fbpx
Connect with us

Bit Coin

Bitcoin stands apart from other crypto, and what that means for US public policy

Published

on

Bitcoin stands apart from other crypto, and what that means for US public policy

United States President Joe Biden’s executive order on digital assets has kickstarted an interagency mission to support financial innovation while protecting American consumers and interests. While many industry leaders welcome the constructive tone, some critics hope for a crackdown. We don’t blame them.

Many cryptocurrency projects operate behind thin veils of decentralization. In public, they’re sold on the premise that they distribute power. Behind the curtains, leaders pull the strings. In the recent case of Wonderland, a serial scammer and felon directed a $1 billion treasury.

Many projects secretly pay influencers to shill their tokens. The price pumps. Insiders dump. Naive investors lose money. Sometimes, the shillers are celebrities. And, sometimes, those celebrities leak the surprisingly low cost of their integrity.

Related: Year of sponsorships: Celebrities who embraced crypto in 2021

Hundreds of projects suffer technical vulnerabilities. Seemingly every week, hackers exploit hidden software bugs. The third-largest ever occurred in early February, with $326 million — gone. And then in late March, another $600 million — poof.

Many cryptocurrencies are blatant scams — some, proudly pyramid-shaped. Market participants treat these as facts of life, with oft-used terms for exit scams (“rug pulls”) and pyramid-shaped projects (“Ponzis”).

To most, cryptocurrencies look the same, like tomatoes pasted in Aisle 9 — only tasteless, useless, and more numerous. The cynical see the menu of cryptocurrencies as a proxy most-wanted list. Neither group is entirely wrong.

Yet one item on the menu stands apart. It is arguably one of the more important technological advances since the internet, itself. Buy it or not, we don’t care. But we three professors do care to bring one simple message: Bitcoin (BTC) is special. It deserves study and discussion.

Let’s talk about Bitcoin

Bitcoin is genuinely decentralized. Tens of thousands run nodes all around the world. Operating a node is easy; you could do so within the hour with an internet-connected computer and a few hundred gigabytes of storage. In 2017, these nodes vetoed a controversial change to Bitcoin that would have upped the network’s centralization by making it harder for ordinary people to run a node. In doing so, they trumped a majority of Bitcoin miners, exchanges and other powerful legacy players.

Bitcoin’s decentralization makes it fair. No foundation enjoys a trademark or governs its monetary policy. This contrasts not only with more centralized cryptocurrencies but with the Federal Reserve, itself. In the past year, three Federal Reserve officials have resigned after a series of, let’s say, well-timed trades. Bitcoin has never had any officials resign in disgrace — it has no such officials. The network automates these jobs away.

Bitcoin’s decentralization also makes it secure. Most money is digital and sits under the thumb of third parties like banks and payment processors. But innocent Russian and Canadian citizens remind us that third parties can freeze and seize those balances, especially when subject to state pressure. Reliance on third parties jeopardizes funds. Bitcoin participants can hold their own private keys and thereby save and send value without third parties. Bitcoin is in a different league than other cryptocurrencies. In the digital age, Bitcoin’s unparalleled level of decentralization makes it the safe haven from state and corporate overreach.

Related: The meaningful shift from Bitcoin maximalism to Bitcoin realism

And unlike most other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin never had a private token sale to venture capitalists or an initial coin offering to enrich insiders. Bitcoin is the most widely distributed digital asset. In an important sense, it has no insiders — only early adopters.

The main early adopter, Satoshi Nakamoto, mined about a million Bitcoin (5% of the maximum supply). Satoshi’s holdings are fully visible, and Satoshi never spent a single dime. With most other cryptocurrencies, the rich get richer, sometimes in hidden ways, and have more say over the network. Not so with Bitcoin.

Whereas some projects move fast and break things, Bitcoin moves slowly but surely. Bugs are rare. Granted, this conservative approach has tradeoffs. Upgrades are as rare as bugs. And Bitcoin lacks the flexibility of other platforms. But in exchange, countries and corporations feel secure with Bitcoin on their balance sheets.

You may have heard of hacks and stolen Bitcoin. These cases don’t involve weaknesses in Bitcoin, itself. They illustrate instead the pitfalls of insecure key storage or relying on third-party custodians.

Related: Satoshi may have needed an alias, but can we say the same?

Finally, Bitcoin is no scam. It can certainly be used for scams — much like the U.S. dollar, or other digital assets. But the Bitcoin network offers final settlement of its native asset, much like the Federal Reserve System offers final settlement of the U.S. dollar. People do speculate wildly on the Bitcoin price. Such is the way for early stages of innovation. And people worldwide need it even as privileged Westerners speculate.

Bitcoin’s design involves tradeoffs, to be sure. Its public ledger makes privacy difficult, though not impossible. It requires energy for its security. And its fixed supply engenders price volatility. But for all that, Bitcoin has become something remarkable: a neutral monetary system beyond the control of autocrats. Ideologues will balk as they seek that perfect — but perfectly elusive — monetary system. Wise and pragmatic policymakers, by contrast, will instead seek to use Bitcoin to improve the world.

Here’s what that means for public policy

First, we must not assume that cryptocurrencies share more in common than they, in fact, do. Bitcoin leads them all precisely because no one leads it. The policy must begin here from a place of understanding — not of cryptocurrency, in general, but of Bitcoin, in particular. As President Biden’s executive order conveys, digital assets are here to stay. The general category isn’t going anywhere precisely because Bitcoin, itself, isn’t going anywhere. We owe it special attention. Not Bitcoin only, but Bitcoin first.

Second, Bitcoin is credibly neutral since the network remains leaderless. Consequently, the U.S. can use and support Bitcoin without “picking winners and losers.” Bitcoin has, in fact, already won as a globally neutral monetary network. Nurturing the Bitcoin network, using Bitcoin as a reserve asset, or making payments over Bitcoin would be analogous to deploying gold within the monetary system — only digital, more portable, more divisible, and easier to audit and verify.

We commend President Biden for recognizing that digital assets deserve attention. We’ll need all hands on deck — from computer scientists, economists, philosophers, lawyers, political scientists, and more — to spur innovation and nurture what’s already here.

This article was co-authored by Andrew M. Bailey, Bradley Rettler and Craig Warmke.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Andrew M. Bailey, Bradley Rettler and Craig Warmke are fellows with the Bitcoin Policy Institute and the Resistance Money Bitcoin research collective and teach, respectively, at Yale-NUS College, the University of Wyoming and Northern Illinois University. Warmke is also a writer for Atomic.Finance.

Go to Source

Bit Coin

Bitcoin Miner Sell-Offs Could Keep Prices Low, Says JP Morgan

Published

on

Bitcoin Miner Sell-Offs Could Keep Prices Low, Says JP Morgan

Strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. believe the current Bitcoin sell-off by miners could make it difficult for the price of the asset to bounce back, especially if the trend continues.

In a note released yesterday, they pointed out that publicly listed Bitcoin miners account for 20% of all reported Bitcoin sales in May and June. It’s likely that private miners are also selling at the same rate or even higher, given that they have limited access to the capital markets.

The massive sell-off is a sharp turn in the strategy that has mostly been about holding block rewards until the market conditions get better. But the drop in Bitcoin prices and its effect on miners’ profitability means many are now struggling to meet operating costs.

According to the strategists,

Offloading of Bitcoins by miners, in order to meet ongoing costs or to deliver, could continue into Q3 if their profitability fails to improve.

Already, it has likely “weighed on prices in May and June, though there is a risk that this pressure could continue.”

However, JP Morgan strategists point out that it’s not all gloomy. One silver lining is a drop in the cost of mining Bitcoin from around $18k – $20k earlier in the year to $15k this month. This is due to the drop in hash rate and mining difficulty over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, the cost of production varies based on the size of the miner. According to Arcane Crypto, large miners spend around $8,000 to produce one Bitcoin. Meanwhile, Securitize Capital says the cost of production might be over $20k for some miners after adding overhead costs and interest rates.

Bitcoin Price 69% Away From ATH

Bitcoin price has declined by more than half compared to its value at the beginning of the year. It’s also down 69% from its all-time high as it hovers around the low 20k range in the last few weeks.

Several factors have pushed the crypto markets over the edge, including the crash of Terra’s ecosystem and the near-insolvency of crypto firms such as Celsius and 3AC. But the Fed hike in interest rates has been the primary factor behind the drop.

Almost every other niche in the space, like non-fungible tokens and decentralized finance, has reported losses too. With most miners also having debt obligations, selling their Bitcoin stash appears as the best course of action to stay afloat.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

Go to Source

Continue Reading

Bit Coin

Bitcoin Energy Consumption Declines as Miners Grapple With Falling Revenue

Published

on

Bitcoin Energy Consumption Declines as Miners Grapple With Falling Revenue

Bitcoin mining is no longer consuming as much energy as before, according to a Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index report, which shows a 25% decline in energy use since the start of the month.

Per the index, the current energy consumption of Bitcoin is 10.65 gigawatts, significantly lower than the 14.34-gigawatt on June 6. This means its annualized consumption is at 93.33 terawatt-hours, putting it below countries like Argentina and Norway in energy consumption.

At its peak, the BTC network needed 16.09 GW of power. The drop in the consumption from its record high of 150 terawatt-hours in May is likely due to the drop in mining hash rate. 

Bitcoin hash rate is the computing power needed to create a block on the Bitcoin network and has dropped to 199.225 exahash per second (EH/s) over the last two weeks. This came after the mining difficulty reached a record high of 231.428 EH/s on June 13. It has now dropped by almost 14% since then.

The index estimates the energy consumption by using a profitability threshold using “different types of mining equipment as the starting point.” 

With Bitcoin prices nosediving to below $20,000 this month, some miners have also gone offline as mining proved less profitable. This explains the consecutive drop in the consumption and hash rate.

Miners are Selling Their Bitcoin Holdings

Additionally, the drop in the price of Bitcoin has left several miners in a lurch as they struggle to sustain their operations. A recent report by Arcane research shows that publicly traded Bitcoin miners sold all the coins they mined in May.

This is usually against the strategy of most miners, which is to hold their Bitcoin for better market conditions. But with profitability nosediving and many miners struggling to generate a positive cash flow, they are selling their holdings. 

According to the report, many miners sold their Bitcoin to cover operational expenses and pay off debts. One of such is Bitfarms which decided to sell 3000 Bitcoin for $63 million to improve corporate liquidity.

Energy consumption of Bitcoin mining has been one of the major criticisms of the network and cryptocurrency industry. But recent research by Michel Khazzaka reveals that the traditional banking sector uses 56% more energy.

What do you think about this subject? Write to us and tell us!

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

Go to Source

Continue Reading

Bit Coin

Coinbase to Offer Nano Bitcoin Futures Contracts via Third Party Brokerages

Published

on

Coinbase to Offer Nano Bitcoin Futures Contracts via Third Party Brokerages

Coinbase will list a derivatives product called the nano futures contract on Monday.

This will be the first product listed on the Coinbase Derivatives Exchange, offering investors the opportunity to buy a contract linked to the price of one-hundredth of a bitcoin. Customers can purchase the Nano futures contract through third-party brokerages. Customers will not be able to buy the nano futures contract from Coinbase directly until the exchange receives a license to operate as a futures commission merchant. The exchange first applied for the license on Sept. 16, 2021.

U.S. customers have a healthy appetite for crypto derivatives

Coinbase floated the idea of bringing derivatives to its U.S. customer base after purchasing derivatives exchange FairX in January this year.

Americans have long been trading derivative products on foreign exchanges, sinking their teeth into high-leverage products that U.S. exchanges have lacked, indicted by the volume of crypto derivative trades in December 2021 surpassing that of spot trading. Binance alone recorded $52.5 billion in derivative trade volume during the 24 hours ending Friday afternoon, compared to $12.7 billion in spot products. Coinbase enjoyed $1.7 million in spot trading during the same period.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the new nano futures contract will not offer leverage-type bets that drive volume on exchanges like Binance.

Challenges Coinbase faces

A report by Barron’s suggests that it would take a long time for derivatives products to generate significant income for the company.

The new Coinbase product will enter a market of established crypto derivative products, while the company battles cash flow problems.

In March, the CME Group announced micro futures contracts linked to one-tenth of the price of bitcoin and Ethereum.

To add pressure, Moody’s Investors Services recently reduced Coinbase’s guaranteed senior unsecured notes from Ba2 to Ba1, relegating its corporate debt to “junk” status, with the potential for future downgrades. Ba ratings are assigned by Moody’s to credit obligations containing speculative components, considered to be a serious credit risk. Moody’s cited Coinbase’s reduced revenue and cash flow due to the current crypto market downturn as reasons for the downgrade. Coinbase’s recent employee layoff did not count in its favor, with the rating agency still seeing threats to the company’s profitability.

Dan Dolev, a senior analyst at Mizuho, believes that the new product does not address the central issue of competitors offering zero trading fees, which would severely affect revenue if Coinbase were to compete.

Coinbase’s shares fell precipitously on May 3, 2022, from $130.15 to $62.71 at market close on Friday.

What do you think about this subject? Write to us and tell us!

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

Go to Source

Continue Reading
Home | Latest News | Cryptocurrency | Bit Coin | Bitcoin stands apart from other crypto, and what that means for US public policy
a

Market

Trending