love the fact that no matter where you are in the world, with Internet connection and a hand-held device you can get an education for free. For me, my biggest love and what illuminates my heart is the fact that people, out of their own volition, without any authority, without anybody telling them to learn, they willfully learn by themselves.

CT: Have you and Vitalik thought about building a school or educational platform for cryptocurrency?
AR: That's what BlockGeeks is about. I live in Toronto and we have a really robust Blockchain community in Toronto. We have a huge Bitcoin crew over here, we have hyper ledger, and I am lucky enough to know Vitalik (Buterin)'s father Dmitry who is my business partner at BlockGeeks. We are the world's largest online community for training developers. We have 3.5 mln visitors a month and 6,000 students right now. On BlockGeeks we have three full-time Blockchain engineers who are creating curriculum and we're just moving forward.

The Blockchain Educators: Challenging the Future
CT: What is the biggest challenge you've come across with the online training?
AR: I'll tell you exactly what that is. Number one, finding teachers that can teach. And number two, finding teachers that actually know about this space. That was mission impossible. We didn't find anybody. So, what we found was very-very smart engineers that have a love of teaching and we trained them in Blockchain. It's all video based, so we have videographers and they spend every single day making very high-quality courses; study at your own pace, bit by bit.

CT: Have you thought about incorporating a coin or a token of sorts into this educational platform?
AR: Not in BlockGeeks. We are launching a Bounty soon to incentivize students to put their knowledge to good use, but we don't plan to tokenize. For me, I see no need to tokenize BlockGeeks, I see no need to Blockchain it. It actually takes away from the benefit of my students. The reality of Blockchain is that it's slow, it's clunky. I need hundreds of transactions per second and if you're an ERC20 token, you can only do about 70 transactions per second. That's not to say that other platforms can't come around, but the reality is that the technology is not capable, yet. We have a couple of years for this reality to actually catch up with us.

CT: Who would you ideally like to work with on your platform to better serve your consumer?
AR: On our platform, ideally we're doing something right now like that. We're doing scholarships, so we are trying to work with the biggest companies in the Blockchain space like L4V or Venture Fund. We are launching a huge scholarship for people who can't afford to it. Even though we are trying to make it as affordable as possible--it's only fifty dollars a month for all access to our courses, full Q&A, support from our teachers. We try to make it as affordable as possible, so you tell us why you can't afford it and tell us what you want to learn and you're in.

Expanding the Bitcoin Family: Take the Red Pill
CT: What do you want the world to know about how they should look at cryptocurrency and how they should look at Blockchain?
AR: My advice for people is that no matter who you are whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're working nine to five, whether you're a mother, whether you're a father, whether you are somebody in the bureaucratic government. Take your time to just understand one aspect that you care about. Most people try to understand everything, they try to become an expert. I tell people 'try to understand one thing; understand that Bitcoin--if you could even just understand--that Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a cryptocurrency has these features,' that is a huge step forward. Then with that knowledge, you can go down the rabbit hole.

The biggest problem in the tech world: show me the code!
CT: How can we create a social cause pool, almost off of your scholarship idea, with all of these companies that are involved with Blockchain technology?
AR: Funny you should say that what I want to do and I have to figure out the reputation system and we're working on this, we want to build our own LMS. At the end of the day, I'm a fintech company and I know many companies. Regardless of the Blockchain space; the biggest problem in the tech space is a lack of really good developers. A certification doesn't mean you're a good dev, nothing--I mean, congratulations you have a forking PDF. I want to see your GitHub portfolio, I want to see how many questions you answer on stack exchange. I actually want to see the work that you've put in. Just show me, show me you're a developer, show me the code.

I was thinking of this a while ago. Companies need really good developers. Imagine we need to go to Africa, I am a firm believer that I don't need to be there. I shouldn't be there. I should just give you, who is there, the opportunity to do your best, that's it. You don't have the same opportunity as I do and I get that, but I should not forking be there. I don't want to be in your way, there is no reason for me to be in Africa. I just need to give you the opportunity. So, imagine we have a system where, let's say I'm in Kenya and I really want to do coding and I have very basic skills of coding. I can go to somewhere maybe like BlockGeeks where I put my portfolio, my profile saying 'listen, I want to learn about this, I don't have the financial means, and I'm willing to go through a process to get hired ‘cause that's what I want.'




alfwesh22

Bitcoin has sustained its phenomenal rise and already surpassed the $18,000 per token level as of Dec. 7, 2017.

Because of this, the leading virtual currency’s market capitalization (cap) has also swelled to a new record high of $305 bln, surpassing that of payments technology firm Visa, whose market cap is currently pegged at $254.74 bln.

In his tweet, Pension Partners Director of Research Charlie Bilello said that Bitcoin’s cap has already surpassed that of Visa’s. Visa is currently the biggest electronic payment processor in the world with a revenue of $8.9 tln and 141 bln transactions annually.

 Charlie Bilello @charliebilello
Bitcoin's market cap just passed Visa's.

Yes, that Visa:
Largest electronic payment processor in the world
$8.9 trillion in 141 billion transactions per year
Across 160 currencies and over 200 countries$BTC.X $V
    Bitcoin’s continuous growth and adoption
    With its continuous phenomenal rise in the past few days, a growing number of people are paying increased attention to Bitcoin. Due to its constantly changing price increases, it has already become hard to keep monitoring the price of the cryptocurrency. It seems that in just a split second, the price crashes through another milestone to post yet another record high.

    Majority of the players in the industry also agree that the upward trajectory of Bitcoin’s price will continue in the near future.

    Because of Bitcoin’s phenomenal growth, major players in the financial industry are slowly turning to the virtual currency to benefit from its popularity. Among the players are the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the CME Group, which already announced that they will be separately launching Bitcoin futures products within the next few weeks. These moves are expected to further propel Bitcoin’s price to new record highs.




    alfwesh22

    AngelList Co-founder Naval Ravikant has claimed that Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies have what it takes to solve the money problems of different kinds of people around the world. He added that the general public is looking for potential alternative places to store their money and watch it grow.

    In his presentation at the Token Summit II that was held in San Francisco, California on Dec. 5, 2017, he talked about the phenomenal trading performance of the leading digital currency Bitcoin and the other virtual currencies and the reason behind it. He claimed that Bitcoin’s staggering upward movements are driven by the people’s hunger for an alternative investment that meets their needs.

    He claimed that the fear by some market observers that Bitcoin is nearing ‘bubble’ territory is unfounded. However, he has not ruled it out entirely, but he claimed that the fiat currencies are also a bubble that never pops.
    "Money is a bubble that never pops. It's a consensus hallucination."
    Other highlights of Ravikant’s speech
    Ravikant also told attendees at the event that some of the things in the digital currency industry have been overhyped. He cited as an example the very high regard shown by industry players in the concept of decentralization. He also claimed that there are lots of virtual tokens that are being traded at very high values but don’t deserve it. He, however, did not name any tokens.
    "One indicator we are in a very frothy environment is we have a lot of tokens trading at very high values that are junk. Right now, I think the market isn't distinguishing quality."
    In his presentation, the AngelList co-founder also cited some virtual currencies that he is interested in and the reasons why he likes them. Among them are Bitcoin, for storing value, Zcash, for an easy transaction, Basecoin, for a stable unit of account, and Tezzies, for access to the Tezos smart contract platform.




    alfwesh22

    Bulgarians have lost all of their bitcoin exchanges overnight thanks to a sudden banking crackdown. In a well-orchestrated operation, Bulgaria’s major banks swung into action and blocked the accounts of multiple cryptocurrency exchanges.

    Bulgarian Bankers Battle with Bitcoin
    Cryptocurrency exchanges, like their crypto-loving customers, have an achilles heel: a reliance on legacy banking. Moving bitcoin around is easy. Moving fiat currency in and out of an exchange is often much harder – especially when you’ve just had your banking facilities withdrawn. On December 7, the blanket ban was reported on a Bulgarian bitcoin forum, whose moderator wrote:
    We expected this to happen, but not so fast. It seems that the panic of the financial system is quite large.
    Bulgaria, like its neighboring Balkan states, is a tech-savvy country that has embraced bitcoin and the financial freedom it brings. Its legacy banking system seems to have acted against the exchanges out of resentment and self-interest rather than due to orders issued at state level. In the same forum thread, the CEO of one of the affected changes replied:
    UBB [bank] informed us a few days ago that they were closing down our accounts for trading in cryptocurrencies. After a conversation with one of the bank’s bosses, I realized it was the decision of the bank’s owner, it was not for regulation.
    As it stands, all of the country’s exchanges are either offline or severely restricted in terms of the service they can offer, with many displaying notices explaining the situation they find themselves in. Affected exchanges include Cix.bg, Crypto.bg, and Cryptobank.bg. The latter is still trading, but can only accept funds via ewallet.
    Bankers Have Shut Down All of Bulgaria’s Bitcoin Exchanges
    It Never Rains, It Pours
    Cryptobank’s shutdown is a double blow for customers of the exchange, coming in the same week that Cryptobank.bg suspended ethereum trading due to “the Cryptokitties game that blocks transactions and passes quickly to send four times as much gas”. For Bulgarians seeking to stock up on cryptocurrency,Localbitcoins.com displays a limited number of sellers based in Sofia and Plovdiv, and there is still access to exchanges in neighboring countries via sites such as Bitcoin.de.

    Bankers Have Shut Down All of Bulgaria’s Bitcoin Exchanges  

    Bulgaria is by no means the only country to be affected by banking clampdowns on bitcoin. The stench of fear from the financial world’s old guard is almost palpable, as bitcoin’s inexorable rise heralds the shape of money to come.

    The Eastern European country’s banks have given cryptocurrency exchanges short shrift, but it’s likely they’ll be more accommodating when their government come to cash out its bitcoin gains. In May, a series of raids by Bulgarian law enforcement resulted in the seizure of over 213,000 BTC. Today, that haul has swollen to be worth $3.5 billion – or 6% of Bulgaria’s GDP.

    Do you think banks should have the right to cut off bitcoin exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.




    alfwesh22

    It seems almost too much to imagine, but the market cap for Bitcoin alone has now reached over $300 bln. The combined market cap for all cryptocurrencies is quickly closing in on $450 bln.

    Just two weeks ago the market cap for all cryptocurrencies crossed the $300 bln mark, with Bitcoin holding strong dominance of that market. However, since that time, Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has left the rest of the market in the dust, with its own market cap nearly doubling in the past two weeks.

    Bitcoin Price

    Factors
    The price rise to over $17,000 has been the cause of the market cap growth, as substantial amounts of money have entered the marketplace. The prospect of Bitcoin entering futures markets both in the US and abroad has provided a reason for institutional investors to participate in a significant way.

    While cries of a bubble continue to be made public, others such as investor Mark Yusko suggest that the price has only just begun to rise. Bitcoin’s continuous front-page coverage in mainstream media only helps. Even if the coverage is negative, it gets people thinking about the currency.

    At press time, Bitcoin was trading on GDAX at $17,340.




    alfwesh22


    Keith Ellison’s first hint that bitcoin was poised for a breakthrough was over the summer when a friend planning her nuptials sent an unusual text.

    “She wanted to know whether to accept the wedding band’s offer of a discount in exchange for bitcoin,” said Ellison, a Manhattan Beach investment analyst, who advised the friend to decline.

    Given the way bitcoin’s value was rising, there was no guarantee the friend would be able to afford the band when the bill eventually arrived.

    “A lot of people are getting caught up in the mania,” said Ellison, who bought one-third of a bitcoin in July for about $1,000 and has seen it appreciate more than five-fold. “Even random wedding bands are encouraging people that likely know nothing about bitcoin to pay in bitcoin.”

    Once the domain of technologists, libertarians and criminals, bitcoin has crossed into the mainstream, attracting interest from all walks of life with its soaring returns — while reviving memories of the dot-com bubble of the turn of the last century.

    Bitcoin, a form of digital money unadministered by a central authority, shot past $16,000 apiece Thursday, up from about $1,000 at the start of the year. It was going for about $220 in early 2015 — meaning anyone who invested a mere $13,000 in bitcoin back then would now own $1 million in the emerging currency.

    Returns like that are why investors are flocking to bitcoin to hold like stores of gold rather than use for frequent payments.

    Others are getting into the business of mining bitcoin, the digital equivalent of printing cash in which a group of computers solves encrypted math problems to verify bitcoin transactions. The energy-intensive process poses a problem for bitcoin’s ability to scale up and handle massive numbers of transactions, but not serious enough to discourage the cryptocurrency’s supporters.

    “There’s a lot of excitement that this thing we all believed in and thought could be a game changer is now entering the mainstream,” said Brian Klein, a partner at the Century City law firm Baker Marquart, who started evangelizing the potential of cryptocurrencies as early as 2013. “If it really succeeds, there’s no reason to think the price couldn’t rise to $1 million in 10 years. It got to $15,000 much quicker than anyone anticipated.”

    Klein admits there’s also a chance bitcoin could nosedive — it’s been prone to wild swings, including on Thursday. But as an attorney who represents many early adopters of the cryptocurrency, he expects bitcoin to stabilize after some growing pains.

    Klein’s expertise has made him a favorite among friends and acquaintances looking to pick his brain about bitcoin. Some previously skeptical friends have told him they regret not investing in bitcoin earlier. One colleague even reported that his house cleaner had inquired about buying bitcoin.

    The frenzy has tested bitcoin exchanges struggling to keep pace with demand and prices. Coinbase, the world’s biggest exchange, said Thursday users were struggling to log in and that the platform was running slow due to record traffic.

    Interest is expected to grow even more after bitcoin futures contracts will become available for trading later this month. That’s been met with some criticism by brokerages who say regulators haven’t fully assessed the risks of the new products.

    “This is irrational exuberance,” Royal Bank of Scotland Chairman Howard John Davies told Bloomberg Thursday. “This is a very, very unusual market that shows we’re not in a normal two-way trading market.”

    The burgeoning cryptocurrency industry is starting to draw scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. On Monday, the agency’s new cyber unit froze the assets of Canadian cryptocurrency firm PlexCorps during its initial coin offering — a sort of IPO for cryptocurrencies. The SEC’s complaint alleges PlexCorps falsely promised a 13-fold profit for investors in less than a month.

    In November, the SEC warned celebrities not to promote initial coin offerings on social media. Stars such as DJ Khaled and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. have taken to social networks to boost some cryptocurrencies.
    The novelty of bitcoin — and the unseen legal consequences — hasn’t spooked major companies from accepting the tender.

    Last month, accounting firm PwC said it had started accepting bitcoin as payment for services. That follows a slew of other companies that had embraced the currency earlier.

    E-commerce firm Overstock.com Inc. began accepting bitcoin as a form of payment in January 2014. The Salt Lake City company’s chief executive, Patrick Byrne, said at the time that the cryptocurrency appealed to him because it was free of government meddling. The company has since begun accepting other cryptocurrencies such as ethereum.

    Expedia.com accepts bitcoin for hotel bookings, and technology giant Microsoft allows customers to trade in bitcoin at current market value and add it to their Microsoft account to be used to buy things in the Windows Store or stores that have Xbox games, Xbox music or Xbox video. Even the Sacramento Kings accept bitcoin to pay for team merchandise and tickets.

    The clamor and skyrocketing values for bitcoin have naturally sparked fears of a bubble akin to the one marred by pseudo-internet companies nearly two decades ago.

    Bitcoin advocates argue that crash was short-lived and that the internet remains indispensable — along with companies such as Amazon that survived the crash to become one of the biggest companies in the world.
    For some new adherents, the lure of potential fortune far outweighs the risks.

    Jeanne Macbeth, an Uber driver and production manager at a Christian missionary magazine, said she would soon leave Southern California for Washington state to go to school. She’s hoping to work with a former Tesla employee who quit the electric car company to mine cryptocurrencies full-time.

    She noted that electricity prices were lower in Washington, making it far cheaper to mine bitcoin.
    “It does seem to be a moment to get in on the ground floor,” said Macbeth, 32. “It’s kind of like investing in Amazon in 1999.”
    --
    The language of digital money
    Cryptocurrency: Any digital money that is created, controlled and transferred using computer encryption. Most popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum, are not issued or backed by a central government, though some governments have tinkered with creating digital currencies of their own.

    Bitcoin: The original cryptocurrency, created in 2009. The currency traded for a few hundred dollars per coin for most of the past few years but has seen its price skyrocket this year, climbing from about $1,000 to upwards of $15,000 — with a few deep plummets along the way.

    Blockchain: An accounting tool that underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and that is thought to have numerous applications outside of cryptocurrency, such as logging stock and real estate transactions. The blockchain is a "distributed ledger" — that is, a transaction record that is not managed by a central government or bank but run publicly online.

    ICO: An initial coin offering, or the sale of a new cryptocurrency to investors. Sometimes these offerings are structured as sales of coins that can later be used to purchase goods or services from the company issuing the coins. But ICOs to this point have been largely unregulated and investors may find the "coins" they purchase are worthless.





    alfwesh22

    Bitcoin has breached the $US 16,000 mark, extending the digital currency's record-breaking surge.

    According to Coindesk.com, Bitcoin reached $US16,050.83, having soared over 50 percent in a week.

    The new high comes days before the launch of Bitcoin futures on two exchanges, including the world's largest futures exchange, CME.

    Spread betting firm CMC Markets said the rise had all the symptoms of a bubble market, warning "there is no way to know when the bubble will burst".

    Critics have said Bitcoin is going through a bubble similar to the dotcom boom, whereas others say it is rising in price because it is crossing into the financial mainstream.

    Financial regulators have taken a range of views on the status of digital currencies and their risks.
    The UK's Financial Conduct Authority warned investors in September they could lose all their money if they buy digital currencies issued by firms, known as "initial coin offerings".

    But last week a US regulator agreed to let two traditional exchanges, CME Group and CBOE Global Markets, begin trading in Bitcoin-related financial contracts.

    The announcement from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that it will allow investors to buy and sell "future" contracts in bitcoins - an agreement to buy the crypto-currency, for example, in three months time at a certain price - was seen as a watershed moment for Bitcoin.

    Cambridge Global Payments director of global product and market strategy Karl Schamotta said that move was behind the latest rally: "The perception in households around the world that the CME and the CBOE are providing legitimacy to Bitcoin is really what is driving the massive rally here."

    But Leonhard Weese, president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, said the rise in Bitcoin's value was "mostly motivated by fear of missing out and greed".

    Bitcoins are created through a complex computer process known as mining, and then monitored by a network of computers across the world.

    A steady stream of about 3600 new bitcoins are created a day - with about 16.5 million now in circulation from a maximum limit of 21 million.

    What is Bitcoin?
    There are two key traits of Bitcoin: it is digital and it is seen as an alternative currency.
    Unlike the notes or coins in your pocket, it largely exists online.

    Secondly, Bitcoin is not printed by governments or traditional banks.
    A small but growing number of businesses, including Expedia and Microsoft, accept bitcoins - which work like virtual tokens.

    However, the vast majority of users now buy and sell them as a financial investment.




    alfwesh22

    A crackdown on organized crime by Bulgarian law enforcement in May resulted in the seizure of more than 200,000 bitcoins – an amount worth more than $3 billion at today's prices.

    According to a press release dated May 19 from the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), a regional organization comprised of 12 member states including Bulgaria, a total of 213,519 bitcoins were seized that month. Twenty-three Bulgarian nationals were arrested during the operation, and officials said at the time that the arrests and subsequent asset seizures followed an investigation into an alleged customs fraud scam.

    As of press time, the amount seized is worth approximately $3.3 billion, at a price of roughly $15,600, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

    Authorities commented at the time:
    "The offenders choose the bitcoin way of investing/saving the money, because it is rather difficult to be tracked and followed."
    They further alleged that those involved developed a virus which was used to hack into Bulgarian Customs computers, allowing the perpetrators to skip paying fees when transporting goods into the country. The virus was uploaded to government machines by bribed agents, according to the release. operation.

    In all, the alleged perpetrators avoided paying some 10 million leva (Bulgaria's national currency), worth roughly $6 million.

    What remains unclear at this time is what the Bulgarian government is doing with the seized bitcoins.
    According to a report from Bivol.bg, the Bulgarian government declined to release further details, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

    Notable in the release is a notation that, at the time it was published, a single bitcoin was worth $2,354. The release stated that the total seized value was $500 million – less than one-sixth of its current value today.




    alfwesh22

    RUSSIA’S recession had taken its toll on Yuri Dromashko, an entrepreneur from the Siberian city of Irkutsk. His property investments had floundered. A karaoke bar was flailing. A venture to make machines that print magnets from Instagram photos failed miserably. “We were all crying,” he recalls. Then in 2016 his brother proposed bitcoin mining. Mr Dromashko acquired servers from China and watched the cash roll in. “It’s almost like you print money out of nowhere,” he says. “It’s the childhood dream.”

    Irkutsk has embraced the digital gold rush. Awash in electricity from hydroelectric plants, the region charges 2.1 roubles ($0.04) per kilowatt-hour, compared with 5.3 roubles in Moscow. That makes “mining”, in which computers solve cryptographic challenges to generate currency, especially profitable. Seminars have proliferated. “Cybercurrency fever has swept Irkutsk,” declared a local television station this month. 

    This week the price of one bitcoin hit $12,000, up 1,485% on the year. Mr Dromashko says he spends about 4m roubles per month on electricity, but easily recoups that. “Selling drugs and guns wouldn’t generate such profits,” he says. (“Though I haven’t tried,” he clarifies.)

    Some see cybercurrency as a path to self-sufficiency. Dmitry Tolmachev, an Irkutsk furniture magnate, developed a prototype modular home warmed by the servers’ excess heat. The homes cost $8,500 and up, and generate about $850 per month in mining profit. Mr Tolmachev sports a black beret, goes by “Che”, and recently did jail time for hosting a rally by the opposition leader Alexei Navalny. “The Russian man doesn’t love to work, he needs free money,” he says, invoking “Wish Upon a Pike”, a classic Russian fairy tale about a lazy villager who catches a magic fish that grants his wishes. “This is a kind of pike that does everything for you: it produces money, and heats your home too.” 

    At present the miners exist in a legal vacuum. In October, President Vladimir Putin ordered his officials to draw up a regulatory framework. Some in the Russian government see cryptocurrencies as a way around Western sanctions; the president’s internet ombudsman has his own mining farm, and one Duma deputy even proposed building a mining city in Siberia. But the central bank is sceptical, with one senior official calling cryptocurrency “a sort of financial pyramid that may collapse at any moment”. Siberia’s digital pioneers are undaunted. “Sure it’s a bubble,” Mr Dromashko acknowledges. “But all money is a bubble.” 




    alfwesh22

    On December 7, at 9 am EDT the price of bitcoin broke a new record as one BTC is now worth US$15,000 across global exchanges. Bitcoin trade volume has been exponential with over $14.7Bn BTC being swapped on trading platforms worldwide.

                 Bitcoin Reaches $15,000 Commanding a $250Bn Market Cap

    The price of bitcoin has been on a tear over the past week and even more so during the past three days. In the last 72-hours, the price has moved over $3,000 in gains, and markets are showing feverish buy support. On December 6 when the price tackled $13K and then $14K, a large portion of volume stemmed from South Korean exchanges, most notably Bithumb.

    The KRW volume has dropped a touch, and the EUR has gained some significant steam. However, the Japanese yen still dominates bitcoin’s global markets at 47 percent. The top exchange today trading the most BTC is Bitfinex, as Bithumb has settled back into the second position. Following the Korean exchange is GDAX, Bitflyer, and Coinone. On Bitstamp, one bitcoin is roughly around $15,200 at the time of writing.

    Bitcoin Price Reaches Another Peak Crossing $15,000
    Bitcoin trade volume among global exchanges has been over $14.7Bn in the past 24-hours.
     

                                            Technical Indicators

    Looking at charts show the price has been extremely volatile with large swings over the course of the past 24-hours. The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) still have a nice gap, but the 100 SMA and 200 SMA look as though they are getting closer. This indicates some sell-off may happen soon. Order books show massive resistance beginning at $15,300 all the way to $15,700. If bulls persist in breaking these zones, then the price could go upward even more at warp speed. Again since our last price report, charts indicate that buy walls are much thinner than the sell wall side. Which means the price could slide downwards with ease, and not much resistance on the way down. At press time there’s a strong foundation around $13,400.

    Bitcoin Price Reaches Another Peak Crossing $15,000
    The price of bitcoin surpassed $15,000 per BTC across global exchanges on December 7, 2017, at 9 am EDT.
     

                                                The Verdict

    Bitcoin proponents are either super happy or extremely skeptical as a fast run up like this one is causing some concern for a deep correction. Some bitcoin proponents believe the time has “finally come” and bitcoin is cementing itself into history. Others believe the decentralized currency has passed through a phase of maturity and is searching for its “fair market price.” Then there’s those speaking the word “bubble” regularly, and they expect bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets, in general, to burst at the seams.

    Then there are those who think institutional money is coming into bitcoin due to the upcoming futures markets coming shortly from Cboe, CME Group, and other firms that have expressed interest. Whatever is driving this demand is causing individuals to buy up bitcoin at the highest price it’s been all year. And $15K per bitcoin is quite the feat! 

    Where do you see the price of bitcoin heading from here? Let us know in the comments below.




    alfwesh22

    Bitcoi n has advanced $1,000 higher in what is becoming an almost daily occurrence for the virtual currency.
    Data from Coinmarketcap shows an average exchange price of $15,200 at press time Thursday, marking an astounding advance of over $6,000 in less than a week.

    Wide spreads on exchanges due to volatility accompanying wild upticks means many exchanges are trading $500 or more below Coinmarketcap’s rating.

    As an example, currently the difference in the price of one BTC on Bitfinex and Coinbase is over $1,000 at $14,250 and $15,400 respectively.

    New all-time highs now come and go in the blink of an eye as Bitcoin adds $1,000 of value every day, beating even more optimistic short-term forecasts from the likes of Max Keiser.

    Not just USD, but other currencies are also seeing milestones, such as Russia’s ruble today, now trading at 1,000,000:1 versus BTC.

    New price predictions are now hard to form, with regular commentators instead advising new investors to educate themselves on cryptocurrency or simply plumping for memes.

    Meanwhile, across altcoins markets assets have taken significant losses as Bitcoin outstrips their growth, even losing USD value as money pours into BTC.




    alfwesh22

    Bitcoin has climbed above $15,000, continuing its meteoric rise and breaking through its latest key, psychological price level.

    After surpassing this level, Bitcoin continued its ascent, having risen to as much as $15,661.14 at the time of report, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index(BPI). 

    By reaching this level, the cryptocurrency has climbed more than 1,500% year-to-date (YTD), additional BPI figures show.

    [Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.] 

    Bitcoin's 'Latest Milestone'
    After Bitcoin reached its latest milestone, more than one analyst weighed in on the significance of this event.

    "$15,000 is the latest milestone for Bitcoin, highlighting the strong upward momentum and investor confidence in the cryptocurrency, " said Iqbal Gandham, UK managing director at global trading and investment platform eToro

    "Thanks to today 's price surge, Bitcoin now has a total market value of over $250 billion – more than General Electric and IBM's market cap, " he emphad. 

    Gandham also weighed in on the various developments driving Bitcoin's price higher, stating:
    "In our view, the latest price spike is driven by the likely influx of institutional money, combined with the growing regulatory framework in countries around the world and the increasing confidence in the technological framework of the Bitcoin blockchain. " 

    Neelabh Dixit, co-founder of digital asset management firm Cryptomover, offered a similar stance. 
    "Looks like ROMO(Regret of Missing out), clarity in regulatory environment and  interest from institutional money have been the primary drivers of the last rapid rally, " he said. 

    What's Next For Bitcoin?
    Several market observers have supplied predictions of where Bitcoin will go over the next few years, but Dixit provided a more short-term outlook.

    While Bitcoin broke through $15,000, the markets do not look particularly "excited " about this development, he asserted. "In fact the market already looks like it is getting ready for the 20k price level before December 10, when futures trading begins, " he stated. 

    "While the big institutions start trading BTC futures this Sunday onwards we feel that there is a good chance that some of them might want to get some BTC in their books before the end of the year as there will be good amount of opportunities" for arbitrage. 

    Charles Hayter, co-founder and CEO of CryptoCompare, also weighed in on the impact that Bitcoin futures will have on the market, stating that they will fuel greater demand for the underlying digital currency.

    He added that futures trading also helps validate the underlying technology - meaning both Bitcoin and digital currencies in general.




    alfwesh22

    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.”
    Road ahead
    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.”




    alfwesh22

    As Bitcoin continues to become far more commonplace in everyday life, more people are starting to sell lucrative items for virtual currency.

    The housing market is slowly adopting Bitcoin as a payment method, a number of online platforms accept virtual currencies and you can even buy games on Steam.

    It seems this also applies to collectors items, including luxury vehicles.

    A Manchester car owner has listed his Gold Rolls-Royce Ghost for sale on Autotrader, but his asking price is not in pounds but in Bitcoin.

    A brand new Rolls-Royce Ghost is valued at over £230 000 - but with just under 50,000 km on the clock, you could snap this up for the equivalent of £117,000 in Bitcoin.

    According to the Daily Mail, the owner is happy to be paid in Bitcoin, which has been on a massive bull run culminating in a $12,000 high this week:

    “Why not trade in Bitcoin? I treat it in exactly the same way as normal currency these days. It’s safe, convenient and incredibly valuable right now so, to me, it makes sense to trade my car this way. It’s the future.”
    The 2010 Ghost Model also comes with a personalized number plate - for an added fee. Complete with a 6.6-liter engine, the Gold car is as luxurious as its price tag.

    Rol

    The most mind-boggling thing about this sale is that if you had bought £12,000 worth of Bitcoin at the beginning of 2017 and held onto it - you would be able to buy golden Rolls-Royce.

    Expect more of this in the future
    As the world gears up for launch of Bitcoin futures in the coming weeks, the demand for the virtual currency is bound to grow. Whether or not people decide to hold onto their Bitcoin or sell, there will be a flood of people looking to get into the market.

    With more people wanting Bitcoin, we’re likely to see more ‘everyday’ transactions made with the virtual currency. Why not sell more items for Bitcoin as the value of the currency grows?




    alfwesh22


    Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, surged to yet another new record high on Wednesday, breaking the $12000 benchmark price. The currency hit an intra-day high of $12,488 in Hong Kong.

    Bitcoin, which was valued at less than $1,000 at the start of the year, had a spectacular rise recently, and crossed $10000 last week. Investors continued to rally behind the world's no. 1 digital currency shrugging off increased warnings of a price bubble in what not everyone agrees is an asset.

    The latest warning to investors against betting on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies came from India's central bank. Reiterating the concerns it had raised twice before, the Reserve Bank of India issued a strong warning Tuesday about bitcoin and the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.

    RBI cautioned "users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (VCs) including Bitcoins regarding the potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks associated in dealing with such VCs".

    Over the weekend, Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, said: "So there's only one thing we can do—watch it from the bank of a river."

    Currently, there are 14 cryptocurrencies with a market value of $1 billion or greater. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation is more than $300 billion, it is estimated.




    alfwesh22

    So, you’ve helped mom buy some bitcoins and grandma is starting to feel a little left out. Being the perfect grandchild you are, you want to make her feel included in the latest family craze. However, grandma doesn’t believe in spending ridiculous amounts of money on an iPhone, she uses an affordable, tasteful Android. So let’s introduce grandma to cryptocurrencies in three easy steps.

    Getting Bitcoin on Grandma
    's Android Phone: 3 Easy Steps

    fig 1

    Step 1: Quick! Get Grandma to the Google Play Store!

    Similar to mom, grandma is up to date with all the latest apps like: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. She knows about the Google Play Store. Ask her to click on the triangle icon (Fig. 1). Now get her a pen and some paper before we move on.

    In the Search Bar, type in “ZuPago wallet.” .

    Getting Bitcoin on Grandma's Android Phone 3 Easy Steps
    Fig. 2

    ZuPago.pe has a super solid wallet. our wallet is easy to use for beginners and robust enough for experts. Upon downloading the ZuPago wallet, both bitcoin and bitcoin cash wallets are automatically set up for you, all in #OneBox

    Step 2: Download your Wallet
    Grandma then should click ZuPago wallet app in the play store. We’re going to walk-through ZuPago.pe wallet.

    Right after she presses, “install,” a progress bar will appear as it downloads. This should take a few seconds depending on grandma’s internet connection.

    Fig. 3

    After the installing then click on open from google play store, after which it brings you on the app home page. Click on create account, choose your prefer account, enter referral id if any, and fill in your personal data to continue login.

    Check your email for your login ID and continue login on the ZuPago wallet app, your friendly platform to receive and send USD, EUR, GBP, #BTC, and #BCH respectively

    Getting Bitcoin on Grandma's Android Phone: 3 Easy Steps

    Step 3: Getting Bitcoin

    Obtaining bitcoin for grandma on her Android is as easy as A.B.C. If she wants to purchase a few bitcoins she can use a platform like localbitcoin, paxful.com, zp2btc and many more that asks for very little personal information. This way she can meet someone locally to buy her first Satoshis, but it’s probably a good idea to go along with her for her first meetup. 

    Grandma is done! Now grandmother can have a wonderful dinner conversation with the family on how you helped her buy those wonderful bitcoins that keep appreciating in value.

    What do you think about helping senior citizens get started in bitcoin? Are they too old to understand it? Or did they just not have enough guidance? Let us know in the comments below.




    alfwesh22

    As Bitcoin destroyed the $12,000 level earlier today, many pundits and analysts looked for answers for why. The solution may not be in anything about the cryptocurrency, but more about the newest nominee to the Federal Reserve (Fed), Marvin Goodfriend.

    Goodfriend has been hailed both as a visionary and as the ‘worst Fed nominee of all time,’ depending on which news source is reporting. However, the newest potential Fed member may be having a positive impact on the Bitcoin market. His anti-cash views have been criticized as a form of monetary strangulation and government control into personal finance like nothing the US has seen to date.

    Below zero
    The appointee has previously voiced his opinion that paper money keeps financial freedom in the hands of the individual - a scenario he does not like should a crisis occur.  During a crisis, the Fed generally lowers the interest rates to increase borrowing power for consumers and businesses alike.

    The problem is that should the Fed desire to lower interest rates to something under zero on savings or checking accounts individuals could simply withdraw paper money from their accounts to keep from losing money. This freedom to protect the value of money does not sit well with Goodfriend, who posits that cash thereby limits the power of the Fed to control the economy.

    This sort of stringent monetary policy may well be the cause of the recent spike in Bitcoin. Should such strong-handed government policies come to fruition, a digital, decentralized currency presents a method for trading and interaction that is outside of Federal Reserve control.

    Certainly other factors have contributed to the price bump, but Goodfriend may end up being a friend to Bitcoin, inadvertently.




    alfwesh22

    The “all-you-can-fly” regional airline Surf Air has started accepting the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment for its monthly membership and charter services. Under its plan, the private airline will allow its customers to pay for their seats using either virtual currency through a mobile app.

    According to the airline’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sudhin Shahani, the disruptive and progressive technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum complement their vision of changing the way the world sources, purchases, and accesses air travel.
    "Surf Air was built on the idea of disrupting and changing the way the world sources, purchases and accesses air travel so it only makes sense that we would also be on the cutting-edge of accepting disruptive and progressive forms of payment such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Similarly, Bitcoin users are a tremendously motivated community of early adopters. By creating connective tissue between these forward-thinking business models, I believe we 're molding the future for consumer-first, experience-driven commerce.”
    Additional information on Surf Air’s new strategy
    Under the new scheme, Surf Air allows its members to pay a monthly fee for them to fly as many times as they want.

    The passengers enrolled in the service are already pre-screened through a government-licensed background check so they would not be required to wait in security.

    The regional carrier is partnering with digital currency platform Coinbase in the implementation of its new scheme with Coinbase handling the payments side of the program.

    The airline industry’s adoption of cryptocurrencies
    Players in the airline industry, particularly the regional and smaller companies, have taken a positive approach on the virtual currencies.

    Before Surf Air, several regional airlines have already accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment over the years. Other companies have also explored other possible applications of the cryptocurrencies' underlying technology called Blockchain, including in ticket disbursement and maintenance tracking.




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    ZuPago is the most recognized and reliable platform that provides the best and the most affordable way to transfer E-currency across the globe. By using ZuPago HyBrid (HD) Wallet, you can easily send E-currency in Bitcoin, Bank transfer, USD, EUR, GBP or in any currency of your choice and the receiver will receive it in Bank transfer, Bitcoin or in any other currency that you prefer.

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