VISA and MasterCard vs Bitcoin and Crypto

The CFO of VISA had sharp words against Bitcoin and spoke of a bubble. MasterCard’s senior executive was also rather critical of non-government crypto currencies. In both cases, however, the credit card companies are unlikely to impose sanctions.

It comes as little surprise when representatives of the classical financial system criticize Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. Likewise it hardly surprises unfortunately more, if it lacks this criticism at depth. Leading representatives of VISA and MasterCard, the two largest credit and debit card companies, have made critical comments on crypto currencies.

VISA: Crypto currencies are a bubble, all criminals use Bitcoin loophole

A new rather emotional criticism, because well-founded criticism comes from Vasant Prabhu, the CFO of VISA. In an interview with the Financial Times, he joined the ranks of people who call Bitcoin loophole a bubble. Like many other financial experts before him, he sees the development that people from lower social strata in particular see Bitcoin as an investment opportunity as very worrying:

„I’m worried about the people who ask me about Bitcoin. It’s the chauffeurs who drive me to the airport… If the one who shines your shoes wants to give you investment advice, you know it’s a bubble.“

He trusts a currency controlled by the Federal Reserve Bank because he knows who is behind it. In the case of Bitcoin, however, that would be unknown, Prabhu says.

Finally, he assumed that every crook and corrupt politician would use crypto currencies.

Apart from the untruths and half-truths, which the CFO of VISA spread further in the interview, the image of man is disturbed. According to these statements, those who drive him around in the car and shine his shoes are apparently neither worth putting some money aside nor able to recognize possible trends earlier than he.

MasterCard: Transparent, state-controlled crypto currencies are ok
Ari Sarker, MasterCard’s senior executive, expressed himself more favourably towards crypto currencies – provided they were not anonymous, on the one hand, and controlled by the state, on the other. This confirms the words of MasterCard’s CEO. Ajay Banga described crypto currencies that do not meet these criteria as „garbage“.

Unfortunately, none of the representatives expressed their opinion on how this fits in with the controversial Petro Venezuela.

Despite criticism: no sanctions against Bitcoin

However, the critical words, sharp in the case of VISA, do not seem to have too negative consequences for Bitcoin debit cards and the like. Both MasterCard and VISA have defined the purchase of Bitcoin as a cash payment. This is subject to special fees, but is not prohibited.

VISA does not currently wish to prohibit transactions into the crypto ecosystem. However, VISA attaches great importance to strict anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations. Interfaces between the crypto ecosystem and the real economy must be set up accordingly.

MasterCard has even launched a pilot programme in Japan and Singapore which allows Bitcoin investors to withdraw the equivalent value in Fiat to a MasterCard.

Altcoin Market Analysis – Bitcoin secret Cash explodes

Total market capital rose to 326 billion euros at the beginning of this week. All crypto currencies showed profits, with the exception of Bitcoin, which was in the double-digit percentage range.

Bitcoin secret little brother Bitcoin Cash was even able to increase by 75 percent

The Bitcoin secret price development of the ten crypto currencies with the highest market capital, which is stated in billions of euros, is shown. For currencies that are currently not directly exchangeable into euros, the respective trading pair was taken with US dollars as the basis and converted into euros.

The positive price developments continued. All prices continued to hold above the exponential moving averages EMA50 and EMA100 and recorded average price increases of 30 percent. Even if one considers Bitcoin Cash as an outlier with a price increase of almost 80 percent, an average growth of almost 25 percent can still be recorded. The Bitcoin share price „only“ rose by nine percent. Thus Bitcoin forms the tail light regarding price gains in this week.

Total market capital has risen steadily from 265 billion euros to currently 326 billion euros.

The structure of the Top 10 has changed somewhat. EOS was again able to regain 5th place among the crypto currencies.

It is conspicuous that many of the prices considered currently have a short triangle pattern and are moving sideways accordingly. Accordingly, one should wait in front of a long position how the triangle patterns will be left. Good entry points are accordingly broken resistances.

Best price performance: Bitcoin Cash

The upcoming hard fork as well as the burning of BCH tokens from Antpool led to a large increase in the Bitcoin Cash price. Since April 18th, the share price has rallied to highs not seen for two months. A steep upward trend is being followed. A test of the plateau, which determined the price in mid-February, is imminent.

The positive and rising MACD and the overbought RSI at 77 together with the price and trend speak a rather bullish language. The market is currently quite overheated, but the hard fork may go further. In the case of a long position, a stop loss should be placed on the support of the downtrend, currently at 946.94 Euros. The first target would be approximately at the level of the mid-February plateau and thus at 1,240.00 Euros.

Cobalt on the blockchain: Overstock subsidiary tZERO develops tokens for rare earths

The tZERO Group is to develop a blockchain solution for cobalt trading on behalf of Chinese GSR Capital. The overstock subsidiary tZERO and the investment company GSR want to create an ecosystem for tokenized raw materials in Asia.

Cobalt gets on the blockchain – at least when it comes to the overstock subsidiary tZERO. On behalf of the Chinese investment company GSR Capital, tZERO is to work on a smart contract solution that enables the trading of tokenized assets. Cobalt will be the first asset to be issued by Smart Contract. In addition, the two companies plan to create an ecosystem for tokenized commodity trading in Asia. In addition, they are flirting with the establishment of a platform for security tokens – the hobbyhorse of tZERO.

Beside tZERO and GSR there will be another Bitcoin formula partner, not named by name:

„To add another important Bitcoin formula partner to this project, the companies will extend the deadline for completing their previously announced capital investment to February 28, 2019, is the message of a joint company press release published on 17 December.

Overstock CEO, tZERO CEO and Blockchain enthusiast Patrick M. Byrne sees Blockchain technology as the future for commodity trading:

„Smart contract automation of these transactions will significantly reduce overall costs and at the same time effectively improve transparency in the procurement of rare earth metals along the entire supply chain. We look forward to bringing the future of raw material sourcing to the global market.“

Blockchain bull Byrne

Only in November Byrne had told the Wall Street Journal that Overstock wanted to rely completely on Blockchain in the future. The company wants to give up retail business completely in the coming year – probably also because the competition in the form of Amazon is too far superior. With Medici, Overstock has a venture capital subsidiary that makes targeted investments in the DLT sector. So far with little success: In 2017, Medici generated a loss of 22 million US dollars. The first nine months of this year were even worse for Medici with a loss of 39 million US dollars.

Nevertheless, Byrne remains as committed to the strategy as he is to his belief in blockchain technology. Byrne thinks long-term and is not upset by Medicis‘ current losses.

Bomb threats in the USA: blackmailers demand Bitcoin

In the United States of America, a particularly audacious e-mail is making the rounds. Blackmailers threaten to blow up public buildings and demand a ransom in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin news: Terrorism à la crypto

The blackmailers demand 20,000 US dollars in Bitcoin – otherwise they want to blow up buildings. As Bitcoin news reported on 13 December, an e-mail went out to public institutions and private individuals threatened with bombs. Read more about it: httpscoin-news-trader/ According to the reports, the blackmailer’s e-mail said:

„How do you do? My mercenary carried the bomb into the building where your business is run. My mercenary built the bomb under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is impossible to destroy the supporting building structure with this explosive, but if it identifies itself as such, there will be many injured.

My recruited person observes the situation around the building. If he notices suspicious activities, panic or police officers, the device will be blown up.

I can call my husband back when you make a transaction. The price for your security is $20,000. Send it to me in Bitcoin and I assure you that I will withdraw my mercenary so that the bomb does not detonate. But don’t try to fool me – my warranty only comes into effect after 3 confirmations in the blockchain.

If there are problems with the transaction, you have to solve it by the end of the day

When the working day is over and people start leaving the building, the bomb will explode.“

„Nothing Personal
As one can further infer from the threats, it is nothing personal, rather the extortion is purely business threats:

„It’s nothing personal, just a business. If I don’t see the Bitcoin and a bomb explodes, other companies will send me more Bitcoin next time, because it’s not a one-time action.

I won’t log in to this email anymore, I monitor my wallet every twenty minutes and when I receive the money, I’ll give my husband the order to leave.

If the bomb explodes and the authorities see this email, we are not a terrorist society and do not take responsibility for explosions in other places.

However, as the local police in Oklahoma point out, such threats have been received in large numbers. However, they are not to be taken seriously, rather they have so far been able to determine „nothing to be taken seriously“. So it says in the tweet of the responsible authority:

We’re working a number of bomb threat calls in OKC. There have been similar threats called into several locations around the country. No credible threat found at this point. We encourage the public to continue to be vigilant and call with anything suspicious.

– Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) 13 December 2018

Suspicion of Scam
Similar threats became known at the beginning of November. Here, blackmailers in the Netherlands threatened with hand grenades if those affected did not comply with the ransom demand. So far, however, there have been no known explosions.

100 Dutch dealers receive free Bitcoin terminal by the news spy

BitPay has teamed up with the startup BitStraat to launch the Amsterdam Bitcoin City project. The project aims to establish Amsterdam as the „Bitcoin capital of the world“.

Interest and the news spy competition

In order to do justice to the news spy title, BitPay and the news spy BitStraat have jointly developed a Bitcoin terminal which is distributed free of charge to exactly 100 dealers in the Netherlands. BitStraat was founded by Max Barendregt and Kasper Keunen and acts as an intermediary between Bitcoin accepting companies and the payment processor BitPay.

„It makes perfect sense to establish Amsterdam as the Bitcoin capital,“ Barendregt says.

„The Dutch capital has proven in the past that it is open-minded, forward-looking and open to new technologies. A decentralised currency for the people would be very welcome. We try to make it possible for all citizens and visitors in the city to pay with Bitcoin. This includes hotels, trips, museums and food in local restaurants.“

The community comes first

Barendregt and Keunen presented BitPay’s ambitions at the Bitcoin2014 conference last May in Amsterdam. BitPay had opened its new headquarters in Amsterdam just a month earlier and was immediately enthusiastic about the idea, according to Moe Levin of BitPay:

„Our community created us, so our philosophy remains simple: We put the community first. This means that every local project that Bitcoin distributes further also spreads interest and brings Bitcoin a bit closer to the mainstream“.

The Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminals for Amsterdam consist of a tablet with special software. The tablet is located in a specially made stand that can be set up at almost any shop counter.

The terminal, the installation and the BitPay payment processing are free of charge for the first 100 companies with a turnover of at least 900 Euro.

Companies that register afterwards have the choice of paying: 10 Euro per month for the complete service or they buy a terminal for an unbeatable 120 Euro.

So far there are 18 registered dealers, but some still need to install the terminal. BiStraat and BitPay hope to have reached the 100 dealers next spring.

To become the Bitcoin capital of the world, Amsterdam has to catch up with another Dutch one: Arnhem`s Bitcoincity had already recruited 15 Bitcoin accepting companies in May and has more than doubled the number to 36 since then.

Altcoin cryptosoft market analysis – Rebound after price fall

Total market capital fell to 329 billion euros. Accordingly, all crypto currencies of the top 10 had to cope with price losses, but a slight recovery is discernible.

The price development of the ten crypto currencies with the highest market capital, which is stated in billions of euros, is shown. For crypto currencies that are currently not directly exchangeable into euros, the respective trading pair was taken with US dollars as the basis and converted into euros.

The end of last week was marked by the fall of many crypto currencies. Whether or not the Upbit stock market investigation was responsible for this price drop: it is well known that the market likes to react quickly to FUD. In any case, the crypto currencies within the top 10 have fallen by an average of 13 percent. Bitcoin itself fell by 10 percent, which is more in the range of noise in crypto markets.

The majority of the cryptosoft prices show a similar behaviour:

On May 12, the cryptosoft price fell to a monthly minimum, tested an important support line and was able to rise again. In this respect, everything looks like a rebound after the recent cryptosoft price fall. Market capital fell from 366 billion euros to 329 billion euros. Nothing has changed in the structure of the top 10.

As was the case last week, one should not simply take a long position, but should for the most part wait for the resistances to be overcome or for the support to bounce back. Analogously, one should wait for a breakthrough of the support or a rebound at a resistance with regard to a short position.

Best price performance: Ethereum (ETH)

Even though the Ethereum price has been falling since 6 May, it continues to behave „according to plan“: Although the second support announced last week was even undercut, the price could bounce off a third support line. Accordingly, the hope remains that a handle of a second larger cup-and-handle pattern will be formed here. In comparison to the other crypto currencies of the top 10, the Ethereum rate „only“ fell by almost 4 percent.

The negative, but rising MACD and the RSI at 50 together with the price and trend speak a neutral language. Before setting a long position, however, one should wait for a break through of the resistance at 643.92 Euro or a bounce at the support at 537.62 Euro. The resistance is defined by the temporary maximum of May 10th, the support line is described by the beginning of March, the end of April and the 1st and 12th of May.

Worst price performance: EOS

After the EOS rally at the end of April there had to be a breather! After the EOS course moved sideways in a triangle pattern at the beginning of May, it fell below the exponential moving averages EMA50 and EMA100 and back to the plateau on 11 May. The price went through this between 24 and 26 April. It had to cope with a total of 20 percent price losses.

A negative but slightly rising MACD and an RSI at 36 confirm the downtrend and lead to a bearish impression. Accordingly, one should rather wait for a rise above the resistance at 13.07 Euro or a bounce at the support at 10.30 Euro and then open a long position. If you want to shorten, you should wait until the price falls below the mentioned support. The support is described by the minimum of the last week, while the resistance is at the level of EMA50 and EMA100.

Stability of the Top 10
Even though the Bitcoin Cash rally is over, the gap between Ripple and Bitcoin Cash is still only 19 percent. Between Litecoin and Cardano lies only 10 percent. Stellar and Cardano are racing head-to-head and are only 6 percent apart. After all, IOTA and Tron are only 11 percent apart as they were last week.

NEO is not out of the race either: Only 11 percent lie between NEO and Tron.

So the „back places“ are still highly contested, even if the gap is not as narrow as last week.

Winners and losers in the course crash
On average, all crypto currencies have dropped by ten percent. The majority of crypto currencies have thus performed about as well or as badly as Bitcoin. For the top 100, the Situatio

Political thought games of the crypto trader

It is not a question of assessing the current political situation or responsibility. Rather, the examples are intended to illustrate that crypto currencies, and thus Bitcoin first and foremost, can be used as a political negotiating tool. Although Bitcoin’s relevance on the global foreign exchange market may seem tiny, the decentralised and nationless form of money brings with it new scope for action.

In theory, Bitcoin can lead to a formal depoliticization of foreign exchange transactions, since institutions such as central banks or financial supervisory authorities cannot exert an institutionally regulated influence on Bitcoin. This does not mean that crypto bans or even attacks, such as a 51 percent attack, cannot influence the ecosystem and the corresponding crypto adaptation.

Music of the future crypto trader

So far, crypto trader, companies and governments have not made full use of this alternative. There is a lack of trading partners and an infrastructure, especially since the still high volatility would make trading transactions even more difficult. So if an oil company, whether state-owned or private, were to attempt to conduct its oil business in Bitcoin, it would fail miserably and bounce off too many technical and above all political hurdles and also crypto trader scam.

So far, Bitcoin is primarily a currency for private individuals and not for companies or public institutions. Over time, however, a rethink is to be expected, especially from politically excluded countries or countries struggling with inflation.

And it doesn’t even have to be the sanctioned countries that can benefit from Bitcoin payments. Even medium-sized companies that supply exports such as machines and cars all over the world could benefit from fast and unbureaucratic transactions. Instead of having to own several foreign currency accounts, a corporate bitcoin wallet could bring additional flexibility to the export and import business by, for example, shortening payment periods through faster international payments.

All Theory

These are, of course, all theoretical ideas that will not be put into practice in the short or medium term. But this is exactly what it is all about with a view to major technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things. Not only to have the next weeks or the next two years in sight, but also the next five years. Even if crypto currencies will not be used in the near future for large commercial transactions, especially by corporations or state-owned companies such as institutions, it is important to think through various scenarios.

To what extent can states influence the crypto-economy regionally? Will there be a need for separate agreements in future if conflicts of interest are no longer only to be dealt with on the Fiat currency exchanges, but also on the crypto exchanges? What could state Bitcoin sanctions look like? How can the decentralised logic of the crypto economy be brought together with the often central organisational logic of the regulatory authorities?

Many questions, few answers. This is precisely what makes the crypto-economy so exciting and should encourage anyone interested in cryptography to conduct thought experiments.

Clipboard Hijacker: Malware Empties Bitcoin Wallets

A rather new malware called Clipboard Hijacker is intended to manipulate the clipboard of Windows computers. As soon as the user stores a Bitcoin address known to the system in the clipboard, the address is automatically changed. The crypto currency then ends up in the wallet of the cybercriminals instead of on the desired account. This new variant is part of the recently released „All-Radio 4.27 Portable“ malware package. It automatically monitors around 2.3 million Bitcoin addresses.

The Bleeping Computer team has identified a particularly sophisticated malicious software for Windows computers

The Clipboard Hijacker contains 2.3 million Bitcoin addresses that are worth cash to cybercriminals. Many users of online trading places copy & paste the destination address of the wallet. However, as soon as one of the 2.3 million known addresses appears in the clipboard, the Trojan changes the clipboard. Instead of the desired wallet address, the cybercriminal’s address is automatically entered. The number of stored wallets is record-breaking. Previously known Clipboard Hijackers had only 400,000 to 600,000 addresses of different crypto currencies (mostly Bitcoin) in their portfolio.

The malware installs itself quickly, silently and easily. After downloading the file d3dx11_31.dll, the virus creates an executable file called „DirectX 11“, which is not noticed by outsiders due to its name. This file becomes active as soon as the user logs on to Windows. Later, two more files are stored on the target computer. Nothing happens afterwards. The malware should not interfere with normal operation and is not noticeable in any other way. The infected computer waits for the moment until you insert a wallet address into the clipboard. This will then be changed if necessary. The problem: If the user does not carefully check the wallet’s target address, he will not detect the fraud. When the coins are sent, they end up on the account of the cybercriminals and are therefore lost forever.

How can I protect myself from the Clipboard Hijacker?

If you want to protect yourself against manipulation of your Bitcoin transfers, you should update your anti-virus software. The antivirus software should then check the PC completely. In addition, it always makes sense to manually synchronize the target address with the original several times during transfers. Even with new types of malware, you can prevent money from being redirected to the accounts of third parties, even if your computer is infected. Clipboard hijackers were reported to have been infected more than ten years ago, when Mac OS X users were also affected. New is the change of the clipboard to redirect crypto currencies. The earlier malware was immediately noticeable because the clipboard was no longer usable. The new variant is particularly insidious because it only becomes noticeable when it is too late and at the same time has an extensive database of Bitcoin addresses.