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June 2009

Bitcoin Price Gains as China Scraps Crypto Mining Ban



Bitcoin made gains last week after new documents from the Chinese government revealed that the country was reversing its decision to ban blockchain mining, with President Xi Jinping expressing his support for blockchain technology. Back in April, The National Development and Reform Commission in China published a list of industries that it believes should be restricted or limited, which featured crypto mining.

President Xi Jinping’s recent comments in support of blockchain coincided with a sizeable gain in the value of Bitcoin, going from $7,500 USD to $10,500 USD in just a few hours. According to Chinese state media, Xi said that China has a strong foundation and should look to take a leading position in the sector, urging the country to “seize the opportunity,” which could benefit a number of sectors.

The support for blockchain and Bitcoin mining appears to be a significant softening in China’s stance towards cryptocurrency. In 2017, Beijing banned initial coin offerings, essentially eliminating the opportunity for cryptocurrency firms to develop. In recent months, China’s central bank has accelerated work on its very own digital currency, in an attempt to overtake the development of Facebook’s highly controversial coin, Libra.

While 2018 saw Bitcoin decline sharply from its peak during the previous year, 2019 has seen somewhat of a rally towards those summits at the height of the crypto frenzy. Since the beginning of the year, Bitcoin has soared nearly 150% but has struggled in recent months to settle about the $10,000 USD milestone.

>> Huobi to Freeze All US Accounts and Push Users to New Platform

Despite recent rallys, some analysts remain skeptical that Bitcoin is in bull territory. Popular Twitter speculator Credible Crypto argued that the “bulls [are] jumping the gun here a bit imo,” adding that unless Bitcoin can clear the $10,300 region, there is no reason to get excited. However, China is by far the most active country in terms of Bitcoin’s hash rate, and the added freedom of mining from this news could be the catalyst the coin needs to return to those 2017 peaks.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © rastudio

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Bitcoin Bull Dan Morehead Predicts BTC to Hit $42K By End of 2019

Bitcoin Bull

Bitcoin Bull

Bitcoin bulls are indeed out there. Most recently, Pantera Capital founder Dan Morehead, in a discussion with Unchained Podcast, said how he believes Bitcoin could hit $42,000 by the end of 2019. He even believes the digital coin has the potential to reach $356,000 within a couple of years.

Nothing like some good faith to spur on a Bitcoin rally. Currently, the coin is trading up 3% and selling for $10,023 USD.

Bitcoin Bull Predicts

In a discussion held on July 23, Morehead predicted BTC will hit $42,000 by the end of the year, and climb to $356,000 by 2022. His prediction is based on Bitcoin’s “logarithmic growth rate” and are not just optimistic figures pulled out of thin air.

Here’s what he said in detail:

“Graph the price of Bitcoin logarithmically […] its trend is going to grow at 235% compound annual growth rate and […] that put Bitcoin at $42,000 at the end of 2019. And I know this sounds crazy but we’re essentially halfway back there. […] I think it’s a good shot that by the end of the year we hit that. And if you just extrapolate that line out for another year it’s $122,000 per Bitcoin and then one more year, $356,000.”

The billionaire Bitcoin bull backs up his theory with technological developments in the Bitcoin network. He emphasized that the number of possible transactions per second will rapidly increase as the network evolves; allaying those infamous transaction issues that currently arise with the coin now.

Morehead continued about cryptocurrencies in general, believing that most altcoins will fail, but from those that do succeed, thousand of dApps will emerge. He also believes that we will have to wait much longer for a Bitcoin ETF.

>> Ren Outperforms the Broader Crypto Markets, Jumps 140% in 7 Months

Bitcoin Futures Platform

On Monday, Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt took one step closer to launching its long-awaited initiative by running tests on its Bitcoin futures contracts. The platform—developed by NYSE parent company Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE)—has faced a myriad of launch delays due to regulatory approval. It still continues to wait.

However, in running tests, Bakkt has raised optimism for the program, which can hopefully incur more regulated platforms for Bitcoin.

What do you think of Dan Morehead’s predictions? Is this Bitcoin bull way off the mark or right on the money?

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © lightsource

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Ethereum Dev Indicted By Grand Jury Over North Korea Appearance



Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith has been indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) after speaking at a cryptocurrency conference hosted by the North Korean government last April.

Griffith was initially arrested on Thanksgiving at Los Angeles Internation Airport after FBI Special Agent Brandon M. Cavanaugh alleged that the Ethereum dev had breached the IEEPA in traveling to North Korea without authorization and providing knowledge on how the country can utilize blockchain technology to launder money and evade sanctions. The case was then brought before a court in the Southern District of New York, which heard that Griffith had sought and been denied approval to travel to North Korea.

“Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions,” John Demers, an assistant attorney general for national security, said during a court hearing in November. The court also heard that Griffith attempted to evade US legal requirements during the course of his actions.

Griffith has been employed by The Ethereum Foundation since 2016 as a research scientist, with his work particularly focusing on whether Etherteum is compliant with Sharia Law. His decision to travel to North Korea has been defended by Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who said it was an “admirable” move and that he didn’t believe Griffith had provided the authoritarian regime with “any kind of real help in doing anything bad.”

>> BlockFi Includes Litecoin and USDC in Lending Portfolio

After initially being denied, Griffith was subsequently granted bail on a bond of $1 million USD, which, as of yet, has not been posted. Griffith’s lawyer also stated that he has been suspended by The Ethereum Foundation, despite Buterin’s support. If found guilty, Griffith faces up to 20 years in jail, with the US Attorney’s Office also demanding that he hand over any property or money obtained as payment for his appearance in North Korea.

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BlockFi Raises Over $18 Million USD in Funding Round



US cryptocurrency lending startup BlockFi has raised $18.3 million USD in a funding round led by Valar Ventures, the company announced on Tuesday.

BlockFi is the first company of its kind to receive institutional funding for crypto-based loans in US dollars, in the form of a $50 million lending facility from Galaxy Digital. The new capital will reportedly be used to expand the array of products on BlockFi’s existing platform that includes interest-earning accounts for Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto-backed USD loans. BlockFi also plans on using the investment to double its number of employees to 60 this year. Earlier this year, BlockFi announced it had over $53 million in customer crypto assets under management.

Valar, which was founded by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, makes its first venture into crypto investment with this Series A funding round, which also saw participation from numerous other crypto-focused investors such as Winklevoss Capital and Galaxy Digital. Valar is one of three venture funds co-founded by Mr. Thiel, who has previously invested in prominent Fintech companies like Transferwise and N26.

“What’s very interesting about BlockFi is how they are bringing traditional financial services to this world,” said Andrew McCormack, Valar’s co-founder. “As the cryptocurrency markets evolve, you will start to see more and more companies that provide a lot of block-and-tackling that traditional bank or other market makers have provided in the fiat world for centuries.”

>> Bitcoin Dominance at 70%: BTC Surges Amid Economic Uncertainty

In March, BlockFi unveiled a savings account that promises as much as 6.2% in annual returns and has since gathered about $250 million in assets. The two-year-old company also offers crypto-backed loans, allowing clients to deposit a minimum of $20,000 in digital currency in exchange for fiat loans.

BlockFi has come under some controversy in recent months, mostly due to the advertised interest rate on its deposit accounts. The company claims to offer 6.2% annual interest on deposits; however, due to the product’s terms of service, the company can modify this at its discretion.

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