In the past 24 hours, the crypto market added $3 billion to its valuation as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) performed relatively well against the U.S. dollar.

Several crypto assets in the likes of Litecoin, TRON, and Cardano recorded the largest gains on the day in the range of 6 to 12 percent.

Bitcoin Has Needs to Break Above $4,500

As the cryptocurrency market avoided a further drop below the $130 billion mark, Bitcoin defended the $3,800 level and stabilized at around $3,850.

According to a technical analyst with an online alias “DonAlt,” for the Bitcoin price to establish a foundation for a strong short-term rally, it will have to break out of major resistance levels above $4,500.

The analyst said:

Monthly: Still bearish, needs to break above $4,500 to even attempt a bullish recovery. Weekly: Rejected by weekly resistance but finally showing some bull momentum. I’d like to see us start closing above $4,300 before turning bullish.

Currently, despite the relatively stable past few weeks demonstrated by the majority of crypto assets, the market still remains down by around 43 percent from November levels.

To initiate a strong short-term rally, the cryptocurrency market would have to add more than $80 billion to its valuation, which is certainly possible if the Bitcoin price is able to sustain its momentum throughout the first two quarters of 2019.

Analysts generally expect cryptocurrencies to undergo the final phase of the year-long bear market prior to the end of the first quarter of this year as the asset class eyes a gradual recovery in the second quarter.

Crypto Still in Early Phase

Chris Burniske, a partner at Placeholder VC, said that the cryptocurrency sector is in the installation phase wherein builders are dominating the asset class and the mainstream is not heavily involved.

Until the asset class becomes more resilient and robust, it will continue to see a high level of volatility and wild price cycles.

He said:

But the mainstream? For most, crypto is still not relevant to their life. If they didn’t invest in 2017, they’ve forgotten. If they did, chances are they have a bad taste in their mouth and want to forget. I don’t say this to dishearten us. Quite the opposite. We remain in the installation phase of crypto where the primary users are developers & investors. There is so much left to build and promise to be realized, which is massively exciting.

With the emergence of custodial solutions and strictly regulated liquidity providers, the cryptocurrency market may see an inflow of institutional and high profile investors in 2019.

However, given the historical tendency of the asset class to initiate rallies based on cycles, some analysts expect cryptocurrencies to undergo a long-lasting consolidation period and demonstrate a high level of stability throughout 2019, as the bear market comes to an end.

Featured Image from Shutterstock. Price Charts from TradingView.

Saturday, Jan. 5 — the crypto markets are mainly in the green today, as Bitcoin(BTC) moves closer to the $3,900 mark, data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin has shown slight growth today, up by around 3 percent and trading at about $3,899 at press time. Over the month, Bitcoin is up almost 1 percent and almost 7 percent over the week.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Ethereum (ETH) is currently trading at around $159, up more than 6 percent on the day at press time. The second-largest cryptocurrency is seeing around 35 percent gains over the week, and 47 percent gains over the month.

This week, developers from Ethereum discussed the possibility of implementing a new proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm that would raise the efficiency of GPU-based — rather than ASIC-based — mining on the network. The debate over whether to go forward with the implementation comes ahead of the upcoming Ethereum Constantinople hard fork.

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index

Third-largest cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP) is up over 2 percent at press time, trading at around $0.36. Over the week, the coin has seen more than 7 percent growth, and almost 5 percent gains over the month.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index.

The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is currently around $133 billion at press time, up from its weekly low of about $125 billion.

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Of the top ten cryptocurrencies, Litecoin (LTC) and TRON are showing the biggest growth, up over 12 and 15 percent respectively.

Earlier this week, the Gemini crypto exchange — founded by the Winklevoss twins in 2014 — released a series of ads calling for better regulation of the crypto space. The ads, which read “Crypto needs rules,” were received with mixed reactions from the crypto community, as some believe the space suffers from the intervention of regulators.

Also this week, five more crypto exchanges — including Coincheck — joinedJapan’s self-regulatory association of cryptocurrency exchanges.

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph 

Over the past 12 months Bitcoin has continued to fall, dragging the entire crypto market down with it. The daddy of all digital currencies hit a 16 month low in mid-December when it fell below $3,200. Things could be on the verge of a reversal soon though according to analysts.

Turning The Tide On The Bears

A positive start to 2019 and new technical analysis suggests that trends are about to turn for Bitcoin and its brethren.  An indicator used to detect trend reversals shows that Bitcoin is in its longest buying streak for six months according to Forbes.

The GTI Vera Convergence Divergence indicator has previously been used to highlight buy signals and it has not been wrong. Bitcoin had a month long rally the last time this indicator showed positive signals. “Should buying pressure persist as it has over the past 13 days, Bitcoin could continue to see a rise in prices,” Bloomberg added.

Bloomberg’s Galaxy Crypto Index, which tracks some of the top crypto assets, is similarly indicating Bitcoin’s longest buy streak since September when its market dominance climbed to 58%. This sentiment has been echoed by senior analysts such as eToro’s Mati Greenspan who said the market is much closer to the bottom than we are to the top, before adding;

“I’m seeing an industry that is growing at a very rapid pace right now where we see companies that are involved in bitcoin and blockchain hiring at a rapid rate. We see new projects coming online. We see all kind of indication that people are getting more and more involved in the market.”

While it is true that large scale mining operations have downsized, crypto exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase have continued to expand and take on new staff and new geographic locations. The looming promise of institutional investor involvement from the likes of Nasdaq and ICE is another signal that the market is not likely to fall any further.

Ethereum has led the rally so far this year with its upcoming Constantinople hard fork being the catalyst. A recovery of over 80% in just three weeks for ETH has bolstered crypto markets which have grown almost 5% since the new year started. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin called the bottom in mid-December when most cryptos were at their lowest levels for 18 months;

Joseph Lubin

@ethereumJoseph

I am calling the cryptobottom of 2018. This bottom is marked by an epic amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt from our friends in the 4th and crypto-5th estates.

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The momentum at the moment is slow but recovery is a painful process and will not happen overnight. A steady upswing for crypto markets will be far healthier for the ecosystem than the mass volatility of 2017’s bull run. The snow from the crypto winter could slowly be starting to melt.

This post credited to News BTC Image source: News BTC

Jameson Lopp — a crypto industry figure and self-proclaimed professional cypherpunk — described Bitcoin (BTC) as the first step in a broader transition to an anarcho-capitalist society. Lopp’s comments were made in an interview on the Stephan Livera Podcast, published Dec. 29.

According to Lopp, Bitcoin is an experiment that — if successful — could make the transition to an anarcho-capitalist society possible:

“I believe that Bitcoin is a very interesting experiment that if is successful in the long run could not only revolutionize money, but revolutionize how we think about governance.”

Lopp explains further that a “more self-sovereign, anarcho-capitalist society” could be developed if services currently provided by centralized third parties — such as governments — were provided by “software agents that can start to replace pieces of government functionality,” continuing:

“The first step I think is Bitcoin, and if that’s successful enough, then we can start talking about the next step.”

The recently deceased cypherpunk co-founder Timothy May described in his “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” how the use of cryptography will allow for the creation of a system in which people will be able to interact directly, free from the influence of governments.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, May had criticized the contemporary crypto industry as recently as October, saying that “attempts to be ‘regulatory-friendly’ will likely kill the main uses for cryptocurrencies, which are NOT just ‘another form of PayPal or Visa.’”

During this week’s interview, Lopp also declared that “one thing that people don’t seem to be investing in as much as they should is education.” He encouraged investors to “do your own research” and also argued that developers “need to bake user education into the actual software and hardware,” such as crypto wallets.

Major Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently launched a program that aims to educate users about cryptocurrency while earning crypto, dubbed “Coinbase Earn.” At launch, the program is invite-only and focused on the Ethereum-basedtoken 0x (ZRX).

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph

BlockTower Capital, a hedge fund which manages more than $130 million in client assets, made a $1 million bet last year that Bitcoin’s price would go above $50,000 by the end of 2018. The Hedge Fund is expected to lose over $1 million in options by the end of the week.

A Bitcoin Bet Gone Wrong

One of the largest crypto hedge funds in the world, which manages hundreds of millions of dollars in client assets, has made a shocking bet that it’s bound to lose by the end of the year.

Ari Paul, co-founder of BlockTower Capital (source: Business Insider)

BlockTower Capital’s co-founder and current chief information officer, Ari Paul, made a bet on behalf of the company on December 20, 2017, specifying that Bitcoin would be worth more than $50,000 by the end of 2018.

According to Business Insider, the bet would have enabled Paul, who spent just under $1 million on call options, to buy 275 bitcoins at $50,000 apiece any time before December 28, 2018. In total, if the options were exercised BlockTower could have spent up to $13.8 million.

However, with Bitcoin currently trading at around $3,800, it’s safe to say that BlockTower Capital won’t exercise those options.

Related: Dubious Bitcoin Price Predictions; Thomas Lee Claims Bitcoin’s Value is at Least $13,800

At the time, the company stood by their decision saying it was a way to “risk a little to win a lot.” During an interview with CNBC on December 26, 2017, Paul said that “it was not a bet that something will happen, but a bet that something could happen,” and that he liked the odds and payout of the move.

Fast forward to December 2018, Paul told Business Insider that they “were not betting on or expecting” a Bitcoin rally. He claimed that the options were a way for the fund to maintain exposure to an extreme rally while reducing overall crypto exposure.

Perhaps Paul’s bet falls into the list of other lackluster 2018 predictions.

Other Crypto Bets Await Resolution

Despite the amount of press they’ve received, BlockTower Capital and Ari Paul aren’t the only ones betting on the future of crypto. Earlier in December, Morgan Creek Digital Assets publicized a bet that the Bitwise index fund of cryptocurrencies would outperform the S&P 500.

Related: Cryptocurrency Skeptics Challenged: $1 Million Bet Crypto Outperforms S&P 500

Many believe that the bet is a direct challenge to those who see cryptocurrencies as “Ponzi schemes” and believe Bitcoin and other coins will eventually be rendered worthless.

The challenge is as a ‘Buffet Bet’ 2.0, a nod to Warren Buffet’s bet of $1 million that S&P index funds would outperform a selection of actively managed hedge funds. Buffet’s winning bet got him a return with a 7.1 percent interest compounded annually, which is more than three times larger than the 2.2 percent return the selection of hedge funds got.

While BlockTower Capital’s bet is lost, there is still time for Bitcoin’s price to recover in 2019.

Bitcoin | BTC

UPDATED: DECEMBER 28, 2018 AT 2:09 PM PDT

$3,937.44 |  7.68%

Bitcoin, currently ranked #1 by market cap, is up 7.68% over the past 24 hours. BTC has a market cap of $68.71B with a 24 hour volume of $5.63B.

This post credited to cryptoslate Image source: Cryptoslate 

BTC has hit a 10-month high in transaction volume. Meanwhile, tx fees are at a multi-year low. These figures indicate that factors such as scaling improvements to the Bitcoin protocol, and the relatively modest price of bitcoin, have made transactions in the cryptocurrency extremely affordable.

Growing Transactions Volume

At 300,000 transactions per day, Bitcoin is reaching new highs with users across the globe taking to the platform. Using LocalBitcoins data as a proxy, growth in transactions by weekly fiat to bitcoin trades have exploded in South America, Eastern Europe, and Africa—especially in places with unstable or unreliable currencies.

Chart Courtesy of BitInfoCharts

From CryptoSlate’s own experience, payments in bitcoin have opened up a new section of the economy. Previously, payments to some places in Africa and Eastern Europe were difficult because of restrictions from PayPal and other payment services. Now, skilled and digitally connected workers from these countries can participate in the global marketplace.

That said, global volume on LocalBitcoins has decreased over 2018. These decreases could be a result of many external factors, such as increased availability of convenient exchanges and cryptocurrency restrictions in places such as China, India, and other ASEAN countries.

Data Courtesy of Coin Dance

Multi-Year Low Fees

Meanwhile, transaction fees are at a two year low, both in absolute and fiatterms. Median transaction fees are at a modest $0.031 per transaction. In absolute terms, fees are also at multi-year lows, with a single byte of data costing between 2 and 30 satoshis for transmission over the network.

Chart Courtesy of BitInfoCharts

In absolute terms, the cost in bitcoin for use of the network has trended down, even with the increased volume. In 2016 the average cost per byte of data was roughly 55 satoshis. In 2018, the average cost per byte was under 30 satoshis. These decreases are attributable to improvements in the Bitcoin protocol such as SegWit in August of 2017, and the release of off-chain scaling such as the Lightning Network in December of 2017.

Chart Courtesy of BitcoinFees.info

Fee Comparison

For comparison, the average cost of a credit card transaction is roughly 2 percent plus a $0.10 transaction fee. Looking at these costs alone, in absolute terms Bitcoin is more than three times cheaper for small transactions, and far more cost-effective for large transactions.

Unfortunately, the cost of converting bitcoin to fiat still remains quite costly for many businesses. For reference, Coinbase charges retail customers a 2 to 2.5 percent transactions fee when the spread is included, in addition to a flat fee of $1 to $3. This does not even factor in bitcoin price volatility. On the positive side, these costs should decrease over time as the exchange niche becomes more competitive.

Cash can also incur other costs for retail businesses because of high record keeping costs along with higher rates of employee-theft; some businesses are even going cashless to reduce these factors. However, bitcoin may also have a high risk of theft in a brick-and-mortar setting, but this data is not yet available.

Outlook for 2019

In aggregate, these metrics point towards the growing acceptance and adoption of Bitcoin, especially in places with unreliable governments or high inflation. Furthermore, the cryptocurrency may also be encouraging international commerce in places with poor payment infrastructures. In all, 2019 looks positive for continued growth in Bitcoin adoption.

This post credited to cryptoslate Image source: Cryptoslate

A look at the history of cryptocurrency in 2018 has shown that Bitcoin (BTC) has risen from a “dead” designation in the media 90 times, data from industry news and information portal 99bitcoins shows.

According to the site’s fabled Bitcoin Obituaries section, which tracks media claims that Bitcoin has failed, almost 100 such claims surfaced last year as BTC/USD trended down from highs around $20,000 in December 2017 to lows of $3,130 in December 2018.

By contrast, a log of altcoins which for various reasons disappeared from the market altogether now contains almost 1,000 entries.

The database, Dead Coins, distinguishes assets which failed due to hacksscams, or which simply became “deceased,” along with “parody” coins which served no sincere purpose, according to their criteria. The website allows anyone to submit a claim for a “dead” coin.

Combined, the total number of altcoins which will likely never return, according to Dead Coins, has now reached 934 — the total number of cryptocurrencies with a measurable market cap is currently 2,073, data from CoinMarketCap shows.

On Dec. 31, BTC developer Jimmy Song highlighted Bitcoin’s decentralized nature as a quality which will forever separate it from altcoins.

“In Bitcoin, entrepreneurs decide what innovations will happen with their money and effort. In altcoins, central committees decide what innovations will happen,” he wrote in a blog post, noting:

“In Bitcoin, individual actors create products that use it. In altcoins, central committees commission other entities to build things for them.”

A closer look at the Dead Coins listings meanwhile reveals that not everyone agrees its residents have forever passed to a better place.

OneCoin, the notorious project dubbed by several governments as a Ponzi or pyramid”scheme, is listed under the dead Scams section, along with a comment demanding the assertion be backed up with evidence and facts.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published research that found hundreds of cryptocurrency white papers show signs of fraudulent activity, improbable returns and plagiarism.

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph

From a bold Bitcoin prediction to a rebuttal from Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, to a new way to trade XRP and Bitcoin Cash, here’s a look at some of the stories breaking in the world of crypto.

Bitcoin

Tone Vays, a former Wall Street trader and vice president at JP Morgan Chase, says he expects a Bitcoin bull run in 2019, although he does not believe altcoins will join the party.

In a new interview with Cointelegraph, Vays declares 2018 the end of the altcoins.

“I think the biggest event for 2018 has to be the declining price of not only Bitcoin but the entire space of the crypto assets. To me, this is significantly different than what happened back in 2014 or 15. I believe that this time around, the altcoin bubble will not return. I think that’s going to be the big difference. I think that the most critical event is the fact that this was the altcoin bubble. I don’t expect the altcoins to come back.”

Vays believes “the implosion of Bitcoin Cash,” which resulted in the creation of Bitcoin SV, a fork of Bitcoin Cash, “showed how irrelevant those altcoins are.”

“I’m really enjoying this year 2018 for the implosion of the altcoin space.”

As for Bitcoin, Vays says it’s anything but dead.

“The marking of 2019 will be the end of the Bitcoin bear market, and the start of another Bitcoin bull market. This time, with side chains, with scaling, with privacy, and I can’t wait.”

Vays, who is a traditional derivatives trader and Bitcoin consultant, is a well-known diehard Bitcoin supporter. He says he believes the next bull run is likely to come in the second half of next year.

XRP and Bitcoin Cash

San Francisco-based crypto exchange Kraken says it’s adding margin trading for XRP and Bitcoin Cash, along with a word of warning.

“Please note that BCH and XRP are not collateral currencies. This means you cannot open margin positions against the value of your BCH or XRP balances. For this reason, you should always maintain adequate balances of other collateral currencies to maintain your margin positions. Be extremely careful when trading collateral currencies for BCH or XRP when you have margin positions open, since this will reduce your account equity and could possibly lead to the liquidation of your margin positions.”

Kraken Exchange

@krakenfx

We have enabled margin trading for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP)! The addition expands our margin offering to 8 assets. Read more on our blog: https://blog.kraken.com/post/1990/kraken-launches-bitcoin-cash-bch-and-ripple-xrp-margin-trading/ 

Kraken launches Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP) margin trading | Kraken Blog

We are pleased to announce the launch of margin trading for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP). The addition expands our margin offering to 8 assets, including Bitcoin (XBT), Ethereum (ETH),…

blog.kraken.com

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Ethereum

Blockchain engineer and Ethereum 2.0 developer Raul Jordan is giving Ethereum a major thumbs up heading into 2019.

He and his team at Prysmatic Labs are working to build the decentralized web of the future. His goal is to tackle “the major problem of scalability this technology faces” and to implement the first version of sharding for the Ethereum protocol.

Jordan tweeted that the technical specs for all ETH 2.0 block operations are on track, including attestation handling and deposit handling.

Raul Jordan@raulitojordan

All ETH 2.0 block operations including casper slashings, attestation processing, deposit handling, and RANDAO done with 100% test coverage according to the latest spec 🙂 – 2019 will be great @prylabs

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EOS

Singapore-based Huobi says it plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange dedicated solely to EOS.

The exchange will launch in the first quarter of 2019 and will allow users to trade EOS against a number of other cryptocurrencies.

“As an EOS super node, Huobi Pool has placed its ecological development high on its list of priorities. Launching this EOS exchange is simply the next logical step in our support.”

Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin Cash

Crypto trading platform eToro says it will not support Bitcoin SV.

Instead, the company will give Bitcoin Cash holders $92 for every BCH they held during the recent fork.

“Although we’re not obligated to support forks, we are happy to announce that we decided to credit eToro clients who held long (BUY) non-leveraged Bitcoin Cash positions on November 15, 2018. We are in the process of crediting relevant users’ accounts with the dollar value of Bitcoin Cash SV coins at a price of $92 multiplied by the number of Bitcoin Cash units held at the time of the fork.”

eToro

@eToro

News for holders on the eToro platform regarding the latest Hard Fork.

Click to read.

BCH holders on eToro, this one’s for you.

www.etoro.com

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Tron

Tron founder Justin Sun says 100 million smart contracts have now been executed on the Tron blockchain.

The platform recently reached one million accounts, a number that’s currently growing by an average of 25,000 per day.

By comparison, Ethereum is currently adding about 50,000 accounts each day, according to data from Etherscan.

This post is credited to Daily HODL Image source: Daily HODL

Chinese survey of 4,200 respondents has shown that 40 percent are willing to invest in crypto in the future, local Chinese crypto news outlet 8btc reports on Dec. 26.

PANews, whose Twitter describes the outlet a news source for sharing blockchain news across Asia, conducted the survey.

According to the answers gathered during the crypto-related survey, about half of all the respondents had heard of the following terms: cryptocurrency, digital currency or Bitcoin (BTC).

On the other hand, 63 percent of the respondents believe that there is no necessity for crypto as a means of payment. As well, only 22.2 percent of the surveyed individuals were aware of the concept of blockchain-powered tokens.

The Chinese government recently released its latest ranking of cryptocurrencies, which places Bitcoin in 18th place and EOS at the top. The second place is held by the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum (ETH).

As Cointelegraph reported in mid-November, a Twitter survey conducted by former United States congressman Ron Paul — which counted 94,894 votes — favor Bitcoin over more traditional forms of money as a long-term investment.

Also, a more recent survey conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkomrevealedthat over-one third of big German businesses consider blockchain as revolutionary as the internet.

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph

Ethereum is at best a $13 billion “science experiment,” believes Tuur Demeester.

The Austrian economist, known for his anti-Ethereum remarks, explained why he has been overly pessimistic about the blockchain project in a 50-pointer thread. A majority of these points referred to the Ethereum team’s earlier promises of improving the main chain’s scalability.

Ethereum Can’t Scale?

Demeester, for instance, touched upon a peer review report of Ethereum’s Casper/sharding whitepaper, a solution that was proposed to scale the mainnet in 2014.

The review, as the economist pointed out, concluded that the Casper protocol was at most a theoritical solution which, in practical terms, can neither provide the Ethereum blockchain any meaningful security, nor can solve its scalability issues.

In another example, Demeester reminded followers that the Ethereum developers were exploring a second-layer solution, similar to the Bitcoin’s Lightning Network solution. However, he doubted whether or not main-chain issued ERC20 type tokens would be compatible with Ethereum’s second layer.

Proof-of-Stake Solution

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin in 2017 proposed another scalability solution, but it had to do with a complete infrastructural overhaul of the project. He recommended that Ethereum should transit from being a Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake project.

In PoW, each miner has to compete with other miners in the network to solve a mathematical problem by providing its compting power. The more the computing power is, the better is the probability of the miner to solve the problem and win the block reward. On the other hand, PoS protocol allocates the right to mine to those the most that have more coins. In return, the rich miner takes away a transaction fees instead of a block reward.

Demeester questioned why PoS, which has not a new concept, was picked at such a later stage of the Ethereum development.

”If this was the plan all along, why create a proof-of-work chain first?” he asked and added that such an upgrade would change the economy of the system.

”Keep in mind that [PoS] is not a new concept at all. PoW actually was one of the [biggest] innovations that made Bitcoin possible, after PoS was deemed impractical because of censorship vulnerability.”

Overbought

Demeester also said that Ethereum is an extemely overbought asset because of the hype it garnered since its inception. According to him, Buterin promised Ethereum followers a utopia – an unproven future of a perfect proof of stake system based on social consensus-based hard forks and perpetual income to every Ether holder.

Demeester also highlighted Ethereum’s efforts to brand itself as JavaScript-on-the-blockchain, referring to the smart contract technology that saw mentions in almost every blockchain project in the past four years.

“This was criticized by P2P and OS developers as a reckless notion, given that amat contracts are actually a de nova cryptographic protocol,” he added. “In other words, it’s playing with fire.”

The economist also made references to reports mentioning Ethereum as the world’s supercomputer, the perfect censorship resistant solution.

The Complete Thread

This post credited to ccn Featured image from Shutterstock.