Monday, February 24, 2020

CENTRAL BANKERS ARE FREAKING OUT AS Bitcoin Barrels Above $16,000 – Greenspan: “It’s Not Rational”

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from Zero Hedge:

Bitcoin just surpased $16,000…   For those keeping track, this is how long it has taken the cryptocurrency to cross the key psychological levels:

  • $0000 – $1000: 1789 days
  • $1000- $2000: 1271 days
  • $2000- $3000: 23 days
  • $3000- $4000: 62 days
  • $4000- $5000: 61 days
  • $5000- $6000: 8 days
  • $6000- $7000: 13 days
  • $7000- $8000: 14 days
  • $8000- $9000: 9 days
  • $9000-$10000: 2 days
  • $10000-$11000: 1 day
  • $11000-$12000: 6 days
  • $12,000-$13,000: 17 hours
  • $13,000-$14,000: 4 hours
  • $14,000-$15,000: 10 hours
  • $15,000-$16,000: 5 hours

In the last 36 hours, Bitcoin has blasted through $12,000, $13,000, $14,000, and now $15,000 levels in an unprecedented 28% surge…

With a market cap of around $250 billion, Bitcoin is bigger than Proctor & Gamble and approaching the size of Wal-Mart as the 12 biggest ‘company’ in the S&P 500.

As CoinTelegraqph reports, the price is likely being driven by news of the imminent launch of Bitcoin futures trading. CBOE will be launching their futures market this coming Sunday, December 10, with CME Group following on December 18. Nasdaq plans to launch futures trading in the summer of 2018 and Japan’s Tokyo Financial Exchange is preparing to launch futures trading as well.

Bloomberg has announced that brokerage firms TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest will be offering Bitcoin futures trades to their clients. Even J.P. Morgan Chase may follow suit, despite CEO Jamie Dimon’s infamous views on the digital currency.

GDAX, Coinbase’s digital currency exchange, has been leading the rally all day. The price on GDAX is currently about $500 ahead of other Western Bitcoin exchanges. The likeliest – and most bullish – explanation is that Coinbase is the easiest way for new Bitcoin investors to get involved. Consequently, when GDAX leads the charge as it has today, it probably means new “retail” investors are fueling the rally.

Meanwhile, as CoinDesk reports, Ron Paul wants to know: would you take $10,000 in bitcoin, cash or something else?

The former U.S. Congressman from Texas is currently holding a poll on his official Twitter account that asks in which form they would take $10,000 from a “wealthy person”. The catch: you can’t get rid of it for 10 years.

Paul – who earlier this year called for the U.S. government to “stay out” of bitcoin – put the question to his more than 650,000 followers, asking if they would take $10,000 in the form of bitcoin, dollars, gold or 10-year U.S. Treasury Bonds. The result thus far – one hour remains in the poll at press time – indicate that of the more than 70,000 responses, 54 percent expressed support for bitcoin.

Gold took the second-highest amount with 36 percent, followed by a mere 8 percent for the 10-year bonds. Just 2 percent indicated that they would take the Federal Reserve Notes if offered.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

In January 2017 Bitcoin Was Selling For $1,000, And Now It Is Selling For $13,000

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

I have never seen anything quite like this in my entire life.  As 2017 began, Bitcoin was selling for about $1,000, and many were optimistic about what the new year would bring.  But nobody could have imagined this.  When Bitcoin hit $5,000 in October, it made headlines all over the world, but it has continued to rise at an exponential rate since then.  My friend Joseph told me that Bitcoin would hit $10,000 “by December”, and it actually happened.  This week, the euphoria has hit an entirely new level, and as I write this article the price of Bitcoin is sitting at an eye-popping $13,899.50.

The price of Bitcoin is going up so fast that it is difficult to keep up with it.  Just check out this chart.  Bitcoin hit $12,000 on Tuesday night, and it could very well be above $14,000 by the time this article gets to you.  The following is how CNBC summarized the price movements that we have been witnessing over the past few days…

Bitcoin climbed above $13,000 Wednesday afternoon after topping $12,000 Tuesday night.

The volatile digital currency leaped 11 percent to hit a record high of $13,017.96 and was last trading near $13,000, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin topped $12,000 Tuesday night in a rapid recovery from a 20 percent drop last week.

I have been writing a lot about Bitcoin lately, and I will probably be writing about it a lot more in the months ahead.  We are in uncharted territory, and the financial community is having a difficult time coming to terms with what is happening.  In all my years, I have never seen this sort of exponential growth over an extended period of time…

Just in the year 2017, Bitcoin, in particular, has seen unprecedented increases in value relative to the U.S. dollar. On January 1, 2017, the price of Bitcoin had just topped $1,000 per coin. Fast-forward to December 1, 2017, and the price of Bitcoin blew right on past $10,000 per coin.

So how high could Bitcoin ultimately go?

At this point it seems like the euphoria will never end, and some analysts are predicting a price of 1 million dollars by the year 2020.  Books with titles such as “Mastering Bitcoin For Dummies” are starting to pop up all over the place, and there is no shortage of people that are willing to teach the finer points of trading Bitcoin (for a fee of course).

But there are trouble signs on the horizon as well.

For example, on Wednesday we learned that “the largest crypto-mining marketplace” in the entire world has been hacked

As Bitcoin explodes higher on what now appears to be constant demand out of South Korea, there were unconfirmed (at least until recently) reports that Nice Hash, the largest crypto-mining marketplace, has been hacked with over 4,000 bitcoins worth over $50 million stolen.

50 million dollars is a lot of money.  If Bitcoins can be stolen this easily, will investors really feel safe having so much money tied up in cryptocurrencies?

This hack is one of the biggest news stories in the world right now, and NiceHash has put out a lengthy statement about this incident.  The following is an excerpt from that statement

Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours.

Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

Bitcoin Explodes Above $14,000 – Korean PM Fears “Serious Pathological Phenomena”

from Zero Hedge:

Well that escalated quickly…

Just a few hours ago, Bitcoin surged above $13,000 and now, on notable volume, it has reached the stunning $14,000 level… up 20% today…

For those keeping track, this is how long it has taken the cryptocurrency to cross the key psychological levels:

  • $0000 – $1000: 1789 days
  • $1000- $2000: 1271 days
  • $2000- $3000: 23 days
  • $3000- $4000: 62 days
  • $4000- $5000: 61 days
  • $5000- $6000: 8 days
  • $6000- $7000: 13 days
  • $7000- $8000: 14 days
  • $8000- $9000: 9 days
  • $9000-$10000: 2 days
  • $10000-$11000: 1 day
  • $11000-$12000: 6 days
  • $12,000-$13,000: 17 hours
  • $13,000-$14,000: 4 hours

As Bitcoin has soared, it appears traders have sold other cyrptocurrencies to chase it as Ether has dropped in sync..

 

One of the regions in the world with the most active Bitcoin community is South Korea where so many Koreans have embraced bitcoin that the prime minister recently warned that cryptocurrencies might corrupt the nation’s youth.

As Bloomberg reports, while neighboring Japan hosts more transactions by some measures, Korea punches far above its weight: In the 24-hour period through Wednesday evening in Seoul, about 21 percent of the world’s bitcoin trades on fee-charging venues involved the Korean won, according to Coinmarketcap.com. The country accounts for about 1.9 percent of the world economy.

As Korean policy makers grow increasingly worried that the mania has gone too far, the nation could become a focus for bitcoin traders around the world. Korea’s top financial watchdog, which briefly roiled cryptocurrency markets with its ban on initial coin offerings in September, said this week that it has “grave concerns” about overheated speculation and has formed a task force with other government bodies to increase supervision.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

The Most Important Function of Bitcoin – Insider Trading

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from ITM Trading:

We are now in the tenth week in the corporate sector buying pattern shift. Consumer Services leads with a whopping Buy/Sell Ratio at $213.36 of selling for every $1 of buying, though Basic Industries and Business services are not far behind with $196.16 and $188.63 respectively. Intel Corp is the individual stock examined this week. There has be zero insider stock buying over the last three months.

Bitcoin Doesn’t Exist – 1

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from The Automatic Earth:

Bitcoin is all the rage today, and as it crosses over $10,000, a 10-bagger for the year, we should look at what it is, what it isn’t, and why it’s become so popular. Note my observations are those of a layman – which may be more useful than those of a programmer – but also those of a skeptic, which I’ll get to at the end.

First, what is Bitcoin? Well, the idea of digital money goes back to the first digits, financial mainframes. In fact, the “money” in use today throughout the financial system have long been no more than virtual 1’s and 0’s on a spinning hard drive somewhere, but the idea of Bitcoin-money, private-money, goes back further still. I mean, what is “money”? At its core, it’s no more than the most-tradable good in a given society, a trading chit we use as a measurement tool, a token recording how much value we created or are owed. Arguably the first money was not gold, not seashells or even barter, but a promise. Let me borrow your net and I’ll give you a couple fish from the work. Why? Because you might break the net or I might use it, so I need to get paid for my risk, reward for my effort in making and storing the net to begin with.

So money at its most austere is simply a promise. But a promise to whom for what? And that’s the problem. No matter what good you use, people place differing values on it, different time-preferences, and most especially ways to cheat, game the system, and renege. This is bad among businesses, banks – who are after all only men – especially bad among governments, but worst of all among government and banks combined. Because, should the banks lie, renege, default, abuse their privilege, who then would hold them to task?

In the past, over and over, groups have created their own “money”. The whole 19th century was marked by general stores extending credit, bank notes issued by thousands of private banks, each with their own strength and solvency and geography and discounted accordingly. In the 20th century, with central banks controlling money, many cities issued local “scrip” – promises to pay – in Detroit in the Depression, or California in the budget crunch of 2009, or “Ithaca Dollars” in NY as a sort of ongoing Ivy League experiment. But the problem with these only highlight the problems with money generally:who can issue them? Everyone? A central authority? Can they deliver goods? And what can they buy, not just in value but in location?

Ithaca Dollars or California Tax Vouchers are not much good to buy oil from Texas or tea from China. People will always prefer a good that is accepted everywhere, with no decay and no discount, because ultimately the money flows away, offshore or to central taxation, which makes local currencies ever-less valuable. But even if successful it leads to a new set of problems: if Detroit or Ithaca Dollars were in high demand, there would be ever-stronger incentive to counterfeit, cheat, and double-spend them. Thus from the Renaissance to now we used reputable banks backed by force of governments, through the Gold standard and the Fiat age until today.

Enter the hackers.

It’s not that these problems are unknown, or haven’t been approached or attempted before. Every generation, when they find the banks + government take a percentage for their costs to insure the system, thinks how can we do away with these guys, who both take too much and end up in an unapproachable seat of power? I mean, aren’t we supposed to be a Democracy? How can we have a fair society if the Iron Bank is both backing all governments at once, on both sides of a war? What good is it to work if compounding interest invariably leads to their winning Boardwalk and Park Place 100% of the time? But despite several digital attempts – some immediately shut down by government – no one had a solution until Satoshi Nakamoto.

We don’t know who Satoshi Nakamoto is, but since several of the well-meaning developers were immediately jailed for even attempting private money on reasons arguably groundless, we can suppose he had good incentive to remain anonymous. And speculation aside, it doesn’t matter: Satoshi’s addition was not “Bitcoin” per se, but simply an idea that made private currency possible. The domain Bitcoin.org was registered in 2008, showing intent, and the open-source code was promoted to a small cryptography group in January 2009. But what was it? What did it solve?

Double-spending. Basically, the problem of money comes down to trust. Trust between individuals, between the system, but also partly trust in non-interference of governments or other powerful groups. Bitcoin is a trust machine.

How does it work? Well, the basic problem of cheating was one of not creating fake, hidden registers of value, as the U.S. Government, J.P. Morgan, and the Comex do every day. If they asked Yellen to type some extra zeros on the U.S. ledger, print a few pallets of $100 bills to send to Ukraine, who would know? Who could stop them? So with Bitcoin, the “value”, the register is created by essentially solving a math problem, akin to discovering prime numbers. Why do something so pointless? Simple: math doesn’t lie. Unlike U.S. Dollars, there are only so many prime numbers. We can be certain you won’t reach 11-digits and discover an unexpected trove of a thousand primes in the row. Can’t happen. However useless, Math is certainty. In this case, math is also limited. It’s also known and provable, unlike the U.S. budget or Federal Reserve accounting.

The second problem of cheating was someone simply claiming chits they did not own. This was solved by having the participants talk back and forth with each other, creating a public record or ledger. In fact, Bitcoin is nothing more than a very, very long accounting ledger of where every coin came from, and how every coin has moved since then, something computers do very well. These accounting lines register amongst all participants using a process of confirmed consensus.

Double-spending is when someone writes a check either against money they don’t have (yet) and round-robin in the money for the one second of clearing, or else write a check against money they DO have, but then cancel the check before it clears, walking away with the goods. In a standard commerce, the bank backfills fraud and loss and the government arrests, tries, and imprisons people, but it’s no small cost to do so. Although there is still a small possibility of double-spending, Satoshi’s plan effectively closed the issue: the ledger is either written, or unwritten. There is no time in the middle to exploit.

Great for him, but if I buy coins by Satoshi and the original cryptogroup, won’t I just be transferring all my value to make them rich? Although Bitcoin supply may be limited by mathematics, this is the issuer problem. It is solved because as a free, open source code, everyone has an equal opportunity to solve the next calculation. Bitcoin starts with the original 50 coins mined in 2009, so yes, early adopters get more: but they took more risk and trouble back when it was a novelty valuable only as proof-of-concept. The original cash transaction was between hackers to buy two pizzas for 10,000 BTC ($98M today). Why shouldn’t they get preference? At the same time, we are not buying all 20 Million eventual coins from Satoshi and his close friends, which is arguably the case with the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Bitcoin is bought and created from equal participants who have been actively mining as the coins appear, that is, from doing electronic work.

This leads to the next challenge: why would anyone bother keeping their computers on to process this increasingly long accounting ledger? Electricity isn’t free. The process of “mining” is the recording of Bitcoin transactions. The discovery of coins therefore effectively pays for the time and trouble
of participating in a public accounting experiment. Even should that stop, the act of using Bitcoin itself cannot be accomplished without turning on a node and adding lines to process the ledger. So we can reasonably expect that people will keep Bitcoin software “on” to help us all get Bitcoin work done. That’s why it’s a group project: public domain shareware.

What if they shut it down? What if it’s hacked? This leads to the next problem: resiliency. You have to go back a step and understand what Bitcoin is: a ledger. Anyone can store one, and in fact participants MUST store one. If Bitcoin were “shut off” as it were, it would be stored with each and every miner until they turned their computers back on. If it’s “off” there’s no problem, because no one transferred any Bitcoin. If it’s “on” then people somewhere are recording transactions. Think of it like a bowling group keeping a yearly prize of the ugliest shirt. Is there an actual shirt? No, the shirt is not the prize. Is there a gold trophy? No, “prize” is simply the knowledge of who won it. There is no “there”, no physical object at all. Strangely, that’s why it works.

This is important for the next problem: intervention. Many private monies have been attempted, notably e-gold within Bitcoin’s own origin. But the problem was, if there was anything real, like a gold bar, it could be encumbered, confiscated, and stolen. You’d have to trust the vault, the owner, the auditor and we’re back in the old system. At the same time, if Satoshi were keeping the Bitcoin record and had any human power over it at all, government could imprison him, pass a law, create a cease-and-desist, or demand he tamper with the record, which they did with e-gold. But Satoshi does not have that power, and no one else does either.

Why? Precisely because Bitcoin DOESN’T exist. It’s not a real thing. Or rather, the only “real” thing is the ledger itself which is already public to everyone everywhere. You can’t demand the secret keys to Bitcoin privacy because it’s already completely, entirely public. What would a government demand? Suppose they ordered a miner to alter the record: the other miners would instantly reject it and it would fail. Suppose they confiscated the ledger: they now own what everyone already has. Suppose they unplugged it: they would have to unplug the entire internet, and everything else on it, or every Bitcoin node, one-by-one, worldwide. If any nodes were ever turned on, all Bitcoin would exist again.

Can they track them down? Not really. In theory, Bitcoin can be written on paper without an Internet. In practice, any public or private keys certainly can be. So even chasing down the Internet it would be very difficult to stop it given sufficient motivation, like the Venezuelan hyperinflation where they are chasing down miners, wallets, and participants, and failing despite overwhelming force.

Read More @ TheAutomaticEarth.com

Bitcoin Blasts Above $12,000, Soars To New All Time High

from Zero Hedge:

After slowing down fractionally in its relentless ascent after topping $11,000 for the first time less than a week ago, Bitcoin has brushed off the weekend selloff and on Wednesday morning (Asian time) exploded higher following a renewed burst of buying out of the usual Asian suspect exchanges – and Bitfinex – surging above $12,000 for the first time ever, and trading at a new all time high of $12,200 at publication time.

For those keeping track, this is how long it has taken the cryptocurrency to cross the key psychological levels:

  • $0000 – $1000: 1789 days
  • $1000- $2000: 1271 days
  • $2000- $3000: 23 days
  • $3000- $4000: 62 days
  • $4000- $5000: 61 days
  • $5000- $6000: 8 days
  • $6000- $7000: 13 days
  • $7000- $8000: 14 days
  • $8000- $9000: 9 days
  • $9000-$10000: 2 days
  • $10000-$11000: 1 day
  • $11000-$12000: 6 days

The skeptics can take heart: at least the rate of ascent appears to have slowed down.

There has been no news to catalyze the move, and as most recent buying, it has been attributed to excitement over the upcoming December 10 CFTC bitcoin futures launch.

And speaking of bitcoin futures, the CEO of ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Jeff Sprecher told a Goldman investor conference on Tuesday that that “we may be stupid for not being first on that” adding that “I don’t have the answers, I wish I knew” how the investments will evolve, he said. “I don’t know what to make of cryptocurrencies.”

In a surprising tangent, Sprecher gave another impetus for the bulls when he questioned the existence of natural sellers of bitcoin futures, or investors who short the contract, noting that much of the wealth in the bitcoin world has been amassed by data miners in China and algorithmic traders.

“To short that, that means they’re deciding to exit” the market through a futures market, Sprecher said. He decided that may not be a good scenario for one of his exchanges.

They may have a reason to do that if there are additional state crackdowns: one emerged on Wednesday morning in South Korea, where according to a Yonhap report a private association of cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea which has emerged as one of the most active trading venues for cryptocurrencies, said that it will voluntarily restrict cryptocurrency transactions with bank accounts starting next year, in a bid to prevent such transactions from being used for money laundering and other crimes.

However, contrary to some headlines that South Korea would restrict crypto transactions, all this means is that the Blockchain Association, an industry group of some 30 cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bithumb and Korbit, said it will encourage customers just one bank account in the selling and buying of cryptocurrencies.

Under the voluntary restrictions, which will be implemented Jan. 1, customers will be discouraged from using multiple bank accounts, the association said. Currently, customers use virtual bank accounts when they buy or sell cryptocurrencies.

South Korea is home to one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges, with about 1 million people estimated to trade the digital currency.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Keiser Report: Hyper-bitconization (E1158)

from RT:

In the second half, Max continues his smash interview with Jameson Lopp of BitGo.com; the two discuss the latest in bitcoin markets and hyper-bitcoinization.