Tag: Bittrex

Japan Goes All In On Crypto

Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury

Japan, a country known for its progressive financial vision, has reported an unprecedented 3.5 million active cryptocurrency participants on the island. According to data released by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) more than 80% of traders are between the ages of 24-40. With a population well versed in the mechanics of blockchain technology and new regulations aimed at on-ramping the sector, the next generation of Japanese leaders possess an unbelievable opportunity to establish the major hub of global crypto finance.

In the upstart and highly speculative world of cryptocurrency, nationalism and regionalism can play major factors in establishing the value and viability of a given marketplace or asset. Regulations levied by governments can wildly affect the potential of blockchain companies and the SEC’s recent arrests at Centra headquarters have spooked many in the unregulated securities sector. Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, recently moved their Hong Kong offices to Malta to shelter their exchange from the harsh regulatory climate of China.

NEO, the “Chinese Ethereum killer,” perfectly symbolizes how the relationship between continental governments and fintech startups can suppress or activate valuation in the digital landscape. Although cryptocurrency is generally a highly speculative market, a look at the NEO chart shows incredible volatility throughout the past year. During all of its short-lived existence, NEO and its investors have had to battle the perfunctory nature of a 20th-century monetary policy that keeps it and many other cryptocurrencies from maturing at even faster rates than we are currently witnessing.

Which brings us back to Japan. Japan is different. Japan is not China, a country who willingly invites fear into the market while investing heavily in the background. And Japan is not the blindsided United States who aggressively view the space as a political and economic threat to the strength of their inflationary USD. Japan is going the other way.

Although the nation has been home to two of the largest cryptocurrency exchange hacks the country remains a friendly, open platform for development. The fast-tracking of digital assets is reminiscent of similar foresightedness that made Singapore a dominant player in the worldwide marketplace. For Singapore, it was an import/export market built around their only port. For Japan, it could very well be crypto built thru nodes on the internet.

Japan has routinely found at the epicenter of crypto’s short history. In December, the Japanese exchange Coincheck was hacked for more than 55 billion yen ($533 million). Before that, it was the infamous hacking of Tokyo based Mt. Gox in 2014 that sent the price of Bitcoin spiraling for years to come.

In the aftermath of these watershed events, regulators and commoners alike have become familiar with the cryptographic assets of the 21st century. Today, Japan can barely find enough engineers to fill the gaping holes in knowledge and experience that exist in the beginning stages of adoption.

In the last month alone, rampant speculation has suggested that Yahoo could potentially buy a significant stake in the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange BitARG. The deal, reportedly worth upward of $20 million, would see Yahoo gain 40% ownership over one of the largest exchanges in the world. While Yahoo lost to Google in the early 2000’s search engine war they may be well positioned to win back a substantial valuation through the cryptocurrency market.

Japan’s move to the progressive front of crypto regulation has been in large part due to their loosened regulatory status. In what was hailed a major success throughout the crypto community, Japanese authorities labeled crypto as a legal tender last year. The new legislation goes into effect this month and companies throughout Japan are expected to play a significant role in the construction of this new open-ended digital ecosystem.

Of all the developed countries participating in the cryptocurrency space, Japan appears most likely to take advantage of the current chaotic landscape. With their loose regulations and technologically savvy demographics, we can expect to see Japan play a dominant role in the future of the digital asset sector.

Image Source Flickr

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ICON Up More Than 50% Ahead Of Exchange Listings & Token Swap

The past couple months have been tough sledding for cryptocurrency holders. After the insane bull run that saw all cryptocurrencies reaching a collective market cap of near one trillion dollars during the holiday season, the crypto market pulled back significantly and many projects that soared to unprecedented heights found their valuations shattered in the span of several disheartening weeks.

One of the projects that benefited most from the bull run was the South Korean blockchain platform ICON. At its all-time high, ICON ($ICX) held a market cap valuation of more than four billion dollars that pushed the price of each individual ICON over $12 dollars. While the token remains eight dollars below its all-time high, Icon has surged more than +50% in the past two days behind speculation of new exchange listings, several promising ICO’s and an imminent token swap from the minted ERC-20 token to Icon’s native blockchain.

Bithumb, the fourth largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, processes close to one billion dollars worth of transactions a day and the listing of ICON is a major accomplishment for the Korean team. A day later, the tech startup announced they had been listed on UpBit, another top Korean exchange.

With South Korea viewed as the most forward-thinking cryptocurrency community in the world, the dual listing of ICON on Bithumb and Upbit is evidence of a team that achieves state goals in a timely and efficient manner. Further rumors that ICX could be traded on the second biggest Korean exchange, CoinOne, sent primed traders into a buying frenzy.

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Last week, Bithumb signed a monumental deal with BitPay that will allow businesses to convert invoices into Bitcoin and use BitPay’s service to settle them quicker than conventional banking institutions.

Speaking to CNBC, BitPay chief commercial officer Sonny Singh suggested that over $200 billion dollars worth of cross-border payments will be made between South Korea and The United States in 2018. Speaking on the inefficiencies in current banking and payment infrastructures, Singh had the following to say:

Right now, people are doing cross-border payments […] and paying bank wires, FX fees around 4% and it takes about four days. Using Bithumb and BitPay, we’re able to make this a 1% fee in one business day.

As ICON raced up the charts and supplanted all other alternative currencies on Binance’s 24hr volume chart, the hype machine spilled over. Some commentators predicted that the South Korean blockchain startup could soon appear on other top exchanges like Bittrex, Bitfinex & possibly even Coinbase.

https://twitter.com/bullishgentlemn/status/976497127550431232

Other bullish indicators for ICON include a list of ICO’s that plan on launching through on the ICX blockchain. ICO’s that fundraise through ICON’s platform will have to use the ICX token to participate leading to speculation that demand will be high for ICON tokens while the supply dries up. Similarly, ICO’s have helped Ethereum and NEO grow into some of the largest valuations in the community.

In late February, the ICON team announced the launch of their wallet service, ICONex, which runs as a chrome extension and will be available for iOS & Android users within the next few months. According to leadership, a token swap from the ICON’s current Ethereum chain ERC-20 token to a native ICX platform will take place in the next month:

We are currently preparing the ERC20 token to ICX coin Swap. We are working on the details and cannot give you the exact schedule at the moment, however we expect the Token Swap to start next month.

Even after the Token Swap process begins, the ICX ERC-20 tokens will be able to make transactions. After a period of several months with many announcements about the Token Swap, the ERC-20 tokens will be burned.

At the end of January, ICON announced six ICO’s that will crowdfund on the ICX platform between Q2 & Q3 of 2018. Among the decentralized apps included are Blue Whale (ecosystem for workers compensation), Tink (an anonymous social media voting platform), & UPPSALA (a security intelligence platform).

ICON’s close relationship with corporate and government entities within tech powerhouse South Korea have investors salivating about the potential growth of the new cryptocurrency. With a plan to ‘hyperconnect the world’ and major partnerships with Forbes & Bloomberg in the pipeline, 2018 could very well be the year that ICON reaches the mainstream visibility and valuation of other top crypto projects.

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BIT CON: Bitcoin Tre & The Collapse of Bitconnect

By Spencer Kellogg | USA

When I first got started with Bitcoin in September of 2016 one of the first faces that I became familiar with was not Roger Ver or Charlie Lee but instead an Instagram famous, quirky black kid with dreads named Bitcoin Tre. In a world teeming with short white tech-obsessed geeks, Tre stood out like a stray asteroid that had barreled into an obtuse outer region of another galaxy. Sometimes Bitcoin Tre, (AKA The Black Logan Paul) would post pictures of his little kid or the girl that he was with but most of the time he just streamed updates about cryptocurrency to his Instagram. He seemed like he had made it and he made you think you could too. A year later, he is now persona non grata in the crypto community and investors far and wide have spent the better portion of the past week penning their own sob stories about the houses, wives and savings lost on the ugliest scam of 2018, his scam, the collapse of Bitconnect.

In 2016, we were all still on Poloniex and Tre would point his camera at the slate-colored charts to explain his strategies or show newcomers what it looked like to participate in the exploding world of online crypto trading. For beginners like me, Tre came off as a benevolent guy who was ready to help make you rich. By the beginning of 2017, Tre could be seen daily promoting high-interest returns on BTC loans through a project called Bitconnect. Whether out of an innate skepticism or because I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of other cryptocurrencies to research, I never did look up Bitconnect. When it launched into the Top 20 of CoinMarketCap this Fall (Bitconnect CoinMarketCap) I felt sick to my stomach. Bitconnect? That thing that Tre was always shilling, the project that had scam written all over it, had hit pay dirt and I didn’t own one of them! Only two months later, after the closure of Bitconnect (Bitconnect Ponzi Scheme), Tre’s close ties as chief promoter of the maligned project has made him the center of critique and anger throughout the community.

At its heart, Bitconnect was a lending platform that allowed passive income by providing Bitcoin loans through the Bitconnect platform. A user could send their Bitcoin to the Bitconnect platform, make a trade for Bitconnect tokens (BCC) and then lend out those tokens to other users at an interest rate of more than 40% a day over the first two years of operation. Tre gloated regularly about his returns but for most of us, something never quite added up. By the time Carlos Matos snorted a mountain of cocaine and dropped his worst Steve Ballmer impression on the cryptocommunity (BITCONNNECCTTT), the writing was clearly on the wall for any reasoned investor. At its height, Bitconnect garnered a $2.5 Billion market cap and an ever-increasing amount of scrutiny with many users in the cryptocommunity warning newcomers of the platform and roundly calling for its delisting from CoinMarketCap.com. After American securities regulators sent cease and desist letters to Bitconnect in early January, the market was sent spiraling and within a week the valuation of the service had dropped dramatically to less than $150 Million sending investors and speculators into a feeding frenzy of blame and anger that sat Bitcoin Tre front and center.

A cursory glance at Tre’s output (Bitcoin Tre Youtube) will tell you most of what you need to know about Tre: he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. His stylized youtube channel mixed with his singular personality in the Bitcoin world is reminiscent of other hype men like Michael Suppo “Suppoman” (Suppoman Youtube). As a result, for as long as I’ve followed Tre, he has been dogged by claims that he is a scammer by some while others simply poke fun at his hyperbolic and constant uploads of crypto hype thinly disguised as analysis. When the bottom fell out, many in the community pointed their vitriol directly at the man who could be seen every day pumping up speculators on the Bitconnect project. In his rambling, crazed, “final rant” on Bitconnect (TRE BITCONNECT RANT), Tre stumbles his way, awkwardly looking out the window, through a half-assed non-apology to the people who followed his advice and invested tens of thousands of dollars into his pet hype project only to see their money burnt to a crisp in a span of less than 72 hours. Some have given Tre the benefit of the doubt but I find it hard to believe this is one simple little mistake. For example, in the video information from the above link, you can see Tre promoting another alleged scam with a link to the lending platform Davor which has been routinely called out on Twitter in recent weeks for its shady dealings.

I still remember the first days I spent using Circle App to try and exchange USD for BTC. In those days, Bitcoin Tre was one of the first on-ramps, socially, that I knew of in the mysterious world of crypto. Even then, before he became a 24/7 Bitconnect shill, there were detractors and ‘haters’ who would flood the comment section of Tre’s videos with accusations of cons and scams. As a noob, it was difficult to tell the truth from fiction and Tre himself had suggested that he was being blacklisted and attacked because of racial and social differences in the majority whitewashed cryptocommunity. While the community is defiantly white ivy league types, I knew his appeal was a falsity. As the infamous Ben Shapiro quote reads “Capitalism only care about one color – green” and Bitcoin Tre’s appeal to SJW tendencies did little to quiet the skeptics. In the world of high-risk anyone can become a millionaire. While dreams are made every day, more suckers are born every minute. Crypto con men lure new investors and speculators into the dim alleys of crypto while receiving kickbacks and dark bounties for promoting projects that stalwart crypto investors wouldn’t touch if it was given away.  In a space that is littered with false promises and moon projections, new investors should be wary of those who seek to take advantage of their hard earned money with promises of glory. Before you buy your next asset, recognize that people like Bitcoin Tre are piranhas that swim in the muddy waters of the crypto boom and you’re their next target.