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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 18 November 2018 | 6:02 pm

KPMG: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are Not Store of Value [Yet] - CCN


CCN

KPMG: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are Not Store of Value [Yet]
CCN
It will take a long time for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to attain the status of a store-of-value asset, said KPMG in its latest crypto study. The Big Four firm's “Institutionalization of Cryptoassets” report asserted that assets like bitcoin could ...

and more »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 12:09 pm

Crypto Markets See Flush of Green as Bitcoin Moves Closer to $5600 - Cointelegraph


Cointelegraph

Crypto Markets See Flush of Green as Bitcoin Moves Closer to $5600
Cointelegraph
14, Bitcoin (BTC) is today showing signs of gentle growth, consolidating its incremental gains in recent days to push the $5,600 price point. As of press time, the leading cryptocurrency is trading at $5,595, up around 0.9 percent on the day, according ...
XRP “Flippening” Bitcoin Talk Heats Up On Social MediaEthereum World News (blog)
Bitcoin And Crypto Market Plummets--Dealing Blows To Ripple (XRP), Ethereum, And Bitcoin CashForbes
Ripple Surges 8% as Crypto Market Adds $4 Billion, Can Bitcoin Recover?CCN
Bloomberg -GlobalCoinReport -Hacked
all 189 news articles »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 10:26 am

Bitcoin's repeated splits undermine its long-term value - Financial Times


Financial Times

Bitcoin's repeated splits undermine its long-term value
Financial Times
Cryptocurrencies have been crashing again. Bitcoin has slumped to its lowest price in more than a year. More than $600bn in claimed “market capitalisation” has vanished from the universe of pseudo-money and digital tokens since early January. A bit ...

and more »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 10:22 am

In 2017 Bitcoin Went From $5.5k to $19k in 33 Days, Not Impossible in 2019 - newsBTC


newsBTC

In 2017 Bitcoin Went From $5.5k to $19k in 33 Days, Not Impossible in 2019
newsBTC
The latest Bitcoin crash somewhat repeats the same cycle of death and resurrection. Only this time, the negativities are more intense presumably because of analysts. Almost every prominent Bitcoin bull had pushed $6,000 as an unbeatable bottom. They ...
Bitcoin (BTC) All Set For A Final, More Devastating FallCrypto Daily (press release)
Bearish Bitcoin Price Pressure Will Resume According to These 3 PredictionsNullTX

all 4 news articles »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 10:04 am

Bitcoin Opinion: A Cycle Coming To An End - CCN


CCN

Bitcoin Opinion: A Cycle Coming To An End
CCN
People lookup bitcoin the most when prices are at its highest. I would argue it's within our nature to buy when prices are high due to excessive FOMO and huger for quick profits. That's why it is so important to be a contrarian when it comes to making ...

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Posted on 18 November 2018 | 8:47 am

Analyst: Bitcoin Will Likely Reach Bottom in Q2 of 2019, Bearish Short-Term - CCN


CCN

Analyst: Bitcoin Will Likely Reach Bottom in Q2 of 2019, Bearish Short-Term
CCN
According to Willy Woo, a prominent cryptocurrency analyst and researcher, Bitcoin is expected to bottom out in the second quarter of 2019. Throughout the past three months, since August, Bitcoin has remained in a tight range from $6,200 to $6,800 ...

and more »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 6:16 am

Top 5 Crypto Performers Overview: XEM, Ripple, Stellar, Bitcoin, IOTA - Cointelegraph


Cointelegraph

Top 5 Crypto Performers Overview: XEM, Ripple, Stellar, Bitcoin, IOTA
Cointelegraph
This week, the focus was on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork and the ugly bickering between the warring factions. This led to a dent in the sentiment, and many believe this to be the reason for the sudden drop in crypto prices on November 14. The fall ...

and more »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 5:36 am

50% Favor Bitcoin as Long-Term Investment in Former US Rep Ron Paul's Twitter Survey - Cointelegraph


Cointelegraph

50% Favor Bitcoin as Long-Term Investment in Former US Rep Ron Paul's Twitter Survey
Cointelegraph
15 how they would prefer to receive $10,000 if they had to keep it in this form for a decade, with the majority picking Bitcoin (BTC) . Of the respondents, 50 percent answered that they would prefer to receive their $10,000 in Bitcoin, the second most ...
XRP Has A Good Chance Of Taking On Bitcoin In The Near FutureEthereum World News (blog)
Nail in the Coffin? BTC.top Shifts Hash to Bitcoin Cash ABC to 'End Chaos'CCN
'I Didn't Sleep Well Last Night:' Analysts Predict Bitcoin Has Further to FallBloomberg
CryptoGlobe -Bitcoin News (press release) -NullTX -CoinMarketCap
all 140 news articles »

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 5:12 am

Huobi Exchange’s Plans for Russia Go Well Beyond Crypto Trading

Huobi exchange, which just opened an office in Moscow, wants to lend money and rent space to Russian miners, shape the country's regulations and train local blockchain talent.

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 5:00 am

Deloitte Blockchain Chief: Bad Crypto Headlines Making Clients ‘Nervous’

Hype around ICOs and altcoins “hasn’t helped us,” says Linda Pawczuk, leader of Deloitte Consulting’s financial services industry blockchain group.

Posted on 18 November 2018 | 4:30 am

Bitcoin Gives Up $6000 Support Level: Price Downtrend Continues - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Gives Up $6000 Support Level: Price Downtrend Continues
Forbes
After weeks of boring, mostly sideways price action, the new investment thing called bitcoin finally conceded at least short-term defeat and closed below the $6000 support level in a dramatic one-day 10% sell-off last week. Whoever had been buying it ...

Posted on 17 November 2018 | 11:45 am

Stablecoin Purchases Surged Amid Wednesday’s Crypto Market Drop

The broader cryptocurrency market plummeted on Wednesday, but stablecoins in particular saw no shortage of buyers.

Posted on 17 November 2018 | 4:00 am

Tutorial: How to Use CoinDesk’s Crypto-Economics Explorer

CoinDesk's Crypto-Economics Explorer is our innovative new data tool that brings together a host of data types. Here's how to make the most of it.

Posted on 17 November 2018 | 3:30 am

One Day After the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork: Takeaways and Latest Developments

One Day After the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork: Takeaways and Latest Developments

Bitcoin Cash, the “big block” project that forked away from the Bitcoin blockchain in August 2017, “hard forked” (split) into two different coins: “Bitcoin Cash ABC” (BCH ABC) and “Bitcoin Cash SV” (BCH SV).

At the time of writing, the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain has more accumulated proof of work, and its native currency, BCH ABC, is trading higher on (futures) exchanges. Most Bitcoin Cash ABC proponents, therefore, feel victorious — though many Bitcoin Cash SV proponents have not yet conceded defeat.

Well over a day since the split, here are the main takeaways and latest developments.

Checkpoint Controversy

It turns out that the Bitcoin ABC development team had a trick up its sleeve — and not everyone is happy with that. The developers included an unannounced checkpoint in their latest software release, which was distributed several hours after the fork.

The checkpoint enforces inclusion of the first Bitcoin Cash ABC block as a new protocol rule. Any chain without this block is considered invalid by this Bitcoin ABC software client. This has the effect that adversarial miners are unable to override (“re-org”) the entire Bitcoin Cash ABC chain — which was one of the potential threats posed by a “hash war.”

The checkpoint is controversial, however, as it implies central control from the Bitcoin ABC development team over the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain. Where nodes usually follow the longest valid proof-of-work chain, a checkpoint is perceived to override this proof-of-work consensus mechanism.

Of course, users ultimately decide which software they run and can opt to reject the checkpointed version of Bitcoin ABC. But this opens up the risk of the checkpoint causing another split — this time, on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain, creating “Bitcoin Cash ABC Checkpoint” and “Bitcoin Cash ABC Classic.” (These names are just hypothetical, made up for the purpose of this article.)

That said, such a split seems unlikely at the moment. It would have to be caused by a 51%-attack, and according to forkmonitor.info, it would cost around $1 million to pull off at the time of writing this article.

Future Attacks

While Bitcoin Cash ABC proponents generally seem confident of their “victory,” many Bitcoin Cash SV proponents are not conceding defeat.

For example, nChain chief scientist and the main man behind Bitcoin SV, Craig Steven Wright, tweeted that the “hash war” is a marathon, not a sprint: implying attacks are still coming. Coingeek and its owner, Calvin Ayre, similarly claim the hash war has only just started. Other Bitcoin Cash SV proponents also anticipate different types of attacks (like a type of spam attack dubbed “Satoshi’s Shotgun”). All this will eventually obliterate the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain, they say.

There is no evidence of these types of attacks coming, perhaps with the exception of Satoshi’s Shotgun. The Bitcoin Cash network did experience a type of spam attack last week, and there was also much spam on the Bitcoin Cash network around the time of the hard fork. These may have been precursors.

It is also true that the status of the Bitcoin Cash ABC network was unusual for the past day, as an excessive amount of hash power was securing it (excessive relative to its respective profitability, which suggests miners were mining at a loss). This was in part because the bitcoin.com pool temporarily diverted its hash power from mining Bitcoin to mining Bitcoin Cash ABC.

Over time, it is to be expected that the amount of hash power securing the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain will decrease to normal levels (normal relative to the expected profitability). The Bitcoin Cash ABC network would then also be more susceptible to 51%-attacks.

Name and Tickers

With Bitcoin Cash split into two different coins, there is some contention around the names of both.

What is clear is that the two main software implementations are called “Bitcoin ABC” and “Bitcoin SV.” But that's only the start of it.

So far, Bitcoin Magazine has for the purpose of this article referred to the protocol and blockchain based on the Bitcoin ABC implementation as “Bitcoin Cash ABC,” while the protocol and blockchain based on Bitcoin SV has been called “Bitcoin Cash SV.” The respective currency tickers used have been “BCH ABC” and “BCH SV.” However, not everyone uses these names and tickers.

Many Bitcoin Cash ABC supporters in particular instead consider their protocol and blockchain to be “Bitcoin Cash,” and some probably even prefer “Bitcoin.” They also claim the ticker “BCH.”

Many Bitcoin Cash SV proponents feel it’s too soon to rename anything, as they still think there will be only one chain left standing in the end: Bitcoin Cash SV, to be named “Bitcoin Cash” (or “Bitcoin”) with the ticker “BCH.”

Others have come up with different names and (especially) ticker symbols altogether. These most notably include “BAB” for BCH ABC and “BSV” for BCH SV. Some exchanges won’t list BCH SV at all. (At least, for now.)

For a more complete overview of the different names and tickers, see this article.

For more information about yesterday’s hard fork, see this article.

Thanks to Sjors Provoost for feedback and additional sources. This article was updated with minor corrections.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 4:13 pm

“We Did This With Gold”: Could VanEck Be Bitcoin’s Best Bet for an ETF?

VanEck ETF

Gabor Gurbacs is confident that the approval of a bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) is inevitable. And he’s optimistic that the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Strategy will be the first to deliver one to the world.

The director of Digital Asset Strategy at VanEck/MVIS, Gurbacs, as of late, has become a leading voice on the space’s ETF pursuit at a time when industry chatter on the topic has never been louder. If you haven’t found him extolling the benefits of a bitcoin ETF on Twitter, you may have come across his interviews on Anthony Pompliano’s podcast and Ran Neu-Ner’s Crypto Trader show for CNBC Africa.

“America wants a bitcoin ETF,” he told Ran Neu-Ner, “We’re close. It really depends on the SEC whether or when they’re going to approve it.”

To find out more about what an ETF is, what it would look like for bitcoin and who alongside VanEck is vying for one, check out our November cover story.

As confident as Gurbacs may appear, some might say the director is too confident in his surefire predictions. Historical precedent isn’t exactly in his favor, after all. The VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Strategy is one of only two proposals, the other being the Bitwise HOLD 10 Cryptocurrency Index Fund, that hasn’t seen a decision.  As for the other filings, the SEC has rejected nearly every proposal that has come across its desk, although its last nine rejections, which were made at the staff level, are still pending review by the Commission.

Even against these odds, Gurbacs believes VanEck and SolidX is poised to buck the trend, especially since the asset management firm has set its own precedent that Gurbacs thinks will swing odds in VanEck’s favor: a history of bringing institutional products to market.

A History of Firsts

“VanEck has a history of building international stock and gold investing, in the U.S. and abroad,” Gurbacs said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

VanEck introduced the first gold equity mutual fund back in 1968 (the VanEck International Investors Gold Fund, which is still around), at a time when the global gold market accounted for a little over $200 million and gold was fixed at $35 per ounce. Half a century later — and with the gold standard for currency backing now obsolete in the U.S. — gold is at $1,200/ounce with a $7.4 trillion market cap and is considered “a global safe haven asset,” as Gurbacs put it. He attributes this growth and the store-of-value status gold has enjoyed since the ’60s to the institutionalization that high-grade investment assets like an equity fund or an ETF provide to the market.

As his favoritism toward gold might betray, VanEck’s founder, John van Eck, was actually a direct student of Austrian-American economist Ludwig von Mises, “one of the earliest gold bugs in the U.S.” In the 21st century, VanEck’s pursuit of a finite, globally recognized asset is proving to be generational. VanEck’s current CEO, Jan F. van Eck, John van Eck’s son, has been a pioneer of sorts, as well, leading the company to introduce what Gurbacs called “some of the first non-traditional ETFs” to the U.S. market. Under his direction in 2006, for instance, VanEck launched the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF, a “comprehensive portfolio of global gold miners,” according to VanEck’s website.

These gold-focused products were the successors both of the work John van Eck built with the world’s first gold equity mutual fund and of the philosophy his open attitude toward fringe assets instilled in his firm’s investment vision. Now, following in his father’s footsteps, Jan F. van Eck has taken to bitcoin with a similar forward-looking interest, just as his father did with gold decades earlier.

Jan F. van Eck, among others in the wider investment community, sees bitcoin as “somewhat of a digital gold,” Gurbacs said, so it makes sense that VanEck is going for gold again in its efforts to win the SEC’s approval for the world’s first bitcoin ETF.

VanEck’s interest in bitcoin also makes sense when you consider the market parallels between it and its old world predecessor. Much like its cryptographic counterpart, gold’s first investment vehicles were originally scrutinized as highly volatile, speculative assets, suffering from a stigma similar to the one that bitcoin has faced in its brief, nearly 10-year history.

“Back then, gold wasn’t sexy. It was like bitcoin a few years ago,” Gurbacs quipped.

A Bid to Make Bitcoin Appealing

The Bitcoin community and the crypto market as a whole seems to be clamoring for an ETF. But so far, the SEC has been holding off on giving its approval.

Gurbacs finds that the agency’s rejections stem from the same set of problems that applicants time and again have failed to address, namely “pricing, custody, liquidity and manipulation of the underlying asset.”

The sourcing data for these past filings comes from markets and exchanges that are too loosely structured for the SEC to take them seriously, as the underlying spot market is still unregulated on a federal level.

“Regulators were very keen on the fact that spot platforms like Coinbase, Gemini and the like are technically regulated entities but not really meant to be brokers for commodities,” said Gurbacs. “In some regulators’ eyes, these entities aren’t regulated,” even though platforms like Gemini and Coinbase are regulated on the state level in New York.

The cryptocurrency industry’s spot exchanges lack many of the investor protections that traditional markets feature by regulatory default, such as the surveillance-sharing strategies that the SEC has said are key prerequisites for getting an exchange trading product approved.

Gurbacs explained that, in the U.S., equities, commodities, futures and the ETF market make it so that “all of the market data is accessible to regulators should they subpoena or flag any suspicious activity.”

In an attempt to appease the SEC, applicants began to pivot toward the futures market in an attempt to give the regulator what it had been asking for: a market that is fully regulated under federal law.

VanEck actually started this trend, applying for the first bitcoin futures ETF at the tail-end of last year before the CME and Cboe began trading futures (this is why the SEC promptly asked the firm to withdraw its application twice).

The nine applications that were rejected at the staff level and then called up for revival by the Commission in September 2018 took a cue from VanEck, pricing their bitcoin futures ETFs from the now-live CME and Cboe futures contracts.

But these futures draw their own prices from the underlying spot markets of popular exchanges, something that played into the SEC staff’s initial rejection rationale. “CME Bitcoin futures are based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), which aggregates bitcoin trading activity across major bitcoin spot exchanges,” the CME website states. For its part, the Cboe sources pricing data from the Gemini exchange, which Gurbacs points out only accounts for “a small percent of daily bitcoin trading volume on a good day.”

So, not only do these ETFs’ pricing sources lack a regulated market structure, but their transaction volume is too slim to guard against manipulation, the SEC’s thinking goes. And while they’re pending review by the Commission, Gurbacs thinks that, ultimately, there’s nothing novel enough about the filings to convince the SEC to change its mind.

“I don’t expect the SEC to walk back on its decision over those 9 ETFs because none of the providers solved any problems related to market structure issues that the SEC clearly outlined. I’m glad they’re reviewing and doing their jobs, but I don’t see any change.”

Forging the Way Forward

To avoid stumbling into the pitfalls of its competitors, VanEck has been careful to follow all of the SEC’s directions. In sum, this involved creating a market structure with more structural integrity than the one pitched to the SEC in other filings.

“We’ve met with regulators a few times and made sure we understand their questions, spending years — literally years — to answer those questions and build the proper market structure: what’s the right pricing, should surveillance be in place, how do you trade institutionally, how do hedge against market manipulation,” Gurbacs said.

These steps involve guaranteeing institutional-grade insurance for the fund, setting up proprietary custody arrangements with an undisclosed bank and settling the ETF’s shares in cash, rather than in-kind with bitcoin because, as Gurbacs put it, “unfortunately, the U.S. prime brokerage system and custody system is not set up to handle physical redemption in bitcoin right now.”

Proving its worth to the SEC also means that VanEck has to show that its pricing sources differ from competing applicants. To clear this hurdle, VanEck has built its own pricing source from the ground up, based on feedback from the SEC.

According to Gurbacs, the source draws from three established over-the-counter (OTC) pricing feeds from regulated broker dealers or affiliates of regulated broker dealers, though he couldn’t disclose further information as its currently not public. However, it is similar to an index that one of VanEck’s subsidiaries, MVIS, created in league with CryptoCompare. MVIS also features indices for many mainstream investment products, and Gurbacs believes that its bitcoin pricing feed subjects the fund to the same “rigorous practices, regulatory-driven disclosures and client protection rules” that the SEC wants to see in a bitcoin ETF.

The ETF Effect

The biggest underappreciated scaling platform for Bitcoin is the financial system.

Given VanEck’s commitment to fully addressing the SEC’s feedback, Gurbacs is hopeful that the VanEck and SolidX’s filing will be the first to win over the regulatory agency, and he attributes this optimism toVanEck’s “over a half of a century of history with U.S. regulators” in working to bring products to market.

Toward the end of our conversation, Gurbacs reiterated the company’s history of crafting first-of-their-kind products, returning to VanEck’s work with sponsoring the first gold equity fund in a nod to the commodities’ similarities to bitcoin. He hit on the meteoric growth gold enjoyed as a result of its institutionalization, and he stressed that bitcoin could experience a similar trend.

But when asked to clarify if he thinks that a bitcoin ETF would catapult the asset to new heights, Gurbacs hesitated. Instead, he insisted that it’s not about the price effect an ETF would have, but rather, what it will mean for legitimizing bitcoin and freeing up avenues for adoption.

“That’s tough for me. I’ll be up front: I do not like price prediction. I don’t think that’s the important part. Providing access to the assets in a regulated and globally accepted way is the important aspect of our efforts. I’m hoping that the impact is that people who previously couldn’t get involved with buying bitcoin will also get into the market; it’ll also help adoption.

“Bitcoin does not need an ETF, but it would benefit from having an ETF. An ETF would help bitcoin survive for at least 100 years. And I’m not kidding with this. There was gold trading before a gold fund or a gold ETF, but when the first product came out, the gold market grew tremendously, practically from $200 million to $7.4 trillion, and toward the end of the spectrum (5-10 years), volatility dampened and gold established itself as a global store of value — a government hedge, a hedge against global markets. Bitcoin is just like gold. It needs financialization in order to get more liquidity and achieve the status of a true store of value. Financialization is good for bitcoin. It helps liquidity, it helps adoption, it helps with scaling. The biggest underappreciated scaling platform for Bitcoin is the financial system.”

Bitcoin maximalists and the crypto community faithful might take issue with Gurbacs’ final statement. Some have made the argument that an ETF is fundamentally incompatible with bitcoin’s ethos. They have argued that instead of helping Bitcoin, an ETF would actually be a stain on the industry.

It seems that this is one area where bitcoiners and the SEC can find common ground, seeing as they’re both likely to argue that bitcoin should not be subsumed by the traditional financial sector. But Gurbacs, who holds that the “ETF is, in some ways the most trust-minimized of all trading vehicles,” believes that there’s common ground still that both sides are ignoring.

“We built our ETF so that it stays closer the core values of Bitcoin: holding physical bitcoin, providing verifiable, issued supply so there are no reserves that are unaccounted for.”

He added: “Bitcoin maximalists don’t talk about the middle ground where Bitcoin does fit into the U.S. capital market — and on the regulatory side, arguments also always go that it can’t fit in it.”

Rounding out our talk, Gurbacs echoed Hester Peirce’s own interview with Bitcoin Magazine, insisting that the demand for an ETF is too high to ignore. He also thinks that the SEC would be doing more harm than good by restricting free-market access to a sounder investment vehicle than is currently available on the market.

“The SEC’s job is to keep a fair and orderly market and protect investors. Regulators shouldn't say that ‘bitcoin is not a good asset and therefore we’re not going to let an ETF happen.’ They should evaluate whether the disclosures are right or not and let the market decide whether the asset has merit. I think regulators have made merit based decisions before, and regulators might have implied bitcoin has no merit. Given that this is a new asset class, they’re a little afraid.

“Right now the regulatory environment not approving an ETF fosters this grey-area activity. Lightly regulated trading platforms, which often operate without investors having any regulatory recourse, force investors into a grey area, versus giving them something like an ETF, a fund structure that has decades of history and fits into a proper regulatory regime and has customer protections. My biggest frustration is: how is it possible that a well-constructed, insured, liquid ETF is not ok — but it’s ok for random technology companies, with often no license, to sell bitcoin in the U.S.? It’s kind of weird. So, by not making a decision and not letting an ETF set a higher standard, this gray area of activity is fostered and the whole U.S. principle of free market competition is also violated, and the SEC’s principles of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets is violated.”

With VanEck’s current filing slated for a decision by December 29, 2018 — or February 28, 2019 at the latest, if there is a delay — Gurbacs might get his wish. Even if he doesn’t, the director insinuated that the firm will continue to wrestle for an institution-grade product, however long that may take.

“We’ll continue to engage and fight this fight to do our part as an asset manager to help the digital asset space mature. So it may not be a short fight — I don’t know. But we have done this with gold in the ’60s, and hopefully now, we’re building the right basis that will stay true to bitcoin as well as integrate it into the U.S. capital markets.”






This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 3:42 pm

After the Fork: Here’s How Exchanges Are Dealing With Bitcoin Cash

After the Fork: Here’s How Exchanges Are Dealing With Bitcoin Cash

The smoke is still clearing from Bitcoin Cash’s hard fork, but exchanges have already moved in to add support for the products of the skirmish.

On November 16, 2018, what was intended to be a routine hard fork upgrade of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain became a struggle for hashing power and chain dominance as Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (SV), led by Craig S. Wright, attempted to wrestle control over the Bitcoin Cash blockchain from its original client, Bitcoin ABC.

Bitcoin ABC (thus far) has strong-armed Bitcoin SV with its mining power and held onto its position as the dominant chain, but yesterday's showdown still culminated in a coin split that left the network with two rival coins, which, for the purpose of this article, we’ll refer to as BCHABC and BCHSV.

And this split has left a mess of potential markets for exchanges to manage. In the aftermath, they’re stuck with either choosing to support both coins, default to the ABC chain as the real BCH or sit tight until they feel comfortable making a decision either way. Not every exchange is on the same page for what each coin’s ticker should be either, and some seem content to ignore the forks’ janus-faced by-products and carry on with their usual bitcoin cash trading.

Varying Levels of Support

A handful of exchanges have announced that they will be supporting both coins for the time being.

Some, like Poloniex, HitBTC and Bittrex got ahead of the game by offering futures trading between the two coins before the hard fork even took place. Announced on November 7, Poloniex first featured futures in the run up to the fork and, since the coin split, it has integrated support for coins under the tickers BCHABC and BCHSV in the form of BTC and USDC trading pairs.

We’ve finished converting all BCH balances to BCHABC and BCHSV. The BCH market is now disabled. BCHABC/BTC, BCHSV/BTC, BCHABC/USDC, and BCHSV/USDC markets are open. Deposits and withdrawals of BCHABC and BCHSV are still paused, and will remain paused until the networks stabilize.

— Poloniex Exchange (@Poloniex) November 15, 2018

HitBTC revealed in a blog post on November 9 that it would open pre-fork trading for both BCHABC and BCHSV. On November 13, top-5 exchange Bitfinex also followed the trend, noting that it would roll out pre-fork trading for ABC and SV in the form of chain-split tokens (CST). These before-the-fact trading vehicles could be created by or redeemed for bitcoin cash at any point and, since the fork, they have been replaced with the actual forked coins under the tickers BAB (for ABC) and BSV (for SV) on Bitfinex and BCHABC and BCHSV on HitBTC.

Other top exchanges, like Binance and Bittrex, played the fork patiently, waiting to see if the Bitcoin Cash network would split before restructuring its bitcoin cash trading. Binance, for instance, waited for the conflict to die down before blogging that it would open markets for BCHABC and BCHSV against BTC and USDT.

Unlike its peers, Bittrex is waiting a bit longer before it treats SV with the same gravity as its BCH predecessor. On November 7, the exchange published a blog post that said it would default to ABC’s implementation as the main chain leading up to the fork, while also assuring customers that their accounts would be credited with the split BCHSV coins following the fork. So far, BCH remains as the only coin with trading support on the exchange, as it is waiting for further clarity before it decides to restructure its markets.

“The ‘BCH’ ticker will remain the Bitcoin ABC chain before the hard fork block. Bittrex will observe the Bitcoin Cash network for a period of 24 to 48 hours to determine if a chain split has occurred and the outcome,” the post reads.

Kraken took Bittrex’s (tentative) support of ABC as the main chain a bit further. Announcing in a November 10 blog post that, “[initially, it] will only support Bitcoin ABC.” Kraken went on to reveal that it would not automatically accommodate chain-split coins. Instead, users would have to claim these manually by moving their coins off the exchange.

“We will not support any alternative chains for funding or trading on the day of the fork. We will then monitor the situation in the weeks and months after the fork and evaluate whether or not any changes to our stance are warranted, including the possibility of supporting an alternative chain. However, we make no promise or guarantee that any alternative chain will be supported … If you want the option to preserve/claim tokens on alternative chains, you must withdraw your BCH from Kraken prior to funding being disabled on November 15th. By leaving your coins on Kraken through the upgrade, you are potentially forfeiting any coins on alternative chains that might otherwise be available to you,” the post reads.

In the same post, Kraken signaled that, above all else, it would err on the side of caution, writing, “After the fork we will not enable BCH funding until we think it is safe to do so, and we do not know in advance how long this may take.”

As Binance, Bitfinex and Poloniex’s actions suggest, in the comedown of the forking euphoria, some exchanges have surrendered to the reality of Bitcoin Cash’s network now housing two competing coins. Others, like Bittrex and Kraken, are biding their time to see how this continues to unfold — after all, the fork isn’t even 24-hours old yet.

Still other exchanges have also opted to wait to see how they should proceed, many of which have suspended deposits, withdrawals and trading for BCH until the dust settles. Coinbase announced that it will “ensure that customers have access to their funds on each chain” if they’ve left their BCH on Coinbase platforms.

This article will be updated periodically to include other exchange support news as the story develops.

Update, November 16 [20:39 UTC]: According to a tweet by Jack C. Liu,  a handful of Chinese exchanges are referring to BCHABC as "Wu Bitcoin" and BCHSV as "Astralia Bitcoin."

Some Chinese exchanges listing ABC as 吴比特 - Wu Bitcoin and SV as 澳比特 - Australia Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/mi1fXyhTcn

— Jack C. Liu [Bitcoin SV] (@liujackc) November 16, 2018
Update, November 16 [20:45 UTC]: An unconfirmed post on the r/btc subreddit has begun compiling a list of exchanges that, thus far, have defaulted to assigning the BCH ticker to the ABC fork's rule set. Among those allegedly acting in league with Bittrex and Kraken are Coinbase, Coinone, Bitstamp, Bithumb and Upbit.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 1:10 pm

A New Approach to Thwarting “Selfish” Bitcoin Miners

A New Approach to Thwarting “Selfish” Bitcoin Miners

Selfish mining is an attack on the Bitcoin network that has been known to be possible for several years. By propagating new blocks slowly (on purpose or by accident), a loophole is opened for miners to unfairly increase their profits in relation to other miners.

However, researchers Cyril Grunspan and Ricardo Pérez-Marco claim that by broadcasting the presence of orphan blocks, selfish mining can become a thing of the past.

Grunspan, a professor at Paris’ ESILV graduate school of engineering, and Pérez-Marco, the director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, have authored a report on the costs of selfish mining and its profitability, which they believe have been largely ignored by the Bitcoin community. As former mathematicians, both men were introduced to Bitcoin in 2011 and developed a lasting taste for it. The authors have worked hard to increase awareness and adoption throughout France and recently organized the Paris Cryptofinance Seminar, which took place in October 2018.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Pérez-Marco describes selfish mining as a “block-withholding strategy,” and says it was first discovered in 2012 in the BitcoinTalk Forum. Rogue (selfish) miners do not publish mined blocks as indicated by the Bitcoin protocol, but instead try to build an advantage with respect to the official blockchain so they can invalidate a maximum number of honest blocks when releasing their secret chain.

Pérez-Marco says the duo has made two main contributions to the analysis of this problem.

“The first one is to build a correct model for the profitability of the strategy that was lacking, based on the iterative games (inspired from other gambling problems) that account for the profit and loss per unit of time.”

Based on this model, Pérez-Marco says that without a difficulty adjustment, the honest mining strategy still ranks as the most profitable one, as selfish mining tends to be a somewhat costly procedure.

Thus, it follows that most selfish miners do not attack the Bitcoin network itself, but rather attack the difficulty adjustment algorithm, making it easier for them to garner equal rewards with honest miners while using less computing power.

“From this, it became clear that a major bug in the Bitcoin protocol resides in the difficulty adjustment formula,” he comments.

The second contribution they’ve made involves using “martingale theory” to compute the exact formulas for the profitability once the difficulty adjustment formula is accounted for. Martingale is an algebraic principle in which the values of all random variables are equal to each other, so the value of X1+X2 would be equal to Y1+Y2 and Z1+Z2.

“We could also derive new closed-form formulas for the profitability of other block-withholding strategies, like stubborn mining or trail mining that were only studied before numerically,” Pérez-Marco says.

He and his counterpart Grunspan believe an improvement to the Bitcoin protocol to make it immune to selfish mining is necessary. In the paper, the authors introduce a method that they claim can divert many of the effects of selfish mining.

“It is all very simple, indeed,” Pérez-Marco asserts. “Since the damage of selfish mining is done by invalidating or orphaning honest blocks to lower the difficulty artificially, it would be enough to examine this wasted hash rate in the formula for the adjustment of difficulty. We propose a way to do that. Then, the selfish miner will not be able to lower the difficulty, and his strategy will remain non-profitable compared to honest mining.”

In the document, the proposed countermeasures involve peers broadcasting headers of new orphan blocks. These are blocks that get validated but are not included on the official blockchain, and thus represent wasted hash power. Miners then incorporate these headers into their blocks, and the difficulty adjustment formula then integrates the overall production of orphan blocks.

“In this way, the difficulty parameter reflects the true and total hash rate of the network as it was intended by Satoshi Nakamoto,” Pérez-Marco states. “The theorem we proved — that without difficulty adjustment, all other non-honest strategies are non-profitable strategies — is a remarkable fact. To prove this theorem, there was a need for a proper analysis of the profitability. It is hard to imagine how Nakamoto could have foreseen this.”

Pérez-Marco believes that, in the long term, the Bitcoin network will steady itself, and no difficulty adjustments will be necessary. He refers to this idea as the “Bitcoin Stability Theorem” and says that, by using the analysis of their paper, developers can propose BIPs that prevent selfish mining and other block-withholding strategies in the future.

To view their full report, click here.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 12:10 pm

SEC Settles Securities Registration Charges Against 2 ICO Startups

The SEC has settled charges with crypto startups Airfox and Paragon for securities law violations.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 8:57 am

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Crypto Job Interest ‘Still Strong’ Despite Decline, Says Indeed

Interest from both employers and job seekers in blockchain and cryptocurrency-related jobs has declined in the past year, Indeed.com data indicates.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 7:45 am

Bitcoin Puzzle Artist’s Crypto Gaming Startup Now Valued at $13 Million

One of the bitcoin community’s best-known artists is gearing up to launch a blockchain-powered video game with investor backing.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 7:00 am

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Major Exchanges Are Already Distributing New Bitcoin Cash Tokens

After yesterday's split of the bitcoin cash blockchain, several top exchanges have already accommodated the resulting two tokens.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 6:31 am

Erik Voorhees, Salt Lending Being Investigated by SEC, Report Says

Crypto loans startup Salt and former board member Erik Voorhees are under investigation by the SEC, The Wall Street Journal says.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 5:10 am

Bitcoin Charts Suggest Price Bounce May Be Coming

If past events are a guide, bitcoin could in for a recovery rally, following the formation of a "long-legged doji" on the charts Thursday.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 4:30 am

The Giant Bitcoin Rat Is Back And This Time It’s After Alan Greenspan

The artist behind a giant, inflatable, rat-shaped piece of protest art dedicated to bitcoin is at it again – this time at the DC Fed.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 3:00 am

ECB Official Calls Bitcoin ‘Evil Spawn of the Financial Crisis’

ECB executive board member Benoît Cœuré has discussed potential uses for blockchain at central banks, but he's really not keen on bitcoin.

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 2:06 am

As Bitcoin Sinks, Top ECB Banker Makes Bleak Warning Over Bitcoin 'Bubble' - Forbes


Forbes

As Bitcoin Sinks, Top ECB Banker Makes Bleak Warning Over Bitcoin 'Bubble'
Forbes
Bitcoin prices have sunk sharply over the last 48 hours, but that decline has not been enough to convince some that bitcoin is not overvalued and headed for a crash, with cryptocurrency skeptics speaking out against the fledgling industry. One such ...

and more »

Posted on 16 November 2018 | 1:50 am

Binance Warns Iranian Traders to Withdraw Crypto Amid Sanctions

Binance is advising its remaining users in Iran to withdraw their money as the cryptocurrency exchange seeks to comply with renewed U.S. sanctions.

Posted on 15 November 2018 | 2:00 pm

Bitcoin Cash Just Split Into Two Blockchains

A contentious hard fork on the bitcoin cash blockchain has been activated.

Posted on 15 November 2018 | 11:05 am

This Bitcoin Skeptic Wants to Make ‘Stable’ Cryptos for Venezuela

Economist Steve Hanke has joined the board of the P2P cryptocurrency exchange AirTM and will guide its Latin American expansion, including a new system for price-stable assets he will design.

Posted on 15 November 2018 | 10:00 am

Coinbase-Backed ‘Gods Unchained’ Releases Gameplay Trailer

The makers of the ethereum-based fantasy card game released a new video, giving players a feel for what to expect.

Posted on 15 November 2018 | 9:23 am

Police Arrest 8 Over Alleged $68 Million Crypto Pyramid Scheme in Japan

Police in Tokyo have arrested eight men alleged to have run a cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that amassed about $68.70 million.

Posted on 15 November 2018 | 9:00 am

OKCoin Adds the Argentine Peso as It Eyes Expansion Into Latin America

OKCoin Adds the Argentine Peso as It Eyes Expansion Into Latin America

Despite a prolonged cryptocurrency bear market and regulatory uncertainties, OKCoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, is expanding to Latin America launching a new exchange platform headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Already active in 110 countries and 21 U.S. states, OKCoin USA CEO Tim Byun told Bitcoin Magazine that he is not worried about market volatility as they launch on a new continent:

“Overall, we are very bullish on the cryptocurrencies markets throughout the world and in Latin America in particular. The growth might not be perfectly linear, but we fundamentally believe in the potential of cryptocurrencies to fix what ails many of the infrastructure problems that ail the global economy.”

Launching today, November 15, 2018, OKCoin will allow traders in Argentina to deposit Argentine pesos (ARS) in exchange for cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, ethereum classic, litecoin, ripple, ada, stellar, zcash and 0x, with more being added soon.

OKCoin plans to begin its expansion by opening an office in Buenos Aires and then building up a team to support its business throughout Latin America. Other Latin American fiat currencies will be added in the coming months.

Why Argentina?

“There is a huge opportunity within Latin America and Argentina, in part because traders in the region are extremely savvy and in part because the Argentine peso has experienced a lot of volatility,” Byun explained.

“As the value of Argentina’s fiat currency remains uncertain, consumers there are looking for other options to invest in currencies that are not backed by any central bank or hard asset.”

In a recent study of the top cities in the world for bitcoin adoption, the authors found that Buenos Aires had the 8th highest adoption rate in the world, making it the leading bitcoin city in South America.

Buenos Aires has 130 merchants accepting bitcoin and three bitcoin ATMs in a city of 2.9 million people that is struggling with the volatile peso and a 32 percent yearly inflation rate.

Argentina is also known as one of Latin America’s top destinations for software development, with blockchain startups like CoinFabrik that offer blockchain development for other startups.

RSK Labs is also active in Argentina’s blockchain development ecosystem, creating Rootstock, a smart contract platform connected to the Bitcoin blockchain. RSK recently partnered with the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) to offer courses in blockchain technology as part of the university’s Information Engineering program.

OKCoin and Security

OKCoin says it puts a premium on the importance of security and calls it “the core and center to our business.”

They told us they have assembled one of the industry’s largest teams of security and fraud experts to stay ahead of hackers, and, since its launch in 2013, the company has developed a sophisticated system of security measures to handle new challenges like its Latin American expansion.

Byun added: “Preventing hacks is one of the most important roles for an exchange like ours, and we are proud to report that in the five years since our launch, our exchange has never been hacked, not even once.”

Minding Their Regulatory P’s and Q’s

The Argentine Parliament recognizes cryptocurrency as property, not as currency, so currently, the exchange of coins is legal. The Argentine government permitted the installation of 200 bitcoin ATMs in October 2017.

Byun comes to OKCoin with U.S. experience in risk and compliance with the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

In the U.S., at least, OKCoin says all its regulatory ducks are in a row and it is properly registered as an MSB (Money Services Business) with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network).

Byun concluded by encouraging the crypto community to keep on innovating:

“It’s been remarkable to witness the tremendous amount of creativity and ingenuity being poured into the market. We believe the combination of the internet and blockchain technologies will create a whole new paradigm of applications and use cases. As such, we will continue to look for the best and the hottest cryptocurrency projects to list on our exchange.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 November 2018 | 7:45 am

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

Posted on 29 November 2017 | 2:30 am

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

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Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

November 18, 2018 -
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