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A JP Morgan strategist is making headlines for a report he completed about Bitcoin, largely because his stance flies in the face of the railing comments the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon has made.

The strategist, Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, covers global markets. The report he released Friday states that the planned launches of Bitcoin futures by established exchanges, have “the potential to add legitimacy and thus increase the appeal of the cryptocurrency market to both retail and institutional investors."

The report was detailed by CNBC. In the report, Panigirtzoglou said:

"The prospective launch of bitcoin futures contracts by established exchanges in particular has the potential to add legitimacy and thus increase the appeal of the cryptocurrency market to both retail and institutional investors.”
Also on Friday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) signed off on the plans several exchanges to launch Bitcoin futures contracts. Those are the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the CBOE Futures Exchange and Cantor Fitzgerald (Cantor Exchange).
"In all, the prospective introduction of bitcoin futures has the potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class. The value of this new asset class is a function of the breadth of its acceptance as a store of wealth and as a means of payment and simply judging by other stores of wealth such as gold, cryptocurrencies have the potential to grow further from here."
JP Morgan the bank vs. JP Morgan CEO Dimon
Panigirtzoglou’s comments immediately set observers out to highlight how they are not line with what Dimon has said about cryptos, especially Bitcoin. 

He has called the digital currency a "fraud" and on multiple occasions hinted that he believes it is a bubble that will crash.

"If you're stupid enough to buy it, you'll pay the price for it one day," Dimon said at a conference in October. He even once dragged his daughter into his criticism, saying:
“My daughter bought Bitcoin; it went up and now she thinks she's a genius."
If she is still holding her Bitcoin, I wonder how smart she and Dimon think she is since the crypto hit its all-time high of about $11,400 Wednesday. 

It may have fallen to as low as $9,200 last week after reaching that record, but as of the time of writing, it was within striking distance of hitting $11,400 again. The price on Bitfinex was $11,044 around 10 p.m. eastern time Friday. 
The exchanges’ moves to launch Bitcoin futures contracts are largely seen as what prompted Bitcoin to hit its record price last week.

When CME made its announcement, Dimon didn’t move to make comments like those noted above. In fact, he’s been publicly quiet since making those brutal comments.

In the meantime, the bank he heads seems to be doing stuff Dimon calls “stupid” when it comes to Bitcoin. In November, the Wall Street Journal reported some Bitcoin moves the bank could be making. It reported:
"J.P. Morgan is considering whether to provide its clients access to CME's new bitcoin product through its futures-brokerage unit."
One crypto-related product Dimon does seem to like is Blockchain. In October, it was announced that the bank had formed a partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group to launch a Blockchain-powered network to facilitate global payments.




alfwesh22

Bitcoin is now the sixth most circulated currency in the world, behind five super powers, and outranking the Pound, the Ruble, and the Won, according to the Bank for International Settlements. The figure is based on a value of Bitcoin at $10,765 each, meaning that the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation is $180 bln.

While the number is substantial, should Bitcoin rise to $15,000, it will overtake the next highest circulating currency, the Rupee. The other four currencies outranking Bitcoin are the Yen, Yuan, Euro, and Dollar, all of which have dramatically greater levels of currency in circulation (the Dollar, for example, stands at $1.4 tln).

Not to be outdone
Other cryptocurrencies are also following suit, with Ethereum ranked at #17, and Bitcoin Cash at #20. Ripple falls just outside the top 20. However, both BCH and XRP are still above both the Krona and Rand for total circulation.
These numbers are, of course, somewhat skewed, because the value of notes in circulation is not reflective of the total value of a currency. Nevertheless, the numbers reveal the substantial power of Bitcoin in terms of currency interactions.




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The largest stock exchange in Russia, Moscow Exchange, has been building an infrastructure for the trading of cryptocurrencies. However, recently the central bank has reportedly “banned” the exchange from launching bitcoin futures until the country’s cryptocurrency regulatory framework has been implemented. News.Bitcoin.com reached out to Moscow Exchange to verify this report and to find out the exchange’s plans for cryptocurrency and bitcoin futures trading.

Central Bank Did Not ‘Ban’ Bitcoin Futures Trading
‘No Regulation Needed’ - Moscow Stock Exchange Plans to Trade Bitcoin Futures                                                                  Moscow Exchange (Moex) is the largest exchange group in Russia. It operates trading markets in equities, bonds, derivatives, the foreign exchange market, money markets and precious metals.

 ‘No Regulation Needed’ - Moscow Stock Exchange Plans to Trade
            Bitcoin Futures                                  
 
Russian news agency Tass reported on Thursday that, according to their sources, “the central bank banned Moscow Stock Exchange from starting the trading of bitcoin futures.” The news outlet conveyed, “the Bank of Russia is ready to return to consider this issue only after the corresponding legislation appears in Russia.”

However, Andrey Braginskiy, Managing Director of Communications at the exchange, told news.Bitcoin.com on Friday that Tass’article “is not entirely correct.” He elaborated, “we haven’t asked the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) for permission to list the new futures contract. Therefore, stating that they have denied the permission is not accurate.” He then revealed:
Generally, listing the new bitcoin index futures doesn’t require any new regulation. Of course, an agreement with an exchange that calculates the index is needed. But the Russian regulator needs to be in comfort.
Moscow Exchange first announced that it was building an infrastructure to support the trading of cryptocurrencies in August, particularly bitcoin and its derivatives. News.Bitcoin.com also subsequently reported the exchange saying, “from both regulatory and technical standpoints, potentially it could be faster and easier to start with trading in cryptocurrency derivatives.”

        Lots of Interest But Crypto Trading Needs Regulation

‘No Regulation Needed’ - Moscow Stock Exchange Plans to Trade Bitcoin Futures 

Braginskiy told news.Bitcoin.com that the trading of cryptocurrencies themselves including bitcoin “is not on the immediate agenda as listing cryptocurrency would require a new regulation (unlike futures).”
In contrast, he reiterated that to list and trade bitcoin futures “no regulation is needed but the regulator needs to be in comfort.”

He further revealed:
There is a lot of hype around cryptocurrencies in Russia and bitcoin’s price is a top news story almost every day. So there is a lot of interest from brokers and their clients for exchange-listed futures.
His comment came on the same day the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME) announced that it will commence trading bitcoin futures on December 18. Meanwhile, Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) and Nasdaq also have plans to trade bitcoin futures.

Last month, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin met with the country’s top regulators and subsequently confirmed that Russia will regulate cryptocurrencies. He further issued a mandate for the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in Russia to be finalized in July of next year.

What do you think of Moscow Exchange planning to trade bitcoin futures? Let us know in the comments section below.




alfwesh22

Earlier this month, Turkish Central Bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya emphad that bitcoin could contribute to global financial stability with its decentralized and peer-to-peer (P2P) financial network.

                       Turkish Central Bank Feels Threatened by Bitcoin

The decentralized structure and nature of bitcoin completely eliminates the necessity of central entities and authorities within the network to settle transactions between two parties. Anyone within the Bitcoin network can freely and seamlessly send and receive transactions without intermediaries.

As such, the research paper of Bank of Finland, described bitcoin as a “marvelous” decentralized financial network, because it operates with its own rules and monopoly by effectively creating a new economy.

“Bitcoin is a monopoly run by a protocol, not by a managing organization. Familiar monopolies are run by managing organizations with discretion to determine and then change prices, offerings and rules. Monopolies are often regulated to prevent or at least mitigate their abuse of power,” the paper of the Bank of Finland read.

Several governments and central banks including the Turkish Central Bank are concerned with the impact bitcoin has imposed on the global finance industry over the past year, and how it could continue to evolve into a premier store of value, eventually overtaking gold and eventually, reserve currencies like the US dollar and Japanese yen.

If bitcoin continues to grow at an exponential rate in terms of daily transaction volume, daily trading volume, user base, infrastructure, and adoption by major financial institutions, bitcoin will inevitably become a major component of the global finance sector and a competitor to both government-issued fiat currencies and central banks.

“Digital currencies pose new risks to central banks, including their control of money supply and price stability, and the transmission of monetary policy, Cetinkaya said. Even so, the Turkish central banker said that digital currencies may be an important element for a cashless economy, and the technologies used can help speed up and make payment systems more efficient,”wrote Eric Lam of Bloomberg, who covered the conference attend by Cetinkaya in Istanbul in early November.

                                   Bitcoin Has Become a Challenge For Central Banks

Bitcoin has become a challenge for many governments and central banks, primarily because it forces the authorities to make one of the two decisions; either adopt bitcoin and be at the forefront of bitcoin development or isolate its economy by rejecting bitcoin.

Various studies including Facebook IQ’s research have demonstrated that over 90 percent of millennials across the globe have lost trust in banks and major financial institutions. Millennials feel disconnected from banks, and believe that the banks do not understand or address their necessities.

Consequently, prominent venture capitalist and A16Z partner Balaji Srinivasan stated that by 2040, millennials will have never known a world without bitcoin.

“By 2040, everyone under 30 will have never known a world without Bitcoin. It may as well be gold. That’s the long-term case for replacement,”said Srinivasan.

With the crackdown on fraudulent activities of commercial banks and the decline of the global fiat currency system, bitcoin is at an optimal position to evolve into the next global currency. The Turkish Central Bank feels threatened by the rapid growth rate of bitcoin, as it could render its existence unnecessary in the long-term.




alfwesh22

Given the strong views of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon on Bitcoin, it is ironic that a global markets strategist at JP Morgan has come out with a note saying that regulated futures could give legitimacy to Bitcoin

Seal of approval

The decision of US regulators to allow Bitcoin futures to trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has pushed Bitcoin into mainstream finance. CME obtained the regulators’ go-ahead after self certification, having assured the US CFTC that the products will follow existing law. The move could allow financial institutions with restrictive mandates to take Bitcoin exposure.

Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, a global markets strategist at JP Morgan, also feels that the move could give legitimacy to Bitcoin. In a note to investors, he said:
The prospective launch of Bitcoin futures contracts by established exchanges in particular has the potential to add legitimacy and thus increase the appeal of the cryptocurrency market to both retail and institutional investors
Analyst's views conflict with CEO

CEO Jamie Dimon has strong views about Bitcoin: he believes the currency is a fraud and has even threatened to fire anybody who is “stupid enough” to buy it. He has ranted that governments will shut Bitcoin down and that the currency is in a bubble which will wreck investors.

Dimon is not alone in his views - other industry titans like Warren Buffett have said that Bitcoin is best avoided. However, that hasn't stopped the currency’s price from climbing to new levels.

Panigirtzoglou seems to have taken a view diametrically opposite to that of his boss, calling Bitcoin a new asset class:
The value of this new asset class is a function of the breadth of its acceptance as a store of wealth and as a means of payment and simply judging by other stores of wealth such as gold, cryptocurrencies have the potential to grow further from here.
JP Morgan - BAU in spite of Jamie's Views

In spite of Jamie Dimon's views against Bitcoin, JP Morgan seems to be making the most of the opportunity presented by the currency’s rise. The bank recently invited Bart Stephens, a tech venture capitalist, to give a talk on Bitcoin at JP Morgan San Francisco. Stephens presented to fund managers and clients, even as Dimon slammed Bitcoin.

The comments made by Jamie Dimon against Bitcoin resulted in a dip in its price, which coincided with JP Morgan buying units of a Bitcoin tracker fund. This has resulted in a market manipulation case against Jamie Dimon in a Swedish court. After CME announced the launch of Bitcoin futures, JP Morgan surprised observers by announcing that it may add Bitcoin futures to its own list of offerings. When opportunities for money making exist, there are no untouchables for the big banks.





alfwesh22

One in four millennials are investing their hard-earned money in the leading digital currency Bitcoin instead of opening traditional bank accounts. They claim that they earn more from their Bitcoin investments and their money is safer, according to a survey.

Based on the survey conducted Blockchain Capital, 70% of the 10,000 millennials who were polled claimed that they are not content with the interest rates offered by banks and almost 65% said that their money is safer in Bitcoin because they personally control it. The survey also showed that nearly two-thirds of female respondents have begun to branch out from Bitcoin and invested in other digital currencies in order to diversify their portfolio.

Other highlights of the survey
Despite their preference of Bitcoin as a form of investment, slightly less than 50% of the millennials surveyed said that they are also looking for a more convenient form of banking and 45% stated that they want their banks to integrate Bitcoin wallets in their operation so that they can directly invest in cryptocurrencies through their existing bank accounts.

The survey also estimated that the majority of millennials will invest around two-thirds of their savings into virtual currencies. According to the site founder Andrew Sung, the survey results showed that the younger generation is much quicker to embrace new technologies than their older counterparts.
“The younger generation has been notoriously quicker to act on new technologies, including the latest smartphones, which have enabled millennials to invest in Bitcoin over the last few years, before large hedge funds and financial institutions started to get involved.”




alfwesh22

The Hong Kong office of auditing and accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has started accepting Bitcoin as payment for its professional services. The company noted that the first Bitcoin payments it accepted was from local companies involved in digital currencies and Blockchain technology.
According to PwC Asia-Pacific chairperson Raymund Chao, their decision to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment reflects their move to embrace new technologies. Chao also notes:
"It is also an indication that Bitcoin and other established cryptocurrencies have now developed into more broadly accepted forms of settlement."
Bitcoin’s phenomenal performance
The decision by PwC to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment came at a time when the leading cryptocurrency is registering an unprecedented rise in the financial markets. The most popular virtual currency has breached the $11,000 price for the first time in its short history. This phenomenal performance has resulted in the emergence of questions on whether Bitcoin is a true store of value and means of exchange that can be utilized in transactions or just a day trader’s plaything.

PwC’s previous works on cryptocurrencies
PwC has often been an early adopter of new technologies. The company has been involved withdigital currencies and Blockchain technology since 2014. Among its activities include the issuance of statements supporting the role of Bitcoin in advancing innovations in various industries, as well as conducting its own research on the virtual currencies.

One of the research initiatives launched by the company is a project to study the possible application of Blockchain in the wholesale insurance industry. The project was advanced in collaboration with the Z/Yen thinktank’s Long Finance initiative. PwC has also established its own consultancy services to offer advice to clients about the new technologies.




alfwesh22

James Wilson, owner of Angus Properties, believes he can attract encourage businesses to his properties by accepting a wide range of payment methods, including the controversial cryptocurrency.

He said he hopes his move will attract the “next Bill Gates” to the county.

Bitcoin is a decentralized virtual currency, created and held electronically, which can also be purchased using more traditional currencies like US dollars and sterling.

The value of a single bitcoin — which can be split into parts — has soared dramatically this year, from $1,000 in January to an all time high of $11,427 on Wednesday.

Although the price of a bitcoin has since fallen below $10,000 again, Mr Wilson said he is happy to accept the digital payment instead of sterling as he is convinced it is the currency of the future.

The Arbroath-based businessman believes he may be the first landlord in Scotland to accept rent this way.

He said: “I am hoping this move will attract a wider market and people with a different slant on business who are invested in the future.

“These are the sort of people I’m looking to attract to my premises.

“There are all different types of payments now — cash is still there but there are many forms of electronic payment like ZuPago.

“I think you get the most from the market by making it easy for people and employing all these different types of payment methods.”

There are a growing number of cryptocurrencies and Mr Wilson is a keen trader and investor in several markets. He is also happy to accept payments via Ethereum coins.

“When I first heard about a bitcoin, I thought it was to buy a physical coin that was encrypted but of course it’s all digital,” he added.

“As people become more aware of the digital currencies and learn how to buy and sell them I think making payments in them will become more common.

“I will be accepting rent across my properties and it will be based on that rate that day.

“People are intrigued by cryptocurrencies and I believe they are going to be massive, I really do. People are looking for alternatives to store their wealth.

“With new technology people can trade from most areas of the world.

“Who knows we may attract the next Bill Gates to Angus.”




alfwesh22

Bitcoi n had, by all accounts, a remarkably volatile week, losing $3 bln in market cap in just 90 minutes as the price slid from $11,400 to close to $9,000. Nevertheless, within 24 hours, the cryptocurrency has rebounded to over $10,500.

Causes down and up
The cause for the sudden slump is not clear, though it appears that the market’s incredible bull run, pushing through over $2,000 in valuation in just a week, made room for profit takers at the peak. As the price rose to dizzying heights, some found an opportunity to sell positions that they had purchased at much lower prices.

The upside, though, as the currency pushed back over $10,000, had a clear cause. The release of the futures decision by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which announced Friday that CME Group and CBOE had met the requirements for regulated trading, led to raucous calls for massive gains in the cryptocurrency and pushed the price back toward the highs near $11,000.

While the bulls are back with the major news, it still remains unclear whether Bitcoin will be able to hold on and consolidate the gains above $10,000, and then press on for more. Some (notably billionaire Carl Icahn) have recently called Bitcoin a bubble, decrying any possibility for further gains. Others, though, are not as sure.

Bounces expected
For example, Alex Mashinsky, founder of the Celsius Foundation makes a strong case that the sell point could possibly have been a coordinated sell around $11,000, potentially to buy in at lows. He says:
“There seems to have been a coordinated sell around 11,000. Many of the Telegram chat rooms were talking about that as a level to sell. It bounced back because there is too much money coming into the large players like Coinbase, so there is consistent buying pressure which overrides any selling. Also many of the crypto funds use these swings to scoop low-cost BTC from sellers who put limit sell orders as downside protection. There are now over 300 crypto funds which registered with the SEC. Four of them are over $500 mln so they are big enough to control the pricing at any moment.”
However, other industry insiders are convinced that the price movement should be expected to continue northward, particularly with all the current news being opened. As greater levels of finance enter the market, more buyers will drive prices further. Alexandre Tabbakh, CEO of PUBLIQ said:
“Mainstream adoption, institutional flow with the creation of futures and derivatives from the CME and other hedge funds, more statement and regulation from governments and regulators, acceptance of Bitcoin payments from significant corporations (PwC...), the ICO flow is constant and maintains an upward momentum.”
Tech related?
Beyond simply the issues relating to market frenzies, others see problems with exchanges as a potential source, both of the downward and upward pressure. It’s no secret that Coinbase has suffered some technical issues, even restricting transactions because of server overload. This sort of concern could clearly drive markets into a short-term selling panic, only to be reversed when the tech problems were corrected. According to Amos Meiri, co-founder and CEO, Colu:
“The Bitcoin price is influenced by the Nasdaq listing, news and big worldwide exchanges eyeing the opportunity for Bitcoin futures. Adding to that we are usually seeing such a bounce in price when we have many people who want to buy, but couldn't deposit as exchanges closed their gates, while others who wanted to sell are having issues due to the banking system and challenges around tax regulations.”
Regardless, by and large, the news of the day is positive for Bitcoiners, as another massive drop has been followed by a rebound. If the pundits are right, this price should hold stable and may increase.




alfwesh22

Bitcoin has taken another step toward the financial mainstream, after a US regulator said it would let two traditional exchanges begin trading in Bitcoin-related financial contracts.

CME Group and CBOE Global Markets exchanges will offer investors Bitcoin futures from later this month.
The move sent the crypto-currency's price up, continuing its volatile week.

Bitcoin hit a record above $11,400 on Wednesday, but then lost 20% of its value in the following 24 hours.

The announcement from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that it will allow the futures to be traded was seen as a watershed moment for the currency.

It means that investors will be able 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.

CME Group said trading would be available on its CME Globex electronic trading platform from 18 December.
To guard against volatility, CME and CBOE will put in place stricter than usual risk-management safeguards.

Bubble risk?
CME and CBOE have also agreed to enter into data-sharing agreements, particularly on the settlement process, so the CFTC can conduct its own surveillance on the new financial contracts.

Bitcoin's rapid rise from less than $800 in December last year to more than $11,000 this week on Coindesk has stoked fears that it is a pricing bubble that could leave recent investors worse-off.

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a "fraud" at a conference in early September, while Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein has questioned whether the crypto-currency is a currency at all, given its volatile pricing. It "doesn't feel like a store of value," he has said.




alfwesh22

With a bank, the coins and notes you hold in your hand are your connection to the currency system; with gold, you can hold your ounce in the palm of your hands, even stocks and bonds have certificates. When it comes to Bitcoin, they are ethereal.

For many everyday users of Bitcoin, their only connection to their asset, their money, is the exchanges. These applications, companies, websites essentially, are the only tenuous link between people and their digital assets.

Thus, when there are problems with the exchanges, it is little surprise that a degree of panic sets in. Coinbase, one of the biggest and fastest growing exchanges, suffered outages as the frenzy of FOMO rallied adoption to new high levels.

When people were met with outages and delays, it sparked panic, in two senses. More FOMO was met, and people fell back to the fear that Bitcoin can collapse - or pop - anytime. This prompted a rather large sell off.

The importance of exchanges
With parallels being drawn between the latest rally, and the boost in 2014 because of the mainstream adoption take up, it is important to see the role of exchanges back then, and how they play their part today.

It was in 2014 when some of the heavy hitters of exchanges, like Coinbase, burst onto the market, making the buying and selling of Bitcoin far easier and much more of a pleasant user experience.

Again, in today’s Bitcoin economy, the exchanges are the lifeblood of the network and the market, and even comparable to the central nervous system for if there is a problem at these centers, things often go pear-shaped quite quickly.

Catalysing the drop
Only hours after soaring past $11,000 - a price that represents a gain of more than two-fold since September - Bitcoin plunged nearly 20 percent in less than 90 minutes. Many are now pinning this latest drop to outages experienced on Coinbase, and others.
Traffic swelled during the US online hours yesterday as investors fought to get on the rocketship seemingly headed to the moon; however, Coinbase could not keep up.

Coinbase tweeted that traffic on its platform hit an all-time high at eight times the peak demand experienced in June. Access remained unavailable to some users.

“Issues in the exchanges add to it without a doubt,” said David Mondrus, chief executive of Trive, a Blockchain-based research platform. “When you have a lack of ability to exit, then people dump in order to exit faster.”

Bitcoin’s Achilles heel
It has been interesting to see how recently not much has phased Bitcoin in terms of negative press. News of Russia’s ban and the emergence of the Crypto Ruble, Jamie Dimon’s ongoing vitriol, and other factors barely even left a scratch on the digital currency. However, when issues affect the exchanges, it seems that is where the market can be hit hard.

“Bitcoin trading isn’t for the novice investor,” said John Spallanzani, chief macro strategist at GFI Securities in New York, who does technical analysis on the cryptocurrency. “Corrections are fast and furious and you can get run over just like in the movie.”




alfwesh22

Amid recent talk of mainstream acceptance, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies stand on the precipice providing economic independence from private banking institutions.

That is in essence what Bitcoin was created to do back in 2008 when its initial white paper was released. The decentralized virtual currency removed the need for an administrator or bank - through encrypted peer-to-peer transactions recorded on the public ledger known as the Blockchain.

What was small then has completely changed in the space of 10 years. The past fortnight has witnessed the biggest bull run in Bitcoin history, with the price of the virtual currency hitting the $11,000 mark earlier this week.

The increasing value of Bitcoin has not gone unnoticed by mainstream financial institutions. Opinions are widely divided, but the fact that Bitcoin futures are being considered by the likes of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the NASDAQ proves that big things are to come in the next few years.

While financial institutions plan to enter the market, the man on the street still view cryptocurrencies as revolutionary technology. By investing and using Bitcoin, Ethereum and other virtual currencies, people are taking power away from banks by using anonymous transactional systems.

Future of finance
However, as the herd comes running, the potential rise in the value of each respective digital currency will no doubt be welcomed.

Speaking to Lee Camp on Redacted Tonight on RT, director of the Public Banking Institute Walter Mcree believes cryptocurrencies offer another avenue for people to invest and store their money, as an alternative to private banking institutions:

“Categorically it’s very exciting because it suggests that there are options to the private capital control we’ve all been under. Bitcoin and the other Blockchain technologies that are emerging are like the complimentary or alt currencies in the past.”
“They certainly represent a way for communities to have their own isolated economic strength.”
Mcree also believes that mainstream interest in cryptocurrencies shows that there will be an adoption by big institutions in the future. However, he questioned the possibility of the likes of Bitcoin challenging the dollar in the years to come:

“It’s exciting prospect, we’ll see how far they’ll get in terms integration into the money markets. I know big banks are certainly looking to have their version of it. I don't think it will be replacing the US Dollar at least right now. I think the Yuan and others things might along the way.”
“By and large Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are emerging we are going to see all kinds of variations of it coming up.”




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The First Attorney General of Financial Affairs for Egypt announced at a continental conference of prosecutors how international legislation is needed to address bitcoin in the light of evidence, he claims, it is being used to fund terror. The country was rocked just two years ago when the the Prosecutor General was assassinated. More recently the acting successor to the position was also targeted, but narrowly escaped an attempt on his life last year.   

Egypt Finance Attorney General Calls for International Governance of Bitcoin Over Terror Concerns
 

           Egypt Finance AG Calls for International Governance of Bitcoin

 
On 30 November, Egypt’s First Attorney General for Financial Affairs, counselor Mohamed Fouda, “called for drafting an international legislation to combat dealing with the digital currency bitcoin, considering it a means to finance terror groups,” a  report claims.

The 12th Annual Conference of Africa Prosecutors Association held its gathering in Cairo this year under the title, “Africa Defies Crime,” according to Mohamed Emad of Sada Elbalad. “The conference was attended by a group of African Attorney Generals,” he reports, “including the Attorney General of Angola and the Attorney General of Mauritania.”

Moreover, “the meeting comes out of the firm belief of the Egyptian Attorney General of the importance of judicial cooperation between public prosecution organs in other world countries in general and between neighboring African countries in particular,” Mr. Emad explained.

Egypt Finance Attorney General Calls for International Governance of Bitcoin Over Terror Concerns
Hisham Barakat

Egypt’s financial AG “shed light on the increase in the bitcoin trade via different websites without disclosing any information about its sources, or bodies that deal with it, making it difficult to track those transfers,” Egypt Today paraphrased.

Mr. Fouda made his remarks at day two of the gathering, under the theme “Combating [and] Prosecuting Cross-border Crimes: Difference in the Public Prosecution on Crimes of a Special Nature and Money-Laundering.”

The link to terror and bitcoin is fuzzy at best, but there is no denying Egypt’s law enforcement body has had a rough go of it in recent years. The present acting top prosecutor in the country, Zakaria Abdel Aziz, just last year was the target of an assassination attempt. Mr. Aziz himself gained the position after his predecessor, Hisham Muhammad Zaki Barakat, was assassinated via car bombing in the summer of 2015.

What do you think of Egypt’s terror claims in connection to bitcoin? Tell us in the comments below!




alfwesh22

November has been a busy week for famed stock picker Ronnie Moas who, on Nov. 4, predicted that by the beginning of 2018 Bitcoin would hit $11,000. That was recently blown out the water, but before the target was hit, he adjusted to $14,000.

Now, Bitcoin is on its way to smashing that new target causing Moas to readjust for the third time in a month as the digital currency revels in a new era of adoption and acceptance.

Moas looks at Bitcoin as a whole, incorporating all the chain splits in his split-adjusted price is and considering the price of the forked Bitcoin chains alongside the original was $12,740 when Moas made his new prediction, $14,000 looked undervalued again.

$20,000 is a month away
Moas now puts the line in the sand at $20,000 for the split-adjusted price when the new year hits. Looking at how things have gone so far for Moas, a month is a long time, and perhaps $20,000 will be broken before that time.
Many pickers, investors and money movers have thrown their hats into the ring trying to hit the sweet spot of this volatile asset when it comes to prediction.

Tom Lee, rather conservatively, set a Bitcoin growth of 40 percent to happen by the middle of 2018. His prediction put him at $11,500. That prediction was made a week ago, and in that time Bitcoin topped at around $11,300.
Max Keiser has a much more bullish view, but over a longer time frame as the host of Russia Today’s Keiser Report believes that $100,000 Bitcoin is an eventuality.

Why split-adjusted?
Moas, as one of the most well-regarded stock pickers, is clearly in the Bitcoin game for its investment potential rather than the technology side which has seen different factions at war with each other. Some people are vehemently Bitcoin Cash supporters, and others true fans of the original chain.

Moas, however, with his investor’s hat on, sees that by buying Bitcoin he not only received free Bitcoin Cash, but also free Bitcoin Gold, and thus counts them together in his portfolio, urging others to d the same as a diversification strategy.

Bitcoin Diamond and the real gold
“I am raising my 2018 fork- and split-adjusted price target on Bitcoin from $14,000 to $20,000,” Moas explained. “The current price is $10,720 and the split-adjusted price is now $12,740 when factoring in Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond.”

Bitcoin Diamond is another fork of the Bitcoin chain that went largely unnoticed. Its aim is to switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake after mining is completed - after just 10,000 blocks.

“Bitcoin is now up split-adjusted by 394 percent since my July 3 recommendation,” Moas went on. “There is no way to justify Gold $7 tln at 40X Bitcoin ($180 bln). An argument can be made that Bitcoin will be equal to Gold within 10-15 years. I do not know how much Gold there is in the ground … I do not know how much Bitcoin there is.”




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During November, several central banks addressed bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. New Zealand’s central bank has issued a statement seeking to educate citizens of the fundamentals underpinning cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of such on monetary policy.  The senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada has stated that cryptocurrencies comprise assets or securities, rather than currencies. Brazil’s central bank also addressed cryptocurrencies during November, issuing a warning to investors.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand Does Not Believe Cryptocurrencies Pose Existential Threat to Mainstream Financial Institutions


Central Bank Round-Up: Brazil & New Zealand Issue Statements, Cryptos are Assets or Securities in Canada  

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has published a paper on cryptocurrencies titled “Crypto-currencies – An introduction to not-so-funny moneys.” The 44-page document seeks to “increase public understanding these technologies, highlight some of the risks involved in using crypto-currencies, and discuss some of the potential implications of these technologies for consumers, financial systems, monetary policy, and financial regulation.” The document also details the fundamental underpinnings and history of cryptocurrency, and provides definitions for terminologies relevant to the industry.

The document states that “Crypto-currencies expand the mechanisms by which people can transact with each other, strengthening competitive pressures on payment systems providers.” Despite such, the RBNZ states that due to the “relatively small volume of transactions” conducted using cryptocurrencies, “These new payment mechanisms are unlikely to completely supplant traditional payment systems.” The document also emphas the “incompatab[ility] of “the (pseudo) anonymity… of crypto-currency” with credit issuance – concluding that such prevents cryptocurrencies from posing a threat to many functions of traditional financial institutions.

Canada Views Cryptocurrencies as Assets or Securities, Not Currency


Central Bank Round-Up: Brazil & New Zealand Issue Statements, Cryptos are Assets or Securities in Canada 

Earlier this month, Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins, stated that “so-called cryptocurrencies actually aren’t currencies at all, they’re not money.” Speaking with Bloomberg, Mrs. Wilkins stated “If you look at standard monetary theory… this is really an asset, or a security. And so it should be treated that way, and in fact, that’s the way it’s treated in Canada.”

When asked specifically of ICO’s Mrs. Wilkins stated “I’m not a securities regulator, and it’s not the Bank of Canada’s role to comment on any specific ICO, but… these look more like securities to me than a currency and they should be regulated as such.”

Mrs. Wilkins also expressed enthusiasm for blockchain technology, adding “What is promising… is… the distributed ledger technology that underpins it, because it provides the opportunities to create efficiencies in financial markets and other places that could actually be beneficial to market participants, businesses, and households.”

The Banco Central Do Brazil Issues “Alert on [the] Risks Arising From Custody and Trading Operations of So-CalledVirtual Currencies”

Central
        Bank Round-Up: Brazil & New Zealand Issue Statements, Cryptos are Assets or Securities in Canada  

The warning emphas the lack of protections afforded to investors choosing to trade cryptocurrencies, stating that virtual currencies “are not issued or guaranteed by any monetary authority.” Brazil’s central bank states that “the purchase and safekeeping of virtual currencies” exposes investors to “imponderable risks, including… the possibility of loss of all capital invested.”

Despite the dire tone of the warning, the document states that “the need to regulate [cryptocurrencies] has not been identified to date by international organizations”, adding that “In Brazil, for the time being, no significant risks are observed for the National Financial System.”

What do you make of the central banks’ statements regarding crypto? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!




alfwesh22

There was once a time when a bitcoin was worth about as much as the spare change down the back of your sofa. Now, one bitcoin is worth your sofa, your armchair, and every other item of furniture in your living room. Gone are the days when maintaining military grade opsec was the preserve of bitcoin whales and the ultra-paranoid. As digital currencies soar, safeguarding your cryptocurrency is imperative, no matter how humble your holdings. Here’s how.

Lock it Down and Hold it Down


Bitcoin for Beginners: How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency Holdings  

This post is the first in a Bitcoin for Beginners series we’ll be publishing. Even if you’ve been in the game for years though, it pays to refresh your memory and re-evaluate your security practices. The sad reality of the ultra-connected digital world we live in is that everyone’s a target: whale or minnow; celebrity or nobody. Nevertheless, there are two primary measures you can take to minimize your exposure:

Lock it down: Keep your crypto assets in a secure wallet which you possess the private keys for. That way you and you alone are responsible for what happens to your coins.

Hold it down: By all means preach the gospel of Satoshi and decentralization from the rooftops, but as werecently reiterated, keep your bitcoin holdings to yourself. Five years ago, no one would bat an eyelid at hearing you owned 100 BTC. Do that today and you risk attracting the sort of ne’er-do-wells that are lured to wealth in all its forms.

Bitcoin for Beginners: How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency Holdings 

Before we delve into a few security do’s and don’ts, one thing to stress is that owning and using bitcoin should be pleasurable, not panic-inducing. Take the following advice to heart, implement it, and then sleep easy.

Choose Your Wallet
There are two primary means of storing your bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies: in a wallet which you hold the private keys to, or in an exchange which holds the keys on your behalf. Hardware wallets such as #ZuPago and Ledger as well as mobile apps such as ZuPago mobile App all fall into the former category. Provided you write down your private key and seed (a 12-word recovery phrase), your coins will be safe, even if you accidentally delete the app or break the hardware wallet.

Bitcoin for Beginners: How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency Holdings
The ZuPago bitcoin hardware wallet.

Keeping your coins in a cryptocurrency exchange or a site such as Localbitcoins, on the other hand, offers convenience, especially for day traders buying and selling cryptocurrencies. This convenience comes at the price of safety however. If the exchange was to collapse or be hacked, there is a possibility you could lose your holdings. It’s happened in the past and will happen again.

Use Strong and Unique Passwords
Passwords are used in 63% of all successful cyber attacks. Deploying passwords that are guessable, or worse still recycling the same password, will significantly increase your odds of getting owned. Don’t get lazy or take shortcuts when it comes to passwords – it’s simply not worth it. If you don’t trust your ability to recall passwords, use a password manager such as LastPass.

2FA Everything


Bitcoin for Beginners: How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency Holdings  

Many cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bitfinex now force their customers to activate two-factor authentication, and for good reason. Your cryptocurrency wallet, your exchange account, your email account and anything else tied to your use of cryptocurrencies should be protected with 2FA. A word of warning though: this second form of authentication should not comprise cellphone SMS verification. Determined attackers can trick gullible customer service staff into porting a phone number over to a new handset and use it to bypass 2FA. Instead, use a method such as Google Authenticator or a 2FA hardware key to secure your accounts.

Don’t Click That Link


Bitcoin for Beginners: How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency Holdings 

Phishing attacks are one of the most common ways in which accounts are compromised. Don’t click on links in emails or on social media purporting to be from wallet providers and exchanges and certainly don’t download attachments. Instead, bookmark the domain of the site to avoid the risk of clicking fake links from scammers seeking to drain your wallet and disappear into the blockchain with its contents. Studies have shown that despite being aware of the risks of clicking on suspicious email links, people routinely still do. Don’t be like most people. You’re smarter than that.

Final Reminders
Bitcoin
        for Beginners: How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency Holdings  

Don’t log into your bitcoin wallet using public wifi. In fact, try not to log into anything using public wifi if you can possibly help it. In doing so, you’re exposing yourself to man in the middle attacks which could expose your passwords and other personal details. In addition, when interacting in the cryptocurrency space, consider adopting a username and email address that don’t correlate with your real-world identity, and be extremely cautious about the personal information you give out to strangers on the internet.

With one millibit – or 1/1000th of a bitcoin – now worth more than $10, every wallet, no matter how slender its BTC, is a target. Keep the extent of your bitcoin holdings to yourself, separate your real world identity from your online one, and if you’re unsure don’t click that link. The bitcoin world is filled with amazing people, but like any high value commodity, it also attracts thieves, scoundrels, and scavengers. Protect your assets, up your opsec, and then kick back and enjoy the ride.

What security tips would you give to bitcoin newcomers? Let us know in the comments section below.




alfwesh22

The price of bitcoin, the most widely used virtual currency, rose above $10,000 and then $11,000 on Wednesday for the first time, breaking a symbolic threshold in what has been a vertiginous ascent this year.

The cost of buying one bitcoin as measured by the website CoinDesk was at $11,189.96 around 7 a.m. Pacific time — up from about $1,000 at the start of the year. It fell back below $11,000 soon after.

Virtual currencies have been the subject of much debate this year, with the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase calling bitcoin a “fraud” but other executives saying it should not be dismissed.

Bitcoin was created about a decade ago as an alternative to government-issued currencies. It and other virtual currencies initially were used primarily as a method of payment, particularly to buy illegal goods and services online. In recent months, they have become a hot investment among speculators.

In a move that gave further credibility to bitcoin, the U.S. exchange operator CME Group said in October that it plans to open a futures market for the currency before the end of the year — if it can get approval from regulators.

Daniele Bianchi, an assistant professor of finance at the Warwick Business School in England, said the price increases are due to rising demand as trading becomes more professional and open to the general public. He believes that so-called cryptocurrencies are “here to stay” and that that awareness among investors is making it more than just a method of payment online, but an investment in itself.

“The increasing demand pressure from investors and speculators makes the case for an even further increase in bitcoin prices in the near future,” he said.

How bitcoins work
Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not tied to a bank or government and allows users to spend money anonymously. The coins are created by users who “mine” them by lending computing power to verify other users' transactions. They receive bitcoins in exchange. The coins also can be bought and sold on exchanges with U.S. dollars and other currencies.

Is it a risky investment?
The value of bitcoins can swing sharply. Earlier this month, bitcoin's value plunged 22% against the dollar in just three days.

Why bitcoins are popular
Bitcoins are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. Transactions can be made anonymously, making the currency popular with libertarians as well as tech enthusiasts, speculators — and criminals.

Is it really anonymous?
Yes, to a point. Transactions and accounts can be traced, but the account owners aren't necessarily known. However, investigators might be able to track down the owners when bitcoins are converted to regular currency.

Who's using bitcoin?
Some businesses have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon amid a flurry of media coverage. Overstock.com accepts payments in bitcoin, for example. The U.S. exchange operator CME Group said in October that it plans to open a futures market for the currency before the end of the year, if it can get approval from regulators.

Still, its popularity is low compared with cash and cards, and many individuals and businesses won't accept bitcoins for payments. Some high-profile banking executives have spoken against bitcoin, with JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon calling it a “fraud.”

How bitcoins are kept secure
The bitcoin network works by harnessing individuals' greed for the collective good. A network of tech-savvy users called miners keep the system honest by pouring their computing power into a blockchain, a global running tally of every bitcoin transaction. The blockchain prevents rogues from spending the same bitcoin twice, and the miners are compensated for their efforts with the occasional bitcoin. As long as miners keep the blockchain secure, counterfeiting shouldn't be an issue.

How did bitcoin come to be?
It's a mystery. Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a person or group of people operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin was then adopted by a small clutch of enthusiasts. Nakamoto dropped off the map as bitcoin began to attract widespread attention. But proponents say that doesn't matter: The currency obeys its own internal logic.

Last year, an Australian entrepreneur claimed to be the founder of bitcoin, only to say days later that he did not “have the courage” to publish proof that he is.




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Dr. Garrick Hileman, an economic historian at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, explained in an interview with CNN that Bitcoin is nothing short of an economic miracle.
Hileman stated:
"Many economists dismissed it as a flawed form of money, something that could never achieve the level of adoption that it has. Today we estimate 5 to 10 million unique active users of cryptocurrencies, and in my opinion that 's nothing short of a minor economic miracle."
What Bitcoin represents
Bitcoin is the world’s first form of decentralized money; a store of value that is censorship-resistant and that is immutable against manipulation by central entities, authorities and governments.

The decentralized structure and peer-to-peer protocol of Bitcoin are unique in that they allow the Bitcoin network to operate as its own economy, without intermediaries and third party service providers. While some central banks and financial institutions have begun to fear such aspects of Bitcoin, the Bank of Finland encouraged economists to study the “marvelous structure” of Bitcoin.

In a paper entitled “Monopoly without a monopolist: An economic analysis of the Bitcoin payment system,” Bank of Finland researchers wrote:
“Bitcoin is not regulated. It cannot be regulated. There is no need to regulate it because as a system it is committed to the protocol as is and the transaction fees it charges the users are determined by the users independently of the miners’ efforts. Bitcoin’s design as an economic system is revolutionary and therefore would merit an economist’s attention and scrutiny even if it had not been functional. Its apparent functionality and usefulness should further encourage economists to study this marvelous structure.”
Global impact
As mentioned above, Hileman described Bitcoin as an economic miracle, but a “minor” one. However, at this stage in which the market valuation of Bitcoin has surpassed that of major banks at $166 bln and the liquidity of Bitcoin is higher than that of most stock markets, it is difficult to justify any aspect of Bitcoin as “minor.”

Bitcoin has had a major impact on the global financial system over the past eleven months, and it will continue to transform the finance industry at a rapid pace. Already, institutional investors have begun to move into the Bitcoin market. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed that approximately $10 bln in institutional money are awaiting to be invested in digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

“Over 100 hedge funds have been created in the past year exclusively to trade digital currency. An even greater number of traditional institutional investors are starting to look at trading digital assets (including family offices, sovereign wealth funds, traditional hedge funds, and more). By some estimates there is $10 bln of institutional money waiting on the sidelines to invest in digital currency today,” wrote Armstrong.

Economic miracle
Naturally, as major hedge funds and large-scale investment banks shift towards Bitcoin, general consumers and casual investors will follow. Then, Bitcoin will no longer be a minor economic miracle but a major one, which will inevitably shape the finance sector in the long-term.

Leading economies like the US, Japan and South Korea have already recognized Bitcoin as a legal currency and store of value, providing regulations to cryptocurrency exchanges, businesses and investors. 
 
As a currency, Hileman also noted that Bitcoin is increasingly being used in the luxury markets, to process or settle large transactions without the expensive and inefficient services of banks.

"If you're only paying a $2 transaction fee on a piece of art that 's worth tens of thousands, the fee is basically zero. But if you're paying two or three percent on a piece of art of that value, then the numbers can go up quite a bit,” added Hileman.





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Despite hitting $10,000 among major exchanges just hours ago, Bitcoin has already tackled $11,000 as markets show no signs of slowing.

The first hours of Wednesday saw $10,000 come and ago on Coinbase, Bitstamp, Bitfinex and others, with trading continuing to just below $10,700 before a correction.

That correction was short-lived, however, with Bitcoin then passing that mark to first hover around $10,750 and then continue to the next barrier soon afterwards.

Both Bitcoin’s rate of growth and comparative lack of volatility are unprecedented in its history.
Prices are up almost 1500% in 2017 alone, with expectations by even the more optimistic forecasters now seeming modest.

New bubble warnings in the mainstream press contrast with investment sources at a loss as to how high Bitcoin could go in 2018.

BTCC CEO Bobby Lee even took a randomized approach, basing his $48,000 prediction on the number of his Twitter followers.

Meanwhile, Tone Vays, the technical commentator who has seen his short-term tips come true with remarkable accuracy in recent months, said that $12,000 would now come “quickly” due to profit takers having completed their activity.

At the time, Bitcoin was still at $9900.




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Mubasher: Commenting on the recent surge in cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, which surpassed the $9,000 mark on Sunday for the first time and neared $10,000, former hedge-fund manager Michael Novogratz said that bitcoin could surge by as much as four times its current price by the end of 2018.
Speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money” Novogratz also said that the price of ethereum could triple by the end of next year.
“There’s a big wave of money coming, not just here but all around the world,” the former hedge-fund manager said, noting that the lack of a supply amidst rising demand makes cryptocurrencies “a speculator’s dream.”

 
The value of bitcoin exceeded $9,700 on Monday, registering an overall surge in value by as much as 900%.
Meanwhile, ether, a token based on the Ethereum blockchain, passed $480 on Monday, another record high after the token’s price skyrocketed by over 5,000% since the start of the year.
In October, Novogratz, who is setting up his own $500 million cryptocurrency fund, predicted bitcoin passing $10,000 by the end of 2017.
“I can hear the herd coming,” Novogratz told CNBC last month, when bitcoin was priced at a little under $4,900.

 
“As buying happens there’s no new supply response that comes up. So every price move gets exaggerated. It’s going to get exaggerated on the way up. There will be 50% corrections. It will get exaggerated on the way down,” Novogratz said.




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