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Bitcoin and Blockchain: The Tangled History of Two Tech Buzzwords

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“I’m interested in blockchain, not bitcoin.”

Admit it, you’ve heard this hundreds, if not thousands, of times. (You might have even said it yourself.) And sure, people know what you’re saying, you’re talking about the “technology underlying bitcoin” and you sound smart enough.

Once it became known – or at least presumed – that you could apply cryptography in finance, in ways similar to how it’s used in bitcoin, everyone started making sure that statement fell from their lips. And that refrain – kicked off by bitcoin itself – remains powerful today.

Sounds plausible? Sure. But, interestingly, the word “blockchain” doesn’t actually appear in the original bitcoin white paper, released back in 2008. Rather, the white paper uses the words “block” and “chain” separately many times.

It describes the word “block” as the vehicle for a bundle bitcoin transactions. Then, these blocks of are linked together, forming a “chain” of “blocks.”

bitcoin, paper

Snapshot from the bitcoin whitepaper (highlighting added)

So, who created this ultimate industry buzzword?

That damn blockchain

Turns out, the origins of the word are not quite so revolutionary.

“The word blockchain was never used in the early days,” former bitcoin developer Mike Hearn told CoinDesk. Although, Hearn did acknowledge that Satoshi often referred to bitcoin’s “proof-of-work chain” in discussions on forums.

It seems the first references to the word came about on Bitcoin Talk, a bitcoin-specific forum created by Satoshi, in July 2010 – more than a year after bitcoin’s release.

And at that time, these remarks weren’t about how innovative the technology was, but instead were complaints about how long it took to download the bitcoin “blockchain” (the entire history of bitcoin transactions).

While compared to today, the download would have far faster, according to one Bitcoin Talk user: “The initial blockchain download is quite slow.”

In other words, initially, blockchain was far from the sexy word it is today.

Blockchain mania

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the word really took hold.

But interest in the term seems to have sprung out of professional organizations and individuals hesitance to align themselves with bitcoin itself because of its bad reputation as the currency for drugs and gray economies.

“I think it [became popular] around the time people started going to Washington [D.C.] and trying to make bitcoin respectable by divorcing the currency from the underlying algorithms,” Hearn said.

To many, bitcoin the currency could be decoupled from bitcoin the blockchain protocol, and so a whole new industry of so-called “private blockchains,” devoid of a cryptocurrency, emerged. Sure enough, around that time in 2015, Google Trends data show the term surged.

Graph from Google Trends.

“Initially people said ‘block chain’, and then, thanks to a great PR campaign, we were blessed with the much improved ‘blockchain,’ single-word, probably thanks to a community-wide effort near and around the Bitcoin Talk forums,” long-time cryptocurrency developer Greg Slepak said.

Not only did it become one word, but it also came in vogue to describe any blockchain that wasn’t bitcoin’s blockchain as “a blockchain.” Bitcoin got to keep the terminology “the blockchain,” giving credence to the fact that it was the first.

Yet blockchain has become so divorced from bitcoin that both words typically see a similar spike when cryptocurrency prices start mooning. For instance, the word blockchain saw a huge uptick in Google searches in late 2017.

blockchain, google trends

Graph from Google Trends.

World’s first blockchain?

Still, it’s unclear exactly where the idea itself begins. To some, blockchains existed even before bitcoin, although that term wasn’t applied to them back then.

For instance, cryptographer Stuart Haber, whose whitepapers on timestamping were cited in the bitcoin white paper, claims to have created the first blockchain called Surety.

According to Haber, that has to be the reason why Satoshi cited his work – three times out of just nine total citations. Surety was launched in 1995 for timestamping records, and it’s still running today.

Yet, Haber admits that his version doesn’t have all the same benefits of bitcoin since it’s centralized – managed by one company.

And that highlights where things get tricky when you’re talking about a blockchain. See, there isn’t necessarily agreement on a single definition of a the technology.

The Merriam Webster dictionary actually presents a much older word for blockchain – “a chain in which the alternate links are broad blocks connected by thin side links pivoted to the ends of the blocks, used with sprocket wheels to transmit power, as in a bicycle.”

While Google defines blockchain as:

Google, blockchain

But, for those seasoned veterans of the space, even this definition is problematic. Many of these new-age private blockchains don’t record their transactions publicly.

“The term has become so widespread that it’s quickly losing meaning,” as The Verge put it earlier this year.

Blind men

Haber pointed to an Indian parable to help explain the incompatible descriptions.

In the parable, a group of blind men come upon an elephant and start touching the animal to try and figure it out what it was in front of them.

Depending on what part of the elephant each man is touching, their answer changes. For instance, one of the blind men, touching the elephant’s trunk, thinks it’s a snake, while the other, touching the elephant’s leg, exclaims it’s a tree trunk.

It’s similar when people define blockchain, Haber said.

He told CoinDesk:

“Some definitions will be completely silly, showing that people don’t understand what they’re doing, but there will also be a bunch of accurate descriptions of various parts of the vast body of work.”

As such, he argues there isn’t just one meaning.

Even though, bitcoiners believe a blockchain can only be the one and only bitcoin blockchain, like words, definitions are always evolving and changing.

Blockchain shirt image via CoinDesk archives

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MIOTA Price Prediction Today: Daily (IOTA) Value Forecast – June 24

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IOTAs-Tangle-powered-Apps-Release-New-Geo-Tagging-Area-Codes-Feature-to-Localize-All-Transactions

IOTAs-Tangle-powered-Apps-Release-New-Geo-Tagging-Area-Codes-Feature-to-Localize-All-Transactions

  • On the upside, if the bulls break the upper price range, IOTA market will reach the highs of either $0.55000 or $0.60000 price level.
  • The crypto’s price was fluctuating between the levels of $0.40 and $0.50.

IOTA/USD Medium-term Trend: Ranging

  • Resistance Levels: $0.50, $0.55, $0.60
  • Support Levels: $0.45, $0.35, $0.30

Last week the price of IOTA was in a sideways trend. The 12-day EMA and the 26-day EMA were sloping horizontally. The crypto’s price was fluctuating between the levels of $0.40 and $0.50. On June 22, the IOTA market was resisted as the bulls tested the $0.5000 upper price range.The crypto’s price fell to the support of the 12-day EMA and commenced a range bound move above the EMAs.

Presently, the crypto’s price is above the 12-day EMA and the 26-day EMA which indicates that price is likely to rise. On the upside, if the bulls break the upper price range, IOTA market will reach the highs of either $0.55000 or $0.60000 price level. On the other hand, if the bulls fail to break the upper price range, the crypto’s price will continue its range bound move. Meanwhile, the IOTA market is at the oversold region of the daily stochastic but above the 40% range. This indicates that price is in a bullish momentum and a buy signal.

IOTA/USD Short-term Trend: Bullish

On the 1-hour chart, the price of IOTA is in a bullish trend zone. On June 21, the crypto’s price was making a series of higher highs and higher lows. However, IOTA market was resisted at the $0.4800 price level but the price fell and found support at the low of $0.4400.

The bulls made an upward move to retest the $0.4800 price level. Nevertheless, the IOTA price is in the oversold region of the daily stochastic but above the 40% range. This indicates that price is in a bullish momentum and a buy signal.

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

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Bitcoin on Track for Best Second Quarter Price Gain on Record

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  • Bitcoin’s 165 percent gain so far this quarter is the best second quarter performance on record and the highest quarterly percentage gain since the end of 2017. The stellar gains have bolstered the long-term bullish technical setup.
  • While the relative strength index is reporting overbought conditions, there are no signs of bullish exhaustion on the daily, 3-day or weekly charts. As a result, the outlook remains bullish with resistances lined up at $11,247 and $11,394, according to Bitstamp data.
  • A minor pullback to $10,000 could be seen if the price again fails to hold onto gains above $11,000, validating a more bearish setup on the 4-hour chart.
  • The bullish outlook would be invalidated if the price finds acceptance below $9,097 (May 30 high).

Bitcoin (BTC) appears to be powering to the best second quarter price gain on record and the best quarterly performance overall since late 2017.

At press time, the 165 percent gain on the April 1 opening price of $4,092 is the biggest percentage rise observed in May to June to date, going by Bitstamp data.

Further, bitcoin’s triple-digit gain so far for Q2 is the best quarterly rise overall since the fourth quarter of 2017. Over that period, the cryptocurrency rose 230 percent, propelling prices to a lifetime high of $20,000 in December.

Monthly chart

  • Bitcoin has rallied 165 percent so far this quarter, surpassing the previous second quarter record gain of 130 percent seen in 2017.
  • Prices jumped a meager 10.9 percent in the first quarter this year.
  • The 626 percent rise seen in the first three months of 2013 is bitcoin’s biggest quarterly gain to date.

With the 165 percent price rise, BTC seems to have left the bear market far behind. In fact, the bearish-to-bullish trend change was confirmed on April 2, when prices rallied $1,000 to levels above $5,000.

The cryptocurrency then rose above $8,000 in the run-up to New York Blockchain Week held from May 10 to May 18 and remained bid after the event to hit highs near $9,100 on May 30.

The two-month double-digit winning streak has now extended into June, with prices briefly hitting 15-month highs above $11,000 over the weekend. The recent leg higher from $7,500 to $10,000 could be associated with Facebook’s foray into cryptocurrencies.

Observers believe that Facebook’s Libra project will not only boost the adoption of cryptocurrencies, but will also strengthen bitcoin’s appeal as an anti-establishment asset.

Further, the leading cryptocurrency by market value is set to undergo a mining reward halving in May next year. Therefore, the long-term price prospects look bright.

In the short run, however, a repeated failure to hold onto gains above $11,000 could yield a correction. As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $10,880, representing 2.4 percent gains on the day.

Weekly, 3-day and daily charts

The RSIs on the weekly, 3-day and daily charts are reporting overbought conditions with above-70 readings.

So far, however, prices aren’t showing any signs of bullish exhaustion. The bullish structure of higher lows and higher highs is intact and the 5-and 10-candle moving averages (MA) on all three charts continue to trend north.

The overbought readings on the RSIs would gain credence only if signs of bull exhaustion emerge in the form of candlestick patterns such as doji, bearish engulfing, hanging man, etc.

The bullish outlook would be invalidated only if and when prices drop below $9,097 (May 30 high), invalidating the bullish higher lows and higher highs pattern.

On the higher side, resistance is seen at $11,247 (Sunday’s high) and $11,394 (50 percent Fibonacci retracement of the bear market drop).

4-hour chart

BTC has failed twice over the weekend to hold onto gains above $10,000 with the RSI charting lower highs (bearish divergence).

That RSI pattern would gain credence if the cryptocurrency again fades a break above $10,000, leading to a drop toward $10,000 – the support of the ascending trendline.

BTC was expected to put on a good show in the three months to June 30 this year, as a number of technical indicators had turned bullish in February and March.

Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency at the time of writing

Bitcoin image via CoinDesk archives; charts by TradingView

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Google Searches for ‘Bitcoin’ Starting to Catch Up With $10K Euphoria

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Data from Google Trends’ search analytics resource indicates that internet googling of ‘bitcoin’ (BTC) is approaching a monthly high as of today, June 24.

According to the data, searches for bitcoin are continuing their ascent in the week after the unveiling of Facebook’s new cryptocurrency and blockchain-powered financial infrastructure project, Libra, even as searches for Libra itself have tapered off since June 18 — the date the white paper for the forthcoming token was published.

Google trends data for search terms ‘bitcoin’ vs. ‘libra.’ As of June 24 2019

As Cointelegraph noted yesterday, from a wider perspective, the number of Google searches for “bitcoin” remain only around 10% of what they were in 2017 — the year of the top coin’s historic bull run, which peaked at $20,000 in December of that year.

The resurgent public interest is seemingly correlated with the renewed bull market, with bitcoin is currently trading at $10,881, up almost 35% on the month, according to coin360 data.

By country, the top five nations currently googling bitcoin are Nigeria, South Africa, Austria, Switzerland and Ghana — as compared with Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Albania and Panama for Libra.

As Cointelegraph noted yesterday, the fact that Google trends data for bitcoin remains well below its former peak apparently suggests that retail FOMO has not yet become a major driver of the coin’s renewed price momentum. Instead, several parameters indicate that institutional demand for bitcoin is increasing in lockstep, and that network fundamentals are hitting all-time-highs.

While high-profile industry figures such as Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin have critiqued Libra over its lack of decentralization, researchers at top crypto exchange Binance, have proposed that the social media giant’s token could spark additional volume in the cryptocurrency space.

At press time, BTC/USD is consolidating under the $11,000 mark — up over 3% over the past 24 hours, according to Cointelegraph’s bitcoin price index.

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CryptoBridge DEX app launches new mobile-friendly user interface

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The team of CryptoBridge, a decentralized crypto trading gateway, has successfully launched a new mobile-friendly user interface (UI) for users. Now, users will be able to access the trading platform from any device, while taking advantage of more advanced features.

What is new?

The interface itself is cleaner, more modern and overall more attractive, combined with simpler use of functions such as trading, deposits, and withdrawals. Alongside the “Buy” and “Sell” button, now there is quick access deposit function, in case users run out of assets to complete their desired trade.

At CryptoBridge there are few options for diversified income which are now all accessible directly in the UI itself, under the “Earn” tab. Important information regarding the referral program, BridgeCoin staking, and Trading Competitions, are one click away without the need to leave the trading platform.

Further, to help users understand the full functionalities of the new trading interface there is an icon in the lower right corner where they can quickly access guidance through the currently opened page.

cryptobridgenewui
The CryptoBridge team notes that if coming across any bugs or issues with client functionalities, there is a “Report” button that will open a ticket so developers can check and fix the issue.

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BIS Wants ‘Level Playing Field’ for Banks Amid Threat From Firms Like Facebook

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The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), often described as the bank for central banks, has issued its annual report for 2019, expressing concerns over the expected disruption as big tech firms like Facebook enter the financial space.

While titled “Big tech in finance: opportunities and risks,” the report looks at the risks and challenges posed by companies such as Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Tencent, and rather pays lip service to the potential benefits of this building fintech revolution.

These firms have developed huge customer bases, says BIS, and have the benefit of a “data-network-activities loop” which gives them ” the potential to become dominant.”

While the encroach of such companies into payments, money management, insurance and lending has only just started, it brings the potential for major change in the finance industry.

On the benefits, BIS writes:

“Big techs’ low-cost structure business can easily be scaled up to provide basic financial services, especially in places where a large part of the population remains unbanked. Using big data and analysis of the network structure in their established platforms, big techs can assess the riskiness of borrowers, reducing the need for collateral to assure repayment. As such, big techs stand to enhance the efficiency of financial services provision, promote financial inclusion and allow associated gains in economic activity.”

However, such change brings new risks, according to the report. As well as the old issues of financial stability and consumer protection, “big techs have the potential to loom large very quickly as systemically relevant financial institutions.” At this point, BIS specifically raises the recent reports of Facebook’s new Libra project, which sees the social media giant “considering offering payment services for their customers on a global basis.”

There are also “important new and unfamiliar challenges” that, BIS suggests, go beyond the remit of current regulations. The report says that “Big techs have the potential to become dominant through the advantages afforded by the data-network-activities loop, raising competition and data privacy issues.”

As such, policies will be needed for a “comprehensive approach” on financial regulation, competition policy and data privacy regulation.

“The aim should be to respond to big techs’ entry into financial services so as to benefit from the gains while limiting the risks. As the operations of big techs straddle regulatory perimeters and geographical borders, coordination among authorities – national and international – is crucial,” according to the report.

In a somewhat telling statement, BIS further reveals its fears that banks could lose ground to the new big tech disruptors saying:

“Regulators need to ensure a level playing field between big techs and banks, taking into account big techs’ wide customer base, access to information and broad-ranging business models.”

And with such major companies having the ability to work across borders, international coordination is needed on rules and standards to address the potential shift in the “risk-benefit balance,” says BIS.

As the report suggests, Facebook’s crypto project may not have an easy time with the world’s regulators as the firm seeks to launch financial services for its billions of users.

France has already moved to create a task force within the G7 nations to examine the issues raised by Libra, while U.S. lawmakers have also expressed concerns over the project.

BIS headquarters image via Shutterstock

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