Category Archive : Cryptocurrency News

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Bitcoin in Emerging Markets: The Middle East

In advance of her “Crypto Across Emerging Markets” panel at Consensus: Distributed, Leigh Cuen is writing a three-part column on how cryptocurrencies are used in the developing world. In this first part of the series, she looks at the Middle East.

It is a truth universally acknowledged by pundits on Crypto Twitter that emerging markets are more likely to see revolutionary bitcoin usage, at least in the near future, than Silicon Valley. 

However, the term “emerging markets” encompasses most of the planet, excluding a handful of wealthy nations. For instance, even if fiat-denominated volumes are dwarfed by Asian whales or U.S. institutions, scrappy crypto traders in Turkey have a disproportionate impact on the global bitcoin economy. 

Register: Leigh Cuen Hosts “Crypto Across Emerging Markets” on May 11 at Consensus: Distributed

Generally speaking, regions with weak states and educated diasporas see more grassroots adoption. For example, Lebanese entrepreneur Michel Haber said most of the 26 remote workers involved with his web services startup, cNepho Global, now prefer bitcoin paychecks. 

Haber has already been paying some developers this way – with bitcoin from Beirut’s grassroots trading networks – for two years. Now that most workers would rather receive bitcoin, he encourages colleagues to get mobile wallets.

This is no longer a fringe outlook.

The Arab Weekly ran a column in April about how the collapsed banking system is destabilizing Lebanon. Protests surrounded the central bank in April, and protests around bank branches even turned deadly. The situation continues to simmer.

lebanon_protest_shutterstock
Protestors in Baabda, Lebanon, Nov. 13, 2019.
Source: Shutterstock

“The peer-to-peer bitcoin market is very robust because the Lebanese banking system has failed and people have more cash than the banks do,” Haber said. “Because of coronavirus, you can’t really wait at the bank anymore. … They’re not sure the Lebanese bank will actually give them the money.”

This doesn’t mean bitcoin will easily replace local currencies, however. As witnessed in Iran, once home to a thriving bitcoin mining industry and retail usage, authorities curtailed usability once mainstream adoption grew. 

Read more: Iranian Bitcoiners Risk Fines, Jail Time as Government Regulates Mining

But, rather than stamp out demand for cryptocurrency, crackdowns may merely change its manifestation. Some people now use bitcoin for savings and altcoins for transactional alternatives. Markets in places like Iran and Argentina now see increasing demand for stablecoins. 

Likewise, Argentinian crypto exchange founder Federico Ogue, CEO of Buenbit and Buendolar, said many users who are buying cryptocurrency for the first time are attracted to dollar-denominated stablecoins. 

 

More coverage on cryptocurrency in the Middle East:

Stablecoin volatility 

In regions with volatile currencies and scant access to dollars, demand for stablecoins is up.

According to a bitcoin trader in Iran, who asked to remain anonymous for safety, plummeting oil prices haven’t increased local demand for bitcoin. This is partially due to government efforts to promote the local stock market. Yet, as the dollar exchange rate fluctuates and paper bills become scarce, Tether stablecoins (USDT) sell for more than a dollar’s worth of Iranian rials.

“The government is trying to push financial market demands into Tehran stock exchange to avoid increasing demands in currency or gold markets,” the anonymous Iranian trader said. “Local [crypto] exchanges changed [USDT] rates artificially to get more profit, also demand was so high compared to the low supply of USDT in peer-to-peer exchanges.”

The most desirable aspect of the stablecoin isn’t any stability mechanism or collateral, it’s simply the network effects. After all, the reason many of these users turn to cryptocurrency is because they want a global asset, regardless of whether that takes the form of paper bills or software. 

CoinDesk senior reporter Leigh Cuen hosts the “Crypto Across Emerging Markets” panel on May 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Consensus: Distributed, CoinDesk’s first virtual, free conference. Register here.

Dapps

The Middle East is also one of the few regions where decentralized applications [dapps] that aren’t focused on gambling are still attracting routine users.

Dmail founder Mohamed Abdou, whose Egyptian team built a privacy-centric email service using Blockstack, said the dapp now has 15,000 active monthly users. As such, Dmail raised a $500,000 seed round in April, an amount which goes much further in Cairo than Silicon Valley.

Read more: Encrypted Email Service Launches on Blockstack With Bitcoin Features

“Users will be able to exchange emails, do text chat, voice calls, video calls, invoices and collect fees in crypto,” Abdou said of Dmail’s 2020 roadmap. Although Dmail doesn’t collect user information (and therefore doesn’t know where users are based), this Egyptian project was inspired by a local context where remittances and international payments offer a lifeline to an economy battered by depleted foreign currency reserves

Leigh Cuen

Crypto Long & Short: Why Bitcoin’s Big Rally Is a Sign of Its Economic Resilience

Economic growth figures are starting to trickle in, and, as expected, they’re bad. Really bad. This past week the U.S. reported Q1 GDP growth as -4.8%. Italy’s GDP fell -4.5%, Spain came in at -5.2%, and France trumped that with a whopping -5.8%.  And that’s just warming up – Christine Lagarde, head of the ECB, has warned that euro-area GDP could fall by as much as 15% in Q2. 

And yet stock markets in the U.S. and Europe closed up on the week, in spite of the inevitability that the next quarter will be worse still.

You’re reading Crypto Long & Short, a newsletter that looks closely at the forces driving cryptocurrency markets. Authored by CoinDesk’s head of research, Noelle Acheson, it goes out every Sunday and offers a recap of the week – with insights and analysis – from a professional investor’s point of view. You can subscribe here.

This could be partly due to the concentration of market capitalization – nearly 25% of the S&P 500 market capitalization is from five tech companies, which arguably will do relatively well out of more people staying at and working from home. 

Or, it could be because the stock market has broken all ties with the actual economy. The aforementioned concentration of the S&P 500 is intensifying, fueled by the dominance of passive investing, which means its performance does not reflect that of most of its constituents. And the “moral hazard” posed by the government’s willingness to bail out companies in difficulty suspends the need to scrutinize balance sheets and evaluate viability. 

But reality doesn’t stay suspended forever, no matter how much we wish it would. Eventually the abrupt slowdown of economic activity will feed through to numbers that investors can’t ignore, and the current P/E valuations will start to look absurd.  

This is where bitcoin comes in. Its underlying technology and monetary system make it one of the few investable assets that is immune to the economic fluctuations we have ahead.

First, its P/E ratios will never look absurd because it doesn’t have any earnings. Nothing to get hit there.

Second, its use will not be curtailed by lack of customer mobility – users can transact from anywhere. In fact, logistical constraints could boost interest in bitcoin transactions from those who normally hand over physical cash (although why they would want to if people aren’t moving around is another question). 

Third, its market valuation is not susceptible to artificial support from governments trying to keep investor (and voter) spirits up. 

This does not mean that bitcoin’s price will keep going up while other prices come down. We saw back in March that, when things get bad in markets, bitcoin also suffers. Its price is driven by sentiment.

But it is also driven by expectations of future adoption and demand, which are unrelated to the drivers of demand for most other investable assets. 

In terms of fundamentals, bitcoin has nothing to lose in the upcoming crisis – no income, no debt, and its future adoption does not depend on happy and confident consumers. Just the opposite, in fact.

The growing awareness of this, combined with heightened media attention due to the upcoming halving, could be one of the reasons behind this week’s recovery. Or perhaps it is being swept along in the wave of inexplicable optimism in traditional markets. 

Should that turn south, bitcoin is likely to suffer in the sentiment-driven short term. Longer-term, however, fundamentals tend to surface, and those that drive bitcoin are radically different from those that drive traditional markets.

Talk about marching to your own beat. 

Not that big a deal

One argument in favor of the bitcoin price rallying after the halving is that of supply and demand. Assuming demand is more or less constant (I know, but work with me here), when supply drops, the price should go up. Basic economics – you remember that graph from high school, right?

supply-and-demand-wikipedia-1200-wide
Source: Wikipedia

After the halving, there will be fewer new bitcoin entering the market every day. Since miners need to sell part of their hard-won new bitcoins to meet expenses, some of the sell pressure comes from miners. If they are selling fewer bitcoins (because they have fewer bitcoins to sell), then there is less supply meeting a constant demand, and the equilibrium price moves up.

Fine, but one part of this model is already obviously unstable – demand is not constant, not by a long stretch.

Even so, there is another overlooked weakness: the dent in sell pressure is negligible. 

Post-halving, there will be 6.25 fewer new bitcoins entering circulation with every block. Assuming a new block every 10 minutes, that translates to approximately 900 fewer new bitcoins a day.

Considering that the number of bitcoins transferred on-chain in April was an average of over 270,000 per day, 900 less won’t make much of a difference to the supply curve in that simple basic price equilibrium graph. 

bitcoins-transferred

Any positive halving impact is more likely to come from increased awareness and trader interest resulting from the media attention. The juxtaposition of what is becoming known as a “quantitative hardening” against a “quantitative easing,” combined with growing unease about the latter, is likely to transform this media-fueled attention into a lasting interest from investors, analysts and economists. 

What is unclear is whether any price momentum from the halving would be enough to offset a hit to general sentiment from broader macro concern. As always in investing, one’s individual time horizon is everything.

Anyone know what’s going on yet?

In spite of a stream of bad news on employment, production and earnings, the S&P 500 had its strongest April since 1987, possibly floating on the stimulus laughing gas. European indices also had a good month, as economies started announcing tentative steps towards opening up their economies and electricity consumption started edging up. 

electricity-consumption-in-europe-ft-900-wide
Source: Financial Times

As April turned into May, markets started to retreat, perhaps digesting the recent gains, and perhaps unnerved by a new anti-China belligerence from the U.S. and earnings warnings from tech companies. Gold continues to play the inflation game but with less enthusiasm and some profit taking – it remains to be seen how it would perform if stocks head south again. And West Texas oil had its first positive week in about a month as confidence gathered around the production cuts, although there could well be more turmoil there as the next futures expiries approach. 

performance-chart-1-may-wide

As you can see in the chart above, bitcoin had a particularly strong month.

bitcoin-price-1m-may-1

The jump this week gave bitcoin its best April in years, with data suggesting that this rally is largely fueled by U.S. investors, with growth more in spot volumes than derivatives. 

btc-by-year-just-april

And a lack of foreign reserves has pushed countries such as Lebanon and Turkey towards currency crises, which remind us that a strong dollar impacts much more than just FX markets. What’s happening in Lebanon, where anti-government protests have turned violent and triggered the closure of the capital’s banks, will become a textbook example of the risks of centralized finance for years to come. 

(Note: Nothing in this newsletter is investment advice. The author owns small amounts of bitcoin and ether.)

CHAIN LINKS

CoinDesk Research has published its first in a series of deep dives into listed crypto companies. We’re starting with Hut 8, one of the largest listed bitcoin miners, and its financials and recent operational shifts reveal some of the hurdles bitcoin miners struggle with in capitalizing their business while maintaining margins. 

Preston Pysh looks at investment opportunities in a market increasingly manipulated by government printing, predicting that a “break” will be triggered either by social unrest or a natural transition to a different form of money. TAKEAWAY: Preston is not a crypto enthusiast (among other things, he hosts the podcast “We Study Billionaires”), but he is bullish on bitcoin largely as an alternative to an increasingly debased dollar – this makes his take particularly interesting for those managing diversified portfolios, which should be everyone. 

How many of a project’s contributors have to be hit by a bus for the project to stall? Introducing the “bus factor,” a new metric that measures resilience. Really. TAKEAWAY: Actually, it’s a cool concept, intriguingly expanded on here by analyst Hasu. The higher the bus factor (the more widely distributed the code development), the easier a network is to replicate. The lower the bus factor (the more concentrated its control), the greater the risk. A couple of years ago Twitter woke up to a mercifully false rumor that Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin had been killed in a car accident. (It didn’t involve a bus as far as I know.) The news pushed ether’s price down 15%. These days the impact would probably be different (although please be careful, Vitalik), but the anecdote shows that this is a metric worth watching.

The city of Ya’an, in China’s mountainous Sichuan province, is publicly encouraging the blockchain industry to help consume excessive hydroelectricity ahead of the summer rainy season. TAKEAWAY: This highlights how excess energy from hydroelectric and natural gas plants can bring down operating costs for miners, making their sector – crucial to the maintenance of the bitcoin network – more profitable and less vulnerable to price swings and halvings. 

Bitcoin futures and bitcoin options both had their most active day since the crash on March 12, according to derivatives data provider skew.com. TAKEAWAY: To be honest, I’m not sure what this means, but it feels significant.

bitcoin-futures-skew-900
Source: skew.com

Coin Metrics presents “free float supply,” which adjusts supply measurement by taking out founding tokens and vested tokens, as well as those that are inactive, burned or probably lost. TAKEAWAY: The result is a measure of circulating tokens, a more reliable gauge of a network’s size and liquidity. Bitcoin’s free float supply, according to Coin Metrics, is over 4 million less (over 20% less) than the reported figure, which implies that its velocity (the transaction rate compared to the amount outstanding) is higher than many have calculated.

free-float-supply
Source: Coin Metrics

Blockchain analytics firm Glassnode has introduced a new metric called Glassnode On-Chain BTC Index (GNI), which aims to link price performance to network fundamentals. TAKEAWAY: Any fundamentals-tracking index is subjective, no matter how much rigor goes into selecting and quantifying the components. However, as long as the methodology is consistent, they can provide valuable information about trends and shifts, and at first glance the GNI does a good job of taking into account the principal value drivers of sentiment, liquidity and network health. The index recently turned from bearish to neutral, which is itself a bullish sign.

gni-glassnode
Source: Glassnode

Large crypto investors, popularly known as “whales,” seem to be accumulating bitcoin amid the ongoing price rally. TAKEAWAY: Although an imperfect indicator, this can be interpreted as bullish, as high-net worth individuals or funds appear to be adding to or taking new long positions in bitcoin, perhaps in response to the monetary turmoil in the fiat world. 

Genesis Capital* released its Q1 lending report, which highlights more than $2 billion of new loan originations, twice the figure for the previous quarter. This brings their cumulative amount lent to $6.2 billion. TAKEAWAY: Those are substantial figures, which point to a deepening maturation of the space. The report is worth a read, especially as it gives insight into the timeline around the March 12 crash, and how Genesis handled the turmoil. It also confirms that the lender has tightened credit, given the market uncertainty. This is likely to be temporary and comes as a relief – the sector needs strong lenders, as leverage can fuel growth but can also bring it tumbling down if it has to unwind suddenly. (*Genesis Capital is owned by CoinDesk’s parent company DCG.)

Leigh Cuen spoke to severalcrypto custody and wallet providers about the uptick in activity they have seen since the beginning of the lockdown. TAKEAWAY: Growing interest in off-exchange custody solutions implies a growing interest in holding crypto assets, rather than just trading them. Some of the exchanges Leigh spoke to cater mainly to institutional clients, but others have a wider base, which implies that interest in bitcoin is spreading amongst all types of investors. 

The second fund of a16z’s crypto divisionhas raised $515 million, more than the original target of $450 million and considerably more than the $300 million raised by the first fund, which launched in 2018. The investments will focus on next-generation payments, decentralized finance, new monetization models and the concept of a decentralized internet. TAKEAWAY: While this is a crypto venture fund, investing in startup equity and tokens without the intention to trade, this raise is bullish for the sector as it implies a belief that at least some of the beneficiary blockchain companies will have viable businesses. 

Silvergate Bankadded 46 crypto customers in the first quarter, bringing the total to 850, largely institutional investors. The number of transactions more than doubled in Q1 vs Q4, and was up more than 3x vs the same period in 2019. TAKEAWAY: One intriguing disclosure in the report was the mention of a lending service called SEN Leverage, currently in pilot mode, which will allow bank customers to obtain U.S. dollar loans collateralized by bitcoin. Crypto as collateral is a fascinating area to watch. On the one hand, the bearer status of bitcoin, its relative liquidity and its ease of transfer make it an ideal collateral from a lender’s point of view. On the other hand, current legislation makes it very difficult in practice. This paper by Xavier Foccroulle Menard, posted on SSRN this week, gives a great explanation as to why. (TL;DR: it’s to do with UCC definitions of collateral – guess what, bitcoin doesn’t fit.)

Hangzhou-based Ebang International Holdings, one of the leading manufacturers of bitcoin mining equipment, has filed with the SEC for an IPO of up to $100 million. TAKEAWAY: There does seem to be a trend amongst Chinese companies of trying to list in the U.S., in a bid to broaden their geographical diversification. Curiously, this could encourage the shift of the epicenter of bitcoin mining away from China and towards the U.S. 

CFTC commissioner Brian Quintenz, one of the organization’s crypto supporters who advocated for self regulation in the crypto industry, will not seek renomination when his post ends this month, and will leave the regulatory organization by late October. TAKEAWAY: SEC commissioner Hester Peirce, who has argued in favor of bitcoin ETFs and also favors a more supportive approach to innovation, is also nearing the end of her term. As far as I know, her plans have not been made clear yet, and we don’t know who will be replacing Quintenz – but this could mark a subtle change in tone at one of the most powerful securities regulators.

Article written by Noelle Acheson

 

Enterprise Blockchains: Walled Off Yet Vulnerable

bitcoin news

How do you hack an enterprise blockchain? We may find out soon enough.

Enterprise blockchain products have been designed mostly as private networks, limited to authorized parties. This is supposed to make them more efficient than public chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum because fewer computers have to reach agreement on who owns what, and in a sense safer because the participants know each other.

These products apply technology originally developed for the Wild West of cryptocurrency to a range of unglamorous corporate activities, including cross-border transactions, storing records, and tracking goods and information. Their promise has attracted some of the world’s largest corporations and software vendors. 

But like any software, they can in theory be hacked, although how to prevent that hacking isn’t as well documented. 

“I can’t recall a single major company announcing a loss of any kind from a hack on a private blockchain,” says Paul Brody, global blockchain lead at consulting giant EY. 

Read more: Meet Red Date, the Little-Known Tech Firm Behind China’s Big Blockchain Vision

That may change in the near future as companies start bringing these gated systems out of the lab and into real-world use. 

“Big companies have been working on blockchain apps for a couple years now,” said Pavel Pokrovsky, the blockchain lead at Kaspersky, the Moscow-based anti-virus software vendor. “Soon, they will start pushing those apps into production and might face new challenges in managing their risks. As more such solutions get deployed, attacks on them might become more frequent.”

Inside jobs

One problem is that private, permissioned systems are most vulnerable to insider threats, both Pokrovsky and Brody said. 

“Insider risk is particularly high in private blockchains because the work that is usually done to secure information within the private network is very low compared to public networks,” said EY’s Brody, who has been a rare voice among the Big Four professional-services firms in stumping for open systems.  “On public networks, we make extensive use of zero-knowledge proofs and other tools to keep sensitive data off-chain.” 

Only one or two of EY’s corporate clients went to such lengths with private networks, he said. “As a result, if you can gain access to the network or you already have it as an insider, nearly all the critical data is actually visible to all the members.” 

In general, Pokrovsky said, the most common type of attack that can theoretically be employed against an enterprise blockchain network is a denial of service attack. This is different from a DDoS, or distributed denial of service, where a company’s servers are inundated with useless requests that overwhelm them.

Read more: Miners Trick Stablecoin Protocol PegNet, Turning $11 Into Almost $7M Hoard

Denial of service, on the other hand, is a focused attack that uses knowledge – perhaps an ex-employee – rather than electronic muscle power.

“Let’s say an employee of a company gets fired and he’s angry at his ex-employer. He goes to the dark web and sells his knowledge of the vulnerabilities in the system to hackers,” Pokrovsky said.

In the case of enterprise blockchains, an attacker would need to know the addresses of the nodes and what can put them offline. 

“An attacker can overwhelm the node’s data storage capacity, flood it with useless calculations,” Pokrovsky said. “For example, one of our clients’ nodes could not process very large numbers, say, 12 zeroes and more. They would just freeze.”

The cure for that kind of attack is proper filtering of the data entering the nodes, he said: “It’s a very widespread mistake, not filtering the incoming data.”

Cheap trick

Exploiting such a vulnerability is easy when you know where the nodes are and, unlike DDoS, it does not require buying traffic in the form of bots that flood your target with garbage traffic, or deploying a lot of hardware to attack the server. 

“You just write a simple script and send it to the nodes,” Pokrovsky said. Then the nodes go offline. This can be utilized for criminal purposes from sabotaging a competitor to terrorist attacks, Pokrovsky said.

The situation can be exacerbated by the fact that the most convenient way to set up nodes for a private blockchain is to use cloud infrastructure so companies don’t have to figure out how to set up a physical node in their office.

“Most private blockchains have very few nodes and, in many cases, they all reside inside a single cloud infrastructure, creating a single point of failure,” Brody said. “That also means that far from being immutable stores of information, they are in fact easy to erase or shut down.”

The risks can vary. For example, Masterchain, the enterprise blockchain for banks developed under the auspices of Russia’s central bank, is a fork, or modified copy, of the Ethereum blockchain, which uses a proof-of-work consensus mechanism. Taking down nodes on such a network would lead to the consensus re-distributing among the remaining nodes, which would continue to validate transactions. 

However, if it turns out all the remaining nodes are controlled by the central bank, the network participants might argue, the transactions recorded while everyone else was down are not legitimate, Pokrovsky said. 

Read more: DeFi Project dForce Refunds All Affected Users After $25M Hack

“DDoS is an attack easy and cheap to organize, but it’s also easy to prevent, and services like Cloudflare can identify and effectively prevent it. But the denial of service is not identifiable by the filters such services use,” Pokrovsky said, adding that sometimes attackers don’t even need an insider to locate the nodes – it’s possible to find such information via open source intelligence methods. 

“It’s very hard to fix such vulnerabilities as the attack is happening, when everything’s crashed, everyone’s running around and everything is on fire,” he said – it’s better to try to predict such situations in a testing environment. 

Not-so-smart contracts

If a blockchain uses smart contracts, they can be attacked as well, Pokrovsky said. 

“For the enterprise blockchains, the typical attack is when a contract contains variables that can turn out different for each node, for example, timestamps or random numbers,” he said. “In this case, every node would execute the smart contract with a different result and the transaction will not be recorded into the blockchain as a result.”

If a smart contract refers to documents, there is another possible way to attack it: inserting malicious code into the document. 

Read more: Hacker Exploits Flaw in Decentralized Bitcoin Exchange Bisq to Steal $250K

“It’s the same as the SQL injection attack and to prevent it you need to filter the incoming data and limit the use of external data by the smart contract,” Pokrovsky said. 

The fact that most private blockchains don’t enjoy the attention of a broad blockchain community is also a weakness, Brody said. 

“Perhaps the biggest risk posed by private blockchains is the risk of complacency,” he said. “Open source code that isn’t widely used and doesn’t have a vigilant community testing and inspecting it is far less secure and reliable than systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are continuously hardened by nearly constant attack and public inspection.”

Kaspersky’s angle

With an eye perhaps toward broadening its revenue stream, Kaspersky moved into blockchain-oriented research and consulting in 2018, first focusing on public blockchains including Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

Kaspersky has been working with crypto exchanges and completed a security audit for the trading software company Merkeleon in October 2018. 

In October 2019, Kaspersky started working with enterprise blockchains, too. Pokrovsky told CoinDesk the company audited a number of such systems, only two of which he could name publicly: Russia-based blockchain startup Insolar and Waves, which has been re-focusing from public to private blockchains since last year.

Kaspersky software has been listed among the top 10 antivirus products globally by PC Magazine in March but it has been banned from being installed on U.S. government computers since 2017 as part of the U.S. response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. That ban caused sales to plunge in the U.S. and Europe but they have expanded in Russia as well as Africa. Kaspersky reported 4 percent revenue growth in 2018.

Kaspersky’s Waves Enterprise audit took three months, from November 2019 to the end of January 2020. “The task was to check the security of the nodes, network infrastructure and nodes’ web interfaces,” Pokrovsky said.

The security firm ran what it calls “grey box” testing, in which the tester does not have access to the blockchain platform’s full code, but does have administrator-level access to the system. This kind of testing would show possible insider threats, like an ex-employee going rogue. 

After the testing is over, Kaspersky presents the client with the list of vulnerabilities and the client fixes them. Then the testing is run again.

 

Pokrovsky would not disclose what weaknesses had to be “fixed” on Waves Enterprise’ blockchain. (Waves confirmed it hired Kaspersky.)

 

Article written by

Anna Baydakova

Is Cex.io a good crypto exchange in 2020?

Cex.io is a cryptocurrency exchange based in London, UK.

Cex.io has been running solidly serving it’s large and happy 2.8 million customer base since 2013. If you’re looking for a secure platform, somewhere with reasonable fees and an English customer service then you’ve come to the right place. It’s one of the best crypto exchanges in 2020.

4.5/5

The great thing about Cex.io is that it provides an app and a desktop platform for trading. Cex.io is a great platform if you’re a beginner in the cryptocurrency world. You can buy with a credit or debit card and begin investing and trading immediately here.

Deposits

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Cex.io offers competitive maker / taker fees (see explanation if you’re unsure here). Cex.io offers the best rates for professional traders a record 0.1% Maker vs a 0% Taker on monthly transactions exceeding 6000BTC. There are still excellent fees for those trading under 5BTC per month.  

Cex.io has a great variety of coins for you to trade with, including all of the top market rated coins – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. 

We think that a 4.5/5 rating is fully deserved and so do 2.8 million other people who use the London based crypto exchange on a daily basis. 

With the current rise of Bitcoin over the last week – now more than ever is a great time to start trading with Cex.io. Head to their website below and start trading!

Bitcoin Exchange CEX.IO

If you’d like to see how Cex.io compares to other cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms, head to our exchanges page for more detailed reviews. 

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Share this review to your friends!

Oils Price Crash Putting Pressure on Bitcoin

Oil crash bitcoin

Monday broke records for the oil market with crude oil futures trading at a negative price for the first time in history. Coronavirus has had a huge effect here with it completely drying up the demand. The collapse in the oil industry (black gold) has put extra pressure on the financial global market with stocks and cryptocurrencies both taking a hit.

At the moment of writing this article the price of Bitcoin is currently trading at $6,830 on the Binance exchange. The largest cryptocurrency struggled to break resistance yesterday at $7,200 and followed to fall to $6,751 the lowest point of the day.

Bitcoin price oil crash

Will the Bitcoin market be able to stay in a bull trend or will the extra pressure bring the bears? 

The predictions are varied with different analysts disagreeing or its short term path. Chris Thomas, digital assets at Swissquote Bank believes the digital assets at Swissquote Bank believes the price will drop to $6,400 before rallying again. 

In contradiction the pseudonymous strategist known as Dave the Wave who correctly predicted 2018 crash believes the mining halving which is just around the corner will give bitcoin the boost it needs to break its resistance of $7,200.  

How to mine cryptocurrencies sustainably.

Crypto mining is a lucrative business which is not only disenfranchising gamers, but more importantly it is putting a huge strain on our planet’s delicate eco system. Mining is nothing new to the world of cryptocurrencies, for those who are unclear; mining is the process of adding transaction records to the public ledger — the Bitcoin Blockchain. Of course this isn’t just exclusive to Bitcoin, any cryptocurrency with a blockchain can be mined.

What could a digital currency possibly be doing to the planet you might ask? Well, even though cryptocurrencies are in the cloud so to speak, they still require mass amounts of hardware to churn out the algorithms that keep the currency going. These machines were originally on computers much like your laptop or home computer — a CPU — they are fine for buying currencies and you can even mine on them if you so wish. However to increase profit you must increase your hashrate. More power was required so miners began searching for faster and more durable computers: enter the gamers.

Gamers have always wanted the best experience on screen, whether that be in quality, to rid themselves of lag issues or just to be able to berate their team mate in the crispest audio for fucking everything up. When crypto-miners, who let’s be honest — were probably avid gamers in the first place, started buying up graphics cards — GPU’s to start mining with, naturally much like the price of Bitcoin, the price of gaming GPUs went through the roof.

A price rise like this only happens when there are enough transactions at one time, and since China is responsible for nearly 70% of crypto-mining- we can largely say they are responsible for the problem. Let’s not make this another finger pointing who-done-it scenario, global Bitcoin mining accounted for 46TWh of electricity in 2018, to put it in perspective, the U.K that year accounted for nearly 307TWh. It is estimated that Bitcoin has a carbon footprint of around 22.4 mega tonnes per year — what the fuck is a megatonne of carbon — who knows but its the same consumption as a large European city or Las Vegas.

How are you going to ethically mine you ask?

There are a number of independent companies out there who are mining with the help of renewable energy. Do you self the rest of the world a flavour and check them out here. I spoke to Josh, CEO of Easy Crypto Hunters, they are a growing mining company based in Manchester in the U.K. They are the largest manufacturer of mining rigs in the U.K and last year became an accredited supplier to the British Hydropower association. After David Cameron’s Tory government slashed renewable energy incentives, profitability in solar, wind and hydro fell dramatically. However there is a hero in this dismal tale of cuts and losses: cryptocurrencies. Easy Crypto Hunter CEO, Josh, told me that 17 British Hydropower sites were now being used to power their own mining rigs and were seeing profits that are keeping them afloat and indeed rising above the clean clouds of our atmosphere.

Could crypto-mining pose a threat to the environment?

Cryptocurrencies are built on progressive ideas breaking down ideas of the establishment, and liberating people from the shackles of corporations — no? Maybe too preachy, either way Cryptocurrencies are forward thinking systems and therefore should be able to lead the way in the climate change debate by setting an example for the rest of the world industries who are polluting the world. If you’re getting into mining do it with a clean company. If you’re already mining are you carbon neutral?

Covid-19 Crypto-2020

Covid 19 Cryptocurrency

With WHO labelling Covid-19 or Coronavirus as a Pandemic, markets across the world are fluctuating in ways that haven’t been seen in decades. With all types of investment there is risk, but there is also a lot to be gained from uncertain market changes. Earlier in March (12/03/2020), Bitcoin saw its value plummet to $3900 and then steadily rise to its current state (26/03/2020) $6600 — which is a 76% increase in under 2 weeks. Even if you had bought as little as $100 dollars, or any other currency, you would have seen your money grow to $176 without leaving your house.

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