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Bitcoin reaches new record high, breaks $9,000

 

The price of one bitcoin passed $9,000.

Bitcoin is getting closer and closer to $10,000.The cryptocurrency hit a record high of $9,033 per bitcoin early Sunday morning. The price rose steadily over the weekend and surpassed $9,000 at around 6:40 a.m. UTC (1:40 a.m. ET), according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. It now has a market cap of more than $150 billion.

 Another digital currency ethereum also hit an all-time high of $485.18 on Saturday but has since dropped to $461.79 on Sunday, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin had been on an incredible run in the latter half of 2017. It was valued at $1,000 at the beginning of the year and is now closer to reaching the $10,000 mark as we inch toward to 2018. Bitcoin’s value surpassed $5,000 and $6,000 in October and then rose over $7,000 and $8,000 in November.

Price per one bitcoin

Price per one bitcoin

 

That said, it’s too early to tell when the price of Bitcoin will reach that $10,000 milestone because the markets act irrationally and could face a price correction, as The Merkle noted.

Bitcoin was boosted by investor interest around Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping, a digital assets analyst suggested to CNBC.

Indeed, Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange in the U.S., added around 100,000 accounts between Wednesday and Friday this week to reach a total of 13.1 million. Coinbase had 4.9 million users this time last year, according to CNBC.

 

Bitcoin Price Jumps Above $4,800 for the First Time

$Bitcoin Approaches $5,000 USD
$Bitcoin Approaches $5,000 USD

Bitcoin’s price briefly passed above the $4,800 mark for the first time today.

According to data from CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), the price of the cryptocurrency hit a high of $4,802.74, before falling back to levels seen over the past few hours of trading.

 

At press time, the price of bitcoin is trading at roughly $4,762, per Coin BTC

data from the BPI.

The push above $4,800 continued gains seen earlier today, when bitcoin once again crossed $4,700 to hit a new all-time high. That milestone was buoyed by an overall lift in cryptocurrency prices that pushed the collective market capitalization above $170 billion for the first time.

Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs chief technician Sheba Jafari wrote in a note to clients that bitcoin prices could surge above $4,800 in the trading sessions to come – though she cautioned that the push had the potential to fall to as low as $3,000 or below. At the time, the cryptocurrency was trading around $4,300.

Insightful ICO? Telecom Giant Telenor Wants to Disrupt Media with Tokens

Telcos use ICO to raise Capital !
Telcos use ICO to raise Capital !

A product within telecommunications giant Telenor is hoping the technology behind initial coin offerings (ICOs) can help it disrupt the media business model.

Central to the Norway-based firm’s exploration of the tech is its partnership with data distribution startup Hubii, which launched an ICO this week using the ethereum blockchain. Both companies believe the project will bring benefits: providing a way to create a decentralized, autonomous marketplace of content that can be sold across different platforms, as well as helping Telenor thwart a long-standing hacking problem.

The firms are also interested in how they could directly interact using smart contracts powered by ethereum, instead of via the pesky media companies now increasingly viewed as middlemen.

In conversation with CoinDesk, Telenor’s head of business development at WowBox, Ketil Hoigaard, described the news app could stand to benefit from lessons learned from the Hubii Network ICO.

Hoigaard said:

“Using technologies like blockchain to deliver these services is [the] key to succeed, to be honest, because I think [blockchain is] what’s coming to all these verticals as a tool, a platform, to help deliver content to the end users in an easy way across borders.”

ICO interest

While Hoigaard is studying the ICO to glean insights for WowBox, he said, the project could signal to the larger company how blockchain could be useful in the business.

“It’s still very early. If Hubii succeeds, and I think and hope they will, I think that is five magnitudes larger, using blockchain in WowBox is more to understand and see opportunity,” he said.

Opportunity that already other areas of Telenor are looking into. For instance, Mark Briscombe, head of business modelling at Telenor has formally joined Hubii Network’s impressive advisory board, which includes former Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger and John Paton, the former CEO of Digital First Media.

In that role, Briscombe not only provides business advice to Hubii, but also seeks to learn from the startup’s recent token sale.

And according to Hoigaard, Briscombe has been “talking about staffing up a team” to help WowBox understand the benefits of blockchain.

The unusual partnership between the startup and the incumbent has the telecommunications company moonlighting as a media outlet, serving local news content from Hubii’s approximately 560 third-party content creators to 50 million users each month.

But matching all that content to the best-suited audience, across multiple national borders in Southeast Asia (where the project has so far been implemented) – and doing so in real time – has provided quite a technological hurdle.

Hoigaard, who called the process a “nightmare,” now hopes the ICO will help Telenor figure out how to more seamlessly manage content creation and distribution, while also eliminating middlemen to get cheaper content for its news app, WowBox.

The middlemen the companies are trying to disrupt (as in other similar attempts to reimagine media with blockchain) in this process would appear to be the publishers themselves.

As news and video consumption increasingly comes to users via algorithms, media companies that pay reporters, bloggers and videographers a salary stand to be increasingly marginalized by self-executing smart contracts written on a blockchain.

Hubii Network value flow

By moving the functions of a traditional media house to a system operated using blockchain tokens and smart contracts, both Hubii and Telenor hope they can make money and cut costs by paying the creators for their content directly.

“I really want the original content and to use it as I want, in my context,” said Hoigaard.  “And we are willing to pay for it, because we know the users will be there.”

A secure token

However, Telenor’s exploration of blockchain technology goes beyond the Hubii partnership.

Already, Telenor issues tokens from a traditional, centralized database to its WowBox customers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. But they have proved easy to hack. When Googling “WowBox tokens,” three of the four most-watched videos show how to hack the app to receive unlimited tokens.

In this way, Hoigaard remarked that he sees a public blockchain with a tradeable token as an elegant solution:

“We are looking into using a blockchain and our own tokens for our millions of users. They will then get the actual token, on a blockchain, instead of just a database.”

From there Telenor hopes it can grow the program without roadblocks, and the company very much sees expansion on the horizon.

According to Hoigaard, of the 15 countries Telenor serves, Bangladesh, India and Thailand have “innovation houses [that] are looking into blockchain.”

Vietnam Is Preparing to Legally Recognize Bitcoin

Vietnam and Legal Bitcoin - Soon !
Vietnam and Legal Bitcoin – Soon !

Vietnam’s prime minister has approved a plan that could see the country formally recognize bitcoin as a form of payment by 2018.

According to regional news services VNA, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has tasked Vietnam’s central bank as well as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Safety, to draw up a legal framework around cryptocurrencies.

An assessment for how the government should approach this process is due to be completed by August of next year. Once that is concluded, it’s expected that drawing up the legal documents required to recognize cryptocurrencies under a regulatory framework will be completed by the end of 2018.

In tandem, officials will also begin work on a tax treatment for cryptocurrencies. According to VNA, a system governing how cryptocurrency users will be taxed in Vietnam is slated to be in place by June 2019.

If approved, the move would signal that leaders in Vietnam are moving away from the more cautious viewpoint expressed in 2014, when central bank officials warned consumers about the risk of cryptocurrencies.

China’s New Fundraising Rules Could Lead to ICO Investigations

Here we go again another ...Ponzi
Here we go again another …Ponzi

New rules being developed by the Chinese government against illegal financing may be used to crack down on initial coin offerings (ICOs).

A draft of the regulations has been released by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, the executive Branch of the Chinese government. Officials are soliciting public comments over the next month before officially commencing the legislative process.

Though broadly focused on a range of fundraising activities, the fifteenth article of the draft ruleset identifies cryptocurrency-based funding efforts as potential targets for investigations.

The text states:

“If the department overseeing illegal fundraising activities found a fundraising without proper permission, or a fundraising that violates the relevant provisions of the State, and if one of the following circumstances is found, the department shall launch an administrative investigation. Other relevant departments shall cooperate with the investigation.
….
(2) to raise funds in the name of issuing or transferring equity, raising funds, selling insurance, or engaging in asset management activities, virtual currency, leasing, credit cooperation and mutual funds…”

The draft outlined that the government shall establish an interdepartmental committee to combat illegal fundraising. It also clarified, for the first time, that participants of illegal fundraising shall be responsible for their own losses.

There are currently two laws dealing with illegal fundraising in Chinese crime law system. The crime of fund fraud, which used to be punishable by death, now carries a maximum sentence of life in jail. The other one – the crime of illegally absorbing public deposits – carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The new regulations also come amid a public outrage on pyramid selling scams. Last month, several college graduates were found dead after being imprisoned and assaulted by members of a pyramid selling organization in Tianjin, China.

$3,500: Bitcoin Price Sets Another New All-Time High

Macau bit coin casino here we go again !
Macau bit coin casino here we go again !The price of bitcoin continues to climb to new highs, reaching an average of $3,525 across global exchanges today, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index.

All told, the price of bitcoin has now climbed 250% since the start of the year, rising from just under $1,000 on January first to its all-time high today.

Year-over-year, the price gains are even more impressive, with bitcoin increasing nearly 600%. The price of bitcoin on August 8, 2016, was roughly $595, according to BPI data.

Whether bitcoin will push higher, however, remains to be seen, as the price did encounter some resistance, later declining to $3,458. The day’s opening price was $3,431.

The price surge also coincides with a new all-time high in the wider cryptocurrency markets, as the value of all publicly traded cryptographic assets rose above $120 billion for the first time, up from $116 billion yesterday.

Overall, it appears bitcoin was responsible for much of the upward movement. Data from CoinMarketCap shows the market cap of bitcoin hit $56.8 billion today, up from around $53 billion yesterday.

Other cryptocurrencies have been performing well alongside bitcoin, however, with just two of the top-10 cryptocurrencies (Ripple and Neo) showing 24-hour declines at press time.

Ledger Nano S Review – Bitcoin Wallet

Recently I attended the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami. Ledger, one of the leading hardware wallets manufacturers were selling their merchandise at the event and I decided to finally do my Ledger Nano S review which I have postponed far too long.

So I bought myself a specially engraved Ledger Nano S created just for the conference and today I’m testing it out for the first time. If you’ve been an avid reader of 99Bitcoins you probably know I’m a long time fan of TREZOR, Ledger’s main competitor. But I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Ledger Nano that I decided to do a TREZOR vs Ledger type of comparison.

my Ledger Nano S

Before I begin my review a quick word about Bitcoin hardware wallets. Hardware wallets are probably the most robust form of security you can have for your Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency. They allow you to send and receive Bitcoins on any computer, even one that is compromised with malware, with the knowledge that your transaction will still go through as intended. For more information about Bitcoin wallets in general watch out latest Bitcoin Whiteboard Tuesday episode.

The way the hardware wallets achieve maximum security is by storing your private key and signing your Bitcoin transactions offline so someone trying to “hack” your wallet remotely won’t be able to do so. Most hardware wallets also use a second screen / device to verify actions on your wallet such as signing transaction. This way, if a hacker gain control over your computer, he still can’t do any harm since he requires access to the physical device connected to your computer as well.

I’ve reviewed the former Ledger model, the Ledger Nano in the past. Back then I concluded that the added protection that a TREZOR wallet gives you with it’s second screen protection is superior to the Ledger Nano. However the Ledger Nano S now features a second screen feature as well. So this comparison is going to be interesting.

Design and user interface

Design-wise the products are pretty much the same. Both are small and compact, however the Ledger Nano S does have a slight advantage in the sense that its metal casing makes it more durable in my opinion (and also a bit sexier). Both wallets will both fit pretty easily into your pocket or hand as can be seen below.

Ledger Nano S vs TREZOR

The way the Ledger Nano S works is pretty similar to any hardware wallet. When you first set it up you will choose a PIN to protect the device from unwanted access. Later, you will receive a 24 word seed that will be used to create your private keys (this is what’s known as an HD wallet, more on that here). This seed should be written down in a safe place and NOT on your computer, as whoever knows this seed has control over your Bitcoins. A good suggestion would be to write this seed down using a Cryptosteel device.

The Ledger Nano S has two buttons that allow you to control it. The initial set up of the device is pretty simple and takes about 3 minutes. Most of the time is spent on writing down your seed.

This seed creation is one of the places where the second screen comes into play. If your computer is compromised a hacker will be able to see the seed if it’s displayed on your screen. This is exactly why the seed words are shown on the small device screen that is tamper-proof, so you know that only you see your seed.

Once the device is set up, all that’s left is to install an app that allows you to interface with the device (i.e. send and receive Bitcoins).

Ledger Nano S buttons

The app I used is a Chrome extension that gives you the following functionalities:

  • General account details
  • Sending Bitcoins from your hardware wallet
  • Generating your Bitcoin address to receive Bitcoins
  • Settings for your app (e.g. exchange rate, language, etc.)

The app is pretty similar to the one TREZOR uses although it has a sleeker design.

Ledger chrome app

The interface (as shown above) is pretty intuitive and doesn’t require any manual to get the hang of it. Also you can rename accounts and don’t have to call them in general names like “account #1”. TREZOR allows this as well but requires you to connect a Dropbox account.

The Ledger Nano S can also use existing Bitcoin wallets instead of the current chrome extension interface. Such wallets include MyCellium, Electrum, Bitgo, GreenBits, Copay and MyEtherWallet.

Here’s a complete review of how the device works done by BTC Sessions on YouTube:

Support of altcoins

The Ledger Nano S includes Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic companion apps, and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Here are the current altcoins supported:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum / Ethereum Classic
  • Litecoin
  • Dogecoin
  • Zcash (z-addresses are not supported)
  • Dash
  • Stratis

You can send and receive payments, check your accounts and manage multiple addresses for each currency from the same device.

TREZOR on the other hand recently announced that they have partnered with MyEtherWallet to support Ethereum on their device as well. Other currencies supported through TREZOR are Dash, Zcash and Litecoin (via Electrum LTC).

Company reputation

Ledger was founded in 2015 in France. The company has since gained substantial traction in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency sphere and has grown to be a worthy competitor to SatoshiLabs (the creators of TREZOR). TREZOR on the other hand has been in the market since 2014.

Both Ledger and TREZOR use open source code for their apps, and both have demonstrated excellent customer support and stability in the past few years. Even though TREZOR is the more mature and respected company, it’s hard to say the Ledger falls behind.

Price tag

The Ledger Nano S sells for €58 (about $65) while the TREZOR sells for $99. This makes the Nano S a more attractive bargain since their features are almost identical. One can argue that the TREZOR can also act as a password manager but I’m not sure how useful this feature is at the moment.

So who’s the winner?

In all honesty, I think the Ledger Nano S wins due to the lower price. But both companies created a great product. The Ledger Nano S seems to have the upper hand in design and usability, while TREZOR’s reputation has more impact in the community (although not by much). Since most of us are price sensitive in this case the price tag tips the scale towards Ledger.

Personally, I use a TREZOR, mainly because when I first started using hardware wallets Ledger wasn’t around yet. Today I think I may start using both, storing some of my funds on a TREZOR and some on a Ledger. I have to say that the progress Ledger has made in the past year is truly impressive, and there product shows it.

https://www.ledgerwallet.com/products/ledger-nano-s

Raft of AML violations lands bitcoin exchange a $110M fine

U.S. regulators slapped the bitcoin exchange BTC-e with a $110 million fine for a slew of alleged financial crimes from facilitating dark net drug sales to financing public corruption.

One of the site’s operators, a Russian national, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested in Greece this week and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network assessed a $12 million penalty against him for his alleged role.

BTC-e is one of the world’s virtual currency exchanges by volume and has conducted over $296 million in bitcoin transactions, Fincen said Thursday. The company facilitated ransomware, computer hacking, identity theft, tax refund fraud schemes and drug trafficking, the agency said.

Fincen Acting Director Jamal El-Hindi
Making an example

The fine against BTC-e “should be a strong deterrent to anyone who thinks that they can facilitate ransomware, dark net drug sales, or conduct other illicit activity using encrypted virtual currency,” said Fincen’s acting director, Jamal El-Hindi.

The fine was the Treasury’s first action against a money-services business located in a foreign country, and the second against a virtual currency exchange. (Ripple was the first in 2015, but its six-figure fine pales in comparison to BTC-e’s.)

It was also the second action this week by a U.S. regulator in the cryptocurrency space. The Securities and Exchange Commission released an investigative report on Tuesday that concluded certain so-called initial coin offerings are subject federal securities laws, potentially cooling a white-hot funding market for startups and software developers.

The BTC-e action “should be a strong deterrent to anyone who thinks that they can facilitate ransomware, dark net drug sales, or conduct other illicit activity using encrypted virtual currency,” Fincen’s acting director, Jamal El-Hindi, said in a press release.
BTC-e failed to obtain required information from customers beyond a username, a password and an email address, Fincen said. It also did not prevent money laundering, as users openly and explicitly discussed criminal activity on BTC-E’s user chat, and gave advice on how to process and access money from illegal drug sales from dark net markets like Silk Road, Hansa Market and AlphaBay, the agency said.

From 2011 to 2014, BTC-e processed transactions totaling 300,000 bitcoin stolen from another bitcoin exchange, the now-defunct Mt. Gox, Fincen said. It also concealed its geographic location and its ownership, violating U.S. anti-money-laundering laws and regulations, the regulator said.

As of Thursday morning, the BTC-e site was down; a maintenance situation was cited.

Fincen worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California on assessing the fine. The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, the FBI, Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security conducted the criminal investigation.

IF YOU BOUGHT $5 OF BITCOIN 7 YEARS AGO, YOU’D BE $4.4 MILLION RICHER

Bitcoin completely dominates over the USD after increasing almost 800,000 times in the last eight years.

Ever had a case where you wished you had bought something in the past that eventually went up significantly in value? Perhaps a plot in a low-value district which is now worth ten times more? Does that ring a bell? Well, here are some amazing stories about people who bought Bitcoins for fun, and due to the enormous rise of Bitcoin in the past few years, have now officially made millionaires status.

Monday marked the seventh anniversary of what is said to be the first recorded instance of Bitcoins being used in a real-world transaction. Over the course of seven years, Bitcoin’s value has multiplied 879,999 times. If an investor had decided to spend five dollars on about 2,000 Bitcoins back then, that stake would be worth $4.4 million today. With $1,200 spent on some 480,000 Bitcoins, the investor would be worth at least $1.1 billion today.

Bloomberg interview with Bill Gates. “Bitcoin is the answer.”

At first, Bitcoin didn’t really catch on, and it was solely the domain of the early adopters. There were very few businesses which accepted bitcoin as a payment method, and it was something which was almost frowned upon by most governments. As more and more businesses and governments accepted bitcoin, it gradually went up in value, more and more people were starting to embrace the idea of a decentralized currency, and as more people jumped on board, the price began to rise. Since the beginning of the year 2017, the value of Bitcoin spiked after gaining legitimacy in countries like Japan.

“Bitcoin is better than currency.” – Bill Gates

The main advantage of bitcoin is that it is decentralized – meaning, there’s no central bank or government which controls it. This freedom is the main reason why Investors have come to see the currency as something of a safe-haven-asset in a problematic geopolitical world — and there’s been plenty of that in recent months in Europe, Russia, Brazil and the United States. There is also an additional advantage in Bitcoin – there is a mathematical limitation to the number of Bitcoins that can be created, which means – no printing money, so the rules of economy work perfectly. Where there is a limited supply of something, and the demand goes up, the price goes up along with it.

Wences Casares has been called Bitcoin’s “patient zero” by the Silicon Valley elite. He got Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, and countless other luminaries into Bitcoin at gatherings of the rich and famous such as Sun Valley.

Billionaire businessman Wences Casares says it’s not too late for people interested in Bitcoin.

The Argentinian-born Casares has founded an internet service provider, a video game company, and a bank, plus he sits on the board of PayPal, but it’s Bitcoin that Casares says he’s dedicating the rest of his life to, and he now runs a startup called Xapo that stores Bitcoin. At a dinner organized by the cryptocurrency policy group Coin Center in New York last night, Casares delivered the keynote speech, including some advice about how to get into Bitcoin.

 

The formula, according to Casares? Take 1% or less of what you own, buy Bitcoin with it, and then forget about it for at least the next five years; ideally the next decade. “You either lose one percent of your net worth, which most people can take, or you make millions.” he told a room of cryptocurrency advocates at the Westin in Times Square.

Experts predict a single Bitcoin will be worth $500,000 by the year 2030.

Casares pegs the odds of bitcoin failing completely and going to zero dollars at 20%. “If it fails, it will be worthless,” he says. “If it succeeds, in five to seven years a single Bitcoin will be worth more than a million dollars.” He puts the chances of success at greater than 50%.

Casares has an interesting reply for those people who believe they have already “missed out” on the bitcoin train and are afraid that they are joining too late. He said he’s seen people who bought bitcoin at cheap prices—as low as $13 who lost money because they tried to trade their way to profits, while those who bought at high prices even just a month ago have done “spectacularly well” by simply buying and holding.

So, what do you need to do if you want to invest a small amount in Bitcoin?

 Step One

Click this link to register a free account in Etoro. Why Etoro? It’s a fully regulated platform and a brand you can trust. There are endless reviews about Etoro world-wide, and people are very happy with their services. It is much safer to buy bitcoins with a regulated brand like Etoro than any other service.

 Step Two

Make the minimum deposit of $ 200 or more, depending on the amount you wish to invest.

 Step Three

Once you’ve made your deposit, enter in the top search bar the word “Bitcoin” or “btc.”

Hover

 Step Four

Click the “trade” button in order to buy the bitcoin currency. Since you’re not going to do any trading, do not touch any settings like “leverage.” Simply select the amount, for example, $200 or any amount for which you wish to buy bitcoins. Set the “stop loss” to let the system know the lowest price your bitcoin price can go to, and then set “take profit” at the highest price in which you’d like to convert back to your currency. For example, in the screenshot below, as soon as I make a $200,000 profit, I wish to sell my bitcoins and take the profit in US dollars.

 Step Five

Click the “open trade” button, and you’re done.

Congratulations! You are now part of the bitcoin community. If the price of the bitcoin rises – you can withdraw your money from Etoro as cash… whenever you want. Think about this – the most you can lose in the deal above is $250, but the profit you can make can be as high as $200,000 if the value of Bitcoin rises as expected. If you were to make the same deal 6 years ago, that same $250 you just put in would be now worth over $2,000,000. So how much will you have this time next year?