Ripple Donates $2 Million to Texas University’s Blockchain Initiative

One of 17 institutions chosen for Ripple’s $50 million academic pledge, the University of Texas at Austin will receive $2 million from San Francisco-based industry giant Ripple. The McCombs School of Business at UT will receive $2 million from Ripple over the next five years to fund research at the institution’s Blockchain Initiative program, a

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Blockchain Projects Live a Little Over a Year on Average, China Claims

Blockchain Projects Live a Little Over a Year on Average, China Claims

The majority of blockchain projects have a short life span, averaging a little over one year, according to a report by Chinese researchers. Less than a tenth of the examined projects in the study are still active, a local official revealed at a big data expo in the city of Guizhou. Beijing, however, has recently taken steps to speed up efforts in blockchain-oriented research and development.   

 Also read: China Has Found 421 Fake Cryptocurrencies

8 Percent of 80,000

Only 8 percent of over 80,000 blockchain projects launched globally are still actively maintained, according to He Baohong, Director of the Cloud Computing and Big Data Research Institute at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). He spoke at the International Big Data Industry Expo 2018 held in the southwestern city of Guizhou.

In comments on the release of a new report about the top global blockchain industry trends, the Chinese official also said that the average life span of these projects is only about 1.22 years. The study produced by the CAICT has recognized six major trends, including the increasing integration of the flow of data and assets and the accelerated pace of the growth of digital assets.

“[These projects] came out very quickly, but die quickly as well,” He Baohong said, without sharing further details in regards to the timeframe and the exact scope of the survey. “In this circumstance, governments are accelerating their efforts to establish unified standards in order to help blockchain projects achieve real-life applications,” he elaborated, quoted by the China Money Network.

Blockchain Projects Live a Little Over a Year on Average, China Claims

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China, under which Baohong’s institute operates, has actually started work on the development of a national standard for blockchain technologies and applications. According to recent Chinese media reports, the standard will be completed and introduced by the end of next year.

“We have established verifiable blockchain programs in China, and nearly 200 private enterprises have expressed interests to join,” He Baohong added. “[This] will help the blockchain technology and the industry to become more transparent and open,” he emphasized.

Baohong’s comments came after a recent statement by Yu Kequn, Director of the Chinese National Center for Information Technology Security Research, who said that “The development of blockchain technology may become an important step for China to grasp the global technological competition.” In his words, blockchain technology “can be applied in the production, management, and transaction chains to bring the entire life cycle of restructuring to different areas.”

China Serious About Blockchain

Blockchain Projects Live a Little Over a Year on Average, China ClaimsIn the meantime, the executive power in Beijing has made a decision to accelerate the work on the development and implementation of blockchain and big data technologies in the country’s economy.

According to a statement released last week, the State Council of China asked local governments and financial authorities, as well as relevant state-funded research institutions, to concentrate their efforts in that direction. The order, issued earlier in May, instructs provincial and municipal authorities to speed up and support the development of financial technologies, including blockchain applications, within the framework of the current Chinese regulations.

The advancements in that field will also be supported financially. Last week, a Chinese blockchain accelerator announced millions of dollars in subsidies for startups. The Hangzhou-based Blockchain Industrial Park will offer up to $1 million to finance the development of new blockchain projects, among many other incentives for both fintech businesses and their qualified employees.

Do you think Chinese authorities are serious about blockchain development? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption

32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption

On May 15, 2018, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network upgraded the chain’s base block size from 8MB to 32MB. The software advancement makes blocks big enough to process lots of transactions over time  which gives developers plenty of breathing room to adjust the size if it starts getting closer to its limit. Unfortunately, many misdirected individuals assume the BCH chain will start processing 32MB blocks right away, which could lead to a blockchain chain that’s much larger in gigabyte size and takes longer to download. However, this is not the case right now at all, because BCH miners process blocks that are often still under 1MB, as the 32MB code is only set to ensure the network is capable in the future.

Also Read: Bitcoin Cash Upgrade Milestone Complete: 32MB and New Features

The Successful 32MB Block Size Increase Paves a Path for Mass Adoption

After the Bitcoin Cash network upgraded yesterday and even before the fork, a few misguided individuals asked why there was a need to raise the block size fourfold when 8MB blocks were not filling just yet. The reason developers raised the limit to 32MB is likely because the software is perfectly capable of handling such a task in the future. Right now block size limits are set by the miner, and developers are there to help set the capacity so blocks cannot get full in the immediate future, and fees will remain low for quite some time. Unfortunately for the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network, Core developers let the block size fill beyond capacity, and fees became unreliable during the last quarter of 2017. The 32MB BCH block size adjustment ensures this will not happen to the BCH network down the road, even when transaction usage becomes as extreme as 2017’s last quarter.

32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption
The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community and developers are not afraid of forks and protocol upgrades. The May 15th upgrade is the second successful hard fork on the BCH network.

Looking at BCH blocks on Coin Dance — a website which records BCH chain data currently shows that mining limits are being set by the mining pool. Over the past nine months, there have been a few 2,4, and 8MB blocks processed, but typically blocks have been a megabyte or less. So in essence, once miners decide its necessary to increase the block sizes they process, they will do so based on transactions and adoption increasing over time. In fact, current data also shows the Bitcoin Core (BTC) chain is still 34.4GB larger than the Bitcoin Cash chain.

32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption
After the block size increase miners are not processing 32MB blocks, the upgrade was meant to ensure they can handle that capacity in the future.

 Transaction Data Shows Daily BCH Transactions Has Increased by 186% in Nine Months  

At the moment Bitcoin Cash transactions per day are less than BTC as there are roughly 20-25,000 daily BCH transactions. But there’s also been a misdirected notion that the BCH chain isn’t getting much use, but this is simply untrue as data shows over the past nine months that BCH daily transaction percentage rates have increased. The decentralized currency BCH has seen a steady incline (186%) of use since the August 1 fork and the expansion of BCH transactions are now only 5-10,000 transactions less per day than the Litecoin (LTC) network — a cryptocurrency that has been around for 7 years. This is due in part to many Bitcoin Cash-based on-chain platforms like the tipping bot Tippr, the social media apps Memo and Blockpress, and other applications that help increase BCH usage.

32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption
In just nine months Bitcoin Cash has more than doubled its transaction count, and the BCH daily transaction rate is just below LTC’s daily transactions per day.

32X the Capacity is Merely Preparation for the Future of Bitcoin Cash Adoption

Essentially the bottom line is the software is now capable of processing 32MB blocks as it was previously capable of 8MB blocks. So far BCH miners had proven the capability of mining much larger blocks than 1MB multiple times, clearing thousands of transactions from the mempool. After the successful fork on May 15, some BCH supporters are already asking developers to remove the block size limit entirely.

32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption
The hilarious TX Highway has updated to 32 lanes.

Moreover, we know from testing that the Bitcoin software is capable of processing gigabyte blocks, and research studies further suggest the network could handle terabyte blocks as well. Unlike other digital asset developers, BCH programmers have set the bar high for capacity based on the known advancements in scaling a cryptocurrency network. Instead of saying “we don’t need to scale now,” the 32MB increase establishes a base block size that can efficiently handle 32X more transactions than the BTC network’s highest daily transaction rate recorded this past December.

What do you think about the 32MB block size upgrade? Do you think that the developers should remove the capacity limit entirely? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, TX Highway, Bitinfocharts.com, and Coin Dance. 


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Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

In Monday’s Bitcoin in Brief, Belgium’s financial watchdog, which earlier this year published a warning about potentially fraudulent platforms promising fast and easy profits to crypto investors, has just expanded its blacklist. In Russia, reports have surfaced of a plot to assassinate Alexander Vinnik in Greece, where he fights an extradition request from US authorities accusing him of laundering billions of dollars, including funds from the hacked Mt. Gox. Elsewhere, Australia allocates budget for blockchain research, and Dubai-based exchange Bitoasis suspends dirham withdrawals.

Also read: This Week in Bitcoin: Ghost Scares Markets, Facebook Mulls Coin

Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority has expanded its list of unauthorized and potentially fraudulent crypto companies operating in the country. The financial watchdog has recently published a new warning noting that “the FSMA is receiving an increasing number of consumer complaints regarding investments in cryptocurrencies [and] once again warns the public about these platforms, often operated by fraudsters who are now resorting to cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers.” The regulator also said that people who have invested through these platforms often complain they never recover their funds.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

In March, the FSMA published its first list of 19 suspicious crypto platforms saying it had received “questions or complaints from consumers and has established indications of fraud,” as news.Bitcoin.com reported. The agency stressed that the compilation does not include all questionable crypto trading platforms, but only those whose fraudulent practices have been reported by consumers. Last week the Belgian financial authority reminded investors that these companies usually claim to offer the best trading platforms for both beginners and professionals.

Plot to Assassinate Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

Law enforcement authorities in Greece have reportedly uncovered a plot to kill Alexander Vinnik in jail. The Russian national was detained in Greece at the request of the United States on suspicions of money laundering in connection with the Mt. Gox hack. “Greek law enforcement received intelligence on plans to prepare an assassination via poisoning with the help of criminals. The head of the prison and the prosecutor of the city of Thessaloniki have summoned Vinnik and informed him about the plot. Special security measures were taken in connection with that,” a source familiar with the details told Sputnik.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in GreeceAccording to the report, Vinnik is not allowed to accept any items, including food or beverages, from people he doesn’t know. His contacts with other inmates have been limited and measures have been taken to improve his personal security. Greek police received information about the murder plot earlier this year but it was not made public in order to help the investigation. The presumed murder attempt is said to be linked to the criminal underground and not the special services of any country. According to the quoted source, the assassination has been ordered by someone in Russia. Vinnik has recently expressed readiness to testify to Russian authorities for fintech-related crimes in his home country.

Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July last year at the request of authorities in the US, where he is suspected of laundering between $4 and $9 billion dollars through the now defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, including funds obtained from the notoriously hacked bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Russia has also asked for his extradition on other charges and Vinnik himself prefers to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in Moscow. The Russian IT specialist has also filed a petition for political asylum in Greece hoping to avoid extradition to the United States.

Australia to Finance Blockchain Research Through Budget

Australian authorities intend to finance the research of blockchain technologies through the federal budget for 2018/2019. According to the annual budget report, the government will provide additional $0.7 million AUD (>$0.5 million USD) for the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) which will be tasked to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government services. The agency is expected to use the funds to conduct “research to determine the current maturity of blockchain, assess the readiness for government to adopt the technology, and identify problems that blockchain might be able to solve,” and also, to “understand the potential of using blockchain to support government services.”

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

Set up in 2015, DTA aims to facilitate the digitization of the Australian government. The agency has received a total of $92.4 million AUD (almost $70 million USD) in this year’s budget. That means the funds allocated for blockchain research are less than 1%. Nevertheless, the country has already recognized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and passed legislation that treats cryptos like fiat money in the context of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies. In April, Australia introduced regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges. The country’s financial regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has taken measures against “deceptive and misleading initial coin offerings.”

Dubai Exchange Bitoasis Suspends Dirham Withdrawals

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in GreeceDubai-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitoasis has announced a temporary suspension of deposits and withdrawals in UAE dirhams. The trading platform warned its customers that if they want to access their dirham balances or deposit dirhams into in their accounts via wire transfers they will have to initiate an order no later than Tuesday, May 15. Such transactions will not be processed after that date. According to the notice sent to account holders, credit card deposits will be possible until June 16.

In the letter, quoted by Arabian Business, Bitoasis claims the restrictions were imposed due to issues with the bank it works with. Other means of buying and selling cryptocurrencies on the platform, as well as digital coin withdrawals to other wallets, are not affected, the exchange noted. “If you decide to leave your fiat balances, the only way for you to withdraw your funds at any time after May 15 would be to convert them to cryptocurrency and send them to an external wallet,” the statement reads. Bitoasis warns clients that it cannot provide a specific date for reactivating AED fiat withdrawals.

What are your thoughts on today’s Bitcoin in Brief stories? Tells in the comments section below.   


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Researchers Find Bitcoin Network 3X More ‘Evil’ Than the Public Internet

Researchers Find Bitcoin Network 3X More 'Evil' Than the Public Internet

Just recently a research group called Rapid7 published a report that reveals over a year’s worth of research regarding malicious activity tethered to Bitcoin Core (BTC) full nodes. By utilizing data collected from a network called ‘Project Heisenberg,’ and its internet scanner ‘Project Sonar,’ alongside intelligence from Bitnodes, the team had found quite a lot of exploits being shared between full blockchain nodes. 

Also read: The Hitchhikers Guide To The Invisible Internet

Study Finds Bad Actors Throughout Bitcoin Network’s Public Nodes

Bitcoin full node operators connect usually connect by default to a TCP service on port 8,333, but there are also over 600 alternative ports available. Rapid7’s recent research used data from the team’s Project Sonar which revealed the top three countries with the most port 8,333 nodes stem from the U.S., China, and Germany. The researchers began the blockchain surveillance back in August of 2017 and found more than 11,000 nodes per day. Moreover, the researchers collected data from more than 144,000 unique full nodes during the course of the study.

Researchers Find Bitcoin Network 3X More Evil Than the Public Internet

In addition to the Project Sonar intelligence over 900 nodes connected to Rapid7’s honeypot technology Project Heisenberg that revealed interesting and some malicious activities like the distribution of MS17-010 a critical Microsoft operating system vulnerability.

“Investigations into these interactions showed familiar patterns. Port scans and active reconnaissance with tools like Nmap were rampant, as was repeated attempted exploitation of MS17-010, largely from China,” explains Jon Hart a Rapid7 researcher.

17 hosts, mostly from the China IPv4 space, were actively slinging exploits for MS17-010.    

Researchers Find Bitcoin Network 3X More Evil Than the Public Internet

The Bitcoin Network Three Times More Evil Than the Public Internet

As mentioned above most of the shady activities derived from confirmed malicious nodes with the most amount of connections the U.S. (178), China (154), and Germany (132). While the researchers note that not all of the findings found in full nodes can be deemed harmful the group observed the nodes used “curious scanning and probing behavior in the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network.”

Researchers Find Bitcoin Network 3X More Evil Than the Public Internet

The report concludes that the absolute number of bad actors found within the cryptocurrency’s network is fairly low on ‘bad days’ these nodes can account for up to 2 percent of the BTC network. Now the researchers say that the data collected may be considered low but compared to the “background noise” of malicious activity found on the entire IPv4 internet the figure is pretty alarming.

“Therefore, on a typical day, the Bitcoin network is approximately three times more ‘evil’ than the rest of the internet. On particularly active days, we see ten times as many malicious nodes in the Bitcoin network as we see on the regular internet, by volume,” explains the Rapid7 report.

If you are actively participating as a bitcoin miner, one takeaway is to recognize that there are a small number of participants in the bitcoin network actively taking hostile action against otherwise innocent nodes on the public internet.

What do you think about the research that states the BTC network of nodes is three times more “evil” than the entire IPv4 internet? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.  


Images via Shutterstock, Bitnodes, and Rapid7’s research report


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San Francisco Fed Says BTC-based Future Markets Played a Role in Price

San Francisco Fed Says BTC-based Future Markets Played a Role in Price

The U.S. Federal Reserve system has been very interested in bitcoin lately and has released a bunch of reports from Federal Reserve leaders and researchers from different offices. This past Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and a professor from Stanford University published a paper that concludes that bitcoin-based futures markets affected the cryptocurrency’s price patterns since Cboe and CME launched the products.

Also read: How to Shuffle Your BCH Coins Like a Boss

Study Concludes That BTC Futures Markets May Have Helped Push the Cryptocurrency’s Price Down

San Francisco Fed Says BTC-based Future Markets Played a Role in PriceHave you ever wondered why BTC markets dipped in value over the past four months of 2018? Well, researchers from Stanford University and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco believe bitcoin future markets played a role in BTC’s market behavior. The study was published under the central bank’s economic research reports website and written by Galina Hale, Arvind Krishnamurthy, Marianna Kudlyak, and Patrick Shultz. The Fed researchers say that the bitcoin derivatives markets introduced this past December suggests a correlation with the decline in the cryptocurrency’s value just like many other markets affected by futures products in the past.

The paper states that throughout BTC’s inception the value of the coin remained under $4,000 but climbed “dramatically to nearly $20,000, but descended rapidly starting in mid-December,” explains the Fed’s economic study. The researchers go on to state:          

The peak price coincided with the introduction of bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The rapid run-up and subsequent fall in the price after the introduction of futures does not appear to be a coincidence. Rather, it is consistent with trading behavior that typically accompanies the introduction of futures markets for an asset.

San Francisco Fed Says BTC-based Future Markets Played a Role in Price
The researchers’ comparison of three largest bitcoin price declines in 2017. Source: Bloomberg, central bank report authors’ calculations.

Short-Selling Pressure from Pessimists Leads to a Sharp Decline in Value

The price decline following the issuance of bitcoin futures on the CME is “clearly larger” than in the previous two reversals says the report. “Additionally, the two earlier decreases in prices returned to pre-crash levels in about a month — As of late April, the bitcoin price had not returned to its pre-futures peak,” explains the San Francisco Federal Reserve report. The paper emphasizes why this was the case by saying:  

We suggest that the rapid rise of the price of bitcoin and its decline following the issuance of futures on the CME is consistent with pricing dynamics — Once derivatives markets become sufficiently deep, short-selling pressure from pessimists leads to a sharp decline in value.

The researchers also note that they understand there are other fundamental factors tethered to the overall value of the cryptocurrency and “transactional benefits” will likely quantify the currency’s long-term price. “As speculative dynamics disappear from the bitcoin market, the transactional benefits are likely to be the factor that will drive valuation,” the paper concludes.

What do you think about the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s study about bitcoin futures markets affecting the price of BTC? Let us know in the comments below.  


Images via Pixabay, and the San Francisco Federal Reserve.  


At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

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Bitcoin’s Value to Lose $44 Billion by Year’s End, Researchers Argue

Bitcoin's Value to Lose $44 Billion by Year’s End, Researchers Argue

Researchers from Switzerland published a twenty page study on the predictability of bitcoin bubbles, using Metcalfe’s law and Log-Periodic Power Law Singularity (LPPLS), and determined bitcoin’s market capitalization might fall as much as $44 billion, or 35% (at the time of writing), by the end of 2018.

Also read: More Bitcoin ETF Teasing, Encouraging Signs Emerge

Swiss Researchers Claim Bitcoin’s Value to be a Mere $77 Billion at End of 2018

If researchers from ETH Zurich got their sums right, by year’s end bitcoin’s value should get a haircut by as much as $44 billion, some 35% below its current $121 billion (as of this writing). The recent study Are Bitcoin Bubbles Predictable? Combining a Generalized Metcalfe’s Law and the LPPLS Model by Spencer Wheatley, Didier Sornette, et al, of ETH Zurich’s Department of Management, Technology and Economics, and Swiss Finance Institute at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, respectively, is attempting to make a prediction.

“We develop a strong diagnostic,”  Mr. Wheatley explains, “for bubbles and crashes in bitcoin, by analyzing the coincidence (and its absence) of fundamental and technical indicators. Using a generalized Metcalfe’s law based on network properties, a fundamental value is quantified and shown to be heavily exceeded, on at least four occasions, by bubbles that grow and burst.”

Bitcoin's Value to Lose $44 Billion by Year’s End, Researchers Argue
ETH Zürich

Metcalfe’s law has been tied to bitcoin almost since the decentralized currency’s inception, and in most contexts is employed to further a case for bitcoin’s eventual price increase. Essentially, Metcalfe postulated the growth of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users. It’s now known as the network effect. Mr. Wheatley believes the number of bitcoin users is declining.

Indeed, it would seem to be the case less folks are interested in bitcoin, if anecdotal evidence means anything: numbers across the board are down, in all sectors concerning bitcoin, and are likely the self-fulfilling nature of rapid price declines in recent months. The authors acknowledge the inherent problems, however, in determining the numbers of users. Most enthusiasts use multiple wallet address, for example, and so counting them seems like a dead end. Nevertheless, if it’s true price declines shed users, it’s probably just as true price increases bring aboard more users. Instead, researchers use market capitalization as a better estimate for user growth or contraction.

On the Other Hand

“We emphasize that one should not focus on the instantaneous and rather unpredictable trigger itself, but monitor the increasingly unstable state of the bubbly market, and prepare for a correction,” they argue.

Academic papers are often filled with linguistic hedging, and this paper is no different (on the other hand, but then again, etc.). As users decrease, then, so goes market cap … or at least its rate of growth.  

Bitcoin's Value to Lose $44 Billion by Year’s End, Researchers Argue
Spencer Wheatley

“In any case,” the paper continues, “the predicted values for the market cap indicate a current over-valuation of at least four times […] and the Metcalfe support line suggest current values around 44, 22, and 33 billion USD, respectively, in contrast to the actual current market cap of 170 billion USD. Further, assuming continued user growth in line with the regression of active users starting in 2012, the end of 2018 Metcalfe predictions for the market cap are 77, 39, and 64 billion USD respectively, which is still less than half of the current market cap. These results are found to be robust with regards to the chosen fitting window. On this basis alone, the current market looks similar to that of early 2014, which was followed by a year of sideways and downward movement. Some separate fundamental development would need to exist to justify such high valuation, which we are unaware of.”

The LPPLS comes into play when evaluating bitcoin’s historic bubbles, and Mr. Wheatley examines four in particular, Mt Gox and South Korea’s perceived threat to ban exchanges being the most prominent examples. Crashes or crazy corrections usually followed.

Do you have any predictions for bitcoin’s value at year’s end? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, ETH Zurich. 


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