A Simple Explanation of Blockchain

A Simple Explanation of “Blockchain”

Sometimes it takes a while to thoroughly understand a new concept. Blockchain is such a term for some people. One of the things that process difficult is the fact that it sounds like something that it isn’t….or it seems so at first.

In the case of blockchain….It’s not actually a ‘block´. Or is it?

And it sure isn’t a ‘chain’. Or is it?

Actually, when the term is explained the way that I’m going to, it is a block and it is a chain. But first, let’s try a definition of blockchain from another angle. An angle of use or utility.

Blockchain is, like many other great technological advances, a tool designed to solve a problem. It was invented to make certain things easier to accomplish and more efficient.  

In the evolution of capitalism, we see that many great inventions and advances were efforts to make something easier… such as these advances in computers and the internet….

  1. The internet made it much easier for specialists to publish.

  2. Blogging made it even easier for everybody else to publish.

  3. WordPress revolutionized blogging and publishing even more.

  4. Google revolutionized information search and retrieval.

  5. Facebook dramatically changed social dynamics (some would argue for the worse).

  6. YouTube revolutionized media creation, entertainment, and distribution.

  7. The ‘cloud’ made it easy to store digital material and eliminated some IT resource problems.

  8. Outsourcing sites like Fiverr, Odesk, et.al. revolutionized outsourcing.

And there are probably other ‘advances’ that could be added to the list too. But the point is that each step forward made something easier that it had been.

So….Blockchain needs to be seen as a tool for making something easier.

But…. making what easier?

Blockchain makes recording transactions (i.e. anything that could be described in finite terms) easier. Currently the most publically topical type of transaction that blockchain is used for is cryptocurrency transactions but it can be used for many other types of transactions too.

The important connecting factor here is that transactions need to be recorded in some way…especially financial transactions and blockchain specifically makes that process easier, faster and more secure. Even to the point of total anonymity.

The unique aspects of a blockchain include the following characteristics:

  • Blockchain is decentralized

  • Blockchain has no central controlling authority

  • Blockchain Is owned, maintained and updated by its component the nodes…i.e. the members.

  • Block is much more efficient and trustworthy.

Note: Not always mentioned by public relations representative of various industries touting blockchain in their operations is the fact that it has great potential for reducing the number of 'humans' on their payrolls.

To summarize thus far…blockchain is an advance in efficiency. Especially in multiple attributes related to saving time and user confidence.

Now…onward to the terminology to which most people cannot attach a mental image.

The term ‘blockchain’ comes from the way that blockchain transactions have been illustrated as being sequentially and carefully been added to one another… somewhat like a chain of connected items, each lending strength to the other, and then packed in a box. The beginning and end of the chain relate to the transaction itself.

It is also enlightening for consumers who think that blockchain only relates to cryptocurrency to realize that many experts in the financial community see blockchain as having other and far greater application to banking. To their minds, most of the bitcoin media buzz misses the point or at least doesn’t mention the full benefits to established financial institutions.

And here’s one more definition:

A member of the audience at the Fintech Week in London in September 2015 ask the panel, “Can you define blockchain in one or two sentences?” Panelist Lee Braine, a computer science PhD in the CTO office of Barclays, responded, “It’s a way of chunking transactions into a batch, called a block, and then a way of hashing them with the previous block block to ensure immutability.”

In final practical summary for the average user of blockchain technology, the more you try to define blockchain the more confusing it seems to get. It’s better to just keep it simple. And then suddenly you realize that you really don’t care about ‘the definition’. You understand that it just works and you just want to use it.
 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
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PoW vs. PoS – What’s The Peoples Choice?

PoW vs. PoS – What’s The People’s Choice?

Because Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is still so new, it’s hard to say conclusively what ‘customers’ actually want. And even if one wanted to venture an opinion (like I will here) it’s still important to remember that blockchain and cryptocurrency is not a totally homogeneous market and there certainly are different niches within the overall market too.

But if you are, or plan to be, a cryptocurrency user one thing you most likely do want is security and speed. That’s where these two terms, Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) may confront you.

When I started hearing those words, it seemed like they were important. Since the definition wasn’t really specified in the context where I heard them, I did some searching. Here’s what I found. I’m not a guru in this stuff but I think this is pretty accurate:

First of all, remember that blockchain is an algorithm (albeit a very unique one). Within and around the Bitcoin algorithm there are peripheral and subset algorithms. Two of those are PoS and PoW. My understanding is that the two never occur simultaneously but every cryptocurrency uses either one or the other.

What Are PoS and PoW Used For?

PoS and PoW have to do, in varying degrees, with the security and speed issues of cryptocurrency. Specifically relating to the security issues, remember that one of the core unique benefits of the blockchain is that the transactions that take place within it are supposedly true and authentic.

How did they get that way?

Because they were verified.

How or by whom?

The transactions were verified by the other people or entities on the blockchain. In the case of PoW, that number of people is fewer because the coins are mined by a relatively small group of people.

In the case of PoS, that number is larger because PoS systems employ a more decentralized/dispersed mining and verification system. It’s more of a communal system while still maintaining the anonymity that cryptocurrency users usually like.

Both processes have been adequate up to now but the reason (as I understand it) that some well-known cryptocurrencies (Ethercoin) are switching from PoW to PoS is because the PoW is less democratic, more centralized (comparatively), much more resource intensive (read “expensive”), and more susceptible to corruption via what is known as a 51% atttack.

Note: In a 51% attack, a person or (more likely) a group of people (in this scenario…miners) taking over the system for their own nefarious purposes.

In a PoS system, the strength of it is not so much the fact that the people who mined the coins are doing the verification but the fact that the people who currently actually posses the coins mutually share the transaction verification process.

In both methods the objective is to ensure an authentic, fast transaction but many users and experts now seem to feel that a PoS system give not only quicker transaction verifications but also is less vulnerable to ‘takeovers’ by 51%’ers.

Note: My understanding is that a 51% attack is, up to the present time, only hypothetically possible. But when you consider the amount of money going into the cryptocurrency environment, you can’t blame decision makers for being cautious.

To state in another way, PoW is strong on trust because the validations come from the people who did/do the mining. PoW is strong on validation because the validations come from massive consensus.

This validation power, as you will see, is also sometimes referred to as “agreement”. But, as I understand it, it means the same thing in most contexts.

One soon-to-be-launched altcoin, MyCryptoCoin (MCC), will use a totally new, very versatile and robust eWallet based on the PoS algorithm. The MCC eWallet will be truly revolutionary because its speed will match current credit card processing times yet it will be far more functional with its interface with multiple payment systems and financial institutions–to include not only cryptocurrency but also fiat currency and institutions.

And… it will offer privacy features that current credit/debit cards do not.

Summary and Recommendation

In my neophyte opinion, the average cryptocurrency user would probably be wise to make sure that whatever cryptocurrency they use is based on a PoS algorithm. As I understand it, PoS systems have faster, safer, and more accurate transactions.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
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What is Bitcoin

What is Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has yet to be verified. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government issued currencies.

There are no physical Bitcoins, only balances associated with public and private keys. These balances are kept on a public ledger, along with all Bitcoin transactions, that is verified by a massive amount of computing power.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bitcoin'

Bitcoin balances are kept using public and private "keys," which are long strings of numbers and letters linked through the mathematical encryption algorithm that was used to create them. The public key (comparable to a bank account number) serves as the address which is published to the world and to which others may send Bitcoin. The private key (comparable to an ATM PIN) is meant to be a guarded secret and only used to authorize Bitcoin transmissions.

Digital Copy

A duplicate record of every confirmed Bitcoin transaction that has taken place over a peer-to-peer network. Digital copy is one of the security features of the Bitcoin platform that was implemented in order to tackle the problem of double spending.

BREAKING DOWN 'Digital Copy'

The rise of cryptocurrencies became prominent in 2009 with the introduction of Bitcoin. One of the catalysts behind the creation of Bitcoin was the desire to operate in a currency that could not be controlled by any central authority. Unlike the U.S. dollar, which can have its value adjusted for inflationary measures by the Federal Reserve, the Bitcoin is independent of any controlling body. In fact, no one controls the Bitcoin. The Bitcoin operates through a decentralized system which means a network of independent computers worldwide communicate and transmit Bitcoin transactions and data to each other. However, transacting in digital currency using a decentralized system brought about a problem known as double spending.

Double-Spending

The risk that a digital currency can be spent twice. Double-spending is a problem unique to digital currencies because digital information can be reproduced relatively easily. Physical currencies do not have this issue because they cannot be easily replicated, and the parties involved in a transaction can immediately verify the bona fides of the physical currency. With digital currency, there is a risk that the holder could make a copy of the digital token and send it to a merchant or another party while retaining the original. This was a concern initially with Bitcoin, the most popular digital currency or "cryptocurrency," since it is a decentralized currency with no central agency to verify that it is spent only once. However, Bitcoin has a mechanism based on transaction logs to verify the authenticity of each transaction and prevent double-counting.

BREAKING DOWN 'Double-Spending'

Bitcoin requires that all transactions, without exception, be included in a shared public transaction log known as a "block chain." This mechanism ensures that the party spending the bitcoins really owns them and also prevents double-counting and other fraud. The block chain of verified transactions is built up over time as more and more transactions are added to it. Bitcoin transactions take some time to verify because the process involves intensive number-crunching and complex algorithms that take up a great deal of computing power. It is, therefore, exceedingly difficult to duplicate or falsify the block chain because of the immense amount of computing power that would be required to do so.

Hackers have tried to get around the Bitcoin verification system by using methods such as out-computing the block chain security mechanism or using a double-spending technique that involves sending a fraudulent transaction log to a seller and another to the rest of the Bitcoin network. These ploys have met with only limited success. In fact, most Bitcoin thefts so far have not involved double-counting, but rather have been due to users storing bitcoins without adequate safety measures.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

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Still Too Big To Fail?

 Still Too Big To Fail?

If another sector fit the description above – bloated, with too many inefficient competitors scrapping over a highly-regulated, barely-profitable market – the solution might be to let competition do its bloody work. Unfortunately, as the world saw in 2008, some institutions are too big to fail.

           

When Lehman Brothers radioactive portfolio of mortgages began to threaten the bank's future in mid-2008, CEO Richard Fuld hunted for any sort of rescue, be it a fresh investment, a merger, a buy-out, a change to Federal Reserve rules or an outright bailout. The bank ran out of options and declared bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, an event that laid bare the fragility of the global financial system.

Over the following days, hedge funds that traded through Lehman's London office found that their assets were frozen, sowing panic behind the scenes. The crisis erupted into plain view when major money market funds "broke the buck" – announced they would not be able to repay investors in full – sparking a flight from a commercial paper that threatened to deprive large corporations in every sector of the cash they needed to pay workers and invoices. Gargantuan, system-wide government bailouts stopped the bleeding, but the world still feels the effects of a crisis triggered by a single bank failure eight years ago.

Monte dei Paschi di Siena

On Wednesday, December 21, Italy's parliament approved a €20 billion rescue package for the country's weakest banks, beginning with its third-largest and most precarious, Monte dei Paschi. The news caused shares to recover slightly after plunging 19.1% – pausing for a trading halt – to €15.00; markets punished the already limping stock after Monte dei Paschi announced Wednesday that its €10.6 billion liquidity position would run out in April, seven months earlier than previously forecast.

The bank continues to try to raise private money in a €5 billion recapitalization effort. The ECB has given it until the end of 2016 to raise the money and dispose of €27.7 billion in bad loans – the net value of which is estimated at €9.2 billion. It has threatened to wind Monte dei Paschi down if it fails to do so. On December 9, the central bank rejected a request for a three-week extension, yanking Monte dei Paschi's shares down by nearly 11%.

As part of a plan developed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and unveiled in October, the struggling lender began exchanging subordinated bonds for equity in late November, raising around €1 billion by December 2. The plan was to supplement money raised through the debt-for-equity swap with an anchor investment. To sweeten the deal, the bank said it would target €1.1 billion in net profit by the end of 2019. It has already eliminated its dividend; to cut costs further, it announced that it would slash 2,600 jobs and shut 500 branches. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts were skeptical, asking in a research note if it is "even possible" to raise €5 billion in fresh capital for a €550 million company (at close on October 25). Apparently not. The Financial Times reported Wednesday that the bank had failed to secure a €1 billion anchor investor from a Qatari government fund, prompting the €20 billion bailout.

The failure is due to a number of factors, but politics is front and center. Along with the news that Monte dei Paschi's swap had come up short on December 2 came reports that the government was in discussions with the European Commission regarding the terms of a bailout for the bank. A referendum on constitutional changes championed by then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was scheduled for December 4, and a litany of precedents – Trump, Brexit, the FARC deal, Greece's rejection of the Troika's bailout terms – seemed to indicate that Italy's voters were in no mood to go along with their government's plans. Sources had told the Financial Times at the beginning of the week that, if the referendum were rejected, eight of Italy's weakest banks could fail.

Italians did not disappoint, voting "No" to Renzi's reform plans by a staggering 20 percentage point margin. Renzi resigned and was replaced by Paolo Gentiloni, the minister of foreign affairs. Given that the Democratic Party clearly lacked popular support for its agenda, private investors feared that a less predictable government, led by the Five Star Movement or the far-right Northern League, could come to power. Both parties are hostile to the single currency: Northern League leader Matteo Salvini called it "a crime against humanity" in 2013, while former comedian and Five Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo has campaigned for a referendum on leaving the eurozone.

On December 7, Reuters reported that the Italian government was preparing to take a controlling stake of up to 40% in Monte dei Paschi, in what an unnamed source called a "de-facto nationalization." The €2 billion injection was reported to take the form of bond purchases by the Treasury: retail investors numbering around 40,000 would receive face value for their bonds, which the government would then convert to shares in the bank. According to a Financial Times report Wednesday, Rome is likely to take a majority stake, perhaps up to 70%. The government will have to go deeper into debt to fund the bailout: according to UniCredit economist Loredana Federico, the rescue package is likely to increase Italy's debt-to-GDP ratio – already the eurozone's highest, bar Greece – to over 134% in 2017, from a previously forecast 133.2%.

Monte dei Paschi pressed on with its private recapitalization effort anyway, relaunching on December 16 the debt-for-equity swap that had ended earlier in the month. Although the bank's shares are practically worthless – if it weren't for a 100-to-1 reverse split in late November, they would be worth less than €0.20 each – the prospect of seeing the bank's bonds lose their entire value in a bail-in pushed more investors to take the trade. Just not enough: the swap, which ended Wednesday afternoon (local time), is reportedly on track to raise €1.7 altogether, far short of the goal – particularly without a fresh investment from Qatar. A fresh share sale, launched on Monday, also flopped.

Atlante, a fund set up to rescue Italy's banks, said Wednesday it would not go through with a €1.5 billion investment in the bank's bad loans unless the state's cash call was limited to €1 billion and did not violate EU state aid rules.

Bail-in

Barring a miracle, Monte dei Paschi is set to take public money. According to EU rules implemented at the beginning of the year, it must first receive a bail-in, meaning that junior bondholders must take a loss amounting to 8% of the bank's assets before bailout money can flow in. In countries where bank bonds are mostly held by institutions, that might not be a disaster, but Italy's tax code and cultural norms encourage retail investors to hold bank bonds – around €200 billion nationwide. A much smaller bail-in caused an Italian saver to kill himself in December 2015. Reports are focusing on the possibility that investors will be compensated, but nothing has been definitively worked out.

The hope is that, once the Italian Treasury has become the bank's controlling shareholder (it is already the largest, with a 4% stake), private investors will be confident enough to fill in the gap left by the debt-for-equity swap and the government's investment.

Renzi tried for months to convince Brussels to allow for the use of public money, but Germany and others in Europe's "core" were in no mood for taxpayer-funded bailouts. "We wrote the rules for the credit system," German chancellor Angela Merkel, who is facing elections in 2017, told reporters in June. "We cannot change them every two years." In the wake of the referendum, circumstances appear to have changed.

A Long-standing Problem

Stress tests conducted by the European Banking Authority in July found that nearly eight years after the financial crisis began, the continent still harbored at least one bank liable to walk off a cliff in a downturn. Monte dei Paschi saw its fully-loaded common equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio, a risk-weighed measure of capital, fall to -2.4% in 2018 under the test's adverse scenario. In other words, the bank would be insolvent, and its collapse could potentially lead to other bank failures. It was the only one among 51 banks surveyed to earn that distinction, though struggling Greek, Cypriot and Portuguese banks were excluded from the test.

Monte dei Paschi's struggles were well-known going into the stress tests. The lender had unveiled a restructuring plan just hours beforehand, showing it was not banking on a pleasant surprise. Founded in 1472, Monte dei Paschi is the world's oldest surviving bank, but in this case, antiquity does not imply stability. Prior to the first quarter of 2015, when it turned a modest profit, it had lost money for 11 straight quarters – over €10 billion in total. In the three months to September, the bank swung to lose again, of €1.2 billion.

Shortly before Europe's financial crisis struck, Monte dei Paschi bought Antonveneta from Banco Santander S.A. (SAN) for an inflated €9 billion. In 2013 that acquisition – funded by a complex hybrid instrument designed by JPMorgan – became the subject of an investigation that also uncovered complex derivative contracts with Deutsche Bank and Nomura Holdings Inc. (NMR), which Monte dei Paschi management had used to conceal losses in 2009. Three former executives received 3.5-year prison sentences in connection with the fraud in 2014.

Monte dei Paschi took a €1.9 billion bailout in 2009 in the form of Tremonti bonds, named by the finance minister at the time. These were hybrid securities designed for sale by struggling banks – four in all, three of which had repaid by mid-2013 – to the Italian government; the proceeds counted towards regulatory capital requirements. Monte dei Paschi ducked out of the European bailout of Spain's banking system in 2012, but the following year it sold Italy €4.1 billion in rejiggered Tremonti bonds (known as Monti bonds after Tremonti's successor). Of this sum, €2.1 would substitute for the first bailout, including interest. The bank has raised around €8 billion through additional rights issues since 2014, diluting previous shareholders' stakes, yet its market capitalization as of December 20 is a mere €501 million.

Deutsche Bank

Ironically, given Merkel's avowed reluctance to bail out banks, the other European institution that keeps markets up at night hails from Germany. In June, the IMF named Deutsche Bank "the most important net contributor to systemic risks" among the so-called global systemically important banks (G-SIBS).

Linkages among global systemically important banks. The Size of bubbles indicates asset size; thickness of arrows indicates a degree of linkage; a direction of arrows indicates the direction of "net spillover." Source: IMF Financial System Stability Assessment, June 2016.

On September 15 the angst surrounding Deutsche Bank deepened when it confirmed reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was seeking a $14 billion settlement for alleged wrongdoing related to mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007. The bank's New York-listed shares plunged by over 9% the next day, as it had only €5.5 billion set aside for the purpose – less than the €6.8 billion it had lost the previous year. (A couple of weeks later, Greece's central bank chief relished the opportunity to announce that his country's banking system was safe from German spillover.)

On Thursday, December 22, the bank announced that it would pay a reduced fine of $7.2 billion, consisting of a $3.1 billion civil monetary penalty and $4.1 billion in consumer relief in the U.S., primarily in the form of loan modifications. Even with the diminished fine, though, Deutsche Bank is in a precarious position. As of September 30, it had €5.9 billion ($6.4 billion) set aside for litigation expenses, up from €5.5 billion at the end of the previous quarter. JPMorgan analysts wrote on September 15 that a final bill over $4 billion would raise questions about the bank's capital position. They pointed out that the mortgage-backed security probe is not the last potentially costly legal issue Deutsche Bank could face in the near future: investigations into money laundering for Russian clients, foreign exchange rate manipulation and sanctions violations are also underway.

Few had expected Deutsche Bank to pay the full $14 billion, which could have pushed it over the brink. Citigroup Inc. (C) talked the DOJ down to $7 billion in 2014 from a $12 billion initial ask. Other fines for similar activity range from Morgan Stanley's (MS) $3.2 billion to Bank of America Corp.'s (BAC) $16.7 billion.

Following the announcement that the DOJ was seeking $14 billion in September, speculation began to swirl that Germany would flout the bail-in rules it had expended such political energy to defend, though Merkel has ruled out state assistance, according to government sources quoted in Munich-based Focus magazine.

Deutsche Bank's CET1 capital ratio has fallen since the end of 2014, though it rose slightly in the third quarter of 2016 to 11.1%. At 10.8% in June, the ratio was around €7 billion shy of CEO John Cryan's 12.5% end-2018 goal. Selling Postbank and its stake in Hua Xia Bank Co. Ltd. will likely bring Deutsche Bank closer to that target, but stricter rules could push its capital ratio even lower.

While Deutsche Bank has taken a few heavy losses since the financial crisis in Europe began, it could conceivably have built up more capital through retained earnings and avoided looking so brittle when the DOJ came knocking. John Cryan, the bank's CEO since July 2015, has set his sights on executive pay, telling a conference in Frankfurt that November, "many people in the sector still believe they should be paid entrepreneurial wages for turning up to work with a regular salary, a pension and probably a health-care scheme and playing with other people's money." Chief financial officer Marcus Schneck told investors on October 27 the bank would dispense with cash bonuses for the year and may tie executive compensation to the stock price. On November 17 Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Deutsche bank may cancel six former executives' unpaid bonuses, without specifying the amount. In fairness, shareholders have taken a greater share of earnings than executives – though not per head – in the form of dividends, which were discontinued in 2015.

Better-than-expected third-quarter earnings of €278 million, announced on October 27, have given Deutsche Bank a moment to catch its breath, but the firm remains vulnerable, and it does not have to be the European banking crisis' zero cell to contribute to the carnage – it could serve as a conduit. Deutsche Bank reported net exposure to Italian financial institutions of €1.9 billion at the end of the third quarter, up €1.1 billion from year-end. Its net credit risk exposure to the PIIGS countries is €31.1 billion, up €4.9 billion.

Will There Be a European Banking Crisis?

The ultimate question is whether, if one of these banks or another were to collapse, the world would see a repeat of the Lehman moment. Kevin Dowd, professor of finance and economics at the University of Durham, answered this question in stark terms in an August report for the Adam Smith Institute: "Once contagion spreads from Italy to Germany and then to the UK, we will have a new banking crisis but on a much grander scale" than in 2007 and 2008.

Not everyone agrees. "No, I don't see them as the next Lehman," Harvard Law School professor Hal Scott told Investopedia on October 31. "I think that there are problems that are idiosyncratic to some extent to each bank. I don't see panic ensuing from how they're dealt with." In fact, he sees the European banking system as having "more capability to handle a contagion than in the United States," due to Americans' unwillingness to see a repeat of the 2008 bailouts.

Scott explained that European authorities have three "weapons" that would allow them to put a stop to financial contagion "pretty quickly." First is the ability of national central banks to act as a lender of last resort, although the ECB can cap the amount these banks lend. "I'm pretty confident that the Italian central bank and [German] Bundesbank would lend," he said, adding, "I think there would be a strong lender of last resort response in Europe."

The second weapon is the Single Resolution Mechanism, what Scott called a form of "standing TARP," which envisions the use of banking industry contributions, creditors' money and public funds to resolve failing banks. Finally, while the EU lacks a system-wide deposit insurance scheme, there are rules governing national schemes, which guarantee up to €100,000 per depositor per bank.

While Scott does not see Deutsche Bank or Monte dei Paschi setting off another Lehman-like chain reaction, he identified flaws in the European banking system's current design. It would be better, he said, if the ECB acted as the lender of last resort rather than national central banks. He is also doubtful of capital requirements' ability to stem a panic: "in a run on a system, no amount of reasonable capital is going to be sufficient." Such requirements are a good thing, he clarified, like enhancing a building's ability to withstand fire – even so, "you don't abolish the fire department."

If and when something goes wrong in Europe's fragile banking system, avoiding a full-blown financial crisis in Europe will likely depend on policymakers' ability to quickly reassure markets and depositors. According to Scott, national and continental authorities' capabilities are "more than adequate." On the other hand, judging by the state of Europe's banks nearly a decade after the initial crack-up, resolving crises quickly may not be the continent's strong suit.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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The European Banking Crisis Explained

Monte dei Paschi, which had previously estimated that its €10.6 billion liquidity position would run out in 11 months, said Wednesday that it would run out in four months. Trading in the stock was halted as shares plunged to a low 19.1% below their previous close; they pared losses to 12.1% at close. With its stock at €16.30 per share, the bank is worth just €477.9 million, less than a tenth of the amount it must raise in fresh capital by year-end to avoid being wound down by regulators.

Meanwhile Italy's parliament approved on Wednesday a €20 billion rescue package for Monte dei Paschi and other struggling banks. The lender's board is meeting Thursday and is expected to formally request a bailout. The Italian cabinet is then expected to approve the resuce Thursday or Friday. Due to EU rules implemented at the beginning of the year, the bailout will require junior bondholders to take a haircut worth 8% of assets before public funds can kick in. That is a politically toxic prospect, since Italian retail investors have a greater tendency to invest in bank bonds than their counterparts in other countries. A senior Italian official told the Financial Times Thursday that a scheme to compensate retail investors is "ready," but did not provide details.

Deutsche Bank announced Thursday that it had agreed to a $7.2 billion with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for its mishandling of mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007. The fine had been a source of anxiety since September, when the DOJ asked for a potentially crushing settlement of $14 billion. While the reduced fine has come as a relief, it is still larger than Deutsche Bank's litigation provisions, and the bank faces further fines that could renew questions about its capital position.

If Monte dei Paschi, Deutsche Bank or another vulnerable lender runs out of options, many fear that financial contagion reminiscent of the fallout from Lehman Brothers' collapse could drag the world economy back into chaos. What ails European banks generally, and Deutsche Bank and Monte dei Paschi in particular? Can they be saved, and if not, can the financial system be saved from them?

Why Are European Banks in a Crisis?

Europe's economy is mostly listless and in a few areas deeply distressed. Average unemployment in the 19-nation euro area is nearly 10%, and the rate is over 20% in Greece. The financial crisis in Europe that began when the U.S. mortgage bubble burst is still grinding across the continent in different guises, including the sovereign debt crisis that periodically threatens to pull Greece out of the eurozone.

Despite the lingering effects of the financial crisis in Europe, the continent's banks are still profitable: average return on equity was 6.6% in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), compared to 15.2% in 2006 and 2007. But borrowing and fee-generating activities have decreased, and non-performing loans continue to weigh on the sector, particularly in the “PIIGS” countries: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. (See also, Understanding the Downfall of Greece's Economy.)

If economic weakness has hurt banks, so have policymakers' attempts to set the continent on a new course. New regulations have increased costs and cut into profits once achieved through risky trading strategies. Even more painful are negative interest rates, an unconventional monetary policy approach that first appeared in Sweden in July 2009 and has since spread to Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary and the 19 countries of the eurozone (as well as Japan). Six central banks have introduced negative interest rates to European 24 countries since 2009 (note: not all rates shown are headline rates). Source: central banks.

As a result, banks are finding their margins squeezed. Most are unwilling to pass negative interest on to savers, fearing an exodus of deposits. (Your mattress doesn't charge a fee.) At least one lender has bowed to the pressure to pass on negative savings rates, however: in August, a community bank in southern Germany announced it would charge a 0.4% fee on deposits of more than €100,000 ($109,000). A spokeswoman for the National Association of German Cooperative Banks described the move, which affected perhaps 150 people, as a reaction to the European Central Bank's (ECB) "disastrous policy of low interest rates." (See also, Negative Interest Rates Spread to Emerging Markets.)

A look at Deutsche Bank and Monte dei Paschi's stocks bolsters the idea that negative rates have been a nightmare for banks: the lenders' shares lost 88.6% and 99.6% of their value in the nine years to June 30, respectively, as the ECB's deposit rate fell from 2.75% to -0.4%. Monte dei Paschi's stock closed at €16.30 on December 21; if it weren't for a 100-to-1 reverse stock split on November 28, the price would be €0.16.

This confluence of factors led Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) CEO Tidjane Thiam to call European banks "not really an investable sector" in September. But according to the IMF, blaming economic lethargy and hyper-accommodative monetary policy is not enough. The fund estimates that a rise in interest rates, an increase in fee generation and trading gains, and a fall in provision expenses on soured loans would, combined, boost European bank profitability by around 40% in terms of return on assets. And yet, $8.5 trillion, or around 30% of the system's assets would "remain weak."

For all the cyclical challenges facing Europe's banks, their problems are not just cyclical. According to the IMF, the sector needs to cut costs and rethink business models. Consolidation is also necessary: the fund estimates that 46% of the continent's banks hold just 5% of its deposits.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

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Dollar Cost Averaging With Cryptocurrency

Dollar Cost Averaging With Cryptocurrency

This article is really about Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) and how it relates to investing money into cryptocurrency. DCA is an investment philosophy, well known to equities investors. It became a hot investment topic when the general public began to learn about mutual funds back in the 80’s.

I first heard about DCA in the late 80’s when I was a licensed seller of mutual funds with the A.L.Williams Company, the originator and pioneer of the “Buy Term and Invest The Difference” personal financial planning philosophy.

One highly reputable mutual fund which we sold at that time was the Templeton family of funds. Sir John Templeton is now deceased but he was one of the original pioneers of smart mutual fund investing. His company was very successful… partly because it wasn’t even headquartered in NYC so his research was always more independent.

In fact, his company was one of the first mutual funds which diversified internationally. He was very innovative and somewhat contrarian for his time but he had a highly respected reputation as an investor, businessman, and philanthropist.

His company later merged with Franklin Funds and is now known as Franklin Templeton Funds.

DCA was one of a three part investment strategy which has pretty much always been effective for those who have followed it. The three parts of the strategy are:

  1. Diversify

  2. Invest Long Term

  3. Dollar Cost Average

Assuming you know what mutual funds are, you’ll know that many funds are diversified. You’ll also know that most people who hold mutual funds do so for the long term. But you might not know about DCA.

DCA always works….in a rising market. It does not work in a consistently falling market (unless you’re looking for tax write-offs). It does not so much ensure a profit (at least not in traditional equities) but it does protect against a significant loss.

Little blips in the market don’t matter. In fact, they’re expected. But any problem with minor downturns is always negated by a long-term perspective — in a rising market.

The key to making DCA work is to invest a consistent amount of money at regular intervals. Using equities as an example: Investing $100 @ month, the investor gets 4 shares when the shares sell at $25 each. But if the price of the stock goes down to $20 he/she gets 5 shares. Which is better in the future? 4 shares or 5 shares?

But what about if the price of the share goes up, i.e. it costs more. For example, $33 @ share. That means that the investor still invests $100 but now only gets 3 shares instead of more. That’s still OK because if the market is rising, it’s still a good investment.

As an example, I sold a program of just a small amount of money invested in one of the funds to my pastor back in Galveston, TX. A couple of years ago when I touched based with him (he’s now retired) on the phone, he said to me, “Art, I’ve got to thank you for something.”

I of course had no idea what he was talking about. But he proceeded to tell me that he had maintained that investment program in his Templeton fund for a long time. And he told me it had turned out very well for him.

That’s the proof of the pudding for Dollar Cost Averaging.

So how does that relate to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency?

It means simply that most people need not worry about ‘technical trading’ in their cryptocurrency part of their portfolio….unless it’s something they just ‘get off’ on. And, make no mistake about it. There are lots of people who ‘Day Trade’ in cryptocurrencies. But day-trading is not for the average person.

But for the average person, long-term investing of tolerable amounts of ‘money’ in cryptocurrency carries not only minimal risk but also relatively assured capital preservation and upside potential.

Certainly getting in on a coin launch at 10 cents @ coin is a great opportunity when the coin launches at $1 and is reasonably expected to appreciate rapidly thereafter. But even if you have to get ‘in’ at $1 or $2, that’s still a good deal if the coin appreciates rapidly.

Cryptocurrency is an investment but it’s a very new kind of investment. In my opinion, it only barely falls with the traditional definition of “investments” (mostly because it’s not something tangible like a stock certificate, bond, deed, or other better-known type of investments). But again, ‘money’ isn’t really what most people think it is any more,is it?

Investing is not gambling. Gambling is putting money at risk by betting on an uncertain outcome with the hope that you might win or make money.

However, at this point in time putting some money into a reputable cryptocurrency, in whatever amount is comfortable to you, is not a gamble. The existing growth charts, when combined with prudent research and due consideration, definitely make Bitcoin, and many reputable altcoins (such as MyCryptoCurrency), a wise investment and almost immeasurable risk.

Just ‘play’ it wisely by Dollar Cost Averaging. Or put a lump sum into it and set your alarm to come back and check it in a year or two. And don’t think you’re going to be a ‘trader’ if you’re not already one. You don’t need to do that… to win your game.
 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
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Bitcoin Advocates Close To Trump

Bitcoin Advocates Close To Trump

President-elect Donald Trump has brought at least three individuals into his new administration who are publically pro-bitcoin. Who are the individuals and what makes them interesting?

They are:

  • For the position of US Director of Office of Management and Budget, Trump appointed US Congressman Mick Mulvaney, a Tea Party Republican, a hardline fiscal conservative known as being very outspoken about drastically cutting  federal spending on social programs. Mr. Mulvaney is also a founding member of the bipartisan Blockchain Caucus, aka the "Bitcoin Caucus" whose purpose is to help congress remain current on crypto/blockchain technologies and currency, and how to develop policies to advance them. He is also a very outspoken advocate of abolishing the Federal Reserve.

  • Peter Thiel, one of the original founders of PayPal, vocal bitcoin advocate, and outspoken gay billionaire has been offered a position on Trump’s transition team executive committee but has yet to accept. Nevertheless, the offer shows that Trump is not shy about bringing bitcoin advocates into his administration.

  • Betsy DeVoss, daughter-in-law of Amway co-founder Rich DeVoss, has been picked by Trump to be Secretary of Education but has yet to be vetted and approved by the appropriate congressional committee. Her position on bitcoin is unknown but it might be assumed that being closely associated with Amway she might be pro bitcoin. Ironically… her kids go to private schools but considering that she has always been an advocate for quality education she might possibly be presumed to be pro bitcoin.

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry, an outspoken advocate for bitcoin, has been nominated for Secretary of Department of Energy and is awaiting congressional confirmation.

A few other prominent politicians who have in recent years spoken positively about bitcoin include:

1. Jared Polis

A US congressman known for saying that the US dollar should be banned instead of bitcoin.

2. Dan Elder

A candidate for US House of Representatives in 2016 famous in the bitcoin community for funding his campaign solely by bitcoin and stating that bitcoin would be a way to bring integrity back to the notion of money.

3. George Galloway

A British politician and mayoral candidate in London noted for pledging to run his campaign budget  on MayrosChain, a blockchain-based  public expenditure management system. He stated on his funding page:

“Now, for the first time, the radically disruptive technology of blockchains can provide a technological backbone for true, 100 percent transparency. Political accountability, it seems, is about to take on a whole new meaning."

4. Andrew Hemingway

Andrew Hemingway, a Republican who ran (unsuccessfully) for New Hampshire Governor in 2014 and spoke once about using blockchain tech for elections.

5. Gulnar Hasnain

Over in London again, Gulnar Hasnain, a Green Party candidate running for a local government position, became noted for taking donations via bitcoin and also an alt coin called Onename, and a micro-tipping tool called Change Tip (recently closed).

In this interesting Youtube video, she shares her evolution into a bitcoin advocate.

She once said in an interview that she would like to draw attention to the positive aspects of blockchain technology and its potential to “transform democracy worldwide” and added that there were many similarities between her party and the principles of distributed ledger technologies.

She further added, “Surprisingly, the Green Party is vocal on the same issues as the bitcoin movement – more decentralised power, smaller government, a need for a shift in the concentration of power in the banking system and a more inclusive society.”

6. Rand Paul

Back in the US, everybody knows Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, a noted Libertarian who currently serves as Kentucky as one of its two Senators. He accepted bitcoin donations during his brief, unsuccessful campaign for US Republican Presidential nominee.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who officially announced his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, started to accept bitcoin donations in April this year. The Washington Post called his decision to accept donations in the digital currency a "genius political move".

However, during a TechCrunch panel earlier this year, Paul said he was "an outlier" on "the bitcoin things".

That might have something to do with the reason he didn’t win the nomination…. Maybe he just wasn’t Libertarian enough. In a Bloomberg News report, he was quoted to say, "I've been fascinated by the concept of it, but I never would have purchased it myself. I'm just a little bit skeptical."

So, there are probably other politicians who are slowly evolving a positive attitude toward bitcoin and cryptocurrency if for no other reason than their hope that it might keep their sorry asses in office. Whatever happens, you can bet that as public awareness and favorability it increases, most of them will see it as a politically expedient bandwagon to jump on.

Trumps recent statements and appointments are indeed a positive thing but exactly when, where, and how the components of Trump’s administration will fall into place remains to be seen as does precisely how his new administration will deal with the massive tactical problem of (as he says) “draining the swamp”.

To say that there is a lot of inertia in the federal bureaucracy, the upper echelons of Wall Street and the global banking industry, and the US “presstitute media” would be an understatement. Such massive anti-freedom, anti-capitalistic, anti-libertarian machines as have evolved over the recent several US political administrations will take an equally long time to unravel and properly reconstruct, if for no reason other than the fact that it will take time to ferret out the dormant agents of the old regime and its way of thinking. They will not ‘go quietly’.

A few observers are speculating that Trump might try to pull a rabbit out of the federal hat by taking the US economy toward some kind of bitcoin-based monetary system.  

That’s possible but, as far as it goes, there aren’t any indications that such a move is being seriously considered…yet. Plus, it’s doubtful that the existing government bureaucracy would eagerly cooperate with something so totally libertarian.

One notable speaker, author, and economic forecaster, Doug Casey, has conjectured that the US government’s only possible way to avert a total collapse of the overly debt-burdened US economy would be to come out with a federally sponsored and/or designed version of cryptocurrency… which Mr. Casey conceptually calls, “Fed Coin”. See my recent article about Fed Coin and Mr. Casey.

I agree that Trumps appointments are looking interesting but I also think it’s still too early to start popping champaign corks about what it means for bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. For the time being, the future of such things is still in the hands of private sector entrepreneurs. Whatever the Trump administration might try to do, the devil is still in the details. And the solution to the world’s money problems are still TBA (To Be Announced).
 

Art Williams
Freelance Writer
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
eMail Me here

 

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Bitcoin is a game within a game

Bitcoin is a game within a game

In this series on Bitcoin and game theory, I’ve argued that Bitcoin’s stability is fundamentally a game-theoretic proposition and shown how we’ve had blind spots for years in our theoretical understanding of mining strategy. In this post, I’ll get to the question of the discrepancy between theory and practice. As I pointed out, even though there are many theoretical weaknesses in Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism, none of these ever appear to have been exploited.

A blunt way to explain the discrepancy is to entirely reject the ability of game-theoretic models to predict practice. For example, some people argue that since miners don’t know any game theory, game-theoretic analysis of their behavior is not meaningful. This objection is easily dismissed — animals know even less game theory than miners, and yet their behavior is one of the classic applications of game theory. And most pairs of prisoners facing a dilemma have never heard the term prisoner’s dilemma. Knowledge of game theory by agents is not a prerequisite for the applicability of game theory.

A related objection is that deviating from the default strategy is hard, from the miners’ point of view. After all, it’s not as if  Bitcoin Core comes with deviant strategies built in that can be enabled with the flip of a command-line switch. What’s a miner to do? While superficially plausible, I think this objection gets the cause and effect exactly backward. In reality, no one’s bothered to implement non-default strategies because they didn’t think there were profits to be made from it. Otherwise, there would likely be a flourishing ecosystem of patches — or replacements — to bitcoind that would execute these deviant strategies, just as we see with mods to video games.

A more sophisticated objection, and perhaps the most frequent one, is that it’s not in miners’ interest to employ non-default strategies, because it will cause people to lose confidence in Bitcoin’s stability, tanking the price of bitcoins. A drop in the exchange rate is bad for miners it will devalue their investment in mining hardware.

This is a valid argument, but things get tricky. We do know that miners launch denial-of-service attacks against their competitors; does a similar worry about Bitcoin’s stability and the exchange rate not apply? Besides, it seems that even though it’s phrased as an objection to game-theoretic reasoning, the argument actually co-opts game theory: essentially, it says that non-default strategies are a losing move because they will be met by a certain response from other players, namely investors selling off their bitcoins.

Similarly, consider the argument that attacks consensus won’t work because developers will notice and push out an update that defeats it. This is also a game-theoretic argument; the set of participants has now expanded to include developers, and perhaps people running Bitcoin nodes, in addition to miners and investors (an investor being anyone who’s holding bitcoins).

So we have one kind of game-theoretic argument — that miners could earn more bitcoins by changing their mining strategy — being met with another kind of game-theoretic argument, one that expands the strategy space to reach a different conclusion.

Notice that we’re talking about two very different kinds of strategy here. A mining strategy is executed by software, happens at the time-scale of minutes, and can be analyzed as a “closed” system where the strategy space can be formally described and analyzed mathematically. On the other hand, movements in price and pushing out updates to software involve human decisions, are typically much slower, and are hopeless to try to precisely model mathematically.

In other words, we seem to have a nested game, a game within a game. The inner game is played by automated agents according to the way they’re programmed. On the other hand, moves in the outer game consist of human operators changing the agents in response to what’s happening on the block chain as well as making moves that are not available to the automated agents. Many moves in the inner game happen between consecutive moves in the outer game, which is one reason that we’re forced to treat the two levels separately.

If we start looking for this nested-game structure, we find it everywhere. Malware and malware detection mechanisms are in a constant cat-and-mouse game. In this game, malware must make instantaneous decisions such as where to spread out and whether to attack or wait. But both malware and anti-malware tools are under the control of their respective operators who evolve them over time in response to each others’ moves. Similarly, packets are routed instantaneously but routing policy evolves over time based on traffic patterns.

My central claim is that for game-theoretic models of Bitcoin mining strategy to better model practice, we must recognize the existence of this two-level structure. The surprising results I talked about in the previous post can all potentially be explained by analyzing the nested game and concluding that it isn’t profitable for miners to deviate after all. Nested games seem to be a popular method for analyzing the behavior of politicians who’re under the influence of voters. It hasn’t been used so far for analyzing Bitcoin.

This research direction is likely to yield dividends beyond cryptocurrencies. Computer scientists are mechanism designers, from ad auctions to routing protocols. Any of these situations can be seen as a nested game since the creators of the software that plays these games regularly modify it in response to strategies employed by others. The question of which elements of strategy should be programmed into the machines and which ones left to human judgment is relevant to every such scenario.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Banks are AFRAID of the Digital Coin called BITCOIN

Banks are AFRAID of the Digital Coin called BITCOIN

  

Banks begin to see that the are losing GRIP on the financial sector more and more.

Many years they have been profiting from all the possible ways to send money or use your own money in their bank. Sooner or later this story is going to end, and it is about time for the Good of everybody. International Transfers of money have been used many years at a cost of almost 5 towards 10 % of the deposit. That’s easy money to just sent it from bank A to bank B. with many millions of transactions going on every day. You can understand they gain a lot of money this way. With Bitcoin this is FREE transaction costs, yes you heard it correctly. you sent free from 1 person to another

What is this BITCOIN?

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.

               

 

Why transaction costs are free.

  • in the first place because you don’t need the inter-mediator called BANK.
  • It is based on aa Open-source that means the code is available for everybody.

The battle to control how people pay for stuff is heating up and Goldman Sachs wants a piece of the action. In its first publicly announced bitcoin-related investment, Goldman said on April 30 that it co-led a $50 million financing round for Circle, a bitcoin startup led by serial tech entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire. The startup offers a new digital wallet meant for everyday consumers. China’s IDG Capital Partners was the other lead investor on the round, which brings Circle’s valuation to what Fortune estimated at $200 million.

So why Banks want to get into this?

“They want to get people to think of transferring value as something as easy and utilitarian as sending an email”. They have no idea yet how they are going to get revenue out of this, But they notice more and more people begin to distrust them, so they search new terrains to try to get a new part of the cake. But by offering the service for free, there’s little prospect for turning a profit anytime soon.

The recent cash infusion will focus on international expansion and greater adoption of the service for both bitcoin and other currencies, such as the US dollar and Chinese yuan.
Circle offers free money transfers for people who download the app by hooking up their bank accounts or bitcoin wallets to the service. Unlike services like Venmo and PayPalthe app can send money to people with any digital wallet, not just Circle account holders.
While money transfers at traditional banks can cost $15 to $60 and take two to three days to clear,
Circle transfers the money instantly.
SO What can we do to take advantage of this?
 
One of the companies that offer to give you FREE money is the following, so take advantage of it and transfer to another Bitcoin wallet if you have other company that you trust.To be honest, I am new into this, But here is TIP. what i have already at this moment, we gonna keep investigating this deeper and find the best players available in this field in followup articles.
 
Chuck Reynolds

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Can Your Cryptocurrency Be Hacked?

How Safe Is Your Cryptocurrency?

It’s not necessary to understand all the ins and outs of aerodynamics in order to have enough confidence to take an airplane trip (in an airplane weighing several tons) without being nervous that the plane could fall out of the air. To some extent that same type of confidence also applies to anybody getting involved in cryptocurrency, i.e. there’s a lot of technology behind it cryptocurrency but the average user doesn’t know or care to know those minute details.

However, some questions for some subjects are worth a little more digging and one of those questions is, “Can cryptocurrency be hacked?”

The short answer is, “Yes, but it’s more likely that an airplane would fall out of the sky and land on a big pile of cotton candy and everybody gets a free ticket to the circus and a picture of themselves with Bozo the Clown and Eeka The Jungle Girl sitting on top of a pink elephant.”

But understanding why cryptocurrency doesn’t have any significant ‘off the wall’ risk is interesting because lots of people are very curious about it and are looking for enough logic to quell their emotional fear of it (cryptocurrency).

I found a good explanation on Quora and some other places today and I’m going to recycle it here because I think it’s good information to know when you talk to people who know almost nothing about cryptocurrency and for whom the ‘opportunity glass’ is always half-empty rather than half-full.

Here’s the answer:

The primary innovation beyond Bitcoin is not the currency but rather the underlying technology, …the blockchain. In its basic sense, the blockchain is nothing more than a ledger.

Yeah, a ledger. Just like you accounts used to make entries in. The blockchain just the digital version of that tool but in an entirely new, much more secure and feature-rich way.

But what about the security of those transactions on that ledger?

That security problem is solved by various aspects of the blockchain process. Not the least of which is the Public Key and the Private Key which is required to authenticate each cryptocurrency transaction on the blockchain.

Theoretically cryptocurrencies can be stolen but it is virtually impossible to do so because the sophistication of the complex algorithms and public and private key cryptography involved wherein a private key is required to use the bitcoins stored in an address (public key).

Theoretically, 2^160 bitcoins addresses (public keys) are possible. And each public key has 2^58 possible private keys. This is where things get tough. The number 2^160 is a gigantic number with 48 digits in it. Just think how big it is. And the number is:

1461501637330902918203684832716283019655932542976

So…you can see you’re more likely to get that autographed picture with Bozo and Eeka than get your cryptocurrency hacked or stolen.

The other way to do this is to hack a wallet. There are lots of those in the market and they can be hacked if somebody somehow gets access to your email ID or password. Just like somebody could get into your locker at school if they had the combination to your padlock (remember those!!?)

If it isn’t already, eWallet hacking is probably going to become a very large underground industry. Your personal diligence is very important.

Of course, a thumb-drive with your cryptocurrency data, kept in a safe somewhere is also a possibility and obviously they are not susceptible to electronic hacking once disconnected from the internet. You can even have a paper wallet, i.e. keep that info in handwritten form.

E-Wallet security is an industry that will grow parallel with cryptocurrency. But for now…. Don’t worry about Bozo, Eeka, feeding the elephant, or the airplane falling out of the sky….or getting your cryptocurrency hacked.

None of those events are likely to happen.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Writer
Case Studies and Email copywriter

 

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