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.”

Futures Officially Launch as Bitcoin Price Reaches New Highs

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Bitcoin has indeed come a long way and it is now a step closer to legitimization with the recent launch of a product that allows investors to take bets on the cryptocurrency’s price in the future. This new contract on the Chicago Board Options Exchange was just in time for bitcoin’s 10% jump which was responsible for igniting fresh speculations that it was just a bubble especially after the prior 40% climb in price. The new Chicago futures trading indicates great optimism on the side of traders that bitcoin will trade at even higher prices come January.

When the futures exchange debuted on Sunday, bitcoin futures exploded thus forcing the Chicago Board Options Exchange to halt operations for a little while so that the market would cool down. Still, bitcoin which is the underlying asset, in this case, had a price bump of about 26%. It began at $15,460 before midnight on Sunday (London time) then surged forward to reach a record high $18,700 after which it had a slight relapse to $17,800. The price volatility exhibited within such a short period of time was responsible for a number of bumps including the halting of trading activities twice.

CBOE also explained that website was being strained by the stupendous amount of traffic in a tweet that read:

“Due to heavy traffic on our website, visitors to https://t.co/jb3O722hoo may find that it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable. All trading systems are operating normally.”

Bitcoin is becoming more mainstream and the launch of this contract is just the beginning of what is expected to be a very smooth ride into the next year and beyond. CBOE has since stabilized and the exchange currently lists three bitcoin features that will each expire in the first three months of 2018. The final settlement value of all the three contracts will then be determined by bitcoin’s price on exchange Gemini. As it stands, the introduction of bitcoin futures is already curving up an upward trend for bitcoin’s price and now with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) planning to launch bitcoin futures of its own on the 18th of December, we can expect the price of bitcoin to surpass the $20,000 mark very soon.

Bitcoin Futures Trading Takes Crypto to Mainstream Finance

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Today’s intersection of digital money and traditional finance being held at LaSalle Street in Chicago is set to be a game changer being that it will be the first major U.S. exchange that offers a Bitcoin-related product. Bitcoin is considered to be a wildly fluctuating currency but the large demand from individual investors has driven the cryptocurrency to rise by more than 1,500 percent in 2017 – in the past two weeks alone, its value has shot up by about 85 percent. These type of gains are powerful investor magnets even though they are the core reason behind the division between central banks from various parts of the world and Wall Street executives.

CME Group Inc., another Chicago-based exchange, and Cboe Global Market Inc. are offering futures that are anticipated to allow for great inflows of institutional money while at the same time easing the process of betting on Bitcoin’s decline. According to Galaxy Investment Partners CEO, Mike Novogratz, trading will most likely start slowly – the company is currently raising a cryptocurrency hedge fund whose target is $500 million.

Novogratz further added that, “If people have expectations that it’s going to have huge liquidity on day one, they’re just wrong. It’s going to take a while to build liquidity. People need to go through at least one cycle to figure out how it settles.”

The derivatives trading that the world is now witnessing is a result of Bitcoins record-breaking scores this year that were fueled by the high price gains it exhibited as well as its rogue anti-establishment endeavor to become free from government or institutional control. Derivative contracts are expected to propel Bitcoin further into the regulators’ domains, as well as the realms of institutional investors and banks.

“Derivatives should have the effect of bringing a deeper liquidity to the market which should reduce volatility,” said chief investment officer and co-founder of Monaco-based Altana Digital Currency Fund, Alistair Milne. “As the whole cryptocurrency economy gets bigger the volatility should reduce.”

Over $60 Million Emptied from NiceHash Wallet by Hackers

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Cryptocurrency mining marketplace NiceHash on Wednesday was hacked and its wallet emptied of over $62 million worth of Bitcoins (4,449 BTC). In a statement posted earlier today, NiceHAsh officially halted operations and is currently carrying out investigations into how the security breach occurred. In the statement, the company said:

“Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving Nicehash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours. Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken. Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.”

NiceHash further added that other than the obvious probe into their own employees and internal investigations, they had gone ahead to employ the expertise of “relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies” to assist in rectifying the situation as soon as possible. NiceHash also advised its users to change all their passwords with immediate effect since they are still unsure about what exactly the hackers obtained from the hack other than just the huge loot of Bitcoins.

NiceHash which was launched in 2014 allows its users to trade and sell hash power via its online marketplace by matching people with spare computing power with Bitcoin miners in need of the extra computing to create more crypto coins. Users can, therefore, reap the benefits of Bitcoin mining without having to invest fortunes in purchasing equipment or operating them. This is perhaps the biggest cloud mining hack of all time and considering how events play out after this, it is quite apparent that it will affect the cloud mining market from here on out. Already, questions are being raised about the essence of using cloud mining services instead of buying and operating machines personally, the latter being considered to be the safer option despite its cumbersome nature.

Bitcoin Rebounds from Slump to Attain New All-Time Highs

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Just a little over a week after its price went over $9,000, Bitcoin on Tuesday once again made history by climbing 3.86 percent and crossing $12,000. Trading prices from Tuesday price bump have given Bitcoin a market capitalization of nearly $203 billion which further represents a historic rise in valuation of about 1,100 percent since the beginning of 2017. All this has been amid speculation that the extensive adoption and use of futures will facilitate the legitimization of decentralized digital currencies and, ultimately, mainstream use by investors. There has been increased optimism pertaining to the distributed ledger technology, blockchain, that is a vital component of Bitcoin – even though there are still warnings about the speculative mania that revolves around Bitcoin which implies that it merely an asset bubble that will burst eventually. The lack of government backing seems to be at the heart of Bitcoin’s volatility hence the doubts.

According to hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz, “This is a bubble and there is a lot of froth. This is going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes.”

Novogratz is not the only one who still thinks the Bitcoin doomsday is nigh – Dennis Gartman, who is considered the biggest Bitcoin bear, still won’t bite despite Cboe Global Markets announcing that it would be venturing into Bitcoin futures trading beginning Sunday. Gartman’s major worry when it comes to Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency’s volatility, something that he says “frightens him.” This he attributes to the difficulty that comes with margining a currency that regularly shifts from 15 to 20 percent. In light of the new developments and Cboe Global Market giving Bitcoin some sense of legitimacy, Gartman still believes Bitcoin has a long way to go before he finally gives it a thumb up;

“When they begin to pay taxes on it, when it ceases to be an avenue for avoiding taxes, when it ceases to be a place where drug dealers are trading and making transactions, then I’ll be interested,” he said.

Aristocrat Shakes Up Social Casino Games with Big Fish Deal

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Last week, in a rare twist of events, Australian gambling machine manufacturers Aristocrat Leisure announced its intent to buy social casino games development company Big Fish Games in Seattle. The $990 million game deal is a rare occurrence hence it did not draw a lot of attention but from the looks of it, the results will definitely be headliners in social casino circles.

Apparently, this deal with Aristocrat Leisure is Big Fish Games’ second major dealer – in 2014, Big Fish Games was bought by Kentucky Derby owner Churchill Downs for $885 million. Now, Aristocrat also seems to be toying with the idea of incorporating a business model that mixes their gambling expertise through their slot machine business and non-gambling social casino games where players get to play on virtual slot machines but without the perks of being able to win real money.

“The surprise announcement to acquire Big Fish for nearly $1 billion combined with its recent acquisition of Plarium for $500 million will transform Aristocrat’s digital business into a business that should generate in excess of $1.1 billion in revenues and $250 million in [EBITDA, or profit before taxes etc.] next year,”Eilers &Krejcik analyst Adam Krejcik said. “Following the acquisition of Big Fish, we expect Aristocrat will be the No. 2 social casino publisher worldwide. Additionally, Big Fish (along with Plarium) will help expand the company’s addressable market opportunities as it relates to social games.”

Aristocrat Leisure’s stakeholders are anticipating that the deal will be closed within the first quarter of 2018 pending regulatory approval which should follow shortly after. If things go as well as
Aristocrat hopes and the company effectively executes on the revenue expectations, Aristocrat is set to outgrow rival game company Zynga whose current market value is $2.5 billion.

“Big Fish’s digital-first social casino content and industry-leading meta-game capability and applications are highly complementary to Aristocrat’s existing and industry-leading land-based digital content business. The acquisition of Big Fish will immediately provide scale across our entire digital platform” said Trevor Croker, Aristocrat’s chief executive officer. “The strategic and financial benefits from the acquisition are highly compelling”

After the acquisition, Big Fish Games will continue to operate independently as a stand-alone business and this will be alongside two other Aristocrat-owned digital businesses, Plarium, and Product Madness. Furthermore, players will still get to enjoy fan-favorite Big Fish titles like Fairway Solitaire and Gummy Drop! as well as amazing titles from Big Fish’s globally top-ranked social casino app, Big Fish Casino.

Bitcoin Bubble Burst: The App That Warns Against Crashes

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One thing that ardent Bitcoin lovers and the usual Bitcoin vultures have in common is their need to keep their eyes on the charts – everyone seems to be having bubble predictions which are simply anticipations of a crash that is expected anytime soon. On Sunday afternoon Bitcoin’s value shot up to over $11,770 from a low of $9,9400 on Thursday. This rapid 1,434% increase in value that has been witnessed in just a few months has led people to think that its volatility is a clear indication that the Bitcoin bubble will burst soon.

Now, innovative apps are coming into play to help the Bitcoin community in monitoring changes in Bitcoin’s prices. Presented at the Disrupt Berlin hackathon, the Bitcoin Bubble Burst app is one such handy tool that allows Bitcoin users to focus on other important things while it monitors changes in Bitcoin’s price and related news events then alerts the users in real time. There are, of course, plenty other apps that offer alert services for changes in Bitcoin prices or trading volumes but the creators of Bitcoin Bubble Burst are offering something totally different with their app. While none of the other similar apps offer adequate warnings, Bitcoin Bubble Burst makes use of neural networks and an advanced machine learning system that they trained on data linked to Bitcoin price changes. These include trading patterns as well as key news items all of which are detected by the Bitcoin Bubble Burst’s system and once they attain a certain vital threshold, users are alerted via email with a logical justification of the warning.

“Sometimes huge events, like the ban of Bitcoin in China, are mentioned in social media and the news – before it affects the value,” the creators of BBB say on their website. The idea behind the project was not just to spot and monitor the dynamics of the Bitcoin ecosystem but also to offer Bitcoin users relevant advice on whether they should either buy or sell. Also, according to the creators, Bitcoin Bubble Burst will not have ads or spam and it will be an open source, encrypted service that will only give alerts when they are important.

Fundamentally speaking, the Bitcoin world is still unpredictable which therefore implies that the viability of this app, and other similar ones, still needs to be tested over a significantly extensive stretch of time. Other than that, the idea of having an app that does all the hard work for you is exceptional. Who wouldn’t want that?

Survivalists and Doomsday Preppers Switching from Gold to Bitcoin

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It is now safe to say that this is officially Bitcoin week. Other than just breaking barriers and reaching all-time highs of over $11,000 the decentralized digital currency has also caused quite a stir in the financial world. People have been wondering what the hell is happening right now in regards to Bitcoin’s speculated price changes. Will it go higher? Will it crash again? By now, Bitcoin has already managed to dwarf some of the largest financial market bubbles in history – and if it is indeed a bubble, then what next for its enthusiastic adopters?

Some North American doomsday and survivalist preppers, however, have a different opinion regarding Bitcoin. In addition to the usual humongous supply of nonperishable food that they usually have stacked away in their doomsday bunkers, the preppers are now ditching the habit of stockpiling gold bars and coins for the invisible Bitcoin wallets in cyberspace – they are confident about the internet staying intact even if the world’s civilization collapses. Devoted survivalists are convinced that the decentralized cryptocurrency is definitely going to survive or endure global pandemics, economic collapse, catastrophes, climate change and even nuclear war. Very enticing, right?

While it seems rather counter-intuitional that some of Bitcoin’s most fervent proponents are a group of people whose motivation is in the belief that public and global infrastructures will crumple on the onset of social, economic and political distress, it is undeniable that these same group of people are partly key determinants of Bitcoin’s future. As it happens, these survivalists have very different perspectives when it comes to Bitcoin which they have labeled the currency of the future – this has been further propelled by Bitcoin’s 900% plus increase within the last ten months. To these people, Bitcoin is going to rival the euro, the dollar, the yen and even gold all of which are not doomsday-proof.

“People see Bitcoin prices going to the moon. No one thinks gold is going to the moon”

There have always been discussions about the pros and cons of cryptocurrencies especially on survivalist forums such as survivalistboards.com and mysurvivalforum.com and from what we could gather, the tides have shifted significantly. To put this into perspective, as Bitcoin’s value soars higher and higher more people are considering investing in decentralized digital currencies – now “buy Bitcoin” registers as a far more popular search phrase on Google as compared to “buy gold.” In fact, the US Mint’s gold coin sales are reported to have recorded decade-lows within the first quarter of 2017.  Still, the faith in Bitcoin can perhaps be attributed to its similarity to gold – both have a finite supply which, according to Bitcoin supporters, makes it immune to inflation. Digital currencies have been portrayed as the ‘knight in shining armor’ when it comes to breaking the society’s dependence on state monopoly over the issuance of currencies in a bid to dominate the economy. Bitcoin is definitely on a roll but is the quest for economic liberation enough to keep it going? Who knows? Maybe what everyone really needs is a guide to surviving Bitcoin, or surviving with Bitcoin.

2017 Gains Soar to 940% as Bitcoin Tops $10,000

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This week has been a great week for Bitcoin – the virtual currency soared to an all-time high above the $10,000 value which had been highly anticipated by many of its followers. But will it hold? As of now, Bitcoin seems to be doing pretty well on various major digital currency indexes and major exchanges including the renowned Luxembourg-based BitStamp. This year alone, Bitcoin has broken a ton of records by soaring to over 900% of its initial value at the beginning of January 2017 thus registering the largest gain of nearly all asset classes while at the same time having to cope with the increased institutional and market demand for crypto-currencies. Evidently, mainstream use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has increased significantly and the horizons are looking clear, in most part.

Still, cryptocurrencies are still met with a significant amount of skepticism – Bitcoin’s value and price surge are seen by some of these skeptics to be nothing more than a speculative bubble that does not relate to any real financial market or the economy as a whole. Among the skeptics is leading banker and Credit Suisse Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam who openly expressed skepticism for Bitcoin saying;

“From what we can identify, the only reason today to buy or sell Bitcoin is to make money, which is the very definition of speculation and the very definition of a bubble.”

There have been endless raging debates regarding the legitimacy of Bitcoin but the fact that the decentralized digital currency has managed to stay afloat despite a number of major crashes across its 9-year lifespan has put certain opinions under review for reconsideration. Bitcoin’s value may vary from one market to another but the escalating trend of its value seems to be stabilizing and this is a core concern for potential investors and the Bitcoin community. Will it hold? How high can it get? We will just have to wait and see.

Good Weekly Start for Bitcoin as It Tops $9000 Mark

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Bitcoin’s forward trajectory has continued with the cryptocurrency’s dollar price rising above the $9000 mark – as of today, it stands at $9730 as it draws closer to the $10,000 region. This should come as no surprise as Bitcoin has gained a lot of popularity by breaching its all-time highs month after month. The price surge is expected to continue and maintain a similar trend as we approach 2018. This year, 2017, has been a particularly great year for Bitcoin in regards to its value. What began as a $1000-mark breach back in January marked the onset of the currency’s best year.

Is Bitcoin Liquidity Increasing?

In just two weeks or less, Bitcoins’ price has shot up from less than $7800 to over $9060, a surge that has caused a significant increase in its trading volume from about $2 billion to over $4.6 billion. This makes Bitcoin more liquid than even the most liquid stock in the world, a title that was previously held by Apple. Furthermore, Bitcoin now processes more trades than the major stock markets in the world like KOSDAQ in South Korea. As major financial institutions like the Man Group, a $95 billion hedge fund, participate in strictly regulated Bitcoin exchanges in the coming weeks, the price of Bitcoin might surpass $10,000 sooner than anticipated. In fact, financial firms like StandPoint and Wall Street analysts have already set new highs for Bitcoin’s interim price target moving it up from the previous $10,000 to $14,000.

According to StandPoint founder Ronnie Moas, “There have been many positive developments during the last five months and a few of the obstacles that were in Bitcoin’s way have been knocked down.”

Bitcoin mining is now more profitable than it has ever been in its 9-year life – only 4.3 million Bitcoins are left to mine as nearly 75 percent of the decentralized currency has already been mined and is used in the over 250,000 daily transactions on the network.