IMF Wants To Regulate Bitcoin with Blockchain!

Christine Lagarde of the IMF has suggested “fighting fire with fire” by regulating Bitcoin with the IMF’s own blockchain technology.  I am not sure what they are proposing on a technical level or what this common is really based on, but let’s read between the lines of the intention.

This is very exciting news as it signals the IMF is acknowledging that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin especially are here to stay.  They wouldn’t regulate something that they don’t expect to survive.

Now the bad news is that the IMF may have something up their sleeves that slows or impedes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from functioning as they should.  After all the IMF has also played roles that many of us do not think is constructive or fair to the countries that have used it.  If we apply the same scenario to Bitcoin it is time to get excited and scared at once.  It also seems disingenuous to imply cryptocurrency has a darkside while implying fiat doesn’t.  I get it and agree, fiat is better controlled so they like it but fiat is still used for crimes all the time.  If fiat wasn’t regulated under their control they would probably make similar statements about fiat instead of cryptocurrency.

The real question is what is the real intention?  Obviously as they’ve stated it is regulation but will the regulation make it so only the elite can trade Bitcoin or do they simply just want their own cut and control of cryptocurrency?  I think if we look at the history of their role and fiat, the truth will lay right in the middle but only as far as what they’ve decided should be the fate and role of fiat.  Both can coexist but do they intend for them to coexist or for one to roll over the other?

Either way announcements like this show us that cryptocurrency is certainly here to stay and it has caught the attention of the entire finance world.

Binance Proposes a new Decentralized Exchange

Binance’s new blockchain which will be its own decentralized exchange could be just what the decentralized world needs.  I am actually not a fan of a decentralized exchange as it really means no one is responsible for your losses and in fact more scams have happened on the more famous ones like Etherdelta.  One look at most other decentralized exchanges just screams insecure and scam to me.

So this is where Binance comes in as a trusted central exchange.  Centralization is not always bad so long as the person or team behind is trustworthy and conversely as we’ve seen with Etherdelta the opposite applies.

Binance has a real shot here of being the top player in cryptoexchanges.

I’ve found Binance to be easy, safe, and honest for an exchange.  If they apply this to their new blockchain for decentralized exchange trading it could be a huge winner.

We must always remember it’s not so much about the technology but about the integrity, intention and ability of the team behind it.

I am still hesitant on decentralized exchanges because of rampant losses and scams, but if anyone can do it right I bet it will be Binance.  Time will tell but this is exciting to me.

The Future Of Blockchain Currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin belong to governments, banks and large corporate players.

One aspect of cryptocurrencies that some users aren’t aware of is that decentralized blockchain based currencies are in their own ways their own worst enemy.  The blockchain is the problem, as currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum keep getting slower due to their limited transactions per second, and the blockchain gets large this has started the end game.   The end game is clearly spelled out in Ethereum’s current white paper and it’s that essentially the blockchain will get so large no small players (individuals) will be able to participate.   This is because all transactions are stored in the blockchain ledger, and the more transactions the larger it gets.  Eventually the blockchains will grow to several terabytes and require more memory.  This will mean that only big corporate, government and banking players will have the resources to control these so-called decentralized currencies.  It is really inevitable unless a mechanism is adopted for off-loading this storage to trusted third parties.

I may not be a huge Microsoft fan but I think Ankur Patel has stated what many in the cryptocurrency already understand to be correct.

Patel said that blockchains that increase network capacity through on-chain scaling, which involves raising the blocksize, will eventually experience degraded centralization and will not be able to function on a “world-scale.”

https://www.ccn.com/public-blockchain-chain-scaling-degrades-decentralization-microsoft-researcher/

This is something that Stellar Lumens and Ripple essentially do.  They are a centralized blockchain that are generally faster than the competitors but are centralized and literally supported by big corporate players and banks.  These have pros and cons.  As an investment they are an excellent hedge against threatened regulations that people fear for the decentralized currencies and they also provide real value and work very well.

Is this all bad?  It’s hard to say because public blockchains can be attacked literally with DDOS/SPAM/bad blocks and this has happened with all the major currencies.  On top of that you are still giving up trust to unknown people and the value and stability of these currencies are at risk for other reasons such as hardfork cash grabs like Bitcoin Cash and the Bitcoin Gold Group.

The future is bright for crypto but these uncertainties need to be accounted for and sorted out.  It may be that the future is going to involve a combination of foundations and semi-decentralized currencies.

Mercatox Cryptocurrency Exchange Review

I found Mercatox because they were one of the few that had some coins I wanted to buy but have since given up out of both frustration and lack of trust.  Unfortunately in traditional form these smaller exchanges are usually broken or worse, some are often unreliable or outright scams.

The first notice I saw was a warning of “not to deposit to old BTC addresses due to security issues”.  It is good to warn your users but why couldn’t they secure their own wallet?

So why not send some ETH?  Oops it’s not working.

Mercatox-ETH-Deposit-Not-Available

Dogecoin is “Not Available”

LTC is “Under Maintenance”.

Mercatox-Broken

So basically you have an exchange that isn’t working from the start and can’t accept deposits.

That’s when I clicked the “Logout” button as fast as I could, never to return to Mercatox.  I’d rather not deal with the myriad of other issues that are the symptom of problems at the front end.  This is also because in the cryptoworld 9/10 companies will never help you no matter what (eg. missing coins, deposits, withdrawals) good luck unless you sue them (if you can find them since most are anonymous without real contact information or ownership).

 

 

Bitcoin Gold Scam Heist – Who Should Be Held Responsible?

For those who don’t know Bitcoin Gold is yet another fork from Bitcoin.  As many users warned even before this, with BCH (Bitcoin Cash) to be careful of these coins because they have NO official wallet and rely on random third party wallets.  Particular there were warnings for BCH that if you try claiming your free BCH that a bad wallet creator could take your wallet.dat to steal your actual BTC (Bitcoins) so prudent users moved money from their original wallet before claiming.

With Bitcoin Gold the issue was different, there was no wallet (I have no idea how so many projects don’t have their own guaranteed, safe original wallets) so people were understandably looking to get into BTG with a wallet.  One such wallet was “mybtgwallet.com” who the BTG team recommended on their website and Twitter.

JohnDassbtg

This wallet was apparently created by someone they claimed to work with and a developer named “John Dass”, essentially the wallet asked users to upload keys and passwords for their other currencies and ultimately many people lost a lot of money totaling in the millions of various coins including Bitcoin and Ethereum.  The BTG team seems to dispute this version of events and claim John Dass was not a developer but then why and how can some random person declare themselves a developer and scam users so easily?  This is a big part of the basis of the lawsuit against the BTG team.

Making matters worse, their official Twitter account advised the mybtgwallet was safe to use.  Deleted Tweet sourced from here:

BitcoinGoldRecommends-mybtgwallet-scam-walletbtg2

Lots of users on Reddit began calling the BTG team out and some have apparently filed a lawsuit.

WARNING: Bitcoin Gold’s official website linked to a scam wallet that stole user funds, including my own, for weeks. from BitcoinMarkets

I don’t see that BTG has been up front about the issue.  It’s been reported that the BTG team did their best to silence news of this and threatened the victims that they wouldn’t be compensated if they made their experience public.  If that is true it really speaks volumes about the project, team, trustworthiness and integrity of the coin.

If the Reddit community and experiences are true as posted online then I would say BTG is liable for the losses for many reasons with aggravating factors being that they did little to vet, warn or stop this scam from happening and have appeared to have not helped the victims.

 

Screenshot-CRITICAL WARNING - Bitcoin Gold - Mozilla Firefox

What are my personal thoughts and opinion?

Looking at their team profile looks has little to no information.  Most projects at least have a bio and more info about their background.

Their lead developer is named “h4x3rotab” with no picture or info at all so I’m very skeptical.

Screenshot-Team - Bitcoin Gold - Mozilla Firefox

I’ve reached out to the BTG team and will post any response if any.

2018 Year of the Dogecoin Prediction as it crosses the 1 cent mark!

I’ve held Dogecoin for some time and never really considered it the “internet meme joke based currency” that some consider it and recently bought more as  I saw it approaching the 1 cent mark.  Those days are gone with a Christmas Present of Dogecoin crossing the 1 cent mark!  In fact it is been surging lately despite naysayers predicting its demise for various reasons.  One huge thing Dogecoin has always had is a loyal and large community who uses the currency.

dogecoin-2017-2018-47percent-surge

Now that Litecoin has hit the $300 USD territory and many other altcoins are very expensive clearly others have seen the value and potential in Dogecoin.   In fact I believe it is undervalued and in the past 7 days Doge has nearly doubled to reach the 1 cent mark and market cap of 1.2 billion!  It’s a huge milestone and for those who remember way long ago, there was a point where Doge was equivalent in value to Bitcoin!

I believe 2018 is Doge’s time to shine and it is definitely going to head into Litecoin territory (possibly the tens of dollar range in 2o18).  Essentially the Dogecoin client looks the same as Bitcoin’s and Litecoin’s.  In terms of technology though Dogecoin is more like a derivative or little cousin of Litecoin in the sense they both use Scrypt technology.

This is a good thing because I’ve never had delays or issues with sending or receiving Litecoin or Dogecoin, whereas Bitcoin can be slow and Ethereum is a nightmare to use (it is the worst wallet/client/network I have ever used and I absolutely dread Ethereum).

I think amazing things are going to go down for Dogecoin holders, likely not as big as long-time Bitcoin holders but I think in the coming years, Dogecoin users will be handsomely rewarded as the value skyrockets.

Another reason Dogecoin is rising is because of research, awareness and it is also a plain good buy compared to a lot of other much more expensive altcoins I firmly believe Dogecoin is largely undervalued.  Dogecoin is a long-time crypto whose stability has been tested and proven for years.

I’m bullish on Dogecoin so long as the developers keep working on and marketing this currency and if they cap the supply.  I don’t think it will take much for Dogecoin to see meteoric rise so long as those conditions are met.

 

 

Non-Existent Service in the CryptoCurrency Business Will Have Long-Term Impact

Right now the crypto market is red hot and like any market that’s so hot, company’s at the time often forget that customer service is for the long-term and that by not treating the customer right, eventually enough will move on.  Crypto company’s won’t be feeling the pinch right now, but once a downturn hits is where we will see this play out in my opinion.

I’m speaking from my own experience, frustration and concern here.

I have dealt with many different company’s and most of them will NEVER reply to you.  Even worse most of them don’t have a simple contact form, e-mail address, phone number or built-in support system (I guess in all fairness it’s like getting help from PayPal only a bit worse).

A sampling of random experiences and exercise in patience.

Coinbase

It took a long time to get “verified” enough to even make a purchase with their high fee system but it is a quick, expensive and easy way to get into crypto once you are verified.  However one thing I was unhappy with is that you cannot purchase directly to your own personal wallet (I don’t like leaving money in exchanges because of MtGox, Bitfinex and other hacking incidents where people lost real money).  All I ever got was an apologetic generic reply and nothing more.  If you’re having serious issues it is unlikely this company will ever help you so there is the real risk of their mistake or other problems costing you time and money.


Josie replied:

Gatehub

I sent them USD in order to exchange for some Ripple but without my permission they converted it into EUR so I lost money on the conversion and wire.  The reason I sent USD is because they said it was for USD and to top it off the bank was in Lithuania (a little scary to send to an unregulated market and does set off some alarm bells and concerns).  This is typical of the crypto industry and I do think it will come back to bite and haunt them.

I did ask Gatehub to make it right but never received any response after a number of weeks.  Even to verify my account it literally took a number of months to even get a response and to complete the process.  During these bullish times anything will fly because there are only so many alternatives but all bets are certainly off after that point.

Poloniex

Poloniex is one of the biggest exchanges out there but you can find complaints all over reddit of people not being able to verify their account for months.  I uploaded my information only to be sent through a third party verification process.  This required me to use a live webcam that perfectly captured the details of my ID live (who has a webcam these days let alone one that would get the crazy macro shot they require!).  The process told me the details weren’t clear enough, even the sending a selfie with your ID method was not supported.  And if you didn’t get it right at that moment or even if you had no webcam you can’t even try to verify yourself again for several hours.  Needless to say I’ve moved on and so have many others.

Kraken

I simply won’t trust them, initially I didn’t know who they were but somehow I was signed up without my knowledge or consent.  I kept getting so much spam from them I didn’t even realize they were any sort of legitimate company.  The fact that they essentially marketed themselves through spam and forcefully signing up clients makes me not trust them at all (even less than many other firms).

Coinmama

They aren’t cheap but I will give them this, they were quick with verification and when there are issues they reply usually within a number of days with an actual human response.

What Does This Add Up to?

Customer service in the crypto world is non-existent and so is the trust factor and reliability of many of the companies involved.

A very nervous and frustrating experience even for veterans and those who understand crypto, my level of trust in these companies is quite low.   They don’t even have phone numbers or addresses for the most part and those that do you can never get to a human usually.

When things work fine you shouldn’t have a need to contact these companies, but when there are issues it is very likely you will be ignored regardless of the issue, or any reply is not helpful or may come weeks or months too late.

 

Bitcoin – I Don’t “Get It”

This may sound strange coming from a CEO who owns and uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency through multiple businesses that accept Bitcoin each day.   But I still really don’t understand Bitcoin on a practical level, the technical part is understandable but for how long will the current model of currencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin work?  Do not get me wrong, I am long on crypto still but what that means in the coming years and decades is probably going to be vastly different than the current model of today.

What Is A Confirmation And Why Does It Take So Long?

What I’m referring to is when you send or receive currency there are varying opinions of what it means to actually “confirm” you have it.  But even before that people who have sent and received cryptocurrency know it is actually quite slow.  It can easily take a number of minutes and even after that point it is recommended you wait for a certain amount of confirmations.

It’s quite simple, these crypto networks with multiple nodes have to talk to each other, this takes time for them to all be in sync or agreeance with the blockchain.  Once that happens you get your first confirmation, however this can be a number of minutes and still doesn’t absolutely guarantee you have the money in your wallet.

The current system is nearly impossible to use as a daily transaction/banking experience.

I’m used to using cash, debit, credit or even services like PayPal.  It is all fairly instant (although sometimes it can take several seconds for debit or credit) but once the payment is approved and the merchant is notified instantly, they knew they have their money.  Imagine waiting for even a single confirmation for cryptocurrency while in line at a supermarket?

Why does the problem exist?

It’s quite simple, ironically it’s the one huge negative side effect of distributed, decentralized cryptocurrencies.   There are other drawbacks too such as what happens to banks if they are DOS’d but this hasn’t been a huge factor so far in crypto’s history.

What other risks exist?

My biggest fear is that in the future a powerful organization or entity may eventually be able to reverse engineer or find another way to attack the blockchain and algorithm of some cryptocurrencies.  This would essentially spell disaster, chaos and the end of that currency.  It would be the equivalent of the destruction or infiltration of a fiat currency’s central banking and distribution system.

One other issue with the blockchain

Everyone knows the safest way to hold crypto is with your own wallet because exchanges are routinely hacked and coins are stolen, it is more risky to keep your coins with a third party wallet (essentially the equivalent of an online crypto bank).  The problem lays with the issue at this moment that those deposits are not insured (although I believe Coinbase and a few others may have some insurance).  This may change in the future and exchanges and currencies that are insured will definitely rise above the rest.

What is the solution?

This may draw the ire of a lot of hardcore crypto users but there has got to be some sort of central authority, body or “top-tier” network similar to root DNS servers on the internet that can serve and validate transactions on the blockchain.  There must be some sort of physical organization between the nodes on the blockchain.

Is there a current solution to this problem?

Ripple/XRP solves this problem by essentially verifying transactions instantly and keeping all the currency in essentially an online global wallet (there is no such thing as paper wallet or traditional on your computer/device wallet).  The advantage is that you don’t have to store hundreds of gigabytes of blockchain data (and growing) like Bitcoin and other currencies.  Ripple has the benefit of also being endorsed by major financial institutions which is a first for digital crypto that I’m aware of.

I haven’t done further research but currencies like XRP I believe are the future, things can be done anyway technically and Bitcoin, Litecoin and similar blockchained coins can do this if they change some of their decentralized model.  I expect there will be more infighting and similar splits as the Bitcoin Cash that emerged from the Segwit update as the industry matures and expands.

Disclaimer

I hold positions in multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ripple and have given my true opinion of both in this article.

Trading Cryptocurrency Emotionally Is Good For Me and Bad For You!

With all the hype of cryptocurrency driving all of the coins it creates both opportunities and risks depending on where you’ve bought in and your emotional state.
Emotional buying is for example hearing Bitcoin has hit $6000 USD and then buying it worrying that it is your last chance. In reality buying into new highs doesn’t leave a lot of room for comfortable declines which is why I never buy new highs but patiently wait for a strong pullback. But we must always remember the famous proverbs of “Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy”, “Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful”, “Sharp Rises Are Often Followed By Sharp Corrections”, “What Goes Up Must Come Down” which depending on the time period in general means manage risk, do not trade on emotion, and be prepared that markets can turn either way without warning or in a sudden bearish or bullish trend. If all goes wrong just remember “Buy Low, Sell High” of course as simple as these terms are very few of us actually do or achieve such simple sayings as the end result is often more complex based on a lack of discipline or abundance of emotion.

I fully agree with the many parties that say cryptocurrency is extremely risk, volatile and does trade like the stock market with even less safety and regulation. Therefore my approach is to treat such trading as extremely high risk stock investment with the goal of limiting risk and exposure.

In the case of Bitcoin if you look the chart for the past few years it has been extremely volatile and has had numerous crashes. A lot of people made a lot of money by holding and believing in the long-term value, but just as many lost huge amounts by panicking and selling off at the bottom. At the end of the day the best of us cannot always predict that we know the top or bottom of a market. Instead it is important to look at the fundamentals. Bitcoin is still #1 by market cap today, unless it were specifically banned around the world or the entire network or blockchain itself was compromised there’s no reason to panic based on this kind of emotion. I echo a similar sentiment when people rush to the markets when Bitcoin is the news when things are flying high is when you have the most risk. Before some of you think I’m suggesting to be a contrarian on a fundamental market I’m just saying you shouldn’t fight the trend or the market but be sensible. If you’ve made your own research or belief that a currency is in a bullish upswing then wait for an opportunity such as the “sharp correction” that has been the trend with large rises in cryptocurrency.

Stick to your plan unless the fundamentals have changed so unless Bitcoin has been banned around the world or the blockchain has been compromised or some other fundamental value of Bitcoin has been eroded it doesn’t make sense to dump it on a sharp decline (well it’s good for me and other holders) but for yourself it would probably disastrous.

I am mainly quoting Bitcoin but whenever I watch the charts of the top currencies by market cap I see a very similar trend usually, that often all currencies will be diving or climbing at the same time as a generalization.

The above strategy is only for coins that you have reason or proof have real value and long-term viability. If you have invested in a new ICO and could realize a large profit shortly after I would sell a large portion of that position and continue to hold. In that way you’ve maximized your profit and limited your risk exposure.

I’m going to give you an example of when I bought into some Litecoin. I noticed a sharp decline that eventually hit 5% Monday morning just after midnight and keep watching it. Once the market hit -5% and climbed to -4.5% I bought without regret even though I observed later on the day the decline hit as high as about -8-10%. Obviously buying lower would have been better but in recent trends I’ve seen fast recoveries I was happy with the likelihood that Litecoin would recover my 4.5% discount and more in a few days and it has currently risen to +5.89%. Not a bad spread for less than 24 hours! I think the key is not to be greedy and try to plan what the purpose is.

In my case I am watching some of the top 20 coins in market cap and looking for the chance to trade some Litecoins as they go up and some of the others decline to maximize profit and minimize risk.

Going back to the point of the article is that try not to be emotional when buying or selling, but know that everyone’s actions create an opportunity on either side.

Good luck to all of my fellow traders and please share your thoughts and strategies in the comments!

Disclaimer I am by no means giving out financial or trading advice and am simply giving my opinion, experience and rational for my personal decisions.

2017 and Beyond The Future of Cryptocurrency and Government Financial Regulations

Governments, banks and other large entities have all been murmuring, talking and hinting what the future of cryptocurrency could be or specifically the block chain. They all agree “blockchain” is good, there is no one against it but there has been a lot of confusion about the internet thinking this is equates to government and corporate backing of decentralized cryptocurrencies. I believe this couldn’t be the truth, in fact there have been lots of issues for companies exchanging cyrptocurrency for cold hard cash being unable to wire etc.

The excuse you hear from the big players are concern over fraud, money laundering, etc.. all of which happens in the current fiat monetary system. The true issue behind all the fuss is simply that these decentralized cryptocurrencies allow unhindered free trade around the world regardless of which country you are citizen of and where you are, no one can sanction you or freeze your assets in cryptocurrency. Further, it is of course a huge threat to the current financial system and governments around the world who depend on third party “reserve” banks to print their money. It’s bad news for their monopoly on finance and business transactions worldwide.

Bitcoin Exchanges in China are being shutdown: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/14/china-orders-bitcoin-exchanges-shut-down-report-says/665209001/
Russia says Bitcoin is illegal: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-bitcoin/russian-authorities-say-bitcoin-illegal-idUSBREA1806620140209
Bitfinex sued Wells Fargo for blocking their wires: https://bravenewcoin.com/news/wells-fargo-sued-for-suspending-bitfinex-wire-transfers/
US SEC says they want to regulate coins: https://themerkle.com/sec-may-be-looking-for-ways-to-regulate-the-cryptocurrency-ico-market/
JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon calls Bitcoin a fraud: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-12/jpmorgan-s-ceo-says-he-d-fire-traders-who-bet-on-fraud-bitcoin

The part in China is most significant because the action in China has coincided with drops in value of the major currencies, as well as Chinese users doing a lot of mining and trading in crytocurrency.

When we take some examples above, this is the general consensus among bankers and government worldwide. They all like blockchain and want to make their own currencies that they control and centralize, but they are certainly against the decentralized ones and as new banking, taxation and other government intervention roles out surrounding cryptocurrency it will be very interesting to see where things head.

I personally think the decentralized currency will always exist and it can and will coincide with other mainstream offerings from banks and governments. There will be a place for both just as cash from other countries is traded for other items whether gold, silver or even electronics and oil. Trade will continue but through a different method of settlement and transfer.

One thing is for sure until we see how things break in terms of government regulations and how their own cryptocurrency’s play out, the value of the original decentralized currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherum et al will have wild fluctuations as people react to news that threatens these currencies the same way people would read the news about Greece’s debt and haircut on the bonds they sold. In fact many watch the crypto market including the ICO (Initial Coin Offerings) and note they do seem to function as any other traditional market would in terms of news and advancements.

I believe we are seeing a financial revolution, all currency will soon be crypto and physical cash before we know it may all be stop being used.
The only question is how fast does it all happen and how does the difference between centralized banks and decentralized crypto users play out?