Facebook reportedly working on its own Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency

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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

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  • 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.

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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

Tim Draper makes a splash with Bitcoin-themed tie and pin

I’ll say this for venture capitalist Tim Draper: he is fully committed to the gimmick. 

Appearing on the Fox News show of sentient bowtie Tucker Carlson, Draper donned a Bitcoin tie and big Bitcoin broach to discuss his plan to divide the state of California up into three separate states: Northern California, Southern California, and Bitcoinlandia California.

While the “Cal 3” plan is Draper’s big current initiative — he says the proposal has garnered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot — Draper is a huge proponent of Bitcoin and has been for a while, having scooped up thousands of bitcoin seized from dark web marketplace Silk Road and auctioned off by the U.S. government. 

Besides appearing on Carlson’s show, Draper also hosted a 2018 Block (Chain) Party on Thursday night where he came away with rather lofty expectations for the future value of the volatile cryptocurrency.

As for the tie, Draper actually has worn a Bitcoin tie before, and he has a penchant for questionable tie choices overall. Most prominent is the tie he used to flash for his previous splitting up California plan, Six Californias.  

Maybe once Bitcoin hits that high value again, Tim can afford some slightly more stylish ties. 

Via Reddit

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/04/13/bitcoin-tie-fox-news-tim-draper/

The @Bitcoin Twitter Account Is at the Heart of Bitcoin’s Big Schism

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash’s most fervent supporters are at it again and Twitter has become a bitter battlefield.

The latest victim? The @Bitcoin Twitter account was suspended.

@Bitcoin carries the name of the largest cryptocurrency but, just like Bitcoin.com, frequently issued statements supporting Bitcoin Cash, which split from Bitcoin last year over a disagreement on how the technology should scale. These posts don’t sit well with supporters of the original Bitcoin blockchain, including a group of developers called Bitcoin Core.

The fight between the two groups prompted prominent blockchain developer Jeff Garzik and others, to attribute the suspension to the endless complaints about @Bitcoin that Twitter was likely getting from Bitcoin Core supporters. Twitter didn’t state reasons for the suspension.

Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin evangelist whose work earned him the nick-name of Bitcoin Jesus, has now become a vocal supporter of Bitcoin Cash. Ver, who owns the Bitcoin.com website, tweeted:

The latest skirmish in the war which started with the so-called Bitcoin Cash fork in August, highlights the downside of decentralized organizations and technologies. The lack of a management team means contributors globally can work on improving the technology, which will be implemented only if a majority agrees, but it’s also cause for disagreements and splits.

“The cryptocurrency development is open source, which means disagreements get aired publicly with the additional angle of the forking of a blockchain, where you have to take the entire network with you, and that creates much more tension," said Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman at blockchain research advocacy Coin Center. “I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”

Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, a well-known Bitcoin Core supporter, was likely one of the first to alert to the suspension with this tweet on Sunday:

The account now seems to be under new control. The bio now reads "My name is Andrei from Moscow Russia." The private account, which means Tweets aren’t visible to those @Bitcoin doesn’t give permission to follow, has less than 2,000 followers and a background picture that reads "I love you."

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-09/bitcoin-schism-escalates-after-twitter-suspends-bitcoin-account

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

Bitcoin, the Biggest Bubble in History, Is Popping

The greatest bubble in history is popping, according to Bank of America Corp.

The cryptocurrency is tracking the downfalls of the other massive asset-price bubbles in history less than one year out from its record, analysts lead by Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett wrote in a note Sunday.

The cryptocurrency has fallen more than 65 percent since peaking in December at $19,511. Bitcoin rose 2.2 percent to $6,750 on Monday.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-09/bitcoin-seen-popping-like-the-greatest-bubbles-by-bofa

Bitcoin Bounces Back Above $8,000 Level After Earlier Slump

Bitcoin Bounces Back Above $8,000 Level After Earlier Slump

Bitcoin rebounded back above the $8,000 level in Asian trading, hours after dipping below that threshold for the second time in a week as Twitter Inc. joined other social media platforms in banning advertisements for initial coin offerings and token sales on its service.

The largest cryptocurrency rose as much as 4.8 percent and was trading at $8,193 at 8:59 a.m. in Hong Kong, reversing an overnight decline that took Bitcoin down to about $7,850 according to consolidated Bloomberg pricing. Rival coins Ripple, Ether and Litecoin also advanced. Bitcoin remains down 22 percent in March.

Cboe Global Markets Inc., which was the first U.S. exchange to list Bitcoin futures last year, continues to have plans to introduce more cryptocurrency-related products. The exchange operator prodded U.S. securities regulators Monday to consider approving crypto exchange-traded funds in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Since Bitcoin reached a peak of almost $20,000 in mid-December at the height of the cryptocurrency frenzy, the digital currency has lost more than half of its value as investors weigh the future of the emerging space amid intensifying scrutiny from global regulators.

Twitter confirmed Monday it’s banning the advertisements on its platform due to concern the content is often related to deception and fraud, according to a company spokesperson. The decision comes after Facebook Inc. banned cryptocurrency ads in January and Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it would do the same starting in June.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-27/bitcoin-bounces-back-above-8-000-level-after-earlier-slump

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 no longer option to pay for premium Reddit Gold subscription

Reddit Gold no longer accepts bitcoin.
Image: David Ryder/Getty Images

Reddit Gold is done with bitcoin.

The premium version of the online forum Reddit used to let you pay for an upgraded membership with the cryptocurrency, bitcoin. But in the past few days it looks like the ad-free version of the site isn’t as gung-ho on the digital coin as it once was.

When I went to sign up Monday for a month of Reddit Gold I was given two payment options: PayPal or credit card.

No bitcoin for Reddit Gold.

Image: reddit gold/screengrab

A conversation two years ago in the “goldbenefits” sub-reddit conversation shows that bitcoin was an option at one point.

Now with bitcoin below $8,000, it looks like it’s fallen out of favor on the message board site. Though, as Cointelegraph first reported, it looks like the decision was based on cryptocurrency exchange Coindesk changing its terms of its merchant service Coindesk Commerce

To confirm this is the case we reached out to Reddit,  who referred back to a Reddit admin’s comments about the Coindesk changes and the slim chance that the cryptocurrency will return to the site.

The admin wrote over the weekend, “The upcoming Coinbase change, combined with some bugs around the Bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases for certain users, led us to remove Bitcoin as a payment option.”

So long, bitcoin.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/03/26/reddit-gold-bitcoin-payments-removed/

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.

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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