Crypto Crime Cartel: BitMEX, Kraken, Binance, Bitcoin.com ...

The Great Bitcoin Bull Market Of 2017 by Trace Mayer

By: Trace Mayer, host of The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast.
Originally posted here with images and Youtube videos.
I just got back from a two week vacation without Internet as I was scouring some archeological ruins. I hardly thought about Bitcoin at all because there were so many other interesting things and it would be there when I got back.
Jimmy Song suggested I do an article on the current state of Bitcoin. A great suggestion but he is really smart (he worked on Armory after all!) so I better be thorough and accurate!
Therefore, this article will be pretty lengthy and meticulous.
BACKGROUND
As I completely expected, the 2X movement from the New York Agreement that was supposed to happen during the middle of my vacation flopped on its face because Jeff Garzik was driving the clown car with passengers willfully inside like Coinbase, Blockchain.info, Bitgo and Xapo and there were here massive bugS and in the code and miners like Bitmain did not want to allocate $150-350m to get it over the difficulty adjustments.
I am very disappointed in their lack of integrity with putting their money where their mouths are; myself and many others wanted to sell a lot of B2X for BTC!
On 7 December 2015, with Bitcoin trading at US$388.40, I wrote The Rise of the Fourth Great Bitcoin Bubble. On 4 December 2016, with Bitcoin trading at US$762.97, I did this interview:

As of 26 November 2017, Bitcoin is trading around US$9,250.00. That is an increase of about 2,400% since I wrote the article prognosticating this fourth great Bitcoin bull market. I sure like being right, like usual (19 Dec 2011, 1 Jul 2013), especially when there are financial and economic consequences.
With such massive gains in such a short period of time the speculative question becomes: Buy, Hold or Sell?
FUNDAMENTALS
Bitcoin is the decentralized censorship-resistant Internet Protocol for transferring value over a communications channel.
The Bitcoin network can use traditional Internet infrastructure. However, it is even more resilient because it has custom infrastructure including, thanks to Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corrallo, the FIBRE network and, thanks to Blockstream, satellites which reduce the cost of running a full-node anywhere in the world to essentially nothing in terms of money or privacy. Transactions can be cheaply broadcast via SMS messages.
SECURITY
The Bitcoin network has a difficulty of 1,347,001,430,559 which suggests about 9,642,211 TH/s of custom ASIC hardware deployed.
At a retail price of approximately US$105/THs that implies about $650m of custom ASIC hardware deployed (35% discount applied).
This custom hardware consumes approximately 30 TWh per year. That could power about 2.8m US households or the entire country of Morocco which has a population of 33.85m.
This Bitcoin mining generates approximately 12.5 bitcoins every 10 minutes or approximately 1,800 per day worth approximately US$16,650,000.
Bitcoin currently has a market capitalization greater than $150B which puts it solidly in the top-30 of M1 money stock countries and a 200 day moving average of about $65B which is increasing about $500m per day.
Average daily volumes for Bitcoin is around US$5B. That means multi-million dollar positions can be moved into and out of very easily with minimal slippage.
When my friend Andreas Antonopolous was unable to give his talk at a CRYPSA event I was invited to fill in and delivered this presentation, impromptu, on the Seven Network Effects of Bitcoin.
These seven network effects of Bitcoin are (1) Speculation, (2) Merchants, (3) Consumers, (4) Security [miners], (5) Developers, (6) Financialization and (7) Settlement Currency are all taking root at the same time and in an incredibly intertwined way.
With only the first network effect starting to take significant root; Bitcoin is no longer a little experiment of magic Internet money anymore. Bitcoin is monster growing at a tremendous rate!!

SPECULATION
For the Bitcoin price to remain at $9,250 it requires approximately US$16,650,000 per day of capital inflow from new hodlers.
Bitcoin is both a Giffen good and a Veblen good.
A Giffen good is a product that people consume more of as the price rises and vice versa — seemingly in violation of basic laws of demand in microeconomics such as with substitute goods and the income effect.
Veblen goods are types of luxury goods for which the quantity demanded increases as the price increases in an apparent contradiction of the law of demand.
There are approximately 16.5m bitcoins of which ~4m are lost, ~4-6m are in deep cold storage, ~4m are in cold storage and ~2-4m are salable.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-1.jpg)
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-2.jpg)
And forks like BCash (BCH) should not be scary but instead be looked upon as an opportunity to take more territory on the Bitcoin blockchain by trading the forks for real bitcoins which dries up more salable supply by moving it, likely, into deep cold storage.
According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 15.4m millionaires in the United States and about 12m HNWIs ($30m+ net worth) in the world. In other words, if every HNWI in the world wanted to own an entire bitcoin as a 'risk-free asset' that cannot be confiscated, seized or have the balance other wise altered then they could not.
For wise portfolio management, these HNWIs should have at least about 2-5% in gold and 0.5-1% in bitcoin.
Why? Perhaps some of the 60+ Saudis with 1,700 frozen bank accounts and about $800B of assets being targetted might be able to explain it to you.
In other words, everyone loves to chase the rabbit and once they catch it then know that it will not get away.
RETAIL
There are approximately 150+ significant Bitcoin exchanges worldwide. Kraken, according to the CEO, was adding about 6,000 new funded accounts per day in July 2017.
Supposedly, Coinbase is currently adding about 75,000 new accounts per day. Based on some trade secret analytics I have access to; I would estimate Coinbase is adding approximately 17,500 new accounts per day that purchase at least US$100 of Bitcoin.
If we assume Coinbase accounts for 8% of new global Bitcoin users who purchase at least $100 of bitcoins (just pulled out of thin error and likely very conservative as the actual number is perhaps around 2%) then that is approximately $21,875,000 of new capital coming into Bitcoin every single day just from retail demand from 218,750 total new accounts.
What I have found is that most new users start off buying US$100-500 and then after 3-4 months months they ramp up their capital allocation to $5,000+ if they have the funds available.
After all, it takes some time and practical experience to learn how to safely secure one's private keys.
To do so, I highly recommend Bitcoin Core (network consensus and full validation of the blockchain), Armory (private key management), Glacier Protocol (operational procedures) and a Puri.sm laptop (secure non-specialized hardware).
WALL STREET
There has been no solution for large financial fiduciaries to invest in Bitcoin. This changed November 2017.
LedgerX, whose CEO I interviewed 23 March 2013, began trading as a CFTC regulated Swap Execution Facility and Derivatives Clearing Organization.
The CME Group announced they will begin trading in Q4 2017 Bitcoin futures.
The CBOE announced they will begin trading Bitcoin futures soon.
By analogy, these institutional products are like connecting a major metropolis's water system (US$90.4T and US$2 quadrillion) via a nanoscopic shunt to a tiny blueberry ($150B) that is infinitely expandable.
This price discovery could be the most wild thing anyone has ever experienced in financial markets.
THE GREAT CREDIT CONTRACTION
The same week Bitcoin was released I published my book The Great Credit Contraction and asserted it had now begun and capital would burrow down the liquidity pyramid into safer and more liquid assets.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/Great-Credit-Contraction-Liquidity-Pyramid.jpg)
Thus, the critical question becomes: Is Bitcoin a possible solution to the Great Credit Contraction by becoming the safest and most liquid asset?
BITCOIN'S RISK PROFILE
At all times and in all circumstances gold remains money but, of course, there is always exchange rate risk due to price ratios constantly fluctuating. If the metal is held with a third-party in allocated-allocated storage (safest possible) then there is performance risk (Morgan Stanley gold storage lawsuit).
But, if properly held then, there should be no counter-party risk which requires the financial ability of a third-party to perform like with a bank account deposit. And, since gold exists at a single point in space and time therefore it is subject to confiscation or seizure risk.
Bitcoin is a completely new asset type. As such, the storage container is nearly empty with only $150B.
And every Bitcoin transaction effectively melts down every BTC and recasts it; thus ensuring with 100% accuracy the quantity and quality of the bitcoins. If the transaction is not on the blockchain then it did not happen. This is the strictest regulation possible; by math and cryptography!
This new immutable asset, if properly secured, is subject only to exchange rate risk. There does exist the possibility that a software bug may exist that could shut down the network, like what has happened with Ethereum, but the probability is almost nil and getting lower everyday it does not happen.
Thus, Bitcoin arguably has a lower risk profile than even gold and is the only blockchain to achieve security, scalability and liquidity.
To remain decentralized, censorship-resistant and immutable requires scalability so as many users as possible can run full-nodes.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/ethereum-bitcoin-scability-nov-2017.png)
TRANSACTIONS
Some people, probably mostly those shilling alt-coins, think Bitcoin has a scalability problem that is so serious it requires a crude hard fork to solve.
On the other side of the debate, the Internet protocol and blockchain geniuses assert the scalability issues can, like other Internet Protocols have done, be solved in different layers which are now possible because of Segregated Witness which was activated in August 2017.
Whose code do you want to run: the JV benchwarmers or the championship Chicago Bulls?
As transaction fees rise, certain use cases of the Bitcoin blockchain are priced out of the market. And as the fees fall then they are economical again.
Additionally, as transaction fees rise, certain UTXOs are no longer economically usable thus destroying part of the money supply until fees decline and UTXOs become economical to move.
There are approximately 275,000-350,000 transactions per day with transaction fees currently about $2m/day and the 200 DMA is around $1.08m/day.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-transaction-fees-nov-2017.png)
What I like about transaction fees is that they somewhat reveal the financial health of the network.
The security of the Bitcoin network results from the miners creating solutions to proof of work problems in the Bitcoin protocol and being rewarded from the (1) coinbase reward which is a form of inflation and (2) transaction fees which is a form of usage fee.
The higher the transaction fees then the greater implied value the Bitcoin network provides because users are willing to pay more for it.
I am highly skeptical of blockchains which have very low transaction fees. By Internet bubble analogy, Pets.com may have millions of page views but I am more interested in EBITDA.
DEVELOPERS
Bitcoin and blockchain programming is not an easy skill to acquire and master. Most developers who have the skill are also financially independent now and can work on whatever they want.
The best of the best work through the Bitcoin Core process. After all, if you are a world class mountain climber then you do not hang out in the MacDonalds play pen but instead climb Mount Everest because that is where the challenge is.
However, there are many talented developers who work in other areas besides the protocol. Wallet maintainers, exchange operators, payment processors, etc. all need competent developers to help build their businesses.
Consequently, there is a huge shortage of competent developers. This is probably the largest single scalability constraint for the ecosystem.
Nevertheless, the Bitcoin ecosystem is healthier than ever before.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-ecosystem.jpg)(/images/bitcoin-ecosystem-small.jpg)
SETTLEMENT CURRENCY
There are no significant global reserve settlement currency use cases for Bitcoin yet.
Perhaps the closest is Blockstream's Strong Federations via Liquid.
PRICE
There is a tremendous amount of disagreement in the marketplace about the value proposition of Bitcoin. Price discovery for this asset will be intense and likely take many cycles of which this is the fourth.
Since the supply is known the exchange rate of Bitcoins is composed of (1) transactional demand and (2) speculative demand.
Interestingly, the price elasticity of demand for the transactional demand component is irrelevant to the price. This makes for very interesting dynamics!
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-speculation.jpg)
On 4 May 2017, Lightspeed Venture Partners partner Jeremy Liew who was among the early Facebook investors and the first Snapchat investor laid out their case for bitcoin exploding to $500,000 by 2030.
On 2 November 2017, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-02/blankfein-says-don-t-dismiss-bitcoin-while-still-pondering-value)said, "Now we have paper that is just backed by fiat...Maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus."
On 12 Sep 2017, JP Morgan CEO called Bitcoin a 'fraud' but conceded that "(http://fortune.com/2017/09/12/jamie-dimon-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-fraud-buy/)Bitcoin could reach $100,000".
Thus, it is no surprise that the Bitcoin chart looks like a ferret on meth when there are such widely varying opinions on its value proposition.
I have been around this space for a long time. In my opinion, those who scoffed at the thought of $1 BTC, $10 BTC (Professor Bitcorn!), $100 BTC, $1,000 BTC are scoffing at $10,000 BTC and will scoff at $100,000 BTC, $1,000,000 BTC and even $10,000,000 BTC.
Interestingly, the people who understand it the best seem to think its financial dominance is destiny.
Meanwhile, those who understand it the least make emotionally charged, intellectually incoherent bearish arguments. A tremendous example of worldwide cognitive dissonance with regards to sound money, technology and the role or power of the State.
Consequently, I like looking at the 200 day moving average to filter out the daily noise and see the long-term trend.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-price-200dma-nov-2017.png)
Well, that chart of the long-term trend is pretty obvious and hard to dispute. Bitcoin is in a massive secular bull market.
The 200 day moving average is around $4,001 and rising about $30 per day.
So, what do some proforma situations look like where Bitcoin may be undervalued, average valued and overvalued? No, these are not prognostications.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-price-pro-forma.png)
Maybe Jamie Dimon is not so off his rocker after all with a $100,000 price prediction.
We are in a very unique period of human history where the collective globe is rethinking what money is and Bitcoin is in the ring battling for complete domination. Is or will it be fit for purpose?
As I have said many times before, if Bitcoin is fit for this purpose then this is the largest wealth transfer in the history of the world.
CONCLUSION
Well, this has been a brief analysis of where I think Bitcoin is at the end of November 2017.
The seven network effects are taking root extremely fast and exponentially reinforcing each other. The technological dominance of Bitcoin is unrivaled.
The world is rethinking what money is. Even CEOs of the largest banks and partners of the largest VC funds are honing in on Bitcoin's beacon.
While no one has a crystal ball; when I look in mine I see Bitcoin's future being very bright.
Currently, almost everyone who has bought Bitcoin and hodled is sitting on unrealized gains as measured in fiat currency. That is, after all, what uncharted territory with daily all-time highs do!
But perhaps there is a larger lesson to be learned here.
Riches are getting increasingly slippery because no one has a reliable defined tool to measure them with. Times like these require incredible amounts of humility and intelligence guided by macro instincts.
Perhaps everyone should start keeping books in three numéraires: USD, gold and Bitcoin.
Both gold and Bitcoin have never been worth nothing. But USD is a fiat currency and there are thousands of those in the fiat currency graveyard. How low can the world reserve currency go?
After all, what is the risk-free asset? And, whatever it is, in The Great Credit Contraction you want it!
What do you think? Disagree with some of my arguments or assertions? Please, eviscerate them on Twitter or in the comments!
submitted by bitcoinknowledge to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

US Bitcoin traders who identify as users are under siege. Do you have the same issue in your country?

As a bitcoin trader myself, I follow all the news of us trader arrests. These fall into two categories. First, the user did something otherwise unlawful such as trafficking drugs or committing money laundering and was charged with "operating an unlicensed money servicing business" and "conspiracy for agreeing to distribute controlled dangerous substances". In these types of cases I agree that the user should be punished for conspiracy to distribute drugs and money laundering. The second type of case that is becoming far more prevalent now is where the bitcoin user has simply made sales and purchases of bitcoin for his or her own account. These users are still charged with "Operating an unlicensed money services business."
This I do not agree with at all because FIN-2008-G008 declared that "When a broker or dealer in currency or other commodities accepts and transmits funds solely for the purpose of effecting a bona fide purchase or sale of currency or other commodities for or with a customer, such person is not engaged as a business in the transfer of funds, and is not acting as a money transmitter as that term is defined in our regulations.8 In such circumstances, the transmission of funds is a fundamental element of the actual transaction necessary to execute the contract for the purchase or sale of the currency or the other commodity. The transmission of funds is not a separate and discrete service provided in addition to the underlying transaction. It is a necessary and integral part of the transaction."
This determination was reiterated in subsequent guidance FIN-2013-G001 & response FIN-2014-R002. Simply put a bitcoin user who only purchases or sells bitcoin of his own account to or from a customer is not a money transmitter.
Most simple bitcoin traders operate under this guidance and are simply flabbergasted when confronted with charges for operating an "unlicensed money services business" or "operating an unlicensed bitcoin exchange". When the government makes their case the conveniently only quote the portion of the rule that states " An exchanger is a person engaged as a business in theexchange of virtual currency for real currency, funds, or other virtual currency". [FIN-2013-G001] Except that it is clearly explained in FIN-2008-G008 that "When a broker or dealer in currency or other commodities accepts and transmits funds solely for the purpose of effecting a bona fide purchase or sale of currency or other commodities for or with a customer, such person is not engaged as a business in the transfer of funds, and is not acting as a money transmitter as that term is defined in our regulations." This is carried forward and reiterated in FIN-2013-G001 where it states "In 2008, FinCEN issued guidance stating that as long as a broker or dealer in real currency or other commodities accepts and transmits funds solely for the purpose of effecting a bona fide purchase or sale of the real currency or other commodities for or with a customer, such person is not acting as a money transmitter under the regulations. However, if the broker or dealer transfers funds between a customer and a third party that is not part of the currency or commodity transaction, such transmission of funds is no longer a fundamental element of the actual transaction necessary to execute the contract for the purchase or sale of the currency or the other commodity. This scenario is, therefore, money transmission. Examples include, in part, (1) the transfer of funds between a customer and a third party by permitting a third party to fund a customer’s account; (2) the transfer of value from a customer’s currency or commodity position to the account of another customer; or (3) the closing out of a customer’s currency or commodity position, with a transfer of proceeds to a third party. Since the definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies, the same rules apply to brokers and dealers of e-currency and e-precious metals.
A simple way to think about the definition of a money transmitter is that a money transmitter typically collects funds from one customer and transmits those funds to another customer via its agents in a remote location. So A western Union agent for example collects $100 from Bob Smith in Iowa and deposits this money into its Bank of America Account. Peggy Sue in Ohio goes to a western union agent where the agent prints out a check from western union or gets an ach credit into its business checking account from Bank of America and pays out a portion of the received funds to Peggy Sue. Western Union is transmitting money by accepting it from agent A and transmitting it to agent B for further credit to Peggy Sue. So let's think about this in terms of bitcoin. Bitcoin is a centralized ledger of funds for each public key or "account". If I have 0.05 bitcoin in account 1001 and I want to pay my landlord 0.05 bitcoin rent,I send the bitcoin to account 1002. All this does is make a notation on the blockchain that account 1001 now has 0 bitcoin and account 1002 now has 0.05 bitcoin. This is simplified a bit so you programmers out there don't cringe over the details of constructing a bitcoin transaction, inputs, and outputs. Suffice it to say, that sending my landlord who is standing next to me, 0.05 bitcoin, does not make me a money transmitter any more than paying him with my VISA card. In fact in both cases we could consider VISA or bitcoin a money transmitter since they take funds from person A and transmit them to person B via their agents. In VISA's case the party's banks are the agents, while in bitcoin's example the agents could be the wallet program on each phone or computer that reads the person's wallet or account balance.
Circle back to our friendly traders under siege. No, not the criminals slinging drugs, they knowingly committed their actions. I'm speaking about the bitcoin users, only selling or purchasing bitcoins from their own account to or from a customer. These traders haven't committed an offenses at all according to fincen's directions. What does the government do? Do they engage in a public information campaign to inform these traders of their rights and responsibilities? Do they create a new MSB category for digital currency and define rules and responsibilities for a virtual currency trader? No, instead they try to mislead traders in these cases where a secondary offense such as drug trafficking hasn't been committed. "You have got to be kidding me. Right?" No, I'm really not. If you start reading into these cases you'll find literally hundreds of examples of agents encouraging traders to send bitcoin to a trader in Africa for example so that trader can disburse local currency to a friend. Agents buying bitcoin for less than $10,000 USD without ID and considering this illegal behavior in the indictment! Remember a user doesn't need to report any transaction unless it exceeds $10,000 USD if it is part of his trade or business. If an auto worker who is a casual user that only trades bitcoin 3 times a year sold his for Christmas money to a friend, he wouldn't even need to report the $15,000 sale. But most traders who trade on a daily basis or do it for a living will need to file either an IRS 8300 or a Fincen CTR. Such agents who approach these casual traders entice them with inflated rates and use such phrases as "I'm going to make you rich!'". And they often ask questions about limits and regulations that don't apply to the bitcoin user. They consider all responses as violations of the money transmitter regulations that aren't supposed to apply.
So what is a trader to do? You have two choices. You can follow the law literally as most have done and have countless agents come and test you...and then worry about being arrested on charges that don't even apply to you except when acting unlawfully when strongly encouraged or even elicited under duress in some cases by government agents. Or you can falsely claim you are a money transmitter and follow those rules.
On my own personal journey I decided in October of 2014 to register with Fincen because I saw that one of my suppliers had done so on his website. I asked him about it and he said it was a precautionary measure. I asked around and I was told by many that I had to select money transmitter and other and write in bitcoin trader because there was no selection for bitcoin trader. This in spite of not being a money transmitter. After I had registered I received a call from a man in "Internal Revenue" in Boston about my registration. He asked me about my bitcoin trading and then he said he had to consult with a supervisor. About 15 minutes later he returned my call and told me, "You are not a money transmitter, so I don't need anything from you." A couple months after that, I received a call from Key Bank's compliance office in Cleveland. They had detected my registration as a money transmitter with Fincen and wanted to ask me a few questions. After questioning me, the lady told me that she previously worked for fincen and that I was not an MSB. Key bank had me sign an affidavit that I wouldn't perform any money services businesses activities such as cashing checks for profit, transmitting money, issue money orders, or create gift cards. This compliance officer understood that I was not an exchange in any way and that I only purchased and sold bitcoin of my own account. She understood I didn't hold funds for customers to trade with each other of their own accord like Bitstamp, Kraken, or Gemini.
In the years that would follow, I would have many bank accounts shut down due to this registration as a money transmitter. Most banks simply looked and said, you are a money transmitter. After all, you registered as one. I called Ficen and asked if I could un-register. "No, you cannot". The banks wouldn't even listen to the facts and make a decision. The only other business to actually study my investment model and grant me user status was Gemini. They also agreed I was a user. I think years later they came under pressure to terminate all localbitcoins accounts because many were terminated and at the end of those, mine was too. Was it a coincidence? Or could one of my customers have sabotaged me? It is possible for a user to lie about his wallet address and give out one belonging to a site such as Alphabay. I had one customer do this to me when I was selling him coin from Alphabay. Coinbase questioned me about the transaction and I informed them that someone I was sending money give that wallet out as his own. They reinstated my account since I had years of history with them and it was only one transaction. After that I was careful not to send to customer wallets directly from coinbase. I guess my point is here, if you don't register as a money transmitter they want to harass and prosecute you; but if you do register as a money transmitter they still want to harass and shut down your business. I have recently been engaged in conversations with Fincen by email and by phone and other traders. I haven't been able to speak with many compliance people who are knowledgeable about bitcoin. When I do, for example I've spoken with BitAML on this subject, they agree with me about being a user as a trader. Other compliance people won't even answer my emails or call me back. Now I'm on the verge of either retiring or going the whole money transmitter route and even following the $3,000 ID requirement that only applies to money orders, traveler's checks, and money transfers, but not virtual currency. So my question to you is, do you have the same kinds of problems in your country? Is it better, or worse where you are? Tell me your stories. From my perspective now at least, it seems like the USA has the most malfeasance and harassment of the simple bitcoin traders, excluding those who commit crimes.
Thanks for reading
submitted by scottemick to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Scam Projects

Hello!
My name is Kristina Semenova, I am the Head of Investors Relation Department at Platinum, the world’s number one business facilitator.
Our team knows how to start ICO/STO in 2019!
Why are we so sure? Well, our experience speaks for itself:
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But what is the difference between ico and sto? What is the cornerstone of ICO marketing strategy? You will know this after finishing the UBAI courses!
Here’s just a quick preview of our Short Course lesson.
Real World Examples
Multinational accounting firm Ernst and Young found that $400 million of the $3.7 billion USD raised from ICOs (as of January 22, 2018) had been stolen. That is, up to 10% of all ICO funding is virtually being stolen from investors. Though ICO scams are the most common method of theft in the crypto world, some projects will actually operate for a period of time before disappearing with the money. Like in a Ponzi scheme, an exit scam may be planned for later, sometime after a manipulated pump; or some other time the team believes is most opportune to take the money and run. Giza: Giza marketed itself as a platform within which different cryptocurrencies could be stored securely. But after raising $2.4 million in one month, the team deleted the website and stopped replying to emails. Investors were duped by a very convincing whitepaper, and actors had been hired to appear in photographs promoting the project. No investor funds have ever been recovered. Centra: The SEC put an end to fundraising for the Centra ICO and charged the founders Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma with orchestrating a fraudulent ICO after they raised $32 million USD. They were promoting the ability to develop financial products backed by VISA and Mastercard, though it was later found that neither partnership was real. One of the major red flags in the Centra project was the use of celebrity endorsements for publicity, reportedly paying champion boxer Floyd Mayweather a significant sum to promote their project. Who wants to leave their Blockchain investment decisions up to Floyd Mayweather, regardless of his unbelievable skill as a boxer and regardless of his own financial success? He should still not influence where you invest your money!
Ponzi Schemes: Bitconnect: This is the most infamous Ponzi scheme in the history of cryptocurrency, and certainly the most damaging. Bitconnect was a Bitcoin-based project that rose to an all-time high of $463 per token on the back of a fictitious trading bot. The Bitconnect scam operated by paying dividends to users, proportional to the number of tokens they held and the number of referrals they made. The BCC tokens were exchanged for the users’ Bitcoin, and the highly sophisticated and wildly successful trading bot would trade BTC for them and distribute profits as dividends. The value of the dividends offered was approximately 1% of the initial investment per day. In other words, that is approximately 3,780% per year in cumulative gain! The referral system was capitalized upon most heavily by many of the biggest crypto YouTube channels, including CryptoNick and Trevon James, both of whom are now under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Shortly after the Bitconnect Token reached its all-time high, they received cease and desist orders from the security regulators of Texas and North Carolina, which caused the owners of the Bitconnect exchange to shut down operations, and the price to plummet.
Davorcoin: Davorcoin was a lending platform very similar to Bitconnect. And Davorcoin was farcically promoted by the same Trevon James crypto Youtuber who promoted Bitconnect, and is currently under investigation by the FBI for promoting Ponzi schemes. The Texas State Securities Board, in likening Davor to Bitconnect, stated that “DavorCoin is telling investors they can earn lucrative profits by investing in a lending program based on a new cryptocurrency known as davorcoin. Investors allegedly purchase davorcoin and then lend it to DavorCoin”. Davorcoin promptly plunged from an all-time high of $180 to very close to zero after a cease and desist order was made against them on the 2nd of February 2018. Useless Ethereum Token: Despite brazenly stating in the name of the project that the token has no use, the UET managed to raise $340,000 in its crowdsale, and saw a significant pump of over 300% on the HitBTC exchange in February of 2018. The scam was an obvious case of pump and dump, with the total trading volume for UET crashing back down to as low as $3 per day, after reaching as high as $350,000 per day during the pump.
It is currently an unfortunate consequence of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, but there is a distinct lack of recourse for scammed investors. It is wise to become as well-acquainted with the various indicators of good and bad ICOs as you possibly can. In weighing the factors that will allow you to avoid expensive mistakes, ask yourself in whose favor are the terms of the ICO slanted, yours or the teams? To what extent are you actually likely to profit from this investment? Cryptocurrency is inherently a grey area, whether you are investing in it or not. Investing is another inherently grey area, no matter what the area or object of investing might be. Laws and regulations are not always able to keep up. Trying to define and prove what was or was not a scam is not likely to be as simple as the scammed investor would want it to be. A project can be set up in certain ways to avoid being technically classified or provable as a scam, but the unprepared investor can still be burnt or scammed just as badly. Now we look at more individual indicators that can help you form a valid impression whether or not an ICO or even a fully-fledged exchange-listed coin is a scam or a bona fide investment opportunity.
Common Signposts
Contrasting Scam & Legitimate Projects
Presale Bonus/Token Release If the ICO allots massive bonuses to team members, you may leave yourself open to getting dumped on by presale investors if you buy when the project tokens are listed on an exchange. Likewise, if the project has a short lock-up period for developers and founders, you run the risk of them selling as soon as the token is listed on a major exchange. The token release schedule for the founders of a worthwhile project should show long-term team commitment to that project. The Jibrel Network team tokens will be locked up for 5 years before release, and they had no early investor bonus in the main sale. Both of these factors instilled confidence in the JNT ICO investors, and the tokens were sold out weeks before the ICO was due to end. No Presale lock up If Presale investor tokens are not locked up at all for any period after listing, that could easily be a set up for an exit scam after the initial listing. No presale lockup for early investor tokens is a crystal clear warning, the project may be fatally rigged toward those in the inner circle, with little commitment to the long term health or success of that project.
Unsolicited Offers or Unasked for Additions to Groups Characters running scam projects will often add you to Telegram groups out of the blue or send you unsolicited emails with information about their project. Telegram is the most widely used messaging app in the cryptocurrency community and you should familiarize yourself with it to keep yourself in the loop for specific projects in which you invest as well as all kinds of other relevant crypto info. You can adjust the settings on the Telegram app to disallow anonymous additions to cryptocurrency projects if you find yourself bombarded with offers by scammers. Reputable projects at the ICO stage will spread by word of mouth, or by eloquent and meaningful articles posted on their Medium page. A project with serious potential does not need to actively seek participants for their ICO like that. They will often be able to fill their ICO hard cap in a matter of hours, or even just minutes!
Anonymous Team
Alarm bells, again, immediately, if the project has minimal online presence. The individual team members could be mere fabrications. The entire project could be a farce by utterly inexperienced characters. What if the project leaders are simply unaware of the importance of a strong social media profile? That in itself would be too strange to ignore. Top-level projects will have team members with experience in crypto and the LinkedIn accounts for those members will be easily accessible right there on the project website. You should be able to easily see and evaluate each individual’s experience in their field and ascertain what they bring to the project team. Bitconnect’s anonymous team should have been the only deterrent prospective investors needed to discourage them from putting money into that doomed project. Ethhorse, a current project with anonymous founders and operators should be steered clear of at all costs for the same reasons.
Community Atmosphere
The subreddits or Telegram groups of scam projects will often feature moderators that do not allow any kind of criticism in the group chat. If, in the process of your due diligence, you encounter didactic admins that only wish to silence your questioning of certain aspects of the whitepaper or mechanism of the tokenomics
, you should be concerned. Similarly if you see a coherent critical reply attacked by many different users who refuse to engage the substance of the point being made, that may be a subreddit infested with bots. Projects that have nothing to hide will allow free debate in the chat. Ideally, they hope to develop a positive community that is itself an asset to the long-term success and overall strength of the project. Good projects do not need to automatically brand all criticism as Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).
Whitepaper
One common tactic of scammers is to produce a whitepaper that uses too many buzzwords, and deliberately obfuscates and overcomplicates the explanation of the problem and/or its solution. A good whitepaper clearly and concisely lays out the problem and answer, as well as provides compelling arguments why a Blockchain solution is preferable to the current solution. Another point of concern is a whitepaper that gives unrealistic time frames and goals. Bitconnect’s almost comically optimistic profit projections are a prime example of this, as are the 1,354% yearly gains promised by Plexcoin. Respectable projects will set out development timescales in terms of quarters or years, rather than offering immediate profit projections, which are simply a red flag.
Advisors/Connections in the Cryptoworld
The most prestigious projects will already have partnerships made before the ICO stage, and the worst ones, i.e. the scams, will not mention any such partnerships. Icon (ICX) for example was spawned from a South Korean project named The Loop, a collaboration between 3 Korean universities and the DAYLIFinancial Group. They boasted an advisory panel consisting of the legendary investor Don Tapscott, Jehan Chu and crowdfunding expert Jason Best. On top of a solid team of advisors, good projects will also be visible at major Blockchain events such as the Consensus, and the World Blockchain Forum, etc. Scam projects will be unable to inspire this same level in confidence. As an investor, you should sense a certain presence and expect a certain feeling of trust that should guide you in your investments. After all, it is actually a people-to-people thing you are doing.
Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects Post Whitepaper Release The period in the immediate aftermath of the release of the whitepaper can also be decisive in establishing the validity of a project. How a team copes with the roadmap that they have laid out for themselves is key. Valuable insight into the operational efficiency and commitment to the project can be gleaned from the quality of and amount of code committed to GitHub. If you have any experience in computer programming you can see how clean and orderly the code is, which gives insight into the skill of the developers, and in turn the quality of project leaders’ decision-making in hiring team members. Scam projects will have little or no code committed to GitHub, or at best it will be copied and pasted from other projects just to cover their tracks. Start of ICO Sometimes, a scam project, or other project in which you would be better off not investing, will change the terms of the ICO just before the ICO starts. The Key (TKY) ICO doubled the price of tokens on the day before the ICO was due to take place, because the price of NEO had risen so drastically. Currently, the TKY token price is still only half of its ICO price. Initial investors are faced with the prospect of a 50% loss on their investment.
Exchange Listing
Some particularly greedy scammers will create a scam project with the intent of selling tokens in the ICO for BTC and ETH, and then pumping and dumping their share of the tokens immediately after listing. The team of fraudsters behind Monero Gold used this method after the crowdfunding of their useless ERC-20 token. After listing on CoinExchange.io, the team dumped their tokens until the exchange finally ceased trading. Although it is not uncommon for ICO tokens to sold after listing (just like can happen with shares of stock after an IPO), if the price does not stabilize and massive sell walls are continually placed, a scam is likely taking place and the token is being dumped.
Fake Ethereum Twitter giveaway
You may have noticed Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin’s twitter handle has been changed to Vitalik “Not giving away Eth” Buterin in recent months. This is because a group of devious scammers had created fake accounts with almost exact replicas of his profile (deviating by only one character). The fake accounts promised to deposit 1 whole ETH for every 0.1 ETH the potential sucker deposited into the wallet address provided by the scammer. These fake account “Ether giveaway” scam tweets were set up to be sent in just a matter of seconds after the real person tweeted, and usually always appear immediately after the tweet of the real public figure. Fake bot profiles then came into play, thanking the fake Vitalik, or fake Elon Musk, for holding up their end of the bargain and depositing the ETH as promised. One scammer, or group of scammers, managed to fill a wallet up with almost $20 thousand worth of ETH, which they transferred out, never to be seen or heard from again.
Effect of Scam Customers, Upon the Affected Parties
Of course, this is no fun for the targeted public figure either. They need to take steps to avoid being targeted again. This will mean changing their handle, their username, or making their accounts private. However, the injured party with whom we are most concerned is the unfortunate scammed social media user, who has no chance whatsoever of getting his or her funds back, ever. It is a harsh lesson to learn. But it is a fact of crypto reality. Nearly every one that trades crypto will at least be exposed to frauds or scams in one way or another. In this case, we think it is better to learn about scams by studying them, rather than learn from your own unfortunate and expensive experience. In the case of Mr. Buterin, these incidents were awful public relations for the Ethereum project. It had only been a few years since cryptocurrency as a whole was primarily associated with criminality and seedy transactions on the Darkweb. Any connection with unscrupulous behavior is best avoided at all costs. Negative associations could have been particularly damaging for Ethereum’s brand because the vast majority of ICO fraud is committed using the ERC-20 token as the template for the scam tokens.
Any and all the scamming or fraudulent behavior in the cryptocurrency ecosystem is bound to have a negative impact on the speed at which mainstream uptake finally takes place. Cryptocurrencies, as an emerging asset class, will be painted in the worst possible light. Crypto is aiming to, and is in fact in the process of, causing great disruption in traditional centralized finance and business. Mainstream media organizations are also part of that traditional centralized economy. Press coverage will be damning. Something is happening here, but Mr. Jones doesn’t know what it is.
Legal Recourse for Scams
We clearly understand, there is a possibility of being scammed. We know the scams are happening. The SEC has made some arrests and actually charged people for operating fraudulent ICOs. But it is a struggle to deal with the flood of ICOs coming from anywhere at any time. The SEC filed charges against two founders of a purported financial services startup for orchestrating a fraudulent ICO that raised more than $32million from thousands of investors. As you know from the ICOs we have covered so far, the lack of regulation allows for direct contact and dealing between the entrepreneurs, business owners and potential investors. While we believe this is a blessing according to the founding principles of Bitcoin and other alternate Cryptocurrencies, because it frees us from traditional roadblocks, middle-men, and all kinds of time-consuming procedures; it also leaves investors in a place where there is often little to no hope of ever recovering funds lost in fraudulent schemes.
Actions after a Successful ICO
Good post-ICO practice is characterized by stringent security, well thought-out legal strategy and clear communication. Many projects have paid the price in damage to their reputation for failing to adequately guard customer information, leaving themselves open to phishing attacks by fraudsters. Investors in the Enigma project had half a million dollars stolen from them; and a whopping $8.4 million was defrauded from investors in Veritaseum via phishing attacks. After a successful token distribution, the team’s main focus is initially on switching the enterprise from one primarily focused on fundraising, to superficially at least, a fully-fledged, functioning business. This involves removing most of the token sale-related content from their main webpage, sending newsletters to all successful ICO participants, and sending refunds to those who may have missed the deadline or the hardcap. Then, with the stressful and complicated fundraising stage finally concluded, a portion of the funds raised can be assigned to fuel the growth of the project community. This can involve hiring community managers, forum admins, and social media managers to outsource the job of keeping investors in the loop. The founders can focus on growth strategy and product development. The cultivation of a thriving and energetic community is extremely important. The community will give you free marketing for your product and your business. Community members who believe in the project, and are engaged by professional moderators, can give you very effective promotion to other prospective investors. Communication with community members is a great way to test ideas and gauge sentiment related to various aspects of your project.
The project leads must set aside adequate funds for lawyers. The project will need to address potential future or imminent problems with regulators, at the very least. The transition from fundraising project to full-fledged business can be incredibly challenging, and even more stressful than the ICO itself. The main thing to remember is that your pre-sale and ICO investors are not just silent investors waiting for a return. They are the early adopters of your solution, of your product; they are the community and promoters of your project; and they are the individuals with a vested interest in the financial success of your venture. The ICO environment is not as heavily regulated, so quarterly and/or semi-annual reporting is not required the way it is in the traditional world. That means your own style of effective communication about the progress and key developments on your project matters even more. In the ICO world, you communicate with your press releases, social media, and Medium posts. You also communicate by the very nature of your relations with your exchange, and relationships with your cornerstone investors. Effective communication and good business relationships can play a prominent role in the success or failure of your venture (by token liquidity and valuation).
If your investors start to lose interest, and stop trading your token on the exchange, liquidity will dry up and cause increasingly volatile price swings. You need to keep certain things in mind, and follow effective practices to maintain a happy and motivated community.
Social Media & Medium
In addition to your website, your social media & Medium blog most likely formed a significant part of your ICO preparations. Your purpose pivots after the ICO from one of promotion to one of communication. Consistent, informative and material Medium blogs, also Facebook and Twitter updates, ensure that investors remain engaged and well-informed of what the company is up to. Frequent activity in this space makes investors feel much more comfortable. You can foster a kind of organic community expansion that is consistently advertising your project to potential new members.
Cornerstone Investors & Exchanges
As we mentioned, your relationship with investors in the ICO world is different from that of the traditional silent IPO minority equity partners. Consistent, Transparent & Honest communication is incredibly important here. Even if an ICO is struggling to overcome a problem or whatever issues are occurring, honest communication from the team is key to business survival. You should think of and treat your exchange like a business partner too, a very important one at that. Exchanges provide liquidity for you and your investors. That liquidity is like the blood for your business. Many top exchanges demand nothing less than absolute honesty and integrity, it is imperative to maintain strong and comfortable relationships with exchanges. Everything we have said so far, also applies to your Telegram channel and forums too. These give you another great opportunity to build a thriving community. Team members and investors can enjoy lively debates in their Telegram channels. This can be constructive discussion, or critical commentary too. But it is always valuable as a direct link between the team and the community. It is always good to know how people are feeling and what they expect from you and your project. You are able to use your Telegram channel and forums to consistently adapt your marketing and communication strategy. Keep your investors as happy and comfortable as possible, and you will be more likely to attract new investors and allocations. Other forums around the internet operate more or less in the same manner as Telegram.
After a successful funding round with the hardcap reached and time to spare, legal counsel has been secured, and the community is flourishing, the team will prepare for their first listing by paying the exchange fee and waiting for the announcement by the exchange. Unless they are willing to pay exorbitant fees for an immediate listing on Binance for example, teams will usually settle for an initial listing on a second-tier exchange. The fee charged by an exchange depends on many different factors that we will cover in more detail in the next section.
ICO Company actions after a Successful ICO
Real World Case Study
The Basic Attention Token (BAT) project, when used in conjunction with the Brave Browser, allows users to pay micro-fees in BAT to their most-used sites. The idea was conceived by Brendan Eich, the inventor of Javascipt and former CEO of Mozilla Firefox. Investors absolutely pounced on it at ICO and the project raised an amazing $35million in under 30 seconds. The BAT/Brave project has delivered on time on nearly all of its targets, helped in no small part by having a working product, the Brave Browser, for over a year before the token launch. The project secured a listing on the premier exchange, Binance, in November 2017.
A project can suffer through a disappointing funding phase and, for example, fail to reach 75% of its hardcap. The team will be only partially funded. Though they may be able to initiate the project, the value proposition of the token has been compromised, potentially forever. The market has spoken. There is limited faith in the team’s ability to complete or carry out their project. Failure to reach a hardcap is a serious obstacle on the project road map. This will mean massive revisions to the timescales for development and listing. Such a project may have to be content listing on decentralized exchanges for a period of time and they will lose any post-ICO hype that could have helped the project price to “moon” early on. There is less money to be allocated. Each section of the business will be underfunded compared to the original plan. There can be delays in code development, exchange listing, marketing and community development as well.
Calling the Tezos ICO a disappointment might seem strange considering they raised over $232million. But this open-source, smart contracts fintech platform became a victim of its own success post-ICO by devolving into multiple class-action lawsuits between the founders and its foundation chairman. They suffered from a distinct lack of clearly defined roles and expectations on key positions. There was infighting at the boardroom level. This all caused an as yet unresolved delay in listing and development. This is also one example why a capped ICO can be more desirable for investors than an uncapped ICO. If the team have a set amount of capital to work with, an amount that isn’t absolutely ridiculous, like in the case of Tezos, perhaps the resultant greed and discord is less likely. Although it may not be so easy for speculative investors to make a profit from an uncapped ICO with such a massive initial market cap, it is a very impressive feat of fundraising nonetheless. Tezos’s post ICO market cap of $232million is already 64th of all projects, and would have to perform brilliantly on listing to maintain this position.
Company actions after a Failed ICO
Failed ICOs can mean either fundraising initiatives that have failed to reach the softcap and will therefore not be economically viable, or fraudulent projects whose sole intention was to steal from investors and do an exit scam. We’ve already covered scams and fraud projects in detail, but what happens when an ICO just fails to raise the requisite funds? Projects that are legitimate, with honest founders and developers, refund the ETH or BTC deposited by investors as quickly as possible if the softcap is not reached. The same process that is followed by ICOs that are oversubscribed is employed by those that have failed to raise enough capital. The process of returning funds back to the sender ideally should take a period of days, but more likely will take a few weeks. The Sappy Network, advised by Dan Tapscott, failed to come anywhere near to their funding goals. They are currently in the process of sending all investor funds back to the wallets from which they came. The statement from the founders read as a textbook example of how you should react to failure with the founder stating “In the spirit of transparency and honesty, we are sharing with the community that we did not reach the soft cap, and thus we will be honoring our terms and conditions and returning the Ethers to all contributors”
Exchange Listing
A bottleneck developed in the ICO market after the explosion of crypto prices in 2017. There was a massive increase of ICO teams on all stages along the pathway from start-up to fully listed crypto asset. Certainly, a huge part of the value proposition for both the token and the project depends on securing a listing on an exchange. It is precisely the liquidity of the token as a valuable asset on a free market exchange, that determines or even defines its value. The liquidity is what makes tokens attractive to investors, but that liquidity simply does not exist without a platform for the exchange. Unfortunately for new projects, the balance of power is heavily weighted in favor of large centralized exchanges that can pick and choose which tokens to list, and the timescale within which listing will occur. Each large exchange has its own list of pros and cons as well as its own specific procedure for coin/token listing. They also have their own particular ethos regarding the type of projects they prefer to list. ERC-20 tokens will be available for trade immediately on decentralized exchanges (IDEX Forkdelta) but those platforms are generally quite low volume, and certainly not a long term solution. Projects must often pay huge fees to be listed on the larger centralized exchanges. At first those fees will be prohibitive. The usual route is to initially list on a more reasonably priced smaller exchange like Kucoin or Gate.io.
Listing Process
Major centralized exchanges have the power to list anything they want, and they also each have a unique structure that projects must adhere to if they wish to be listed. Each potential new listing will undergo a rigorous examination by the exchange operators to test the feasibility for listing the token. An exchange will likely have forms available on its website that you can fill out to give them all the necessary initial information. If a particular project and token qualify for listing, the team will invariably be put under a NDA, Non-Disclosure Agreement, to avoid any insider trading or other regulatory problem
s. In the case of larger exchanges like Binance, there is a period within which owners of a newly listed coin or token can transfer them to the exchange in preparation for trading. This is a fantastic opportunity for traders to make use of the likely pump that occurs after a new token is listed on a large exchange. It is common to see up to 100% increases on the first day of trading, and a subsequent dump of up to 50% or more can follow. This allows traders holding the coin already, to sell for a good profit, and maybe buy back in at a much lower price too, if they think that is a good idea.
Exchange Fees
There are no definitive figures available to the public regarding fees that major exchanges charge new projects to list. Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken and Bittrex have all been quoted as saying that they do not charge any fee at all but this is almost definitely untrue. Knowledgeable industry insiders estimate between $500,000 and $1,000,000 USD for listing on a top-tier exchange. (There have been more rumors of 7 figure exchange listing fees since January 2018 too). This figure will vary greatly from project to project. Various factors can affect how an exchange determines the fee for a particular project. These are some of the most important ones: Market Maker Service Required Whether or not the client project requires liquidity services directly from the exchange, or can connect proprietary ones via API, will lead to a huge reduction in listing cost.
Type of Token (ERC-20 NEP-5 or DAG) Not all tokens are created equal in the listing process. ERC-20 tokens and BTC based tokens have code architecture that will almost certainly be preferred by the exchange. NEO based tokens (NEP-5) such as Ontology will be far most costly to integrate because separate new wallets have to be built to facilitate NEO transactions. The costs involved in integrating Direct Acyclic Graph projects such as Nano into the exchange structure are even worse. Expected Daily Volume Exchanges derive their profits largely from transaction fees and withdrawal fees. The trading volume a new token is likely to bring in will have a great influence on the computation of the exchange listing fee. Exchange Listing Procedures Evaluation Different exchanges have different rules for new listings. A new project must of course abide by specific rules for that exchange before they are allowed to list there. There are procedures that must generally be followed for the most noteworthy exchanges. You can get a good idea of the hurdles to be overcome before listing can take place.
Ongoing relationship with Exchanges
Exchanges, usually Huobi or Kucoin, will sometimes make it essential for newly listed tokens to engage in “trading competitions” after listing. Competitions can last between 2 weeks, or a month or more, aiming to increase the trading volume for that token, thereby increasing trading fees collected by the exchange, and giving the project extra publicity too. The whales may have made a nice profit already and be very happy about it; but the project token can still get stuck in a long period of stagnation and a loss of post-ICO hype. Once a coin or token has been successfully registered for trading on a particular exchange, the project must focus on maintaining regulatory compliance and paying things like annual maintenance fees too. Exchanges can investigate and delist coins or tokens to see if they have fallen below a certain standard set by the exchange. The exchange is concerned about such things as: an extended period with an extremely low volume; a team member connection to an exit scam; or other such immoral/illegal behavior.
Post ICO Company Evaluation
After a presumably successful ICO, the necessary funds have been obtained, and the real business, the real team challenge is now, to bring the project to life as a bona fide disruptive Blockchain endeavor! The core advantage of the ICO method of funding business startups is the lack of regulatory hurdles to navigate with regards to fundraising and fund allocation. The funds that have been raised have, in effect, been freely given to the project leads to do with what they will in a no-strings-attached transaction. Of course, there are still strings attached in that the team are tasked with making that money grow for the investors. But there is no regulatory oversight of the process. The regulatory freedom is a double edge sword. It gives a good team freedom to work however they want; and it also allows for unscrupulous thieves to use the ICO process to defraud investors of their ETH and BTC.
Advantages of being Post ICO From Investor Perspective
You should have little to fear in terms of fraud from a project in which you have invested, if you have done your due diligence correctly. You can expect the tokens to be distributed, and the exchange listing to take place as expected. And you know your project is totally legitimate. There are different ways to think about your ICO tokens after the crowd sale has concluded. If you are a speculative investor looking for a quick flip, you can gauge the correct moment and sell anytime you like, assuming the ICO has been well-received by the markets.
From Team Perspective
The post-ICO period is, from the point of view of the team, a period where stress and responsibility for the safety of investor funds is passed, in the form of ICO tokens, from the team to the investors themselves. This responsibility for tokens is replaced with the stress of building the actual company itself, and succeeding in the business as planned. A small portion of the responsibility for the project’s success is also passed on to the exchange that has listed the tokens. This is especially true if market makers have been employed by the team or the exchange to provide liquidity. After the ICO has concluded, all funds are released to the project team immediately, so they can start building their business brand, and tackling each step on the road map right away. The freedom with which startups can operate is one of the main reasons behind the explosion in Blockchain businesses in 2017. With the ICO funds safe, and money being put to work on various areas essential to the growth of the project, and the tokens already distributed to investors, the risk of fraud is greatly diminished. If KYC and Anti-money Laundering procedures have been followed correctly during the ICO phase, the risk of phishing attacks and theft will also be marginal now. At any rate, with tokens safely delivered to all participants, the responsibility has passed from the team to the investor.
From Team Perspective
The release of all funds and the freedom to allocate them with no supervision, as cited above, is certainly a tremendous advantage empowering the team to fulfil the entire breadth of their vision unimpeded. But it does have its drawbacks. If there is a mistake made in the allocation of funds, or an unforeseen problem arises, there is nowhere to turn to, and no means of generating further money via crowdfunding. The ICO is over; it is finished. The project simply has to work with what it has. Your community can sometimes turn against you when the market is going down. Times like that just add to the already intense pressure of presiding over a startup Blockchain business.
Solution: DAICO
The DAICO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization Initial Coin Offering, is a means to integrate a more specific, rigorous and regimented smart contract schedule into the ICO process. Doing so will eliminate fraudulent ICOs, exit scams, pump and dumps, and many of the other disadvantages listed above. The DAICO method, proposed by Ethereum creator, Vitalik Buterin, will merge the core concepts of both an ICO and a DAO to leverage the most relevant features of both, in order to solve the main problems in the ICO method. For example, to eliminate the risk of an exit scam, the release of funds will be spread out over a period of time, with the next allotment only being released when a certain set of parameters are met.
Buterin explains that the DAICO method will provide user protection in a manner not present in the current ICO model, ensuring funds are not misspent or used in any way contrary to the intention of investors. In simpler terms the DAICO will operate as follows: The DAICO will start with a smart contract by its executors that can set whether this is to be a capped or uncapped round of fundraising (amongst many other options) as well as including KYC requirements. After these settings have been configured, the DAICO is set into “contribution mode” and presented to the public. This stage will function identically to a normal ICO with ETH exchanged for project tokens. Once the funding period has elapsed, or the hardcap has been met, investors will have the ability to set the “tap” for the collected funds. This will set the amount per second, or amount per minute, that will be available to the executor to develop that specific portion of the project to which those funds have been assigned. If investors believe at any point that the team is misspending funds or otherwise wasting time, etc., the investors have significant options to take. Of course they could choose to release more funds to the team. But, they could also stop the tap altogether, and stop the entire ICO, by voting, and actually release all unused funds back to their own wallets from which the investment had first been made!
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Evolution of Exchanges

Swap.Online delves into the background of centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges. As decentralization is our name for the game, we would primarily like to find out whether it was inevitable or not.

From Childhood to the Golden Age: DCEs and CEXs

The first centralized cryptocurrency exchanges had two main pre-historical roots of origin. Ideologically, they originated from the e-commerce exchange services of the early 2000s. Digital Currency Exchanges, or DCEs, were particularly popular in the U.S. and Australia. GoldAge Inc., E-Gold Inc., Liberty Reserve were frequently seen in the headlines mostly due to legal issues, as the U.S. SEC, as well as the Australian ASIC failed many times over to figure out whether the e-gold exchange was a form of banking, money laundering, non-licensed remittances or illegal entrepreneurship. These services exchanged fiat money on different digital currencies (1MDC, E-Gold, eCache etc.) and, in a way, fulfilled the demand of New World and EU citizens for anonymous transactions of digital and fiat money.
But, in fact, the first significant cryptocurrency exchange arose from a surprising source… The website of the online game “Magic: The Gathering Online”. This game’s name refers to a magical world, where the currency system is represented in the form of cards. Jed McCaleb, the programmer from San Francisco and future contributor for Ripple and Stellar, developed the Mt.Gox project with the purpose of trading these cards like traditional stocks. In January 2007, he purchased the domain name mtgox.com, but in 2008, he abandoned the project as a premature venture. One year later, he used this domain to advertise his own online game. In the year of 2010, he read about the concept of Bitcoin and decided to launch the Mt.Gox exchange and exchange rate service allowing to trade Bitcoin freely. The project was released on July 18, 2010.
Rapid commercial growth started when the product was sold to the French-Japanese developer Mark Karpeles in January 2011. It was the year 2011 when Mt.Gox demonstrated the main security challenges that traditional centralized exchanges will encounter all along their development path in the future. These included direct thefts from the platform’s wallets, attacks with multiple ‘ask’ orders, malefactor invasions resulting in price drops (one day, in the spring of 2011, 1 BTC was worth less than 0.01 USD) etc. By the way, the dramatic collapse of February 2014, with more than 750K BTC lost and the $65M civil suit in Tokyo court were still to come. During the years 2012–2013, every 3 of 4 Bitcoins in the world was sold via Mt.Gox, and it was a real success story.
The years 2011–2012 gave birth to the bulk of top centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. BTCC was founded in June 2011 as the first exchange for the Chinese market. At the same time, American developer Jesse Powell had spent a month visiting Mt.Gox offices to offer assistance in the aftermath of the first hack. He was unsatisfied with the level of business organization, and that was how Kraken was founded in July 2011. The infamous BTC-e platform for exchanging rubles for BTC was also launched in July 2011. In late 2011, the largest American exchange BitInstant was founded and started selling Bitcoin via WalMart and Walgreen. 2012 became the year of origin for Bitfinex, Coinbase (first Ethereum marketplace) and LocalBitcoins.

Pros and Cons of Centralized Exchanges

We are now six or seven years away of those days. Today, hundreds of centralized exchanges are offering the services of exchanging BTC, ERC-20 and another cryptos. We can even hardly classify them. Usually, specialists speak about three mainstream types of centralized exchanges.
Trading platforms. They connect buyers and sellers to each other, allowing them to publish trading orders and take some transactional fees (most commonly 0,3 per cent from the taker of the liquidity). For example, Cex.io, BitFinex, BitStamp belong to this group. Usually, these platforms are characterized by a complicated interface, which is not suitable for newbies.
Cryptocurrency brokers. If a trading platform is a local market where you buy goods from their producers, the broker is a small player on the market. They sell coins at definite prices while setting high fees, but allow acquiring cryptos in a simpler manner. Moreover, most of them support a broad range of payment tools. Coinbase, Coinmama, Coinhouse are among the most popular brokers.
Peer-to-peer-services. They simply allow their users to publish announcements about operations with cryptos. The buyer and the seller directly negotiate the prices. It is even possible to find one selling crypto for cash in your neighborhood. The most remarkable example here is LocalBitcoins.
As one can see, now the range of services offered is truly broad. By the way, there is a list of common complaints regarding centralized exchanges both from traders and crypto theoreticians.
Safety. Even a single point of centralization can lead to the massive theft of users’ funds and keys. More than a million BTCs have been stolen by the time of writing of this article.
Regulation. If the center (or even one of the centers) of a CEX is physically located in some country, the position of this country’s government on ICOs and crypto related issues becomes crucial for the future of the project. Legal restrictions in this sector are now imposed in the U.S., China, South Korea, India etc. When your exchange is centralized, the officials can arrest your cryptos for no reason. Moreover, the administration of the exchange can be involved in fraud with your private information and money.
Speed. We have conducted some particular research on the speed of popular CEXs (Binance, Huobi, Poloniex, see p. 11). The results are sad: you can wait dozens of minutes waiting for the pending of your transaction.
KYC/AML. There is nothing to talk about in this regard, we suppose. If you must send someone your photo, a scanned copy of your ID or even proof of income wanting nothing in return but to withdraw your own funds, it is not OK.

Decentralization: The Solution

Decentralization, as the initial meaning and internal essence of blockchain, smart-contracts and cryptocurrencies, was first italicized by Satoshi Nakamoto and even Nick Szabo in 1990–2000-s. The rise of CEXs resulted in an obvious contradiction, because blockchain-based currencies are being operated via centralized mechanisms just like Visa or MasterCard, but much slowly. Is it normal? Where is the next stage of evolution or, does it even exist in the first place?
The answer was the main point of arguments in the crypto community during the year of 2017. In February, Vitalik came out with the suggestion about the nature of blockchain’s decentralization: “Blockchains are politically decentralized (no one controls them) and architecturally decentralized (no infrastructural central point of failure), but they are logically centralized (there is one commonly agreed state and the system behaves like a single computer)”.
The only possible expression in the commercial implementation of ‘architectural decentralization’ is the decentralized exchange of cryptocurrencies.
And the most advanced technology in this case is that of the Atomic Swaps — the direct peer-to-peer instant cross-chain transaction.
CEXs were the natural and inevitable stage of development for cryptocurrency exchanges. By the way, the DEXs are coming: we found them (namely IDEX, EtherDelta and Waves DEX) on the list of the top-100 exchanges on Coinmarketcap.
So, the Swap.Online team is on the right track. Get ready for ERC-20 ⇔ BTC, ETH ⇔ BTC, USDT ⇔ BTC, EOS ⇔ BTC trading directly from your browser with neither middlemen nor a centralized infrastructure.
See you on the mainnet on August 27, 2018,
Swap.Online Team
submitted by noxonsu to SwapOnline [link] [comments]

Bitcoin 2017 a Comprehensive Timeline

Some of the most notable news and events over the past year:
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submitted by BitcoinChronicler to btc [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Trading Intelligence

Hope all is well guys. We wanted to share our first Bitcoin Trading Intelligence newsletter with all off you.
Feedback and any other comments are welcome.
Bitcoin Trading Intelligence 08.10.15
Long Term
On a weekly scale, the market has been in a bearish trend for a long time before finding some support at the start of this year. From then on it has been predominantly sideways with choppy moves from 200-300. The market is moving in mini-swings as indicated by the red arcs in the weekly chart. For the bearish part of the swing, 5 SMA has been a hard resistance and has pro- vided some good shorting opportunities at the highs. The Bollinger bands in the weekly chart have become parallel and con- tracted to a great extent, which means there is great scope for break out trades from this point.
On a long term scale, market hasn’t been able to break middle Bollinger band and 34 SMA for some time, but in June and July market has successfully overcome these resistances respectively and has been trading above them for 5th consecutive week. Though RSI remains around 50 without giving much indication, MACD has been trading above the signal line for some time now and is ready to cross the zero line. If the MACD crosses and remains above the signal line, it is a double con- firmation for the launch of the bullish trend and would be an opportunity to capture good bullish moves. The proper entry points for such trades would be around 250-255 region, which has 34 SMA and middle Bollinger band as points of support. The targets could be high of previous month, upper Bollinger band of weekly and weekly 100 SMA.
If the market breaks out on the downside, then it would find good support around 214-227 region which houses weekly 200 SMA and lower Bollinger band. These prices have proven to be strong points of support in the past and are good targets for break out shorts at 250.
Mid Term
In the daily chart, the market has rallied considerably from 217.26 in June to 317.50 in July and now is in a state of correction for the move. On marking the Fibonacci retracement levels for the move, it can be observed that market is trading in between the 50%-61.8% retracement price levels. The region between 250-255 has daily 100 and 200 SMA’s and also the 61.8% re- tracement level at 255.16. Hence this zone can be considered as Zone of heavy support as it also backed by 34 SMA and Mid- dle Bollinger band from weekly chart.A crucial aspect which might indicate a trend reversal would be the ‘Golden Crossover’ of 100 and 200 SMA’s in July. The last time a 100-200 SMA crossover happened, the market continuously traded below the two SMA’s resulting in a completely bearish trend which was supported by fundamentals, Now that market is trading above the crossover, this might be the onset of the trend. Though the MACD is showing a bearish signal owing to the short term fundamental affects, RSI has been approaching the oversold region. In the medium term, it appears that 255 could be tested before the anticipated bullish move.
The decision of Bitfinex to leave New York because of BitLicense has resulted in a negative sentiment among the market par- ticipants which prompted a bearish move on Saturday with comparably low volumes. This move as shown in the hourly chart, was opposed by heavy support at 261. The lower Bollinger band flattened at this point, indicating a possible trend reversal and a good short covering rally. The MACD indicator has just crossed the signal line and even the RSI has been in the oversold region for some time now which implicates impending bullishness in the market. The possible entry points for quick momen- tum (short covering) trades would be around 262 and possible targets would be hourly middle Bollinger band and 34 SMA. With change in the trend patterns of SMAs and Bollinger bands supporting, these short term trades can be converted to medi- um term trades with targets taken from daily chart.
Fundamental Analysis
The fall of Mt.Gox was the onset of a bearish trend that has plagued the market sentiment for more than a year in Bitcoin trading. While the question about the missing coinage is still unanswered, Former CEO of Mt.Gox, Mark Karpeles was arrested in Japan on 1st of August on the suspicion that he has illicitly added a million dollars to an account under his control. While any news regarding Mt.Gox will continue to have a negative impact on the sentiment, adding to the existing woes BitLicense in New York and AB-1326 : California’s Bitcoin License have affected the market in the later part of last week. Major Exchanges like Bitfinex, Kraken, ShapeShift and many other Bitcoin related startups have blocked residents of New York from their services. While AB-1326 is engrossing similar opposition, these regulation imperative road blocks are expected to have a short term effect on Bitcoin Trading as of now. The representatives at G7 summit which was held at Germany this year in June, have pledged to support for the ‘appropriate regulation’ of virtual currencies. How would these regulations affect the current setup and crypto currency trading is to be seen.
On the positive front, NASDAQ adopting Blockchain Technology to for its stock trading platform to improve the efficiency of financial transactions has been one of the major news in the Bitcoin Circle. Launch of tØ(tee-zero) by Patrick Byrne, Chairman and CEO of Overstock.com at Nasdaq headquarters on 5th of August has fortified the sentiment among the Bitcoin community. tØ is a blockchain-powered private and public equities trading platform that can work with any decentralized ledger. Symbiont, a bitcoin startup has come up with the innovation of ‘Smart Securities’, which uses the blockchain technology to make it quicker and easier to prove the ownership of assets or transfer them between buyers and sellers. Quant specialists from Wall-Street giants are now opting to join Bitcoin startups which is a strong indication that the potential of Bitcoins and Blockchain technology has been acknowledged by Wall-Street and further applications of the same in further asset classes is not a distant dream.
From a political standpoint, US Presidential candidate Rick Perry has revealed his stance on bitcoin by saying that he supports ‘regulatory breathing room’ for digital currencies such as bitcoins. London’s Mayoral candidate Galloway has openly suggested the idea of tracking the city’s budget by putting it on blockchain and letting people know how the funds are being directed. British Prime Minister, David Cameroon’s inclusion of bitcoin company, Blockchain in the trade delegations with Asia, is an indication that UK Government maybe positioning to take up a critical role in the field of cryptocurrencies. With Australian senate’s recognition of Bitcoins as a form of currency, any news regarding the acceptance of bitcoins on the political front can reinforce positive sentiment in the market in the coming days.
Across the borders, Brazil has recorded its highest volumes last month. Brazil which is the world’s major exporter of soft commodities has seen rising levels of inflation over the years. Also with July-August being the harvest months for the crops, it might be possible that the increased volumes might be the result of the merchant transactions being carried out in bitcoins. Countries with weakening economies would likely see Bitcoins as their exit option for future. With the release that major banks like Barclays, BNP Paribas experimenting with altcoins and the Dutch ABN AMRO executives positive statements about blockchain, further adoption of Bitcoins into the existing financial services system looks more likely and is definitely going to be positive news for the Bitcoin Market Participants.
submitted by blockstreet_ceo to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] The Great Bitcoin Bull Market Of 2017 by Trace Mayer

The following post by bitcoinknowledge is being replicated because some comments within the post(but not the post itself) have been silently removed.
The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link:
np.reddit.com/ Bitcoin/comments/7fyhbw
The original post's content was as follows:
By: Trace Mayer, host of The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast.
Originally posted here with images and Youtube videos.
I just got back from a two week vacation without Internet as I was scouring some archeological ruins. I hardly thought about Bitcoin at all because there were so many other interesting things and it would be there when I got back.
Jimmy Song suggested I do an article on the current state of Bitcoin. A great suggestion but he is really smart (he worked on Armory after all!) so I better be thorough and accurate!
Therefore, this article will be pretty lengthy and meticulous.
BACKGROUND
As I completely expected, the 2X movement from the New York Agreement that was supposed to happen during the middle of my vacation flopped on its face because Jeff Garzik was driving the clown car with passengers willfully inside like Coinbase, Blockchain.info, Bitgo and Xapo and there were here massive bugS and in the code and miners like Bitmain did not want to allocate $150-350m to get it over the difficulty adjustments.
I am very disappointed in their lack of integrity with putting their money where their mouths are; myself and many others wanted to sell a lot of B2X for BTC!
On 7 December 2015, with Bitcoin trading at US$388.40, I wrote The Rise of the Fourth Great Bitcoin Bubble. On 4 December 2016, with Bitcoin trading at US$762.97, I did this interview:

As of 26 November 2017, Bitcoin is trading around US$9,250.00. That is an increase of about 2,400% since I wrote the article prognosticating this fourth great Bitcoin bull market. I sure like being right, like usual (19 Dec 2011, 1 Jul 2013), especially when there are financial and economic consequences.
With such massive gains in such a short period of time the speculative question becomes: Buy, Hold or Sell?
FUNDAMENTALS
Bitcoin is the decentralized censorship-resistant Internet Protocol for transferring value over a communications channel.
The Bitcoin network can use traditional Internet infrastructure. However, it is even more resilient because it has custom infrastructure including, thanks to Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corrallo, the FIBRE network and, thanks to Blockstream, satellites which reduce the cost of running a full-node anywhere in the world to essentially nothing in terms of money or privacy. Transactions can be cheaply broadcast via SMS messages.
SECURITY
The Bitcoin network has a difficulty of 1,347,001,430,559 which suggests about 9,642,211 TH/s of custom ASIC hardware deployed.
At a retail price of approximately US$105/THs that implies about $650m of custom ASIC hardware deployed (35% discount applied).
This custom hardware consumes approximately 30 TWh per year. That could power about 2.8m US households or the entire country of Morocco which has a population of 33.85m.
This Bitcoin mining generates approximately 12.5 bitcoins every 10 minutes or approximately 1,800 per day worth approximately US$16,650,000.
Bitcoin currently has a market capitalization greater than $150B which puts it solidly in the top-30 of M1 money stock countries and a 200 day moving average of about $65B which is increasing about $500m per day.
Average daily volumes for Bitcoin is around US$5B. That means multi-million dollar positions can be moved into and out of very easily with minimal slippage.
When my friend Andreas Antonopolous was unable to give his talk at a CRYPSA event I was invited to fill in and delivered this presentation, impromptu, on the Seven Network Effects of Bitcoin.
These seven network effects of Bitcoin are (1) Speculation, (2) Merchants, (3) Consumers, (4) Security [miners], (5) Developers, (6) Financialization and (7) Settlement Currency are all taking root at the same time and in an incredibly intertwined way.
With only the first network effect starting to take significant root; Bitcoin is no longer a little experiment of magic Internet money anymore. Bitcoin is monster growing at a tremendous rate!!

SPECULATION
For the Bitcoin price to remain at $9,250 it requires approximately US$16,650,000 per day of capital inflow from new hodlers.
Bitcoin is both a Giffen good and a Veblen good.
A Giffen good is a product that people consume more of as the price rises and vice versa — seemingly in violation of basic laws of demand in microeconomics such as with substitute goods and the income effect.
Veblen goods are types of luxury goods for which the quantity demanded increases as the price increases in an apparent contradiction of the law of demand.
There are approximately 16.5m bitcoins of which ~4m are lost, ~4-6m are in deep cold storage, ~4m are in cold storage and ~2-4m are salable.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-1.jpg)
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-2.jpg)
And forks like BCash (BCH) should not be scary but instead be looked upon as an opportunity to take more territory on the Bitcoin blockchain by trading the forks for real bitcoins which dries up more salable supply by moving it, likely, into deep cold storage.
According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 15.4m millionaires in the United States and about 12m HNWIs ($30m+ net worth) in the world. In other words, if every HNWI in the world wanted to own an entire bitcoin as a 'risk-free asset' that cannot be confiscated, seized or have the balance other wise altered then they could not.
For wise portfolio management, these HNWIs should have at least about 2-5% in gold and 0.5-1% in bitcoin.
Why? Perhaps some of the 60+ Saudis with 1,700 frozen bank accounts and about $800B of assets being targetted might be able to explain it to you.
In other words, everyone loves to chase the rabbit and once they catch it then know that it will not get away.
RETAIL
There are approximately 150+ significant Bitcoin exchanges worldwide. Kraken, according to the CEO, was adding about 6,000 new funded accounts per day in July 2017.
Supposedly, Coinbase is currently adding about 75,000 new accounts per day. Based on some trade secret analytics I have access to; I would estimate Coinbase is adding approximately 17,500 new accounts per day that purchase at least US$100 of Bitcoin.
If we assume Coinbase accounts for 8% of new global Bitcoin users who purchase at least $100 of bitcoins (just pulled out of thin error and likely very conservative as the actual number is perhaps around 2%) then that is approximately $21,875,000 of new capital coming into Bitcoin every single day just from retail demand from 218,750 total new accounts.
What I have found is that most new users start off buying US$100-500 and then after 3-4 months months they ramp up their capital allocation to $5,000+ if they have the funds available.
After all, it takes some time and practical experience to learn how to safely secure one's private keys.
To do so, I highly recommend Bitcoin Core (network consensus and full validation of the blockchain), Armory (private key management), Glacier Protocol (operational procedures) and a Puri.sm laptop (secure non-specialized hardware).
WALL STREET
There has been no solution for large financial fiduciaries to invest in Bitcoin. This changed November 2017.
LedgerX, whose CEO I interviewed 23 March 2013, began trading as a CFTC regulated Swap Execution Facility and Derivatives Clearing Organization.
The CME Group announced they will begin [trading in Q4 2017 Bitc...
submitted by censorship_notifier to noncensored_bitcoin [link] [comments]

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