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This Week in Bitcoin: Up, Down and Sideways

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This Week in Bitcoin: Up, Down and Sideways

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. From the hubris and excess of the North American Bitcoin Conference to the gloominess of the crypto markets, it’s been a feel-o-coaster of a week. Fear, uncertainty and doubt were the overarching emotions amidst a turbulent seven days, but there was also space for cheer, schadenfreude and disbelief. Welcome to another week in bitcoin.

Also read: Blockchain Rolls Out Trading Feature for 22 States in the U.S.

High Drama Amidst Low Prices

This Week in Bitcoin: Up, Down and SidewaysThis week in bitcoin managed to cram in more drama than a Mexican telenovela, with major market drama, regulatory drama, and Ponzi drama to name but three. Things started smoothly enough, with our leading story, as Monday broke, addressing the fact that 80% of all bitcoins have now been mined. Traditional media picked that one up and ran with it. Appreciation of bitcoin’s scarcity failed to stop the rot though, as bitcoin started to slide, taking the rest of the cryptocurrency market down with it.

Everyone had a theory behind the slump that saw bitcoin drop below the champagne threshold of $10k for the first time since early December. It was a price bracket that many thought we’d never see again. Theories postulated included threats to ban crypto in South Korea, threats of China cracking down further on bitcoin mining, historical data which shows bitcoin always performs badly in January, or the fact that bitcoin was “overbought” in the run-up to CME and Cboe futures launching last month, and thus a correction was necessary. Some people even chose to blame falling markets on the cycles of the moon, which seems as good a theory as any.

It Came From Korea

It’s impossible to review a week in bitcoin without acknowledging Korea, so here goes: our most popular story concerned government officials profiting on advance knowledge of regulatory action. That’s right, insider trading. Everyone seems to be at it, though it doesn’t require a man on the inside – simply the ability to sense a storm coming, as futures traders appear to have done, according to Eric Wall. He notes “there was an unusual increase in short positions around January 11. At the same time, the price was just bouncing around in the 12800-14200 range.” In other words, the markets looked normal, but futures traders had an inkling that something was brewing.

This Week in Bitcoin: Up, Down and Sideways
This week bitcoin pulled a Bobby Ewing and came back from the dead.

On Wednesday, every asset in the cryptocurrency top 100 was in the red. 24 hours later and we were back to fields of green. It was a non sequitur the likes of which hasn’t been since 1986 when Dallas’ Bobby Ewing reappeared in the shower after having been killed off in the previous season. In the words of Biggie Smalls, it was all a dream. The dreaming didn’t last for long unfortunately, as by the weekend the market revival had died out and we were back in the low eleven-hundreds. Quick, someone order more tethers.

Bitcoin Gets a Haircut, Bitconnect Gets Scalped

This Week in Bitcoin: Up, Down and Sideways
TWiB podcast: now available on Spotify.

If bitcoiners thought they had it bad, they should spare a thought for bitconnectors. All those with their wealth locked up in the Church of Ponzi had their assets savagely crushed from $290 a token to $18. It would be heartening to say that everyone who got duped by Bitconnect has learned their lesson, but judging by the number of “victims” who are now piling into the Bitconnect X ICO or Davorcoin – yet another Ponzi – the signs aren’t encouraging.

To finish this week’s highlights, of which there are too many to list as usual, we have another tale from South Korea, suggesting that normal banking service may soon be resumed for cryptocurrency exchanges, which is just as well given the rate at which new exchanges are springing up in the country. While the mantle of crypto-friendliest Asian nation resides with Japan for now, in Europe, Belarus is staking a claim as a new haven for crypto’s rax averse.

If you’ve had the temerity to skip straight to the end of this review for the This Week in Bitcoin podcast, here it is. In it you’ll get the tl;dr on this week’s burning stories, delivered by your amiable host Matt Aaron. Catch you next week for more highlights from the heart-stopping world of bitcoin.

What was your favorite story from this week in bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Dallas.


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Grayscale Will Launch Stock Split for Bitcoin Trust Shares

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Grayscale Will Launch Stock Split for Bitcoin Trust Shares

Finance

This week the sponsor of the Bitcoin Investment Trust, Grayscale Investments has announced the launch of a 91-for-1 stock split of the Trust’s issued and outstanding shares. According to Grayscale, the division will take place on January 22 and shareholders will receive 90 more shares on top of their original shares held.

Also read: Markets Update: Cryptocurrency Prices Rebound But Uncertainty Still Lingers

The Bitcoin Trust Is Creating a 91-1 Stock Split

Grayscale Will Launch Stock Split for Bitcoin Trust SharesGrayscale Investments, Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX: GBTC) is a popular investment fund based on the price of bitcoins held in reserves. Most investment trusts own a fixed amount of the asset and investors purchase shares of the Net Asset Value (NAV). One GBTC share is worth around 1/10th of BTC and users also pay portfolio maintenance fees. Investors like GBTC because it is considered one of the only stock tied to real bitcoins that are offered on a public stock market. Because BTC values have rallied for well over a year GBTC prices have followed suit making the price per share a bit expensive for some. Unlike purchasing bitcoins in fractions, investors have to buy an entire share to get in on GBTC investing. The increased price has made it harder for ordinary retail investors to buy shares so Grayscale has decided to create a stock split.

From $1,800 Shares to $18 Per GBTC

Grayscale Will Launch Stock Split for Bitcoin Trust SharesBasically a stock split or divide increased the number of shares allocated to the investment vehicle. For instance right now Grayscale holds 1,916,600 shares of GBTC and one share is worth 0.09242821 BTC. If a user purchases ten shares, then they have the equivalent of 1 BTC and Grayscale holds a total of roughly 170,000 BTC. With the launch of a 91-for-1 stock split every share that’s worth .092 BTC will drop to 0.00101 BTC. After the split, there will be 174,410,600 GBTC shares in circulation. Grayscale believes the move will make GBTC shares more affordable and it will entice retail investors. Currently, one GBTC share is roughly around $1,767 USD, and after the split, it will be worth about $17.60 respectively.  

“It is the only product (of its kind) available to investors for purchase at net asset value,” explains the Grayscale director Michael Sonnenshein in a recent video interview.

Grayscale Will Launch Stock Split for Bitcoin Trust Shares
The Bitcoin Investment Trust price per share at 2:30 pm EDT on January 21, 2018.

The Possibility of Even More Shares and Automatic Issuance

Grayscale also reveals that the stock split could result in more shares than estimated on January 22.

“After the close of business on the record date, the Trust will announce the total number of shares that will be issued and outstanding immediately after effectiveness of the stock split on January 26, 2018, which will give effect to any such new shares created after the date of this press release and up through the record date,” Grayscale Investments details.

Shareholders are not required to take any action to receive the shares in connection with the stock split and they will not be required to surrender or exchange their shares in the Trust — The transfer agent will automatically issue the new shares in the stock split.

Stock Splits Can Affect a Stocks Overall Value Either Negatively Or In a Positive Way

Stock splits happen all the time in the financial world, but it’s interesting to see the method applied to an investment fund based on actual bitcoins held in storage. There are two scenarios that could happen when more GBTC shares become available as far as the stock’s price. One, the market could get over diluted, and the price drops in value at some point after the split; or, the split shares could make the overall asset holdings increase in value while also creating more accessibility to ‘average Joe’ investors. Grayscale is hoping for the latter outcome.

What do you think about Grayscale splitting GBTC? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Grayscale, and Google Finance. 


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Coinbase to Reopen the GDAX Bitcoin Cash-Euro Order Book

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Coinbase to Reopen the GDAX Bitcoin Cash / Euro Order Book

Markets and Prices

Many European cryptocurrency investors are about to get another venue for investing in bitcoin cash with their regional fiat. The GDAX exchange will start offering BCH/EUR trading again in just a couple of days.

Also Read: Bitcoin Cash Added to Keepkey Wallet, Exchanges in India and Hong Kong

BCH/EUR on GDAX

Coinbase to Reopen the GDAX Bitcoin Cash / Euro Order BookGDAX exchange, a subsidiary of San Francisco-headquartered Coinbase, has announced that it will open its BCH/EUR order book on Wednesday January 24 at 02:00 AM Pacific Standard Time (PST). This will allow its European users to gain access to bitcoin cash trading directly, without having to exchange their euros to BTC first and paying a commission twice.

As we previously reported, in December 2017 Coinbase was forced to halt bitcoin cash trading on both platforms soon after it started, botching the launch. Besides operational problems like an inability to handle all the traffic to specific BCH liquidity issues, the company was also accused by many clients of enabling insider trading. The GDAX BCH/BTC order book was restored only on January 17, exactly a week before the BCH/EUR.

Launch Sequence

Coinbase to Reopen the GDAX Bitcoin Cash / Euro Order BookIn order for the lunch to go more smoothly this time, GDAX will handle the process in a measured and gradual fashion. The exchange team said that the BCH/EUR market will open at first in ‘post-only’ mode for a minimum of ten minutes before entering ‘limit-only’ mode followed by ‘full trading’ mode.

The decision to move the market from one mode to another is made by the GDAX Market Operations team, taking into consideration factors such as order book liquidity and price volatility. Looking at the BCH/BTC order book relaunch for example, we can see it took 37 minutes to transition from the first mode to the second and another hour and 48 minutes to reach the final stage.

How is the European market going to react once BCH/EUR trading begins on GDAX? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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U.S. Rating Agency to Issue Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Grades Wednesday

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U.S. Rating Agency to Issue Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Grades Wednesday

Finance

Additional Wall Street money might start making its way into cryptocurrency investments soon. An American rating agency is set to issue grades for bitcoin and a host of altcoins this week, possibly opening the door for more fund managers to enter the field.

Also Read: Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Maker Ledger Raises $75 Million from VC Investors

Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings

U.S. Rating Agency to Issue Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Grades WednesdayWeiss Ratings, a U.S. independent rating agency, had announced that it will issue letter grades on cryptocurrencies, to be released Wednesday January 24. Beyond market leader bitcoin (BTC), the rating agency will also issue grades for ethereum (ETH), Ripple’s XRP, bitcoin cash (BCH), cardano (ADA), NEM (XEM), litecoin (LTC), stellar (XLM), EOS, IOTA, Dash, NEO, TRON, Monero (XMR), bitcoin gold (BTG) and many others.

The rating agency, which was founded in 1971, grades about 55,000 institutions and investments including banks, credit union, insurance companies, stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. Unlike Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch and A.M. Best, Weiss Ratings prides itself on never accepting compensation of any kind from the entities it rates.

The Importance of a Rating for Bitcoin

U.S. Rating Agency to Issue Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Grades WednesdayThe new cryptocurrency ratings are a first for any U.S. financial rating agency. They are said to be based on a model that analyzes thousands of data points on each coin’s technology, usage, and trading patterns. Besides enabling cautious investors to better assess the risks associated with an instrument they wish to invest in, ratings also define what trades many fund managers are allowed to take part in.

“Many cryptocurrencies are murky, overhyped and vulnerable to crashes. The market desperately needs the clarity that only robust, impartial ratings can provide,” said Weiss Ratings founder, Martin D. Weiss, PhD. “We’re proud to be the first to bring that benefit to investors — to help them cut through the hype and identify the few truly solid cryptocurrencies. Our ratings are based on hard data and objective analysis. But they’re bound to create controversy, including some grades that may come as a surprise to some people.”

Will this development help make bitcoin investments more mainstream on Wall Street? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

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PR: Game Machine – Game Investments That Connect to the Cryptoworld

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Game Machine - Game Investments That Connect to the Cryptoworld

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Over the past decades, the gaming market has grown dramatically. And PC games section remain as the huge part of the industry. The increased amount of new titles, the emergence of eSports and the digital distribution allow gaming companies to expand their margin and attract the global audience. The rising number of gamers and Internet users combined with evolving tech ensures a growing number of prospective consumers. As the gaming industry reached the $100 billion mark, more and more investors are considering this promising sector which shows that the industry is bursting with its potential.

Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. has some insight:
“More people are playing games every day and spending more money on games, unlike almost every other form of media, where there’s downward pressure. Games are still a growing industry and [they’re] becoming more dynamic… Video games should be near the top of the lists of investors”.

With the popularity of blockchain technologies and the booming of gaming, the idea of combining those was floating in the air. One of the first who developed this concept was the team of Game Machine. The project can be described as a transparent ecosystem which involves all parts of the industry from players to developers and investors. It provides players with in-game items, delivers the platform for developers to present games to an audience, advertisers get the space and tools, and investors can find a worthy project easier.

How does it work for investors?

Game Machine provides the crowdfunding platform, which presents a huge amount of analytics data and interesting rating from participating gamers. They should consider this as an opportunity to make safe contributions in creating a profitable product. The system gives all the statistics and shows how many users are interested in ideas, which developers are creating. Because of it, the high expertise won’t be required to understand which project will deliver an income. Investors are also invited to the special section with exclusive discounts and sales from crowdfunding platform. Top-tier investors get an opportunity to purchase a part all tokens, released by every project.

What’s great about Game Machine is that it is already a working product. The team behind the project created an app within a year starting with only their own $80,000. Now they’ve managed to attract more than 60,000 users to Game Machine Client and more than $1,650,00 in their first Token Sale which is still active. What’s interesting that the system gave out more than 40,000 in-game items for gamers in less than two month since the release of the application. It shows that players are definitely interested. The miner is also showing great numbers, as more than 500,000,000 Game Machine Client tokens were obtained. Agencies give great ratings to the project and experts some high praises from experts, who believe that Game Machine will evolve the global gaming industry in the future.

Token Sale
The team is constantly developing the product. Recently, they had created a video which describes the concept and updated the site for their Token Sale, which will end on January 31st. After the sale token holders will be able to sell them to gamers and developers for a better price or to invest in projects in Game Machine.

More details are provided on the official site: gamemachine.io
Telegram channel: https://t.me/gamemachineico

Contact Email Address
eku@gamemachine.io
Supporting Link
https://www.gamemachine.io/en/token-sale?utm_source=PR&utm_medium=review&utm_campaign=bitcoincom4

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Blockchain Rolls Out Trading Feature for 22 States in the U.S.

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Blockchain Rolls Out Trading Feature for 22 States in the U.S.

News

This week the UK-based company Blockchain has announced it has begun to roll out buying and selling features for U.S. residents. Starting now Blockchain Wallet users from 22 states can sell units of bitcoin core from within the wallets interface and other digital assets like bitcoin cash and ethereum will soon follow.

Also read: Markets Update: Cryptocurrency Prices Rebound But Uncertainty Still Lingers

Residents from 22 States Can Use the Blockchain Wallet to Trade Cryptocurrency

Blockchain Rolls Out Trading Feature for 22 States in the U.S. The firm Blockchain (otherwise known as Blockchain.info) is one of the most popular and oldest cryptocurrency businesses in the space with over 22 million wallet accounts, according to the company. The firm has just announced that users from 22 U.S. states can now sell their bitcoin core from within the wallet (buy options will be available shortly). Out of all users the company’s CEO Peter Smith estimates that 30-40 percent of those users stem from the U.S. On January 18 the firm announced a partnership with a company called SFOX, a business that has contributed to “laying the groundwork for our Blockchain users in the U.S. to seamlessly buy and sell digital assets.”

“We are on a mission to build an open, accessible, and fair financial future, one piece of software at a time This announcement brings us one step closer to realizing that mission by making the exchange of digital assets fast, easy, and inexpensive for millions of users across the US,” explains Blockchain’s announcement.    

And this is just the beginning; in the coming weeks, users will also be able to buy bitcoin, and buy and sell other assets like ether and bitcoin cash.

Blockchain Rolls Out Trading Feature for 22 States in the U.S.
Blockchain Wallet and SFOX’s sell feature.

Trading Will Open to More U.S. Residents In the Near Future

With Blockchain having a large user base stemming from the U.S. the company’s new feature service will compete with firms such as Coinbase. Earlier this week discussing the partnership with SFOX with the news outlet CNBC, the company’s founder Peter Smith said he was very optimistic about the future of digital assets. Smith also says it was easier to start the sell option first in order to control the initial launch more carefully.

“If we are prioritizing short-term gains, we would prioritize buy — that is what most people have done. But it’s really time to make sure we nail that experience,” Smith explains.

Information on how to trade within the 22 states can be found within the company’s support for trading bitcoin in the U.S. section. The process requires identity verification and the user must link a bank account. SFOX sends two small USD deposits to your bank account and once verification is complete users can sell their BTC using the wallet. The bitcoin core sell feature is currently available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

“We’re looking to expand to new states in the near future,” Blockchain’s U.S. support portal notes.

What do you think about Blockchain Wallet offering trading services for U.S. users? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, and Blockchain.


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Bill Introduced to Make South Korean Officials Declare Their Crypto Investments

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Bill Introduced to Make South Korean Officials Declare Their Cryptocurrency Investments

Regulation

A bill has been introduced in South Korea to require public officials to declare their investments in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin. This initiative follows the recent controversies within the government regarding cryptocurrency regulations, including insider trading and market manipulation.

Also read: South Korea Urges 23 Countries, EU, and IMF to Collaborate on Curbing Crypto Trading

Bills for Public Officials to Declare Crypto Holdings

Chung Dong-yong, a member of the South Korean National Assembly’s Administrative and Security Committee, has introduced a bill to add cryptocurrency holdings, such as bitcoin, ether, and ripple, to the list of public disclosure items, according to local media.

Bill Introduced to Make South Korean Officials Declare Their Cryptocurrency Investments
Chung Dong-yong.

He explained that “the current Public Service Ethics law excludes cryptocurrency, which has recently emerged as a means of property proliferation,” Suwan News quoted him. The publication added that the legislation was jointly initiated by lawmakers Kwon Eun-hee, Park Joo-hyun, Yoon Young-il, Lee Chan-yeol, Jang Jeong-sook, Chun Jung-bae, and Kim Doo-kwan.

The bill amends the Public Service Ethics Act to require public officials to declare their cryptocurrency holdings of 10 million won or more (~USD$9,350). If the officials provide false or misleading information regarding their crypto possessions, Chung proposed a penalty and disciplinary action, Money Today detailed. The Hankyoreh then quoted him saying:

As the government is taking the lead in cryptocurrency regulation, the public sector should take the lead in transparently disclosing the property proliferation through cryptocurrency.

Recent Contention

Since the South Korean government announced its cryptocurrency regulatory measures in December, there have been several controversies and signs of contention among officials.

Bill Introduced to Make South Korean Officials Declare Their Cryptocurrency Investments
The petition with 223,055 signers.

Multiple national petitions have been filed concerning crypto regulations including one entitled “Has the government ever dreamed a happy dream for the people?” At the time of this writing, 223,055 people have signed this petition. According to the rules set by the Blue House, the government will respond to any petition with over 200,000 signers.

Recently, the lack of coordination among government departments led to the Ministry of Justice announcing that it is considering a cryptocurrency trading ban, followed by other Korean financial regulators distancing themselves from that standpoint.

Bill Introduced to Make South Korean Officials Declare Their Cryptocurrency InvestmentsLast week, some employees of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) were accused of insider trading on knowledge of cryptocurrency regulations. The agency is currently investigating the case. However, according to attorney Yang Ji Min, “there is no legal provision for punishment” since cryptocurrency is currently not a financial product, Yonhap reported.

Meanwhile, Representative Ha Tae-keung presented evidence that the government’s 40-minute embargo procedure led to market manipulation, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Ha suggested, “The government has to deal with the embargo officer and find out who leaked it,” Korea Economic Daily quoted him. The Prime Minister’s Office has denied any accusation of deliberate leakage of information.

The Hankyoreh quoted Chung asserting:

We need to investigate whether we have taken unfair profits and disclose the status of our assets.

Do you think South Korean government officials should have to declare their cryptocurrency investments? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Korean government, and Chung Dong-yong.


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Indian Crypto Traders Getting Notices From Tax Authority Due to Unreported Investments

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Indian Crypto Traders Getting Notices From Tax Authority Due to Unreported Investments

Taxes

The Indian tax authority has sent notices to cryptocurrency investors after discovering that some crypto investments are not reflected on tax returns. The government conducted a survey of crypto trading at the country’s 9 exchanges and found that more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions were traded over a 17-month period.

Also read: Despite Multiple Government Warnings, Indians Flock to Crypto Exchanges

Tax Notices Sent to Crypto Investors

Indian Crypto Traders Getting Notices From Tax Authority Due to Unreported InvestmentsThe Indian income tax department revealed on Friday that it has sent notices to “tens of thousands of people dealing with cryptocurrency” following a survey at nine crypto exchanges in Mumbi, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Pune, according to Reuters.

The survey shows that more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions have been conducted over a 17-month period. A tax official told the news outlet that among those invested in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “tech-savvy young investors, real estate players, and jewelers,” adding that:

We cannot turn a blind eye. It would have been disastrous to wait until the final verdict was out on its legality.

In December, the tax department already sent out notices to investors informing them that they need to pay tax on capital gains.

The tax notice seen by Reuters also asks investors to provide details of their total cryptocurrency holdings and the source of their funds. B.R. Balakrishnan, a director general of investigations at the income tax department in the southern state of Karnataka, was quoted:

We found that investors were not reflecting it on their tax returns and in many cases, the [cryptocurrency] investment was not accounted for.

600,000 Active Crypto Traders in India

The tax department has also revealed the number of active cryptocurrency traders in India, according to the Indian Express.

“A key factor which helped the department track the total number of investors in the cryptocurrency market was the strong KYC policy (Know Your Customer) followed by the currency exchanges,” a tax official explained, adding that:

While there are 25 lakh (2,500,000) people registered to trade in cryptocurrencies, only 6 lakh (600,000) have provided the KYC details that are mandatory for trading, and only these people have traded on the exchanges.

In addition, the survey shows that “Most of the people active on cryptocurrency exchanges are in the 25-35 years age group, tech-savvy and keenly aware of the cryptocurrency market,” the publication added.

Indians Undeterred by Regulations

Indian Crypto Traders Getting Notices From Tax Authority Due to Unreported InvestmentsDespite multiple warnings by the government, interest in cryptocurrencies in India remains strong.

In an exclusive interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of leading Indian exchange Unocoin, said “the registration and trading procedures have not been affected” by government announcements. He noted, “the warning from the government is not something the regular crypto trader would not know about,” adding:

We saw about 240,000 user registrations in December. So that is about 8,000 per day.

Vishwanath is also confident that the number of user registrations will grow in January. He told news.Bitcoin.com, “The holiday season in India usually brings in less volume and it is no different this time…I am quite confident that the volume would improve.”

What do you think of the Indian tax department sending notices to cryptocurrency investors? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

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The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Altcoins

Through late 2017 and early 2018, ripple was the darling of cryptocurrency. Mainstream media couldn’t get enough of it, South Koreans couldn’t get enough of it, and nor could crypto newcomers, who had XRP top of their shopping list. Crypto moves at a blistering pace, though, and ripple’s decline has been as rapid as its rise. Now the dust has settled and the hype dissipated, a retrospective reveals the mass hysteria behind the rise and fall of ripple.

Also read: Markets Update: Cryptocurrency Prices Rebound But Uncertainty Still Lingers

Ripple: A Case Study in Collective Obsessional Behavior

In the Middle Ages, a group of nuns in a French convent began randomly mewing like cats. In 1518, the Dancing Plague in Strasbourg caused people to keel over from exhaustion after gyrating for days. In 1962, a laughter epidemic broke out in a girls’ boarding school in Tanzania. And in late 2017, the world became convinced that ripple was a valuable commodity. As ripple’s market capitalization surged, there was even talk of it overtaking bitcoin to become the world’s dominant cryptocurrency. Looking through the timeline reveals the sequence of events that contributed to the rise and fall of XRP.

Phase 1: Stagnation

Up until two months ago, ripple was the great sleeper of cryptocurrency. Due to the vast number of XRP in existence, its huge market cap meant it was a constant presence in the cryptocurrency top 10. Traders hated it though, dubbing it Cripple, while decentralization purists had more ideological reasons for disliking XRP, arguing that it wasn’t even a cryptocurrency.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

After briefly surging in May, ripple entered into a lengthy slump. Between August and December 2017, XRP traded at between 16 and 26 cents, while other altcoins were recording exponential gains. It seemed that ripple’s time would never come. But then, on December 9, XRP began to climb.

Phase 2: Take-Off

Between December 9 and 16, ripple grows from 24 cents to 88 cents, gaining 366% in a week.

12/13: Forbes asks “Is XRP The Next Crypto Rocket ‘To The Moon’?

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 3: Enthusiasm

From December 17-22, ripple rises from 76 cents to $1.19, growing another 160% in under a week. The coin is now up 500% in a fortnight.

12/17: Oracle Times writes “3 Reasons Why Amazon Will Choose Ripple (XRP) in 2018”

12/22: Bloomberg writes “Bitcoin Is So 2017 as Ripple Soars at Year End”

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 4: Greed

Ripple finishes the year with another huge leap, going from $1.19 on December 23 to $2.24 on December 29, gaining 188%.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

12/30: News.bitcoin.com asks “Is the Centralized Ripple Database With the Biggest Pre-Mine Really a Bitcoin Competitor?

Phase 5: Delusion

Ripple starts the year with another run, going from a low of $1.93 on December 31 to an all-time high of $3.86 on January 4.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

01/02: In a soon to be notorious feature, CNBC educates its readers on “How to buy ripple, one of the hottest bitcoin competitors”. On the same day, Forbes’ Laura Shin points out that two of Ripple’s founders are now billionaires, with Chris Larsen the 15th richest man in America. Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence stacks up suggesting that office workers, moms, manual laborers, and many others with no previous knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency are asking about ripple.

01/03: News.Bitcoin.com notes how ripple’s market cap is now 40% that of bitcoin’s, raising the possibility of “The Rippening”.

01/04: As ripple hits its all time high, news.Bitcoin.com explains that Ripple Gateways Can Freeze Users’ Funds at Any Time. Ripple’s chief cryptographer David Schwartz rages hard and pens a Quora rebuttal in which he notes that “Ripple is not a gateway and only gateways can freeze.” So exactly what the article title said then.

On the same day, NYT’s Nathaniel Popper writes a Ripple feature that’s widely perceived as negative, quoting Ari Paul as saying “I’m not aware of banks using or planning to use the XRP token at the scale of tens of billions of dollars necessary to support XRP’s valuation”. Popper finishes “even virtual currency analysts who believe in Ripple’s software have said there is a big difference between Ripple the company being successful, and Ripple the token gaining enough traction to justify current prices.”

01/05: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse lashes out at Popper on Twitter:

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 6: New Paradigm

Over the next four days, ripple dips slightly, but by January 8 is still sitting at $3.36, up 1,400% in a month.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria01/05: Coinbase rejects rumors that it is planning to add new assets, scorching the prospect of XRP being listed.

01/07: British newspapers are now heavily shilling ripple, with the Express describing it as “the exciting new cryptocurrency that has sparked interest from crypto investors”. In another piece filed the same day, it asks “Is it better to invest in XRP than Bitcoin?”

01/08: News.Bitcoin.com describes ripple as vaporware, noting “Ripple claims to have signed up over 100 banks, but the trouble is none of them seem to be using XRP tokens for money transfer”. Ripple supporters are not amused.

Phase 7: Denial

Over the course of the next week, ripple begins to drop and then keeps on dropping, reaching a low of 89 cents on January 16 as the entire crypto market takes a tumble. It is now down 430% from its peak 12 days earlier and is no longer the second largest cryptocurrency.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

01/10: Three days after touting ripple as a bitcoin competitor, the Express writes: “Why is XRP falling so fast? What’s happening to Ripple?”

01/11: News that Ripple has signed an agreement with a money transfer service causes XRP to climb 20% before sliding again as it becomes apparent that Moneygram are only testing ripple in a single location.

01/16: Forbes documents the decline of ripple, quoting one analyst as saying: “You couldn’t turn on your TV last week and not hear about XRP or its CEO…Once Coinbase said they weren’t adding any new assets the pullback started. Now everyone is continuing to take profits.”

One commenter tweets “That CNBC pump is gonna be stock footage in every documentary they make about 2018 for the next 50 years.”

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 8: Return to Normal

As the crypto markets start to recover, ripple claws back some of its losses, reaching $1.43 on January 21. It is still up almost 600% from the start of December, but is down 270% from its peak. “Early adopters” who bought XRP a month ago are in profit, but the masses who bought in at peak mania are heavily in the red. The mainstream media stop writing about ripple, and housewives shelve plans to put their savings into “the next bitcoin”.

01/18: Financial Times writes how it “spoke to 16 banks and financial services companies publicly linked to Ripple. Most had not yet gone beyond testing…none of the banks who spoke to the FT had used XRP.”

Where ripple goes next remains to be seen, though the Classic Stages of a Bubble chart has some firm suggestions:

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

The reality may prove more prosaic: ripple is unlikely to disappear from trace, but nor is it likely to trouble bitcoin’s market cap, which is now 3.5x greater than that of the centralized pretender which, for three heady days in January 2018, looked like it might actually be capable of achieving The Rippening. If Ripple can finally persuade a major bank to use XRP, and not just for test purposes, it could see another surge. Right now though, the heady days of $3+ ripple seem like a lifetime ago.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Ripple isn’t the first asset to be shilled to the moon and back, and it certainly won’t be the last. When the cryptocurrency history books are written, ripple will go down as a textbook case of mass hysteria, right up there with the dancing plague and the laughter epidemic.

Do you think ripple has peaked or does XRP still have further to run? Let us know in the comments section below.


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PR: B2Expand Launches Its Ethereum-Based Game Asset Store

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B2expand Ethereum-Based Game Asset Store

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Gaming startup B2Expand has launched the beta version of its game store. The shop is the first in the video gaming space to leverage blockchain — best known as the underlying technology of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The shop’s launch comes three months after B2Expand published its first game, Beyond the Void (BTV) — a space Multiplayer (1v1 initially) Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game. At the time of the shop launch, over 10,000 gamers had played BTV’s beta release.

B2Expand’s head of communication and marketing, Manon Burgel, explains that players can buy newly created game assets through the store, such as skins and avatars. They will also be able to use it as an exchange platform where they trade assets among themselves. Manon:

“The store is one of the critical features we are building in our wider blockchain-based gaming ecosystem, which will foster true ownership of players’ gaming assets.”

B2Expand has christened their ecosystem Nexarium. They have indicated that it will include the store, native games like Beyond the Void, partner games that use the Nexium token, and game assets.

The blockchain technology behind Nexium

The Nexarium ecosystem uses the blockchain at two levels. In November 2016, B2Expand raised over US$300,000 through an ICO to support the development of Beyond the Void and the necessary infrastructure for Nexarium. An ICO – Initial Coin Offering – is a capital-raising event where a startup creates tokens and sells them to the public.

In its ICO, B2Expand created 100 million Nexium tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and sold over 28 million to the public. Those that were not sold were burned (destroyed).
The Nexium is an ERC20 token, which means it complies with Ethereum’s blockchain standard and can be managed using Ethereum’s infrastructure. Manon:

“While you can create a Nexium wallet with tools built-in on the Beyond the Void platform and link it to the game store account, you have the option of using Ethereum wallets. In particular, Nexiums can be received, stored and sent using the Metamask, Mist and Toshi wallets.”

With the launch of the store, the token takes on the critical role of currency for players to trade game assets. The token makes micropayments across international borders easier and gives users a single coin to use, instead of working with multiple fiat currencies and payment providers.

Gamers and investors who didn’t get an opportunity to acquire tokens during the ICO can purchase them on exchanges such as Bittrex, Poloniex, HitBTC, Openledger and Etherdelta.

Game assets on the blockchain

The second way B2Expand uses the blockchain is in making true asset ownership possible. In the Nexarium ecosystem, cosmetic assets like skins and avatars will reside and be managed on the blockchain, making them 100% portable and independent of the gaming platform.

Players can gather assets in-game and opt to keep and use them, or sell them to other players as Ethereum-based entities, through Nexarium or independent second-hand shops.
B2Expand Game Designer Remi Burgel believes that, once more gaming platforms adopt blockchain, cross-gaming trading will become part of the player experience, with gamers moving common assets across platforms. Remi:

“For example, a player could move their unique mothership from Beyond the Void to any other space-based game.”

Remi does warn that, being in beta, the shop could still have glitches. The development team expects to have all significant bugs fixed before general release and Remi anticipates that any remaining issues will not significantly affect the overall player experience.

In November 2017, B2Expand was included in a startup accelerator program organized by video game publisher Ubisoft in conjunction with Station F, one of world’s largest business incubators. B2Expand gained access to 15 experts to help implement their business plan, observe regulatory requirements, create appropriate designs and proceed with technical development.

Contact Email Address
manon.burgel@b2expand.com
Supporting Link
https://www.beyond-the-void.net/wiki/b2expand/

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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