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Could Ethereum Reach $1900 by End of Year?

In a note to clients, Tom Lee, managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors and former J.P. Morgan Chief Equity Strategist, made the prediction that Ether could trade as high as $1900 by the end of the year. Lee, who believes Ethereum has struggled this past year due to a lack of confidence in its technology roadmap, increased competition, and “panic selling,” said that Ethereum “about to stage a trend reversal and rally strongly.”

With a couple of months left in the year, Lee’s claim remains yet to be seen. But there is, undeniably, a lot of exciting recent innovation and development surrounding Ethereum in recent weeks and months. Let’s take a closer look.

Increased Mainstream Adoption

Ethereum, which primarily functions as a platform that supports smart contracts and decentralized applications, is becoming more and more widely adopted by various industries.  In particular, smart contracts, or a computer protocol that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies or assets between parties under certain conditions, have begun to demonstrate their applicability in fields ranging from healthcare, to education, to real estate.

In the healthcare space, hospitals, insurance companies and patients can share network access while still retaining data security and patient confidentiality, and schools of medicine are beginning to fund research to help them utilize blockchain.

Elsewhere, institutes of higher learning are beginning to issue digital diplomas and certificates to combat costly fights against falsely claimed, unmerited credits, and in the real estate market, the technology makes property records registrations as well as transactions, easier, and can be used to perform deed transfers and speed up deals.

“It has become essential for individuals to own and control all elements of their digital identity,” writes digital payment expert Mirela Ciobanu. “Individuals need a secure encrypted platform where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it. Currently, many industries, from finance to government, and associations are trying to create and support this.”


Commitment to Innovation at San Francisco Blockchain Week

Recently, there has been an increase in activity in Ethereum development. In the last week, there have been over 1,200,000 changes, or commits, to the Ethereum code. According to industry watchers, “Ethereum is far surpassing bitcoin, and any other crypto, by the number of commits on GitHub…as well as the number of developers.”

Indeed, the Ethereum developer community is hard at work. On October 5-7 San Francisco welcomed the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon, ETH San Francisco. The hackathon, described as “an opportunity to work alongside the developers, industry experts, advisers, and companies who are making the infrastructure and applications that will power the new decentralized web,” also included many discussions with industry experts, as well as an interview with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. ETH San Francisco is just one point of San Francisco Blockchain Week from October 5-12, dedicated to blockchain education and innovation.

While the future of Ethereum is unclear after a sluggish 2018, there is a lot of momentum and excitement in the space and good reason to remain optimistic. Speaking earlier this year, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said “Ethereum interests me because it can do things and because it’s a platform,” going so far as to suggest that the company could one day be as powerful as Apple. The future of Ethereum may be unclear given the 2018’s sluggish trajectory thus far, but if all of the hackathons and conferences are any indication, there is a lot of momentum and good reason to remain optimistic.

Bitcoin and the State of Retirement Reports Today

After looking through many studies showing the state of retirement in America today, there seems to be much room for improvement.

The National Institute on Retirement Security came out with some rather concerning statistics in their report released earlier this year, specifically that two-thirds of working millennials have nothing saved for retirement. Meanwhile, according to a Vanguard retirement study, the average account balance of nearly $104,000 was misleading because of a small number of large accounts skewing the average higher, while the median is much lower, at $26,000. And the 18th annual Transamerica Retirement Survey revealed that while 62% of workers are confident that they will be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle, as many as 56% believe that they have not yet fully recovered financially from the Great Recession and as many as a third expect that they will see a decrease in their standard of living during retirement.

It’s time to expand the retirement savings toolkit and look at additional options, with a focus on portfolio diversification.

Millennials and Retirement: Already Falling Short. From the National Institute on Retirement Security.

Benefits of Portfolio Diversification

Many experts in the financial sector advocate for portfolio diversification as a means of boosting return on investment while also minimizing risk. “For a variety of reasons, people do not understand the value of having a broadly diversified portfolio,” said Barry Ritholtz. “Perhaps they think it shows a lack of corporate loyalty to their employer…But every worker who gets company stock also gets a salary from that same employer. That is a very intense concentration of financial risk. For those workers, diversifying their company stock into broad indexes is a prudent approach.”Furthermore, decentralized assets such as Bitcoin and gold, which are removed from the stock market or any particular currency, act as a hedge against inflation, as well as any political, social, or economic unrest.  And according to research done by Ark Invest and Coinbase, Bitcoin is “the only asset that maintains consistently low correlations with every other asset,” making it a strong choice as an alternative asset in a diversified retirement portfolio.

How Bitcoin IRA Works, the world’s first and largest cryptocurrency platform, allows customers to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for their retirement accounts and store them in a BitGo digital wallet, the leader in multi-signature encryption technology. In 2017 alone, the company processed over $300 million in investments. To learn more about how to diversify your retirement portfolio with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, give one of our IRA specialists a call today at 877-936-7175.


Solar-Paneled Mining: The Future of Bitcoin?

In recent months, the crypto space has gone through a lot of interesting changes and defied expectations.

For starters, the regulatory sector and the decentralized technology sector, once viewed as at odds with each other, have been in fact been working together cooperatively to create a more compliant and transparent financial landscape. This has has been demonstrated by CFTC Chairman J. Cristopher Giancarlo’s “do no harm” approach towards regulating crypto, Nasdaq and Gemini’s SMARTS market surveillance technology partnership, among other announcements.

And, on a separate crypto news front, there’s another unlikely partnership between two sectors that appears to be thriving: the solar industry and the world of bitcoin mining.

William Shatner Works With Solar Alliance to tackle Crypto Mining Sustainability

Solar Alliance, a Canadian solar energy company, announced that it acquired a 165,000 square-foot warehouse in Illinois to build a solar paneled array and rent space to bitcoin miners.

“Blockchain technologies, and cryptocurrencies specifically, are at the cutting edge of a new distributed technology infrastructure,” said actor William Shatner, also a spokesperson for Solar Alliance. “Utilizing solar arrays to power [mining operations] makes social and economic sense.”

The World of Bitcoin Mining Today

New research into energy consumption reveals that, by the end of the year, cryptocurrency could account for 0.5 percent of the world’s energy demand, roughly the same amount consumed by Austria.  For crypto enthusiasts concerned about climate change, the massive energy consumption behind Bitcoin mining has been a difficult concept to reconcile with. However, this recent news from Solar Alliance may indicate that Bitcoin mining, as we know it, will change.

“The acquisition of the Murphysboro warehouse facility and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) represent Solar Alliance’s strategic entry into tenanting and supplying low-cost power to the cryptocurrency mining sector,” said Chairman and CEO Jason Bak. “The demand from cryptocurrency mining operations for competitively priced power is immense and we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of that demand.”

A Maturing Crypto Landscape

While 2017 was the year that Bitcoin experienced unprecedented growth, 2018 is shaping up to be the year that the crypto space is officially growing up. While crypto used to be a largely unregulated space, 2018 has focused heavily on crypto compliance, between the SEC’s increased regulation of crypto trading platforms to companies like Chainalysis raising impressive funding to help Bitcoin-based businesses protect themselves against fraud.

In addition to increased regulation, 2018 has also marked a year devoted to deepening understanding around blockchain technology, from the NYCEDC announcing big plans to expand educational efforts in this sector to Facebook launching a new team dedicated to blockchain research.

In my opinion, the advancement in solar-paneled bitcoin mining is another example of progress and maturation in the crypto industry. Just as the regulatory sector is making an extensive effort to weed out the bad actors in the crypto world, solar-paneled mining is addressing the the industry’s inherent environmental concerns. It’s encouraging to see different organizations and sectors tackling crypto’s issues as it scales from an industry with growing pains into an industry all grown up, with an emphasis on being more compliant, transparent, and environmentally conscious than ever before.


Bitcoin and Ether are Not Securities

At Yahoo Finance’s All Market Summit: Crypto on June 14, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Director William Hinman announced that Bitcoin and Ether would not be considered securities. “Based on my understanding of the present state of ether, the Ethereum network, and its decentralized structure, current offers of sales of ether are not securities transactions,” Hinman said. “And, as with bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in ether would seem to add little value.”

In turn, innovators in the decentralized technology space are committed to working with regulators to promote a more compliant crypto landscape than ever before. Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, a major Ethereum application company, expressed gratitude for the SEC’s decision and said “Ether and other next generation consumer utility tokens will continue evolving the web towards networks that are more fair, secure, and evenly distributed.”

Ultimately, I believe that the SEC’s announcement is a big win for the crypto industry as a whole, as it helps resolve some of the regulatory uncertainty that many experts, such as Tom Lee, believe is contributing to market stagnation.

Many crypto enthusiasts, who were initially drawn to the formerly unregulated sector because of its decentralization and anonymity, feared that the increase in regulatory measures would infringe upon all they valued about crypto in the first place. But with time, it’s becoming clearer that the regulators and the decentralized technology sector in fact have a respectful, productive, and cooperative relationship, and are committed to working together to make the financial landscape more compliant than before. Let’s take a closer look.

CFTC “Do No Harm” Approach Set a Positive Precedent

Back in February of this year, Chairman of the CFTC J. Christopher Giancarlo set a precedent for a productive relationship between regulators and the decentralized technology sector when he advocated for a “do no harm” approach. “I believe that ‘do no harm’ is the right overarching approach for distributed ledger technology…With the proper balance of sound, regulatory oversight, and private sector innovation, new technologies will allow American markets to evolve in responsible ways and continue to grow our economy and increase prosperity,” Giancarlo said.

While this balanced sentiment may have seemed unrealistic to skeptics in the crypto space when it was first announced, I believe there has been continual cooperation between regulators and many crypto-based businesses and decentralized technology companies ever since.

Gemini Launches Nasdaq’s Market Surveillance Technology

In April, Nasdaq and cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced that Gemini would be leveraging Nasdaq’s SMARTS market surveillance technology to monitor its marketplace. “Since launch, Gemini has aggressively pursued comprehensive compliance and surveillance programs, which we believe betters our exchange and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole,” said  CEO of Gemini Tyler Winklevoss.

In fact, Nasdaq has proven to be just one of many financial institutions that has demonstrated interest in working alongside the crypto space. Hires General Counsel and Senior Compliance Officer, the world’s largest and most secure cryptocurrency IRA platform that allows customers to purchase Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, appointed by Maryann Bullion as its General Counsel and Senior Compliance Officer in March. “We are focused on providing unparalleled products for our clients that not only adhere to the most secure measures, but also uphold the most stringent compliance guidelines,” said Camilo Concha, CEO and co-founder.

“I strongly believe in the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and the opportunity it presents for investors within a retirement account,” said Bullion. “I am excited to work with the executive team to streamline the compliance framework and to provide the safest and most efficient products and processes for its customers.”

To learn more about how you can diversify your retirement portfolio with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, give a call today at 877-936-7175.

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How Smart Contracts are Transforming the Bitcoin Space

Bitcoin’s explosive growth since it first came onto the scene in 2009 is largely attributed to blockchain technology, which is often praised as the biggest tech innovation since the internet. But now, in 2018, there’s another cryptocurrency in the market with a technology that’s even more innovative.


Unlike Bitcoin’s blockchain, which functions primarily to verify digital transactions, Ethereum’s technology is far more robust, primarily functioning as a platform that supports smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps).

What does this mean? Let’s discuss what smart contracts and decentralized applications are, why they’re important, and how they will continue to transform technology and business as we know it.

What are Smart Contracts?

Otherwise known as a crypto contract, a smart contract is a computer protocol that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies or assets between parties under certain conditions. Smart contracts capture the entire term of conditions in code, indicating that certain actions should only be executed when milestones are met. This is a necessary level of protection given that contracts, in their current form, are a flawed way of conducting business.

Take Product Manager Abhishek Chakravarty’s experience, for example. In his Medium article “Prototyping a Blockchain Smart Contract,” Chakravarty describes how he sent a legally binding agreement as a PDF to another party to read and approve, and the other party returned a copy of the executed agreement shortly thereafter. Six months later, after a disagreement surrounding a business issue, Chakravarty went to revisit the contract and realized that, prior to sending him the signed agreement, the other party had significantly modified one of the clauses.

Chakravarty realized, in retrospect, that employing a smart contract would have been far more efficient. The other party would not have been able to change a clause at the last minute if the code had already been preconfigured based on the agreed upon terms. Through the process of coding up clauses and deploying on the blockchain, smart contracts eliminate the need for ineffective and forth communication, reducing ambiguity and boosting efficiency.

What’s more, the benefits of smart contracts go beyond streamlining and improving the process surrounding contract agreements. They also act as the building blocks for decentralized applications, which are rapidly transforming the business landscape as we know it. Let’s take a closer look.

Decentralized Applications

Decentralized applications are applications that run on a  peer-to-peer network of computers, rather than on a single cluster of servers. Unlike a traditional web application which calls an API to grab the desired data from a centralized database, decentralized applications call a smart contract, which then connects to the decentralized blockchain. This is important for a number of reasons.  Because computation is done at the level of each individual computer (or node), it becomes impossible for hackers to implement the same type of damage that they could be able to do with a centralized server.

In addition to safeguarding against system-wide hacks, decentralized applications remove the need for a middleman and third-party verification, reinstating the values that made Bitcoin such an important innovation in the first place.

Furthermore, like mining Bitcoin transactions, decentralized applications encourage the use of individual and group participation, boosting a sense of community and ownership at the individual level and taking back control from larger, systemic entities.

Programmers are now developing decentralized applications that are built on Ethereum for a number of platforms in a variety of industries. Some projects that are employing decentralized applications within Ethereum ecosystem include, but are not limited to:

  • The Vevue Project, a peer-to-peer incentivized video network. Created as a solution to crowdsource more accurate reviews of restaurants, retail locations, and events, users take video clips and answer questions about their neighborhood so that they can earn Bitcoin or Vevue equity tokens.
  • WeiFund, a decentralized crowdfunding platform on and for the Ethereum ecosystem, designed to make crowdfunding user-friendly, thoroughly-tested, and interoperable. Users can launch a campaign using one of WeiFund’s smart contract templates. The system also heavily encourages user participation: Through a “bug bounty program,” users are encouraged to find and report bugs and can receive up to $5,000 in ether for their efforts.

Far more than a digital currency, Ethereum, and the smart contract technology and decentralized applications it supports, is improving and transforming the business landscape today.

Diversifying Your Retirement Account with Ethereum

In 2018 and beyond, Ethereum is and will continue to prove itself, not only as the second-largest cryptocurrency but as the basis for a new way of doing business that boosts transparency, security, and individual and group participation. If you’re looking to diversify your retirement portfolio, consider calling Bitcoin IRA to invest in Ethereum. With its multi-use case versatility, and cutting edge technology, Ethereum both already has and will continue to demonstrate its commitment in taking  blockchain technology to the next level.

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Ethereum activities gain traction in China during Bitcoin’s struggle through scrutiny

China has been the major reason for sudden spikes in Bitcoin prices during 2016 owing to the hedging activities of Chinese investors during Yuan’s devaluation. These activities brought the cryptocurrency under the scrutiny of the Chinese Central Bank that has been fighting off capital flight for some time now. As PBOC believed that Bitcoin might be one of the easy and efficient ways to send money out of the country, they have decided to place strict KYCs for the Bitcoin exchanges. To set up an able system that monitors and regulates any laundering activity, the exchanges have banned fiat withdrawals that led to a sudden drop in volumes from China. While the process is still in motion, Bitcoin’s conjugate Ethereum has picked up the pace in China with better adoption and group meetings on regular basis. Let’s look into the details of Ethereum and how it has been making progress in China:

Ethereum as Bitcoin’s conjugate:

Ethereum has consolidated its place in investor portfolio owing to its multiple applications and its growing stability. The cryptocurrency jumped by $5 from $42 to $47 when Bitcoin crumbled under the pressure of a possible hard fork. This revealed that investors are transferring funds between Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of their portfolios interchangeably according to the shifting dynamics of the cryptocurrency. Hence Ethereum truly has become Bitcoin’s conjugate and owing to its executable smart contracts on Blockchain is finding good value with the investors.

Increasing activity in China:

Ethereum activities are increasing in China, due to increasing interests in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and the Ethereum network’s applicability to a wide range of infrastructures across a multitude of industries.Chinese bitcoin exchanges have recognized a surge in interest and demand for Ethereum. As a result, major bitcoin exchanges including OKCoin have announced the integration of support for Ethereum or Ether trading.

CnLedger announced:
“Our source tells us OKCoin is now planning on listing Ethereum. “May list it at the appropriate time.” Confirmed by OKC customer service.”

What Ether’s future looks like:

At the time of writing this article, Ethereum passed $80 reaching an all-time high. Consequently, the market cap for Ethereum has moved from $6 Billion to over $7 Billion. With a significant presence now in the Chinese sphere, Ether trading is bound to pick up. Regular meet ups over ETC and ETH are being conducted in China with the cryptocurrency proponents taking keen interest in the structure of the digital asset and its applications.