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Send money abroad - Forex
I will be moving abroad and would need to spend a lot of money until I can set up a bank account there. What is the best way to optimize for a good exchange rate and merchant transaction costs?
More specifically, I'll be moving to the UK soon. Unfortunately, to set up a bank account, I'd need to rent a residence and to rent a residence I'd need to spend my money wisely at a good forex rate. To understand the problem more, I did some google-fu and realized that the solution should account for a few things. - I need to use a service that is / can be attached to my Indian bank and can provide card banking facilities abroad with at a near-wholesale currency exchange rate. I want to avoid using cash-based transfer services there (eg: like what western union is usually used for). - The service should also have the lowest possible transaction charges applied. Are there services that provide 0% markup on foreign merchant transactions or ATM withdrawals? The service again, is just a temporary solution until I can set up a proper account abroad. I did discover that a forex card service can be used (Like Makemytrip's HDFC Prepaid), but I'm a bit nervous on understanding how it this actually works or if there's a hidden catch. I hope I can learn more about this. This community has been super helpful with me so far, so thank you!
With Bitcoin Suddenly Surging, Canaan Stock Is Also Going Up Today
Which are your Top 5 favourite coins out of the Top 100? An analysis.
I am putting together my investment portfolio for 2018 and made a complete summary of the current Top 100. Interestingly, I noticed that all coins can be categorized into 12 markets. Which markets do you think will play the biggest role in the coming year? Here is a complete overview of all coins in an excel sheet including name, market, TPS, risk profile, time since launch (negative numbers mean that they are launching that many months in the future) and market cap. You can also sort by all of these fields of course. Coins written in bold are the strongest contenders within their market either due to having the best technology or having a small market cap and still excellent technology and potential. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s8PHcNvvjuy848q18py_CGcu8elRGQAUIf86EYh4QZo/edit#gid=0 The 12 markets are
Currency 13 coins
Platform 25 coins
Ecosystem 9 coins
Privacy 10 coins
Currency Exchange Tool 8 coins
Gaming & Gambling 5 coins
Misc 15 coins
Social Network 4 coins
Fee Token 3 coins
Decentralized Data Storage 4 coins
Cloud Computing 3 coins
Stable Coin 2 coins
Before we look at the individual markets, we need to take a look of the overall market and its biggest issue scalability first: Cryptocurrencies aim to be a decentralized currency that can be used worldwide. Its goal is to replace dollar, Euro, Yen, all FIAT currencies worldwide. The coin that will achieve that will be worth several trillion dollars. Bitcoin can only process 7 transactions per second (TPS). In order to replace all FIAT, it would need to perform at at least VISA levels, which usually processes around 3,000 TPS, up to 25,000 TPS during peak times and a maximum of 64,000 TPS. That means that this cryptocurrency would need to be able to perform at least several thousand TPS. However, a ground breaking technology should not look at current technology to set a goal for its use, i.e. estimating the number of emails sent in 1990 based on the number of faxes sent wasn’t a good estimate. For that reason, 10,000 TPS is the absolute baseline for a cryptocurrency that wants to replace FIAT. This brings me to IOTA, which wants to connect all 80 billion IoT devices that are expected to exist by 2025, which constantly communicate with each other, creating 80 billion or more transactions per second. This is the benchmark that cryptocurrencies should be aiming for. Currently, 8 billion devices are connected to the Internet. With its Lightning network recently launched, Bitcoin is realistically looking at 50,000 possible soon. Other notable cryptocurrencies besides IOTA and Bitcoin are Nano with 7,000 TPS already tested, Dash with several billion TPS possible with Masternodes, Neo, LISK and RHOC with 100,000 TPS by 2020, Ripple with 50,000 TPS, Ethereum with 10,000 with Sharding. However, it needs to be said that scalability usually goes at the cost of decentralization and security. So, it needs to be seen, which of these technologies can prove itself resilient and performant. Without further ado, here are the coins of the first market
Market 1 - Currency:
Bitcoin: 1st generation blockchain with currently bad scalability currently, though the implementation of the Lightning Network looks promising and could alleviate most scalability concerns, scalability and high energy use.
Ripple: Centralized currency that might become very successful due to tight involvement with banks and cross-border payments for financial institutions; banks and companies like Western Union and Moneygram (who they are currently working with) as customers customers. However, it seems they are aiming for more decentralization now.https://ripple.com/dev-blog/decentralization-strategy-update/. Has high TPS due to Proof of Correctness algorithm.
Bitcoin Cash: Bitcoin fork with the difference of having an 8 times bigger block size, making it 8 times more scalable than Bitcoin currently. Further block size increases are planned. Only significant difference is bigger block size while big blocks lead to further problems that don't seem to do well beyond a few thousand TPS. Opponents to a block size argue that increasing the block size limit is unimaginative, offers only temporary relief, and damages decentralization by increasing costs of participation. In order to preserve decentralization, system requirements to participate should be kept low. To understand this, consider an extreme example: very big blocks (1GB+) would require data center level resources to validate the blockchain. This would preclude all but the wealthiest individuals from participating.Community seems more open than Bitcoin's though.
Litecoin : Little brother of Bitcoin. Bitcoin fork with different mining algorithm but not much else.Copies everything that Bitcoin does pretty much. Lack of real innovation.
Dash: Dash (Digital Cash) is a fork of Bitcoin and focuses on user ease. It has very fast transactions within seconds, low fees and uses Proof of Service from Masternodes for consensus. They are currently building a system called Evolution which will allow users to send money using usernames and merchants will find it easy to integrate Dash using the API. You could say Dash is trying to be a PayPal of cryptocurrencies. Currently, cryptocurrencies must choose between decentralization, speed, scalability and can pick only 2. With Masternodes, Dash picked speed and scalability at some cost of decentralization, since with Masternodes the voting power is shifted towards Masternodes, which are run by Dash users who own the most Dash.
IOTA: 3rd generation blockchain called Tangle, which has a high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. IOTA aims to be the connective layer between all 80 billion IOT devices that are expected to be connected to the Internet in 2025, possibly creating 80 billion transactions per second or 800 billion TPS, who knows. However, it needs to be seen if the Tangle can keep up with this scalability and iron out its security issues that have not yet been completely resolved.
Nano: 3rd generation blockchain called Block Lattice with high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. Unlike IOTA, Nano only wants to be a payment processor and nothing else, for now at least. With Nano, every user has their own blockchain and has to perform a small amount of computing for each transaction, which makes Nano perform at 300 TPS with no problems and 7,000 TPS have also been tested successfully. Very promising 3rd gen technology and strong focus on only being the fastest currency without trying to be everything.
Decred: As mining operations have grown, Bitcoin’s decision-making process has become more centralized, with the largest mining companies holding large amounts of power over the Bitcoin improvement process. Decred focuses heavily on decentralization with their PoW Pos hybrid governance system to become what Bitcoin was set out to be. They will soon implement the Lightning Network to scale up. While there do not seem to be more differences to Bitcoin besides the novel hybrid consensus algorithm, which Ethereum, Aeternity and Bitcoin Atom are also implementing, the welcoming and positive Decred community and professoinal team add another level of potential to the coin.
Aeternity: We’ve seen recently, that it’s difficult to scale the execution of smart contracts on the blockchain. Crypto Kitties is a great example. Something as simple as creating and trading unique assets on Ethereum bogged the network down when transaction volume soared. Ethereum and Zilliqa address this problem with Sharding. Aeternity focuses on increasing the scalability of smart contracts and dapps by moving smart contracts off-chain. Instead of running on the blockchain, smart contracts on Aeternity run in private state channels between the parties involved in the contracts. State channels are lines of communication between parties in a smart contract. They don’t touch the blockchain unless they need to for adjudication or transfer of value. Because they’re off-chain, state channel contracts can operate much more efficiently. They don’t need to pay the network for every time they compute and can also operate with greater privacy. An important aspect of smart contract and dapp development is access to outside data sources. This could mean checking the weather in London, score of a football game, or price of gold. Oracles provide access to data hosted outside the blockchain. In many blockchain projects, oracles represent a security risk and potential point of failure, since they tend to be singular, centralized data streams. Aeternity proposes decentralizing oracles with their oracle machine. Doing so would make outside data immutable and unchangeable once it reaches Aeternity’s blockchain. Of course, the data source could still be hacked, so Aeternity implements a prediction market where users can bet on the accuracy and honesty of incoming data from various oracles.It also uses prediction markets for various voting and verification purposes within the platform. Aeternity’s network runs on on a hybrid of proof of work and proof of stake. Founded by a long-time crypto-enthusiast and early colleague of Vitalik Buterin, Yanislav Malahov. Promising concept though not product yet
Bitcoin Atom: Atomic Swaps and hybrid consenus. This looks like the only Bitcoin clone that actually is looking to innovate next to Bitcoin Cash.
Dogecoin: Litecoin fork, fantastic community, though lagging behind a bit in technology.
Bitcoin Gold: A bit better security than bitcoin through ASIC resistant algorithm, but that's it. Not that interesting.
Digibyte: Digibyte's PoS blockchain is spread over a 100,000+ servers, phones, computers, and nodes across the globe, aiming for the ultimate level of decentralization. DigiByte rebalances the load between the five mining algorithms by adjusting the difficulty of each so one algorithm doesn’t become dominant. The algorithm's asymmetric difficulty has gained notoriety and been deployed in many other blockchains.DigiByte’s adoption over the past four years has been slow. It’s still a relatively obscure currency compared its competitors. The DigiByte website offers a lot of great marketing copy and buzzwords. However, there’s not much technical information about what they have planned for the future. You could say Digibyte is like Bitcoin, but with shorter blocktimes and a multi-algorithm. However, that's not really a difference big enough to truly set themselves apart from Bitcoin, since these technologies could be implemented by any blockchain without much difficulty. Their decentralization is probably their strongest asset, however, this also change quickly if the currency takes off and big miners decide to go into Digibyte.
Bitcoin Diamond Asic resistant Bitcoin and Copycat
Market 2 - Platform
Most of the cryptos here have smart contracts and allow dapps (Decentralized apps) to be build on their platform and to use their token as an exchange of value between dapp services.
Ethereum: 2nd generation blockchain that allows the use of smart contracts. Bad scalability currently, though this concern could be alleviated by the soon to be implemented Lightning Network aka Plasma and its Sharding concept.
EOS: Promising technology that wants to be able do everything, from smart contracts like Ethereum, scalability similar to Nano with 1000 tx/second + near instant transactions and zero fees, to also wanting to be a platform for dapps. However, EOS doesn't have a product yet and everything is just promises still. Highly overvalued right now. However, there are lots of red flags, have dumped $500 million Ether over the last 2 months and possibly bought back EOS to increase the size of their ICO, which has been going on for over a year and has raised several billion dollars. All in all, their market cap is way too high for that and not even having a product.
Cardano: Similar to Ethereum/EOS, however, only promises made with no delivery yet, highly overrated right now. Interesting concept though. Market cap way too high for not even having a product. Somewhat promising technology.
VeChain: Singapore-based project that’s building a business enterprise platform and inventory tracking system. Examples are verifying genuine luxury goods and food supply chains. Has one of the strongest communities in the crypto world. Most hyped token of all, with merit though.
Neo: Neo is a platform, similar to Eth, but more extensive, allowing dapps and smart contracts, but with a different smart contract gas system, consensus mechanism (PoS vs. dBfT), governance model, fixed vs unfixed supply, expensive contracts vs nearly free contracts, different ideologies for real world adoption. There are currently only 9 nodes, each of which are being run by a company/entity hand selected by the NEO council (most of which are located in china) and are under contract. This means that although the locations of the nodes may differ, ultimately the neo council can bring them down due to their legal contracts. In fact this has been done in the past when the neo council was moving 50 million neo that had been locked up. Also dbft (or neo's implmentation of it) has failed underload causing network outages during major icos. The first step in decentralization is that the NEO Counsel will select trusted nodes (Universities, business partners, etc.) and slowly become less centralized that way. The final step in decentralization will be allowing NEO holders to vote for new nodes, similar to a DPoS system (ARK/EOS/LISK). NEO has a regulation/government friendly ideology. Finally they are trying to work undewith the Chinese government in regards to regulations. If for some reason they wanted it shut down, they could just shut it down.
Stellar: PoS system, similar goals as Ripple, but more of a platform than only a currency. 80% of Stellar are owned by Stellar.org still, making the currency centralized.
Ethereum classic: Original Ethereum that decided not to fork after a hack. The Ethereum that we know is its fork. Uninteresing, because it has a lot of less resources than Ethereum now and a lot less community support.
Ziliqa: Zilliqa is building a new way of sharding. 2400 tpx already tested, 10,000 tps soon possible by being linearly scalable with the number of nodes. That means, the more nodes, the faster the network gets. They are looking at implementing privacy as well.
QTUM: Enables Smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain. Useful.
Icon: Korean ethereum. Decentralized application platform that's building communities in partnership with banks, insurance providers, hospitals, and universities. Focused on ID verification and payments. No big differentiators to the other 20 Ethereums, except that is has a product. That is a plus. Maybe cheap alternative to Ethereum.
LISK: Lisk's difference to other BaaS is that side chains are independent to the main chain and have to have their own nodes. Similar to neo whole allows dapps to deploy their blockchain to. However, Lisk is currently somewhat centralized with a small group of members owning more than 50% of the delegated positions. Lisk plans to change the consensus algorithm for that reason in the near future.
Rchain: Similar to Ethereum with smart contract, though much more scalable at an expected 40,000 TPS and possible 100,000 TPS. Not launched yet. No product launched yet, though promising technology. Not overvalued, probably at the right price right now.
ARDR: Similar to Lisk. Ardor is a public blockchain platform that will allow people to utilize the blockchain technology of Nxt through the use of child chains. A child chain, which is a ‘light’ blockchain that can be customized to a certain extent, is designed to allow easy self-deploy for your own blockchain. Nxt claims that users will "not need to worry" about security, as that part is now handled by the main chain (Ardor). This is the chief innovation of Ardor. Ardor was evolved from NXT by the same company. NEM started as a NXT clone.
Ontology: Similar to Neo. Interesting coin
Bytom: Bytom is an interactive protocol of multiple byte assets. Heterogeneous byte-assets (indigenous digital currency, digital assets) that operate in different forms on the Bytom Blockchain and atomic assets (warrants, securities, dividends, bonds, intelligence information, forecasting information and other information that exist in the physical world) can be registered, exchanged, gambled and engaged in other more complicated and contract-based interoperations via Bytom.
Nxt: Similar to Lisk
Stratis: Different to LISK, Stratis will allow businesses and organizations to create their own blockchain according to their own needs, but secured on the parent Stratis chain. Stratis’s simple interface will allow organizations to quickly and easily deploy and/or test blockchain functionality of the Ethereum, BitShares, BitCoin, Lisk and Stratis environements.
Status: Status provides access to all of Ethereum’s decentralized applications (dapps) through an app on your smartphone. It opens the door to mass adoption of Ethereum dapps by targeting the fastest growing computer segment in the world – smartphone users.16. Ark: Fork of Lisk that focuses on a smaller feature set. Ark wallets can only vote for one delegate at a time which forces delegates to compete against each other and makes cartel formations incredibly hard, if not impossible.
Neblio: Similar to Neo, but 30x smaller market cap.
NEM: Is similar to Neo No marketing team, very high market cap for little clarilty what they do.
Bancor: Bancor is a Decentralized Liquidity Network that allows you to hold any Ethereum token and convert it to any other token in the network, with no counter party, at an automatically calculated price, using a simple web wallet.
Dragonchain: The Purpose of DragonChain is to help companies quickly and easily incorporate blockchain into their business applications. Many companies might be interested in making this transition because of the benefits associated with serving clients over a blockchain – increased efficiency and security for transactions, a reduction of costs from eliminating potential fraud and scams, etc.
Skycoin: Transactions with zero fees that take apparently two seconds, unlimited transaction rate, no need for miners and block rewards, low power usage, all of the usual cryptocurrency technical vulnerabilities fixed, a consensus mechanism superior to anything that exists, resistant to all conceivable threats (government censorship, community infighting, cybenucleaconventional warfare, etc). Skycoin has their own consensus algorithm known as Obelisk written and published academically by an early developer of Ethereum. Obelisk is a non-energy intensive consensus algorithm based on a concept called ‘web of trust dynamics’ which is completely different to PoW, PoS, and their derivatives. Skywire, the flagship application of Skycoin, has the ambitious goal of decentralizing the internet at the hardware level and is about to begin the testnet in April. However, this is just one of the many facets of the Skycoin ecosystem. Skywire will not only provide decentralized bandwidth but also storage and computation, completing the holy trinity of commodities essential for the new internet. Skycion a smear campaign launched against it, though they seem legit and reliable. Thus, they are probably undervalued.
Market 3 - Ecosystem
The 3rd market with 11 coins is comprised of ecosystem coins, which aim to strengthen the ease of use within the crypto space through decentralized exchanges, open standards for apps and more
Nebulas: Similar to how Google indexes webpages Nebulas will index blockchain projects, smart contracts & data using the Nebulas rank algorithm that sifts & sorts the data. Developers rewarded NAS to develop & deploy on NAS chain. Nebulas calls this developer incentive protocol – basically rewards are issued based on how often dapp/contract etc. is used, the more the better the rewards and Proof of devotion. Works like DPoS except the best, most economically incentivised developers (Bookkeeppers) get the forging spots. Ensuring brains stay with the project (Cross between PoI & PoS). 2,400 TPS+, DAG used to solve the inter-transaction dependencies in the PEE (Parallel Execution Environment) feature, first crypto Wallet that supports the Lightening Network.
Waves: Decentralized exchange and crowdfunding platform. Let’s companies and projects to issue and manage their own digital coin tokens to raise money.
Salt: Leveraging blockchain assets to secure cash loands. Plans to offer cash loans in traditional currencies, backed by your cryptocurrency assets. Allows lenders worldwide to skip credit checks for easier access to affordable loans.
CHAINLINK: ChainLink is a decentralized oracle service, the first of its kind. Oracles are defined as an ‘agent’ that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used in smart contracts.With ChainLink, smart contract users can use the network’s oracles to retrieve data from off-chain application program interfaces (APIs), data pools, and other resources and integrate them into the blockchain and smart contracts. Basically, ChainLink takes information that is external to blockchain applications and puts it on-chain. The difference to Aeternity is that Chainlink deploys the smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain while Aeternity has its own chain.
WTC: Combines blockchain with IoT to create a management system for supply chains Interesting
Ethos unifyies all cryptos. Ethos is building a multi-cryptocurrency phone wallet. The team is also building an investment diversification tool and a social network
Aion: Aion is the token that pays for services on the Aeternity platform.
USDT: is no cryptocurrency really, but a replacement for dollar for trading After months of asking for proof of dollar backing, still no response from Tether.
Market 4 - Privacy
The 4th market are privacy coins. As you might know, Bitcoin is not anonymous. If the IRS or any other party asks an exchange who is the identity behind a specific Bitcoin address, they know who you are and can track back almost all of the Bitcoin transactions you have ever made and all your account balances. Privacy coins aim to prevent exactly that through address fungability, which changes addresses constantly, IP obfuscation and more. There are 2 types of privacy coins, one with completely privacy and one with optional privacy. Optional Privacy coins like Dash and Nav have the advantage of more user friendliness over completely privacy coins such as Monero and Enigma.
Monero: Currently most popular privacy coin, though with a very high market cap. Since their privacy is all on chain, all prior transactions would be deanonymized if their protocol is ever cracked. This requires a quantum computing attack though. PIVX is better in that regard.
Zcash: A decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that hide the sender, recipient, and value of transactions. Offers users the option to make transactions public later for auditing. Decent privacy coin, though no default privacy
Verge: Calls itself privacy coin without providing private transactions, multiple problems over the last weeks has a toxic community, and way too much hype for what they have.
Bytecoin: First privacy-focused cryptocurrency with anonymous transactions. Bytecoin’s code was later adapted to create Monero, the more well-known anonymous cryptocurrency. Has several scam accusations, 80% pre-mine, bad devs, bad tech
Bitcoin Private: A merge fork of Bitcoin and Zclassic with Zclassic being a fork of Zcash with the difference of a lack of a founders fee required to mine a valid block. This promotes a fair distribution, preventing centralized coin ownership and control. Bitcoin private offers the optional ability to keep the sender, receiver, and amount private in a given transaction. However, this is already offered by several good privacy coins (Monero, PIVX) and Bitcoin private doesn't offer much more beyond this.
Komodo: The Komodo blockchain platform uses Komodo’s open-source cryptocurrency for doing transparent, anonymous, private, and fungible transactions. They are then made ultra-secure using Bitcoin’s blockchain via a Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) protocol and decentralized crowdfunding (ICO) platform to remove middlemen from project funding. Offers services for startups to create and manage their own Blockchains.
PIVX: As a fork of Dash, PIVX uses an advanced implementation of the Zerocoin protocol to provide it’s privacy. This is a form of zeroknowledge proofs, which allow users to spend ‘Zerocoins’ that have no link back to them. Unlike Zcash u have denominations in PIVX, so they can’t track users by their payment amount being equal to the amount of ‘minted’ coins, because everyone uses the same denominations. PIVX is also implementing Bulletproofs, just like Monero, and this will take care of arguably the biggest weakness of zeroknowledge protocols: the trusted setup.
Zcoin: PoW cryptocurrency. Private financial transactions, enabled by the Zerocoin Protocol. Zcoin is the first full implementation of the Zerocoin Protocol, which allows users to have complete privacy via Zero-Knowledge cryptographic proofs.
Enigma: Monero is to Bitcoin what enigma is to Ethereum. Enigma is for making the data used in smart contracts private. More of a platform for dapps than a currency like Monero. Very promising.
Navcoin: Like bitcoin but with added privacy and pos and 1,170 tps, but only because of very short 30 second block times. Though, privacy is optional, but aims to be more user friendly than Monero. However, doesn't really decide if it wants to be a privacy coin or not. Same as Zcash.Strong technology, non-shady team.
Tenx: Raised 80 million, offers cryptocurrency-linked credit cards that let you spend virtual money in real life. Developing a series of payment platforms to make spending cryptocurrency easier. However, the question is if full privacy coins will be hindered in growth through government regulations and optional privacy coins will become more successful through ease of use and no regulatory hindrance.
Market 5 - Currency Exchange Tool
Due to the sheer number of different cryptocurrencies, exchanging one currency for the other it still cumbersome. Further, merchants don’t want to deal with overcluttered options of accepting cryptocurrencies. This is where exchange tool like Req come in, which allow easy and simple exchange of currencies.
Cryptonex: Fiat and currency exchange between various blockchain services, similar to REQ.
QASH: Qash is used to fuel its liquid platform which will be an exchange that will distribute their liquidity pool. Its product, the Worldbook is a multi-exchange order book that matches crypto to crypto, and crypto to fiat and the reverse across all currencies. E.g., someone is selling Bitcoin is USD on exchange1 not owned by Quoine and someone is buying Bitcoin in EURO on exchange 2 not owned by Quoine. If the forex conversions and crypto conversions match then the trade will go through and the Worldbook will match it, it'll make the sale and the purchase on either exchange and each user will get what they wanted, which means exchanges with lower liquidity if they join the Worldbook will be able to fill orders and take trade fees they otherwise would miss out on.They turned it on to test it a few months ago for an hour or so and their exchange was the top exchange in the world by 4x volume for the day because all Worldbook trades ran through it. Binance wants BNB to be used on their one exchange. Qash wants their QASH token embedded in all of their partners. More info here https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/8a8lnwhich_are_your_top_5_favourite_coins_out_of_the/dwyjcbb/?context=3
Kyber: network Exchange between cryptocurrencies, similar to REQ. Features automatic coin conversions for payments. Also offers payment tools for developers and a cryptocurrency wallet.
Achain: Building a boundless blockchain world like Req .
Req: Exchange between cryptocurrencies.
Bitshares: Exchange between cryptocurrencies. Noteworthy are the 1.5 second average block times and throughput potential of 100,000 transactions per second with currently 2,400 TPS having been proven. However, bitshares had several Scam accusations in the past.
Loopring: A protocol that will enable higher liquidity between exchanges and personal wallets.
ZRX: Open standard for dapps. Open, permissionless protocol allowing for ERC20 tokens to be traded on the Ethereum blockchain. In 0x protocol, orders are transported off-chain, massively reducing gas costs and eliminating blockchain bloat. Relayers help broadcast orders and collect a fee each time they facilitate a trade. Anyone can build a relayer.
Market 6 - Gaming
With an industry size of $108B worldwide, Gaming is one of the largest markets in the world. For sure, cryptocurrencies will want to have a share of that pie.
Storm: Mobile game currency on a platform with 9 million players.
Fun: A platform for casino operators to host trustless, provably-fair gambling through the use of smart contracts, as well as creating their own implementation of state channels for scalability.
Electroneum: Mobile game currency They have lots of technical problems, such as several 51% attacks
Wax: Marketplace to trade in-game items
Market 7 - Misc
There are various markets being tapped right now. They are all summed up under misc.
OMG: Omise is designed to enable financial services for people without bank accounts. It works worldwide and with both traditional money and cryptocurrencies.
Power ledger: Australian blockchain-based cryptocurrency and energy trading platform that allows for decentralized selling and buying of renewable energy. Unique market and rather untapped market in the crypto space.
Populous: A platform that connects business owners and invoice buyers without middlemen. Invoice sellers get cash flow to fund their business and invoice buyers earn interest. Similar to OMG, small market.
Monacoin: The first Japanese cryptocurrency. Focused on micro-transactions and based on a popular internet meme of a type-written cat. This makes it similar to Dogecoin. Very niche, tiny market.
Revain: Legitimizing reviews via the blockchain. Interesting concept, though market not as big.
Augur: Platform to forecast and make wagers on the outcome of real-world events (AKA decentralized predictions). Uses predictions for a “wisdom of the crowd” search engine. Not launched yet.
Substratum: Revolutionzing hosting industry via per request billing as a decentralized internet hosting system. Uses a global network of private computers to create the free and open internet of the future. Participants earn cryptocurrency. Interesting concept.
Veritaseum: Is supposed to be a peer to peer gateway, though it looks like very much like a scam.
TRON: Tronix is looking to capitalize on ownership of internet data to content creators. However, they plagiarized their white paper, which is a no go. They apologized, so it needs to be seen how they will conduct themselves in the future. Extremely high market cap for not having a product, nor proof of concept.
Syscoin: A cryptocurrency with a decentralized marketplace that lets people buy and sell products directly without third parties. Trying to remove middlemen like eBay and Amazon.
Hshare: Most likely scam because of no code changes, most likely pump and dump scheme, dead community.
BAT: An Ethereum-based token that can be exchanged between content creators, users, and advertisers. Decentralized ad-network that pays based on engagement and attention.
Dent: Decentralizeed exchange of mobile data, enabling mobile data to be marketed, purchased or distributed, so that users can quickly buy or sell data from any user to another one.
Ncash: End to end encrypted Identification system for retailers to better serve their customers .
Factom Secure record-keeping system that allows companies to store their data directly on the Blockchain. The goal is to make records more transparent and trustworthy .
Market 8 - Social network
Web 2.0 is still going strong and Web 3.0 is not going to ignore it. There are several gaming tokens already out there and a few with decent traction already, such as Steem, which is Reddit with voting through money is a very interesting one.
Mithril: As users create content via social media, they will be rewarded for their contribution, the better the contribution, the more they will earn
Steem: Like Reddit, but voting with money. Already launched product and Alexa rank 1,000 Thumbs up.
Rdd: Reddcoin makes the process of sending and receiving money fun and rewarding for everyone. Reddcoin is dedicated to one thing – tipping on social networks as a way to bring cryptocurrency awareness and experience to the general public.
Kin: Token for the platform Kik. Kik has a massive user base of 400 million people. Replacing paying with FIAT with paying with KIN might get this token to mass adoption very quickly.
Market 9 - Fee token
Popular exchanges realized that they can make a few billion dollars more by launching their own token. Owning these tokens gives you a reduction of trading fees. Very handy and BNB (Binance Coin) has been one of the most resilient tokens, which have withstood most market drops over the last weeks and was among the very few coins that could show growth.
BNB: Fee token for Binance
Gas: Not a Fee token for an exchange, but it is a dividend paid out on Neo and a currency that can be used to purchase services for dapps.
Kucoin: Fee token for Kucoin
Market 10 - Decentralized Data Storage
Currently, data storage happens with large companies or data centers that are prone to failure or losing data. Decentralized data storage makes loss of data almost impossible by distributing your files to numerous clients that hold tiny pieces of your data. Remember Torrents? Torrents use a peer-to-peer network. It is similar to that. Many users maintain copies of the same file, when someone wants a copy of that file, they send a request to the peer-to-peer network., users who have the file, known as seeds, send fragments of the file to the requester., he requester receives many fragments from many different seeds, and the torrent software recompiles these fragments to form the original file.
Gbyte: Byteball data is stored and ordered using directed acyclic graph (DAG) rather than blockchain. This allows all users to secure each other's data by referencing earlier data units created by other users, and also removes scalability limits common for blockchains, such as blocksize issue.
Siacoin: Siacoin is decentralized storage platform. Distributes encrypted files to thousands of private users who get paid for renting out their disk space. Anybody with siacoins can rent storage from hosts on Sia. This is accomplish via "smart" storage contracts stored on the Sia blockchain. The smart contract provides a payment to the host only after the host has kept the file for a given amount of time. If the host loses the file, the host does not get paid.
Maidsafecoin: MaidSafe stands for Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access for Everyone.Instead of working with data centers and servers that are common today and are vulnerable to data theft and monitoring, SAFE’s network uses advanced P2P technology to bring together the spare computing capacity of all SAFE users and create a global network. You can think of SAFE as a crowd-sourced internet. All data and applications reside in this network. It’s an autonomous network that automatically sets prices and distributes data and rents out hard drive disk space with a Blockchain-based storage solutions.When you upload a file to the network, such as a photo, it will be broken into pieces, hashed, and encrypted. The data is then randomly distributed across the network. Redundant copies of the data are created as well so that if someone storing your file turns off their computer, you will still have access to your data. And don’t worry, even with pieces of your data on other people’s computers, they won’t be able to read them. You can earn MadeSafeCoins by participating in storing data pieces from the network on your computer and thus earning a Proof of Resource.
Storj: Storj aims to become a cloud storage platform that can’t be censored or monitored, or have downtime. Your files are encrypted, shredded into little pieces called 'shards', and stored in a decentralized network of computers around the globe. No one but you has a complete copy of your file, not even in an encrypted form.
Market 11 - Cloud computing
Obviously, renting computing power, one of the biggest emerging markets as of recent years, e.g. AWS and Digital Ocean, is also a service, which can be bought and managed via the blockchain.
Golem: Allows easy use of Supercomputer in exchange for tokens. People worldwide can rent out their computers to the network and get paid for that service with Golem tokens.
Elf: Allows easy use of Cloud computing in exchange for tokens.
Market 12 - Stablecoin
Last but not least, there are 2 stablecoins that have established themselves within the market. A stable coin is a coin that wants to be independent of the volatility of the crypto markets. This has worked out pretty well for Maker and DGD, accomplished through a carefully diversified currency fund and backing each token by 1g or real gold respectively. DO NOT CONFUSE DGD AND MAKER with their STABLE COINS DGX and DAI. DGD and MAKER are volatile, because they are the companies of DGX and DAI. DGX and DAI are the stable coins.
DGD: Platform of the Stablecoin DGX. Every DGX coin is backed by 1g of gold and make use proof of asset consensus.
Maker: Platform of the Stablecoin DAI that doesn't vary much in price through widespread and smart diversification of assets.
EDIT: Added a risk factor from 0 to 10. The baseline is 2 for any crypto. Significant scandals, mishaps, shady practices, questionable technology, increase the risk factor. Not having a product yet automatically means a risk factor of 6. Strong adoption and thus strong scrutiny or positive community lower the risk factor. EDIT2: Added a subjective potential factor from 0 to 10, where its overall potential and a small or big market cap is factored in. Bitcoin with lots of potential only gets a 9, because of its massive market cap, because if Bitcoin goes 10x, smaller coins go 100x, PIVX gets a 10 for being as good as Monero while carrying a 10x smaller market cap, which would make PIVX go 100x if Monero goes 10x.
May 28th, 2018 Dear potential investors, I'm Nguyen Nam Hai, C.E.O of ClickGem Project (ClickGem Inc – Belize), you can call me as Hai! First of all, thanks for your interest in ClickGem Project, this is the honor of our development team! Second, although you can find all information about ClickGem project on the internet, I still want to provide you a brief summary and explain which can help you to understand this project easily and fully: - ClickGem project is creating a new payment system which is much better than all current payment systems, include PayPal and other similar payment systems! We are focusing on developing a payment gateway (paygate) which can support to pay and receive payment with multiple different currencies (both cryptocurrencies and fiat money), it has a special feature for exchange currency instantly during transaction, through exchange floors (this is an important advantage because buyers can pay by any currency and they not need to match with currency which sellers want to receive, and always get the lowest exchange rates from the market) and very low fee. That is our core application! Then we will develop additional an ecosystem of applications and APIs to support that core application. We will also develop two-directions API for our paygate so it can integrate with other forex/cryptocurrency exchanges to increase liquidity and have more chances to find the lowest exchange rate when exchange currency for buyers/sellers when they using our paygate. - Another advantage of ClickGem paygate: at this time, not many merchants/sellers are ready to accept payments for their business by cryptocurrencies because of many reasons (tax declaration, risks of the exchange rate, risks of the liquidity, risks with the law - not many governments allow cryptocurrency business) while in fact have a lot of people owned cryptocurrencies want to use it as currencies for shopping, for payment... ClickGem paygate will support for cross-exchange between Fiat currency and cryptocurrency and it will be a solution to connect people owning cryptocurrency with all merchants/sellers around the world. - ClickGem is a project started from January 2018 that aims to create all tools and applications which will support and encourage people to use more cryptocurrencies in different fields of the real life instead of only trading them like stocks/currencies/commodities on exchanges floors on the internet. Until now, we achieved some points on our roadmap and launched some important working applications. Our development team are still improving those applications (add more features, improve processing speed and security, optimize user interface) and developing new applications to build ClickGem ecosystem. You can see our roadmap at here: https://www.clickgem.com/roadmap.html . You can also test our applications by register an account on the website! - ClickGem project also has its own cryptocurrency called ClickGem (CGM). Web wallet, full-node wallet for Linux and block explorer had been launched already. Full-node wallet for Windows and MacOS are estimated to be launched in next month (June 2018)! Because ClickGem project focuses solely on developing an ecosystem of applications which support for all cryptocurrencies, so the CGM cryptocurrency is simply forked from Litecoin open source. However, we think it is good enough to use as a cryptocurrency, no need any new additional features! - ClickGem project is a service provider and we will generate profits mainly from collect fees from people who used our tools and applications. We released our owned cryptocurrency to raise fund from the community to have more budget for ClickGem project development. ClickGem cryptocurrency has all the same function with other currencies which supported by our system. But our users will always get 50% discount on every fee when utilizing ClickGem cryptocurrency (cheaper fee than other currencies). Especially, some future applications in ClickGem ecosystem will only support for ClickGem cryptocurrency. People can also trade ClickGem cryptocurrency in many other public exchange floors. When ClickGem ecosystem is fully developed and present at all of its target markets, it will have a lot of users around the world. Needs of CGM cryptocurrency will increase a lot (because it has a lot of incentives compared to other cryptocurrencies which supported in ClickGem ecosystem) while its maximum supply is only 30 million, so its price will increase rapidly! - Until this time (May 2018), ClickGem website has very good ranking, over 60,000 registered users and over 22,000 followers on Telegram and still increasing day by day. - ClickGem is a young project but developer team is professional and high qualified but, above all, is very motivated in achieving predetermined goals. If ClickGem project succeeded: - It will help all merchants/sellers have a better way to receive payment and have more buyers. - It will help all buyers have a new payment method which is more flexible and better than all old methods, easier for online shopping. - It will help all people who owning cryptocurrency can use their cryptocurrency to do more things than only trading it on exchange floors. - It will help many exchange floors (include Forex and cryptocurrency exchanges) have more buy orders and improve liquidity. - It will accelerate the implementation and application of global blockchain technology. ClickGem project will be a global service like PayPal, Amazon, Alibaba or Aliexpress so it can access all markets in the world and its scalability is unlimited! Our project will attend to ICORace event (www.icorace.ch) in Switzerland on June 6/7th. Have over 100 ICO applications sent to ICORace, but our project is on top 20 ICO projects which will enter semi-finals! That means our project is highly appreciated by the ICORace organizer. We will have a chance to present our project as a speaker to a lot of investors at there. This is a very good chance to attract people from ICORace event to our project! Our project also attended to the 2nd Global Fintech & Blockchain China Expo 2018 at Shanghai (China) on last month (April 2018) and attended to the World BlockChain CryptoCurrency Summit Moscow 2018 (WBCSUMMIT MOSCOW 2018) in Russia on this month (May 2018). Our business idea is also highly appreciated by every people in both events! You can see our presence in both events at here: https://www.clickgem.com/updates-apr-12-2018-clickgem-team-…https://www.clickgem.com/updates-may-20-2018-meet-us-at-wor…https://www.clickgem.com/updates-may-19-2018-meet-us-at-wor… Third, I want to tell you about my personal story and the reason of idea to start the ClickGem project: I'm a businessman and I have a small factory in Vietnam for producing hair extensions & wigs products (Company introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMHk0UyA05s). I have been running this business for about 10 years. Most of the products produced in my factory are exporting to many different countries (USA, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Portugal, UK, Hong Kong, Korea etc...). Within 10 years doing international business, one of biggest troubles for my business is receive payments from international clients because most of my clients don't want to pay directly to my company bank account because of the barrier of customs and import procedures, etc... To maintain business with those clients, I have to suggest them to: - Pay to my personal bank account >> It usually makes trouble to me for tax declaration. - Pay through personal money transfer companies like Western Union, MoneyGram, Unistream, etc... >> Can only receive small amounts, high fees. I still have trouble with tax declaration. - Pay through PayPal >> Many limitations and very high fee (PayPal transaction fee is 4.4% but the total amount I lose usually up to 12% because PayPal only allows merchants to withdraw money from the account by local currency and they always apply exchange rates which are very disadvantage for the merchant). I still have trouble with tax declaration - Pay by cash through brokers, pilots or flight attendants >> No trouble with tax declaration but can't transfer big amounts. High fee, and high risk! Because of limitation and barriers to receiving payment, I can't easy to expand my business. I know that not only I have this trouble, a lot of business people are having the same trouble! I never stop finding the better solution to solve problems with receive payment! Until when I know about cryptocurrency which created using blockchain technology and strong communities are supporting the cryptocurrency, I strongly believe it can replace our current currencies in a future near. Cryptocurrency has a lot of advantages which compared to our current currencies. However, now is just the beginning of the era of cryptocurrency, we still have not many applications with enough features to support cryptocurrency to become our main currency. I start thinking about ClickGem Project which can have all features combined from PayPal, CoinBase, Forex websites, cryptocurrency exchange websites, Amazon, Alibaba, Aliexpress, etc... which can support strongly for cryptocurrency and become a perfect system for payment and exchange currencies. Currently, my team has not many people, but we can achieve many goals within a short time (about 5 months), although before that we haven't any preparation and even don't know many about blockchain technology. That can show our ability is not small and that ability will continue to multiply many times when we have more budget to recruit more talented people! I know that still have many difficulties in future and still need more time make ClickGem system become a perfect system, but I strongly believe that every difficulty will have the solution to solve (like the way I have been done with my current business from the zero) and I believe can make these ideas become real! Other reasons make me strongly believe ClickGem project will be succeeded and it could become the big system like PayPal, Amazon, Alibaba, Aliexpress, etc… are: I believe that when we do anything if we don't believe in ourselves and what we are doing, we will never succeed. And what is easy come will easy go, only goals which are difficult to be achieved will create the real value! My team members owned a same great skill is we never give up and we will always search for solutions to solve all difficulties! I also know that because of the unstable situation of politic and economy are happening many places around the world, so many people start finding better currencies for daily transactions or hold as an asset instead of Fiat currency (cash, money at banks), gold or some things like that, this is also the main reason to make cryptocurrency become a very hot trend at this time! I believe that is the normal evolution and development of human society (in our history has witnessed many similar phases and events)! I have enough knowledge about IT field and doing business, I understand that to build systems like PayPal, Amazon, Alibaba or Aliexpress is not very difficult, I'm total can build similar systems but my systems even can support for both cryptocurrency and Fiat currency! Those companies only difference with me is they have a great opportunity to receive support from big funding companies and even government because all of them are established at the beginning of the era of the internet (For example: Alibaba has established from the beginning of the era of the internet in China, so they have opportunity to receive great support from big funding companies like SoftBank, etc... and the Chinese Government about resources, relationships, policies, etc...). The beginning of the era of the stock market is also similar to the beginning of the era of the internet, also generated many big names and many big companies. Current is the beginning of the era of the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, I believe that we have the same opportunity with PayPal, Amazon, Alibaba or Aliexpress... Why not take this opportunity? My team only think and do, with all of our efforts and sincerity, I believe we can convince and get support from many investors to realize our dream! I still have a lot of ideas to do with ClickGem project, however, my budget is limited and I can’t do everything alone! So, I always looking for more people who can join a hand with me, together to make this project succeed! Would you like to join one hand with me? I hope ClickGem project can meet your interest and opens the way for an interesting and profitable collaboration! Thanks for spending your time to read my proposal and I hope you will spend more time to review ClickGem project! Looking forward to hearing from you soon! Best regards, --- Nguyen Nam Hai – CEO [email protected] ClickGem Project https://www.clickgem.com https://www.clickgem.com/ceo-letter-may-28-2018-clickgem-pr… t.me/clickgem/179
Getting Large Sums of Yen (millions) back Home (to US) in 2 Months
American living and working in Japan. Heading back to US in 2 months. Have saved around 5 million (hyaku man) yen over the past few years. Remitted on occasion. Had no loans or anything to pay off. Figured that I could send it all back in one large sum. Figured wrong. Want to get cash back and available for use when I get back to the US. Any ideas? Here are some of mine, each with their own problems and some questions for people who might have answers, thanks in advance, any information appreciated: 1.) Remitting via 国際送金 (international money transfer) - limits amount you can send back every month (I believe it's 30 man for the post office). With limit, it would take around a year to get all my money States' side. By that time, I'd be out of Japan. Lots of fees attached because I'd be sending to a bank in the US that is small and uses an intermediate bank. 2.) Carrying in cash - have to deal with Japanese customs going out; American customs, TSA, and (hopefully not) DEA going in. Have traveled with large amounts of cash before, but nothing that I had to declare. Heard horror stories about things like civil seizure and intensive questioning, even after making official declaration with customs. My money is legal, its origin is well documented (I'd have documentation on me), and I have no past criminal record or investigations: still, I worry about government protocol holding me up or drawing too much attention. Even if I make it through, I have a huge chunk of yen that I'd need to have converted into dollars. Any ideas how / where to do this at a decent rate? 3.) Foreign Currency Exchange Market (FOREX) - tried doing research about opening a FOREX account in Japan, but most sites are entirely in Japanese. My Japanese is conversational, and not capable of navigating through these sites. If I had more time, I'd like to go this route. 4.) Money order - I've used Western Union before, but their rates are horrible, and they cap your transactions at 10 hyakuman per month. Also, not many locations in the US can even cash that much. And (speaking from experience) the ones that do are not the place where you want to have $10,000 on you. Tellers will draw attention to you when they count your money. They take their time, making a long line behind you. Thanks again. DISCLAIMER: I'm not look for ways to circumvent paying taxes or reporting my income to the appropriate institutions. I'm just seeing what legal means are available to me to transfer my funds to the US. No desire nor intent to break the law.
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good advice please, how to transfer money from new zealand to australia
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RECAP FROM 2006 TO DATE AND THE DIGITAL TRAINING SCHOOL OF ITS KIND WITH BITCOINS IN KENYA
Happy December, Christmas mood is already in, I hope you all ready for 2015. Bitcoin is my thing, this what I do daily, right now am preparing a course for educating on Bitcoin next year. Am loving what the Bitcoins are doing, don’t you forget to support this education initiative. At least by now my friends and a few people have literally good knowledge on Bitcoin though they are demanding for Bitcoin jobs, am glad at least I can offer some education. Here home, the experience of M-pesa has really be useful and transformative in this country and region, so to I believe Crypto currency is joining the journey to transforming Africa more and in new ways especially touching and uplifting the unbanked and boosting the potential of the people. Having been online as early as of 2006 to date; it has been out of passion for computers and internet. I have earned more money online than in my local currency, unlike many around me who get paid with local currency only and it has not been easy. First Poor Internet and Power Blackouts makes one mad,(Source of power, Internet access and a Laptop) are my most powerful daily tools. Paypal never used to work in Kenya few years ago, No Visa cards, No MasterCard’s at least the savior was western union but very expensive, I remember at some point in 2010, I incurred a total cost of 35% to do a transaction through a friend from United states where I was transferring $500 from my paypal account to her account then to Western Union and after receiving the money I loaded it Into an M-pesa account so that I could send that money to a Hotel where I was doing my graduation party. The complete transfer process took me around 4days. However times and things have changed, nowdays the fastest way to receive money from Paypal to my M-pesa will cost me atleast between 9.5% to 12% depending on the amount and the transfer process takes between 30 Mins to 2 Hours, it’s a bit reliable and fast, but still expensive. There is a local bank that offers a paypal service at a better rate but to receive the money it will take 5days to 8days, it took me 12days to receive money from my paypal account through the bank and Finally to my M-pesa. Bitcoin now is the secret, seems more of a miracle, currently for me to receive my Bitcoin in My Mpesa today is about 3% and very fast indeed. I have over years diversified my online experience ranging from Ebay, Amazon, Paypal, Youtube, Google, Facebook, Skype, Forex trading, Websites, Blogging, Affiliate Programs, Advertising, Social Media Marketing, SEO e.t.c. I have rich experience and knowledge in Computers, Smart Phones, Internet Connectivity and e-commerce. It is with these tools that the Bitcoin opportunity fully presented itself to me second time early this year when doing forex trading and I took it immediately and it lead me deep into crypto currency world. I have seen what M-pesa has done for me, my country and neighbouring countries, cryptocurrency is a whole transformative revolution of the computer generation. After deep reading and researching, few months’ a go I decided to started a Bitcoin education initiative, 3 Months down the line am speaking Bitcoin to an audience of 75 on my FB page and so many more interested in knowing more. Actually I have a joint work station where we meet with my team of marketer’s who are switching to Bitcoin and we discuss and talk everything about Bitcoin, I just realized it can turn to consultancy. On monthly basis no missing the Nairobi Bitcoin Meet-up at Nairobi (i-hub) and off course networking on Bitcoin on social media and also meeting one on one with guys around my home area who what to hear about Bitcoins. Many are the times when I meet new guys, I like asking them if they have heard of Bitcoin, most say no, some claim yes they have heard but don’t know anything about it. This is where I come in with my Bitcoin education Initiative, I love answering those questions and explaining on Blockchain and Bitcoin. The children and the youths can play a vital role as the drivers to the future, they need to be empowered and be equipped with relevant technological tools to transform and make an impact especially in My Continent Africa, and this can so easily been achieved through education. To me I see Blockchain and crypto currencies and particularly Bitcoin as the futuristic players in the digital world full of endless opportunities. My team and I are committed to taking this Bitcoin education initiative to another level higher. It is with support by Bitcoin Community that the dream of a physical Digital Training School of its kind “Crypto Tech Hub” will come to exist in Kenya. The school will offer Training and education to the young people of my country and Expand to other African nations targeting students of age group (14-24 years) from high schools, Colleges, Universities and Entrepreneurs. The goal is to equip them with necessary skills and Training in the following areas. 1. Internet Technology and Technological Revolution 2. Blockchain, Crypto currency and Bitcoin 3. 3D Printing/Addictive manufacturing 4. Globalization and E-commerce 5. Green Entrepreneurship The Digital Training School Start up support is highly welcomed; every raised Bitcoin will go towards: 1. Course work Development 2. Computers/Laptops and Internet 3. 3D Printer and 3D Scanner 4. Infrastructure Acquisition and Development (The School) 5. Logistics and Operations 6. Innovation and Development 7. Salary/Remuneration At the end of the training period which will take 6 Months, the students will graduate with a certificate indicating having fully satisfied that one has undergone training in Digital Technology and has acquired necessary skills ready to enter into the Technological Revolution of our time in various disciplines. Donate Bitcoin to support this initiative: 1NxNSD5R1JuWmPvQXgohcfyrqHVHvj3nZV
JPMorgan Bitcoin Analyst Report Part 2 - Full Text (sorry, no graphs)
Part 1: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1xmo61/jpmorgan_bitcoin_analyst_report_part_1_full_text/ Part 3: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1xmoax/jpmorgan_bitcoin_analyst_report_part_3_full_text/ MAKING MONEY THE OLD FASHIONED WAY A discussion of bitcoin should begin with an Economics 101 refresher on money – what it is, how it is created and why we hold it. The classic definition of money is anything that serves as medium of exchange, unit of account and store of value. A medium of exchange can be anything deliverable for a good or service, whether a mundane object, a precious metal or piece of paper. In allcases, users value the medium because employing it is more efficient than bartering. A unit of account is a way of measuring value from a common reference point, thus also facilitating commerce because goods can be compared more easily. (Recall the euro’s usefulness in this regard since now prices in Europe are comparable across 18 countries.) A store of value is just a way of holding wealth until it is exchanged for goods and services or lent or given to someone else. For centuries precious metals, or paper currencies convertible into metal at a fixed rate, served these three functions. But followers of financial history know the limitation of a system based on a fixed or slow-growing money supply: it imposes uncomfortable financial discipline on governments, households and corporates. Hence the progressive debasement of pure gold coins with alloys; the global abandonment of the gold standard during the financial strains during World War I; and the US government’s suspension of the dollar’s gold convertibility given fiscal and balance of payments pressure from the Vietnam War. Today most countries employ fiat currencies, or paper and coins with no intrinsic worth whose perceived value stems from government declaration (or fiat) collective belief. The government creates demand for a currency by declaring it legal tender, meaning it must be accepted as payment for all debts and it will be used in any transactions between the government and other agents. Consumers and corporates accept this fiat currency because it is a requirement for settling all debts public (paying taxes) and private. The government attempts to guard the value of money by maintaining a monopoly on its production to avoid counterfeiting, and by establishing a central bank with a mandate to manage its supply responsibly over time. While this system may sound like blithe existence in The Matrix, this relationship amongst government, central bank, households, corporates and fiat currencies is much more efficient than an alternative like barter. It also makes macroeconomic shocks much easier to manage than an alternative like the gold standard (recall the deflation of the Great Depression and more recently peripheral Europe). BITCOIN AS BETTER MONEY Bitcoin proposes an alternative, however. If – despite their mandates – the world's biggest central banks risk inflation and currency debasement via the rapid expansion of their balance sheets, and if even European governments still impose capital controls (Cyprus), couldn’t a non-state entity more responsibly supply a fiat-like currency to the world? And if this currency were created and exchanged digitally amongst peers of consumers and corporates, it would have the additional advantage of avoiding the fees imposed by financial intermediaries as well as the loss of privacy inherent in third-party payments systems. Hence the purported appeal of a virtual currency: a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value without the alleged recklessness, capriciousness, siphoning and snooping inherent in traditional systems. Even leaving aside this caricature of bitcoin's underlying philosophy, there is something compelling about the idea. Simple in theory, but more complex in practice. Consider the infrastructure of a traditional monetary and payments system to highlight what bitcoin attempts to replace. A traditional financial system is a national network comprising a central bank owned by a government, which creates money by physically printing currency and minting coins, or by electronically creating bank reservess. That money is used by households, consumers and the government to facilitate trade and investment via a payments system of banks and other financial intermediaries (think PayPal, Visa, Western Union and in some countries, the post office). Financial intermediaries provide numerous services of varying complexity, but their role in the payments system is simple: verify that Customer A has sufficient funds to pay Customer B, then securely transfer ownership of that money between accounts. For assuming that verification and transfer risk, intermediaries levy a fee. Bitcoin performs these functions of money creation, payment verification and fund transfer quite differently. Its network is international and comprises miners who create the currency and users who obtain the currency to buy goods and services. There is no central monetary authority or regulator. There is also no financial intermediary for exchanging bitcoins for real products. The closest to an intermediary is an exchanger who will swap bitcoins for traditional fiat currencies like dollars, euros, yen or renminbi, like a forex dealer or futures exchange.7 Miners create bitcoins electronically by solving a mathematical algorithm released in 2009 by an unidentified programmer (or perhaps group of programmers) known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Anyone can be a miner; they simply need to download the software required to interact with others on the network, and acquire hardware powerful enough to run the multitudinous calculations to solve the algorithm. Since the technology required to solve an increasingly complex algorithm grows over time, miners will probably be programming specialists rather than the average consumer or businessperson. Any individual or business can be a bitcoin user, however, by establishing an electronic account know as a wallet. This wallet is associated with a user's electronic address but not to any other identifying information such as their name, phone number or physical address. Thus bitcoin is a pseudonymous system rather than an anonymous one in that every user is known by something other than the legal names associated with traditional banking. To provide security as well as transact with other users, bitcoin employs cryptography which assigns two keys (alphanumeric codes) to each account – a private one known only to them and a public one known to all other users in the network. When two users wish to transact, they send a message to the network using their public keys signed by their private keys. This transaction forms part of a block chain or bundle of transactions entirely in the public domain along with all other historical bitcoin transactions performed in the network. Miners compete to verify that this trade is authentic via algorithms to confirm that indeed a user possesses the bitcoin and did not previously spend it. Programmers (miners) who solve the equations to authenticate a block of transactions receive 25 bitcoins increasing the money supply. Whenever the algorithm is solved, it becomes computationally more difficult so that the next attempt requires more time an effort (i.e. computing power). This feedback mechanism limits the growth rate of bitcoin supply, so is somewhat analogous to the production constraint on gold. The more that is mined, the greater the requirement to dig deeper pits, the greater effort required to extract the marginal ounce and the higher the price of the marginal ounce (or coin). The stock of bitcoins is arbitrarily set at 21 million units to be mined by 2140, 12 million of which have already been mined. At early-February market prices of about $700 per unit, the current bitcoin money supply has a value of about $8.5bn, equivalent to the market capitalisation of the Mauritius Stock Exchange. As complicated as this process is, it begins to address several acknowledged deficiencies of fiat currencies. It provides steady, predictable growth in the money supply. It eliminates the risk of capital controls because the network lacks a central authority. It provides verification of fund balances to avoid fraud. And it eliminates or at least significantly reduces transaction costs for payments because verifiers are rewarded through bitcoin creation. As fanciful – and indeed Matrix-like – as this bitcoin creation system sounds, perhaps it requires no more suspended disbelief than the traditional fiat system in which a government declares paper to have value and a central bank or national mint thus issues the specie. One doesn’t need to be the caricatured miscreant, Austrian economist or anarchist to appreciate the appeal of such a system.
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