1 Bitcoin = $7,101
Market Cap = $120 billion
Down 50%: Q1 Was Bitcoin’s Second Worst Quarter Ever
A look back at historical Bitcoin Price Index data shows that the halving in value seen this year is the second-worst quarterly performance ever.
The cryptocurrency suffered its all-time biggest quarterly drop in the third quarter of 2011, when it fell 68 percent from $16.1 to $5.14.
Bitcoin fell by more than 30 percent in March.
% Gain/Loss in the First Quarter
The Lindy Effect
The rising & falling of the BTC to USD exchange rate appears to have zero positive or negative impact on my estimation of crypto’s future.
Why? Because the miracle is the *existence* of the BTCUSD rate nearly 10yrs after the fact, despite posing obvious threats to nation-states. – Eric Weinstein, Managing Director of Thiel Capital
When I went to check LocalBitcoins volume this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there has been rapidly increasing volume in particular countries throughout the last month as well as some healthy multi-month trends in markets around the world that seem to point at steady demand for Bitcoin around the world.
I don’t know why, but it seems as if people REALLY wanted to buy bitcoin in those countries last month as volume more than doubled on the person to person exchange in both areas. We have a lot of European and Canadian friends buying the dip like their lives depend on it.
Over-The-Counter Market Flourishes
Jeremy Gardner: OTC market demand for bitcoin right now is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. Several bids for multi-billion dollar blocks…
Eric Meltzer: I have to say I’m kind of blown away by this as well. I’m not remotely in the OTC game and have had 5 requests for massive buys over the past two weeks. Kind of crazy. I passed them on to my OTC desk friend who is going to be buying me dinner for the rest of his life..
Trading firms are negotiating buying, selling and lending digital currencies like bitcoin and ether over Skype.
Some 20 traders as well as clients such as wealthy investors, bitcoin miners, payment processors and, increasingly, hedge funds, have in around five years spawned an over-the-counter market moving hundreds of millions of dollars of cryptocurrencies daily, mostly via online messaging, participants told Reuters.
“Generally, you would go trade through an OTC desk when you have a large block trade you want to do without moving the market too much or incurring too much slippage,” said Kevin Zhou, founder of cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund Galois Capital.
OTC trades are not reported and independently audited, but some dealers said their desks often handle more than $100 million of cryptocurrency trades daily with minimum ticket sizes between $75,000 and $250,000.
Comprehensive List of Large OTC Trading Desks
There are a number of larger financial firms that now provide exchange or liquidity services in Bitcoin for their customers.
Currently, few of these are known: Comprehensive List: Large OTC trading desks: DRW/Cumberland, itBit, Unocoin, and more
Bitmain Confirms Release of First Ethereum ASIC Miners
- Bitmain may be calling bluff on ETH transition to proof-of-stake. – Tuur Demeester
The Antminer E3 is set to ship this July, according to Bitmain’s website, at a price of $800 per unit.
It remains to be seen whether the ethereum ecosystem will take steps to block the use of the forthcoming ASIC through protocol changes. Last week, a developer put forward an ethereum improvement proposal which proposes a network hard fork to prevent the use of ASICs. – Stan Higgins
Price Targets for Nvidia and AMD Shares Slashed
As the leaders in what is effectively a GPU manufacturing duopoly, Nvidia and AMD each benefited greatly from last year’s cryptocurrency price boom, which had a correlative effect on mining. In fact, many investors treated these two companies as “proxy stocks” for the cryptocurrency industry.
While the release of an Ethereum ASIC miner may not cause mining-related demand for GPUs to evaporate — Monero, for instance, has promised to alter its mining algorithm regularly to maintain ASIC-resistance — it could have a noticeable effect on AMD’s revenue in particular.
In fact, AMD warned in its recently-published annual filing that GPU demand could be “materially adversely affected” if miners stopped buying.
Consequently, leading Wall Street research firm Susquehanna has reduced its price target for AMD shares to $7.50 from $13 and Nvidia shares to $200 from $215. – Josiah Wilmoth
Market Cap = $268 billion
Hard Fork: Monero/Monero Classic
According to an official statement from MoneroClassic.org, the forked cryptocurrency comes about as a resistance to Monero developers changing the cryptocurrency’s proof-of-work model to counter Bitmain-produced ASICs.
Monero Classic hard forkers are claiming that this proof-of-work alternation actually “creates more centralisation and harms decentralisation,” by removing free-market competition and putting too much control into the hands of Monero’s developers. States the website:
…This just creates an alternative and more harmful form of centralization. The Minero [sic] developers are saying that they can and will change the consensus rules whenever it suits them and the community seems to be conditioned into following the wishes of the developers.
While the authors of Monero Classic’s statement understand the inherent risk involved with letting Bitmain gain dominance over the popular cryptocurrency’s mining hardware market they do not feel alterations to Monero’s proof-of-work system are the answer, noting:
That’s how the consensus mechanism is supposed to work. There is economic incentive to remain honest and follow the most profitable strategy. This is why there are now three separate mining equipment manufacturers for Monero. But instead the developers have a cut short the incentive mechanism by declaring unilateral control over Monero.
The authors behind Monero Classic’s statement also claim that “around 80% of the current Monero hash rate agrees with our stance and refuses to follow the POW change,” before finally declaring:
…We will maintain the original software which follows the original rules. We reject centralised developer Control and we believe that’s voluntary participation for both users and miners Will uphold the principles of decentralisation.
George Soros Prepares to Trade Cryptocurrencies
George Soros called cryptocurrencies a bubble in January. Now his $26 billion family office is planning to trade digital assets.
Adam Fisher, who oversees macro investing at New York-based Soros Fund Management, got internal approval to trade virtual coins in the last few months, though he has yet to make a wager, according to people familiar with the matter.
“As long as you have dictatorships on the rise you will have a different ending, because the rulers in those countries will turn to Bitcoin to build a nest egg abroad,” Soros, 87, said on Jan. 25.
Binance CEO Changpen Zhao abandoned his plan to build a base in Japan, following inquiries from the nation’s securities regulator that led to an official notice to stop operating in the country without a license. The warning letter to Binance prohibits it from servicing Japanese users.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has also issued warnings to Binance and several of its peers in recent months, telling the exchanges to refrain from trading cryptocurrencies that qualify as securities.
On March 23 the Prime Minister of Malta, which is trying to position itself as a cryptocurrency and blockchain hub for the European Union, welcomed cryptocurrency exchange Binance via Twitter after Bloomberg News reported that Binance was planning to set up operations on the island nation.
Zhao, who has consulted Malta’s government on cryptocurrency legislation, said in an interview that he’ll soon set up a “fiat-to-crypto” trading platform in the country and that he’s close to securing a relationship with local banks.
Korean officials, meanwhile, have tightened know-your-customer regulations for cryptocurrencies in recent months and are developing a broad set of rules for the industry that could make it harder for venues like Binance to offer their services.
In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing everything from trading venues to ICOs and cryptocurrency hedge funds.
PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET
Threat to Nation States
Privacy coins and decentralized exchanges pose an enormous threat to nation states. Especially as the need to on-ramp from fiat declines and the feasibility of opting-out of fiat-domain transactions increases. – Matthew Morris
I’m impressed with the whitepaper of CoinShuffle++.
It may be the highest quality academic paper I’ve ever proofread. The amount of hard work put into to make sure every single detail is correct can be felt. – nopara73
COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS
Binance doesn’t have a bank account or a public address. The exchange’s “know-your-customer” policies are some of the industry’s least rigorous. Users need only an email address to open Binance trading accounts with daily withdrawal limits equivalent to two Bitcoins ($15,782), providing a level of anonymity that makes it difficult to deter everything from money laundering to market manipulation.
“I’m convinced 100 percent that crypto is the future,” said founder Zhao Changpeng, who is the single largest shareholder in Binance and makes all the company’s key decisions. “I just know it will happen.”
Zhao readily admits that Binance wants to minimize government oversight. “We’re OK to do things very creatively to avoid unnecessary regulation,’’ he said.
Zhao keeps the locations of Binance’s offices and servers secret — making it tough to determine which country has jurisdiction over the company — and he instructs employees to keep quiet about their affiliation with the exchange on social media.
He said he never stays in one place for too long, living out of short-term rentals and hotels in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong (where he prefers the Mandarin Oriental or the Ritz-Carlton).
He has also kept Binance insulated from the traditional financial system and all the regulatory requirements that come with it. The exchange only handles trades between cryptocurrencies, meaning clients can swap one token for another but not for a fiat currency like the dollar or the euro. Instead of a bank account, Binance uses other exchanges that facilitate crypto-to-traditional currency transfers when it needs to send cash to employees or vendors.
Censorship-Resistant Business Models
Offices and bank accounts are some of the most important things to discard if possible because they are the two single biggest weaknesses that will be targeted when a business offends someone in power. Bank accounts are especially problematic because a bank can choose at any time to decline having a business as a customer, even if they haven’t done anything illegal or violated their agreement with the bank in any way.
When you’re working out how you can turn your next great idea into a viable Bitcoin business, don’t restrict the range of solutions you’re willing to consider to only those that will be met with the approval of the masters of the system which we are seeking to make obsolete.
Bitcoin is about bringing new possibilities into the world, ones that the people who are comfortable with the status quo will oppose. If you’re willing to think in terms of what could be, instead of what is allowed, you can free your imagination to assemble the best team from a global talent pool, who all work together to solve problems for your customers in the best way possible, while only devoting as much of your resources towards the regulators as it takes to operate, such that they can not get in your way. – Justus Ranvier
Blockstack Decentralized Twitter
Playing around with early version of decentralized twitter built end-to-end w/ Blockstack. Cool thing is since dapps on Blockstack share a social graph everyone is effectively onboarded already.
Tweets don’t get written to the blockchain. Blockchains are inefficient as databases. Just usernames and their public keys are in the blockhain. Users own their own data using Blockstack’s Gaia storage system.
Bonus pts: no tx fees (not writing tweets to a blockchain), no ads, and you own all your data so no platform lock-in. – Patrick Stanley
NASA Delays James Webb Space Telescope Launch to 2020
The agency had been targeting March-June 2019 for the much-heralded telescope’s liftoff. But continued integration delays have forced the agency to push the launch back a full year to No Earlier Than May 2020.
This slip is the second such delay in the last six months. The project is now in jeopardy of breaching its $8 billion pre-launch cost cap.
“Webb is the highest priority project for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, and the largest international space science project in U.S. history. All the observatory’s flight hardware is now complete; however, the issues brought to light with the spacecraft element are prompting us to take the necessary steps to refocus our efforts on the completion of this ambitious and complex observatory,” said NASA’s Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot.
Recent Research Extends Our Knowledge of the Vast Benefits of Aspirin
One of the most commonly used over-the-counter drugs, aspirin, has considerable potential as a life extension drug. While this has been known for awhile, at least in theory, some recent research adds support.
Aspirin is staring us in the face as a cheap life extension drug. In combination with metformin and/or beta blockers, it may have great potential against cancer and in promoting longer life.
The noted scientist Mikhail Blagosklonny mentions aspirin in his list of proposed anti-aging drugs, along with rapamycin, metformin, beta blockers, and PDE5 inhibitors.
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