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2021 Is Bitcoin’s Year: How to Get in on the Digital Gold Rush

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Everyone’s pinning their hopes on this new year to bring good fortune, and for Bitcoin traders, it couldn’t be a better beginning. January saw BTC soar to dizzying new heights of up to $40,000 per <a class="wpg-linkify wpg-tooltip" title="

Coin

A coin is a unit of digital value. When describing cryptocurrencies, they are built using the bitcoin technology and have no other value unlike tokens which have the potential of software being built with them.

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” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin. While the market has seen some price activity since then, it looks like BTC will hold the high ground. After the economic turmoil of 2020 and increased adoption of Bitcoin by mainstream financial institutions, the first cryptocurrency is close to living up to its nickname of ‘digital gold’.

How did we get here?

Bitcoin’s triumphant volatility may have surprised some market followers that saw <a class="wpg-linkify wpg-tooltip" title="

Satoshi

Satoshi Nakamoto is the founder and creator of bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency. The smallest amount of bitcoin (0.00000001) was also named after him, it is called a Satoshi. This tiny amount of bitcoin is one hundred-millionth of a bitcoin. That’s 7 zeros before the number 1! Satoshi Nakamoto is an unknown person or group of people who created bitcoin in 2009. Very little is known about Satoshi. In an online profile he claims to be a Japanese man born in 1975, but all of his software and online conversations are in perfect English.

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” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/satoshi/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>Satoshi’s creation dip as low as $4,000 in the spring. But, as the global economy continued to suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale stimulus packages from state actors meant that traditional fiat currency was at risk of devaluation. On top of that, the 2020 halving event cut down rewards from miners, making the asset’s already limited supply even more scarce.

Investors took note, and the cryptocurrency became more and more attractive for speculators looking for a hedge against inflation, with Goldman Sachs identifying Bitcoin as ‘digital gold’ and Paul Tudor Jones endorsing it, as well. Grayscale, Fidelity, MassMutual and Microstrategy have all gained exposure to Bitcoin recently.

BTC outperformed gold and the S&P 500 in recent years, but with higher volatility. / Wells Fargo.

The institutional investment in BTC is still a relatively small percentage of the market, but individual investors have benefited from mainstream interest via higher value for their holdings. Square ($50 million invested in Bitcoin) and PayPal — which recently added BTC and other cryptocurrencies to its service — are delving into the Bitcoin world. As more platforms explore BTC, its value as a digital asset will be sure to reflect its use cases beyond that of a speculative asset.

The combined value of Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market surged to over $1 trillion as prices rose across the board. But BTC’s recent climb couldn’t last forever.

BTC market right now

At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) price slipped for the fourth day in a row. However, at $35,000, it bounced back from a recent drop to $30,000 and is still far above 2020’s low of $3,800. Savvy analysts have pointed out that both BTC’s trading volume and active address are at a new all-time high. Meanwhile, several firms have reported a dramatic rise in Bitcoin futures contracts, and online crypto exchanges have noted an influx of new users, with the StormGain crypto trading platform reporting a trading volume of $7.43 billion over the last month.

BTC’s recent performance: starting 2021 on a high note. / StormGain

 More BTC is changing hands than ever, a sign of a healthy, liquid market. Bitcoin’ whales’, or accounts with more than 1,000 BTC, are also on the rise, potentially gobbling up the smallest retail investors (less than 0.1 BTC) who panicked and sold during the dip.

Outlook for Bitcoin in 2021: Should you invest?

Many analysts, institutional investors and crypto specialists alike predict sunny outlooks for Bitcoin over the next year. A leaked report from a senior Citibank’s analyst projected that Bitcoin could potentially hit a high of $318,000 by December 2021, calling it “21st-century gold”.

Strategists at JPMorgan have said that if Bitcoin beats its volatility, the original cryptocurrency could surge as high as $146,000 in the long-term as it overtakes gold as a safe-haven asset. Guggenheim’s predictions are even higher at $400,000.

Alex Althausen, CEO of crypto exchange StormGain, said on Wednesday that “BTC could easily hit $100,000 by the end of 2021. We’ve seen interest from new investors in Bitcoin like never before, which is also boosting the other cryptocurrencies on our platform.”

Bitcoin certainly presents opportunities for investors in 2021, but the risk for retail investors is that whales can suck up even more of an increasingly scarce asset and price smaller investors out. To maximise their profits, interested parties should look for a reliable crypto platform that offers the best returns on their investment and incentives for trading. Amid the Bitcoin feeding frenzy, other cryptocurrencies shouldn’t be overlooked, as BTC’s fortunes have historically lifted up other digital tokens, especially those which present interesting use cases for finance platforms.

How to buy BTC

Cryptocurrency is increasingly part of the mainstream, but specialist crypto platforms still offer the best conditions for traders. A good online exchange will offer trading options for BTC, XRP, ETH, and other coins that can be purchased with a regular bank card. The best crypto platforms also offer more advanced options, such as crypto indices and DeFi tokens.

When considering a crypto exchange for investment, be sure to research the commission rates and bonuses for the best deal, as well as unique perks from various platforms. For example, StormGain, one of the reputable crypto exchanges noted for its low commissions, also offers up to 12% APR interest on crypto holdings, which is especially attractive for long-term investors. The platform also includes free cloud mining software that can passively earn BTC for the user. Whatever exchange you choose, don’t miss your chance to stake your claim on the original cryptocurrency, as the momentum of digital assets can only accelerate.

About the Author: Anurag Gautam is an avid reader and Crypto Trader with a passion for creative writing for the past many years. By writing, he intends to help people flourish synchronously with pieces of his knowledge. His niche mainly includes blockchain, startups and business &technology. He has been working with startups, leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.

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Crypto exchange BTCNEXT seeking Japan license

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BTCNEXT, an Asian based cryptocurrency exchange, earlier this month announced it received notification from the Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA) that it must suspend services for Japanese residents.

As part of Noah Ark Technologies Ltd., BTCNEXT operates with a Virtual Currency Exchange license issued by the Cagayan special economic zone and Freeport Philippines.

The BTCNEXT team says that its legal department is currently working with the FSA in regards to getting a Japanese license and will take necessary steps to ensure full compliance with all FSA requests.

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NEO Price Prediction: Long-term (NEO) Value Forecast – June 2

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  • The long-term outlook is in a bullish trend.
  • The 1.618 in the fibs at $19.17 is the bulls target in the long-term.

NEO/USD Long-term Trend: Bullish

Supply zone: $20.00, $30.00, $40.00
Demand zone: $2.00, $1.00, $0.50

NEO continues in the uptrend in its long-term outlook. The strong pressure on the cryptocurrency by the bulls’ comeback at the 61.8 on 18th May has kept price up with new high each week. $12.59 and $15.04 in the supply area were the highs on 20th and 30th May respectively.

The new week is started on a bullish note with today’s opening candle at $13.72 higher than last week opening price at $11.45, an indication that the bulls are more in the market.

Price is above the two EMAs that are fanned apart which suggest strength in the trend and in this case the uptrend.

The journey to 1.618 of the fib extension with price at $19.17 in the supply area is the bulls target in the long-term as the bullish momentum increase and more bullish candle open and closed above the two EMAS.

The views and opinion as expressed here do not reflect that of BitcoinExchangeGuide.com and do not constitute financial advice. Always do your own research.

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Why Bitcoin’s ‘Culture War’ Matters

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Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.


Let’s talk about bitcoin, toxicity and inclusiveness.

(Boy, my Twitter feed is going to have fun over the next few days.)

To start with, let me take a position: I stand with those people, especially women, who’ve lately been calling out maltreatment from members of the bitcoin community and citing rude and abusive behavior as proof of that community’s lack of inclusiveness. These are people who believe in cryptocurrency technology’s potential but feel discouraged to believe that they belong to the community’s dominant white-male subculture. If this technology is to fulfill its global potential, the community associated with it must confront this problem.

But the real point of this column is not to just defend these critics. It’s to debunk one of the more common positions adopted by those who take issue with their complaints, particularly on Twitter. In doing so, I hope to emphasize just how important the concepts of “community” and “culture” are to the healthy development of crypto technology and the ecosystem growing around it.

Hammer culture?

The line that’s most often thrown back at those calling out incivility is that bitcoin is nothing more than a technology, a tool, and that it’s meaningless to attach to it value judgments relating to human behavior. Bitcoin is amoral, apolitical and a-cultural, the argument goes, and like any technology it is used by good and bad people alike.

These pundits, warning of a political correctness-based threat to free speech, will then advise the injured party to take issue directly with the bad actors but refrain from agitating for community-wide change.

A perfect example of the genre came from outspoken lawyer Preston Byrne.

Clever, yes. But it’s extremely unhelpful, because the examples given do not share equivalent terms of reference.

Byrne’s “hammer” refers solely to the steel implement that tradesmen use. By contrast, people complaining about “bitcoin” are clearly using the word in a much wider context than in merely a reference to the code, to the ones and zeros that comprise the bitcoin protocol. They are inherently talking about the wider ecosystem and community gathered around the idea of bitcoin.

So, let’s equalize the terms, shall we? We can turn each of these nouns into a modifier of the word “community.”

While it might sound silly to talk about a “hammer community,” there may well be groups of hammer-obsessed souls who debate questions of design and ease of use at meetups and in chat rooms. If so, I’m going to guess that that community would probably also be predominantly male.

But the real issue is that such a hammer community is going to be far less important to the future design and evolution of hammer technology than bitcoin’s community is to its. I’m no expert, but I don’t see a great deal of change in hammer technology having occurred over the centuries and I’m not sure people expect much in the future. As such, we don’t see much jockeying among users to ensure that proposals for hammer upgrades are implemented and standardized to their preferred design.

By contrast, the open-source technology behind bitcoin is in a constant state of evolution. It is, by definition, under development, which is why we talk about the engineers who work on it as “developers,” not “custodians.” As such, there is a constant battle of interests over who gets to modify the code. Exhibit A: the block-size debate.

Counter-arguing that those who don’t like the process can just fork the code, as the large-blockers did, and set up their own new community, doesn’t cut it for me. Bitcoin is the brand that matters. Any newcomer will struggle to achieve the same network effects. Secession just isn’t viable for anyone who likes its current design but doesn’t like how its future is being defined.

Also, is there a “hammer ecosystem?” Maybe. But beyond producers of nails, and perhaps steel and rubber or wood suppliers, you can hardly call it a complex ecosystem.

Bitcoin, by contrast, which purports to reinvent the global system of money, has attracted an inherently vast array of different technology providers, all of whom have competing interests in how it is designed, managed and marketed to the world. I’m not just talking about businesses applications built on top of it, but also the developers of related encryption, payment channel, smart contract and other vitally important technologies, all of which are themselves in a constant state of flux.

(I’m guessing that the exhibition halls at hammer conventions don’t have quite the same spread of offerings as cryptocurrency events such as Consensus.)

Saying that bitcoin is nothing but a tool, is like saying that music is nothing but a system for ordering different audible tones.

Money = community

When Paul Vigna and I wrote The Age of Cryptocurrency, we spent a lot of time chronicling the emergence of the community that had formed around bitcoin, which we saw as fundamental to its success. It struck us that the notion of a bitcoin community was so prominent — the “c” word was always being bandied about — because bitcoin embodied a profound and sweeping social idea. It offered nothing less than a reinvention of money, a revolution in the entire system for coordinating human value exchange.

Money only works to the extent that there is widespread belief in it, that people buy into its core myth. Money, Felix Martin says, is a social technology, by which he means that its functionality and usability depend far less on the physical qualities of the token that represents it than on the collective agreement among large communities of people that their token captures, represents and communicates transferable value. This is true whether we’re talking about gold, dollar bills, entries in a bank account, or cryptocurrency.

By extension, then, for any form of money to succeed, it must sustain a vibrant, growing community.

Communities = culture

The thing about communities is that they inevitably develop cultures. In self-defining their boundaries of belonging, they develop shared ways of seeing and language — akin to a kind of social protocol – that regulate (in a very unofficial, and quite subconscious way) their members’ behavior.

As they evolve, cultures can become more or less open, more or less inclusive, more or less abrasive in their treatment of outsiders. And inevitably, these cultural features will either encourage or impede the growth of the community.

All this should hardly be a revelation. Anthropology, the study of culture, is a globally widespread and influential field (one that is now appropriately turning its attention to cryptocurrency communities.)

Studies of U.S. culture, from Alexis de Tocqueville down, have rightly pointed to the inclusiveness of the founding fathers’ ideas as a key driver of its economic expansion. In fact, American culture is arguably its most important ingredient for success, a social manifestation of Joseph Nye’s notion of the United States’ “soft power.”

So, yes, bitcoin culture really, really matters. If the compelling ideas behind permissionless, peer-to-peer exchange and censorship-resistant money that attract people of all stripes to it are to retain those people’s interest and grow in influence, the bitcoin community needs to evolve a more inclusive culture.

The only way to do that is to spur the kind of open debates that have always driven the progress of human culture — those which shifted norms and mores to the point that it became unacceptable to own slaves, to spit in public, or to jump a queue.

So, listen up, bitcoin. It’s time to confront your toxicity.

Hazard drums image via Shutterstock

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Holiday Spending up 14.6% as E-Commerce Beats Brick-and-Mortar

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E-commerce sales hit record highs this year as Americans continue to move their holiday shopping online.

According to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report, online retail grew 18.8% over last year’s holiday season. That’s enough to make online sales a record 14.6% of holiday shoppers total spend, the report says.

Online consumers this year spent 17% more on apparel, 8.8% more on jewelry, 10.7% more on electronics, and 6.9% more at department stores. 

Overall, holiday spending jumped 3.4% compared to 2018.

The strong numbers came in spite of 2019’s unusually short holiday season, commonly defined as the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shoppers had six days fewer than they had in 2018.

Steve Sadove, an advisor for MasterCard, said in a press release that retailers adapted to the shortened season. 

“Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices.”

Interestingly – or ominously – retailers who accepted crypto or managed crypto payments were slow to respond when we asked them how their holiday shopping season went. eGifter, a gift card trading service, noted that it had not yet “crunched the numbers” on holiday sales but that “We saw growth in overall crypto sales,” said Bill Egan, the site’s VP of Marketing.

“We saw more gifting with crypto in 2019, compared to buy-for-self use cases in prior years,” he said.

Payment processor BitPay found the holidays quite inspiring as well.

“We saw twice our daily averages of processed volume leading up to the holiday,” said BitPay’s CMO, Bill Zielke.

It will be interesting to see what kind of statistics surface over the next few seasons as e-commerce becomes king and crypto payments come to the fore.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Crypto Custodians Grapple With Germany’s New Rules

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Crypto firms in Germany are getting ready to exist under a new regime. 

Under a law going into effect Jan. 1 requiring digital asset custodians to be licensed, each company that currently custodies crypto and targets German clients must announce to Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) its intention to get a license before April 1 and submit an application before Nov. 1.  

A clause allows current crypto custodians to keep serving German customers without being penalized if they declare their intent to apply, but those same companies are waiting on BaFin to release final regulations around the law.

“As long as the legislation is not in place, BaFin is not going to think about how to cope or how to deal with the legislation,” said BaFin press officer Norbert Pieper. The regulator declined further comment and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance did not respond to request for comment by press time.

Pieper added: “There is no date foreseeable [yet] by which we’ll be able to communicate the results of our assessment. We will certainly communicate that on our website.” 

While the final regulations haven’t been set yet, the new license requirement may not produce the same kind of exodus of crypto firms that New York saw after the BitLicense requirement, said Miha Grčar, head of business development at Bitstamp.

London-based Bitstamp, one of Europe’s largest crypto exchanges, plans to continue operating in Germany but declined to say whether it would apply for a license, said Grčar. Crypto firms could also use a white-labeled custody service to operate in Germany. 

Because the law is an “updated version of the existing banking regulation,” banks will likely have the most to gain from it, Grčar added. Companies that get the license will be German financial institutions, but not classified as banks.

The law also means that German regulators now see crypto as a “legitimate” industry, he said. 

Ulli Spankowski, chief digital officer and managing director of the crypto custody subsidiary of German stock exchange Boerse Stuttgart, called Blocknox, sees the license as a step forward for “the professionalism of the industry.” The subsidiary has already advised BaFin that it plans to apply.  

“There are other countries that won’t go for a full-fledged license,” he said. “If you want to get traditional, established players from the banking side, you need to give them this environment to feel safe.” 

DLC group is taking advantage of the new regulatory framework by offering consulting services for firms interested in applying, and its own white-labeled crypto custody service. 

Sven Hildebrandt, head of Distributed Ledger Consulting Group, is concerned some exchanges won’t understand the nuances of the new law.

“The law is only in German and no English translation of the law is out there,” he said. “What’s going to happen to exchanges? [Operating without a licence] is actually a felony and not a misdemeanor so that’s jail time.”

Hildebrandt predicts the costs of licensing will be similar to other German financial services licenses where firms will need two managing directors, an established German entity and 125,000 euros of starting capital. He also estimates installation will cost 250,000 to 350,000 euros and recurring yearly costs will be 350,000 euros. 

Switzerland-based Crypto Storage AG, a subsidiary of Crypto Finance AG, is opening a branch in Germany to offer crypto custody to banks and then financial technology startups. 

“Large banking houses will do custody business in the future,” Stijn Vander Straeten, CEO of Crypto Storage AG, said. “They are moving slowly, though. We’ll build it up now for a premium.” 

Berlin-based solarisBank this month opened a subsidiary called solaris Digital Assets to offer crypto custody as a service. So far, the bank has a handful of customers testing the service with more than 40 companies in the pipeline, said Alexis Hamel, managing director of solaris Digital Assets.

In addition to waiting for details from BaFin, crypto firms are also waiting to see if the law can be passported to other European Union states. 

“Germany is definitely at the forefront with the clearer regulation,” Hamel said. “We still need to see how other European countries level up.”

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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