Crunch Time for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Crunch Time for Cryptocurrency Exchanges – Time to Build Trust & Faith and Smash FUD

The main Binance website – www.binance.com – is offline for nearly 24 hours as other iterations of their website (us.binance.com, for example) are operating.  Japan’s Coincheck faced a major hack to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocoin gone.  And right before THAT the Kraken cryptocoin exchange was offline far longer than expected. In each of these cases the entire cryptocoin community was wracked with FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  And for good reason.  Is the money gone? Recoverable? Did my trades go through? Did I make money? Did I lose money? That’s why it’s crunch time for cryptocurrency exchanges to grow up and start living in the real world.

What if E*Trade or TD Ameritrade or Morgan Stanley or other major trading platforms reported online access trouble like this? The talking heads on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business News, etc. would have a field day and stock markets would plunge.  FUD effects ALL of the financial markets. Part of the reason why the cryptocoin markets aren’t being taken seriously in some financial sectors are due to failures like these.  That’s why it’s crunch time for cryptocurrency exchanges; it’s time for cryptocoin to come of age.

Crunch Time for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Simply speaking, there is no reason for downtime like this.  Cryptocapers.com founder and benevolent dictator Howard Sherman was an IT executive in a past life and told me all about server staging and upgrades, data migration, etc. to the point where I was bordering between information overload and sheer boredom.  But I got the point; any organization can scale up without downtime.  That’s what the big banks and trading platforms do.  Clients never see even a MINUTE of downtime day or night 24×7 and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  That’s why it’s crunch time for cryptocurrency exchanges.  They need to have the same level of performance coupled with the same sense of security any customer of any bank or any other online trading platform.

The downtime has to stop, the scaling must continue as positive outcomes are delivered without fail any time and every time.

 

Cryptocoin Phishing Scams

Cryptocoin Phishing Scams – Everybody is  a Target

Cryptocoin phishing scams – and cryptcurrency scams in general – are everywhere.  This happens in any and every sector of the economy where there is a surge of economic activity in a new market.  Crowdfunding scams were at every turn tricking people into paying money – sometimes a lot of money – for products and services that never materialized. Now it’s cryptocoin’s turn for innocent people to get tricked out of cryptocoins or actual fiat money.

Cryptocoin phishing scams are morphing into many forms including a new variation of the old “Microsoft has detected a virus on your computer” fake phone call which led to a hacker in India getting PERMISSION to mess up the computer under the pretense of “diagnostics” only to intentionally messing up the computer then demanding money to restore access.  Here’s a gallery of cryptocoin scams that came out just yesterday alone:

Cryptocoin Phishing Scams

Cryptocoin Phishing ScamsCryptocoin Phishing ScamsCryptocoin Phishing Scams

Cryptocoin phishing scams and digital currency confidence tricks of every type are only going to continue – and get worse.  With hundreds of billions of dollars out there in a cryptocoin market cap predicted to go to one trillion during 2018, criminals, scam artists and hackers are only going to get more motivated to steal.

Cryptocoin Phishing Scams

Here’s how you can protect yourself from cryptocoin criminals and their scams

Learn online “street smarts”.  Check out every offer and the person making it.  If you can’t triple-check and verify authenticity just skip it.

Don’t Trust AND verify. With every website, cryptocoin opinion, ICO whitepaper, offer to buy or sell coin DO YOUR HOMEWORK. DYOR.

Only Deal With Reliable Companies and People. Reliable is a relative term in the cryptocoin world but you’re better off going with a known entity.

Never Send Cryptocoin or Cash to Someone You Don’t Know. Sadly, people are getting robbed every day trying to buy or sell coin.

Bitcoin Mining PSUs

Bitcoin Mining PSUs – The Wrong Power Supply Can Cost You Money and Possibly Kill You.

My first experience with Bitcoin mining PSUs came through a Canaan Avalon Miner 721 with EVGA 1200 watt power supply AND controller purchased on Amazon for just $900.  That was an EPIC deal, by the way.  The EVGA gold rated power supply spoiled me, I must admit.  Subsequent power supplies never measured up.  Now I know why.

Bitcoin Mining PSUs are more or less measured relative to their power output (650 watts, 750 watts, etc.) and their rating (bronze, gold, etc.).  HERE’S WHAT’S DIFFERENT – the cables.  You need heavy duty cables for Bitcoin mining PSUs. The EVGA 1200 watt power supply that came with my first Bitcoin miner came with heavy duty cables and I didn’t appreciate the difference until recently.  See for yourself…

bitcoin mining psus
Bitcoin Mining PSUs Can Melt Cables Not Able to Handle Bitcoin Miner Power Needs

 

bitcoin mining psus
The Cable Connector From the Power Supply Was Toast.

bitcoin mining psus

The picture above is the most dramatic – the heat MELTED the interface AND the cable connector AND the cable.  Why? The cables that came with the power supply were never intended to handle such a power load.   I’m not going to knock any Bitcoin mining PSUs or the PSU shown here.  I remain convinced it’s a quality power supply that ships cable sufficient to power a GPU but never intended to power an energy-hungry ASIC Bitcoin miner.

This has happened to me before.  I was in bed watching TV one night when I saw a little flame out of the corner of my eye.  I have my Avalon miner 721 running in my bedroom.  The cables running from the power supply to the miner CAUGHT FIRE.  Luckily I was still awake to handle the situation or there would be no telling what could’ve happened to me.

So what’s the answer to avoiding a literal meltdown in Bitcoin miner PSUs? The cables.  The EVGA power supply that came with my Avalon 721 included heavy duty cables.  When I unpacked and deployed new Bitcoin miner PSUS on my Avalon 741s I was surprised at how comparatively flimsy those cables were.  I’ve been shopping for replacement Bitcoin miner PSUs when I discovered the Rosewill power supplies. They meet my power needs with ranges from 550W to 650W to 750W and possibly higher.  What got my attention are the HEAVY DUTY CABLES.  While the rating of the PSU is important (Bronze, Gold etc.) the cables of the PSU connected to your Bitcoin miners is the most important consideration of all.

I have not yet purchased a Rosewill power supply so I can’t officially endorse or in any way recommend this product but it’s the next power supply I’m going to buy for my miners.  I have high hopes and will post a comprehensive review in the future.

Bitcoin Bounces Back

Bitcoin Bounces Back – Bitcoin plunges. Cryptocoin investors panic. Then Bitcoin Rebounds. It’s like Groundhog Day.

Bitcoin bounces back about this same time every.  Many people have pointed out this trend but nobody made it as simple to understand as John McAfee.  If you study the charts below you will see that the price of BTC plunges dramatically only to shoot up to fresh new highs.  With history as our guide, we should be very excited in looking forward to what’s going to happen next.

What’s going to happen next? Bitcoin bounces back.  In fact, the more dramatic the price drop the higher the price goes on the rebound.  While no one can be sure why this Groundhog Day version of Bitcoin happens this time of year ever year, some point to the Chinese New Year.  Maybe so.  Possibly not.  SOMETHING is behind this annual readjustment on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Bounces Back

Looking at the bigger picture, the Dow dropped as much as 1600 points today – it’s single biggest drop in stock market history – before recovering a bit to close down 1175 points.  The S&P 500 and Nasdaq followed suit.  In any financial market it happens.  What goes up must come down — only to go up higher than ever eventually.  This isn’t a “Bitcoin thing” and I don’t see the latest round of bad news out of China as the culprit either.  The Bitcoin market is going through a healthy correction which will weed out the weak newcomers (“noobs”) to Bitcoin investing, the fly-by-night Bitcoin scammers and the new-to-market Bitcoin miners who eventually learn that cloud mining is a very bad idea.

Bitcoin bounces back already; the price is up nearly $700 from its lows this morning as I write this.  If you’re a Bitcoin investor just HODL and buy more if you can and take advantage of these low prices.  If Bitcoin’s 2018 performance is anything like 2017, your 2018 Bitcoin purchases now will make you rich later.

Buying Cryptocoin With Credit Cards

Buying Cryptocoin With Credit Cards – What The Banks Don’t Want You to Know.

Some card companies won’t allow it; Citigroup, Bank of America review their policies as others treat buying cryptocoin with credit cards as a cash advance.

Some banks and credit-card companies have begun restricting customers’ purchases of bitcoin, shutting down a popular way to buy the volatile digital currency while others capitalize on it with a fresh round of higher fees.

Last month, Capital One  decided it would no longer let its customers use credit cards it issues when buying bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum “due to the limited mainstream acceptance and the elevated risks of fraud, loss and volatility.” The bank said it would “regularly evaluate the decision as cryptocurrency markets evolve.” The firm’s decision followed Discover Financial Services ’ move in 2015 to effectively prohibit purchases of digital currencies with its cards.

Bank of America Corp. allows bitcoin purchases with the credit cards it issues. “At this point there is nothing that would block a transaction, but we are carefully reviewing our policy,” said a bank spokeswoman.

Citigroup Inc. , which allows bitcoin purchases with its credit cards, is also reviewing its policy, according to a person familiar with the matter. TD Bank, the U.S. unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank, said that as a result of security measures some bitcoin transactions aren’t being processed.

The moves could put a crimp in an increasingly common way to buy bitcoin, which soared 1,375% last year and attracted widespread new interest from individual investors before falling about 20% so far this year. Despite bitcoin’s growing popularity, some card companies are expressing concerns about consumers using their credit cards to buy the volatile currency and about taking on exposure to those purchases.

Funding investments with credit cards isn’t usual in traditional markets. Among brokerage firms, Charles Schwab Corp. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. don’t allow it, and E*Trade Financial Corp. lists several funding methods it accepts on its website, but doesn’t mention credit cards.

Fair enough.

With Bitcoin, roughly 20% of buyers funded their purchases with a credit card, according to a survey released in December from lending marketplace LendEDU. Of those investors, 22% said they didn’t pay off their credit-card balance after the purchase. Nearly 90% of that group expected to eventually pay off their balance using profits from the investment, the survey found. Startling, yes.  A reason for restrictions, no.

Funding cryptocoin investments through debt or extraordinary risk is something I pointed out is a very bad idea.  But why are banks taking on a role more suited for a nanny-state than a profit-driven business?

Conspiracy theorists will categorize this as “the man” trying to control cryptocoin.  I see this more as a business trying to curtail potential loss.

Let me walk you through a worst-case scenario.  John Doe buys $1,000 in Ethereum on Coinbase with his credit card yesterday.  Today, Ethereum is down 15% so John Doe loses $150 in 24 hours.  John loses money he can’t afford to lose.  What does John Doe do next? Coinbase might care but any given bank would rather not be involved.  And who could blame them with Bitcoin down some 40% compared to this same time last month?

Upset people make for unhappy customers.  And there’s no business in the world that wants to deal with unhappy customers. Except, perhaps, morticians.

A down Bitcoin market like this naturally amplifies risk to not only the investor but the bank who facilitated the cryptocoin investment. That’s where buying cryptocoin with credit cards gets sticky for the banks.  That can increase the chances of borrowers not paying their credit-card bills if they owe more on the cryptocoin than it is worth and find themselves underwater on their investment.

Then there’s the ever-escalating risk of fraud.  We have Bitconnect, Bitfinex, Tether, Prodeum, etc. etc. to thank for this. The banks, quite understandably, face very high risk in facilitating transactions with what could be a fraudulent exchange. Why? Cardholders are seldom held responsible for fraudulent purchases charged to their credit card, which means that any given bank issuing the card in question could be slapped with the loss.

buying cryptocoin with credit cards“There’s a host of issues,” said David Nelms, Discover’s CEO. Among others, “we don’t want to be responsible if someone buys bitcoin and it drops 50% the next day.”

Yet Discover and every other credit card on the planet has no problem allowing someone to take out a cash advance in a casino and hit the tables as the cardholder is hit with transaction fees and interest charges which could only be called confiscatory.  Any by golly some of them have done exactly that (more below.)

I call bullshit.

Does their sense of responsibility extend to people who want to pull out $500 on a credit card cash advance at Caesar’s Palace to hit a craps table? Or a roulette wheel?

I’m not inviting comparisons between cryptocoin investing and gambling.  What I am doing is illustrating the disingenuous behavior of most banks as they talk out of both sides of their mouth.

I see this as just another attempt by the banks to circle the wagons and protect their own interests.  When all is said and done the banks are on their way to the slaughterhouse of obsolescence.  They know it and the smarter cryptocoin enthusiast knows it.  At this point all they can do is piss people off which alienates their existing customer base while paving the way to even more cryptocoin adopters.

Well done you fat cat stuffed suits.  Well done.

Recently Coinbase has alerted clients that some credit card companies are categorizing cryptocoin purchases as cash advances — right in line with my casino comparison earlier.  This could be construed as another way to circle the wagons AND/OR making every dime possible on the cryptocurency trend before banks themselves are eventually rendered obsolete.

Is the latest hit to buying cryptocoin with credit cards a conspiracy or some sort of cabal or just opportunistic capitalism at its finest? Only time will tell.

India Cancels Cryptocurrency

India Cancels Cryptocurrency – It’s Really No Big Deal.  Here’s Why.

Bitcoin plunged more than 10% at one point with most of the top 50 altcoins following suite (as usual) on the news India cancels cryptocurrency. Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley is quoted as saying “The Government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,”

At first glance, the news that India cancels cryptocurrency sounds like bad news.  After all, Bitcoin became very popular in India after inexplicable currency controls rendered higher denominations of Indian currency worthless overnight.  The government of India has some larger goal here with regards to their clamps on currency and cryptocurrency, in and of itself, is not the target here.

As India cancels cryptocurrency use within its borders the broader objective is not to ban Bitcoin or any other cryptocoin but to maintain a level of control over their currency unheard of in modern times.

india cancels cryptocurrency
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley has held various positions in government since the year 2000 and is known to be something of a rebel having gone against the establishment even so far as to argue for obstructing the parliament of India itself.  Long known as a proponent of individual rights and freedoms, his announcement that India cancels cryptocurrency is puzzling to say the least.

So India cancels cryptocurrency.  So what? As the headline above said – it’s no big deal.  Although India holds prominence for a large volume of Bitcoin transactions, most of them are surprisingly small.  To put this in perspective you need to consider how astonishingly low the average income of an Indian citizen is and, as a result, how little they actually spend…

India’s per capita income  was $1670 ranking the country as placing 112th out of 164 countries according to The World Bank.  As such, what COULD the worst possible impact be if and when Bitcoin and other cryptocoins disappear in India.  Not much. Not much at all.

What we’re seeing here is the worst possible example of FUD — Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

Prodeum Penis Postulate

Prodeum Penis Postulate – What Lithuanians Can Teach Us About the Penis and the People Who Think With One.

An above average income in Lithuania is just about $10,000 USD.  Well above average.  So when the people behind Lithuania-based Prodeum disappeared without a trace after raising an anywhere between thousands to millions of dollars (the ICO goal was $6.5 million) with nothing but the word “penis” left behind on their website we must put forth the Prodeum penis postulate.

The Prodeum scam was all done in 10 days flat. They put up a nice website, put out a press release, raked in what we can only assume was a lot of money and then disappeared.  If you live in Lithuania (if that’s where the Prodeum people really are from…) you can live like a king for life considering the income levels of Lithuania.

The website, such as it was, has been pulled but we have the Wayback machine to record this historical event for posterity. The Prodeum penis postulate was formulated by me after accumulating sad observations of recent confidence tricks including Bitconnect, Tether and now Prodeum.

The Prodeum penis postulate has three component parts:

1) Government regulation will become inevitable if the bullshit with ICOs and cryptocoins doesn’t stop.  If we, the digitcal currency industry as a whole, fail to regulate ourselves world governments will have little choice but to step in and impose regulations of their own.

2) People need to become educated and aware of every investment opportunity to recognize potential risks and rewards and understand that investing in a cryptocoin because it is new and it is cheap is not an automatic fast lane on the road to riches. Lots of research and due diligence must be performed by every investor considering any cryptocoin investment.

3) Every cryptocoin investor will need to be more skeptical before buying any new, unproven coin with the mantra “PROVE IT!” playing over and over again in their head as they read a Prodeum press release or review and and every claim made on any ICO or coin website.

The power of the Prodeum penis postulate shines through with a re-read of the press release mentioned in the previous paragraph.  The Prodeum people used all of the right buzzwords (blockchain, Ethereum) while hitting all of the right notes in terms of people eating fresh, healthy produce which plays to people’s fear of getting sick or even dying before a product recall can roll out.

prodeum penis postulate
Credit: @thelateempire on Twitter

SADLY the press release had warning signs….

“Prodeum has already had discussions with the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS),” (PROVE IT)

“Plans are underway to begin trial runs in Lithuania and the U.S. later this year. Then, following further meetings with the IFPS, a beta app is in the works for late 2018 or early 2019.” — UHM — how can you have trial runs BEFORE the beta app is ready?

So who was behind Prodeum? We’ll probably never know.  Every identify used was fake or stolen.  Every related LinkedIn profile has been deleted and the pictures and names of those supposedly behind Prodeum were hijacked in what could only be called some form of identity theft.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — apply critical thinking sills, analyze every aspect of any offer or investment and make a fully informaed decision with as much documentation and proof you can validate.  And if you CAN’T then you should probably avoid any such investment.

 

 

 

 

 

GPU Availability Trending Downward

GPU Availability Trending Downward – Cryptomining is the Culprit.

Ask anyone looking to build a PC for gaming or cryptomining and they’ll tell you the same story: GPU availability trending downward is reality. As a result of supply and demand GPU prices are through the roof.  A recent boom in popularity of cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum or Monero, has led to a record high demand for GPUs driven by crypto mining.  Such high popularity of cryptocurrencies has led to GPU prices trending upward.  Yet, higher prices aren’t helping shore up supply.  Both major retailers of consumer-end graphics cards, Nvidia and AMD, are experiencing a supply shortfall.  Their core markets are also suffering from this relatively sudden price increase and poor availability.

GPU Availability Trending Downward is not an accident….

Demand Far Exceeds Supply

Even with prices for consumer cards on a steady rise, many retailers and even GPU manufacturers can’t seem to keep GPUs in stock.  But the rise in GPUs scooped up for cryptocoin mining isn’t the sole culprit in this matter.  ASIC manufacturers, such as Bitmain, are buying out major foundries so they can keep pace with demand for ASIC miners.  This puts foundries like TSMC at a production deficit when it comes to supplying GPU manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD.

While your average end-user won’t notice a huge difference, this shortage is impacting small-time altcoin miners and gamers alike.  Prices are being driven ever higher by major mining corporations buying their GPUs en masse from major distributors in China.  GPUs are being bought in such bulk that consumers aren’t able to get their hands on a high-end graphics card without paying a hefty price, if they are able to obtain one at all.  With markets devoid of stock, and demand doubling or even tripling supply, even having the money doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to buy the graphics card you want.  That’s where GPU availability trending downward hits hardest.

Gamers First

With massive supply shortfalls, GPU manufacturer Nvidia is trying to limit who buys their GPUs.  According to Nvidia spokesman Boris Böhles: “For NVIDIA, gamers come first. All activities related to our Geforce product line are targeted at our main audience. To ensure that Geforce gamers continue to have good Geforce graphics card availability in the current situation, we recommend that our trading partners make the appropriate arrangements to meet gamers’ needs as usual.”

AMD has similar issues.  Trying to get the latest Radeon graphics card will likely cost you a small fortune, if you’re able to buy one at all.  AMD’s Radeon line tends to be more popular with miners due to their reputation of having better mining efficiency than Nvidia’s GeForce line.  This leads to getting all but the most entry-level Radeon cards nearly impossible.

With supply issues and the wide unavailability of AMD’s Radeon RX 500 series, AMD is also putting gamers first.  According to an AMD spokesperson in an email to CNBC, “The gaming market remains our priority. We are seeing solid demand for our Polaris-based offerings in the gaming and newly resurgent cryptocurrency mining markets based on the strong performance we are delivering.”

The Future for GPUs

While the short-term is definitely horrible for end-users, answers may be just over the horizon.  With both major GPU manufacturers acknowledging the problem, perhaps we’re on the cusp of a revolution in GPU technology.  We may be seeing the major GPU players developing graphics cards geared specifically at miners while still innovating and improving graphics cards for the hardcore gamers.  Only time will tell.  One thing is for certain: current GPU market trends are unsustainable for both the miners and the gamers of the world.

 

Sources:

https://news.bitcoin.com/nvidia-tries-to-limit-gpu-sales-to-cryptocurrency-miners/

https://pcpartpicker.com/trends/price/video-card/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/05/digital-currency-mining-is-boosting-demand-for-amds-graphics-cards.html

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/30/16949550/bitcoin-graphics-cards-pc-prices-surge