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Bitcoin Among Google’s Top Searches for 2017

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2017 was a banner year for bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency catapulted into mainstream consciousness for the first time. It therefore comes as no surprise that bitcoin made it on to Google’s top searches for 2017.

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Year in Search 2017

Bitcoin made it on to two of Google’s top-five categories for 2017, according to the recently released ‘Year in Search’. It was the second-most search term in the Global News category, behind Hurricane Irma, which crashed into the Caribbean and Florida Keys this past September.

The top-five Global News searches for 2017 were:

  1. Hurricane Irma
  2. Bitcoin
  3. Las Vegas Shooting
  4. North Korea
  5. Solar Eclipse

The world’s leading cryptocurrency also made it on to Google’s top ‘How To…’ category, where it finished third:

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  1. How to make slime
  2. How to make solar eclipse glasses
  3. How to buy bitcoin
  4. How to watch Mayweather vs McGregor
  5. How to make a fidget spinner

Bitcoin maintained a record-setting pace for much of 2017, raising concerns of a speculative bubble that may burst at any moment. Data from Google recently showed that searches for the phrase ‘bitcoin bubble’ surged last month to the highest level on the scale of historical interest, which ranges between 0 and 100. The phrase reached 100 for the first time Nov. 26.

Just a few weeks later, the cryptocurrency would approach $20,000 for the first time. At its highest, bitcoin’s value grew 20 times over the course of the year.

Volatility Ahead

As recent price action has demonstrated, bitcoin is still prone to wild fluctuations. Since its most recent highs, bitcoin has fluctuated between $11,000 and $16,500. The cryptocurrency was last seen trading around $14,765.

Bitcoin researcher Nick Colas recently predicted a wild 2018 for the cryptocurrency, with prices likely to fluctuate between $6,500 and $22,000 throughout the year. Along the way, it will experience four massive corrections of 40% or more. Colas’ forecast suggests that institutional demand will offer no guarantee of price stability.

Much of bitcoin’s growth over the past month has been driven by the launch of derivatives contracts tied to the virtual currency. Both CBOE and CME Group successfully launched bitcoin futures this month. CBOE has also filed to list several bitcoin futures exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a sign that the digital asset will attract more institutional support in the near future.

At its peak, bitcoin’s total market was worth well over $300 billion.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Shares of Hong Kong-Based UBI Blockchain Suspended by SEC

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has halted trading in UBI Blockchain Internet Ltd. (UBIA) over “unexplained market activity,” a sign that regulators were continuing to clamp down on assets tied to cryptocurrency.

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Trading Halted

The U.S. securities regulator announced Monday that it was suspending UBI Blockchain shares from being traded until the company answers questions about the accuracy of its financial statements.

UBI Blockchain surged more than 900% last year, bringing its total market value north of $800 million. All this, and the company has yet post any revenue. It also failed to give regulators a working phone number during public filing.

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Company chief Tony Liu said the SEC’s decision is “understandable  due to the recent frenzy of buying stock related to the bitcoin phenomena.” However, Liu reminded that his company was not involved in cryptocurrency.

“We believe the general public is confusing our blockchain technology with bitcoin companies,” Liu said in a statement that was quoted by Bloomberg. UBI was “involved in blockchain technology for well over two years before the bitcoin buying frenzy took place and we plan to be in business for years after the bitcoin buying anomaly ends.”

Blockchain is the pioneering technology that underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but can exist independently of those systems. Its vast use case has attracted attention from banks, governments and businesses in pursuit of more transparent audit trails.

The Rise of Crypto Stocks

So-called ‘crypto stocks’ have benefited from the euphoria surrounding digital currencies. Their popularity has grown in lockstep with bitcoin among investors who want to capitalize on the crypto revolution without the added volatility of owning the underlying assets.

There’s a long list of companies that can offer indirect exposure to cryptocurrency. Some of the more popular include AMD (AMD) and Nvidia (NVDA), whose chips are used for mining virtual currency.

Digital Power (DPW) is a manufacturer of power-supply products that is venturing into cryptocurrency-specific equipment. Meanwhile, Overstock.com is an online retailer that not only accepts bitcoin, but is launching a mega ICO through its subsidiary tZero.

In addition to stocks, traditional investors can choose from Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), which holds BTC tokens in a fund that is similar to an ETF, as well as futures contracts offered by CME and CBOE. Efforts to bring bitcoin to the ETF market are also ongoing.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Notable Market Prognosticator Jeremy Grantham Considers Bitcoin to Be a “Bubble”

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The investor who accurately predicted two major market crashes has described bitcoin a “bubble” that is waiting to burst. Although bitcoin enthusiasts have heard this song before, it carries a little more weight coming from from Jeremy Grantham, the co-founder of GMO.

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Bitcoin has No Fundamental Value

Grantham, who famously called the dot-com and sub-prime mortgage crashes, said the bitcoin bubble is likely to burst within the next six months to two years.

In his regular report on market trends, he said bitcoin has “no clear fundamental value” and operates in “largely unregulated markets.” This is combined with “a storyline conducive to delusions of grandeur” that makes bitcoin the very thing that investors fear.

In his analysis, Grantham compares bitcoin’s meteoric rise to the the dot-com era around 1999 and early 2000. This is exemplified in the following graph, which charts bitcoin’s meteoric climb against several of history’s biggest bubbles.

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In fact, bitcoin’s rise is so steep that it dwarfs the South Sea Company of the 1700s. In Grantham’s view, the extent of the asset’s growth means the bubble could burst long before the broader market peaks. Based on recent price trends, that peak could be a long ways out.

Bitcoin’s Bull Run

We’ve all read about bitcoin’s meteoric rise over the last 12 months, but much less has been written about its prior performance. The digital asset was actually the world’s best performing currency in six of seven years between 2010 and 2016 before being overtaken by Ripple in 2017.

Bitcoin’s epic rally helped trigger a broader cryptocurrency explosion, resulting in a market now worth more than $750 billion. The total value of all cryptocurrencies peaked around $833 billion on Sunday before correcting lower over the past 20 hours.

As Grantham’s prediction clearly demonstrates, cryptocurrencies have divided market participants and investors about the true nature of its rally. Privacy advocates, technology companies and those weary of big government have described cryptocurrency as a major evolution in how we conceive and transmit monetary value. Government agencies, institutional investors and Wall Street have been much more critical, going as far as describing bitcoin as the tool of cyber criminals.

Though disagreements over cryptocurrency will continue, all these actors more or less share one thing in common: they all support the development of blockchain technology. The immutable ledger has demonstrated utility that extends far beyond the crypto sphere, with banks and even governments experimenting with it.

Whether or not bitcoin is a bubble has less bearing on the argument that cryptocurrencies have revolutionized the financial system. There are more than 1,400 coins in circulation, and many agree that the vast majority will fail. Though a bitcoin crash would have a devastating impact on investors and the market at large, it would not negate the project of decentralized currency. Alas, the viability of bitcoin and other crypto assets does not depend on whether they are in a bubble state or not.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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U.S. Government to Sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Seized from Cyber Criminal

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A U.S. federal judge in Utah has approved the auction of hundreds of units of bitcoin and bitcoin cash seized from a dark web dealer, CCN has learned. The sale will be part of a larger liquidation of assets belonging to convicted criminal Aaron Michael Shamo.

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Bitcoin Auction

There were 513 units of bitcoin and 512 bitcoin cash tokens in Shamo’s possession at the time of his conviction. All of them will be auctioned off, along with two automobiles. At current prices, the sale will amount to roughly $8.5 million.

Shamo was convicted on May 31, 2017 along with fellow dark web operators for several drug-related offences, including trafficking and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The official court document released by Utah district judge Dale Kimball indicated that it was too costly to store the seized cryptocurrencies for a prolonged period. Based on the court documents, storing the coins cost taxpayers $465 per month.

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The decision to liquidate the coins comes amid growing concerns over price volatility, with government officials seeking an imminent sale of the cryptocurrencies before they lose their value.  In October it was disclosed that the U.S. government lost nearly $2.4 billion on the sale of 144,336 bitcoins when the cryptocurrency was priced at just $336 a unit.

According to the official court document:

“The vehicles [bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash] have been seized and are in the custody and control of the United States Marshals Service. Every month, the USMS is accruing $465/month in storage fees for these vehicles. The total expenses for these two vehicles currently is $5,010.70. The BTC and BCH have been transferred to a Government wallet. Due to the volatile market for cryptocurrencies, the BTC and BCH risk losing value during the pendency of the forfeiture proceedings.”

Once considered the exclusive domain of dark web criminality, bitcoin has catapulted into the mainstream over the last 12 months. The price explosion has drawn the attention of various levels of government, from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the District Court system.

Although bitcoin remains a popular cryptocurrency in the criminal underworld, altcoins with stronger privacy features are gaining prominence. Coins such as Monero, Zcash and Ethereum are becoming more popular among cyber criminals. Zcash appears to have the best privacy protection among the three, which analysts say could generate higher adoption among criminals in the future.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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