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John McAfee Living in a Constant State of Paranoia Launches Podcast

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By CCN: Following John McAfee’s triumphant return to Twitter after a brief hiatus, the software mogul and his wife on Tuesday announced a new podcast about life on the run.

McAfee’s Life on the Run

This John McAfee gif illustrates his MBTI

The outspoken bitcoin bull’s DGAF disposition. | Source: Giphy

In their announcement, McAfee and his wife describe living on the run and hiding from the government. The software mogul also informs followers that the couple’s brief social media absence was because of an incoming raid.

Can’t Keep John McAfee Down

The outspoken presidential longshot is also a fugitive who will face arrest upon return to the U.S. But McAfee – a bitcoin perma-bull – refuses to let any government keep him down. Following the couple’s announcement today, McAfee posted characteristic crypto advice on Twitter.

He addressed the bitcoin price, suggesting that people who ask him when bitcoin is trading at $7,900 whether they should wait to buy it sound more ridiculous than he looks while getting his hair processed.

“If you like bitcoin, buy it. Who cares whether it’s at $15 or $1,500 or $10,000. If it’s a good deal, f***ing buy it. End of story.”

He then promised to show everyone his hair after it’s done.

Although McAfee and his wife describe their podcast as a chronicle of the couple’s unconventional lives, one major theme is sure to touch on the benefits of decentralized money. If McAfee holds bitcoin, no matter where he goes, he can always use it. Governments may be able to seize the couple’s house, boat, and bank accounts, but they can’t stop bitcoin. At least not without shutting down the internet. Incidentally, McAfee recently expressed an interest in Dogecoin.

Craig Wright vs. McAfee

McAfee is reasonably popular among crypto proponents. But still, some argue that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were not designed to help people circumvent taxes or laws.  Among them is controversial figure Craig Wright.

Wright, who registered a copyright on the Bitcoin white paper this morning, is one of McAfee’s most vocal opponents. Wright will undoubtedly argue that McAfee’s podcast will slow mass adoption and increase the public perception that bitcoin’s primary use is for tax evasion and other nefarious purposes.

McAfee Doesn’t Give a F**k!

For those who might disparage McAfee’s unconventional methods of bitcoin evangelism, the presidential candidate has a message:

“As if I give a flying f**k what you think!”

Controversial, outspoken, and intelligent, John McAfee’s podcast is sure to attract a broad audience. But will the McAfee podcast “highlight” the advantages of a decentralized economy and fuel mass adoption or the opposite? Only time will tell.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

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Bittrex Leads $1.5 Million Seed Round in South African Crypto Exchange VALR

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Global crypto exchange Bittrex led a $1.5 million seed round in South African trading platform VALR.

Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara told CoinDesk the South African market has “tremendous untapped potential.” Fellow VALR investor Michael Jordaan of Montegray Capital told CoinDesk that VALR’s support for 50 cryptocurrencies will offer the most diverse range of assets of any African exchange when it opens to the public on March 1.

“The VALR team has the potential to change the cryptocurrency landscape in South Africa and globally,” Jordaan said.

VALR co-founder and CEO Farzam Ehsani told CoinDesk that 1,500 users, predominantly South Africans, have already signed up on the exchange’s waiting list and started activating accounts in a closed beta leading up the to launch.

Ehsani said a backend partnership with Bittrex will offer the new exchange global liquidity and competitive prices for crypto-to-crypto trading, while his team works on activating fiat on-ramps with South African banks by summertime.

Ehsani told CoinDesk:

“Companies are not allowed to go and buy [large amounts of] crypto from offshore markets. This makes it very difficult for crypto exchanges in South Africa to access liquidity from international markets. [South Africans] want their hands on a store of value that doesn’t depreciate the way the rand has.”

Over the past decade the South African rand has nearly halved in value. Meanwhile, capital controls restrict citizens from transacting across borders with more than roughly $72,000 worth of foreign assets or currencies.

This contributes to why bitcoin is often sold for a high premium on peer-to-peer exchanges like LocalBitcoins. For comparison, on Tuesday a single bitcoin on LocalBitcoins would have cost more than $4,100 in South Africa compared to the global rate of roughly $3,800.

Yet Marius Reitz, South Africa manager at the longstanding African bitcoin exchange and wallet provider Luno, told CoinDesk that Luno’s user base grew to over 2 million user accounts by early 2019.

“Most of the growth is driven by South Africa,” Reitz said. In fact, a Luno survey of 1,000 local residents found that roughly 167 people said they use bitcoin for payments.

“Specifically in South Africa we see a situation were a lot of people move from elsewhere in Africa to look for jobs and they send money back home,” Reitz said.

As for VALR, Jordaan said Ehsani’s history as the former head of the Rand Merchant Bank’s blockchain initiative and inaugural chair of the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium, which included dozens of traditional financial institutions, could help bridge the gap between African banks and the global crypto economy.

Regional hub

Reitz and Jordaan agreed that cryptocurrency exchanges like VALR and Luno are helping establish standards for the regional market. Plus, the South African Reserve Bank published a paper about prioritizing crypto industry regulation in January. While the daily volumes on incumbents like Luno, established in 2013, still fall shy of $2.5 million according to CoinMarketCap, such companies have a broad impact through their educational conversations about bitcoin with regulators and banks across Africa.

“Because several of the countries around us actually peg their currencies to the rand,” Ehsani said, “if we do well, we have the ability to influence other countries in the region, and Africa as a whole.”

Ehsani added that VALR’s scope reaches beyond South African borders, as the platform’s know-your-customer identity checks accommodate traders from most countries. Similarly, Reitz said Luno is looking to expand to 20 new African countries this year as South Africa’s central bank starts “offering more clarity” and establishes trends followed by other jurisdictions.

Much like global markets, many South African exchange users are speculative traders and investors. However, for Ehsani, remittances to and from members of the African diaspora provide a salient use case because local remittance services are very expensive.

Speaking to the impact that venture capital investment in South African exchanges can have on broader adoption, Ehsani said:

“Cryptocurrency will start bringing communities together through their ability to transact and send value back home much more seamlessly and cheaply than their current options.”

Farzam Ehsani image via VALR

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India’s Crypto Ban Predictably Triggers Massive Bitcoin Price Premiums

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By CCN Markets: The bitcoin price has reached $11,200 at its peak earlier this month on major exchanges including Bitstamp and Coinbase following a large spike in volume and overall interest.

The bitcoin price is up from $9,000 to $11,200 in the past week (source: coinmarketcap.com)

According to reports, bitcoin is trading higher in India and Iran with premiums ranging from 5 to 30 percent, two regions that have practically restricted bitcoin trading.

Is banning bitcoin not productive?

In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) requested banks under its oversight to stop providing services to crypto exchanges, putting an end to fiat-to-crypto trading platforms in the region.

The RBI said at the time:

Virtual Currencies (VCs), also variously referred to as cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others… In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling VCs.

Since then, despite the move of the G20 to regulate the crypto sector through the imposition of a unified regulatory framework, the government of India has pushed forward with its restriction on crypto.

In April of this year, The Economic Times reported that government departments have begun drafting a bill to ban cryptocurrencies in the country entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019.”

Consequently, due to regulatory uncertainty and the restriction on banks from working with crypto exchanges, most crypto-related businesses in India have shut down and moved to other markets.

Similarly, Iran, which is yet to release a clear guideline for exchanges and businesses, drafted a bill that restricts the operations of crypto-related entities. The proposed legislation was criticized by the local crypto community which then offered an alternative proposal to the government.

In both countries, it is difficult for investors to purchase crypto assets like bitcoin and ether, the native crypto asset of the Ethereum blockchain network. Most trades are processed in the over-the-counter (OTC) market or in a peer-to-peer manner.

In May, LocalBitcoins, a major peer-to-peer bitcoin trading platform, closed its services in Iran in a move which many have speculated to be because of the sanctions placed upon Iran by the U.S. government.

“If you have an account already, you will be able to withdraw your bitcoins, but you will not be able to use the platform for trading,” LocalBitcoins reportedly told a user in Iran.

As a result, premiums have begun to emerge in the bitcoin market of Iran and India, ranging from 5 to 30 percent.

When the bitcoin price peaked at $11,200 on June 22, a TrustNodes report disclosed that the asset was trading at $11,700 in India with a $500 premium.

Dovey Wan, the founding partner at Primitive said that bitcoin is now trading with a 30 percent premium in Iran’s OTC market, indicating large demand from local investors.

Regulation over a ban

The concern of most regulators regarding bitcoin and the crypto market, in general, comes down to the prevention of money laundering.

For exchanges to operate transparently in compliance with local regulators, a clear regulatory framework has to be imposed with the support of local banks.

There exists a risk in the imposition of an outright ban of cryptocurrencies that the local market may shift to a peer-to-peer market, an environment in which it becomes significantly more difficult for regulators to address money laundering and other core issues.

Click here for a real-time bitcoin price chart.

This post was last modified on (Eastern Time): 24/06/2019 06:09

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Bitcoin Scammers Take Advantage of Already-Dismal Square Earnings

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Just when Jack Dorsey’s week was starting to look up, he must contend with yet another cryptocurrency giveaway scam. But while Twitter has long been rife with these fraudulent schemes, this particular bitcoin scam targets his other company – digital payments firm Square.

Square Earnings Attract Bitcoin Giveaway Scammers

In tandem with Square’s earnings results on Wednesday, scammers began sending emails – purportedly from the company – announcing that they had added support for the stellar (XLM) cryptocurrency.

That is false.

square bitcoin scam

This bitcoin giveaway scam sought to trick recipients into believing that Square now supports stellar (XLM). | Source: CCN

The email further asks users to send $10 worth of bitcoin to a certain address in exchange for 350 XLM, currently worth around $30. Thankfully, the address had not received any payments since the email’s distribution – at least as of the time of writing on Thursday.

The company has warned in the past about fraudulent emails similar to this. The scammers haven’t limited their schemes to individuals, either. They’ve have also targeted small businesses where Square is used to process payments.

Such schemes became so prolific that they garnered the attention of the U.S. Better Business Bureau (BBB). It found that scammers are taking advantage of the popularity of Square’s services by sending phishing emails that appear to be official correspondence.

Bitcoin Scam Worsens Sour Square Earnings

square stock price

Square shares plunged on weak earnings but surged again on Thursday.

The latest crypto giveaway scam in Jack Dorsey’s side added to an already-disappointing earnings season for Square.

Ahead of Wednesday’s earnings report, Square released a letter to its shareholders. In it, officials boasted about the company’s gains.

“We accelerated top-line growth at significant scale in the fourth quarter of 2017. Total net revenue was $616 million, up 36% year over year, and Adjusted Revenue was $283 million, up 47% year over year. This is an increase from the third quarter of 2017, when total net revenue and Adjusted Revenue grew 33% and 45%, respectively, year over year.”

That’s all fine and good, but it wasn’t enough for investors to do away their concerns about the company’s future. The company’s guidance for the first quarter of 2019 didn’t sit well with investors, who initiated a minor sell-off only to drive the stock higher on Thursday.

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BTIG analyst Mark Palmer said that Square had reported higher-than-expected spending and weaker-than-expected Q1 and FY2019 outlook, which led him to reiterate his sell rating on the stock.

“While Square’s guidance for 1Q19 and FY19 revenue was in line with Street expectations – the midpoint of its FY19 revenue guidance would represent year-over-year growth of 41%, consistent with the soft guidance that management had provided in November – its lower than-expected bottom-line forecast was due to an increase in spending on newer services outside of its core payment-processing business.”

Square’s Bitcoin Revenue is Climbing

jack dorsey bitcoin joe rogan

Square CEO Jack Dorsey is one of Silicon Valley’s biggest bitcoin bulls. | Source: Joe Rogan Experience/YouTube

There were few comments from Square executives about cryptocurrencies during the earnings call. Nevertheless, the firm did see revenues from Cash App-based bitcoin trading rise in Q4.

With prodding from bitcoin bull Jack Dorsey, the company has managed to grow its nascent bitcoin service to $166 million in annual revenue.

While that figure represents a small drop in the bucket for the $33 billion company, it also positions the processor to be a market leader in the event of broader bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption.

Dorsey, who has been outspoken in his support for bitcoin, has been one of the most high-profile tech industry figures to overlap into the world of cryptocurrency.

He’s even said that bitcoin could become the world’s leading currency within 10 years.

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This Ethereum Lottery Perfectly Explains How Facebook’s Big Corporate Backers Will Profit from Crypto

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To understand how early investors in Facebook’s new Libra blockchain will make money over time, it helps to dig into a new lottery going live on ethereum mainnet Monday.

It’s a lossless lottery called PoolTogether and tickets are now on sale. Its similarity to Libra is not a completely one-to-one relationship, but the key insight of both is the same: Earning interest on your own money is good, but it’s better to also earn interest on other people’s money.

So first let’s explain this new ethereum game before circling back to Libra.

On PoolTogether, each ticket sells for 20 DAI (the stablecoin generated by the MakerDAO protocol, which aims to keep a stable price at $1.00 each). Each pool sells as many tickets as it can, and all the DAI gets put into the ethereum-based money market protocol, Compound. There, all the ticket money collects interest over the life at the pool and at the end, one ticket earns all the interest off everyone’s ticket price.

But everyone else gets the money they paid for their tickets back, too – ergo, no losers.

Gamified savings

“What excites me is that I think it can actually move the needle on economic health for a lot of people,” PoolTogether’s creator, Leighton Cusack, told CoinDesk.

People get excited about lotteries. They don’t excited about savings accounts. This is a way of nudging them in the right direction.

The idea of putting the concept on ethereum was first discussed in a popular post on the MakerDAO subreddit in late March, and the project has been made possible thanks in part to a $25,000 grant from MakerDAO, the company.

“We think it’s good for the ecosystem,” MakerDAO’s Richard Brown, who runs community development for the decentralized finance firm, said of the project. “One of the things that interested me the most about this is it has the capacity to take a behavior that was essentially a tax on the poor and it allows it to become a tool for social good.”

In other words, lots of low-income people gamble despite dismal chances of ever benefiting. Personal finance site Bankrate has found that people are less likely to buy lottery tickets as household income increases. PoolTogether takes the attractiveness of gaming and combines it with the healthy behavior of delayed gratification.

The strategy isn’t without precedent. Walmart has actually been running a gaming mechanic to encourage people to save money on their cash cards. People have locked up over $2 billion since 2017.

With no risk of losing money, people start saving money rather than spending everything they have. With the returns on a typical savings account currently at 0.9 percent, it’s not even irrational for a new saver to participate in a program like this. The opportunity cost is quite low.

PoolTogether’s approach

At first, there will only be one pool on the site. It will be open for tickets for three days and then the winner will be announced after earning 15 days worth of interest, on July 11. PoolTogether will shave off 10 percent of the interest earned for its business model and the rest goes to the winner. It’s all defined in a smart contract recently audited by Quantstamp.

MakerDAO’s Brown believes the model could become a frictionless way for large groups of people with disposable funds to support good causes.

For example, someone could create a decentralized autonomous organization where all the interest on a pool goes to a wallet controlled by a non-profit of the winner’s choice (rather than into their personal account). He called it a new kind of “primitive” for decentralized finance, saying:

“It’s pretty low-friction. It’s pretty low-risk. It’s low-stress, because no one is coming out of this thing broke.”

PoolTogether’s Cusack foresees the project starting off just big enough. He wants the first winner to basically double their money off the winning 20 DAI ticket. That’s going to take getting a pool together of 100,000 DAI, Cusack said, which is a big goal but they already have several commitments to prime the pump with 1,000 DAI each.

So what about Libra?

Libra is also designed so that a select few capture the interest earned on money tucked away by the vast many.

As CoinDesk previously reported, there are two tokens that make Libra work. Most of the attention has been on the Libra coin, the stablecoin backed by some as-yet-unnamed basket of bonds and currencies. To get that basket started, though, Facebook came up with the idea for the “Libra investment token” (LIT).

Like PoolTogether, the whole point of LIT is to earn interest off other people’s deposits.

To make sense of why this is so powerful, think of a very simple example. Imagine one LIT sold for $10 million. Invested in a basket of boring, safe investments, Canaccord Genuity has projected the reserve should earn about 0.25 percent. So $25,000 in a year on $10 million. That’s not nothing, but it’s a lousy return for a tech investor.

But imagine 100,000 people decided they wanted to use Libra coin, and all of them bought $100 worth each. Now that holder of the one LIT will earn $50,000 in a year, because the reserve was doubled with other people’s money, but only the LIT earns the interest.

Now, this is a global project, so obviously Libra’s backers want to get in a lot more than 100,000 people. Even if a billion dollars in LIT tokens are sold, with companies like Visa, Uber and PayPal involved, there’s no way they aren’t targeting many, many billions in the reserve. With each additional billion, the returns multiply to LIT holders.

Canaccord Genuity estimates that if Libra coin gets a market cap equal to bitcoin’s, $162 billion, then $324 million could be paid back to all LIT holders each year, after subtracting operational expenses for the Libra Association.

Let’s assume no organization holds more than one LIT and the Libra Association hits its 100 founding partners as planned: that’s a $3.24 million annual return on each partner’s $10 million investment. It’s not a one-time return either. They keep getting it as long as the Libra coin keeps running.

So 10 years after it matches bitcoin’s market cap, a LIT holder would have earned $32.4 million without losing any of their principal, a better than 300 percent gain. And that’s assuming the reserve didn’t grow at all as the decade passed.

On PoolTogether, everybody is betting that they can win the interest off of everyone else’s tickets. A crypto newbie could buy one ticket for 20 DAI and get all the interest earned off a whale who bought 1,000 tickets.

On the Libra protocol, it works the same way, except the same whales always win.

It remains to be seen if Libra will get to that point or if it will even get off the ground, but PoolTogether is starting now for anyone who wants a shot at robbing a whale. The person who created the product that will host the first pools, Compound’s Robert Leshner, told CoinDesk that he’ll definitely be buying some tickets in the first round.

Said Leshner:

“We love watching the world experiment with new products and new ideas built on top of Compound no matter what they do. I’m excited.”

Lottery ticket image via Shutterstock

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BITTORRENT Price Prediction Today: Daily (BTT) Value Forecast – June 24

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BitTorrents-New-Product-to-Enable-Faster-Downloads-by-using-BTT-Token-under-Development

BitTorrents-New-Product-to-Enable-Faster-Downloads-by-using-BTT-Token-under-Development

  • BTT/USD market valuation still moves in a range as depicted by both charts in the medium and short terms.
  • The bears are most likely to gain the market’s advantage afterward.

BTT/USD Medium-term Trend: Ranging

  • Resistance levels: $0.0015, $0.0016, $0.0017
  • Support levels: $0.0012, $0.0011, $0.001

BTT/USD market has been dominated by a series of ups and downs featuring in a range of around $0.0014 and $0.0013 price lines. The pair hovered around its lower range spot between June 20 and early part of trading hours on the third day.

The market has now made some levels of a swing towards the upper range spot of the market. The 50-day SMA and the 14-day SMA have now conjoined within the range zones to point to the east. The Stochastic Oscillators have briefly crossed at range 60 to suggest a slight downward movement within the range marks of the market.

Taking a closer look at the BTT/USD market, the bulls may be getting a decent entry from the lower range spot. And, the bears may be having theirs at the upper range mark especially while a false breakout occurs around the zone.

BTT/USD Short-term Trend: Ranging

The BTT/USD market’s short-term trend has been showing notable ups and down around range prices at $0.0014 and $0.0013 points. Yesterday’s trading sessions witnessed its range in less active movements around $0.0014 and $0.00135 points. All the trading indicators are located around the range spots currently. The Stochastic Oscillators have crossed at range 40 to point to the south.

The BTT/USD market’s trading zone appears to have reached its value around the $0.0014 mark. Hence, the bulls may be encountering different forms of rejection. Therefore, the bears are most likely to have the market advantage while the range movements end afterward.

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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