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Mike Novogratz: Facebook’s GlobalCoin Won’t Rival Bitcoin

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Mike Novogratz: Facebook’s GlobalCoin Won’t Rival Bitcoin

Major Bitcoin bull and former Wall Street exec Mike Novogratz recently discussed the current state of the cryptocurrency industry. The Galaxy Digital CEO explained why he thinks the crypto winter is finally over and why ‘Facebook Coin’ won’t rival Bitcoin.

During his interview, Novogratz reminded that everyone had their own version of Bitcoin and the supply exponentially grew. Bitcoin, he thinks, had really established itself as a store value. He said:

“This is hard to do because there is just one more stored value of this kind. It’s gold. It is hard to be worth something just because it’s worth something. Almost everything else is different. For example, Uber shares are worth something because people are using it. What Bitcoin has done is a unique thing.”

He also referred to Bitcoin’s intrinsic value saying:

“You can take all the gold in history that has been mined and put it in three Olympic swimming pools and it’s worth $8,5 trillions. Why? Because it sits in the vaults.”

Novogratz went to mention that retailers are buying Bitcoin but also the institutions are moving in. There are Yale, Harvard and Stanford endowments.

Microsoft Wanting to Link with Bitcoin Blockchain is a Big Thing

The CEO claims the original Bitcoin boom witnessed around 2016-2017 was influenced by the retail-driven investments by around 98%. This means more companies were buying cryptocurrency at a time when it looked like the future of finance. The recent developments in the crypto world are also affected by ‘credentialing’ according to the CEO especially with the recent move by Microsoft in the industry.

“Also, there is Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in the world that says they want to do identify solution by linking it to the Bitcoin blockchain. Now this is big.”

Microsoft recently announced their initiation of an identity solution to add to the Bitcoin blockchain. As more investments crowd Bitcoin, its value soars higher as witnessed in the recent spike. Microsoft is not the only big organization enabling the ‘credentialization’ of Bitcoin. Not long ago, Facebook lifted all the bans it had imposed on cryptocurrency and any blockchain-related advertisements.

He also mentioned Facebook coin saying that it is really important for the ecosystem.

“Crypto is going to be part of Facebook’s future. However, this coin will be listed to some stable currency and will be used for payyments. Bitcoin on the other hand is not going to be the payment currency – it will be stored vault, just like gold. If you really think bitcoin is gonna win this store of value, everything else needs to be used for something.”

GlobalCoin Isn’t a Threat to Bitcoin

As we’ve already wrote, Facebook’s GlobalCoin will probably be established as a stablecoin, pegged to the dollar or local currencies in the countries that will be allowed to use it. It is also likely to run on a private, centralized blockchain, owned and controlled by the company. Based on this fact, it can not be perceived as a direct competition to Bitcoin or other peer to peer decentralized digital currencies.

Other coins that piqued Novogratz’s interest include Ethereum and EOS. These projects have to encourage developers to build on top of their platforms. Just few days ago he was comparing various cryptocurrencies with chemical elements in the periodic table. He then considered the role of altcoins, hinting that each coin will have “to prove themselves out” in order to provide a certain use case.

On this note, Novogratz argued out that “there’s no one building anything on the Litecoin blockchain,” as opposed to the Ethereum blockchain.

Recently, Novogratz made yet another Bitcoin prediction, claiming that the major cryptocurrency will beat its all-time-high record of $20,000 within the next 18 months.

Mike Novogratz: Facebook’s GlobalCoin Won’t Rival Bitcoin

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ICO, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Impact on Different Spheres

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ICO, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Impact on Different Spheres

In 2019, it’s difficult to find a person that hasn’t heard about blockchain or, at least, about Bitcoin. Decentralized systems are slowly reshaping our daily life. Even such financial institutions as pension funds start investing in cryptocurrency, while more and more businesses implement blockchain technology to streamline operations. Not to mention thousands of startups that launch their own tokens and get financial support from interested sponsors via ICO rounds.

But what exactly is happening? How can blockchain, crypto, and ICO reshape our good old world of slow bank transactions and ubiquitous governmental control? We will try to answer these questions by exploring the leading industries affected by blockchain today.

Key Definitions: Blockchain, Crypto, ICO

Without a basic knowledge of the concepts, it will be difficult to understand how disruptive these innovations are. Thus, check the following definitions:

  • Blockchain is a decentralized network that is run by multiple computers instead of a single server. It stores and processes data blocks that form a global chain. Information is protected by cryptography, can’t be modified or corrupted. That’s why blockchain enjoys near-perfect security and transparency, while being independent of existing regulators or governments.
  • Cryptocurrency is digital money that powers blockchain. Probably, you’ve heard about Bitcoin or Ethereum – the two largest crypto coins by market cap. As the name implies, cryptocurrencies are protected by cryptography, similarly to other data stored within blockchain. Operations with cryptocurrency can’t be traced by financial organizations, have high speed, and relatively low fees unlike fiat payments.
  • ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is a form of funding, wherein any company can release its native crypto tokens and sell them to investors. Further, the investors can utilize tokens within the parent ecosystem or trade at exchanges. ICOs were extremely popular in 2017-2018, but a lot of fraudulent and scam projects shattered the investors’ confidence in the concept.

Industries Affected by Blockchain/Crypto Boom

As the three mentioned concepts are strongly interrelated, it’s worth reviewing their combined impact on different spheres. The thing is that the combination of three elements can be used in almost any industry. Let’s take a look at the most interesting examples.

Advertising

Ad platforms based on blockchain get rid of third parties and connect consumers with producers directly. As a result, people receive fewer ads and enjoy better personalization. Furthermore, companies that promote their products/services get higher conversion rates thanks to perfect targeting.

Examples: Basic Attention Token is the most famous example of decentralized advertising service, while there are also several sites that pay users in crypto for watching ads.

Education

For schools and universities, blockchain has several valuable benefits. Firstly, it allows switching to a digital ecosystem that removes the need for paperwork. Moreover, the inability to falsify records is wonderful for verifying degrees and credits. Finally, it should be easier and faster to pay fees in crypto as well as keep educational data in immutable blockchain storages.

Examples: The University of Nicosia issues blockchain-based certificates, accepts fees in BTC, and hosts crypto-related courses. MIT has also launched Blockcerts – the open platform for registering and verifying certificates via blockchain.

Finance

Obviously, financial services are the ideal sphere for decentralized projects. Bitcoin, the first blockchain-based initiative, is focused on simple and cheap cross-border payments. A lot of other cryptocurrencies also aim at more efficient transactions. Among the benefits, there are full transparency, high security, reduced costs, and anonymity.

Examples: Bitcoin still leads the race for decentralized payment systems despite its high price. While other currencies such as XRP and XLM try to develop faster, cheaper, and more scalable systems, either in partnership with banks or independently.

Government

Thanks to the immutability of records, voting systems based on blockchain are trustless and secure as nobody can duplicate or falsify votes. Furthermore, the public sector can benefit from decentralized digital identification and transparent databases for keeping public records.

Examples: Switzerland was the first country to hold successful blockchain-based municipal voting. Estonia also implements various decentralized initiatives in the public sector. Dubai tries to build the first smart city and uses blockchain for this, too.

Healthcare

Medical records contain a lot of sensitive information so hackers realize the benefits they can get from stealing them. Thanks to blockchain, doctors and patients can access protected storages that keep patients’ e-records safe. Payments and insurance compensations become simpler and faster with crypto, as well.

Examples: startups like MedRec and Tierion offer decentralized encrypted storages for medical records. National institutions such as Taipei Medical University Hospital deliver health data to physicians and their patients.

Insurance

Likewise, insurance companies deal with personal data of clients and ensure that their money is safe. That’s why tamper-proof and transparent systems are necessary for underwriters. For example, they can use smart contracts to automate interaction between insurance providers and policyholders. Plus, blockchain platforms remove the need for middlemen.

Examples: IBM partner SURETY.AI focuses on micro insurance for the unbanked. Another example is RYSKEX whih works in the B2B market and uses smart contracts to automate claim payments.VouchForMe creates a peer-to-peer insurance market where individuals can interact with guarantors directly.

Real Estate

This business involves numerous intermediaries which results in lengthy deal closing. Decentralized platforms can save tons of money and time for all parties. With perfect transparency, reduced human error, verified sellers/buyers, and digital interactions, real estate services can become more affordable and automated.

Example: Sweden tests blockchain tech to simplify property-related operations. Other famous initiatives include Ubitquity that is based on the SaaS decentralized platform and designed for real-estate companies.

Supply Chain

The supply chain services are transformed by decentralized systems greatly. For instance, there are blockchain-based tools used for verifying the identity of goods, fleet tracking, and analyzing customers’ behavior. These initiatives help to get rid of data redundancy and red tape as it becomes possible to track everything automatically within blockchain.

Example: Provenance aims at transparent real-time tracking with exact details on each product visible for consumers. WAVE simplifies document checking and ensures that supply chain participants are reliable and legit.

Experts’ Predictions for 2019

In conclusion, let’s review the opinions of industry professionals related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Generally, most experts are positive about the future of cryptocurrencies.Tim Draper, a venture capitalist, thinks that Bitcoin will hit $250,000 by 2022, while Ella Zhang from Binance Labs focuses on practical adoption and expects many new intriguing crypto projects to emerge. The founder of Theta Labs, Mitch Liu, even states that we will see the world’s first national crypto backed by fiat soon.

When it comes to blockchain, experts think that it’s time for real business.Justin Sun from TRON believes that there will be many new businesses utilizing different blockchain models. Maltese Minister Silvio Schembri announces that the licenses will be issued to companies implementing blockchain tech in the public sector. Finally, Fabian Vogelsteller, a co-author of the ERC-20 standard, thinks that ICO will still be a great funding mechanism but it has to regain the trust of users.

As for now, however, nobody can predict how exactly blockchain and crypto will be used in a year or two, but there are a lot of brand new projects popping up in various industries. The one thing is true: if you are keen on innovations, consider implementing blockchain-based features in your business right now!

ICO, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Impact on Different Spheres

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Bitcoin Halving is Less Than One Year Away: What to Expect from the New Bitcoin?

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Bitcoin Halving is Less Than One Year Away: What to Expect from the New Bitcoin?

When Bitcoin launched a decade ago, most people thought that it was a dubious idea and ignored it. Its algorithm read too good to be true. Nonetheless, the virtual currency rose from a value of zero to a peak of $20,000 in 2017 before it plummeted. At some point, a Bitcoin bear, Nouriel Roubini, referred to it as the “mother of all bubbles.”

2018 was majorly a bearish year for the token which saw its bottom at around $3,000. However, the most popular cryptocurrency has recently recovered currently hovering around $8,000. For example, two pizzas cost 10,000BTC in 2010. Currently, that amount of Bitcoin is worth $80 million. As Bitcoin dominates the headlines, thinkers now wonder, what is the next big thing?

What technology will replace Bitcoin? Most crypto bulls would name other altcoins as potential competitors. Some pundits like Alexander Leishman think that what is coming next is different from Bitcoin. He tweeted:

“The “next Bitcoin” is not going to look like Bitcoin at all and may not be a cryptocurrency. It is going to be some mind-bending economic paradigm shift years from now that few will recognize early on. Investors that missed the “first Bitcoin” are going to miss the next one too.”

Bitcoin Halving

Since the start of April, Bitcoin has had sterling few weeks that saw its price boom. However, it seems to have settled within the reach of $8,000 trading sideways for the last two weeks. So far the price of Bitcoin has doubled in 2019 and the bulls are in search of the next catalyst to drive the price higher.

With just a year to go until the much-anticipated bitcoin halving expected to take place in May 2020, the bulls seem to be on the right track. According to the historical price movements, the price of Bitcoin surges 3 months to a year before the halving. The current market conditions are a viable testament to this effect. Thus, Bitcoin’s all-time highs could be looming.

A famous Bitcoin and crypto fund manager Brian Kelly told CNBC that:

“We are going to hoard bitcoin at this point in time. We’re not going to sell it. You generally have a rally a year into [a bitcoin halvening], and a year out of it. And so we’re just at the beginning of that stage […] a supply cut is generally bullish.”

There have been just two Bitcoin halvings since its creation in 2009. The halving takes place after every 210,000 blocks are confirmed or mined by the system. A year after the first halving in November 2012, the price of Bitcoin reached the then all-time high of $1,000.

The 2016 halving introduced the last Bull Run that peaked in December 2017 with the price flirting with the $19,000 handle. Currently, the Bitcoin bulls and crypto watchers hope history will repeat itself. Most of the investors will be hoarding their Bitcoins hoping for a meteoric surge. They hope that the squeeze in supply will push the price high.

People are Positive

Many people think that the BTC price will go up before the next halving according to a vote on Twitter. Over 2,500 accounts participated in the polls. 61% believe that the price will rise from now until the halving. 25% believe that the price will soar after the halving.

The halving means that the reward in Bitcoin that the miners receive after creating a block on the blockchain is cut in half. Halving is done to ensure that BTC does not lose value over time.

Currently, miners get 12.5 Bitcoin when a block is mined on the blockchain. In about a year, the number will drop to 6.25 Bitcoins. According to history, there is some direct correlation between these halving and the price of the token. Theoretically, it is true that when supply decreases the price increases.

Bitcoin Halving is Less Than One Year Away: What to Expect from the New Bitcoin?

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Coinbase’s ‘Earn’ Program Expands to 103 Countries

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Coinbase’s ‘Earn’ Program Expands to 103 Countries

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase expanded their Earn program to 103 countries. The program started in December 2018, and it was on an invitation-only basis. Coinbase said that the main focus is on getting users earn cryptocurrency by taking part in various educational tasks. The blog announcement reads:

“Coinbase Earn enables Coinbase users to earn crypto for answering quizzes, completing tasks, and trying new decentralized protocols. Asset issuers likewise use Coinbase Earn to teach people how to use their new cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects. Earn opportunities are currently publicly available for Stellar Lumens (XLM), ZCash (ZEC), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and 0x (ZRX), with many more coming soon.”

The exchange said more tokens will be supported soon and added that users must pass an ID check to gain access to the service.

Stellar Development Foundation co-founder, Jed McCaleb, explained that Earn is helping expand Stellar’s network, enabling “millions of real and unique users” in over 100 countries to earn XLM while they learn about the cryptocurrency.

Brave CEO and co-founder, Brendan Eich, added:

“Like Brave, Coinbase Earn removes intermediaries and inefficiencies so that users can benefit. It’s exciting to see Coinbase Earn expand globally so that even more users can get involved with digital assets.”

There Is a Waiting List

Now users from the U.S., U.K., EU, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and most of the EU countries, can sign up to earn cryptocurrency rewards for learning about the tech. The full list of supported nations can be seen here.

To use Coinbase Earn, all users have to sign up to Coinbase and start participating in various quizzes and tutorials after they have successfully passed the ID verification and passed pre-set Earn eligibility criteria.

For all the countries were Earn is not available, users will be able to get verification and become part of the waitlist.

Coinbase revealed that lack of knowledge about the asset is one of the biggest barriers for people to try digital assets. In a survey it conducted, the company found that many people were strongly interested in learning more about crypto assets aside from Bitcoin, but they just do not know where to start.

“That’s why we’re launching Coinbase Earn with tasks related to asset education,” the company wrote on its blog.

Coinbase also said in the post that it’s making over $100 million available to users of the scheme. Earlier this month, Earn.com founder and ex-Coinbase CTO Balaji S. Srinivasan said on leaving the exchange:

“The Earn integration was successful and we’ve closed ~$200M in deals for the new Coinbase Earn.”

Coinbase has also expanded support for crypto-to-crypto trading for USD Coin (USDC) to 85 countries and extended its trading services in 103 countries.

Coinbase’s ‘Earn’ Program Expands to 103 Countries

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Tools Used by Hackers to Steal Cryptocurrency: How to Protect Wallets

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Tools Used by Hackers to Steal Cryptocurrency: How to Protect Wallets

It’s not a question; the cryptocurrency industry is booming. However, the industry faces certain security challenges and just recently, Bleeping Computer detected a doubtful incident where hackers attempted to swindle over 2.3 million wallets.

The attackers are said to have used malware to gain access to users email addresses. Surprisingly, Kaspersky Lab had predicted the attack that came to happen later.

Users are required to send coins to addresses that are not easy to remember. For that reason, a user needs to copy the address and paste it into the platform they are using when sending coins. On the other side, attackers are creating malicious programs that can be able to gain access to user’s information.

The malicious program created by attackers is called Cryptocurrency Clipboard.

The program works by keeping track of the users Windows clipboard to detect cryptocurrency addresses. After detecting a cryptocurrency address, the program replaces it with another address so that attackers can take over the control. When using the internet, users need to understand that there is a third eye wanting to monitor everything happening on the web.

It is therefore required that when copy-pasting a cryptocurrency, a user should double-check to ensure the address is not swapped with an address which can be controlled by attackers. That said, in this article, you will learn the tools used by hackers to steal cryptocurrency and how to protect wallets.

Tools Used by Hackers to Steal Cryptocurrency

Technology has made things simple and easy. However, only a few understand how to use the internet safely.

Well, it is good to be on the same page with the change in technology, but not many people understand the dark side of technology, especially when it comes to the cryptocurrency industry. This puts a user’s savings at risk, especially those who haven’t known the tools hackers use to steal Bitcoins. Thankfully, if you are reading this article, you will know the tricks and tools used as well as ways you can protect your wallets.

And without much ado, here are the tools.

Public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi hacking is one of the leading Bitcoin-stealing tools. Most Wi-Fi routers use the Wi-Fi Protected Access Protocol. However, hackers have gotten smarter. They have created programs that enable them to monitor information sent through the Wi-Fi.

By executing a simple command on the web, hackers can control everything that takes place in your Wi-Fi, and you know what that means to your Bitcoin wallets.

How to Keep Your Wallets Protected: Ensure your router is updated with the latest security patches regularly. Also, avoid using public Wi-Fi when sending crypto coins.

Phishing

Email phishing is a method that has been used by internet hackers for many years, but unfortunately, it is still one of the biggest methods hackers use to steal cryptocurrency.

Hackers create a phishing page which looks so tempting that you just find yourself clicking on it. Once you click on it, you expose your private information which hackers can use to gain access to your sensitive online accounts.

Additionally, hackers can swap your address with one they have control over in the website.

Pro Tip: Avoid clicking links that look tempting and appealing. If you notice a cryptocurrency website that has HTTP instead of HTTPS in the address bar and it looks weird, just don’t click on it.

Unverified Social Accounts

Social media has made the world to look like a small playground.

We use it to interact, network, communicate and share our views; however, it can be a source of problems to our savings.

There are plenty of fake social media accounts currently that are creating by users who intend to steal on the internet.

Tip: Always follow genuine or verified social media accounts and click on social media links that look fake. In fact, to keep your wallets protected, ensure to click on social links for websites you trust.

Bots

Sometimes you will get a warning about security issues on your wallet from bots on slack but in the real sense it’s not security warning but a method hackers are using to steal your sensitive information including your passwords. Once you click on the security alert, the bot will then direct you to a URL that will request you to enter your private key to secure your wallet

Keep your wallets safe: Do not entertain bots on slack. They are meant to steal your cryptocurrency. Secure your slack channels with Metacert if possible.

Browser Extensions

Hackers have also created browser extensions that claim to make your experience on trading platforms a superb one but in the real sense, they want to gain access to your sensitive information. “Some browser extensions can detect everything you do on your browser which could mean a disaster if they steal your passwords” warns Erick Mathews, a software developer.

Be warned: NEVER install crypto extensions on your browser. You better work with your ugly user experience to stay safe than to download an extension that will leave with regrets forever.

In fact, you should access trading sites in private mode.

Final Thoughts

Cryptocurrencies are important as other things you consider important in your life. For that reason, you must ensure to keep your wallets protected. The first step to protecting your wallets is to know the tools hackers use to steal cryptocurrency.

In this article, we have mentioned only a few but there are plenty of tools and tricks you need to find out to know them as well as how to protect your wallets.

We would like to know more tips and tricks you know about securing cryptocurrency wallets in the comment section below.

Tools Used by Hackers to Steal Cryptocurrency: How to Protect Wallets