HENRY BLODGET: Bitcoin could go to $1 million (or fall to $0)

Bitcoin and Gold HK
Bitcoin expected to go Higher

Bitcoin Hong Kong 1

 

Henry Blodget discusses this week’s bitcoin rally, and how the virtual currency could just as easily go to $1 million as it could fall to $0. Blodget has been covering bitcoin for several years, and has maintained the view that ultimately, it has no intrinsic value.

Watch the video !

http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-bitcoin-could-go-to-one-million-zero-2017-5

South Korea is Becoming Bitcoin and Ethereum Powerhouse

South Korea is Becoming Bitcoin and Ethereum Powerhouse

South Korea is becoming a Bitcoin and Ethereum powerhouse in terms of trading volumes, liquidity and activity.

Over the past few months, South Korea’s three largest digital currency exchanges Bithumb, Korbit and Coinone have added support for Ethereum traders by integrating Ether. In a relatively short period of time, South Korea has become the largest Ethereum exchange market with a $335 mln daily trading volume and 38 percent market share.

In fact, the ETH/KRW pair processes more trades than the ETH/BTC pair, which used to account for over 50 percent of all Ethereum trading.

The largest Bitcoin exchange markets in the world

South Korea has also become one of the largest Bitcoin exchange markets in the world. Although South Korea is currently the fourth largest Bitcoin exchange market behind the US, China and Japan, a month ago, its trading volume and market share was larger than China and Japan and secured its spot as the second-largest Bitcoin exchange market for awhile.

South Korea is becoming a / powerhouse.

– Largest Ethereum Exchange Market
– 4th Largest Bitcoin Exchange Market

South Korean investors within the cryptocurrency market are very easily moved and influenced by the media. Ethereum’s recent Enterprise Ethereum Alliance deals with large conglomerates such as Toyota and JPMorgan have further validated the value of Ethereum to more local investors and have shifted the trend from Bitcoin to Ethereum.

Eyes set on altcoin

More importantly, because Bitcoin has become a conservative asset amongst other cryptocurrencies, investors in South Korea have started to look into altcoins such as Ethereum and Ripple that are supported by local exchanges.

Most South Korean exchanges are funded by multi-billion dollar corporations within the country. Korbit, South Korea’s second-largest exchange, is invested by SK Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in the country.

Therefore, when exchanges add support for cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Ripple, immediately, investors dive into altcoins. Particularly, investors that believe they missed Bitcoin’s rally invest in altcoins for large short and mid-term gains.

The demand toward Bitcoin has increased to the point where there always exists a huge arbitrage opportunity for overseas traders. Bitcoin is being traded in South Korea with a premium price of $2,800. That is a 21 percent premium over the global average price and other major markets such as the US.

While it is still possible to purchase Bitcoin outside of South Korea with other options such as credit cards to avoid premium rates, it is difficult to trade large amounts of Bitcoin without being flagged by anti-money laundering systems.

If the current growth rate of the South Korean Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange markets can be sustained over the next few months, South Korea could become a powerhouse for both the Bitcoin and Ethereum markets.

New regulations looming for bitcoin trading in China

New regulations looming for bitcoin trading in China
Beijing is expected to issue new rules for bitcoin trading in China next month as the cryptocurrency’s price on the country’s trading platforms keeps hitting new highs.

According to a Beijing-based media company Caixin citing anonymous sources; the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is considering two regulations on the management of bitcoin trading platforms to prevent them from becoming money laundering sites.

Analysts say the new measures may apply to foreign exchange and financing activities. Bitcoin traders may also be required to register with their real names.

The regulator recently inspected domestic trading platforms after warning they risk being closed if found violating the country’s currency regulations. It is attempting to curb capital outflow following fears of continued weakness in the domestic currency.

“There needs to be a clear bottom line for the management of bitcoin trading platforms and websites. A blacklist should also be set up. Activities such as trading or financing on margin and market measures such as commission-free trading must be banned,” said Zhou Xuedong, Operations Director at the PBOC.

China accounts for about 90 percent of all bitcoin trading on exchanges. The country has strict capital controls, which makes it difficult for Chinese citizens to convert the yuan into foreign currency and limits the amount of cash investors can move abroadThis has pushed Chinese investors to use the digital currency as a way to circumvent capital controls and minimize risk from the falling value of the domestic currency.

Demand for the virtual currency in China has been rising recently. As the world’s best-performing currency, bitcoin, set a new all-time high on Thursday, trading at over $1,800 to the US dollar.

Is The World’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Headed For A Mt. Gox-Style Collapse

Tyler Durden's picture

Could Bitfinex, the world’s largest, Hong-Kong based cryptocurrency exchange, be headed for a Mt. Gox-style collapse? It’s starting to look that way.

When Mt. Gox first halted customer withdrawals in February 2014, it waited more than two weeks to admit the truth to its customers: that hackers had stolen more than $450 million of their assets, leaving the exchange bankrupt and them holding the bag.  That hack effectively crippled the entire digital currency ecosystem, ushering in a two-year bear market that at one point carried the bitcoin price below $200, from what was then a record high north of $1,200 reached in November 2013.

So when another exchange engages in similarly shady behavior – withholding critical information about customer funds, or failing to produce audited financials despite promising to do so – it should prompt crypto traders to ask themselves why, with dozens, if not hundreds, of cryptocurrency exchanges operating around the world, they’re choosing to do business with this one.

That’s the question that customers of Bitfinex should be asking nearly two weeks after the exchange, once one of the world’s largest, first revealed that it had been cut off from sending outbound dollar-denominated wires to its customers.

Of course, halting customer withdrawals isn’t uncommon in the cryptocurrency world: All three of China’s largest exchanges suspended customer withdrawals in February. And last year, Kraken, one of the biggest U.S.-based exchanges, suspended withdrawals temporarily because of a glitch in its trading software.  But this freeze is particularly troubling because, like Mt. Gox, Bitfinex inexplicably decided to wait before informing customers of a critical problem. It also has implications that stretch beyond the bitcoin market, to another cryptotoken called tether that was launched by Bitfinex back in January 2015, and has since been dogged by allegations that it’s a scam.

The halt is already costing Bitfinex’s customers money. On Tuesday, bitcoins were going for $1,547 on Bitfinex’s platform, a premium of more than $100 over most of the other popular exchanges. Investors, apparently, feel that eating a 7%-8% loss is preferable to leaving their assets in Bitfinex’s care any longer.

Reddit users reported that wire transfers requested as early as March 9 were cancelled, and that the exchange offered only vague excuses as to why. It took the exchange until April 13, after it had filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co., whose correspondent banking division had effectively shut Bitfinex out of the global financial system, that the exchange disclosed the problem to its customers.

And while Bitfinex has repeatedly said it would make things right – it has promised to either establish a new banking relationship and to allow customers access to other fiat currencies  – only a handful of customers have been able to get their assets out of the exchange.

As part of the freeze, Bitfinex has established a moratorium on cashing in tether tokens held by its customers. These tokens were created by Bitfinex in 2015 to allow customers to exchange an asset that’s pegged to the dollar at a one-to-one ratio, allowing them to avoid costly wire transfers that must be processed through the banking system.

But the withdrawal freeze has put pressure on the tether market; for only the second time since they were introduced, investors are selling these tokens at a discount. The price of a single token has been languishing below the $1 level for more than a week.

More troubling still is that Bitfinex has so far refused to provide an audit of the fiat funds that allegedly backstop the tether float, despite promising that it would be “fully transparent and audited to demonstrate 100% reserves at all times” when it first launched the token.

This has lead some to speculate that the exchange could be commingling tether funds with other customer assets.

While evidence of this could cause irreparable damage to Bitfinex’s reputation, leading to a wave of withdrawals that could add further strain to its already thinning bitcoin reserves, as Twitter user @Bitfinexed points out, it’s not technically a violation of the tether terms of service.

Here’s an excerpt: “There is no contractual right or other right or legal claim against us to redeem or exchange your tethers for money. We do not guarantee any right of redemption or exchange of tethers by us for money. There is no guarantee against losses when you buy, trade, or redeem tethers.”

Given the preponderance of scams in the cryptocurrency market, investors who haven’t already, should probably take what’s left of their money and run, if they can of course.

Hackers use Mirai botnet to, slowly, mine bitcoins with IoT devices

Security researchers have unearthed code in a Mirai botnet enabling it to mine for bitcoins using IoT devices.

This is not fun for bitcoin guys
This is not fun for bitcoin guys

Researchers at IBM’s X-force found late last month the functionality in a variant of the ELF Linux/Mirai malware. The bitcoin attack started on 20 March, peaking on 25 March, but three days later the activity subsided.
What the researchers found in a sample of the code was the same Mirai functionality ported over from the Windows version but with a focus on attacking Linux machines running BusyBox. This software provides several stripped-down Unix tools in a single executable file, designed for digital video recording (DVR) servers.
The researchers said that BusyBox uses Telnet, which is targeted with a dictionary attack brute-force tool contained in the Mirai malware. “The DVR servers are targeted because many of them use default Telnet credentials,” said the researchers in a blog post.
While bots can perform flooding attacks using various protocols, the new variant has another add-on: a bitcoin miner slave. However, the researchers wondered how effective a bitcoin miner would be, given that many IoT devices lack the computation power needed to mine cryptocurrency.
“Given Mirai’s power to infect thousands of machines at a time, however, there is a possibility that the bitcoin miners could work together in tandem as one large miner consortium,” said the researchers.
While researchers haven’t figured out this capability, they another possibility. “It’s possible that while the Mirai bots are idle and awaiting further instructions, they could be leveraged to go into mining mode,” said Dave McMillen, senior threat researcher at IBM.
But he questioned how such a strategy would make any money.
“Almost four years ago, Krebs on Security discussed bitcoin mining bots; in that case, the compromised hosts were PCs. Mining bitcoins, however, is a CPU-intensive activity,” he said.
“How many compromised devices would it take to make the mining of bitcoin a viable revenue source for attackers? Wouldn’t attackers have better luck compromising a bitcoin exchange company, as has been the case numerous times in the past? It’s possible they’re looking to find a way to make bitcoin mining via compromised IoT devices a lucrative venture.”
Marco Hogewoning, the RIPE NCC’s external relations officer, told SC Media UK that for a larger enterprise that manages its own network, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) could show bitcoin transactions in the destination or content of packets (though encryption might prevent this). “Looking for unnatural traffic patterns would be the best way to get a sense of whether something like this was happening,” he said.

“For a smaller business that might not manage its own network, the biggest indication would be computers or other devices suddenly becoming much slower. Monitor the device’s CPU or memory load if possible – mining for Bitcoins is incredibly CPU intensive and would typically be difficult to disguise – this also makes such an attack unlikely to target smaller IoT devices like webcams or thermostats.”
Andrew Tierney, security consultant at Pen Test Partners, told SC that unless the miner binary was extremely naive and used all CPU resource all of the time, it would likely go undetected. “IoT equipment doesn’t have the monitoring in place to allow things like this to be detected. There is no anti-virus, anti-malware, or firewall alerting, making it pretty much a sitting duck,” he said.
He said that organisations could mitigate such an incident happening to IoT devices in their networks by following five rules.
“Don’t expose IoT devices to the Internet; segment IoT from the rest of the network; change default passwords; update firmware; and get IoT equipment penetration tested to minimise exposure.
“The onus is still very much on the end user to take the steps necessary to secure these devices and prevent such incidents,” he said.

https://www.scmagazine.com/hackers-use-mirai-botnet-to-slowly-mine-bitcoins-with-iot-devices/article/650271/