December 14, 2017

France endorses blockchain for trading unlisted securities

The changes were announced by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and will come into force in July next year. It will only apply to non-listed securities that aren’t required to be traded using a broker. The market, which is potentially worth up to three trillion euro, includes shares in hedge funds as well debt securities.

READ MORE: Bitcoin bubble not fatal because value could ‘not be permanently lost’ – expert

“The use of this new technology will allow fintech firms and other financial actors to develop new ways of trading securities that are faster, cheaper, more transparent and safer,” said Le Maire, according to Reuters. The finance minister added that he believes the new rules will help make Paris an attractive place to set up business for new financial technology firms.

Acting as an encrypted ledger, blockchain technology records transaction as ‘blocks’ that are updated immediately and in real time using a shared network of computers on the internet rather than a central authority. The blocks are considered the most secure way of carrying out transactions as all changes occur simultaneously, eliminating the need for a trusted third party.

READ MORE: Bitcoin is a ‘dangerous speculative bubble’ – Yale economist warns

There has been much debate about the future of bitcoin and the blockchain technology underpinning it in recent months. On Tuesday, Yale economist Stephen Roach declared the bitcoin buying frenzy to be a “dangerous, speculative bubble by any shadow or stretch of the imagination.” The cryptocurrency reached an all-time high of more than $18,000 earlier this month.

Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz rejected claims that bitcoin is a bubble and dangerously hyperinflated. “The world is in a blockchain speculative phase… Not close to the end of the speculative phase,” Novogratz said.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412593-france-blockchain-nonlisted-securities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

New bitcoin billionaire Winklevoss sees cryptocurrencies heading much higher

Cameron Winklevoss (L) and his brother Tyler Winklevoss © Andrew Burton / Getty Images North AmericaZuckerberg’s twin rivals become 1st bitcoin billionaires

“We’ve always felt that bitcoin, given its properties, is gold 2.0 — it disrupts gold. Gold is scarce, bitcoin is actually fixed. Bitcoin is way more portable and way more divisible. At a $300 billion market cap, it’s certainly seen a lot of price appreciation, but gold is at $6 trillion and if bitcoin disrupting gold is true and it plays out… then you can see 10 to 20 times appreciation because there is a significant delta still,” Cameron Winklevoss told CNBC on Friday.

“Long term, directionally, it is a multitrillion-dollar asset — I don’t know how long it takes to get there,” he added. Winklevoss disputed suggestions by some analysts that the rapid rise of cryptocurrencies in recent months is a massive bubble.

“We’ve seen the bubble term thrown around and it’s just not the right way to look at this,” he explained. “Social networks grow in value exponentially based on the number of users and participants. The difference between one and 100 is dramatic — 100 and a million is that much more dramatic and exciting. As more people join it gains more value.”

When asked whether people should invest in something they do not understand, Winklevoss said that it is not a problem. “Most people don’t know how the internet works but they are comfortable using it,” he pointed out.

In 2008, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss famously settled with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over the claim that he stole their idea for the Facebook social network. The brothers used their payout to invest in bitcoin and recently made headlines by becoming the world’s first bitcoin billionaires.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412568-first-bicoin-billionaire-winklevoss-predicts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russian ‘crypto-hypnotists’ help recover lost bitcoin wallets

Another day, another record: Bitcoin juggernaut smashes $18,000

According to Denis Derkach, the founder of an advertising and information platform for cryptocurrencies, it’s the first time specialists have helped recover lost passwords to cryptocurrency wallets.

He told Life.ru, the “services are now at peak demand” as bitcoin is breaking record highs.

“With the skyrocketing bitcoin many of those who once bought bitcoin as a toy are now kicking themselves,” Dergach said, adding they are “appalled to see that they could become dollar millionaires if only they remembered the password.”

He also said that even if you have less than one bitcoin in your account and you still want to recall the password with hypnosis, the sides “can negotiate.”

Forbes recently estimated the value of so-called ‘dead bitcoins’ could be more than $20 billion.

Dergach said he is often approached by those who bought cryptocurrencies for two to three thousand dollars about a year ago.

“Today it is a real fortune,” he said, adding “When such things happen (they lose passwords), they lose their minds.”

The hypnotist working for the Cryptomania platform knows a unique “technique of remembering passwords for cryptocurrencies,” according to Dergach.

“With the help of hypnosis, I bring a person into an altered state of consciousness when he can recall the information he needs,” said hypnotist Veronika Marymur. She could not explain the difference between her crypto-practice and ordinary hypnosis but said almost half of her 20 clients managed to recall their e-wallet passwords.

In October, the editor of Wire and founder of the website Boing Boing, Mark Frauenfelder published a story on his four-month unsuccessful attempts to recover the password of a bitcoin wallet with the help of hypnosis. He finally got access to the wallet after appealing to hackers.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412559-hypnosis-russia-bitcoin-passwords/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia-China real gold standard means end of US dollar dominance

In 2016, 24,338 tons of physical gold were traded, which was 43 percent more than in 2015, according to Claudio Grass, of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland.

© Leonhard Foeger‘Gold price will explode dollar get wiped out’ – warns investor Peter Schiff

Gold moving from the West to the East

“We have to put the BRICS initiative into a broader context. It is just part of a geopolitical tectonic shift which started decades ago. We have seen a constant outflow of physical gold from the West to the East. At the same time, the West has lost the economic war, and as a consequence, the focus now turns to the financial system. China dominates the world economy and has displaced the US as the world’s most formidable economic powerhouse, he told RT.

The creation of a new gold standard by BRICS is also a step to end the US dollar’s domination of the global economy

“As Bejing and Moscow understand that America used the dollar to control the world, by implementing a new kind of ‘Gold standard 2.0’ they want to distance themselves from this control. Furthermore, the vast majority of the people in Asia sees gold as superior, or ‘real’ money, something the West has forgotten, because of all the paper wealth (credit) they have accumulated, said Grass.

The expert notes the BRICS countries account for 40 percent of the world’s population and around 23 percent of the world’s domestic product.

“In combination with the announcement of pricing oil in yuan, using a gold-backed futures contract in Shanghai, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, China is setting up an alternative to the post-Bretton Woods establishment. This is certainly a game changer, said Grass.

Russia China could set international gold price based on physical gold trading

Physically backed precious metals market spells the end of paper gold trade

The level of trust between BRICS countries can help them establish intragroup gold trading, which would be 100 percent physically backed.

“This will present a viable challenger that could over time lead to a break up of the current system since the West will likely still trade paper gold in the meantime,” Grass said.

According to London gold clearing statistics for 2016, the total trading volume in the London Over-the-Counter (OTC) gold market is estimated at the equivalent of 1.5 million tons of gold. The volume of 100oz gold futures on New York’s COMEX reached 57.5 million contracts during 2016 or 179,000 tonnes of gold, the analyst notes.

The amount of mined gold is much smaller

“If we now take into consideration that only approximately 180,000 tons of gold have actually been mined up to today the scam is just gigantic and obviously unsustainable. The paper scams in London and New York will either blow up when the paper price of gold drops to zero or when just a fraction of investors insists upon receiving physical gold in return,” Grass said.

 The expert believes that with paper gold trading, the established gold exchanges could cease to exist sooner or later.

“They will likely become obsolete and lose their importance over time. Although one cannot predict exactly how fast this will happen, the trend is clear: OTC and COMEX are working toward their own destruction, he said.

Russia continues stocking up on gold under Putin’s strategy

Gold prices could explode if trading were backed by physical precious metals

“It will definitely lead to higher prices for physical gold. Imagine if you could buy on COMEX and OTC gold at a much lower price and still have the option to sell it in Asia for a much higher price; this would kill the old paper scams immediately. Therefore, I would guess that both could come up with new restrictions that only cash settlements will be allowed to avoid this. We know for example that even today 99.96 percent of COMEX gold futures are settled in cash,” Grass wrote.

The final battle: Gold vs. US dollar

The analyst recollected the Heartland Theory of Halford Mackinder, a British geostrategist at the beginning of the 20th century who influenced the likes of Kissinger and Brzezinski. Following the theory, we will soon face a war between physical gold and the US dollar.

“As per my understanding, we are moving into the final phase, the battle between currencies – one that will be backed by a hard asset which was real money since time immemorial until 1971 and the other one, backed by promises that future generations will pay through debt, inflation and ever-rising taxation, he said.

Getting away from fiat currencies will be good for gold

“I would like to conclude with a final thought from my friend Jayant Bandari: the combination of negative yields, massive political risks around the world, and any attempt to move away from traditional currencies will be positive for gold and will take it to the next level. Investing is very much linked with geopolitics – once you understand the big picture, it becomes apparent what you should invest in,” Grass told RT.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412546-china-russia-gold-standard-dollar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Beware of bitcoin, India’s central bank warns investors

India’s central bank rejects bitcoin other cryptocurrencies as legal tender

“In the wake of a significant spurt in the valuation of many virtual currencies (VCs) and rapid growth in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reiterates the concerns conveyed in the earlier press releases,” said the regulator in its latest warning this week.

It’s the bank’s third warning since 2013, which cautioned “users, holders, and traders of virtual currencies including bitcoin” over “economic, financial, operational, legal, consumer protection and security-related risks.”

The warning comes at a time when Indian retail investors are rapidly adopting bitcoin. According to experts, demand for the cryptocurrency outweighs supply in India, pushing its price in the country up to 20 percent higher than international prices.

There are at least 11 bitcoin trading platforms in India which claim about 30,000 customers are actively trading at any given point of time.

Indian authorities launched the so-called ‘Virtual Currency Committee’ in April to research and propose a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in the country. It is an interdisciplinary working group of representatives from multiple Indian governmental ministries and banks.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said last week that India still does not recognize cryptocurrency. “Recommendations are being worked on,” Jaitley said, adding “The government’s position is clear; we don’t recognize this as legal currency as of now.”

In December 2013, RBI said the legal status of cryptocurrencies as well as exchanges was “unclear.” It has warned that VCs were risky as “they are stored in digital/electronic media that are called electronic wallets” and investors are “prone to losses arising out of hacking, loss of password, compromise of access credentials, malware attack, etc.”

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412470-india-warns-bitcoin-investors/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Rising pay in Baltic States poses threat to region’s competitive performance

Pay rises have reached their highest since the last boom-bust cycle a decade ago. According to recent European Commission data, within the past three years, nominal unit labor costs have soared in the Baltics more than in any other part of the EU.

“The export sector is particularly sensitive to labor costs outpacing productivity because in a global market they risk losing contracts. There needs to be more flexibility, more openness to attracting people from third countries, a stronger boost in labor skills, or otherwise, we risk facing serious questions for economic growth,” said Tadas Povilauskas, an economist at SEB Bank in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, as quoted by Bloomberg.

The small Baltic countries, which have a total population of 6.2 million people, are currently struggling with a shortage of workers. Wages are rising, but are still far behind those paid in Western Europe. Emigration from Lithuania is reportedly the most rapid in the EU, contributing to a 16 percent plunge in the country’s population since it joined the bloc in 2004.

The current situation is jeopardizing the region’s competitiveness, as fast economic growth may be followed by a long and painful recession similar to the one that preceded the 2008 global financial crisis. Lithuania and Estonia are the nations with the fastest inflation in the bloc. Moreover, all the three Baltic countries, being a part of eurozone, cannot control their inflation rate with correcting monetary policy.

With wages growing in some sectors other jobs are reportedly going unfilled. Nearly 40 percent of Latvian businesses are fighting to hire people with the manufacturing and construction sectors suffering the most severe shortages, says the latest report by Latvia’s Citadele Banka.

The labor shortage may be eliminated by more inflows of immigrant workers. “While checks on construction sites used to mainly uncover our own citizens working illegally, now it’s more and more people from Ukraine and other countries,” Rivo Reitmann, deputy head of the Tax and Customs Board told the Estonian newspaper Aripaev last month.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412391-baltic-countries-rising-pay-problem/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Wall Street may be backpedaling on impending launch of bitcoin futures

Another day, another record: Bitcoin juggernaut smashes $16,000

The Futures Industry Association (FIA) has sent a cautionary draft letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which approved the start of bitcoin futures trading last week. The lobby group, which includes all the large Wall Street banks, warned the regulator over a swift launch of bitcoin futures that “did not allow for proper public transparency and input,” the Financial Times quotes the letter as saying.

The price of bitcoin has surged to another record of over $15,000 on Thursday, with the market value of the digital currency now exceeding $250 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

The FIA reportedly stressed that ill-prepared financial system wouldn’t cope with the increased volatility of the cryptocurrency’s price.

Last week, NASDAQ announced plans to launch bitcoin futures in 2018. Earlier, the Chicago-based exchanges CME and Cboe said they would start bitcoin futures trading on December 17, as the CFTC had approved the step.

The draft letter, obtained by the media, allegedly claims the exchanges should not be allowed to operate bitcoin futures under a self-certified regime as regulators will have minimal time to formally review them.

“A self-certification scheme for these novel products does not align with the potential risks that underlie their trading and should be reviewed,” the letter says.

“We remain apprehensive with the lack of transparency and regulation of the underlying reference products on which these futures contracts are based and whether exchanges have the proper oversight to ensure the reference products are not susceptible to manipulation, fraud, and operational risk,” the FIA said in the draft.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412306-bitcoin-futures-launch-raise-worries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

‘Gold price will explode & dollar get wiped out’ – warns investor Peter Schiff

“I predicted a lot more than just the stock market going down back then. I predicted the financial crisis, but more importantly, I predicted what the government would do as a result of the financial crisis and what the consequences of that would be because that’s where we’re headed. The real crash I wrote about in my most recent book is still coming,” Schiff said in an article posted by Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com and quoted by ZeroHedge.

Russia China could set international gold price based on physical gold trading

According to Schiff, the US Fed has inflated a gigantic bubble, which is impossible to pop, but when it bursts, the consequences would be very painful for the economy and much bigger than the 2008 meltdown.

“I think this bubble is too big to pop. I think it’s the mother of all bubbles, and when it bursts, there is not a bigger one that the Fed is going to be able to inflate to mask these problems, meaning we can’t kick the can down the road anymore. This time, the crisis is going to hit everyone in the wallet,” he said.

He compared the $20 trillion US debt to a camel loaded with straws.

“How many straws can you put on a camel’s back? You don’t know until you put that final straw that’s one too many and you break his back. So, can we go to $25 trillion in debt? Maybe. At some point, we are going to break the back of the camel with all this debt. Then we are going to find out how much debt we can pile on, and it’s not going to be pretty,” Schiff said.

“Everybody is going to lose. Everybody is going to get wiped out who has been partying in the stock market, the bond market and the real estate market. The dollar is going to tank, and purchasing power is going to get wiped out.”

Iran China seek to eliminate US dollar from bilateral trade

Schiff says the current financial system would also fail to artificially curb the prices of precious metals.

“They can’t keep doing it, and it will end. It’s just like how much debt can we take on. It’s not an unlimited amount. We will know when we get there. How long can they keep the price of gold suppressed? We will know when we get there. At some point, the price is going to explode because there is real physical buying, and all that paper selling can’t camouflage that,” said the money manager.

According to Schiff, gold is the real alternative to fiat money, and people are starting to doubt they can really trust central banks.

“People don’t trust fiat currencies…More and more people are looking for alternatives, and the real alternative is gold. When they embrace it, it’s going to overwhelm the central banks’ ability to suppress the price. In the meantime, enjoy the gift that they are giving,” he said.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412297-gold-dollar-crisis-peter-schiff/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Another day, another record: Bitcoin juggernaut smashes $18,000

Bitcoin peaked at $18,353 by 1:54 GMT, with the market value of the digital currency at the time exceeding $300 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The price has since retreated to below $17,000.

Last week, the virtual currency pushed past both the $10,000 and $11,000 milestones for the first time, soaring over $11,700 on Sunday.

The latest buying spree was reportedly triggered by growing interest among South Korean speculators, as well as rumors about bitcoin derivatives that will be on sale in the US by next week.

The rush to buy bitcoin has defied warnings from some analysts about it potentially being a bubble that’s ready to pop. Governments across the world still remain skeptical about investing in digital currencies. Chinese authorities banned bitcoin trading and initial coin offerings earlier this year, while Indonesia approved a bill prohibiting bitcoin transactions from next year.

In Europe, bitcoin doesn’t enjoy a great deal of support among banking experts. The CEO of Nordea Bank called bitcoin a “joke” and an “absurd” construction earlier this week, while the head of Denmark’s largest pension fund said the currency is “something we basically don’t feel comfortable with.”

Britain and other EU governments have announced plans to control cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, due to concerns over their potential use for money laundering and financing terrorism. At the same time, the US Senate reportedly plans to outlaw the concealment of ownership of crypto accounts by American citizens domestically and abroad.

However, the hard line taken by state regulators on digital currencies hasn’t stopped people from betting on bitcoin, boosting its price every day. Some institutional investors, who had previously criticized bitcoin, have recently stepped into the game. The largest US bank, JPMorgan, is currently considering assisting its clients to tap into the potential bitcoin futures market being prepared by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412252-bitcoin-moves-fifteen-everyday-record/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Another day, another record: Bitcoin juggernaut smashes $16,000

Bitcoin peaked at $16,923 by 16:24 GMT, with the market value of the digital currency exceeding $270 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Last week, the virtual currency pushed past both the $10,000 and $11,000 milestones for the first time, soaring over $11,700 on Sunday.

The latest buying spree was reportedly triggered by growing interest among South Korean speculators, as well as rumors about bitcoin derivatives that will be on sale in the US by next week.

The rush to buy bitcoin has defied warnings from some analysts about it potentially being a bubble that’s ready to pop. Governments across the world still remain skeptical about investing in digital currencies. Chinese authorities banned bitcoin trading and initial coin offerings earlier this year, while Indonesia approved a bill prohibiting bitcoin transactions from next year.

In Europe, bitcoin doesn’t enjoy a great deal of support among banking experts. The CEO of Nordea Bank called bitcoin a “joke” and an “absurd” construction earlier this week, while the head of Denmark’s largest pension fund said the currency is “something we basically don’t feel comfortable with.”

Britain and other EU governments have announced plans to control cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, due to concerns over their potential use for money laundering and financing terrorism. At the same time, the US Senate reportedly plans to outlaw the concealment of ownership of crypto accounts by American citizens domestically and abroad.

However, the hard line taken by state regulators on digital currencies hasn’t stopped people from betting on bitcoin, boosting its price every day. Some institutional investors, who had previously criticized bitcoin, have recently stepped into the game. The largest US bank, JPMorgan, is currently considering assisting its clients to tap into the potential bitcoin futures market being prepared by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/412252-bitcoin-moves-fifteen-everyday-record/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS