This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?

This week we reported about a suggested solution to 51% attacks, a hacked exchange that was blamed for tanking the market and a cannabis-themed cryptocurrency bringing peace to the world. We also learned, in this week’s most commented-on article, who really controls Bitcoin and why it won’t become a global currency, according to the CEO of Ripple.

Also Read: Get Them While You Can Gamers, Graphics Cards Prices Have Crashed

Hack Takes a Toll on Crypto Markets

The big news on Monday was another hacked South Korean crypto exchange. While the figures stolen were much smaller than past events and the trading venue involved much lesser known, the incident was widely blamed for the drops across the markets due to its timing. The alleged hacker stole $19.5 million in NPXS, $13.8 million of Aston X, $5.8 million in tokens of Dent, over $1.1 million of Tron, and at least five other tokens, all from Coinrail exchange users. Other subjects covered include a hospital where you can pay with tokens and a “blockchain” based cultural center established by a gangster.

POT Prevents Nuclear Armageddon

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?The main topic on Tuesday was Potcoin getting global exposure on the back of the nuclear summit in Singapore. The cryptocurrency has been sponsoring the trips of Dennis Rodman to North Korea for a while now and as two of the basketball star’s friends, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, met to discuss peace, POT was able to get into the limelight of this histrionic event. Additional stories covered in Tuesday’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief included Coinbase’s plans for adding support for Ethereum Classic (ETC) and the intentions of Binance to enable euro transactions later this year.

Explosive Vote in Crypto Valley

On Wednesday, we reported that authorities in the Swiss city of Zug will ask local residents to participate in a non-binding “blockchain-based” vote later this month. The experiment will be held between June 25 and July 1, when residents will be able to vote via their smartphones. They will be asked if they are in favor of fireworks during a festival, and whether they think digital IDs should be used to borrow books from the library, pay parking fees, and more. In other serious news from the country, representatives of Switzerland’s financial, technological, academic and legal sectors have formed the Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) to facilitate the use of blockchain in financial markets.

Thomson Reuters Expands Crypto Tracking

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?On Thursday, it was reported that Thomson Reuters had expanded the market data for the top 100 cryptocurrencies in its sentiment data offerings. The service is provided in cooperation with Marketpsych Data LLC, a leader in quantitative behavioral science. The new Marketpsych Indices package uses machine learning and natural language processing to measure emotional and topical items across news and social media sites that may drive market participant behavior in cryptocurrency markets. It monitors more than 2,000 global news and 800 social media platforms in real-time.

An End to 51% Attacks?

An important story, which has implications for all Proof of Work coins, was covered on Friday. In a new whitepaper, the Zencash team proposes changing Satoshi Consensus, also known as the longest chain rule, to a method that makes it “both technically infeasible and economically disastrous to attempt double spending.” ZEN aims to achieve this by introducing a penalty “in the form of a block acceptance delay in the amount of time the block has been hidden from the public network.” The team now hopes that other PoW coins will adopt this proposal with a view to mitigating further 51% attacks.

Crypto Behind Bars

An interesting story published on Saturday talked about a new cryptocurrency designed to be used by prison inmates. Prisoners will be able to use the crypto through kiosks that will be installed in the prisons as part of the project. This will allow them to spend their coins in the prison commissary, cover court costs and fees, pay other inmates, and receive money from friends and family. Each user will have a digital wallet to store their funds. Transactions will be made in real time and at minimal fees, Cellblocks claimed.

Bitcoin Controlled by China?

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?The most commented-on article during the week covered the claims by Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, that BTC has no hope of being a world currency and is controlled by China. “A number of prominent people,” he said, “even Steve Wozniak, has said that he sees a world where Bitcoin is the primary currency. I think that’s absurd. I don’t think that any major economy will allow that to happen. By the way, it doesn’t make sense.”

Garlinghouse added: “I’ll tell you another story that is underreported, but worth paying attention to. Bitcoin is really controlled by China. There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin. How do we know that China won’t intervene? How many countries want to use a Chinese-controlled currency? It’s just not going to happen.” Has the Ripple CEO given an impartial analysis? Add your say to the discussion.

This Week in Bitcoin Podcast

Catch the rest of this week’s news in the This Week in Bitcoin podcast with host Matt Aaron.

What other stories in the Bitcoin world caught your attention this week? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

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The Crypto World Cup: Meet the Players, Guess Who Wins

Crypto World Cup

It’s time for the next saga in our crypto game adventures – the Crypto World Cup! The world of crypto has a lot of big names. It’s about time they faced off with one another. Who will come out on top?

Let’s meet the players!

Crypto World Cup: Who’s Who

Our crypto representatives come from all walks of crypto – token developers, crypto advocates, analysts, even some crypto naysayers.

All of our fabulous crypto representatives were assigned randomly to a country playing in the FIFA World Cup. Their progress in the Crypto ...

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Bitcoin Is Controlled by China, Won’t Disrupt Banks: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse

It might be an overstatement to say that Brad Garlinghouse has been on a bitcoin-bashing tour — he is, after all, a bitcoin investor himself — but it’s undeniable that the Ripple CEO has used the recent market downturn as an opportunity to throw shade at the flagship cryptocurrency. The latest jab came this week … Continued

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Ripple CEO: Bitcoin Controlled by Chinese, Absurd to Think it Could be Primary World Currency

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO, answered candidly during an interview about crypto’s prospects for the future. Among other criticisms, he stressed blockchain technology is mostly hype, and that bitcoin core (BTC) is controlled by Chinese miners and has no hope of being a world currency.

Also read: Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu’s Science Fiction

Ripple CEO Bashes Bitcoin

Attendees of the 2018 Stifel Cross Sector Insight Conference in Boston yesterday were probably expecting to learn more about Ripple, the world’s third most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalization. After all, none other than company CEO Brad Garlinghouse was guest of honor for an interview with Stifel Tech analyst Lee Simpson. And while Ripple certainly was the hot topic, Mr. Garlinghouse also took the opportunity to bash its main decentralized competitor, bitcoin core (BTC).

“A number of prominent people,” Mr. Garlinghouse explained, “even Steve Wozniak, has said that he sees a world where Bitcoin is the primary currency. I think that’s absurd. I don’t think that any major economy will allow that to happen. By the way, it doesn’t make sense.” Indeed Woz has said as much, as have Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who predicted it would happen within the decade.

Ripple CEO: Bitcoin Controlled by Chinese, Absurd to Think it Could be Primary World Currency

Brad Garlinghouse, 47, has held his present position since 2015. His professional background is almost all technology related. Stints with Yahoo!, AOL, working in the investment arena with the likes of Silver Lake Partners, @Ventures, @Home Network, SBC Communications, all round out his experience prior to Ripple.

His views about BTC and its eventual influence have found him very quotable of late, especially this month. He’s spent a great deal of time attempting to separate the coin aspect of Ripple (XRP) from the company itself, and this has lead to some interesting juxtapositioning in his method of argument.

BTC Blockchain Not Disruptive, Chinese in Control

During the Boston interview, he even took on the sacred cow of the corporate world, BTC’s distributed ledger technology. “There’s a lot of blockchain craziness, but there are three indicators of market winners. Blockchain will not disrupt banks […] it will play an important role in the way our system works. It’s a short-sighted view […]. Bitcoin is not the panacea we thought it would be.”

Mr. Garlinghouse then compared XRP to BTC. “This is how liquidity will be managed in the future. Bitcoin today takes 45 minutes to settle a transaction. Banks will use what is efficient and cheaper. And if you deliver a better product at a better price […] they will use it.” Ripple CEO: Bitcoin Controlled by Chinese, Absurd to Think it Could be Primary World Currency

An under-reported story, Ripple’s CEO insisted, is how BTC is “owned by China.” He noted, “The smartest thing you’ve done is not have ‘bit’ or ‘coin’ in your name. I’ll tell you another story that is underreported, but worth paying attention to. Bitcoin is really controlled by China. There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin. How do we know that China won’t intervene? How many countries want to use a Chinese-controlled currency? It’s just not going to happen.”

Lastly, he assured, “I own bitcoin. Many people consider it as digital gold. I acknowledge, I’m long [on] crypto. I’d advise folks to only invest in crypto only what you’re willing to lose. It’s early to tell how it is going to play out. I think it’s a pretty good investing strategy. I don’t think about the digital asset market. I think about the customer experience. There are millions unbanked or underbanked. When I think about the transformation, it is fundamentally changing the way millions participate in banking. We can fundamentally change the way this works, to bring an entire population up a step in the system.”

Do you think Ripple’s CEO is correct? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

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Bitcoin isn’t a Panacea, XRP is Better than BTC – Brad Garlinghouse says

Bitcoin isn't a Panacea

Bitcoin (BTC) is a perfect store of value, but it’s not a Panacea that could solve all the global financial problems, according to Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

Brad Garlinghouse – who previously predicted that only a few altcoins would exist in the next few years, now says Bitcoin doesn’t have the potential to become the global currency. The CEO, however, thinks Bitcoin will continue to work as the store of value; saying “We as a world have decided to store the value to the tune of about $130 billion… that’s a store of value. It’s hard ...

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Will a Dozen Banks Start Using XRP in 2019? Ripple CEO Says Yes

Banks to use Ripple

Banks to use Ripple: It is a sea of green on the crypto market today! Which, considering the past few weeks, is relatively nice to see. Bitcoin (BTC) may still be below the $8,000 mark, but Ripple (XRP) is up nearly 5%. You win some, you lose some, right?

In this article, we’re going to be looking at XRP price news, as well as generic Ripple news. Thanks to Brad Garlinghouse — the Ripple CEO, there’s a lot of the latter. 

Ripple News | XRP Price News 

Ripple (XRP) is currently selling for $0.67. ...

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Ripple CEO Isn’t Happy with Ripple’s Correlation to Bitcoin

Ripple Network Achievements

Ripple Network achievements haven’t been translating into Ripple price (XRP) performance on cryptocurrency exchanges, according to Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

He isn’t happy with the correlation between Bitcoin (BTC) and Ripple price. He believes the correlation will end as soon as investors begin to recognize the differences between these assets.

“There’s a very high correlation between the price of XRP and the price of bitcoin, but ultimately these are independent open-sourced technologies,” Garlinghouse told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Wednesday. “It’s early, over time you’ll see a more rational market and behaviors that reflect that.”

...

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Ripple is going after startups to build an ecosystem around its XRP cryptocurrency

It’s finally happening. Ripple is making a push to expand the use of the XRP cryptocurrency it created into new verticals and segments beyond the payment and banking space where the company is focused.

XRP is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency behind only bitcoin, the original breakout artist, and Ethereum, the platform that most developers pomp for. XRP has a total ‘coin market cap’ of $28.7 billion today, according to Coinmarketcap.com, and yet it is barely used beyond a handful of pilot customer deployments that Ripple has announced.

That might change soon, however, after Ripple announced a new initiative called Xpring — pronounced ‘Spring’ — which is aimed at bringing entrepreneurs and their businesses over to XRP, both the cryptocurrency and the smart ledger, to build an ecosystem. The project will use a mixture of investment, grants, and incubation to lure companies and expand the use of XRP whilst allowing Ripple to continue to focus on its financial services business.

That’s essential, and even in the short space of six months the need for variety has been clear.

The value of XRP shot up in December and January during a crypto surge which saw bitcoin reach an all-time high of nearly $20,000 per coin. The collective value of XRP was worth more than $128 billion at peak before a market crash in January walked those prices back significantly. Ripple has come under fire for a perceived lack of use for XRP, which has been marketed as a tool for banks but has attracted only cross-border payment services as customers.

Going beyond Ripple

Ripple has hired Ethan Beard, formerly director of Facebook’s developer network and an ex-EIR at Greylock Partners, to lead Xpring and more broadly Ripple’s developer program.

“The goal is to support businesses that we believe would see benefit from building upon the XRP ledger,” Eric van Miltenburg, Ripple SVP of business operations, told TechCrunch in an interview. “Support will come in a variety of ways: investment, incubation, and the potential of acquisition or grants. We’re focused on proven entrepreneurs who can use the ledger and XRP to really address their customers’ problems.”

Van Miltenburg said Ripple has been approached by entrepreneurs and companies wanting to work with XRP “for years,” but nothing came of discussions because Ripple is focused on financial services.

“There’s been enough interaction to say there’s something here [and] now is the time,” he added. “Over the last four to six months [the idea of Xpring] has really crystallized.”

Ethan Beard speaking at LeWeb in 2010 (via Adam Tinworth/Flickr)

If you’ve been keeping an eye on Ripple this year, the launch of the program won’t be a huge surprise.

Aside from the fact that many in the crypto space are pulling together their own funds — whether it be informally as a company, or more broadly across industries like the Ethereum Community Fund — Ripple has quietly upped its investment focus.

Initially, two Ripple executives took part in a $25 million investment in January for Bay Area-based startup Omni then in March CEO Brad Garlinghouse told TechCrunch that Ripple would “certainly partner with companies that are looking to use XRP in lots of different ways” whilst maintaining its focus as a business.

Xpring is that project.

Enter the Bieber… kinda

Van Miltenburg and Beard told TechCrunch that the kind of segments where they see the most potential for XRP are trade finance, gaming, virtual goods, identity, real estate, media and micro-payments.

When I put it to them that XRP is looking for reasons to justify its $28 billion market cap, van Miltenburg claimed that XRP is far less speculative than other cryptocurrencies.

“There’s a use case we have established for it: Ripple is one of the only enterprise solutions on the blockchain that’s out in production. We believe the XRP ledger and the asset has a performance profile that lends it to others,” he said.

He added that Ripple has seen interest from projects that “started on a blockchain that isn’t living up to their needs,” and that Xpring could focus on rehousing would-be blockchain migrants. However, it won’t be investing in ICOs, buying other tokens or hosting ICOs on the XRP blockchain, van Miltenburg said.

Aside from Omni — which said it will “soon” add XRP as currency in its marketplace service — Xpring has pulled in a couple of early names. Scooter Braun, the man best known for managing Justin Bieber, is “pursuing several endeavors that will use XRP to improve artists’ ability to monetize and manage their content.”

Neither van Miltenburg nor Beard could be specific on exactly what Braun is working on — there are already a number of blockchain-based digital rights and music streaming projects in development — but they said he isn’t one to jump on a bandwagon.

Braun said in a canned statement that he is “excited our team is among the first in the entertainment industry to lean into the blockchain movement.”

“This is only the beginning as we will continue to build out more use cases for XRP,” he added.

Other early partners being announced today include Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas who is transitioning out of his role to build micro-payment services using XRP via a new venture called Coil. In addition, Xpring has backed VC firm Blockchain Capital while Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, raised his latest fund entirely in XRP.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse previously spoke of plans to partner with companies on XRP (via Christopher Michel/Flickr)

Building an ecosystem

Generally, the plan for exactly how Xpring will work seems fluid at this point.

Beard spoke of the next wave of innovation coming from the blockchain, much like Facebook’s Timeline and social graph helped scale companies like Spotify, Zynga and BuzzFeed from startups into major tech names. He believes that, in turn, Xpring and XRP can help “build new businesses and change how industries function.”

Van Miltenburg was non-committal in terms of goals.

“Our motivation is to ensure that the XRP ledger and digital asset reaches its full potential. We want to see an extremely healthy and robust XRP ecosystem; that benefits Ripple and all others,” he explained.

Ripple is known to incentive its partners with XRP bonuses for signing, but it isn’t talking numbers this time, either the specific incentives that it is giving to high-profile names like Braun, or the overall budget that it has put behind Xpring.

“For the right opportunities, we can be aggressive. There’s no hesitation or reluctance to make big bets with opportunities that require investment,” is all van Miltenburg would say.

You can bet a large chunk of capital (XRP) is supporting Xpring. The current system with hundreds of cryptocurrencies isn’t sustainable, those that make it through will be the ones that offer the most value, and ecosystems could well be a measure of that. XRP, as the third-largest cryptocurrency, has considerable expectations on it which, as the crash earlier this year showed, can wipe out money faster than it made crypto wealth.

You can bet that Xpring, while outside of Ripple’s core financial services focus, will be a very key focus for building a community and ultimately usage for XRP. The question is how the startup community will reach to a different kind of investment option.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Centralized Ripple Is Probably a Security Token

Centralized Ripple Is Probably a Security Token

A primary attraction of decentralized cryptocurrencies is that they’re censorship-resistant. The more centralized a coin is, the easier it is for its supply to be controlled. But there’s another problem with overly-centralized cryptocurrencies such as ripple: they risk being classified as a security, which brings all kinds of problems.

Also read: Emin Gün Sirer Discusses Cryptocurrency Academics and Proof-of-Stake

How Centralized Must a Cryptocurrency Be Before It Becomes a Security?

Centralized Ripple Is Probably a Security TokenRipple has long been criticized for its centralization. These concerns have revolved around the degree to which Ripple, or its partner exchanges – aka Ripple Gateways – have the power to freeze and reverse transactions. Ripple’s greatest centralization problem may owe less to the way its nodes operate, however, and more to the amount of coins held by the company. Given that Ripple owns the majority of all XRP, the argument goes, anyone buying the coin is essentially buying shares in the company.

Many cryptocurrencies are the product of an incorporated company, but these companies don’t generally hold the bulk of the supply. For months, Ripple was regarded as a stick-on to become the next coin listed by Coinbase. But as news.Bitcoin.com recently reported, “Ripple may not qualify because Coinbase decrees it essential that “the ownership stake retained by the team is a minority stake””. This week, it emerged that Ripple had tried to buy its way onto Coinbase and GDAX, only for its $1 million sweetener to be rebuffed by the U.S. exchanges. There’s a certain irony in a centralized exchange not wanting to accept a coin because it’s too centralized.

Centralized Ripple Is Probably a Security Token

Exchanges Don’t Want Securities

On Thursday, Binance moved fast to delist centra after the coin’s founders were arrested and the SEC’s investigation into possible security fraud cranked up. Cryptocurrency exchanges don’t want security tokens: they’re a regulatory headache, and exchanges such as Bittrex have already delisted tokens that could be deemed securities. Following its acquisition by Circle, Poloniex is believed to be following suit.  If ripple was to be classified as a security, its sale would be subject to much more stringent regulations in the U.S., making it more akin to a stock than a cryptocurrency.

2018 has been billed by some in the crypto space as the year of the security token, but these tokens will be traded on specialist exchanges that are licensed to sell them, and to accredited investors. Cryptocurrency exchanges have enough regulatory issues to deal with as it is, what with the threat of banking facilities being withdrawn at short notice, without having to worry about the SEC breathing down their necks.

Ripple Has Its Feathers Ruffled

Ripple CEO and Ethereum Co-Founder Criticize ICO Industry
Brad Garlinghouse

Over the last couple of days, several commenters have crafted scathing critiques of ripple, averring that the cryptocurrency is swimming in security seas. “XRP is a security. Ripple Co is the issuer. Brad Garlinghouse, Chris Larsen, and other Ripple Co executives are subject to the anti-fraud laws under SEC jurisdiction,” opined Lawson Baker, adding “A supposed decentralized cryptocurrency can be a security with enough centralization.” Baker also claims to have assessed ripple using Coinbase’s own listing criteria, and found that there’s a 50% chance of the token being categorized as a security.

Lawson Baker continues: “XRP is definitely not decentralized. Ripple Co creates the common enterprise. Ripple Co initially distributed all of XRP for money. This is the “investment of money” element of Howey Test. Ripple Co and founders control more than ~60% of the XRP in existence. Control is general 10% of voting power in traditional finance. Ripple Co even controls the inflation / dilution rate of XRP”. He finishes: “Security analysis is a spectrum. XRP is the blinding security white light.’”

Ripple Critics Pile In

In a blogpost on April 5, Messari founder and prominent crypto voice “Twobitidiot” joined in, writing: “crypto companies tend to want things both ways. Act like a securities offerer when it’s convenient from a capital formation perspective or when you’re doling out “founders’ rewards”. Pretend you’re actually selling a currency or commodity when it becomes markedly less convenient from an investor disclosures standpoint.” He then went on to ask a series of questions such as “Why does the company write about XRP price appreciation as if it’s a milestone? Why do they do little to tamp down speculation around XRP enterprise adoption?” No, why do they actively insinuate big news is coming by writing things like “XRP markets began to connect the dots once again?”

Thanks to Mainstream Media, the Public Are Clueless About CryptocurrencyXRP is by no means the only cryptocurrency that could be construed as a security, but it’s the most high profile, and its knockback by Coinbase has shed new light on Ripple’s business practises. If other crypto projects could spare $1 million cash and $100 million in tokens for a Coinbase listing, many would behave in exactly the same manner. As it is, only a handful of players including Ripple, with the billions of tokens at its disposal, is in a position to make such an offer. Centralized cryptocurrencies aren’t crypto and they aren’t currency either – they’re company stock.

Do you think ripple qualifies as a security token? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Ripple.


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Ripple Chief Brad Garlinghouse is Keeping It Real on ICOs

Ripple’s chief executive has some words of advice for issuers behind ICOs: don’t spend all of your funds in one place. Brad Garlinghouse, who is at the helm of the blockchain startup that’s behind the XRP token, admonished ICO companies to “save some of the proceeds” in the event they find themselves the target in … Continued

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Ripple (XRP) CEO: Cryptocurrencies Must Work With Government Regulations

Ripple CEO

Cryptocurrencies must work with government regulators in order to sustain the crypto revolution, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in an interview with CNBC today.

Speaking on CNBC’s Fast Money segment, the alt-coin entrepreneur told listeners: “It’s incredibly important that the entire industry recognizes that we have to work with the regulators, we have to work with the system.” This is contrary to what many enthusiasts believe is the whole point of cryptocurrencies in the first place; that Bitcoin et al should be a completely unregulated and decentralized form of currency which allows total financial freedom in ...

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Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet Compelling

Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet Compelling

Ogling the fortunes of the filthy rich is a popular pastime with the poorer segments of society. It’s been that way for centuries, with 1849 marking the debut of Who’s Who, a 250-page guide “of living noteworthy and influential individuals, from all walks of life, worldwide.” In more recent years, Forbes has picked up the baton with its annual Rich List which reveals how the 1% are faring. Predictably, the U.S. publication has now launched its own crypto edition for the community to pore over. One name who doesn’t make the list, though, is the most famous and moneyed of all – Satoshi Nakamoto.

Also read: You Can Now Buy Luxury Stuff With Bitcoin and Have It Delivered – All Anonymously

The Shifting Sands of Crypto Riches

Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet CompellingIt would be nice to pretend that decentralization and the separation of money and state are the primary motivators for people flocking to crypto. The truth is often more vulgar though. Do an internet search for Vitalik Buterin or any other major crypto figure and the autocomplete result that follows will inevitably be “net worth”. Human curiosity is a powerful urge, and money – in all its forms – is a natural magnet for the envious and the curious.

Due to the volatility of cryptocurrencies, putting a precise dollar price on the entrants’ wealth is impossible, as Forbes readily admits, noting: “It’s a near certainty that we’ve missed some people and that some of our estimates are wide of the mark. But this was equally true when we launched the first Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans in 1982. At the time, many people said we couldn’t—or shouldn’t—publish. We did so anyway, firm in the belief that we made the world a better place by shining a light on the invisible rich.”

Controversially, it then adds: “Fortunes of this magnitude should never be allowed to lurk in the shadows.” This is a contentious claim, and one which privacy proponents – of whom the crypto community has many – would take issue with. Of course, blockchains are public and fully auditable, and thus concealing huge amounts of cryptocurrency wealth is extremely difficult. Figures such as Vitalik Buterin, who has previously protested the avarice which is now endemic to the industry, won’t take kindly to featuring here, but will surely concede that with great wealth comes great public scrutiny.

Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet Compelling

Crypto Fortunes Broken Down

Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet CompellingTo gain entry to Forbes’ Crypto Rich List, a minimum fortune of $350 million is required – or around 41,000 BTC at current prices. Ripple’s Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse both feature of course, but then it’s easy to manufacture wealth when you create 100 billion units of your own cryptocurrency and then keep the bulk of the supply in the company coffers. Both men are undoubtedly billionaire rich, though in reality would be incapable of cashing out their vast XRP fortune in a hurry.

It’s fair to say Larsen or Garlinghouse won’t be struggling to pay the bills anytime soon though, nor will Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong who also features. The Winklevoss twins naturally make the list along with such luminaries as Michael Novogratz, Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson and EOS founder Dan Larimer. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit to emerge from the list, albeit an unsurprising one, is that the average age of its members is 42, versus 67 for Forbes’ traditional rich list. Both lists are still populated by white men, but in crypto those men have a lot less wrinkles.

Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet Compelling

While fleetingly fun, the Crypto Rich List does nothing to advance understanding of cryptocurrencies or appreciation for their transformative power. The men who made the list had the conviction to see the potential in cryptocurrencies when their peers dismissed them out of hand, and have been handsomely rewarded for their endeavors. For all its crassness, the Forbes Crypto Rich List is sure to become an annual staple that gives mainstream media a cryptocurrency angle the public can comprehend, and gives the crypto community something to debate, not only on account of who made the grade, but on account of the crypto whales who are noticeably absent.

Speaking of whales, in 2015 a 95% stake in Forbes was bought by Integrated Whale Media Investments. The Hong Kong-based public and private equity group, headed by a consortium of Chinese investors, then got ensnared in a protracted legal battle with Forbes over its failure to pay interest due on the $415 million deal. The matter was eventually settled out of court. Asians are in short supply on the Forbes Crypto Rich List, with only the CEOs of Binance and Upbit earning a place.

Do you think Forbes’ Crypto Rich List is distasteful or harmless entertainment? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Paramount Pictures, and Forbes.


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The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Through late 2017 and early 2018, ripple was the darling of cryptocurrency. Mainstream media couldn’t get enough of it, South Koreans couldn’t get enough of it, and nor could crypto newcomers, who had XRP top of their shopping list. Crypto moves at a blistering pace, though, and ripple’s decline has been as rapid as its rise. Now the dust has settled and the hype dissipated, a retrospective reveals the mass hysteria behind the rise and fall of ripple.

Also read: Markets Update: Cryptocurrency Prices Rebound But Uncertainty Still Lingers

Ripple: A Case Study in Collective Obsessional Behavior

In the Middle Ages, a group of nuns in a French convent began randomly mewing like cats. In 1518, the Dancing Plague in Strasbourg caused people to keel over from exhaustion after gyrating for days. In 1962, a laughter epidemic broke out in a girls’ boarding school in Tanzania. And in late 2017, the world became convinced that ripple was a valuable commodity. As ripple’s market capitalization surged, there was even talk of it overtaking bitcoin to become the world’s dominant cryptocurrency. Looking through the timeline reveals the sequence of events that contributed to the rise and fall of XRP.

Phase 1: Stagnation

Up until two months ago, ripple was the great sleeper of cryptocurrency. Due to the vast number of XRP in existence, its huge market cap meant it was a constant presence in the cryptocurrency top 10. Traders hated it though, dubbing it Cripple, while decentralization purists had more ideological reasons for disliking XRP, arguing that it wasn’t even a cryptocurrency.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

After briefly surging in May, ripple entered into a lengthy slump. Between August and December 2017, XRP traded at between 16 and 26 cents, while other altcoins were recording exponential gains. It seemed that ripple’s time would never come. But then, on December 9, XRP began to climb.

Phase 2: Take-Off

Between December 9 and 16, ripple grows from 24 cents to 88 cents, gaining 366% in a week.

12/13: Forbes asks “Is XRP The Next Crypto Rocket ‘To The Moon’?

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 3: Enthusiasm

From December 17-22, ripple rises from 76 cents to $1.19, growing another 160% in under a week. The coin is now up 500% in a fortnight.

12/17: Oracle Times writes “3 Reasons Why Amazon Will Choose Ripple (XRP) in 2018”

12/22: Bloomberg writes “Bitcoin Is So 2017 as Ripple Soars at Year End”

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 4: Greed

Ripple finishes the year with another huge leap, going from $1.19 on December 23 to $2.24 on December 29, gaining 188%.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

12/30: News.bitcoin.com asks “Is the Centralized Ripple Database With the Biggest Pre-Mine Really a Bitcoin Competitor?

Phase 5: Delusion

Ripple starts the year with another run, going from a low of $1.93 on December 31 to an all-time high of $3.86 on January 4.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

01/02: In a soon to be notorious feature, CNBC educates its readers on “How to buy ripple, one of the hottest bitcoin competitors”. On the same day, Forbes’ Laura Shin points out that two of Ripple’s founders are now billionaires, with Chris Larsen the 15th richest man in America. Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence stacks up suggesting that office workers, moms, manual laborers, and many others with no previous knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency are asking about ripple.

01/03: News.Bitcoin.com notes how ripple’s market cap is now 40% that of bitcoin’s, raising the possibility of “The Rippening”.

01/04: As ripple hits its all time high, news.Bitcoin.com explains that Ripple Gateways Can Freeze Users’ Funds at Any Time. Ripple’s chief cryptographer David Schwartz rages hard and pens a Quora rebuttal in which he notes that “Ripple is not a gateway and only gateways can freeze.” So exactly what the article title said then.

On the same day, NYT’s Nathaniel Popper writes a Ripple feature that’s widely perceived as negative, quoting Ari Paul as saying “I’m not aware of banks using or planning to use the XRP token at the scale of tens of billions of dollars necessary to support XRP’s valuation”. Popper finishes “even virtual currency analysts who believe in Ripple’s software have said there is a big difference between Ripple the company being successful, and Ripple the token gaining enough traction to justify current prices.”

01/05: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse lashes out at Popper on Twitter:

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 6: New Paradigm

Over the next four days, ripple dips slightly, but by January 8 is still sitting at $3.36, up 1,400% in a month.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria01/05: Coinbase rejects rumors that it is planning to add new assets, scorching the prospect of XRP being listed.

01/07: British newspapers are now heavily shilling ripple, with the Express describing it as “the exciting new cryptocurrency that has sparked interest from crypto investors”. In another piece filed the same day, it asks “Is it better to invest in XRP than Bitcoin?”

01/08: News.Bitcoin.com describes ripple as vaporware, noting “Ripple claims to have signed up over 100 banks, but the trouble is none of them seem to be using XRP tokens for money transfer”. Ripple supporters are not amused.

 

Phase 7: Denial

Over the course of the next week, ripple begins to drop and then keeps on dropping, reaching a low of 89 cents on January 16 as the entire crypto market takes a tumble. It is now down 430% from its peak 12 days earlier and is no longer the second largest cryptocurrency.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

01/10: Three days after touting ripple as a bitcoin competitor, the Express writes: “Why is XRP falling so fast? What’s happening to Ripple?”

01/11: News that Ripple has signed an agreement with a money transfer service causes XRP to climb 20% before sliding again as it becomes apparent that Moneygram are only testing ripple in a single location.

01/16: Forbes documents the decline of ripple, quoting one analyst as saying: “You couldn’t turn on your TV last week and not hear about XRP or its CEO…Once Coinbase said they weren’t adding any new assets the pullback started. Now everyone is continuing to take profits.”

One commenter tweets “That CNBC pump is gonna be stock footage in every documentary they make about 2018 for the next 50 years.”

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Phase 8: Return to Normal

As the crypto markets start to recover, ripple claws back some of its losses, reaching $1.43 on January 21. It is still up almost 600% from the start of December, but is down 270% from its peak. “Early adopters” who bought XRP a month ago are in profit, but the masses who bought in at peak mania are heavily in the red. The mainstream media stop writing about ripple, and housewives shelve plans to put their savings into “the next bitcoin”.

01/18: Financial Times writes how it “spoke to 16 banks and financial services companies publicly linked to Ripple. Most had not yet gone beyond testing…none of the banks who spoke to the FT had used XRP.”

Where ripple goes next remains to be seen, though the Classic Stages of a Bubble chart has some firm suggestions:

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

The reality may prove more prosaic: ripple is unlikely to disappear from trace, but nor is it likely to trouble bitcoin’s market cap, which is now 3.5x greater than that of the centralized pretender which, for three heady days in January 2018, looked like it might actually be capable of achieving The Rippening. If Ripple can finally persuade a major bank to use XRP, and not just for test purposes, it could see another surge. Right now though, the heady days of $3+ ripple seem like a lifetime ago.

The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria

Ripple isn’t the first asset to be shilled to the moon and back, and it certainly won’t be the last. When the cryptocurrency history books are written, ripple will go down as a textbook case of mass hysteria, right up there with the dancing plague and the laughter epidemic.

Do you think ripple has peaked or does XRP still have further to run? Let us know in the comments section below.


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