Stellar Lumens (XLM) Forum with for newcomers and contributor's rewarded Check here




[Image: Bitcoin-bitcoins-yen.jpg]

Following new cryptocurrency regulations in April, Japanese police have pointed to 170 cases of money laundering via cryptocurrencies reported by exchange operators in six months between April and October.


Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) has compiled its first report on cryptocurrency laundering cases following revised laws in April that mandated cryptocurrency exchange operators to flag and report transactions suspected of money laundering. The regulations kicked in alongside new legislation that now sees bitcoin recognized as a legal method of payment in Japan. 

At present, 11 cryptocurrency exchange operators are registered under the new law after earning regulatory licensure by Japan’s financial regulator.

According to the Japan Times, the 170 cases were flagged by operators for involving ‘frequent questionable transactions.’ The JPA has since analyzed the chosen cases to relay the information to relevant investigative authorities.

An NPA official added:
We want to take countermeasures by collaborating with relevant ministries and agencies as well as business operators.

The round-up, part of a wider report on money laundering, also examined cases reported by banks and insurance companies in three years up to 2016.


Compared to 170 cases of suspected money laundering via cryptocurrencies, traditional fiat money-related laundering cases totaled 1,178,112, 16% of which were linked to organized crime syndicates. A crackdown on 1,077 cases revealed that 21.4%, or 230 cases, had established ties with gangsters in Japan.


Further, money laundering through gold and precious metals threw up 42 suspected cases. Current tariff laws impose an upper limit of ¥5 million ($44,000). Japan’s finance ministry is reportedly working on lifting that upper limit up to five times the value of the smuggled goods, next year.

source

Read More Read More, Posted by: stefanuspn
Is anybody know Stellar Lumens graphic value up and down linear with BTC?

Read More Read More, Posted by: Dianto
[Image: Hdac_Logo.jpg]
HDAC -  is an IoT contract platform based on its own more IoT-friendly blockchain. It runs separately from the Ethereum and Bitcoin protocols and is based on blockchain hybrid technology that offers a wider range of capabilities to ensure reliable connections and secure processing between devices. HDAC stands for Hyundai Digital Asset Currency.

WHY HDAC ?
[Image: image.png]
Our ioT Contract - It’s arrived. The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the world in to a gigantic, ever-evolving information platform. Anything that can be connected, will be connected. Now it’s time to embrace that connection for everything the IoT is set to become.
Experts have predicted that by 2025 there will be up to 30 billion connected devices, a number of which you regularly use on a daily basis. From smart homes, smart cars and smart watches to fitness trackers, VR headsets and any other wearable device (or indeed any device at all, for that matter) you could possibly imagine, the opportunity for safe and efficient “hyper-connectivity” is endless.
Our goal is to harness that opportunity to help you go “Beyond the Human Pay”. Through secure Blockchain technology, Hdac can assign contracts to all your smart devices to fit your life pattern. In layman’s terms, we make your life easier.
So, why Hdac? We’re the next generation digital service platform based on trust. And we’re just getting started.

[Image: why_ico02_1.png]
Our M2M transaction platform – You are your own bank. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Thanks to our DAC (Hdac), our Beyond the Human Pay philosophy allows you to provide the currency your devices can use. You are in control, safe in the knowledge your transactions are interactively secure.
Privacy is one of the biggest challenges facing IoT, so Hdac configures unique Hybrid Blockchain Networks for general and special purpose users. Our platform acts to support micro-transactions with state-of-the-art hardware wallets immune to viruses.
We’ve got all the bases covered. Your devices can enjoy a carefree connection, just as you intended.

[Image: why_ico03.png]
Hybrid Blockchain - Reliability. Confidentiality. Integrity.By fusing Blockchain with the IoT, we maintain core principles while you remain satisfied your connectivity, from user to device, is nestled among the safest of environments.
From private to public and back again, our Hybrid Blockchain is configured as a hidden network with safe tunnelling between a user and device to combat hacks, privacy invasions and external attacks. Remember, mutual authentication between device and user is crucial for a reliable Private Blockchain, which fundamentally will only be practical if it interacts with the Public Blockchain.
Choose Hdac. We’re not just jumping aboard a technological innovation – we’re turning it into a technological revolution.
 

How We Stand Out ?
Eco-friendly, fair mining
Energy-saving, equitable chance. That is the Hdac philosophy.
Let’s break this down: To create a block you must mine. A general blockchain consensus algorithm consists of Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS). This method, however, often results in excessive and unnecessary energy usage (PoW) while concentrated mining creates an unequal share among participants with a select few stakeholders controlling the network (PoS).
Our ePoW aims to eradicate power inefficiency and mining monopoly. By applying a block window concept, we overcome common limitations and welcome an extended group of stakeholders within an evenly distributed, decentralised network.
Reduced energy. Reduced greed. After all, we’re in this together.
Connecting Chains
We seamlessly link Public and Private Blockchains.
Firstly, it’s crucial to interpret a node as any device connecting to the blockchain network. Now, a Public Blockchain is open. A Private Blockchain requires an invitation. As a result, the “permissioned” nature of the latter means it’s unlikely to be accessed by nodes as freely as the former. Problem created.
Cue Bridge Node, an intermediary which contains key configuration information in order to link the two. Problem solved.
In essence, Hdac allows you to enjoy the best of both. Brilliant.
Enhanced device security
With great blockchain comes great responsibility. Hdac keeps you safe.
As with every digital transaction, cyber criminals loom. We aim to stop them. In fact, we don’t even intend to give them a chance.
Recent cases have identified vulnerability with Pseudo Random Numbers generated when creating your wallet addresses and private and public keys.
Hdac implements a specific authentication scheme by applying a Quantum Random Number (beginning with our identifiable characters “Hdac”) to eliminate the possibility of hacking.

Key Information
The Hdac TGE target is 6,000BTC

Exchange rate : 0.1BTC = 2,200dac (400dac bonus included)
Don’t miss out!
* The total market capitalization of Bitcoin recently crossed $100bn.
* ‘IoT’ is estimated to boost global GDP by $10-$15 trillion in the next 20 years.
DAC Allocation
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ROADMAP
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TEAM
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Read More Read More, Posted by: ahardi39
Hello guys! if anyone know that stellar price is raising or dropping, please kindly update it here, we all should know it

Read More Read More, Posted by: wahyulxy
Stellar price is dropping yesterday, anyone know why? it is raising now but not as much as before

Read More Read More, Posted by: wahyulxy
hello

i'm new and my balance is  Blush = ZERO

Someone send me donation of 20 xlm or PLUS  Big Grin
to this address : Stellar address

GDKWN2BYHFVLC3VZKLVQ6NSSNNIBDOBYQW6BQAFGLYQ645XJWHNDPYNE

i download now Black wallet = zero XLM
and i want to partecipate a free XLM

BUT http://prntscr.com/hhja14  THIS IS a situation

zero balance =  zero to claim


[Image: CZ8MFezgRruKrV_9gIcVQA.png]



[Image: 7efc1a17gy1fgjy17z9d6j21kw0ufdmc.jpg]


when i click on 
Click on the picture below ③ inflation Destination.     





THANK'S

Read More Read More, Posted by: bitcoinone
[Image: 24058956_839684782869006_328748294840888...e=5A93A2C7]
Write your post
permanently in this event >>>> https://www.facebook.com/events/171314550272848/
before Fb. can "BAN-THIS".
All PO$T-copies sent to this @mail: bit1@outlook.it

they will be posted on a CRYPTO-WebSite and the top 9 most voted
will receive the following prizes:
- from 9th to 5th position
receives t-shirt and gadgets with their own graphic writing
- from 5 to 3 position receives a $ 20 debit card
- 2nd position receives an Apple Watch Series 3
- 1st position receives 0.3 Btc prize
Good Work everybody ! Enjoy
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Read More Read More, Posted by: bitcoinone
Stellar aims for the stars. And the nearest star system to us is Alpha Centauri! The next step to get there is a functional app for sending and receiving payments.

The app is built using AngularJS, Cordova and the Ionic Framework. We first focus on android, but as Ionic is a platform agnostic tool, feel free to try it on the platform you like.
[Image: attachment.php?aid=270]
Features

  • Display account balances

  • Send by manually pasting an address

  • Send by scanning a QR-code :)

  • QR-code for receiving

  • Display recent transactions

  • Encrypted backups
Get started now: [Image: attachment.php?aid=274]


[Image: attachment.php?aid=276]
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[Image: attachment.php?aid=275]
[Image: attachment.php?aid=281]

Read More Read More, Posted by: Jimmi
Stellar lumens (XLM) price was rising this morning up to 60%. stellar can be the same with bitcoin one day, we should begin to save it

Read More Read More, Posted by: wahyulxy
It is a new currency and idea to earn money by participating and sharing views. It is really helpful to the students or empty one. So Authority can set up office in different region to help that class people. What is your view?

Read More Read More, Posted by: Nobin
2 days ago I made Lumens (STR)  withdrawal from poloniex.
And bad event hit me, transaction status: "Complete: Error" (no TX id, and I not received my withdrawal).
i withdrawal from my Poloniex account to address GC4KAS6W2YCGJGLP633A6F6AKTCV4WSLMTMIQRSEQE5QRRVKSX7THV6S 

and Memo id: 563165.



[Image: fr6bhw]


After that incident I immediately create a ticket support #539126 , But the result is very disappointing, until now my ticket has not been replied by the support and my withdrawal status is still an error.

I don't work and only earn money from trading crypto currency, i also have a small capital (the withdrawal is my entire capital).

I feel ignored by poloniex, maybe for poloniex this is only a small value, they don't want to understand how suffering people like me.

Currently my ticket has not been given a response since 2 days.
For friends here who know the staff or owner of poloniex please help me to report this incident,
I have no income in these 2 days, I can only hope that god has a good plan for this incident.

My hope for crypto currency market:
Service and honesty are essential for common progress
If market support like this maybe many people who hesitate to join the crypto currency.


Thank you for reading my thread.
God Bless You.

Read More Read More, Posted by: ajie86
[Image: cryptography-world-and-cryptocurrencies-400x400.jpg]

A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange like normal currencies such as USD, but designed for the purpose of exchanging digital information through a process made possible by certain principles of cryptography. 

Cryptography is used to secure the transactions and to control the creation of new coins. The first cryptocurrency to be created was Bitcoin back in 2009. Today there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies, often referred to as Altcoins.

Put another way, cryptocurrency is electricity converted into lines of code with monetary value. In the simplest of forms, cryptocurrency is digital currency.

Unlike centralized banking, like the Federal Reserve System, where governments control the value of a currency like USD through the process of printing fiat money, government has no control over cryptocurrencies as they are fully decentralized.

Most cryptocurrencies are designed to decrease in production over time like Bitcoin, which creates a market cap on them. That’s different from fiat currencies where financial institutions can always create more, hence inflation. Bitcoin will never have more than 21 million coins in circulation. The technical system on which all cryptocurrencies are based on was created by Satoshi Nakamoto.

While hundreds of different cryptocurrency specifications exist, most are derived from one of two protocols; Proof-of-work or Proof-of-stake. All cryptocurrencies are maintained by a community of cryptocurrency miners who are members of the general public that have set up their computers or ASIC machines to participate in the validation and processing of transactions.


History of Cryptocurrency
[Image: bitcoin-stack.jpg]
The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin uses SHA-256, which is a set of cryptographic hash functions designed by the U.S National Security Agency. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that is based on the proof-of-work system.

In April 2011, Namecoin, the first altcoin, was created to form a decentralized DNS to make internet censorship more difficult. In October 2011, Litecoin was released and became the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function rather than SHA-256. This gave the general public the ability to mine for litecoins without the purchase of specific hardware such as the ASIC machines used to mine Bitcoin.

Litecoin began receiving media attention in late 2013 – reaching a market cap of $1 billion. Ripplecoin, created in 2011, was built on the same protocol as Bitcoin but services as  a payment system – think of it like a Paypal for cryptocurrencies that supports any fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or even frequent flier miles.

Cryptocurrencies & Market Capitalization

Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency in both market capitalization, volume, acceptance and notoriety, but it’s not the most valuable coin. NEMstake, while only having a market cap of $1,116,720, trades at $1,117 a coin. Looking at the market cap, Litecoin takes second place after Bitcoin with Ripple close behind.
One coin that you are more than likely familiar with is Dogecoin. Dogecoin ranks, on average, thirds in trading volume, but has a relatively low market cap – ranking number six in the largest cryptocurrency.

[img=482x0]https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/hash.jpg[/img]What is a Cryptocurrency Hash?
Cryptocurrency mining power is rated on a scale of hashes per seconds. A rig with a computing power of 1kH/s is mining at a rate of 1,000 hashes a second, 1MH/s is a million hashes per second and a GH/s is one billion hashes per second. Every time a miner successfully solves a block, a new hash is created. A hash algorithm turns this large amount of data into a fixed-length hash. Like a code if you know the algorithm you can solve a hash and get the original data out, but to the ordinary eye it’s just a bunch of numbers crammed together and remains practically impossible to get the original data out of.

SHA vs. Scrypt

While Bitcoin and a several other coins are mined using SHA-256, Litecoin and many other coins, use Scrypt. This are the two major hashing functions, but several different kinds exists and are used by other cryptpcurrencies such as scrypt-N and x11. The different hashing functions were adopted to answer concerns with the SHA-256. Before, individuals were able to mine Bitcoin with their GPU’s, which require a large amount of energy. But as Bitcoin grew in popularity, ASIC SHA-256 machine were built which  made GPU mining obsolete.

To give you an idea of just how powerful these machines are, a mining rig running 4 GPU’s would get a hash rate of around 3.4 MH/s and consume 3600kW/h while an ASIC machine can mine 6 TH/s and consume 2200kW/h. This effectively killed GPU mining and left many individuals worried about the security of the network. With less individuals being able to profitably mine from their home computer, the network become less decentralized. Scrypt mining was implemented with the promise of being ASIC resistant due to the memory problem it introduced.

Scrypt hashes require lots of memory, which GPU’s are already designed to handle and ASIC machines were not. However, Scrypt mining require a lot of energy and eventually scrypt-ASIC machines were designed to address this problem. At this point Litecoin considered changing their proof-of-work function to avoid ASIC mining. Scrypt also taut that their proof-of-work is much more energy efficient than SHA-256. Bitcoin blocks are solved at a rate of 1 per 10 minutes while Litecoin blocks are solver at a rate of 1 per 2.5 minutes.
[img=307x0]https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/security1.jpg[/img]Cryptocurrency Security

The security of cryptocurrencies is two part. The first part comes from the difficulty in finding hash set intersections, a task done by miners. The second and more likely of the two cases is a “51%” attack“. In this scenario, a miner who has the mining power of more than 51% of the network, can take control of the global blockchain ledger and generate an alternative block-chain. Even at this point the attacker is limited to what he can do. The attacker could reverse his own transactions or block other transactions.

Cryptocurrencies are also less susceptible to seizure by law enforcement or having transaction holds placed on them from acquirers such as Paypal. All cryptocurrencies are pseudo-anonymous, and some coins have added features to create true anonymity.
 
Cryptocurrency Legality & Taxes
[img=300x0]https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Taxation-300x199.jpg[/img]
Bitcoin Taxation

While cryptocurrencies are legal in most countries, Iceland and Vietnam being an exception – Iceland mainly due to their freeze on foreign exchange, they are not free from regulations and restrictions. China has banned financial institutions from handling bitcoins and Russia, while saying cryptocurrency is legal, has made it illegal to purchase goods with any currency other than Russian rubles.

In the U.S., the IRS has ruled that Bitcoin is to be treated as property for tax purposes, making Bitcoin subject to capital gains tax. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued guidelines for cryptocurrencies. The issued guidelines contain an important caveat for Bitcoin miners: it warns that anyone creating bitcoins and exchanging them for fiat currency are not necessarily beyond the reach of the law. It states:

Quote:“A person that creates units of convertible virtual currency and sells those units to another person for real currency or its equivalent is engaged in transmission to another location and is a money transmitter.”

Miners seem to fall into this category, which could theoretically make them liable for MTB classification. This is a bone of contention for bitcoin miners, who have asked for clarification. This issue has not been publicly addressed in a court of law to date.

Cryptocurrency Services

There are a host of services offering information and monitoring of cryptocurrencies. CoinMarketcap is an excellent way check on the market cap, price, available supply and volume of crypto currencies. Reddit is a great way to stay in touch with the community and follow trends and CryptoCoinCharts is full of information ranging from a list of crytocoins, exchanges, information on arbitrage opportunities and more. Our very own site offers a list of crypto currencies and their change in value in the last 24hrs, week or month.

Liteshack allows visitors to view the network hash rate of many different coins across six different hashing algorithms. They even provided a graph of the networks hash rate so you can detect trends or signs that the general public is either gaining or losing interest in a particular coin.

A hand website for miner is CoinWarz. This site can help miners determine which coin is most profitable to mine given their hash rate, power consumption, and the going rate of the coins when sold for bitcoins. You can even view each coins current and past difficulty.

Images from Shutterstock.



source

Read More Read More, Posted by: stefanuspn
[Image: stellar.jpg]


June 27, 2017 is the date to remember. That's when stellar is going to unleash 16 billion new lumens (XLM) on the market. Right now, there are 9,539,458,446 XLM in the wild. Another 16 billion will bring the total to 35,539,458,446.

It's dilution on a massive scale that will more than halve the value of your stellar holdings overnight.

Here's an example:

Let's say you're holding 100,000 XLM. At today's price of $0.029538, that makes your investment worth $2,953.



At the time of this writing, Stellar has a total market cap of $281,781,293.

When they dump another 16 billion XLM on the market, the price per stellar will (conservatively) drop to $0.007929 ($281,781,293/35,539,458,446 XLM = $0.007929). Suddenly, your $2,953 investment is worth $792.90.



And that's assuming the $281 million market cap for XLM doesn't fall. My expectation is that XLM's market cap will shrivel further in the days after the dilution. That's because you're going to have lots of sellers and not a whole lot of buyers. This problem will be exaggerated by the method stellar's using to distribute the new coins (by giving it to bitcoin holders). My guess is the majority of those bitcoin holders will claim their XLM for the sole purpose of selling it.



Look for a drastic drop in XLM after June 27. The price could rise quickly after a sudden plunge, but it'll likely be months or years before we see stellar at its current levels again. For XLM to hit $0.029538 after the dilution, the coin's market cap will need to be around $1 billion (35,539,458,446 XLM x $0.029538 = $1,049,764,523).



If you're holding XLM, I'd look to reduce your position until after the dilution. To get the most of the dilution, consider buying bitcoin. Here are two reasons why:




  • Bitcoin (btc, xbt) could see a price bump as people look to capitalize on getting free lumens
  • If you do buy bitcoin, you'll be able to claim free lumens (as they're distributing it to people holding bitcoin on June 26, 2017)


If you like stellar's development philosophy/business model, I'd stick with bitcoin and ripple (xrp) in the near-term.


Happy trading, all!

Read More Read More, Posted by: stefanuspn
[Image: Mike-Novogratz1-450x300.jpg]

Posted by Josiah Wilmoth

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.

Billionaire trader and longtime cryptocurrency bull Mike Novogratz has predicted that the total crypto market cap will reach $2 trillion by the end of 2018.


Mike Novogratz: Crypto Market Cap to Hit $2 Trillion in 2018


The Galaxy Investment Partners founder made this prediction on the Monday episode of CNBC’s Fast Money, explaining that while he would not be surprised to see a short-term pullback after this quarter’s incredible rally, he believes the market’s long-term fundamentals are sound and deserve a bullish posture.


“I have a sense that this is going to go a lot further. When I try to think of valuation, bitcoin really has taken the use case of digital gold,” he said, estimating that bitcoin would need to increase another 30 to 50 times to reach parity with gold capitalization.”
Several weeks ago, Novogratz had predicted that the bitcoin price would reach $10,000 before the end of the year. Although it had yet to reach that mark by the time of writing, the bitcoin price appears positioned to punch through that barrier at any moment. In fact, it has already done so on South Korean exchanges, which tend to trade at a $100 to $200 premium over the global average price.


Although many mainstream analysts continue to deride bitcoin as a bubble, Novogratz — who now says that as much as 30% of his net worth is invested in crypto assets — believes that the markets are still far too small to be considered a repeat of the dotcom bubble that occurred at the turn of the millennium.



Quote:“The whole market cap of all [cryptocurrencies] is $300 billion. That’s nothing. The NASDAQ at its high, in the 1999 bubble, was $6 trillion, and the NASDAQ was a U.S.-led bubble,” he said. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is “a global phenomenon,” with the majority of trading volumes concentrated outside of the U.S.
‘This Thing’s Going to Go a Lot Higher’

So although he would not be surprised to see a short-term “backfill,” he believes that, barring an “about-face” from regulators or a major exchange hack, the markets will recover and continue to climb rapidly throughout the coming year.
“Over the medium term, this thing’s going to go a lot higher,” he said, reflecting that his recent mid-term target of $1 trillion was on the conservative end. He now believes that the crypto market cap will reach as high as $2 trillion by the end of 2018 representing a sixfold to sevenfold increase over its current level.

And if investors are able to resist the urge to take profits, he says the long-term prospects are even more attractive, both for bitcoin in particular and crypto assets in general.

“If gold’s $8 trillion, I’m wondering why bitcoin can’t get there,” he concluded.
Featured image from Shutterstock.



source

Read More Read More, Posted by: stefanuspn
[Image: bitcoin-cryptocurrency-digital-ethereum-..._large.jpg]

Sean Williams, The Motley FoolPublished 8:06 a.m. ET Nov. 27, 2017

As we look back on 2017, it'll likely be remembered by investors as the year of the cryptocurrency.

Prior to the advent of virtual currencies, the stock market had been the undisputed king of consistent wealth creation, unless you were lucky enough to defy the odds and win the lottery. The 7% annual returns from the stock market, inclusive of dividend reinvestment, provided a rough doubling of your invested capital about once a decade.

But since the year began, we've witnessed the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies rise from a market cap of $17.7 billion to $248 billion as of Nov. 22. That's about a 1,300% gain in less than 11 months. The stock market would take decades to match this type of return, and it's rightly put virtual currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin cash, Ripple, Dash, LiteCoin, and Monero -- to name a few -- on investors' radars.



Four reasons 2017 belongs to virtual currencies



The catalysts behind the rise in virtual currencies appear to be a mixture of four tangible and intangible factors.



[/url]STORY FROM THE MOTLEY FOOL


[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.529412)][color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.529412)]87% of Americans are ignoring this warning[/color][/color]



First, we're seeing clear excitement about the future of blockchain technology. Blockchain is the digital decentralized ledger that underlies virtual currencies and records transactions without the need for a financial intermediary. This burgeoning technology makes altering logged data practically impossible since most blockchains are open-source networks. This added level of security, along with the ability to settle transactions in real time, could make blockchain an attractive technology for the financial services industry.



Second, weakness in the U.S. dollar throughout much of the year has sent some investors scurrying to cryptocurrencies. When the dollar weakens, it devalues the cash that investors may be holding on to. Traditionally, investors would seek to deploy some of this cash into gold, as gold has been used as a currency for centuries, and its scarcity makes it a suitable store of value. However, with some digital currencies, like bitcoin, having a cap on the number of coins that can be mined, they are also viewed as scarce and thus perceived to be a store of value.



News-driven events have served as a broad third catalyst. Announcements like Japan accepting bitcoin as legal tender and 200 companies in the [url=https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/07/27/9-brand-name-companies-that-have-joined-the-enterp.aspx?&utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=feed&referring_guid=9a1e83ee-cfda-11e7-92a9-0050569d32b9&utm_source=usa-today]Enterprise Ethereum Alliance testing out a version of Ethereum's blockchain in small-scale and pilot programs help validate the existence of virtual currencies.



[Image: bitcoin-ethereum-digital-cryptocurrency-getty_large.jpg]
 (Photo: Getty Images)


Lastly, momentum has helped carry digital currencies higher. Until recently, virtual currency trading has been dominated by the retail investor, who's known for being far more emotional than institutional investors. It's likely that retail investors have seen these mammoth gains and simply not wanted to miss the boat. This buying has probably played a role in pushing cryptocurrencies to record highs in 2017.



The one cryptocurrency I'd consider buying



However, 1,000%+ gains within a year are bound to draw some criticism from skeptics (myself included). Personally, there's not one cryptocurrency I'd buy right now following their monstrous moves higher. But there is one I'd consider buying should it significantly drop in value -- and it isn't bitcoin!





Bitcoin might be the virtual currency I'd suggest avoiding the most. Its investors seem more enamored with the potential uses of its coin as a means of payment rather than its underlying blockchain, which is where the bulk of the value lies with cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin did wind up enacting a modest upgrade to its blockchain four months ago that wound up pulling some information off of the network in order to boost capacity, shorten settlement times, and lower transaction costs. The move was clearly made to lure in enterprise clients to test out its blockchain, but I'm not convinced that its first-to-market advantage will hold for much longer.

One of the under-the-radar issues with virtual currencies and blockchain technology is that the barrier to entry is exceptionally low. There's nothing to prevent competitors from developing new blockchain technology, which could perform better than the leading virtual currencies.



[Image: ethereum-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-digital-..._large.jpg]
 (Photo: Getty Images)


If I were to consider buying a virtual currency, it would be Ethereum. Even though Ethereum has had its share of gaffes, and it could face many of the same competitive risks as bitcoin described above, Ethereum's blockchain incorporates a unique feature known as smart contract applications. These protocols help to facilitate, verify, and enforce the negotiation and compliance of a contract, making things more efficient and secure for enterprise customers.  The inclusion of smart contract applications is a big reason why Ethereum currently has 200 organizations, including some brand-name companies, testing out a version of its blockchain. This, I believe, gives Ethereum's blockchain an edge over its virtual peers.



What remains to be seen is if Ethereum will utilize its coins, known as Ether, to potentially speed up transaction times at some point down the road. The answer will likely depend on whether other fiat currencies become more popular with enterprise and retail consumers. If so, utilizing Ether as a means to change instantly from one fiat currency to another might be of use and solidify Ethereum's blockchain as the go-to for businesses.



The key word here is "consider"



While I favor Ethereum far and away more than any other cryptocurrency, the word to focus on here is "consider." Though I believe Ethereum's blockchain to be superior in attracting enterprise customers, I still believe there's far too much risk to consider investing in digital currencies at the moment.



[Image: popping-bubble-dollar-sign-crash-plunge-..._large.jpg]
 (Photo: Getty Images)


Aside from the minimal barriers to entry described above, the regulatory environment is also a double-edged sword for virtual currencies. Whereas bitcoin has been given the green light as legal tender in Japan, and it'll be listed on CME Group's futures trading platform before the end of the year, it's also been shut out of China. Just three months ago, China announced that it'd be closing its domestic cryptocurrency exchanges and ending initial coin offerings. For every new door opened for cryptocurrencies, it seems another closes.



There's also the very real concern that investors have once again overshot with regard to their enthusiasm over blockchain. If we look back, we're faced with numerous instances of new technology hitting the market and investors bidding up the companies behind these products, only to have them crash hard just years later. Genome mapping, 3D printing, and even the advent of business-to-business commerce via the internet took years to really catch on, and most of the companies in these spaces were pummeled after exponential short-term gains. A similar fate could await cryptocurrencies if blockchain technology isn't adopted immediately, which this writer doesn't see happening.



Long story short, keep your eyes on projects involving Ethereum's blockchain, but stay safely on the sidelines for the time being.

Sean Williams has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends CME Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.



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