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  • Bjork’s Latest Album Available Only With Cryptocurrencies, Shows Adoption

    Bjork’s Latest Album Available Only With Cryptocurrencies, Shows Adoption

    Known for embracing all things edgy, musician Bjork has announced that her latest album, Utopia, will be available for purchase only through cryptocurrencies. The artist will accept Bitcoin, Litecoin, DASH, and AudioCoin. Interestingly, the album cannot be purchased using normal fiat currencies.

    The move by the musician may seem like a marketing strategy of sorts to appear unique and to draw attention during a time when Bitcoin’s rise has brought cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. However, according to Kevin Bacon of Blockpool:

    "This really isn’t a marketing strategy with Björk. This is a decision to be a leader. In fact, it’s just the obvious thing to do for her. If I wasn’t involved in this project, I’d expect Björk to be a leader in this area, and for her team to be doing creative things with crypto.”

    Virtuous Satoshi cycles

    As adoption of cryptocurrencies increases, the price and number of transactions increase, causing greater price stability, and stability increases mainstream adoption. This process of adoption and stability has been referred to as a Satoshi cycle, and is the underlying driver for the increase in Bitcoin price.

    Bjork’s album offering is simply another step in the ladder of adoption and stability. As the cryptocurrency market continues to gain traction, prices follow the adoption curve and drive the adoption curve concurrently.

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  • Difference Between Price, Value: How to Assess an ICO

    Difference Between Price, Value: How to Assess an ICO

    These are indeed heady days for investors in cryptocurrency, and with fortunes being made (and lost) rapidly, it’s easy to forget the difference between “price” and “value.” Many investors are focusing on the quick flip--they buy the “hottest” ICO and hope to immediately sell for huge profits once the crowdsale is over.

    There’s nothing wrong with that approach, per se, and some have been highly successful. However, it’s much easier and more certain to make profits by buying and holding, and in that case, investors need to clearly differentiate between a token’s price and its value.

    Many tokens and currencies represent great projects that have huge potential. Some of them stand to disrupt the traditional ways of doing things, possibly bringing large profits in the future. As investors begin to come to grips with the fact that the days of flipping ICO tokens are fading away. Quick profits need to give way to long term potential.

    Investors need to ask themselves the current and potential value of the projects they evaluate. The quickest way to lose money is to buy an overpriced token that has little potential and therefore low value. On the other hand, investors with enough foresight to purchase the woefully underpriced Bitcoin (or quality altcoins) last year have seen massive returns. The need for research and proper vetting of a team’s business model cannot be overemphasized.  

    It is important to understand what will drive demand for the token in the marketplace. This requires an honest, unbiased assessment of the project. Many projects require an idea to be perfectly executed in order to succeed, and investors should consider that perfection occurs only rarely in this world.

    Market factors such as an increase in crypto adoption will come into play at some point. This remains in the future, however, and isn’t certain. Investors shouldn’t settle for a project whose token’s value is hinged purely on speculation. Neither should they be carried away by hype.

    Investors a need to look beyond the commonalities of tokens and focus more on each project’s unique proposition. The moment a new project starts copying from existing ones, investors should take a step back. Investors do not need to follow other investors without knowing why they are putting their money into a project. Each investor must dispassionately assess the current and future value of any project in which they invest.

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  • New York Preschool Accepts Bitcoin, But Not Credit Cards

    New York Preschool Accepts Bitcoin, But Not Credit Cards

    While Bitcoin sceptics claim that Bitcoin is only used for speculation and has no actual uses, a New York preschool has shown that Bitcoin can be a convenient and successful method of payment.

    Enquiry from parents

    In an interview given by Marco Ciocca, the Chairman of The Montessori Schools in Flatiron and SoHo, to Business Insider, he explained that he had a few parents enquiring about the use of Bitcoin as a means to pay the tuition fees.

    We had probably a handful of parents who mentioned, Hey do you accept Bitcoin? I've got this Bitcoin. Can we pay tuition in Bitcoin?

    Since Marco had been following the Bitcoin space for the past few years and was aware of the advantages of using Bitcoin, including ease of payment, low fees and quick and speed of the transactions. Together with other members of the administration, Ciocca decided to add Bitcoin as a payment option.

    Credit card fees can be a killer

    The school does not hold Bitcoins and uses a payment processor to receive fiat in their bank accounts. Hence they are not exposed to Bitcoin's price volatility. While the exchange does charge them a 1% fee to process transactions, this pales in comparison to the fees charged by credit card companies.

    Moreover, credit cards can get declined, which leads to additional fees. Therefore, the school does not accept credit card payments. Apart from Bitcoin, the school accepts cash, cheques and electronic wires.

    Yeah, there's about a 1% transaction fee, which is less than, you know, 2, 3, 4% sometimes with credit cards. A lot of them get declined and then you have more fees and then you have to re-charge them and that's been kind of, sort of a headache for schools.

    Not a gimmick

    Many companies have made news recently by adding Bitcoin as a payment option, but have found few customers willing to pay with the digital currency. In this case, there are a handful of parents who have paid tuition fees using Bitcoins. Since there are parents who have a career in the Blockchain space, they were open to the idea of making payments using Bitcoins.

    From the school's point of view, they were just offering an additional and convenient payment option to the parents. Bitcoin is not the exclusive preserve of futuristic businesses; even brick and mortar schools can adopt it

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  • New York Preschool Accepts Bitcoin, But Not Credit Cards

    New York Preschool Accepts Bitcoin, But Not Credit Cards

    While Bitcoin sceptics claim that Bitcoin is only used for speculation and has no actual uses, a New York preschool has shown that Bitcoin can be a convenient and successful method of payment.

    Enquiry from parents

    In an interview given by Marco Ciocca, the Chairman of The Montessori Schools in Flatiron and SoHo, to Business Insider, he explained that he had a few parents enquiring about the use of Bitcoin as a means to pay the tuition fees.

    We had probably a handful of parents who mentioned, Hey do you accept Bitcoin? I've got this Bitcoin. Can we pay tuition in Bitcoin?

    Since Marco had been following the Bitcoin space for the past few years and was aware of the advantages of using Bitcoin, including ease of payment, low fees and quick and speed of the transactions. Together with other members of the administration, Ciocca decided to add Bitcoin as a payment option.

    Credit card fees can be a killer

    The school does not hold Bitcoins and uses a payment processor to receive fiat in their bank accounts. Hence they are not exposed to Bitcoin's price volatility. While the exchange does charge them a 1% fee to process transactions, this pales in comparison to the fees charged by credit card companies.

    Moreover, credit cards can get declined, which leads to additional fees. Therefore, the school does not accept credit card payments. Apart from Bitcoin, the school accepts cash, cheques and electronic wires.

    Yeah, there's about a 1% transaction fee, which is less than, you know, 2, 3, 4% sometimes with credit cards. A lot of them get declined and then you have more fees and then you have to re-charge them and that's been kind of, sort of a headache for schools.

    Not a gimmick

    Many companies have made news recently by adding Bitcoin as a payment option, but have found few customers willing to pay with the digital currency. In this case, there are a handful of parents who have paid tuition fees using Bitcoins. Since there are parents who have a career in the Blockchain space, they were open to the idea of making payments using Bitcoins.

    From the school's point of view, they were just offering an additional and convenient payment option to the parents. Bitcoin is not the exclusive preserve of futuristic businesses; even brick and mortar schools can adopt it

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  • How to Protect Yourself From the CryptoShuffle Trojan

    How to Protect Yourself From the CryptoShuffle Trojan

    Russian based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has warned owners of cryptocurrencies that their coins are not safe even in private wallets. A new trojan called CryptoShuffler is stealing coins right from under the noses of users by replacing wallet addresses on a user’s clipboard as they copy and paste wallet data for transfers. No wallet is safe because the trojan utilizes the clipboard function on computers.

    The trojan has already caused a substantial amount of damage in just a short time, though the cyber researchers believe the trojan has been working for perhaps a year or more. Per Kaspersky:

    “…cybercriminals have already managed to steal 23 Bitcoins, which is the equivalent of approximately $140,000 (as of the end of October). In addition, thousands of dollars of other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Dash, Monero, Ethereum, Zcash and Dogecoin, have been accumulated.”

    Protect yourself

    The most basic way to protect yourself is to carefully compare the address you’ve inputted after copying. Carefully checking wallet addresses for every transaction should keep your funds safe.

    However, the trojan developers know that the normal process is simply to copy, paste and send, without carefully checking the address. For this reason, Kaspersky is warning users to take special precautions.

    Further, users are advised to utilize an antivirus and anti-malware system in order to detect and remove malicious programs. As the cryptocurrency world continues to grow, risks will continue to increase, and owners will need to be vigilant to protect their funds.

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  • DApps to Offer Power of Apps But Fight Centralization

    DApps to Offer Power of Apps But Fight Centralization

    The history of apps is a long one. Back in 1983, Steve Jobs talked about what is now known as the app store. At the time, users were required to buy applications before actually trying them out. In this sense, Steve Jobs explained how an app store would disrupt the current norm using a record store analogy. People know what records they want to buy because they get a free sample in the radio.

    In Jobs’ vision, the software industry needed a similar approach where the user could first check out the app and then download it fully. A quarter-century later, in 2008, the Apple App Store was launched.

    Known as a critical “user interface moment,” the inception of the App Store allowed developers to create and upload their apps easily, generating revenue and reaching millions of people. At the same time, regular users could access myriads of new programs simply by downloading them and/or buying them from the app store.

    Apps

    While the App Store was a revolutionary moment for mobile devices, the evolution did not stop there. Since then, apps have been changing and evolving, moving through the three stages described by Matthew Panzarino, co-editor of TechCrunch: the “information appliance model,” the “home screen era,” and now, the "age of apps as service layers.”

    There is, however, a fourth stage for the evolution of apps. The prospect of Decentralized Applications or “dApps” was popularized by the Ethereum platform. In fact, the main purpose of Ethereum is the deployment of smart contracts that can interact with each other in order to create these same dApps.

    dApps

    To put it simply, dApps are just like regular apps except they are fully decentralized. Hosted by the nodes that run the Ethereum network itself, these dApps do not rely on any central server or third party to function. With no central point of failure, dApps are expected to be hack- and censorship-proof while being able to operate in a completely autonomous fashion.

    In order to access these dApps, a special Ethereum browser is required. One of the popular examples of a dApp is Augur, a decentralized prediction market that communicates directly with the Ethereum network, without going through intermediate servers.

    Two other examples are the Mist wallet and MetaMask. Being a dApp itself, the Mist wallet is one of the oldest applications on the Ethereum network. It allows users to interact with their wallet and with decentralized applications on the network. Mist requires users to download the Ethereum Blockchain, however. On the other hand, MetaMask provides a simple extension that can turn your web browser into an Ethereum browser.

    However, the path towards decentralization is a long one and Ethereum is still young. Although there are hundreds of projects leveraging its Blockchain for crowdfunding, few fully-decentralized applications have been launched and even fewer have been truly outstanding. Most of the projects on Ethereum still use centralized components to deliver their product.

    For example, one of the first gambling dApps on Ethereum can be used simply by sending transactions to the respective smart contract addresses which will then take care of the entire process. While smart contracts are the main component for the project, it still relies on a centralized web page in order to display the addresses and provide a front-end for users.

    Other projects are leveraging the Ethereum Blockchain as one of many components for their project and not for the deployment of dApps specifically. These components can range from transactions and incentive layers to an issuing mechanism for stocks and other value-backed tokens. In most cases, Ethereum ends up being little more than an ICO platform.

    In-between

    Many semi-decentralized apps have capitalized on the dApp “hype,” using the word “decentralized” in a rather liberal way. It’s now clear that the path towards full app decentralization will take years. Until then, however, it seems like the market may get over saturated with all the tokens and app-specific coins that are being issued on a daily basis.

    With most developers leveraging new tokens for in-app purchases, advertising and rewards, a lack of interoperability between dApps is the inevitable result.

    Not only is the monopoly set up by companies like Google and Apple harming the developers and users economically, it also presents an additional set of problems such as lack of transparency when it comes to app store approval and lack of privacy for users whose data is collected and sold, often without their knowledge.

    In order to solve this issue and the inherent problems found in the traditional app industry, one of the most popular app stores in the world has devised a new protocol for apps and app stores that may serve as the common ground for their complete decentralization.

    The system put forward by the store seeks to remove the power from intermediaries like Google and Apple who reap most of the benefits that come from developers’ work.

    Path towards decentralization

    This system allows apps and app stores to become more efficient for the developers and the users. App developers also benefit from an immutable reputation system that extends to all app stores using the protocol.

    While the apps and app stores themselves will never be fully decentralized, this path may create an important foundation for the decentralized app economy. Once the first step is taken, technical advancements can be made to ensure that these apps are 100 percent hack- and censorship-resistant.

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  • Buterin Gives ‘Modest Proposal’ For Ethereum Future, Sharding Named Scaling Solution

    Buterin Gives ‘Modest Proposal’ For Ethereum Future, Sharding Named Scaling Solution

    The future of scaling on the Ethereum network is the main issue in the mind of Vitalik Buterin these days, according to his ‘Modest Proposal’ offered at Devcon.  The developer has been considering the massive problem of scaling facing the network as adoption of Ethereum and the smart contracts system it supports gains increasing market share.

    According to Buterin’s proposal, the solution will involve ‘sharding.’  The concept of sharding would allow each node to store only a part of the complete network, while the nodes would be able to validate the network through the underlying mathematics and mutual communication. The issue, however, is that there is a risk of nodes sending other nodes false information, leaving Ethereum on the horns of a problem.

    Sharding and more

    However, Buterin has an idea about how to deal with the problem by splitting the network into different kind of shards. The main shard would house the main Ethereum network and side shards which would be available for more aggressive types of experimentation.

    The statement included other coming upgrade proposals like stateless clients for faster syncs, upgrades for the EVM (Ethereum virtual machine) and a soon-to-be-announced proof of concept in Python.

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  • Bitcoin Bulls Get More Bullish, Ronnie Moas Revises Bitcoin Price Prediction

    Bitcoin Bulls Get More Bullish, Ronnie Moas Revises Bitcoin Price Prediction

    Bitcoin's stupendous rally in 2017 has clearly enthused the supporters of Bitcoin. Standpoint Research’s Ronnie Moas, who is one of the most bullish analysts on Bitcoin, has revised his prediction upwards.

    $7,500 by year end? Oops, we are almost there!

    Ronnie Moas had surprised observers by his bold prediction in July 2007 that Bitcoin could reach $5,000 within months.

    The price was less than $3,000 when he made the prediction, but it jumped up to over $5,000 in Sep. 2017 before retracing briefly.

    In August 2017, the rapid increase in Bitcoin price led to Ronnie Moas revising his projection to $7,500 by the end of 2017. Bitcoin's rapid increase in price has dwarfed that projection as well, with Bitcoin price crossing $7,400 today. Ronnie Moas has now revised his projection, raising it to $11,000 in 2018.

    In an email to his clients, Ronnie wrote:

    Every day more headlines are hitting the newswires on crypto. More countries are embracing it, and the few obstacles that were standing in the way are falling down like dominoes.

    Long-term: digital gold

    Ronnie Moas is ultra-bullish about Bitcoin's potential in the long-term and believes that it will rival gold one day. He has predicted that its price will cross $20,000 in three years time and $50,000 in 10 years time.

    Given the current bull run of Bitcoin, he might even shorten the time frame projected for Bitcoin to reach those levels.

    While Apple might be the company with the highest market capitalization and whose value is reaching record levels each day, Ronnie believes that Bitcoin will overtake Apple in just five years.

    Increased awareness and investment will drive price rise

    Ronnie believes that the price increase will be driven by increased awareness of Bitcoin and a larger proportion of the world's population investing in it.

    It is estimated that less than 0.5 percent of people currently have invested in Bitcoin and Ronnie believes that this could increase to five percent.

    Since the supply of Bitcoins is fixed, the demand-supply imbalance will cause the price to soar. Bitcoin's current rally has clearly divided people into two opposing camps, with the bulls becoming more bullish and the bears crying bubble.

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  • UK Mint Reveals Live Gold-Tracking Blockchain

    UK Mint Reveals Live Gold-Tracking Blockchain

    The Royal Mint of the United Kingdom has just revealed their live gold tracking mechanism built with Blockchain technology.

    The tracking system had its first genesis block on Aug. 2 and while still not yet available to the public, has verified more than 50,000 blocks.

    The Blockchain technology based tracking system is designed to keep records of sales and ownership of the precious metal - a task that is relatively complex. The system has been built with a number of careful additions in order to reduce any risk to relatively zero. Here are some points of the report:

    • The RMG network will require multiple, independent cryptographic signatures to enact any transaction thereby keeping RMG safe from loss of a single-key. Due to the way the Blockchain enforces the addresses, it is not possible to send RMG to an invalid destination where the RMG could not be recovered.
    • The Asset Trading Platform is secured by industry cyber-security practices and controls, which are informed by global frameworks such as NIST and ISO.
    • All parties participating on the network are identified.

    The project was first unveiled as potential in 2016. The recent statement indicates the power of Blockchain technology to both protect and secure even physical assets.

    The senior marketing manager Nicola Robinson rightly stated, "It's simple, it's so simple, it's just a digital representation of real gold. The most exciting thing about RMG is that it's live, it's out there, it's working."

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  • Bitcoin Exchange Coinbase adds 100,000 users in 24 hrs, Shows Surging Interest in Crypto

    Bitcoin Exchange Coinbase adds 100,000 users in 24 hrs, Shows Surging Interest in Crypto

    The announcement by CME that it plans to launch Bitcoin futures has resulted in a spike in interest across the world. Coinbase, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, has added 100,000 new users in the 24 hours past the announcement.

    Why Coinbase matters

    Coinbase is a popular exchange to buy Bitcoins with 11.9 mln users supported across 32 countries.

    It was one of the earliest exchanges to support Bitcoin trading in the Western world, doing so when Bitcoin was valued in single digits. It supports merchants as well, allowing them to accept Bitcoins for their products and services, but removing the price risk by crediting fiat currency to their accounts.

    Coinbase became the first unicorn of the crypto industry after it raised $100 mln in August 2017, implying enterprise valuation of $1.6 bln. The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, is also on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list.

    The Stampede

    The launch of Bitcoin futures by CME is expected to bring a deluge of institutional money into Bitcoin. Individual investors seem to be stampeding towards Bitcoin exchanges, trying to get their hands on Bitcoins before institutional investors make it out of reach.

    According to data compiled by Alistair Milne, of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, over 100,000 new users have joined Coinbase in the 24 hours since the CME announcement.

    The exploding Bitcoin price has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of users of Coinbase, which has already doubled in 2017 to reach 11.9 mln users.

    Handling the surge

    With hundreds of thousands of new users, the demand (and price) of Bitcoin is expected to eventually explode. It is estimated that currently less than 0.5 percent of the global population is invested in crypto space.

    While Coinbase has insurance protection for cryptocurrencies saved on its servers, questions will be asked about the robustness of its trading platform.

    A flash crash caused by a large order on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange resulted in Ethereum's price dropping to 10 cents for a short period of time, triggering stop loss orders. With increasing number of users, it is not just Bitcoin which is running full blocks and has a scalability problem; Bitcoin exchanges have to scale up too.

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