Dec 26

The rise and rise of Ripple XRP

Have you noticed the recent increase in the price of XRP whilst bitcoin and litecoin have remained in the doldrums. What could have caused this?

I was unfortunate enough to invest in XRP when the exchange rate to the USD meant that one XRP or ripple was priced at around $0.04. Subsequently after the bitcoin price crash my holdings value fell to around $0.01. Feeling a little burned I decided to focus my attention on things other than crypto-currencies – whilst quietly keeping an eye on the bitcoin price.

The bitcoin price appears to have bottomed out and hopefully will start returning to growth again soon. It has been one of the worse performing investments of 2014. What I didn’t realise though was that this trend was being bucked by bitcoins less well known cousin – the Ripple (XRP.)

Quietly whilst I wasn’t paying attention to the wider world of crypto-currencies the ripple price has started to creep up – more than doubling since i looked and cried at the $0.01 price and as we speak it seems to be holding or increasing.

So what is different about XRP and Bitcoin – and why are they both behaving so differently? Well, despite both essentially being crypto-currencies – they do have some significant differences. Firstly, XRP unlike  Bitcoin is pre-mined – this means that there are no new coins to be made – and all that aren’t in public hands are actually held by Ripple labs. This personally concerns me as there has to be a degree of trust towards the currency issuer – they hold the balance of power unlike bitcoins whereby most coins are distributed very far and wide. However, by choosing select partners to work with, the ripple XRP protocol has actually attracted attention and investment from several interesting sources which may have played a part.

Multiple gateways are opening every month this year, banks are signing up, Earthport, praise from executive level Federal Reserve members. They increased from 8 to 80 employees this year. They are now backed by Google Ventures and Andreesen Horowitz. They have 3 second transaction time, Codius smart contracts … and not one ounce of bad news (So far.)

I personally am going to hold onto my ripples and my bitcoins and see what happens. I have however got rid of my dogecoin and litecoin holdings.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Tony Oliver.

Dec 11

Microsoft to acccept Bitcoins

Microsoft has started accepting payments made using bitcoins. Bitcoins can now be used to add funds to Microsoft accounts that can then be spent on a wide range of Microsoft services.

Bitcoins can be used to buy content such as games and videos on Xbox game consoles, add apps and services to Windows phones or to buy Microsoft software.

Microsoft made no formal announcement about backing of bitcoins. Instead, it simply added a page to its customer support pages detailing how the virtual cash could be used to top up a Microsoft account.

Currently bitcoins can only be used by customers in the USA. In addition, bitcoins must be used in fixed amounts. More details can be found on Microsofts blog here:

http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2014/12/11/now-you-can-exchange-bitcoins-to-buy-apps-games-and-more-for-windows-windows-phone-and-xbox/

Bitcoins are slowly making their way into mainstream businesses, and now Paypal, Dell, Expedia, Newegg and many other firms accept payments made with them. Bitpay processes bitcoin payments for over 50,000 firms.

Dec 07

The Russian Government, RT (Russia Today) and Bitcoins

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Max Keiser on the Keiser Report

RT (Formerly Russia Today) is a cable and satellite TV network funded by the Russian State. In the United Kingdom it has repeatedly fallen foul of the state broadcasting regulator OFCOM. The issues relate to repeated violations of principles relating to impartiality. RT states that the service offers a Russian perspective on world events.

A well known show on the RT channel is Max Keisers – The Keiser report. Max Keiser is one of the biggest proponents of Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies on UK television. It is quite clear that the Russian perspective is that people of the world should be using Bitcoins. You would think that therefore the Russian government would have a warm and accepting attitude towards bitcoin trading in its own territories.

However, Russian attitudes towards bitcoins as an alternative to its own particular brand of fiat currency is souring as the Russian economy continues to struggle.

The Russian rouble has already lost over 40% of it’s value against the dollar in the last year alone. This would appear to be a direct result of western action to destabilise its currency after relations hit a recent low after the conflict in Ukraine.

Gulf states have continued to overproduce oil possibly in an attempt to undermine the Russian economy possibly in an attempt to prevent the United States developing its own energy infrastructure and becoming an energy exporter. Regardless of the motivation for these actions the effect on the Russian economy is very real.

Sanctions have initially targeted President Putins inner circle and a range of russian oligarchs and billionaires. Recently efforts have been stepped up and attempts are being made to lock Russian firms out of international markets through a range of sanctions covering everything from banking and finance to food markets.

Russia now seems to turning increasingly anti-bitcoin as it seeks to bring in legislation to prevent legitimate bitcoin businesses within the Russian Federation.

“People can play with their chips, and they can call them money, but they can’t use these surrogate currencies as tender,” Deputy Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev told journalists in Moscow.

Currently only two countries have explicitly banned bitcoins – Equador (who are working on their own version) and Bolivia. Will Russia become the third state to do so? In the meatime – the very countries who Russias pro bitcoin propaganda is aimed at seem to be taking a much more laid back attitude with a United States congressman Steve Stockman  proposed a new bill to the Congress called the “Cryptocurrency Protocol Protection and Moratorium Act,” short named CryptPMA. The bill calls for a five-year moratorium on regulation targeting cryptocurrencies in the United States.