Stop Focusing on Bitcoin Price – Former Clinton Advisor

Due to the amazing growth in value, Bitcoin has forced its way into the minds of regular people all around the world, even though it has been in existence since 2009. Steady growth in value led to widespread coverage by mainstream media, with a highlight on Bitcoin price.

Some governments and banks wanted nothing to do with it, while a number of stock analysts and financial institutions recognized the growth and set about establishing themselves in the expanding market.

Nevertheless, the preeminent cryptocurrency is still the largest by individual market capitalization, but look back nine years and its value in comparison to the dollar was not even considered.

Pizza and Bitcoin price

It boggles the mind to think that in 2010, Programmer Laszlo Hanyecz ordered two pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoin in what has been immortalized as Bitcoin Pizza Day.

This is a prime example of how the perception of Bitcoin has changed over the years, alongside its value.

Co-founder of equity firm Silver Lake Partners Glenn Hutchins is no stranger to economic policy, having served as an advisor to the Clinton Administration in the early 1990s. His firm has holdings in a number of technology companies like data storage giants Seagate.

With a wealth of knowledge in both the technology and financial world, Hutchins insists that people around the world have become fixated on Bitcoin price, instead of its underlying technology.

Speaking to Financial Times, Hutchins says investors need to look at companies that are moving forward in the IT space, looking to develop Blockchain technology.

“It’s the biggest opportunity I’ve seen because the two most important things are business information and value. We can now move information around the world at the speed of light at no cost. Why can’t we do that with value in the future?”

Staying clear of FX trading

The hype around Bitcoin in 2017 saw a massive influx of users trying to get in on the appreciating price of the cryptocurrency. While this had an direct effect on Bitcoin price, many investors bought the cryptocurrency with little or no understanding of the underlying technology and its history.

Prices soared but that may be attributable to the exposure Bitcoin got in mainstream news, as Google’s search statistics showed at the end of the year. It’s likely that most people were buying Bitcoin to trade, as opposed to a long-term investment in the cryptocurrency.

A proven businessman with stakes in many companies, Hutchins believes that his investments in companies using Blockchain technology in innovative ways have far more potential to yield financial benefits while driving the development of new payment methods.

“It’s like every cognizable company that was coming up in the Bitcoin world I got a chance to look at and understand. What I’ve done in my mainstream career is invest in companies that use technology for a competitive advantage. That’s what I’m thinking about; I want to make sure I understand how that happens.”

“I’m the guy who’s thinking about building companies. Not much speculating in currency.”

TRON Price Jumps 150% as Founder Teases Major Partnership

TRON price
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The TRON price exploded by 94 percent on Thursday after the decentralized content distribution platform’s founder teased a major partnership with a publicly-listed company. Its token, TRX, is up 150% in a 24-hour period at press time.

TRON Price Leaps 90 Percent on Thursday

As reported by CCN sister site Hacked, the TRON price broached $0.16 this morning, capping off a run that has seen the four-month-old cryptocurrency surge by 400 percent during the first week of 2018.

At this level, TRON has an $11 billion market cap, making it the ninth most valuable cryptocurrency and ranking it above perennial heavyweights such as dash, monero, and ethereum classic. Amazingly, TRON is now worth just $1.6 billion less than litecoin, which has started the new year with a multi-day decline.

tron priceSource: CoinMarketCap

TRON’s rally has been accompanied by an explosion in trading volume. In the last 24 hours, Binance has processed more than $2.1 billion worth of TRX trades against BTC and ETH trading pairs, and TRON has also seen significant trading volume on South Korean exchange Coinnest.

tron priceSource: CoinMarketCap

TRON Founder Teases Major Partnership

TRON’s price increase is predicated on investor speculation that major companies are preparing to begin using TRON’s nascent content distribution platform. This speculation is not unfounded.

In the past week, TRON founder Justin Sun has posted two tweets teasing partnerships with public companies. The first, posted on Tuesday, stated that NASDAQ-listed companies with more than 100 million users had contacted TRON seeking to form partnerships. “We will be huge soon,” he said.

The second, posted Thursday morning, said that TRON had formed a partnership with a “very prestigious public company” and would reveal the details next week.

These tweets have understandably increased demand for TRON, as investors believe it could see both short- and long-term price gains. However, prospective buyers should keep in mind that it is easy to let one’s imagination run wild, and announcements do not always live up to the hype.

Moreover, as spelled out in the TRON whitepaper, the platform will not reach its full implementation for at least several years, although the strength of the project’s development team, which includes a number of former Alibaba developers, will likely give many investors the confidence to hold onto their tokens for the long haul.

Write to Josiah Wilmoth at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.

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McAfee Warns of Advanced Hacking After Twitter Account Hijacking

Cybersecurity Expert John McAfee has warned of advances in hacking methods after his personal Twitter account was hijacked to promote a number of alternate cryptocurrencies last week.

The founder of computer security company McAfee had regularly been posting a ‘Coin Of The Day’ review on his Twitter page. The hackers gained access to his account by changing his phone number to request a new password.

They then posted a series of Tweets using McAfee’s profile to promote a number of coins on Dec. 28, as cypherpunk Jameson Lopp shared on Twitter:

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Speaking to RT after the incident, McAfee said he had no control over the situation.

“What happened is brand new to me. They managed to hack AT&T to move my phone number to another phone”

The series of tweets saw the value of the cryptocurrencies touted rise in value – and McAfee believes the hackers would have made a lot of money in the process.

“Why would they do that? Because I was issuing every day a recommendation for new alternative coins, alternative to Bitcoins cryptocurrencies. People would invest hundreds of dollars into these coins. What the hacker did was to recommended six different coins within six minutes and invested, I’m sure, much money beforehand into those.”

Inside job

The cybersecurity expert speculated that the hack may have been an inside job. He suggested that an AT&T official was bribed to give the hackers access to his account.

McAfee also estimated that the hackers may have made millions of dollars, which would easily compensate any bribe needed to carry out the attack.

McAfee only regained access to his Twitter account three days later. He posted a couple of tweets confirming that his account had been compromised while hitting out at users that had ridiculed the situation.

Exchanges could be next target

McAfee also warned that cryptocurrency exchanges are the biggest targets for cybercriminals as they hold millions of dollars worth of virtual currency.

“Most people don’t keep their currencies on their own wallet, they use wallets on the exchanges. Now, if I were a hacker trying to hack into wallets and get money, I wouldn’t search around the world for individuals that have their wallets. I would go to an exchange and the exchanges have billions of dollars in cryptocurrency.”

Reflecting back on the infamous Mt.Gox exchange debacle where 850,000 Bitcoins were stolen by hackers, McAfee predicts more of the same in the future.

“Beginning with Mt.Gox a couple of years ago where hundreds of millions of dollars were lost… This will continue to happen until people and the owners of the exchanges understand that the world they are in is far more sophisticated in terms of hacking than they believe.”

It’s not hard to agree with McAfee’s sentiments towards hacking given some of the recent attacks. Mining service Nicehash was hit in December, losing over 4,000 Bitcoin valued at $60 mln at the time.

This situation once again puts a highlight on the importance of individuals educating themselves on some of the safety measures they can use to secure their digital funds.

Rocketing Ripple Puts Founders and CEO Among the World’s Richest People

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The value of the cryptocurrency ecosystem skyrocketed in 2017, with various cryptocurrencies surpassing 1,000% gains. Ripple’s XRP token, for example, was worth about $0,006 in the beginning of 2017 and is currently trading at $3.76. The 60,000% rise helped Ripple become the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, and is now valued at over $140 billion.

Behind the XRP token is San Francisco-based company Ripple, which uses blockchain technology in financial transactions. According to Forbes, its co-founder and former CEO Chris Larsen, owns 5.19 billion XRP tokens, currently worth over $16.9 billion. He reportedly also owns 17% of the company, bringing his total net worth to $44.16 billion at current rates.

This makes Larsen the 18th richest person in the world, behind Indian business magnate Mush Ambani, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. Back in November 2016, the 57-year-old stepped down as CEO of Ripple, turning the reigns over to Brad Garlinghouse, the company’s current CEO.

Citing a source at the company, Forbes claims Garlinghouse owns 6.3% of Ripple, and additional XRP tokens. Per its report, his net worth was of “at least” $9.5 billion at the time, meaning he would be number 153 on the list, above Fidelity’s Abigail Johnson, a big cryptocurrency fan herself. Since Forbes’ report, XRP’s price surged 38%.

Another XRP billionaire is Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb, who notably founded Mt Gox in 2010. McCaleb reportedly left the company in 2013, but came to an agreement with it over the tokens he owns.

The agreement involves him receiving a share of his 5.3 billion XRP tokens on a monthly basis, while the rest is under Ripple’s custody. If he had access to all of his tokens at once, he would have $19.9 billion. McCaleb claims to have no bitcoins left from his time with Mt Gox, and has founded Stellar after leaving Ripple. He’s said to own one billion Lumens, each currently trading at $0.89.

A ‘Centralized’ Cryptocurrency?

Ripple claims to have over 100 clients, including American Express and Santander, both currently collaborating on payments using Ripple’s technology. As reported by CCN, it recently launched the Arrington XRP Capital, a $100 million cryptoasset hedge fund launched by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington.

Ripple itself holds 61.3 billion XRP tokens, 55 billion of which are kept in escrow. Taking into account that only 38.7 billion XRP tokens have been distributed, it’s clear the cryptocurrency isn’t as decentralized as, for example, Bitcoin. This, despite various holders having a large number of bitcoins, including Satoshi Nakamoto, the cryptocurrency’s creator, who’s believed to have 980,000 Bitcoins, equal to roughly 5.8% of all currently existing bitcoins.

Granted, Ripple has unveiled a strategy that, per its technology chief Stefan Thomas, will make the Ripple Consensus Ledger (RCL), Ripple’s blockchain, more secure, efficient and decentralized than bitcoin. The strategy will include three fundamental steps. First, Ripple will grow and diversity the validator nodes on its blockchain, to avoid the risk of a single point of failure. Then, it will recruit attested validators and monitor them, so it can then add them to its Unique Node Lists (UNLs). A UNL is a list of transaction validator nodes seen as “trusted.”

The strategy’s goal is definitely an applaudable one. However it has been argued that the company’s technology chief went too far in stating its blockchain would become “more decentralized than bitcoin,” as it may be undersireable, and maybe even impossible, for Ripple to become more decentralized than bitcoin.

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Ripple Price Surges 35%, Hits $141 Billion Market Cap

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The Ripple price, which many investors claimed could not increase further after reaching $3, has demonstrated yet another 33.8 percent surge over the past 24 hours, as the market valuation of Ripple surpassed $141 billion.

Meteoric Rise

Over the past seven days, the market valuation of Ripple has risen from $52 billion to $141 billion, by nearly three-fold.

Ryan Shea, a highly respected bitcoin developer and the co-founder of Blockstack, revealed that the “implied” market cap of Ripple, or the market valuation of the Ripple network based on the maximum supply of XRP, has surpassed bitcoin.

A specific event or a partnership had not pushed the price of XRP up over the past few days. Rather, the meteoric rise in the value of Ripple has led to a flurry of mainstream media reports, introducing Ripple to an entirely new consumer base and group of investors.

While analysts such as cryptocurrency fund Autonomous Partners founder and managing director Arianna Simpson believe that the price of Ripple will not increase further at this value, many still predict the market valuation of Ripple to be sustained due to the increasing awareness of the blockchain network from Wall Street and investors in the traditional finance sector.

Simpson said:

“Ripple is not at all decentralized. It is actually the antithesis of decentralization. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the price continue to rise because I know that the team has a number of community and marketing initiatives in Q1 and Q2.

I think a lot of that will drive interest. I also think the fact that XRP is now on Bloomberg terminals will drive a lot of awareness and interest from Wall Street and traditional financial players.”

Conditional Valuation

Over the past week, most of the interest towards Ripple has come from the South Korean and Japanese cryptocurrency markets, triggered by the partnership between SBI Ripple Asia and major Asian banks. Within the first quarter of 2018, more than 90 Japanese and South Korean banks are expected to utilize the Ripple blockchain technology at a large commercial scale, processing many billions of dollars on the network.

It can also be said that the current market valuation of Ripple is conditional in the abovementioned accomplishment. If banks struggle or fail to implement the Ripple network at a commercial scale and use it to process real transaction volumes, the market valuation of Ripple could sharply drop.

In contrast, if the tests and commercialization of the Ripple network by leading banks in Japan and South Korea are completed seamlessly by the end of quarter 1 in 2018, the price of Ripple also could increase. Because of this condition, analysts are cautious in providing predictions for the price of XRP.

Still, the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market accounts for more than 40 percent of Ripple’s global trades, even though the daily trading volume of Ripple has increased to $8 billion, significantly higher than that of Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. It has also achieved 50 percent of bitcoin’s market valuation, becoming the second cryptocurrency to do so over the past 12 months apart from Ethereum.

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Korean Law Firm Appeals Against Govt’s Cryptocurrency Trading Rules

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A law firm in Seoul, South Korea has filed an appeal against the government’s new cryptocurrency trading rules. Anguk Law filed the suit which claims regulating trading through administrative guidance has no legal basis and infringes on property rights, according to The Korea Times

The suit was filed through the Constitutional Court’s online appeal system. The law firm claims it will prepare additional appeals filed by investors and virtual currency exchanges.

Property Rights At Stake

The firm contended cryptocurrencies are property, not legal tender, and as such, it can be exchanged through legitimate currencies or other assets with economic value. The law firm claims the government’s regulations released on Dec. 13 and Dec. 28 constitute “unconstitutional” authority.

The government issued the regulations in response to the country’s rapidly growing cryptocurrency trading over the last few months. The government has advised banks to stop permitting exchanges to offer virtual accounts to traders. The government said it will have the exchanges transfer funds through investors’ “real name accounts” that can verify the account holder’s identity to prevent money laundering and other illegal activities.

Most virtual currency exchanges in South Korea use virtual accounts that link to bank accounts. Virtual accounts allow exchanges to manage their clients’ funds more easily.

Also read: Premature: Seoul academic blasts South Korean Government’s bitcoin regulations

Banks Halt Virtual Accounts

Following the announcement, banks have stopped permitting exchanges to open new virtual accounts. It is therefore not possible for exchanges to serve new investors. The government’s approved trading based on the use of real names is expected to start by Jan. 20.

The government does not recognize virtual currency as a legitimate financial product. Because there is no law governing the virtual currency tokens, the tokens are akin to commodities that can be freely traded, the law firm stated.

The law firm released a statement saying the government is devaluing virtual currencies by making them difficult to trade, which amounts to an infringement on property rights. Jeong Hee-chan, a lawyer at the firm, said regulations are needed, but they should be based on laws. The lawsuit asks the government to recognize property rights and adopt regulations based on a social consensus.

Hee-chan said it is “very worrisome” the government links investor success to morally reprehensible speculation without sufficiently reviewing the matter.

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Crypto Market Crash – Not The New Year’s Present Everyone Hoped For

The cryptocurrency market has experienced a powerful drop this Friday and Saturday. Coins were losing value across the board, with just three of the top twenty by market capitalization displaying growth of over 10 percent: Cardano, Qtum and Neo.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has dropped from a Friday high of $15,266 to as low as $12,350 on Saturday. The past two weeks have been very volatile for the original cryptocurrency, as it has achieved an all-time high of $20,000 on Dec. 17, 2017, only to hold it for a single day and consequently lose about 32 percent of that value, as of press time.

Bitcoin Price Chart

The latest fall seems to be the continuation of that trend, with no recovery in sight yet.

Ripple, which has just recently displaced Ethereum as the highest altcoin by market capitalization, has similarly dropped by at least 20 percent over the past two days. Despite experiencing a powerful surge this week, it hasn’t been spared from the “crypto massacre.”

Ripple Price Chart

Fortunately for holders of Ethereum, its drop has been less prominent. A fall from $769 to $685, constituting just an 11 percent loss of value, compares much more favorably to the performance of Bitcoin and Ripple. Especially if you consider the slight recovery of 2.22 percent over the past 24 hours.

Ethereum Price Chart

Overall, 2017 has been a good year for Ethereum, seeing the coin rise from mere $8 to its own all-time high of $750 and beyond, and so far it seems to be maintaining that dynamic.

Other prominent cryptocurrencies have also lost value over the past two days, including Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, NEM, Dash, Monero, and others. This year has been very positive for the vast majority of coins, possibly indicating that the crash of the past two days is a temporary retracement of that progress, which may be followed by resumed growth.

As of press time, most cryptocurrencies have either started growing or slowed down their downward trends.

Ripple Market Cap Surpasses $100 Billion as XRP Hedge Fund Goes Live

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The ripple price rose 15 percent on Wednesday, enabling XRP to become the second cryptocurrency to achieve a $100 billion market cap.

Ripple Price Surge Raises XRP Market Cap to $100 Billion

The ripple price defied expectations throughout 2017, rising nearly 30,000 percent to post the most significant rally of any top-tier cryptocurrency. Investors appear determined to carry that rally forward into 2018.

On Wednesday, the ripple price rose to a new all-time high of $2.57 on cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex, while the global average briefly cracked $2.80 due to prices exceeding $3 on Bithumb and other South Korean exchanges, which account for nearly 50 percent of all XRP trading volume. At present, the global average ripple price is $2.74, which translates into a $106 billion market cap and represents a single-day gain of 15 percent.

ripple price

XRP Price Chart

XRP Hedge Fund Goes Live

Today’s movement appears linked to the revelation that Arrington XRP Capital, a $100 million cryptoasset hedge fund launched by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, is now live.

Though not the first cryptoasset hedge fund nor the largest, the fund is the first to be denominated in XRP, and Arrington has stated that investors will buy shares of the fund and receive distributions in XRP. The firm will also, insofar as is possible, “eat [its] own dog food” by paying out fees and salaries in XRP form as well.

Ripple Co-Founder Chris Larsen Among the World’s Wealthiest

Ripple’s surge has been nothing short of meteoric — its price has increased nearly 1,000 percent in the past month — and it has made top Ripple executives fabulously wealthy.

Ripple co-founder and former CEO Chris Larsen holds 5.19 billion XRP as well as a 17 percent stake in the company, according to a recent Forbes report. Given that Ripple is currently holding 55 billion XRP in escrow, Larsen is now worth at least $39.8 billion — and that’s not accounting for the value of the company itself apart from its XRP holdings.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and the Forbes Rich List, this makes Larsen the 21st-wealthiest person in the world and the 11th-wealthiest in the US.

Write to Josiah Wilmoth at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.

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Bitcoin Billionaires Hiding in Plain Sight

Bitcoin’s anonymous yet transparent nature makes for some interesting reading when trawling through the easily accessible information on the top wallets out there. While these top 10 wallets, do not have names attached to them, some are easy to figure out.

The Winklevoss twins made history in early December by becoming the first widely accepted Bitcoin Billionaires. It was estimated at the time of print that the twins held 91,666 which equated to $1.063 bln.

However, these high profile twins are one of the few that are solidly in the spotlight that it is easy to speculate on their wealth. It is believed that there could be far more Bitcoin Billionaires out there, lurking in the shadow.

Distributed funds on a distributed ledger

If it was the norm to hold all our funds in one wallet, it would be easy to put together a rich list and speculate who belongs where. However, not only does Bitcoin’s anonymity but its practices of good coin storage, also make things difficult.

The normal procedure, especially for those whose funds are closer to billions than hundreds like most mere mortals, is to split the wealth over a number of wallets and other storage methods.

It is a lesson that everyone should heed when it comes to keeping one’s fortune on the wild west that is Bitcoin exchanges.

As many as 200 Billionaires

A representative for BitInfoCharts, who wished to remain anonymous because of security concerns, told MSN in an email that, given Bitcoin’s current overall market capitalization and that most people hold Bitcoin at multiple addresses, there may actually be as many as 200 Bitcoin billionaires, and possibly no fewer than 35.

The rep noted that it’s likely most of these addresses are owned by exchanges or hedge funds.

A billionaire could keep on being created without much work needing to be done by some of the more than 100 addresses that already have over $100 mln in Bitcoin currently. The growth of Bitcoin has turned many people into millionaires and is doing the same with those people taking the step up to billionaires.

Better to hide in plain sight?

If there are so many of these billionaires out there making a massive profit from some savvy early investing or clever trading perhaps, why are they so hidden and secretive?

The king of secrecy and anonymity is, of course, Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto who has been estimated to be sitting on one mln Bitcoins.

Much has been made over Nakamoto’s reasoning for remaining hidden and seemingly out of all Bitcoin activity, but there is also speculation mounting over his fortune which could be rivaling some of the richest men in the world.

The circling regulatory wolves

Of course, one of the biggest reason for remaining hidden when you are sitting on enough money to buy an island is the tax and regulatory implications that could come into play if you were to suddenly show your face.

Regulators are playing a game of treat the symptom, not the disease when it comes to Bitcoin as they struggle to keep up. This has seen tax agencies still scratching their heads, leaving massive loopholes for Bitcoiners.

However, those with massive fortunes who are publicly known would most likely be the first in the firing line.

China Prepares to Limit Bitcoin Miners’ Power Usage: Report

China Bitcoin mining
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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has reportedly claimed it can pressure local governments in the country to regulate bitcoin miners’ power usage.

Reuters is reporting that China’s central bank has told members of the Leading Group of Beijing Internet Financial Risks Remediation in a meeting that it can ‘tell’ local governments in Chinese provinces to regulate the power consumption of bitcoin miners. Citing a source, the PBOC plans to carry out such a move against miners to ‘gradually reduce the scale of their production.’

While admitting that it is powerless to regulate bitcoin mining on its own, PBoC officials reportedly said they can indirectly push the agenda by asking local governments and authorities to do so.

The Leading Group of Beijing Internet Financial Risks Remediation is the same government internet finance group that mandated the shuttering of bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges on September 5, a day after China’s central bank enforced a blanket ban on all initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Developing…

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