Category Archives: financial news

Misconceptions About Blockchain Technology and Bitcoin

There is a fundamental difference between the open and decentralised Bitcoin system and all other projects — whether in industry or government-backed ones — that are now claiming to “discover Blcokchain technology”, albeit 5+ years later than Satoshi Nakamoto…

These days, every would-be innovator and their grandmother believe it is “posh” to “do Blockchain technology” or what they believe to be it.

The most ridiculous attempt (so far) came out of that great City, where the Bank of England has ridiculed itself by presenting their shallow idea of “RSCoin” while claiming that this would be a “better Bitcoin”. Curiously, they have been echoed by some puppet newspapers in Britain who were fast to applaud the idea and “explain” why RSCoin, for being “backed by the trust of governments”, would be a “so much better Bitcoin”. Those explainers have only discredited themselves as to neither understanding Bitcoin technology nor doing proper news research (which would have shown why a scheme like that is stupid right away).

They should understand — or at least research until they do understand — that Bitcoin’s strength stems from solving the Byzantine General’s Problem and that this discovery is at the heart of Bitcoin technology as well as every other decentralised Crypto coin’s technology. Satoshi Nakamoto’s discovery is what made Bitcoin possible at all.

Bitcoin sacrifices a certain part of ledger efficiency for the sake of real-life decentralisation. This is made possible by using an autonomous and truly decentralised Blockchain recording Proof-of-Work calculations performed by miners who are also autonomous. As and added security feature, they are also anonymous. That way, they provide for a global, autonomous, censorship-free, and secure network.

If these features are not needed, then why use “Blockchain” technology in the first place, wasting efficiency features without any real need?

What “RSCoin” and similar not properly thought-out schemes are proposing is, in fact, a single-entity clearinghouse (run, not surprisingly, by the Bank of England in this case). The Bank of England apparently believes to be gaining some institutional advantage by pursuing this ridiculous venture, all the way failing to understand what it is they are really doing.

“RSCoin” is nothing more than a scheme built around a single-entity clearinghouse. A structure like this is known to be extremely vulnerable against all kinds of attacks, and it has already been said that cracking into this “would be a lot of fun”.

Bitcoin experts are also on record saying a single-entity clearinghouse is a ridiculously anachronistic and insecure idea that should have died two decades ago.

That would have been in the mid-1990s. The City of London’s “finest” are trying to build it now, in 2016, though. Funded by taxpayer money at that. They are also applauded by those parts of the British press even more stupid than that.

Well done.

 

Paper Wallets and General Bitcoin Security

With every security breach making it into the news, some people get the impression that Crypto currencies “weren’t safe” or even “had failed” or similar. Depending on the nefarious intent behind these headlines (as in the case of established banks bashing Bitcoin as part of their agenda) this may or may not scare potential users from even thinking about using Bitcoin.

The reality is that in the Credit Card Industry over 40% of profits have to be spent for “fraud prevention” (meaning they cannot prevent most cases of fraud anyway and need the amount for compensation). Still, this hasn’t prevented anyone from using credit cards nor similar “electronic” forms of payment — yet.

Crypto coins are quite different though. The level of security only depends on whether or not prudent steps are taken by the user individually. Unlike credit cards where trust has to be given to third parties, the very nature of peer-to-peer technology means that everyone is in control of their own funds and security.

Increasing security for your Bitcoin holdings is always easiest through the use of Paper Wallets: simply move all portions of your savings to Cold Storage (i e into your paper wallet) and only keep smaller amounts needed for spending in a Desktop wallet, online wallets, or less-secure exchange portfolios and similar places.

(A paper wallet is a simple piece of paper run from your printer — preferably a “dumb” one without Wi-Fi or similar security loopholes — containing your public address for deposits along with its private key for retrieval.)

That way, you are not only “your own bank” but (at least!!) as safe as one as well.

“RSCoin”: BoE Now Laughing Stock of Tech Experts Worldwide

The Bank of England has announced it is planning its very “own” Crypto currency, called RScoin.

The coin would be “so much better than Bitcoin” for the alleged advantage of being “backed by the trust of governments”. Exactly the “assurance” everyone needs these days.

Proving to know little more than what some central-bank controlled press office has fed them, Britain’s Daily Telegraph writes on what is actually just the latest wet dreams of the banking elites in a poorly researched article, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/03/13/central-banks-beat-bitcoin-at-own-game-with-rival-supercurrency/. Just like the BoE itself, The Daily Telegraph has failed to understand what they’re actually doing, or talking about respectively.

If you want to read something really stupid about the very central bankers responsible for 2008’s economic crisis, then you might want to read that article. No one there is even getting the first thing about Bitcoin’s true innovation for being trustless and peer-to-peer decentralised in nature. The article entirely fails to even scratch on the implications of Satoshi Nakamoto’s solving the Byzantine General’s problem and thereby succeeding with managing distributed consensus for the first time in history. As every mathematician or computer scientist will confirm, this is the actual importance of “Bitcoin” and “Blockchain technology” though. Introducing some central-planners-controlled “RScoin”, the Bank of England’s latest brain fart, proves to only be yet more of the same: namely another attempt of the state at humanity, at freedom, and thus at everyone of us — backed by yet more state-control, central planning and government power. It also proves that governments are having a very hard time moving beyond the technological level of horse-drawn carriages and gunpowder.

With the alleged “trust” of RScoin, sold to us as an “advantage”, the real trouble proves to be the lack of this very trust when people are supposed to put it in governments once again, and after  governments and banking elites have empoverished the world for much more than merely the Federal Reserve’s 103 years of existence now.

At least, a “competing currency” RScoin is though. So let us see how this will play out. Let us see how, and if so, it really can compete with Bitcoin and Alt coins at the end of the day.

Bitcoin Price Testing $420 to $440 Resistance Area

The price of Bitcoin in US dollars is currently trading around a significant level. Bitcoin price history shows the rough $420 to $440 area to be a repeated level of support. Conversely, this level is now a rather strong line of resistance on Bitcoin’s renewed way up.

With a large flat-top triangle currently forming at this level, Bitcoin prices are preparing to rise more significantly. We may expect larger movements to the upside, once this level is cleared.

Latest BTC Price, as reported on Coinbase

Bitcoin Price May Be Getting Ready for Next Fundamentals

The price of Bitcoin to the US dollar and other paper currencies has been taking a breather during the last days, apparently in the wake of a technical short-term move to the upside in major stock markets.

Bitcoin and other Crypto coin prices powered ahead strongly during the first week of trading amidst uncertainties over stock prices and the worst start on record into a trading year for stocks. Particularly with stock investors in China fleeing the conventional markets and open to unconventional ones, Bitcoin and other Crypto coins were up quite significantly. Notably, this includes other Crypto coins than just Bitcoin and Litecoin like Peercoin, Dogecoin, and Earthcoin. The latter appears to grow into some kind of a darling among the Chinese and, as a result, has been moving quite in line with local developments there for the previous months and throughout several Asian stock market setbacks.

Bitcoin climbed back almost to its highs of late December 2015, but failed to jump over the current high around $463. Currently, the Bitcoin price appears to be waiting for fresh inputs from conventional markets and their fundamentals — mainly the likely negative ones that would propel the Crypto sector further into higher territory.

On this background, the remainder of the month may see some exciting developments for both conventional stock and foreign exchange markets and “alternative” investments as well.

Bitcoin Price Picking Up More Solidly

The price of Bitcoin in US dollars has been picking up significantly again. The  market price of the “original Crypto currency” has been hovering for months but was stable around  $200, always clear of support around $180.

During the last weeks, bitcoins have been solidly advancing from $280 to more than $328 over the weekend. Weekends seem to be some kind of “high season” for amateur Crypto traders who appear to spend their free time glued to their screens and giving many Crypto currencies — beyond just Bitcoin itself — significant movements during these times.

Not that it mattered much for the overall idea of Crypto currency — but the price of Bitcoin is picking up very nicely again (and this time also quite solidly, without that infamous “volatility” the mass-media seems to “know” about BTC). With extra weekend-activity gone now, the latest reading for Bitcoin at Coinbase is still above $320.

Fiat Currency World: Awkward Cash Withdrawal Limits at HSBC

HSBC have changed their cash withdrawals policy, severely limiting customer ability to access their money. What’s more, HSBC didn’t even afford their customers a proper notice about it, BBC reported earlier. In many cases, withdrawals between £5,000 and £10,000 have been rejected by the bank, quoting “unusually large amounts” as an alleged reason. The bank simply tries asking their customers to “withdraw smaller amounts only” and also asks for “further information” about the planned use. In some cases, documental evidence has been required. Basically, it would be in HSBC’s sole discretion if and when the costumers may or may not withdraw their money.

Unusual about this are not the amounts to be withdrawn but the fact that HSBC came up with such an exceptional and bold measure to secure what apparently and stretched capitalisation ratio.

Unilaterally changing essential terms of contract without the consent of their costumers is outside the scope of any Terms allowing for amendments and, therefore, constitutes both a breach of contract and also of trust. The latter may turn out worse for the bank.

Even more ridiculous are HSBC’s justification attempts for their new “policy” for occasional “large” cash withdrawals: the bank wanted to make sure it is the right way to make payment and to protect the costumer against guess who? The costumer himself.

Credit Card Security Breach: Over 1m Could Be Affected by PoS Malware

A highly disguised malware program installed onto point of sale terminals at Neiman Marcus may have compromised up to 1.1 million debit cards and credit cards of customers shopping at the retailer.

The security breach appears to be the biggest in the history of the company.

Credit card issuers Visa, MasterCard and Discover have found a confirmed 2,400 Neiman Marcus and Last Call customer cards that were used fraudulently. Last Call is Neiman Marcus’ clearance chain. The total of debit cards and credit cards affected should be much higher than those 2,400 cases reported, potentially affecting more than a million customers. Effectively, everyone who shopped at the high-value retail store throughout the entire year of 2013 could be affected. Neiman Marcus say they are notifying all customers who shopped in its stores in 2013 and offering them a free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection. While just providing ‘more of the same’ and doing very little as far as the underlying problem is concerned, the measure must be seen as a mere communications move by the company though.

Malicious software found in Neiman Marcus’ computer system attempted to take customer card information from July 16 to Oct. 30, the company said. After the security breach was finally detected, the malicious software has been disabled.

Bitcoin Is Safe, Bitcoin Is Low-Cost, Bitcoin Is Superior to Conventional Payments

Bitcoin is usually portrayed as “high risk” by the mass media and industrial-age bureaucrat structures alike. Reports of spectacular thefts abound, the EBA (European Banking Authority), while also officially saying Bitcoin is legal to use Europe and here to stay, warned against alleged safety risks, and hyped stories about people “finding” abandoned hard drives on garbage dumps or “losing” bitcoins through an incredible variety of (usually stupid) ways are littering magazines and newspapers everywhere.

The truth is, Bitcoin is safe. The code works, and it is highly resistant against all sorts of operational concerns, including Block delays or non-syncronisation, and still works flawlessly in preventing double-spending or any kind of deliberate or involuntary subversion of the system. Also, Bitcoin is extremely low cost: there are no middlemen pocketing chunks of amounts you send, as is usual with conventional banking (SWIFT, credit cards, bankers’ drafts, Letters of Credit and other not-so-fancy ways of payment transmission from the telegraph-age).

Just note that SWIFT costs participating banks roughly $30,000 per year in “membership” dues in order to just be admitted to the club and able participate (plus a sizeable minimum amount per transfer, usually north of $6 per “wire” when you actually do). Also note that all credit card businesses pay around 41% of their total revenue for “fraud prevention” alone (this is where the total of billions from your 3% to 3.5% of “credit card usage” or “foreign card usage” and similar fees are going).

Neither credit cards nor “telegraphic” transfers have any meaningful error correction algorithms built into them. So even if no one attempt anything fishy there, money in transfer can still be lost — or delayed.

As Bitcoin is designed to be used in electronic communications and, thus, perfectly suited for worldwide transmissions, e-mail use, and immediate communications, it is clearly superior to those legacy systems that major banks desperately cling to and apparently try to “defend” using whatever means they can think of (government regulation, limiting access even further, introducing all sorts of hurdles).

Bitcoin’s other major advantage is the irreversibility of payments once sent. Chargebacks are not an issue, merchants accepting Bitcoin (or any other Crypto currency) payments need not worry about a thing. That way, there is no need for ridiculous “fraud prevention” teams, mechanisms against fraudulent chargebacks, or similar risk when using Crypto coin payments, eliminating these 41% of “security costs” (totalling billions of dollars every year) and making all transactions cheaper for everyone involved. Crypto currency payments such as Bitcoin transactions can be sent with zero or very low overall fees, therefore enabling improved integration and utilisation of all e-commerce aspects in the payments arena alone.

The arrival of Bitcoin, often praised as the biggest invention since TCP/IP (the protocol underlying the World-wide web) will likely bring about an entire new “Web 3.0” era.

South Korean Government Actively Supporting Bitcoin Ventures

South Korea actively supporting Bitcoin Crypto currencies digital money virtual currency, venture capital provided for Korbit

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, Information and Communications Technology and Future Planning has actively supported Korbit, one of the country’s leading Bitcoin companies, to participate in a conference to invite private equity investment in order to expand its business.

The bid resulted in Korbit successfully securing $400,000 seed funding by a group of private investors.

Also, established banks in South Korea have repeatedly made headlines in recent months for being generally supportive and open to Bitcoin and Crypto currency technology in general. The Korean Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs, a group established by Korea’s largest banking alliance, has also participated in funding Korbit’s success.

Venture capitalists are quoted as saying, “Bitcoin’s growth in Korea is remarkable for the sophistication of the public dialog around its potential for innovation and wealth creation”, and that the country can “play a leading role in the future of global finance” by realising the importance of Bitcoin, and moving to embrace it faster than other nations.”