Now There Are Cryptocurrencies for Retirees as Well

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Now There Are Cryptocurrencies for Retirees as Well

First, we had to get used to Grandma having a mobile phone. And, we all know the only thing worse than no one liking your Facebook post is getting a thumbs up from Grams. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the older generation when it comes to tech, though. In fact, now there are cryptocurrencies for retirees as well.

It may be hard to conceive of retired folks in a nursing home debating whether to HODL or cash-in while playing dominoes. But, according to a report by WorldPay, the baby boomer generation is reshaping the global online payments industry. They’re buying more stuff online, and a cryptocurrency for retirees could be the next logical step.

Vendors often overlook this demographic, desperate to win over millennials. Yet these “silver surfers” have better health than generations before them–and substantial spending power. In fact, global online spending by consumers aged over-60 is expected to reach $15 trillion by 2020 (twice as much as 2010).

They’re getting better at managing their iPhones. They’re starting to buy Alexa. And, they’re slowly opening up to the concept of Bitcoin. It won’t be long before seniors are financing their retirement with cryptocurrency too.

Check out some of the latest ideas for blockchain and cryptocurrencies for retirees.

An Ecosystem Built for Seniors

The population is aging. According to a report by the United Nations, in 2015, one in eight people globally was 60 years or older. By 2030, that ratio increases to one in six, and by 2050, at least one in five people will be aged 60 or over.

It’s great that we can look forward to a longer life. More time to play golf, head to Florida, maybe even play Bingo. But with a reduced birth rate and fewer young people to shoulder the burden, that places a major strain on resources. Clearly, there’s a need for an efficient support system for the growing senior population.

GladAge is an ecosystem built for seniors to provide personalized care and fully vetted senior homes. CEO Sunny Kapoor says, “On the GladAge platform, the control is handed over to the seniors as they select the type of care needed, shop for equipment or services and even review caretakers who they can hire on demand.”

GladAge seeks to solve the sector’s biggest problems that the traditional systems have failed to resolve. “Lack of senior homes, a severe shortage of trained workers, unorganized market structure and chaotic processes are a few to name,” says Kapoor.

GladAge Infographic

Current problems with the senior healthcare industry.

“There is a huge gap between the care homes available and the number of care homes needed,” Kapoor explains. “Even the ones that are available are not fit for the purpose and often lack the desired standard to provide a homely atmosphere.”

If you’ve ever stepped into a state-run senior care facility, you’ll know what he’s talking about.

Most countries’ national resources are stretched and non-government institutions work with limited resources. In many cases, there’s simply no mechanism to evaluate the quality of their services. “This translates into mental and physical woes for our senior citizens,” he says.

To add insult to injury, most caregivers aren’t properly vetted. A cursory check may reveal an ex sex-offender or thief. But, what about their reputation and suitability as a caregiver? After all, who wants to be manhandled by a sour-faced bint, or a frustrated Sergeant Major?

“Non-profiling of caretakers leads to a market phenomenon of ‘anything is fine’,” says Kapoor. “A Scoring system brings in healthy competition among the stakeholders–to maintain their prosperity and livelihood they must perform well at their jobs. “The purpose on which GladAge thrives is to design a decentralized senior care sector equipped to evolve dynamically. It does so by introducing the most futuristic technology in a traditional industry that’s over a century old.”

Smart Contract-Powered Retirement Planning Platform

When Bitcoin came into the public conscience, it was pretty hard to imagine that in a few short years, cryptocurrency would be solving major word problems. Or that there would be cryptocurrencies for retirees.

But the US retirement industry alone is worth around $27 trillion. So it makes sense that blockchain companies will look more toward this space.

We all know that we need to save for our retirement, but many millennials are still struggling with student debt–and many boomers are struggling with their kids’ student debt as well. Most Americansdon’t save enough for their retirement, which sets them up for a less-than-appealing future.

Added to that, current retirement plans are owned by a central entity, lacking in transparency, and are unclear about the payouts and when you can expect to receive them.

Actus is working to resolve these problems and make saving for retirement easier by using smart contracts to cut out middlemen and create transparency. Savers can hold a portfolio of investments designated to their retirement, from regulated 401k/IRA plans to cryptocurrency investments.

Actus Platform

The aim is to place the decision-making back in the hands of the saver, rather than some faceless fund manager in a large corporation. It will also incentivize younger people to save for their future.

Purchase Bitcoin with Your 401k or IRA

For crypto investors that are diehard believers in the value of its future, Bitcoin IRA lets them use funds from their 401k or IRA plans to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Claiming to ensure the safe transfer of your retirement funds into an account for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and a number of other major cryptocurrencies, this lets new digital investors take a more active role in saving for retirement.

It also makes saving for old age more appealing, since, let’s face it, the prospect of a retirement home, hearing aid, and false teeth, isn’t exactly sexy.

As with any investments though, it may not be a wise idea to use all your savings to do this. Placing the fate of your golden years at the mercy of a bullish or bearish market could be a little stressful as you slide into retirement.

Cryptocurrencies for Retirees

GladAge is an Australian blockchain company, looking to tackle the aging population in that corner of the world. Yet, if it turns out to be successful, it’s a model that can be rolled out across the globe.

“It’s also helpful to build micro-economies where all the transactions can be tracked more efficiently. This assists in monitoring the impact more accurately and to route the investments towards activities with highest possible impact,” Kapoor states.

No one wants to end up in a care home, but we don’t always have control over the course our lives take. So it’s comforting to know that we may be able to at least have a say–and a stake–in the quality of our care with cryptocurrencies for retirees, varied investment portfolios, and the chance to do more with our 401ks.

This article first appeared on Coincentral.com

Is Mobile Mining Profitable?

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Typically, when people think of mining, the first thing that comes to mind is expensive hardware that can costs upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. For those looking to cut costs, it is now possible to use Android bitcoin miner apps.

Platforms and Devices

Unfortunately, there are virtually no iPhone or iPad apps that will allow you to mine cryptocurrency as of May 2018. Sure, there are some “mining games” available in the Apple App Store; however, their payoffs are extremely low and aren’t quite on the same level as Android apps.

For Android users, however, there a great number of mining apps. Let’s take a look at the potential costs and rewards of mining with Android apps. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Android Mining Apps

droid mobile mining

DroidMiner BTC/LTC/DOGE Miner can mine all cryptocurrencies that use SHA-256 or Scrypt. The download cost is only $0.99 and has 10,000+ installs. The reviews aren’t all that good, however. The average rating is around 3.0 stars. According to reviews, miners can only expect to reach around 1 megahash with a high end device (i.e. a tablet). There are also a lot of reviews complaining about how this app drains down the battery of many devices very quickly, so it would be probably be best if your device is plugged in.

electroneum mobile mining

Electroneum is considered by most reviewers to be a slightly better option with an average rating of around 3.8 stars. This app is free to download and has 500,000+ installs. Electroneum is actually the first project to launch its own mobile mining app. Users have stated that it’s possible to mine as high as 50 h/s. However, hashrates can drop to around 30 h/s. There is one catch to this, though. The mobile app doesn’t actually confirm new blocks on the blockchain. Instead, users virtually mine via the mobile app.

While many people who have tried this app have been able to successfully ‘mine’ ETN, there are still many complaints that any balance over 10 ETN can’t be sent to users’ wallets. Thus, there are a lot of people who have “pending” balances. The development team is aware of this bug and is working to fix it. Additionally, the Electroneum team has announced that its Apple app is still awaiting approval from the App Store.

Costs

If you’re considering mobile mining, it’s important to think about all of the potential costs involved. First, the money necessary to buy a mobile phone or tablet could, of course, varies widely depending on the brand and quality. Although this cost will be much less than a mining rig, the power-intensive nature of mining could ruin devices rather quickly. Thus far, there isn’t that much data on whether or not the amount of cryptocurrency mined over the lifetime of a given device will outweigh the cost of buying a given device.

Data fees are another potential cost. While it is possible to keep a mobile device connected to a wireless router to reduce or even eliminate data fees, this wouldn’t necessarily make the device very mobile, since mobile miners would have to rely heavily upon Wi-Fi.

Energy consumption is also significant cost to consider, especially since devices would essentially need to either always be charging or have to be charged very frequently.

Benefits

The biggest benefit is that no major upfront costs are needed with mobile mining apps. While apps that allow users to mine BTC, for example, could bring some benefit, it’s difficult enough to compete with GPU and CPU mining rigs, much less ASIC rigs. The Electroneum mining option seems good but only if the value per ETN rises significantly later on.

Is This Mining Strategy Worth It?

Most people would agree that mobile mining is not worth it. When factoring in high energy costs potential data fees and low computing power, mobile mining is a very difficult inefficient way to earn cryptocurrency.

While we will likely see some advancements in mobile/tablet computing power and functionality of mobile mining apps, it still appears that mobile mining will be no match for traditional mining for the foreseeable future.

This article by Delton Rhodes first appeared at Coincentral.com

Should You Accept Your Wages in Bitcoin?

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Even the most diehard Bitcoin evangelist struggles to answer this question. OK, maybe not the most diehard. But there are a lot of “believers” in the world’s first cryptocurrency who wouldn’t accept their wages in Bitcoin. Why not?

Well, calculating taxes (not to mention, back taxes) on Bitcoin is pretty much a nightmare. It’s banned in a bunch of places, and it’s not universally accepted.

Even Co-founder and CEO of cryptocurrency listing site CoinSchedule, Alex Buelau, says, “Bitcoin isn’t accepted anywhere, everything you want to buy, office supplies, equipment, computers, you can’t pay for with crypto.”

And then, there’s the volatility.

Great some days, catastrophic the next. But hey, you have to get your thrills somewhere, right?

But unless you live in a country where you need a suitcase full of cash instead of a wallet to go to the corner store, using Bitcoin as a stable alternative to fiat currency could be very risky indeed.

So would you accept your wages in Bitcoin? And if so, what do you need to know?

Why Accept Your Wages in Bitcoin

If you don’t need to access your income instantly, are fine with knowing that the market could go up–or down–at a moment’s notice, and like being an early adopter, you might want to accept your wages in Bitcoin.

“I accepted wages in Bitcoin in 2013, and it was the greatest thing I ever did!,” enthuses comedian Dan Nainan–said with a straight face and all. Of course, getting paid a few hundred dollars’ worth of Bitcoin five years ago compared to its current value is no laughing matter. Faced with stats like that, anyone would take their wages in Bitcoin.

“That would eventually turn out to be the highest-paid show I’ve ever done, by far,” he confides. Indeed. Even with the colossal rise to almost $20,000 and sharp plummet promptly after, Dan’s still made a hefty profit.

But that doesn’t mean you will.

Despite Bitcoin’s value being less predictable than an English summer, Chris Castiglione says, “I’m a professor at Columbia University where I teach about blockchain. I also teach a course called One Month Bitcoin & Ethereum. “I’d 100% accept my wages in Bitcoin. I’m a strong believer that cryptocurrencies will be the currency of the future.”

What about its price volatility? “If anyone has a concern about the volatility of crypto, then they can find comfort in knowing they have the ability to convert directly into USD upon receipt,” he replies.

Another advocate for Bitcoin is Matvey Dyadkov, CEO of online advertising platform Bitmedia.io, who only accept payments with digital currency. He says:

“Cryptocurrency is becoming more common, so allowing people to pay with cryptocurrency is quite a smart idea. Moreover, it makes international payments easier. Try to send money with a wire transfer or PayPal to another country. You will experience difficulties in 80% of cases.”

What Should You Know About the Legal Aspect?

legality of bitcoin

Victoria Griesdoorn, Operations Manager at Cryptocades offers some solid advice. “If I was to consider whether I would want to be paid all or part of my wages in cryptocurrency, I would review whether this is legally possible in my place of residence.”

That doesn’t just vary from country to country, but even state to state. The National Law Review assessed the legal situation in the U.S. and found that on a federal level, it is possible to have wages partly paid in cryptocurrency. However, this is only as long as minimum wage and overtime compensation is paid in U.S. Dollars.

“So any wages earned over and above minimum wage could be paid out through other instruments, including cryptocurrency. However, some states, notably Maryland and Pennsylvania have their own statutes that regulate that wages need to be paid in U.S. Dollars. Therefore it depends where I am resident and which labor laws apply to me whether receiving wages in cryptocurrency is even legally possible.”

Ian Kane, Co-Founder of Ternio blockchain startup says, “The biggest challenge currently in terms of compensating completely in crypto is the existing US laws. The US treats all tokens/coins as securities unlike a country like Switzerland where there are 3 categories – utility, currency, and security. I’m optimistic that US laws will eventually catch up.” All his employees are compensated in fiat currency and also the company’s TERN tokens.

How Much Money Are You Prepared to Lose?

Bitcoin would be a pretty expensive cryptocurrency to be paid in if you planned to convert it to fiat currency on a regular basis. So, you need to ask yourself, how much money are you prepared to lose, and how quickly do you need access to your wages?

Griesdoorn shares, “I would consider how much of my wages I could stand to lose as well. Cryptocurrencies are a relatively new financial tool and the market has seen a lot of volatility. As such, cryptocurrencies should be considered high-risk (more so than established financial tools like stocks, bonds, and securities).”

Ty Smith is the co-founder of Crypico, a freelance platform that allows users to pay and get paid in any cryptocurrency. Despite being a believer in cryptocurrency, he still advises people to proceed with caution.

“One of the biggest things I would tell people to be wary of is tax calculation, solutions are being developed that make crypto taxes easier but nothing has fully come to fruition yet so you may need a specialized accountant.”

And when asked about the suitability of Bitcoin as payment for wages he says, “The volatility of crypto is still far too high to be paid at a set value. Being paid in cryptocurrency is certainly a risk but, if you are sufficiently risk-tolerant, it offers a possible upside that, in my opinion, outweighs the downside. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it as a sole method of income for anyone at this point.”

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Eggs in one basket

The underlying message from those in the know is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. As with any investment or financial decisions, the smart move is never to keep all your sources of income in the same place. Banks go belly up, Bitcoin exchanges get hacked. Even stuffing a mattress with cash is hardly useful if yuor house catches fire.

“I run growth and content for CoinCircle, a crypto startup,” says Chance Abbott, “and would not want to receive Bitcoin as payment. The high transactions fees, the slow block time, and the tax nightmare that comes from every transaction triggering capital gains taxes are enough to prevent me from wanting to be paid in Bitcoin. For the time being, I prefer to be paid in fiat and decide how much I would like to invest in cryptocurrency after the fact.”

Co-founder at OpenWater Tim Spell pays employees bonuses in Bitcoin but also advises to exercise caution. “While it may seem idealistic to have your employer pay you with Bitcoin, the reality is that living solely off of Bitcoin would be a major inconvenience. There might be a day not too far in the distance where Bitcoin will become the default settlement currency, but for employees today, it might be a better idea to just use your leftover fiat currency to purchase Bitcoin after you pay taxes.”

 

This article by Christina Comben was originally published at Coincentral.com

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cryptocurrency Trading

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Welcome to the Thunderdome (Cryptocurrency Trading)

Whether you’re a crypto expert or just getting your feet wet with investing, there’s plenty to be aware of when trading your way through the cryptocurrency industry. Unlike in traditional markets, cryptocurrency trading is chock full of volatility, nefarious players, and irrational price movements.

In this article, we’ll teach you about some of the common mistakes in cryptocurrency trading and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Chasing Pumps aka FOMO

Probably the most common (and easiest) mistake to make in cryptocurrency trading is buying into a coin after it’s already risen a significant amount. Investors that bought into Ripple (XRP) and Tron (TRX) at the peak of their runs in 2017 definitely felt the pain just a few weeks later in 2018. It may be your instinct to throw some money in the ring when you see a coin shoot up 30-40% because it’s “hot.” Don’t.

ripple fomo chart

Extreme increases in price are almost always accompanied by some type of pullback. By the time you hear about a “hot” coin, it’s usually too late. Unless you’ve done your research, believe in the fundamentals of the coin, and want to hold it for the long-term (>1 year), wait until the pullback to invest.

Pump and Dumps

Pump and dumps (PnDs) are a special breed of pumps that are guaranteed to leave you burned. If you see an unknown coin skyrocket all of a sudden, be wary. It’s most likely part of a PnD scheme. We go into more detail about PnDs in this article, but they’re basically coordinated efforts to artificially drive up the price of a coin (the pump) before selling it to those who FOMO’d in (the dump).

When you come across a coin like this, the first thing to check is the trading volume. CoinMarketCapis a great resource for this. Any 24-hour trading volume under $1 million should raise a red flag.

Mistake #2: Not Knowing Your Investments

Don’t just blindly follow the advice of some Twitter or YouTube “guru” for investment picks. Many times, these high-profile individuals are paid to promote certain coins. Even John McAfee, one of the most well-known figures in the space admitted that he gets paid to promote projects. Question the coins that you’re told to invest in.

At the bare minimum, you should devote a half hour to researching any project in which you plan to invest in. Check out what problem it’s attempting to solve, the team building it, and the economics of the coin. Has the project partnered with anyone significant? Any notable names as advisors? These are all things you should know.

Even a quick Google search could unveil some information that turns what may seem like gold into trash. Taking it a step further, you should ideally read the whitepaper of each project you invest in.

bitconnect scam google search

Joining or forming an investment group can do wonders to help with this. It forces you to do research so you can explain your investment reasoning to your peers. It also puts you an environment in which you have to challenge your assumptions as others question your reasoning.

Mistake #3: Selling at Inappropriate Times

The opposite of chasing pumps, emotion-driven selling is still cut from the same cloth. It’s difficult, but you need to stay level-headed when trading – keep emotions out of it. Time and time again, coins have dipped down double-digit percentages before rocketing to 200-300% gains.

When a coin you own starts to drop in value, before you sell, re-evaluate your position. If you invested because you believe in the coin’s fundamentals, there are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Have any of the fundamentals changed?
  • Were there any announcements that would have affected the price?
  • Have you stopped believing in the long-term vision of the coin?

If your answer to all of these questions is “No”, then consider holding on. This strategy becomes much easier when you follow the golden rule of cryptocurrency trading: Don’t invest more money than you’re comfortable losing.

On the other side of this equation, seeing some solid gains may also tempt you to sell. Although taking profits is wise, you may want to avoid selling your entire stack. Depending on the situation, the coin could rise further. A popular trading strategy is to take out your initial investment while keeping your earnings invested in the coin after gaining a certain percentage. This decreases your downside risk while still exposing you to the upside potential.

Mistake #4: Being Uninformed

In a market that moves as rapidly as cryptocurrency does, you need to stay up-to-date with industry news. Without tuning in weekly, or even daily, the investment tides could shift without you even knowing.

The good news is that there’s plenty of resources that make this easy. *Shameless plug alert* Here at CoinCentral, we provide the latest news and educational resources to help you out. Our weekly newsletter *cough sign up below cough* sends the week’s biggest news stories and articles directly to your inbox.

Twitter, Reddit, and projects’ Telegram channels are also great resources you can use to stay informed. Oftentimes, teams share project updates and important announcements on these platforms before they hit mainstream media. Joining these communities also gives you the opportunity to be more involved with the projects while sometimes even impacting future development.

Good Luck Out There

Even with these tips, there’s bound to be mistakes that you make. Don’t let that discourage you – it happens to everyone. Part of the investing process is to learn from those mistakes and not make them again.

Continuous improvement is the name of the game. And, as long as you’ve got that going for you, you’ll be a trading whiz in no time.

This article by Steven Buchko was originally posted on CoinCentral.com

How Stablecoins Work and the Balance They Strike for Managing Price Volatility

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Stablecoins: Bringing Stability to the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

Cryptocurrencies are well known for their extreme volatility, as it’s not uncommon to see coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum rise or fall by 10-20% in a 24 hour time-span. Although this level of volatility is beneficial to traders and investors, it also hinders cryptocurrency’s real-world adoption.

From a practical perspective, businesses do not want to transact in a currency marked by volatility and risk. It would be difficult, for example, to pay an employee’s salary in Bitcoin if the purchasing power of his paycheck is constantly in flux. Volatility also makes it difficult for consumers to make daily transactions using cryptocurrencies. Imagine Bob paying $7 dollars for a cup of coffee one day only to find out the next day that the same cup now costs $5.

Designed to tackle this issue of volatility, there’s an emerging class of cryptocurrencies known as stablecoins that present themselves as price-stable assets in an ever-fluctuating market.

At its core, a stablecoin is an asset that offers price stability characteristics that make it suitable as a medium of exchange, unit of account, and/or a store of value. As a currency, a stablecoin should be global and not tied to any centralized monetary authority that can control its supply. Stablecoins can vary by design, but the two most popular asset-backing methods are an IOU issuance model and a cryptoasset-collateralized model.

IOU Issuance Model

With this model, a business issues stablecoins at a 1-to-1 ratio to an underlying asset in its bank account (basically, each coin is tied to an existing asset in the bank). These assets can take numerous forms. For example, a corporation could have fiat currencies such as the USD sitting in its bank account, or they could back their stablecoins with physical assets, such as gold or silver. Issued stablecoins derive their stability and value from the fact that each token can be exchanged for the underlying asset, similar to how dollar bills used to represent a sum of gold under the gold standard.

Tether (USDT) is the most popular example of an existing stablecoin that utilizes the IOU model. Each USDT has a value equivalent to that of a single US dollar. Thus, to ensure that the value of a single Tether is always the same as the value of a dollar, for each coin that is issued, there must be a corresponding dollar in Tether’s bank account.

However, one limitation of this issuance model is that it is centralized. Individuals must trust that the issuing entity does in fact possess the underlying assets that are being represented with each issued stablecoin. This limitation has made itself clear with Tether, as Tether Limited, the company behind the coin, faces ongoing scrutiny due to its increasing supply and lack of third-party auditing to determine if the company possesses the funds needed to cover Tether’s circulating supply.

Cryptocurrency-Collateralized Model

Under this model, stablecoins are not backed by centralized assets such as the Euro or USD; instead, they are backed by digital assets such as Bitcoin. The key advantage to this model is that it can be established in a trustless manner. For instance, the underlying assets that back the stablecoins can be held in a trustless smart contract. Thus, the amount of assets held by the smart contract are transparent and can be independently verified.

A common concern with this model is that the underlying assets themselves, which in this case would be cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, are volatile, seemingly running contrary to the stablecoin’s purpose. As such, this method may often involve over-collateralization so that any price fluctuations can be absorbed. To give an example, a smart contract can be established to hold $400 worth of Bitcoin, which would serve as collateral for the issuance of $200 worth of stablecoins. However, there is always the risk that a black swan event could negatively affect a stablecoin’s underlying value. Such an event is likely to result in the under-collateralization and subsequent destabilization of the issued stablecoins.

Conclusion

Individuals within the cryptocurrency space are always searching for the catalyst that will result in the mass-adoption of cryptocurrencies. While there are many factors that can contribute to such an event, it is clear that tackling market volatility is crucial for facilitating mass-adoption. Stablecoins strengthen the use case for cryptocurrencies by serving as a non-volatile tool that can be used by both businesses and consumers to fulfill their monetary needs. Producing the perfect stablecoin that brings about mass-adoption is a difficult task, though, given the limitations inherent to both stablecoin models. Still, there are a number of promising stablecoin projects that are aiming to overcome these problems to bring about a price-stable cryptocurrency for the crypto ecosystem.

This article by Bisade Asolo was originally published at Coincentral.com

The State of Bitcoin Mining: Legal Regulations Around the World

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While bitcoin mining can be a good way to earn cryptocurrency, there is currently a lot of concerns about the legality of both the ownership of cryptocurrency and mining operations around the world.

Throughout this article, we’ll try to clear up some concerns about mining regulations. We’ll also examine a few recent cases in cryptocurrency mining regulation and take a look at some of the questions surrounding the future of this industry.

The Malaysian Case Study

In January 2018, Malaysian officials raided two residences that had been conducting illegal bitcoin mining operations. While cryptocurrency itself had already been deemed illegal in Malaysia, this was not the official charge that the government used to shut down these particular mining operations. Instead, local officials justified the raid based on other charges. For example, they said that these miners did not have an official business permit and also cited a few other reasons (causing a potential fire hazard and consuming excessive amounts of energy).

What makes the Malaysian case so difficult to understand is that, basically, any government in any other country could also cite similar reasons to shut down mining operations, even in places where bitcoin mining is supposed to be completely legal. Will this happen? Probably not, but it is something to consider as a possibility.

Is Mining Legal In My Country?

The general rule of thumb regarding bitcoin mining remains relatively straightforward. If you are able to own and use cryptocurrency where you live, you should also be able to mine cryptocurrency in that location as well. If owning cryptocurrency is illegal where you live, mining is most likely also illegal. However, there are few exceptions to this rule and the legality of cryptocurrency is not that clear. One such exception is Iceland. While cryptocurrency is technically illegal to own/trade in Iceland, there are still a number of large-scale, well-known mining operations throughout the country.

*Note that laws are always subject to change, so it’s important to do thorough research before investing in mining equipment. If you don’t already know whether the ownership of cryptocurrency itself is legal or illegal in your country, here’s a complete nation-by-nation breakdown.

Bitcoin Mining and Energy Consumption Concerns

Despite the fact that mining accounts for about 0.60% of the world’s total energy consumption (more than the total energy consumption of Argentina), cryptocurrency mining remains legal throughout most of the world. In the EU, for example, there hasn’t been much official discussion about banning crypto itself. However, there have been talks about banning cryptocurrency mining due to the high energy consumption associated with mining. Officials fear mining might make it more difficult for countries trying to reach carbon emission reduction goals set by the Paris Agreement that will take effect in 2020.

Self-Regulation through Algorithms

Most governments ban the ownership of cryptocurrency out of fear that national currencies will lose value and the government will lose control over their respective financial systems (a.k.a. decentralization).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, cryptocurrency projects also realize that there is a need to prevent centralization of their new currencies. Projects themselves are trying to make sure that no one person or small group of people can take over the supply of a cryptocurrency through large mining operations.

To prevent centralization, many projects use Proof-of-Work consensus algorithms like SHA-256, which is intended to stop miners from using ASIC chips. While this is not as extreme as banning mining altogether, it does limit how people can set up and profit off of mining operations. The good thing is that this sort of self-regulation not only ensures the decentralization of digital currencies but also helps to prevent events like large-scale 51% attacks from happening.

The Future of Mining Regulations

As cryptocurrency becomes more popular, we will likely continue to see changes in cryptocurrency mining and regulations. As more mineable cryptocurrencies enter the market and as prices go up, there will be increased interest in bitcoin mining. Here are a few things that will help determine the future of mining regulations:

  1. A shift towards Proof-of-Stake (PoS) projects could make the “legal vs. illegal” discussion regarding mining an irrelevant topic. While PoW consensus algorithms that rely upon miners are still important for most of the top crypto projects, we are seeing a lot of movement towards PoS consensus algorithms, which, of course, eliminate the need for mining to verify and approve crypto transactions. Ethereum’s Casper is one example of this.
  2. More projects like Chia could allow for the creation of energy-efficient, cooler mining operations. If projects such as this are successful, governments will have fewer concerns over mining’s current excessive energy consumption. As a result, this could very well help improve the regulatory outlook for mining, especially within the EU.
  3. How will mining malware affect the future of cryptocurrency mining? As concerns grow over these continued attacks, who exactly has the authority or capability to regulate mining in a way that prevents these attacks from happening while also ensuring that legitimate mining operations can exist to support the future of cryptocurrency?

This is just a short list of activities that could influence the future of mining. As mentioned earlier, the industry is rapidly evolving and what may be important today could be a non-factor tomorrow.

 

This article by Delton Rhodes was originally published at CoinCentral.com

As Market Slides, Crypto Hedge Funds Go Down With It

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Crypto Hedge Funds Tread Water

Crypto’s flagship, Bitcoin, has been slowly sinking this year, bring the rest of the market with it, and rather than go down with them, cryptocurrency hedge funds are jumping ship.

Since the beginning of the year, 9 such hedge funds have ceased operations completely, Bloomberg reports. Many of these were created during last year’s market boom, bringing 167 fresh funds into the fold.  This suffusion of new blood added to the 39 funds created from 2011-2016, upping to total to more than 200 active cryptocurrency hedge funds managing an estimated $3.5-5bln in assets.

By contrast, only 20 funds have been established in 2018 thus far, putting the industry on track to produce roughly 120 new funds by the end of the year. Given the 9 that have already bitten the dust so far this year, though, the final tally could very well be much less.

Out of those that have closed their doors, certain funds did so without so much as an explanation for their investors. Crowd Crypto Fund, for instance, deleted its website and wiped any trace of its social media activity.  Others have been a bit more candid in the face of failure. Alpha Protocol, a decentralized hedge fund that recently launched an ICO, scrapped its token sale and return all proceeds to its participants:

“Considering the potential regulatory and market risks, AlphaProtocol has decided that the best approach is to refund the private sale contributors. Since the ALP token was not listed on any exchanges, the contributors can return all the ALP tokens issued for a full refund. The refund process has been complete by 03-31-2018.”

In a similar vein, Polychain Capital, perhaps the largest fund of its kind with an estimated $250mln in managed assets, steered away from going public in Canada with an IPO.  The company planned to file for a spot on the Canadian stock exchange, but as the market started taking a turn for the worse at the end of January, CEO Olaf Carlson-Wee announced that the organization decided “not to proceed with the listing.”

With to-date returns in 2018 of  -23.31%–which is in brutally stark contrast to the 1,708.50% returns these funds averaged in 2017–negative bottom lines and market uncertainty are no doubt driving these closures.  This same market uncertainty could leave 10% of these funds kaput by year’s end, according to Autonomous Research LLP’s global director of fintech strategy, Lex Sokolin. Rick Marini, a founding partner of Protocol Ventures, believes that only 50 of the currently active funds will be able to raise enough capital by 2019 to stay afloat.

Money Out of Reach or Just Playing Hide and Seek?

Even as investors shy away from cryptocurrencies and hedge funds close up shop, capital, in some form or another, is still finding its way into the crpytocurrency space.  The money’s still there–if you know where to look.

And if you’re a blockchain/crypto entrepreneur, the money is still there if you know who to look to. Returns may be down, but 2018’s venture capital investments, for example, are still on pace to match or surpass last year’s $1bln in funding. So far, venture capital groups have poured over $350mln into projects this year alone.

One such project, Blockstream, a blockchain development organization, raised $55mln in its Series A investing round in February of this year, and it’s not alone.  In a Series B, Bitpay also attracted 7-figures in funding with a total of $40mln in investment capital.

Outside of venture capital, 2018 has also seen the largest acquisition of a cryptocurrency company so far in the industry’s young history. In late February, Circle Internet Financial Ltd., a Goldman Sachs-backed company, purchased Poloniex exchange for a whopping $400mln.  Since this buyout, other companies have considered following suit, such as Tokyo-based internet broker Monex, which has debated purchasing the Japanese exchange Coincheck.

Hedge funds are taking a hit for now, and given the meteoric rise of these funds at a time when picking a successful investment was as easy as playing blindfold-less pin the tail on the donkey, more will likely drop off as the year progresses. VC investments and multi-million dollar acquisitions like those previously mentioned, though, indicate that, even during the market downturn, institutional money isn’t waiting on the sidelines to get its skin in the game.

If hedge funds continue to strike out, big players may step up to bat in other areas of the industry as they look for home run opportunities.

This article by Colin Harper was originally published at CoinCentral.com

Don’t Let the Markets Fool You: Bulls Run Amok

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The cryptocurrency market in 2018 has seen a fairly sharp transition from the end or 2017. Most projects are at a mere fourth of their all-time high value in 2017, with the Bitcoin flagship down around 60% of its value.

market cap

Reddit communities and forum discussions that were previously elated and borderline manic took a turn into more muted, focused tones. Naturally, tokens making jumps of 10% and falls of 20% make for more somber discussions than those that skyrocket 200% per week.

If decreasing Google search trends are any indication, the attention of the general population seems to have also slightly diminished.

However, to look at the general movement of prices in the markets is a severely limited attempt at understanding innovation in the cryptocurrency industry.

While the decline of cryptocurrency prices does pose a problem to the budgets of teams that rely on their holdings of tokens to fund operating expenses, very few are actually strapped for cash to the point of insolvency.

2017 was the equivalent of a meteor striking the ground. The seemingly sudden explosion of cryptocurrency and blockchain projects onto the scene and into media outlets was a spectacle for all.

However, most steady investment hands and seasoned technology enthusiasts looked forward to 2018 to watch the smoke clear and see which projects are doing their due diligence to create meaningful strides towards reachings their goals.

Many blockchain projects that came out of 2017 well-funded and poised for success have been driving with the pedal to the metal regardless of market fluctuations. Teams are hiring developers and business development talent by the dozens, and savvy investors are taking note.

A few of the questions worth exploring to take a deeper dive than mere price analysis include:

  • Which projects are reaching their milestones?
  • What partnerships are these projects making to advance their goals?
  • What changes in strategy (if any) are these projects taking?
  • How many users/customers does the project currently have?
  • How active is the development team, and how reliable are they in releasing updates?

The Cryptocurrency Investment World is Still Active

Don’t let the downward trend of today’s markets distract you from the still red-hot investment world. In 2017, venture capitalists and other investors put $1.06 billion into the industry. So far in 2018, these investments are already at upwards of $350 million.

There are still exciting projects coming to the forefront.

Take Fusion for example. Fusion, a public blockchain aiming to create an inclusive crypto financial platform for cross-chain, cross-organization, and cross-datasource smart contracts, raised over $50 million in under 24 hours during its token offering in February 2018.

Circle, a digital payments company, bought the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex for a reported $400 million. Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire noted, “These markets are still in their infancy but they hold enormous promise.Maybe the first $1 trillion company in the world will be created in this space.”

On March 15th, 2018, Lightning Labs released their first mainnet beta and announced a round of seed financing from the likes of Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter and Square, one of the largest P2P payment platforms), David Sacks (former PayPal COO), Vlad Tenev (co-founder Robinhood), Charlie Lee (creator of Litecoin).

Final Thoughts:

The overarching narrative for 2018 is setting the foundation and expectations for what a high-velocity blockchain project owes to its investors.

2017 was a time where you could literally plagiarize a whitepaper for a dubious concept and raise a few million dollars, but the bearish Q1 market of 2018 added another layer of investor skepticism that essentially pruned this awful, conniving approach (for any new projects, at least).

This is the year where many of the front-running innovators in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space need to step up and provide investors, spectators, and regulators a reason to keep believing.

That’s why so many people have their eyes on projects like Ethereum, NEO, STEEM, EOS, and Monero to name a few. Of course, the list is limited for the sake of brevity, but the point is that 2018 is the year that people want to see human beings and teams working together to further flesh out the functionality of these potentially revolutionizing projects.

2018 is the year that cryptocurrency investors will learn that an astronomical jump in token price is not a metric for potential project success. There’s strategy to spotting innovation, and the pre-requisite is an unscrupulous curiosity combined with a firm belief in the team behind the project.

 

This article by Alex Mozgov was originally published on Coincentral.com

How to Read a Cryptocurrency White Paper

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Cryptocurrency White Papers 101

If you’re interested in the blockchain space, whether as an investor, businessperson, or developer, one thing you can’t avoid is white papers. Every week, there is a new blockchain or cryptocurrency white paper touting new technologies that will “revolutionize” the industry. In addition, many of the major projects in the industry, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, began with white papers.

As a result, white papers have come to be known as an essential part of creating a new blockchain project or cryptocurrency. Investors, businesspeople, and developers expect to see a document that explains what problem the project solves and how it does so.

Consequently, learning how to read a white paper is a critical task for anyone getting involved in crypto. As most investors and observers in the industry know, there are quite a few scams in the space. Moreover, many projects sound good, with the right buzzwords and marketing speak, but they’re not backed up by any follow-through, and they quickly fizzle out. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to spot a good white paper with a valid idea and technical chops to actually execute on the idea.

Disclaimer

I know every blog article out there says, “This isn’t investment advice.” But this one really isn’t investment advice. This is a beginner’s guide to basic things to look for in a white paper if you’re interested in a project. Yes, interested might mean investing, but it also might mean contributing to the open source code or helping with the marketing or participating in the community. It also might just mean lurking and being interested from afar. That’s totally cool.

I decided to add this disclaimer after I got a snarky email from a reader saying my white papers 101 guide didn’t include enough information on go-to-market strategy and monetization of ideas. I appreciate the feedback and realize the original version of the article didn’t make it clear enough that reading a white paper isn’t exclusively the domain of investors. Anyone can read the documentation for any project they’re interested in. Not every project is out to make millions, and not even every project has an ICO! There are a lot of great ways to get involved in not-for-profit or open source projects, and those have white papers that you’ll want to read, too.

Introduction to White Papers

White papers are documents that explore a use case for a product or service. While most blockchain investors think of cryptocurrency white papers, they have a long history in technology and business generally.

Moreover, they’re not limited to technical applications, and there really aren’t any rules for what constitutes a white paper. Anyone can publish one. Ultimately, they’ve become as much about marketing as they are about explaining a problem and a solution. Savvy companies use white papers to establish themselves as experts in a domain, in the hopes that competitors in the industry will reference their “research.” However, white papers have no peer review and no limitations. It’s helpful to think of them just as “reports” or even “idea papers.”

The term “white paper” has developed a cachet around it that signals technical expertise. But I hope by now you realize that might not be the case. Just because it’s called a “white paper” doesn’t mean that it’s special or different from any other marketing document. Therefore, you would be wise to not always believe what you read and constantly question any white paper you come across.

That’s not to say that all white papers are garbage. For instance, Satoshi’s original vision for the Bitcoin protocol came in the form of a white paper. The next great blockchain platform will also likely have a white paper ahead of its working product. However, be wary. Scam coins and pointless projects can have white papers, too.

There are a couple key questions you should ask to determine the legitimacy of a cryptocurrency white paper:

1. What does this project do?

The first question should be fairly straightforward, but quite often you’ll find white papers are confusing. The combination of buzzwords, technical jargon, and made up names that you find in the typical cryptocurrency white paper is frequently difficult to decipher.

If you’re not sure what the project does, there are two likely conclusions. Either the project is so advanced that you’ll need more knowledge before you understand it, or the project doesn’t really do anything.

In either of those cases you probably shouldn’t invest in the project yet. No matter what other people say or what you’re reading on Twitter, Reddit, or the forums, if you don’t understand a project, don’t invest in it.

2. How does it work?

After you find out what a project aims to accomplish, the next question is “How?”

bitcoin white paper

A good cryptocurrency white paper should explain how the technology will work, and the best white papers do so with varying levels of complexity and technical knowledge required. This is where the original Bitcoin white paper really shines. It is among the most readable and understandable blockchain white papers ever written. It’s also not very long, in contrast to many modern white papers. If you’ve never read it, the Bitcoin white paper is a good place to start. It will give you a good baseline for what a great cryptocurrency white paper looks like.

By the end of the white paper if you can’t articulate what problem the project solves and how it does so, then the white paper did a poor job. In fact, a well-articulated white paper is a sign of a well-thought out project. On the other hand, the opposite is also true.

3. Why do we need this project?

I could build a blockchain project that specializes in underwater fire protection, but would we really need it?

Obviously, that’s not a serious project. Nevertheless, it does raise an interesting point. It’s critical that you examine the project in the context of the real world. Who will actually use this product, and why is this solution better than anything they currently have? If the cryptocurrency white paper gives a solid answer to who needs this project and why they need it, then you’re onto a good idea.

However, before you invest your time or money in the project, do some research to see if someone else is already doing the same thing better. There are hundreds of blockchain projects out there, and perhaps a similar project already exists.

4. Why do this on the blockchain?

Not every project needs to be built on the blockchain. There, I said it.

Our current internet is a powerful tool, and many of the blockchain ICOs we’re seeing should really just be web apps. Moreover, a lot of ordinary businesses are trying to capitalize on the blockchain trend to get access to capital.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with launching a company with an ICO for the fundraising model. However, many startups try to sell their company as a novel use of blockchain technology when it’s really just a regular business.

The best white papers will be honest about why their solution needs the blockchain. Many projects freely admit that they’ll only be using the blockchain for token generation and some smart contracts management, and that’s perfectly okay. But if a startup claims to have some novel idea for blockchain-based carwashes or something like that, beware.

Go with Your Gut

Of course, you’ll also want to do due diligence on the team members, token allocation, and other key information contained in the white paper. We’ve seen examples of companies plagiarizing or falsifying their white papers, so do some fact checking and background research. Don’t take these documents at face value.

Ultimately, reading a cryptocurrency white paper is about knowing what to look for and then trusting your gut. White papers come from companies that haven’t even launched yet, so there are bound to be a lot of unknowns. If you decide to invest in a project, then follow sound investment philosophy and don’t invest more than you can afford to lose. Even the best white paper doesn’t mean a project will succeed, but a bad white paper can expose a project that’s doomed to fail.

 

This article by Bennett Garner was originally published at CoinCentral.com

Download: Bittrex Markets Trading View Charts

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Don’t feel like paying for Trading View?

Want to make use of multiple indicators / oscillators anyway?

I’ve written a software tool to generate HTML files, that contain embedded Trading View widgets to do precisely that!

Included in these files are the following:

  • EMA (2x, you have to set these to 50 and 200 manually)
  • Bollinger Bands
  • RSI
  • Stoch RSI
  • MACD
  • Vol

You can download the Trading View files if you want.

There is an index.html file in there, which gives you easy links to all the market files.

The charts are set to 3200 width and 1200 height.

To change this, open them in Notepad++ and “Replace in all files” occurrences of these dimensions with your desired dimensions.

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