Thursday,

26. 19/05/2019 19:20
Bitcoin and Blockchain: The Tangled History of Two Tech Buzzwords
I’m interested in blockchain, not bitcoin.”

Admit it, you’ve heard this hundreds, if not thousands, of times. (You might have even said it yourself.) And sure, people know what you’re saying, you’re talking about the “technology underlying bitcoin” and you sound smart enough.

Once it became known – or at least presumed – that you could apply cryptography in finance, in ways similar to how it’s used in bitcoin, everyone started making sure that statement fell from their lips. And that refrain – kicked off by bitcoin itself – remains powerful today.

Sounds plausible? Sure. But, interestingly, the word “blockchain” doesn’t actually appear in the original bitcoin white paper, released back in 2008. Rather, the white paper uses the words “block” and “chain” separately many times.

It describes the word “block” as the vehicle for a bundle bitcoin transactions. Then, these blocks of are linked together, forming a “chain” of “blocks.”

bitcoin, paper

Snapshot from the bitcoin whitepaper (highlighting added)

So, who created this ultimate industry buzzword?

That damn blockchain

Turns out, the origins of the word are not quite so revolutionary.

“The word blockchain was never used in the early days,” former bitcoin developer Mike Hearn told CoinDesk. Although, Hearn did acknowledge that Satoshi often referred to bitcoin’s “proof-of-work chain” in discussions on forums.

It seems the first references to the word came about on Bitcoin Talk, a bitcoin-specific forum created by Satoshi, in July 2010 – more than a year after bitcoin’s release.

And at that time, these remarks weren’t about how innovative the technology was, but instead were complaints about how long it took to download the bitcoin “blockchain” (the entire history of bitcoin transactions).

While compared to today, the download would have far faster, according to one Bitcoin Talk user: “The initial blockchain download is quite slow.”

In other words, initially, blockchain was far from the sexy word it is today.

Blockchain mania

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the word really took hold.

But interest in the term seems to have sprung out of professional organizations and individuals hesitance to align themselves with bitcoin itself because of its bad reputation as the currency for drugs and gray economies.

“I think it [became popular] around the time people started going to Washington [D.C.] and trying to make bitcoin respectable by divorcing the currency from the underlying algorithms,” Hearn said.

To many, bitcoin the currency could be decoupled from bitcoin the blockchain protocol, and so a whole new industry of so-called “private blockchains,” devoid of a cryptocurrency, emerged. Sure enough, around that time in 2015, Google Trends data show the term surged.

Graph from Google Trends.

“Initially people said ‘block chain’, and then, thanks to a great PR campaign, we were blessed with the much improved ‘blockchain,’ single-word, probably thanks to a community-wide effort near and around the Bitcoin Talk forums,” long-time cryptocurrency developer Greg Slepak said.

Not only did it become one word, but it also came in vogue to describe any blockchain that wasn’t bitcoin’s blockchain as “a blockchain.” Bitcoin got to keep the terminology “the blockchain,” giving credence to the fact that it was the first.

Yet blockchain has become so divorced from bitcoin that both words typically see a similar spike when cryptocurrency prices start mooning. For instance, the word blockchain saw a huge uptick in Google searches in late 2017.

blockchain, google trends

Graph from Google Trends.

World’s first blockchain?

Still, it’s unclear exactly where the idea itself begins. To some, blockchains existed even before bitcoin, although that term wasn’t applied to them back then.

For instance, cryptographer Stuart Haber, whose whitepapers on timestamping were cited in the bitcoin white paper, claims to have created the first blockchain called Surety.

According to Haber, that has to be the reason why Satoshi cited his work – three times out of just nine total citations. Surety was launched in 1995 for timestamping records, and it’s still running today.

Yet, Haber admits that his version doesn’t have all the same benefits of bitcoin since it’s centralized – managed by one company.

And that highlights where things get tricky when you’re talking about a blockchain. See, there isn’t necessarily agreement on a single definition of a the technology.

The Merriam Webster dictionary actually presents a much older word for blockchain – “a chain in which the alternate links are broad blocks connected by thin side links pivoted to the ends of the blocks, used with sprocket wheels to transmit power, as in a bicycle.”

While Google defines blockchain as:

Google, blockchain

But, for those seasoned veterans of the space, even this definition is problematic. Many of these new-age private blockchains don’t record their transactions publicly.

“The term has become so widespread that it’s quickly losing meaning,” as The Verge put it earlier this year.

Blind men

Haber pointed to an Indian parable to help explain the incompatible descriptions.

In the parable, a group of blind men come upon an elephant and start touching the animal to try and figure it out what it was in front of them.

Depending on what part of the elephant each man is touching, their answer changes. For instance, one of the blind men, touching the elephant’s trunk, thinks it’s a snake, while the other, touching the elephant’s leg, exclaims it’s a tree trunk.

It’s similar when people define blockchain, Haber said.

He told CoinDesk:

“Some definitions will be completely silly, showing that people don’t understand what they’re doing, but there will also be a bunch of accurate descriptions of various parts of the vast body of work.”

As such, he argues there isn’t just one meaning.

Even though, bitcoiners believe a blockchain can only be the one and only bitcoin blockchain, like words, definitions are always evolving and changing.

27. 18/05/2019 11:29
Bitcoin Suffers Biggest Intraday Price Drop for Over a Year

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  • Bitcoin tanked by $1,702 early on Friday, the biggest intraday drop since January 2018.
  • On the way back up, the hourly chart shows scope for re-test of former support-turned-resistance at $7,619.
  • A bounce to $7,619, if any, could be short-lived with prices falling back to $6,178 (daily low) over the weekend, as both the 4-hour and daily charts are biased bearish.
  • A bounce from the historically strong support of the 30-day moving average (MA) at at $5,986 would imply an end to the price pullback.

Amid extremely overbought conditions, bitcoin has fallen by $1,702 – its biggest intraday price drop since January 2018.

The cryptocurrency market leader nosedived from the day’s opening price (UTC) of $7,880 to a seven day low of $6,178 on Bitstamp in the Asian trading hours.

The $1,702 drop is the highest since January 17, 2018, according to Bitstamp data. On that day, BTC had tumbled by $2,171 from the opening price of $11,393 only to recovery all the way back to $11,191 by UTC close.

Bitcoin has recovered more than 50 percent since the low hit earlier today. However, just before press time, its price is still down around 8.2 percent on the day at $7,223.

The sell-off seen today doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as the widely followed relative strength index (RSI) has been reporting extremely overbought conditions with a near-90 reading earlier this week.

Buyer exhaustion was also evident from BTC’s repeated failure to hold onto 10-month highs above $8,300, as seen in the last 72 hours.

What’s more, many in the investor community had associated BTC’s recent rise with Blockchain Week NYC and Consensus 2019. The cryptocurrency, therefore, was perhaps vulnerable to “sell the fact” pullback.

A massive unwinding of long BTC/USD positions (profit taking) was seen in the 120 minutes to 04:00 UTC, according to data tweeted by bot powered twitter handle @WhaleCalls. Further, some are saying online that a major sell order from one party may have triggered the downward move.

Looking forward, a minor bounce could be seen in the next 24 hours before a possible fall back to levels below $7,000.

Hourly and 4-hour charts

On the hourly chart (above left), the relative strength index (RSI) has bounced up from oversold levels seen earlier today, suggesting scope for a recovery toward the former support-turned-resistance of the double top neckline at $7,619.

That resistance, however, may cap upside and reverse any price bounce, as a bearish crossover of the 50- and 100-hour moving averages (MA) is almost confirmed.

Further, the RSI on the 4-hour chart (above right) has breached key support at 49.00 in favor of the bears and is yet to hit oversold territory, meaning there is scope for another drop below $7,000.

Daily chart

Bitcoin created a bearish outside day (engulfing) candle on Thursday, a sign of bullish exhaustion, validating a divergence of the RSI. That resulted in a slide to today’s low of $6,178.

The move amounts to short-term bearish reversal, as per technical theory. So, the pullback may not be over yet and we could revisit lows seen today over the weekend.

That said, investors should watch out for a bounce from the 30-day MA, as that would imply an end of the correction. The average had reversed pullbacks in March and April.

At press time, the 30-day MA is located at $5,986 and is seen moving above $6,000 over the next couple of days.

28. 17/05/2019 16:36
Bitcoin Drops $1,000 In Value Amid Market Sell-Off

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has once again come into contact with a greater crypto market sell-off slashing its price by more than $1,000.

On May. 17 at 2:00 UTC, bitcoin (BTC) dropped by 16.7 percent to find a bid below $7,000 at $6,600 before rising once more on the back of high volatility, moving above $7,000 to where it currently sits at $7,300, according to CoinMarketCap and CoinDesk data.

In the last 24 hours, bitcoin’s market capitalization also dropped more than $10 billion over a 24-hour period. However, BTC remains positive over a 7-day period, up $14 billion on the week amid high volatility and market disagreements on its true price.

The reasons for the sell-off could be attributed to large sell-orders liquidating numerous stop-loss positions and invoking general panic amongst traders.

Indeed a sell-order on the Bitstamp exchange for example, of 3,645 BTC or $26.8 million in US dollar terms, was executed at around 02:00 UTC on May 17 and could have been one of the major causes for a dip below $7,000.

It’s no small secret that when bitcoin moves in value, the rest of the crypto markets may also do so as seen by a large capitulation in daily prices which are currently down between 11 and 22 percent amongst the top 100 at CoinMarketCap.

Ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH) and litecoin (LTC) all suffered similar losses losing between 8 and 16 percent in value while stellar (XLM), XRP and cardano (ADA) were the hardest hit in the top 10 by market capitalization, dropping 16.3, 16.5, 16.7 percent respectively.

The total crypto market capitalization also took a hit dropping more than $29 billion over the last 24-hours hinting at investor uncertainty as they transition to the sidelines to await bitcoin’s next move.

29. 16/05/2019 09:24
Bitcoin Price Rally Stalls As Ether, XRP Shine
  • Alternative cryptocurrencies are flying high while bitcoin is having a breather above $8,000.
  • Notably, ether (ETH) has hit a seven-month high of $235 and looks set to extend gains further toward $256 (Sept. 22 high) in the near-term. XRP, meanwhile, has confirmed a bull breakout.
  • With hourly chart indicators diverging in favor of the bears and the daily relative strength index (RSI) reporting overbought conditions, bitcoin is looking increasingly vulnerable to a price pullback to the key rising trendline, currently placed above $7,200.
  • Bitcoin could challenge Tuesday’s high of $8,335 and possibly break toward $8,500 if the lower highs pattern seen on the RSI is invalidated.

With bitcoin (BTC) price rally showing signs of exhaustion above $8,000, investors have begun diverting money into relatively cheap alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins).

The world’s leading cryptocurrency by market value jumped to a 10-month high of $8,335 in the early European trading hours on Tuesday. The rally, however, stalled with BTC witnessing a minor pullback to lows near $7,600 in the U.S. trading hours.

As of writing, BTC has returned to levels just below $8,000, representing little change on the day.

While bitcoin is showing signs of bullish exhaustion, the altcoin market is a sea of green with prominent coins like ether – the second largest cryptocurrency by market value – rising to $235 on Bitstamp, its highest level since Oct. 1, 2018.

At time of writing, ether is trading at $232 – up 12 percent on the day – having witnessed a golden crossover, a bullish cross of the 50-day and 200-day moving averages (MAs) last month.

Even ether’s strong performance, however, is being overshadowed by XRP, which is the best performing top cryptocurrency of the last 24 hours.

The price of a single XRP jumped to $0.45 earlier today, the highest level since Dec. 24, confirming a double bottom breakout (a bearish-to-bullish trend change) on the three-day chart. As a result, the third largest cryptocurrency could rise further toward $0.50 in the near-term.

  • XRP has appreciated by 14.7 percent in 24 hours, with prices hitting 4.5-month highs near $0.45 across major cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • Stellar (LM), cardano (ADA) are also up by nearly 12 percent each.
  • Bitcoin cash is flashing red, having hit a six-month high of $410 on Tuesday.

While major altcoins have found some love, the flow of money is also heading towards lesser-known cryptocurrencies, as seen in the chart below.

  • Project Pai, ranked 71 as per market capitalization on CoinMarketCap, has appreciated by 28 percent in the last 24 hours and is currently the best performing top 100 cryptocurrency.
  • In second place is tezos (XTZ), up 21 percent. The cryptocurrency trapped sellers on the wrong side of the market last week with a fake head-and-shoulders breakdown and printed six-month highs near $1.68 earlier today.

The surge in altcoins has pushed their total market capitalization to $95.65 billion – a level last seen on Nov. 8, 2018.

BTC 4-hour and hourly charts

The lower highs on both the relative strength index (RSI) and the Chaikin money flow (CMF) on the 4-hour chart (above left) indicate that bullish momentum for BTC has weakened. The cryptocurrency could see a price pullback, possibly to the ascending trendline support, currently at $7,300.

The case for a deeper correction would strengthen if the 50-hour moving average (MA) support is breached. That average, currently at $7,872, has reversed pullbacks twice in the last 24 hours.

The case for a rally to $8,500 and higher would strengthen if the hourly chart RSI (above right) violates the falling trendline, representing bearish divergence. The bulls, however, may have a tough time holding onto gains above $8,500 (July 2018 high), as the daily RSI reporting extreme overbought conditions.

Ether 3-day chart

Ether’s rise to seven-month highs validates the ascending triangle breakout (bearish-to-bullish trend change) signaled witnessed in the three-days to May 12 (previous 3-day candle).

The cryptocurrency has violated the 16-month-long falling trendline, while the 5- and 10-candle moving averages (MAs) are trending north, indicating a bullish setup.

Prices, therefore, could challenge the immediate resistance at $256 in the near-term. The bullish outlook would be invalidated only if prices fall back below the high of $187 registered in the three days to April 10.

30. 14/05/2019 07:12
$7,900: Bitcoin’s Price Extends Gains to Hit 9-Month High

The price of bitcoin (BTC) surpassed $7,900 today, jumping 16 percent in the process to reach a high not seen in more than nine months.

Bitcoin (BTC), with a market capitalization that now accounts for 59.8 percent of the total cryptocurrency market, jumped 16 percent from its opening price of $6,800 to reach $7,889 at 15:10 UTC – its highest price since July 31, 2018, according to CoinDesk’s price data. The data further shows that a high of $7,946.01 has been reached during Monday trading.

Now trading a $7,805.10, current figures represent a more than 37 percent increase in the past 7-days alone.

Since hitting a 2018 price low of $3,112 on December 15, 2018, with a market cap of $56 billion at the time, bitcoin’s price has since rallied nearly 150 percent and currently records a market cap of $136 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

As usual when the market leader pics up a strong bid, the USD value of most other cryptocurrencies follows suit.

All of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap are recording gains today, the top three performers of which include Binance Coin (BNB), BitcoinCash (BCH), and Dash (DASH) which reported 24-hour gains of 13.8, 12.6, and 12.6 percent, respectively, at time of writing.

 

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