Flimsy Floor? Bitcoin Charts Suggest Price Declines Still in Play

The price of bitcoin appears to be stabilizing.

Amid what has been a wild weekend in the crypto markets, BTC is now down just 5 percent in the last 24 hours to a value of $6,102. Yet, that number doesn't tell the whole story, as the cryptocurrency has been in the midst of heavy volatility after hitting a near three-week low below $5,600 earlier today.

As the charts show, the record rally from the September lows below $3,000 now appears to have topped out at $7,850 last week after a decision to abandon a controversial software upgrade triggered an unwinding of trading positions. The move appears to be sparking a migration of funds to alternative protocols, with bitcoin cash emerging as the primary beneficiary – effectively tripling in price since Thursday. So far, the bitcoin sell-off appears for real as volumes jumped 61 percent yesterday. A high volume sell-off is often considered as a sign of "panic," and the fact that Google search volumes revisited record highs further corroborates this view. So, the question now is, how low can prices go? If history is any guide, the current sell-off in bitcoin is likely to run out of steam below $5,000.

Case I: Rally from July low to September high

  • The rally topped out after the confirmation of the bearish relative strength index (RSI) divergence.
  • The sell-off ended around (marked by a circle) – 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level ($2,988) and below the 100-day MA.
  • The RSI was oversold as well (marked by a circle).

Case II: Rally from April low to June high

  • Again, the rally ended after the confirmation of the bearish relative strength index (RSI) divergence.
  • The price drop came to a halt around (marked by a circle) – 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level ($1,702) & below the 100-day MA. The RSI was oversold as well (marked by a circle).

It is quite clear that:

  • The rally ends with a bearish price RSI divergence.
  • The sell-off comes to a halt around the 61.8 percent Fib and below the 100-day MA.

Where is the floor?

The current retreat in prices looks similar to Case I and Case II as the rally ended with a bearish price RSI divergence. The RSI is trending lower and well short of the oversold territory. Thus, there is potential for a continued sell-off. The sharp recovery from the 50-day MA seen today indicates bitcoin could trade sideways for the next couple of days before resuming the drop. As historical data shows, the current sell-off is likely to leave a major higher low around the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement ($4,855.59) and below the 100-day MA ($4,818). Over the next few days, the 100-day MA is seen sloping upwards to $5,000-$5,100 range.

View

  • Prices could trade sideways over the next few days.
  • The current sell-off could come to a halt around $4,900-$5,000.
  • Only a multiple 1-hour closes above $6,500 would warrant caution on the part of the aggressive bears.

Price action discussed below could be considered as a sign of a bullish trend reversal:

  • A solid rebound from near 100-day MA & 61.8% Fibonacci retracement (as history suggests) or
  • The prices close today around $6,200 and tomorrow's candle ends beyond $6,900.

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‘I Accidentally Killed It’: Parity Wallet Bug Locks $150 Million in Ether

‘I Accidentally Killed It’:
Parity Wallet Bug Locks $150 Million in Ether

The Ethereum ecosystem encountered another black swan

event this week with the activation of a bug in the multi-signature wallet software released by Parity Technologies. The bug resulted in multi-sig wallet users permanently losing access to an estimated $150 million in funds. Leading some people to compare the significance of the event to the infamous collapse of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.

Parity’s $150 Million Wallet Bug

“I accidentally killed it.”

With those words and a link to an ethereum contract address on Etherscan, Github user “devops199” revealed that he or she had inadvertently exploited a bug in the Parity Wallet library contract. Apparently, the user had turned the library contract into an ordinary multi-sig wallet and had become the owner of that wallet. Recognizing what had happened, the user attempted to delete the code that had transferred the wallet ownership. However, because the wallet contained library contract code — and all Parity multi-sig wallets rely on that code for their internal logic — the deletion of the code permanently froze the approximately $150 million in funds stored in Parity multi-sig wallets.

Fix Requires Hard Fork

Developers are currently exploring potential solutions to recover access to the funds, but early reports indicate that the funds would only be recoverable through a hard fork to the Ethereum platform.“One of the biggest cybersecurity challenges with smart contracts is that they’re made up of code, just like any other application. This is prone to human error,” said Leigh-Anne Galloway, cyber resilience lead at Positive.com, which protects ICOs from cyberattack.  “It’s also quite hard to make changes to the contract once it goes live, which is why we’ve seen that the funds have been frozen with Parity. This scenario is evidence that it’s extremely important to review the code before a contract goes live to avoid these vulnerabilities.”

The greatest fear associated with a hard fork is that some users will refuse to upgrade to the new software, causing the Ethereum blockchain to split into two. This worst-case scenario happened following the hard fork that recovered funds stolen in the $50 million DAO hack last year, resulting in the creation of Ethereum Classic by users who did not believe a hard fork should be used to edit transaction history — no matter the consequences.

‘Hacker Paradise’

This is not the first time a bug in Parity’s multi-sig wallet code has caused users to lose funds. Earlier this year, an attacker exploited the multi-sig code to steal more than $30 million worth of ether and could have made off with more money if white hat hackers had not drained affected accounts and returned funds to users. At the time, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee said that the breach confirmed that the complexity of Solidity, the native programming language of Ethereum, makes the platform a “hacker paradise”. However, the exploit could have ramifications for the entire crypto ecosystem. BlockTower Capital CIO Air Paul, for instance, predicted that the fallout from the bug will have negative impacts on all cryptocurrencies — not just ethereum. “A flaw in an ethereum multisig wallet leads both retail and institutional investors to question the security of all wallets,” he concluded.

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Bitcoin Millionaire Tim Draper: Cryptocurrencies Will Replace Fiat in 5 Years

Bitcoin Millionaire Tim Draper: Cryptocurrencies Will Replace
Fiat in 5 Years

In five years time, fiat currencies are no longer going to have any use

as cryptocurrencies replace them. That’s according to venture capital investor Tim Draper. At the WebSummit conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Draper was speaking with Forbes. Expressing his views on where he sees the digital currency market,

he said:

In five years, if you try to use fiat currency they will laugh at you. Bitcoin and other cryptocurriences will be so relevant … there will be no reason to have the fiat currencies.

Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), an American venture capital investment firm, has led investments in Twitter, Skype and Tesla. Now, he’s turning his attention to cryptocurrencies. This is evident by the fact that he purchased 30,000 bitcoins during a government auction of assets seized from online darknet Silk Road in 2014. At the time, those coins were worth $20 million. Today, they are valued at over $214 million.

Bitcoin has experienced unprecedented heights during 2017. In the last few weeks, alone, the currency has surged to above $7,000. It was within touching distance of the $8,000 barrier yesterday at the news that the SegWit2x upgrade protocol had been suspended.Remaining confident in the future of cryptocurrencies, Draper believes that the fiat system will eventually disappear as people look toward coins like bitcoin or ethereum. According to him, they remain reliable stores of value compared to the fiat system. His reasoning behind this is the fact that fiat currencies are bound by country borders. As an example, he cites the Nigerian Naira, which drops 30 percent when a person crosses the border.

While this may be the case, there are a significant number of altcoins in the market. CoinMarketCap puts that figure at 986 which have a market value. New ones are continually being created, all of which are claiming to provide a new solution to how we conduct our day-to-day lives. Despite this, though, the large number of cryptocurrencies in the market isn’t worrying Draper. In fact, he thinks that they will eventually all work together

at some stage.

They’re all going to interrelate … and there will be exchange rates for all of them. My guess is that it will centralize around a wallet that you have, and when you pay for that Starbucks, your wallet will optimize to whichever currency has most value.

It remains to be seen if and when that happens, but from someone who has led investments in prosperous companies such as Twitter, Skype and Tesla, Draper may be on to something.

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2x Called Off: Bitcoin Hard Fork Suspended for Lack of Consensus

The organizers of a controversial bitcoin software update

are suspending their attempt to increase the block size by way of a hard fork.

Known for its strong early support from bitcoin startups and mining pools, the plan, called Segwit2x, or simply '2x,' was to trigger a block size increase at block 494,784, expected to occur on or around November 16th. The goal of the project, according to those involved, was to use the measure to increase bitcoin's transaction capacity, which is today constrained by the nature of the software's rules. The suspension was announced today in an email written by Mike Belshe, CEO and co-founder of bitcoin wallet software provider BitGo. One of the leaders of the Segwit2x project, he argued that the scaling proposal is too controversial to move forward.

He wrote:

"Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean block size upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x."

"Until then, we are suspending our plans for the upcoming 2MB upgrade," he added. The note is also signed by companies that originally supported the plan, forged at an in-person meeting in May, including Xapo CEO Wences Casares, Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu, Bloq CEO and co-founder Jeff Garzik, Blockchain CEO and co-founder Peter Smith and Shapeshift CEO and founder Erik Voorhees. The group said that it still hopes the block size will be increased further down the line, once there is more agreement from stakeholders. In statements to the BTC1 Slack group, developer Jeff Garzik said the alternative software would continue to be developed, and that it may support "other chains such as bitcoin cash, litecoin and other bitcoin-family chains."

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Who Supports SegWit2x (Wallets, Exchanges): A Complete List

Who Supports SegWit2x
(Wallets, Exchanges): A Complete List

The upcoming Segwit2x fork has been canceled

according to an announcement made on November 8th 16:58:41 UTC.2017 has been the year of Bitcoin forks. For clarity’s sake, here’s a quick rundown:

1.Prior to August 1, 2017, miners activated the backward-compatible SegWit soft fork. This upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol increased the transactional capacity of blocks, fixed a serious bug known as transaction malleability, and paved the way for Lightning Networks and further improvements.

2. On August 1, the backward-incompatible Bitcoin Cash hard fork occurred. Bcash split from the main Bitcoin blockchain to create an altcoin with 8-megabyte blocks and no SegWit implementation. All Bitcoin balances held at fork time were credited an equal amount of Bcash (BCH). See our Bitcoin Cash article for more details.

3. On October 24, the backward-incompatible Bitcoin Gold hard fork occurred. Bitcoin Gold hard forked away from the main Bitcoin blockchain to create an altcoin with an altered, ASIC-resistant mining algorithm known as Equihash. All Bitcoin balances held at fork time will be credited with an equal amount of Bgold (BTG) when the Bgold network launches (presumably in the near future). See our Bitcoin Gold article for more details.

4. The SegWit2x (also known as S2X/B2X) backward-incompatible hard fork is scheduled to occur around November 16. B2X will fork from the Bitcoin blockchain to produce an altcoin with 2-megabyte blocks and SegWit support. All Bitcoin balances held at fork time will be credited with an equal amount of B2X. See our article on the New York Agreement (which set the stage for SegWit2x) for more details.

SegWit2x Details Breakdown

When?

The SegWit2x fork is scheduled for Bitcoin block 494,784, which will be mined sometime around November 16, 2017. For an updated projection of the date and exact time of the mining of block 494,784, visit the 2x Countdown page.

Why?

From a Bitcoiner’s perspective, SegWit2x is an attack by big miners and corporate interests, and it’s intended to seize control of Bitcoin development. It’s perceived as an attack primarily due to its lack of consensus and replay protection, which will almost certainly lead to chaos, confusion, and losses. Statements from the S2X team clearly indicate that S2X is intended to replace the existing Bitcoin.

Who?

Reddit-user readish compiled the following list of individuals known to support S2X publicly: Every bitcoiner should know about what DCG (Digital Currency Group) is, and call people they bribed that are working for the Corporations/Bankers against Bitcoin.

Development

Bitcoin Core and other key developers who’ve stated their opinions about SegWit2x are listed here (all are unanimously against it). Former Core dev and Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik is the sole SegWit2x developer. Garzik has been criticized for simultaneously working on yet another ICO altcoin called Metronome.

There’s an obvious conflict of interest inherent in developing a contentious hard fork while also developing an ICO predicated on limiting disruption from such forks. The Bitcoin community’s reaction to this news was overwhelmingly negative and was summarized best by Samson Mow’s outraged tweet. SegWit2x was cloned from Bitcoin Core 0.14. Although Core’s latest version, 0.15, has been patched against a node-crashing exploit (disclosed by Chris Jeffry at the Breaking Bitcoin conference [2:29]), the SegWit2x client (known as btc1) remains vulnerable.

Odds of Success

To anyone following the developments, it’s clear that SegWit2x enjoys little organic support. What it does have is a high degree of miner signaling: However, bear in mind that signaling is fairly irrelevant in this context. Signaling for Emergent Consensus (also known as the Bitcoin Unlimited fork, which failed to launch) reached 45% without effect. Adding a signal to each block mined costs miners nothing (and may even earn them extra money, if S2X supporters are willing to pay), so it shouldn’t be considered a reliable indicator.

What ultimately matters is which chain miners will mine; all indicators point to this being the chain with the most value (the majority of users and economic activity). This is highly unlikely to be the S2X side. Markets are currently pricing B2X futures between 15% and 25% of BTC:

SegWit2x Exchange Support

If you want to trade SegWit2x now, you can send your existing bitcoins to any of the above-mentioned exchanges (Bitfinex, HitBTC, or Exrates) to split them into Bitcoin and B2X futures tokens. This option is for advanced traders only; if you go all in on B2X futures and the fork doesn’t happen, you’ll lose everything. Study the terms offered by these exchanges closely before considering this option; numerous catches and complications apply.

The Easy Way to Get B2X

The easiest (as opposed to the safest) way for Bitcoin holders to get SegWit2x coins is to send bitcoins to a supporting exchange before the fork occurs. Only bitcoins held by the exchange at the time of the fork will be credited with SegWit2x. The Bitcoin network may be slow if there’s a rush of people moving coins before the fork. It’s recommended that you send your coins well in advance for a reasonable fee.

The following exchanges will credit Bitcoin deposits with B2X:

  • Bitfinex, BitOasis, Bitrefill (B2X will be forcibly sold for BTC), Bitso, Bittrex, BTCC, CEX.io, Coinbase (within a few days of the fork), Coinfloor, CoinNest (Korean), HitBTC, Huobi.pro, Luno, OKCoin, OKEx, SurBTC, Tidebit, Unocoin (within four weeks of the fork), ViaBTC, Xapo.

These exchanges may credit users with B2X if they deem it safe to do so:

  • CryptoFacilities (if full replay protection is implemented), CoinCheck, and various other safety conditions are met), CoinJar (by January 2018 at the earliest),

These exchanges will not credit users with B2X:

  • ANXPro, BitMex, Gatecoin, Nova Exchange, Moni.

The Safe Way to Get B2X

Keeping coins on an exchange is something we ordinarily recommend against—if you don’t control the private key, you don’t control the bitcoins. Exchanges may contravene their statements, fail technically, go bankrupt, or get hacked, among other possibilities, and all of these possibilities could lead to losses. The likelihood of an exchange experiencing problems increases during a disruptive event, such as the forthcoming fork.

The safest way to get your B2X coins is to keep your bitcoins in your personal wallet and only claim them via your wallet’s officially recommended process. Note: It may take some time for wallets to implement proper solutions. In the meantime, the price of B2X tokens may move against you. The following wallets have made clear statements about their

B2X support:

  • Bread, Samourai (after replay protection, option to auto-sell B2X), Ledger, Trezor.

How to Trade B2X

Whether you choose to rely on an exchange to credit you with B2X or claim it via your own Bitcoin wallet, if you intend to trade it, then you’ll need to keep it in or send it to a supporting exchange. Not all exchanges that issue B2X to users will offer a market in it. The following exchanges have stated that they’ll

offer B2X trading:

  • Bitfinex, Coinbase, OKEx, BTCC, HitBTC.

International Bitcoin Communities

All the following communities, representing tens if not hundreds of thousands of users, have voiced their

opposition to SegWit2x:

  • Argentian Bitcoin Community, Bitcoin Hong Kong, Bitcoin Manchester, Bitcoin Munich, Brazilian, Bitcoin Community, Francophone Bitcoin Commu, Whalepool (cryptocurrency trading group).

This is how the situation stands as of November 6, to the best of our knowledge. More exchanges are expected to announce their positions going forward. Check back for updates to this article.

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IMF Head Foresees the End of Banking and the Triumph of Cryptocurrency

IMF Head Foresees the End of Banking and the Triumph of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin "puts a question mark on the fractional banking model we know today."

In a remarkably frank talk at a Bank of England conference,

the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund has speculated that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have as much of a future as the Internet itself. It could displace central banks, conventional banking, and challenge the monopoly of national monies.  Christine Lagarde–a Paris native who has held her position at the IMF since 2011–says the only substantial problems with existing cryptocurrency are fixable over time.

In the long run, the technology itself can replace national monies, conventional financial intermediation, and even "puts a question mark on the fractional banking model we know today." In a lecture that chastised her colleagues for failing to embrace the future, she warned that "Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies."

Here are the relevant parts of her paper:

Let us start with virtual currencies. To be clear, this is not about digital payments in existing currencies—through Paypal and other “e-money” providers such as Alipay in China, or M-Pesa in Kenya. Virtual currencies are in a different category, because they provide their own unit of account and payment systems. These systems allow for peer-to-peer transactions without central clearinghouses, without central banks.

For now, virtual currencies such as Bitcoin pose little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks. Why? Because they are too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive, and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable. Many are too opaque for regulators; and some have been hacked.

But many of these are technological challenges that could be addressed over time. Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies.

Better value for money?

For instance, think of countries with weak institutions and unstable national currencies. Instead of adopting the currency of another country—such as the U.S. dollar—some of these economies might see a growing use of virtual currencies. Call it dollarization 2.0. IMF experience shows that there is a tipping point beyond which coordination around a new currency is exponential. In the Seychelles, for example, dollarization jumped from 20 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2008.

And yet, why might citizens hold virtual currencies rather than physical dollars, euros, or sterling? Because it may one day be easier and safer than obtaining paper bills, especially in remote regions. And because virtual currencies could actually become more stable. For instance, they could be issued one-for-one for dollars, or a stable basket of currencies. Issuance could be fully transparent, governed by a credible, pre-defined rule, an algorithm that can be monitored…or even a “smart rule” that might reflect changing macroeconomic circumstances.

So in many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money. The best response by central bankers is to continue running effective monetary policy, while being open to fresh ideas and new demands, as economies evolve.

Better payment services?

For example, consider the growing demand for new payment services in countries where the shared, decentralized service economy is taking off.  This is an economy rooted in peer-to-peer transactions, in frequent, small-value payments, often across borders.

Four dollars for gardening tips from a lady in New Zealand, three euros for an expert translation of a Japanese poem, and 80 pence for a virtual rendering of historic Fleet Street: these payments can be made with credit cards and other forms of e-money. But the charges are relatively high for small-value transactions, especially across borders.

Instead, citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies, since they potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash—no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities. If privately issued virtual currencies remain risky and unstable, citizens may even call on central banks to provide digital forms of legal tender. So, when the new service economy comes knocking on the Bank of England’s door, will you welcome it inside? Offer it tea—and financial liquidity?

New models of financial intermediation

This brings us to the second leg of our pod journey—new models of financial intermediation. One possibility is the break-up, or unbundling, of banking services. In the future, we might keep minimal balances for payment services on electronic wallets. The remaining balances may be kept in mutual funds, or invested in peer-to-peer lending platforms with an edge in big data and artificial intelligence for automatic credit scoring.

This is a world of six-month product development cycles and constant updates, primarily of software, with a huge premium on simple user-interfaces and trusted security. A world where data is king. A world of many new players without imposing branch offices. Some would argue that this puts a question mark on the fractional banking model we know today, if there are fewer bank deposits and money flows into the economy through new channels.

How would monetary policy be set in this context?

Today’s central banks typically affect asset prices through primary dealers, or big banks, to which they provide liquidity at fixed prices—so-called open-market operations. But if these banks were to become less relevant in the new financial world, and demand for central bank balances were to diminish, could monetary policy transmission remain as effective?

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Deutsche Bank: ‘End of Fiat Money’ May Be Near

Deutsche Bank:
‘End of Fiat Money’ May Be Near

A top Deutsche Bank strategist speculates

that we may be looking at the “start of the end of fiat money”. Bitcoin was originally developed as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that would free its users from the bondage of state-controlled currency and the erosion of wealth due to inflation. Despite its phenomenal growth, most mainstream financial analysts remain skeptical that it will ever achieve mainstream adoption – at least as a currency used for everyday transactions.

However, as Business Insider reports, Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid envisions that the current fiat monetary system could begin to collapse within the next decade, creating a climate that would encourage the rise of an alternative currency system.

Reid made this shocking claim in a recently-released research paper, and he argues that the current fiat monetary system – which began in 1971 when U.S. President Richard Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold — is “inherently unstable and prone to high inflation”. The corrosive effects of inflation have largely been masked in major economic markets, primarily due to the meteoric growth of China’s economy and the global working-age population. He says that these factors created a situation in which central banks could control inflation externally and prevent wages from

increasing too rapidly.

“It’s not usually this easy as inflation would have normally increased with such stimulus and credit creation,” Reid writes. In fact, “it could be argued that this external disinflation shock has perhaps ‘saved’ fiat currencies.”

demographic and developmental cycle slows or reverses, it “could spell problems for the fiat currency system,” he continues, “which could herald in the beginning of the end of the global fiat currency system”.

Opportunity for Alternative Currencies

Reid anticipates that central banks may seriously consider a shift to a commodity-backed monetary system within the next decade, vindicating the gold bugs who have been marginalized and ridiculed by mainstream financiers. However, the economy looks quite different than it did in 1971, and many bitcoin advocates believe that the emergence of the digital age necessitates a digital currency. Acknowledging this, Reid says it is possible that cryptocurrency or another alternative medium of exchange could eventually supplant paper money, although he stops far short of predicting that this new system will be based on bitcoin.

“Although the current speculative interest in cryptocurrencies is more to do with blockchain technology than a loss of faith in paper money, at some point there will likely be some median of exchange that becomes more universal and a competitor of paper money,” Reid concludes.

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Bitcoin-Only Property Sale: UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ibiza for 1,850 BTC

Bitcoin-Only Property Sale: UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ibiza for 1,850 BTC

When a Texas-based real estate brokerage firm sold a property using just Bitcoin,

the ease of transaction became topical. "In a matter of 10 minutes," says Sheryl Lowe, the agent who represented the buyer in the sale, "the Bitcoin was changed to US Dollars and the deal was done!" The same factor is playing out again. Handlers of the sale of a historic palace in the Spanish resort town of Ibiza are banking on the ease of Bitcoin to put the property on the market.

El Palacio Badarji is on sale for 1,850 Bitcoin. No cash equivalent indicated. The location which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999 is an 18th-century palace built in 1740. It's been renovated in the last few years. Yet, its four en-suite bedrooms, a master suite with private lounge room and a living room with reception area as well as other parts are intact.

Ease of use

The ease of use is a major factor that would continue to cause leading real estate brokerage to look keenly in the digital currency's direction. This is considering the hassles that always go with the sales of real estate ownership especially across borders. Just last month, a mansion in London was put on the market for £17 mln. Its sales notice stated that the potential buyer has to pay in Bitcoin – about 5,050 BTC at the time. Lev Loginov, who put the property up for sale, talked about transactions in Bitcoin being "…done quicker, more efficiently and it is much easier to deal with than using banks, which are putting in unnecessary over-regulation."

British entrepreneurs, Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman, also launched a Bitcoin-priced real estate development in Dubai. Mone sees a time when early adopters will give way to a more mainstream application of cryptocurrencies. Hence, "… it's a logical extension to take land and buildings and effectively offer people the opportunity to pay in cryptocurrency or bitcoin rather than just fiat currency." Some of the other Blockchain-backed projects with interests in the real estate market include Propy, Atlant and Brickblock. Propy's decentralized title registry platform was recently used in the sale of an apartment in Ukraine, while Brickblock plans to offer the world’s first tokenized real estate project – an apartment block in Berlin going on sale in December.

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Short-Lived Rebound? Bitcoin Struggles to Retake $7,200

Bitcoin traders seem a touch tentative today.

At press time, the bitcoin-U.S. dollar (BTC/USD) exchange rate is at $7,200 levels. BTC prices dropped to a four-day low below $6,950 yesterday before regaining poise, although the 5-day moving average (located above $7,200) is proving tough to crack. So has the pullback run out of steam? Comments on social media indicate that, while some traders see the potential for a healthy correction to $6,500, others predict the market is likely to stay volatile ahead of the expected Segwit2x hard fork. The odds seem high that the pullback has legs, given that the sell-off on Monday was backed by a 30 percent surge in volumes. A high-volume price drop usually means the investors sold in large quantities and is considered a negative indicator.

However, Google search volumes have declined over the last 18 hours, perhaps validating the argument that the retreat from the record highs is anything but "panic selling." Search volumes tend to go up during such events as investors scout for information. Meanwhile, the price action analysis indicates bitcoin is likely to witness consolidation with downside bias over the next couple of days.  As it shows Bearish doji reversal, Relative strength index (RSI) is still overbought, 5-day MA is offering strong resistance, A confluence of 10-day MA and the trend line support at $6,868.

A bearish doji reversal occurs when a doji candle (one with a virtually equal open/close price) is followed by a negative price action on the following day. On the above chart, Sunday's doji candle was followed by a big red candle on Monday. The doji reversal confirmation indicates the stellar rally in BTC may have run out of steam, and that prices could drop to $6,868 and $6,500 levels in the next couple of days. However, dips below $6,868 are likely to be short-lived, given the 10-day MA still favors the bulls (slopes upwards). On the higher side, only a sustained move above $7,500 would open doors for a rally towards $8,000.

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BP, Shell lead plan for blockchain-based energy trading platform

BP, Shell lead plan for blockchain-based energy trading platform

 A consortium including energy companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell

will develop a blockchain-based digital platform for energy commodities trading expected to start by end-2018, the group said on Monday. The logo of BP is seen at a petrol station in Kloten, Switzerland October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann. Other members of the consortium include Norwegian oil firm Statoil, trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria, and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.

Blockchain technology, which first emerged as the architecture underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, uses a shared database that updates itself in real-time and can process and settle transactions in minutes using computer algorithms, with no need for third-party verification. Mercuria has been a vocal advocate of implementing blockchain technology to significantly cut costs in oil trading. “Ideally, it would help to eliminate any confusion over ownership of a cargo and potentially help to make managing risk more exact if there are accurate timestamps to each part of the trade,” said Edward Bell, commodities analyst at Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD PJSC.

Similar efforts for an energy trading platform have failed to take off, Bell said, but added this latest bid with backing from BP and Shell and the banks, “may have more success than if it were an independent party trying to convince oil and gas companies to make use of it.” The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement. “The platform aims to reduce administrative operational risks and costs of physical energy trading, and improve the reliability and efficiency of back-end trading operations…,” the statement said.

World needs new rules for powerful tech

Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of Web Summit, attends an interview with Reuters in Lisbon, Portugal, whose annual Web Summit takes place in Lisbon this week, joins growing calls for tighter regulation of big technology firms especially after news that Russia may have manipulated the last U.S. election with political advertisements on Facebook. He said recent initiatives by European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager could bring big changes for big tech companies and help level the playing field in a sector which is having a profound impact on societies.

Vestager, who will speak at the Web Summit on Tuesday, has levied huge fines for unpaid taxes and unfair competition on big technology firms, including Apple, Google and Amazon in the past couple of years. “In economic terms these (companies) would appear to fall into a classic definition of monopolies,” Cosgrave told Reuters in an interview.  “And if she (Vestager) is successful she will probably set the standard for the rest of the world and will usher in a fundamental change in how the largest and most profitable companies in the history of the world are treated. This changes the playing field for all other companies.”

Cosgrave said that new technology had been assumed by many to be just positive, but it often “can be incredibly disruptive”. He said the need for new rules was similar to past technological shifts such as the invention of cars. “We had an operating system that, by and large with some modifications every decade, worked for the last 200 years,” Cosgrave said. “And then suddenly, you’d have to be naive or have your head buried in the sand, to not realize that the very fabric of our society, certainly western society, feels like it’s getting pulled and stretched in weird ways. I think we need … a new operating system.”

Web Summit has grown into one of the world’s largest technology conferences, from 400 participants when it started in Dublin in 2010, to 59,000 participants this week. It started as a venue for tech startups and includes investors, but also increasingly politicians and regulators. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is scheduled to attend the Lisbon summit.

Chuck Reynolds

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