Mine your own business: Bitcoin itching to make a run for it

February 12, 2018 5:27 pm


Other than sudden bursts of unpredictable volatily, there is perhaps no better indicator that Bitcoin is getting ready for making a run at 10k, 15k, and even 100k than digital currency miners.

They are breaking major laws just to be able to produce the coin, and secretly accessing government sites to mine their own business.

They are convinced this is the real thing, come hell or high water, in good times or bad, in sickness and in health.

And now, Bitcoin is making a believer of some serious people in very high places, who preach regulations before anything else.

First, what is all that hacking for?

Crypto mining malware

Reuters reported that US and UK government websites are among 4,200 others being infected with crypto-mining malware.

“For several hours on Sunday, codes have caused web browsers to secretly mine digital currencies, technology news site The Register reported.

The culprit is a malicious version of Browsealoud from British software maker Texthelp, which reads out webpages for people with vision problems.

“The news comes amid a surge in cyber attacks using software that forces infected computers to mine crypto currencies on behalf of hackers. The prevalence of these schemes has increased in recent months as the volume of trading in bitcoin and other crypto currencies has surged,” said Reuters.

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IMF: Careful thumbs up for Bitcoin

In an interview with CNN, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says it’s only a matter of time before cryptocurrencies come under government regulation.

“It’s inevitable,” she told CNNMoney emerging markets editor John Defterios at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday.

“It’s clearly a domain where we need international regulation and proper supervision.”

Lagarde said: After the financial crisis we clearly have to move into an activity based regulation, forget about the entities, work on the activities themselves and who does what and who is licensed to do what and who is properly regulated and supervised.”

“People are looking for this high yield product.”

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Speculate 100k

The UK daily EXPRESS said Bitcoin could be worth ‘$100,000’, as declared by Ryan Derks, of Ryan’s Hodl Fund.

He explained: “I believe they say that roughly 5% of the world’s population or less owns any cryptocurrency, and I only imagine it’s going to continue pushing prices up because again there’s a limited supply.”

The price, according to Derks, is also predicated on people losing faith in their paper currency, which can be forged or manipulated by central governments.

“So in my opinion $100,000 dollars for a Bitcoin is not far-fetched,” he said.

“There will only ever be 21 million coins in existence, of which an estimated 25% have already been lost, mostly in the early years of the currency when people did not take it too seriously.”

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Crypto performance update

Last week marked a 14% increase in the value Bitcoin, according to data from market tracker Coinbase, and this after a drop to below $6000 last February 6, from $20,000 in December last year, and a value increase of more than 1,500% for 2017.

On Saturday Bitcoin, crossed the $9,000 mark only to drop again to the $8300 range as it stands now more than $2,300 from last week’s $6,000 mark.

According to Coindesk, other crypto market leaders have also witnessed solid gains in the last 24 hours.

“Ripple’s XRP token has jumped 30% changing hands at $1.10 while ethereum’s ETH token is reporting a solid 5% up,” Coindesk said.

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Qatar joins regional regulations-wary nations

Reuters said Qatar’s central bank has warned financial institutions in the country not to trade in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, for the purpose of exchanging it with another currency, or opening accounts to deal with it, or sending or receiving any money transfers, according to financial sources and a circular seen by media.

“Last July, Saudi’s Central Bank advised people not to trade bitcoin because it was outside the bank’s regulatory reach, though it did not impose an outright ban,” said Reuters.

“In October the UAE central bank said it did not recognise bitcoin as an official currency, and this week the country’s securities regulator warned the public about the risks of using digital tokens, same as Oman.”

The UAE’s central bank is working with Saudi Arabia to issue a digital currency based on blockchain technology that would be accepted in cross-border transactions between the two countries.

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International regulatory counter-measures

According to Reuters, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) started to crack down on alleged fraud in fundraising by some cryptocurrency companies and traders.

In Asia, China and South Korea have both cracked down on cryptocurrency trading, while rumors surfaced over a potential ban in India, but did confirm it does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender and will try to phase out payments using the online money.

Japan has also announced its intention to introduce more rules around trading the digital money.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK would look “very seriously” at cryptocurrencies “because of the way they are used, particularly by criminals.”

All together are fuelling volatility in digital currency prices.

 

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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