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Bitcoin Price Update: BTC Erases Recent Gains, Drops Three Percent In Minutes As Cryptocurrency Market Suffers Fresh Plunge

Bitcoin in Danger of Falling

Below $7,000 As at press time, Bitcoin was valued a little above $7,000 on Coinmarketcap and has already slipped below the price mark on Bitfinex. The top-ranked cryptocurrency slipped by more than three minutes in ten minutes, erasing the steady gains of the past few days. This reduction takes BTC’s 24-hour price decline to above four percent.

A look at the BTC RSI shows that is currently at 20. The rule of thumb for RSI is that a value below 30 means the asset is oversold. As at press time, the exact for the increased BTC selloff is unknown.

Cryptocurrency Market Shrinks The current decline isn’t restricted to BTC alone. Ethereum and all other top ten altcoins have also suffered significant declines. Only a handful of the top 100 cryptos have been able to post positive price growths for the last 24 hours.

As at press time, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Cardano, Monero, and Dash have all plunged by more than 10 percent in the past few minutes. This nosedive has negatively impacted their 24-hour and seven-day trading performances. Litecoin and XRP aren’t left out from the price reduction group. LTC has shrunk more than eight percent while XRP is down by almost ten percent.

What do you think is the reason for the latest BTC price plunge? What is your forecasted BTC price bottom for this decline? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Monero Gains 20% This Week as Satis Report Injects Bullish Sentiment.

Monero value this week has surged more than 20 percent after a report published by the Satis Group predicted robust bullish forecasts for the privacy-centric cryptocurrency.

The XMR/USD pair on August 30 was trading at around 97.36-fiat after strong bearish sentiment rejected the previous upside near 110-fiat. The same day, Satis Group, a major ICO advisory firm, published a report predicting Monero among the significant price gainers within the next decade. Soon after the story hit the public domain, and got covered Bloomberg, the XMR/USD started to show strong upside swings and broke key resistance levels. Just today, at the start of the Asian session, the pair established 142.70-fiat as its new intraday high, the highest since July 28.

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BTC/USD Near Breakout.

Bitcoin on Tuesday continued its uptrend, rising close to 3 percent since its intraday low from yesterday.

The BTC/USD pair today opened near 7272-fiat while correcting from its previous low around 7248-fiat. At the beginning of the Asian trading session, the pair stayed on a stable and steady uptrend. As the session matured, and European hours came into play, the uptrend intensified and eventually formed higher highs towards 7415-fiat. At the same time, BTC/USD continued to flirt with the Rising Wedge resistance level.

While BTC/USD continues to trend upward inside the Rising Wedge channel, introduced in one of our previous analysis, we are also noticing a bull pennant formation to confirm a stable bullish sentiment in the market. The BTC/USD on hourly charts is also above its 100H and 200H moving averages, while the RSI and Stochastic Oscillator indicators have also jumped close to the overbought regions, further strengthening in the near-term bullish bias of the Bitcoin market.

We are of course waiting for a potential breakout above the Rising Wedge resistance to confirm a strong medium-term rally towards the next upside targets, primarily towards 7460-fiat while eyeing 7819-fiat. Let’s discuss our intraday positions further in the section below.

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Can China Pursue Blockchain Innovation Amid Cryptocurrency Ban?

Over the past two weeks, the government of China has effectively banned everything related to crypto trading and investment including news sites, social media accounts, events, and exchanges.

Subsequent to putting an end to virtually all communication and investment channels related to the cryptocurrency market, China has said that it will continue to accelerate blockchain development, doubling down on its $3 billion investment in the technology since the second quarter of 2018.

Centralized Blockchain Networks

Every public blockchain network is equipped with its own native cryptocurrency because every individual on the network has to be incentivized to run an operation, whether that is to mine blocks, develop blockchain-related solutions, and process transactions on the mainnet.

The blockchain can operate without a central authority because of its unique incentivization system that discourages anyone on the network to conduct an activity that does not satisfy one’s financial interest.

But, if there exists no native currency and incentivization system, then a central authority has to be in place to enforce regulations of the protocol.

Throughout the past three months, the government of China has invested more than $3 billion in blockchain-focused funds, despite its heavy crackdown on cryptocurrency publications, events, and trading.

It has encouraged local investment firms, technology conglomerates, and government agencies to do the same, pushing the commercialization of the blockchain at a large scale.

Speaking to CNBC, Beijing-based investment firm BlockVC has said that it is investing in 40 to 50 blockchain-related projects by the end of 2018, focusing on underlying technological development at a protocol level.

Xi Jinping, the president of China, and CCTV, the largest state-owned television network in the country, have consistently described the blockchain as a breakthrough technology, recently reaffirming that the blockchain will remain as one of the core technologies the country will focus on in the years to come.

Structurally, a blockchain network is run by a set of nodes that are not controlled by a central entity or authority. By rejecting cryptocurrencies and focusing solely on blockchain technology, China is leading the development of centralized blockchains that grant a certain group of people more authority over others in the protocol.

But, it remains to be seen whether the blockchain is needed to increase transparency in systems utilized by conglomerates in insurance, finance, and supply chain sectors. Many analysts have said that blockchain technology is necessary as a security system because it is capable of reducing the possibility of rogue actions by employees and bad actors in the space.

Digital signatures and cryptographic time stamps can achieve a similar result, without the implementation of blockchain technology.

Still Some Hope

China has not completely blocked all efforts of public blockchain networks and projects. Last month, the Xiongan government, responsible for building Chinese President Xi Jinping’s dream city the Xiongan New Area, asked New York-based blockchain studio ConsenSys to develop dApps that can be used within the new region.

Founded by Ethereum co-creator Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys is the biggest Ethereum-focused blockchain company in the global market with more than 900 employees that have developed applications like MetaMask to improve the usability of Ether.

The Chinese government’s decision to cooperate with Ethereum developers showed a glimpse of hope in the country’s intent to push blockchain innovation.

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NEVERDIE (NDC) Cryptocurrency Daily Volume Hits $14,764 as Price Down to $0.026696

NEVERDIE (NDC) traded down -34.36% versus American dollar during the last 24 hours interval ending 21:15 on September 4th EST. NEVERDIE at the moment has a cap of $1,094,656 and its 24 hr trading volume is around $14,764. Throughout the last seven days, NEVERDIE is -19.67% against the American dollar together with a move of -4.27% during the last hr.

Here is how other similar cryptocurrencies have faired in the last 24h:

  • PolySwarm (NCT) is currently trading at $0.00 against the USD, a -4.33 percent change in the last day. The Bitcoin price for NCT currently sits at 0.00000066 BTC.
  • KARMA (KARMA) is currently trading at $0.00 against the USD, a 8.89 percent change in the last day. The Bitcoin price for KARMA currently sits at 0.00000016 BTC.
  • UltraCoin (UTC) is currently trading at $0.00 against the USD, a 11.60 percent change in the last day. The Bitcoin price for UTC currently sits at 0.00000066 BTC.


NEVERDIE has a total supply of exactly 41,004,200 coins. It was launched on 30th June, 2017.

Coming from “The purpose of the NeverDieCoin and is to turn the mechanics of buying a new life in a game, or traveling within a game or between games into a utility that requires universal tokens. With a limit to the number of tokens in circulation, these utility tokens gain an intrinsic value as the demand to utilize them grows. The tokens will be consumed each time they are used within a game and divided through smart contract design and API into fragments to be re-looted, mined, or collected and re-crafted with player skill so that they can be traded between players and used again. This will create a turnkey starting point for all game economies, as players will need to harvest and trade between each other in raw virtual materials to pay for their new lives or to hop between games.As each token is consumed through the utility, a fragment of the token will also be assigned to the game developer as operating income and into other funds. A percentage of each token consumed will be burned.”

Listed below are a few useful links if you would like to get more information concerning NEVERDIE:

NDC: Info for Traders

You can acquire NDC at exchanges such as TradeSatoshi, CCEX, HitBTC, and EtherDelta.

It’s not always possible to buy cryptos including NEVERDIE instantly using USD. Investors trying to buy NDC could possibly have to first get BTC or Ethereum using an market place that has got American dollar currency trading pairs including Coinbase and GDAX. Investors will then make use of this BTC or Ethereum to pay for NEVERDIE using one of the trading exchanges shown previously.

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ChainCoin (CHC) Cryptocurrency up to $0.062767 – Volume Hits $6,171

ChainCoin (CHC) traded up 34.48% to US dollar in the last 24 hours period of time closing 20:45 on September 4th EST. ChainCoin at the moment has a marketcap of $977,684 and its twenty four hour trading volume is about $6,171. Within the last 7 day period of time, ChainCoin is 41.16% against the US dollar along with a move of -2.56% inside the past hour.

Let’s look at how similar cryptocurrencies have performed in the last 24h:

  • Ethereum Cash (ECASH) is now trading at $0.02 against the dollar, a 3.80% change since this time yesterday. The Bitcoin cost of ECASH currently, is 0.00000205 BTC.
  • TokenCard (TKN) is now trading at $0.59 against the dollar, a 33.50% change since this time yesterday. The Bitcoin cost of TKN currently, is 0.00008082 BTC.
  • NeosCoin (NEOS) is now trading at $0.95 against the dollar, a 11.05% change since this time yesterday. The Bitcoin cost of NEOS currently, is 0.00012919 BTC.
  • (CFI) is now trading at $0.02 against the dollar, a 7.20% changesince this time yesterday. The Bitcoin cost of CFI currently, is 0.00000315 BTC.
  • Aidos Kuneen (ADK) is now trading at $18.25 against the dollar, a -6.75% change since this time yesterday. The Bitcoin cost of ADK currently, is 0.00247999 BTC.
  • Ambrosus (AMB) is now trading at $0.18 against the dollar, a 4.15% changesince this time yesterday. The Bitcoin cost of AMB currently, is 0.00002458 BTC.

ChainCoin Information

ChainCoin has a total supply of 15,576,394 coins. It was created on 19th January, 2014.

CryptoCompare claims that: “ChainCoin is a Proof of Work cryptocurrency, the first coin with 11 hashing algorithms chained (C11). CHC leverages a network of masternodes to provide anonymous transactions.Click here for Masternode stats from”

Here are some helpful links should you want to gather more information concerning ChainCoin:

CHC: Trading Info

Investors can get CHC at exchanges like CCEX, Novaexchange, Cryptopia,

It’s not necessarily always viable to buy cryptos such as ChainCoin instantly using USD. Market players hoping to purchase CHC will probably have to firstly buy Bitcoin or ETH from an market place that offers USD currency trading pairs for example, Coinbase or GDAX. Buyers may then use this Bitcoin or Ethereum to pay for ChainCoin using one of the exchanges we posted previously.

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KenTrade Partners with Singaporean Distributed Ledger Platform to Trade on the Blockchain.

Global eTrade Services (GeTS) Asia and the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) have announced a partnership that will see Kenya leverage a new open trade blockchain platform to step up efficiency, security, and transparency in its international trade business.

Crimsonlogic’s subsidiary, Global eTrade Services (GeTS), signed a Collaboration Agreement with KenTrade as a partner for the recently launched Open Trade Blockchain (OTB) at the August 2018 Africa Singapore Business Forum. OTB is an inclusive and trusted blockchain platform. It is built for the trade communities to bring together diverse perspectives and co-creation of innovative services.

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Over US$8 Million Lost by 2,600 Investors in South Korea’s ‘Treasure Ship’ ICO.

Millions of dollars are estimated to have been sunk by investors seeking a piece of the ‘Russian treasure ship’ ICO fronted by a South Korean ‘treasure-hunting’ firm.

According to South Korean police, it has been tentatively concluded that about 2,600 people invested around 9 billion won or slightly over US$8 million in Shinil Group which claimed to have discovered a shipwreck containing gold worth US$130 billion.

As initially reported by The Korea Herald, investors also poured money on a token known as Shinil Gold Coin which the South Korean firm claimed would be backed by the treasure from the wreckage of the Russian warship known as Dmitrii Donskoi. The Russian warship was run aground off the South Korean coast by her crew following severe damage during combat with the Japanese in the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war.

There could be More Victims Out There

Per the police, the investor losses could be larger since the estimates they have come up with are based only on the trading accounts which they have so far managed to track.

“If we find more related accounts or confirm cases in which investors used cash, the amount could go up,” the Sophisticated Crime Investigation Unit of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said.

There is also a possibility that the victim count could fall according to the Seoul police: “The number of victims could go down, however, if we exclude cases where the same person transferred money using different accounts.”

As previously reported by CCN, plans by the Shinil Group to conduct an ICO were announced in mid-July after the company posted a video on YouTube alleging that had managed to find the Russian warship’s wreckage containing 200 tons of gold coins and 5,500 boxes of gold bars. Suspicions immediately arose primarily because this was not the first alleged discovery of the Russian warship.

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Google Dives into the Ethereum Blockchain with its Big Data Analytics Platform

Google BigQuery, Google Cloud’s Petabyte-scale data warehousing solution, has made the Ethereum dataset available to enable the exploration of smart contract analytics, the company announced on a blog.

BigQuery has made it possible to explore all of Ethereum’s historical data. Ethereum’s ETL project on GitHub includes all source code that can be extracted from the blockchain and entered into BigQuery. Google is seeking new contributors and blockchains.

Making Blockchain Data Accessible

The purpose of making the Ethereum blockchain data accessible on Google Cloud is to make all data stored on the blockchain easily accessible. While Ethereum’s software contains APIs for functions that can be accessed randomly, such as checking wallet balances, the API endpoints are not easily accessible for all data stored on the blockchain.

While API endpoints do not enable viewing blockchain data in aggregate, BigQuery’s OLAP features enable such analysis. The blog displayed a chart showing Ether transfers and transaction costs year to date, aggregated by day. Such visualization supports tasks like prioritizing changes in the Ethereum architecture, should an upgrade be needed.

Google Cloud can synchronize the Ethereum blockchain to computers equipped with Parity, an Ethereum client for building applications, the blog noted.

It also extracts data daily from the Ethereum blockchain ledger, such as token transfers, and stores partitioned data for efficient exploration on BigQuery.

In addition, the BigQuery Python library allows clients to query data tables in Kernels, a free in-browser coding platform on the public data science platform Kaggle.

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Dogecoin Recovers Losses, Rises More than 18 Percent.

Dogecoin on Monday recorded more than 18 percent gains against the US Dollar.

The DOGE/USD kickstarted the day adding value to its prevailing upside momentum. During the early Asian trading session, the pair had made higher highs towards 0.00572-fiat. It only began to stumble as the session matured and fell towards 0.00498-fiat at the beginning of the European session. Thenceforth, DOGE/USD is consolidating sideways within a narrow trading range.

The Dogethereum announcement impact continues to stay, but there are concerns in the markets as selling sentiment near the intraday highs remain. DOGE/USD has already broken below the ascending trendline formation (depicted in orange) and could continue to head downwards as other top coins gain momentum, including Bitcoin that looks stable and impressive for the past few days.


DOGE/USD Targets 100H MA

After breaking below the ascending trendline, DOGE/USD is now just above its 100H MA. The indicator could be treated as a potential bounce-back level by the day traders, which could push the pair back above the prevailing ascending trendline. We can note similar bouncebacks in the RSI and Stochastic indicators during the September 1 and 2 trading sessions. The RSI particularly is hanging near 40, a level that has proven to be a support to many downtrends before.

However, in the event of an extended bearish correction from the 0.00691-peak, we could see DOGE/USD target 0.00445-fiat as its next potential support level. The same line has reversed the bearish correction once on September 2.

As of now, the sentiment in the Dogecoin market remains to be biased towards bulls in near-term.

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Crypto Terms and meaning (FAQ)



Select Base currency
We default in US Dollar, pick one of the 33 currencies listed include CNY, Euro or Bitcoin.

Displays the coin name and logo. Click this to see the advanced stats - that's where the real magic of the platform lies...

Last traded price of coin with ~3 minutes (or block time) delay.

Coin Price Change from exactly 24 hours ago.

Value of all the coin traded in the last 24 hours.

The value of the entire coin supply based upon the last traded price.

Annual Return on Investment of masternode of this coin.

Lists the number of active masternodes on specified coin network.

# required
Also called collateral. The amount of coins required for a masternode. Always buy 1 more for transaction fees from exchange and internal transaction to the masternode.

MN Worth
The current value of masternode based upon last traded price. It is Price x # required.

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Australia’s Biggest Stock Exchange Delays Blockchain Integration to 2021.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has postponed the integration of its blockchain post-trade settlements system from late 2020 to Q1 2021 in response to concerns from stakeholders.

In a report [PDF] published on Tuesday, the ASX said it had received feedback from the industry in response to its initially-proposed timeline targeting a complete revamp of its settlements system by integrating blockchain technology as a replacement to its current Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), its core system for the last 25 years.

The exchange operator revealed that feedback – from 41 written responses from stakeholders including payment providers, clearing and settlement participants, market operators, share registries, brokers and more – offered “general support” for the blockchain-powered revamp, the common view was that the ASX is being aggressive with its timelines for integrating the decentralized technology.

“There was a common view in responses that too much new functionality was being proposed to be implemented in too short a timeframe,” the ASX said today.

The operator added:

“It was argued that this would result in increased complexity and risk across project phases and in the implementation timeframe.”

The feedback also indicated that new business requirements needed a bedding-in period over a longer timeline. The initial consultation paper set out nearly 50 new business requirements in tandem with the decommissioning of certain CHESS features that would turn redundant.

As a result, the ASX said it will “push back the earliest commencement date for the new system from Q4 2020 to target March-April 2021.”

Further, 7 out of the 50 new scope items offered by the blockchain revamp will also be deferred from launch day implementations. The ASX is also extending its period for user development and industry-wide testing, as well as a mandatory accreditation timeline, by a further six months.

The ASX first began exploring blockchain technology in 2015 after the managing director at the time Elmer Funke Kupper labelled it a “once in a 20-year opportunity” to cut costs, complexities and timescales of the current CHESS system.

Research indicates that the ASX will save millions with its blockchain pivot which, when live, will make it the first major exchange operator to implement the decentralized technology for a core process.

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There's a Problem With Crypto Funding – And Vitalik Just Might Have a Solution.

There are free-riders in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

At least, that's the contention of a new paper, shared with CoinDesk on Monday, written by ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, Microsoft researcher Glen Weyl and Ph.D. of economics at Harvard, Zoë Hitzig.

And free-riders pose a problem.

Described in the paper, free-riders are people or businesses that profit from the under-provision of public goods. And, on top of that, "the more people [these public goods] benefit the more they will be under-provided." It's an issue that plagues development even outside the cryptocurrency space, but the authors are – at least – initially focused on how the idea creates harmful incentives for the funding of blockchain projects.

Whereas currently, crypto development teams rely largely on donations, the altruistic whims of their creators, and ICOs — the paper details a new financing method to support a "self-organizing ecosystem of public goods."

Titled "Liberal Radicalism: Formal Rules for a Society Neutral among Communities," the method described – a system written in code – seeks to allow groups to allocate funds for the maintenance of public goods and services without becoming vulnerable to the "free-rider" problem.

The mechanism is similar in principle to Quadratic Voting, a form of stake-based voting championed by Weyl in a recent booked, "Radical Markets."

While Quadratic Voting allows participants to vote with crypto tokens according to how much they care about an issue, Liberal Radicalism (LR) expands the same concept to how communities contribute to public goods, such as software development, cryptocurrencies and journalism.

And it works by increasing the funding of projects incrementally depending on the number of participants and the degree to which they care about the issue at hand.

"Individuals make public goods' contributions to projects of value to them. The amount received by the project is (proportional to) the square of the sum of the square roots of contributions received," the paper states.

And while the authors have ambitions for the technology that are far-reaching (including applying the code to municipal projects and campaign financing) cryptocurrency communities, with their open-minded attitudes towards experimentation, are a "particularly appropriate" testing ground for the technology.

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When Kathy Griffin's jokes crossed the line.

Griffin lost a lot of supporters with her off-colored Tyler Shield's photoshoot showing her holding President Trump’s bloody, decapitated head.

Even her longtime CNN New Year’s Eve co-host Anderson Cooper said the comic went too far. The 56-year-old issued an apology for her ill-planned photo but later backtracked saying on an Australia morning show in August saying, "I’m no longer sorry. The whole outrage was B.S.," she said. "The whole thing got so blown out of proportion."

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The messaging app launching its own cryptocurrency

Line is looking to offer incentives to its users via its own cryptocurrency – although Japanese regulators aren’t making it easy…


The popular Japanese messaging app company Line has announced that it’s introducing its own cryptocurrency, as it continues to look at ways to recruit new users.


The company made the announcement on its webpage, declaring that its first cryptocurrency will go by the name of Link, and that it’ll be exclusively available in the first instance at least on BITBOX. For Japanese users there’s a slight caveat, as residents of the country will be rewarded with LINK Point rather than LINK, which presumably is tied in to the far increased scrutiny Japanese regulators now place on new crypto products.


Line, then, is following the idea of using cryptocurrency as a user incentive (Rakuten explored the same idea), and it’ll be using an independently-created blockchain – cunningly entitled LINK Chain – to power the system. The company has already ruled out an ICO (again, Japanese regulations can’t have helped much there, even if it wanted to), and will instead give LINK coins to users who use certain Line services.


Cryptocurrency can then be saved up, which can be spent in exchange for upcoming services, goods, benefits and other such incentives.


LINK will officially launch in September, and via BITBOX, it’ll be possible to link it (arf) to other cryptocurrencies too. LINK Point, though, will remain restricted until Line is given the nod for cryptocurrency trading and exchanges within Japan itself. For the time being, it sounds like LINK is more enticing to people outside of its country of origin rather than within it.

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Power company puts up its prices just for cryptocurrency miners

An American company is introducing a special rate, to offset the huge electricity demands from crypto miners…


A power company in America has seemingly had enough of the electricity drain coming from cryptocurrency miners, and has made changes to its pricing structure as a consequence.


Grant County Public Utility District, in Washington, America, has now specifically raised its electricity prices just for crypto miners. The area had seen a boom in those heading their way and setting up mining operations, with the key attraction being the relatively low electricity prices in the region. As such, miners have been setting up extensive computer hardware rigs to mine coins, and the number of enquiries that Grant Country has received about crypto mining operations has shot up.


The new rate has thus far been introduced, with local commissioner Tom Flint reportedly telling some cryptocurrency miners that the move has been made to protect local ratepayers. Furthermore, he’s also said to have commented that the cryptocurrency mining industry is ‘risky’ and ‘unregulated’.


All of this comes at a time when the return for cryptocurrency miners is in decline, given the fall in crypto prices since the start of the year (hardware board manufacturer Nvidia is getting out of the crypto industry for one, having seen a sharp decline in revenues for its related products this year).


Furthermore, there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of mining too, given the rocketing amount of electricity that’s required to power some of the computing rigs involved around the clock.


One way to combat that? Put the price of the electricity itself up – and that’s just what’s happened now in Washington…

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OSATO AVAN-NOMAYO | SEP 03, 2018 | 21:00

Bittrex, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange platform, has announced its investment in Palladium, a blockchain firm based in Malta. This investment is the latest in a series of partnerships and collaborations between the two companies. 



According to the Times of Malta, the investment deal sees Bittrex buying up a ten percent stake in Palladium.


Bittrex now joins Unikrn and Investar Holdings as the other shareholders in the company. The former owns 15 percent while the latter, a holding company owned by Prof. Paolo Catalfamo, holds the remaining 85 percent.


Commenting on the investment deal, Palladium founder, Prof.  Catalfamo said:


We are excited to have such a global player on board. Bittrex’s investment in Palladium is a confirmation of Malta’s sound decision to be at the forefront of regulating blockchain technology.



The investment deal isn’t the first business transaction between both companies.


In July 2018, Palladium launched the maiden regulated Initial Convertible Coin Offering (ICCO) in partnership with Bittrex.


As part of the deal, Bittrex provided its robust technology framework to power the ICCO paradigm. The US-based platform also provided its token selection matrix to ensure full investor protection.


The funds realized from the Bittrex investment could fast-track Palladium’s goal of obtaining a majority stake in a European bank.


Palladium also wishes to develop a full spectrum cryptocurrency trading platform that encompasses banking, cryptocurrency exchange service, as well as, fiat services.





Bittrex’s investment is another marquee moment for Malta as it strives to become the premier global cryptocurrency and blockchain technology hub.


In April, Binance, the world’s largest virtual currency exchange platform, announced its move to the island. Binance also plans to establish the world’s first ever decentralized bank in partnership with Neufund.


Since then, other crypto behemoths like OKEx have also moved their operations to the country. In July, OKEx also announced that it had secured a partnership deal with the Maltese Stock Exchange (MSX).


At the center of these developments is the Maltese government’s desire to create an enabling environment for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology operations to thrive. So far, Malta has enacted a robust legislative framework that offers legitimacy for many aspects of the cryptocurrency industry.

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Hyperbitcoinization: How Currency Crises Are Driving Nations to Crypto

Venezuela, Turkey, Iran and Zimbabwe: these countries are all facing ongoing economic crises. They’re suffering from high levels of inflation, and as a result the people living within them are increasingly turning to crypto as a store of value and a means of exchange. Their recent troubles have heightened the distant possibility that, at some point in the future, hyperbitcoiniztion will take place, with Bitcoin (or some other coin) replacing the bolívar, the lira, the rial and other struggling national currencies, and perhaps even becoming the world's dominant form of money, as predicted by the likes of Steve Wozniak and Jack Dorsey.

However, as encouraging as such developments are for Bitcoin’s reputation as a store of value, it's unlikely that the moves of Turkish, Venezuelan and Zimbabwean citizens toward it and other cryptocurrencies are an immediate precursor to the kinds of blanket adoption processes outlined in the noted 2014 “Hyperbitcoinization” article by Daniel Krawisz.  Even though they're conspicuously increasing, the BTC volumes traded in the affected countries above are not significant enough relative to global volumes, while the isolated nature of most of these nations means that adoption has little chance of spreading outward.

Added to this, for as long as such global reserve currencies as the U.S. dollar, the euro and the Japanese yen remain stable, crypto adoption won’t be boosted by high inflation in nations where the population has access to such currencies — and not to mention gold.


The textbook case of crisis-driven crypto adoption is Venezuela, with the first report on Venezuelans turning to Bitcoin arriving in October 2014. According to Reuters, Venezuelans were being driven to the cryptocurrency by the capital controls imposed by President Hugo Chavez in 2003, which made it excruciatingly hard for them to obtain U.S. dollars. Given that, even then, hyperinflation was in motion in Venezuela (at 68.5 percent), locals began purchasing — and mining — Bitcoin, which stood at $388.30 by the beginning of that October, despite having fallen by around 49 percent since the beginning of the year.

While data on the actual number of people using Bitcoin at this point isn’t available, the Reuters article states that Venezuela "already [had] at least several hundred Bitcoin enthusiasts." Somewhat less vaguely, Coin Dance records that 625,573 Venezuelan bolívar (VEF) was traded for Bitcoin on the LocalBitcoins peer-to-peer (p2p) crypto-exchange in the week of Dec. 12, 2014, equivalent to about $99,403.55 at the conversion rate of the time. Similarly, CryptoCompare lists a high for 2014 (on Dec. 24) at VEF 553,633.30, which, at around $87,972.33, underlines how the volumes being traded weren't massive — particularly for a nation with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $482 billion — even if they were growing as a result of economic pressures.

Since 2014, things have picked up gradually. In the week ending on Dec. 17, 2016, there were Bitcoin trades worth a total of VEF 527,945,763, which, due to inflation of around 275 percent in 2015, translated to $105,589.15 at then-current conversion rates. That year, individuals involved in the Venezuelan crypto-economy had begun speaking in favor of Bitcoin and other cryptos as genuine alternatives to the bolívar and even the U.S. dollar, with the founder of Bitcoin Venezuela, Randy Brito, telling Cointelegraph in January 2016 that BTC could be "a genuine savior of the Venezuelan economy."

“The Bitcoin market in Venezuela is indeed big and growing at a fast rate. The absence of exchanges have seemingly gone unnoticed as most Bitcoin miners within the country trade informally with people they can trust — basically for reasons of privacy, as they seek to conceal their source of wealth from the public.”

Coupled with the ability Bitcoin grants Venezuelans for resisting a government that has effectively robbed people of wealth by presiding over an inflationary regime, its growing value over the course of 2015 and 2016 gained it increasing popularity. Indeed, the local Surbitcoin exchange told the Washington Post in March 2017 that the number of Bitcoin users expanded from around 450 in 2014 to 85,000 in 2016.

Once again, such numbers aren't massive for a country with a population of approximately 31.5 million, but the deteriorating situation in Venezuela has meant that they only increased further in 2017 and 2018. For the week ending on June 24, 2017, the VEF/BTC market on LocalBitcoins alone had reached a volume of VEF 9,210,450,540, according to Coin Dance. This equated to around $1,151,306.32 at the time, while the week of Dec. 30, 2017 saw a trade volume of VEF 281,525,042,307 on LocalBitcoins — or $2,815,250.42, according to then-current black market exchange rates.

This year, even with the advent of the state-controlled and oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more generally have continued to enjoy a strong increase in usage. In fact, Reuters has recently reported that no crypto-exchanges are trading the Petro and that no Venezuelan shops currently accept it, while the likes of Bitcoin have continued to see growth. Assuming the same crude volume-to-users ration that was evident at the end of 2016 (i.e., Bitcoins worth $105,589.15 traded by around 85,000 users), there were around 926,500 Bitcoin users in the week of Aug. 18, 2018, when 673 Bitcoin was traded against 27.28 trillion Venezuelan bolívars on LocalBitcoins. At the black market exchange rate (i.e., 1 VEF = $5,921,486.23) that applied prior to the Venezuelan government officially devaluing the bolívar by 95 percent, this equalled around $4.6 million.

It’s not clear to what extent traded volumes will continue to grow now that the government has devalued the bolívar, yet the economic pressures faced by Venezuela have caused its population to adopt Bitcoin more speedily than other nations with comparable GDP. For instance, in New Zealand and Romania — two countries the International Monetary Fund (IMFputs next to Venezuela in terms of GDP — the LocalBitcoins BTC market has grown by 875 percent and 2400 percent respective since 2013. By contrast, the LocalBitcoins BTC/VEF market has grown by a staggering 67,300 percent since 2013, with 536 Bitcoin being traded in the week ending on Aug. 25. If nothing else, this underlines the kind of boost hyperinflation can give to cryptocurrency adoption. And seeing as how the IMF has predicted that inflation could reach 1,000,000 percent by the end of 2018, the boost is likely to be even bigger in the coming months.

It's not only Bitcoin that has enjoyed the fruits of Venezuela's economic disaster, as other cryptocurrencies have also made inroads into the South American nation. Since at least September 2016, Venezuelans have also been avid users of Dash, whose faster confirmation times and lower transaction fees generally make it more convenient as a means of payment. Buoyed by active moves on Dash's part to promote their coin among Venezuelans as an alternative to the bolívar — and to Bitcoin — it's reportedly the most popular cryptocurrency among local merchants — at least, according to Dash themselves — with upward of 540 merchants in the country now accepting it as a means of payment.


Iran is another country that has been on the wrong end of U.S.-led sanctions in recent years, and like Venezuela, its national currency — the rial (IRR) — is suffering from high inflation, although its current rate of 18 percent doesn't quite match the 82,766 percent currently seen in Venezuela.

As recently as this April, the rial's rate of inflation was only 7.9 percent, yet this jumped to 9.7 percent, 13.7 percent and then 18 percent in May, June and July. Much like Venezuela, the Iranian government responded to this precipitous increase by announcing plans in late July for a state-run cryptocurrency, while the Iranian population had by that point already traded crypto worth $2.5 billion, according to a May report from Forbes. This was despite the government having introduced an April ban on banks dealing in cryptocurrencies.

And since April and May, there has been a noticeable uptick in the IRR/BTC market on LocalBitcoins. For instance, between July 7 and July 28, the volume of this market increased by 109.1 percent, from IRR 9.467 billion to IRR 19.796 billion (i.e., to roughly $176,758.31, according to black market conversion rates).

By contrast, a country with a similarly sized GDP — Thailand — witnessed only a 27.6 percent increase over the same two-week period, from 12.2 million Thai baht (THB) to THB 15.6 million. That said, this latter figure equals $476.410, meaning that the BTC market is bigger in Thailand in absolute terms. More importantly, it also means that an inflation crisis alone isn't enough to bring about widespread crypto adoption overnight, since it's clear that the Iranian market for crypto is not only small, but is hampered by legislation that makes it illegal. It has also been undermined by the enduring popularity of gold, which rose by 300 percent against IRR in the three months leading up to June and which has reportedly replaced the U.S. dollar in local Iranian markets, according to the Iran Gold & Jewelry Association.


Another nation that has its own economic woes is Zimbabwe. In 2009, it abandoned its own national currency (the Zimbabwean dollar), doing so after a trillion-dollar note was introduced and after the currency had braved 10 years of hyperinflation — the rate of which reaching as high as 231,000,000 percent in July 2008.

Since then, the government has permitted the use of a variety of currencies — including the U.S. dollar, South African rand, and the euro — yet, this drastic measure introduces problems of its own, such as acute shortages of foreign cash. To combat this, the Zimbabwean government has been imposing capital controls, setting the latest this May, when the central bank limited the amount of USD people can withdraw from ATMs and send out of the country to $1,000.

In the face of such restrictions, Bitcoin witnessed price increases above the global average on the Zimbabwean Golix exchange at the end of 2017, with the price even doubling in November as locals sought to obtain currency that wasn't controlled or restricted by the government. It was also in November that Golix celebrated a quadrupling of its monthly transactions, around the time when the country had been destabilized by fresh dollar shortages, 50 percent inflation — affecting the new bond notes the government introduced in November 2016 — and a military coup. Consequently, Golix saw its monthly trade volume increase to $1 million, which was an impressive feat considering that, over the entire course of 2016, it handled a grand total of $100,000.


A similar picture has emerged from more recent Turkish history, with inflation issues provoking a comparable — if not quite as dramatic — swing toward crypto. These issues first became acute when the inflation rate of the Turkish lira (TRY) climbed to 11.9 percent in October 2017, as the nation's banks took on risky levels of private debt, as foreign investors moved out of the country, and as President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an refused to increase interest rates in response.

Following this, Turkish people began looking toward crypto, although the volumes at the time weren't significantly larger than those for nations with similar GDP levels. For instance, in the week ending on Nov. 4, 2017, 41 Bitcoin was traded for Turkish lira via the LocalBitcoins exchange, while in Mexico — which has a similar GDP, but an inflation rate of around 4.5 percent — 38 Bitcoin was traded for Mexican pesos. In other words, relatively high inflation can give a slight boost to crypto adoption, but without hyperinflation, it doesn't result in a dramatic increase (e.g., 303 Bitcoin was traded for Venezuelan bolívars on the week that ended on Nov. 4).

However, this year there has at least been the threat of hyperinflation, as Turkey entered a nascent crisis, which saw inflation rise to 15.39 percent, at the beginning of July. As a result, there was a 131.9 percent increase in volume on the LocalBitcoins exchange between the beginning of July and the beginning of August, with the BTC trade volume in Turkish lira rising from 327,295 to 759,026 between the week ending on July 7 and that ending Aug. 11.

Between these two dates, the price of BTC actually sank from $6,670 to $6,145 (-7.87 percent), meaning that this rise can't be accounted for by a strong bull market in Turkey. Similarly, figures from CryptoCompare, culled from the BTCTurk and LocalBitcoins exchanges, reveal that there were trades in Bitcoin worth TRY 31,592,628 on Aug. 10, representing a 424.3 percent increase when compared to the 24-hour volume for July 10, which was TRY 6,026,033.

Speaking of the Turkish inflationary crisis and its positive effects on demand for crypto, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees noted on Twitter that Bitcoin's recent resilience in the face of crypto-market turbulence had raised its stock as a store of value and made it a viable alternative to the Turkish lira.

We've entered a time now where some fiats are far less stable than Bitcoin. Turkish lira plummeting ~20% in one day. #BackedByGovernment #TRY #forex

— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) August 10, 2018

It would seem that an increasing number of Turkish people agree with him, given that a June survey from ING Bank revealed that Turkey has the highest rate of cryptocurrency ownership in the world — or rather, out of 15 countries, including the U.S., Australia, the U.K., France, Germany, and the Netherlands. 18 percent of Turkish people own some cryptocurrency, compared to 12 percent for the next highest — Romania, which also happens to have the highest rate of inflation among the 14 other nations — and eight percent for the United States.

However, an inflation rate of around 15 percent isn't enough on its own to drive widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies, nor is it sufficient to trigger the process of hyperbitcoinization. For one, even if the TRY/BTC market has enjoyed increases in volume in recent weeks and months, absolute numbers are still comparatively low, with the market currently being the 16th largest for Bitcoin at the time of writing, according to CryptoCompare. This equals a 24-hour volume of BTC 226.09, which is only 0.08 percent of the total amount traded in a day, and only 0.48 percent and 0.68 percent of the volume traded against the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen respectively.

Also, if you look at the TRY/BTC charts for LocalBitcoins, the recent inflation-driven increase over July-August isn't that large and is actually dwarfed by the trading volumes in Turkish lira as witnessed in April and early June and particularly during the end-of-2017 rush. And in fact, if you compared the TRY/BTC figures for the week ending on Aug. 11 against those for the week ending on Aug. 18 — during which the crisis reached its peak, with lira falling by as much as 10 percent — there is a drop rather than an increase. TRY 759,026 was traded for the week ending on Aug. 11, while only TRY 573,626 was traded for the seven days leading up to Aug. 18.

In contrast to the growth of crypto visible in Venezuela and Zimbabwe, what this lack of a pronounced upswing points to is access to the U.S. dollar, among other fiat currencies and stores of value. In contrast to Venezuela and Zimbabwe, the Turkish government has opted not to set any capital controls, thereby enabling people to buy and sell as much foreign currency as they like. As a result, Turkish investors and the Turkish people have begun buying U.S. dollars and gold, as indicated by how both have risen markedly against the lira. And in turn, neither Bitcoin nor any other cryptocurrency has seen a big jump in trading volumes recently, even though the longer-term weakness of the lira has played a role in giving Turkey one of the highest rates of crypto ownership in the developed world.

Argentina and reserve currencies

Much the same story can be gleaned from Argentina. At 31.2 percent, Argentina currently has the highest inflation rate of any moderately sized economy — which the IMF ranks as 21st in terms of GDP — and as could be inferred from such a statistic, cryptocurrencies should be enjoying a strong following in the South American nation.

However, despite the early expectation that Argentina was ripe for Bitcoin adoption, it would seem that the population doesn’t currently trade cryptocurrency in impressive numbers. On the LocalBitcoins exchange, the highest number of Bitcoin bought in 2018 using Argentine pesos in a single week was 31, during the week ending on July 7. And for the sake of comparison, Sweden has the 23rd largest GDP according to the IMF, yet during the week ending on July 7 many more Bitcoin — 112, to be precise — were traded for Swedish krona.

According to CryptoCompare, Argentina is only the 45th biggest market in the world for Bitcoin (Sweden is the 31st), despite having the sixth highest rate of inflation in the world. And as with Turkey, a big part of the explanation for this is that Argentina hasn't had strict capital controls since 2015, when incoming president Mauricio Macri lifted the controls imposed by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in 2011.

Because of this, Argentines have access to U.S. dollars and other currencies, something which circumvents the need for cryptocurrencies as a store of value.

Still, even without any recent jump in crypto trading or ownership, Bitcoin still has a noticeable presence in Argentina. Not only has an Argentine bank recently begun using Bitcoin for cross-border payments instead of the SWIFT network, but the country was also one of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin during the period between 2011 and 2015 — even though capital controls were in place. As reported by Tom Jeffreys in early 2016, Bitcoin was already accepted by 145 merchants in Buenos Aires alone (it's now accepted by 194), implying that the cryptocurrency wasn't simply a store of value but also a method of payment:

"For many, the practical, everyday uses of Bitcoin in a country like Argentina are the early lab tests of radical financial overhaul that could have wider implications for the global economy."

Grim scenarios

The lesson provided by all of the above examples is the following: Cryptocurrencies have a huge potential as alternative methods of payment and stores of value during financial crises. However, as long as world reserve currencies — such as the U.S. dollar and euro — remain stable, and for as long as people of an unstable nation have access to such reserves, no cryptocurrency is likely to gain widespread adoption and use in that country — at least not as a result of inflation. More simply, there will be no hyperbitcoinization as long as the U.S. dollar remains strong.

As illustrated by Coin Dance's numbers for markets on LocalBitcoins, trading volumes are highest — and rise the fastest — in nations where there's very poor access to a reliable fiat currency. Consequently, what's needed to drive the mass adoption of crypto in any one nation isn't simply inflation, but also a shortage of US dollars and other stale foreign currencies.


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How Venezuela Came to Be One of the Biggest Markets for Crypto in the World

Venezuela has been living with hyperinflation since at least 2014. Its national currency — the Venezuelan bolívar — hit an official inflation rate of 57.3 percent in February 2014, while independent currency analysts were reporting that, by that September, the real inflation rate had already topped 100 percent. In other words, the bolívar (VEF) was depreciating rapidly in value, and ordinary Venezuelans needed something to fill the void it had left as a one-time viable means of exchange.

By definition, hyperinflation is a state in which, as described by the International Accounting Standards Board, "the general population prefers to keep its wealth in non-monetary assets or in a relatively stable foreign currency." However, due to capital controls that had been in place since 2003, Venezuelans were restricted in their ability to obtain U.S. dollars or any other foreign currency. They had no freely accessible outlet for their devalued VEF, with the Venezuelan economy expected to contract in 2015 by 1 percent, according to the IMF.

It was into this economic quagmire that Bitcoin and altcoins (particularly Dash) entered, providing struggling Venezuelans with stores of value and mediums of exchange they could rely upon more than the nosediving bolívar. Ever since 2014 and the onset of hyperinflation, they've seen marked increases in ownership and trading, with impressive rises being witnessed in the past few months, as Venezuelan inflation topped an eye-watering 46,000 percent and as the IMF predicted an inflation rate of 1,000,000 percent by the end of 2018.

However, as the following will show, the meteoric rise of crypto in Venezuela doesn't simply result from the desire to avoid the worst effects of hyperinflation. It also stems from the proactive attempts certain cryptocurrencies have made to establish themselves within Venezuela, as well as from a desire among the population to resist and circumvent an authoritarian government, which has used capital controls as one way of starving likely opponents of funding.

Bitcoin growth

As an indication of the extent to which crypto usage has grown in Venezuela, it's worth looking at the trading charts provided by the Coin Dance website for the LocalBitcoins exchange, which enables peer-to-peer trades between any two parties anywhere in the world.

In November 2013, around the time Venezuela had an official — i.e., massaged — inflation rate of 'just' 43 percent, a grand total of two Bitcoin were traded for VEF on the LocalBitcoins exchange. This modest volume, however, quickly rose almost as soon as the country firmly entered hyperinflation territory, with the peak for 2014 being the 64 Bitcoin traded in December, at a time when the BTC value had sunk to as low as $311 — after having stood at around $932 at the beginning of the year. It was at this time that inflation was at 63 percent, according to the government, and given that the country had been caught in hyperinflation for well over a year, many groups and individuals were beginning to recognize the vital role crypto could play in giving Venezuelans a lifeline.

One Venezuelan Bitcoin trader told Reuters in October of that year:

It was into this economic quagmire that Bitcoin and altcoins (particularly Dash) entered, providing struggling Venezuelans with stores of value and mediums of exchange they could rely upon more than the nosediving bolívar. Ever since 2014 and the onset of hyperinflation, they've seen marked increases in ownership and trading, with impressive rises being witnessed in the past few months, as Venezuelan inflation topped an eye-watering 46,000 percent and as the IMF predicted an inflation rate of 1,000,000 percent by the end of 2018.

However, as the following will show, the meteoric rise of crypto in Venezuela doesn't simply result from the desire to avoid the worst effects of hyperinflation. It also stems from the proactive attempts certain cryptocurrencies have made to establish themselves within Venezuela, as well as from a desire among the population to resist and circumvent an authoritarian government, which has used capital controls as one way of starving likely opponents of funding.

Bitcoin growth

As an indication of the extent to which crypto usage has grown in Venezuela, it's worth looking at the trading charts provided by the Coin Dance website for the LocalBitcoins exchange, which enables peer-to-peer trades between any two parties anywhere in the world.

In November 2013, around the time Venezuela had an official — i.e., massaged — inflation rate of 'just' 43 percent, a grand total of two Bitcoin were traded for VEF on the LocalBitcoins exchange. This modest volume, however, quickly rose almost as soon as the country firmly entered hyperinflation territory, with the peak for 2014 being the 64 Bitcoin traded in December, at a time when the BTC value had sunk to as low as $311 — after having stood at around $932 at the beginning of the year. It was at this time that inflation was at 63 percent, according to the government, and given that the country had been caught in hyperinflation for well over a year, many groups and individuals were beginning to recognize the vital role crypto could play in giving Venezuelans a lifeline.

One Venezuelan Bitcoin trader told Reuters in October of that year:

"Even though Bitcoin is volatile, it’s still safer than the national currency."

While Gerardo Mogollon, a business professor at the University of Tachira, told the news agency:

"I’m teaching people to use Bitcoin to bypass the exchange controls."  


2015 was an even better year for Bitcoin, despite — or rather because of — it being a worse year for VEF and for Venezuelans. Annual inflation reached as high as 335 percent in June 2015, according to currency economist Steve Hanke, while 319 Bitcoin were traded on LocalBitcoins for VEF in the month of February alone. This figure excludes volumes on Venezuelan exchanges such as Surbitcoin, which in 2015, was reported by Bitcoin Venezuela as being the "second largest in transaction volume in Latin America after Brazil." It also pales in comparison to the number of Bitcoin traded over the entire year, which — at 2059 — was 983 percent bigger than 2014's total (190) and was worth around $1,281,223 (based on a crude average annual price for Bitcoin of $622).

In 2016, the total number of Bitcoin traded via LocalBitcoins was 8624, a 318.8 percent increase over the previous year that coincided with Venezuela's annual inflation rate reaching as high as 500 percent. In 2017, the total number of BTC traded on LocalBitcoins rose again, ramping up to 21,556 — a 150 percent increase over 2016's total. Given that Bitcoin itself became more expensive in 2017 — rising to $19,000 in December — this expansion offers a stark indication of just how sought-after Bitcoin and crypto had become, as inflation surged to yet another peak of 1,369 percent, according to figures released by the opposition-led Venezuelan parliament.

Because of Venezuela's economic misery, many locals had begun finding it difficult even to secure enough food to eat, as the wages they were paid (in VEF) increasingly dwindled in value. "It’s like an obstacle course. You have to find money to buy food, a place to buy it and then get there in time," one Venezuelan told the Guardian in August 2017. Meanwhile, the percentage of children suffering from acute malnourishment sneaked from eight percent in the previous October to 12 percent that July. "They are getting younger, and the cases more serious," explained Susana Raffalli, the leader of a Caritas project aimed at combating youth malnutrition in the country.

With most Venezuelans going to bed on an empty stomach, the need to source alternative currencies was acutely felt by the population, not least because the national poverty rate had climbed from 48 percent in 2014 to 82 percent in 2016, and then 87 percent in 2017. And it's likely to climb yet again this year, given the quintuple-digit inflation currently in motion — something which has unsurprisingly kept the Bitcoin-buying rate noticeably high.

According to Coin Dance, 14,886 Bitcoin have been purchased with VEF on LocalBitcoins between the beginning of 2018 and Aug. 18. This is almost 1,000 fewer than the 15,868 BTC purchased over the same period last year, yet there has been a distinct upswing in trade volumes over the past month — just as the country's economic crisis has reached a new fever pitch, after the government devalued the bolívar by 95 percent in August. Already, before figures for the final week of August are even available, the total number of Bitcoin traded on LocalBitcoins has reached 2,532, in contrast to the 1,558 traded for all of August in 2017.

This could presage an accelerated rise as Venezuela sees out the rest of the year. Either way, trade volumes are high, and Bitcoin's reputation as an alternative to the bolívar is firmly cemented in the eyes of many Venezuelans. "Luckily, I've always been a fan of Bitcoin and the blockchain technology," wrote one Venezuelan Bitcoin user in a Reddit AMA from July:

"I spend my spare time teaching people how to change their bolivares to crypto so the inflation doesn't wreck their money. So far, I've helped many [businesses][…] i.e, restaurant owners who try to sell dishes every day and the next when they're trying to buy some meat there's no profit (sometimes they can't even afford it), because inflation hits us so hard. Right now the inflation is 1.000.000 percent++. I'm looking forward to a plan [to] help people get food through crypto […] I'm pretty much focused on training on Bitcoin use and saving [whomever] I can from hyperinflation, I believe Bitcoin is the solution!"


This linear picture of Bitcoin's rise is, however, complicated by three simple facts: a) it's not the only cryptocurrency available to Venezuelans, b) its growth was hindered by a government crackdown on Bitcoin mining between March 2016 and January 2018, and c) it has suffered (particularly in 2017) from relatively high transaction fees and confirmation times. As a result, Venezuelans have increasingly dabbled in other coins as their economic crisis has unfolded, including Ethereum and Zcash.

However, it's Dash that's leading the charge as the most popular altcoin — and possibly the most popular cryptocurrency.

In August 2016, Dash was added as a tradable cryptocurrency to the Caracas-based Cryptobuyer exchange, which was reporting "soaring demand" for cryptocurrencies at the time. "Our partnership with Dash is valuable," explained Cryptobuyer CEO Jorge Farias in a press release, "especially for customers using unstable fiat currencies, and the perfect example can be found in Venezuela right now. Alternatives for accessing money without traditional banks are gaining traction fast, and we are incredibly confident that Dash will flourish in this economy."

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find websites that offer specific volume data on the DASH/VEF market, so there's no objective and publicly available reading of just how quickly Dash usage has expanded since the end of 2016, or of how it compares to Bitcoin volume. Nonetheless, the indications that are available suggest that it has become enviably popular since 2016, with the Dash Core Group announcing on Aug. 22 that Venezuela was the cryptocurrency's second biggest market, after the United States.

And as Dash Core's CEO, Ryan Taylor, told Cointelegraph, this success is once again partly a result of Venezuela's economic and monetary difficulties:

"We’ve found that regions of high inflation rates and industries in which cash handling or credit card chargeback rates are high have been most excited to adopt the technology. For us, we focus on those segments in which cryptocurrency can offer the most benefit, and that’s one of the reasons growth in acceptance is so high."

In fact, Dash's superiority over Bitcoin, in terms of transaction fees and confirmation times, is such that the cryptocurrency is now reportedly the most popular in Venezuela among merchants — or at least this is what Dash claimed in a July article, without providing comparative figures. At the very least, Ryan Taylor states that over 800 merchants in Venezuela now accept Dash, and while there isn't an authoritative source for the number of merchants now accepting Bitcoin, Coinmap currently lists a little over 160 merchants in the country that accept BTC (as reported to the website by users, so the actual number may be slightly larger).

Ryan Taylor explains Dash's greater popularity in terms of its greater cost-effectiveness in relation to Bitcoin:

"From the perspective of merchants and businesses, Bitcoin has many uses, including as a means of payment [for] online purchases and for transferring money cross-border at low cost. However, Bitcoin transactions are not instant, which means they are not useful for live transactions such as at a register or for online transactions that customers wouldn’t want to wait [for] — such as a digital media purchase. Bitcoin is also too expensive for micro transactions."  

Yet, what's interesting about Dash's rise to prominence isn't simply that it has benefitted from user friendliness and from rampant hyperinflation, but that it has made a concerted effort to drive and encourage its adoption throughout Venezuela. Distinguishing it from other coins, 10 percent of its block rewards go to a treasury fund that allocates finances to projects voted for by Dash master nodes. As a result, the Dash Core Group has been able to invest around $1 million of such funding to promote and raise awareness of Dash in Venezuela, with this funding going toward such things as billboard ads and sales representatives. For example, Dash Caracas — the self-proclaimed first Dash community in Venezuela — began running educational conferences in September 2017, which now accommodate around a thousand attendees. Its leader Eugenia Alcalá Sucre said last September:

"We had a team receiving the attendees and giving them a folder with sheets to take notes, a pen, [instructions] to set up their Dash Wallets and paper wallets with $10 in Dash. Then they got into the hall, where they watched a welcome video, where they also got instructions for their wallets (phone and paper)."  

Such evangelism is clearly having an effect on Dash adoption rates, and it's also something that Bitcoin advocates have been doing in Venezuela, even if Bitcoin's lack of a "Core Group" and a treasury has resulted in its propagation being less unified or organized.

Clearly, with Bitcoin and Dash advocates providing support to Venezuelans just when there's a vacuum of hope and help, it's little wonder that the cryptocurrencies have risen to the heights they've witnessed so far in 2018. Not only have these and other cryptocurrencies been in the right place at the right time in Venezuelan history, but they've positioned and promoted themselves in a way that maximizes the advantage they've reaped from the country's situation. Put differently, crypto's rise in Venezuela isn't just about inflation or capital controls, but also about entrepreneurship and evangelism.

Petro and the government

And funnily enough, cryptocurrencies in Venezuela haven't been boosted solely by crypto groups, but also by the Venezuelan government itself — despite the hard line it had initially taken on Bitcoin miners. Given the economic meltdown the nation was going through, and given that cryptocurrency had already enjoyed such an impressive ascendancy in the preceding months and years, the government announced in early December 2017 that it would issue its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro. While the Petro has been dissected and denounced by crypto experts and the Venezuelan opposition alike, it has at least had the inadvertent effect of providing a more favorable environment for non-centralized coins to flourish.

To begin with, its creation resulted in the Venezuelan government declaring in January that crypto mining was "perfectly legal," despite having prosecuted miners for over a year prior to that. From that point onward, those "people who have been victims of seizures and arrests in previous years will have charges dismissed," according to the nation's new cryptocurrency superintendent, Carlos Vargas. And since then, cryptocurrency mining appears to have continued increasing its popularity, with a May Bloomberg article's headline — perhaps not without some exaggeration — reading, "There’s a Crypto-Mining Machine in Every Home in Caracas."

And as the government prepared for the Petro's ICO and eventual release into circulation, it launched free cryptocurrency lessons for the Venezuelan population. Beginning from the end of February, Venezuelans were able to register at the Granja Laboratorio Petro in Caracas for a course that would, according to instructors, cost them between $500 and $800 anywhere else in the world and that would instruct them on how to "buy, sell and mine digital currencies." One teacher of the course, Carmen Salvador, told a local news outlet that the course was intended to reach the widest possible audience:

"Many of our young people here find it impossible to have this amount of resources, [but] the Venezuelan state is guaranteeing that all can participate through these plans."  

There are no statistics available on the number of enrollments in this course, but in view of how popular cryptocurrency had already become among Venezuelans, it's reasonable to assume that signup was relatively high. So, even if the government may have continued to put up some resistance toward cryptocurrencies that weren't the Petro (e.g., closing two crypto exchanges in April, although apparently more for disseminating 'false information' about the VEF exchange rate than for permitting trades in crypto), its desire to cultivate a favorable social attitude toward the Petro most likely had the collateral effect of increasing the profile of Bitcoin, Dash, Zcash and Ethereum even further.

And on the subject of inadvertent effects, there's a direct — though unquantifiable — link between the Venezuelan government's authoritarian tendencies and the attraction cryptocurrency holds for many locals. For one, the imposition of capital controls in 2003 was in part a move by then-President Hugo Chávez to cut off potential funding from any of his opponents who might be tempted to organize a repeat of the attempted coup d'état of 2002, or a repeat of the anti-government strike that precipitated it. As he declared during a televised address announcing the controls, "Not one dollar for coup-mongers."

Venezuelan business leaders were quick to denounce the controls, with the then-leader of the Federation of Chambers of Industry & Commerce, Carlos Ferna?ndez, telling that the "exchange control is an instrument of repression. When he says that they will not give dollars to businesses that participated in the strike, this signifies that 80 percent of the companies would not receive dollars."

In the face of such an "instrument of repression," those Venezuelans wanting to resist or subvert the political order had to find an alternative monetary framework for surviving, and as all of the foregoing implies, they found cryptocurrency. Caracas-based programmer John Villar told Reuters in late 2014:

"Bitcoin is a way of rebelling against the system."  

That said, there's no indication that cryptocurrency is being used to fund actual opposition groups, while Villar went on to tell Business Insider in December 2017 that cryptocurrency in Venezuela "is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of survival." However, when Bitcoin is being accepted by Venezuelan businesses (and even being used to pay employees in a few cases), and when business has often been 'the opposition' in Venezuela in recent years, there's undoubtedly an underlying political edge to their use of crypto.

The future

As the situation in Venezuela worsens, with President Maduro's approval rating continuing its plunge from 55 percent in 2013 to around 20 percent today, it's only likely that more businesses and individuals will turn to cryptocurrency. Since the beginning of this year, there has already been a 344.6 percent rise in the number of Bitcoin traded for Venezuelan bolívars on the LocalBitcoins exchange, a percentage made even more impressive by the fact that it disregards other exchanges and other cryptocurrencies — such as Dash. Seeing as how the recent devaluation of the bolívar is unlikely to make a positive difference in Venezuela's economic situation, it's highly probable that this situation will deteriorate further, leaving people with even fewer options for survival. In turn, cryptocurrencies will be traded even more heavily.

Although it's likely that much of the Venezuelan trade in cryptocurrencies up until now has come from the country's middle classes — i.e., the 60 percent of the population with internet access, as well as those who know how to mine and program — the near future may see a wider distribution of people involving themselves in crypto. There's little question that Dash-, Bitcoin- and other crypto-evangelists will continue doggedly raising awareness among Venezuelans about the benefits of cryptocurrencies. Their efforts have been highly fruitful so far, providing an important model that they and other currencies can follow if — or when — another nation is unfortunate enough to experience something akin to Venezuela’s crisis. And for as long as the Venezuelan government continues to impose capital controls (which have been one of the main factors in hyperinflation, among others), there's nothing to suggest they won't continue bearing fruit in the coming months and years.


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In a Mixed Crypto Market, Bitcoin Inches Upward but Ethereum Remains Shy of $300

Monday, September 3: crypto markets are mixed today, with scattered corrections on a minor scale, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $7,255 at press time, down a fraction of a percent on the day to consolidate its freshly won gains, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Having reclaimed the $7,000 mark August 31, the top coin has been solidly rising to a yet higher price point, now pushing $7,300. Bitcoin is trading $525 higher than its value at the start of its weekly chart, bringing its 7-day gains to a strong 8.32 percent. On the month, Bitcoin is now also in the green, up 3.62 percent.

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $287 at press time, seeing a 2.27 percent loss on the day. After a volatile week, the top altcoin yesterday came tantalizingly close to reclaiming the $300 price point — soaring as high as $298.32 — but has today failed to break through.

Last week’s reports that the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) plans to launch ETH futures by the end of 2018 hardly budged the asset’s price, although Ethereum has nonetheless seen some growth over a week of market-wide green. On its weekly chart, Ethereum is now up a solid 5.15 percent, with monthly losses closed down to 29.86 percent.

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The top ten coins listed on CoinMarketCap are mostly seeing minor percentage changes — both green and red — of within a 1-2 percent range. The exception is Monero (XMR), now ranked 10th by market cap, which has soared 8.34 percent on the day to trade at $130.63 at press time. After a brief dip to as low as $97 August 30, Monero has seen a strong, if jagged, ascent over the past several days.

Monero’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more or less consolidated its major September gains, down just 2.36 percent on the day to trade around $624 at press time. After a stagnant week circling the $560 range, BCH saw a major boost in price performance following its successful stress test September 1.

Monero’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more or less consolidated its major September gains, down just 2.36 percent on the day to trade around $624 at press time. After a stagnant week circling the $560 range, BCH saw a major boost in price performance following its successful stress test September 1.

Monero’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more or less consolidated its major September gains, down just 2.36 percent on the day to trade around $624 at press time. After a stagnant week circling the $560 range, BCH saw a major boost in price performance following its successful stress test September 1.

Bitcoin Cash’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Dogecoin (DOGE) has kicked back against yesterday’s hefty correction, during which it lost close to 20 percent on the day. DOGE is today up 2.2 percent and is trading around $0.0051 at press time.

Since August 30, the altcoin has skyrocketed upwards, and even after yesterday’s dent has sealed a 112 percent gain on its weekly chart. Crypto commentators have attributed DOGE’s startling price performance to an impending infrastructure development for a project dubbed Dogethereum, the demo for which is set to take place Sept. 5.

Dogecoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $236.5 billion at press time, up almost $18 billion on its weekly chart.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Today, September 3, iPR Daily — a media outlet specializing in intellectual property — released a report that revealed that China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and tech conglomerate IBM top the global rankings for filings of blockchain-related patents to date. The report further showed that  Mastercard, Bank of America, and China’s central bank, People's Bank of China (PBoC), are all global leaders in patenting blockchain-related innovations.


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