2weeks ago, 3 Jun, Monday
Samourai Wallet Raises First Funding Round in Fight Against Bitcoin Surveillance
The team behind the privacy-obsessed bitcoin app, Samourai Wallet, has gotten its first round of venture funding.
Founded by two former developers at Blockchain.info, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill, the wallet’s maintainer, Katana Cryptographic, has received a $100,000 investment from Cypherpunk Holdings.
Samourai Wallet has been built for Android users, specifically designed to enhance privacy while using bitcoin.
“There is no other cryptocurrency that is as battle-tested and hardened as bitcoin,” Rodriguez, Katana’s director, told CoinDesk in an email. “The founding team of Samourai has zero interest in working on other coins, or even other layers of bitcoin at this time.”
The wallet has a number of features that provide greater privacy for users, such as a service that puts intermediary hops in a transaction in order to create uncertainty about which wallet pays for what. Another feature makes it difficult to trace the provenance of someone’s bitcoin. The company earns a small fee, in bitcoin, from users that make use of these services.
Samourai also provides a privacy-enhancing service called “stonewall” for free. Stonewall creates doubt about the ownership of bitcoin in a given transaction. The company is also offering a forthcoming hardware product, called Dojo, which is a user-friendly bitcoin node built to work with the wallet.
Still an alpha release in the works since 2015, Samourai has 27,000 users, according to the company. Its first full version should come out in June. Rodriguez said it will use the funding to expand its development, customer service and quality assurance program, all of which have been put under significant pressure by the wallet’s growth.
The products have personally impressed John Carvalho, a longtime bitcoin user who currently works at Bitrefill. Carvalho told CoinDesk:
“I have respect for any company that adds utility for Bitcoiners and Samourai is clearly willing to go against the grain to add privacy options for users. If Bitcoin is freedom money, Samourai are freedom fighters.”
A similar sentiment spurred the investment itself. Cypherpunk, a venture fund listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol HODL, was set up as an investment vehicle to support privacy-enhancing technology.
Cypherpunk’s chief investment officer, Moe Adham, said in a press release, “Katana’s technologies will advance the bitcoin project. Privacy is an increasingly important, yet underfunded sector of the market, and it is increasingly coming under attack.”
Cypherpunk’s director, Dominic Frisby, told CoinDesk that his fund is looking across a wide array of blockchain technologies for opportunities to undermine global surveillance.
“Bitcoin itself scores badly on privacy, but it scores highly on market cap and usage. What bitcoin has that no other coin does is this colossal network effect. That is a powerful thing,” Frisby told CoinDesk.
But the fund is not limiting itself strictly to bitcoin. Frisby said:
“We’re investing on both sides – in privacy coins themselves and in bitcoin privacy tech. We think there will be growing demand for both.”
Brazilian Banks to Implement New HyperLedger-Powered Digital ID Platform
The identity solution — co-developed by IBM and the country’s central bank, CIP — is reportedly to be integrated into the Brazilian Payment System (SPB) — a system used by all banks and financial institutions in the country.
The new blockchain platform has reportedly been designed to authenticate and verify digital identities for users’ bank accounts by using an individual’s mobile phone and SIM card information in combination with other smartphone-derived personal data.
Cointelegraph Brazil reports that the combined data will be used to generate a secure ID recorded on a blockchain that can be used by institutions to authenticate access credentials.
Both IBM and the central bank have reportedly confirmed that a new bank-focused blockchain platform will be launched during major Latin American banking technology event CIAB Febraban on June 11. Neither have officially confirmed the full details of the product, however.
Once launched, the platform is expected to be the first multi-institution banking solution powered by blockchain, Cointelegraph Brazil notes.
As recently reported, prominent Brazlian bank, Banco Bradesco, joined enterprise blockchain consortium R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance this May. Bradesco is among Brazil’s leading banks, with total assets worth $338.2 billion and a market capitalization of $49.1 billion.
In February, a Cointelegraph analysis piece reported on the burgeoning development of blockchain-based digital ID platforms across the banking and corporate sectors worldwide.
Bitcoin Faces Price Pullback as Signs of Bull Exhaustion Emerge
BTC risks falling below $8,000 in the short-term, having created a doji candle last week.
Below $8,000, the focus would shift to the 30-day moving average, currently at $7,643, which has a penchant for reversing price pullbacks.
The outlook as per the daily chart would turn bearish if the price sees a UTC close below the 30-day MA. The long-term outlook will remain bullish as long as the price is trading above May’s low of $5,263.
The case for a short-term correction would weaken if bitcoin bounces from the bullish 5-week moving average, currently at $8,220, and ends up clearing today’s high of $8,746.
Bitcoin (BTC) could revisit sub-$8,000 levels in the short-term, as a longer-duration chart is flashing signs of bullish exhaustion for the first time this year.
The world’s top cryptocurrency by market capitalization witnessed solid two-way business last week. Prices rose to fresh 12-month highs near $9,100 only to fall back all the way to $8,000 before registering a flat close at $8,735, according to Bitstamp data.
The indecisive price action came after a solid rally. For instance, BTC rose by $3,800 in the preceding four weeks and is currently up more than 125 percent on a year-to-date basis. Further, BTC closed May with 62 percent gains – the biggest monthly gain since August 2017.
So, the ambiguous trading activity witnessed last week could be considered a sign of buyer exhaustion. That argument would be further strengthened if prices settle below $8,000 this Sunday.
Therefore, the psychological support of $8,000 is the level to defend for the bulls. As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $8,465 on Bitstamp, representing a 1.2 percent drop on a 24-hour basis. Prices hit a high and low of $8,746 and $8,336, respectively, earlier today.
Bitcoin created a classic doji candle last week, signaling indecision in the market place.
The candlestick, however, appeared following a four-week winning streak and with prices at one-year highs. So, it seems safe to say that indecision or exhaustion is predominantly among buyers.
It’s worth noting that BTC created a similar looking doji candle in the seven days to April 14. The pattern, however, failed to yield a correction and prices hit a fresh multi-month high above $5,600 by month end, possibly because the 14-week relative strength index (RSI) was biased bullish at the time.
The latest doji candle is accompanied by overbought readings above 70 on the RSI. As a result, a correction to levels below $8,000 looks likely.
That said, the 5- and 10-week moving averages (MA), currently at $8,220 and $6,762, respectively, continue to trend north, indicating a bullish setup, and could put the brakes on any price drop.
The psychological resistance of $9,000 could come into play if bitcoin bounces from the 5-week MA at $8,220 and ends up clearing today’s high of $8,746.
On the daily chart, the RSI has produced lower highs, contradicting the higher highs on the price.
That bearish divergence, coupled with the “bearish outside day” candle created on May 30, indicates the cryptocurrency is overdue for a pullback, possibly to the historically strong support of the 30-day MA, currently at $7,648.
That average has consistently reversed pullbacks throughout the rally from lows near $3,700 seen on Feb. 8.
As a result, a strong bounce from that MA would revive the short-term bullish setup, while a UTC close below that level could embolden sellers, leading to a deeper correction.
BTC closed last month with 62 percent gains, marking a strong follow-through to the falling channel breakout or long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change confirmed by April’s candle.
The breakout looks stronger now as the 5-month MA has crossed above the 10-month MA – the first bullish crossover of those lines since September 2015.
The 5- and 10-month MAs are currently located at $6,032 and $5,414, respectively, and would likely come into play should prices find acceptance below the 30-day MA at $7,648.
The long-term bullish outlook would be invalidated only if the price drops below May’s low of $5,263.
Coinroom Exchange Disappeared Overnight with Customers’ Funds
Polish crypto exchange Coinroom has suddenly shut its services in April and allegedly disappeared with customers funds, local financial news platform Money.pl revealed.
Though the exact amount involved in the fraudulent act is not known yet, customers with deposits ranging from PLN 300 (around $79) to PLN 60,000 (near about $15,660) came out to testify against the exchange.
Founded in 2016, Coinroom was one of the widely used digital asset exchange in Poland and was offering fiat-based crypto trading to its clients.
On April 2, the exchange sent out an email to its customers stating that it was going to terminate all contracts and requested them to withdraw deposits within a day. Anyone failing to generate a withdrawal request within the stipulated time was forced to contact the exchange for their stored funds. Interestingly, Coinroom drafted all these complex rules on their user agreement and made every customer to sing it when opening an account.
According to the local daily, many customers did not receive their deposits, while some received only a partial amount.
One customer detailed that even after receiving a withdrawal confirmation from the exchange for 2.005 BTC, he did not receive anything. Dozens of other victims also lined up to share their grievances on crypto forums.
The exchange also stopped responding to customer queries and shut its social media handles. The exchange even took down its website to completely disappear from the public domain.
Many are now suspecting that the exchange was launched with an intention to dupe customers.
Some of the victims also teamed up to file a lawsuit against the shady crypto exchange.
Troubled crypto exchanges
The slump in the crypto market over the last year has forced many exchanges to shut their services. Two crypto exchange in India – Coindelta and Coinome – went off the market this year citing a bear market and unclear regulatory needs.
Meanwhile, the woes for the financially crippled Cryptopia is deepening as its liquidators recently published their first audit report calculating a debt of at least $2.7 million to its creditors.
Anti-Patent Troll Consortium Is Recruiting Blockchain Startups
Three blockchain technology companies have joined a multi-industry consortium dedicated to protecting members against the threat of patent assertion entities (PAEs) – more commonly known as patent trolls.
Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Peer Mountain, MARKNetwork and IBISA have signed on to LOT Network, which was formed in 2014 by Google, software maker Red Hat and manufacturer Canon. LOT’s more than 400 members also include such household names as JPMorgan Chase, Ford, Microsoft, Tesla, Alibaba and GM.
While the blockchain firms involved aren’t as well-known, their participation is a sign that the technology is expected to become another patents battlefield, like the storied smartphone wars of the last decade.
Easily the best-known example of a firm lining up an arsenal of blockchain and crypto patents as a potential business model is self-professed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright’s company nChain.
Wright, who was recently in the news for registering a copyright on the Bitcoin white paper, has amassed some 500 blockchain and crypto-related patents.
“Craig Wright’s lawyers are filing patents to basically put landmines in the technology roadmap waiting for the industry to come down his street so he can impose a tax,” said LOT CEO Ken Seddon, who’s seen this pattern play out in other industries. “It’s a shotgun approach: he is just going to sit there and speculate on all the possible paths and the possible forks the industry might take, sowing his seeds and waiting to collect his royalty checks.”
nChain did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
For LOT and its new members, Wright’s actions are a wake-up call. To borrow from a quote attributed to Pericles: Just because blockchain startups may not take an interest in patents doesn’t mean patent trolls won’t take an interest in them.
“Philosophically, many project leaders are opposed to the very idea of intellectual property ownership such as patents,” said Jed Grant, CEO of Peer Mountain. “However, it is important to understand that it is not just lawyers who have a stake in the patent troll fight. Developers, inventors and software engineers are already adversely impacted by frivolous litigation.”
LOT’s “immunization” works like a poison pill: When members join they sign a 10-page agreement which states that if their patents ever fall into the hands of a patent troll then the rest of the community members get an automatic and free license.
Every member of LOT’s 430-strong community, which collectively own about 1.7 million patents, is making this exact same commitment to everybody else, said Seddon, pointing out they can of course still defend their ideas with their patents in the traditional normal way of fair play among firms.
“It’s a license agreement or a contract and we are licensing each other to our patents,” he said. “It’s called an encumbrance in legal terms; we are attaching an encumbrance to this patent. So if I sell it to a [patent troll] they can’t come after you because you get to say, hold on, I have a license.”
Seddon said innovation and patents go hand in hand, but there are always going to be some bad actors who take advantage of the system and try to make a profit from it
The root of the problem, according to Seddon, is that companies at some stage of their lives sell patents in the open market, whether a startup with a handful of patents or Microsoft with 80,000.
Patent trolls are also afforded a foothold wherever a new technology is applied to an existing system; a good example is in the auto industry where cars are now a locus for an assortment of new technology applications like smartphones, he said, adding:
“Patent trolls don’t make products, they don’t have factories or R&D centers. They are often nothing more than lawyers who have partnered with VC money to go around and buy patents and sue companies for shakedown money.”
The risk may be compounded for blockchain companies since the industry overlaps with other verticals, said Maria Mateo, project lead at IBISA.
“So we rely on other protocols to operate our businesses,” she said. “The intersection of technologies opens us up to exposure to patent troll litigation, even if blockchain patents themselves are only now starting to grow in number.”
BITMEX SET TO REDUCE BITCOIN FEES WITH LIQUID SIDECHAIN AND SEGWIT
Cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX has hinted it will begin using Blockstream’s Liquid sidechain technology to reduce its impact on the Bitcoin mempool.
BITREFILL: BITMEX SHOULD REDUCE FEE IMPACT
As part of a social media discussion started by Bitrefill CEO Sergey Kotliar over how major exchanges create higher fees for Bitcoin users, staff said developers were “testing” solutions.
A huge volume platform, BitMEX has often seen controversy arise from its settlement activities due to the number of transactions it generates from bitcoin withdrawals and other processes.
The more transactions there are – especially if a large number are released onto the network at once – the more quickly transaction fees rise. As such, ‘spikes’ in the average fee rate for Bitcoin can cause problems for all those sending transactions for many hours afterwards.
Some major exchanges have already taken steps to reduce the number of outputs they generate and hence contribute less to the size of the mempool.
In particular, Segregated Witness (SegWit) technology saw good uptake through early 2018, with BitMEX now confirming it was seeking to implement it. It would also ‘batch’ transactions to create less work for the network, while suggesting off-chain settlements could also appear.
“We have SegWit in testing but it is bundled with some other backend upgrades to systems that will allow us to monitor many more addresses and rotate them more freely,” staff wrote.
It is our intention instead to reduce the space we occupy using SegWit & batching, and eliminate the need for some types of withdrawals entirely using Liquid.
LIQUID SIDECHAIN TO THE RESCUE?
As Bitcoinist reported, the Liquid sidechain forms a separate network ‘pegged’ to Bitcoin, one use of which is to allow exchange transactions to settle in an essentially predefined period.
Explaining why progress had hitherto been slow on a solution, BitMEX said its internal protocols had required a more mempool-intensive approach thus far.
“There can only be one batch release, because we (still) manually review withdrawals and process them by hand,” it added on the topic of transaction batching.
It is infeasible to do this multiple times a day. and artificially delaying the release of withdrawals would hamper the user experience.
Nonetheless, Kotliar noted the impact of a technical issue from May 30, which saw a giant block of BitMEX transactions instantly push up fees for multiple hours.
“Just batching alone would have reduced this by 90% and barely caused a blip on the chart,” he argued.
Within the industry, major US platform Coinbase and wallet provider Blockchain.com continue to draw the ire of users, Coinbase due to a lack of progress in adopting batching and Blockchain for its refusal to implement SegWit compatibility.
Due to most Bitcoiners understanding the asset better now than during the December 2017 fees and price spike, Kotliar added, it was likely future such surges in interest would be better managed overall.
As Bitcoinist noted, Bitcoin fees remain broadly low despite the current price bull run.
Bitcoin’s First Public Mining Pool Is Rebranding
The company behind Slush Pool, the first cryptocurrency mining pool to make its services publicly available, is rebranding.
The Prague-based company Braiins is perhaps less well-known than Slush Pool, one of the largest bitcoin mining pools as it makes up more than 9 percent of the cryptocurrency’s hashrate today.
Yet Braiins has been operating it since it purchased the historic mining pool six years ago. Now, Braiins is moving to make its involvement with Slush Pool more obvious, in part with a redesign of its logo and all its product websites.
Braiins creative director Luboš Buračinský told CoinDesk:
“After running and developing Slush Pool for the last six years more or less in the background, we’re going to take a more visible public position.”
With the rebrand, Braiins wants all its products to fall under one banner. “The rebranding will also unify our other products and services, including Braiins OS,” Buračinský continued.
Miners need to run what’s known as “firmware” on their mining devices to monitor the performance. Braiins OS, launched September of last year, differs from other mining firmwares because it’s open-source — it’s not closed off like other proprietary firmwares.
“If you own the hardware, you should be able to have full control of it without worrying about some ‘hidden features’,” the project announcement post explains.
In addition, Braiins plans to release several new updates to their products in the coming months. The firm is working on a new “payout” feature for the mining pool, which would allow miners to have more control of how they get paid.
Further, Braiins “replacing the CGMiner with Rust implementation” for Braiins OS, which would make “adding new hardware much easier,” according to the firm.
Walmart Joins Pharmaceutical-Tracking Blockchain Consortium MediLedger
Big-box retail giant Walmart has joined MediLedger, a consortium building a blockchain for tracking the provenance of pharmaceuticals.
A spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company confirmed Walmart’s participation to CoinDesk but had no further comment.
The move represents a deepening of Walmart’s involvement with blockchain technology. Separately, the retailer is a key participant in IBM’s Food Trust, a system for tracking fresh produce through the supply chain that’s built on the Hyperledger Fabric platform.
Walmart has insisted that its suppliers of leafy greens integrate the IBM blockchain, and it should bring similar supply-chain clout to MediLedger, whose members already include pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Pfizer and the three largest pharmaceutical wholesalers, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.
“Health and wellness,” a category that includes pharmacy and over-the-counter drugs, accounted for $35 billion of Walmart’s U.S. sales in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, or 10% of the total, according to the company’s annual report.
Unlike Food Trust, MediLedger uses an enterprise version of the ethereum blockchain, built with a modified version of the Parity client and a consensus mechanism called proof of authority. The consortium is spearheaded by San Francisco-based blockchain firm Chronicled, which closed a $16 million funding round earlier this year.
Walmart joins as MediLedger prepares to kick off a pilot project with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early June. The agency is testing various approaches to creating an interoperable, digitized system for tracking and verifying prescription drugs, something Congress has mandated it deliver by 2023.
Eric Garvin, co-lead of MediLedger, told CoinDesk:
“The pilots only really make sense if you are working with a group of collaborators.”
MediLedger initially focused on the verification of drugs that are returned to be resold – a sliver of the pharma market, but one that’s still worth over $6 billion. Legislation to help prevent fraudulent products being resold comes into effect in November of this year.
Now the expanded group will start work on the more broad-ranging tracking of all pharma products which involves interoperable data and packaging serialization.
It could be argued that in places like the U.K. where the healthcare system is largely run by the government, a digitized system like the one FDA has been mandated to create might be implemented more easily using a centralized system.
But the U.S. is the largest privatized healthcare system in the world (with the highest prices), which makes for a sprawling fragmentation of siloed databases, supporting the case for a decentralized solution.
The Congressionally mandated 10-year roadmap to a standardized form of serialization on all drug packaging began with the very largest firms complying with electronic tracking of lot shipments, i.e. 100 boxes of some medicine at a time. The next goal was more granular serialization at the level of pillbox or bottle
The third plank of the legislation was that the data being gathered had to be technically interoperable.
That last requirement made some people in the industry think “blockchain is the perfect solution,” said Maria Palombini, director of communities and initiatives development for emerging technology at the IEEE Standards Association.
Palombini stressed that the FDA does not advocate one technology over another and its only prescription is the use of recognized standards within each pilot’s tech stacks.
However, making data (and metadata) interoperable presents the industry with a challenge, she said:
“I think some companies will try and embrace this, and some others will try and stay away from blockchain. Because there is one word that scares them – transparency.”
Garvin said nodes are distributed and operated by industry participants and technology providers, but that data privacy is being addressed with zero-knowledge proofs, a cryptographic method that allows someone to prove something is true about a set of data without exposing the data itself.
This data transparency question is especially pointed at the ends of the supply chain with large pharma dispensers like Walmart, who are unaccustomed to potentially sharing their sales data with competitors.
“They have to try and figure out a way to share this data and give far more visibility into the inventory, but also now the retailers are going to have to give data back which they have never really been required to do,” said Palombini. “That’s going to be a really hard part here.”
EOS Holders Vote to Reduce the Annual Inflation From 5% to 1%
According to the poll’s description, out of the current 5% of annual EOS inflation, 4% is being accumulated in the eosio.saving account while 1% is distributed among BPs in exchange for network maintenance. About 3.6 million EOS are reportedly created and sent to this on-chain account every month, and this number increases due to compound inflation mechanisms.
The original purpose of accumulating funds on the aforementioned account was allegedly to have the community vote on how to spend it or even burn it. Still, the proposal claims:
“However, 8 months have past and there is still no defined use for this large quantity of EOS tokens that continues to flow into the eosio.saving account. This large quantity of accumulated tokens has now become excessive and if we continue to allow it to keep growing, it will eventually become an attack vector for the network.”
The author of the proposal description notes that “it is therefore time to turn the tap off and reduce the level of inflation down.” Lastly, the text also notes that the implementation of the new inflation rate would have no effect on the earnings of the Block Producers:
“The 1% rate of inflation going to block producers (0.25%+0.75%) will remain unchanged.”
At press time, 100% of the 778 account that staked about 27.3 million EOS have been cast in favor of reducing the inflation.
Bitcoin [BTC]: Maintaining an exchange is the hardest thing to do in the world, claims ex-Bitfinex CSO
2019 has been a generous year for the cryptocurrency ecosystem as consistent market surges, along with minimal price corrections, collectively raised the market capitalization of all virtual coins. However, the community also witnessed its share of negative press when the Bitfinex-Tether fiasco engulfed the crypto-space with doubt and uncertainty.
Phil Potter, the Former CSO of Bitfinex and Co-founder of Tether, spoke about the earlier “challenges” faced by Bitfinex.
In a recent episode of whatbitcoindid with Peter McCormack, Phil Potter stated the aspect of technology was a major issue in the early days of Bitfinex. He said that running a “Bitcoin exchange” was the hardest thing to do since it was a newly developing market that was functional over a 24/7 window. The co-founder also stated that building a cohesive “dev team” was also critical in the initial stages for an organization that was entirely “dispersed around the world”.
“All the other exchanges had some kind of Nexus somewhere there, based somewhere and a bunch of kids in an office coding away or doing KYC. But Bitfinex was very much decentralized company, for you know to trade decentralized currencies.”
Potter also mentioned that it was important for Bitfinex to have a “set of principles” in different time zones so that the exchange was always under someone’s surveillance. This was essential as running a platform that included aspects like margin trading. Potter added that the security challenges were “quite substantial” too.
Cryptocurrency: Involvement of virtual assets among teens an adoption blessing or major exploitation?
Kin, a crypto-project based around messaging app Kik, recently made headlines as the organization launched the DefendCrypto.org dubbed fund against the US Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC].
At press time, Kin was not considered a major crypto token in the industry; however, in the wake of this recent event, a lot of light was shed on the virtual asset.
Eric Wall, the Cryptocurrency Lead at Cinnober, indicated that Kin as crypto might affect the future generation of kids who were most likely to adopt the idea of cryptocurrency on a larger scale.
Wall stated that the “most fertile” ground for future mass adoption of crypto at the moment, resided with how kids reacted to it and that introducing virtual assets to apps like Kik would help promote the idea of a digital economy.
In an earlier Twitter thread by Eric Wall, he mentioned that 29.3% of the world population was under the age of 18 and suggested that they were a group of people that was largely attached to the communication medium of the Internet.
He suggested that kids were extremely smart at understanding digital functionality and in-app purchases, while indicating that they were also “super-excited” about making money.
However, Wall emphasized on the consequences that could be a part of this early adoption as he mentioned,
“The darkest part is that this will give a new tool to groomers. Young girls and boys will be asked to show their body parts on cam in exchange for anonymous coins. The perpetrators will know they can get away with it and the kids will know their parents won’t find out.”
Luke Martin, a Crypto Analyst, also pitched in, opining that Kik was not very popular among kids these days and that the Kin crypto would not be entirely used on the messaging application.
Eric Wall agreed, but also stated that Kin could also get introduced into other popular apps where the involvement of the generation under the age of 18 was more prominent.
Tezos’ co-founder Arthur Breitman says side-chains are tricky and difficult
In the event of Tezos’ first-ever on-chain upgrade, Arthur Breitman, the Co-Founder of Tezos, spoke with the popular crypto influencer Naomi Brockwell about the upgrades made on-chain versus implementation of the same on a second layer. Breitman said that the latter was “not stringent enough” and could be easily corrupted.
He went on to state that side-chains were tricky and added that layer 2 was difficult. According to the Co-Founder, deploying an on-chain upgrade implied “protecting the values in the system”.
In the case of Bitcoin, Breitman cited that if a system was open to changes, it became highly susceptible to the infusion of “bad stuff” by fraudulent actors in the network. Taking into account the upgrade protocols surrounding Bitcoin, the Co-Founder asserted that the protocols were bound with “strong cultural norms”. He added that the changes [if any] were very minimal and “uncontroversial” for the largest digital currency. Brockwell also added that any larger or significant network upgrade in Bitcoin would “necessitate a hard fork”.
In terms of protecting the network against corruption by malicious entities, Breitman believed that upgrades leading to Bitcoin hard fork had fairly “worked” for the digital coin. However, admitting the potential issue in the system, he stated,
“The problem is that then you also give up on the ability of having more meaningful changes.”
Taking a jibe at Bitcoin enthusiasts, Breitman said that those who considered smart contracts “useless” had “sour grapes”. The creator also reflected on Tezos’ network and its first self-amendment and stated that the system evaded “external interference” and accommodated innovation simultaneously.
2weeks ago, 2 Jun, Sunday
Bitcoin's Overnight Crash Doesn't Stop Experts From Remaining Macro Bullish
On May 30, overnight, the valuation of the crypto market dropped by $19 billion as the price of bitcoin (BTC) briefly dropped from $9,000 to $8,000 — a staggering 11% within a few hours on exchanges like Bitstamp. The drop of bitcoin to $8,000 was not visible on charts of market data providers like CoinMarketCap because the movement occurred in a short time frame.
Bitcoin’s price immediately recovered to $8,300 following its abrupt decline, relieving some of the pressure from the rest of the crypto market and continues to rise in price as of press time.
Despite the $1,000 decline in the price of bitcoin on May 30, the asset has performed strongly against the U.S. dollar throughout the past month.
Ether, bitcoin cash, litecoin, XRP and other large market cap crypto assets closed that day with a 9% drop against the United States dollar, while the timely recovery of bitcoin allowed the dominant crypto asset to minimize its drop to about 5%.
Are technical analysts still macro bullish on bitcoin?
Technical analysts in the crypto sector, such as Josh Rager and Cred, foresee $8,200 as a crucial support level that could prevent the asset from dropping to the $7,000 region once again.
The last time bitcoin’s price dropped below $7,000 was in a flash crash on March 17, when it fell to $6,400, triggered by the unexpected sell-off of 5,000 BTC on Bitstamp, which then led to the mass liquidation of contracts on BitMEX.
Bitcoin has since demonstrated strong momentum, with signs of “fear of missing out” (FOMO) among investors, creating a vertical rally to the upside.
Cred told Cointelegraph in an interview that, as long as the $8,200 support level is defended, a rise to $9,600 remains a realistic target and a high time frame resistance level.
“I think the vertical rally is more a sign of FOMO and disbelief as opposed to something to be inherently concerned about. I’m looking at the $9600 area as the next high time frame resistance area if price trades higher. Closer to current price (which is pulling back at the time of writing), I think losing $8200 — the level price broke out from and thus nearest support — will take us to the $7300 area. Mid $6000s remains the best and final area for longs. Losing that level and staying below $6000s would shift my bias to bearish.”
In the past month, within a 30-day span, the price of bitcoin has increased from $5,322 to over $8,700 by a staggering 54%.
Caption of the crypto 1 month performance. Source: coin360.com
Still, based on the historical performance of bitcoin and its tendency to see a major correction in the tune of 30% to 40% following a large spike in price, Cred noted that a 30% drop in the future remains a possibility.
Throughout the past three years, bitcoin has generally shown sustainable momentum, especially from 2016 to late 2017. However, it was regularly prone to relatively corrections in short time frames.
“In 2017 and years before that, Bitcoin would regularly correct circa 30% before continuing higher. I think we will see something similar, but trying to short this market presumptively is a bad play. Any significant pullback above the old $6000 floor is a dip I’m interested in buying, the closer to $6000 the better,” Cred said.
Potential catalysts of bitcoin
It remains to be seen whether there are sufficient fundamental catalysts on the horizon that would push bitcoin’s price above $9,000 and potentially to $10,000, considering the lack of resistance above $9,000.
Support: 7600, 7200, 6800, 6400, 6200, 6000, 5750-5500, 5000.
Resistance: 8400-8500, 10000, 11500-11750, 13000, 15000, 17400, 20000, moon.
— Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) May 21, 2019
The following factors have been mentioned in recent weeks as potential catalysts for an increase in bitcoin’s price:
Rise in institutional demand, as seen in the drastic increase in Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) premium.
The entrance of major financial institutions such as Fidelity, Etrade and TD Ameritrade.
Scheduled block reward halving of bitcoin in May 2020.
A noticeable improvement in the infrastructure supporting the asset class.
Rising institutional demand, triggering the recovery of retail interest.
On May 30, at its weekly peak, the price of a share of GBTC, a publicly listed investment vehicle operated by Digital Currency Group’s Grayscale that enables investors to invest in bitcoin through a stock market in OTC Markets, hit $12.40.
In its Q1 2019 report, Grayscale emphasized that the majority of investments in its products, including GBTC, came from institutional investors, which was at 73%.
“Institutional investors comprised the highest percentage of total demand for Grayscale products in the first quarter (73%). This was also consistent with their share of inflows over the trailing twelve months (73%). As we have mentioned in previous reports, many institutional investors may view the current drawdown as an attractive entry point to add to their core positions in digital assets.”
The overall increase in confidence and improvement of sentiment around the crypto market have also led the hash rate of the Bitcoin blockchain to achieve a 2019 high of 59 exahash, nearing its all-time high of 60 exahash that was reached in September 2019.
As the price rises and mining becomes more profitable, the hash rate supporting the Bitcoin blockchain is expected to rise continuously in the near term, which could be considered a positive indicator for stability.
Moreover, as Cred said, the momentum of bitcoin in recent months could have simply been primarily fueled by speculation rather than fundamental catalysts. Hence, it is possible that the sheer rise in demand among investors in the broader market pushed the crypto market.
“As facetious as this response may seem, price rallied due to an imbalance between buyers and sellers (the former being dominant). The market is trending hard. Typically in strong trends, consolidation (as was the case before the breakout) leads to continuation. One can speculate over ‘causes’ for a move in price but it’s often just that; speculation.”
Is a strong correction still due?
Speaking to Cointelegraph, cryptocurrency technical analyst and trader Josh Rager said that a strong correction in the crypto market is still due.
Similar to Cred, Rager stated that, based on technicals, bitcoin’s price could push above $9,000 and rise up to $9,400. However, the analyst noted that traders have shown a willingness to take profits in the early $9,000 region, which could lead to correction if BTC achieves a new yearly high in the near term:
“If Bitcoin can hold and close above $8200 on the daily chart there is hope that it could continue to push up to $9400+ but I still believe that a strong correction is due.
“And at this time after the distribution pattern in upper $8ks, the spring above $9,000 with sharp downturn would be a clear sign to me that people have started taking profit prior to the $9400+ level. Everyone was watching $9400+ to start taking profit and because of this, the move came early and it seems that many were front run by whales.”
In the short term, depending on the ability of bitcoin to defend on important support levels, Rager said that there exists a possibility of the asset plunging to $7,000, if it loses momentum and sees a steep sell-off.
While traders generally foresee a strong drop in the price of bitcoin if it struggles to float above $8,000, opinions differ as to the extent the asset would fall if it falls below $8,000.
Some have suggested that the strength of the momentum of bitcoin may make it highly unlikely to see $7,000 again in the upcoming weeks. Rager added:
“Many were waiting to buy at $3k and below, and the price moved up from $3100 as buyers stepped in prior. Many were waiting for confirmation in the low $6ks and price ripped right through resistance, surprising many as it went to $7k.
“And now we see it again as many were waiting to take profits above $9400 and price quickly broke down as large volume selling put pressure on the price as we currently wait to see if Bitcoin will indeed continue to break down to at least the low $7ks with a possibility of pushing all the way down to $5700.”
Industry executives have become more optimistic
The rise of sentiment around bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market has led industry executives, particularly exchange operators, to become more upbeat regarding the short- to medium-term trend of the market.
We talk about going to Mars all the time. We have no limits to our imagination when it comes to space travel. But when it comes to the future of money, curiously many suffer from an acute failure of imagination. The Bitcoin rocket ship is fueling up, make sure to book your seat!
— Cameron Winklevoss (@winklevoss) May 30, 2019
ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees put to bed the inaccurate comparison between bitcoin and the tulip bubble of the 1600s, stating that well-known bubbles have historically not consistently rebounded and achieved all-time highs.
Tulips never re-emerged to hit new ATH's. Bitcoin does it every couple years. Anyone equating the two needs to explain this discrepancy.
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) May 30, 2019
4weeks ago, 23 May, Thursday
Rep. Eric Swalwell Is Accepting Crypto Donations in Bid for US Presidency
Rep. Eric Swalwell is accepting donations in cryptocurrencies to support his bid for the U.S. presidency in 2020.
Announced Thursday by blockchain firm The White Company, which is providing the tech for the crypto donations, Swalwell will accept six supported cryptocurrencies – bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, stellar, bitcoin SV and The White Company’s native token White standard (WSD) – on a dedicated web page.
Speaking generally about the technology, Swalwell said:
“Blockchain can change the world, if we let it. So much of our public life now exists online, and there’s no reason to believe we can’t extend this further into our democracy and our economy – from exercising our right to vote, to how we look at cryptocurrency.”
Swalwell, 38, is a Democratic elected to represent California’s 15th Congressional district in 2012. He also serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committee.
For the donations, The White Company said it uses a stellar-based stablecoin, allowing Swalwell to have “instant” access to funds, with transactions that are “less than a penny and settle in 3 seconds.”
Elizabeth White, founder of the startup, said:
“By enabling crypto donations, Swalwell not only makes it easier for [public] to support his campaign but also shows how he values the democratization of financial services to everyone, not just the wealthy.”
With the news, Swalwell becomes the second 2020 presidential hopeful to accept cryptocurrency donations after an announcement by Democrat leader Andrew Yang earlier this month.
Yang has also released a policy statement for crypto-assets, indicating his goal is to “create clear guidelines in the digital asset world so that businesses and individuals can invest and innovate in the area without fear of a regulatory shift.”
The White Company suggested Swalwell’s campaign donations can be made “much faster” than those for Yang, as contributors don’t need to make a 30-minute compliance call, and can further donate a wider range of cryptocurrencies.
A look at Swalwell’s crypto donations page suggests that to send a donation, supporters need only provide name, phone number and address, along with occupation and employer, before getting to make the transaction.
Ethereum [ETH]: ‘Vitalik Boterin,’ an AI-powered bot catches Co-founder’s attention
There is a new AI in town, one that has similarities to Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Going by the name “Vitalik Boterin,” the bot is powered by machine learning. The following are few of his tweets,
The idea that *all* problems can be solved by “maximalism” is to many people a familiar theme of this space; I call it “optimism as a store-of-value”
— Vitalik Boterin (@VBoterin) May 14, 2019
Boterin can tweet round the clock. In fact, even Buterin himself is a fan, and he happened to re-tweet the bot,
“The bot gets it”
In order for the AI to tweet like the ETH Co-founder, the AI is regularly provided with actual tweets, articles, and posts on Reddit, written by Buterin himself.
The bot’s creator, David Moskowitz, became interested in the domain after participating in a local AI developer’s boot-camp, reported Hard Folk. He got the idea to create a bot for the cryptospace after he learned that a few developers had already created something similar for the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
According to, David Moskowitz,
“[Buterin] is a prolific writer and tweeter, so there would be a lot of data from which to build the model from.”
He added that he figured Buterin would also get a kick out of it since he had a good sense of humor. Moskowitz also claimed that Buterin doesn’t take himself too seriously, and would appreciate the technological aspect of it.
Boterin is powered by an open source, GPT-2. The limited version of the deep-learning neural net is used for the bot. GPT-2 is working on predicting words in a sentence by pulling it from the Internet. According to Open AI, it can generate “samples from a variety of prompts that feel close to the human quality and show coherence over a page or more of text.”
“The text outputted still requires curation, with about 1 percent usable for tweets. Being a fanboy, I have a pretty good idea of the types of things Vitalik might post, so I’m able to pick out good content.”
Price Dip Leaves Bitcoin Exposed to $7.2K Support
Bitcoin suffered a contracting triangle breakdown on Wednesday, as expected.
The range breakdown is backed by bearish developments on the daily and 4-hour chart indicators. BTC, therefore, risks falling to $7,206 (May 18 low) in the next day or two.
A UTC close below $7,206 would confirm a double-top breakdown and open doors for a drop to $6,070 (target as per the measured move method).
The outlook would turn bullish if the price finds acceptance above $8,050 in the next 24 hours.
Bitcoin (BTC) dived out of a narrowing price range on Wednesday, opening the doors for a deeper drop to $7,200.
The leading cryptocurrency by market value fell below $7,850 in the U.S. trading hours yesterday, confirming a downside break of a contracting triangle pattern – a series of higher lows and lower highs – created in the first two trading days of the week.
The period of indecision ended with sellers gaining an upper hand, and the resultant range breakdown neutralized the immediate bullish view put forward by the near 13 percent price rise seen on Sunday.
As a result, BTC could continue to lose altitude in the short term. Currently, the cryptocurrency is trading at $7,530 on Bitstamp, representing a 4 percent drop on the day. Prices hit an intraday low of $7,468 earlier today.
Looking forward, the focus is on the key support at $7,200– a level the bulls must defend, as a break lower would confirm a short-term bullish-to-bearish trend change on the technical charts.
BTC dived out of the contracting triangle yesterday, validating bullish exhaustion signaled by multiple rejections at $8,300.
More importantly, the range breakdown is backed by a bearish below-50 reading on the relative strength index (RSI) and a drop into bearish territory below zero on the the moving average convergence divergence (MACD) histogram.
The path of least resistance, therefore, is to the downside.
On the daily chart, early signs of temporary bearish reversal have emerged in the form of a “hanging man” candle, as discussed earlier this week. Further, the daily MACD has turned bearish for the first time since May 2 and the RSI continues to create bearish lower highs.
BTC, therefore, could complete the forming double-top pattern seen above with a drop to $7,206 (May 18 low) in the next day or two.
A UTC close below $7,206 would confirm a double-top breakdown – a short-term bullish-to-bearish trend change – and would create room for a slide to $6,070 (target as per the measured move method).
That said, the historically strong support of the 30-day moving average (MA) is currently located at $6,475. That average is seen sloping upwards to $6,500 in the next couple of days. As a result, any following sell-off could be cut short near that level.
The outlook would turn bullish if prices rise above $8,050 in the next 24 hours, contradicting the bearish developments on the short-term charts. In that case, a rally to $8,500 (June 2018 high) could be seen.
Swiss Watchmaker Franck Muller Launches ‘Functional’ Bitcoin Timepiece
Swiss luxury watchmaker Franck Muller has launched limited-edition timepiece dubbed “Encrypto” that it’s calling “the world’s first functional bitcoin watch.”
Aesthetically, the dial of the watch – launched in partnership with cryptocurrency trading platform Regal Assets – sports bitcoin’s logo and a QR code of bitcoin’s genesis block address.
The face also includes a laser-etched QR code for a public wallet address that can be used to deposit bitcoin and check its balance. An included sealed USB stick stores the private key, Regal Assets announced Wednesday.
The “deep cold storage” wallet uses “offline generated, non-deterministic TRNGs (True Random Numbers Generated) that cannot be hacked,” according to the announcement.
The Encrypto is currently available online and at Franck Muller’s Dubai Mall store, with accepted payment options being credit card and bank transfer, as well as bitcoin.
A maximum of 500 each of men’s and women’s versions will be sold, with the cost being anywhere between $10,000-$60,000 apiece, according to information from the maker’s website. Some models also include precious metals and diamonds in the dial and frame.
Franck Muller is also exploring models featuring ether (ETH) and other “top five coins”, including XRP in the future.
Earlier this year, luxury Swiss watchmaker A. Favre & Fils also announced that it is developing a handcrafted mechanical timepiece with a built-in crypto-wallet. The watch will cost in the range of $102,000–$153,000, depending upon the model and its features and materials.
Coinstar Expands Bitcoin Buying Service to Cover 21 US States
Supermarket kiosk network Coinstar has further expanded its bitcoin-buying service, adding around 100 new outlets and growing U.S. coverage to 21 states and the District of Columbia.
The service, offered through a partnership with blockchain startup Coinme, now allows individuals to buy bitcoin with cash at over 2,200 locations, Coinme announced Wednesday. As of last month, the service was available at around 2,100 locations in 19 states.
The service allows purchases using U.S. dollar bills, not coins, for any amount up to $2,500.
Coinstar CEO Jim Gaherity said that the service had received a positive response, seeing “overwhelming” demand from both consumers and new retailer partners. He added that Coinstar will continue expanding to new markets “in the coming months.”
Currently supported cities include Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Washington D.C, among others.
Coinstar first partnered with Coinme in January of this year, enabling bitcoin purchases at Safeway or Albertsons stores in California, Texas and Washington states at the time. Last month, it added support for Jewel, Shaw’s, Save Mart and more.
Coinme co-founder and CEO, Neil Bergquist, said:
“Bitcoin and other digital currencies offer unique benefits to consumers – including the potential for more cost-effective and faster remittances to family and friends.”
Overall, Coinstar said it now owns and operates over 20,000 fully automated self-service coin-counting kiosks in nine countries, with thousands in the U.S. that allow bitcoin purchases.
State Street’s Blockchain Lead Departs to Build Data Privacy Startup
Moiz Kohari, State Street’s global chief technology architect, has traded his position at the custodian bank for a move into the startup world, he told CoinDesk.
Kohari helped kickstart the bank’s wide-ranging technology transformation program structured on a bedrock of distributed ledger technology (DLT) from the point he joined State Street in September 2016. Prior to that, he spent five years as head of technology innovation for London Stock Exchange Group.
While Kohari and the co-founders of his new project are officially in stealth mode, he said that at a high level, the incipient startup will focus on the data privacy space and how enterprises interact with users in this area.
Kohari told CoinDesk:
“We are looking at how best to create a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that allows enterprises to really provide compliance to [data privacy] regulations and at the same give control of that data directly to the users. It will use both DLT and traditional types of data stores such as [Amazon Web Services’] S3. We think this is an underserved area and a great opportunity.”
Data as an asset
Kohari explained that the work he did in the open source community building a DLT backbone for State Street’s custody business informs the new privacy project. The difference is that the latter treats data itself as the asset class.
“Normally we don’t think of data as an asset class,” said Kohari citing as typical examples consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII) or the way data is managed in the adtech space. “It’s about how do you represent that information in such a way you allow consumers to take direct control of that data, instead of enterprises allowing it to happen via archaic interactions in emails and written communications.”
Many of Kohari’s team members have been working as maintainers of Hyperledger Fabric for some years now and adopted the open-source blockchain tech with his team at State Street. Kohari further confirmed that work on Fabric continues within the bank.
“That journey continues in full force and I’m very excited to see where that will land and the huge implications of how that changes the custody world so you can create reconciliation-less systems,” he said.
Litecoin Price Prediction Today: Daily (LTC) Value Forecast – May 23
The LTC market is in a choppy price action. The key levels of resistance and support were no longer discernible.
However, yesterday, the market fell to its previous low at $87.
LTC/USD Medium-term Trend: Bearish
Resistance Levels: $100, $104, $108
Support levels: $88, $84, $82
Yesterday, May 22, the price of Litecoin was in a sideways trend. On May 16, the LTC market had been on a downward correction after being resisted at the $104 and $96 price levels. On each occasion, the crypto’s price would fall below the 12-day EMA and the 26-day EMA but the market would make an upward correction.
On May 20, the bulls were resisted at the $95 price level and the price fell to a sideways trend. In the last four days, the EMAs were trending like a single horizontal line indicating that price was in a sideways trend. The LTC market is in a choppy price action. The key levels of resistance and support were no longer discernible.
Also, the LTC price is characterized by small body candlesticks like Doji and Spinning tops which described the indecision between the buyers and sellers. The crypto’s price is in a tight range trading between the levels of $85 and $95. However, yesterday, the market fell to its previous low at $87. Nevertheless, the crypto’s price is likely to consolidate before an upward move above the EMAs. On the other hand, if the bearish trend continues, the market will fall to the previous low at $76.
LTC/USD Short-term Trend: Ranging
On the 1-hour chart, the price of Litecoin was in a sideways trend. The cryptocurrency had continued its range bound movement. Yesterday, the bulls tested the $92 resistance level and the price fell below the EMAs.
As the crypto’s price is fluctuating within a confined range; there is a likelihood of a price breakout or a price break down. Yesterday, the LTC market was in a price break down as price fell to its low at $87.43 and commenced a range bound move. The MACD line and the signal line are below the zero line which indicates a sell signal.