A Review of Bitcoin’s and Crypto’s Rather Strange Week

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This week has been a pretty dull one for bitcoin especially with the dramatic price drops that unearthed some doubt about the hype that cryptocurrencies had created towards the end of 2017. It eventually recovered, but by doing so, it only reminded the world of how unpredictable decentralized digital currencies are. Furthermore, there have been reports that regulators are planning to toughen the market – this along with the reported evocations of the Great Depression in many ways made the week even more turbulent than expected.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for bitcoin’s price drop is the possibility of cryptocurrency trading being outlawed in some countries from various parts of the globe. One of the countries whose government has been hinting at such a move is South Korea. Earlier this week, Park Sang-ki, South Korea’s justice minister said that the country’s government had rather “great concerns” pertaining to digital currencies and was therefore “basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges”, especially because they think that crypto will make tax evasion easier.

While South Korea has since been seen to have softened its stance on the matter after a spokesperson of the Presidential Office said the possibility of a ban on crypto exchanges was simply “one of the measures prepared by the Ministry of Justice, but … not a measure that has been finalized”, investors are still panicking over the confusion caused by the uncertainty of how exactly the country intends to crack down on crypto.

There is a good reason for investor panic since even if the total ban on crypto exchanges does not come to pass, South Korea can still impose new regulations that could hugely impact the market – like bans on anonymous crypto trading accounts and underage investors, for instance. In a similar scenario, last September, the Chinese government shut down domestic changes and according to more recent reports, there are even going an extra mile to cut off access to all online crypto platforms and services operating from within or outside its borders.

Even Europe is Bursting Bitcoin’s Bubble

Financial watchdogs in Europe have begun to tighten the screws on cryptocurrencies as well in a bid to ease up the pressure of the price boom that is considered by many European economists to be nothing more than a bubble. Europe’s financial regulators watched cautiously as the price of bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000 last year. In the process, other cryptocurrencies also received a much-needed boost.

However, Europeans have hopped off of the back seat and they are now joining other policymakers from various parts of the globe in warning investors of the possibility that the crypto bubble could pop. French and German politicians, for instance, recently revealed plans to present a joint proposal that calls for the regulation of cryptocurrencies at March’s G20 summit.

CoinPoker to Launch Stage 1 of Its ICO on January 19

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CoinPoker, the growing cryptocurrency-based online poker room that was launched in late 2017, has announced that its Stage I Initial Coin Offering (ICO) will be launching on January 19th at 1000 HRS GMT. This stage of the poker room’s ICO will offer 127.5 million CHP tokens for sale at a price of 1 ETH to 4,200 CHP – CHP is the digital currency that CoinPoker uses on its platform. So far, there is a lot of optimism going around especially considering how successful the November 16 to November 22 pre-ICO launch was. CoinPoker sold out a whopping 100 million CHP tokens in six days at a great price of 1 ETH to 6,600 CHP.

As such, the Stage I ICO is attracting a lot of attention and interest from a lot of people with some even submitting whitelist registrations with hopes of hopping on to the early buyers’ list during the January 5 to January 15 open period. This stage of CoinPoker’s ICO will run until January 26 but the time will definitely be extended in case the offering is not fully sold out by then. After that, there are plans for a Stage II ICO where the online poker room will be offering another 137.5 million CHP at a price of 1 ETH to 3,500 CHP. An official date for the Stage II ICO is yet to be announced but once it is completed, CoinPoker will have distributed 375 million CHP tokens which represent 75 percent of its total supply of 500 million CHP token.

As an incentive, CoinPoker will be returning 15 percent of the tokens collected throughout the entire span of the ICO to its community. This will be done through real-money tournaments with one of the closest being scheduled for January 21st and will include a Tesla S worth £71, 000 as the top prize.

Swimming in Success

CoinPoker also launched its real-money games and promotional campaigns shortly after the pre-ICO in November – among them is a freeroll series where the prize will be 5 million CHP tokens. Both the promotions and the real-money games became huge successes with the CoinPoker online poker room already having up to 30,000 unique registrations as well as 20,000 MVP downloads.

The online poker room also now boasts of over 4,000 unique daily players as well as 15,000 CHP token holders. All this is thanks to the experienced CoinPoker staff who have been very diligent about fixing existing bugs and improving the platform’s stability. Community relations have also played a key role in its success as the staff strive to optimize outreach via various social media platforms. Additionally, the site has a very strict security policy that makes it a great place for poker players who are very keen on this aspect. Customers are further allowed to get involved in all this by giving their suggestions and stating their preferences in regards to what the platform should improve on.

Telegram Planning Largest ICO for Chat Cryptocurrency

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Popular encrypted messaging startup Telegram has declared its intentions to launch its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency. Dubbed ‘Gram’, Telegram’s cryptocurrency will power peer-to-peer payments on its encrypted chat app with the possibility of expansion to other platforms – this and other great ideas will help it to be a force to reckon with in the crypto space that is currently dominated by Ripple, Bitcoin, and Ethereum.

Anticipated to be funded by a huge Initial Coin Offering (ICO) the Telegram Open Network (TON), will be a third-generation blockchain that is designed to make tremendous improvements to the flaws and shortcomings of existing cryptocurrencies. TON is what the funds raised for the startup’s new cryptocurrency venture is being called. It is designed not only to be less power-hungry than its counterparts such as Bitcoin but also much faster than the rest – there are already rumors that one million transactions can be processed every second by the platform thus doing away with the 24-hour waiting period that is experienced by some users when sending Bitcoin at peak times.

While a number of large companies have been busy rolling out and working on their own blockchain-powered products, Telegram’s entry into the space is bound to shake things a bit since it has an upper hand in all this. The company’s instant messaging app boasts of 180 million-plus active users most of whom use the chat platform to stay informed about the frenzied price bumps in lesser-known cryptocurrencies such as NEO.

In its pre-ICO sale, Telegram hopes to raise about $500 million – in this round, the currency will be offloaded to big investors at a significantly reduced rate, at a potential total currency value of between $3 billion and $5 billion.

In the 132-page wallet where the announcement was made, Telegram also mentioned that its wallet could be launched by or in the fourth quarter of 2018 and by the beginning of 2019, the Telegram Open Network will open to its users.

Blockchain Could Redefine the Sports Betting Experience

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Since 2017, a plethora of sports betting sites and apps have been shifting towards offering bettors the opportunity to place bets discretely from anywhere using their smartphones. The convenience that this provides has been a great marketing move that has paid off handsomely by attracting a staggering number of new users to online sports betting. However, there have been challenges when it comes to payment systems especially when it comes to traditional payment services and digital wallets who have always been circumspect about supporting online gambling. While this would have represented a dead end of sorts in the past, the utilization of specialized payment gateways in facilitating bankroll funding and payouts in online casinos took over.

Even though these services can be thought of as saviors to the online gambling scene, their involvement has in many ways amplified the risks of failure and fraud. The aforementioned payment gateways and services are always under threat from hackers and other cyber-criminals. Even handicapper sites and services that usually offer paid analyses to less savvy bettors do not always produce the wins that they promise to gamblers.

To address these issues, stakeholders in the online gambling industry are looking into blockchain technology. Several efforts are already being made in order to create better online betting experiences. Just to mention a few, HEROcoin is an effort that aims to decentralize sports betting, BlitzPredict through its aggregation service intends to provide gamblers with trustworthy insights and Electroneum’s token is designed to be used a digital currency in online gambling sites.

Facilitation of Easier Funding and Payouts

Unlike traditional means, payments made using blockchain are much faster as the tokens do not need to be routed through several financial institutions or clearing houses. In essence, this gives the users ultimate power over how and when they use their money. Furthermore, Electroneum which is a relatively new cryptocurrency has set a pace for allowing easy estimation of digital currencies and fiat currency by limiting its token to two decimal places.

Transparency

Blockchain powered platforms such as HEROcoin are offering great ways of achieving transparency and fairness by making betting a peer-to-peer and decentralized activity. Not only do users get to trace the flow of money and the terms but they also are allowed to define the conditions of wagers through smart contracts.

Trustworthy Insights

Services like BlitzPredict promote quality insights by allowing analytic enthusiasts to share their prediction models with other users. High performing models in BlitzPredict’s framework are rewarded with the platform’s own token which can then be used to place bets using the platform. This kind of rewards mechanism encourages gamblers to make data-driven decisions rather than relying on bad advice or hunches.

Zuckerberg: Cryptocurrency Could Come to Facebook in Future

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Facebook founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has posted his annual challenge – this is usually a review of major events of the previous year and an appraisal of what’s to come. This year, Zuckerberg ended the post with something that will be very exciting to members of the cryptocurrency world that also happen to be Facebook users. In 2018, Facebook could be venturing into blockchain in a bid to “take power from centralized systems” by innovatively utilizing the underlying resources that included encryption and cryptocurrency.

In Zuckerberg’s Thursday posting, he reaffirmed the company’s commitment towards correcting persistent problems that have been dogged the popular social network with the most daunting being misinformation, fake news and hate speech.

Could Crypto Solve These Problems?

“There are important counter-trends to this — encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands,” Zuckerberg wrote. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

Evidently, Zuckerberg’s endeavor seems to point to a debate that has raged on for a while now, that is, centralization versus decentralization. He pointed out that he and most of his tech counterparts got into technology because they believed it would be a decentralizing force which would give the people more power. However, the people themselves have lost faith in tech companies especially because of reports of tech-based companies that are co-conspirators with authorities who gather large amounts of personal information.

The Facebook CEO acknowledged this problem in his post and he believes that encryption and cryptocurrency have the potential to take back power from centralized systems and give it to the people. While it is not clear what exactly Facebook intends to do with the technology, its entry into the crypto world will be very dramatic. Numerous tech gurus have suggested that crypto and blockchain could have a revolutionary impact that will surpass its current utilization in decentralized digital currencies. For instance, it would be very useful as a decentralized data store that will free information from the influence of companies such as Facebook itself.

As far as we can tell, Facebook is very serious about this venture. The company’s vice president of messaging products, David Marcus, also recently joined the Coinbase.Inc. board late last year. The Facebook executive has been a follower of cryptocurrencies since 2012 and he was very impressed by how Coinbase started to democratize access the new asset class. The prospects of what is come are clearly very promising.

Blockchain Technology Hits Land-Based Casinos

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Very many online casinos have warmed up to the idea of integrating cryptocurrencies to their payment systems with nearly all of them investing millions in the rapidly developing crypto market. While the fact that casinos are embracing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should come as no surprise, the rate of its growth has been somewhat overwhelmingly good. TheBitcoinStrip, an international analytic resource, estimates that currently about 60% of transactions in the Bitcoin network can be attributed to bets. It also estimates that the number of transactions made by gamblers every second is now well over the 337 mark. The escalation in the popularity of cryptocurrency in the gambling world is inevitable since gamblers will certainly prefer the security, absence of additional commissions and the unlimited withdrawals that bitcoin offers.

According to SmartPlay.tech the appearance of bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies, is enough to completely revolutionize the casino industry both in the online space and in brick-and-mortar casinos;

“In order to completely revolutionize the gambling industry, it is necessary to integrate new generation technologies such as Blockchain and Lightning Network, which will make casino activities more profitable for the operator and attractive to the player. We have a technical solution based on the ready-made software, which we can offer to big players in the offline market in the form of full-fledged equipment.”

SmartPlay.tech recently announced its intention to unveil to land-based casinos a full line of new SmartBox machines that will connect a variety of games such as bingo, online slots, poker, and blackjack.

Basically, a SmartBox configuration will consist of a touch screen gaming table, a QR scanner for connecting crypto wallets and a terminal that will allow users to deposit fiat money. The most significant highlight of the boxes is the gambling software that they use – it is based on the principles of blockchain technology and has been successfully tested on a wide range of SmartPlay.tech products. Casino operators are particularly very impressed with the model of operational efficiency that the SmartBox machines present, that is, it ensures that profits are always higher than the costs incurred by the casino by optimizing transaction commissions to minimum market prices of a few cents.

The first batch of test machines has already been deployed for closed testing in a land-based casino where the performance indicators of blockchain technology in a real-world gambling environment will be measured. The tests’ deliverables include actual data that will include average spending, game time, turnover, number of players as well as the conceptual portrait of the target customer. If the results are as promising as they seem to be, then full-fledged production of SmartBox machines will commence.

Charlie Lee’s Thoughts on the Future of Bitcoin and Litecoin

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While nearly everyone has been glued to the Bitcoin price charts as it draws closer to the $20,000 mark after the launch of CBOE futures last Sunday, litecoin, which is considered to be the silver to bitcoin’s gold has not been left behind. The budding cryptocurrency just recently surpassed the $100 mark and with its current momentum, the price should continue rising despite warnings by its creator, Charlie Lee.

The warning that he wrote on twitter apparently came as a response to the near 300 percent rise of litecoin’s price in a little over 48 hours. It read: “Sorry to the spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit… Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can’t handle LTC dropping to $20, don’t buy!”

Litecoin is now the fifth-largest cryptocurrency with over $15 billion worth of market capitalization having rallied nearly 8,000 percent this year. While this should come as no surprise especially considering the price trends of other decentralized digital currencies, more so bitcoin, Charlie Lee is really surprised by its growth this year. In a phone interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Lee pointed out that the frantic growth in the prices of various cryptocurrencies was an impeding factor to the wider adoption as well as mainstream acceptance since most cryptocurrency users are using them as speculative assets instead of the real-world transactions they were intended for. Due to this, he believes that it will be five more years before people finally start to use bitcoin and litecoin as a currency to make real-world transactions.

“Bitcoin is very volatile, and litecoin is even more volatile that bitcoin,” he said. “I just want to warn people that they should invest responsibly. Don’t spend all of your life savings to buy a cryptocurrency in case it drops 80 percent.”

With cryptocurrencies gaining more popularity by the day, the buzz has attracted a lot of scrutiny and a fair share of criticism from policymakers with a considerable number of them having huge doubts about the overall appeal of decentralized digital currencies as mediums of exchange and stores of value. In fact, some others have openly dismissed the need for investing in bitcoin and have warned investors not to do so either. Unlike many cryptocurrency purists who have expressed their concern over government interference, Lee has been quite welcoming to the prospects of more regulation for cryptocurrencies – and this might compel the doubtful lot to change their minds and be a little optimistic about cryptocurrency.

“I think increased regulation will help to reduce the volatility of the coin. A lot of the recent gains have had a lot to do with countries like (South) Korea and Japan really getting into the cryptocurrency space,” Lee pointed out.

“Ever since China banned the bitcoin exchanges, (South) Korea has really taken up the mantle. There is a lot of frenzy in (South) Korea right now and I think that’s driving up the price.”

New USD Highs as Bitcoin Bull-Run Primes Altcoin Markets

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After recently establishing an all-time high of nearly $8400, Bitcoin has currently consolidated above $8000 a situation that has resulted in a liquidity shift towards the general altcoin markets. The outcome has been in favor of several of the major altcoins which have recorded very high dollar values even though the prices, when compared to Bitcoin’s value, can be considered to be relatively modest. For instance, Ethereum recorded a new all-time high value of about $420 with the prices stabilizing well above the $400 mark.

At the time of this writing, one Bitcoin is equivalent to about $8140 after it set a new record after establishing a new all-time high value of approximately $8380. Also, Bitcoins current total market capitalization stands significantly above $136 billion – the 24-hour trading volume is also well over $4 billion. This reasserts the market dominance that Bitcoin currently enjoys – it sits at 53.1% which, however, represents a 5% drop from its value a week ago.

Mark Keiser, host of Russia Today’s ‘Keiser Report’ anticipates that the price of Bitcoin is likely to soar from its current $8000 Value to new highs of about $100,000. While it is certainly still too early to tell how his predictions will play out, he has continued to express his confidence in the cryptocurrency’s market dominance saying that;

“Hundreds of obituaries have been written about bitcoin and none of them have come true and none will. Fact is, bitcoin is a gift from God to help humanity sort out the mess it has made with its money.”

November has not been a very good month for Bitcoin – its markets fell by approximately 28% shortly after attaining the preceding all-time high of $7890. This represents Bitcoins largest red weekly candle since its inception. Nonetheless, after dropping to its $5450 all-time low, Bitcoin rapidly regained its momentum and recovered to produce its largest weekly candle when it broke above the $8000 mark.

The Story Behind the Rise and Fall of Bitcoin Cash

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“Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash will coexist and serve different cases, just like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is not a zero-sum game. Work on building your project, not on destroying the other,” that was what Bitcoin and security expert, Andreas Antonopoulos had to say to affirm the fact that Bitcoin Cash indeed has a market share based on its ability to serve immediate payments and short-term scaling. This comes after Xapo president Ted Rogers declared that the recent price trend exhibited by the cryptocurrency was not sustainable. But where did this all start?

In an unexpected twist, Bitcoin Cash soared to an all-time high price of $2800 on November 12 – a situation that made the three-month-old cryptocurrency the sole beneficiary of the SegWit2x hard fork cancellation. Nevertheless, this glorious achievement was short-lived with Bitcoin Cash struggling to sustain the upward momentum of its price which eventually dropped to $1100 in just a couple of days. Luckily for Bitcoin Cash users and traders, the price has stabilized at around $1110 as of now.

The collapse of the SegWit2x plan that was potentially the main cause for the dramatic pump in Bitcoin Cash’s price has been attributed to the lack of consensus among Bitcoin community members. There have been varying opinions regarding the future of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash with some still portraying an element of optimism while others expecting worse scenarios considering the over 50% retrace that the currency experienced earlier. The high prices of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have attracted millions of users who may or may not be savvy with the concepts revolving around these. The result, especially among the less savvy cryptocurrency users has culminated in the form of confusion which makes matters even worse. In fact, some cannot even tell the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash – which leads us to the unpleasant reality that awaits. So, what can we expect?

According to Auxesis Group chairman and Cashaa founder Kumar Gaurav, “The quick rise [of BCH] from around 600 to 2400 USD in a few days makes it look like a typical artificial pump which was already being followed by a dump back to $1300 USD within 30 min. As compared to the FX market, the crypto market is still small, it is easy to do that and cannot be used to estimate the future of BTC vs BCC.” He further adds that unlike Bitcoin which has already surpassed a lot of expectations, Bitcoin Cash still has a long way to go before its growth in the long term can be estimated.

Divergent opinions suggest that there is still room for both flavors of Bitcoin to co-exist thanks to the increasing number of cryptocurrency users. In Hoskinson’s words, “Bitcoin Cash seems to be a productive split with its existence neither threatening Bitcoin’s nor requiring support from Bitcoin’s remaining adherents. Now Bitcoin is free to provide its small-block vision and cash the large block. My hope is that this will reduce fighting in the long run as both sides realize that the other isn’t going away. Just like we did with Ethereum and Ethereum classic.”

 

CoinPoker and Crypto: The Future of Online Poker?

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Cryptocurrencies have seen a tremendous growth in general use over the past couple of years – a reality that has faced equal amounts of criticism and acceptance.

Bitcoin, for instance, has reached record highs in terms of its price even though there have been concerns raised about the rogue nature of the cryptocurrency. Nonetheless, CoinPoker, a fairly new cryptocurrency-loving poker site seems to be exploiting this opportunity and it has gone as far as launching a new poker site that is set to revolutionize the casino industry.

The unexpected pre-ICO launch of CoinPoker’s new cryptocurrency-based poker site has already attracted a lot of attention from online poker enthusiasts as well as the cryptocurrency communities.

With a 100 million CHP token hard cap, CoinPoker further offers a 30% bonus with the price of a CHP token standing at 0.05 EUR as of this day (November, 19th 2017).

The online poker platform’s real money gaming features are, however, scheduled to be officially launched at the beginning of January 2018 with added enhancements to eliminate unfair games using the best block chain technology in the market.

As of now, players can enjoy CoinPoker’s free play software that brings back the fun, competitive and transparent poker games that every poker player craves for.

Isabelle Mercier, a renowned member of the poker industry and CoinPoker representative assures players that CoinPoker’s mission is to deliver poker games that can be termed as transparent, trustworthy and, most of all, safe.

But she is not the only big name in the poker industry that is backing CoinPoker’s bold approach towards turning the tides of the poker industry – Legendary poker player, politician, celebrity and entrepreneur Antanas “Tony G” Guoga has stepped up to support the initiative.

On November 12, 2017, Tony G openly declared his approval of the cryptocurrency-based poker platform in a tweet while bashing systems used by many online poker operators currently.

“Poker is my passion. I love this game. But online #poker is sick and some things need 2 be changed there. Blockchain & cryptocurrency could make poker trustworthy again. That’s why I am backing coinpoker.com idea #blockchain #cryptocurrency #ico”

CoinPoker aims to provide remedies to many of the problems that have plagued the online poker industry which included transparency and fairness in gaming logic, transaction speeds as well as other issues revolving around the payment services used by most online poker sites.

Equally as important is their global accessibility agenda which intends to utilize blockchains to guarantee the transparency of their Random Number Generators (RNG) and CHP (CHIPS) – which is based on Ethereum – as their in-house gaming currency.

Essentially, this implies a tight fairplay security system and an unbeatable anti-fraud system, both of which are to be implemented on a global scale.

CoinPoker’s pre-ICO should end by the 1st of December after which the remainder of the ICO will be picked up and implemented within the first quarter of next year. More detail on this is available on their website along with an introductory video and an equally detailed white paper.