Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Bitcoin’

The promise of the blockchain technology

Posted by hkarner - 31. August 2018

Date: 30-08-2018
Source: The Economist

What blockchains may be able to do for your business, and what they can’t

WEPOWER IS a Lithuanian startup that aims to change the way renewable-electricity projects are paid for. The government-guaranteed prices that have propelled growth in wind and solar energy around the world are being cut back, says Nick Martyniuk, WePower’s founder. So his firm wants to help developers of renewables raise money by selling the rights to the electricity their plants will produce once built. Customers will buy a smart contract now, running on Ethereum’s blockchain, that will provide them with power later.

Using a blockchain offers several advantages, says Mr Martyniuk, who used to work as an energy trader. Big energy users such as foundries and aluminium smelters already negotiate such contracts with power stations, but they are often complex and time-consuming. Contracts on a blockchain could be offered off the shelf, allowing smaller companies—and perhaps, one day, individuals—to use them too. Such contracts would be as easily tradable as any other crypto-asset, creating a secondary market in power agreements. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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It Was Meant to Be the Better Bitcoin. It’s Down Nearly 90%

Posted by hkarner - 26. August 2018

Date: 25-08-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

With faster transactions and lower fees, cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash was conceived as a way to make bitcoin a mainstream payment tool

Many bitcoin holders view it as a hedge against the collapse of government-backed currencies, but don’t often use it to pay for things.

The bear market in cryptocurrencies has punished investors who bought bitcoin at the height of cryptomania last year. But losses have been even more brutal for those who invested in once-promising rivals of bitcoin.

Consider Bitcoin Cash, an offshoot of bitcoin that launched on August 1, 2017, which moves independently of bitcoin itself. While bitcoin has fallen 67% from its record intraday high of $20,089 in December, Bitcoin Cash is down a crushing 88% from its peak of $4,355.62, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Friday evening, it traded at around $533.

Hundreds of other coins have also plummeted in value, but the underperformance of Bitcoin Cash is notable because it touches on a bigger theme: whether virtual currencies can really become a means of payment that would supplant traditional money. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why bitcoin uses so much energy

Posted by hkarner - 10. Juli 2018

Date: 09-07-2018
Source: The Economist

Its consumption is roughly the same as Ireland’s

BITCOIN has been alarming people for years because of the amount of electricity needed to mint new virtual coinage. Alex de Vries, a bitcoin specialist at PwC, estimates that the current global power consumption for the servers that run bitcoin’s software is a minimum of 2.55 gigawatts (GW), which amounts to energy consumption of 22 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year—almost the same as Ireland. Google, by comparison, used 5.7 TWh worldwide in 2015. What’s more, the bitcoin “miners” consume about five times more power than they did last year, and orders of magnitude more than just a few years ago—and there are no signs of a slowdown. Why does bitcoin require so much energy to make something that exists only electronically?

Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies are founded on the notion of an immutable ledger, called the blockchain, which comprises transfers of value from one party to another. Cryptocurrency “miners” seek results to a kind of algorithmic puzzle that fits a very specific set of requirements. Every ten minutes on average, a server finds an acceptable solution, and the miner gets a reward from the bitcoin system. Currently they get 12.5 bitcoins (worth around $85,000) and about $1,000 in transaction fees. The miner’s combination of solution and transactions is also added to the blockchain. The new block does not become a de facto part of the ledger until a few more blocks are added, because valid solutions are sometimes found simultaneously, and it is not always clear straightaway which will become the longest, winning fork in the chain. To ensure that coins cannot be minted too quickly, as the overall network’s computational power increases, the bitcoin protocol continually makes it harder to find a putative solution. Every 2016 blocks (roughly every two weeks), the system is recalibrated. Miners are obliged therefore to keep upgrading in order to earn rewards as fast as competitors. And more computing power requires more electricity. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Studie: Bitcoin-Boom war gezielte Manipulation

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juni 2018

Der historische Preisanstieg der Kryptowährung auf rund 20.000 US-Dollar war Teil eines großen Betrugs, schreibt der US-Ökonom John Griffin, der auf das Entdecken von Marktmanipulationen spezialisiert ist.

Hinter dem fulimnanten Aufstieg von Bitcoin im vergangenen Jahr könnte mehr stecken als die blanke Euphorie der Investoren. Zumindest die Hälfte des Preisanstiegs auf 20.000 Dollar dürfte gezielte Manipulation gewesen sein, so das Ergebnis einer neuen Studie des US-Finanzwissenschaftlers John Griffin.

Wann immer Bitcoinpreis 2017 gefallen ist, wurde die Kryptowährung Tether auf der Börse Bitfinex eingesetzt, um Bitcoin zuzukaufen und damit den Preis zu „stabilisieren und manipulieren“, schreibt der Experte für Finanzbetrug. „Betrug und Manipulation hinterlassen oft Spuren in den Daten und es ist fein, dass es eine Blockchain gibt, um diese Dinge nachzuvollziehen“, sagte Griffin zu CNBC. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Bitcoin Falls Sharply After Another Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Hacked

Posted by hkarner - 12. Juni 2018

Date: 11-06-2018

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The largest cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value this year

Since 2014, cryptocurrency exchange hacks have cost investors at least $1.4 billion, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange said it suffered a “cyberintrusion,” prompting bitcoin prices to fall sharply toward year lows.

Bitcoin dropped more than 10% over the weekend, falling below $6,700, according to research site CoinDesk. The largest cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value this year, falling by nearly two thirds from its record high near $20,000 in December. Its low for the year came in February at less than $6,000. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Old Allure of New Money

Posted by hkarner - 23. Mai 2018

Robert J. Shiller, a 2013 Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at Yale University and the co-creator of the Case-Shiller Index of US house prices. He is the author of Irrational Exuberance, the third edition of which was published in January 2015, and, most recently, Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception, co-authored with George Akerlof.

Practically no one, outside of computer science departments, can explain how cryptocurrencies work, and that mystery creates an aura of exclusivity, gives the new money glamour, and fills devotees with revolutionary zeal. None of this is new, and, as with past monetary innovations, a seemingly compelling story may not be enough.

NEW HAVEN – The cryptocurrency revolution, which started with bitcoin in 2009, claims to be inventing new kinds of money. There are now nearly 2,000 cryptocurrencies, and millions of people worldwide are excited by them. What accounts for this enthusiasm, which so far remains undampened by warnings that the revolution is a sham?

One must bear in mind that attempts to reinvent money have a long history. As the sociologist Viviana Zelizer points out in her book The Social Meaning of Money: “Despite the commonsense idea that ‘a dollar is a dollar is a dollar,’ everywhere we look people are constantly creating different kinds of money.” Many of these innovations generate real excitement, at least for a while.

As the medium of exchange throughout the world, money, in its various embodiments, is rich in mystique. We tend to measure people’s value by it. It sums things up like nothing else. And yet it may consist of nothing more than pieces of paper that just go round and round in circles of spending. So its value depends on belief and trust in those pieces of paper. One might call it faith. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Let’s destroy Bitcoin

Posted by hkarner - 25. April 2018

Date: 24-04-2018
Source: Technology Review

Three ways Bitcoin could be brought down, co-opted, or made irrelevant.

In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto served the world an entirely new kind of currency. It was one that people could move over the internet instantaneously and nearly free of charge. Issued and distributed not by a central bank but by its own users, it drew the drapes of privacy around financial transactions while making forgery—in theory, at least—impossible.

It’s nine years later, and there are now 24 million active Bitcoin wallets in use around the world. The value of a single bitcoin has risen from about a dollar in 2011 to as high as $19,700 in late 2017.

But success, of course, breeds competition. And Bitcoin is now clearly the dominant cryptocurrency; as of this writing, in early April, its market cap was three times that of Ethereum, its nearest competitor, and roughly equal to those of all other cryptocurrencies combined.

Yet while Bitcoin has established an economy in which it’s impossible to forge transactions, it provides no defense against replication of the idea itself. No one can copy an individual bitcoin, but anyone can copy the idea of Bitcoin. So how might a government, or a corporation, or even ordinary people, go about doing so in a way that makes Bitcoin useless or redundant? Here are a few scenarios. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Razzia bei Bitcoin-Firma in Tirol

Posted by hkarner - 18. April 2018

 Die Kryptowährung Bitcoin wird von Computern erzeugt. Bei Optioment wurden Anlegern extreme Renditen versprochen. –

Wien/Kufstein. Donnerstag 12. April, elf Uhr, Kronthalerstraße in Kufstein: Ein Dutzend Polizeibeamte in Zivil steigen aus drei Autos mit Wiener Kennzeichen. Sie sind gekommen, um die Büros der österreichischen Bitcoin-Firma Cointed zu durchsuchen und Computer zu konfiszieren. Die Polizei verfolgt eine Spur im Kriminalfall Optioment. Dieses Investmentsystem rund um die Kryptowährung Bitcoin ist Ende 2017 zusammengebrochen. Tausende Anleger haben Bitcoins im Gegenwert von vielen Millionen verloren. „Es gibt Hinweise darauf, dass sich Optioment der Dienste dieser Firma als Schnittstelle für Zahlungsabwicklungen bedient hat“, heißt es von der Wirtschafts- und Korruptionsstaatsanwaltschaft.

Ermittelt wird wegen des Verdachts auf schweren gewerbsmäßigen Betrug. Auf Anfrage der „Presse“ bestätigt Cointed-Sprecher Albert Sperl die Hausdurchsuchung: „Zwölf Beamte in Zivil, das hat natürlich eine einschüchternde Wirkung.“ Die Firma habe mit Optioment aber „absolut nichts zu tun“.

Tatsächlich herrscht Verwirrung darüber, wer hinter Optioment steckt. Unbeantwortet ist auch die Frage, wer die 4500 bis 12.000 Bitcoins der Anleger hat, die Ende 2017 verschwunden sind. Es geht um sehr viel Geld: 4500 Bitcoins waren am Mittwoch rund 30 Millionen Euro wert.
Jene drei Österreicher, die sich die „Optioment-Musketiere“ genannt und das System bei mehreren Veranstaltungen beworben haben, wollen nur für den Vertrieb zuständig gewesen sein. Sie verweisen auf zwei mysteriöse Hintermänner aus dem Ausland: Lucas M. und Alex P. Und auf einen Tiroler aus Kufstein, der die Firma Cointed mitbegründet hat.

Er soll den Kontakt zwischen den „Musketieren“ und den Hintermännern hergestellt haben: „Er hat uns gesagt, dass er das für eine seriöse Sache hält und schon seit einiger Zeit macht“, so die „Musketiere“ Ende Februar im Gespräch mit der „Presse“: „Er hatte einen speziellen Zugang und kennt den Betreiber.“ Trader Lucas M. sollte mithilfe eines Computerprogramms Bitcoin-Handel betreiben und das Vermögen der Anleger wundersam vermehren – so die Story zu Optioment.

Eine „Schlüsselfigur“?

Die „Musketiere“ kannten den Tiroler, weil sie selbst für Cointed Bitcoin-Automaten in Österreich vertrieben hatten. Inzwischen gebe es aber keinen Kontakt mehr. Auf Anfrage des ORF hat der Tiroler seine Rolle als Kontaktmann auch bestätigt, jede weitere Rolle bei Optioment aber abgestritten.

Tatsächlich berichten die rund 40 Anleger, mit denen „Die Presse“ gemeinsam mit dem ORF im Zuge der Recherchen gesprochen hat, stets von den „drei Musketieren“, nicht aber von dem Tiroler. Anwalt Ronald Frankl von der Wiener Kanzlei Lansky Ganzger, der rund 70 Opfer von Optioment vertritt, sieht in dem Unternehmer dennoch eine „Schlüsselfigur“ im System Optioment.

In Österreich stehen mehrere Duzend Bitcoin-Bankomaten von Cointed, die meist von kleinen Unternehmen betrieben werden: von Trafiken, Fitnesscentern und Autowerkstätten. Einige dieser Betreiber haben auch Optioment vertrieben – und Geld verdient. Der Vertrieb war auf Basis eines Multi-Level-Marketingsystems aufgebaut.

Wer Kunden, Kollegen oder Familienmitglieder für Optioment gewinnen konnte, hat Provisionen erhalten. Auch bei den von den „Musketieren“ organisierten Großveranstaltungen mit mehreren Hundert Besuchern waren laut Augenzeugen Cointed-Automaten aufgestellt. So konnten neu angeworbene Investoren Papiergeld sofort in Bitcoins wechseln.
Der Tiroler hält sich seit mehreren Wochen in Asien auf. Er wurde von der Polizei dazu aufgefordert, für eine Vernehmung nach Österreich zurückzukehren. Die von ihm mitbegründete Firma ist nun um Distanzierung bemüht. Er habe seine Anteile abgegeben und sei von allen Ämtern zurückgetreten, heißt es. Auch sein Foto ist von der Website verschwunden. Man habe sich aber im Guten getrennt, so Cointed-Sprecher Sperl.

Sollte sich bei den Ermittlungen herausstellen, dass der ehemalige CEO der Firma wirklich eine Schlüsselrolle beim potenziellen Betrug rund um Optioment gespielt habe, „wäre das ein absoluter Vertrauensbruch allen Mitarbeitern gegenüber“, so Sperl.

Was die Sache verkompliziert: Bei der Hausdurchsuchung sei es laut dem Cointed-Sprecher gar nicht um den Mitgründer gegangen, sondern um einen anderen Mitarbeiter, der ebenfalls mit Optioment in Verbindung stehe und inzwischen entlassen sei. Dieser habe „scheinbar irgendwelche großen Bargeldbeträge über sein Privatkonto laufen lassen“. Nähere Details konnte der Sprecher nicht nennen. Es gilt die Unschuldsvermutung.

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How Should the Crypto-Rich Spend Their Money?

Posted by hkarner - 16. April 2018

Serufusa Sekidde is Director of Policy and Partnerships (AMR) at GlaxoSmithKline, and a 2015 Aspen New Voices fellow.

Like so many millionaires and billionaires before them, those who have become rich from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will soon want to be seen to be doing good, not just doing well. And one of the best philanthropic causes to support is health care in developing countries.

LONDON – In February, Forbes published its first-ever list of cryptocurrencies’ richest people. The top ten were each worth around $1 billion, while the wealthiest – an American blockchain innovator named Chris Larsen – was estimated to be worth $8 billion. According to the magazine’s editor, the best way to pull digital currencies out from the shadows and “into the adolescence of a legitimate asset class” is to shine a light on the beneficiaries.

Once that happens, the newly famous cryptocurrency billionaires, like so many before them, will want to be seen to be doing good, not just doing well. And, one of the best philanthropic causes to support is health care in developing countries. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why Blockchain Will Survive, Even If Bitcoin Doesn’t

Posted by hkarner - 13. März 2018

Date: 11-03-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Latest blockchain applications could bring overdue change to critical, if unsexy, functions in shipping, real estate and…diamonds

A blockchain-based ledger of 2.2 million diamonds can trace the journey of each stone from when it’s pulled from a mine to its purchase at a jewelry boutique.

We’re now awash in “crypto” hype—cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and fundraising efforts like initial coin offerings. For every venture capitalist or technical expert, there’s a half-dozen hype men and fly-by-night startups making the entire space look like a 21st-century version of the Amsterdam tulip mania.

All that noise has obscured the bona fide efforts involving the underlying technology, blockchain. Of all the manifestations of crypto, it’s the most seemingly mundane applications of blockchain that could lead to the biggest and most concrete changes in all of our lives. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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