Bitcoin Price Faces Bear Indicator Not Seen Since 2014

Bitcoin Price Faces Bear Indicator Not Seen Since 2014

Following bitcoin’s recent losses, a key long-term trend indicator is looking increasingly bearish.

Notably, the five-month moving average (MA) has rolled over in favor of the bears and looks set to cut the 10-month MA from above – a bearish crossover that hasn’t been seen since June 2014.

If that occurs it could be a worrying signal for the long-term price outlook. Back then, following an identical crossover in June 2014, the cryptocurrency subsequently dropped by 70 percent (from $580 to $166) in the seven months leading up to January 2015.

This time around, the bearish crossover will likely occur at the turn of the month, if bitcoin extends the current decline towards the $7,000 mark, and would open the doors for a deeper sell-off towards the $5,000 mark.

Monthly chart

Currently, the five-month MA is seen at $8,916 and the 10-month MA is located at $8,379, according to Bitfinex data. Meanwhile, bitcoin is changing hands at $7,820 – down almost 5 percent in the last 24 hours.

Daily chart

The observed lower-highs and lower-lows pattern (marked by circles) and the downward sloping 5-day and 10-day MAs indicate a bearish setup. The chart also shows a bearish crossover between the 10-day and 50-day MAs.

Further, the relative strength index (RSI) is below 50.00 (in the bearish territory), but holding well above 30.00 (oversold territory), indicating enough room for a sell-off towards $7,000.

Weekly chart

Acceptance below the 50-week MA, currently seen at $7,620, would only bolster the already bearish daily chart technicals and increase the odds of the bearish five-month/10-month MA crossover.

The 50-week MA worked as a strong support in April, so a break below that level could yield a sharp sell-off.

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  • BTC risks deeper pullback towards $7,000. In such a case, the 5-month MA will cross the 10-month MA from above, signaling a bearish crossover and opening doors for a drop to $5,000.
  • Bullish scenario: A solid rebound from the 50-week MA at $7,620 and a convincing break above $8,644 would signal a bullish reversal.

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Indian Government Considering 18% Retroactive Tax on Crypto Trading, Mining

Indian Government Considering 18% Retroactive Tax on Crypto Trading, Mining

Indian Government Considering 18% Retroactive Tax on Crypto Trading, Mining

Taxes

The government of India is reportedly considering levying a type of consumption tax on cryptocurrency trading and even mining. The most grievous part of this proposal is that it may also be a retroactive measure, demanding payments for past actions.

Also Read: Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller Examines Bitcoin in Historical Context

Crypto Sales Tax

Indian Government Considering 18% Retroactive Tax on Crypto Trading, MiningThe Indian Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs is working on a proposal to impose an 18% tax on cryptocurrencies. The proposal will be considered by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council once it will finalized, “people with direct knowledge of the matter” told Bloomberg.

According to the proposal: “Purchase or sale of cryptocurrencies should be considered as supply of goods, and those facilitating transactions like supply, transfer, storage, accounting, among others, will be treated as services; Value of a cryptocurrency may be determined based on the transaction value in rupees or the equivalent of any freely convertible foreign currency; If buyers and sellers are in India, the transaction would be treated as a supply of software and the buyer’s location will be the place of supply. For transfer and sale, the location of the registered person will be the place of supply. However, for sale to non-registered persons, location of the supplier would be considered as the place of supply. Transactions beyond the Indian territory will be liable for integrated GST, and would be considered as import or export of goods. IGST will be levied on cross-border supplies.”

Further according to the proposal, mining will be classified as a supply of service and Indian miners will have to pay taxes on any fees and rewards they make. Additionally, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers and some miners (those making over Rs 20 lakh) will have to register under the GST.

Retroactive Tax

Indian Government Considering 18% Retroactive Tax on Crypto Trading, MiningIndia’s GST came into effect on 1st July 2017, replacing many former indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments as a measure to streamline the tax code. The Indian government is now considering that the tax on crypto will be applied retroactively since the start of the GST system, according to the same anonymous sources cited above. The meaning of this is that people will have to pay for actions they took about a year or so before the new policy, assuming it will be decided on in a couple of months.

If this tax proposal will be accepted, the retroactive aspect of it is the most likely to be challenged by traders and exchanges in the courts. Indian crypto businesses have already had to turn to the courts in the matter of the ban on banks from dealing with them, a matter that is now being handled by the country’s supreme court.

Is a retroactive tax on cryptocurrencies really feasible? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


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Singapore Proposes Regulatory Boost for Decentralized Exchanges

Singapore Proposes Regulatory Boost for Decentralized Exchanges

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s de facto central bank, is proposing changes to existing regulations that would ease market entry for blockchain-based decentralized exchanges.

According to a consultation paper published on Tuesday, MAS states that the current single-tier “recognized market operators” (RMO) regulatory framework is not able to meet demand for new business models based on such emerging technologies. To address the issue, the authority proposes to introduce a three-tier structure in an attempt to ease market access for small-scale exchange platforms.

“MAS has observed the emergence of new business models in trading platforms, including trading facilities that make use of blockchain technology, or platforms that allow peer-to-peer trading without the involvement of intermediaries,” the MAS writes in the paper, adding:

“As the current RMO regime has been in place since 2002, it is timely to review to the regulatory framework for market operators to ensure that it continues to meet the demands of the changing landscape.”

In particular, tier 3 of the proposed framework applies to market operators that are significantly smaller than established exchanges and is intended allow them to implement blockchain and P2P technology and roll out services in a supervised environment.

“This new tier is designed to facilitate new entrants that develop solutions for wholesale market participants, or market operators that have reached the end of their sandbox tenure and are commercially viable, but whose businesses are not able to meet the requirements of the existing RMO regime,” MAS explained.

Currently, the authority supervises the exchange market under two categories: approved exchanges (AE) and the recognized market operators (RMOs). The former applies to “systemically-important” platforms that are available to retail investors such as Singapore’s stock exchange.

The RMO framework, on the other hand, allows regulation of other exchanges such as those for commodities and derivatives trading, which would fall under the new proposal’s tier 2, if the proposal is enacted.

Interested parties such as financial institutions now have until June 22 to provide MAS with feedback on the proposal.

MAS image via Shutterstock

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Norway and England Contemplate Central Bank-Issued Cryptocurrencies

Norway and England Contemplate Central Bank-Issued Cryptocurrencies

Norway and England Contemplate Central Bank-Issued Cryptocurrencies

Economy & Regulation

The central banks of Norway and England have published reports exploring different models for central bank-issued cryptocurrencies. By contrast, Federal Reserve governor, Lael Brainard, recently expressed her opposition to central bank cryptocurrencies – claiming that such would result in broad “macroeconomic consequences.”

Also Read: Chilean President Considering Regulation of Cryptocurrencies

Decline of Cash Prompts Norwegian Central Bank to Consider Central Bank-Issued Digital Currency

Norway and England Contemplate Central Bank-Issued CryptocurrenciesA new report prepared by a working group of Norges Bank has indicated that Norway’s central bank is contemplating the development of a central bank-issued cryptocurrency. The report states that “A decline in cash usage has prompted us to think about whether at some future date a number of new attributes that are important for ensuring an efficient and robust payment system and confidence in the monetary system will be needed,” adding “If the answer is yes, a [central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC)] may be an appropriate measure.”

Norges Bank identifies three specific purposes for a central bank-issued consideration that it believes “merits further consideration: […] ensur[ing] a public and credit risk-free alternative to deposits in private banks, in addition to cash[,] function[ing] as an independent backup solution for the ordinary electronic payments systems,” and “ensur[ing] the existence of suitable legal tender as a supplement to cash.”

The report states that “It is too early to conclude whether Norges Bank should take the initiative in introducing a CBDC. The impacts of a CBDC – and the socio-economic cost-benefit analysis – will depend on the specific design. The design, in turn, will depend on the purpose of introducing a CBDC,“ adding that “A CBDC raises complex issues,” and “There is virtually no international experience to draw on.” Norges Bank states that it “will continue to issue cash as long as there is demand for it. But when cash usage declines, a CBDC can be an alternative to deposit money. The primary purpose of a CBDC is to ensure confidence in money and the monetary system.”

“Further analysis is needed to assess the purposes of a CBDC, the types of solutions that best achieve these purposes and the benefits measured against financial and other costs. This is a long-term undertaking. The aim of publishing the working group’s report is to inform the public about its work, disseminate knowledge[.] and initiate a dialogue with stakeholders,” the report states.

English Central Bank Explores Different Models for Central Bank-Issued Cryptocurrency

Norway and England Contemplate Central Bank-Issued CryptocurrenciesThe Bank of England has published a working paper exploring three potential models for central bank-issued digital currencies.

The three models explore are the “Financial Institutions Access” model (FI), the “Economy-Wide Access” model (EW), and the “Financial Institutions Plus CBDC-Backed Narrow Bank Access” model (FI+). The FI model would see “CBDC access […] limited to banks and [non-bank financial institutions (FBFIs)],” whereas the EW model additionally allow “households and firms” to access CBDC. The FI+ model would see “CBDC access […] limited to banks and NBFIs,” however, “Within the NBFI sector there is at least one financial institution that acts as a narrow bank, providing a financial asset to households and firms that is fully backed by CBDC but that does not extend credit. That is, they provide households and firms with an asset that has the risk profile of central bank money, rather than a risk profile linked to the financial institution and of its borrowers.”

The report claims to “find that if the introduction of CBDC follows a set of core principles, bank funding is not necessarily reduced, credit and liquidity provision to the private sector need not contract, and the risk of a system-wide run from bank deposits to CBDC is addressed.” Said principles are that “CBDC pays an adjustable interest rate,” that “CBDC and reserves are distinct, and not convertible into each other,” “No guarantee [of] on-demand convertibility of bank deposits into CBDC at commercial banks,” and that “The central bank issues CBDC only against eligible securities.”

U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Opposed to Central Bank-Issued Digital Currencies

Norway and England Contemplate Central Bank-Issued CryptocurrenciesThe Norwegian and British reports come approximately one week after U.S. Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard expressed her opposition to the suggestion of central bank-issued cryptocurrencies at the Decoding Digital Currency Conference in San Francisco.

Governor Brainard expressed a number of concerns pertaining to central bank digital currencies, stating that “there are serious technical and operational challenges that would need to be overcome,” including “the risk of creating a global target for cyberattacks or a ready means of money laundering.”

Mrs. Brainard argued that “the issuance of central bank digital currency could have implications for retail banking beyond payments,” asserting that “If a successful central bank digital currency were to become widely used, it could become a substitute for retail banking deposits. This could restrict banks’ ability to make loans for productive economic activities and have broader macroeconomic consequences.“ The governor also claimed that “the parallel coexistence of central bank digital currency with retail banking deposits could raise the risk of runs on the banking system in times of stress.”

Governor Brainard concluded that “there is no compelling demonstrated need for a Fed-issued digital currency,” adding that “most consumers and businesses in the U.S. already make retail payments electronically using debit and credit cards, payment applications, and the automated clearinghouse network.”

What is your opinion on central bank-issued cryptocurrencies? Tell us in the comments section below!


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Circle Adds New Feature Allowing Newbies to ‘Buy the Market’

Circle Adds New Feature Allowing Newbies to ‘Buy the Market’

Circle Adds New Feature Allowing Newbies to ‘Buy the Market’

Finance

Circle is going after fresh entrants to the cryptocurrency trading market with a new tool that allows them to invest in multiple coins as once. This feature is different than an index fund in a few crucial ways, perhaps most importantly being available to everyday investors not just the rich and trading professionals.

Also Read: Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller Examines Bitcoin in Historical Context

Buy the Market

Circle Internet Financial Ltd., the Goldman Sachs-backed Boston-headquartered company that acquired Poloniex earlier this year, has announced a new feature on Tuesday called “Buy the Market.” It allows users to buy seven assets at once including BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, LTC, ZEC and XMR. Aiming for simplicity, all a user has to do to create a crypto portfolio with this feature is to enter the amount of USD they want to invest and the app will automatically calculate and distribute the investment sum according to each asset’s market cap.

This type of automatic or passive management investment tool will most likely be compared to existing crypto index funds. However, it is different in a few ways as it is just a technical feature allowing to buy a number of assets at once with one click not a real fund. These include no management fees, no re-balancing when market caps change, and a very accessible minimum investment sum of just $1.

Circle Adds New Feature Allowing Newbies to ‘Buy the Market’

Better Than Crypto Index Funds?

Circle Adds New Feature Allowing Newbies to ‘Buy the Market’

When comparing to crypto index funds such as those offered by Coinbase or Bitwise, the first thing to pop out is that the new Circle feature is available to all its normal users, not just to so called accredited investors. To be considered an accredited investor in the US, an individual must first report to the SEC that they have a net worth of at least $1,000,000 excluding the value of their primary residence or have a yearly income of at least $200,000. And companies need to have total assets in excess of $5 million or be recognized as a bank, insurance company, business development company, or registered investment company.

Circle’s Rachel Mayer commented: “This is one of the first experiences of its kind for consumers. Other crypto products that allow you to invest in market weight distributed fashion are accompanied by high minimums and 3% management fees. Circle Invest removes all this friction, making investing in multiple coins at once available for anyone at the same competitive pricing we deliver on all of our coins.”

Only last week Circle announced it had raised $110 million in a Series E fundraising round led by the Chinese firm Bitmain Technologies. It now looks it intends to use this money to expand its services in more ways than just issuing a new Tether alternative, like challenging index fund providers.

Would you prefer using such a feature over investing in a crypto index fund? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


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Huobi Pro Launches New Crypto Market Index

Huobi Pro Launches New Crypto Market Index

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Pro is launching a new market index for its customers, the company announced Wednesday.

The Huobi main force index will track 10 different digital assets traded against tether (USDT), a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency, on its platform in real time, according to a press release.

The index will “reflect the overall performance of Huobi Pro market,” allowing investors to see a single aggregated feed rather than having to check on individual assets one at a time.

The index will use weighted samples, according to the press release, which explained that the index divides digital assets into four categories: digital asset, platform, application and real asset substitute (not included in the index).

The release adds:

“Assets will be ranked according to their turnover, and top assets of each category will be selected as index samples. After samples are selected, the sample weight will be calculated based on the daily average trading volume of the previous quarter.”

The exchange further plans to launch index-based products with its main force index as the tracking target at Huobi Pro by June 10.

Huobi also has a contingency in place in case an asset is delisted, so “when an unexpected delisting of the index component occurs, the sample is temporarily replaced. And the coins that are ranked first in the candidate list will be selected as the sample coins in turn.”

Market index image via Shutterstock

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Blockchain Skills? Hired! $120,000+ Plus Bonus!

Blockchain Skills? Hired! $120,000+ Plus Bonus!

Blockchain Skills? Hired! $120,000+ Plus Bonus!

News

Blockchain this and blockchain that might be so much hype, but no one can deny hundreds of millions of dollars, some say billions, sloshing around the ecosystem in search of advancing technology undergirding cryptocurrencies. There’s a battle in even the broader employment market as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and others search for blockchain development talent, pushing salaries and bonuses into the stratosphere.

Also read: CNBC Shows Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Love, Predicts Mooning

Blockchain Jobs Need Talent with Know-How

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled the booming blockchain industry, honing-in on the demand from employers for a seemingly small pool of qualified candidates. And basic economic theory holds when the supply is at a premium and being chased by more and more dollars, the relative price will inevitably increase.

Katheryn Griffith Hill of Blockchain Developers, a headhunter, confirmed, “We are seeing people who are making half a million dollars,” she’s quoted, adding those with as little as three years experience are fetching “definitely well over $120,000” to start. The Journal continues, “Some 4,500 job openings with the terms ‘blockchain,’ ‘bitcoin’ or ‘cryptocurrency’ in the title were posted on LinkedIn this year through mid-May, according to the company. That is up 151% over the total in all of 2017. Just 645 such job openings were posted in 2016.”

Blockchain Skills? Hired! $120,000+ Plus Bonus!

Blockchains are simply a spin on database technology, and really aren’t all that new or even novel. That they’re used as accountancy in distributed ledger form, and decentralized in the cryptocurrency context, makes them valuable when attached to a currency such as bitcoin cash (BCH). Within the crypto world, such ledgers act as payment settlement systems, and, in the case of BCH, have solved the notorious bugaboo of creating a digital currency: double spending. For years, inventors were foiled by this problem. Satoshi Nakamoto’s insight, then, was to make coins like bitcoin cash become not only a medium of exchange and store of value but also contain a payment system, allowing for relatively trustless transactions between private parties to occur all over the globe.

Still other wags within the financial technology industry have seized on the neologism “blockchain,” a descriptive term to help explain how miners connect it all together, and stress the tech can solve virtually any problem. Animal spirits being what they are, the corporate world has dutifully swallowed the hype whole, and so nearly any company attaching itself to the mere mention of the word can sit back and watch their valuations climb.

Too Rich for Traditional Employment

Yuliya Chernova writes of a paradox as employers seek blockchain devs, describing how “many of the more experienced crypto developers already have made money trading bitcoin and Ethereum.” Indeed, hammering home the point Daniele Sileri, CEO of Blockchain Studios, insisted most “of the developers are millionaires already, so they don’t really care about money.”

Blockchain Skills? Hired! $120,000+ Plus Bonus!Initial coin offerings (ICOs) and venture capital have combined to lure many an accomplished dev away from traditional employment. Ripple’s David Schwartz underscores the fact “ICOs dumped a bunch of money on the industry,” to the degree that even money is “devalued” in the blockchain employment market, according to the Journal. Mr. Schwartz remarked how compensation has become “insane,” as he’s witnessed blockchain devs, at least two, receive “$1 million signing bonus offers,” the Journal notes.

Dearth of top dev talent is a global problem, and companies are struggling to distinguish themselves from the pack. Remote working arrangements, along with killer remuneration schedules, reveal work that “might have been free, there’s now a market for that work,” a dev at Augur said. Even “Augur itself has posted rewards of up to $100,000 for developers to complete certain tasks,” the Journal explained.

Do you think the blockchain employment market is overblown, or is it a good sign? Let us know what you think of this subject in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay.


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Monero’s Lead Developer Is Helping Launch a Crypto Trading Protocol

Monero’s Lead Developer Is Helping Launch a Crypto Trading Protocol

Loyalty points, concert tickets and in-game items will soon appear on a new protocol built on the monero network.

Called Tari, this new digital assets protocol will help support non-fungible tokens – tokens with unique properties, such as tickets with ownership information (think CryptoKitties) – said co-founder Naveen Jain.

Monero project lead Riccardo Spagni, more commonly known as fluffypony, and entrepreneur Dan Teree are also part of the founding team, Jain told CoinDesk.

Tari’s goal is to “support any kind of digital assets.” For example, one use case for the protocol would be to allow digital asset issuers to participate in the secondary market – meaning resales in particular.

However, the protocol can also support items in video games or even native assets, Jain said, adding:

“If you have a decentralized distributed trustless system that supports non-fungible tokens that enforces the rule sets around digital assets, that changes the game because now you have an opportunity for consumers to trade those digital assets.”

Jain said he believes Tari’s approach to digital assets is unique for a variety of reasons, noting that “we don’t want to make a lot of future statements, we just want to prove ourselves along the way and we think that’s a great way to build trust and build our community.”

He continued, saying “I think what sets our token apart is we’re maniacally focused on our use case. This isn’t an ethereum competitor.”

More broadly, he believes protocols and networks looking at specific use cases may be more useful than general-purpose ones.

“I think an important point to make in terms of how our space is evolving too -do we build a protocol that’s useful for every possible use case or do we build one that’s focused on one type of use case,” Jain concluded.

Riccardo Spagni, Naveen Jain and Dan Teree image courtesy of Tari

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MIT Tests Smart Contract-Powered Bitcoin Lightning Network

MIT Tests Smart Contract-Powered Bitcoin Lightning Network

An MIT test is providing a rare glimpse of how bitcoin might truly work at scale.

Revealed to CoinDesk last week, the prestigious U.S. university has been quietly demoing an experimental use case for bitcoin’s lightning network, one that showcases how it might be combined with smart contracts to not only handle millions of transactions, but do so with a greater degree of complexity.

Modeled within the school’s Digital Currency Initiative, started in 2015 as a way to further R&D on cryptocurrencies, the test envisions a system wherein transactions would take place automatically in the case of defined external events, based on say today’s weather or the current price of U.S. dollars.

This is possible due to MIT’s creative use of so-called “oracles,” trusted entities meant to broadcast data to smart contracts. For this demo, researchers Tadge Dryja and Alin S. Dragos built a test oracle to broadcast the recent price of U.S. dollars in satoshis, the smallest unit of bitcoins, which anyone can grab and use for their smart contracts.

It’s a notable step forward for the idea, one first proposed by lightning inventor Dryja last summer. However, this is the first time it’s been implemented as a prototype with working code.

Dragos told CoinDesk:

“We built this as a standalone feature of our lightning network software. We chose data what we thought would be cool, U.S. dollars, but it could be any data you want, whether weather or a stock.”

Dragos stressed that the demo is “experimental” and “shouldn’t be used for real money.” That said, he and other MIT researchers are convinced that with the help of the lightning network, bitcoin might one day scale to capacities originally envisioned by its early users.

As part of that work, MIT researchers have already created an implementation for the lightning network called lit, and this oracle code is an add-on of that work.

“We at DCI, we really believe in the lightning network,” Dragos said. “Bitcoin doesn’t scale very well. I decided there has to be something better. Turns out what’s better is lightning. It’s the way to scale.”

Bitcoin smart contracts

But while lightning provides scale, smart contracts add other new functionality to bitcoin. For example, should the tech in MIT’s test be implemented, you could make some sort of a bet based on what’s happening in the world.

Or, in this case, a futures contract. Alice promises to pay Bob whatever the price of dollars is in satoshis on a certain day, say Friday. If a dollar is worth 12,150 satoshis by the end of the week, then she will end up paying that.

It’s a kind of advanced smart contract use case that is usually not associated with bitcoin.

“When folks think smart contracts, they think ethereum. Their scripting language is much richer,” Dragos admitted.

But, he argues that with some workarounds, bitcoin can do the same thing.

“It’s not as developer friendly because bitcoin didn’t go in that direction, but you can use it. You have to be a little creative,” Dragos said.

In short, it uses Dryja’s “discreet log contracts” scheme to broadcast data to the smart contracts. One of the most important advantages of this scheme is scalability, because most of the data doesn’t need to be stored on the bitcoin blockchain.

The other is privacy, since oracles don’t have any way of knowing who’s using the data they’re broadcasting.

“We’re introducing a model where oracles are not aware of who’s using the data they’re using,” Dragos said.

Some ‘quandaries’

But while this simple demo is now complete, Dragos and Dryja think there are many outstanding questions and “quandaries,” as Dragos put it. “From the individual oracle’s perspective, they’re going to want to make some money. We’re going to have to understand that,” Dragos said.

Another is that the oracle at this point is trusted. But there might be a way to minimize this trust by allowing a user to use many oracles at once.

But there’s a certain point where MIT DCI hopes to stop working on the technology and pass it off to someone else.

“We’re working with companies that might implement this,” Dragos said. And though he couldn’t name names, he mentioned they are “big company” partners of the DCI.

The hope is these bigger companies will be better at understanding what normal users want from the software. So, while MIT DCI built a prototype demonstrating how the underlying technology really works, they haven’t produced an app as mindlessly easy to use as say, Venmo or Facebook.

“UX is not our core expertise,” Dragos said.

Now it’s open for people to use for whatever oracle data they want. So, it’s up to the community to decide if it’s worthwhile to use or not.

“It’s a hard guess. It could be a significant deal if people use it. But we don’t know what people are going to be using it for,” he added.

Dragos stated:

“New technologies are available all the time, that doesn’t mean they end up making it though.”

Lightning image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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A Hands-On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet

A Hands-On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet

Wallets

Hardware wallets, like the cryptocurrency stored within them, can provoke strong emotions in their owners. Hodlers like what they like, and that’s the end of the matter. If the first hardware wallet you bought was a Ledger, you’re probably Ledger for life. Likewise if you’re in Team Trezor. Keepkey, which completes the holy trifecta of hardware wallets, is less famous than its siblings, but the sleek black plastic device still packs a punch.

Also read: A Review of the Swiss-Made Digital Bitbox Hardware Wallet

Is Keepkey a Keeper?

At Consensus New York, my budget wouldn’t stretch to the €49,000 diamond-encrusted Nano on display, but there was space in my bag and my heart for a Keepkey. At $129, it’s a little pricier than the Ledger Nano or Trezor One, but cheaper than the swish new Trezor Model T. I should probably add a warning at this stage, incidentally: the review you’re about to read is painfully long, which is a reflection of how long it took to get this damn wallet working. But we’ll get to all that in due course. First, let’s start at the start…

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet

Ever since last year, Keepkey has been the property of Shapeshift, who bought up the company, enabling Keepkey users to exchange between cryptos without exposing their private keys online. Keepkey promises “bank-grade security,” whatever that means, and a system so easy that “even your grandmother can protect her bitcoin wealth,” which seems a little patronizing. If gran was smart enough to buy bitcoin, she’s surely got the perspicacity to work a paper wallet.

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Behodler

It’s funny how much form, rather than function, influences our purchasing decisions – even when we’re purchasing a cryptocurrency wallet that’s destined to be consigned to the dark recesses of a safe. Beauty is in the eye of the behodler, but there’s a strong case for asserting that Keepkey’s hardware wallet (they only make one) is more fetching than a Trezor, and arguably smarter than the Nano too, even if it lacks the latter’s brushed metal exterior.

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet
The Keepkey Chrome app.

Visit the Keepkey store and you’ll find just two products to choose from: a single, regular Keepkey and a box of 50 which retails for $6,450. Perfect for the security conscious trader who likes to keep their shitcoins on separate sticks in separate vaults. The lightweight and plasticy feel of the device is somewhat tempered by the quality of the USB cable that comes bundled with it. It feels luxurious to the touch, but it’s here, after installing the Keepkey Chrome browser app, that I encounter my first problem: it has a standard USB connection but my Macbook Pro does not. That’s Apple’s fault, not Keepkey’s, but it’s a bummer when you’re on the road, as I found myself at the time of writing this review, and thus without access to a USB-thunderbolt adapter.

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet
Cables. Cables everywhere.

Third Time’s a Charm

At home, 24 hours later, I plug the hardware wallet into my laptop via the thunderbolt adapter, but there’s no sign of life. I’d expected a USB drive to show up on my Macbook Pro, or for the Chrome app to display a notification and the Keepkey to light up, but nope. Not a peep. Figuring it might just be the thunderbolt adapter, I try connecting the device to my old Macbook Pro, which has a USB port, but still nothing. Then I try my Chromebook, and once again, nothing. In a moment of inspiration I google “keepkey setup” and salvation arrives.

According to Keepkey’s Get Started page, you need to first open the app by “navigating Chrome to chrome://apps/”. This is less than intuitive, but is partly Chrome’s fault for having a crappy UI that conceals extensions and apps behind submenus. This does mean, however, that every time you go to use your Keepkey (if you’re as disorganized as I am) you’ll need to google “keepkey setup” to remind yourself of how you get into the damn thing.

Wait, Not So Fast…

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet
The Keepkey interface is simple but functional.

Having successfully gotten my Chromebook to update the Keepkey, I decide to reconnect it to my Mac and see if the laptop can now detect it. It can, and am prompted to set up my PIN and then write down my 12-word recovery phrase. I’ve written it down once, and am just preparing to jot down a second copy when the device inexplicably disconnects and I’m forced to start the whole process all over again. After re-entering my PIN twice, I begin jotting down the new recovery phrase, when the same thing happens. Keepkey and my thunderbolt adapter can’t seem to get along, so I resignedly reconnect it to the Chromebook.

Eventually I succeed in finding the apps section of Chrome by pasting the URL into my browser, whereupon I’m prompted to hold down the button on the Keepkey and plug it in to update the firmware. When that’s done, I’m presented with a screen showing a BTC wallet set up by default and nothing else. I hit the plus sign to add a BCH address and then scan the QR code from my Bitcoin.com wallet. I select $5 of bitcoin cash and send it to my Keepkey address. The fee is 3 cents. While I’m waiting for the transaction to clear, the Keepkey logo lurches across the screen in instalments. It reminds me of the handheld monochrome soccer game I played as a kid. Anachronistic, but comfortingly nostalgic.

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet
The Bitcoin.com wallet

Nice Device, Now How About Some Altcoin Support?

I like the design of Keepkey, and I like the cable, if it’s possible to have affection for a USB cable, while the software is passable. Is the device capable of challenging Trezor and Ledger? Sure…provided you’re happy to hodl namecoin, doge, and dash. 2016 just called and it wants its altcoins back. In fairness to Keepkey, there is at least BTC, BCH, ETH, and LTC support and native ERC20 token support is currently in beta so should eventually arrive. Given some of the ERC20s I’m embarrassed to own, it’s probably for the best I didn’t get a chance to screenshot them in this review.

A Hands On Review of the Keepkey Hardware Wallet
One Keepkey, now equipped with bitcoin cash.

Keepkey’s biggest weakness right now, as its team are undoubtedly aware, is the shortage of coins that can be stored on it. While the market leaders are pressing ahead with monero support, Keepkey is still way behind the curve. It would be great to have EOS, cardano, zencash and maybe some ripple for the ladies. It’s odd that there’s support for the 295th coin by market cap (namecoin), but room for just six out of the top 20 cryptocurrencies – or top 100 if you wanna make that statistic even more damning.

I’ll certainly keep using the hardware wallet, using it to store any spare BTC, BCH, and ETH I amass, but a device so easy that “even grandmother” could use it? Please. My grandmother could have mined the genesis block and she’d still struggle to connect this thing to her Chrome web app. I’ll keep my Keepkey, but in my heart I’ll be lusting after one of those diamond encrusted Nanos I saw at Consensus. Hell, I’d even settle for a regular one.

Have you tried the Keepkey wallet and if so how do you like it? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Keepkey.


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