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Blockchain Predictions For 2018

Due to the abrupt increase of ICOs, Ethereum and the whole cryptosphere also went high in price exponentially last year. In 2017, there were several projects that got hacked because they had bugs in the code of their smart contract, numerous scams also came out, as well as few startups also showed up, which failed to deliver on their roadmaps.

Telegram is a popular social messaging app and is considering to launch a token sale. It is said that this token sale would become one of the biggest ICO token sales.

  • The leaked whitepaper of Telegram explains that it seeks to add a crypto micro-payment functionality to its chat platform.
  • Also, it is going to present an innovative and new scalable multi-blockchain network under the name “TON” (Telegram Open Network).
  • For accomplishing this, the project will try to raise $1.2 billion through an ICO.

Telegram Whitepaper

  • The Telegram’s whitepaper is potential to resolve all the important issues that Bitcoin and Ethereum are facing at this moment including, scalability and interoperability, and present a network that will handle millions of transactions each-second.
  • However, the problem is that the company doesn’t tell precisely how it is going to make this work.
  • In the 132 pages of text, specifications regarding how TON will overcome challenges related to building a huge and scalable architecture cannot be found anywhere.
  • Although developers are not too much overwhelmed, unprofessional investors might find the notable potentials of TON appealing.

 

Generally, reasonable regulations are going to serve well for the blockchain space in this long run and lastly, startups will halt taking money recklessly – only because they can and will instead concentrate on developing advanced technology.

Decentralized Exchanges and Scalability Issues

  • The adoption and implementation of decentralized exchanges haven’t been elevated until now, though it seems like they’ll turn out to be fairly mainstream in 2018.
  • With SEC regulations approaching, this probably also has centralized exchanges rattling.
  • To find token liquidity somewhere else, people will have to consult DEXs (Decentralized Exchanges).
  • It is expected that projects like EtherDelta will become popular this year as people are slowly repelling from Bittrex, Coinbase, etc.
  • At the same time, this doesn’t mean that centralized exchanges will be forgotten instantly – they are still world’s more expedient than any other operating or soon-to-be-launched DEX. However, they are probably going to mislay a huge amount of their market share this year.

 ico token sales

Lightning Network

It’s believed that payment channels including Lightning Network will also become a trend soon.

  • This promising technology allows people to open a bidirectional payment channel and transact through it without paying any fee.
  • Fees are required but only for opening or closing a channel and appears to be a potential solution to the scalability problem of Bitcoin.
  • It can assist other blockchains, as well.
  • Projects like Raiden Network already exist since they seek to achieve chain payment channel functionality to Ethereum.

 

If we talk about Ethereum and the future of crypto – its future switch to ‘proof of stake’ and after it happens, the user base network will perhaps get divided again. Anyone who owns loads of mining hardware might dislike the idea to drop ‘proof of work’ for clear reasons. On the other hand, there are cryptocurrency enthusiasts who think hard forks have to be avoided, in general. According to them, altering the blockchain in such way is contrary to the main principle of blockchain immutability. Consequently, there’s a chance that we might get a third network by the end of this year – on top of Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

 

Adoption of Blockchain Technology

  • The blockchain technology can reconsider the supply chains industry.
  • One of the largest retail corporations in the world, Walmart, is utilizing a decentralized ledger to improve the traceability of the product.
  • Nestlé is intensely using blockchain technology to lessen food contamination, as well.
  • Microsoft and IBM are enthusiastically spreading private blockchains for individual and exclusive business use cases.
  • Last year, 57% of big corporations were either considering or utilizing blockchain technology.

This year, large organizations and big financial institutions including payment providers and pension funds will also embrace the blockchain technology.

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Virtual currency Bitcoin being split into 2: here’s what you need to know

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Everyone has turned skeptical on how to scale the bitcoin cryptocurrency since the chances of a “hard fork” have arisen within the market.

Bitcoin seems to be in a crisis and everyone in their community is suffering along with it.

Virtual currency Bitcoin

Stakeholders and developers stuck in a heated argument over “hard fork”

What is the issue?

Basically, Bitcoin is so well-known that it isn’t able to handle the weight of all the transactions. Transactions are processed in “blocks” that include complicated cryptography to verify and set. But, with the currency growing exponentially and the number of transactions increasing, the 1MB size limit of the block that is built into the system is becoming an issue, causing delays in processing transactions. Thus, purchases would take a long time to confirm.

The time taken for a virtual currency bitcoin transaction has been gradually increasing. The median currently sits at 13 minutes.

What are the alternatives?

The split is leading to two possible solutions: “Bitcoin Unlimited” and “Segregated Witness”. They obviously can’t exist together, they’re software updates to the bitcoin network that would change how it works. This “hard fork” would split the chain of transactions in two, producing another chain splitting from the original one.

 

BU vs SegWit

Starting off with Bitcoin Unlimited, you must understand the concept of bitcoin mining. Miners sift through and verify transactions using computers in order to get rewarded with newly issued bitcoins. Professional miners with computers having specialized hardware do the majority of the mining by performing mathematical tasks.

Miners are in favor of BU because it would give them control over the Bitcoin network.They would be able to increase the block size when required and effectively give them control to set the transaction fees.

On the other hand, to keep the cryptocurrency more decentralized rather than giving additional work to miners, bitcoin developers, and enthusiasts are in favor of SegWit.

SegWit would double the transactions per second capacity of bitcoin by juggling the makeup of transactions, stripping out some details such as signatures. It would also add some extra functionality, including possibly moving some transactions off-chain in a way that might not benefit the miners. This solution would keep control over the network dispersed (decentralized).

Although, SegWit is just a temporary solution. It only doubles the network’s bandwidth, while BU allows miners to vote to increase the capacity when required with no upper limit.

Who’s the winner?

It is possible that bitcoin value will fork and then the two opposing currency will co-exist and compete for users and legitimacy. It is up to the users to choose sides and it isn’t simple to predict the future of the BTC world.

What does this mean for the value of bitcoin?

Bitcoin is hitting high records currently and if the fork conflict’s solved in a timely and satisfactory manner, it would make the market even more powerful.

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Will The Violent Closing of Crypto Hedge Funds Also Persist In 2019?

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According to some financial observers the future of cryptocurrency hedge fund could face a harsh and violent transformation during 2018. It has also been predicted that 10 percent of these hedge funds could shutdown during the next few months. Even Bloomberg reported recently that the continuous decrease in the prices of cryptocurrency assets have played a critical role in the slowdown of hedge funds. This prediction seems to be true as far as the ratio of crypto hedge funds opening is concerned which decreased continuously during the current year as compared to their launch rate in 2017 which was over 170. The situation has totally changed now as during the first three months of 2018 only 20 new players showed their existence on the scenario and shutting down of previous funds also continues.

cryptocurrency hedge fund

Reasons For This Downfall

According to latest hedge fund news the main reason for all this downfall can be the significant reduction in price of cryptocurrency this year, this decrease in price of automatically affected the relative hedge funds resulting in losses and closings of their doors for 2018. The ultimate decrease in price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has not been good for the health of hedge fund business. Regulatory uncertainty has also played its role in all this scenario.

 

Alpha Protocol is one of the recently closed funds which directly cited “potential regulatory and market risks” as main reasons for its decision to refund deposits. A statement was issued by its co-founder that new capital rate had slowed down and it was getting difficult to survive even for a high profile fund like Alpha Protocol.

Which Crypto Funds Were Affected Most?

Among those companies which had to freeze their operations, Crowd Crypto Fund and Alpha Protocol are on the top of the list. It has been reported that a total of 9 hedge funds revolving around cryptocurrency were shut down since December 2017. In addition to the shutdown of various funds, some of the investors have reverted to their previous investment plans which proved to be more secure than the crypto based hedge funds.

 

Alongwith unsure market health, regulatory uncertainty was also responsible for this downfall. Rumours have been circulating that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is fully prepared to check approximately 100 hedge funds in the near future while there are still more than 200 active hedge funds in operation.

 

Whatever the reason may be, all that discussion means that the cryptocurrency hedge fund business must evolve itself in order to compete with the regulatory uncertainty lying ahead.

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Blockchain Technology – Will It Change the Future of Accounting Industry?

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There’s going to be a major technological change in the accounting industry soon. No doubt cloud-based technologies, artificial intelligence and process automation have influenced the world, but the most promising one is “blockchain.” If we combine blockchain and accounting, the combination of both can offer some far-fetched business benefits. However, the first question arises – what is blockchain?

what is blockchain

Blockchain

  • Blockchain is a continuously growing, decentralized public ledger of all transactions.
  • Completed transactions/records are called blocks and are dispersed to a P2P network of computers.
  • Blocks are linked to each other in a linear/sequential order.
  • Each block comprises a cryptographic hash of the preceding block, which ensures that the data is secured.
  • The data can be dispersed in a secure way and once the blocks gets recorded, they can’t be changed without shifting blocks subsequently, and that would require the involvement of the majority of the network.
  • When a record is changed, it is allotted a new hash.

Blockchain and Accounting

Blockchain and accounting are related in many cases. Blockchain technology offers the subsequent logical step for more high-tech accounting with various potential influences.

  • Blockchain offers an instant-verifiable and strong set of records that can’t be meddled or changed without the involvement of the whole network.
  • Transactional data would be promptly recorded and added at any time to the blockchain through its own exclusive and unique hash code.
  • If accountants/auditors want to recover that data, they will be required a pertinent hash code.
  • Having blockchain work as a record for transactions will not require the accountants/auditors to interact different departments amidst businesses to get receipts in order to validate transactions.

Streamlined Accounting Strategies

  • Accountants and auditors can standardize records through blockchain and combine them in a ledger, making it accessible to all verified and approved users.
  • When all transactional data is gathered at one place and updated electronically – whenever an alteration is made, accountants and auditors can assess all the activity and can cooperate with the departments to settle accounts.
  • Through such approach, the cost and time linked with manually swotting the transactions can be condensed significantly.

Promptly Verifiable Transactions

  • For auditors, validating transactions and asset history is important, however, this process can take some time and can be complex, especially when businesses have diverse accounts.
  • As data security is becoming more important, blockchain offers a means of demonstrating that files have remained inviolate.
  • With a unique hash, auditors can simply “cross-reference” and can instantly validate transactions.
  • If a record is changed later, a new hash is created and the record once again gets timestamped.
  • If this information varies from what an auditor has there, they can be sure that the record has been altered, as they will have a clear review trail.

blockchain and accounting

Better-Quality Acquiescence and Regulations

  • If we talk about compliance, many companies take quite a few months to modify/update their core accounting and finance developments to put up new regulations, strategies, and standards.
  • With blockchain, alters to the ledger are manifested across all copies within just a few
  • As it’s a decentralized database, no radical changes should be made for the alteration of data.
  • If an accountant wants to update a record, this can be done quite easily and quickly.

Future of Accountants and Auditors

  • The major change – banks have begun to offer accounting type amenities as a chunk of business package.
  • NatWest applied Open Banking protocols in 2017, to share information with FreeAgent, which is a cloud-based accounting product, providing consumers more discernibility over the course and letting them share their data directly amid the bank and accounting software.
  • By adding blockchain and the accurate software to the combination, the record-holding procedure could be mechanized and, by means of open banking protocols, data could be directly shared.

Is there a need for an accountant?

  • The future of accounting/auditing lies in combined-keys as they all can interconnect with each other instantaneously whilst distributing unparalleled sanctuary.
  • Though many would see the technology as a risk, however, it’s a chance for auditors to concentrate on regulations and explore irregularities inside the transactional environment.

The blockchain is a chance to boost processes, however, auditors and accountants can apply their proficiency and vision to deliver value to the customers.

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Bitcoin Price Once Again Struggles to Sustain Momentum

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Bitcoin price has rebounded from $6,500 to $7,034 with the market cap of $125 billion, at this very moment. Other smaller cryptocurrencies including VeChain and Steem have somehow surpassed bitcoin with a 50% and 25% surge in value, respectively, while other major cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Litecoin have also performed quite well over the past few days.

bitcoin price surge

Bitcoin Price Surge

Since 30th March, bitcoin couldn’t surpass the $7,000 mark, due to its low volume.  However, on 25th March, Bitcoin price achieved $9,000, with comparatively strong volumes on the cryptocurrency exchanges. But since then, the price of bitcoin has seen a constant decline. Even though the price of Bitcoin went to $8,800 but then again, it failed to sustain momentum and its price fell to $6,400.

For surpassing the $7,500-mark, Bitcoin will have to sustain its volume for the next few days, then it will be able to move back to the $8,000 mark.  At this time, the RSI (Relative Strength Index) of bitcoin is at 39.2 however, earlier, it was at 30, indicating oversold situations. Bitcoin is currently being traded in a neutral zone, also the top-cryptocurrency hasn’t shown any overwhelming sell volumes.

Therefore, the next few days are going to be really important for bitcoin, as its value has increased over the past 48 hours, and according to bitcoin’s MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence), it has started to gain a little bit momentum.

Jon Matonis’s Views About Bitcoin

A well-known investor, an executive at VISA and the co-founder of Bitcoin Foundation, Jon Matonis, has stated that the entrance of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs could lead to an increase in the demand towards bitcoin (in the mid-term). Different Bitcoin analysis are being done, but if the leading cryptocurrency can recuperate from its present bear cycle, then experts like Matonis are predicting a bull run for the top-cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

Matonis said:

“I think it’s fabulous that they’re getting into it because it brings in new liquidity. They’re going to develop futures markets, options markets, I even think you’re going to start to see interest rate markets around bitcoin. We’re used to hearing things about Libor, the index for bitcoin interest rates is Bibor”

SEC Against ICOs

Also, according to the New York Times report, the ICO founders, called Centra, were arrested for defying US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) as they were distributing securities without getting any approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. If the SEC still keeps on curbing ICOs, it could lead to a wane in motion within the ICO ecosystem, globally.

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Bitcoin Hacked 2017, Who To Blame?

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Bitcoin trading was started since 2010 which is the source of Bitcoin’s universal myths or discussions. When a Bitcoin exchanged gets hacked, financial media considers this hack a result of the flaws of cryptocurrencies. Until now, Bitcoin protocol has never been hacked. Due to its next level encryption, hackers do not attack Bitcoin directly. Instead, they manipulate the weaknesses of Bitcoin exchanges.

Are Bitcoin Exchanges Vulnerable To Hacking?

According to the report of the U.S Department of Homeland Security, one-third of Bitcoin exchanges were hacked between 2010-2015.

A South Korean exchange ‘Bithumb’ was hacked last month with 30,000 customer’s data on it. The hackers were able to steal $1million worth of bitcoins. As a result, the price of Bitcoin dropped about 3.5% during the following two days of the event.

Bithumb revealed that employee’s computers which provide the access to customer’s data were targeted during the attack.

In August 2016, Hackers successfully took 120,000 Bitcoins, worth $65million from Bitfinex exchange. In that case “Hot wallet” feature was the weak link. These frequent Bitcoin exchange hacks are no doubt concerning, but this should not be a reason to dismiss Bitcoin usage.

For example, if a diamond jewelry shop is successfully robbed, it’s not the diamonds’ fault, rather the security management that was hired by the owner. Same is the case with the Bitcoin code users.

Why Has Bitcoin Itself Never Been Hacked?  

Bitcoin codes use a network security protocol known as SHA-256. SHA: Secure Hash Algorithm. This is the prime reason why Bitcoin is known as a cryptocurrency. SHA-256 is widely used by the government and financial sector of the Bitcoin and was designed by the National Security Agency.

Crypto experts and programmers believe that SHA-256 is unbreakable by the currently available technology. Chris Wilmer, founder of Blockchain-Focused said, “Bitcoin itself, and most of the other cryptocurrencies, have never been hacked or even really had any downtime.”

Due to the fact that Bitcoin uses SHA-256, and that its transactions are broadcasted to the network for confirmation, Bitcoin is the securest form of currency ever created.

Just think about it, if you have fiat money and it gets stolen or snatched by someone, it becomes incredibly difficult to trace it. In addition, a stolen bag exposes your data including bank’s check book, debit/credit card to untrusted parties and takes a whole lot of months to resolve the issue.

Besides, credit/debit is an old fashioned payment system. Considering the tools available these days, hackers could get an easy approach to this old form of digital money.

Today, the Credit card breaches have become a daily routine. The hits at Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and (NYSE: HD) occurred a couple years ago. Neiman Marcus and Wendy’s Co. (Nasdaq: WEN) breach is another example which just happened in 2016. The most recent ones are Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG), Arby’s Restaurant Group, and Kmart Corp, which happened in 2017.

Whereas, bitcoins are safe at your Bitcoin exchanges and provide maximum security against breaches. Don’t let one or two incidents define the whole currency and start your Bitcoin venture right now!

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