Litecoin prices surge, up 27.8 percent in last weekLightning Network capacity up 76 percentParticipation levels up, averages increase from 954k in mid-Nov to 1.5 million by last week’s closePumping Litecoin is renewed interest and technical factors. Now that LTC prices are trading above $50 in a bull breakout pattern, Litecoin stands to rally with first targets at $70.Litecoin Price AnalysisFundamentalsAs alternative and superior money for the web, the primary driver has to be adoption. The more Litecoin (LTC) finds utility, the more its value will skyrocket pushing it to the mainstream. We have had several campaigns like #PaywithLitecoin complete with a functional website showing the number of merchants and other metrics. However, it is the growing social media attentions Litecoin has been receiving in the last couple of weeks. Aside from price revival, the Litecoin Foundation sponsors the UFC and what’s more? Development is picking up. The end move is to make Litecoin a go-to currency for all and sundry.For this reason, the network is keen on adding Confidential Transactions (CT) as well as Mimble Wimble tech as features in days ahead. Add that to their working synergy with Bitcoin—as its silver, and myriads of opportunities open up. Note that like Bitcoin, Litecoin is interested in the Lightning Network and similar to BTC LN, their LN is gaining traction.Statistics from 1ML indicate that the number of nodes edged up 17 percent to 162 while the network capacity increased by 76 percent handling $8,095.49 at the time of press. Compared to Bitcoin’s, Litecoin LN capacity is 4X in nominal terms.Candlestick ArrangementIt is official, the bear breakout pattern of mid-Nov 2018 is null and Litecoin (LTC) bulls are therefore in control. With an impressive performance, Litecoin is cementing its position at fourth gaining 27.8 percent in the last week. From the chart, it is likely that Litecoin will close above $50—a milestone, a level last retested in Dec 2018. Since we are trading within a bullish breakout pattern both set of traders can fine-tune entries in lower time frames with aims at $70 and later, $110.Technical IndicatorsDistinguishing price action of mid to late Q4 2018 are high average volumes. Note that the breakout bar of the week ending Nov 18 had averages of 954k. When we compare with those of week ending Mar 3 at 1.5 million, it is clear that there is participation. Luckily, prices are edging higher, closing above $50 canceling the bear break-out pattern set in motion in mid-Nov.
Archives for March 7, 2019
Former employees of cryptocurrency mining and manufacturing giant Bitmain who focused on bitcoin cash development are planning a new startup that will offer crypto financing-related services, CoinDesk has learned.
According to two sources with knowledge of the matter, the former employees include those from the mining giant’s Copernicus project that was impacted by a company-wide layoff last year.
The sources said the former Bitmain team members are planning to launch a new firm that will provide services such as cryptocurrency custody, over-the-counter (OTC) trading and crypto lending.
One of the sources said it’s known in the industry that there have been two camps inside Bitmain – one aligned with co-founder Jihan Wu that focuses on blockchain and bitcoin cash development and the other with co-founder Micree Zhan that designs crypto mining chips.
And the team forming the new startup mostly comes from Wu’s old crew, the source added, including those from Copernicus, a project Bitmain rolled out in 2018 to boost development for bitcoin cash and the wormhole protocol. The project has had no technical updates on Github since December of last year amid the company-wide layoffs.
It is unclear how many former Bitmain employees will be involved in the new venture at this stage. A second source told CoinDesk it may also have the name of Yuesheng Ge, a major shareholder of Bitmain, on the new firm’s incorporation paper, but not Wu’s name. And the first source indicated it’s known that Ge has long been aligned with Wu in Bitmain’s operations.
A Chinese media outlet previously reported that former Bitmain employees are launching a new startup called Matrix but did not provide details about what the firm aims to do. The report also said Wu may take charge of the project in the future while Ge will serve as the new company’s CEO in the meantime.
A spokesperson for Bitmain said “no comment” when contacted by CoinDesk regarding the former staff’s plan and potential involvement of the company’s two major shareholders, Ge and Wu. However, the spokesperson said Wu will not be leaving Bitmain.
According to the initial public offering prospectus (IPO) Bitmain filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) on Sept. 26, 2018, Ge owns about four percent of the firm’s total shares and was listed as an executive director of the board and principal of investment.
In November, a business registration change indicated Ge and Wu had both left the board of Beijing Bitmain Technology, a subsidiary of BitMain Technology Holding Limited, the entity that’s applying for the IPO.
Another source familiar with Bitmain’s IPO process told CoinDesk that when the firm updated its financials with the HKEX in recent months, Ge remained as an executive director and there was no change to the positions of Wu and Zhan as the company’s co-CEOs.
But this source added that if Bitmain’s holding company disclosed any substantial change to its management, its IPO would almost certainly fail since the HKEX has a clear requirement for a listing applicant to maintain management continuity during its track record.
If Bitmain does not graduate to a listing hearing by March 26, six months from the initial filing, its IPO application will lapse. This has already happened for two of its mining rivals, Canaan Creative and Ebang, although the latter has filed a new application.
The HKEX is said to be reluctant to approve IPOs for these firms due to questions about the sustainability of the mining business.
Jihan Wu image via CoinDesk archive
The surprise addition of XRP, the native crypto asset of the Ripple network, on Coinbase towards the end of February was the latest, of many, positive moves for Ripple. However, XRP’s price failed to respond in accordance with expectations.Analysts often refer to Coinbase as the “kingmaker,” and in the recent past, crypto assets listed on the exchange have experienced significant spikes in price and market cap. In consideration of this, one may ask, what is suppressing the XRP price?Ripple Continues To March OnCoinbase ended months of speculation recently with the inclusion of XRP on its platform. For Ripple, it was yet another progressive step towards becoming the standard for international money transfers.The project, which has a global network of over 200 banks and payment providers, deserves credit for leading the industry as far as practical use case is concerned. Indeed, whether you love XRP, or not, there is no denying its capacity to get things done.Last year some notable critics said financial institutions would never use a digital asset in their payment flows. As I said then, if it offers their customers a better experience at a lower cost, they will – and they are! https://t.co/ZX3RDotmhQ— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) January 8, 2019On Monday 25th February, news spread rapidly about the listing of XRP on Coinbase. The XRP/BTC price peaked at 0.000087915, a 10% increase, but this movement soon retraced. While the gain was somewhat notable, many holders were left feeling underwhelmed.Don’t Believe The HypeAs far back as January 2018, technology reporter Nathaniel Popper questioned whether the hype around Ripple’s partnerships has any substance. When investigated what banking insiders had to say about XRP adoption, the overall sentiment was tepid.Over the last day I’ve asked several people close to banks if banks are indeed planning to begin using Ripple’s token, XRP, in a serious way, which is what investors seem to assume when they buy in at the current XRP prices. This is a sampling of what I heard back: pic.twitter.com/zbfMqg4TpD— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) January 5, 2018The Twitter conversation that followed saw Brad Garlinghouse wade into the discussion, arguing the merits of XRP. He went on to say:“Over the last few months I’ve spoken with ACTUAL banks and payment providers. They are indeed planning to use xRapid (our XRP liquidity product) in a serious way.”He ended with a list of comments, from testers, giving positive feedback on improved efficiency, smooth pilot runs, and a noticeable reduction in fees.Fast forward to the present, and Julian Lehman makes the striking claim that only eight of the two-hundred partners are currently using XRP on a regular basis.He lists them as:ZipRemitCuallixSBIJNFXSendFriendTranspayGoFCTSEuro Exim BankThis highlights the distinction between the success of Ripple onboarding partners and XRP adoption. XRP supports would argue the onboarding process is merely the first step. However, critics see XRP as a superfluous add-on and judging by the poor uptake, one that many are loathed to take.Ripple is not XRPThere is an ongoing effort, by Ripple, to separate itself from the digital asset XRP. Last summer, it posted a tweet to that effect.The digital asset #XRP and the company #Ripple are distinctly different. Learn why. https://t.co/yv8cW1gYH6 pic.twitter.com/w3npq2O894— Ripple (@Ripple) July 9, 2018There is much speculation as to why. Some see this as a tactic to circumvent claims of XRP being a security. And with Coinbase CEO Asiff Hirji stating:“[Coinbase] will only list digital currencies that are a regulatory certainty.”On the face of things, it would seem as though XRP is not a security token. However, the SEC has yet to give their official ruling on the matter. And considering the ramifications across the entire industry, the delay is somewhat forgivable. That being so, it is unreasonable to expect significant price action when XRP is caught in regulatory limbo.Class Action LawsuitOn a related matter, Ripple is currently subject to a series of class action lawsuits. All allegations are based on the violation of State and Federal law by failing to register XRP with the SEC before offering, promoting and selling to retail investors. To which, the plaintiffs are claiming injury.At present, there is ongoing posturing over court jurisdictions, and a case has yet to be heard. Jake Chervinsky, Lawyer at Kobre & Kim LLP, tweeted an update of the situation:Ripple securities class action update: The Court has denied the plaintiffs’ motions to remand. This means the case stays in federal court, a minor but meaningful victory for Ripple.The plaintiffs will file an Amended Consolidated Complaint by March 30.https://t.co/4gdQVaCrlM— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) March 1, 2019The lawsuits put XRP in a further state of uncertainty, which could have continued to affect the price of the asset and the confidence of investors in XRP.And while some believe these actions have no real standing, being merely symptomatic of a litigation culture, the fact remains that the plaintiffs do have recourse to exercise their legal rights. With that in mind, and in consideration of the consequences of a plaintiff win, this situation remains a compelling factor to a cautious market.JP Morgan CoinJP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon went on record, less than two years ago, to denounce Bitcoin as a fraud. By extension, the entire blockchain industry took exception to the comment, sparking further controversy around cryptocurrencies in general. Following on from that, in an unexpected move last month, JP Morgan announced its own cryptocurrency to rival XRP. Details remain scant. However, JPM Coin will position itself as a stable coin pegged to the USD. Trials are expected to roll out later this year.BREAKING: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says bitcoin “is a fraud” that will eventually blow up https://t.co/ZnbSx16LT9— CNBC (@CNBC) September 12, 2017This announcement sent news channels into a spin, and for good reason too. While it remains uncertain whether this should be construed as a major U.S bank endorsing cryptocurrency, or just an act of FOMO, there is little doubt over JP Morgan’s credibility, and potential to turn the blockchain industry on its head. This presents a real threat to Ripple and XRP and one that cannot be ignored.So far, since the announcement, the XRP price has been in slight decline, but still in line with broader market trends. As further reports on JPM Coin are released over the coming months, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.The Coinbase EffectUp until as recently as fall last year, Coinbase users could only trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. This earned the platform a prudent reputation but was still highly regarded due to its friendly UI and indemnity cover. Today, Coinbase now supports 18 cryptocurrencies, with plans to add more.Back in May 2017, when Coinbase added Litecoin, the price soared by 40% against BTC, with rumors of this addition likely contributing to a 170%+ rally over the preceding two months. Considering that Litecoin was now more accessible to buy and store, a 40% increase can be justified.However, times have changed, and the market has matured. Users now expect more choice, and in the face of increasing competition, having only four cryptocurrencies available is not good enough. With the recent addition of more cryptocurrencies to their platform, it seems as though Coinbase has finally conceded to this. But, is it too late? Coinmarketcap ranks Coinbase as 39th by 24-hour volume, and almost all of the exchanges above it were launched after Coinbase had listed Litecoin.When people talk about the Coinbase effect, they are referring to market conditions that are unlikely to happen again. While XRP being listed on Coinbase should be taken as positive news, a major price pump should not be expected as Coinbase no longer holds the influence it once did.The Swell ConferenceThe last annual Swell Conference took place in San Francisco over two days from 1st October 2018. It represents an opportunity for Ripple to have an open dialogue on changing the way money is moved. Rumors abounded that Ripple would launch xRapid at the conference, and influencers were pumped to share their thoughts. The general belief was that, following the official launch of xRapid, institutional users would significantly increase volume, and therefore price.
The XRP/BTC price started climbing about two weeks before Swell. At one point, even before the conference had begun, the price spiked as high as 0.00011763. Following the conference, the anticipated major rally never materialized, this left many wondering what had happened.
At the time, most outlets explained this by concluding that these things take time. But with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that just a handful of Ripple partners actual use XRP. Meaning the rumors of significant volume were nothing but hype. We’ve all heard the adage, “buy the rumor, sell the news,” and in the case of XRP price, it would be mindful for investors to reconsider their expectations of return, especially so in a bear market.
As things stand, XRP is at a regulatory and legal intersection, the outcomes of which could be disastrous not only for Ripple but the wider crypto-community as well. On top of which, a maturing market no longer gives as much credence to Coinbase listings or baseless hype. The entry of JP Morgan into the mix presents a major concern, but the lack of information means investors can do nothing but wait. While XRP holders are right to question why significant events have little bearing on the price, this expectation is based on circumstances that no longer apply.
Seventy-three percent of U.K. consumers don’t know what a cryptocurrency is or are unable to define it, according to a new survey from the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Announced Thursday, the research indicates that those who are most aware of cryptocurrencies are likely to be men aged between 20 and 44.
The survey, which polled 2,132 British consumers in association with London-based market research firm Kantar TNS, further found that only 3 percent of those surveyed had ever bought cryptocurrencies.
Of those who had purchased, half of them spent under £200 ($263) from their “disposable income.” Bitcoin appears to be the most popular cryptocurrency, with over 50 percent purchasing the cryptocurrency, while 34 percent bought ether (ETH).
The FCA has also carried out “qualitative” research and interviews of UK consumers in association with London-based research agency Revealing Reality. They found that many consumers may not fully understand what they are purchasing, with several wanted to buy a “whole” coin, without realizing cryptocurrencies can also be bought in fractions.
“Despite this lack of understanding, the cryptoasset owners interviewed were often looking for ways to ‘get rich quick’, citing friends, acquaintances and social media influencers as key motivations for buying cryptoassets,” the FCA said.
Regarding risk to investors, the watchdog said the survey findings suggest that “currently the overall scale of harm may not be as high as previously thought.”
The FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard, said:
“The results suggest that although cryptoassets may not be well understood by many consumers, the vast majority don’t buy or use them currently. Whilst the research suggests some harm to individual cryptoasset users, it does not suggest a large impact on wider society.
Even so, these are “complex, volatile products,” he added, and investors “should be prepared to lose all of their money.”
Back in December 2017, FCA CEO Andrew Bailey similarly said that buying bitcoin poses similar risks to gambling and, since it is neither backed by central authorities nor regulated, the cryptocurrency is not a safe investment.
In today’s announcement, the FCA added that it will consult on banning the sale of certain cryptocurrency derivatives to retail investors later this year – a ban the authority has been considering since last November.
The FCA further said that it is working with the U.K. government and the Bank of England, as part of the country’s Cryptoassets Taskforce effort to form regulatory guidelines for the cryptocurrency space.
Note pad image via Shutterstock
Since Bitcoin (BTC) gained traction in the mainstream media, many skeptics and economists have claimed that the cryptocurrency space resembles the Dotcom boom and bust, but that the latter part of that equation has yet to play out in full. Thus, some, including crypto native traders, have claimed that lower lows are inbound for this market. But one analyst has come out to vehemently deny such hearsay.Sub-$2,000 Bitcoin?In this eyes of some analysts, crypto bulls are preparing to wave white flags in an act of surrender — capitulation, if you will. This potentially inbound bout of capitulation has led some analysts to claim that BTC falling under $2,000 wouldn’t be improbable. In fact, they believe that more likely than not, a fall through the aforementioned level for Bitcoin is still on the table.Technical analyst Financial Survivalism recently exclaimed that the longer BTC fails to surmount a long-term declining trendline at ~$4,600, the higher likelihood that the cryptocurrency’s price could “mirror the price action from September 20th to November 25th of last year.”Per the analyst, this would mean that BTC could trade flat for another two to three months, before falling dramatically to the $800 price point. This, of course, is a worst-case scenario, but Survivalism does allude to a good point about market cycles and behavioral economics. In previous tweets, he noted that per the Hyperwave analysis technique, BTC could soon revisit $1,200, where it peaked in its previous rally.Leah Wald, who also subscribes to the Hyperwave, as she has close ties to the creator of that analysis technique, Tyler Jenks. The popular trader recently took up a one BTC bet with Filb Filb, as she believes the Bitcoin price will hit $1,500 before it trades above $6,500 on Bitstamp.I don’t like those terms but I am willing to entertain your action @filbfilb. @LucidInvestment and I are willing to bet 1 BTC that price trades below $1,500 on Bitstamp before it trades above $6,500.https://t.co/OAClWq8NcK@ToneVays @Crypto_Core @Sawcruhteez @DougPolkPoker pic.twitter.com/OznWkMAg5K— Leah Wald (@LeahWald) March 5, 2019Murad Mahmudov is also under the impression that sub-$2,000 for the lead cryptocurrency isn’t out of the question. Mere weeks ago, he expressed how logical it would be to see BTC fall to $1,700 by June, using long-term trends and long-standing moving averages to convey his point.Technicals And Fundamental Propping Up BTCAlthough the aforementioned traders, who are all respected in their own right, are bearish, industry researcher PlanB claims that there’s a high likelihood BTC will remain above $2,000 in the months and year to come. The researcher, who makes use of Austrian Economics theories to back his love for Bitcoin, drew attention to five pieces of evidence to back his optimistic point.Why #bitcoin will not drop under $2k:
1) Miners already capitulated (difficulty -25% Nov/Dec)
2) Too close to the Halving (14 months)
3) BTC never dropped below geometric mean ($2750)
4) BTC never dropped below 50% of stock-to-flow model ($5500)
5) RSI bottomed at (42) now rising pic.twitter.com/qJyFvKQcLQ— planB (@100trillionUSD) March 5, 2019Yesterday, NewsBTC reported that the fact that Bitcoin miners have already capitulated, indicated by the rare 25% collapse in network difficulty from November to December of last year, should signal some semblance of a bottom in PlanB’s eyes. Historical trends would confirm this. The last two times a large group of miners surrendered to bears, BTC began moving higher in the months that followed, as hashrate eventually returned in full force.The analyst also drew attention to the impending block reward reduction — dubbed a “halving” or “halvening” — to explain that BTC falling lower wouldn’t be cohesive with historical trends, as the cryptocurrency rallied into previous issuance shifts. PlanB added that Bitcoin has never fallen below its geometric mean, currently situated at $2,750, and may never will if current price levels are upheld. By the same token, he noted that Bitcoin has never fallen below 50% of its stock-to-flow (issuance to supply in existence ratio) model, which currently places BTC at a fair value of $5,500.Related Reading: Crypto Professionals Predict $2,400 Bitcoin Bottom, Expect Infrastructure To Spark Bull RunLast but not least, PlanB remarked that Bitcoin’s long-term Relative Strength Index (RSI) reading has bottomed, after falling dramatically over 2018, and may continue to rise as RSI did in previous post-bear market resurgences.PlanB’s recent explanation comes after he noted that BTC falling to $1,000 — a 95% drawdown from the $20,000 all-time high, which would be 75% lower than the current $4,000 level — is likely to occur in the near future, even calling the chances of this occurrence coming to fruition “very low.”Per previous reports from NewsBTC, the analyst stated that BTC has already been through its “AMZN style” crash, specifically when it collapsed by 95% in 2011 to a single digit valuation. Since then, the asset’s drawdowns have become marginally less and less severe, meaning that BTC’s recent move to $3,150 may have been it for this market. PlanB added that fundamentally, the uncertainty about the value proposition for Bitcoin, imbroglios like Mt. Gox, and altcoins/ICOs is now gone, cementing that BTC has a future, thus upside. But as to when the cryptocurrency will rally, PlanB wasn’t all too sure.Featured Image From Shutterstock
Kraken, one of the largest U.S.-based crypto exchanges with daily volume of around $100 million, has hired a Hollywood veteran to be its first chief marketing officer.
Matt Mason spent the last four years as the studio head of 1-800-N0TH1NG, described on his LinkedIn page as an “innovation lab” in Los Angeles funded by Sony Pictures. He left that job last month to take the newly created position at Kraken.
“Building out the marketing function at Kraken is a critical next step for us as we continue to grow our business and expand our product offering. Matt is a marketing veteran, ready to push us into hyper-speed,” the San Francisco-based exchange said in a blog post Thursday.
Before 1-800-N0TH1NG, whose main product was a mobile app game based on user-generated video, Mason spent almost four years at the file-sharing software firm BitTorrent, most recently as chief content officer. He is also an author of “The Pirate’s Dilemma” on how youth culture has changed capitalism and society.
According to Kraken, Mason began his career as a “pirate radio and club DJ in London” and worked at companies like Warner Music, Saatchi & Saatchi and Mediacom.
Answering CoinDesk’s question about his decision to move into the crypto industry, Mason said: “I’ve been interested and involved in distributed technology for much of my career, and there isn’t a better brand in the crypto space than Kraken. I’m incredibly grateful I get to work with this amazing group of people.”
Kraken has made some other significant addition to its executive team over the last year.
Last April, Steve Hunt, former technology chief at Jump Trading and Goldman Sachs, joined Kraken as a vice president of engineering, followed by Nelson Minier, an ex-Credit Suisse trader who became a head of over-the-counter (OTC) sales and trading, and Mary Beth Buchanan from the law firm Bryan Cave, as a general counsel.
Bob Zagotta, former managing director at CME Group and senior strategist at the insurance broker Gallagher, joined Kraken in June as a head of business operations and strategy. All these jobs were newly created as well.
Kraken office image via CoinDesk archives
Back in January this year Sapphire, a popular name among AMD GPU miners, has announced their RX 570 GPUs with 16GB of video memory intended for use for GRIN crypto mining and more specifically the Cuckatoo31 algorithm that requires more video memory and can take advantage of the extra VRAM on these GPUs. This might have sounded interesting for some miners at least initially after the launch of the GRIN network and the hype and high initial price of the Grin coins, but things look different now. Miner developers have been able to optimize and enhance performance on 8GB+ Nvidia GPUs for the Cuckatoo 31 algorithm and the $399 USD mining GPU from Sapphire with just 6 months warranty already seems like a total joke when you compare performance…
The latest version of the miner specifically optimized for Grin mining on the Sapphire RX 570 16GB mining video cards ePIC Boost Miner supporting both Cuckaroo29 and Cuckatoo31 is apparently capable of delivering up to 2.6 G/s for Cuckaroo29 at 163W and up to 0.47 G/s for Cuckatoo31 at 195W if you have a top specs computer used for mining and not what a traditional GPU mining rig looks like. These results are for a mining rig with i5/i7/i9/Ryzen Multithreading CPU, PCIe 3.0 with Atomics and AMD ROCm Linux driver. If you use a low-end Celeron/Pentium CPU, like most GPU mining rigs do, PCIe 2.0 bus for the GPUs and the AMD GPU Pro driver you will be down to 1.5 G/s for Grin29 and 0.35 G/s for Grin31 according to the latest official performance results.
Now, how does an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti with 11GB of video memory compare with the currently fastest Cuckatoo31 miner NBMiner 21.0 under Windows 10 on a normal low-end mining rig with a Celeron CPU. You can easily get about 1.3-1.35 G/s with about 200W of power usage (lowered down TDP of the GPU, up to about 1.45 G/s with stock TDP) to get similar power usage as with the AMD. You get almost three times the performance with the Nvidia at the same power usage with two to three times the price of the AMD mining GPU from Sapphire and without a number of specific requirements that are not easy for a lot of miners.
The answer to the question are the Sapphire RX 570 16GB mining GPUs worth it at the moment is a simple NO! But what about the performance for the upcoming Grin Cuckatoo 32 protocol upgrade planned for 2020… well, who knows, but what will you be doing by then?
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A new report from the United Kingdom’s primary financial regulator suggests we’re still a long way from a cryptocurrency revolution.
According to the report, only 3 percent of people in the UK have bought cryptocurrency. And an enormous 73 percent still have no idea what crypto is or how to define it.
On the bright side, if you own crypto now, you’re in the 3 percent club. If cryptocurrencies do become mainstream, you got in early.
Our research finds 73% of UK consumers surveyed don’t know what a ‘cryptocurrency’ is or are unable to define it. Those aware are likely to be men aged 20 – 44. Summary: https://t.co/ZjhzuyHa0K #cryptoassets pic.twitter.com/GtTdO1VFJZ
— FCA (@TheFCA) March 7, 2019
73% Don’t Know What Cryptocurrency Is
The report, conducted by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s leading financial regulator, surveyed 2,132 respondents. When asked to explain cryptocurrency, 58 percent said they’d never heard of it. 10 percent didn’t know, and 5 percent answered incorrectly.
Many of those who bought cryptocurrencies admitted to a poor understanding of them. 16 percent of crypto buyers said they hadn’t done any research at all. 4 percent researched crypto only after their purchase.
We still have a huge education problem in the crypto community. A lack of accessible and accurate cryptocurrency information has led to poor investment decisions and a wariness of crypto in general.
Only a Tiny Portion Owns Crypto
According to the report, only 3 percent of the respondents have purchased some form of cryptocurrency.
The most popular purchase is bitcoin, which accounts for 51 percent of buyers. Ethereum is second and Litecoin third. Most buyers spent less than £200 ($263) on their purchase which means most haven’t risked a lot of capital.
— FCA (@TheFCA) March 7, 2019
Despite that, the report concludes that 50 percent have since sold their cryptocurrency in the prolonged bear market. If correct, only a tiny portion of the British population still owns crypto. Of those that do show an understanding of cryptocurrency, they tend to be middle-class males between 20-44 years old.
As for future purchases, only 1 percent of no-coiners say they’ll definitely buy in the future.
Get Rich Quick?
While most respondents took a reasonable approach to investing in crypto, the study reveals that many were just looking to get rich quick.
“Many had read articles or heard the stories of consumers who had bought Bitcoin in or before 2017 and made a significant amount of money… Already worried that they might have left it too late, they didn’t want to miss out on the chance to be ‘in’ on any crypto assets that might increase in value in the future.”
How Accurate is the Report?
There are a few things at play here. While most people have heard of bitcoin, few understand it well enough to explain in detail. There’s a huge gap of understanding between bitcoin’s name-recognition and knowing enough to invest.
We should also take into account the date of the survey. This most recent report interviewed respondents in December 2018, in the depths of the crypto bear market. In the space of a year, public interest in cryptocurrency has evaporated and the appetite to learn more has disappeared.
On the Bright Side…
You can look at this way. If you hold bitcoin now, you’re one of the tiny, tiny portion of society at the front of the train. If the other 97 percent of no-coiners jump on board, we’re all going to the moon.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is reportedly targeting Bitcoin investors as well as other cryptocurrency users with federal tax audits.
The CRA has also sent questionnaires to determine the previous trading and investing activity. Taxation of cryptocurrency has been a gray area for years, with tax attorneys and even regulators unsure of how to proceed.
With many investors using KYC-enabled exchanges which store ID and trading history, it’s likely that the audits will uncover all past trading activity in some cases.
CRA Lays Down The Law
Duly noted. https://t.co/PRyrVhOyw0
— Jared Adams (@jared_adams613) January 30, 2019
CRA Project Oversight Director Jared Adams took to Twitter to comment on the use case of Bitcoin as a vehicle money laundering vehicle.
To his 300-odd followers, the CRA director retweeted a post made by Francis Pouliot, the CEO of Canadian crypto firm Bull Bitcoin. Pouliot’s post, which was tweeted to tens of thousands of supporters, described the process of cashing bitcoins into Canadian dollars “without using a bank account, P2P platform, or Bitcoin ATM”.
CRA director Adams stated that he was taking note of the comment, and added another tweet saying “washingmachine.gif.” The director seemed to be attempting to draw on internet humor to sarcastically make a reference to money laundering, although shirked away from debating the prominent CEO when called out on it.
Pouliot stood his ground and challenged the CRA directors efforts at accusing him of money laundering through a meme, stating the fact that hundreds of Canadians have been denied basic banking services simply for legally using Bitcoin. He asserted that his tweet was aimed as advice for such people.
Like hundreds (known cases) of Canadians citizens and companies, I have had essential financial services like banking, payments and credit cards restricted and accounts closed because of my usage of Bitcoin.
Pouliot pointed out that the Canadian Senate had been notified of the problem, something which Adams refused to discuss. He also refused to clarify his comments regarding money laundering or engage the Bitcoin CEO in an actual conversation regarding regulation or the issue of Canadians being forced to choose between cryptocurrency and basic banking services.
The situation is reminiscent of that in India where banks are forcing users to promise not to use crypto or lose their account.
Indian Banks now forcefully taking permission from us to ‘reserve right to close our account without further intimation’ if we deal in #cryptocurrency transactions
— Indian CryptoGirl (@DesiCryptoHodlr) January 9, 2019
The CRA commented on its latest initiative.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that a vast majority of middle-class Canadians pay their fair share, but it remains committed to ensuring that without exception, every taxpayer abides by the same tax laws.
As a world-class tax administration, the CRA is also committed to adapting its administration to keep pace with evolving global services and products, and making key investments to effectively address the new ways of doing business in the global economy.
The organization stated that it now has a crypto-intel unit dedicated to collecting intelligence and conducting audits on risks related to crypto. In its statement, the agency provided information regarding taxation of cryptocurrency.
This unit has enhanced the CRA’s ability to monitor and enforce compliance in areas of emerging risk, including the cryptocurrency space. There are currently over 60 active audits related to cryptocurrency.
The CRA is also committed to helping taxpayers understand their tax obligations when using digital currencies, and to remind them that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from their tax obligations. The CRA has published educational material on its website regarding the tax treatment of dealing in Digital Currency.
Audit recipients have to fill out a questionnaire with 54 questions plus sub-questions regarding cryptocurrency. The questionnaire asks about investments, mining history, assets, wallets, ICOs, and other related subjects.
The third question asks about mixing services which exist to add anonymity to pseudonymous cryptocurrencies like bitcoin by switching funds among users to confound anyone attempting to track transaction history.
Question four specifically refers to ShapeShift and Changelly, exchanges popularized partly due to the lack of KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations allowing for anonymous sign-up. ShapeShift recently implemented KYC due to regulatory pressure, and the questionnaire asks about private or in-person purchases of crypto as well.
The questionnaire also asks if the person in question has purchased crypto assets from private individuals:
Did you purchase bitcoin or crypto currencies privately from individuals? If so, how did you become aware that these individuals were willing to buy or sell crypto currencies? How were these transactions facilitated — location, procedure followed, etc?
Users are even asked to list all crypto asset addresses not associated with custodial exchange accounts. The CRA did not go so far as to ask for private keys.
The questionnaire ends with a disclaimer that more questions may be asked of audit recipients.
The questions are not exhaustive and we may require additional information during the audit.
Regulators Are Losing Power, And It Shows
More regulators realise crypto is here to stay and compete to open markets. https://t.co/v7yTNVavBV
— Steven Parker (@Steven_JParker) March 2, 2019
The passive aggressive and rather childish comments made by the CRA director, as well as his unwillingness or inability to discuss the issues with a cryptocurrency professional are unfortunately indicative of the hostile and ill-informed attitude displayed by many regulatory authorities worldwide.
While crypto is clearly “the problem”, there is no sign of regulators meeting cryptocurrency users halfway.
This attitude is a relic of the past when such agencies as the CRA had a far greater degree of control over the personal finances of Canadian citizens.
The unfortunate reality is that if the CRA and Canadian banks continue to push Canadians into a corner and force them out of banking services, they can and will use cryptocurrency without government oversight. The use of services like Local Bitcoins, anonymous VPNs, and decentralized exchanges make it all too easy to transact anonymously.
The irony is that in falsely accusing people of money laundering and persecuting their investment decisions, the CRA is likely to trigger a wave of money laundering or tax evasion that they will be utterly powerless to stop.
Israel-based social investing platform eToro has launched a cryptocurrency trading platform and wallet service in the U.S.
The firm announced Thursday that the new platform allows U.S. customers from 31 states and territories to trade 13 unspecified cryptocurrencies. Multi-asset trading is also scheduled for launch in Q1 of next year.
eToro’s “social” model allows users to reproduce other traders’ bets through its CopyTrader and CopyPortfolios features. The crypto trading platform will also offer three CopyPortfolios at launch, it said, without disclosing further details.
Users can “collaborate with other crypto traders when making buying and selling decisions,” said Yoni Assia, co-founder and CEO of eToro. They can also “adjust their trading strategies by watching and learning from others on the platform.”
The firm said any eligible customer who has an “established” track record “may be copied and compensated for their performance, subject to risk analysis and supplemental evaluation.”
eToro has also launched a multi-signature crypto wallet in the U.S. that supports six cryptocurrencies at launch – bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), litecoin (LTC), XRP and Stellar (XLM) – with more to be added in the near future.
Existing eToro users will be able to log into the wallet directly to hold and transact in cryptocurrencies, the firm said. They will also be able to “convert between different coins with a click of a button.” Cryptos can be sent and received using a QR code or by sharing the wallet address.
The news comes months after eToro first announced its plan to launch a crypto exchange and mobile wallet in the U.S. back in May. At the time, the firm said it will allow trading into 10 cryptocurrencies – bitcoin, ether, litecoin, XRP, dash, bitcoin cash, stellar, ethereum classic, NEO, and EOS.
eToro also announced today that it will launch a crypto exchange called eToroX for a global audience later this year.
The firm has raised $222 million since 2007, according to Crunchbase.
Yoni Assia image via CoinDesk archives