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You know you’ve been in crypto too long when…

How long have you been in crypto? A year? Two? Five? If it’s too long, you’ll recognise some of these warning signs.

 

  1. Checking the price of bitcoin is the first thing you do in the morning. Not grab a coffee. Not say ‘Good morning’ to your beloved. Not feed the cat. It’s grab your phone while you’re still half asleep and see which way BTC went in the night.
  2. Your thumb has RSI, from swiping down to refresh Blockfolio so many times.
  3. That’s Repetitive Strain Injury, by the way. If you read RSI and assumed it meant Relative Strength Index, you’re probably obsessed with chart indicators.
  4. You can’t look at a city skyline without seeing volume bars. You can’t look at a mountain range without seeing price spikes.
  5. Somehow, you got really good at mental math. You can do complicated sums in your head – but only if they involve exchange rates for bitcoin and altcoins.
  6. You feel an overwhelming urge to draw lines on things as a means of predicting the future. If you were in hospital, you’d probably be drawing support and resistance levels on your heart-rate monitor to figure out if you’ll survive.
  7. Your F5 key is blank. There’s a dip where it’s worn away from refreshing CoinMarketCap.
  8. You only have online friends. You stopped seeing half your real-world friends when they laughed at you for buying crypto. The other half stopped seeing you when it turned out you were right.
  9. You haven’t had 8 hours sleep since… well, since crypto.
  10. You’re still kicking yourself for buying that beer/mining rig/sunglasses for BTC back in 2015. It seemed so cool and smart at the time. Now it’s the most expensive thing you ever bought.

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Sunday Inferno round-up

Here it is, folks: our regular Sunday summary of Inferno news, articles and market insights. Here’s what’s been going on this week:

We’ll be back with more tomorrow, so enjoy what remains of your weekend and stay tuned!

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Are permissioned ledgers the future of blockchain for business?

Corporations and governments won’t work with open platforms. Permissioned ledgers are likely to play a key role in the adoption of blockchain technology.

 

Bitcoin, the original blockchain, is an open network. Anyone can join it, use it, run a full node, or start a mining node. There are no restrictions of who gets to be a part of the network.

 

That’s great for transparency and trust, but it has its drawbacks. Since anyone can use the network, malicious activities are possible, from DDoS to 51% attacks. And of course, bitcoin can be used for criminal purposes; no one can stop you sending bitcoin to anyone else.

 

For regular individuals, this is a price worth paying. Having a blockchain and form of money that is free from interference is hugely important. And form of control by companies or governments increases the risk of intervention, and that could mean users not being able to access their funds. So open blockchains are here to stay: they’re just too valuable to expect them to go away, and it’s not possible for regulators to shut them down. Similarly, small businesses are happy with open blockchains, which offer greater transparency and auditability than their current centralised providers.

 

But corporations and government aren’t happy with that. They need greater reliability and network stability, higher throughput, and predictability for fees and other properties.

 

Permissioned blockchains can deliver this by keeping the network tight and only allowing approved actors to use it. By running a small number of approved nodes, it’s possibly to avoid most of the uncertainty of open blockchains, ensure greater network stability, and avoid the need for fees. Depending on how the network is structured, you can also prevent bad actors from using it, or kick them off for serious offences.

 

There are already various permissioned ledger solutions out there, many of them based on existing blockchain technology. We can expect more of these to arise as governments and corporations look for infrastructure partners. 

 

In most cases, the regular crypto community won’t benefit from these – there won’t be ICOs, and the tokens won’t be designed to increase in value. But there may be other ways in which it’s good for the crypto sector.

 

Overall, it could be good for crypto just as a way of raising awareness – just like Facebook’s Libra has brought Bitcoin into front and centre for Congress. There may also be open blockchain platforms that launch permissioned functionality. Waves Enterprise, for example, will allow entities to launch permissioned networks of their own, securing them on the main Waves chain and bringing additional demand to the WAVES token that powers the open blockchain.

 

Then there are initiatives like VPLedger, which is designed from the ground up for businesses use. This includes KYC as a mandatory condition of entry for every user, and a network of a couple of dozen nodes. However, the project still has a commitment to decentralise its governance completely, meaning it could prove a valuable addition to a future decentralised economy and become a host for many interesting projects.

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The Periodic Table of Crypto

Bitcoin is known as ‘Digital Gold’ due to its scarcity and high value. It’s the safe haven and reserve currency of the crypto world. What about other cryptos, though…?

 

Bitcoin: Digital Gold. It’s the original form of digital wealth. A store of value that crypto traders seek in times of uncertainty. The ultimate scarce digital asset: don’t be without it.

 

Litecoin: Digital Silver. Still a scarce asset, though not so scarce as digital gold. It’s more volatile, just like physical silver. It’s more useful as a transactional currency than a store of value, but it has good network effect and isn’t going out of fashion. Totally manipulated, of course.

 

Ethereum: Digital Plutonium. Really cool. Powerful when handled carefully. Nuclear-scale disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. Make sure you store it safely. Some wallets are like leaky reactor cores. Yes, Parity. I’m looking at you.

 

Ripple: Digital Chromium. Shiny shiny shiny!! Look at this, it must be super valuable! I’m so smart for buying a ton of it while it’s so cheap!! Shiny!! Wait, what? There’s 144,633 trillion more tons of this stuff in the ground? Dammit.

 

BCash: Digital Lead. It’s vaguely shiny, but rather dull. Isn’t worth much, though even lead has its value. But it is rather toxic and frankly you could do a lot better. A bag of this can feel heavy.

 

Libra: Digital Iron. Utilitarian. Serves a purpose, gets the job done. Useful for making weapons to beat the US government with, though you’d better believe they’re going to beat you back. Nothing particularly special or different, there’s going to be a lot of it, but it’s handy as far as it goes.

 

Tether: Digital rust. Seems so good, strong, useful. But then you realise that what was once so good is a flaking pile of dirty crap.

BSV: Digital Turds. You can gold plate a turd but it’s still a turd. Just like real turds, there will always be people who have a nasty fascination with digital turds and can’t help playing with them. But they still stink and normal people will avoid them like the plague they are.

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Green alts and ham

When Sam-I-am persists in pestering a grumpy grouch to buy a bag of alts, the grouch turns abusive and violent – teaching us all that we should buy and hold only bitcoin!

 

I am Sam

Sam I am

Do you like green eggs and ham?

 

I do not like green eggs and ham

I do not like them, Sam I am

 

Then… would you like to buy my alts?

They’re nice and tasty with some salt.

 

I’m already salty, Sam. 

Your altcoin shilling is a scam.

I’ve bought enough of all your alts,

The fact I have them is your fault!

 

Hmmm. But how about some XRP?

It’s oversold as it can be!

 

Sam. I do not want your XRP,

It’s going to crash as you can see.

And I already have a ton

Of worthless alts and that is one!

 

Well how about some Bitcoin Cash?

Some EOS, TRON, IOTA, DASH?

I know your bags are heavy, sir,

But take whichever you prefer!

 

Sam. I have them all (no BTC).

My bags are heavy as can be.

In fact you are the very reason.

You told me it would be alts season!

 

Ah yes, the alts will soon explode!

Back the truck up! Buy a load!

Don’t miss the train, it’s leaving soon.

And we’ll be going to the moon!

 

Your altcoins suck, you stupid clown

The only road they’re on is down.

And every time they try to climb,

Bitcoin spikes another time!

 

The perfect time to buy more cheap!

I really think you’d love a heap. 

I’ll do a deal on Doge or BAT

What would you say to one like that?

 

I think I have a better plan,

For where to put your altcoins, Sam.

Now turn around; this might feel wrong:

I’ll shove them back where they belong!

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Hayek predicted Bitcoin’s promise decades ago

TL;DR governments won’t give up control of money voluntarily, so we’re going to have to do it the sneaky way.

 

Anyone can make predictions about the future based on what they see around them, but it’s a rare mind that can take the temperature of the times and accurately understand the signs. Friedrich Hayek, the famous economist, was one such person.

 

Hayek was an Austrian economist who wrote The Denationalization of Money, which argued for different forms of private money instead of state-backed currencies. These different private currencies would compete on the market, just like any other stock or business, and the best and most reliable ones would rise to the top. It should be a free market for currencies.

 

He recognised that when the state took control of printing money, it opened the way to lots of abuses – exactly the ones we see now. More and more money is being created, and it’s being used to prop up markets and economies that are failing. Ultimately, this only defers and makes worse the inevitable crash.

 

Take a look at what Hayek said back in 1984, in this short video clip.

 

‘I don’t believe that we can ever have good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government. And since we can’t take it violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly, roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.’

 

Hayek was talking before the advent of the internet, let alone blockchain. This was the 1980s, when barely anyone even owned a cellphone. But he grasped the essence of the problem: whatever form of good money was created would need to be structured in such a way as to be unstoppable.

 

Bitcoin launched a quarter of a century after Hayek spoke those words and over 15 years since he died. But it’s about the best shot we have at honest money, outside the control of the state.

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Swissborg: trading fun without the risk

TL;DR Swissborg have created a beautifully gamified price prediction app and an active community around it.

 

Buy low, sell high. Easy right? The thrill of trading, the adrenaline surge of calling the market right and winning millions in the comfort of your own pajamas. Just fire up BitMex, max leverage and – 

 

Yep, rekt. Back to that spare room in your parents’ house and a minimum-wage job at MacDonalds. So much for retiring at 30.

 

Thing is, trading is harder than it looks, at least if you want to come out of it with more money than you had when you went in. But it’s so FUN. 

 

Swissborg have taken the fun of trading and left behind the agony of getting wiped out with an awesome little community app. It’s actually part of a wider bitcoin price prediction service that uses machine learning and community insights to forecast where BTC is heading. That’s yet to launch, but this app is a first step and absolutely worth a look in its own right.

 

They have reduced the complexities of trading to a straightforward UX in which you simply predict whether the price of bitcoin will be higher or lower in 24 hours’ time. You can stake different amounts on your hunch, depending on how many points you have already (which depends on how successful you’ve been in the past). Get it right and you double your stake, get it wrong and you lose it. Keep winning and you unlock new limits and earn badges for different qualities (accuracy, risk taking, loyalty, etc). The better you do, the higher up the Hall of Fame you move, with the chance to win a share of a prize pool of up to $500,000.

 

Overall, it’s a beautifully gamified price prediction tool. The simple UX makes it instantly accessible to anyone, and the company has worked hard to maximise that little dopamine hit you get from calling the market right. Refer new users with your code and win more points, helping grow the already active community. It’s all very well designed.

 

Data from the app will ultimately be integrated into the price prediction tool. As well as machine learning, it will take insights from the most successful and reliable community members – the ones who are best at forecasting price movements. In all, it’s a lot of fun and a great idea.

If you want to download the app, feel free to use referral code J7NG5HI as a little thank you for putting you onto this.

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Tuesday Inferno Analysis

The picture for BTC and the alts is looking good. As traders come back from their summer holidays, it looks like the bull is also back in town and growing stronger with each passing day.

 

On a technical level, it’s been a great couple of weeks for BTC, as traders have pushed up through multiple layers of resistance. Regular pull-backs have ensured the market doesn’t get ahead of itself too fast, making this a strong and sustainable rally. The most immediate support levels at $6,800 and $7,000 held on tests. At the time of writing, BTC is bumping against the ceiling of downward-sloping support, with the next target to break around the $7,500 zone.

 

On the daily chart, we’re sat between the 50 and 200 moving averages, and RSI is heading north – though not yet into overbought territory. A look at the daily RSI over the last several months shows that it has been an excellent indicator for buying and (particularly) selling. We would advise caution, though: in the last bull market, there were periods when the daily RSI spent significant periods of time over 70, and selling there would have meant missing out. When BTC goes into bull mode it’s a raging bull, and the rules change.

 

The technical picture is broadly positive for now, then, though breaking $7,500 and then $8,000 would consolidate that impression. Pushing above the 200 MA would give traders a confidence boost, and likely when $10k is breached there will be another wave of media interest and speculation (of both kinds).

 

Right now, volumes are still lower than they were earlier in the year or at the end of 2017. Nevertheless, the mood has changed over the last month. More longs are opening on the futures markets, with CME reporting both a reduction in shorts and an increase in longs. On top of that, another 100 million USDT have recently been printed, suggesting incoming demand. Big money (which usually equals smart money) is signposting its expectations.

 

On the other side of the coin, one other factor that has attracted interest in recent days is the movement of large quantities of bitcoins from a wallet that has been dormant since 2014. Around $100 million has apparently been moved to Bitfinex and Binance, presumably to sell for USD and altcoins, respectively. We’ll take a closer look at this tomorrow, but that could indicate considerable sell pressure in the short term. Right now, though, the market doesn’t seem to care.

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Review: Carstens ‘simply superb’ in comic role as Central Bankers’ Central Banker

Europe’s finest up-and-coming comedian is worthy of Ali G in his satirical creation as the head of the fictional ‘Bank of International Settlements’.

 

It’s not often that a comedian is brave enough to take on a subject as dry as global banking, but Agustin Carstens – a previously little-known performance artist from Mexico – has successfully done just that. For the last several months, Carstens has been touring Europe, remaining in-character at all times, delivering weighty speeches about the perils facing the global economy from an irresponsible younger generation obsessed with digital cash. We were recently able to take in one of his gigs – and were absolutely blown away by his act.

 

The genius of Carstens is not in his deadpan delivery – a style long employed by comedians, perhaps most notably the UK’s Jack Dee. It is the sheer perfection with which he walks the unlikely line he has chosen. Watching him perform, unsuspecting audiences are left with the distinct impression that Carstens genuinely believes his own message, and are uncertain whether they should be laughing with him or at him: an unsettling but simultaneously riotously hilarious experience. Just as Sacha Baron Cohen immersed himself in his comic creation Ali G – the ‘gangster from Staines’ who mocked his guests and their desperation to come across well to the public by inducing them to agree to his own shocking or ridiculous views – so Carstens takes the role of Head of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) to a new level of post-ironic satire.

 

Carstens is simply superb as the “Head of the BIS”… His figure is larger-than-life, his demeanour entitled, his message strident, his tone increasingly desperate – his comic creation faultless.’

– Cassius (writer and entertainment critic)

 

During the course of his ‘presentations’ – delivered to journalists and groups of notable figures from the world of finance and economics – Carstens never once slips out of character, as he harangues the world beyond the cameras about the dangers of digital money and the new economic paradigms it represents. In doing so, he poses the wickedly funny question to the nascent industry he addresses: ‘How dare you try to muscle in on the profits of injustice the banks have monopolised for a hundred years?’

 

Take this excerpt of one of his most recent interviews, given to the journalist of a major Basel news outlet (the journalist, naturally, is unaware of the comedic nature of Carstens’ endeavour, tacitly accepting the existence of the fictional BIS and thereby flaunting his ignorance of the global economics it is his job to cover). ‘My message to young people would be: Stop trying to create money! … Young people should use their many talents and skills for innovation, not reinventing money. It’s a fallacy to think money can be created from nothing.’

 

With a nod to South Park’s Mr Mackey (‘Crypto is bad, mkay?’), Carstens pleads with the youth of today to give up their naive ways of creating money from nothing. And, like Mr Mackey, who ignores his own classroom diatribe and plunges himself into a lifestyle of drug-taking, Carstens smoothly glosses over the hypocrisy of the world’s central banks, for whom he is the central figure. With the effects of the Global Financial Crisis still undermining the prosperity of ordinary people – and precisely the younger generation he lectures bearing the brunt of the pain they are innocent of causing – the head of the BIS knows better than anyone that central banks have hardly acquitted themselves well. But ‘Central banks are trusted,’ he comments – his composure never once faltering with so much as a smirk at the irony.

 

It is this incisive, biting wit framed by his utterly convincing delivery that makes Carstens the rising star he is and the comedy great he is destined to become. From his evident depth of knowledge of economics (from which he naturally cherry-picks only the most convenient facts for his message) to his imposing physical presence and image as the stereotypical bankster, his commitment to his character is absolute.

 

Agustin, we salute you!

 

You can read more about Europe’s #1 financial comedian on Carstens’ website, at https://www.bis.org/author/agustin_carstens.htm.

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Inferno review: Blockfolio

This app allows you to track the value of your crypto portfolio easily. It includes all major cryptos and has real-time, accurate price feeds. Be warned, though, it’s dangerously addictive.

 

If you’re a crypto investor with several different coins in your portfolio – or potentially dozens – then you’ll need a way to track their value. There are various different apps that allow an at-a-glance overview of your current crypto net worth. Some are fine, some clunky or hard to use. Some only have a decent web interface. Some work ok but the price feeds are drawn from limited exchanges, so they miss out certain cryptos or offer distorted valuations.

 

There’s a reason Blockfolio is a market leader. It manages to provide a user experience that is (generally) slick and intuitive, while providing accurate price feeds for a massive range of crypto coins and tokens.

 

There are iOS and Android versions and it’s free to download. Getting started is easy, though there’s just one minor UX hurdle that needs a moment or two to figure out. Adding coins is simple, but sometimes the app is just a little bit too clever for its own good. It’s designed to allow you to reallocate assets within your portfolio – e.g. sell LTC for BTC – and track valuation up to and from the time of the exchange. If you’re using it for that purpose, fine, but if you just want a summary of your portfolio it’s a bit much. You can simply edit coin entries directly, but you’ll need to swipe right to the ‘Holdings’ menu and change it there, rather than alter it on the main screen for that entry in your portfolio.

 

But in general, this is by far the best and easiest way to keep up to date with the crypto markets and how they affect you. You can also access news, receive price signals and get alerts for specific events.

 

Be warned, though: in critical market conditions you’re likely to find yourself checking the app multiple times per day. It can get dangerously obsessive. You’ve been warned.

Find out more at https://blockfolio.com/.

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