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Virtual currencies, Blockchain bitcoin
nipper
post Posted: Jan 15 2021, 02:27 PM
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With key executives in jail or on the lam for having bilked Chinese investors out of $42 mln in a fraudulent P2P business, Bit Digital (BTBT) has moved on to a fake crypto currency business. We will show that the assets probably do not exist, and the business is designed to steal funds from investors.

BTBT tried to downplay the criminality. It disclosed that it had to replace Director Liu Xiaohui in September 2020 because the Company was not able to reach Mr. Liu. That is because, as BTBT knew, Liu was in jail.....



https://www.jcapitalresearch.com/




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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time." - Dr John Hussman

"If I had even the slightest grasp upon my own faculties, I would not make essays, I would make decisions." ― Michel de Montaigne
 
mullokintyre
post Posted: Jan 14 2021, 12:15 PM
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From Business Insider
QUOTE
People are watching Bitcoin prices rise as some struggle to recover millions of the cryptocurrency, according to The New York Times.
Those who lost access to their Bitcoin are given 10 guesses before the content of their digital wallet is seized up and encrypted for good.
Around 20% of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin are in stranded wallets, worth roughly $US140 billion.With Bitcoin prices increasing by over 50% since it reached its all-time high of $US20,000 last month, those locked out of their cryptocurrency wallets are becoming desperate as they calculate how much wealth they would gain if only they remembered their passwords.
Around 20% of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin — worth a total of $US140 billion — are in stranded wallets, according to the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Wallet Recovery Services, a firm that helps recover lost digital keys, told the Times that it received 70 requests a day from users who are trying to access their digital wallets — a number that is three times higher than it was a month ago.

In an interview with the Times, Stefan Thomas, a programmer living in San Francisco, said that his strategies to remember his password continue to fail, leaving him with only two guesses to figure out his password before being permanently locked out. His 7,002 Bitcoin is worth around $US220 million as of this week.

The password should allow him to unlock an IronKey, a small hard drive containing the private keys to a digital wallet that holds his Bitcoin.Former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos, tweeting about the story on Tuesday, appeared to offer to help Thomas access his wallet — for 10% of its value.

Um, for $220M in locked-up Bitcoin, you don't make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side-channel or uncapping.

I'll make it happen for 10%. Call me. https://t.co/dTumE8Cw65

Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) January 12, 2021

Gabriel Abed is another Bitcoin owner who lost access to his Bitcoin wallet since 2011 when his laptop was reformatted, losing 800 Bitcoin that are now worth a total of $US25 million, according to the Times.With the rise and fall of Bitcoin value, hackers have been trying to access Bitcoin wallets with large amounts of Bitcoin, including a wallet containing 69,370 Bitcoin worth around $US690 million, Vice reported in September.

Bitcoin owners have accidentally lost their passwords or thrown out the hard drives storing their Bitcoin ever since it was introduced in 2009.

In 2017, James Howells, an IT worker living in the United Kingdom, lost the physical drive where he stored 7,500 Bitcoin that he mined in 2009 after mistakenly throwing it in a waste bin in 2013, The Telegraph reported. The city council refused to help retrieve the drive that was buried in a local landfill site in Newport, South Wale, saying that it is against the law. Howells cryptocurrency was worth over $US127 million at the time.

Bitcoin owners have long attempted to regain access to their digital wallets. These attempts include using a marketplace called All Private Keys where people can purchase, download, and try to hack into Bitcoin wallets that needs cracking, according to Vice.

Coinbase, an app-based cryptocurrency wallet thats planning to go public this year, generates a 12-word recovery phrase or a seed that can be used to access Coinbase wallet, according to its website. Although Coinbase added a safeguard feature that allows users to backup their recovery phrase on encrypted Google Drive and iCloud, it still requires users to write down and remember their secret seed and store it in a secure location.


The scary bit is the number of orgs that offer to help recover lost passwords. What they offer "legally" to legitimate owners can just as easily be applied by hackers and crooks.
BTC was always touted as super secure. Which is fine if you don't forget your [assword!
Mick



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mullokintyre
post Posted: Dec 14 2020, 11:50 AM
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From Gold,Goats and Guns (what a great moniker).

QUOTE
The big worry among the bitcoin perma-bears is the threat of government "making it illegal"...
The latest bogeyman on this front is none other than U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Rumors float that hes considering outlawing self-custody wallets, in effect confiscating the private keys of everyones cryptos.

In a Twitter-thread, the chief executive [of Coinbase Brian Armstrong] said that his firm heard rumors about the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchins plans to introduce fresh rules for self-custody wallets by the end of his term.

The open nature of cryptocurrencies allows anyone to create a private wallet by downloading third-party software on their computers/smartphones or through hardware devices that store digital assets. These types of self-custodial solutions come cheaper than traditional financial services and they ensure privacy.
Those rumors are apparently valid since Mnuchin received a letter from four Congressmen imploring him not to do such a monumentally stupid thing.
Davidson et.al. make the very salient point that a move like this would be crippling to the burgeoning cryptocurrency, decentralized finance world.

Its a stunningly well-written letter that shows a level of understanding about crypto that one simply wouldnt expect from a Congressman. But, hey, Ill take the pleasant surprise.

Now, by the same token, Davidson is talking to one of the ultimate oligarchs holding one of the most powerful offices in the world. Mnuchin, like the rest of the world-be world governors, sees the threat to central-bank issued currencies and doesnt like the competition.

So many who have argued that Bitcoin would eventually just be made illegal have done so on, at best, sophomoric grounds, ignoring the practicality of how the internet functions, etc.

Ive already addressed these arguments in the past, c.f. Bitcoin vs. The Man published back in August.

With Stock to Flow rising, meaning the rate of inflation is falling while the total hoarded pile is rising, marginal demand can easily push prices to levels that make even the most ardent bitcoin bull blush.

Governments are, as I said earlier, in a Catch-22. If they ban bitcoin demand goes underground, people simply buy and hold it. They acquire it however they can and new technologies come in (decentralized exchanges) come in to replace current ones (Coinbase).

If they dont ban it then they allow the demand for it as a store of value and financial asset to flourish. It exists in a gray-area where you can use it but you really dont want to. That allows another relief valve for capital to exit the dying debt-based system and wait for the storm to pass.

Either way, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies win.

The Davidson Fours letter acknowledges this basic understanding. Trying to make holding your private keys to your cryptos illegal will simply drive capital away from the U.S.

Now, if Mnuchin is a good little Davos Man than that is exactly what he must do because thats their plan, man.

If he isnt and hes just your garden-variety clueless regulator then making such a move would be another classic case of what Ill now call the Melinda Gates Syndrome We Didnt Think Through the Economic Implications of our Actions.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle, Im sure.

But like I said at the outset, this is all a bogeyman in the end. If Mnuchin falls into the authoritarian trap of trying to ban self-custody wallets he will set off two firestorms.

The first is to drive even more of the existing stock of bitcoins underground, and likely into privacy coins or onto distributed exchanges where the capital will never be found nor clawed back.

That will ultimately drive the price straight through the $20,000 level and set it on a path to much higher, headline-grabbing levels.

The second will be to re-engage the normies because of this who have already began rushing into this space in a big way especially after the insanity of 2020.


So, while Mnuchin may make it really difficult for people to get their coins off of Coinbase or any other approved KYC/AML-compliant on-ramp, most people really wont care.

And all hes doing is making the people who are building the systems to challenge his Authoritah! even more well-capitalized.

So, even if the worst comes to pass what will happen will not blunt the rise of the private currency markets.

Remember folks capital flows to where it is treated best. And if Mnuchin treats U.S. savers this poorly, which I expect him to try to do, then he will ensure Davidsons predictions come true.

It is for this reason that he wont dare do it. Because while this is being discussed at the highest levels of government everyday another major player on Wall St. takes the plunge into the world of Bitcoin.

This week it was Mass Mutual who put in another $100 million of its treasury into bitcoin. Even J.P. Morgan strategists are admitting whats happening here.

In a note earlier in the week they noted:
Institutional investors flocking to bitcoin could put downward pressure on gold in the longer-term, according to a group of JPMorgan strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou.

In a Tuesday note, they said that bitcoins near-term price is skewed to the downside, while gold looks more positive. However, they see the medium- to longer-term trending in the opposite direction.

The adoption of bitcoin by institutional investors has only begun, while for gold its adoption by institutional investors is very advanced, JPMorgan said. If this medium to longer term thesis proves right, the price of gold would suffer from a structural flow headwind over the coming years.

its part of a much longer article that is well worth the read.
Mick



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Said 'Thanks' for this post: Mork  royco  lgrif  
 
nipper
post Posted: Dec 12 2020, 09:53 AM
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In Reply To: mullokintyre's post @ Dec 12 2020, 09:30 AM

QUOTE
In fact, how this new entrant into the world of cryptos work is remarkably like how Certificates of Deposits operate, only with a higher (much higher ... 8%) interest rate.

sounds too good to be true.



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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time." - Dr John Hussman

"If I had even the slightest grasp upon my own faculties, I would not make essays, I would make decisions." ― Michel de Montaigne
 
mullokintyre
post Posted: Dec 12 2020, 09:30 AM
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And now, a word from the anti BTC folk.
I have no skin in the game, I don't own Virtual Currencies (yet), so don't have an opinion one way or another (yet).
From Zero Hedge

QUOTE
When Bitcoin launched in 2009, it promised to usher in a new era in digital finance. The decentralized nature of the currency offered investors the vision of transparency, security and, above all, profitability. The fact that the chains of onerous regulations and perpetual volatility no longer shackled crypto currency investors, meant freedom to pursue efficiencies on digital exchanges unlike that existing in traditional stock or currency exchanges.
Unfortunately, Bitcoin and many of its peer cryptos have failed to deliver. Perhaps its time to take a fresh look at how investors view cryptocurrencies as part of an investment portfolio.
Since their inception, cryptocurrencies have had their share of woes. Misfortunes, misadventure, missteps and regulatory hurdles have all conspired to dissuade investors from making cryptos a mainstream of their portfolios like ETFs or Mutual Funds.

Several years ago, hackers stole 740,000 Bitcoins, valued at approximately $3 billion today, from one the first Bitcoin exchanges, Mt. Gox. Cryptocurrency hacks and heists havent yet stopped since then. Last year (2019) was one of the worst years for cryptocurrency security. Hackers struck 12 major crypto exchanges that year, making away with more than $292 million in investor funds.
Sadly, unlike Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), crypto investors dont enjoy any form of deposit protection. Once a hacker makes off with your money, more likely than not, its gone forever!

In September 2020, Singapore-based KuCoin confirmed that its security had been breached and hackers stole over $150 million worth of ERC-20 tokens. As recently as Nov 2020, a cryptocurrency exchange, Liquid, confirmed that it was hacked. Fortunately for investors, the exchange reported no funds missing just personal information and documentation. Sadly though, the fate of Italian exchange Altsbit was much worse earlier on in the year. It lost 1,066 Komodo tokens and 283,375 Verus coins combined in value of $70,000.

There are other stories that dont end as badly as those mentioned above such as the hacking incident with Axion (more on them later), another player in the crypto business. Though the hackers through an insider attack - did steal over $500,000 from the companys liquidity pool, most of it was recovered shortly through community involvement and the companys own actions and within a week the community managed to exceed the stolen amount and later used pooled ETH to rebuild liquidity pool and relaunch the project.

Still, traditional crypto exchanges definitely seem to act as hacker magnets!

Because of its decentralized nature, lawmakers and financial regulators arent able to monitor or regulate a cryptocurrency the way they do conventional (FIAT) currencies. Keeping that unique trait in mind, in early 2018 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission put out a dire warning to prospective crypto investors. The regulator warned investors that cryptos arent backed by the government; they arent protected from hacks and scams, and they are highly volatile for cautious investors liking.

The message from the government is clear: If you value your savings, stay away from cryptocurrency investments!

Perhaps the wrong evolution of cryptos has finally forced central bankers the world over to sit up and take note of investors plight. Even as lawmakers seek to thwart Facebooks digital currency, many central banks are looking seriously at launching their own. In October 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), in league with seven other central bankers - the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, Sveriges Riksbank, the Swiss National Bank released their vision for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The hope is that because CBDCs are issued under the protection of governments, investors are more likely to flock to a CBDC than ones that arent closely regulated. This appears to be a preemptive strike on any plans that tech titans might have to evolve into crypto czars.

Perhaps the last straw was when social media giant Facebook sought to enter the cryptocurrency business. So taken aback were lawmakers of the potential (adverse) influence the tech giant might have on investors lives, if they let it go ahead with its plan for Libra, that CEO Mark Zuckerberg met a wall of regulatory scrutiny. After intense grilling by the U.S. Senate, Facebook walked-back some of its bold ambitions.

Its reported that Libra, rebranded to Diem, is now in the works. However, given the stigma thats already attached to its prior incarnation, and with cryptocurrencies in general, it remains to be seen how Libra.2.0 fares with regulators. Either way, when it comes to safe, stable and credible crypto investing, it would seem as though investors didnt have too many viable alternatives.

Until now

A new cryptocurrency promises to revolutionize the way investors look at digital investment assets. Its called Axion, and its structured completely differently than the conventional crypto available on crypto exchanges today. And with it, investors dont need to buy and hold the cryptocurrency, and time their sell decisions like you would with Bitcoin or its peers. In fact, how this new entrant into the world of cryptos work is remarkably like how Certificates of Deposits (CDs) operate only with a higher (much higher 8%) interest rate.

Thats music to the ears of income investors!

Investors buy digital Axion tokens and contract to hold them for a specific period. By penalizing investors for premature withdrawal of their stake, Axion is able to put a damper on the kind of volatility experienced by many of its sister cryptocurrencies. And, its built-in long-term holding bonus feature encourages (and rewards!) investors who hold on to their tokens over the longer-term. This is exactly how CDs reward long-term holders: The further down the maturity curve you remain, the greater the interest rate is!

Next year (Jan 2021), the new digital exchange will support a credit card feature. By linking a Visa credit card to their crypto accounts, Axion investors may transact just as they would through their regular bank accounts. This gives it an advantage over peer plastic which are typically prepaid debit cards, and gives investors more of a regular bank-like feel.

And thats yet another crypto rethink that investors are likely to reward, going forward.


It seems that the finance industry knows no bounds when it comes to creative ways of making money (for themselves).

Mick



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rlane
post Posted: Nov 25 2020, 04:16 PM
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The global payments merchant, which has over 300 million active users, has been buying up Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies at a rapid pace. As Cointelegraph recently reported, PayPal has bought nearly 70% of all the new Bitcoin in circulation. The supply shortage has been cited as a major reason for Bitcoin's rapid appreciation over the past month.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/paypal-ceo-o...ryptocurrencies

QUOTE
According to a survey by the Bank for International Settlements, one in 10 central banks representing approximately one-fifth of the world's population expect to issue their own digital currencies within the next three years.

https://newsroom.paypal-corp.com/2020-10-21...-Cryptocurrency


Said 'Thanks' for this post: early birds  royco  
 


royco
post Posted: Oct 26 2020, 09:31 PM
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https://winklevosscapital.com/the-case-for-500k-bitcoin/



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rlane
post Posted: Oct 26 2020, 11:38 AM
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Governments are moving towards digital currencies
QUOTE
Then earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held a virtual panel that discussed digital currencies and cross-border payments. Roughly 80 percent of central banks in 66 countries, including 21 advanced nations, are exploring the issuance of digital currencies, while 40 percent have become pilot programs or experiments, including the Federal Reserve, the IMF panel noted.

QUOTE
While going to negative interest rates in 2014, the ECB has also destroyed its bond market in just 20 years from the launch of the euro in 1999. These central banks cannot shrink their balance sheets for there is no market for the debt. The only way out is to default on all debt, and they may do this by declaring it to be perpetual with the simultaneous launch of digital currencies to prevent bank runs.

The issuance of perpetual bonds would still be the reserves of central banks, with no intention of making them redeemable. The market will already assume the bonds are AAA because they will not default, while being paid interest on them like an annuity. This would allow central banks to escape the formal default which is inevitable.


https://www.kitco.com/commentaries/2020-10-...s-got-gold.html


Said 'Thanks' for this post: early birds  royco  
 
royco
post Posted: Sep 26 2020, 05:25 PM
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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/ne...siness-54261382



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mullokintyre
post Posted: Aug 27 2020, 11:42 PM
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From Coin Telegraph
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Major Korean crypto exchange seized after 99% trading volume allegedly faked
Police claim that wash trading and market manipulation by the owner and management team of the Coinbit exchange netted over 100 billion won.South Koreas third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbit, has been seized by police following fraud allegations. According to an Aug. 26 report by the Seoul Shinmun, 99% of transaction volume on the exchange was faked through wash trading.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police searched and confiscated a number of properties, including Coinbits headquarters in the Gangnam district of Seoul.

Coinbits owner, Chairman Choi Mo, and his management team are accused of inflating transaction volumes and manipulating token prices using a number of ghost accounts.

Police estimate that the fraudulent activities netted over 100 billion won ($84.26 million) in total.
The Seoul Shinmun was alerted to suspected wash trading on the exchange by an insider in May. Following an investigation, it found that, between August 2019 and May 2020, 99% of transactions on Exchange 1, where major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) were traded, had no corresponding deposit and withdrawal details.

In addition, it found that Exchange 2, which mainly listed smaller cryptocurrencies, blocked coin transactions with other exchanges, enabling Choi and his team to control the supply of coins. This allowed the management team to directly realize market margin by buying and selling large quantities of coins at certain times.

The publishing of the investigation findings was held back until after the police operation due to concerns about personal safety and destruction of evidence.

Wash trading on exchanges is a major problem for the cryptocurrency industry, with many legitimate traders lured into using low-liquidity exchanges based on fraudulent daily volume claims.


Just when you think that Technology has at last go the better of scammers, something like this pops up.
Sigh!
Mick




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