The Swiss Are Onto Something: Facebook, Libra and the Case for Decentralization

The Swiss Are Onto Something: Facebook, Libra and the Case for Decentralization

A recent letter from the U.S. House of Representatives to social media giant Facebook has crypto users speculating feverishly. The implications of the letter, and Calibra CEO David Marcus’ recent response, will inform the future of money not only in America, but worldwide. House Chairwoman Maxine Waters and cohorts took aim this week not only at Facebook’s Libra coin, but also at the banking practices of Switzerland where the Libra Association is located. Some say Facebook will kill the U.S. dollar. Others say Libra will fail. Still others suspect higher level geopolitical engineering behind the scenes. Regardless, what is at stake is huge, and Switzerland is onto something that always engenders freedom: decentralization. Also read: Side Effects of Economic Growth: Is Snowden Right to Say Bitcoiners Shouldn’t Be Bankers? An Ominous Message Failure to cease implementation [of Libra] … risks a new Swiss-based financial system that is too big to fail. The United States government has issued a letter to social media giant Facebook, asking it to put a moratorium on its upcoming cryptocurrency and wallet, Libra and Calibra, respectively. Dated July 2, 2019, the letter from the House Committee on Financial Services to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg (COO), and David Marcus (Calibra CEO), states in part: It appears that these products may lend themselves to an entirely new global financial system that is based out of Switzerland and intended to rival U.S. monetary policy and the dollar. This raises serious privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy concerns for … the broader global economy. It looks like U.S. government financial interests have something against competition, and in particular competition from a social media company working on a project in Switzerland. If the whole thing seems a little strange, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Donald Trump is best buddies with Kim Jong Un, Iran is mining bitcoins in mosques, and quantum physicists are telling us this is all a simulation. But sim or not, something remarkable is definitely afoot. Who Is the Libra Association? With Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Uber, Lyft, Spotify and 21 other companies already onboard, the Libra Association is no small beans. Such players being involved constitutes a multi-billion-dollar corporate juggernaut. The seemingly alarmed tone of the letter from Congress raises some questions.…

Bitcoin Eyes Independence Day Price Gains for Fifth Year Running

Bitcoin Eyes Independence Day Price Gains for Fifth Year Running

View Bitcoin could rise above $12,000 with the daily chart reporting a bullish reversal. A high-volume bullish breakout on the hourly chart indicates scope for a rise to the bearish lower high at $12,448. BTC could yet post losses today, however, if prices find acceptance below key support at $11,385. Bitcoin (BTC) looks set to close in the green on U.S. Independence Day for the fifth consecutive year, having recovered nearly 25 percent from recent lows. The top cryptocurrency by market capitalization rose 1.17, 1.79, 3.35 and 1.67 percent on July 4 in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, according to Bitstamp data. BTC’s Independence Day performance in the years prior to 2015 is mixed. Prices saw little change in 2012, rose 3.16 percent in 2013 and suffered a 2.63 percent loss in 2014. All-in-all, bitcoin, considered by some observers as an anti-establishment asset, has put on a good show on the U.S. Independence Day in five out of the last seven years. The cryptocurrency now appears poised to extend the four-year winning trend, as the recovery from recent lows seems to be gathering traction and the short duration charts are now flashing bullish signals. As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $11,600, representing 4 percent gains on a 24-hour basis, having hit a high of $12,061 earlier today. At that price, the cryptocurrency was up more than $2,400, or 25 percent, from the July 21 low of $9,614. Hourly chart BTC jumped 4 percent in 60 minutes late on Wednesday, confirming an upside break of the symmetrical triangle – a bullish continuation pattern – on the hourly chart. Notably, the breakout was backed by a sharp rise in buy volumes (green bars). In fact, buy volume climbed to its highest since July 1, invalidating the bearish volume divergence represented by the falling trendline. Therefore, the path of least resistance is on the higher side and prices could rise toward the bearish lower high of $12,448 created on June 26. While the momentum has cooled somewhat in the last 10 hours, the minor price pullback seems to have taken the shape of a bull flag – a pause that often restarts with upwards momentum. The probability of BTC posting daily gains with a UTC close…

This Artist Explores the Art and Politics of Crypto Culture

This Artist Explores the Art and Politics of Crypto Culture

According to the artist who calls himself Cryptograffiti, art could be a way to help the public to understand cryptocurrencies, The San Francisco artist displayed his work at the event Bitcoin2019 where he talked to CoinDesk about the impact of art in the cryptocurrency space and his work in South America. “I devoted my work to try to teach about this space so more people can understand it,” he said. Cryptograffiti also wants to spread awareness about how cryptocurrencies can help with the current economic and social crisis in Venezuela. “I wanted to learn more about the situation and ultimately help out,” he said. The artist colaborated with projects aimed at bringing awareness to the Venezuelan situation. According to the artist, the experience was “eye-opening” and helped redefine his expectations around the impact of cryptocurrencies as a solution for the South American country. “You hear the examples of people using it to flee and retain their savings but those are few and far between,” Cryptograffiti said “We are trying to have people come together and help out with refugees that are fleeing to Colombia.”    

Fujitsu Develops Blockchain ID Tech That Scores Trustworthiness in Transactions

Fujitsu Develops Blockchain ID Tech That Scores Trustworthiness in Transactions

Fujitsu Laboratories has unveiled what it calls “digital identity exchange technology” aimed to increase the security of online transactions. The tech, based on blockchain, makes it possible for individuals and businesses making online transactions to confirm the identity of other parties involved. More importantly, the identification system gauges the the “trustworthiness” of the other party’s credentials, the firm said in a press release. According to Fujitsu Labs: “The rapid advance of digitalization in recent years has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in the number of online transactions in which users cannot see one another face to face, making it difficult to judge the credibility of the other party and leading to heightened concerns around trust. With reports of fraud and instances of people falsifying personal credentials like work history and professional qualifications growing increasingly prevalent, ensuring the circulation of high-quality, reliable identification data poses an urgent challenge to users and businesses alike.” The new ID tech addresses this by mutually evaluating the parties in a transaction and looking at past transaction data to analyse the relationships between the parties, as well as others who have transacted with them previously. Effectively it determines a reputation and rating for each party and records these evaluations on a distributed ledger. The firm explains: “A trustworthiness score is attached to each user by weighting factors including how many trusted users evaluate them highly. Even if a user colludes with a third party to improperly raise their evaluation, the graph-structured relationships will reveal information such as the weakness of their relationships with other users, giving the system the potential to identify misrepresentations.” Fujitsu said the technology will enable more secure online services, with the added advantage of “user-friendly” features such as graphics that provide visualizations of the relationships between users. The Japanese tech firm has been working on numerous blockchain projects in recent years, from providing the underlying tech for inter-bank settlement, to launching a “ready to go” blockchain service that it said could provide a minimum viable product in just five days. It’s also developed tech aimed to spot problems with smart contracts on ethereum platforms. Fujitsu image via Shutterstock

Buy Bitcoin? Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game

Buy Bitcoin? Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game

United States President Donald Trump has proposed the U.S. should ‘MATCH’ Chinese and Euoropean currency manipulation, sparking a dip in the greenback’s value.  The president shared his thoughts in a tweet published on July 3: “China and Europe playing big currency manipulation game and pumping money into their system in order to compete with USA. We should MATCH, or continue being the dummies who sit back and politely watch as other countries continue to play their games – as they have for many years!” The renewed attack comes despite the fact that the Trump administration formally stopped short of accusing China of devaluing its currency to gain unfair trade advantages just two months ago. On crypto twitter and Reddit alike, commentators were quick to note that in light of this “race to the bottom” monetary policy, Trump’s tweet is just about tantamount to a “direct order […] to buy bitcoin.” Trump Fed board nominee Judy Shelton had tweeted just the preceding day that she would “strive to support the U.S. pro-growth economic agenda with the appropriate monetary policy.” In a tweet published July 3, eToro analyst Mati Greenspan affirmed his belief that the influence of macro-economic trends on bitcoin is already a reality, stating: “My understanding is that central bank policy is the biggest driver of all markets, including crypto.” The president’s provocation sent new waves through Europe, with one foreign exchange strategy expert telling CNBC that he fears the administration could slap on ‘countervailing tariffs’ on the E.U. auto sector, justifying it as a response to what the Commerce Department deems to be certain countries’ artificial currency depreciation.  Other currency strategists have remarked on the unexpected timing of the renewed attack on China’s currency policy, arguing that the yuan has not apparently been manipulated for the past couple of years.  With politicians weaponizing national fiat currencies to gain the upperhand in trade, the argument for crypto as a safe haven asset appears more robust than ever. In remarks earlier this week, Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano predicted bitcoin (BTC) would hit $100,000 by the end of 2021, citing the current climate of global instability as a major driving factor.

New Study: US Dominates Crypto Twitter While Venezuela ‘Most Negative’

New Study: US Dominates Crypto Twitter While Venezuela ‘Most Negative’

Accounting for almost 40% of bitcoin tweets worldwide, the United States looms large over crypto twitter.  According to a new thread of tweets, published July 3, by crypto data and infrastructure provider The TIE, overall 38.9% of total bitcoin tweets come from the U.S. Another 10.5% come from the UK. The top six countries generating bitcoin discussion on Twitter are the U.S., U.K., Canada, Turkey and India, the TIE reveals. In an analysis of how far that social media sentiment is positive, the TIE has found that — in order — Peru, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Italy show the most positive response on average in their crypto posts. As for the negative, Venezuela — home to Maduro’s controversial oil-pegged petro — hosts the most negative bitcoin tweets at 62%. Mexico, Estonia, Brazil, and Ireland complete the list of FUD-leaning social media sentiment. Globally, nonetheless, a rosy 59.8% of bitcoin tweets are positive — a figure that is even higher, at 61.5%, in the U.S. The TIE has also devoted some of its research to tracking Facebook’s Libra, finding that — despite an initial positive bias — 54.8% of tweets devoted to the coin globally are now negative.  Libra tweets are reportedly most positive in the U.K. — and significantly less so in France and the U.S. Both these latter countries have experienced regulatory pushbacks, the TIE notes. A third crypto — chainlink (LINK) — is also covered by the analysis, with the U.S. again dominating the field (53% of all LINK tweets), followed by the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Denmark. As recently reported, data from Google Trends’ search analytics resource at the end of June revealed that internet googling of ‘bitcoin’ (BTC) had hit at a 17-month high A geographical breakdown of interest on Google showed that for 7 days running up to June 29, the highest levels where in São José dos Campos in Brazil, followed by Caxias do Sul, a city in the country’s south, as well as multiple cities in America’s Silicon Valley.

Bitcoin Price Breaches $12,000 As Analysts Suggest ‘Bear Trap’ Complete

Bitcoin Price Breaches $12,000 As Analysts Suggest ‘Bear Trap’ Complete

Bitcoin (BTC) continued defying expectations to retake $12,000 on July 4 as analysts increasingly compare its performance to 2017’s parabolic rise.  Market visualization courtesy of Coin360 Data from Coin360 showed BTC/USD retracing slightly to $11,680 after hitting $12,025, continuing a rebound which began on Tuesday.  Bitcoin’s behavior had surprised most earlier in the week, after a bearish move downwards to just $9,700 suddenly U-turned, mushrooming into fresh growth.  Now, charts are looking increasingly like a repeat of bitcoin’s progress in the second half of 2017, regular trader Filb Filb says.  Despite uploading what he described as a tongue-in-cheek chart, its prophecy – $14,000 – would nonetheless likely come true, he explained, noting bitcoin must first clear resistance around $12,100.  Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 “Last couple days were a bear trap (in my opinion) and Bitcoin continues to look strong,” fellow trader and investor, Josh Rager, continued.  “Lots of buyer interest at $10k and see a move up over $12ks this coming week[.] One step at a time, will look to new yearly highs after $12k/$13k reclaimed.” Bitcoin’s 2019 high so far resides at just over $13,800. In future, prediction models suggest, a year-end price of $21,000 would be appropriate, eclipsing the 2017 all-time high of $20,000. Bitcoin meanwhile also continues to climb in overall market dominance, currently accounting for just under 63% of the total cryptocurrency market cap — the highest since the 2017 price peak.  The figure spells out ongoing pain for altcoin investors, with major tokens failing once again to match bitcoin’s growth performance.  Against 6% gains for BTC/USD, ethereum (ETH) remained stagnant, so far only briefly reclaiming the $300 mark.  Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Most others in the top twenty exhibited similar flat performance or modest moves up or down of up to 2.5%. The exception was chainlink (LINK), which shed around 10% in the 24 hours to press time.

Bitcoin Price Breaches $12,000 As Analysts Declare ‘Bear Trap’ Complete

Bitcoin Price Breaches $12,000 As Analysts Declare ‘Bear Trap’ Complete

Bitcoin (BTC) continued defying expectations to retake $12,000 on July 4 as analysts increasingly compare its performance to 2017’s parabolic rise.  Market visualization courtesy of Coin360 Data from Coin360 showed BTC/USD retracing slightly to $11,680 after hitting $12,025, continuing a rebound which began on Tuesday.  Bitcoin’s behavior had surprised most earlier in the week, after a bearish move downwards to just $9,700 suddenly U-turned, mushrooming into fresh growth.  Now, charts are looking increasingly like a repeat of bitcoin’s progress in the second half of 2017, regular trader Filb Filb says.  Despite uploading what he described as a tongue-in-cheek chart, its prophecy – $14,000 – would nonetheless likely come true, he explained, noting bitcoin must first clear resistance around $12,100.  Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 “Last couple days were a bear trap (in my opinion) and Bitcoin continues to look strong,” fellow trader and investor, Josh Rager, continued.  “Lots of buyer interest at $10k and see a move up over $12ks this coming week[.] One step at a time, will look to new yearly highs after $12k/$13k reclaimed.” Bitcoin’s 2019 high so far resides at just over $13,800. In future, prediction models suggest, a year-end price of $21,000 would be appropriate, eclipsing the 2017 all-time high of $20,000. Bitcoin meanwhile also continues to climb in overall market dominance, currently accounting for just under 63% of the total cryptocurrency market cap — the highest since the 2017 price peak.  The figure spells out ongoing pain for altcoin investors, with major tokens failing once again to match bitcoin’s growth performance.  Against 6% gains for BTC/USD, ethereum (ETH) remained stagnant, so far only briefly reclaiming the $300 mark.  Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Most others in the top twenty exhibited similar flat performance or modest moves up or down of up to 2.5%. The exception was chainlink (LINK), which shed around 10% in the 24 hours to press time.

Bitcoin Could See FOMO Fireworks For 4th of July: New Report

Bitcoin Could See FOMO Fireworks For 4th of July: New Report

A new report from crypto analytics site SFOX suggests bitcoin (BTC) could see a price hike on American Independence Day — July 4th.  In a July 3 blog post, SFOX analyzes the apparent impact that holidays can have during a crypto bull market, arguing that they appear to spark fresh FOMO — or fear of missing out: “Thanksgiving of 2017 marked the beginning of bitcoin’s run-up from the low $8000’s to its peak of almost $20,000 on December 17th […] in February of 2019 during the two week Spring Festival celebrated throughout China […] the price to buy bitcoin climbed 14%, from $3419.17 to $3908.97, peaking at $4027.83 a few days later before deflating back to the $3750 level.” Holiday-driven price fluctuations appear to be backed by Google Trends data for retail interest in bitcoin, SFOX notes, remarking that during the winter 2017 bull run, United States search volume for ‘bitcoin’ surged in the days immediately following both Christmas and New Year. Conceding that the data is far from conclusive, the analysis nonetheless ventures that family and social get-togethers foster first-time interest and awareness, and also offer occasions for people to gift the asset to their friends and loved ones.  Bitcoin price during the holiday season and winter bull run 2017. Source: SFOX Nuancing their observations, the analysts define the trend as follows: “At times when the market is already doing well or improving, holidays have the potential to drive renewed retail interest in buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That behavior, almost by definition, is FOMO: buying into an asset because one sees it trending upward and wants to benefit from it.” Addressing investors and traders, SFOX offers the caveat that price peaks spurred by the “whims” of “mass psychology” — unlike those driven by changing fundamentals — have historically shown themselves to be fleeting. As reported, experts have widely noted that the current market rally appears to be driven largely by institutional, not retail interest unlike in late 2017. Nonetheless, by the end of June data from Google Trends’ revealed that internet googling of ‘bitcoin’ had hit at a 17-month high.

IBM, Top Australian Banks to Pilot Blockchain for Retail Lease Bank Guarantees

IBM, Top Australian Banks to Pilot Blockchain for Retail Lease Bank Guarantees

A consortium of Australia-based financial services companies have teamed up with IBM and shopping center operator Scentre Group to launch a pilot that puts retail lease bank guarantees on a private blockchain. Lygon – launched with participation from ANZ, Commonwealth, and Westpac banks on July 3 – will collect and digitize data from a test group of Scentre Group lease holders across Australia. The firms involve hope the Lygon platform will shorten the time it takes for banks to issue guarantees, reducing that time to a day. The same validation could take up to a month if being issued on paper, based on current practices. Additionally, digitization reduces the risk of fraud and errors across the billions of dollars banks guarantee, the Lygon backers contend. All Australian retailers need a bank guarantee to secure such a lease and operate their stores. Contingent on a successful pilot, Lygon will offer access to the platform to all bank issuers, lease applicants, and beneficiaries. The five founding members may also expand research into other industry uses. IBM did not respond to request for comment. The Lygon effort represents the latest blockchain-based system built specifically for bank guarantees. In 2017, the Belarussian Central Bank approved usage of blockchains for this kind of service, and in 2018 the multinational banking firm Standard Chartered partnered with manufacturing giant Siemens for a trade finance bank guarantee pilot. A similar pilot involving IBM, Westpac, Scentre Group and ANZ was successfully concluded in 2017. At the time, the consortium concluded that in order to receive industry adoption, the project “needs to be scaled and discussed with a broader range of participants.” Image Credit: Alex Cimbal / Shutterstock.com