Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in Google Trends

Inspired by a post at WooBull on using Google Trends to detect Bitcoin price bubbles, here’s an updated Google trends graph of the terms “BTC USD” and “cryptocurrency”, which we added for comparison sake.

Bitcoin moving closely with $SPY

Bitcoin’s case as a store of value has not proven especially strong in the past month, as it’s typically gone the way of $SPY.

Bitcoin and stocks bottomed at almost exactly the same moment. This is bad for Bitcoin. Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is that it is weird, and perhaps does not covary with standard financial assets in traditional ways. But at least yesterday it did, and that should be a force pushing Bitcoin lower.

via Bitcoin and covariance at Marginal REVOLUTION

Bitcoin NVT, NVT Signal trending upwards

$BTC NVT is trending upwards after bottoming Feb 6. See chart from @coinmetrics. NVT Signal chart from @Woonomic shows similar pattern. #bitcoin

Bitcoin’s NVT (network value/transaction) has been moving in a general upward trend since bottoming on Feb 6th. Here’s a chart using the great charting tools at coinmetrics.io:

bitcoin nvt moving up

Likewise, Willy Woo’s NVT Signal chart shows a similar pattern:

 

NVT Signal, a new indicator, shows Bitcoin has bottomed

From well-known crypto investor Woobull, a post on a trading signal for Bitcoin, as first derived by  Dmitry Kalichki.

What is NVT Signal?

Standard NVT Ratio is simply the Network Valuation divided by the Transaction Value flowing through the blockchain and then smoothed using a moving average. What Dimitry did was to apply the moving average just to the volatile Transactions component only without smoothing the already stable Network Valuation component.

This produces a much more responsive chart. Responsive enough to use as a trading indicator.

This is probably the first trading indicator to use blockchain data instead of the basic price and volume data coming in from exchanges.

The NVT Signal is picking we’ve bottomed.

This is available on Woobull Charts for now, though a new project named Fomonomics is mentioned.

via NVT Signal, a new trading indicator to pick tops and bottoms at Woobull

Noah Smith makes the case for Bitcoin as gold

Noah Smith makes the case for Bitcoin as a new gold. The problem recently has been that it hasn’t held value well. Perhaps there’s a future where it’s used more in transactions, once fees are decreased, giving it a resurgence in a new manner.

There are essentially three reasons Bitcoin isn’t working out as a currency — twotechnological, and one economic. Technologically, Bitcoin tends to be slow and laborious to use because it verifies transactions in small blocks. That problem isn’t particularly hard to overcome — just use bigger blocks, or use a form of temporary credit to ease the burden on the network. More ominously, Bitcoin relies on people known as miners to verify all transactions, and compensates them by creating new Bitcoins. But soon, this will stop, since the total number of Bitcoins is capped at 21 million — at that point, transaction fees will be needed to pay miners.

It’s very possible that all of these technological problems will be overcome, either by Bitcoin or by rival cryptocurrencies. Lots of smart people are working feverishly on solutions. But there’s also an economic reason why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will never be useful as money. Things that are good financial investments don’t make good currencies, and vice versa.

via Bitcoin Is the New Gold at Bloomberg.com

Bitcoin has proven a point, even if it fails

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Bitcoin:

Which is why Bitcoin is an excellent idea. It fulfills the needs of the complex system, not because it is a cryptocurrency, but precisely because it has no owner, no authority that can decide on its fate. It is owned by the crowd, its users. And it has now a track record of several years, enough for it to be an animal in its own right.

He concludes that Bitcoin may fail, but that it’s proven useful regardless.

Finally, Bitcoin will go through hick-ups (hiccups). It may fail; but then it will be easily reinvented as we now know how it works. In its present state, it may not be convenient for transactions, not good enough to buy your decaffeinated expresso macchiato at your local virtue-signaling coffee chain. It may be too volatile to be a currency, for now. But it is the first organic currency.

But its mere existence is an insurance policy that will remind governments that the last object establishment could control, namely, the currency, is no longer their monopoly. This gives us, the crowd, an insurance policy against an Orwellian future.

via Bitcoin – Opacity – Medium at Medium

Venezuelan government cashing in on Bitcoin mining through extortion & police raids

Here’s an interview with an anonymous Bitcoin miner in Venezuela, where the government is taking some extreme, and apparently unlawful, measures to cash in on Bitcoin mining.

I recently published, “Ground Zero In the Venezuelan Bitcoin Scene” and randomly received a message from an anonymous Twitter account complimenting the article. They also told me that I missed the real story. Of course I asked, “What was that?” They responded alluding to the Venezuelan Government’s involvement in Bitcoin mining. I thought to myself, now there is a story.

There have been other claims of issues in Venezuela, and there’s certainly an air of desperation that makes it seem possible, though there obviously remains a question of veracity in regards to the answers given here. Here’s an excerpt of some of the questions and answers:

There are stories of the government confiscating computers and mining equipment from people. Tell us about this.
Yes, sometimes the police squad that visits your place decides to seize your mining equipment, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

What do they do with the equipment?
Rumor has it they install them on government facilities.

It is not a secret the Venezuelan government is rumored to be using the confiscated mining equipment to run their own farms and making the people who they took it from to set it up. Tell us about these secret operations?
This is the worst case scenario, but I’ve heard multiple stories like this. If for some reason they don’t like you at all during the raid, they would confiscate your equipment and have you install it for them. They even “hire” you as an infiltrator and they make you rat out other miners.

How does the government and police find miners?
There is an intelligence police division exclusively for mining hunting. They accomplish so by monitoring electric power consumption looking for irregular situations.

Read the whole interview at Extortion, Police Raids and Secrecy: Inside The Venezuelan Bitcoin Mining World at Hacker Noon

Looking beyond Bitcoin riches

From the New York Times recent article on looking beyond Bitcoin (and the crypto mania), which has seen too much of a focus on money. There are true technology changes and there will be some big winners. Well worth a read. Here’s a few more excerpts:

The true believers behind blockchain platforms like Ethereum argue that a network of distributed trust is one of those advances in software architecture that will prove, in the long run, to have historic significance. That promise has helped fuel the huge jump in cryptocurrency valuations. But in a way, the Bitcoin bubble may ultimately turn out to be a distraction from the true significance of the blockchain. The real promise of these new technologies, many of their evangelists believe, lies not in displacing our currencies but in replacing much of what we now think of as the internet, while at the same time returning the online world to a more decentralized and egalitarian system. If you believe the evangelists, the blockchain is the future. But it is also a way of getting back to the internet’s roots

The article cites the move from open protocols to the current state of internet we have now.

For all their brilliance, the inventors of the open protocols that shaped the internet failed to include some key elements that would later prove critical to the future of online culture. Perhaps most important, they did not create a secure open standard that established human identity on the network. Units of information could be defined — pages, links, messages — but people did not have their own protocol: no way to define and share your real name, your location, your interests or (perhaps most crucial) your relationships to other people online.

Facebook is the ultimate embodiment of the chasm that divides InternetOne and InternetTwo economies. No private company owned the protocols that defined email or GPS or the open web. But one single corporation owns the data that define social identity for two billion people today — and one single person, Mark Zuckerberg, holds the majority of the voting power in that corporation.

And there’s a good summation of the ultimate potential of blockchain to fix some of the problems that have arisen.

The blockchain evangelists think this entire approach is backward. You should own your digital identity — which could include everything from your date of birth to your friend networks to your purchasing history — and you should be free to lend parts of that identity out to services as you see fit. Given that identity was not baked into the original internet protocols, and given the difficulty of managing a distributed database in the days before Bitcoin, this form of “self-sovereign” identity — as the parlance has it — was a practical impossibility. Now it is an attainable goal. A number of blockchain-based services are trying to tackle this problem, including a new identity system called uPort that has been spun out of ConsenSys and another one called Blockstack that is currently based on the Bitcoin platform. (Tim Berners-Lee is leading the development of a comparable system, called Solid, that would also give users control over their own data.) These rival protocols all have slightly different frameworks, but they all share a general vision of how identity should work on a truly decentralized internet.

 

Full article at Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble at The New York Times

Crypto & Taxes, in the NYTimes

“Every time you transfer a cryptocurrency, you might trigger a gain and pay a tax,” said Selva Ozelli, a tax lawyer and accountant who has recently written about the tax implications of virtual currencies.In late 2016, the I.R.S. made it clear that it was searching for cryptocurrency tax evaders: The agency sent a broad request to Coinbase, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the United States, requesting records for all customers who bought digital currency from the company from 2013 to 2015.Coinbase balked, but a court ruled that it must provide the records of roughly 14,000 customers, fewer than 1 percent of its patrons, who made transactions involving more than $20,000 of virtual currencies.

via When Trading in Bitcoin, Keep the Tax Man in Mind at www.nytimes.com

There’s reason for banks to worry about bitcoin

And here’s a good reason for banks to be wary of Bitcoin:UBS Group AG Chairman Axel Weber said the Swiss bank won’t trade Bitcoin or offer it to retail clients as increased regulation could lead to a “massive” drop in value.

“This is something where the price is really unclear,” Weber said in an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We fear that in the future if these investments implode and the market corrects, then investors will be looking at ‘who sold us this?’”

If some dude on the internet sells you a hugely volatile asset with no intrinsic value and it immediately loses 50 percent of its value, you’re like “well played, dude on the internet.” If a bank does it, though, you sue.

from Matt Levine in Crypto Finance Meets Regular Finance at Bloomberg.com