gemini app 2

Having built one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the planet, the Winklevoss Twins are turning to mobile with the launch of the Gemini app.

The app will allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrency, view market prices, and set alerts. There’s also a neat “Buy the Cryptoverse” function to purchase a basket of cryptocurrencies all at once, much like buying an index fund.

The design is slick and minimal in a bid to broaden the appeal of cryptocurrency, removing much of the chaos and clutter of competing exchanges. It will also integrate Gemini’s “institutional-grade security.”

The Winklevoss Twins are among the few bitcoin billionaires and are reported to own more than 1% of the total bitcoin supply. They launched the Gemini exchange in 2014 with a view to creating a secure, mainstream outlet for purchasing cryptocurrency.

Gemini made headlines earlier this year when it secured full insurance coverage for its exchange and custody services.

Meanwhile, the Winklevoss Twins have put forth numerous bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals, but have been knocked back repeatedly by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Speaking about the new Gemini app, Tyler Winklevoss said: 

“We spent the last three years building the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency platform and today we are excited to extend it into your hands and allow you to engage with cryptocurrency wherever you are and whenever you want.”

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Undoubtedly, the cryptocurrency market has not been kind to traders in 2018. All but a few cryptos have gone down in market cap. Still, some have fared better than others. In this article, we’ll look at the strongest cryptocurrencies in 2018. 

Best-Performing Cryptocurrencies, Criteria: 

  • This list only includes coins in top 100 by market capitalization, thereby excluding lower-ranked altcoins. 
  • We exclude all stablecoins pegged to another asset, such as Tether, PAX, and Dai.
  • We exclude any project that hasn’t been around for at least six months.
  • All prices sourced from CoinCodex, tracked from January 1st, and ranked by percentage fall in market capitalization. 
  • All prices correct at time of publishing (11th December, 2018).

Want to see the worst performing cryptocurrencies of 2018? Click here to see the biggest fallers.

10. Global Utility Token (OKB) -55.74%

Global Utility Token (OKB) is the native exchange cryptocurrency for OKEx. This exchange regularly ranks in the top three by 24-hour trading volume. Some applications for OKB include the OKB trading market, new listing vote, designated merchant privileges, and more. The exchange has made a few major moves in 2018 like announcing its operations expansion to Malta in April and adding several new stablecoins in October.

OKB

9. 0x (ZRX) -55.23% 

ZRX is the native cryptocurrency for 0x a project that aims to power decnetralized exchanges for just about anything. The project has even built its own decentralized exchange (DEX) called 0x OTC. One of the biggest supporting factors for the ZRX price this year was the token’s listing on Coinbase in October 2018.

0x

8. Ravencoin (RVN) -54.46%

Ravencoin (RVN) has done a decent job of meeting technical milestones. Ravencoin utilizes a use-specific blockchain that is “designed to efficiently handle one specific function: the transfer of assets from one party to another.” 

In October 2018, RVN began an upward price trend, 118% sustained growth over the course of one week. This was likely due to its listing on Binance and anticipation of the mainnet launch. Still, RVN prices have fallen somewhat since that time.

ravencoin

7. Holo (HOT) -53.56%

Holo (HOT) hasn’t been around all that long, with its ICO only ending in April 2018. This means that this cryptocurrency, unlike many others, didn’t have have to experience the major dip that began in January 2018. The main objective of this project is to create a bridge for greater and greater decentralization and autonomy over time. Essentially, its technology aims to help centralized systems to become 100% decentralized. 

The project has gained some momentum, mainly due to continued discussions about the progress of a partnership with Mozilla. Although there is no info from Mozilla that says this is official, the Holo team has said there probably won’t be an official announcement until after the initial product release of Holo, which should be sometime in Q1 2019.

holo (hot)

6. Loom Network (LOOM) -48.59%

Loom (LOOM) is designed specifically for games and social apps. The blockchain is developer-friendly in a bid to lure the most creative minds to the platform. Loom calls itself a “build your own blockchain” generator allowing developers to easily build dapps on their own sidechain of Ethereum. 

We all know that Ethereum has a scaling problem when it comes to running applications. Loom aims to fix that by providing a fast, scaled-up solution. The LOOM token acts as a membership pass, granting access to the suite of games and dapps.

Loom network

5. Pundi X (NPXS) -46.86%

Pundi X (NPXS) is creating a blockchain-based point-of-sale solution for retail businesses. Since August 2018, the project team has already shipped 5,000 XPOS (Pundi X Point of Sale devices) to various countries throughout the globe. 

In October 2018, the project made a major announcement. The project, together with Dubai’s official government credit bureau and regional distribution partners, is bringing XPOS to hundreds of storefronts across the city. In November 2018, Pundi X partnered with Singapore-based Quantum Energy Asset Management (QEAM) to launch a $100-million blockchain fund, which is expected to officially launch in January 2019.

Pundi x

4. Binance Coin (BNB) -43.65%

Binance Coin (BNB) is the third native exchange cryptocurrency to make this list. Binance’s ability to maintain its status as the world’s largest crypto-to-crypto exchange (by trading volume) has likely supported BNB prices.

The initial use-case for BNB was to pay fees on the Binance exchange, but there are bigger plans ahead. BNB is expanding to allow users to pay for goods and services, such as hotels. Most Binance employees even receive their salary (or parts of it) in BNB.

A lot of momentum around BNB is also likely due to more recent announcements. In December 2018, Binance developers released a second demo video for Binance DEX. The exchange is looking to launch its DEX platform sometime in early 2019. The exchange is also developing its own blockchain called “Binance Chain”.

binance coin

3. Decentraland (MANA) -42.53%

Decentraland (MANA) aims to become one of the most interesting and innovative use cases on the market. The Decentraland project team is building a VR world where users can use MANA as well as create their own 3D houses, banks, casinos, resorts, businesses, and more.

Even though the Decentraland platform isn’t yet operational, there has been a good bit of progress in 2018. For example, in November 2018, the project partnered with Ripio Credit Network (RCN) to provide smart contract-based mortgages for purchasing Decentraland LAND. Axie Infinity, another popular blockchain game, also announced a partnership with Decentraland in November 2018.

Decentraland just launched its second “land auction” to sell off 9,000+ parcels of virtual reality land.

Decentraland-Blockchain-VR

2. Huobi Token (HT) -19%

Huobi Token (HT), which launched in January 2018, marks the fourth (and highest-ranked) native exchange cryptocurrency featured in this list. HT was initially created and “distributed to paid Huobi VIP members in response to China’s crypto ban and decreased trading activity”. Compared to BNB, HT is a much newer cryptocurrency. 

In fact, HT was modeled on the success of BNB as a native exchange token and has similar functionalities. For example, like BNB for Binance, the Huobi exchange uses HT as an option for traders wanting to decrease exchange transaction fees. The company also has regular HT buyback/burn events.

huobi token

1. ODEM (ODE) +197%

ODEM (ODE), which launched in April 2018, has done well in recent bear market months. This cryptocurrency is part of a blockchain platform that aims to change the future of education and certifications. According to the project website, the platform will be a place where “students and student representatives can create and request services for education programs. Educators and educational service providers can receive requests for program fulfillment and delivery services.” 

In terms of technical deliverables, the project has made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. For example, smart contracts are already live on the mainnet, and there will be a full launch sometime in Q1 2019.

ODEM token

Conclusion

It’s been a rollercoaster year dominated by negativity and price crashes. However, these projects prove that hard work is going on behind the scenes. Passionate teams are building amazing things in blockchain. When the dust settles, these may be the projects that survive and shape the industry going forward.

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Mining crypto currency. Farm for mining bitcoins. Vector flat illustration

A new study by cryptocurrency exchange BitMex reveals that bitcoin mining revenues fell by more than half in November.

At the beginning of the month, daily mining revenues were at $13 million. By the end of the month, that figure had fallen to just $6 million. The news comes after the bitcoin price collapsed by 36% in November.

The fall in prices means a lower incentive for miners, who are rewarded with bitcoin for keeping the system running.

The BitMex study also noted a 13% reduction in hash rate (a measure of computer power dedicated to the bitcoin blockchain). That’s the equivalent of 1.3 million Bitmain S9 miners going offline.

bitcoin hashrate
Bitcoin hash rate 2018

The Good News

With miners switching off their machines, there’s less competition. It should, theoretically, become more profitable to mine bitcoin with fewer miners competing on the network.

We have also just seen two major shifts in bitcoin “difficulty.” The Bitcoin algorithm is designed to readjust itself every two weeks (roughly) to compensate for the volume of miners. 

The difficulty fell 7.4% on 16th November and 15.1% on 3rd December. These adjustments make it easier to mine bitcoin, thereby re-incentivizing miners.

Further reading: What is Proof of Work? – The Bitcoin Algorithm

Should We Worry?

Probably not. The fall in revenue is likely to knock out miners in regions where electricity is expensive. However, there are plenty of places around the world where mining is more affordable thanks to low energy prices.

We should also point out that most miners adopt a long-term strategy. As blockchain expert Andreas Antonopoulos explains: 

“Miners have a much more long-term perspective, meaning that they have existing investments in equipment and they usually purchase electricity on long-term plans, they don’t pay it by the week. And therefore, if they have to wait to become profitable another three months and they have the equipment in place, they’re not turning it off.”

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UK government bitcoin taxes

Eddie Hughes, a UK Member of Parliament (MP) has suggested the UK should accept local taxes in bitcoin.

Inspired by Ohio’s recent decision to allow bitcoin payment for taxes, he said: “you’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve, and our country is in an interesting position right now — we need to be seen as a progressive country.”

The Conservative MP, who describes himself as a “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” says the British government has a duty to educate itself about blockchain technology. 

“It just feels like it gets talked about a lot, wherever you go in the UK, and as MPs we have a duty to understand it,” he said.

Speaking to The Express, Hughes advocated the payment of local (council) tax with bitcoin, but hinted that other options should be considered.

“What’s to stop us being able to pay council tax and other bills with bitcoin?”

Hughes was also inspired by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts donations in cryptocurrency. Adoption and mainstream understanding remains a concern for Hughes: “it needs to appear like an app that people will use so they can become familiar with it in a safe and secure way.”

The MP says he’d love to trial the scheme in his constituency near Birmingham and strikes an optimistic tone for the future: “We are at a crossroads and we’re about to determine our future – one in which taking the lead in this field could prove very beneficial.”

Source: The Express

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worst-performing cryptocurrencies 2018

It’s been a brutal year for cryptocurrencies. After the boom of 2017, the whole crypto market is in the red. Some projects are on the verge of bankruptcy while others are taking drastic measures such as cutting staff and re-organizing. 

However, some cryptocurrencies have performed worse than others. Here, we rank the ten worst-performing cryptocurrencies of 2018 and look at some of the reasons for their poor performance.

Worst-Performing Cryptocurrencies, Criteria: 

  • This list only includes coins in top 100 by market capitalization, thereby excluding lower-ranked altcoins. 
  • We exclude all stablecoins pegged to another asset, such as Tether, PAX, and Dai.
  • We exclude any project that hasn’t been around for at least six months.
  • All prices sourced from CoinCodex, tracked from January 1st, and ranked by percentage fall in market capitalization. 
  • All prices correct at time of publishing (10th December, 2018).

10. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) -95.5%

Bitcoin Cash suffered a disastrous end to the year after a contentious hard fork split the community. A vicious war of words broke out between the two sides and miners went to war. The blockchain ultimately split in two, spawning a new cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash SV. The controversy had a wholly negative impact on the value of BCH which has dropped 95.5% this year.

Further reading: Everything You Need to Know About the Bitcoin Cash Fork

Bitcoin Cash price chart 2018

9. Elastos (ELA) -95.58%

Elastos (ELA) is a cryptocurrency that aims to be used as part of the first completely safe and decentralized infrastructure for the internet. According to comments on various social media channels, here are some negative things to note about ELA. The inflation rate is too high, not many exchanges list this crypto, and specialized hardware (Elastos server) is needed to run applications. As of late 2018, there also isn’t support for ELA on major hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger.

Elastos price chart 2018

8. ICON (ICX) -96.08%

ICON (ICX) launched with the goal to “hyperconnect the world” and “enrich our everyday lives through ‘connection’”. This is one of many projects aiming to improve blockchain interoperability. AION, Wanchain, and ARK are considered by many to be ICON’s top competition. 

Thus far, there have been a few relevant criticisms of the project. For example, after the mainnet launch in January 2018, the token swap was a slow process that dragged on all the way into late October 2018. Although the project has been in development for two years, the website still doesn’t have a proper roadmap listed.

ICON price chart 2018

7. Verge (XVG) -96.35%

Verge (XVG) announced a big partnership with PornHub in April 2018; however, this hasn’t had a positive impact on prices long-term. The biggest issue for this project in 2018 has been the constant 51% attacks. Although security issues have affected a number of exchanges and blockchains this year, Verge’s security woes are some of the most reported in crypto, and for good reason. 

In May 2018, one attack alone affected over 35 million coins in around five hours. The hacker stole around $1.8 million in XVG. While other projects that have suffered from 51% attacks, XVG has clearly been the most impacted this year. 

Verge price chart 2018

6. Populous (PPT) -96.69%

Populous Platform Token (PPT) is a cryptocurrency for Populous’ smart contract invoice finance platform, which runs on the Ethereum & RSK blockchains. There appears to have been a number of issues with the project’s technical features throughout 2018. For example, users of the beta version of the platform received error 502 and faced other problems. Therefore, many found it difficult to test the platform’s functionality. 

Another common criticism is a lack of responsiveness from the project team to questions from the community. As this article points out, this issue was also prevalent in 2017. The Telegram channel account owner has been inactive since July 2017, and this platform only had around 1,300 members.

PPT price chart 2018

5. Ardor (ARDR) -96.86%

Ardor (ARDR) is a cryptocurrency designed specifically for business applications. Looking at the project website, the Ardor platform itself is being developed for blockchain-as-a-service purposes. This project evolved from the Nxt blockchain, the first Proof-of-Stake consensus network. Ardor also features a unique parent-child chain architecture. 

Compared to others on this list, there doesn’t seem to be too many negatives regarding this project in 2018. Despite some wallet and network issues earlier in the year, it’s tough to pinpoint the exact cause of ARDR price declines. Perhaps the biggest issue (as with many blockchain projects) is that the tech is still underdeveloped.

Ardor price chart 2018

4. Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) -97.11%

Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) raises a few potential red flags for some people. For instance, its two main developers go by the pseudonyms “007″ and “Evey”, and source code isn’t available. Regardless, BCD aims to reduce transaction fees and completion times. Compared to BTC, BCD has larger block sizes, a higher total supply, and simplified mining processes. 

According to the first Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings released in April 2018, BCD and a few other Bitcoin hard forks are merely copycats. While this report does highlight some of the positives of these new cryptocurrencies, it notes that BTC being the first-mover does take away some momentum from projects like BCD.

Further reading: 5 Failed Bitcoin Forks that Never Made It

Bitcoin diamond price chart 2018

3. Bitcoin Private (BTCP) -97.26%

Bitcoin Private (BTCP), as the name suggests, provides the possibility of private transactions. If you’re well-versed on cryptocurrencies, you know that BTC isn’t really anonymous. That’s why BTCP was created as a merge fork of Bitcoin and ZClassic. BTCP aims to compete with Verge, Monero, and other privacy coins. 

Earlier in 2018, a big discussion on the BTCP subreddit surrounded the lack of listings from top exchanges. Since then, low liquidity trading and conflicts within the team and community have all continued to be major issues. Still, it’s important to note that BTCP is one of the newer projects (launched in March 2018), in the top 100 market cap rankings.

Bitcoin Private price chart 2018

2. Qtum (QTUM) -97.36%

Qtum (QTUM) is another project that aims to become a leader in the smart contract market. The project made significant progress after its ICO ended in March 2017. The testnet launched only three months later. 

The mainnet launched three months after the testnet release, very quick when compared to the vast majority of blockchain projects. The issue seems to be that Qtum’s competition has implemented better technology, at least as of late 2018. According to one article, Aion and ICON are both ahead of Qtum. There are also other competitors to consider like Ethereum, NEO, Zilliqa, and many more.

Qtum price chart 2018

1. Aion (AION) -97.57%

Aion (AION) is a third generation blockchain project that (as mentioned above) competes with ICX and others by focusing on increasing interoperability between various chains. Some potential use cases listed on the project website include supply chain logistics, Internet-of-Things, online media marketplace, fundraising, and digital identities. 

As with Ardor, Aion doesn’t seem to have faced too many major issues in 2018. Nonetheless, some people have said that the project is too ambitious and it finds itself with the biggest percentage drop in market cap of 2018.

Aion price chart 2018

Conclusion

After the euphoria of 2017 and the rapid growth of altcoins, this year has been tough for cryptocurrency projects. It has been predicted that most altcoins will “go to zero,” but can the projects on this list turn it around next year? Join us tomorrow for our run-down of the best performing cryptocurrencies of 2018.

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