Headlines 

Bitcoin Newbies Are Getting Crushed While Old Timers Bemoan `Weak Hands

For Bitcoin investors, these are the times that try one’s soul. After surging to almost $20,000 in December following the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., the world’s largest cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value, plummeting to as low as $7,614 on Friday. It regained some ground on Saturday, rising 7.5 percent to $9,290.15 as of 2:58 p.m. in New York, according to Jamie Dimon to Nouriel Roubini have labeled as one of the biggest asset bubbles in history began showing signs of deflating. Selling by…

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Bitcoin Whipsaws Investors as Bubble Shows Signs of Bursting

Bitcoin whipsawed investors, falling below $8,000 for the first time since November before recovering most of Friday’s losses, as a miserable 2018 continued for cryptocurrencies. Since reaching a record high of $19,511 on Dec. 18 shortly after the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., Bitcoin has wiped out more than half its value amid waves of negative news. Setbacks included escalating regulatory threats from authorities around the world including India, raided Coincheck’s offices Friday morning, a week after the robbery, hauling out documents and computers as evidence. The…

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U.S. Regulators Subpoena Crypto Exchange Bitfinex, Tether

U.S. regulators are scrutinizing one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges as questions mount over a digital token linked to its backers. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent subpoenas on Dec. 6 to virtual-currency venue Bitfinex and Tether, a company that issues a widely traded coin and claims it’s pegged to the dollar, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The firms share the same chief executive officer. Tether’s coins have become a popular substitute for dollars on cryptocurrency exchanges…

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Odds and Ends 

50 Cent realizes hes a Bitcoin millionaire thanks to sales of a 2014 album

Call him the ultimate hodler. After being one of the first musicians to accept Bitcoin all the way back in 2014, Rapper 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) appears to have accumulated a small fortune in the volatile digital currency. As TMZ first reported, and the man himself seems to have confirmed, 50 Cent left his Bitcoin sales untouched until rediscovering them some time recently. At the time, he reportedly raked in around 700 bitcoins in album sales for his fifth album, Animal Ambition, which launched in June 2014. TechCrunch reached…

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Massive Cryptocurrency Heist Spurs Calls for More Regulation

At 2:57 a.m. on Friday morning in Tokyo, someone hacked into the digital wallet of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. and pulled off one of the biggest heists in history. Three days later, the theft of nearly $500 million in digital tokens is still reverberating through cryptocurrency markets and policy circles around the world. The episode, disclosed by Coincheck executives at a hastily arranged press conference on Friday night, has heightened calls for stricter oversight at a time when many governments are working out how to regulate the booming cryptocurrency exchange…

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Your Sloppy Bitcoin Drug Deals Will Haunt You for Years

Perhaps you bought some illegal narcotics on the Silk Road half a decade ago, back when that digital black market for every contraband imaginable was still online and bustling. You might already regret that decision, for any number of reasons. After all, the four bitcoins you spent on that bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms would now be worth about as much as an Alfa Romeo. But one group of researchers wants to remind you of yet another reason to rue that transaction: If you weren't particularly careful in how you spent…

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Odds and Ends 

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking

No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple. “We’re planning to operate this business on a break-even basis and we don’t plan to profit from it for the foreseeable future” says Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev. “The…

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Nordea’s Bitcoin Ban Leaves Financial Regulator Taking Back Seat

As Nordea Bank AB blazes a trail in Europe by banning its employees from trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the regulator is taking a back seat in a decision-making process it says is better left to the industry. Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority thinks “every institution must decide on the details of their internal regulations specifying the rules for their employees’ investments and trading,” spokesman Peter Svensson told Bloomberg, in response to questions about Bitcoin guidelines. The hands-off approach may surprise some who associate the Nordic region, and Sweden in particular,…

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Odds and Ends 

Researchers find that one person likely drove Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000

Researchers Neil Gandal, JT Hamrick, Tyler Moore, and Tali Oberman have written a fascinating paper on Bitcoin price manipulation. Entitled “Price Manipulation in the Bitcoin Ecosystem” and appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Monetary Economics the paper describes to what degree the Bitcoin ecosystem is controlled by bad actors. To many it’s been obvious that the Bitcoin markets are, at the very least, being manipulated by one or two big players. “This paper identifies and analyzes the impact of suspicious trading activity on the Mt. Gox Bitcoin…

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Bitcoin Could End Up Using More Power Than Electric Cars

The global power needed to create cryptocurrencies this year could rival the entire electricity consumption of Argentina and be a growth driver for renewable energy producers from the U.S. to China. Miners of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could require up to 140 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2018, about 0.6 percent of the global total, Morgan Stanley analysts led by Nicholas Ashworth wrote in a note Wednesday. That’s more than expected power demand from electric vehicles in 2025. “If cryptocurrencies continue to appreciate we expect global mining power consumption to increase,”…

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Goldman Sees Crypto, Credit Shadowing Robust 2018 U.S. Economy

Financial imbalances including those in credit markets and cryptocurrencies will shadow an otherwise robust 2018 U.S. economy, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist Jan Hatzius. Hatzius has already made some predictions for the new year: four Federal Reserve quickening to an average of 2.6 percent, the jobless rate not inverting. In a new report, Hatzius reiterated his expectation for overall economic strength, while flagging some concerns. “Asset valuations in some areas — especially credit — have risen to high levels by historical standards,” Hatzius said in the “10 Questions for…

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From Bitcoin to Belize, Here Are Best and Worst Assets of 2017

It was a great year to hold bitcoin, but a bad time to have been invested in the Uzbek soum. As 2017 winds to a close, a look at the winners and losers around the globe shows that, broadly speaking, the riskiest assets performed well, with bullish sentiment on display in stocks, emerging-market sovereigns and corporate debt. Securities generally seen as the safest and least volatile bets — think Japanese government bonds — trailed behind. There was perhaps no investing idea that attracted more attention in 2017 than cryptocurrencies, from Jamie…

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Novogratz Halts Hedge Fund, Says Bitcoin May Drop to $8,000

Michael Novogratz, the former macro manager who’s turned into one of the biggest champions of bitcoin, shelved plans to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund and predicted that the digital money may extend its plunge to $8,000. “We didn’t like market conditions and we wanted to re-evaluate what we’re doing,” Novogratz said Friday in a phone interview. “I look pretty smart pressing the pause button right now.” Novogratz, 53, said he told potential investors last week that he changed his mind, two days before his Galaxy Digital Assets Fund was due to…

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Bitcoin Is Now Bigger Than Buffett, Boeing and New Zealand

Bitcoin’s extraordinary price surge means its market capitalization now exceeds the annual output of whole economies, and the estimated worth of some of the world’s top billionaires. With the debate over its bubble status still raging, the flagship cryptocurrency continued its march higher on Monday, solidifying above $11,000 and bringing its climb this year to more than 1,000 percent. With market tracker avocados. Here are five things that have been eclipsed by bitcoin in terms of market capitalization: New Zealand’s GDP The South Pacific nation’s farm-and-tourism-led economy is valued at $185…

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Odds and Ends 

Coinbase ordered to give the IRS data on users trading more than $20,000

Most digital currencies exist in a sort of twilight state just beyond the grasp of federal regulators, but the U.S. tax authority is starting to get savvy to this whole bitcoin thing. On Wednesday, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that Coinbase must supply the IRS with identifying information on users who had more than $20,000 in annual transactions on its platform between 2013 and 2015. After noticing that the number of tax returns claiming gains from virtual currency didn’t line up with the emerging popularity of digital currencies like…

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