Bitcoin Rewards App Lolli Responds to Alibaba’s Denial of Partnership

Bitcoin Rewards App Lolli Responds to Alibaba’s Denial of Partnership

Bitcoin rewards shopping app Lolli maintains that they had partnered with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba before Singles’ Day marketing campaign.

Bitcoin (BTC) rewards shopping app Lolli has responded to Alibaba’s denial of a partnership between the two companies following Singles’ Day marketing blitz.

CEO of Lolli Alex Adelman refuted Alibaba’s denial of partnership with Lolli. In an email to Cointelegraph on Nov 17, Adelman maintained that Lolli did have a partnership with the Alibaba Group, saying:

“We’ve been partnered with Alibaba Group since May through AliExpress. We have driven AliExpress significant revenue and distributed bitcoin rewards to our users.”

A partnership rejected

It was previously reported that Lolli introduced an affiliate partnership with Alibaba enabling its shoppers to earn 5% back in Bitcoin on Singles’ Day.

Subsequently, Alibaba denied any such partnership. A representative from Alibaba told CoinDesk that Lolli “never had the right to claim a partnership with Alibaba.com or imply one with Alibaba Group.”

It is possible that Alibaba reacted so strongly to the suggestion of the partnership after the Singles’ Day marketing campaign got a little too popular, with some outlets equating it with Alibaba accepting Bitcoin. Given the Chinese government’s hostile attitude towards Bitcoin, Alibaba may have been keen to avoid such associations.

Lolli’s perspective

Adelman maintains that this was unfair to Lolli. “Lolli and the agency representing Alibaba.com mutually agreed to launch this partnership in conjunction with Singles’ Day,” he told Cointelegraph, adding:

“Alibaba.com trialed our services for 24 hours and decided to deactivate the partnership without cause — breaking its contract […] The agency representing Alibaba.com approved a contractual agreement on behalf of Alibaba.com that included the promotion of Alibaba.com, the use of its brand, email marketing, and sharing on social media and various channels. There was no malintent on our end to misrepresent Alibaba.”

Adelman continued to say that allowing Alibaba to deny the partnership would be “misleading and defames our brand when we did nothing wrong and abided by everything we contractually agreed upon with them.”

He concluded by saying that although there was “miscommunication on Alibaba’s end and while that’s unfortunate, we look forward to the possibility of working with Alibaba.com again in the future.”

Alibaba is not a fan of Bitcoin

The Chinese retail giant has not been friendly to Bitcoin to date. In October, Alibaba’s digital payment arm Alipay reiterated its negative stance toward Bitcoin, confirming that it will be banning all transactions identified as connected to Bitcoin. Alipay wrote:

“If any transactions are identified as being related to bitcoin or other virtual currencies, @Alipay immediately stops the relevant payment services.”

Crypto Markets Showing Signs of Recovery, While BTC Stalls Above $8500

Crypto Markets Showing Signs of Recovery, While BTC Stalls Above $8500

Cryptocurrency markets are showing signs of recovery with mild gains, while Bitcoin is looking to gain traction above the $8,500 price mark.

Sunday, Nov. 17 — Crypto markets are showing mild signs of recovery, while Bitcoin (BTC) stumbles above the $8,500 price mark.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

For the better part of the day, the world’s largest cryptocurrency has been trading within a tight range between $8,500 and $8,600, while slowly finding its way towards the $8,700 price mark in recent hours. Bitcoin is currently trading at a price of $8,515, showing limited gains of .32% on the day.

Bitcoin daily price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin daily price chart. Source: Coin360

Slow bleed to $8,200 possible?

On Friday, Bitcoin attempted to break the $9,000 price level, but was swiftly rejected and brought back to lower levels below $8,600, where it remained throughout the entire weekend.

Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe remains positive about the return of overall bullish sentiment, but would like to “see a tick up to like $8,800 to confirm a slight trend reversal (like scenario),” adding:

“If not, this slow bleed could accelerate to $8,200 as the next level. Sentiment; fear. Obviously.”

Ether (ETH), meanwhile, is currently sitting close to $183 per coin. The number one altcoin continues to trade in perfect sync with BTC, showing upward price behavior leading to its current trading position, up .73% on the day.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP, the third-largest coin by market capitalization, has consistently lost ground in the past few days. However, it is joining the trend of minor recovery with gains of .45% at press time. XRP currently sits at $0.261 per coin.

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Top 20 is showing mostly green candlesticks

Most of the top 20 coins are showing green candlesticks, with Maker (MKR) taking the absolute lead, showing a gain of more than 7% on the day. Cardano (ADA) follows in second place, growing more than 4% on the day to trade at $0.046 per coin.

Most of the other top 20 coins are showing moderate gains up to 2% on the day, with the exception of Chainlink (LINK), which is down almost 3%.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap currently sits at $237.8 billion, with Bitcoin making up 65.65% of the total.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

BlockShow Asia, Bitcoin Crash Warning, India Delays Crypto Ban: Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 11–17

BlockShow Asia, Bitcoin Crash Warning, India Delays Crypto Ban: Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 11–17

All the latest from BlockShow Asia 2019, including mixed messages on crypto regulation and hard truths about token prices.

Coming every Sunday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

BlockShow Asia 2019: Binance’s CZ speaks publicly about China’s digital currency

BlockShow Asia 2019 was held in Singapore this week, leaving us with plenty of stories to chew over. Binance’s Changpeng Zhao was among the speakers, and he predicted that the central bank digital currency being developed by China will be based on blockchain. Explaining his reasoning, Zhao explained how Beijing wants to push the influence of the renminbi globally in order to make it competitive with the U.S. dollar. He welcomed competition in the crypto world, saying: “Having is better than not having. Having stablecoins is better than not having them. Having Libra is better than not having it.” Zhao’s appearance followed President Xi Jinping’s calls for China to accelerate its adoption of blockchain — and the exchange boss said those who were laughing at blockchain aren’t laughing now.

BlockShow Asia 2019: Calls for clarity and caution on crypto regulation

Crypto regulation was another hot button during the two-day event powered by Cointelegraph. Some, such as Proof of Capital’s managing partner Edith Yeung, publicly criticized American regulators for leaving blockchain-based ventures in the dark — with some exchanges leaving the U.S. altogether because of uncertainty surrounding their status. Others, such as Quoine co-founder Mike Kayamori, were far more cautious. He said regulation was something that needs to be done carefully given how the industry is constantly evolving, and he warned: “The government can’t try to regulate things it still doesn’t understand.”

BlockShow Asia 2019: 99% of token price is pure speculation, says VeChain founder

Another interesting panel at BlockShow focused on creating token value — and asked whether monetary gains are hindering blockchain innovation. VeChain founder Sunny Lu claimed 99% of a token’s value is normally linked to speculation, rather than the value that a solution can bring to society. He added: “This causes many startups to waste a lot of time producing and ‘selling’ the token, failing to develop solutions for where they were initially focused.” Fellow speakers acknowledged that it can be difficult to determine the value of blockchain projects, given how the blockchain industry is still very young, but they expressed confidence that it will get easier as the market continues to develop.

Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO

Indian parliament will not consider total crypto ban in winter season

A quick look at some of this week’s other headlines now. India’s proposed, controversial ban on cryptocurrency is being delayed. The draft bill was expected to be introduced in parliament in the winter session that takes place between Nov. 18 and Dec. 13, but it has not been included in the agenda. Crypto businesses and consumers in the country have expressed concern because the law proposes jail terms of up to 10 years for those found dealing in digital currencies. Indian exchanges have welcomed the delay — urging campaigners to forget competition and ego, and to present their case to regulators in a united fashion. Others have said the delay proves that the government is listening and potentially reevaluating its position.

OneCoin co-founder pleads guilty, faces up to 90 years in jail

Konstantin Ignatov, the co-founder of the crypto scam OneCoin, has pleaded guilty to participating in the multibillion-dollar fraud. As part of a plea deal, he admitted a multitude of charges, including money laundering and fraud. He is facing up to 90 years in prison and has yet to be sentenced, but will reportedly face no further criminal charges for his role in OneCoin, except potential tax violations. OneCoin is known as a major crypto exit scam, and the Bulgarian-based firm remains fully operational despite allegations it raised $4.4 billion in a Ponzi scheme.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $8,602.00, Ether at $185.44, and XRP at $0.27. The total market cap is at $235,793,356,657.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are MMOCoin, eosBLACK and Sparkster. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Monoeci, USDX and Bitcoin God.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis

Most Memorable Quotations

“Economics and ethics can go together thanks to decentralization.” 

Ben Goertzel, SingularityNET CEO

“In the future, I believe today’s applications will become legacy applications. New blockchain applications will go from marginal, to alternative, and eventually to mainstream.”

Da Hongfei, NEO founder

“We did some research, heard some discussions and conversations and one comment was it’s still complicated to 99% of the population. Until it’s more widely accepted, it’s a cottage industry or a neat way to pay.”

David Herr, Dallas Mavericks chief technical officer

“99% of a [token’s value] is linked to speculation, and not to the value that solution can bring to society. This causes many startups to waste a lot of time producing and ‘selling’ the token, failing to develop solutions for where they were initially focused.”

Sunny Lu, VeChain founder

“Bitcoin is censorship resistant money, the first in the world. I don’t believe in institutional adoption. If this happens, Bitcoin will become not censorship-resistant. Then it won’t have this feature anymore and will crash to zero.”

Pavel Kravchenko, Distributed Lab CEO

Pavel Kravchenko, Distributed Lab CEO

“Crypto is evolving, and the government can’t try to regulate things it still doesn’t understand. […] I am still in favor of crypto regulation, but [it] needs to be done very carefully.”

Mike Kayamori, QUOINE co-founder

“Custody, liquidity, and regulations are the top three petitions from institutional investors jumping into crypto.”

Justin Chow, Cumberland head of business development in Asia

“Don’t leave your assets on exchanges. Don’t be lazy. I’ve been into it and learned a good lesson.”

Clement Ip, Genesis Block HK co-founder

“The Chinese government wants to push RMB’s influence globally. They want RMB to be competitive with the US dollar. In order to do that they really need to push this currency to have more freedom.”

Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO

“We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

Mu Changchun, People’s Bank of China senior official

“I am strongly against Bitcoin, and I think we are a little complacent. […] The currency itself is not real, with the characteristics that a currency must have.”

Jean-Claude Trichet, former European Central Bank president

Prediction of the Week

Expert: Bitcoin may “crash to zero” because of institutional adoption

The CEO and co-founder at Distributed Lab, Pavel Kravchenko, has warned that increasing institutional interest in crypto could see Bitcoin’s value crash to zero. Speaking at BlockShow Asia 2019, the industry expert said BTC’s position as censorship-resistant money would be undermined if major players begin to embrace it more fully — undermining its value. During his appearance, Kravchenko also said Bitcoin’s price will rise if governments around the world attempt to ban Bitcoin altogether, and that the cryptocurrency must attempt to become more private and introduce anonymizing features if it is going to remain resistant to censorship.

Clement Ip, Genesis Block HK co-founder

FUD of the Week

Dutch court orders Facebook to remove fake Bitcoin ads

A Dutch court has ruled that Facebook must remove BTC-related fraudulent investment ads following a lawsuit by local billionaire John de Mol. The TV executive had launched legal proceedings against the social network earlier this year, alleging that the company had failed to respond to multiple requests to remove ads that used his image without consent. De Mol claimed that vulnerable victims had lost $1.8 million as a result of the campaign. The court rejected Facebook’s assertion that it is “a neutral funnel for information” — and as well as removing any incriminating ads, the company has been told it must provide all available information about the people behind them. For its part, the tech giant insists it has already taken down the ads in question, and it is considering “all legal options including an appeal.”

IRS criminal investigators looking into Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is looking into potential tax issues arising from Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks. John Fort, the regulator’s criminal investigation chief, said the IRS is collaborating with law enforcement to look into the illicit use of such machines. He said: “If you can walk in, put cash in and get Bitcoin out, obviously we’re interested potentially in the person using the kiosk and what the source of the funds is, but also in the operators of the kiosks.” This came as the number of BTC ATMs hit a new milestone worldwide, with more than 6,000 now in operation. More than 65% are based in the United States.

Dallas Mavericks CTO: Crypto payment option still “a cottage industry”

David Herr, the chief technical officer of the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team, has said that only a small number of fans are using crypto to purchase things such as merchandise and tickets. Herr said Bitcoin was “still complicated to 99% of the population” — and he compared the crypto world to a cottage industry. The Mavericks became the second NBA team to accept BTC back in the middle of August.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Bitcoin revolution means Protestant Reformation, crypto drives change?

A new white paper is packed with bold predictions about what the future holds for crypto and blockchain — and claims there could even be parallels with the Protestant Reformation that shook Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Cointelegraph’s Andrew Singer has more.

China walks back hardline media rhetoric toward crypto and blockchain

China’s state-run media recently turned heads by featuring pro-Bitcoin comments, with the flagship digital currency being referred to as the world’s “first successful application of blockchain technology.” Cointelegraph’s Shiraz Jagati explores whether Beijing is attempting to row back its hostility toward crypto and blockchain.

Turkey’s unexpected rise to the top of global crypto adopters

Turkey may not be the first country that springs to mind when it comes to above-average crypto adoption, but new research suggests 1 in 5 residents are familiar with it. As the country gears up to finalize testing of the digital lira in 2020, Cointelegraph’s Sritanshu Sinha explores the rapid rise of crypto and blockchain in Turkey.

Venezuela to Pay Retirees and Pensioners Christmas Bonus in Petro

Venezuela to Pay Retirees and Pensioners Christmas Bonus in Petro

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro announced that country’s retirees and pensioners will be paid their Christmas bonuses in Petro.

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro announced that the Christmas bonus of the country’s retirees and pensioners will be paid to them in the national cryptocurrency Petro.

The Twitter profile of local news outlet Venepress reported on Maduro’s remarks on Nov. 17. This particular instance is not the first time that Venezuela pushes Petro into the wallets of pensioners so far.

As Cointelegraph reported in December last year, Venezuela back then has automatically converted pensioners’ bonuses for the year into Petro.

Petro, the future for Venezuelan economy?

The crypto asset in question has been first launched for a pre-sale in February last year and raised concerns among foreign observers from the start. In late August last year, Petro was already scathingly denounced as an opaque “stunt” backed by a centralized and debt-saddled entity.

Still, the national cryptocurrency and cryptocurrencies as a whole are being increasingly pushed by the local government.

As Cointelegraph Spain reported on Nov. 13, the Deputy of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, Francisco Torrealba, said that he believes all currencies will be replaced by cryptocurrencies.

Speaking about Venezuela, Torrealba claimed that the country is facing a great change and Maduro is making a “great contribution” to the country by creating the Petro. He concluded his interview by saying that “everything will be from this currency [the Petro].”

LocalBitcoins Receives Finnish FSA Virtual Currency Provider License

LocalBitcoins Receives Finnish FSA Virtual Currency Provider License

LocalBitcoins continues its path to full regulation with an official license from the Finnish Financial Services Authority.

The Finnish Financial Services Authority (FIN-FSA) has officially registered LocalBitcoins as a virtual currency provider, starting at the beginning of November 2019. Finland only allows officially registered providers who fulfill the legal requirements to operate in the country.

A safe pair of hands

In order to receive the registration, LocalBitcoins had to prove to the FIN-FSA that it had implemented suitable Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, along with having adequate safeguarding for customer assets.

Management and key personnel also had to fulfill the criteria to be considered fit to serve in the roles.

Part of a longer evolution

Finland is seen as having a high level of control and trust in the global community, and being an official virtual currency provider opens new business opportunities for LocalBitcoins. CEO, Sebastian Sonntag, explained:

“Finland is a well-functioning society, which holds trust and confidence at high levels. At the same time, the controls in the financial sector are of particularly high quality and the position of the clients is well protected.”

The registration by FIN-FSA is just the latest step on LocalBitcoins path from an unregulated champion of KYC-avoiding Bitcoiners, to being a regulated peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange.

LocalBitcoins has previously been known for its adoption in countries that are undergoing political turmoil such as Venezuela. However, its position as an outlet in which citizens can circumvent capital controls on money would seem to now be increasingly in question. 

Evidence of this can be seen in the trend of users dropping the service for alternative, and perhaps less-regulated providers.

Top-5 Cryptos This Week: NEO, LINK, ADA, BNB, LEO

Top-5 Cryptos This Week: NEO, LINK, ADA, BNB, LEO

Bitcoin’s bearish price action has led many traders to set their sights on altcoins and this week a handful of tokens added notable gains.

The United States Federal Reserve believes that stablecoins “could complement existing payment systems and improve consumer welfare” but the operators behind the digital assets will require constant oversight and regulation. The Fed warned that if a stablecoin payment network achieves a global scale quickly, it will increase risks related to financial stability and monetary policy.

Interestingly, with all the regulations and monetary policy initiatives of the Fed, the total debt of the US has hit $23 trillion. It is not only the US that is burdened by debt. Global debt will reach a staggerring $255 trillion by the end of this year. This massive growth in debt is unsustainable and is certain to result in a major financial crisis in the future. Possibly, the next crisis might usher a change from fiat to cryptocurrencies.

Crypto market data weekly view

Crypto market data weekly view. Source: Coin360

The installation of Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs has continued at a blistering pace. The total number of ATMs worldwide increased to over 6,000, with over three-quarters of the installations in North America. Asia lags behind with only 2% of Bitcoin ATMs, but this shows that there is huge growth potential.

With crypto gaining acceptance gradually, is this a good time to buy? Do the top performers of the past seven days show signs of bottoming out? Let’s analyze the charts.  

NEO/USD

NEO was the best performer in the past seven days. It rallied close to 12% during the period. The cryptocurrency seems to be benefitting from the consistent positive news flow out of China. Can the bulls build up on the momentum and carry the prices higher? Let’s analyze the chart.

For the past two weeks, the bulls have been struggling to breakout of the overhead resistance at $13.88772. However, the positive thing is that they have not allowed the price to fall below the moving averages. This shows that buyers are in no hurry to book profits and are initiating long positions on minor dips.

The NEO/USD pair will pick up momentum above $13.88772. Above this level, a rally to $20.96333 will be on the cards. Therefore, traders can initiate long positions on a close (UTC time) above $13.88772 and keep a stop loss of $10. Contrary to our assumption, if the price turns down and breaks below the moving averages, it could dip to $6.65906.  

LINK/USD

Chainlink (LINK) has again found a place amongst the top performers. It moved up by about 4% in the past seven days. Does the chart indicate an uptrend that is likely to carry it towards its lifetime highs? Let’s find out.

The LINK/USD pair has been gradually moving higher in the past few weeks. The 20-week EMA is sloping up and the relative strength index (RSI) is in positive territory, which suggests that bulls are in command. While the buyers have managed to push the price above the overhead resistance at $2.8498, they have not been able to sustain at higher levels. This shows profit booking by the bulls closer to $3.

However, we like the way the price has been making a higher low consistently for the past six weeks. This indicates that the sentiment is bullish.

Currently, the bulls are again attempting to scale above the overhead resistance at $2.8498. If successful, a rally to $4.5826 will be on the cards. Conversely, if the bulls fail to sustain the price above $2.8498, a dip to the 20-week EMA is possible. This can be viewed as a buying opportunity. Our bullish view will be invalidated on a break below $1.46. 

ADA/USD

Cardano (ADA) was the third-best performer of the past seven days with a marginal rise of about 2%. During the week, Weiss Crypto Ratings tweeted that Cardano was superior to EOS, which divided the community, with some agreeing and others questioning the credibility of Weiss Ratings. This week Cardano completed the snapshot and balance check for its incentivized testnet on Nov.12. This will allow investors to earn rewards by delegating their stake. While there is development on the fundamental side, traders will be observing to see how this impacts the altcoin’s technical setup.

Even though the ADA/USD pair has been rising gradually for the past few weeks, it lacks momentum. The up move will face resistance at the 20-week EMA and above it at the 50-week SMA. The 20-week EMA is sloping down and the RSI is in the negative zone, which suggests that the bears are at an advantage.

A breakout of $0.0560221 to $0.0652290 resistance zone will be the first indication that the bulls are back in the game. Above $0.0652290, a move to $0.10 is possible. Contrary to our assumption, if the price turns down from the 20-week EMA, a retest of $0.0357780 is likely. We do not find any reliable buy setups at the current levels, hence, we remain neutral on it.

BNB/USD

Smartphone maker HTC will launch a limited edition of Exodus 1 that will support various Binance services. This is supposedly the first Binance Chain-ready smartphone. Binance will also be the first cryptocurrency exchange to integrate the Fiat Gateway solution announced by regulated blockchain company Paxos. This new service will allow users to swap between dollars and stablecoins on a one-to-one basis. 

Binance added support for buying BTC, Ether (ETH) and XRP directly with Turkish lira through its local digital wallet partner Papara. Fundamentally the exchange has been making the right moves but does the price action indicate that Binance Coin (BNB) bottomed out?

The breakout of the descending channel was the first indication that the bears were losing their grip. For the past two weeks, the bulls are facing stiff resistance at the 20-week EMA, which is flattening out. 

However, we like that the BNB/USD pair has not given up ground. This increases the possibility of a breakout of the overhead resistance. If the price breaks out and closes (UTC time) above the 20-week EMA, a rally to $32 will be on the cards.

Alternatively, if the bulls fail to push the price above the 20-week EMA, the pair might remain  range-bound between $21.2378 and $18.30 for a few weeks. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the price turns down and breaks below the support at $18.30.

LEO/USD

UNUS SED LEO (LEO) fell about 1% in the past seven days but still turned out to the fifth-best performer. This shows that the crypto markets are under pressure. Does the outperformance by LEO indicate demand at lower levels?

The LEO/USD pair has been consolidating in a tight range of $1.05440 and $0.941 for the past few weeks. This shows a balance between demand and supply at the current levels. While the bulls are buying the dips to $0.941, the bears have been defending the resistance at $1.05440.

A breakout of $1.0544 is likely to attract buying as it will indicate accumulation at lower levels by strong hands. Therefore, traders can buy on a close (UTC time) above $1.0544 and keep a stop loss of $0.94. The first target is a move to $1.35. Conversely, if the bears sink the pair below the support at $0.941, a drop to $0.866 and below it to $0.8278 is possible.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Iran Central Bank Branch Set on Fire, Crypto Community Follows Events

Iran Central Bank Branch Set on Fire, Crypto Community Follows Events

Iranian protesters have set Behbahan branch of the Central Bank of Iran on fire as the cryptocurrency community follows the developments.

Iranian protesters have set the building of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the city located in the city of Behbahan on fire, as the cryptocurrency community closely follows the developments.

The official twitter profile of libertarian media company BeingLibertarian published a video of what is presumably a branch of Iran’s central bank in Behbahan, in the southwest of the country, being set on fire amid protests. Interestingly, the reaction to the tweet was overwhelmingly positive, with one user saying:

“We might consider trying that here!! More effective than trying to audit it.”

While one user answered with the single word “Bitcoin” to the video posted on Twitter, the presence of the cryptocurrency community is seemingly limited among those following the events. 

Still, a link to the tweet has found its way onto the Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin subreddits. The post was then upvoted by 78% in the first and 64% in the second communities. 

A protest unrelated with monetary policy

News outlet dedicated to Islamist movements ThePortal reported on Nov. 16 that the building was set on fire amid ongoing demonstrations against the government’s surprise decision to ration petrol and increase its price by over 50%. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended the measure claiming that it is good for the local population.

Fuel consumption has been limited to 60 liters (almost 16 gallons) per vehicle per month, down from the previous limit of 250 liters and prices spiked to 15,000 rials ($0.36). Furthermore, every liter over the 60 litre limit is subject to a penalty cost of 60,000 rials ($1.43).

In the city of Sirjan in central Iran, the protesters also tried to set a fuel warehouse on fire as well. Per the report, state media claim that one civilian was killed and several others injured and the demonstrations ended by midnight.

As Cointelegraph reported in July, the United States is seemingly motivated to impose sanctions on Iranian cryptocurrency mining operations.

ProtonMail Reveals It’s Been ‘HODLing’ Its Bitcoin Payments for Years

ProtonMail Reveals It’s Been ‘HODLing’ Its Bitcoin Payments for Years

Encrypted email service, ProtonMail, is not cashing in Bitcoin payments made for its services, and apparently “hasn’t for years.”

Swiss-based email service, ProtonMail, has revealed on Nov. 16 that it hasn’t cashed in any of the Bitcoin (BTC) it has accepted as payment for its premium service in years. 

The tweet was in response to a customer who complained that he felt guilty for spending Bitcoin ion a ProtonMail invoice instead of holding or “hodling” it for the long-term.

‘No worries, we will HODL for you’

The exchange came about following a tweet from the CCO of digital gift card retailer BitRefill, urging Bitcoiners, “Please do not ‘put your Bitcoin to work.’”

This prompted one follower to reply that they had “paid my ProtonMail invoice with BTC I’m feeling secure and HODL guilty all at once.”

In an attempt to soothe the customer’s HODL guilt, ProtonMail responded that it would hold the Bitcoin on the customer’s behalf, noting that it actually doesn’t sell the BTC and “haven’t for years.”

ProtonMail is pro-Bitcoin

While the option to pay for a premium ProtonMail account in BTC is not obvious for new account holders, it is possible for existing email customers, even those using the free option who wish to upgrade.

ProtonMail also accepts Bitcoin donations and has thus far seen over 200 BTC — or almost $2 million at today’s prices — go into its wallet. The service also considered launching an ICO back in July 2018, thought these plans were seemingly shelved.

Crypto Platform Celsius Network Reaches $4.25 Billion in Total Loans

Crypto Platform Celsius Network Reaches $4.25 Billion in Total Loans

Cryptocurrency platform Celsius Network announced that it reached $4.25 billion in total crypto loan origination.

Cryptocurrency platform Celsius Network announced that it reached $4.25 billion in total crypto loan origination as of Nov. 12 in a press release shared with Cointelegraph.

Celsius reached $4.25 billion of cryptocurrency loans since the start of its activity in July 2018 calculated at current Bitcoin (BTC) prices, a 93% increase from the $2.2 billion reported on Aug. 1, 2019.

A fast-growing lending network

The company also claims $450 million in customer deposits and collateral from loans under management, which represents a 50% increase from $300 million on Aug. 1 this year.

Furthermore, Celsius also reveals it paid its users $5 million in interest payments or 66% more than the $3 million paid by Aug. 1. The firm’s CEO Alex Mashinksy said:

“Celsius gives back 80% of loan interest to our depositors with no minimums, caps, fees or penalties — our incredible growth shows there is high demand for lending platforms that put the needs of depositors first.”

The company also claims to have over 50,000 users from over 150 countries and that over 150 institutions are amongst its customers. 

A quickly developing but unregulated industry

The latest data shows that the nascent cryptocurrency lending industry is growing rapidly. Additionally, a recently Q3 report released by institutional digital asset lending firm Genesis Capital revealed that the platform added $870 million in new originations during the quarter.

Still, some uncertainties remain as to how crypto lending should be regulated. As Cointelegraph recently reported, global banking regulator Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is currently studying how much capital lenders should hold to cover the risks generated by dealing with cryptocurrencies.

Andrew Yang Will ‘Literally Give Everybody Money’ — Like OneCoin Did

Andrew Yang Will ‘Literally Give Everybody Money’ — Like OneCoin Did

The U.S. presidential hopeful claims that free handouts would be a benefit, but the value of the dollars they would receive was diluted long ago — unlike Bitcoin.

Bitcoin (BTC) proponents are criticizing United States presidential candidate Andrew Yang after he claimed he was “literally trying to give everybody money.”

In an ongoing Twitter debate which Yang started on Nov. 16, Bitcoiners took the presidential hopeful to task over his policy of paying a form of universal basic income (UBI) to all U.S. citizens.

Bitcoiners to Yang: It’s fiat, not money

“I’m literally trying to give everybody money,” Yang wrote. 

Yang plans to provide a united front on cryptocurrency regulation if elected. Unlike previous statements about UBI, which he has termed the “Freedom Dividend,” Yang’s latest pitch appeared to touch a nerve with commentators. 

In the face of record-high U.S. and global debt, the idea of expanding access to fiat currency as a benefit appeared to generate more anger than applause. 

“Please be specific that you’re giving away fiat, not money,” Blockstream CSO Samson Mow replied. 

Others continued to highlight the distinction between Bitcoin as hard money and fiat as easy money which authorities can manipulate at will. 

Responding to Yang, Travis Kling, chief investment officer at Ikigai Fund, summarized:

“Bitcoin is a non-sovereign, hardcapped supply, global, immutable, decentralized, digital store of value. It is an insurance policy against monetary and fiscal policy irresponsibility from central banks and governments globally.”

OneCoin doubled holdings “as token of appreciation”

By putting more units of an infinitely inflatable currency into consumers’ hands, meanwhile, Yang’s policy arguably finds comparisons to schemes which have already crumbled. 

In particular, OneCoin, the notorious cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme whose creators the U.S. is attempting to prosecute, was also known for arbitrary supply inflation.

At one of its dedicated conferences in 2016, for example, co-founder Ruja Ignatova announced she would double attendees’ OneCoin holdings.

A press release from the time states that Ignatova “told the crowd… that all current Networkers will have the number of their OneCoins (mined until 1. October, 2016) doubled, as a token of appreciation to everyone who believed in the OneCoin concept from the start.” 

She allegedly commented:

“We do not expect a steep price movement after these changes. Cryptocurrency value is driven by supply and demand, and demand is driven by brand and usability. By creating more coins, we will be able to bring the coin to more people and places and strengthen the brand.”

OneCoin in total conned victims out of around $4 billion — a tiny fraction of the world’s $255 trillion combined debt that is expected by the end of 2019.

Turkey’s Unexpected Rise to the Top of Global Crypto Adopters

Turkey’s Unexpected Rise to the Top of Global Crypto Adopters

Flying under the radar, Turkey is becoming one of the leading adopters of crypto in the world.

When thinking of countries that are ahead of the curve in crypto adoption, Turkey might not be the first place that springs to mind. However, Statistica’s Global Consumer Survey for 2019 shows that a fifth Turkish residents are acquainted with crypto and have been exposed to it in some form or another. If the figures are true, 20% is the highest proportion of all the countries in the world. 

Flying under the radar, Turkey has undoubtedly become a crypto giant, and with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announcing that testing of the digital lira is to be finalized in 2020, crypto is destined to become even more popular.

In fact, observing the rapid rise of crypto and blockchain in the country, Cointelgraph has unveiled the Turkish edition of the outlet this year. This article was written in association with their team — and in particular, the editor, Erhan Kahraman.

Turkish people were always pro-crypto

While the country’s government was initially reluctant to embrace cryptocurrencies, the people had always found utility in it. A survey from ING conducted in April 2015 found that 45% of Turkish people believed that digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) were the future of online spending. This constituted the highest percentage for all the European countries surveyed, surpassing the European average of 28% by a wide margin. 

This higher acceptance of crypto signals that Turkish people more readily use mobile devices for financial activities. The same survey showed that 56% of Turks had used mobile payment apps in contrast with the Eurpoean consumers’ average of 33%. 

The online payment sector in Turkey had been ready to adopt crypto, but the first opportunity only came when PayPal was banned in the country following the rejection of its license by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency. The use of crypto in the country spiked to unprecedented levels to fill the online payment space. 

Barış Özistek, the chairman of both venture capital fund Boğaziçi Ventures and games publication company Netmarble EMEA, attributed the high adoption of crypto to the advanced gaming market of the country, telling Cointelegraph, “There are more than 30 million active gamers in Turkey. Gaming is a sphere in which virtual equipment and digital currency is used for the first time, and used most commonly.” He went on to add: 

“Turkish users already knew that virtual materials increase in value when supply and demand are created in the markets, or depending on their popularity, they may decrease in value. That’s why Turkish users adopted to cryptocurrencies very fast and easily. Of course, a high percentage of digitally literate people among Turkish users and being informed about trade in our historical past were contributing factors to the situation.”

Turkey’s crypto adoption is surprising

Back in August 2014, Cointelegraph interviewed the founder of QuazarCoin, who goes by the name Orhan, about the state of crypto in Turkey. At the time, the regulatory environment in the country was not ideal, as the nation had banned Twitter amid rising political uncertainty. 

In that interview, Orhan said Turkey was not the best place to develop crypto, not even Bitcoin itself, as the country did not have any frameworks nor the political stability set up to deal with the technology. He added that: “I think this is the reason why people connected to Bitcoin or alternative cryptocurrencies do not want to show their face or their true name to the general public.” These are some harsh criticisms for a country that would become a global leader in crypto adoption just five years after these words were said. 

In 2017, the Turkish government made news with another major push back against crypto. The government claimed that Bitcoin was “not compatible” with Islam due to the speculative nature of buying and selling it. However, Ozistek recently told Cointelegraph that he thinks that blockchain and cryptos are pro-Islam, saying, “Instead of being haram, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are more in accord with Islamic Finance rules.” He went on to explain:

“When it comes to cryptocurrencies, if the project gains value, so does the cryptocurrency. You don’t earn money from money. If the project you invested in gains value, the cryptocurrency you hold also gains value; if the project fails, your cryptocurrency loses value. It doesn’t include a guaranteed income, such as interest.”

Economic uncertainty one of the leading causes of adoption

Turkey’s political situation for the past decade has been rocky. The relationships with its highly distrurbed neighbors, Iraq and Syria, put the country at the heart of one of the most violent international conflicts in recent memory. Additionally, the country’s relationship with global superpowers Russia and the United States hasn’t always been great either.

All of these factors came together to make the Turkish lira one of the most volatile national currencies. Volatility wasn’t the only factor that led to the country’s migration toward cryptos. It was the uncertainty associated with the currency, too. Şant Manukyan, the director of international markets at İş Yatırım, told Cointelegraph regarding the issue:

“When compared to other countries which include Argentina or countries with collapsed infrastructure such as Venezuela, the situation of Turkey is much more different, and better. Bitcoin is highlighted in these countries as a protection from devaluation and as a way to carry the money abroad. In Turkey, it provides an alternative to investors who use dollar but look for profit; but it’s not as common as other countries for sure.”

July 2016’s failed coup d’état led to a sharp decline in the lira’s price. The lira sinking in August 2018 marked two years of economic uncertainty. Coupled with poor political relations with the U.S. and an impending debt crisis, high inflation and low interest rates, it was a perfect storm for an already tech-ready country to adopt crypto.

The correlation of economically affected countries and high crypto adoption can be seen elsewhere across the global — such as Venezuela, Iran and Zimbabwe — giving credence to the theory of Hyperbitcoinization. Yasin Oral, the CEO and founder of Bitcoin exchange Paribu, told Cointelegraph:

“When a country go through an economic crisis it causes the investors to seek new channels and untroubled markets. In addition to this the fluctuating exchange rate gives way to new investment tools. In Turkey, the crypto money and the other digital assets were accepted as a new means of investment thanks to the population that can easily adapt to new technologies. If you pay attention to the local surveys, crypto money owners plan the digital assets as long term investments as well as actively making transactions.”

Crypto and blockchain

Turkey’s Ministry of Industry and Technology announced plans to establish a national blockchain infrastructure during its Strategy 2023 presentation on Sept. 18 in Ankara. The plan necessitates working with Turkish regulators to assist in creating a regulatory sandbox for blockchain applications. This accompanied several blockchain technology implementations, like the Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center, known as BlockchainIST Center

Talking about the country’s policymakers jumping on the crypto bandwagon early, Ozgur Guneri, the CEO of the BTCTurk exchange, told Cointelegraph that he believes Turkish policymakers are keen to see what blockchain and crypto can bring to the table, adding that:

“The latest major policy decisions were Turkish Central Bank’s aim to launch a crypto currency and Financial Crimes Investigation Board’s decision to loosen its strict stand towards cryptocurrencies. I believe that major motivation behind Turkey’s interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain is its revolutionary technology and all the potential disruption they may bring to the economy.”

Turkey has a vision of making Istanbul a financial center, and all institutions are working toward that end. Talking about the hard path to make Turkey a global financial hub, Özistek said it will not be an easy task to take that status away from the United Kingdom and Switzerland:

“By making necessary investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and creating infrastructure and legal regulations, Turkey may surpass its strong rivals just as a technology entrepreneur. I think this is the primary motivation.”

‘Plan A Has Failed’ — Global Debt to Hit $255T or $12.1M per Bitcoin

‘Plan A Has Failed’ — Global Debt to Hit $255T or $12.1M per Bitcoin

The amount of worldwide debt will expand to levels never before seen this year, as Bitcoiners urge consumers to “fight the war” on financial sovereignty.

The world’s combined debt will hit $255 trillion by the end of 2019 — equal to $32,500 for each person on the planet or $12.1 million per Bitcoin (BTC).

Bitcoin figures reacted with shock to the latest figures from the Institute of International Finance, which this month updated its Global Debt Monitor. 

$12.1 Million per single Bitcoin

By the end of the year, the world’s debt will have expanded by an extra $12 trillion compared to the end of 2018. 

The timely data comes as United States national debt alone hits $23 trillion, with the Federal Reserve undaunted by the idea of debt continuing to expand.

As Cointelegraph reported, while Fed chair Jerome Powell has described the current debt trajectory as “unsustainable,” he considers there to be no critical problems with not paying it off. 

For Bitcoin proponents, however, the verdict on the fiat economy creating over $12 million of debt for each Bitcoin that will ever exist was obvious.

“Plan A has already failed,” online analyst Rhythm summarized on Nov. 15.

“That’s how you fight the war today”

Never before has the combined debt of the world been so high. As Bitcoin continues to rise in prominence, efforts have increased to educate consumers about its benefits as hard money — money which no authority or single actor can manipulate. 

Fiat currency, on the other hand, can be manipulated ad infinitum by central banks through economic policy. Continuing arguments made by Saifedean Ammous in his popular book, “The Bitcoin Standard,” Trace Mayer this week appealed to listeners of the Tales from the Crypt podcast to take back control of their finances.

“Are you going to claim your monetary sovereignty? Hold your own private keys? Run your own full node? That’s how you fight the war today,” he said.

Mayer also runs Proof of Keys, an annual event aimed at existing Bitcoin holders, challenging them to remove their holdings from third party wallets on Jan. 3.

‘Extremely Dangerous’ — Bobby Lee Regrets Backing Bitcoin SegWit2x

‘Extremely Dangerous’ — Bobby Lee Regrets Backing Bitcoin SegWit2x

Two years on, the BTCC co-founder regrets supporting the failed SegWit2x Bitcoin hard fork proposal, having previously pushed for its adoption.

Bitcoin’s (BTC) failed hard fork attempt from 2017, SegWit2x, was “extremely dangerous and irresponsible,” says a CEO who was formerly one of its biggest supporters.

In a series of tweets on Nov. 16, Bobby Lee admitted he was wrong to tout the long-dead Bitcoin scaling solution.

Lee: “Bitcoin is the real Bitcoin” 

Co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange BTCC and CEO of wallet manufacturer Ballet, Lee was one of the original signatories of SegWit2x, which aimed to increase Bitcoin’s network capacity by doubling its block size to 2 megabytes.

“2 years ago, I thought SegWit2x was the best path forward for Bitcoin,” Lee wrote. He continued: 

“I‘ve since come to realize that it was extremely dangerous & irresponsible to push for a contentious hard fork w/o replay protection, esp. when there wasn’t consensus. Mea culpa! Bitcoin is the real Bitcoin.”

SegWit2x was widely viewed as an attempt by its corporate sponsors to commandeer Bitcoin’s development, contrary to the ethos of decentralization. 

At the time, Lee’s willingness to embrace it saw pushback even from his own brother, Litecoin (LTC) creator Charlie Lee, who described his perspective as “extremely lame.”

Bitcoin Cash compared to “noise”

The scheme, also known as the New York Agreement or NYA, surfaced at a time when BTC/USD was beginning the run-up to its all-time highs of $20,000, and transaction fees were considerably higher than current levels. Other participants dissatisfied with the status quo attempted to resolve the situation via other means, notably the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork in August 2017. 

Still a source of contention, BCH supporters maintain that the altcoin is in fact the “real” Bitcoin. On this, Lee was also dismissive.

“In Bitcoin, there’s the notion of consensus where the majority of hash power decides on the real chain. Similarly in our world, the market decides on the real Bitcoin, the one with the most market value,” he wrote.

Asked whether he believed BCH could lay claim to being Bitcoin, he concluded: 

“To me, it’s pretty obvious that the market has already decided. Signal vs Noise.”

Last week, Lee stated he believed Bitcoin would rise to $500,000 by 2028, and could ultimately become worth millions of dollars.

Bitcoin ATMs Worldwide Hit New Milestone, Surpassing 6,000

Bitcoin ATMs Worldwide Hit New Milestone, Surpassing 6,000

The number of Bitcoin ATMs that allow people to buy BTC and often other cryptocurrencies has now surpassed 6,000 worldwide.

The number of Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs installed worldwide has now surpassed a new milestone surpassing 6,000.

Online resource CoinATMRadar shows that there are currently 6,004 machines installed worldwide, over 65% of which are in the United States. 

The United States dwarfs other countries in Bitcoin ATMs

Furthermore, 108 machines have been deployed this month and data also shows that the average daily number of Bitcoin ATMs installed is 11 — the fastest pace this year.

Over three-quarters of the machines installed worldwide are in North America, nearly 20% in Europe and only 2% in Asia. The U.S. is home to 3,924 ATMs, Canada has 653, while the next countries in the top-four are the United Kingdom and Austria with 272 and 189, respectively.

Growth of Bitcoin ATM Installations Worldwide

Growth of Bitcoin ATM Installations Worldwide | Source: CoinATMRadar.com

1,000 new machines deployed since June

The total number worldwide increased by about 1,000 since June, showing that the industry is seeing significant growth. Bitcoin ATMs, sometimes referred to as BTMs, allow users to buy BTC, while over 35% of machines also have two-way capabilities enabling sell crypto for cash.

In mid-October, one such machine was installed by BTM firm Bitstop at the Miami International Airport. The company’s co-founder and chief strategy officer Doug Carillo claimed that explained that Bitcoin is useful for travelers:

“More and more people prefer to travel with Bitcoin instead of cash for convenience and security. Miami International Airport is a perfect place for our customers to conveniently exchange their dollars for Bitcoin and vice versa when traveling domestically or abroad.”

Still, not everyone seems happy about the growth in the popularity of Bitcoin ATMs, particularly in the United States. 

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort said that the regulator is wary of the potential tax issues caused by Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks.

“They’re required to abide by the same Know-Your-Customer, Anti-Money Laundering regulations, and we believe some have varying levels of adherence to those regulations,” said Fort.

Bitcoin Revolution Meets Protestant Reformation, Crypto Drives Change?

Bitcoin Revolution Meets Protestant Reformation, Crypto Drives Change?

“The Bitcoin Reformation” points to four fundamental parallels between the Protestant Reformation and the present day — do they have merit?

A bit of historical research was making the rounds on social media recently, a monograph that compares the 21st century emergence of Bitcoin, encryption, the internet and millennials with the Protestant Reformation that shook Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

The two events have similar dynamics, argues Tuur Demeester, whose white paper, “The Bitcoin Reformation,” is packed with bold predictions about the crypto and blockchain future, such as, “Bitcoin savers could accelerate a revolution in the history of thought.”

The report had 7,000 visits and was downloaded 2,800 times in the first 24 hours of its publishing, announced the author on Twitter on Nov. 8, adding, “translations in French and Finnish on the way.” Demeester, a founding partner of Adamant Capital LP, also said:

“The main thesis of ‘The Bitcoin Reformation’ is that there are four fundamental parallels between the Protestant Reformation and the present day, which could signal profound societal and economic changes ahead.”

It is worth enumerating these four conditions that “enabled” the reformation and may be present again today:

A rent-seeking monopolistic service provider

In 16th century Europe, the Catholic Church was a monopolistic provider of spiritual services. The Church also commanded the legal system, “and controlled the keys to heaven via forgiveness of sin.” 

Demeester compares the Church with the International Monetary and Financial System, which traces its origins back to the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement that replaced the gold standard with the United States dollar as the global currency. Central banks today, most prominently the U.S. Federal Reserve, control key parts of the legal system as well as “the keys to the wealth and pensions of the world’s citizenry,” argues Demeester. 

Technological revolution: Catalyst for change

Sixteenth century Europe gave birth to a number of transformative technological inventions: The printing press, for instance, lowered the cost of a book from a year’s labor to the price of a chicken, notes Demeester, while other innovations like double-entry bookkeeping, the compass and the hourglass accelerated international commerce and exploration.

The parallel is today’s digital revolution, including email, open-source software, cryptography, social media and the commoditization of computation and data storage.

New economic class: People with something to fight for

“Both times involved a new economic class with something to fight for,” writes the author. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was a new merchant class trying to break the economic stranglehold of feudal landlords and the church. Today, it is a younger generation, the so-called millennials, who exhibit: 

“Distinct skepticism towards traditional finance, and enthusiastically embraces digital innovation. A 2016 survey by Facebook found that only 8% of millennials ‘trust financial institutions for guidance,’ and that 45% are ‘ready to switch if a better option comes along.’”

Credible strategies for defense and escape

A citizenry will be reluctant to challenge a domineering authority if they don’t have a means for defense and escape, argues Demeester, and during their revolt against their authoritarian, Catholic Spanish overlords at Alkmaar in 1573, the (Protestant) Dutch breached their dikes and flooded the countryside to raise the siege. They used this tactic repeatedly during their 80-year revolt. In the 21st century:

“The defensive technological suite available for people who question the economic status quo is cryptography — which can enable privacy and protection from asset seizure.”

Demeeter’s monopolist comparison between the Catholic Church of 16th century Europe and the likes of the International Monetary Fund of today resonated with Richard Sylla, Professor Emeritus of Economics at NYU. 

“We all know that banks charge you a lot for transferring money,” told Sylla to Cointelegraph. Bitcoin and other cryptos hold the promise of making overseas payments less expensive and more secure. Breaking the banks’ so-called monopoly here would have benefits. But the Federal Reserve and its peer central banks aren’t likely to vanish anytime soon, Sylla said: 

“It’s more likely the ‘monopolists’ will participate, with central banks establishing their own digital currency, either separately or collaboration with other countries. Most countries are still jealous of their sovereignty, including the right to print money, and central banks are carefully studying cryptocurrencies — not just Bitcoin, whose price volatility makes it suspect as a currency.”

Other periods?

Not all agree that the Protestant Reformation is the proper historical comparison for today’s financial services upheaval, or “the most fundamental transformation in history,” as Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, told Cointelegraph:

“I believe these contemporary changes are similar to other financial sector milestones, such as the Rothschild family establishing their banks in the late 18th century, the deregulation of the [financial services] sector in the 1980s, and the 2008 global financial crash. And it is fintech, in all its many forms including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, that is fueling this.”

Pushback

Demeester is associated with the Austrian School of Economics, which some dismiss as “simply a religion serving to justify libertarian policy conclusions.” One social media response to the The Bitcoin Reformation suggested:

“If #crypto spent as much time turning decentralized immutable databases into useful products or services that we all want/need as they do trying to convert people to a religion of ‘sound money’ that’s anything but, and wishing for the world to end so $BTC can be more valuable, that would be nice.”

Still, Demeester’s 23-part Twitter summary of The Bitcoin Reformation prompted 435 retweets and over 1000 likes. Demeester ranks 5th on Hive’s list of top crypto “influencers,” and his tweetstorm may have fallen upon mostly sympathetic ears. 

Although, in response to the author’s statement that “we see broad parts of society, millennials especially, acting increasingly critical of central bank interventionism,” one dissenter replied, “I wish this were true, but don’t see any evidence of it. I would guess 99% of millennials don’t even know what a central bank is.” Another commented

“I’m struggling to see how you put millennials and Bitcoin into the same basket. Millennials tend to care the most of any generation about the environment. Bitcoin doesn’t align with this.”

Coinmetrics.io co-founder and Castle Island Ventures partner Nic Carter applauded Demeester for “recognizing the higher role of private, non-state money — as a significant social and political phenomenon,” he told Cointelegraph. The comparison with the Protestant revolution was useful in raising the Bitcoin conversation to its proper level, according to him. Carter went on to add that he found the white paper “quite compelling, refreshing”:

“Too often detractors dismiss it as a minor technological innovation, like an advance in database software, or just a more efficient way to do payment processing — as opposed to an institutional revolution.”

There are no shortage of provocative comparisons of past and present in “The Bitcoin Reformation.” Demeester describes how the Dutch Republic accessed capital through proto-annuities, and compares with today’s initial exchange offering tokens, which also tap the market for liquidity. 

Each era has had its memes and slogans that drive the idea of cutting out the middleman. The Reformation’s “Sola Fide” (faith alone is enough, no need for a priest) is paralleled by the Bitcoin era’s “Vires in Numeris” (strength in numbers) and Tyler Winklevoss’ quote, “We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error.” 

The author offers seven “suggested” conclusions — predictions, really — ranging from the momentous “Bitcoin tolerance versus intolerance to become a major political faultline” to the circumscribed “Initial exchange offerings (IEOs) expected to stay and grow larger.” Unfortunately, these predictions aren’t really elaborated upon or supported in the report’s text. They rather seem to be food for future thought.

Will the Fed co-opt digital currency?

The Protestant Reformation was a religious revolution. It essentially drove the Catholic Church out of most of Northern Europe. Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology may not rise to this level of social and economic upheaval. 

Yes, the new technologies may supplant the “banking monopoly” in some areas where it is arguably overcharging for its services, such as cross-border payments, but these are essentially tweaks, incremental improvements to the financial system. 

By comparison, Bitcoin won’t stop the Federal Reserve from printing more U.S. dollars — not anytime soon, anyway. The more likely scenario, as Sylla suggests, is the Fed co-opts digital currency, as Facebook is trying to do with Libra. This possibility isn’t considered in the report.

Overall, though, as much as one might delight in historical analogies, the real problem, as the author of The Bitcoin Reformation himself acknowledges, is that secular trends are often only visible in hindsight.