The battle for privacy is ramping up. Every day, in the cryptocurrency space, we learn of increased blockchain surveillance, countered by the efforts of privacy protocol developers. We’ve got stories from both sides of the divide in this episode of The Daily, plus a “bitcoin mansion” that’s up for sale.
Trading volume in the cryptocurrency markets has been low of late, with BTC, as the market leader, particularly exposed. One analyst, who’s been studying bitcoin’s trade volume all the way back to 2012, has observed that the intraday range for the past two months ranks in the bottom decile. “It’s now the fourth longest consecutive period where volume has been this low,” he noted. While low volume is generally a bearish sign, Fundstrat’s Thomas Lee has pointed out that, based on historical data, there may soon be some relief:
Hedge Fund Chief Offers Mansion for Bitcoin
Roy Niederhoffer, founder of an eponymous hedge fund, has a big old mansion to sell in New York. The wealthy financier purchased the property in 2013 while renovating his Manhattan pad. Now he’s ready to put his temporary Riverside Drive mansion on the market, but there’s a twist – Niederhoffer wants BTC. The 10,720-square-foot property is on the market for $15.9 million. He will accept either cash or the equivalent in BTC.
“I’m a big believer in bitcoin. I really am so bullish on it, and I want to own more of it,” he told Bloomberg. “Whatever the obligations and brokers fees are, I would pay in cash and keep the bitcoin.”
The Battle for Privacy Heats Up
On Oct. 19, Monero upgraded its protocol to include Bulletproofs. The tech, developed by Benedict Bunz and Jonathan Bootle, reduces the size of confidential transactions, helping to minimize blockchain bloat. This is a particular problem with Monero, whose privacy tech grants anonymity at the expense of larger transaction sizes on account of Ring CT. Bulletproofs, while not technically a privacy feature, provide a more efficient means of verifying the information stored within confidential transactions. The technology is also of interest to bitcoin users, as it has the potential to be implemented on BTC and BCH in conjunction with a complementary privacy protocol.
Privacy is a key battleground in cryptocurrency, with many users resenting the trend towards blockchain surveillance. Binance is the latest exchange to have gone down this route, teaming up with Chainalysis to scrutinize the source of customer funds. A Gemini customer, meanwhile, claims to have received a probing request for information or face having his account shut down:
Gemini request for information Today – 🧐😳🧐🧐😳😳🧐🧐 (Or my account is suspended in 10 days)
1. What equipment do you mine with? 2. Provide live link to mining statistics? 3. What coins do you mine?
We have all listened to no-coiner acquaintances reasoning that, “Bitcoin is purely virtual, so the price could crash to nothing”. But why are they wrong? Who are the heroes that stop the drop in a bear market cycle? These, my friend, are Bitcoin’s Buyers of Last Resort.
What Goes Up…
The rise of bitcoin has depended on increasing adoption, occurring as more people discover, then desire, then buy bitcoin. If only this discovery was purely organic, based on word of mouth, and led to a steady accumulation of new users over time. The resulting appreciation in bitcoin price would be stable and sustainable.
Unfortunately, adoption happens in waves. A few positive articles in mainstream media causes a swell of new investors, eager to snap up the available coins at any price. Momentum traders join in the fun, speculating to profit from the sudden influx and price gains.
Must Come Down
But the adoption and momentum eventually peak. Nobody wants to get caught holding the bomb when the music stops, and the price begins to drop. Momentum traders switch to shorting. Uncle Bobby, who was sure it was all a scam but didn’t want to miss out just in case, panic sells.
Nobody is buying, so the Bitcoin price 00 keeps on falling, causing more panic and desperate sellers. With a price in freefall, something needs to stop this negative feedback cycle. That something is the ‘Buyers of Last Resort’.
BOLR, HOLR and LOLR
Actually, we don’t just have to thank ‘Buyers of Last Resort’ but also ‘Hodlers of Last Resort’. Both of these terms derive from ‘Lender of Last Resort’. This typically describes central banks, who can provide liquidity to financial institutions when they are unable to borrow elsewhere.
HOLR seems like a misnomer, unless you consider bitcoin itself as the entity needing them. These ‘true believers’ refuse to fold under the pressure of falling prices, FUD-mongering and panic selling. They calmly wait until the cycle reverses again, and perhaps announce it on social media. I mean, that is how the term came to be – thanks to a drunken late night post on Bitcointalk.org in 2015.
BOLR soak up seller panic by providing liquidity to the market. They include employers who pay staff in bitcoin, regular investors, and HODLers who have perhaps received a recent cash windfall. These groups buy irrespective of price. A subset of BOLR are the ‘Bidders of Last Resort’, who put in low limit bids to capitalize if the price drops low enough.
Together, enough BOLR will stem the panic, the market will regain confidence. and prices will start to rise again. So we should all be thankful for them…and maybe join them?
Remember, the ‘Buyers of Last Resort’ always bought the dip.
Are you a buyer of last resort? Share your thoughts below!
When Bitcoin’s history is written, the following events will command a chapter apiece. Bitcoin is a creeping revolution that does not lend itself to listicles, and thus any such attempt is destined to fall short. What follows, therefore, is a potted history of a transformative technology whose greatest moments have yet to come. In chronological order, these are the days that shook Bitcoin to its core.
One of the most significant days in Bitcoin happened before most people had even heard of it. Dec. 12, 2010 didn’t startle the community at the time, but the date would go down as the most pivotal since the mining of the genesis block. That’s the day when Satoshi Nakamoto composed his final Bitcointalk post and then quietly checked out, never to be publicly heard of again.
One day prior, he’d objected to Wikileaks using bitcoin to circumvent its Visa blockade, writing: “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. Wikileaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.” We will likely never know why Satoshi left, other than the vague message he dictated to Mike Hearn in his final email on Apr. 23, 2011: “I’ve moved on to other things.”
Silk Road Bust, October 2, 2013
It’s hard to convey just how big of a role Silk Road played in mainstreaming Bitcoin, and how indebted we are to a mild-mannered pacifist now serving life without parole for the crime of being a tech visionary. (Okay, and for creating a market where you could buy every illegal drug under the sun.) Oct. 2, 2013, is the day Ross Ulbricht’s ingenious creation fell, when an FBI bust saw the 29-year-old wrestled to the ground in a San Francisco library as he was logged in to the server.
The familiar Silk Road login screen gave way to the FBI’s smug seizure notice and bitcoin shed 25 percent of its value, falling to $109 in the aftermath. BTC has since recovered 60 times over, but for those who supported Silk Road and its swashbuckling captain Dread Pirate Roberts, things have never been the same since.
Bitcoin Hits $1,000, November 27, 2013
There are many all-time highs that might warrant inclusion in this list – BTC hitting $100, just seven months earlier, being one:
That day felt epic, but $1,000 was entering the realm of fantasy. Bitcoiners hadn’t dreamed the milestone might be reached so soon. It was only later that Mt Gox’s role in inflating BTC with the aid of its Willy trading bot came to light. This knowledge has done nothing, however, to dampen the memories of $1,000 bitcoin sticking two fingers up at the establishment.
Bitcoinity.org was where everyone checked the price of BTC in the age before Blockfolio, widgets and push notifications. When bitcoin hit $1,000, the site moved the decimal point three places to the left because the USD price was taking up too much screen space.
The Death of Mt Gox, February 24, 2014
Despite five years having passed since Bitcoin’s Titanic event, and restitution finally made, the sinking of Mt Gox is still a sore point for early adopters who lost funds in the insolvent exchange. It had been evident for weeks that something was wrong with Gox, but its spectacular collapse still induced shock and anger followed by lingering acrimony. The demise of Mt Gox plunged bitcoin into a downward spiral it took years to recover from.
Craig Wright Is Satoshi Nakamoto, May 2, 2016
Many people have identified or been doxxed as Satoshi Nakamoto, but only two incidents gained global attention. Newsweek’s false dox of Dorian Nakamoto in March 2014 was noteworthy, but it pales in significance to the day Craig Wright stepped forward to claim the mantle, after Wired had first suggested the connection a few months earlier.
Gavin Andresen verified the digital signature, mainstream media swooped and Craig Wright basked in the adulation. Then the narrative began to fall apart. The evidence linking Wright to Satoshi was quickly debunked, turning Wright into a pariah dubbed “Faketoshi.” While a dwindling band of followers still believes Wright may have been involved in Bitcoin’s creation, few grant his claim to be Satoshi himself any credence.
The DAO, June 17, 2016
Like the Silk Road bust, The DAO technically wasn’t about Bitcoin. And yet the collapse of Ethereum’s flagship project, following the theft of $50 million in ether from its smart contract, reverberated throughout the entire industry, prompting Vitalik Buterin to assemble an online crisis meeting with exchange bosses in a bid to limit the fallout. “OK can you guys stop trading,” he implored and a meme was born. Ethereum eventually recovered, but not before a chain rollback and a hard fork. Bitcoin maximalism gained some new supporters that day, many of whom have remained wary of ETH ever since.
The Fall of BTC-e, July 25, 2017
When Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July of 2017 at the behest of the U.S. Justice Department, the market didn’t even blink. By then, the Russian’s shady exchange had long ceased to be relevant, but its importance in the history of cryptocurrency remains significant.
BTC-e was where traders cut their teeth. It was a no-KYC, no-questions-asked outpost, the last wild west town of its kind. It was where the original pump and dumps were orchestrated, led by pseudonymous kids with names like Fontas manipulating shitcoins with names like peercoin, long before shitcoin was even a word. It’s also where a vast chunk of Mt Gox’s stolen bitcoins were allegedly laundered. BTC-e was a den of iniquity and it had to go, but that doesn’t mean its legendary trollbox won’t be missed by those who frequented it at its peak.
The Birth of Bitcoin Cash, August 1, 2017
The events surrounding Segwit’s lock-in, on July 21, 2017, and Bitcoin’s hard fork, less than a fortnight later, were momentous for all kinds of reasons. It had been unclear, in the run-up, whether enough miners would signal support for Segwit, but in the end the proposal comfortably passed. The sense of uncertainty was palpable, exacerbated by apocalyptic warnings, in the build-up, of fatal chain splits and market meltdown. In the end, Bitcoin became two, Segwit activated, and while the factions remain as polarized as ever, both parties got something out of the deal at least: Segwit for small blockers and Bitcoin Cash for the big.
The Cashening, December 19, 2017
For a few crazy hours last December, it looked as if Bitcoin Cash might actually cause one of the greatest upsets in the history of cryptocurrency and become the dominant Bitcoin chain by market cap. In the end, the trading frenzy, fueled by zero-fee South Korean exchanges, Coinbase botching its BCH listing announcement, and a good deal of FOMO, The Cashening lost steam around the time the price of BCH reached 0.25 BTC. A lot of cryptocurrency was won and lost on the internet that day, as the bitcoin brigades put ideological differences aside and traded like their lives depended on it.
$20,000 BTC, December 17, 2017
The weighted average for bitcoin’s all-time high officially stands at $20,089 according to Onchainfx, though on some exchanges the cryptocurrency stopped just shy of the 20k mark before backing down. Through November and December of 2017, every day was filled with giddiness, over-exuberance, ridiculous headlines and all the other signs that, in hindsight, pointed towards a market that was way overbought. It was a fun time though, for coiners, nocoiners and bemused onlookers alike. We may never see such a frenzy again … until the next bull run that is.
Bitcoin Core Fees Hit Record High, December 22, 2017
One of the reasons why Bitcoin hard-forked in the summer of 2017 was due to disagreement over increasing the block size. Blockstream and its cadre of Core developers favored a maximum of 2MB blocks, despite the fact that the network was overloaded and fees were getting ridiculous. While Bitcoin Cash provided a solution for those who favored larger blocks, Bitcoin Core doggedly stuck to its path, culminating in average fees hitting $55 on Dec. 22, and a median high of $34.10 a day later.
What other historic days in Bitcoin’s history deserved to have made this list? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Both the SEC and fellow regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continue to be active in their input in sectors such as cryptocurrency, ICOs and Blockchain actors as pertains to activities under their jurisdiction.
In an interview earlier this month, CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo produced encouraging forecasts about cryptocurrency’s future role in society, spelling out the differences in regulatory approach between the two agencies.
Beyond Crypto, Blockchain
FinHub meanwhile sees its rubric governing structures throughout the space.
Major areas highlighted on a new webpage include Blockchain and so-called distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital marketplace financing, automated investment advice, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
“As financial technologies, methods of capital formation, market structures, and investor interfaces continue to evolve, FinHub will play an important role in facilitating the SEC’s active engagement with innovators, developers, and entrepreneurs,” the SEC explains in an introduction to the platform.
In addition to being a resource for information about the SEC’s views and actions in the FinTech space, FinHub is also a forum for engaging with SEC staff.
Peirce meanwhile had already become well-known in cryptocurrency circles after a passionate defense of the Winklevoss Twins’ Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application which the SEC rejected in July.
“Apparently, bitcoin is not ripe enough, respectable enough, or regulated enough to be worthy of our markets. I dissent,” she wrote following the rejection.
The final deadline for the highly-anticipated SolidX/VanEck ETF application is expected in Q1 2019.
What do you think about FinHub? Let us know in the comments below!
There’s a new bitcoin cash wallet under construction called Qart, a light client that provides the ability to create human-recognizable QR codes using any image. The wallet is currently available for Android devices in its beta phase, but users can experiment with the application before the official launch.
Kim Jinyrul is a developer from South Korea who recently published the beta version of a new bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet that offers the ability to modify address QR codes. Jinyrul thinks that QR code technology used in traditional cryptocurrency wallets needs to change so they become more recognizable and personal to the owner. Qart wallet was created to offer this feature to bitcoin cash users and the platform’s addresses can be tied to a customized QR code with a picture of anything the user desires. In a recent interview with the blogger Jared Schlar, the Qart wallet developer explained that the idea was conceived so people can recognize which wallet is theirs by identifying the pictures attached to them.
“As you know, a person can not see any information by just looking at a QR code. I thought it would be more interesting and meaningful to share QR if it could show the personality of the owner,” Jinyrul detailed in his interview with Schlar.
Experimenting With Qart’s Beta Software
After reading about the Qart wallet, news.Bitcoin.com decided to test the BCH client and made a few custom and recognizable QR codes. The wallet is currently available on the Google Play store for Android mobile devices and tablets, but the Google store warns the app is “unreleased.” This means the platform is still in its beta phase, but can still be downloaded and tested. After opening the platform, the user must agree to a disclaimer. The statement explains the wallet needs to be backed up as it is a non-custodial client and also details the app is still in its nascent stages.
The wallet then creates a BCH wallet, which takes about 30 seconds, and the user is granted access to the first account. Like many other wallets out there, the Qart client syncs with the Bitcoin Cash chain in order to identify transactions. This process took about eight minutes to complete and subsequently less time after the first connection. The Qart wallet is very simple looking and akin to other BCH wallets like the Handcash and Cashpay platforms.
After backing up the seed phrase and observing the main account, there is a little editor pencil on the top right-hand side of the screen. This pencil tab allows you to create a custom QR code for any address on the wallet and many different addresses can be generated. At first, the wallet supplies the address with a generic bitcoin cash QR code, which can also be tethered to the wallet’s addresses. If the user wants to upload a custom image, they simply press the editor pencil and upload a fresh picture. The Qart wallet needs permission to access device files and the camera in order to execute this process.
BCH Developers Are Using Handles and Recognizable QR Codes to Entice the Masses
Pictures can be cropped and the amount of QR code pixels can be chosen as well for a variety of different looks. After saving the custom QR codes, the user can share them online through the wallet or save the image for another use case. After making a few Banksy-esque QR codes, the images were tested with the Bitcoin.com Wallet and the codes scanned without error.
There’s been a lot of innovation in this regard, with BCH wallets using unique ways to make the software more friendly to mainstream users. Many of these concepts are using handles or names tied to a wallet’s protocol instead of using long alphanumeric addresses. Human recognizable QR codes definitely add a personal touch and provide a unique way of identifying BCH addresses.
What do you think about the Qart wallet? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse this product/service. This application is in beta and not the official launch. Review editorials are intended for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
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