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

Federal Reserve Says Bitcoin Cannot Replace the US Dollar

The new chief of the San Francisco branch, of the privately held, Federal Reserve Bank has stated that Bitcoin cannot, and will not ever replace the US Dollar.  First of all, they are doing a fantastic job and understand their market and duties.  They cannot step into this job and say anything else and expect to keep it.

I get it, Bitcoin is printed without supposed backing, although it is backed by a lot of physical hardware assets and electricity.  Fiat currency, especially the US Dollar is printed and floated without any controls or restrictions.  Well, actually, the only control and restriction is that there is none.  The Federal Reserve prints at will and on demand, without limitation or backing of any sort, and they have long abandoned the gold standard.

The fact that the Federal Reserve would comment at all on this matter and mention Bitcoin, to me, is very telling that it is very much a possibility.  When you have this much money put into something that is being traded worldwide, every second, and such an ecosystem I think it is an excellent contender to the US Dollar and fiat currency in general.  Remember, fiat is backed by nothing as well and printed without any limit.  Most cryptocurrencies actually are limited in how many coins can be mined or minted at any rate.

Cryptocurrency is currently at a $421 Billion USD market cap and I think it won’t be long before it is in the trillion dollar range.  This is ultimately the worst nightmare for any central banker with so many competitors, of course your number one priority should be outlawing them and shutting them down.

On that end the Fed is right to do it and is doing their job well.  However, for people who don’t essentially control the fiat financial system, we would do well to root for cryptocurrency as an alternative system.  I think both systems can survive and work together, but if fiat pushes it too much, I think there may be a digital currency revolution that far surpassed the digital rights movement of the late 90s and early 2000s that caught the RIAA and MPAA by surprise.

ICOs Still Going Strong in 2018

Despite the slow start and bearish sentiment of the cryptocurrency market this year, apparently ICOs have been going strong.  Various reasons are plentiful for why the ICO market remains this strong and it has me scratching my head.

Some say that serial investors are cashing out and then reinvesting into new ICOs.  Others say new investors from outside the traditional cryptocurrency world are coming into the market.

I am not sure what to think, as someone like myself is shying aware from most ICOs based on my experience that I feel 99% of these are scams and won’t ever deliver anything.  I think most of them are the next dot bombs and it is absolutely right to panic and sell these worthless Ethereum ERC20 tokens.

In ICOs the traditional due diligence is simply not enough.  It is easy to weed out people without IT or business experience.  And from that you have to weed out who has valid experience and qualifications?  Working for big name companies does not make you qualified to deliver on an overly ambitious project, but it does of course help attract investors.  I’ve seen enough big names including the Telegram ICO to be unimpressed (the Telegram ICO tells you to send money and then e-mail them to confirm the transaction……..how on earth will they build a proper blockchain if they can’t make their own API for transactions?).

Sorry for the rant but seriously what is driving the ICO market despite all the bad news?  I suspect it is people in the cryptocurrency world and I suspect they are miners who are thinking “my coins aren’t worth that much at the moment why not invest some of my spare ones into ABC scam ICO in the hopes that it grows and acts as a hedge to my underperforming cryptocurrency”.

That’s the best I can do and I suspect that is what is happening.  There are of course the institutional and whale investors who play a role but it’s unclear to what extent.

FINOM ICO Review and Regrets

This was a very expensive ICO at $2 per token.  It supposedly includes a NOM and FIN coin for each purchase.  So far there haven’t been many real updates about when we’ll receive these tokens.  All I do know at this point is that one of them will be locked for a year.  The cost was very high so I certainly hope this wasn’t a scam designed to collect a large amount of coins (as many ICOs are).  I hope they will go ahead with their projects and that this coin will return well.  Since the price was so high investors now have extremely high expectations over more reasonably priced ICOs.  Can the team deliver or do they even care to?  Time will tell but if my experience with an overpayment is an indication this team may not be honest or trustworthy as is the case with the majority out there unfortunately.

I’m a user of Nanopool and that’s how I found this ICO but I am already having regrets but let’s get into what FINOM claims to be.

They claim they merged the 3 projects into what is called FINOM with Mining (Nanopool), Cryptonit (their own cryptoexchange) and, Tabtrader (Banking).

I know nothing about the other projects but Nanopool works well.  What’s weird and good is that Nanopool seems to be Chinese based since it has an ICP license.

The troubling part is the question is who is really running these projects and company?  It’s not clear, they claim to be from Switzerland yet Nanopool is a Chinese website so there is Chinese ownership.  When looking at who is behind Finom most of them appear to be extremely young people.  The issue for me is why did they register in Switzerland when the entire team seems to have no connection there?  Was it to artificially build trust?  This is concerning because as far as I can tell they all really appear to be based in China and other parts of the world so why try to hide this?

Screenshot-Nanopool - Mozilla Firefox

Why am I upset?

Well first of all I feel silly but frustrated with Ethereum when I was trying to send to this ICO the Ethereum network was “congested” as it often is.  When I was trying to send I kept seeing in the console that the transaction was rejected so I kept trying.  However I didn’t realize the Ethereum wallet doesn’t show pending transactions and may attempt to send more ETH than your account has if you keep sending small amounts that are pending.

I ended up sending more ETH than I intended to them which are of course worth far more now.  I opened a support ticket explaining what had happened only to be ignored after several attempts:

 

FINOM-Scam

After a month of waiting for support I e-mailed the “hello@finom.io” that they encourage you to use on their website but that didn’t work.

Then I started getting SPAM from the owner who appears to be overseas and thought I’d reply directly to the owner.

Finom-KirillSuslov-Support-Scam-Ignoring-Investors

Unfortunately like most crypto projects and companies they are always content to collect your coins, they’ll SPAM you and create an impression that they an honest and community driven project but usually it couldn’t be driven further from the truth.

Experiences like these drive investors like me to not only become frustrated but we become less likely to invest in new projects going forward.

It’s hard to tell skeptics concerned about scams and fraud that it doesn’t happen or to justify that “most ICOs and most crypto players are honest” when in terms of IT, support and communication I haven’t seen anything more arrogant or dishonest than experiences like these.  It’s a world where our IT projects and clients would not tolerate this treatment and it’s only a matter of time before investors vote with their wallets out of both genuine fear and frustration.