BitConnect Officially Shuts Down — Ponzi Scheme Confirmed?

BitConnect

BitConnect Officially Shuts Down — Ponzi Scheme Confirmed

Just one week after the proposed date of its initial coin offering (ICO), England-based financial startup BitConnect officially announced on its website that it is shutting down its cryptocurrency lending and exchange platform.

This decision was made following warnings issued earlier this month by regulators in Texas and North Carolina that the company was engaging in the sale of unregistered securities tied to a token sale.

“We have received two Cease and Desist letters, one from the Texas State Securities Board, and one from the North …

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The BitConnect Ponzi Scheme has Finally Collapsed as Exit Scam Becomes Evident

With all cryptocurrency markets tanking in value, it is evident there will be some big changes. More specifically, some currencies are all but crashing to the ground as we speak. BitConnect, the infamous Ponzi Scheme, is finally meeting its demise, by the look of things. Thanks to the recent price declines, the value of BCC dropped by over 80%. Moreover, the native exchange has closed its doors and the subReddit is turned to private. Good riddance, according to many cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

It was only a matter of time until BitConnect would finally collapse. Thousands of people bought into this scam and some of them may have even made money. Most users, however, probably never got their money out of this program whatsoever. That is only normal, as over 95% of all trades were conducted on the native BCC exchange. When a currency’s developers also run the main exchange, you know things are not always going to end well.

Curtain Call for BitConnect

To put this into perspective, the BitConnect price has dropped by a lot. Over the past week, it went from nearly $400 all the way to $27. Such a steep decline seems to confirm the developers finally completed their grand exit scam. It is also possible they used the ‘stolen” Bitcoins to crash the current market. Whether or not that latter part is a conspiracy theory or the sheer reality, remains to be seen. It is evident the BCC exchange had access to a lot of BTC, though. Either way, it seems this Ponzi Scheme is gone for good, which can only be considered to be a good thing.

Furthermore, it seems the project’s subReddit is no longer accessible. Rather than leaving it open to the public, it is now completely private. No one who isn’t “approved” can’t access this subreddit or see what is being posted there. A very worrisome turn of events for the people still waiting to get their money out. They were warned dozens of times about this Ponzi Scheme, though. Anyone who lost money due to BitConnect only has themselves to blame. It is a harsh reality, but that’s what people get for falling for snake oil practices.

For now, it is unclear what the future will hold. It seems the BCC Exchange has also shut its doors for now. This is more evidence of the nefarious nature of this particular “investment program”. It is a matter of time until the other exchanges remove BCC from their platform, by the look of things. We can only hope not too many people lost money because of BitConnect. At the same time, it seems likely the team ran off with a few dozen million Dollars in the end.

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See Dick. See Dick Call Bitcoin a Pyramid Scheme. Wrong, Dick. Wrong.

In an interview with CNBC earlier Tuesday, former Wells Fargo CEO Richard ‘Dick’ Kovacevich denounced Bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.


First, it was economist Robert Schiller calling Bitcoin a “bubble”. Then JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon added his pontificating opinion to the mix, labeling it a “fraud.” Now it looks like Wall Street talking heads are doubling down on the stupid.

Yesterday, in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich pronounced Bitcoin a pyramid scheme:

I think it’s a pyramid scheme. It makes no sense. I’m just surprised it isn’t even lower.

Bitcoin vs. Pyramid Scheme

To paraphrase a quote from one of my favorite movies, Mr. Kovacevich, you keep using that word (pyramid scheme). I do not think it means what you think it means.

Bitcoin is not a pyramid scheme

Investopedia defines a pyramid scheme as:

A pyramid scheme is an illegal investment scam based on a hierarchical setup. New recruits make up the base of the pyramid and provide the funding, or so-called returns, the earlier investors/recruits above them receive. A pyramid scheme does not involve the selling of products. Rather, it relies on the constant inflow of money from additional investors that works its way to the top of the pyramid.

It also notes that pyramid schemes are fraudulent because:

People are deceived into believing that by giving money, they will make more money; however, no wealth has been created, no product has been sold, no investment has been made, and no service has been provided.

Here’s where the wheels come off of Kovacevich’s argument:

1. Bitcoin is not based on recruiting. There is no funnel, no downline, no single fat cat at the top getting rich off of percentages of the investments of people under him or her.

2. Early Bitcoin investors, who could arguably be considered to be at the top of the investment food chain, aren’t realizing profits from the funds of investors who came after them. Any profits realized come from traditional investing strategies of early adoption, knowing when to hold and when to get out, and buying low and selling high.

3. When an investor buys bitcoin, they are doing one of two things:

  • Converting fiat currency to its equivalent value in bitcoin to use as a medium of exchange, much like a visitor to a foreign country might convert their own native currency to that of their host country;
  • Investing in it either as a store of value, like gold, oil, etc., or speculatively, with the expectation that its value will increase while understanding that it could decrease as well.

Neither of these two use cases meets the definition of a pyramid scheme. In the former, something is being purchased, and in the latter, an investment is being made.

Why is the Old Guard so Resistant to Bitcoin?

Cryptocurrency is a new financial animal that doesn’t behave like anything that traditional finance experts have seen before. They don’t understand cryptocurrency, so rather than make an attempt to educate themselves, they criticize and denounce it out of hand. It doesn’t make sense to them, so naturally, it must be a fraud.

If you watch the video clip below, you can hear the confusion and exasperation when Kovacevich declares:

The fundamentals make no sense.

Even Warren Buffett, a legend in financial circles and vocal Bitcoin critic, admits his lack of understanding:

I get into enough trouble with things I think I know something about. […] Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don’t know anything about?

Personally, I think that a sense of elitism and fear of losing control are also at play to some degree. One of the greatest things about cryptocurrency is that it is open to everyone and controlled by no one. You don’t have to be rich to get into crypto and everybody has an equal chance of profiting (or losing) from their investments. It’s the great equalizer and I think it bugs the hell out of some of these guys that crypto investing lets “just anybody” in.

The moral of the story? Educate yourselves, be open to new ideas, and don’t be a Dick.

What do you think of Kovacevich’s claims? Why do *you* think so many mainstream financial experts are critical of Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of The Princess Bride/Twentieth Century Fox, sheilapic76/Flickr

The post See Dick. See Dick Call Bitcoin a Pyramid Scheme. Wrong, Dick. Wrong. appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Smile-Expo to Organize Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference Thailand in Bangkok

March 6, 2018, Bangkok will host a major international conference dedicated to blockchain, cryptocurrencies and ICOs – Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Thailand.

The conference is aimed at cryptocurrency investors, blockchain startup representatives, developers, marketing specialists, lawmakers, lawyers, financial experts and advisors engaged in the cryptocurrency and ICO sector.

Participants will discover the current condition of the cryptocurrency market, blockchain trends, ICO aspects and investments in tokens.

The conference will reveal the following issues:

  • blockchain technology application in Fintech and Govtech sectors;
  • how to launch an ICO of your own project and attract investments;
  • technical features of blockchain-based solutions;
  • legal regulation of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Thailand is organized by Smile-Expo, an international company that has been holding blockchain and cryptocurrency events since 2014. Every conference brings together from 200 to 2500 participants.

Tickets can be bought on the official website. The earlier purchase, the more profitable price:

  • until February 5 – 10 000 THB (255 EUR);
  • from February 6 till March 5 – 15 000 THB;
  • on the event day – 20 000 THB.

Registration details can be found on the website of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Thailand.

 

 

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IBM Partners With Shipping Giant Maersk To Launch Blockchain Solution For Global Logistics

The joint venture aims to revolutionize the global shipping industry with blockchain technology at its heart.


IBM, in partnership with Maersk, is launching their own blockchain based solution to the complex world of the global shipping trade, the joint company the two giants have formed is so far unnamed. The aim of the initiative is to simplify the complex process of transporting goods across the worlds myriad of disparate trade zones. The system, based on a blockchain developed in-house by IBM, has two key goals;  providing a shipping information pipeline with a real-time and completely transparent view of merchandise movement, the system is all based on the concept of smart contracts replacing the currently complex and labor-intensive paperwork process. The initiative was first trailed in 2016.

In a press release published earlier today, Maersk said:

More than $4 trillion in goods are shipped each year, and more than 80 percent of the goods consumers use daily are carried by the ocean shipping industry. The maximum cost of the required trade documentation to process and administer many of these goods is estimated to reach one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs. According to The World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15 percent, boosting economies and creating jobs.

Planned Launch and Industry Reception

Supply Chain Shipping Containers

Michael J. White, CEO and former president of Maersk Line in North America, announced:

The pilots confirmed our expectations that, across the industry, there is considerable demand for efficiency gains and opportunities coming from streamlining and standardizing information flows. Now this work has progressed to a point that a beta version involving all players of the ecosystem along a specific trade lane can be launched. That is why we intend to create the joint venture – to take these solutions to market.

Feedback from blockchain specialists has been positive with Bill Fearnley, Jr., research director for blockchain strategies at market research firm IDC stating:

Supply chain is a very, very hot topic right now and it is only accelerating from here.

Fearnley believes that IBM and Maersk’s new company will have a competitive advantage over smaller blockchain startups angling for the same market due to the pre-established business relationships of the companies behind it.

Blockchain Tech Outside of Bitcoin

Blockchain Tech Outside of Bitcoin

IBM’s ventures outside of well-established models like Bitcoin’s blockchain, set apart by their more centralized nature, present potential security issues compared to Bitcoin’s wider decentralization but it remains to be seen how the impact and success of privately run blockchains will measure up to their innovative big daddy Bitcoin.

White is expecting the joint Maersk-IBM venture to get regulatory approval in early spring and begin selling software subscriptions by the third quarter of 2018. At the time of press, the new company is busily assembling an advisory board of industry and government officials in order to push product development to fruition.

With Bitcoin already a dominant platform for Blockchain, would it be possible to persuade businesses to use Bitcoins’ secure decentralized blockchain? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images courtesy of  Shutterstock

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France announces Bitcoin regulations amid cryptocurrency ‘bloodbath’

Prices all across the cryptocurrency market are plunging today in what many reports are calling a cryptocurrency ‘bloodbath’. As coinmarketcap shows, almost every coin is down by double digits with only Neblio and Tether managing to stay in the green.

Not a pretty sight. Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Reports are generally pinning the blame on a swathe of regulatory restrictions being placed upon cryptocurrency trading, most notably in China and South Korea. Some of these restrictions include the targeting of mobile apps which facilitate trading, and, in the case of South Korea, forbidding anonymous …

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Sharpe Capital’s Investment Fund Generates 85% ROI In First Month

Fund distributions equal to 40% of the fund’s profit, totaling $105,000.

January 14, 2018 (Hong Kong, China) – Sharpe Capital is a blockchain based platform committed to building a decentralized investment ecosystem. Their focus is on helping both retail traders and institutional investors better understand traditional and crypto financial markets. The Sharpe Platform crowdsources market sentiment on traditional equity and blockchain assets. Users receive Ethereum service fee payments for making predictions on equity and cryptocurrency price movements in relation to current events.

Machine-learning linguistic analysis, quantitative trading strategies, and crowdsourced investment sentiment are all used by the platform to generate top quality sentiment-based data-feeds for use by retail and institutional investors. Sharpe Capital also has a proprietary investment fund, the Sharpe Fund, which implements the platform’s sentiment data. The fund launched on December 4, 2017, and achieved an incredible 85% ROI benchmarked against USD.

The month’s profits totaled $105,000, 40% of which will be returned to platform users, the average payout being $972. The average service fee payment per SHP token staked is $0.02 but jumps to $0.12 per SHP token for those with the highest stake and work. The payment is scheduled to be dispersed among 108 users on Saturday, January 13th. The next payment is slated for February 13th.

Dr. James Butler, the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Sharpe Capital, noted about the inaugural month’s performance:

We are delighted to have received over 15,000 asset predictions during the first month of our launch by Sharpe sentiment providers, paying almost $1,000 per user. Through Sharpe’s unique combination of quantitative trading strategies and crowd-sourced human intelligence, we are very well positioned to continue our initial success in generating over 100% ROI in just 5 weeks.

We look forward to working with our commercial partners, including TaaS and ETHLend, to develop the Sharpe Global Sentiment Index, helping investors to better understand financial markets and creating valuable new revenue streams for the Sharpe community.

Those interested in joining the Sharpe Capital community can do so through their token sale, which is live now. SHP tokens are available for purchase through February 5, 2018.

Press Contact: Rachel Brosca
Email: rachel@inboundjunction.com
Phone: +972 545 464 238

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The Upcoming ICO and CEDEX Coin

2018 is set to be an exciting year for anyone looking to expand or diversify their investment assets. With the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies around the world, the main challenge is deciding where to invest.


CEDEX is set to answer that question when it launches its new and revolutionary Blockchain-based diamond exchange beginning with an ICO Token Pre-sale of its CEDEX Coin on the 16th March 2018. Due to unprecedented interest, the pre-sale amount of tokens has increased to 50% of the total. The aim of turning the existing diamond industry into the next asset class for investors will then be well underway.

Up to this point, diamond exchanges have functioned on a business to business (B2B) basis, leaving the public with little way to get involved. CEDEX aims to bring the traditional diamond industry into the world of innovative financial markets, thus enabling a transparent and safe way for the public to invest in diamonds as they would any other financial asset.

In De Beers’s Diamond Insight Report carried out in 2016, they attribute 95% of global diamond trade to consumer retail. This outlines the present gap in the market for investment in diamonds that CEDEX is aiming to capitalize on.

The lack of financial investment in the diamond market up until this point can be attributed to a number of challenges that the revolutionary CEDEX Exchange will overcome.

These challenges include:

  • Difficulties around the standardization of diamonds
  • The lack of liquidity within existing diamond trading methods open to the public.
  • Issues concerning transparency within the market.

CEDEX will solve each of these issues thus successfully opening the diamond investment market to the public for the first time. CEDEX have partnered with IDEX, the worlds largest online diamond exchange. This partnership will further enhance the efficiency and reliability of determining the value of diamonds. Furthermore, IDEX’s existing user base of over 7000 diamond dealers will be encouraged to embrace CEDEX as a way of increasing their market reach.

The proprietary technology behind CEDEX, which will overcome the existing issues around transparency in the market, is a self-learning algorithm called DEX. DEX is the machine learning algorithm which is the backbone of CEDEX. DEX has three primary functions:

  • Gem Composite Data
  • The parallel composite which gives a precise indication of the rarity of the diamond category.
  • The Indices composite, giving traders market directions of the diamond industry.

Each diamond that is listed on CEDEX will be categorized based on its Gemmological composition by the DEX proprietary technology. A combination of both the market indices and the GIA certification of each diamond is used to generate the most accurate diamond pricing available. Only GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds are accepted for valuation. After online valuation, the diamond assets are physically verified against their GIA certificate and stored for safekeeping. At this point, the seller is issued a Diamond Token which can be listed on the exchange or sold directly to another user.

Another important aspect of DEX is the ability to rank each diamond in its category in order of “Investment Potential”. In this way, even beginner traders can recognize lucrative trades. The liquidity of the CEDEX Exchange will be guaranteed through the funds raised with the launch of the CEDEX Coin. CEDEX have pledged 15% of the funds raised by the CEDEX Coin Token Sale to be allocated to working capital. An initial inventory will be purchased by CEDEX on their own exchange, enabling liquidity from Day 1.

Finally, standardization will also be achieved through the implementation of the innovative DEX proprietary technology solution, which will create a unique benchmark value, rate and smart contract for every stone on the CEDEX Exchange.

The CEDEX Coin

The CEDEX Coin will be an ERC-20 compatible token, assuring its legitimacy in the existing cryptocurrency market. It will be traded over the public Ethereum blockchain, allowing users to transform their assets into diamonds in the most efficient manner possible.

The CEDEX Coin will power the CEDEX Exchange and is the only means of payment used over this platform. It will be listed on all major exchanges allowing for transferability between it, existing crypto and fiat currencies. Although CEDEX Coins can be stored in any wallet compatible with ERC-20, it is recommended that they are stored in an offline storage solution for optimal security.

Up to 41% of the supply of CEDEX Coin will be pre-allocated to the CEDEX founders and team members before it becomes available for purchase. The company will hold 20%-25% of the CEDEX Coin supply for future development and marketing expansion. This holding will also be used for purchasing additional diamonds in order to expand the financial offering of the CEDEX project.

The Upcoming ICO

CEDEX Token Pre-sales will start on March 16, 2018, at 19:00 GMT. During this Token Pre-sale, the CEDEX Coin will become available for use.

The minimum purchase limit at launch will be set at 1 coin which will be valued at 1 Ethereum. It became apparent that demand for The CEDEX Coin at pre-sale would far surpass the 20% initially intended to be offered, so that amount has been increased to 50%. Users will be able to purchase CEDEX Coin using Ether, Bitcoin and fiat currencies according to the current rates in the market.

In order to purchase tokens during the pre-sale, you will need to register at www.cedex.com.

Techfinancials, a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange, is the primary owner (90%) of CEDEX. As such, the support, both in asset use and experience is of tantamount importance and a rarity in the I.C.O world.

This level of both credibility and accountability provides potential investors with sound peace of mind.

With a solid plan and roadmap ahead, together with the support of Industry leaders like IDEX, CEDEX represents both an interesting investment opportunity in both diamonds and the CEDEX coin itself.


Images courtesy of CEDEX

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Verge (XVG) Up By 600% In One Month, Could It Be The Next Monero

Verge (XVG) Up By 600% In One Month, Could It Be The Next Monero?

A cryptocurrency that has been soaring for the past month is Verge (XVG), up by 600% over the last 30 days, now trading at $0.131028 as of 2 p.m. CST.

Source: Coinmarketcap.com

What Is Verge?

Verge is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that emphasizes on completely secure and anonymous transactions. It uses multiple anonymity-centric networks to achieve this.

Originally created in 2014 under the name DogeCoinDark (not to be mistakenly associated with the meme-based Dogecoin), the coin was …

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Bitcoin Cash now has its own Native Bitcoinj Development Branch

All cryptocurrencies need to keep evolving at any given time. On the technical front, that is often easier said than done. Especially newer currencies often have a laundry list of features to implement in the near future. For Bitcoin Cash, things have been advancing rather nicely these past few months. The project now has its own Bitcoinj development branch as well. This is a big development for this alternative version of Bitcoin.

For those unaware of what Bitcoinj does, allow us to explain. It is a project best known for being a cornerstone of the Bitcoin ecosystem. In its original state, it was the second Bitcoin implementation and the first to target SPV light wallet functionality. Not everyone wants to run a desktop client or full node on their machine at all times. Moreover, SPV functionality is very important when it comes to mobile cryptocurrency wallets.Most Android wallets make use of Bitcoinj as we speak.

Bitcoinj Cash is Open for Business

With Bitcoinj Cash, the goal is to unify all forks for BCH. More specifically, a lot of forked versions of this SPV implementation exist. Unifying them all under one banner will make it easier for everyone involved. Moreover, the team hopes to engage more community members to contribute to this particular branch of development. No one can deny Bitcoin Cash has a strong and vibrant community right now. Solutions like these will only improve the overall ecosystem.

As a result of this new branch, we will see more mobile wallets support Bitcoinj Cash. Some might even switch over from BTC to BCH full-time. HashEngineering’s Android wallet is switching over to Bitcoinj Cash in the near future. Moreover, the Lighthouse project – which has all but been forgotten – may be revived thanks to this new implementation. Crowdfunding through Bitcoin has always been a great concept. Unfortunately, it also became impossible due to mounting fees and slow transactions. With BCH, this option becomes viable again.

It is also important to note this new development branch will not just focus on SPV wallets. Instead, the team wants to expand upon its functionality, although no further details were provided at this point. It all depends on how the community and interested developers respond to this new development. With enough support, Bitcoin Cash may look very different from today. That would be a good sign, mind you, as more functionality can only be considered to be a good thing. Especially when it comes to business-friendly services, there’s always room for future improvements.

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