Your TV A Bitcoin Miner?

Yes, China-based Bitcoin mining products maker, Canaan Creative has revealed it’s plans to marry hardware and everyday products into one Bitcoin mining relationship.

South China Morning Post reported that Canaan has launched something called “AvalonMiner Inside. A TV set which can process 2.8 trillion hashes per second. Wow. That’s hot. Literally it’s going to be really HOT.

Bitcoin mining is already utterly difficult, high energy consumption and creates a lot of heat.  I’m just not sure how you would run a 1700W miner + an AC unit pulling between 6-12 amps on the same circuit.  Even then how much power would be wasted on cooling the miner?  These sure sound cool but would be very impractical.  Also consider that if the hashing units break then you probably can’t use your AC unit and vice versa (unless of course the two can be used separately if needed).

Canaan’s not the first company to try meshing mining and consumer products. Bitcoin start up 21 Inc and Chinese appliance manufacturer Midea Group have tried in the past to create appliances like AC units with chips inside that could mine. They even made a patent for the idea.

But not everyone is excited about Canaan’s and these other companies bold ideas.  Xiao Lei, a Beijing-based Bitcoin Analyst, said “It looks more like hype. It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

Canaan has also debuted the Avalon Miner A9, which provides a hashrate of up to 30 TH/s, with a power consumption of 1,720 watts per unit, according to Canaan’s website. The price of the new miner has not yet been disclosed on the website.

How much power do you think this will need to cool down? Bitcoin mining is essentially extremely difficult now, with almost over 80% of the hashing power coming straight from Chinese mining farms. So these products will not help the average person trying to mine. In fact, unless you had been mining it early on, these products are more so hype then anything else and giants like Canaan are trying to jump on the ‘bitcoin bandwagon’ to make some money and then swiftly leave.

Canaan took in 1.3 billion yuan (about US$205 million) in revenue in 2017, a 27-fold increase from the year earlier. Its profit in 2017 was 361 million yuan, up more than 230-fold from 2015, according to its filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

In 2017, Avalon miners accounted for 19.5 per cent of the world’s processing power for mining bitcoin, the filing said, citing data from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

So they’re doing alright. But again, Bitcoin mining is extremely difficult and this TV thing is going to need incredible amount of cooling down. It would be interesting to see how this is done, since TV’s are already hot enough.

What do you think? Would you purchase this?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

 

 

 

Trons Disappointed Fans

Fans That Disappoint

Fans and supporters took to social media to show their disappointment after the ‘secret announcement’  late last night. Justin Sun and the Tron Team apparently didn’t deliver the ‘marketing & shine’ that people expected.

They were expecting the ‘secret’ segment of the announcement to have more ‘pizazz’ and when they didn’t get it, sent off a twitter storm to console each other or complain. Some going as far expressing how they need to do better marketing and hire people who can do a better job presenting with more enthusiasm….

The other side were die hard supporters (who are capable of ignoring even the bad portions of what Tron does) were saying for once something I agree with: that it’s not about the marketing, it’s about the project.

This complaining about the lack of marketing is a serious issue for me. In an age of ICO scams because of all the marketing glitter, you would think the project is what matters most, not the marketing. If you only focus on the marketing you’re going to miss out. And many thousands missed the followings from the Tron Secret Announcement:

1. TVM- Tron virtual Machine. Is lightweight, Turing complete virutal machine devised for the development of Tron’s ecosystem. It aims to provide millions of global developers with a custom- built system for blockchain that’s efficient, stable, secure and easy to optimize, essentially developer-friendly.

2. 40 mainstream exchanges including Binance, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Upbit, Huoni and OKEx have completely the token migration from the worthless ERC20 tokens to Tron’s mainnet TRX without any financial loss so far for the users- although not all normal users/investors have made the exchange.

3. Tron mainnet so far is running smoothly.

4. There are a total of 92,424,664,154.355837 ERC20 Tokens burnt, accounting for 92.42% of the total issued. Before the migration is completed, the remaining ERC20 tokens will remain valid for exchange at Binance and Gate.io.

5. The TRON network will serve as the underlying protocol of Project Atlas. Hundreds of millions of BT users across the globe will become part of the TRON ecosystem. BT will be the largest application on the TRON network, which will allow TRON to surpass Ethereum on daily transactions and become the most influential public blockchain in the world.

As some might know from my previous post about Tron’s lack of care during this migration, I’m not exactly happy with Tron. The migration itself really unsettled me on their ability to actually do properly what they want with investors in mind. But this ‘marketing and glitter’ issue that most of the supporters and fans are complaining about, makes me uneasy that I’m investing in something that people heavily depend on to be marketing savvy.

Dogecoin is a better investment than many of these ICOs and new coins yet it lacks excitement and flair.  Cryptocurrency users and investors are inviting an ecosystem that rewards exciting sound scams and widgets that are guaranteed to fail.  This may work for the short-term but in the long-term it will be the difference between life and death for currency, projects and profit/loss to the investor.

Tron is actually a really good project, it’s made some great strides, and taking steps in the right direction. Do they need to be marketing hype all the time, especially when Investors like me just want the straight talk about what’s happening and what they are doing.

There’s a serious lack of common sense in cryptocurrency and the investors too.

This is money. This isn’t a high school popularity contest, where you need sparkles every time they hold a dance. And this should mean a lot coming from me, considering I am incredibly hard on Tron for their fiasco of a migration.

These are not issues. Their job is to make the project a success and take Tron to new levels, not to sit there with a marketing team to sparkle you with every meeting.

We have real issues here with Tron, and none of it has to do with their marketing. People really need to look at those issues instead of being upset about the marketing or Justin Sun’s lack of ability to wooo you.

What do you think, am I wrong? Should there be more marketing sparkle for cryptocurrency projects?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

 

Bitcoin Anonymity at what cost?

Wasabi Wallet

We’ve already heard of “tumblers” which make it very difficult to trace the true sender or receiver of a Bitcoin transaction.  Now we have the “Wasabi” wallet project, which does something a bit differently.  It actually uses the Tor network to anonymize you on the Bitcoin network.  However, I think this is a risky move because malicious actors on the Tor network (especially exit nodes) have been setup by malicious groups including government agencies for surveillance and other use.

The problem with depending on the Tor network and a third party client is what if someone injects malicious code such as the Bitcoin Gold client scam?  Even if that’s not the case what if some malicious Tor node runners get together and target Bitcoin users and use it to successfully trick the Wasabi client into thinking you’ve received money you don’t have?  It would certainly be an effort and tricky but with enough time, money and resources it is a likely possibility based on the reward value alone.

So, well the idea is well-intentioned I think trying to solve it any other way  is risky and it should be the Bitcoin code base that is modified to support these features.

Another personal alternative is that you can use your own personal proxy or server to hide your real IP as this is already a supported feature of the Bitcoin client itself.

What do you think?

Cheers!
A.Yasir

“The Future Of Money”

US House Of Representatives

The United States will begin official hearings on cryptocurrency on July 18 2018, on a live stream for the general public to listen on the hearings. The title of this hearing is “The Future of Money: Digital Currency’, somewhat acknowledging that bitcoin and cryptocurrency at least has the potential of being the ‘new cash’ if not the only ‘cash’ of the future. As technology develops, having digital cash is the next natural course.

The exact list of people attending hasn’t been released, but it’s expected to be presided over by the legislators and cyprtocurreny experts. When I hear cryptocurrency experts though, there’s a few worries that come to mind.
The first is that ‘most’ if not all cryptocurrency ‘experts’ tend to completely negate the security portion of digital currency, upselling completely unsafe technology. Which is a legitimate concern surround cyprtocurrency. It’s not fully anonymous like people think, Bitcoin is traceable for example. Public ledgers, permissionless public blockchain, and no central authority within the community to protect the currency itself, are all concerns. Ripple does this fairly well, but still lacks considering their bank affiliations and their motivation to dump XRP (which is unlikely but still worrying).

This hearing will look into the security concerns related to cryptocurrency and curbing issues like money laundering, but experts would have to present a solid case, to show that it’s not different than laundering fiat or gold bars for that matter.

The US congress had released an economic report in March of this year that highlighted the benefits of cryptocurrency and why using it would be good for the economy. Which is a surprising change of mood considering how the Federal Reserve has been on behaving towards it. Perhaps fear that the debt system that they created for over a century is going to break down.

What do you think? Will this hearing  finally give Bitcoin and cryptocurrency the boost it needs after 6 months of FUD?

Cheers!
A.Yasir

The Truth About Laundering Bitcoin

It’s The Same As Laundering Fiat, Just Smaller.

CCN.com reported that CipherTrace released their Q2 2018 report that noted the rise of cryptocurrency crime, money laundering and other illicit activities. One particular glaring item was a $1.2 billion figure, that had been laundered through cryptocurrency tools such as Bitcoin Tumblers and privacy coins like Zcash and Monero.

Now this isn’t really news. We already know about Drug trafficking busts, weapons and human trafficking busts, which the different levels of the US government have made on the dark web. But what this is suggesting is that not only is crime up using Bitcoin, but ransom is also up. And it’s implying that it’s only happening to Cryptocurrencies and not really happening to such an extent to Fiat- which is incorrect.

The Problem
The problem I have with CipherTrace’s reports and other reports of such nature, is the idea that only cryptocurrency is used to do crimes. Now the report isn’t suggesting that, but it’s implying it. Fiat money has been doing daily orders of crimes for decades. Just recently a large scale report in British Columbia revealed that the Liberal government looked the other way while criminals used casino’s to launder millions of dollars- literally duffel bags of $5, $10 and $20 bills, and the casino staff were told to turn the camera’s away. The government let this slide, even the RCMP, because it created a booming economy in B.C. The results cost lives and livelihoods:

“At an event Wednesday to release the report, Eby said money laundering in casinos was linked to the opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives and to escalating housing prices that have made life unaffordable for British Columbians.”

Which is serious considering houses that should actually be worth $500,000 are now worth over $1million in a mere 6 years.

Fiat’s Way Worse
Fiats been used to launder money, crimes, wars, arms deals, genocides, human and sex trafficking of children and much more for decades. Anyone willing to stop investing in real estate because of the money it’s laundered? Anyone willing to stop using a bank because of their very real crimes of over charging people on transactions and NSF’s? Anyone willing to stop paying their government taxes because of their illegal invasions and human rights violations?

NO? Well stop complaining about crimes with cryptocurrency. Its not good and slowly a system will be created to hopefully limit such crimes. At least cryptocurrency will grow and smooth this out, Fiat money has had decades to fix their crime issues, and now it’s 2018 and nothings been solved.

Just because cryptocurrency is being used by ‘some’ to do terrible things doesn’t mean we all are- the majority aren’t. The ugly truth is that crime happens, and we can’t really stop it, whether it’s with cryptocurrency or not. Some will argue and say ‘well it’s easier now with privacy coins’ and they aren’t wrong, but these ‘privacy coins’ can be watched for the most to see where it’s going. Eventually they’re going to need to collect the value of those coins, and undercover government Exchanges on the dark web will nab them, and then collect those coins for their government wallet (valued over $40 million). Read my “Dark Web Bust” post for more details.

Then there will be those who say ‘well you can’t compare fiat and cyrptocurrency as a proper excuse’. Yeah actually we can. Because most people who do cryptocurrency aren’t criminals. The biggest criminal we have in the crypto scene is probably George Soros who was responsible for the Asian Financial Crisis- he was never held responsible, never faced any criminal charges or jailed. He continued on, making his millions. He suspiciously entered the crypto world just after Dec 2017 highs….not sure if there’s a link, buuuut that is for sure a link….

Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Have Value
If old socks become a hot valued commodity, guess what, they’re going to use it for crimes. Criminals only use things that have value, well cryptocurrency has value, just like fiat and that’s why it’s being used.  Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency is not going to die. You can argue that Tokens and ICO’s will (if they haven’t already) die, but the major players like Bitcoin, Monero, Dash, Dogecoin (yes even Dogecoin) Litecoin and even the expensive gas induced Ethereum, will last.

Bitcoin isn’t all just crimes. Just like Fiat money isn’t all just crimes. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking FUD thoughts.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

Dogecon 2018: Vancouver

Such Wow! Much Conference!

Amongst the sea of self serving blockchain conferences, and large scale multi-million dollar Internet of Things conferences and expo’s, was a refreshing Dogecon held in Vancouver that captured the heart of cryptocurrency. The meme essence came to life.

What started off as a fork of Bitcoin, and a running meme joke, became the largest most dedicated community of cryptocurrencers ever. More than Bitcoin, more than Ethereum, Dogecoin’s strong and proudly loved. It’s community strong, not just about value, but about substance. From tipping to charity, to car racing, the Dogecoin is actually the most viable coin out there. And to celebrate the ‘such wow’, Dogecon was held in Vancouver BC.

A conference where nobody talked about panic selling or the market crashing, instead dance parties, rap shows, dinner and a freaking puppy parade- that’s right, a freaking Shibu Inu parade, was held. You can only wish in your dreams that you had seen it in real life, it was just that amazing.

It wasn’t ‘tradition’, with high rolling investors in thousand dollar suits, no this conference was down to earth, honest and genuine- something you don’t see often in the superficial world of Instagram cryptocurrency.

No twitter cryptoinvestors and enthusiasts had lots of good genuine things to say. Four days of celebrations, real discussions, and Dogecoin worship took place in Vancouver British Columbia. And the reviews are in: It was awesome.
Yes Rocco, this is what it should look like.

Even the sponsors proudly stood by Dogecon with ETH Classic joining in.

Just over 200 participants attended Dogecon, and tickets were sold out by the time I posted about it- sorry about that…  It was a breath of fresh air from the stuffy blockchain conferences, it was relaxed and real, and showed what this amazing Dogecoin community is.

So if you’re looking to invest in a good coin, Dogecoin is it.

Why do I say this:
1. Dogecoin is used more frequently than even Bitcoin cash
2. 40th in Market Cap
3. Has been in use since 2010 for tipping, charities, to car racing etc etc
4. It’s the 4th most popular cryptocurrency (yes that’s right, Dogecoin is the 4th)
5. More viable since the community even after the Creator abandoned it, kept it up.
6. Unapologetically a joke currency that became seriously serious.
7. Doesn’t fall under SEC regulations as a original coin
8. Faster and cheaper to use
9. Dogecon!!!
10. It’s a freaking Shibu Inu, who doesn’t like dogs!
11. It’s not all about ‘Bitcoin level value, or pumping and dumping’, its about the coin itself.

Such wisdom! So get yourself some Dogecoin, and bow to Lord Doge.

It’s safe to say that Dogecon 2019 is going to be even larger and better! What do you think of Dogecoin? Is it still a joke coin to you or are you showing some Doge love! I personally mined and owned Dogecoin, and I’ve easily used it, and it’s honestly one of my top 5 favorite coins. If I had to pick something to invest in, I’d skip the ICO’s and Ethereum tokens, and go straight to Dogecoin.

Cheers!
A. Yasir

Does the CIA know Or Not?

Who Is “Satoshi Nakamoto”

A video titled, CIA Project Bitcoin: Is Bitcoin a CIA or NSA project? made by a group calling themselves the “CIA Project” surfaced on youtube. This group is dedicated in finding all the governments secret projects and making it public. And in this latest video, they are claiming that Bitcoin is actually the creation of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Now don’t scoff it off as a conspiracy theory or ‘FUD’ and run away. Lets have a gander at what this group is claiming to be their biggest proof.

Satoshi Nakamoto- the name itself.

Now I do touch on this subject a little in my post here, so have a read of that as well to put some other very important pieces of this together.

Satoshi (meaning ‘clear thinking, or intelligent). Nakamoto is a common Japanese surname meaning “central origin or one who lives in the middle) This surname is commonly found in Ryukyu Islands of Japan, which is strongly associated with the Ryukyu Kingdon, a highly centralized kindgom that originated in the Okinawa Islands.  This Island in particular was known as the ‘the place where cannibals lived’….not sure if this gives any weight to Warren Buffets fantastic quote, where he equates Bitcoin mining to harvesting baby brains…

Combined, both names could be interpreted as “Central Intelligence”- could be, loosely. There is in fact a real Satoshi Nakamoto (well Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto) but he vehemently denies he’s the Bitcoin creator and even hired a lawyer to clear his name. How badly do people want to know who this guy is?

The next claim is that no one has actually met Satoshi Nakamoto in person or spoken on the phone with him or her or even them.  Even Gavin Bell (known as Gavin Andresen), who only has contact by email, never in person or over the phone.

Other evidence includes the fact that Bitcoin uses a common PRNG (crypto program) to create secure keys, which is itself believed to have an NSA backdoor. Numerous Reddit threads linking Bitcoin or Satoshi Nakamoto with the NSA have been removed; and that Bitcoin is not decentralized as it is being controlled by a small group which is led by Gavin Bell. Which is true, I’ve said it before that cryptocurrencies are not decentralized in the sense people assume, there is a central body controlling it, and right now with Bitcoin it’s the 80% hashing power Chinese mining farms and Gavin Bell.

But do the CIA Project’s claims have any merit? I think there is- even just a little, is still too much.

The NSA creating Bitcoin has been rumor for many years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function- which by the way we designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology..

The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.

“If you assume that the NSA did something to SHA-256, which no outside researcher has detected, what you get is the ability, with credible and detectable action, they would be able to forge transactions. The really scary thing is somebody finds a way to find collisions in SHA-256 really fast without brute-forcing it or using lots of hardware and then they take control of the network,” cryptography researcher Matthew D. Green of Johns Hopkins University said in a previous interview.

This alone makes it worrisome for Bitcoin users or Cyber security specialists. Snowden is very harsh on Bitcoin and says it’s being watched by government agencies- more on that in a different post.

And of course this comes just at the heels after the CIA refused to confirm or deny if they knew who Satoshi Nakamoto is- leaving many to speculate, if they know.  And like Snowden says, ‘they know’.

I myself didn’t want anything to do with Bitcoin in 2009 when my wife told me about it- because of the sheer nightmare that is security and fraud. (Of course I’m glad I reconsidered it and mined as much as I could back then), but it did have the distinct smell of ‘government’ even back then.

Then there’s recent news of 21e8….that’s for another post.

What do you think? Does this prove that Satoshi Nakamoto is actually the NSA? Or does it simply just add another layer of conspiracy theories to an already large mystery.

We may never know.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

The Dark Web Bust

2000 Bitcoins, Hard Cash & Gold Bars

I think we can lay rest the claim that Bitcoin is used for crimes only, considering cash and gold bars (fiat system) seems to be thriving in the latest Dark Web crimes bust.

The US Department of Justice, together with multiple government agencies such as the Homeland Security, The Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, and the DEA have busted over 35 dark web drugs and arms dealers across the nation.

To be clear, these are the drugs and arms the government didn’t deal themselves, but notorious crime syndicates on the Dark Web (which is why this is a bust and not a government investigation into their own operations).

The different agencies confiscated military grade weapons, drugs and drugs manufacturing equipment.  On top of this they also seized over $30 million dollars in cash, gold bars and around 2000 Bitcoins (which alone totals to over $12 million)

The Department of Justice said in their press release that it was “a year long coordinated national operation that used the first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the Darknet”.

Agents from the HSI acted as money launderers on the dark web marketplace such as the Silkroad, AlphaBay, Hansa and others, exchanging cryptocurrencies for cash.

Yes you read that right, the government itself used cryptocurrencies in crimes in order to lure in criminals. With this tactic the different levels of federal agencies were able to root out the network of black market dealers.

“Through this operation, HSI New York was able to identify numerous vendors of illicit goods, leading to the opening of more than 90 active cases around the country. The Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, working with more than 40 U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country, coordinated the nationwide investigation of over 65 targets, that lead to the arrest and impending prosecution of more than 35 Darknet vendors,” the press release states.

Nearly all the charged individuals used bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to some degree in their operations. In one case, the federal officials are seeking the forfeiture of an additional 4,000 bitcoin that they suspect to be tied to online drug sales. If seized, the supplementary stash will put the government’s cryptocurrency requisitions to just over $40 million.

“The Darknet is ever-changing and increasingly more intricate, making locating and targeting those selling illicit items on this platform more complicated. But in this case, HSI special agents were able to walk amongst those in the cyber underworld to find those vendors who sell highly addictive drugs for a profit, HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Derek Benner states in the official press release. “The veil has been lifted. HSI has infiltrated the Darknet, and together with its law enforcement partners nationwide, it has proven, once again, that every criminal is within arm’s reach of the law.”

This investigations findings came after Congress’ own efforts to police crimes online trafficking and the use of cryptocurrencies. The findings went public just a day after the House of Representatives passed the “Fight Illicit Networks & Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R.6069). It’s a bipartisan bill : “to study how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex or drug trafficking and propose regulatory and legislative actions to put an end to these illicit activities.”

Rep. Juan Vargas who proposed the bill, expressed in a press release that the House’s approval is “an important first step in helping Congress understand the full extent of how virtual currencies are being used to facilitate drug and sex trafficking and will help us propose effective legislative solutions to fight these crimes.” As the bill moves up to Congress’ upper house, he “[hopes] to see the same level of support for this legislation in the Senate.”

In a 2017 National Drug Assessment, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dash, ZCash and Monero —(with Dash, Zcash & Monero being relatively anonymous) — have become increasingly popular payment options for dark web trade. Along with fueling the human trafficking market, they are also funding marketplaces that are contributing to America’s growing opioid crisis, the administration claims.

This though implies that fiat and other methods such as wiring funds wasn’t also prominently used in human trafficking, drug trafficking and other crimes on the Dark Web. Cryptocurrencies aren’t new just this year, and have existed since 2009, Bitcoin being the most prominent. But of course the Deep Web existed before 2009, and was active and full of crimes and trafficking prior to Cryptocurrencies birth.

This investigation also implies that governments like the US don’t sell weapons to Dictators and genociders ,which we have seen a track record of throughout history. So the governments readiness to blame cryptocurrencies solely for crimes on the Dark Web is biased set to fit a narrative that ‘only the government can commit illicit crimes’.

The growing American opioid crisis also comes after the US illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (which they remain in to this day).

What do you think? Yes cryptocurrencies are being used to commit crimes, but Fiat and gold bars also have track records of being used to commit crimes, both on the Dark Web and on the government level. Should we not then first deal with Fiat’s crisis with money laundering and crimes deals?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

John McAfee’s Not Dead

He’s Alive & McAfee’ing It

The crypto internet was a buzz these last few days after Cyber Security & crypto-expert John McAfee posted a picture of him at the hospital, after what he says was an attempted poisoning to end his life. He went on to say:

“My enemies managed to spike something that I ingested,”
“However, I am more difficult to kill than anyone can possibly imagine. I am back.”

johnmcafeescreenshot2

He’s been tweeting from the hospital, to let his fans and supporters know he’s alright and in stable condition in typical John McAfee style- strong, ‘no shit’ and in your face.

He bashed on panic sellers and continues to promote Docademic and even sent out a mini witch hunt for this guy.

johnmcafeescreenshot1

In all, John McAfee is in good spirits, back in the comfort of his home, and keeping it real for the cryptocurrency community. It’s left to see if this ‘assassination’ attempt pans out with any evidence given to the general public. But if this was indeed an assassination attempt, the implications are horrendous. It gives weight to McAfee’s position in cryptocurrency and his declaration for 2020 presidential candidate.

For now, I’m wishing Mr. McAfee a full recovery.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

BITCOIN’S VALUE WAS FRAUD?

 The Coordinated Manipulation
According to research done by Professor John Griffin of Texas Finance, last years epic rise for Bitcoin was actually done by coordinated market manipulation.

Professor Griffin goes on to explain that he examined millions of transactions on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, and says that “the US dollar pegged cryptocurrency Tether was used to buy Bitcoin at the times that the latter was falling- which helped ‘stabilize and manipulate’ the price”

First I’ll explain what Griffin’s said, and then I’ll explain why he’s wrong about Bitcoin but right about Tether. And it boils down to his understanding of how Exchanges work and how Bitcoin works.

Griffin said “Fraud and manipulation often leave footprints in the data and it’s nice to have the blockchain to track things,” Griffin told CNBC. Whenever bitcoin fell, Tether was used to buy it to prop up the price again.

“It was creating price support for bitcoin and, over the period that we examined, had huge price effects. Our research would indicate that there are sophisticated people harnessing investor interest for their benefit.”

Bitcoin started 2017 at below $1,000 and by Dec 2017 hit 20,000. But as if February to June 2018 it’s been jumping back and fourth from it’s lowest at $6k to the highest $10k (which didn’t even last)  Tether is the 11th largest cryptocurrency and is pegged to the US dollar. Some critics say Tether owners don’t have enough fiat currency to back its $2.5 billion market capitalization.

Bitfinex CEO J.L. van der Velde told CNBC that neither the exchange nor tether helped to boost bitcoin prices. “Bitfinex nor tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex,”

Now here’s what I think:

I’ve personally used Tether but I do worry about it. A lot of people have accused Tether of fraud, and Tether certainly hasn’t proven the naysayers.  Do they have the 2.5 billion USD and how are they raising funds?  Essentially as far as I can see, Tether is a non-backed, way of essentially printing virtual USD.  I think Griffin is way off on this one.  USDT (Tether) is a convenient trading pair that can be used with some of the top cryptocurrencies to trade and exchange directly for other coins.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t realize most tokens and currencies are not directly convertible or tradeable for others on exchanges.  Generally you’ll have to sell your ABC alt-coin or tokens for Bitcoin, or USDT and then use the major currency you sold or exchanged to buy say another coin such as Ripple, Litecoin, Lisk etc..  So this is where USDT comes in, if Griffin thinks it propped up Bitcoin I think he is misunderstanding how the exchanges work.  Yes a lot of people are using USDT to buy other currencies but is USDT a market factor?  No, I don’t think so, it’s just simply convenient and I agree with Bitfinex that it doesn’t appear they are using it to prop up Bitcoin.

However, USDT could not be used in such a way if it wasn’t given prominence and primary trading pairs like Bitfinex and other major exchanges have used.  Could some of the exchanges be in cahoots with currencies like USDT and others?  Absolutely, and this is the more likely scenario of market manipulation in the sense that they essentially largely control which currencies fail and flourish.

Any coin that is used as a primary trading pair or in other words directly convertible has more value and will intrinsically be used more as a vehicle to buy coins like Bitcoin.

I think Griffin just raises the simple question about USDT being a fraud and this is the biggest concern but I highly doubt USDT’s existence or trading patterns are responsible for Bitcoin fluctuations directly.  He may derive this from trading patterns but I really just think USDT is a convenient and easy to understand intermediary trading pair vs how you wrap your mind around how many BTC another coin like Ripple, Ethereum or Litcoin is worth etc…

What do you think?

Cheers!
-A. Yasir