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Someone Just Sent $802M In Bitcoin To An Anonymous Wallet

What happened: $802,588,853 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: bc1qxz25z5z3rw7a8thk8exaarce74qyx77cjw6h8s read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 4th, 2021

Someone Just Sent 1,335 Bitcoin Onto Coinbase

What happened: An anonymous cryptocurrency wallet holding $61,283,928 of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) just transferred their funds onto Coinbase. The bitcoin wallet address tied to this transfer has been identified as: 16adt5M2A8QM823HxaDV8XdCrfqmewXA6k read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJan 4th, 2022

Anonymous Crypto Wallet Moves $23M Worth Of Bitcoin Onto Binance

What happened: An anonymous cryptocurrency wallet holding $23,011,917 of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) just transferred their funds onto Binance. The bitcoin wallet address tied to this transfer has been identified as: bc1qed477r6e6k3slcvgglj0q3avuclqvpdvey9medj9x9lypwshyfhqqyx8mf read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJan 4th, 2022

This Wallet Just Transferred $739M Worth Of BTC

What happened: $739,518,615 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: bc1qsrv5vgkhkry4phvmwct8a3x5l05axw2fsw3w0k read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 21st, 2021

Someone Just Sent $698M In Bitcoin To An Anonymous Wallet

What happened: $698,727,795 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: 38jfsV2ormqiGNKvuZh4FSPzQFktQEN2sq read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 18th, 2021

Anonymous Crypto Wallet Moves $723M Worth Of Bitcoin

What happened: $723,880,170 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: 36WRLD1hw43LuDwkdKYvVtLQqnN3pGu6BT read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 17th, 2021

This Wallet Just Transferred $731M Worth Of BTC

What happened: $731,502,193 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: 33syWeuEenZgCBLviSznVLSSpxBh1AKjch read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 13th, 2021

$736M In Bitcoin Was Just Transferred Between 2 Wallets

What happened: $736,134,071 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: 34T9K5GDNtiSdLFV8NjrT7CgGrfL8bhDnU read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 11th, 2021

This Wallet Just Transferred $746M Worth Of BTC

What happened: $746,420,516 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: 3H3CvScj1ga86RXhdF6QaQMGbwfMrTUWJB read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 5th, 2021

Someone Just Sent $802M In Bitcoin To An Anonymous Wallet

What happened: $802,588,853 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: bc1qxz25z5z3rw7a8thk8exaarce74qyx77cjw6h8s read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 4th, 2021

The many alleged identities of Bitcoin"s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto

The identity of Bitcoin's mysterious creator is at the center of a Florida lawsuit that seeks to claim half of Satoshi Nakamoto's $54 billion stake. Blue bitcoinYuichiro Chino The identity of Bitcoin's creator is at the center of a Florida lawsuit over Satoshi Nakamoto's $54 billion stake. Since it was created in 2009, bitcoin has become a top digital currency. Many names have been dropped as Bitcoin potential creators, but none have been proven. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. The mystery behind the creator of Bitcoin and their over $54 billion stake has captured public attention once more, as a court case in Florida seeks to verify the creator's identity — an unlikely effort toward unraveling an enigma that has been over a decade in the making.The family of a deceased man, David Kleiman, is claiming their family member helped create the popular digital currency and is suing Kleiman's alleged business partner in the endeavor, Craig Wright, for half of Satoshi Nakemoto's 1.1 million cache of Bitcoin. For the past five years, Wright has been claiming on and off that he created Bitcoin, but has failed to provide any proof of his ownership.The creator could easily prove their identity by moving even a fraction of the cache of Bitcoin, or using the private key that controls the account.The identity of Bitcoin's creator, known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto," has long been a point of major interest, especially as their personal wealth continues to grow. Since it was created in 2009, Bitcoin has experienced significant highs and lows. In the past year, the currency has risen over 400%.Bitcoin is considered the top cryptocurrency in the world by market value, but there's still plenty of mystery surrounding its creation. Who came up with Bitcoin? Was it created by more than one person? And who is Nakamoto?Here's a rundown on the currency's strange beginnings:In 2008, the first inklings of bitcoin began to circulate the web.HoworthIn August 2008, the domain name bitcoin.org was quietly registered online. Two months later, a paper entitled 'Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System' was passed around a cryptography mailing list.The paper is the first instance of the mysterious figure, Satoshi Nakamoto's appearance on the web, and permanently links the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" to the cryptocurrency.    On January 3, 2009, 30,000 lines of code spelled out the beginning of Bitcoin.A copy of bitcoin standing on PC motherboard is seen in this illustration pictureThomson ReutersBitcoin runs through an autonomous software program that is 'mined' by people seeking bitcoin in a lottery-based system. Over the course of the next 20 years, a total of 21 million coins will be released.To date, about 90% of Bitcoin or about 18.7 million have been mined. Satoshi Nakamoto didn't work entirely alone.Hal FinneyVimeoAmong Bitcoin's earliest enthusiasts was Hal Finney, a console game developer and an early member of the "cypherpunk movement" who discovered Nakamoto's proposal for Bitcoin through the cryptocurrency mailing list. In a blog post from 2013, Finney said he was fascinated by the idea of a decentralized online currency. When Nakamoto announced the software's release, Finney offered to mine the first coins — 10 original bitcoins from block 70, which Satoshi sent over as a test.Of his interactions with Nakamoto, Finney says, "I thought I was dealing with a young man of Japanese ancestry who was very smart and sincere. I've had the good fortune to know many brilliant people over the course of my life, so I recognize the signs."Finney has flatly denied any claims that he was the inventor of Bitcoin and has always maintained his involvement in the currency was only ever secondary. In 2014, Finney died of the neuro-degenerative disease ALS. In one of his final posts on a Bitcoin forum, he said Satoshi Nakamoto's true identity still remained a mystery to him. Finney says he was proud of his legacy involving Bitcoin, and that his cache of bitcoins were stored in an offline wallet, left as part of an inheritance to his family. "Hopefully, they'll be worth something to my heirs," he wrote.As of today, one bitcoin is worth over $54,000.  Nearly a year later, Bitcoin is slowly on its way to becoming a viable currency.Mike LazloIn 2010, a handful of merchants started accepting bitcoin in lieu of established currencies.One of the first tangible items ever purchased with the cryptocurrency was a pizza. Today, the amount of bitcoin used to purchase those pizzas is valued at about $100 million. Other companies have also started to invest in the currency. In February, Tesla purchased over $1 billion in bitcoins and moved to allow customers to pay for electric cars with the digital currency, before back-tracking a few months later.In September, Bitcoin gained the status of legal tender within El Salvador. The country plans to build "Bitcoin City," which would operate as the world's first cryptocurrency-based city.In 2011, the Silk Road, an online marketplace for illegal drugs, launched. It used bitcoin as its chief form of currency.A snapshot of Silk Road's websiteScreenshotBitcoin is inherently trace-less, a quality that made it the ideal currency for facilitating drug trade on the burgeoning internet black market. It was the equivalent of digital cash, a self-governing system of commerce that preserved the anonymity of its owner.With bitcoin, anyone could take to the Silk Road and purchase cannabis seeds, LSD, and cocaine without revealing their identities. And the benefit wasn't entirely one-sided, either: in some ways, the drug trafficking site legitimized Bitcoin as a means of commerce, even if it was only being used to facilitate illicit trade.Two years later, the mysterious figure known as "Satoshi Nakamoto" disappeared from the web.Clark MoodyOn April 23, 2011, Nakamoto sent Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn a brief email. "I've moved on to other things," he said, referring to the Bitcoin project. The future of Bitcoin, he wrote, was "in good hands."In his wake, Nakamoto left behind a vast collection of writings, a premise on the workings of Bitcoin, and the most influential cryptocurrency ever created.  Who is this Japanese-American guy named Satoshi Nakamoto?Dorian S. Nakamoto, a man who had zero involvement in the creation of Bitcoin.REUTERS/David McNewGoogle "Satoshi Nakamoto" and the results will lead you straight to image after image of an elderly Asian man. This is Dorian S. Nakamoto, named "Satoshi Nakamoto" at birth. He is almost 70 years old, lives in Los Angeles with his mother, and, as he has reminded people hundreds of times, is not the creator of Bitcoin. In 2014, Newsweek reporter Leah Goodman published a feature story pinning the identity of Bitcoin's creator on Nakamoto due to his high profile work in engineering and pointedly private personal life. Following the story's immediate release, Nakamoto was dogged by reporters, who trailed him as he drove to a sushi restaurant. Nakamoto told a journalist from the Associated Press that he had only heard of Bitcoin weeks earlier, when Goodman had contacted him about the Newsweek story.Two weeks later, he issued a statement to Newsweek, stating he "did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin." Dorian Nakamoto's claim was corroborated by the actual Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto a day later, with Satoshi's username mysteriously surfacing in an online forum to post: "I am not Dorian Nakamoto."  The Craig Wright controversyAustralian entrepreneur Craig WrightScreenshot Via BBCIn 2016, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin and provided disputed code as proof. Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen further corroborated Wright's gesture, saying he was "98 percent certain" that Wright was the pseudonymous Nakamoto.But others were quick to disagree, and Wright's claim drew fierce skepticism from the cryptocurrency community online as well as alleged interest from the FBI. Amid the sudden influx of scrutiny, Wright deleted his post and issued a cryptic apology. "I'm sorry," he wrote, "I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage."Five years later, Wright continues to claim that he created the digital currency, but has yet to provide any publicly accepted proof.In November, the family of a deceased man, David Kleiman, sued Wright for half of Nakamoto's cache of 1.1 million Bitcoins. The family claims the two men created the cryptocurrency together. The Florida court case is currently in the process of being reviewed by a jury.  Nick Szabo has been repeatedly identified as the creator of Bitcoin, a claim he denies.The mysterious Nick SzaboBusiness Insider/Rob PriceIn the course of determining the identity of Nakamoto, there's one person who has been thumbed again and again: hyper-secretive cryptocurrency expert Nick Szabo, who was not only fundamental to the development of Bitcoin, but also created his own cryptocurrency called "bit gold" in the late '90s. In 2014, a team of linguistic researchers studied Nakamoto's writings alongside those of thirteen potential bitcoin creators. The results, they said, were indisputable. "The number of linguistic similarities between Szabo's writing and the Bitcoin whitepaper is uncanny," the researchers reported, "none of the other possible authors were anywhere near as good of a match."A story in the New York Times pegged Szabo as Bitcoin's creator, as well. Szabo, a staunch libertarian who has spoken publicly about the history of Bitcoin and blockchain technology, has been involved in cryptocurrency since its earliest beginnings.Szabo firmly denied these claims, both in The New York times story and in a tweet: "Not Satoshi, but thank you."  Here's how the real "Satoshi Nakamoto" could prove his identity:Flickr/Rachel JohnsonHe could use his PGP keyA PGP key is a unique encryption program associated with a given user's name — similar to an online signature. Nakamoto could attach his to a post or a message indicating his identity. He could move his bitcoinNakamoto has amassed a fortune in bitcoin: He's thought to possess over one million coins, which today would be valued in excess of a billion dollars. Theoretically, Nakamoto could move those coins to a different address.    Dorian Nakamoto, Nick Szabo, and Craig Wright aren't the only ones who have been pinned as the inventor of Bitcoin.REUTERS/Stephen LamThere's a laundry list of people who have been pegged with this claim, but so far, they've all been struck down. Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has been accused of being Bitcoin's creator — a theory he adamantly denied in 2018. The Wikipedia entry on Satoshi Nakamoto names at least 13 potential candidates as being responsible for the creation of Bitcoin. It's been over a decade since Bitcoin's creation, and we're still not any closer to confirming who invented it.  Why would the inventor of the world's most important cryptocurrency choose to remain anonymous?Bernard von NotHaus, the creator of the Liberty DollarYouTubeAs it turns out, experimenting in new forms of currency is not without its consequences. In 1998, Hawaiian resident Bernard von NotHaus dabbled in a fledgling form of currency called "Liberty Dollars" to disastrous results: He was charged with violating federal law and sentenced to six months of house arrest, along with a three-year probation. In 2007, one of the first digital currencies, E-Gold, was shut down amid contentious circumstances by the government on grounds of money laundering. In January, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested steps that could be taken to "curtail" Bitcoin.If the inventor of Bitcoin wants to remain anonymous, it's for good reason: by maintaining anonymity, they've avoided adverse legal consequences, making their anonymity at least partially responsible for the currency's success.  Besides, one of the founding principles of Bitcoin is that it's a decentralized currency, untethered to conspicuous institutions or individuals. In his original proposition on Bitcoin, Nakamoto wrote, "What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party."According to a public filing from top US digital currency trading platform, Coinbase, if Nakamoto chose to come forward it could cause bitcoin's value to plummet.Why would someone go to all the trouble of creating a decentralized currency without sticking around to receive any of the credit?Bill Hinton/Getty ImagesMuch of the mystery surrounding Nakamoto involves his motivations. Why would someone go to the trouble of creating a detailed and brilliant decentralized currency, only to later completely disappear from the public view? A closer look at one of Nakamoto's original postings on the proposal of Bitcoin sheds some light on his possible motivations.In February 2009, Nakamoto wrote, "The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts."In Bitcoin forums, it's been speculated that Nakamoto might be "a libertarian and hates the corrupt rich people and politicians." Other Bitcoin enthusiasts suggest the timing of Bitcoin's emergence is a clear indication of its raison d'être: The currency, which was created in the years following the housing bubble burst in 2007, might have been invented as a means of disrupting the corrupted banking system. Here's what we know about Satoshi Nakamoto for sure:Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesThey're a geniusIn a New Yorker article from 2011, a top internet security researcher describes Bitcoin code as an inscrutable execution that nears perfection: "Only the most paranoid, painstaking coder in the world could avoid making mistakes."They speak fluent EnglishNakamoto has written extensively about Bitcoin, authoring close to 80,000 words on the subject in the course of two years. His work reads like that of a native English speaker. They might be BritishJudging by their spelling, and their use of British colloquialisms (they refer to their apartment as a "flat" and call the subject math "maths"), it's thought they might hail from the UK.The timing of his posts seem to indicate this fact as well: It's been pointed out that Nakamoto posted during UK daylight hours.They might be more than one personThe foolproof brilliance of Bitcoin's code have left many wondering if it isn't the work of a team of developers. Bitcoin security researcher Dan Kaminsky says Nakamoto "could be either a team of people or a genius." How does its creator feel about its success?Publican Grant Fairweather talks with a customer from behind the bar where a bitcoin sign is displayed in Sydney, Australia, September 29, 2015.REUTERS/David GrayJoshua Davis, who spent four months researching the possible identity of Bitcoin's creator for a New Yorker story, says he's deeply curious about how the cryptocurrency's creator feels about its success. "Every time I see a news post about the rise of the value of the Bitcoin, I wonder if Satoshi is seeing that too. What's he thinking? Is he proud? Is he thinking that, at some point, some day, he'll finally reveal himself?"If "Satoshi Nakamoto" hasn't revealed himself by now, it's unlikely we'll ever know who is. Zoe Bernard contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 28th, 2021

$893M In Bitcoin Was Just Transferred Between 2 Wallets

What happened: $893,384,989.00 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: 3794Ukr8Km4yhc1wcHK9UGyNFodR7R2iga read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaNov 25th, 2021

Crypto exchange Kraken will delist privacy coin monero in the UK, according to an email shared on Reddit

Kraken will stop trading of privacy coin monero for UK customers this month, according to a company email. Kraken on a phoneKONSKIE, POLAND Kraken will stop trading of privacy coin monero for UK customers this month, according to an email last week. By November 26, UK users will no longer be able to open or add to positions in monero. A Kraken spokesperson said the exchange was responding to guidance from the UK regulator. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will stop UK customers from trading in privacy crypto coin monero from next week, according to a company email that was shared on Reddit last week. The email stated that by November 26, UK users would no longer be allowed to trade monero (XMR) on its platform against bitcoin, the dollar or the euro. Any deposits in the UK will no longer be credited after this Friday, but the balances can be withdrawn from that date to a personal wallet or another exchange, the email said. Any open margin positions should be closed by Friday and if they are not they will be liquidated and any open orders will be cancelled, Kraken said in the email. People will also only be able to reduce margin positions in monero and won't be able to increase or open new margin positions from this Tuesday.A Kraken spokesperson said the company was sticking to guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK financial markets regulator. "The UK FCA recently clarified a position on monero. As one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, we are constantly working to balance offering one of the most comprehensive sets of assets available to crypto investors and traders, with all applicable regulatory compliance obligations," the spokesperson said in an emailed response on Monday."In this case, the FCA provided clear guidance and we have responded accordingly." Monero is a privacy coin which means that through advanced cryptography, these coins can obscure public wallet addresses and payments when transactions occur on the blockchain.  The identity of people that make privacy coin transactions is hard to trace digitally. Privacy coins like monero are a variety of cryptocurrency used in private and anonymous blockchain transactions that can hide a user's real wallet address and balance, for example. Blockchain's like bitcoin or ethereum let anyone see the public addresses and transactions that take place on their systems. Crypto exchanges are increasingly cautious over privacy coins, especially given the growing scrutiny from regulators.Bittrex said at the beginning of this year that it would stop clients trading privacy coins, including monero, dash and zcash. In July last year, Coinbase, the largest publicly listed exchange, said it would hold off for the time being on listing privacy coins, given the regulatory uncertainty surrounding these assets.  Meanwhile, Binance, the world's largest exchange by volume, still offers trading in monero.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 22nd, 2021

Someone Just Sent $883M In Bitcoin To An Anonymous Wallet

What happened: $883,169,565.00 worth of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was just moved between 2 anonymous cryptocurrency wallets in a single transaction. This mysterious person's bitcoin wallet address has been identified as: bc1qv4r4kjagvvy3cym2cq7u52q99x6059g8aqyk84 read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaNov 20th, 2021

13 Years After Its "Birth", Bitcoin Adoption Continues To Accelerate

13 Years After Its 'Birth', Bitcoin Adoption Continues To Accelerate The 13th birthday of the Bitcoin white paper has crept up just as the world continues to deal with a global pandemic, inflation fears, an astounding memecoin mania trend and growing institutional adoption of the cryptocurrency space. image courtesy of CoinTelegraph As CoinTelegraph's Francesco Rodrigues details, on October 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper to a cryptography mailing list hosted by Metzdow. The Metzdow mailing list was run by a group of cypherpunks and was filled with ideas meant to create a form of digital currency: some of these have even been cited in the Bitcoin white paper. Satoshi’s white paper came in a message titled "Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper," in which Nakamoto explained that his digital currency is fully peer-to-peer (P2P) and requires no trusted third party for a transaction to occur. Through a peer-to-peer network, Bitcoin solved the double-spending problem. Bitcoin also allowed network participants to remain anonymous and was secured through a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm. At the time, the white paper wasn't received the way people would expect it to be, knowing what they know today. Only a handful of people saw Nakamoto’s email and replied with their thoughts and concerns surrounding Bitcoin. But as Jacques Chirac writes at Bitcoin Magazine, the Bitcoin network has come to dominate and even define the cryptocurrency space, spawning a legion of altcoin followers and representing an alternative to fiat government currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the Euro, and to metal currencies such as gold and silver coins. Global cryptocurrency usage has increased by 880% in the last year, particularly in Vietnam, India, Pakistan, and other developing countries. The 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index, titled "Geography of Cryptocurrency," compared countries' cryptocurrency adoption based on three primary parameters: on-chain retail value transferred, on-chain cryptocurrency value received, and peer-to-peer exchange trade volumes According to specialists from these nations, many people utilize peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchanges as their main on-ramp into cryptocurrencies frequently because they do not have access to centralized exchanges. Significant currency depreciation in many developing countries leads individuals to buy cryptocurrencies on peer-to-peer platforms to protect their investment value. International transactions are also prevalent in these areas, whether for individual remittances or business use cases like buying products to import and sell. The quantity of national currency that people may move out of the country is limited. Although China was ranked fourth and the United States was ranked sixth in last year's survey, their positions have dropped to 13th and eighth, respectively. What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bitcoin? Advantages: Bitcoin users have comprehensive control over their reserves. Traditional fiat currencies are responsive to several restrictions and hazards. Banks, for example, are flashed to economic booms and busts. As has happened in the past, these circumstances may sometimes result in bank runs and crashes. This implies that consumers do not have complete control over their funds. There are no costs associated with Bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin users are not subjected to the invocation of conventional banking costs associated with fiat currencies. While fiat currency exchanges impose so-called "maker" and "taker" fees, as well as occasional deposit and withdrawal fees, Bitcoin users are not subject to these fees. This adds, amongst other things, no account sustaining or minimum balance fees, no overdraft costs, and no returned deposit penalties. For international payments, Bitcoin transactions offer minimal transaction costs. Fees and currency charges are expected in standard wire transfers and international transactions. Transacting via the Bitcoin network is typically cheaper than bank transfers since there are no intermediate organizations or governments involved. This may be an essential benefit for tourists. Furthermore, bitcoin transfers are instantaneous, bypassing the hassle of usual permission methods and delivery times. Bitcoin transactions are entirely safe. Bitcoin is not physical money. As a result, robbers will be unable to physically steal it. Hackers may steal a person's cryptocurrency if they have access to the wallet's private keys. However, stealing bitcoin is theoretically impossible with adequate protection and industry-standard practices. While there have been many other allegations of cryptocurrency exchange hacks, bitcoin transactions have remained unaffected. In conclusion, transactions offered out between two (or more) addresses are protected. Disadvantages: Bitcoin is not yet accepted across the nation Bitcoin is still only accepted by a limited number of internet businesses. As a result, relying only on bitcoin as a currency is near impossible. It's also possible that governments may compel firms to stop accepting bitcoin in order to monitor consumers' transactions. Wallets can be misplaced One’s bitcoin is dramatically "lost" if a hard drive fails or a virus corrupts data, and the wallet file is damaged. There is nothing that can get the money back. These coins will remain orphaned in the system. This has the potential to bankrupt a wealthy bitcoin investor in a matter of seconds, with no means of replacement. The investor's coins will be enduringly orphaned as well. There is no buyer protection. When things are purchased with bitcoin, and the vendor fails to deliver the goods, there is no way to reverse the transaction. The problem can be approached by utilizing a third-party escrow service such as ClearCoin. However, escrow services would then take on the role of banks, making bitcoin more like conventional currencies. Technical flaws that aren't known The Bitcoin system may have vulnerabilities that have yet to be discovered. Because this is a relatively new method, if bitcoin were extensively accepted and a vulnerability was found, it might result in enormous riches for the exploiter at the cost of the Bitcoin economy. How Is Bitcoin Used In Other Counties? Since its commencement in 2009, bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies that followed have been fraught with contention and controversies. While bitcoin has been extensively attacked for its volatility, use in illicit activities, and the amount of energy required to mine it, some people, especially in developing countries, view it with great hope amidst economic storms. However, as many individuals turn to bitcoin as an investment, these problems have materialized in a slew of new limitations on how they may be used. The authoritative position of bitcoin varies significantly from nation to nation, with specific relationships still being established or changing often. While most governments do not make it unlawful to use bitcoin, its position as a payment method or a commodity differs, with different regulatory consequences. Some nations have imposed restrictions on how bitcoin may be used, with banks prohibiting their clients from transacting in cryptocurrencies. Other countries have explicitly outlawed the usage of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, imposing stiff fines on anybody who transacts in them. These are the nations where bitcoin and the state have a tense relationship. Despite this, it appears that the future may hold more countries continuing to look to bitcoin. This is a guest post by Jacques Chirac. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 31st, 2021

Bitcoin: A Second Chance For The Muslim World?

Bitcoin: A Second Chance For The Muslim World? Authored by Asif Shiraz via BitcoinMagazine.com, Bitcoin is the sound money that the Muslim world needs to accelerate into the future... The Ottoman suppression of the printing press is a poster child case of intellectual stagnation in the Muslim world. Although there was no outright ban, there is no denying of a massively missed opportunity here: A civilization’s failure to adopt a groundbreaking technological change happening right next door. In its golden age, this same civilization that gave the world universities and hospitals, optics and algebra, even a precursor to the printing press itself, got so left behind in the later acceptance of technology, that its very own holy book, the Quran, waited for its first mass publication almost 300 years after Johannes Gutenberg chugged out the printed Bible. THE DECLINE But Islam’s Genesis Block was entirely different in character: A spirited but sundry assemblage of women and men whose most remarkable trait was their openness to new ideas. The idea of one God in a multitude of divine contenders. The idea of one bitcoin in a multitude of shitcoins … oops... sorry... mixing up my chronology! So anyway, this fraternity of early Islam, along with its keen aspiration of ushering in a just social and economic order, is also remarkable in a novel way for its time: It represents a death cross of reason’s moving average overtaking that of intuition in religious history. Bringing intellectual inquiry at par with mystical experience, it paved the way for its scions to delve into scientific skepticism, empiricism and experimental inquiry, with Robert Briffault going so far as to say that “Roger Bacon was no more than one of the apostles of Muslim science and method.” But eventually, the music stopped, and the market corrected! There are many explanations for the downfall, most of them partially true, spanning decades and centuries, but if we want to point fingers, as human nature dictates, at some symbolic event, then it must be the Mongol destruction of the House of Wisdom, #SackOfBaghdad. In the age of manuscripts, so many books from Baghdad’s libraries were flung into the Tigris that a horse could walk across on them and the river ran black with scholars’ ink and red with the blood of martyrs. As the Muslim Ummah lost so many intellectuals and intellectual capital in this tumultuous period, its reaction has been, (understandably), like that of an intern finding herself in control of mission critical servers, where all the senior sys admins suddenly stepped down, died or disappeared. Your best reaction is this: I’m not touching this system, and the only commands I’ll ever execute are those handed down by the four illustrious system admins — founders of the established schools of jurisprudence. And so Islamic scholarship for hundreds of years has been in a maintenance mode. In Pakistan alone, over 12,000 Madrasa routinely teach the rules and regulations of exchanging gold and silver, centuries after its daily use has been replaced by fiat. SURVIVAL OF CORE TENETS But herein lies a wonderful irony. This code-freeze on innovation, which we otherwise disapprove of, did work to an extent as it was intended: It protected the core principles from being callously compromised or deliberately diluted in the hands of opportunists. Just like the extra caution and consensus in changing the U.S. constitution protected the principles of freedom and equality enshrined in it: Islamic law, too, enshrined core financial principles, that have been a thorn on the side of would-be reformers attempting to legalize fiat and modern banking in the name of Islamic Finance. The 12,000 semi-literate Madrasa students, parroting the provisions of the fair exchange of gold and silver from a 17th century syllabus citing a 9th century scholar, unwittingly become more correct than a Harvard doctorate in finance indoctrinated in the misguided larceny of fiat money! All because Muhammad ﷺ mandated sound money, just like Mises and Hayek after him, a tenet immutably crystallized in Fiqh — Islamic Jurisprudence. A business man himself, the Prophet of Islam possessed a sharp acumen for economics and finance. In modern parlance, he quickly rose the corporate ladder to become one of the youngest CEOs of his time tasked with turning around the failing business empire of the urbane female entrepreneur, Khadija. Impressed with the Prophet’s personality, Khadija quickly proposed to him, creating a power couple that changed the course of history. Just like Jesus turned out the money-lenders from the Second Temple, the Prophet of Islam, too, had a disdain for usury and outlawed most of the accompanying capitalist machinations, that contribute to the gross wealth disparities like 10% owning 76% of the assets. So he created some fundamental rules that constitute the bedrock of Islamic financial principles: Forbade usury (Riba), including interest. Still respecting the time value of money, the prohibition’s intent is to create a financial regime where profit and risk is shared between the entrepreneur and the investor. From a sound money perspective, it prohibits the core operation of issuing interest bearing bonds and T-Bills against which the central bank can inflate the money supply. Forbade uncertainty (Gharar), embodied in his famous quote, “Do not sell a fish which is still in the water.” Eliminates the possibility of fractional reserve, since outstanding debt cannot be monetized and traded further with, unless it’s paid. It also closes the tap on a myriad of derivative instruments that further inflate the money supply. Forbade speculation (Maisir), which includes outright gambling. Some scholars consider speculative market activity, like the Dogecoin phenomena, under the ambit of this ruling. Mandated sound money. The rules of obligatory charity tax in Islam are denominated in sound money. Muslim governments take the market price of gold, convert them to fiat prices, and announce the converted value to the public to pay the religious obligation of Zakat. But from a legal standpoint, it permanently establishes gold and silver (as well as a whole class of other products) as perpetual, religiously recognized money in Islam. These prohibitions are strong enough in Islamic theology that anyone who violates them is technically, “at war with Allah and his Prophet.” Which is why the Madrasa’s syllabus clings to “nature’s money” (Thaman-e-Khalqi): gold and silver. But of course, big governments, Muslim or otherwise, are a chip off the same block: Self-interest reigns supreme over ethical principles. In Pakistan alone, the religious case against fiat banking has been delayed and obstructed for over 40 years in the courts. The politics of deficit financing are so attractive that no one wants to surrender this magical money making wand. Voldemorts, all of them! In spite of these prohibitions, and in countries where religion dominates social values, Muslims still grew comfortable with paper money because it initially disguised itself as “warehouse receipts for gold” which duped the scholars into permitting it, but the jurisprudence failed to catch up with the subsequent thinning of this asset backing into its current meaningless extent. REFORM ATTEMPTS As the domino roll of national independences took place, four different threads of activity around banking spread in Muslim countries. First, the mainstream implementation of modern banking took root in every Muslim State, implemented in toto like its Western counterparts. Second, Islamic banking attempted to reshape things a little. Scholars familiar with both economics and Shariah attempted to “Islamize” banking via the new academic discipline of “Islamic finance.” But instead of faithfully creating platforms for risk-sharing and equity-based financing, it just followed the Medieval Triple Contract–like approach to practically clone existing financial products, accompanied by a plethora of research papers to justify it. Like a comedic quote from the cold war era, “Communism is the longest and most painful road from capitalism to capitalism,” contemporary Islamic finance, too, turned out to become the most painful and circuitous route from traditional banking to traditional banking, decorated with Arabic names! How the professional bankers duped these scholars and hijacked this effort is excellently explained by Harris Irfan in a podcast with our own Saifedean Ammous. Third, a large but silent majority of toothless Islamic scholars continues to exist who view all forms of banking with suspicion, but the growing chasm of knowledge gap between their education and the complexities of modern finance makes them unable to take back the narrative. Lastly, a much smaller band of Islamic scholars exist, like followers of the Sufi order of a British convert and his Basque disciple, as well as a scholar from Trinidad, who successfully identified the fundamental problem with modern banking from a Shariah perspective: its monetary foundation. You cannot “Islamize” a bank if you do not fix the money it operates on! Hence, their attempt to resuscitate the traditional Islamic gold dinar as a sound money alternative to fiat. GOLD DINAR: THE REAL ISLAMIC ALTERNATIVE Fiat money and its permissibility can be viewed through an important concept in Islamic theology, the Maqasid-e-Shariah: the goals or purpose of Shariah law. To illustrate this with a controversial example, consider a Shariah law which says you cannot punish a man or woman for adultery, unless you bring four eye witnesses to the sexual act (which is normally impossible). While Islam abhors adultery, the Maqasid is an attempt by scholars to understand why, instead of having a law that easily and swiftly punishes it, there exists one that makes it practically impossible to prosecute. They rationalized that it must be to shield people’s privacy and one-off slipups from society's nosy interference and appetite for punishment. According to Muhammad Asad, “… to make proof of adultery dependent on a voluntary, faith-inspired confession of the guilty parties themselves.” So the Maqasid points to some socially valuable goal that the law intends to achieve. The rationale of the financial laws of Shariah are similarly explained in terms of their goals: a just distribution of wealth, a money free from devaluation, a business contract free from usurious exploitation, and a regulatory regime that increases people’s wealth and well-being. Through a very elementary intuition, it is obvious that fiat currencies violate this principle of honesty and justice in the society: Money issuers steal the purchasing power of the people and devalue their money. To put a formal Quranic stamp to this reasoning, we can take verse 3:75, “There are some among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) who, if entrusted with a stack of gold, will readily return it.” The modern Islamic bank, if entrusted with money equivalent to a stack of gold, returns you only 90% of its worth in purchasing power, owing to inflationary erosion, thus it’s part of a system that clearly violates the Maqasid. Islamic banks have thus thoroughly failed to espouse the core principle of risk sharing and eliminating interest (since interest exists in the very issuance process of the money they are built on). The only real Islamic alternative ever proposed was the Gold Dinar Movement. Starting in parallel (and in many respects earlier) than Islamic banking, (with the first modern Dinar minted in 1992), it was incisively accurate in its assessment and proposed remedy to the money problem: “The Return to the Gold Dinar.” This was an earlier time, when the golden tool in the fight against fiat was literally gold, which was then popularized by Austrian economics, advocated by upright leaders like Ron Paul, and adopted by grassroots activists like Bernard von NotHaus. The Muslim world saw its own spate of activism for sound money, led by its most vocal proponent, Umar Vadillo, and associated initiatives like Wakala Nusantara, Dinar First and my own Dinar Wakala. The Kelantan State government’s launch of Gold Dinar was our own El Zonte moment, full of euphoria and promise that made waves globally. The passion and courage of this vibrant lot of Warrior Sufis represented the best of modern-day Muslims: Profoundly knowledgeable people, engaged in grassroots activism, to fix the most pressing challenges of the contemporary world. However, the primary strength of gold, its physical indestructibility, came in the way of its adoption: Logistic and regulatory hindrances prevented free flow of physical gold coins across national boundaries. In the words of its founder, Shaykh Abdalqadir, “The defense mechanisms of today’s late capitalism and its crisis management surrounding the buying, moving and minting of gold have surrounded it with prohibitive pricing and taxation.” It continues to serve as a galvanizing symbol of the fight against Riba, but making it a practical inflationary hedge, or a broader Ummah-level movement for sound money, proved an elusive goal. Without the Gold Dinar, the horizon seemed all but bleak, except that a glimmer of hope came from the most unexpected of places: Where scholars, economists and revolutionaries had failed, nerds succeeded! Enter Emir Satoshi! ADVENT OF BITCOIN For us in the Gold Dinar Movement, Bitcoiners are our brothers in arms: fighting the same enemy, securing the same goal. This is what I have always advocated to my fellow activists in the dinar movement, from as far back as 2012. Our Prophetﷺ, as well as the Rashidun Caliphs, never debased money, nor profited from seigniorage, but gave us the right to choose our own mediums of exchange. This is fundamentally antithetical to the monstrosity of legal tender laws, which Islamic scholars have been duped into legitimizing under various pretexts (highlighting the need for increased financial literacy in this lot). This freedom to choose a currency constitutes the common ground that both us and the Bitcoiners can rally around together. “The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust,” writes Satoshi. He recognized the problem with fiat and set out to fix it with Bitcoin, a miraculous epiphany that has let loose this growing, global band of fervid, somewhat bumptious Maximalists, as similar in essence and ethos to us, as they look different in appearance. I see Bitcoiners, not only in their pluck and guile, but also in the sly ingenuity of their weapon of choice, as nothing less than a modern-day David taking on the Goliath of traditional banking! From a Muslim perspective, the operating verse of the Quran in critique of the Bitcoin movement becomes 49:13, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Aware.” In the realm of monetary matters, the most righteous and noble are those who support sound money. It is appropriate that Allah stresses his own divine attributes in the verse, as a warning that our religiously colored conception of righteousness may not necessarily be the same as that of the knowing, the aware. (The literal term Taqwa, means something that protects you from the wrath of God.) And to the best of my belief, protecting and uplifting the poor, the downtrodden from the entrapments of a prejudiced financial system is surely a winner with the God of Abraham! A SECOND CHANCE We Muslims had set out to establish a just and fair society, and for some time, to quote David Graeber, succeeded: “Once freed from its ancient scourges of debt and slavery, the local bazaar had become, for most, not a place of moral danger, but the very opposite: the highest expression of the human freedom and communal solidarity, and thus to be protected assiduously from state intrusion.” But gradually, as our political and intellectual leadership in the world waned, we now find ourselves economically bankrupt, submerged in a rigged financial system, and enslaved to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A major reason for this impoverishment was the widening gap of modern knowledge. The following vicious cycle of three circularly dependent factors is another way of modeling our current reality: Low capital allocation for education. A generally weak economy leaves little allocation for investment in education of both scientific and humanities disciplines, which is required for a productive human capital. Low human capital. The first factor results in low quality of education in the populace then manifests politically in bad national decisions, engagement in conflicts, economic mismanagement, acquisition of debt and failure to curb corruption. Economically, this unskilled workforce has low productivity, scarce entrepreneurship and ineffective technology adoption. Religiously, it permits violence and extremism to breed along sectarian fault lines. Low economic output. The second factor results in continued economic tribulations, since the whole society is now in KTLO mode, instead of “adding new features.” Which leads us again to item one. It is the standard cycle of poverty played out at a macro scale, which many competing power bases believe they can break. The military, the Mullahs, and the Liberals, far away, even the CIA has prescriptions on how to solve our problems. But such temporary political and economic interventions bear no lasting results, since nations are built by worthy men and women, over a span of many years, who, given a free and peaceful environment, fall back on their innate drive for excellence to create a better world. It is the job of the revolutionary and his meteoric jolt, or at a smaller scale, your social entrepreneur giving a small push, that breaks a segment of society free from this vicious cycle: A closed ecosystem of wealth circulation, comprising of learned individuals, equipped with better technology and empowered with more capital, shielded from outside influence, and stabilized by a fair social contract, to launch the virtuous symbiosis of economic prosperity and human development which prop each other to newer heights. This break can start in many ways: a national independence, some strong leadership, or in case of Islam, the founding of a new religion. Islam’s own trajectory gives us a generalized three-stage pattern on which any revolution can be modeled, an excellent blueprint for our bitcoin adoption. Education: A new world view is conceived, and people are educated toward it for voluntarily placing their faith on it — Iman. Separation: The model is physically deployed, separated from existing systems, so it can grow and thrive without any negative external influences — Hijra. Protection: When the model grows strong enough to threaten the status quo, but still weak enough to be fully destructible, it needs protection, usually requiring armed conflict — Jihad. We in the Gold Dinar Movement believed that the break in this vicious cycle will come from financial empowerment: When Muslim people and governments adopt sound money, free from the shackles of the IMF, it will allow our bankrupt economies to manage enough disposable income that can be invested in other avenues in society, putting us on a path to progress and human development. Gold would bring back the Golden Age, producing men and women who are worth their weight in gold! But it could not. Let me explain why, and how bitcoin makes it possible. BITCOIN: A TOOL FOR REVOLUTION Following our three-stage model of a revolution, let’s review how bitcoin resolves the challenges of each step. 1. Education The common man, humble about his knowledge of finance, expects, like John Galbraith remarked, a “deeper mystery to the process of money creation.” But which really is so simple, he goes on, that “the mind is repelled.” But the chasm in traditional and modern education keeps our scholars from being able to religiously evaluate the fiat system, for which they need three vital credentials: a traditional Mufti qualification, specialized research in the Fiqh of Muamalat, and a study of modern economics. Only a handful achieve this, like the globally revered Usmani, who become thought leaders in Islamic finance: The rest take the easy way out and follow what they posit. I once asked a certified Shariah advisor on LinkedIn, if he knew what fractional reserve banking meant. I expected some abstruse, rule-bending justification for it but was taken aback by his honest admission that he simply didn’t know what it was! So the first challenge was to educate both the people and the scholars about the fiat system. Then to enlist serious academic and industry practitioners to devise a working alternative based on gold and silver. Then to have its demand trickle down into the masses to eventually morph into enough political pressure for the government to adopt it, much to its own detriment. Highly unlikely. Except that with bitcoin, educating the people now becomes much more focused and result oriented. The wider goal of educating people about finance and economics remains indispensable in both gold and Bitcoin-based sound money solutions. But with bitcoin, we don’t have to wait for a third-world academia and archaic-minded scholars to sell the solution to an unwilling government: We take the narrative, and the prerogative of action, back from them. We go tactical, orange pill the masses with an Urdu translation of the bitcoin standard, and focus on what is minimally essential to achieve within our means: Teaching Muggles... sorry…. No-coiners, the very basics of money mechanics, the role of bitcoin in our strategic response, and the know-how to stack satoshis in a cold wallet! The rest will follow! Coming to think of it, my initial printing press analogy is poignantly relevant. The press encapsulated years of knowledge in a simple package easily disseminated to thousands, which could have overcome our knowledge gap had we adopted it earlier. Bitcoin, too, encapsulates the quintessential wisdom of centuries of humanity’s experience in what constitutes good money and allows it to be spread easily across the world. It is both knowledge, and a tool crafted out of that knowledge. If we miss the boat on it, we will not only lose to “usury capitalism,” but the Bitcoin movement, too, will be deprived of huge potential support from a quarter of the world population. We must join the rest of humanity in a last ditch attempt at wealth equality. 2. Separation After educating people about money mechanics and bitcoin, the second step is the Hejira, our separation from the existing system. An Islamic scholar, Abdassamad Clarke defined “usury capital,” as “the use of capital that is both generated by usury and operated according to usurious principles, which permits a tiny clique of individuals, by the principle of fiat money amplified by leverage, to wield extraordinary power and accumulate unheard of wealth in such a manner as to subject the rest of humanity as menial servants in their project of self-enrichment, whether in the tyrannies of the East or the so-called free-market capitalism of the West.” The fundamental philosophical difference between Islamic and Western economics is how we view interest. Islam holds firm to the classical Judeo-Christian prohibition, believing that the time value of money is more fairly accounted for in equity finance style risk sharing of the invested capital, instead of a guaranteed return favoring the capitalist. Among other things, its side effect is prohibiting both the monetizing of our “future income” to issue fiat, and prohibiting the money-multiplier effect of fractional reserve, through the rulings of Riba, Bai-al-Dain and Bai-al-Madum. Bitcoiners and libertarians rely on an entirely different philosophical foundation to reach partially the same conclusion in regards to fiat, that it’s perverse, unjust and socially destructive. The end goal for both is the same: To separate ourselves from the fiat system and carve out an entirely new, independent financial system: The original idea of decentralized finance (DeFi)! Unfortunately, the bubble effect we so dislike in TradFi — traditional finance — is now itself widespread in the non-Bitcoin crypto world, what Ellen Farrington cites as the immense amount of “rehypothecation, leverage, and securitization,” which if misused can cause systemic risks that affect everyone. The practical reality of contemporary DeFi in the non-Bitcoin world is quite far from its theoretical goal. Looking at this aspect of “crypto,” some Islamic scholars took the liberty of invoking the gambling prohibition clause, something whose motivation we can sympathize with, even though we disagree with the conclusion. A lack of regulation at the administrative level cannot be countered by religious pronunciation of Haram status. It’s kind of like declaring cars as Islamically forbidden, merely because some people are driving them too fast and killing others. But presently, we are far less interested in how scholars view “crypto” than we are regarding bitcoin. The DeFi world’s shiny new investments offering unsustainable returns, its shady ICOs and the casino-like frenzy and get-rich-quick dreams of novice retail investors are far removed from what we advocate, from what we are daring to call a second chance for the Muslim world: A Bitcoin-based sound money adoption as a medium of exchange and store of value! But what is nevertheless commendable in the crypto world (led, of course, by Bitcoin) is the attempt to create this entirely new, independent miniverse of alternative, decentralized finance, isolated from the existing system. Building and expanding this decentralization, based on Bitcoin, is the essence of the second step of our revolutionary blueprint: the Hejira. Migrating from the old to the new. As Iqbal would have said, “Blow away this transitory world, and build a new one from its ashes” — khakastar se aap apna jahan paida karay. The only serious prior attempt for sound money among Muslims was the Dinar movement. But it only works in a physical jurisdiction: Where to mint, where to store, how to transport, how to coordinate electronic payments, how to deal with banking regulations, taxes and government interference? Theoretically, it was possible to instantiate an entirely independent ecosystem of issuance, storage, transport and trade using gold, but real progress on it was very slow. At the same time, the Bitcoin ecosystem has matured so much to be classifiable as an independent and isolated system, free from all interference from legacy finance. The Core Bitcoin Timechain, Lightning and Layer 2 smart contract solutions, and the globally distributed miner, node operator and supporter community, all combine to form a platform on which we can build and experiment with truly Islamic financial contracts of the form that are not possible with TradFi. In this ecosystem, we can resuscitate Islamic social and financial institutions like the Bait-ul-Maal, the Suq, the Waqf, the Guilds, the Hawala, the Wahdiya, the Qirad and the Musharaka, free from the restrictions of any government, securities commission or central bank. 3. Protection And once this isolated system is deployed, we need to protect it. A story is told in Islamic lore, that when Abu Dharr Ghifari came looking to meet the Prophet, Ali told him to walk a few paces behind him, and if he senses anyone suspicious he will stoop down to tie his shoelaces and Abu Dharr should continue walking ahead. Kind of like a coinjoin to obfuscate where he was actually going. When you are small, you must remain in stealth mode and operate under the radar. Later on, when the small state of early Islam was established in a nearby city, it needed a number of armed conflicts to defend itself from being nipped in the bud! Deploying a sound money system, too, may need a precarious window in which the sapling would need fierce protection before it grows into a tree. The hellacious powers issuing the yuans and dollars of the world are way too formidable for any third-world nation state to get away with a head-on collision. In fact, we cannot even withstand assaults from individual speculators, let alone a concerted effort by the global financial cabal to preserve its status quo. El Salvador and the like are definitely interesting trailblazers to watch out for here, but it is too early to tell. If a sufficient number of first-world citizens band together to defy their government in adoption of sound money, the response of fiat-powered regimes would (probably) be much more restrained in handling them versus some rogue state from a third-world country attempting to defy the dominant currency. I was told by a prominent Islamic banker that when Mahatir toyed with the idea, he was sent a very stern signal to “cease and desist” by the powers that be! So, can a Muslim government adopt and get away with either the dinar or bitcoin? I believe only in the latter. Only bitcoin has the necessary technological edge in terms of its unstoppability and indestructibility that can substitute for the need of a national military power strong enough to protect a traditional sound money built on gold. THE ISLAMIC STATE VERSUS BITCOIN But many Islamic revivalists believe otherwise and their goal is usually larger in scope than financial reform alone. It is a more holistic quest to resuscitate the political, social and legal structures of precolonial Islamic governments. Encouraged by the spectacular rise of early Islam that dared challenge superior powers like Byzantine and Sassanids, they believe it possible to recreate the traditional theocracy along similar lines, one of whose side effects would be to eradicate fiat currency also. Such ambitious projects downplay the urgency of fixing our financial system: No need to separately struggle for it if it comes as a natural corollary to the larger political renaissance. Now the specter of such pan-Islamic revival has been thoroughly demonized in Western imagination, owing from our own side to violent extremism, owing from their side to a deep-rooted Islamophobia, and owing generally to ideas (or realities?) like the clash of civilizations. But my Bitcoiner friends — whose libertarian ethos is so refined to even self-censure the slightist hint of authoritarian enforcement in El Salvador’s legal tender adoption of bitcoin — will surely agree that it is entirely within the rights of the Muslim world to voluntarily experiment, on their land, with whatever form of government they fancy: caliphates, sultanates or kingdoms! But the reality of this dream in the minds of the majority of modern Muslims is quite different from what the world perceives. The moderate Muslim just wants Islamic principles to be the guiding source of their political and social order. But the strength of this desire is often encashed by opportunists, resulting in two recent distorted models of political Islam: 1.The Iranian model: Somewhat broad-based and sustainable but toothless and symbolic. They are the political twins of Islamic banks, offering no real change to the common man, except moral policing. Financially, there even exists the oxymoronic Central Bank of the Islamic Republic. Why would you have an Islamic bank if you were truly an Islamic republic? 2. Second, is the Taliban and ISIS model: Narrow-based, extremist and unsustainable, divorced from the comity of nations. ISIS did reportedly issue the Gold Dinar but to no one’s avail, except perhaps as a recruitment propaganda. News out of Kabul promises a more restrained and balanced government this time around, but is it a genuine change of heart or just political expediency? So, while the Muslim world waits for a true Islamic reformation, and the world holds its breath on how the next such attempt turns out, my issue with this ubiquitous political quest in the Muslim imagination is just NGMI — it’s not gonna make it! We can’t stall the effort of immediate financial reform on some future promise of a bigger change happening to facilitate it. As an Urdu saying goes, na nau munn tayl hoe ga, na Radha naachay gi: Neither shall the king be able to provision nine gallons of lamp oil, and nor will the stage ever be lit enough for his dancing girl, Radha, to perform! Nevertheless, assuming for a moment that a mature, viable, modern Islamic government does get established by some geopolitical miracle, faithful to Islam’s core tenets, and broad-based in popular support, the next and more pertinent question becomes: Will it have sufficient political, and if necessary, military power, to deploy a gold-based sound monetary system in their country, and then get away with the sanctions and isolation that follow? And this is where bitcoin, once again, outshines other alternatives. The one trait that sets it apart from all “crypto”, and indeed, all monies in human history: true, sovereign-grade censorship resistance, from both your own government and foreign powers. Without needing any battalions or bombs, bitcoin enables us to fight the good fight ourselves and win. And if the broader Islamic reformation materializes, bitcoin can support it, too, for bypassing potential sanctions and increasing national wealth! God has a knack for defeating evil by the simplest of designs — the mighty Goliath with a slingshot, the persecutors of the Prophet with a humble spider — as if to compound the humiliation of defeat by the plainness of its bearer. Who could have thought that the Kremlins, Zhongnanhais and White Houses of the world would be made helpless by the confluence of two elementary ideas: proof of work and difficulty adjustment! But this simple, easily overlooked and less understood killer combination of traits makes bitcoin an undefeatable tool in the hands of us, the 99%. We do not need to wait for anyone. We can do it ourselves with bitcoin. THE WAY FORWARD While the wallet addresses, exchange accounts, market cap, and of course, the hype around crypto is constantly rising in Muslim countries, much of this activity is from the perspective of a shiny new investment vehicle, a get-rich-quick bandwagon to which everyone wants to hitch! This has engendered the animated debate of investor protection, scam avoidance and the whole academic deliberation of whether they are at all Halal owing to a perceived lack of intrinsic value and being free from government control. While all of these objections on bitcoin from the Shariah perspective have been thoroughly refuted by various scholars and are easily searchable on the internet, the continuance of this superfluous debate is dangerously distracting: In the process, we are losing sight of the higher frequencies of this amazing once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Aye ahle-e-nazar zauq-e-nazar khoob hai laikinJoe shay ki haqeeqat koe na dekhay woe nazar kiya We need bitcoin, not because it’s a great investment (which incidentally it is), but because it’s a great store of value and a medium of exchange: A free medium of exchange, which can uplift us collectively if we just adopt it, en masse, as our money. To my fellow Muslims, here is a parting thought. We love and honor our Prophet to such an extent that even the minutest of his actions, Sunnahs, is recorded, revered and repeated, even if it be as simple as the table manners of cutting some fruit. But here is another Sunnah of bigger import: success. The change that he set out to achieve in the world, he did achieve it. As he breathed his last in the arms of Ayesha, he had already delivered on the promise he had made to his companions in the lowest ebb of their persecution: “... a traveler from Sana to Hadrarmaut will fear none but Allah.” Although bordering a little on logical fallacy, I would point out that he didn’t cite something more symbolic like the establishment of the Caliphate, or the conquests, or the subsequent power. He chose to cite, as evidence of success to what they were suffering for, the establishment of a certain social order: One in which an anonymous citizen would not fear physical or financial insecurity. I say anonymous, not a private citizen, because the choice of the word “traveler” is very telling. While you are known in your city, protected by your identity, and potential clout from a corporation or clan, it is suddenly removed when you are in a strange land. They do not even know your name, unless you tell them: You are just a wallet address. But this traveler is not afraid of loss of wealth, or being robbed, or not having the right passport, or the right vaccine passport! He can move himself, and he can move his money. We Dinarists and Bitcoiners always equate inflation with theft. Whether you snatch 50 rupees from a poor man, or the free fall of your currency leaves him with 50 rupees less of a purchasing power, it is the same. While every ill is not caused by our monetary system, there is the obvious administrative incompetence and a dismal economic performance to account for — but inflation is definitely a huge factor. And all our high talk, slogans, research papers, reform movements, activism and militarism have deviated from this one Sunnah: The success of delivering safety to this traveler again. Bitcoin can help us succeed. Like now! Not 20 years later. Not when some promised leader will part the seas for us again. But now, when the poor illiterate, helpless man on the street looks at us educated and privileged elites and asks: What did you do to level the playing field for me? The Islamic banker may say, “Oh, I developed this intricate Shariah compliant profit and loss sharing contract for you, approved by the council of scholars, and backed by the gold dinar, just wait for it to be deployed.” I will say, “Dude, here, let me help you buy a few satoshis and get you a Lightning wallet so you don’t have to revert back to the rupee when paying for your next meal!” I think you should do the same. Bitcoin deserves a fresh look from us Muslims. Let’s think about it. Let’s use it correctly. Let’s spread it. Let’s understand it. Let’s use Bitcoin. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021

Shiba inu coin soars 22% to another record after crypto whale buys 277 billion tokens

"A breakout in bitcoin in absolute terms would support a risk-on environment favoring Ether and other altcoins," Katie Stockton said. Nathan Frandino/Reuters/File Photo Shiba inu coin surged over 20% to a record high of $0.00004853 Tuesday, CoinMarketCap data showed. The move came after an anonymous crypto whale purchased 276.6 billion SHIB tokens Monday evening. Shiba inu coin is now the 11th largest cryptocurrency, with a market value of $18.8 billion. Shiba inu coin, a meme-based cryptocurrency that is based off another meme-based cryptocurrency that makes fun of cryptocurrencies altogether, soared more than 20% on Tuesday to hit a record high of $0.00004853, according to data from CoinMarketCap.The move higher in the cryptocurrency was sparked Monday evening after an anonymous crypto whale purchased 276.6 billion shiba inu tokens for about $11.5 million, according to data from WhaleStats, which tracks activity for the 1,000 largest ether wallets.The purchase brought the crypto whale's total holdings in shiba inu coin to 316.5 billion, worth about $15 million and the largest position in the wallet.The surge in shiba inu represents a renewed wave of risk-on sentiment among cryptocurrency traders, especially after bitcoin surged to record highs earlier this month at about $67,000. Shiba inu's Tuesday surge catapulted its market value to $18.8 billion, making it the 11th largest cryptocurrency. Read more: A 25-year technical strategy veteran shares 5 altcoins near or at 52-week highs that are about to break out - and explains why the 4th quarter is 'a very positive time' for bitcoinTo crack the top 10, shiba inu coin will have to nearly double its levels to take over USD coin's market valuation of about $33 billion. Dogecoin, the inspiration for shiba inu coin, would be the next target for shiba inu. It has a $35 billion valuation.The technical analyst Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies said she thought the renewed rally in altcoins like shiba inu could continue if bitcoin managed to confirm its recent breakout by trading above the $65,000 level again."A breakout in bitcoin in absolute terms would support a risk-on environment favoring Ether and other altcoins," Stockton said in a Tuesday note. And that type of environment could be a boon for shiba inu coin. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021

Shiba inu coin soars 22% to another new record after crypto whale buys 277 billion tokens

"A breakout in bitcoin in absolute terms would support a risk-on environment favoring Ether and other altcoins," Katie Stockton said. An 11 year-old Shiba Inu in California, US on October 28, 2020. Nathan Frandino/Reuters/File Photo Shiba inu coin surged more than 20% to hit a record high of $0.00004853 on Tuesday, according to data from CoinMarketCap.The move came after an anonymous crypto whale purchased 276.6 billion SHIB tokens Monday evening.Shiba inu coin is now the 11th largest cryptocurrency with a market value of $18.8 billion.Shiba inu coin, a meme-based cryptocurrency that is based off another meme-based cryptocurrency that makes fun of cryptocurrencies altogether, soared more than 20% on Tuesday to hit a record high of $0.00004853, according to data from CoinMarketCap.The move higher in the cryptocurrency was sparked Monday evening after an anonymous crypto whale purchased 276.6 billion shiba inu tokens for about $11.5 million, according to data from Whalestats, which tracks activity for the 1,000 largest ether wallets. The purchase brought the crypto whale's total holdings in shiba inu coin to 316.5 billion, worth about $15 million and representing the largest position in the wallet.The surge in shiba inu represents a renewed wave of risk-on sentiment among cryptocurrency traders, especially after bitcoin surged to record highs earlier this month at about $67,000. Shiba inu's Tuesday surge catapulted its market value to $18.8 billion, making it the 11th largest cryptocurrency in the world. To crack the top 10, shiba inu coin will have to nearly double from current levels to take over USD Coin's market valuation of about $33 billion. Dogecoin, the inspiration behind shiba inu coin, would be the next target for shiba inu, which currently has a $35 billion valuation.Technical analyst Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies thinks the renewed rally in altcoins like shiba inu could be set to continue if bitcoin manages to confirm its recent breakout by trading above the $65,000 level again."A breakout in bitcoin in absolute terms would support a risk-on environment favoring Ether and other altcoins," Stockton said in a Tuesday note. And that type of environment could be a boon for shiba inu coin. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021

Bitcoin Nears $63k As ProShares Signals ETF Launch Imminent, Dorsey Plans Mining System

Bitcoin Nears $63k As ProShares Signals ETF Launch Imminent, Dorsey Plans Mining System Update (1650ET): Confirming the earlier headlines that set the stage for a Bitcoin (futures) ETF to start trading next week, Bloomberg's James Seyffart tweeted that Proshares' 8A just hit which registers the ETF's shares with the SEC for trading on an exchange. If anyone needs more evidence that this is happening on Tuesday. Proshares' 8A just hit which registers the ETF's shares with the SEC for trading on an exchange. pic.twitter.com/Idp6cm4qet — James Seyffart (@JSeyff) October 15, 2021 Additionally, ETFStore President Nate Geraci told CoinDesk that the form is “a step forward” for digital assets and bridging them with the more traditional financial sector. He confirmed that the filing of a post-effective amendment is confirmation of the SEC’s tacit approval. “It’s an encouraging sign for the future of crypto to see SEC Chairman Gensler get comfortable in helping mainstream investors more easily access bitcoin exposure,” he said in an email. “The availability of a bitcoin ETF will now bring more investors under the crypto tent and facilitate greater education across the space.” As UBS warned in its latest Crypto Compasss, so as not to tempt fate, one veteran investor offered the tongue-in-cheek observation that anticipated SEC approval for a futures-based ETF may mark a local top in prices, much like the Coinbase IPO, per the old adage: "buy the rumour, sell the fact." The same thing occurred on the exact day that BTC futures debuted on the CME on December 17, 2017. We wouldn't bank on it but also wouldn't be surprised to see such a milestone marking the point where some long-term dip buyers begin to lighten up. They have been accumulating steadily for the past seven months. But, options markets are signaling a lot of upside still for BTC (and positive gamma)... However, UBS notes that stablecoin intervention is a more potent threat, with authorities actively throwing sand in the wheels of further development.  *  *  * Update (1635ET): Square (and Twitter) CEO Jack Dorsey has been a long-time advocate for cryptocurrencies and this evening he tweeted about his latest plans to create a Bitcoin mining system: Square is considering building a Bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source for individuals and businesses worldwide. If we do this, we’d follow our hardware wallet model: build in the open in collaboration with the community. First some thoughts and questions. — jack⚡️ (@jack) October 15, 2021 As he detailed in a brief thread: 1/ Mining needs to be more distributed. The core job of a miner is to securely settle transactions without the need for trusted 3rd parties. This is critical well after the last bitcoin is mined. The more decentralized this is, the more resilient the Bitcoin network becomes. True?  2/ Mining needs to be more efficient. Driving towards clean and efficient energy use is great for Bitcoin’s economics, impact, and scalability. Energy is a system-level problem that requires innovation in silicon, software, and integration. What are the largest opportunities here?  3/ Silicon design is too concentrated into a few companies. This means supply is likely overly constrained. Silicon development is very expensive, requires long term investment, and is best coupled tightly with software and system design. Why aren’t more companies doing this work?  4/ There isn’t enough focus on vertical integration. Considering hardware, software, productization, and distribution requires accountability for delivering to an end customer vs improving a single technology in the chain. Does seeing this as a single system improve accessibility?  5/ Mining isn’t accessible to everyone. Bitcoin mining should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source. There isn’t enough incentive today for individuals to overcome the complexity of running a miner for themselves. What are the biggest barriers for people running miners?  Our team led by @JesseDorogusker will start the deep technical investigation required to take on this project. We’d love your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and collaboration. Should we do this? Why or why not? We’ll update this thread as we make our decisions. And now over to Jesse.  That headline was enough to push Bitcoin even higher on the day, nearing $63k at its peak... *  *  * Cryptos are all rallying this morning but Bitcoin is making headlines as it broke back above the $60,000 level for the first since April... Source: Bloomberg This has extended a recent run from around $40,000 which has been driven by increasingly optimistic signs of a Bitcoin ETF being imminent... Source: Bloomberg This has pushed Bitcoin back up to be the world's 8th largest asset (just below that of Silver), and well above $1 trillion market cap... Source Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg has reported that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to approve the first Bitcoin futures ETFs in the country. The anonymous sources said: “The regulator isn’t likely to block the products from starting to trade next week.” Bloomberg's Eric Balchunas recently laid out his odds for which of the numerous ETF proposals will be accepted first... And for those in the "digital gold" camp, this analog from the '70s is interesting. CoinTelegraph reports that Austrian investor and analyst Niko Jilch this week referenced famed investor Paul Tudor Jones while explaining the “excitement” over the Bitcoin ETF. Tudor Jones had previously highlighted Bitcoin’s cycles being similar to gold in the 1970s — just when it had become a futures product itself and enjoyed a 10-year bull run followed by a 50% correction. Gold’s 1970s rip, TechDev additionally noted, fits extremely neatly over Bitcoin’s performance since October 2020. Finally, not to be forgotten, Ethereum is holding above $3800... Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 16:42.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Cryptocurrency Evolution: Adoption Rates, Regulatory Approaches and Attitudes Towards Risk

The cryptocurrency market’s rate of adoption is astonishing. With more than 100 million people around the world invested in them and the number of Blockchain wallet users worldwide at an all time high of 76 million in September 2021, this market is indubitably on its way into the mainstream. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences […] The cryptocurrency market’s rate of adoption is astonishing. With more than 100 million people around the world invested in them and the number of Blockchain wallet users worldwide at an all time high of 76 million in September 2021, this market is indubitably on its way into the mainstream. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more However, this popularity increase in the asset, based on shifts in general attitudes towards the level of risk associated with them, has steered multiple governments towards applying a greater level of regulatory scrutiny to cryptocurrencies. The ensuing search for a stable framework of regulation and monitoring is important because it gives rise to two salient issues: is regulation needed at all, and if so, what might be the best regulatory approach? According to Statistica, the largest names in the cryptocurrency market are currently: Bitcoin (NASDAQ:BTC) Ethereum (NASDAQ:ETH) Ripple (NASDAQ:XRP) Bitcoin Cash (NASDAQ:BCH) Adoption Rates Cryptocurrencies were first conceptualised in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto with the creation of Bitcoin, the original decentralised currency. This was swiftly followed by the emergence of rival ‘altcoins’ from 2011 (such as Litecoin and Namecoin) which tried to improve on the original design of Bitcoin and offer some advantages over it, such as faster transaction times or enhanced anonymity. Nevertheless, the core ethos endorsing cryptocurrency remains the creation of a safe and anonymous method of currency transfer between users, its initial goal in 2009. Since then, cryptocurrency is finally reaching mainstream adoption globally, with the WEF citing its growing adoption in developing countries. In the last year alone, the African crypto market grew by over 1200% in the value received; it is estimated that around $105.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency was received by African countries between July 2020 and July 2021. Furthermore, a Statista report found Nigeria owned the most out of emerging countries: nearly a third of its population owned some form of crypto. High rates of adoption were also found in: Vietnam, Turkey and South Africa. The main factor contributing to the widespread acceptance in these developing countries is the chance at financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, nearly one-third of the world’s adults don’t have access to traditional banking services, the majority of which are concentrated in these countries. Since a software wallet is all that is needed to make use of cryptocurrency, many facing difficulties with formal financial services are turning to it instead. Moreover, the mass adoption of mobile phones and internet in developing countries (two-thirds of the ‘unbanked’ 2 billion have mobile phones), has indirectly led to the increased adoption of cryptocurrency. Add to this that the exchange of money through cryptocurrencies is easier and cheaper, rendering it more affordable for people living a middle standard of living in developing countries, and it’s no wonder they are so widespread. With that said, this increased interest in cryptocurrency is not limited to these developing countries. Institutional investors are beginning to observe it more closely, and it is coming to be viewed as an increasingly legitimate safeguard against currency instability and the risk of inflation. Managers like Skybridge, Blackrock, and Tudor have all announced the addition of crypto to their portfolio, and even the launch of funds dedicated to it. It is expected that this surging interest will continue to grow, kicked off by the rising number of new uses for crypto, as well as extensive acceptance by traditional banks. Its increased adoption coupled with greater innovation bodes well for the democratisation of the financial system. However, it also means cryptocurrency can no longer be ignored by regulators. Attitudes Towards Risk Cryptocurrency investing is risky because of its frequent episodes of volatility. Despite its often tumultuous journey in price (e.g. Bitcoin fell from $60,000 in April 2021 to $30,000 in May, then rose back to $50,000 by September 2021), mainstream attitudes towards the risk of cryptocurrency are changing. This arises as eyes are opened to its many applications. For example, stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that can be pegged to other assets (i.e. the U.S. dollar), and in so doing, protect them from drastic devaluations. Anyone living in Nigeria would have lost nearly 50% of their net worth since 2016 as a result of the Nigerian Naira plummeting from 200 N per USD to a record low of 527 N per USD in August 2021. However, had these assets been invested in a stablecoin pegged to the USD no such loss would have been suffered. Alongside the protection of assets, cryptocurrency is also a potent grower of wealth. It grants access to stocks such as Apple, Amazon and Tesla to anyone in the world with tokenised stocks. These tokenised variants of traditional stocks allow users to buy fractional portions of a token, which equates to a portion of a stock. Suddenly, the requirement for a large amount of investable assets in order to access such wealth-building tools has been vanquished and can be invested in with as little as $5. These attitudes towards risk are mirrored by mainstream institutions, who are beginning to recognise cryptocurrency as a credible asset class. Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income has previously gone on record in support of cryptocurrencies by stating that “[he] thinks it could have some real upside [and that] … it’s an asset class [he] thinks is durable”. Other major players from the traditional finance sphere are starting to recognise the shift that is occurring: Morgan Stanley is considering funding bitcoin with its $150 billion investment fund, BNY Mellon and Deutsche Bank are offering crypto custody and JPMorgan has admitted it will have to be involved in bitcoin. This increased participation of financial institutions in cryptocurrency is expected to only lead to greater success and acceptance generally. With the support of these traditional firms, who are comfortable liaising with the red tape and political games of regulation, there is a greater chance of a regulatory framework being established that is tailored and favourable for crypto. Regulatory Approaches Cryptocurrencies are being faced with greater regulatory scrutiny now than ever before. Bitcoin’s volatile price changes are feeding the concerns of financial regulators regarding the absence of a regulatory framework for this swifty developing market. The G7, ECB and UK CFA have all expressed concerns about the unregulated growth of crypto, primarily bitcoin. Regulation of cryptocurrency is still lagging behind in many countries. Many haven’t yet passed specific legislation or regulatory guidance for the sector holistically, while others are biding their time with a step-by-step approach. However, the attitudes of regulators are changing; officials worldwide have expressed worries about the lack of regulation over the growth of cryptocurrencies. Central banks and regulators do not agree that crypto can be described as a currency, but a highly volatile asset. This volatility is caused by small volumes in the market and the influence ‘whales’ possess over its value because of their concentrated holdings. It is almost unanimously agreed that retail investors should be protected against this, and a regulatory framework can achieve this. The broad trend in regulation appears to be more favourable towards cryptocurrency, with governments attempting to package it as a less risky product for consumers. This comes as regulators begin to notice that crypto is here to stay, and adapt their policies accordingly. For example, crypto took a step closer to mainstream exposure when PayPal announced it would allow US customers to hold, buy or sell Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and BitcoinCash. The Next Frontier Considering regulators to date: In the US, the OCC take on interest bearing accounts to date largely focussed on conventional methods excluding cryptocurrency. Other countries are more pro cryptocurrency and are very open about it. Looking to the future, the next frontier of money-making opportunities in crypto appears to have been presented by interest earning platforms. Several businesses (such as Hodlnaut, Nexo or BlockFi) offer interest bearing accounts that remunerate account holders in the cryptocurrency they fund their account with. In fact, platforms like Hodlnaut allow users to earn interest in the cryptocurrency of their choice from the six supported assets including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The interest rates for these accounts will differ based on the selected cryptocurrency, and interest on most accounts should accrue on a weekly basis or shorter. This is optimal for investors since compounding interest allows for much faster account growth. Given the way compounding interest works, this means time is in the user’s favour since the longer money is kept invested, the faster it will grow. Thus a clear benefit of using crypto to earn interest are the competitive rates offered. It is unheard of for a traditional savings account to offer anywhere near to yielding 7% interest, but since a blockchain cuts out overhead costs, higher interest rates are able to be offered. Additionally, there is no minimum lock up time on crypto funds and no minimum account required to open such interest bearing accounts. That being said, there are disadvantages to earning interest on crypto, namely that the floating interest rates don’t guarantee they will stay high in the long-term, and that if the cryptocurrency held by the user depreciates, so too must the earned interest. It has been asserted by Elon Musk (and many other bitcoin critics for years) that another disadvantage of cryptocurrency is that it is bad for the environment as it pollutes the planet. However, research by Cambridge University reflects that the damage is not nearly as bad as suggested. Since large scale miners are competing in an industry with low-margins, where the only cost that can vary is energy, they are motivated to migrate towards the world’s cheapest sources of power in order to be profitable. The first six months of 2021 saw America jump from fifth to second place globally for the region with the most crypto miners. This is likely due to the fact that green energy is on the rise in the U.S, and as illustrated by Lazard’s 2020 report, most renewable energy sources are either equal to or less expensive than conventional sources. Updated on Oct 4, 2021, 10:41 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 4th, 2021

El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip

Will the country's adoption of the digital currency help its people, or just its president? When Roman Martinez was growing up in El Zonte, a small coastal village in El Salvador, the American Dream loomed large. Beyond the local fishing industry, which Martinez’s parents worked in, there weren’t a lot of opportunities. “Young people just wanted to leave, to go to the U.S.,” he says. “But now we have a Salvadoran dream.” It’s a dream about Bitcoin. Two years ago an anonymous American donor sent more than $100,000 in the decentralized digital currency, or cryptocurrency, to an NGO that Martinez works for in El Zonte to pay for social programs. As the team began encouraging families and businesses to use Bitcoin, many of the town’s residents, most of whom had never had a bank account, began saving their money in the currency, making gains as its value surged. Curious tourists flooded into the town and foreign businesses set up shop. The project gave El Zonte the nickname “Bitcoin beach,” simultaneously a philanthropic endeavour and one of the world’s largest experiments in cryptocurrency. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “People with little income, who didn’t have access to a financial system, with $5 worth of Bitcoin they can start building something that can be the legacy they leave to their children,” Martinez says, over video call, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with Bitcoin’s orange logo. It was partly El Zonte’s experiment that inspired El Salvador last month to become the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender—alongside the U.S. dollar, which El Salvador has used as its currency since 2001. The Bitcoin law, which came into force on Sept. 7, makes taxes payable in Bitcoin, obliges all businesses to accept it, and paves the way for the government to disburse subsidies in it. The government has built a network of 200 Bitcoin ATMs and a digital Bitcoin wallet app, called Chivo, through which it has distributed $30 worth of Bitcoin to every Salvadoran citizen in a bid to kickstart the Bitcoin economy. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele claims 2.1 million Salvadorans have used Chivo so far, in a country of 6 million people. Bukele is touting Bitcoin as a way for Salvadorans to reduce the fees they pay to send and receive remittances—which make up 22% of El Salvador’s GDP, mostly from the U.S.—and as a way for the 70% of Salvadorans who are unbanked to access financial services. He’s not alone in advocating for cryptocurrencies as a way for developing economies to bypass a global financial system in which access to services and investment are geared towards the world’s richer countries and individuals. Crypto has achieved its highest penetration mostly in countries where banking systems are costly and complicated to use, or where local economies and currencies are unstable. But critics say making Bitcoin—notoriously volatile and not subject to controls by any central bank—into legal tender is an unjustifiable gamble for El Salvador’s already ailing economy. The $200 million of taxpayer money congress has devoted to the project equates to 2.7% of the government’s total budget for 2021, or almost three times the agriculture ministry’s budget for the year. The uncertainty introduced by the Bitcoin policy has sent the price of government bonds tumbling, and halted negotiations for a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the country is seeking to plug a $1.5 billion hole in its public finances. ‘The coolest dictator in the world’ For the President, a 40 year-old with the casual wardrobe and cheeky communication style of a tech entrepreneur, Bitcoin is about more than its immediate economic impact, though. It’s a chance to rebrand El Salvador, from a country known primarily for gang violence and a sluggish economy that drives emigration to the U.S., to an independent, modern crypto pioneer. For young Salvadorans like Martinez, that means creating a Salvadoran dream. For the international community, it’s a rebuke to a world order that casts El Salvador as the backyard to the U.S.—which Bukele has increasingly railed against since taking power in 2019. Instead, he casts El Salvador as an independent hub of innovation, aligned with the anti-establishment crypto community, members of which have flooded and celebrated the country in recent months and will return for a large crypto conference in November. Envisioning the transformation he witnessed in El Zonte taking place across the country, Martinez is excited—despite doubts among the wider population. “We’re used to new things happening in the U.S. or Canada or Europe,” Martinez says. “Now we’ve changed the narrative about El Salvador and started moving forward. Michael Nagle—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesNayib Bukele, El Salvador’s president, speaks in a prerecorded video during the United Nations General Assembly via live stream in New York on Sept. 23, 2021. But there’s another narrative unfolding in El Salvador. Since Bukele’s party, New Ideas, won a landslide victory at parliamentary elections in February, he has moved rapidly to undermine the structures of El Salvador’s democracy. In May, parliament voted to replace opposition-linked judges on the supreme court with Bukele allies, bringing all levers of power under his control. In September—a few days before the Bitcoin launch—the same court ruled that Bukele can run for a second term in 2024, in defiance of El Salvador’s constitution, triggering sanctions from the U.S. He has also stepped up attacks on the media, including launching criminal investigations into news organizations and kicking critical journalists out of the country. Analysts say the Bitcoin experiment is part of Bukele’s proto-strongman trajectory. “He’s fallen in love with his own power and wants to nurture this cool millennial President image through this adventure into the Bitcoin world,” says Tiziano Breda, a Central America analyst at the International Crisis Group, a think tank. It’s working for him, largely. The Bitcoin law has sparked the first major protests of his presidency, with 8,000 people marching in San Salvador on Sept. 15— a significant number of people in a country where street protest is unusual. But the President’s approval ratings still stand above 85%. With that backing, Bukele is deeply dismissive of global concern about his leadership. On Sept 18, he changed his bio on Twitter to “Dictator of El Salvador,” clearly trolling the international press. Then, a couple of days later he changed it again, to “The coolest dictator in the world.” El Salvador’s rapid transformation On the night that Bitcoin launched in El Salvador, Nelson Rauda, a reporter for independent newspaper El Faro, went to a party. At a sleek hotel bar next to an infinity pool overlooking the pacific ocean in the department of La Libertad, crypto enthusiasts and internet celebrities from the U.S., including YouTuber Logan Paul, danced and let off fireworks to celebrate a major moment for the cryptocurrency. Some wore headdresses and carried orange signs featuring Bitcoin’s white B logo. Almost everyone was speaking English. ”The scenery, and the location was a beach in El Salvador, but it could have been anywhere else in the world,” Rauda says. “[The crypto community] want to portray themselves as bringing a future and development to El Salvador through Bitcoin— a kind of white saviorism in that sense. But most of them are not interested in the country, just business.” Bukele’s government welcomes their business. The President claims that if 1% of the world’s Bitcoin were invested in El Salvador, it would raise GDP by 25%. He has offered permanent residency to anyone who spends three Bitcoin (currently around $125,000). He has also highlighted the fact that, since Bitcoin is legal tender, rather than an investment asset, foreigners who move to El Salvador will not have to pay capital gains tax in the country on any profits made if the cryptocurrency’s value increases. To that he adds, in English, “Great weather, world class surfing beaches, beach front properties for sale” as reasons that crypto entrepreneurs should move to El Salvador. This pragmatic, salesman-like tone is something that Salvadorans appear to appreciate from their President. Though he served as mayor of the capital, San Salvador until 2018, Bukele ran for the presidency in 2019 as a political outsider. He used his direct link with millions of followers on social media to pit himself against the right and leftwing parties that had ruled the country since its civil war in the 1980s. That conflict, in which the U.S. played a decisive role by funding opponents of leftist rebels, sowed the seeds of many of El Salvador’s current problems: chronically low economic growth, weak institutions vulnerable to corruption, the world’s worst rates of gang violence and one of the lowest rates of direct foreign investment in Central America. Bukele argued, convincingly, that the postwar governments had failed to meaningfully address those woes over three decades. Since taking office, Bukele has projected an image of ruthless efficiency. In February 2020, he and a group of armed soldiers stormed into parliament in order to pressure lawmakers to pass his budget plan. He has slashed rates of gang violence, with the country’s homicide rate falling from 51 per 100,000 in 2018 to 19 per 100,000 in 2020 (Experts debate whether this is a result of Bukele’s security policy, gang trends independent of him, or a secretive quid pro quo deal he may have struck with gang leaders). He adopted a hardline response to COVID-19, ordering one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns and giving security forces the right to put any rule-breakers in detention centers, a move human rights watchdogs say led to violent repression. The unprecedented popularity Bukele has enjoyed has allowed him to move faster than Latin America observers expected to take anti-democratic steps, such as intervening in the judiciary, Breda says. “For many other sort of authoritarian governments in the region, it took [many] years to do the things that Bukele has done in such a sweeping way. The pace is definitely surprising.” Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesIlluminated drones form figures inspired by the Bitcoin logo in El Sunzal Beach, El Salvador, on Sept. 7, 2021. ‘Bitcoin is costing the country dearly’ Those who are most sceptical of Bukele—conservative economists—see his Bitcoin law as new packaging for an old move for populist authoritarian leaders in Latin America. The policy was labelled a “Bitcoin scam” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “They’re always trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat,” says Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at the John Hopkins University and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. “They say: ‘We’ve had all these financial problems because of all these irresponsible leaders we’ve had in the past. And now here I am riding a white horse and I’ve got some new gimmick that’s going to solve it all. It’s called Bitcoin.’” Hanke helped advise the Salvadoran government on the country’s dollarization, when it adopted the U.S. dollar as its sole currency in 2001. From 1993 the Salvadoran colón had been pegged to the U.S. dollar on a fixed exchange rate, in a successful effort to keep previously rampant inflation under control. After eight years, the government opted to fully replace the colón with the dollar. That made the economy more stable and lowered the cost of borrowing, but limited Salvadoran governments’ freedom to spend money, particularly in times of financial crisis. Hanke and others have speculated that the Bitcoin move is a first step towards scrapping dollarization altogether and issuing a national digital currency. That would both enable looser public spending, and reduce the impact of U.S. sanctions. But for local economists, the immediate concern is how Bitcoin could complicate El Salvador’s path out of a deep pandemic recession. “Public finances in El Salvador are on a knife edge. Public debt stands at close to 90% of GDP and the government needs to find almost $1.5 billion to close the year and pay its obligations,” says Alvaro Trigueros Arguello, director of economic studies at FUSADES, a San Salvador-based development thinktank. Though El Salvador’s economy is growing—with the Central Bank saying Sept. 29 that GDP is on course to surge by 9% this year—Trigueros Arguello says this is mostly due to a temporary factors, including the reopening of businesses after COVID-19 restrictions and a surge in remittances after the disbursement of pandemic aid packages in the U.S. The Bitcoin rollout has complicated El Salvador’s relationship with the IMF, from which it is seeking a $1 billion assistance package. In June the fund denied a request by El Salvador to assist in its Bitcoin rollout. It cited the lack of transparency in cryptocurrencies, arguing that the difficulty of tracing who makes Bitcoin transactions has facilitated criminal activity elsewhere, as well as environmental concerns about widening the use of Btcoin, which requires vasts amount of energy to produce. Fears over the cryptocurrency’s impact on El Salvador’s macroeconomic stability have stalled negotiations between El Salvador and the IMF, Trigueros Arguello says. “The government needs international credit and because of Bitcoin, it’s not getting it,” Trigueros Arguello says. “Bitcoin is costing the country dearly.” Camilo Freedman—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesDemonstrators hold signs during a protest against President Bukele and Bitcoin in San Salvador on Sept. 15, 2021. The backdrop to El Salvador’s experiment hasn’t undermined the excitement for those who want crypto currencies to be more widely used. Bitcoin Twitter has filled with tweets celebrating how easy it is for Salvadorans to use the currency in places like Starbucks, and praising Bukele’s foresight. “I’m totally excited about what’s happening in El Salvador. [Particularly] the fact that it’s happening in Latin America,” says Cristóbal Pereira, CEO of Blockchain Summit LatAm, a regional conference covering the blockchain technology that underlies Bitcoin, which will host events at El Salvador’s own Bitcoin conference in November. “If people end up using it widely, there’s a good chance other countries and people will end up using it more too.” It’s too early to tell if the buzz will be matched by the significant investments Bukele is hoping for. Analysts say businesses will likely wait and see how the bitcoin rollout affects El Salvador’s economic stability before striking any major deals. Mike Petersen, an American who moved to El Zonte in 2005 and helped found the Bitcoin beach, says he’s received a “a huge flood of [enquiries from] businesses that want to set up shop here, because, for the first time they are realizing, hey, Salvador is a forward looking country.” Those include companies in the Bitcoin space, such as exchanges and ATM networks, but also real estate developers, manufacturing companies and “some lighting and architectural companies that are now outsourcing, hiring architectural students here to do design and and put together bids for them. Because they can pay them in Bitcoin.” Peterson says he doubts that concern about the political situation in El Salvador will have any impact on investors. “Elite media circles are the ones that are more focused on that. I think, in the business climate, people are more pragmatic and practical about things. And they see that Bukele is extremely popular.” What’s not necessarily popular, so far, is Bitcoin. Bukele claims that a third of Salvadorans are actively using Chivo, but it is unclear how many are only using the app to access the initial $30 gift from the government. Media outlets in El Salvador reported long queues for the ATMs, where most people were converting their Bitcoin to take dollars home with them. In the first week of the rollout, one of the country’s largest banks told The Financial Times that the cryptocurrency accounted for fewer than 0.0001 % of its daily transactions. Rauda, the El Faro reporter, says he knows “no one” who’s using Bitcoin on a regular basis. Teething troubles The government gave itself just three months after parliament approved its Bitcoin law in June to introduce the currency, leading to a series of technical issues with the Chivo wallet app. Crypto bloggers reported cash taking days to show up in their Chivo accounts after being transferred by other users, bugs making the app unusable, and an initial inability to transfer any sum below $5. Bukele, who took to Twitter throughout the launch to offer emoji-laden tech support messages, claimed most of the technical problems were resolved within a few days. The bumpy rollout helped trigger a 10% fall in the value of Bitcoin against the day it became legal tender, and further falls since. On Sept. 20 Bukele said his government had “bought the dip” and acquired 150 more coins, bringing the country’s total holding to 700 (around $22 million). Chaotic rollouts of new government programs are not unique to El Salvador. But some in the Bitcoin community have concerns about the structure of the country’s experiment, beyond the initial hiccups. Marc Falzon, a New Jersey-based Bitcoin YouTuber who visited San Salvador to document the rollout, says he became concerned about Salvadoran taxpayers footing the bill despite opposition to the policy, and about Article 6 of the Bitcoin law, which says that all economic actors in the country must accept Bitcoin if they have the technical capacity to do so. “Forcing people to accept a decentralized currency from a centralized authority ebbs away at the legitimacy of not just Bitcoin, but cryptocurrency in general,” he says. Supporters of the project point out that Salvadorans don’t have to keep their money in Bitcoin if they don’t want to, with the government guaranteeing their ability to transfer them into U.S. dollars via its national development bank and a range of services allowing businesses to make that transfer automatically. But Falzon says that the positive image of EL Salvador’s rollout generated by Bitcoin influencers on Instagram and Twitter didn’t reflect what he saw. In a health store near his hotel, for example, the shopkeeper said she couldn’t afford to restock because so many Bitcoin payments made by customers had simply never shown up in her Chivo app account. “For people in the Bitcoin and crypto community, El Salvador is a ‘told you so moment,’ proof that this isn’t just a fad. And I think that in that enthusiasm, we can lose sight of both the bigger picture—in how future countries may start to follow suit—and also of the individual experiences of the people that are in these countries.” Some individuals are happy though. Martinez, the community activist who grew up in El Zonte, says the town’s experience suggests hesitancy to use Bitcoin—and opposition to the Bitcoin law—will fade as Salvadorans become more used to the technology, and become widespread within a few years. He’s not concerned, he says, by how Bitcoin may play into Bukele’s larger political project. “As an NGO, we’re apolitical. We support anything that can make a better El Salvador. And I think we’re walking towards a better future.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 1st, 2021