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Crypto Conspiracies – Fact or Fiction?

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The following is a collection of speculative internet conspiracy theories and should not be taken as fact, or as the opinions of Hacked.

Cryptocurrency was born in mystery, and much of its young life thus far has been enveloped in the same enigma which followed its anonymous creator.

Such beginnings make fertile ground for conspiracy theories, and the noble denizens of the internet have not failed us on that regard.

There are probably too many crypto-conspiracies for any common journalist to cover in the space of one article; but we’ve got time for a few particularly juicy ones.

Before you go reaching for your tinfoil hat, be aware that some of these are tinged with a shadow of truth. Often times the theatre of the conspiracy theory distracts from the real issue at its core.

Bilderberg Bitcoin Conspiracy

This conspiracy has a few moving parts, but it can be summarized thus: The Bilderberg Group are really the ones behind Blockstream and the Lightning Network, and are responsible for crippling BTC so they can then control it via their own private methods.

If you remove the Bilderberg aspect from this equation then what you have is a fairly reasonable complaint. Depending on how you view it, you could easily make the case that Blockstream’s handling of Bitcoin has been poor; and big questions still remain over the Lightning Network’s ability to be truly decentralized.

Even back in 2016 community members were voicing these concerns, with Nodecounter releasing announcements like this:

“These Blockstream-paid Bitcoin developers (for the Bitcoin ‘Core’ software) are enforcing a limit on how much information can be transacted in Bitcoin. This is limiting the number of transactions to just 3 per second, approximately. Blockstream is concurrently developing a ‘solution’ to this problem, called the ‘Lightning Network’. This ‘solution’ is to be placed on top of the crippled Bitcoin network to allow it to scale. Blockstream will monetize the Lightning Network in the form of fees required to use their service.”

So where do the Bilderbergs come into it?

Well, in 2016, then president of AXA, Henri de Castries, invested $55 million in the Blockstream project. However, Henri was also president of another group – the Bilderbergs.

Another source of Blockstream’s funds was Digital Currency Group, which was headed up by Glenn Hutchins – Hutchins is also on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve.

So if we follow the money trail, then one could easily draw connections between the mainstream financial elites and Bitcoin.

Financial institutions have slowly started to dip in to the crypto pot in recent years; and the downside is that they bring their own methods along with them. Such shared interests and investments are common in the everyday business world – but crypto was supposed to be open-source; community driven and decentralized.

If one small group alone – Bilderbergs, or merely whales – can dictate the direction of Bitcoin, then what does that say for the ideals of the original whitepaper?

Corporate interference in blockchain and crypto tech is a growing concern which should worry us all, whether the Bilderbergs are involved or not.

NSA and SHA-256

According to this conspiracy, the NSA are behind the creation of Bitcoin is one that has been floated for years. The core proposition is that the NSA invented Bitcoin and have been using it as a way to observe and spy upon the population for years – with crypto users taking the role of guinea-pigs in a socio-economic experiment conducted by the government.

This theory hangs on the fact that the SHA-256 hashing algorithm used by Bitcoin was originally invented by the NSA, and published in a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) paper in the early 2000s.

It’s certainly true that the NSA was involved in the creation of the hashing algorithm, but that should come as no real surprise – the Tor Browser was created by the American military, and firms like IBM and Microsoft have been collaborating with government agencies on tech projects for years. IBM’s dealing with government groups (both domestic and foreign) goes back all the way to World War 2.

While it’s no stretch to imagine the government running rampant over basic human liberties, it’s also important to remember that governments want good cryptography to exist just as much, or more than, everyone else. And assuming the NSA could leave a backdoor in Bitcoin, how long would it be before it was discovered by the legions of hackers who pull open the hood of Bitcoin on a daily basis?

Another factor to take into consideration is that the Bitcoin code is freely available online in open-source form, and has been studied and pored over for almost a decade now.

Additionally, in 2016 the NSA revealed they were switching their cryptography methods to bolster them against the actions of hackers using quantum computing methods. This was accompanied by an announcement that they no longer considered SHA-256 to be secure.

Satoshi Nakamoto or CIA

In a video released by a group of anti-secrecy campaigners, it is alleged that the name Satoshi Nakamoto is actually a Japanese translation of Central Intelligence. According to this conspiracy, the idea is that Bitcoin has been a CIA project all this time, and they decided to play a joke on us by dropping hints about the name.

The truth about the translation of the name itself is not too far off: Satoshi is a Japanese name meaning wise, clear-headed, observant. While Nakamoto is a surname descending from the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan which means of central origin, or one from the middle.

Whether this constitutes proof in your eyes is completely up to you, but you should know that several Satoshi Nakamotos have been found both in America and Japan; including one Satoshi who claimed he was the enigmatic inventor of Bitcoin. However he was soon revealed to be no more than a lathe machinist.

Whatever your view of the conspiracies surrounding cryptocurrency, you’d be hard pressed to deny that they make for intriguing reading. More conspiracies are born every day; and it seems the lifespan of cryptocurrency may forever be enshrouded in the same mystery that characterized its invention, and its inventor.

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 144 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Cryptocurrencies

2018 Crypto Crash: Here’s What Actually Caused It

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Tech-savvy investors have kept their eyes on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for several years now. The most prolific form of cryptocurrency has brought backers on a rollercoaster of highs and lows over the past two years. While this culminated with an all-time high of more than $19,000 in 2017, Bitcoin, in particular, would go on to lose almost 70 percent of its value just several months later. And as we saw in the altcoin universe, some losses clocked in at over 95%.

But what exactly caused the recent crypto crash of 2018? Even more importantly, what does the future hold for the various other types of cryptocurrency? Below is a rundown of some of the common themes that precipitated the 2018 selloff.

A Limited Supply Increases Demand

In its purest form, Bitcoin and its competitors are all a form of currency. But the format differs so much from traditional forms of money — like the Dollar or the Euro — that people trade cryptocurrencies as if they were commodities. The limited supply of cryptocurrencies, coupled with increased consumer demand, is bound to inflate the price. But such inflated value can only last for so long.

Crypto Challenges Cause Consumer Hesitation

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are fighting an uphill battle. Not only do they face increasing government scrutiny, standardization and regulation, but they’ve also gained a lot of unfavorable press in the past months and years.

In South Korea, three executives of an exchange called Upbit got charged for making fraudulent transactions that allegedly occurred between September and December 2017. Moreover, there are allegations that those executives sold 11,500 BTC to individuals during rigged transactions that solely benefitted the executives. That’s just one example of recent cryptocurrency corruption.

Plus, people who invest in cryptocurrencies rightfully wonder how secure their funds are. A report indicates that the total amount of cryptocurrency stolen in 2018 will likely reach $1 billion, with the thefts often resulting after hacks happen at the platform layer level or when cybercriminals infiltrate exchanges. When people hear about those headline-capturing events, it’s not surprising if they fear being the next victims.

There was also a widespread belief that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were untraceable and that it was impossible to connect transactions back to specific users. However, that claim has been debunked, since there are numerous ways to violate the supposed inviolable privacy cryptocurrency offers and link transactions to the people who performed them.

Between fraudulent transactions, stolen funds, and online privacy concerns in general, many consumers are hesitant to embrace these new platforms. When they balked due to the unsettling events described above and others like them, the hesitation partially caused the crypto crash.

The Effect of SEC Regulation Fears

Potential cryptocurrency investors are also hesitating due to proposed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. They recently considered adding strict control to govern the trade of Ethereum — which caused a lot of concern over the likelihood of even tighter rules and regulations in the future.

Fortunately, the SEC ruled Ethereum is not the same as corporate bonds or stocks. Instead, it’s more akin to commodities like gold and silver. While this has eased some investor concerns, the lack of stability in the cryptocurrency market is still a significant concern.

A Recent Panic Triggered by the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork and Resulting Drama

Analysts have also weighed in to state how they believe the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which happened on August 1, 2017, set the stage for the 2018 crash by causing bickering between the two crypto communities associated with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. The hard fork caused an initial drop in Bitcoin’s value, partially driven by the negativity surrounding the event. A technical selloff occurred after the fork, followed by full-blown capitulation after that.

The technical selloff and capitulation have defined many of the discussions about Bitcoin’s crash, especially over the past six weeks or so.

Even long-term holders of Bitcoin have started to decide it’s time to sell. Bitcoin’s price dropped 36 percent in November 2018 alone. However, some people are still confident that the cryptocurrency will bounce back — as it has before, after other substantial drops.

Is the Bubble Bursting?

Opponents of cryptocurrency suggest the bubble has already burst. They compare the current situation to the “dot-com” bubble of the late ’90s and early 2000s, which bankrupted countless IT entrepreneurs. But experts in the field disagree. According to Angel Versetti, CEO of Ambrosus, the cryptocurrency bubble hasn’t even begun.

Matthew Newton, a top analyst with the online investment platform eToro, suggests it’s far too early to determine whether there is a bubble and if it has already burst. But he was also quick to point out the formation of a cryptocurrency bubble is an inevitable step in the processes of evolution and maturation.

Where Do We Go From Here?

There isn’t a failsafe method for keeping cryptocurrency alive. Instead, it will take a concentrated effort from investors, consumers and retailers alike. Not long ago, the value of Bitcoin was struggling to top $1, so it’s still come a long way in a short time. Additionally, there have been some key developments — despite the recent setbacks — that show great potential for the future.

The big challenge for investors moving forward is navigating between the short-term risks and long-term potential of digital assets. The apparent bursting of the asset bubble in 2018 exposed an overbought market that had risen too frantically for the fundamentals to support. But the pullback hasn’t weakened the value proposition of Bitcoin or other leading cryptocurrencies. As we’ll see over the next six months, topics ranging from institutional adoption to business innovation will dominate the headlines as the market continues its evolution.

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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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsKayla Matthews has been a technology and productivity journalist for over 7 years contributing to publications such as MakeUseOf, The Next Web, VentureBeat and Cointelegraph. She's also the editor of her tech blog, Productivity Bytes, where she writes everything from how-tos to the latest news in technology. To see more of her work, subscribe to Hacked.com or follow her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.




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Stellar Price Analysis: XLM/USD Has the Potential for a Short-term Rally, Though Bearish Set-up Eyed

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  • Stellar’s XLM potentially has further room for upside, within the short-term view.
  • Danger still looms for XLM/USD, as the daily chart suggests of a bearish technical pattern set up.

Steller’s native token XLM, has failed to commit to any sustained trend. This has been the case since the start of July. Bull rallies that have been witnessed were quickly sold by the market bears. This led the market to trade within a generally long running form of consolidation. Price action is narrowing, given the unsustainable short-term trend runs that have been witnessed. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the Stellar foundation have certainly been busy.

Stellar Developments

It was reported recently, blockchain security company BitGo, announced their support of Stellar Lumens (XLM). Being added to the BitGo’s list, Stellar now receives custody solutions. Their users will be able to generate wallets for Stellar Lumens. This is said to be starting at some point within the next couple of weeks. Elsewhere, as previously reported, the Stellar foundation at the start of this month released their heavily anticipated decentralized exchange, StellarX.

4-hour Chart Technical Review

XLM/USD 4-hour chart

Looking via the 4-hour chart, price action has formed a bullish pennant pattern. This comes after the surge higher between September 20-23. XLM/USD has since entered consolidation mode, trading within a range-bound nature. The price is coming very much towards the end of this technical pattern seen, raising the case for an imminent breakout. Near-term support can be observed around $0.2350 area. This is the lower tracking trend line of the mentioned pennant. A failure of the support could very likely see a fast fall to $0.2050. XLM/USD was last trading in this territory between September 12 – 20. The mentioned period was during a time of consolidation, prior to the mentioned breakout higher.

Resistance is seen just ahead of the current price. The above descending trend line of the pennant pattern is tracking around $0.2460-70. Enough bullish momentum to see the breach would likely force the price running to $0.2650. This is seen as an area of resistance on the 4-hour chart view. Looking further to the north, eyes would be on the supply heading into the $0.3000 mark.

Daily Chart Technical Review

XLM/USD daily chart

Taking into consideration the 4-hour chart view, there is still room for another squeeze higher. Despite this, danger appears to still be looming for XLM/USD. Risks on the daily chart point to the downside. The view of this is that a longer-term bearish pennant pattern is containing the price. XLM/USD support on the daily chart can be seen just sub of $0.2000. A long-running supporting trend line can be seen. The price having required assistance on June 29 and several occasions from September 8 – 12. To the upside, resistance can be seen around $0.2900. XLM/USD was rejected already on a few prior occasions, by the above descending trend line. July 25-2 and then most recently September 23, all saw respective bull runs halted.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 123 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: When is BCH/USD Taking Another Extended Move Higher?

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  • The Bitcoin Cash price behavior suggests another imminent breakout is likely. Upside surprises appear move likely than any potential downside breakouts.
  • BCH/USD continues to move within a bullish pennant pattern formation. Narrowing price action indicates a breach is near.

The Bitcoin Cash price after the huge surge to the upside on 26th September, attributed to the Bitmain IPO news, has remained elevated. Risks appear tilted to the upside, given current price behavior and technical patterns observed. Outside of the technical view, news flow and updates have remained positive around Bitcoin Cash.

News Flow Remains Positive

Bitcoin Cash adoption continues to take place. It was reported that the events ticketing company, Bigtickets.com, has expanded its payment options, with acceptance of cryptocurrency. Customers will be able to pay using Bitcoin Cash. The CTO said “We know our dedication to innovation is deserving of a secure and seamless purchase method for our event attendees. The use of Bitcoin Cash is a major social trend we’ve been following. Therefore, we’re excited to be one of the first event ticketing platforms in the United States to accept the burgeoning cryptocurrency,”

Elsewhere, earlier in the week, TD Ameritrade, announced it is investing in a cryptocurrency exchange platform, ErisX. This will be facilitating a range of products, including crypto futures contracts. Fortunately for Bitcoin Cash, it has earned its way into the top 4 cryptocurrencies by market cap. Given its status, Bitcoin Cash will be one of the crypto futures products offered by ErisX.

This follows news back in August, Crypto Facilities announcing a Bitcoin Cash futures product. Crypto Facilities are regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The move came given Bitcoin Cash has a growing presence and acknowledgement across the market. The introduction of Bitcoin Cash futures is joining the company’s other crypto-based products.

Near-term Analysis (60-minute chart)

Eyes are locked on BCH/USD movement within a bullish pennant pattern formation. Price action is well-supported by the lower trend line. It for now remains within consolidation mode, after the strong surge on 26th September. The price is moving towards the end of the pattern, into a narrower range. This behavior suggests a breakout could very much be imminent, subject to bullish momentum.

BCH/USD 60-minute chart

Resistance to the upside is seen at the above trend line of the pennant, $523. Given the pole of the mentioned pattern, the breakout may be chunky. A retest of the supply around $640-$660, will therefore be the likely first target area. The price last traded in this region from the 1st to the 4th September. Support is eyed around $510-509, as mentioned above, the lower trend line of the pennant.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 123 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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