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Is “Crypto” Too Dependent on Bitcoin?

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If you were to play a word association game with anyone in the general public, and said “cryptocurrency”, the first thing they would say would almost definitely be “Bitcoin”. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are effectively interchangeable to a large portion of the world, and this might be a bad thing.

By having it so all cryptocurrencies are painted with the same broad strokes that Bitcoin is, all nuance disappears and it becomes easier to dismiss the industry as a whole. This is extremely unfortunate, as many of the most interesting use cases of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are completely unrelated to Bitcoin.

The Economic Risk

And if someone were to want to deposit money into their Binance account, they would most likely end up doing it using BTC or ETH (although Binance does allow deposits with other coins like LTC, NEO and BNB). Because of this, you have a strange correlation between Bitcoin and the entire sector. Would-be-investors must purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum in order to put their money in altcoins, and this pushes up the price of these more “blue chip” coins.

Right now, everything is valued in accordance with Bitcoin. Part of the reason for the massive run-up of crypto prices occurred in late 2017 is Bitcoin was continuing to increase in price, and a rising tide carries all ships. The question becomes whether this turns Bitcoin into a transactional currency of sorts, and if it will end up being artificially propped up for this reason, if at least until another coin becomes seen as the transactional coin of choice.

With many Bitcoin enthusiasts calling for Bitcoin to hit astronomical values before the end of the year, the assumption is that the rest of the crypto sector would participate in that increase as well. But no one is asking the question: is this a good thing? The Internet was very similar in the beginning, but eventually it evolved and spawned numerous unrelated entities that all employed the technology. Now we are waiting for the same thing to happen with crypto.

The Security Risk

The industry is currently configured in a way such that the flow in and out of the Bitcoin ecosystem is easily monitored and controlled. The high level of centralization through major players like Coinbase has made it easy to track the flow of coins. Yes, this has allowed for an extensive analysis and segmentation of the various groups, as shown above, but it also impedes on the censorship resistant aspect of the cryptocurrency.

If you have most cryptocurrency purchases flowing through Bitcoin and Ethereum, and Bitcoin addresses can already be tracked with relative ease by other companies in the space, then does one of the main promises of Bitcoin disappear?  

The Political Risk

Finally, and maybe most importantly, does the dependency on Bitcoin create something very similar to a centralized node? And does this hurt the future of Bitcoin by not being able to provide the same anonymity that was originally anticipated?

It has always been assumed that decentralization was a good thing, and that sort of power shift is much of what Bitcoin originally promised to its users. But along with decentralization are a bunch of other characteristics that need to be continually supported for Bitcoin to maintain its value.

For example, Bitcoin needs to stay “trustless”, and as soon as users question the security of the network, all is lost. And censorship resistance by way of anonymity was always a libertarian dream that Bitcoin seemed to guarantee, but it is possible that the overly centralized exchanges have compromised that.

Centralized exchanges are currently necessary to convert money from fiat to crypto. You can use decentralized exchanges to trade between different cryptocurrencies, but you will need a centralized exchange in order to get your money into the market. This can be very frustrating if you are trying to avoid volunteering identification information, or just feel that it is a violation of what Bitcoin is all about.

There are tons of advantages to decentralized exchanges, such as the security and reliability, which are two notable issues with centralized exchanges right now. One of the most commonly given beginner tips regarding crypto is to keep your assets off the exchange, lest it be compromised. Currently these exchanges are much more expensive to use, but prices are coming down as kinks are worked out and a higher level of scale is reached. This bodes well for the network and the entire industry, because of the added confidence both insiders and outsiders will have in the technology.

To be considered “decentralized”, a project must be both censorship resistant and immune to any authoritarian modifications. Technically, the current use of Bitcoin fulfills these conditions, but in spirit, we are starting to see the centralized rent-seeking of massive exchanges make things appear a lot more ambiguous. So then the question is, does this threaten the whole crypto industry?

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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Altcoins

Why Investors Should Pay Attention to OmiseGO

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Decentralization is a word that receives a ton of lip service in the blockchain community, but some companies are actually doing an amazing job getting their actions to back their words. OmiseGO is one such company.

Omise was founded in 2013 as a payment services company, and OmiseGO is an extension platform that operates separately. It is important you not confuse the two.

As an ERC-20 token that operates a smart contract platform, OMG is a high-performing proof-of-stake protocol with a massive mission to bring decentralization to trading.

What Need is OmiseGO Fulfilling

Ripple was originally seen to be the top solution in the payment providers sector, but its lack of decentralization has shown that there are significant downsides to their operating model. OmiseGO aims to become a decentralized Ripple, but operating a high-powered decentralized exchange (DEX), and has already become the top name in on-chain and cross-chain transactions.

With decentralization and the ability to connect fragmented payment processors, OmiseGO would also be able to help the unbanked gain access to the banking system.

There is currently a massive gap in the legacy financial network, since payment networks (such as SWIFT) have unilateral control over the flow of financial services on their network. Paypal and Venmo have proven to have similar centralization risks, even if they bring some competition to the table.

Not only would OmiseGO decentralize payment processing and create a DEX, but they have released a software development kit (SDK) to enable the creation of new applications and wallets on their system.

Meet the OmiseGO Team

OmiseGO is run by a well-reputed team (headed by Jun Hasegawa) who in the past have been referred to as “Fintech Rockstars” by Forbes. Their advisory board is packed with big names like Vitalin Buterin, Gavin Wood, and Joseph Poon, to name a few.

By contributing $100,000 to the Ethereum foundations DEVGRANTS program, they have indicated a strong commitment to the future of Ethereum and their investment within the community.

Every token needs to have its utility, and OMG is paid to holders in exchange for validating transactions. These holders have the right to confirm blocks, and effectively work as income producing assets in the course of the operation of the network.

The incentives here lie in the value of the network. The more transactions that need to be validated, the more token holders will need to confirm transactions, and therefore the more money is likely to be distributed to OMG holders in exchange for their confirmations.

OmiseGO’s Recent Performance

OmiseGO is now trading at around $3.30 USD, which is down an incredible amount from its high above $24 USD in January. This has been typical of many assets in the industry, but could be a sign that OMG is oversold.

There has also been a lot of news about OMG recently. In July a partnership with Status was announced that would result with the integration of the services of the two companies. Status is an open source dapp (decentralized app) for phones and browsers, and was one of the first clients to be developed on the Ethereum blockchain. Their core project is to link mobile chat and social media by using Ethereum tokenization.

With the goal of ultimate decentralization, OmiseGO has its work cut out for it. Although founded in 2013, they are still in the early stages of their expansions. More good news came in early June, when OMG was listed on Unocoin, one of the top asian exchanges located in India.

OmiseGO’s dream of connecting all the disparate financial systems and rails gives it the potential to become the DEX of the future. The question is whether they can displace the already dominant Ripple by going in a different strategic direction and sticking to their core tenets of decentralization and trustless networks.

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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Altcoins

The Long-Awaited Altcoin Extinction Event May Be Near

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The cryptocurrency market is undergoing a major paradigm shift as low-quality altcoins embark on a mass extinction event, according to Xapo President Ted Rogers. This view, which is shared by industry titans like Vitalik Buterin, suggests things will get a lot worse before they get better.

Mass Extinction

In a Monday tweet, Rogers warned that more than 90% of altcoins and tokens could disappear in the not-too-distant future.

“We could be in the midst of the extinction-level event for “cryptoassets” that many maximalists have predicted. 90%+ of CoinMarketCap list will disappear eventually – might as well happen now.  Meantime, lower BTC price means incredible opportunity to buy more bitcoin,” he said.

Rogers’ tweet echoes previous comments by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who believes that 90% of tokens listed on CoinMarketCap will go to zero. Buterin made the comments back in October during the historic run-up in cryptocurrency prices.

Whereas Buterin emphasized the emergence of higher quality coin offerings following a mass-scale correction, Rogers believes now is the ideal time to buy more bitcoin. The leading digital currency continues to cannibalize altcoins with its share of the total market crossing 54% on Tuesday.

At the time of writing, there were 1,833 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap. A couple hundred were added to the website’s tracker in the last few weeks.

ICO Cash-Out?

Crypto assets have shed roughly $220 billion over the past three months and are trading at less than a quarter of their all-time highs. Although the recent meltdown originated last Tuesday when the SEC communicated its non-decision on the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin ETF, the extent of the selloff suggests there are other factors in play.

With the bulk of the declines concentrated in altcoins and tokens, many are blaming the latest rout on a large-scale cash-out of initial coin offerings (ICOs). This has direct implications on Ethereum, which is one of the most important bellwethers of the ICO market.

The ether price has experienced an unprecedented drop over the past seven days, losing more than a third of its value to trade at its lowest level in 14 months. Previously, the developer’s cryptocurrency had shown resilience in the face of broader market moves.

While ICOs have raised more than $6.6 billion this year, investors appear to be selling too early. Short holding periods are placing significant pressure on the market.

Although the path forward is paved with uncertainty, a structural shift in the ICO market will ultimately benefit cryptocurrencies. As Buterin said last October, “there are some good ideas, there are a lot of very bad ideas, and there’s a lot of very, very bad ideas, and quite a few scams as well.” Cleaning up this image is a good thing even with the accompanying pain it has produced.

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 546 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Why Investors Should Pay Attention to Waves

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Despite the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and ICOs over the last 5 years, the process of undertaking an ICO and getting funding is still not nearly as simple as it should be. There are complex regulations and heavy amounts of friction that make it hard for the “crowdfunding” model of startup financing to occur.

Waves is a platform (with an eponymous token) whose aim is to solve this problem by launching a decentralized cryptocurrency trading platform and opening more gateways between other cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.

The Waves Team

The team at Waves are planning on changing the crowdsale model to make it much less complicated for companies trying to get funding. The team operates out of Switzerland, but is run by Russians (the CEO, Sasha Ivanov, is a trained physicist with a strong past in the cryptocurrency space).

The Progress Waves Has Made

Waves’ ICO occured in April 2016, with 100 million tokens being issued. 85% of the tokens went to ICO investors, with the remainder going to strategic partners, Pre-ICO bounties, and internal development and marketing.

Since then, there have been considerable advancements in the power of the network. Their DEX launched in April 2017 with various gateways (both fiat and crypto) being unveiled in the following months. This has made it much simpler to get money into the exchange, thus breaking down funding barriers for any protocols issued on the platform.

Understanding the Business Model

Waves is all about helping companies obtain funding for their projects, and all of their work has been focused on this singular goal. Tokens need to have a specific use or utility in order to justify their existence, and the Waves token has been designed to fulfill this condition.

You can either pay a fraction of a WAVES to transfer tokens or buy a token, or you can spend 1 WAVES to create a new token on the network. Additionally, there are rewards on the network for tokenholders based on their balance of WAVES. The incentive structure is clear in this protocol: owning tokens helps you trade or create tokens, which is the purpose of the platform. The tokens may also be used to run smart contracts, which is why many consider WAVES to be a competitor of Ethereum.

The End Result

Waves tokens are currently trading at approximately $1.70, although it has reached peaks above $16.00. This sharp drop-off in price can largely be attributed to the phishing scam that has occurred in the last few days. Last month they were hacked when their CEO’s passport was falsely reproduced and used to obtain access to the domain and obtain the personal information of customers. Although the facts currently being reported make it sound like the fault lies with the domain provider, this is not the sort of issue that should be happening in a trading exchange.

In addition, Waves currently has limited KYC requirements and allows users to trader without submitted extensive identification information. This can be seen as a positive thing or a negative thing, depending on where you are standing. Yes, it is great that there are few barriers to entry for anyone who would like to trade on the DEX, but it is also likely to attract the ire of regulators in the USA. With a token that is strongly linked to this exchange, it is definitely something to pay attention to.

With the goal of creating a network of new tokens that are all interconnected and tradeable, Waves certainly has its worked cut out for it. However, with this recent drop in price due to security issues, it might be a great time to buy some tokens.

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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