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Is rising usage driving crypto’s recent price boom?

Everything is dumb until it works.

As 2020 comes to a close, the cryptocurrency world is experiencing another late-year surge of consumer interest as prices climb in value. Bitcoin is over $23,000 as I write to you, an all-time high. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency has recovered sharply as well, returning to mid-2018 prices.


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These gains have created a huge amount of wealth for crypto holders. According to CoinMarketCap, after falling under $140 billion in mid-March during the market selloff surrounding the beginning of COVID-19’s battering of America, the value of all cryptos has surged to nearly $659 billion.

It still has some way to go before it crests the record of around $830 billion set back in January 2018. But your Twitter feed is once again rife with notes about crypto and some of your friends have become insufferable once again.

The tweets and the friends have something of a point. This morning I went around the Internet with a basket, collecting information about active bitcoin wallets, the distributed app (Dapp) market, the burgeoning decentralized finance (DeFi) space and other aspects to get a picture of what’s going on beyond mere price records.

After all, the price of every damn thing is inflated today, so seeing bitcoin set an all-time-high felt more appropriate than strange. Does the data show that there’s activity behind the valuation hype?

A quick look around the world of crypto

We have a few metrics to peek at, but let’s start with some old bitcoin-flavored favorites.

  • Unique bitcoin addresses used, via Blockchain.info: Modestly bullish.

Per the charting section of Blockchain.info, bitcoin unique addresses used — a proxy for the coin’s popularity — is up some in recent weeks, and up more generally in 2020. It remains below historical highs.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/17/is-rising-usage-driving-cryptos-recent-price-boom/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Alex Wilhelm

PayPal says all users in U.S. can now buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies

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PayPal announced today it’s dropping the waitlist to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency in the U.S. With the move, all customers in the U.S. will be able to purchase cryptocurrency directly from within their PayPal accounts. U.S. customers will also be alerted to the new feature through both an email and a push notification in the coming days, the company says.

The feature was already partially available in the U.S. before today, but PayPal had been onboarding interested customers via a waitlist.

With the update, users will no longer have to wait for a spot to open,

In addition, PayPal says that due to initial demand from its customers, it’s increasing its weekly cryptocurrency purchase limit from $10K per week to $20K per week.

In October, PayPal had first announced its plans to enter the cryptocurrency market by way of a partnership with cryptocurrency company Paxos. This partner helps to power the new service for PayPal, enabling its customers to buy, sell and hold a range of cryptocurrencies —  initially including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

By next year, PayPal plans to allow users to make PayPal purchases with cryptocurrencies as well, the company has said..

In terms of exchange rates, PayPal will charge $0.50 USD on transactions up to $24.99 USD, 2.3% on transactions from $25 to $100 USD; 2.0% on transactions from $100.01 to $200 USD; $1.80% on transactions of $200.01 to $1,000 USD; and 1.5% on transactions over $1,000 USD.

PayPal notes there are no fees for holding crypto in your account. And, to get things started, PayPal is waiving fees until 2021.

The company somewhat quietly disclosed the news today via an update to last month’s press release. It says users can download the PayPal app or log in to their PayPal account to learn more.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/12/paypal-says-all-users-in-u-s-can-now-buy-hold-and-sell-cryptocurrencies/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sarah Perez

US authorities seize $1 billion worth of Silk Road Bitcoins

dae4de10-40f8-11e9-be5e-a20a1f8e2eacEven after Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was arrested and sentenced to life in prison, authorities were unable to find a huge chunk of the commissions — in Bitcoin, of course — the dark web marketplace generated. Earlier this week, authorities have…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/us-authorities-seize-1-billion-road-bitcoins-061320989.html
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Bitcoin hits $14,000 for the first time since early 2018

Bitcoin hits $14,000 for the first time since early 2018

Enlarge (credit: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images News)

The price of one bitcoin rose above $14,000 on Saturday morning. It was the first time the virtual currency reached that level since January 2018. As I write this, the currency is trading for around $13,800.

Bitcoin, a currency whose name has become synonymous with price volatility, has seen three major bull runs in the past. Bitcoin’s price peaked around $30 in June 2011, around $1,100 in January 2014, and just below $20,000 in December 2017. Each peak was followed by a wrenching crash where the currency lost more than 80 percent of its value.

After the last bubble peaked in December 2017, the price steadily deflated until it reached a low around $3,200 in late 2018. It reached a peak around $13,800 in mid-2019, fell to $4,000 in early 2020, and has now soared back to $14,000. Bitcoin fans are hoping for another boom that pushes the currency past the highs of 2017, but that’s far from a sure thing.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1718652
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Timothy B. Lee

China’s digital currency aims to leave the rest of the world in the dust

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China is already test-driving the future of finance while the rest of the world is stuck trying to get its learner’s permit.

What’s happening: Over the past two weeks Chinese authorities in cities like Shenzhen and Chengdu have given out the country’s brand new digital renminbi currency and are urging even faster rollout of the token nationwide.


  • The country’s central bank has distributed the currency to “lottery” winners who are reportedly spending it at thousands of retailers, including local supermarkets and pharmacies and even Walmart.

What they’re saying: “We must serve dual circulation with fintech-led innovations,” Chen Yulu, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said in an article published on Sunday in the PBOC-run China Finance magazine.

  • “We must build an independent and high-quality financial infrastructure … quicken the pace of research and development of the central bank digital currency, and ensure that pilot tests show [the digital currency] is controllable and safeguards the security of payments.”

On the other side: The Bank for International Settlements and seven mostly Western central banks including the Fed, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan and the Bank of England published a report last week detailing the “foundational principles” and “core features” of a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC) in order to “guide exploration and support public policy objectives.”

  • None of the central banks committed to pursuing or producing a digital currency as part of the report.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the world’s move away from paper money and producing the world’s first CBDC could put China in the driver’s seat to steer the future of payments and currency.

Between the lines: “If you take the last 250 days what has happened is we’ve gone into a different pace of digital,” Charlotte Hogg, CEO of European operations at Visa, said during a panel at the Institute of International Finance’s annual meeting Tuesday.

  • “Everything that we can see is that people who never used digital payments before are using them. They’re going to continue to use them, particularly as those more vulnerable in our societies continue to shield and it’s going to be ever more important for our recovery for all of our business communities to be able to use forms of digital payment.”

Zoom in: Facebook attempted to produce a digital currency that would have been convertible across borders and provided users the opportunity to spend and exchange it, but was rebuffed by U.S. and international regulators concerned about a for-profit company having so much influence on the supply of money.

  • That concern is still a driving force behind central banks’ efforts — that and a desire to ensure commercial banks aren’t left out in the cold once digital payments make many of their services obsolete.

Source: https://www.axios.com/china-digital-currency-fca0c276-e738-471c-bb94-f93816b9864c.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dion Rabouin

Anonymous bitcoin founder may have just moved nearly $400,000 in untouched cryptocurrency

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Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity has never been conclusively discovered, but some believe cryptocurrency mined in 2009 point to the founder still being active

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/bitcoin-founder-anonymous-cryptocurrency-satoshi-nakamoto-a9534751.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Adam Smith