The crypto-future is female: bitcoin innovators push for inclusion

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

At the worlds largest blockchain conference, female leaders in the industry sought to shake off bitcoins boyish image

Satoshi is female was one of the more pervasive slogans at Consensus 2018, the worlds largest blockchain conference that saw thousands of crypto-believers descend on midtown New York for a packed, three-day meet-and-greet last week.

Satoshi refers to Satoshi Nakamoto, the still mysterious creator of Bitcoin who has never been identified but who, nonetheless, is credited as the founding father of cryptocurrency, or a digital form of money, and blockchain, a public and uneditable system for recording transactions. Both developments are hailed by their evangelists as potentially revolutionary technological tools.

As crowds packed Manhattans midtown Hilton to listen to leadingtechnology figures such as Twitters Jack Dorsey and the cryptography pioneer Bailey Whitfield Whit Diffie, the question of Satoshis gender was purely symbolic. But it was also understood by many attendees: blockchain should not simply perpetuate the white male tech nerd stereotypical worldview of Silicon Valley.

We think cryptocurrencies should be built with a different system and values in mind, said Nyla Rodgers, the creator of the Satoshi Is Female group. Silicon Valley is completely run by men. Women only receive 2% of venture capital funding so their ideas never rise to the top. Weve been living with a very one-sided view of the world.

The launch of #satoshiisfemale at the Women of Crypto event in Puerto Rico.

A post shared by Satoshi Is Female (@satoshiisfemale) on

The expression of a male-led crypto world is already self-evident. The frothy, unstable cryptocurrency sector is dominated by images of Lamborghinis Lambos and going moon as cryptocurrencies surge in price.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain has already received bad press for being overly gendered and insufficiently woke. In February, the North American Bitcoin Conference wrapped up 10 hours of speeches by inviting 5,000 attendees to what it called a networking party in a 20,000 sq ft strip club.

To women in the crypto sector attending Consensus, theres no time to lose if blockchain technology isnt going to follow the same path as Silicon Valley.

A recent study found that while there was improvement in the number of women in the industry in the wake of several sexism and discrimination scandals, the participation of racial minorities was worsening.

The blockchain sector has only been around for 18 months so we, as women, can help define what the culture looks like at the beginning, said Rodgers who is raising money to fund women-led tech groups, many in the developing world, through her charity Mama Hope. The urgency is there for women and minorities to create a system that actually values them.

On the first day of New Yorks crypto-week, the entrepreneur Cindy Chin held a seminar Women on The Block with the express purpose of creating a sense of inclusion in the blockchain world.

We think theres an opportunity to change what has really been an all-male space, Chin says. We want to be part of the conversation, we want to drive the leadership, to be part of the deal-flow and we want to be invested in we want the money!

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/17/consensus-2018-conference-bitcoin-satoshi-is-female

Facebook reportedly working on its own Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

Image: mashable

Hoping to invest in the next Bitcoin? Keep an eye on Facebook. No, but really. According to a Cheddar report, the company is hard at work on its own cryptocurrency. 

Cheddar, citing sources familiar with the matter, claims that Facebook users could use the new “digital token” to buy and sell through the platform. The social network is also “exploring other ways” that it could use such a currency. 

Mark Zuckerberg announced in January that Facebook planned to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of” new technologies such as cryptocurrency. 

Four months later, it seems his vision is coming to fruition. Earlier this week, Facebook announced that its head of Messenger, David Marcus, would spearhead a group researching potential uses of blockchain across Facebook’s platforms. Marcus is a former Paypal president and CEO, and a member of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s board of directors, so it’s pretty clear what they’re going for here. 

We’re a bit puzzled as to why exactly Facebook would want to create a new currency, but it would certainly make it easier for customers in different countries to buy and sell through the platform without extra conversion fees. It could also be a transaction resource for Facebook buyers in countries with more volatile currencies. 

At least, that may be what Facebook tells us in order to pass this all off as a project for the greater good. Of course, it’s also likely to come with a transaction fee, so we’re guessing it won’t hurt Facebook’s bottom line.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/11/facebook-working-on-cryptocurrency/

As Bitcoin Plunged, These Crypto Hedge Funds Kept Making Money

  • Amber AI’s PTD2 fund surged 30% in first three months of 2018
  • Hedge fund advised by BitSpread made 5.7% in quarter

Bitcoin’s terrible start to 2018 is highlighting the appeal of cryptocurrency hedge funds that make money in both bull and bear markets.

Funds specializing in virtual currency market making and arbitrage strategies delivered first-quarter gains even as their mostly bullish peers lost 40 percent on average. That’s a big reversal from last year, when digital assets soared and market-making funds lagged far behind their long-biased counterparts.

Pivot Digital Trading-2, managed by Hong Kong-based Amber AI Group, generated some of the biggest gains among cryptocurrency funds that avoid directional bets. It rose 4.3 percent in March to bring its first-quarter return to 30 percent, according to the firm. Market Neutral Liquidity SP-Institutional, domiciled in the Cayman Islands, earned 5.6 percent in the first quarter, said Cedric Jeanson of BitSpread Group, investment adviser to the portfolio.

The results suggest some managers are finding ways to profit from wild swings in cryptocurrencies without having to predict whether the coins will rise or fall. Such tactics may appeal to investors who want exposure to digital assets without their extreme volatility.

As a group, cryptocurrency hedge funds are still highly correlated to the market. A Eurekahedge index for the category posted its biggest three-month slump on record last quarter as Bitcoin sank more than 50 percent. The index soared 1,709 percent in 2017, when Bitcoin jumped about 1,400 percent.

Among funds that lost money was Silver 8 Partners. It dropped 25 percent in March and 32 percent in the first quarter, according to a commentary sent to investors. Silver 8 invests in digital assets, along with fintech, blockchain and machine learning companies.

"High levels of uncertainty and low market liquidity make investments in blockchain-related assets volatile," the firm said in a newsletter. "They tend to overreact to cycles of euphoria and pessimism, where the market price itself acts as a catalyst for further momentum."

The fund has made more than 1,000 percent for investors since its inception in 2016, including a more than 750 percent gain in 2017.

While funds from Amber AI and BitSpread tend to not post such high returns during boom times, they provide investors with some protection when prices of digital assets fall.

Weathering Turmoil

Market-neutral crypto hedge funds fared better in 2018

Sources: Companies and investors

2018 returns for the first quarter

Read more on crypto hedge funds that made a killing last year

PDT2, as the Amber AI fund is otherwise known, trades the 25 largest digital currencies on exchanges including Huobi, OKEX, Bitfinex, Binance, Kraken and BitStamp, said Tiantian Kullander, one of the four former Morgan Stanley traders who started the firm with a one-time programmer at Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

The fund began trading early this year and oversees about $25 million, said Kullander. Its quantitative trading strategies include market-making, short-term trend following and exploiting pricing discrepancies between different currency pairs and exchanges.

Market Neutral Liquidity SP-Institutional, with more than $100 million of assets under management, makes markets for currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, BitSpread’s Jeanson said.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-19/as-bitcoin-plunged-these-crypto-hedge-funds-kept-making-money

Bitcoin Is One of the Few Things Surging in a Sea of Losses

Amid a sea of red in financial markets, Bitcoin is still flashing green.

The biggest cryptocurrency climbed as much as 5.4 percent Tuesday to $9,412, the highest since March 7. Bitcoin has gained 20 percent in the past week and 37 percent in April, on track for its best month since its record-breaking December.

Bitcoin is rebounding from its worse start to a year ever, as it slumped more than 50 percent in the first quarter and plunged to as low as $5,922 from almost $20,000 at the end of last year. The cryptocurrency market is gaining as tax-related selling ends and regulatory-related headlines fade, while Wall Street signals increasing interest in the space.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Monday that it hired Justin Schmidt as head of digital asset markets to help clients gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds have continued to open even amid the market slump earlier this year.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-24/bitcoin-is-one-of-the-few-things-surging-amid-a-sea-of-losses

‘Big bitcoin heist’ suspect escapes prison and flees Iceland ‘on PM’s plane’

Sindri Thor Stefansson escaped through window before reportedly boarding same flight to Sweden as prime minister Katrn Jakobsdttir

The suspected mastermind behind the theft of 600 computers used to mine bitcoin in Iceland has escaped from prison and fled to Sweden on an aeroplane reportedly carrying the Icelandic prime minister.

Sindri Thor Stefansson escaped through a window of the low-security Sogn prison in rural southern Iceland before boarding a flight to Sweden at the international airport in Keflavik located 59 miles from the prison on Tuesday. Police said he travelled under a passport in someone elses name, but was identified via surveillance video.

He had an accomplice, police chief Gunnar Schram told local news outlet Visir. We are sure of that.

Guards at the prison, which has no fences and where inmates have access to the internet and phones, did not report him missing until after the flight to Sweden had taken off. Stefansson had been in custody since February, but was moved to the low-security prison 11 days ago.

An international warrant has since been issued for his arrest, but Swedish police spokesman Stefan Dangardt said no arrest has been made in Sweden.

The plane that Stefansson took was reported to have been carrying the Icelandic prime minister, Katrn Jakobsdttir, to a meeting with Indias prime minister in Stockholm on Tuesday.

The
The plane that Stefansson took was reported to have been carrying the Icelandic prime minister, Katrn Jakobsdttir, to a meeting with Indias prime minister in Stockholm on Tuesday. Photograph: Claudio Bresciani/EPA

The prison break is yet another twist in a criminal case without parallel on the peaceful island nation with a population of 340,000 and one of the worlds lowest crime rates.

Dubbed by local media as the big bitcoin heist, Stefansson was among 11 people arrested for allegedly stealing the cryptocurrency mining equipment in what is thought to be Icelands biggest theft. The computers, which were stolen in four thefts and have yet to be found, have been valued at 200m kronur (1.45m), described as a grand theft on a scale unseen before by Icelandic police commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson.

Police have arrested 22 people altogether, including a security guard, without solving the burglaries.

Helgi Gunnlaugsson, a sociology professor at the University of Iceland, said keeping a high-profile prisoner in such low-security surroundings was unusual but more so was his organised escape.

Prison breaks in Iceland usually mean someone just fled to get drunk, he said. The underworlds are tiny and it is extremely difficult to hide, let alone flee the country.

Iceland has become a hotspot of for data centres and cryptocurrency mining thanks to its abundance of renewable energy and cold climate, which provides low electricity prices and lower cooling costs for the high-powered computer equipment. The low costs have made it easier for cryptocurrency miners to turn a profit, but have also led to the operators within Iceland consuming more electricity with their intensive computing endeavors than households.

Owners of the stolen computers have, in a rare public outreach, promised a $60,000 reward to anyone who can lead detectives to the stolen computers.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/18/big-bitcoin-heist-suspect-sindri-thor-stefansson-escapes-prison-flees-iceland-pm-katrin-jakobsdottir-plane

Bitcoin Whale Sightings Are Leaving Cryptocurrency Traders Jumpy

Occasional sighting of Bitcoin whales are leaving advocates of the biggest cryptocurrency anxious after what’s already been a choppy week of trading.

Sudden market swings in the cryptocurrency this week have left price charts looking like a jack-o-lantern’s smile. And some investors are blaming the gyrations on actions by large Bitcoin holders, known as whales.

“The best explanation is coming from those whales in the market who want to have some sort of control on what’s going on,” said Jonathan Benassaya, the founder and chief executive officer at San Francisco-based IronChain Capital. “It’s some sort of manipulation from actors."

Bitcoin’s recent choppy moves aren’t that unusual, cautioned Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. "I think it feels off right now because, you know, we’ve been on a down trend since December, and now, even though the volatility hasn’t changed much, it’s hard to tell if Bitcoin is trying to stage a recovery or if it’s continuing its down trend," Lee said.

In a less mature market that lacks the same history and complexity that the stock market holds, the digital currency is a lot more vulnerable to liquidity movements. "It’s the state of it now because there isn’t a ton of liquidity and there is regulatory uncertainty and general nervousness," he said.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-18/bitcoin-whale-sightings-are-leaving-cryptocurrency-traders-jumpy

Bitcoin tools could make finance system safer, says IMF boss

Christine Lagarde believes revisiting crypto-assets could harness gains and avoid pitfalls

The advance of bitcoin and other digital currencies could make the global financial system safer despite the prospect of inevitable accidents waiting to happen, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said.

Christine Lagarde said some tools built using the technology behind bitcoin, which are known collectively as crypto-assets, hold the potential to revolutionise the world of high finance by making it faster, cheaper and safer. Among them, there are real threats and needless fears, she said.

Writing in a blogpost as politicians and central bankers gather in Washington for the IMFs regular spring meetings, she said there was hope for a world where firms using digital currencies could coexist alongside traditional banks.

That level of diversity could build a financial ecosystem that is more efficient and potentially more robust in resisting threats, she said.

An increasing number of consumers have used cryptocurrencies as an alternative to the old ways of holding and moving money and prefer them to traditional banks, which crashed in the 2008 financial crisis. However, many have lost money from volatile price movements and after some cryptocurrency exchanges have been hacked.

Lagarde has previously issued warnings over the risks posed by bitcoin and other digital currencies, calling for global regulators to stage a crackdown by using its technology to fight fire with fire.

Last month, she said authorities around the world could harness the potential of cryptocurrencies to help bring them under control. Failure to do so would allow the unfettered development of a potentially major new vehicle for money laundering and the financing of terrorism, she added.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has called bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies inherently risky and that they have failed to fulfil their most basic function as money. Bitcoin hit almost $20,000 (13,958) in value in the run-up to Christmas, before crashing by more than half earlier this year.

But ahead of the IMFs forthcoming global financial stability report, which looks at emerging risks from the world of banking, Lagarde said there were merits from looking again at crypto-assets. A clear-eyed approach can help us harness the gains and avoid the pitfalls, she said.

Comparing recent developments to the advances of the 1990s – when thousands of technology companies were started only to collapse a few years later during the dot-com crash – she said many crypto-assets were bound to fail. More than 1,600 digital currencies are in circulation, having ballooned in number in recent years.

However, just as a few technologies that emerged during the dot-com era have since transformed the world, she said crypto-assets that survived this process of creative destruction could have a significant impact on how we save, invest and pay our bills.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/16/bitcoin-tools-could-make-finance-system-safer-says-imf-christine-lagarde

Bitcoin Ban Expands Across Credit Cards as Big U.S. Banks Recoil

A growing number of big U.S. credit-card issuers are deciding they don’t want to finance a falling knife.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. said they’re halting purchases of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their credit cards. JPMorgan, enacting the ban Saturday, doesn’t want the credit risk associated with the transactions, company spokeswoman Mary Jane Rogers said.

Bank of America started declining credit card transactions with known crypto exchanges on Friday. The policy applies to all personal and business credit cards, according to a memo. It doesn’t affect debit cards, said company spokeswoman Betty Riess.

And late Friday, Citigroup said it too will halt purchases of cryptocurrencies on its credit cards. “We will continue to review our policy as this market evolves,” company spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier said.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the podcast:

Allowing purchases of cryptocurrencies can create big headaches for lenders, which can be left on the hook if a borrower bets wrong and can’t repay. There’s also the risk that thieves will abuse cards that were purloined or based on stolen identities, turning them into crypto hoards. Banks also are required by regulators to monitor customer transactions for signs of money laundering — which isn’t as easy once dollars are converted into digital coins.

Bitcoin has lost more than half its value since Dec. 18, falling below $8,000 on Friday for the first time since November. The drop occurred amid escalating regulatory threats around the world, fear of price manipulation and Facebook Inc.’s ban on ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.

Now, cutting off card purchases could exacerbate those pressures by making it more difficult for enthusiasts to buy into the market. Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services previously said they aren’t supporting the transactions.

Mastercard Inc. said this week that cross-border volumes on its network — a measure of customer spending abroad — have risen 22 percent this year, fueled partly by clients using their cards to buy digital currencies. The firm warned that the trend already was beginning to slow as cryptocurrency prices fell.

Discover Chief Executive Officer David Nelms was dismissive of financing cryptocurrency transactions during an interview last month, noting that could change depending on customer demand. For now, “it’s crooks that are trying to get money out of China or wherever,” he said of those trying to use the currencies.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-02/bofa-to-decline-all-cryptocurrency-transactions-on-credit-cards

    So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t

    A collective insanity has sprouted around the new field of cryptocurrencies, causing an irrational gold rush. I know youre tempted, but dont be a fool

    So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t

    So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t

    A collective insanity has sprouted around the new field of cryptocurrencies, causing an irrational gold rush. I know youre tempted, but dont be a fool

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/15/should-i-invest-bitcoin-dont-mr-money-moustache

    As Bitcoin plummets Coinbase temporarily halts trading

    Image: AFP/Getty Images

    Coinbase — the largest Bitcoin market in the U.S. — has disabled all buying and selling as the digital currency Bitcoin dramatically loses value. 

    At 11:11 a.m. EST, Coinbase posted that it had temporarally disabled trading:

    All buys and sells have been temporarily disabled. We are working on a fix and apologize for any inconvenience. 

    About 25 minutes later, at 11:35 a.m. EST, the company said it’s still monitoring the problem:

    Due to today’s high traffic, buys and sells may be temporarily offline. We’re working on restoring full availability as soon as possible. 

    This “high traffic” is largely in reference to activity in the Bitcoin market. Bitcoin is the world’s highest-valued currency, as one Bitcoin hit nearly $20,000 this December.

    But it’s lost about a quarter of its value in the last 24 hours and the fickle currency is now trading at around $12,874 — and some exchanges around $11,000.

    Other cryptocurrencies have followed the pattern: Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin cash have all lost a quarter of their value over the last day. 

    All of this frenetic activity likely overburdened Coinbase’s services — something it might better account for going forward: New currencies are inherently unstable, and the today’s cryptocurrencies will be swinging up and down for quite some time.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/22/coinbase-halts-trading-as-bitcoin-falls/