Another Sign The Bitcoin Bubble Is Ending? China Launches An Unprecedented Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies…

Those that sold their cryptocurrencies at the peak of the market made a tremendous amount of money, but those that hold on to the bitter end are going to be gravely disappointed. For a while there, it seems like cryptocurrency prices were going to go up forever. 2017 was the best year for cryptocurrencies ever, and lots of investors were becoming millionaires on paper. But now the “Bitcoin bubble” has burst, and the losses are absolutely staggering. Unfortunately for crypto investors, it looks like things are about to go from bad to worse, because China has just launched an absolutely unprecedented crackdown on cryptocurrencies. Potential government intervention was always the “elephant in the room” for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and now it is becoming a reality in a major way.

How would you feel if the value of your investments fell by 75 percent in just 7 months?

Well, that is precisely what has happened to cryptocurrency investors. The following comes from the New York Times

After the latest round of big price drops, many cryptocurrencies have given back all of the enormous gains they experienced last winter. The value of all outstanding digital tokens has fallen by about $600 billion, or 75 percent, since the peak in January, according to data from the website coinmarketcap.com.

Sadly, this could potentially be just the beginning of big trouble for the cryptocurrency industry.

China has not completely banned cryptos yet, but they appear to be moving in that direction. As Robert Wenzel recently noted, the crypto crackdown in China is becoming very intense…

Financial officials in an eastern district of Beijing issued a notice last week to stores, hotels and offices urging them not to host any cryptocurrency related speeches, events or activities. The document also asked that any activity be reported to local officials and said authorities were acting on behalf of a working group led by the central bank to clean up cryptocurrency trading, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In a commentary published in state media on Friday, according to the Journal, Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said that after fundraisings called initial coin offerings were banned last year, government regulation will become even more restrictive. He wrote that earlier this week, authorities blocked a number of public accounts involving ICOs on the popular messaging app WeChat.

In addition, we have just learned that China has decided to permanently block over 120 offshore cryptocurrency exchanges

More than 120 offshore cryptocurrency exchanges have been blocked by Chinese authorities, the South China Morning Post reports. The exact reasoning is not entirely clear — the central bank didn’t respond to calls from SCMP reporters — though some speculate that the crackdown is a response to increasing financial risk and instability.

The government will continue to monitor for any new crypto news sites and announcements of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). If any appear, the government will shut them down immediately and deny user access by blocking their IP addresses.

That is an absolutely devastating blow to the cryptocurrency industry.

On top of everything else, Chinese tech giants have decided to ban crypto-related transactions

In a move that will likely make it even harder for cryptocurrency aficionados to trade Bitcoin and its ilk in China, the mobile payments titans of the country have barred crypto-related transactions.

WeChat Pay and Ant Financial’s Alipay are monitoring their platforms for transactions related to cryptocurrencies, with WeChat saying Friday that it would prohibit users from sending funds related to such digital assets on its social media platform. Its a notable move, Chinese citizens have rapidly adopted the technology. Over $12 trillion changed hands via mobile in the first 10 months of 2017 alone in the Middle Kingdom.

A coordinated effort to kill the cryptocurrency industry in the second largest economy on the planet appears to be well underway, and this is going to have very serious implications for cryptocurrency prices.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency industry just suffered another blow at the hand of U.S. regulators

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected another round of attempts to list exchange-traded funds backed by bitcoin, blocking ETFs from ProShares, GraniteShares and Direxion, on concern prices could be vulnerable to manipulation.

In a trio of orders posted on the agency’s website Wednesday, the commission said proposals to allow the funds failed to show how exchanges seeking to list the products would “prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”

For a long time I have warned that the ultimate fate of the cryptocurrency industry was going to be determined by what national governments decided to do.

They seemed to have a “hands off” policy for quite a while, and the cryptocurrency industry thrived.

But now a global crackdown has begun, and it could ultimately mean the death of the entire sector.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog. About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

War On Cryptocurrencies: Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup And Capital One Have Banned Their Customers From Buying Bitcoin With Credit Cards

A war on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin has begun, and it threatens to destroy the entire cryptocurrency industry. If you think that I am exaggerating, just keep reading. Government agencies are cracking down hard, Bitcoin traders that don’t file the proper paperwork are being sent to prison, Facebook and other online ad platforms have banned all cryptocurrency advertising, and now major credit card companies are banning their customers from using their credit cards to buy cryptos. What is an industry supposed to do if it can’t advertise and it can’t take credit cards? Such moves would kill virtually any consumer-oriented industry, and right now the cryptocurrency industry is absolutely reeling. If this war on cryptocurrencies continues to intensify, I honestly don’t know how the industry is going to survive.

On Monday, another shot was fired in the war. Wells Fargo formally announced that their customers would no longer be permitted to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with Wells Fargo credit cards

Wells Fargo customers can no longer buy cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin on their credit cards, the company announced Monday. But they can still buy firearms.

The San Francisco-based bank joined some of its Wall Street peers in banning the purchase of cryptocurrencies on credit cards and said its decision is “in line with the overall industry.”

Of course this follows decisions by virtually all of the other major credit card companies to ban cryptocurrency transactions as well

J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup announced in February they would no longer let customers buy cryptocurrencies using credit cards, and like Wells Fargo cited credit risks and market volatility.

Capital One Financial said it has decided to ban cryptocurrency purchases with its cards, and Discover Financial Services has effectively prohibited cryptocurrency purchases with its credit cards since 2015.

All of these banks are deeply tied in to the existing world order, and obviously the elite have decided that now is the time to make a move against cryptocurrencies.

In the online world, cash and checks are rarely used. And so if people can’t use their credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies, what are they supposed to do?

There is always Paypal and other online platforms, but it is probably only a matter of time before they start banning cryptocurrency transactions as well.

And the same big banks that have already banned credit card transactions could very easily start banning direct bank transfers as well.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room has started to wake up, and that is really, really bad news for the cryptocurrency industry.

It is absolutely absurd for banks to be telling us what we can and cannot buy with our own money, but unless somebody does something they are going to get away with it. A few of them have even started putting restrictions on gun transactions, and they will keep pushing the envelope until they are stopped.

Meanwhile, government agencies have decided that now is the time for a crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry as well

The SEC investigation, which Bloomberg reported last month, is the U.S.’s latest effort to crack down on the booming Bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry and will look into illegal practices that can influence prices.

On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported U.S. government investigators demanded several bitcoin exchanges hand over trading data, putting the price on the back foot ahead of today’s sell off.

Federal prosecutors are working with the U.S. financial regulator that oversees derivatives tied to Bitcoin, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

And it isn’t just the exchanges that are getting hit.

Individuals that have not filed the “proper paperwork” with the government are being arrested and sent to prison

This week in Southern California a Los Angeles woman who called herself the ‘Bitcoin Maven’ will be sentenced this Monday after pleading guilty for illegal money transmission. According to law enforcement, the woman made close to $300,000 USD annually by selling BTC on the peer-to-peer exchange Localbitcoins.

U.S. law enforcement has arrested and convicted another Localbitcoins seller who reportedly made $300K per year selling digital assets. The 50-year-old Theresa Tetley used the alias ‘Bitcoin Maven’ and sold bitcoins without registering with the financial authorities. Prosecutors say Tetley’s operations “fueled a black-market financial system in the Central District of California that purposely and deliberately existed outside of the regulated bank industry.”

So where do things go from here?

Are these just temporary bumps in the road to a promising future for the cryptocurrency industry, or is this the end of the road?

Well, cryptocurrency evangelist John McAfee believes that now is a perfect time to buy more coins…

“Do not panic about the drop in Bitcoin’s price. It is an overreaction to the news that Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit, and Kraken are being investigated for price manipulation. This will delay the bull market by no more than 30 days. Don’t buy into the fear. Buy the coins.”

On the other hand, Mike Adams believes that we are witnessing the collapse of a Ponzi scheme that was always destined to implode at some point…

Even though Bitcoin is clearly an electricity-wasting Ponzi scheme built on zero real assets, some newbies are just now hearing about it, and they think they’ve discovered a perpetual motion get rich quick scheme that will allow them to acquire wealth without effort. (This is, of course, the key selling point among Bitcoin speculators, who have convinced themselves they’re actually “shrewd investors.”) In truth, they’re just being suckered into a collapsing crypto-fairy tale that never panned out because it was based on bad economics in the first place. Remember when Bitcoin enthusiasts promised that Bitcoin transactions would be extremely low cost and almost instant? Yep, and Obama said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, too. Both promises turned out to be utter nonsense.

If the major banks and governments around the world had left the cryptocurrency industry alone, it probably would have done just fine.

But now a full blown war against the cryptocurrency industry has begun, and it is going to be exceedingly difficult for “crypto mania” to survive in this type of environment.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Government Crackdowns In China And India Threaten To Absolutely Crush The Cryptocurrency Bubble

Taxation and regulation are weapons, and governments often use these weapons to target things that they do not like. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin threaten to shatter the existing paradigm of financial control that the elite have carefully crafted, and that is making government officials all over the planet very nervous. So the latest rumblings about “government crackdowns” on cryptocurrencies in China and India shouldn’t come as any sort of a surprise. Those two governments hate anything that even smells like freedom, and so it was only a matter of time before they pulled the trigger. And the bigger the cryptocurrency bubble becomes, the more national governments around the world are likely to take action to “get it under control”.

The reason why I have always been so cautious when it comes to cryptocurrencies is because government intervention is the ever-present elephant in the room. At any time big national governments can step in and ruin the party, and that now appears to be happening in China and India. The following comes from TruNews

China, arguably the biggest market for cryptocurrencies as many citizens aim to avoid the government-controlled economy, recently released a report that showed more than 400 fake cryptos occupying its domestic marketplace. In response the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology signaled it’s going to crack down hard, citing “certain risks that cannot be ignored” with initial coin offerings, pyramid schemes, and fraud.

Simultaneous to that bit of bad news, CoinTelegraph reported the Central Board of Indirect Taxes in India is considering an 18 percent tax on cryptocurrency exchanges, deeming the digital currencies as “intangible goods.” Last month the Reserve Bank of India formally banned domestic banks from servicing any cryptocurrency business but that failed to ebb the increase in new exchanges in its marketplace.

Let’s talk about India first. As I mentioned earlier, taxation is a weapon, and a massive 18 percent tax is being proposed on all cryptocurrency trading…

The Indian government is in talks of levying an 18% tax on cryptocurrency trading. The knowledge allegedly comes from people with a direct knowledge of the matter.

The news, as reported by Bloomberg, states that cryptocurrencies could be taxed pending their declaration as intangible goods. Even as they are on par with software with respect to their classifications, the source added that their use in illegal activities would have to be regulated using other laws.

The proposal is currently under consideration by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and will be submitted to the GST Council after its finalization for approval.

Needless to say, such a tax would absolutely devastate the emerging cryptocurrency industry in India.

In China, in addition to cracking down on “fraud”, the government has also come out with a list of their preferred cryptocurrencies

The Ministry of Industry and Information technology of China has decided to release its own ranking sheet, in which it created a list of 28 cryptos. The cryptos were ranked according to three criteria, which include technology, application, as well as innovation.

According to China, the best crypto seems to be Ethereum (ETH), which is dominating the list. It is closely followed by Steem and Lisk, as well as Neo and Komodo. These five are also making the top 5 according to China. It is surprising that Komodo managed to rank this high since it is a lesser-known platform that holds the 58th place according to market cap. Another one that stands out from the rest is Steem, which does not allow for creating smart contracts, while the rest of them do.

It turns out that Bitcoin was only number 13 on the list.

At least China is not banning cryptocurrencies yet, which many feared that they might do. Cryptos have become wildly popular in China, and even though the Chinese government is one of the most repressive regimes on the entire planet, at least they are trying to be at least somewhat reasonable in this case.

Of course all of this troubling news was going to have a major impact on cryptocurrency prices, and on Wednesday we witnessed quite a bloodbath

Digital currencies were in free fall Wednesday, with some major coins in the red by more than 10%.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest digital currency, fell through $8,000 late Tuesday and the slide has not abated. Bitcoin tumbled to a multiweek low of $7,442.92. Bounces have been limited, with a single coin last worth $7,528.89, down 7.1% from late Tuesday Eastern U.S. levels on the Kraken exchange.

The collapse in cryptocurrencies has seen the total value of all coins fall to $326 billion, down some $50 billion in just 72 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.

Overall, the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen nearly 500 billion dollars from a peak of 820 billion dollars in January.

That is not just a crash – that is a cataclysm.

However, it is important to note that cryptocurrencies are still way, way up from where they were a year ago at this time.

So those that got in early are still big winners.

And there are many that believe that cryptos will do extremely well during a “flight to safety” during the next great economic crisis. Omid Malekan, the author of a new book entitled The Story of the Blockchain: A Beginner’s Guide to the Technology That Nobody Understands, is entirely convinced that many will view Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as very safe alternatives when a coming crisis forces national governments to impose draconian capital controls

Government officials don’t like cryptocoins because they transfer the sovereignty of money from their control to a decentralized consensus mechanism, a transfer that they view as a downgrade in the quality of money. If our existing system of money and banking was always stable, they would have a point.

But every time there is a crisis, it reminds the public that the folks in charge are not as smart as they think they are. When those same leaders respond to the crisis with draconian capital controls (or selective bailouts for their once and future employers on Wall Street) they remind the public that they aren’t as fair as they think they are, either. Bitcoin might be volatile and hard to understand, but it’s always fair, because math does not discriminate, nor does it change the rules when people start to panic.

In addition, it is very interesting to note that the Rothschild banking dynasty also appears to be investing very heavily in the cryptocurrency industry

“In February, it became known that the Tether accounts of Bitfinex were opened in the Dutch bank ING, owned by The Rothschild Group. At the same time, the profit indicators of this bank have grown significantly. On February 26th, the Fintech company, Circle, the main shareholder of which is Goldman Sachs (also The Rothschild Group), acquired Poloniex, a US-based crypto exchange”, – Zycrypto states.

It has recently come to light that not only Rothschilds dynasty invest in cryptocurrency, they are actively preparing several projects of their own. Private discussions have been sparked among large cryptocurrency investors following the leak which subsequently flowed into the open crypto community. One of the Rothschild’s projects name has emerged: IMMO. As Coindoo writes “… the implementation of IMMO is being monitored by Alexandre de Rothschild himself”.

Do they know something that the rest of us do not?

In the end, the debate over cryptocurrencies will rage on. The skeptics will continue to point out that cryptos have no intrinsic value and that national governments can end the party any time that they wish. And advocates will continue to point out that government intervention has not ruined the party so far, and that some national governments and some big financial institutions are actually embracing the cryptocurrency revolution.

Ultimately the jury is still out on whether or not this revolution will be successful, and it will be fascinating to see how everything plays out.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Study Finds That 22 Percent Of Bitcoin Investors Are Using Debt To Fund Their Investments

Investing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin is extremely risky, and experts all over the country are warning that people should only invest what they are willing to lose. Unfortunately, many are getting swept up in the current euphoria surrounding cryptocurrencies and are not listening to that very sound advice. A disturbing new survey that was just released found that 22 percent of all Bitcoin investors are either directly or indirectly investing in Bitcoin with borrowed money…

According to LendEDU, a personal loan research firm, more than 18 percent of Bitcoin investors have used borrowed money to trade the cryptocurrency. In a global survey of 672 active Bitcoin investors, researchers asked traders the method they used to fund their cryptocurrency trading accounts. The majority of investors used banking systems such as credit cards and ACH transfers to fund their accounts.

But 22 percent of traders revealed that they have not paid off their credit and debit cards after purchasing Bitcoin, effectively investing in the cryptocurrency with borrowed money.

Credit card debt is one of the most toxic forms of debt that you could ever carry, and investing in anything when you still have credit card balances is extremely unwise.

Yes, cryptocurrencies went on an epic run in 2017, but there is absolutely no guarantee that they will continue to rise in 2018.

In fact, there is a very real possibility that we could see a cryptocurrency crash, and there are many investors that are actually eagerly anticipating one

Well, as many traders expected, it appears that institutions are using the futures product to slowly but surely build a short position in bitcoin. According to the CFTC Commitment of Traders report (available CBOE futures), non-commercial traders held a net short position of around $30mn as of Tuesday Dec 26, or around half of the total open interest.

Separately, the Traders in Financial Futures breakdown provided by the CFTC show that the leveraged funds category that consists largely of hedge funds and various money managers had a short of around $14mn, or around a quarter of the total open interest.

In other words, spec investors have used the futures contracts to establish Bitcoin shorts.

On the other hand, there is also the possibility that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could continue to defy gravity and soar even higher over the next 12 months.

In fact, a rumor that Amazon.com will soon start accepting Bitcoin has lots of people buzzing

As a backdrop to all of this, there is a strong rumor that Amazon is about to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment. Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock, has stated that Amazon will soon have no choice but to start accepting it. He is quoted as saying, “… they have to follow suit. I’ll be stunned if they don’t because they can’t just cede that part of the market to us if we are the only main large retail site taking Bitcoin.” Scott Mullins, an Amazon executive has confirmed that Amazon is, “working with financial institutions and crypto-experts to spur innovation, and facilitate frictionless experimentation.”

If the Amazon rumor turns out to be true – Bitcoin will probably go into orbit! Be prepared…

If someone knew exactly what would happen throughout 2018, that individual could make an absolutely obscene amount of money.

Unfortunately I don’t know where cryptocurrencies are heading, but it does appear that things are about to get a whole lot more interesting. According to Reuters, it looks like you will soon be able to invest in Bitcoin using leveraged ETFs…

The new idea is to build “leveraged” and “inverse” funds that would rise – or fall – twice as fast as the price of bitcoin on a given day.

Direxion Asset Management LLC plans to list such products on Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca exchange if U.S. securities regulators give the nod, according to a filing by the exchange this week.

In the filing, the exchange said the listing “will enhance competition among market participants, to the benefit of investors and the marketplace.”

So if Bitcoin rises or falls a thousand dollars in a single day, those financial instruments will be designed to move by about twice as much.

That should be fun.

Meanwhile, some are asking what will happen to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin if the long-awaited collapse of global financial markets finally happens this year.

Well, some believe that it would be doom for cryptocurrencies, but others believe that cryptocurrencies would be like gold and would actually do extremely well during the next great financial crisis…

The question is what will happen to Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies once the financial collapse takes place. The signs are that when economic circumstances start to deteriorate the price of Bitcoin rises. A prime example of this is during the Cyprus and Greece bailout which saw the price of BTC rise considerably during this period. With banks stopping access to cash in ATM machines, Bitcoin was the perfect solution to be able to store it safely out of the banks and Governments’ hands.

What also happens during a depression is interest rates skyrocket and start to see hyperinflation. This will mean it is extremely hard to get finance from banks and the cost can make it unsustainable. The ICO market is a perfect solution to this problem and as the banking sector suffers, ICOs will boom. More companies will look to these as a cheap way to raise money and will create their own cryptocurrency.

It will be fascinating to see how all of this plays out.

There are some financial experts that believe that Bitcoin is going to zero, and there are others that are absolutely convinced that it is going to a million dollars.

As with so many things in life, timing is everything. If you are investing in Bitcoin, let us just hope that you got in at the right time and that you will also get out at the right time.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Is Ripple The Next Hot Cryptocurrency? Some Are Calling It ‘The Bitcoin That Banks Like’

After Bitcoin, can you name the second largest cryptocurrency? Until recently it was Ethereum, but now it is Ripple. At the start of last year, Ripple was trading for less than a penny, and even just a few months ago you could still get Ripple for about 20 cents. But now the price of Ripple has absolutely exploded, and as I write this article it is sitting at $3.15. At this point Ripple has a market cap of more than 120 billion dollars, and those that got in when Ripple was under a penny have seen their investments go up by more than 40,000 percent.

If you can believe it, the price of Ripple is up more than 1,000 percent in the last 30 days alone. So why is Ripple doing so well right now?

Well, many analysts are pointing to the very strong relationships that Ripple has been building with financial institutions

XRP’s price has benefited significantly from Ripple’s new partnerships with banks, noted Chris Keshian, co-founder of the Apex Token Fund, a tokenized crypto fund-of-funds.

He added that as XRP “surpassed ETH as the second largest cryptocurrency, market hype continued to drive the price.”

There are some that believe that Ripple will eventually surpass Bitcoin simply because it is a better way to send and receive money.

And without a doubt, functionality is the key for the long-term survival of any cryptocurrency. Speculative investment can take a cryptocurrency a long way, but at the end of the day it needs to function well in the real world, and that is one key advantage that Ripple appears to have. According to the Express, Ripple is being called “the Bitcoin that banks like”…

Bitcoin is feeling the pressure from another cryptocurrency hot on it’s heels.

Ripple has attracted tens of millions of dollars worth of investment leading to it being dubbed the Bitcoin that banks like.

The company uses block chain technology, powered by its own cryptocurrency, to send money across the world in real time settlements, according to the company’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

It does not hold the level of anonymity that bitcoin does, which makes the currency more favourable to banks.

One thing that has been holding back the price of Ripple is the fact that it is not listed on some of the key exchanges. But there are persistent rumors that Ripple will be listed on Coinbase very soon, and that could potentially drive the price of Ripple much higher.

Before you get too excited, let me share a word of caution. Investing in cryptocurrencies is extremely risky, because they are purely digital creations that do not actually possess any intrinsic value at all. Right now there are more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies in existence, and most of them are eventually going to zero.

But for the moment, those that were able to capitalize on the cryptocurrency trend in a major way have become incredibly wealthy. Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen is now worth an astounding 37 billion dollars, and that makes him the 15th richest person in America.

Of course he doesn’t actually have 37 billion dollars. If he does not sell his coins and Ripple eventually goes back to zero, all of that “paper wealth” will be gone.

The big danger is that global governments will start cracking down on cryptocurrencies in a major way, and in late December we did see South Korea impose restrictions on the trading of cryptocurrencies in order to “limit speculation”. If more governments start piling on, that could absolutely crush the cryptocurrency bubble.

For now, Bitcoin has been rebounding from that announcement, and Ripple just continues to roar higher. But let us not forget that a single big announcement could change all of that in a single moment

The South Korean Government’s threats of shutting down exchanges seemed to have little influence on Ripple at the end of the year, but with news hitting the wires of just how much of an impact South Korean exchanges had on Ripple’s December rally and it’s not surprising that Ripple has been defending its gains at the start of the year.

Bitcoin may have been the fallout guy when it came to the regulatory chatter at the end of the year, but if the exchanges are closed, it’s not just Bitcoin that will suffer and, if the reports are correct of the South Koreans driving up Ripple trading volumes, things could get messy very quickly.

Whatever happens in the short-term, it appears that Ripple has a real chance to be a long-term solution for global payments. In a recent statement, the Ripple team noted that using Ripple is faster, cheaper and more efficient than using Bitcoin…

In a year punctuated by the dramatic rise of digital assets, XRP has out performed the entire sector and looks likely to end the year up more than 45,000%. XRP’s performance is driven by a keen focus on solving a real global payments problem for real customers – and at fractions of a penny and about 3 seconds per transaction – it is cheaper, faster and more efficient than BTC or ETH. As others have pointed out, Bitcoin isn’t going to solve a payments problem when a transaction costs $40 and takes hours to complete.

The market seems to increasingly understand that there’s real utility for XRP in solving a massive cross-border payments and liquidity problem that is measured in the trillions of dollars.

It is that sort of utility that could make Ripple a long-term success.

But of course new competitors are coming online with each passing day. The “Facebook of cryptocurrencies” may not have even been invented yet, and this industry is evolving at an absolutely breathtaking pace.

So Ripple may be the hottest cryptocurrency for the moment, but that could change completely by next week.

Nobody knows exactly what is going to happen next, and that is what makes the cryptocurrency market so exciting. Fortunes will be won and lost in the blink of an eye, and there will be some very big winners and some very big losers.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

44 Numbers From 2017 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

2017 went by way too quickly. Donald Trump’s first year in the White House shook up the entire planet, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next. Personally, as 2017 began I was still having a hard time actually believing that Trump was going to be our president. Once he was finally inaugurated on January 20th I was able to relax a little bit, but at that point I had no idea that I would soon be running for Congress here in Idaho as a pro-Trump candidate. As 2018 begins, I think that it would be good to look back and remember some of the most important things that happened over the past 12 months. The following are 44 numbers from 2017 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 During Donald Trump’s first year, ISIS lost 98 percent of the territory that it gained while Barack Obama was in the White House.

#2 The price of Bitcoin rose more than 1,300% during 2017.

#3 According to the Washington Post, one out of every ten young adults in the United States has been homeless at some point over the past year.

#4 The United States has lost more than 70,000 manufacturing facilities since China joined the WTO in 2001.

#5 On Donald Trump’s first full day in office he was 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old, and it happened in year 5777 on the Hebrew calendar.

#6 The all-time record for the number of retail store closings in the U.S. was absolutely shattered in 2017. According to the latest figures, a total of 6,985 store locations were shut down last year, and we are expected to break the record again in 2018.

#7 Incredibly, the number of retail store closings in 2017 was up 229 percent compared with 2016.

#8 When Ronald Reagan entered the White House, the federal government was about one trillion dollars in debt. Now we are 20 trillion dollars in debt with no end in sight.

#9 Prominent names in the financial world such as John McAfee and James Altucher are predicting that the price of Bitcoin will eventually reach one million dollars.

#10 According to the most recent numbers that we have, 41 million Americans are currently living in poverty.

#11 A recent CNN poll found that only 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.

#12 Ever since the beginning of April, Congress has had an average approval rating of less than 20 percent.

#13 The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 5,000 points in 2017, and that absolutely shattered the previous record of 3,472 points in 2013.

#14 At one point in 2017, the total market cap for all cryptocurrencies combined (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, etc.) surpassed the half a trillion dollar mark.

#15 Wildfires burned an astounding 9,791,062 acres over the past year.

#16 It is being reported that less than 50 percent of all third, fourth and fifth grade students in the state of California meet minimum standards for literacy.

#17 At one very poorly performing elementary school in California, 96 percent of the students are not proficient in either English or math.

#18 Back in 1960, an average of $146 was spent on healthcare per person for the entire year, but today that number has skyrocketed to $9,990.

#19 Thanks to Obamacare, an appendectomy is ten times more expensive in the United States than it is in Mexico.

#20 Thanks to Obamacare, a family of four in Virginia is now facing the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for health insurance.

#21 It is being projected that the average rate increase for Obamacare plans will be 37 percent in 2018.

#22 In 2017, we found out that 264 cases of sexual harassment involving members of Congress have been settled for a grand total of $17,250,854 since the start of 1997.

#23 Economic growth is starting to pick up under President Trump, but the U.S. economy only grew at an average rate of just 1.33 percent over the 10 years prior to 2017.

#24 It is being reported that homelessness has become so pervasive in ultra-liberal Seattle that “400 unauthorized tent camps” have popped up around the city.

#25 One survey that was conducted in 2017 discovered that 78 percent of all full-time workers in the United States live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#26 According to the Federal Reserve, the average U.S. household is now $137,063 in debt, and that figure is more than double the median household income.

#27 A staggering 59.8 percent of younger Millennials (18 to 25) are now living with relatives, and overall an all-time record 38.4 percent of all Millennials are currently living with family.

#28 Boston University professor Larry Kotlikoff says that the federal government is facing a fiscal gap of 210 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.

#29 According the National Center For Health Statistics, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. adults are now officially obese. That is an all-time record.

#30 Our obesity epidemic is now costing us 190 billion dollars a year.

#31 Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, and Warren Buffett now have more money than the poorest 50 percent of the U.S. population combined.

#32 At this point, 20 percent of all U.S. households have “either zero or negative wealth”.

#33 U.S. stocks have have increased in value by more than 5 trillion dollars since Donald Trump was elected.

#34 For the season, NFL television ratings were down about 9 percent, and many believe that the anthem protests were the primary cause for the ratings decline.

#35 One very disturbing survey found that less than one out of every four Republican members of Congress support building Trump’s border wall. This is just one reason why we need to vote out the RINOs and replace them with pro-Trump candidates that will support President Trump’s agenda.

#36 Another survey discovered that 50 percent of all Americans favor a pre-emptive strike on North Korea even though many of them cannot even find North Korea on a map of the world.

#37 Last year criminals were able to hack into Equifax and make off with the credit information of 143 million Americans.

#38 Venezuela, the 11th largest oil producing country in the entire world, decided to stop using the petrodollar in 2017. This was one of the biggest news stories of the entire year, and yet the mainstream media in the U.S. didn’t want to talk about it.

#39 It has been reported that only 25 percent of all Americans have more than $10,000 in savings right now.

#40 A study conducted by the Federal Reserve found that 44 percent of all U.S. adults do not even have enough money “to cover an unexpected $400 expense”.

#41 In the early 1970s, 70 percent of all men in the United States from the age of 20 to the age of 39 were married, but today that number has fallen to just 35 percent. Instead of getting married and starting families, a lot of our young men are still living at home with their parents. Today, 35 percent of all young men from the age of 21 to the age of 30 “are living at home with their parents or a close relative”.

#42 In 2017, the federal government spent more than 4 trillion dollars for the first time ever.

#43 Our government continues to waste money in some of the most insane ways imaginable. For example, in 2017 we learned that the U.S. military actually spends 42 million dollars a year on Viagra.

#44 One survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans now “prefer socialism to capitalism”, and so we have much work to do if we intend to have any chance of turning this country around.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Washington Post Ominously Warns That Bitcoin Is Being Used By ‘Extremist Groups’

Demonization is the first step toward making something illegal. Over the past couple of months, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have experienced a tremendous surge in popularity. Personally, I was completely floored the other day when my nephew wanted to ask me questions about investing in Bitcoin. It seems like the whole world is getting caught up in the cryptocurrency revolution, and needless to say, the powers that be cannot be thrilled about this. Independently-controlled cryptocurrencies represent an existential threat to the global debt-based central banking system that we have today, and so the elite have a very strong incentive to bring about the demise of Bitcoin and other emerging cryptocurrencies.

So it is no surprise that one of the key mouthpieces for the elite, the Washington Post, has begun to demonize Bitcoin. And if you are going to demonize something, one of the fastest ways to do that is to link it with racists. The following is an excerpt from an article that the Post just published entitled “Bitcoin’s Boom Is A Boon For Extremist Groups”

Even before Charlottesville, Richard Spencer, a prominent member of the alt-right, a group that espouses racist, anti-Semitic and sexist views and seeks a whites-only state, had gone as far as declaring bitcoin “the currency of the alt right.” But far-right political leaders and experts on extremist movements alike say the adoption of bitcoin gained new urgency after Charlottesville as extremists looked for ways to operate beyond the reach of government control and the shifting policies of U.S. tech companies.

For those of us that are accustomed to thinking critically, we see right through what the Washington Post is trying to do. The Bitcoin phenomenon has absolutely nothing to do with Richard Spencer and his ilk, but every time the liberal elite want to demonize someone or something they trot out their favorite boogeyman once again.

Just like every other currency, Bitcoin can be used for good purposes or for bad purposes. But the Washington Post article would have us believe that Bitcoin is at the core of some great “racist conspiracy” that is about to take America by storm…

Extremist figures who invested in bitcoin as a bulwark against efforts to block their political activity now find themselves holding what amount to winning lottery tickets. The proceeds could be used to communicate political messages, organize events and keep websites online even as most mainstream hosting services shun them, experts say.

The truth, of course, is that these sorts of racists are a very, very small fraction of one percent of the U.S. population. They are so small in numbers that they are not even worth mentioning, but the Washington Post and other liberal outlets love to give them attention because they make the perfect enemies for the narratives that they are trying to promote.

Later on in the article, there was an effort to link Bitcoin to drug traffickers, money launderers and those who use the Internet for other dark purposes…

Extremists are hardly alone in benefiting from surging bitcoin values. Early buyers include cryptography enthusiasts, libertarians and professional investors – as well as drug traffickers, money launderers and others who regularly conduct transactions on the “dark Web,” a part of the Internet only accessible using specialized software that helps shield online activity.

The “logical conclusion” that many on the left are going to come to after reading such an article is that Bitcoin must be banned.

In the months and years ahead, I would expect to see a major push to crack down on cryptocurrencies. And once independent cryptocurrencies have been dealt with, the elite will promote their own versions as the long-term solution.

According to the Post article, the Southern Poverty Law Center is currently tracking 200 Bitcoin wallets that they believe are owned by extremists. Apparently, every single transaction that involves these accounts is being monitored…

Public blockchain records make such monitoring possible. Researchers can study the times, dates and amounts of any transaction, along with what accounts are involved. That does not include the actual names of account holders, but such records can illuminate identities. The SPLC, for example, looks on the donation pages of extremist websites for bitcoin accounts that are seeking contributions.

If the elite are ultimately able to convince the general public that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are for racists, criminals, tax evaders and drug dealers, that will make it much easier to crack down on them.

But of course blockchain technology is here to stay. Once the elite are able to move the public away from “unregulated cryptocurrencies”, they will simply introduce “Fedcoin”, “Utility Settlement Coin” or whichever other digital currency that they want to promote at the time.

For the moment, however, the cryptocurrency revolution is still raging. Even as I write this article, the price of Bitcoin is flying all over the place. At the moment it is sitting at $14,730, but that will change in a few moments.

I would anticipate even more volatility as we head into 2018, and other experts seem to be of the same opinion. For example, just consider what Nick Colas is saying

Nick Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, has been following the bitcoin phenomenon for at least four years. Looking ahead to 2018, he sees more volatility for an asset that has soared nearly 1,600 percent over the past year.

In fact, he figures bitcoin could slosh in a range between $6,500 and $22,000; it was around $15,750 in Wednesday morning trade.

“Bottom line: bitcoin can rally to $22,000 and still be reasonably priced, or plummet to $6,500 and also be correctly valued,” Colas said in his daily note. “We expect to see bitcoin trade for both prices in 2018.”

But as I have said before, the key to this phenomenon is not how high the price of Bitcoin can climb.

Rather, the key is if Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies can truly become methods of exchange that are widely used outside of the control of national governments and global central banks.

If we can create a truly autonomous financial system that is independent of the current debt-based system, that would be a wonderful thing for humanity.

Unfortunately, the elite are going to fight very hard to keep that from happening, because control over currencies is one of the main factors that allows them to have so much control over the entire planet.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Are The Banksters Creating Their Own Cryptocurrency Called ‘Utility Settlement Coin’?

Independently-controlled cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin may or may not survive in the long run, but blockchain technology is definitely here to stay. This technology has revolutionized how digital financial transactions are conducted, and it was only a matter of time before the big boys began to adopt it. Previously, I have written about how the Washington Post is hyping something known as ‘Fedcoin’, but Fedcoin does not yet exist. However, a digital currency that uses blockchain technology that is called ‘Utility Settlement Coin’ is actually very real, and it is currently being jointly developed by four of the largest banking giants on the entire planet. The following was recently reported by Wolf Richter

UBS, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Santander, the market operator ICAP, and the startup Clearmatics formed an alliance in 2016 to explore the use of digital currency between financial institutions and central banks, using blockchain.

The ultimate goal of the project is to create a digital currency known as Utility Settlement Coin (USC), which will facilitate payment and settlement for institutional financial markets.

I decided that I had to know more about Utility Settlement Coin, and so I decided to go to the source.

This is what the official Deutsche Bank website says about Utility Settlement Coin…

USC is an asset-backed digital cash instrument implemented on distributed ledger technology for use within global institutional financial markets. USC is a series of cash assets, with a version for each of the major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, etc.) and USC is convertible at parity with a bank deposit in the corresponding currency. USC is fully backed by cash assets held at a central bank. Spending a USC will be spending its paired real-world currency.

UBS and Clearmatics launched the concept in September 2015 to validate the potential benefits of USC for capital efficiency, settlement and systemic risk reduction in global financial markets. The project was initially incubated as part of the UBS Crypto 2.0 Pathfinder Program, UBS’s initiative for research and experimentation on blockchain.

This could ultimately turn out to be a complete and total gamechanger. UBS, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank and Santander are four of the biggest banks in the western world, and the fact that they are working on this project together is a sign that they are very serious about succeeding.

Will the general public still be willing to pay a huge premium for independently-controlled cryptocurrencies once the banksters start coming out with their own versions?

The cryptocurrency revolution is still in the very early stages, and nobody is exactly sure how it will end, but without a doubt the banksters will be a major player in this drama. If you doubt this, just consider what one of the top executives at UBS is saying about Utility Settlement Coin

“Digital cash is a core component of a future financial market fabric based on blockchain technologies,” said Hyder Jaffrey, Head of Strategic Investment & FinTech Innovation at UBS Investment Bank. “There are several digital cash models being explored across the Street. The Utility Settlement Coin is focused on facilitating a new model for digital central bank cash.

Digital central bank cash?

I don’t like the sound of that at all.

We definitely do not want the banksters to co-opt this movement. Blockchain technology should be used to free humanity from debt-based central banking, but instead the exact opposite could end up happening.

If someday independently-controlled cryptocurrencies are completely banned or suffocated nearly out of existence by oppressive regulation, the way would be clear for the banksters to force everyone to use their own digital currencies. There are many nations around the world that have already gone nearly cashless, and the potential for tyranny in a cashless system where all digital currency is controlled by the banksters would be absolutely off the charts.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Some Are Calling This ‘The Bitcoin Crash’, But Others Believe It Is Just A Bump In The Road On The Way To $40,000

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other major cryptocurrencies have been on a wild ride this year, and over the past 10 days the volatility that we have witnessed in the marketplace has been absolutely breathtaking. On December 17th, Bitcoin shot above $19,800 for a brief moment before it started plummeting dramatically. At one point the price of Bitcoin dipped below $11,000, which represented close to a 45 percent decline from the record high that it had hit just five days earlier. And Bitcoin was far from alone – virtually every other major cryptocurrency was also down between 25 and 50 percent during that five day period. But now almost all of them are bouncing back, and at this moment the price of Bitcoin is $14,219.99.

So where do things go from here?

There are many that believe that in the short-term the price of Bitcoin will fall back toward the actual cost of production. It has been estimated that the cost to produce a new Bitcoin is currently between three and four thousand dollars, and with the price of Bitcoin so high there is a tremendous incentive for Bitcoin miners to produce as many as possible right now.

But there are others that are convinced that Bitcoin could eventually go to zero

Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette and his team sent a research note to clients a few days ago suggesting that the real value of bitcoin might be … $0.

That’s zero dollars. (Bitcoin stood at around $14,400 at the time of writing.)

To back up his assessment, Faucette made the following arguments…

• Can Bitcoin be valued like a currency? No. There is no interest rate associated with Bitcoin.

• Like digital gold? Maybe. Does not have any intrinsic use like gold has in electronics or jewelry. But investors appear to be ascribing some value to it.

• Is it a payment network? Yes but it is tough to scale and does not charge a transaction fee.

Faucette also pointed out that the number of online retailers that accept Bitcoin is actually falling. Five of the top 500 e-commerce merchants accepted Bitcoin during the first quarter of 2016, but now only three still do.

In order for Bitcoin to have a sustainable long-term future, it must become a real currency that is widely used, but many would argue that it is already being surpassed by better and newer options. In fact, one top cryptocurrency expert recent stated that the old Bitcoin network “is as good as unusable”

Emil Oldenburg, the co-founder of Bitcoin.com – one of the world’s largest sites devoted to the cryptocurrency – recently called the cryptocurrency the “most risky investment you can make,” after he switched to bitcoin cash, which he considers to be the future.

“The old bitcoin network is as good as unusable,” said in an interview with Swedish tech site Breakit.

That certainly doesn’t sound promising, but so far that hasn’t stopped the price of Bitcoin from heading into the stratosphere. So far in 2017 the price of Bitcoin has risen more than 1,400%, and that number is extremely impressive no matter how you look at it.

Of course virtually all of that “digital wealth” could disappear in just a matter of days during a major crash. The CEO of Patriarch Equity, Eric Schiffer, believers that Bitcoin investments are eventually heading for “a thermonuclear death”

“I think bitcoin is a ‘tower of death,’” Schiffer says. “It is going to result in the imminent death of your investment – a thermonuclear death.

“Right now we are looking at a financial bubble that is bigger than the tulip craze and I believe that we are headed for a bitcoin crash that will supersede any financial worries of the 21st century,” he added. “People are going to be shocked when they try to liquify their bitcoins.”

Schiffer might be right.

After all, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t have any intrinsic value. Essentially, they are nothing more than digital creations that only have value because people think they have value.

But those that got in back at the beginning and have cashed out now have made enormous amounts of money, and nobody can deny that.

With every form of “investing”, they are winners and there are losers. Unfortunately, those that chose to jump in at the height of the madness could end up losing very big. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Betting on cryptos is a peculiar form of online gambling on a global scale that requires a consensus among participants that they only buy, and that you cannot ever cash out, and now that some folks are trying to cash out, the bets for everyone else are souring. The same dynamics that pushed prices up have reversed and are causing them to crash.

But what if the naysayers are wrong?

What if this current “Bitcoin crash” is just a bump in the road on the way to $40,000?

Years ago, the price of Bitcoin crashed 75 percent at one point. What would have happened if the early investors had all bailed out then instead of holding on until now?

Those that sold Bitcoin at $12,000 might end up really kicking themselves if the price of Bitcoin does hit $40,000 by the end of next year, and that is exactly what some top experts are projecting

Billionaire investors and highly respected analysts including hedge fund investor Mike Novogratz, prominent financial analyst Max Keiser, and Fundstrat’s Tom Lee stated that the price of bitcoin will likely surpass the $40,000 margin by the end of 2018, and achieve a $1 trillion market cap.

And let us not forget that big names such as John McAfee and James Altucher are predicting that the price of Bitcoin will eventually reach one million dollars.

To me, this is absolutely fascinating. On the one side, you have financial experts that believe that Bitcoin is going to zero, and on the other side you have financial experts that are projecting that someday a single Bitcoin will be worth one million dollars.

I don’t know which side will ultimately prevail, but it will be a lot of fun to watch how everything plays out.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Washington Post Says That Fedcoin Will Be ‘Bigger’ Than Bitcoin

Fedcoin doesn’t even exist yet, and yet the Washington Post is already hyping it as the primary cryptocurrency that we will be using in the future. Do they know something that they rest of us do not? Just a few days ago I warned that global central banks could eventually try to take control of the cryptocurrency phenomenon, and so I was deeply alarmed to see the Post publish this sort of an article. We want cryptocurrencies to stay completely independent, and we definitely do not want the Federal Reserve and other global central banks to start creating their own versions. Because of course once they create their own versions they will want to start restricting the use of any competitors.

The one thing that could derail the cryptocurrency revolution faster than anything else would be interference by national governments or global central banks. Unfortunately, now that Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies are getting so much attention, it is inevitable that the powers that be will make a move.

On Monday, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Professor Campbell R. Harvey of Duke University that was entitled “Bitcoin is big. But fedcoin is bigger.” These days, there is an agenda behind virtually everything that the Washington Post publishes, and so it is not just a coincidence that they have published an article with “fedcoin” in the title. Here is how that article begins

Over the past few weeks, investors have been flocking to bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has soared by about 2,000 percent in the past year alone. And while many economists are cautioning against excitement about bitcoin — which is caught up in what may be one of the biggest speculative bubbles in history — it’s important to note just how revolutionary the technology may be.

Indeed, the technology underlying bitcoin could fundamentally change the way we think of money.

Professor Harvey goes on to explain that it is “only a matter of time before paper money is phased out”, and that some version of “fedcoin” is inevitable.

But it doesn’t have to be.

The Federal Reserve and other global central banks could just leave us alone and allow us to create our own currencies. The cryptocurrency revolution is moving along just fine, and there is no need for any sort of interference.

But I have a feeling that the powers that be will eventually manufacture some sort of a “cryptocurrency crisis” if one does not happen naturally. In the aftermath, they will attempt to introduce some version of “fedcoin”, and many in the general public will be very thankful for the “solution” that the government has provided.

And that day may be closer than we think. In fact, the U.S. government has already invested millions into cryptocurrency research

To add fuel to the fire, the U.S. government has been rigorously studying Bitcoin for about two years now… and instead of fighting Bitcoin, the Feds seem poised to wipe out the U.S. dollar by creating their own digital currency.

The National Science Foundation, a U.S. government agency that supports and funds research… has awarded $3 million to three U.S. universities for wide-ranging cryptocurrency research.

Cornell, the University of Maryland and the University of California Berkeley will focus on developing new cryptocurrency systems that, according to principal investigator Elaine Shi, will address “pain points” attributed to Bitcoin and other existing networks.

The Federal Reserve is far from alone. Other global central banks are doing their own research, and the Bank for International Settlements says that “all central banks” may eventually need their own cryptocurrencies. The following comes from CNBC

Central banks may one day need to issue their own cryptocurrencies, the Bank for International Settlements said in its latest quarterly review.

“Whether or not a central bank should provide a digital alternative to cash is most pressing in countries, such as Sweden, where cash usage is rapidly declining,” the Sunday report said. “But all central banks may eventually have to decide whether issuing retail or wholesale [central bank cryptocurrencies] makes sense in their own context.”

This is going to be a critical phase for the cryptocurrency revolution, because the people of the world are going to have to make it exceedingly clear that they do not want central bank cryptocurrencies.

Central bank cryptocurrencies would simply be an extension of the current debt-based system that is systematically enslaving humanity. The thing that makes cryptocurrencies so great is the fact that they are not debt-based and they are allowing humanity to express independence from the current system.

As existing fiat currencies fail, we want there to be independent cryptocurrencies that people can use as an alternative. And we don’t have to just imagine what that would look like. In fact, it is already happening in Venezuela

But in Venezuela, the collapse of the bolivar has forced locals to turn to alternatives like bitcoin and local community-issued currencies with fixed exchange rates. The rapid erosion of the bolivar’s value made everyday transactions like buying groceries and paying cabbies untenable – customers had to pay with large, cumbersome stacks of bolivars that were difficult to transport.

Patricia Laya, a Venezuela-based reporter, tweeted a photo of the 5,000 bolivars – the maximum amount – she was able to withdraw from an ATM in Caracas. They’re worth around $0.05. Laya stated that she had waited 20 minutes in line to obtain $0.05 in hyperinflated currency worth little to no value, according to CCN.

Even though bitcoin transactions can take hours – even days – to settle, local merchants have readily embraced the digital currency.

This is a revolution that has the potential to completely change the global financial system, but I have a feeling that global central banks will never let it get that far. The current system funnels literally trillions of dollars to the very top of the food chain, and the elite are going to jealously guard their golden goose.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than Wal-Mart (The Entire Company)

Would you rather own 100% of Wal-Mart or every Bitcoin in existence? At one point such a question would have been completely absurd, but now things have changed. As I write this article, Wal-Mart has a market cap of 287.68 billion dollars. Wal-Mart is the king of the retail industry in America, and nobody else is even close. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is an entirely digital creation that did not even exist until 2009. No government or central bank in the entire world recognizes it as a legitimate currency, and there are very, very few retail establishments that are willing to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. And yet at this moment, Bitcoin has a market cap of 310 billion dollars.

When the year began, Bitcoin had just crossed the $1,000 threshold, and now it is selling for more than $18,000. Of course other cryptocurrencies have been rising at an even faster pace. We have never seen anything quite like this before, and some are warning that this is a giant bubble that is about to burst

Axel Weber, the board chairman of big bank UBS, has warned of a possible Bitcoin currency crash. With increasing numbers of small investors jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, it is time for regulators to intervene, he says.

Bitcoin has surged from $1,000 (CHF990) at the start of the year to above $16,000.

The risks are due to a design fault, which leads to huge currency swings in both directions, Weber said in an interview with the NZZ am Sonntagexternal link. “We as a bank have very consciously warned against this product, because we do not consider it valid and sustainable,” said Weber.

Of course similar things could be said about the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 34 percent in 2017 even though underlying economic activity does not support such ridiculous valuations.

Ultimately, the reason why Bitcoin is so valuable today is because people believe in it.

Those that believed in Bitcoin from the very beginning were relentless in promoting it, and that tight-knit community provided the foundation for what we are witnessing today. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Libertarians flocked to its banner, because of the potential that Bitcoin offered, as a decentralized form of money. Bitcoin was for the community, maintained by the community and was the community.

Community was a key word. It was a word that was paramount to the success of Bitcoin. Without it, we wouldn’t see the staggering numbers we see today. This push ever onward by the community is why Bitcoin was able to get its footing and build the foundation it vitally needed to survive and prosper.

But could it be possible that the powers that be actually wanted us to embrace Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Could it even be possible that blockchain technology will someday be used as the foundation for the coming cashless society that we have heard so much about?

I would like for you to take a few moments to consider what Mike Adams of Natural News has reported

First, take a look at this document entitled, “How to make a mint: The cryptography of anonymous electronic cash.” This document, released in 1997 — yes, twenty years ago — detailed the overall structure and function of Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Who authored the document? Try not to be shocked when you learn it was authored by “mathematical cryptographers at the National Security Agency’s Office of Information Security Research and Technology.”

The NSA, in other words, detailed key elements of Bitcoin long before Bitcoin ever came into existence. Much of the Bitcoin protocol is detailed in this document, including signature authentication techniques, eliminating cryptocoin counterfeits through transaction authentication and several features that support anonymity and untraceability of transactions.

Wow.

I was stunned when I read that.

And Mike Adams has also pointed out that “the agency is also the creator of the SHA-256 hash upon which every Bitcoin transaction in the world depends.”

The powers that be could have destroyed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a long time ago if they had wanted to do so.

But they haven’t.

This has always puzzled me, and up until just recently I never had a good answer for why it had not happened yet. Could it be possible that they have actually wanted the public to embrace this new technology? Brandon Smith certainly seems to think so…

Ask yourself this: Why is it that central banks around the world (including the BIS and IMF) are investing in Bitcoin and other crytpocurrencies while developing their own crypto systems based on a similar framework? Could it be that THIS infusion of capital and infrastructure from major banks is the most likely explanation for the incredible spike in the bitcoin market? Why is it that globalist banking conglomerates like Goldman Sachs lavish blockchain technology with praise in their white papers? And, why are central bankers like Ben Bernanke speaking in favor of crypto at major cryptocurrency conferences if crypto is such a threat to central bank control?

Answer — because it is not a threat. They benefit from a cashless system, and liberty champions are helping to give it to them.

Once the public fully accepts blockchain technology, all it is going to take is some sort of massive “cryptocurrency crisis” for cries for government control to reach a crescendo.

But for now the cryptocurrency revolution is rolling along, and the general public is enthusiastically embracing a cashless technology that permanently tracks and records every single transaction. As an editorial on Zero Hedge has noted, the elite could end this experiment at any time, but instead it appears that it may actually be serving their purposes…

Regardless if the blockchain is a distributed network that cannot be stopped, all one must do is outlaw the use and/or conversion of Bitcoin to the local coin of the realm to immediately stop its rapid, and profitable, propagation. Since this has not occurred to date, one must surmise there is a reason for not doing so.

All the police state needs to do is cry national security and the curtain comes down on the Bitcoin stage (d) production. You do not need to destroy the rebel force in order to render it ineffective.

While the deep state and its minions are rarely of one mind about a multitude of issues, witness the constant infighting and jockeying for position, nothing clears the mind or clarifies its purpose like the certain knowledge of imminent demise. If Bitcoin, blockchain and the hundreds of other cryptocurrencies were the mortal danger loudly advertised by the Bitcoin ideologies, it would be squashed in a New York minute.

If the elite had tried to force a cashless system on all of us, there would have been a tremendous amount of backlash.

But now the entire globe is gleefully embracing “the cryptocurrency revolution”, and most do not even realize that this is a giant step toward a cashless society.

As long as “the cryptocurrency revolution” remains outside of the grip of governments and central banks, it will be a good thing. But once the elite start cracking down and taking control, everything will change.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Cryptocurrency Chaos: Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum All Keep Surging To New Record Highs With No End In Sight

The cryptocurrency revolution is the biggest story in the financial world right now. In recent days I have spent a lot of time writing about Bitcoin, but the truth is that all of the major cryptocurrencies have been on an unprecedented run lately. In fact, some of them have been rising much faster in price than Bitcoin has. So even though Bitcoin is now worth almost 18 times as much as it was at the beginning of 2017, that actually pales in comparison to how fast Litecoin has been rising. Of course not all of these cryptocurrencies will eventually succeed. There are about 1000 different cryptocurrencies in existence at the moment, and most of them will inevitably fail. But for now virtually every cryptocurrency is soaring, and the total market cap for all cryptocurrencies combined is rapidly approaching half a trillion dollars.

Let’s start our discussion with Bitcoin. As I write this, a single Bitcoin is worth $17696.99, and that is absolutely astounding considering that the price was sitting at just about $1,000 as 2017 began.

We have seen the price of Bitcoin double over and over again, and this last cycle only took 22 days. At this point Bitcoin is so hot that people are actually mortgaging their homes in order to get money to invest…

Securities regulator Joseph Borg says he has seen people doing everything from running up credit card debt to mortgaging their homes to pour money into the cryptocurrency.

It’s easy, from one angle, to see why. Bitcoin started out the year being worth $1,000. On Nov. 20, Bitcoin set a new record by passing the $8,000 mark. As of mid-morning Tuesday, it was worth over $17,000. Very few investments double their value in just 22 days.

Of course Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t actually have any intrinsic value at all. They only have value because people think that they have value, and right now we are witnessing one of the wildest “financial manias” in recorded history.

In fact, Bitcoin mania has now actually surpassed the infamous Dutch Tulip bubble of 1636 and 1637 according to one analyst

One month later, the price of bitcoin has exploded even higher, and so it is time to refresh where in the global bubble race bitcoin now stands, and also whether it has finally surpassed “Tulips.”

Conveniently, overnight the former Bridgewater analysts Howard Wang and Robert Wu who make up Convoy, released the answer in the form of an updated version of their asset bubble chart. In the new commentary, Wang writes that the Bitcoin prices have again more than doubled since the last update, and “its price has now gone up over 17 times this year, 64 times over the last three years and superseded that of the Dutch Tulip’s climb over the same time frame.”

Can Bitcoin defy financial gravity and continue to climb higher in price?

We shall see.

Meanwhile, the fifth largest cryptocurrency, Litecoin, has more than doubled in price since Sunday afternoon. And overall, the price of Litecoin has been rising much, much faster than Bitcoin so far this year…

Litecoin (LTC) has proved the underdog and is currently dominating crypto charts. In the past 24 hours, the price of Litecoin has surged over 45% hitting a new all-time high of $255.40, according to CoinMarketCap. The 24-hour trading volume for Litecoin has crossed $4.68 billion while the market cap has surpassed $13 billion. Currently the cryptocurrency is trading at $245.51.

An interesting fact is that if we closely look at the stats since the beginning of 2017, when Litecoin traded at a mere price of $4.3, the token has appreciated investors’ money almost twice as much as bitcoin has done. If to calculate the returns as on the existing date, it turns out that during the afore-mentioned period Litecoin has gained more than 5500 percent against Bitcoin’s 1800 percent.

5500 percent in a single year is absolutely crazy.

There are some people out there that have made absolutely extraordinary amounts of money investing in cryptocurrencies, and another one that is extremely hot right now is Ethereum

Ethereum, the number two digital currency by market capitalization, topped $600 today to set a new all time high. According to CNBC, the surge comes as UBS announced they will head an Ethereum-based Blockchain initiative along with Barclay’s, Credit Suisse, KBC, Swiss stock exchange SIX and Thomson Reuters. The initiative is designed to help these companies comply with new European Union trade data standards that go into effect in 2018.

Ethereum now has a total market cap of more than 60 billion dollars.

That makes Ethereum more valuable than General Motors or Aetna.

Seriously.

After seeing all of the money that has been made, many are racing to learn how to invest in cryptocurrencies, but it is never wise to invest after a giant bubble has already formed. According to banking giant UBS, Bitcoin is “the bubble to end all bubbles”, and they are not optimistic about where things are headed…

UBS Wealth Management is not a believer in bitcoin becoming a legitimate currency even as the launch of futures lead some investors to believe the cryptocurrency will become a more stable market.

“The bubble to end all bubbles continues. Cryptocurrencies only have value if accepted as currencies. However, they cannot be used for the most important transaction in an economy, and cryptocurrency supply can only rise and never fall (making them a poor store of value),” global chief economist Paul Donovan wrote in a post Monday. “To date, using cryptocurrencies requires (effectively) a simultaneous asset sale and purchase of goods or services.”

But there are others that are entirely convinced that we are in the very early stages of a global financial revolution that is going to completely change the world. Just consider the words of Alex Stanczyk

Imagine a world where a teenage girl in India can start a business, sell her wares or services, and then through her phone, internet, and crypto-currency store the fruit of her labor. She can then buy an item on Amazon and have it shipped to her half-way around the world without ever having to open a bank account. This is the future that crypto-currency promises.

Having transactions validated with cryptography means we can trust the math, and not have to rely on a human intermediary or the bank. The only way to compromise the cryptography requires computing power that no private (or sovereign) entity in the world can bring to bear. I have heard one crypto expert assert that the current hashing power of the voluntary nodes processing the bitcoin algorithm has more power than all of the world’s supercomputers combined. Because it is a distributed public ledger, it means that no single entity controls it, but everyone gets to see the transactions in it. This performs the primary function of every bank since Medici, which is keeping track of where the money goes. Only now, you don’t need the bank. The technology has the potential to dis-intermediate the banks, and therefore the political class, from having total control of every aspect of peoples financial lives.

In the end, the real story is not how valuable these cryptocurrencies become relative to U.S. dollars.

Rather, the real story will be whether or not these cryptocurrencies will be used to free humanity from the debt-based system that the central bankers are currently using to oppress the entire planet.

If these cryptocurrencies can be used as a tool for freedom, we should all greatly applaud that. But if they are only going to serve as speculative investments, then their ultimate value is going to be greatly limited.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Bitcoin Futures Begin Trading – Let The Madness Commence!

One of the things that I love about Bitcoin is that the fun never seems to end. On Sunday, Bitcoin futures began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange for the first time ever, and within minutes the CBOE’s website crashed. What a perfect metaphor. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are completely and utterly disrupting the global financial system, and the financial establishment is still groping for a cohesive response to this growing phenomenon.

For a long time the financial establishment seemed to think that if they just kept publicly trashing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that they would eventually just go away. In fact, earlier today I came across a story that talked about how Deutsche Bank is warning of a “Bitcoin crash” in 2018. But what they don’t realize is that we have reached a tipping point, and the world will never go back to the way it was before.

And even though other global financial institutions are dragging their feet, an enormous threshold was crossed when Bitcoin futures were launched on the Chicago Board Options Exchange just a few hours ago

On Sunday, the Cboe will finally launch its long-awaited bitcoin futures contract; the CME Group will launch its futures contract later this month.

This will surely add a new element to bitcoin, shifting it from a buy-side-only trade to introducing the ability to go long — or short. This should bring new, larger and institutional participants into the market.

This move will also make it more tempting for large institutions to try to manipulate the price of Bitcoin, and that is always a dangerous thing.

But overall this is being hailed as a great thing for Bitcoin, and many believe that the wild ride that Bitcoin has been on in recent weeks has been because of this upcoming futures launch. The following comes from CNBC

The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

“The pretty sharp rise we have seen in bitcoin in just the last couple of weeks has probably been driven by optimism ahead of the futures launch,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

As I write this, the price of Bitcoin is sitting at $16,487.99, which is much higher than it was just a couple days ago. At one point it had dipped below $14,000, but it has bounced back nicely.

And this could be just the beginning for Bitcoin futures. According to CNN, Bitcoin futures will soon begin trading on a couple of additional exchanges as well…

There’s more to come. Bitcoin futures will also begin trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on December 17-18, while the Nasdaq will debut the options sometime next year.

Many of us that didn’t get into Bitcoin when it was first emerging are still kicking ourselves. But one individual who did, but later abandoned his efforts, has more than 80 million dollars sitting in a landfill somewhere. The story of a British man named James Howells was recently featured by Gizmodo

Through his computational labors, he amassed around 7,500 bitcoin before his girlfriend, fed up with the noise of block-mining hardware, made him stop. No great loss—the Silk Road was two years away and bitcoin was worth next to nothing.

Most of the equipment he was using was sold for scrap after he spilled lemonade on it, and the hard drive containing the key to his digital wallet sat in a drawer for three years before passing into its final resting place: the trash.

Near the tail end of 2013, Howells took stock of the crypto markets and began to regret his hasty cleaning decisions. At that time bitcoin’s market cap was beginning to climb, and his 7,500 lost coins were worth a few million. Four years later and he still—understandably—hasn’t let it go. One bitcoin is currently valued at $11,500, making the small fortune Howells sent to a landfill a considerably larger fortune of over $80 million.

Could you imagine being in his shoes?

That hard drive would almost certainly be virtually impossible to find at this point, but I am sure that he thinks about his lost fortune all the time.

But this is the great thing about Bitcoin. Fortunes are being won and lost outside of the control of the global central banking system, and this has got to be driving the central bankers absolutely bonkers. I have always believed that there would be a massive crackdown on cryptocurrencies someday, and this is something that Adam Taggart recently discussed with a digital currency expert

We talked about the central banking cartel’s longstanding monopoly of the money supply and its historic ruthlessness for squashing all competition. He agreed that the central banks would like nothing more than to replace the current cryptos as well as all paper fiat currencies with digital sovereign versions. And he predicts they will likely try to do exactly this. How successful will they be? Uncertain. He can certainly foresee a time when they ban ownership of Bitcoin and its brethren, criminalize transacting with them, and shut down the exchanges. Though while the cartel may be able to seriously curtail Bitcoin et al, he doesn’t see it succeeding in driving them to extinction for several reasons. One he offered that I hadn’t heard before (but have since verified) is that private investors have put a network of satellites up in space dedicated to making it possible to transact in Bitcoin anywhere on Earth even if the terrestrial networks are taken down by the authorities or natural disaster.

I agree that it is quite likely that global central banks will eventually come out with their own digital currencies using blockchain technology. At that point it is entirely possible that they could try to ban the use of Bitcoin and other independent cryptocurrencies, and we must not allow them to do this.

The use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is one way that humanity can express independence from the global debt-based system that is systematically enslaving all of us, and so I greatly applaud the entrepreneurs that are working so hard to make these new digital currencies viable.

But the battle over currencies is just in the early chapters, and some huge twists and turns are ahead. We don’t know exactly how everything is going to play out, but it is definitely going to be a wild ride.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Bitcoin Bubble: Is Bitcoin Going To $1 Million Or Is it Going To Zero?

The price of Bitcoin continues to rise at an exponential rate, and the financial world is in a complete state of shock. Just yesterday, I marveled that the price of Bitcoin had surged past the $13,000 mark for the first time ever, but then on Thursday it actually was selling for more than $19,000 at one point. As I write this, Bitcoin is sitting at $16,877.42, but a few hours from now it could be a couple of thousand dollars higher or lower than that. Those that got in early on “the Bitcoin revolution” have made extraordinary amounts of money, and many believe that this is just the beginning.

Of course many of the most respected names in the financial world were convinced that this would never happen. For example, back in 2014 Warren Buffett encouraged investors to “stay away” because he believed that Bitcoin was a “mirage”. And not too long ago JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said that “if you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day”.

But for now, it is Bitcoin investors that are having the last laugh. If you would have gotten into Bitcoin back at the beginning of this year, your investment would be worth 16 times as much today. The following comes from CNN

Bitcoin cracked $1,000 on the first day of 2017. By this week, it was up to $12,000, and then it really took off: The price topped $16,000 on some exchanges Thursday, and $18,000 on at least one. Other cryptocurrencies have seen similar spikes, though they trade for much less than bitcoin.

There’s a long list of factors people may point to in an attempt to explain this. Regulators have taken a hands-off approach to bitcoin in certain markets. Dozens of new hedge funds have launched this year to trade cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The Nasdaq and Chicago Mercantile Exchange plan to let investors trade bitcoin futures, which may attract more professional investors.

At this point, Bitcoin has a market cap of approximately 280 billion dollars, and that means that if it was a stock it would “rank among the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500“.

To put this another way, Bitcoin’s market cap is now greater than the GDP of the entire nation of Greece.

Earlier today, Zero Hedge posted a chart that showed how meteoric Bitcoin’s rise has been…

  • $0000 – $1000: 1789 days
  • $1000- $2000: 1271 days
  • $2000- $3000: 23 days
  • $3000- $4000: 62 days
  • $4000- $5000: 61 days
  • $5000- $6000: 8 days
  • $6000- $7000: 13 days
  • $7000- $8000: 14 days
  • $8000- $9000: 9 days
  • $9000-$10000: 2 days
  • $10000-$11000: 1 day
  • $11000-$12000: 6 days
  • $12000-$13000: 17 hours
  • $13000-$14000: 4 hours
  • $14000-$15000: 10 hours
  • $15000-$16000: 5 hours
  • $16000-$17000: 2 hours
  • $17000-$18000: 10 minutes
  • $18000-$19000: 3 minutes

So where is Bitcoin headed next?

Whenever we see anything go up this fast, it is inevitable that there will be a pullback, and that is precisely what we are witnessing at the moment. After soaring past the $19,000 mark, Bitcoin dropped back to under $17,000. But this pullback could just be temporary, and there are some that are absolutely convinced that Bitcoin will blow well past the $20,000 mark by the end of December.

In the long-term, experts such as John McAfee and James Altucher believe that the price of Bitcoin will reach one million dollars. But there are others that believe that Bitcoin is one of the biggest financial bubbles in history and that it will eventually end in an absolutely horrible crash.

So who is correct?

Well, it is entirely possible that both sides are correct.

Bitcoin could theoretically continue to skyrocket for the next few years if the economy remains somewhat stable. And it is also true that given a long enough time frame, virtually every financial investment goes to zero.

Just like every other financial investment, the key is to get in at the right time and to get out at the right time.

For now, Bitcoin has sparked a worldwide craze that is absolutely unprecedented. The following comes from the Washington Post

Such warnings have not stopped the craze surrounding the currency as the sharp rise in value creates ever more demand. In South Korea, people are pouring their life savings into bitcoin and other digital currencies. In Venezuela, after observing the rise of bitcoin, the government announced it would launch its own virtual currency called the “Petro” to get around U.S. sanctions.

And of course Bitcoin has spawned a whole host of competitors. At this point there are more than 1,000 virtual currencies in existence, and that number is constantly growing.

To me, this whole phenomenon is absolutely amazing. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are digital creations, and they don’t have any real intrinsic value.

But something doesn’t have to have intrinsic value in order to be extremely expensive. For example, a single painting by Pablo Picasso once sold for more than 100 million dollars. You and I may consider it to be just a silly painting, but because there are people out there that are willing to pay more than 100 million dollars for it, that is how much it is worth.

The same thing is true with cryptocurrencies. At this moment there are people willing to pay more than $16,000 for a single Bitcoin, and therefore that is what it is selling for.

Someday if this craze fades or global governments really start cracking down on cryptocurrencies, things could change very, very rapidly. So anyone that is considering investing should be aware of the risks.

But for the moment Bitcoin is on a wild ride, and it has been fun to watch. And since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not controlled by the authorities, it is easy to root for them to be successful.

However, now that they are getting so much attention it is inevitable that the heavy hand of government will come down hard at some point. In the end, government usually ends up ruining just about everything, and I have a feeling that cryptocurrencies will be no exception.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

In January 2017 Bitcoin Was Selling For $1,000, And Now It Is Selling For $13,000

I have never seen anything quite like this in my entire life. As 2017 began, Bitcoin was selling for about $1,000, and many were optimistic about what the new year would bring. But nobody could have imagined this. When Bitcoin hit $5,000 in October, it made headlines all over the world, but it has continued to rise at an exponential rate since then. My friend Joseph told me that Bitcoin would hit $10,000 “by December”, and it actually happened. This week, the euphoria has hit an entirely new level, and as I write this article the price of Bitcoin is sitting at an eye-popping $13,899.50.

The price of Bitcoin is going up so fast that it is difficult to keep up with it. Just check out this chart. Bitcoin hit $12,000 on Tuesday night, and it could very well be above $14,000 by the time this article gets to you. The following is how CNBC summarized the price movements that we have been witnessing over the past few days…

Bitcoin climbed above $13,000 Wednesday afternoon after topping $12,000 Tuesday night.

The volatile digital currency leaped 11 percent to hit a record high of $13,017.96 and was last trading near $13,000, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin topped $12,000 Tuesday night in a rapid recovery from a 20 percent drop last week.

I have been writing a lot about Bitcoin lately, and I will probably be writing about it a lot more in the months ahead. We are in uncharted territory, and the financial community is having a difficult time coming to terms with what is happening. In all my years, I have never seen this sort of exponential growth over an extended period of time…

Just in the year 2017, Bitcoin, in particular, has seen unprecedented increases in value relative to the U.S. dollar. On January 1, 2017, the price of Bitcoin had just topped $1,000 per coin. Fast-forward to December 1, 2017, and the price of Bitcoin blew right on past $10,000 per coin.

So how high could Bitcoin ultimately go?

At this point it seems like the euphoria will never end, and some analysts are predicting a price of 1 million dollars by the year 2020. Books with titles such as “Mastering Bitcoin For Dummies” are starting to pop up all over the place, and there is no shortage of people that are willing to teach the finer points of trading Bitcoin (for a fee of course).

But there are trouble signs on the horizon as well.

For example, on Wednesday we learned that “the largest crypto-mining marketplace” in the entire world has been hacked

As Bitcoin explodes higher on what now appears to be constant demand out of South Korea, there were unconfirmed (at least until recently) reports that Nice Hash, the largest crypto-mining marketplace, has been hacked with over 4,000 bitcoins worth over $50 million stolen.

50 million dollars is a lot of money. If Bitcoins can be stolen this easily, will investors really feel safe having so much money tied up in cryptocurrencies?

This hack is one of the biggest news stories in the world right now, and NiceHash has put out a lengthy statement about this incident. The following is an excerpt from that statement

Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours.

Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken.

Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.

The future of Bitcoin remains unclear at this point, but many of us that missed out on investing in the early stages are deeply regretting it.

Only time will tell if Bitcoin continues to soar or if it comes crashing back to Earth, but without a doubt this is one of the biggest financial stories that we have seen in a very long time.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

‘The Currency Of The Apocalypse’? Doomsday Preppers Flock To Bitcoin As It Surges Past $8000

Once upon a time preppers would hoard gold and silver in anticipation of the meltdown of society, but now Bitcoin is becoming the alternative currency of choice for many in the prepping community. On Monday, Bitcoin hit an all-time record high as it surged past $8,200, and it has now gone up nearly 50 percent in just the last eight days. As I have admitted previously, one of my great regrets is not investing in Bitcoin when it first started, because we have never seen a meteoric rise quite like this. Bitcoin hit the $5,000 mark for the very first time just over a month ago, it is up more than 700 percent so far this year, and it is up almost 40,000 percent over the past five years. At this point Bitcoin has a market cap of over 130 billion dollars, and many believe that this is just the beginning.

At one time many preppers were quite skeptical of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but now that is starting to change in a major way. The following comes from a Bloomberg article entitled “These Doomsday Preppers Are Starting to Switch From Gold to Bitcoin”

“Not too long ago, people in the prepper community were actively warning against crypto, and now they’re all investing in it,” said Tom Martin, a truck driver from Washington who runs a social-media website for people interested in learning skills to survive disaster. “As long as the grid stays up, people will keep using bitcoin.”

In addition to gold, silver and stocks, Martin invests in bitcoin and peers litecoin and steem because they’re easier to travel with, harder to steal and offer better protection in the event of the kind of societal breakdown that would unfold if a fiat currency like the dollar collapsed.

He’s among those confident that bitcoin can withstand even a complete blackout through the strength of the underlying blockchain, the anonymous public bookkeeping technology that records every single bitcoin transaction.

At the end of the day, cryptocurrencies only have value because people believe that they have value. If the global financial system completely collapses, will there still be demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? And will they be accepted for food, medicine and other basic emergency supplies when everything falls apart?

These are legitimate questions for preppers to consider, because cryptocurrencies do not actually have any intrinsic value. At the end of the day these cryptocurrencies only exist in cyberspace, and some of the biggest names in the financial world continue to be skeptics

J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon thinks bitcoin is a “fraud.” Investor Mark Cuban called it “a bubble.” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is still undecided. But whether or not executives believe in the potential of bitcoin, ethereum or blockchain technology, they and their companies can’t avoid talking about cryptocurrencies.

And there is a very real possibility that the marketplace could soon become absolutely saturated with “cryptocurrencies”. At this point it seems like a new crytpocurrency is being started on almost a daily basis. Here is more from CNN

Dragonchain, a crytpocurrency startup originally backed by Disney (DIS), has held an ICO. Filecoin, a cloud storage company, raised more than $250 million earlier this year from an ICO — the biggest ever.

And online retailer Overstock (OSTK) is even planning an ICO for its tZero blockhain unit.

“In an effort to bypass the rules and costs associated with getting listed on an exchange, many startups now are opting to raise funds by issuing their own digital currency based on blockchain technology,” Holmes wrote.

For now, we will probably continue to see wild up and down swings in the price of Bitcoin. Those that were able to buy low and are able to sell high will make an extraordinary amount of money, but those that hold on to the bitter end may ultimately lose everything.

As is the case with so many things in life, timing is everything.

And for all of the preppers that are getting into Bitcoin, even Bloomberg is skeptical that the cryptocurrency will be of much use in an apocalyptic situation…

Still, it’s hard to envision people walking around spending digital coins to buy Spam, canned beans or bottled water at a local supermarket when they don’t have electricity at home to charge their smart phones, let alone a working internet connection to access their digital wallets.

Of course up to this point those with the last laugh have been those that invested in Bitcoin despite what the skeptics were saying.

Countless numbers of “Bitcoin millionaires” have already been created, and many believe that this is just the start of the cryptocurrency revolution.

But will this revolution end up resulting in heartbreak for those that don’t get out before the bubble bursts?

Only time will tell…

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

How High Can It Go? Bitcoin Shocks The World By Crossing The $7000 Mark Less Than 1 Month After It Sold For $5000

Less than a month ago, Bitcoin was selling for less than $5000, but now it has smashed through the $7000 mark with seemingly no end in sight. At this point Bitcoin has a total market cap of more than 100 billion dollars, and some analysts are suggesting that it could eventually go as high as a trillion dollars. Cryptocurrencies overall are up an astounding 640 percent so far in 2017, and personally I regret not investing when Bitcoin was still in the very early stages. I always thought that governments would eventually crack down and regulate cryptocurrencies out of existence, and that still may happen someday, but it hasn’t happened yet.

One of the great things about Bitcoin is that it represents a medium of exchange that is not controlled by the central bankers. So when you use Bitcoin you are choosing to become less dependent on a system that is designed to financially dominate the entire planet. Any way that we can become more independent is a good thing, and so I greatly applaud the use of cryptocurrencies.

But there are those that are warning that a major bubble is forming and that extreme downward price action will be coming at some point. Needless to say, the upward momentum that we are witnessing at the moment is certainly not sustainable indefinitely. The following comes from Breitbart

The price of Bitcoin smashed another record early Thursday morning — $7,000 for each unit of the digital currency.

As of 7 AM Eastern time, BTC is selling for $7,191.16, according to data from Coinbase. Bitcoin — which is minted by a decentralized network of miners, not a governing body — hit this latest benchmark with a single-day increase of nearly $640, only 13 days after it first became valued at $6,000. If an individual bought 1 BTC exactly one month ago, it has grown $2,902.33 or +67.67% in value.

Anything that goes up that fast is eventually going to come down, and those that invest at $7,000 could end up seeing the price fall back several thousand dollars. Or, the euphoria surrounding Bitcoin cold propel it through the $10,000 mark and make all of the skeptics look like idiots.

We just don’t know, and that is part of the charm of Bitcoin.

And according to Bloomberg, soon investors will be able to trade Bitcoin futures…

The digital currency got new impetus this week after CME Group Inc., the world’s largest exchange owner, said it plans to introduce bitcoin futures by the end of the year, citing pent-up demand from clients. Skeptics including Themis Trading say the rally is evidence that the software-created asset is a bubble that should not be given regulatory cover.

Of course Bitcoin is not the only major cryptocurrency that is out there. In fact, there are rumblings that Amazon is about to start promoting Bitcoin’s chief competitor

Ethereum, the top digital currency behind Bitcoin, has plunged in price as Bitcoin enjoys its massive surge, falling from a 24-hour high of $301.41 to $277.82 Thursday morning.

However, this Tuesday, Amazon bought the domain names amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazoncryptocurrencies.com, fueling speculation that it may get into the action on decentralized digital currencies. Ethereum is not just a currency like Bitcoin but an app development platform — the Windows or OSX of blockchain. The domain purchase could be a sign that Amazon may join the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance — a group of large companies, including JP Morgan and Microsoft, putting their weight behind blockchain tech.

If Ethereum ultimately becomes the dominant cryptocurrency in the marketplace, what would that do to Bitcoin?

Or could it be possible that there is room enough for both of them?

The truth is that we don’t know what the future will hold. Cryptocurrencies have never existed before, and there are so many variables at play. The biggest variable is how national governments will respond to these alternate currencies, and I still believe that they will eventually make a move to heavily regulate them.

And unlike gold and silver, these cryptocurrencies do not have any intrinsic value. The only reason that they have any value at all is because people believe they have value. But for the moment the number of believers continues to rise, and this may be a factor in why the price of gold is relatively low right now. This is something that Ron Paul commented on recently

“Does it represent real money to you?” Cambone further asked the former presidential candidate.

“Not to me, no, it doesn’t,” Paul answered. “But if it serves the voluntary exchanges of people, and serves the purpose of exchanging wealth, … it could act as if it were money ….” he stated.

“Some say Bitcoin is stealing the thunder away from gold,” Cambone continued, “and that’s one of the reasons the yellow metal is not rallying further. Do you agree with this?”

“I think that’s a very strong possibility,” he considered. “I am amazed,” he laughed, “at all the capitalization on these cryptocurrencies. It’s a huge amount of money,” Paul emphasized.

Once again, I greatly applaud the use of cryptocurrencies as a way to become more independent from the system. I love the fact that mediums of exchange are being developed outside of the control of the central banks, and we should greatly resist any efforts by national governments to take control of these emerging new currencies.

However, as an investment these cryptocurrencies are exceedingly risky.

There are some that have already become quite wealthy by investing in Bitcoin at the very beginning, but there are others that will invest at the peak of the market and will get very badly burned.

As with all forms of investing, there will be winners and there will be losers, and timing is everything.

But we should all love the principles underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. To me, they are all about liberty and freedom, and the more liberty and freedom we have the better.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

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