Bitcoin SegWit2x hard fork to activate on December 28

While details are sparse, developers have said they will seize the airdropped funds belonging to wallets created by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and then distribute them to those who support the network. Finally, the SegWit2x protocol will have entirely different specifications from Bitcoin.

A totally unexpected announcement has taken everyone in the cryptocurrency world by a surprise! The bitcoin SegWit2x hard fork that was considered dead has been revived and according to reports it will activate on Dec. 28.

If the hard fork was implemented earlier, SegWit2x would have raised the bitcoin blocksize to 2MB that would have helped deal with the massive network congestion and helping the network scale. However, despite backing from industry heavyweights including the Digital Currency Group, Coinbase, ShapeShift, and Xapo, the proposal failed to gain consensus, and its leading advocates called off the contentious hard fork in early November to avoid plunging Bitcoin into a civil war.

A group of developers have now announced they are “reviving” SegWit2x and one of the reasons is the increasing transaction costs have made bitcoin “almost impossible to use…as a means of payment.”

If we look at the SegWit2x (B2X) project we quickly realize that bitcoin protocol isn’t going to get updated, but the hard fork intends to create yet another altcoin that trades on the bitcoin brand. The developers are implementing replay protection and a unique address structure, which are both tacit admissions that B2X is not Bitcoin — a significant diversion from the posture expressed by advocates for the original SegWit2x proposal.

The project also indicates that the B2X network will feature a premine. While details are sparse, developers have said they will seize the airdropped funds belonging to wallets created by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and then distribute them to those who support the network.

Finally, the SegWit2x protocol will have entirely different specifications from Bitcoin. The network will be secured using X11 encryption rather than SHA-256, and it will have 2.5-minute blocktimes rather than 10-minute blocktimes like the original network. Difficulty will be recalculated after each block, and the website advertises that zkSNARK technology will be implemented to allow users to make anonymous transactions. Perhaps the most ironic diversion is that, in contrast to the 2MB upgrade advertised by its proposal name, B2X will actually increase the blocksize to 4MB.

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Michael Ballanger: CME ‘Fiat Police’ Arrive Right on Schedule

Is it any great mystery that BTC moved in a virtual straight line from $1,000 to $20,000 in the past eighteen months without the involvement or “assistance” of the CME? Remember this as long as you are able to breathe: “As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for …

There are occasions in my life where being correct in a trade or a forecast or an event absolutely fails to excite me. Like predicting the death of a pet or the failure of a business, there is absolutely no joy in waking up to the realization that one’s analytical abilities were put to the test and prevailed.

In December 2015, I made one of the best calls of my career when I announced the terminus of the 2011-2015 Great Bear Market in Gold at $1,045, but what followed was neither the clinking of champagne flutes nor the beating of puffed-up chests. Instead, I was consumed with a slow, simmering rage not unlike the emotion one feels at returning to a burgled home or boosted auto. I wanted to take a ball-and-chain hammer and inflict revenge on perpetrators regardless of race, creed or color. The 2016 ensuing turn in gold prices and personal financial recovery was overshadowed by the illicit enrichment of the interventionalists that caused the worst downturn in the global gold mining sector since the April 1997 Bre-X Fraud that crippled exploration funding for over half a decade.

Not that it was anything particularly new or different from pre-2011; it was the blatancy of the attacks that stood out. The bullion banks, under order of their central bank/politico masters, proceeded to lean on the prices for gold and silver at every turn and at all instances when price recovery appeared imminent. So when the price began an ascent in 2016, taking the gold mining shares (HUI) up over 260%, there was little in the way of celebratory behaviors because of the magnitude of the losses absorbed in the prior three years.

Despite massive monetary easing across the globe, the usually responsive precious metals sector was pinned to the deck like a frigate’s cannon. And therein lies the outrage; to be so correct in forecasting the conditions that had created bull markets in the PMs for hundreds of years while being victimized by the criminality of the central bank price managers was a violation of the basest order.

So one week before the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) launched its Bitcoin futures contracts, I sent out the following warning: “Cryptojunkies: Beware the Ides of December,” with the closing argument “The bankers reeled in gold in 2013; they will reel in the Bitcoin as well. What both have in common is the medium of control.” That “medium of control” is exactly what took effect last week, and it is exactly what drives normally sanguine partners and trusted canines from rooms and homes and hearts.

ballanger112-27

That any entity can exert such influence and control over the fortunes of individual investors, retirement funds, pension plans and the like is infuriating beyond all comprehension but, then again, as gold and silver investors have been muttering all week in response to the chorus of opinion being bombarded upon the crypto-world “Welcome to OUR world!” I tweeted out yesterday that “Cryptojunkies are having a ‘Comex gold and silver moment’ ” as the bankers running the Crimex once again showed us how effective they can be in wagging dogs by firmly grasping canine tails. The arrival of the Crimex goons to the crypto-pits of Chicago heralded the long-awaited medium of control where the phony “future” price of an item is not determined by such idiotic principles as demand and supply. The prices of gold and silver have been determined by bureaucratic “fiat” for ages now, and there is no reason whatsoever that the Cryptojunkies should ever believe that their private currency domain will be immune.

Legions of speculators went into Christmas a lot poorer than they anticipated, but there are also a select few that cashed a rather large crypto-lottery ticket, such as Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, which until recently enjoyed a 9,300% advance. You see, holding cryptocurrencies is ultimately preferable to holding those dastardly depreciating dollars and euros and yen until, of course, you are able to take a $2 billion U.S.-dollar PROFIT and switch out of that “ultimate millennial store of value” (Litecoin), and back into the currency units that will allow you to buy a villa in the south of France (“fiat”). I guess high-integrity Charlie Lee read somewhere that “When the ducks are quackin’, ya gotta feed ’em.” Stated another way, the cryptojunkies were “yellin’ ” and the founders were “sellin’,” proving once again that philosophical loyalties such as those embodied in cryptocurrencies (or anything else that resembles a “bubble”) are ephemeral.

The purpose of this missive is not to gloat because my musings over the Crimex “invisible hand” only serve to enrage me even further as to the corruption and self-dealing so odiously present at the CME. Is it any great mystery that BTC moved in a virtual straight line from $1,000 to $20,000 in the past eighteen months without the involvement or “assistance” of the CME? Remember this as long as you are able to breathe: “As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.” R-i-i-g-g-h-h-t-t.

Before moving on to my regular discussion of the COT, I want to once again reiterate my longstanding conviction that, in my extremely humble opinion, the best website on the internet for raw analysis of gold and silver markets is Bill Murphy’s “Lemetropolecafe.” In the interest of full disclosure, nobody gets a dime from posting on the site, but the collective wisdom of the sharing exercise was why I was eager to join a few years back. And while I might add a bit of jocularity and the odd decent trade from time to time, it is the caliber of the discussion and the people that make it work. If you think that is a plug, then consider your thoughts totally accurate; the site deserves more attention and considerably more sponsorship, especially from the gold mining community and with best efforts from the junior explorers.

Friday’s COT was a nonevent for gold, as the Commercials fed back 8,754 contracts, representing a modest uptick in the aggregate position. But not so the case for the Silver COT, where the bullion banks, led by JP Morgan, added a goodly number with the combination of new longs and covered shorts. This bodes well for January, as no rally in Gold and Gold Miners can survive without the participation of the silver market. This is so because the higher the ratio goes (now over 78), the more it invites spreading silver longs against gold shorts, and that shorting becomes a headwind for the gold price. I want the GTSR down under 70 again, like in January 2016, when the behavior of silver provided a tailwind for all things golden and gave the miners (HUI) the adrenalin injection that drove it up 288% of the lows of January 2016.

ballangergoldcot12-27

ballangersilvercot12-27

As nice as it was to see Stakeholder Gold Corp. (SRC:TSX.V) put on a bit of a “show” last week, closing its $600,000 funding and ending the week up 62% from the issue price, it was disconcerting to see Canuc Resources Corp. (CDA:TSX.V) close the week down 31.25% from its late-November $0.40 funding price. The difference between the two lies in market capitalization, and until a junior explorco can provide a NI43-101-compliant resource, markets generally pay around $5-10 million for well-positioned companies. CDAs $18 million market cap (at $0.40) is now being readjusted to slightly north of $10 million ($10M) (actually $11.8M) until such time as it can demonstrate that the San Javier project is viable, with the newly found breccia zones to the northeast confirming the presence of sufficient scale so as to permit bulk mining methods. Contrasting the CDA valuation is SRC, who closed its financing with a post-raise market cap of only $5.85M (@ $0.25), and closed the week out at a $8.54M market cap (@ $0.365), with an active drill program located strategically in the northern Carlin trend in Elko County, Nevada. Assays for the first 600-meter hole should be available late next month and should be very interesting.

New Years resolutions this year will involve attempts to curtail fits of temper; refrain from launching household items into venomous projectiles; stop blaming the greed-infected, criminally delinquent bullion banks for any and all ills of humanity; and a pledge to quit gloating and writing about cryptocurrencies. Instead, I pledge to behave myself and do all in my power to provide an modicum of quiet introspection into the discussion of markets around the world, despite the fact that until government and elitist-sponsored banks have rendered these venues devoid all of the typical characteristics of “markets,” the most notable one being the term “free,” as in “free markets.”

Originally trained during the inflationary 1970s, Michael Ballanger is a graduate of Saint Louis University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in finance and a Bachelor of Art in marketing before completing post-graduate work at the Wharton School of Finance. With more than 30 years of experience as a junior mining and exploration specialist, as well as a solid background in corporate finance, Ballanger’s adherence to the concept of “Hard Assets” allows him to focus the practice on selecting opportunities in the global resource sector with emphasis on the precious metals exploration and development sector. Ballanger takes great pleasure in visiting mineral properties around the globe in the never-ending hunt for early-stage opportunities.

Want to read more Gold Report interviews like this? Sign up for our free e-newsletter, and you’ll learn when new articles have been published. To see a list of recent interviews with industry analysts and commentators, visit our Streetwise Interviews page.

Disclosure:

1) Michael J. Ballanger: I, or members of my immediate household or family, own shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: Stakeholder Gold Corp. and Canuc Resources Corp. I personally am, or members of my immediate household or family are, paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies referred to in this article: Stakeholder Gold Corporation. I determined which companies would be included in this article based on my research and understanding of the sector. Additional disclosures are below.

2) The following companies mentioned in this article are billboard sponsors of Streetwise Reports: None. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services. Click here for important disclosures about sponsor fees. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

3) Statements and opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not of Streetwise Reports or its officers. The author is wholly responsible for the validity of the statements. The author was not paid by Streetwise Reports for this article. Streetwise Reports was not paid by the author to publish or syndicate this article.

4) This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports’ terms of use and full legal disclaimer. This article is not a solicitation for investment. Streetwise Reports does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on Streetwise Reports should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned on Streetwise Reports.

5) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned. Directors, officers, employees or members of their immediate families are prohibited from making purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise from the time of the interview or the decision to write an article, until one week after the publication of the interview or article. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Stakeholder Gold and Canuc Resources, companies mentioned in this article.

All charts and images courtesy of Michael Ballanger.

Michael Ballanger Disclaimer:

This letter makes no guarantee or warranty on the accuracy or completeness of the data provided. Nothing contained herein is intended or shall be deemed to be investment advice, implied or otherwise. This letter represents my views and replicates trades that I am making but nothing more than that. Always consult your registered advisor to assist you with your investments. I accept no liability for any loss arising from the use of the data contained on this letter. Options and junior mining stocks contain a high level of risk that may result in the loss of part or all invested capital and therefore are suitable for experienced and professional investors and traders only. One should be familiar with the risks involved in junior mining and options trading and we recommend consulting a financial adviser if you feel you do not understand the risks involved.

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Russia Preps Draft Law for Cryptocurrency Regulation

The wheels continue to turn as Russia moves forward with its plan to regulate cryptocurrencies and ICOs within the country and to provide a definitive … has prepared a draft law, currently under consideration, which will determine the procedure for issuing, taxing, buying and circulation of cryptocurrency.
· December 27, 2017 · 8:30 pm

The train has left the regulation station as Russia prepares to submit their draft law on controlling regulating the country’s booming crypto industry.


The wheels continue to turn as Russia moves forward with its plan to regulate cryptocurrencies and ICOs within the country and to provide a definitive framework for trading in the industry.

According to EconoTimes, Russia’s Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov, had this to say:

The Ministry of Finance has prepared a draft law, currently under consideration, which will determine the procedure for issuing, taxing, buying and circulation of cryptocurrency.

Crypto Will Not Be Seen as a Currency

Crypto Will Not Be Seen as a Currency

State-operated news agency RIA Novosti has reported that the draft will be submitted on the 28th of December. Anatoly Aksakov, who is the chairman of the State Duma committee for the financial market, has said, through a rough translation, that cryptocurrencies will be known as “other properties”:

There will be a final evaluation before the presentation of the bill. [Whether it is] Bitcoin or Ether, all cryptocurrencies [will be known as] other property.

Limited ICO Investing

Limited ICO Investing

It’s not just digital currencies that will be getting the regulation treatment. The draft law also discusses ICOs. Aksakov added:

The approach to how the ICO should be conducted is defined. I repeat, this is not the latest version, the latest version will be discussed in the coming days. The ICO is seen as an element of crowdfunding, and the approach is that investors should be limited in the amount they invest.

Sergey Shvetsov, who is the First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia, had previously stated that his institution’s goal of regulating ICOs will result in it becoming an alternative means of raising capital in the country.

Even though the bill will be reviewed this week, implementation is still a couple of months away. According to Aksakov:

I expect that the adoption of the draft law on cryptocurrencies will be in March.

D-Day Approaches

D-Day Approaches

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously earmarked July 2018 as the deadline for the implementation of new and comprehensive crypto regulations in the country

Aksakov has stressed that the draft law is actually in the interest of crypto holders:

The problem is that we already have a lot of people who acquire[d] cryptocurrencies and they are deceived, we need to give people the opportunity to work legally with it, to protect them as much as possible.

Even though Russia is aggressively pushing their regulation efforts, they are not immune to the charms of virtual currencies, previously announcing that they too will be part of the crypto revolution by launching their own digital currency, the CryptoRuble.

What do you think of this latest development in Russia bid to regulate crypto? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, AdobeStock

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Robots and Artificial Intelligence will take away half of all jobs think tank warns

Robots and Artificial Intelligence will take away half of all jobs think tank warns. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) carried out the study. Brendan Cole. By Brendan Cole. December 28, 2017 01:15 GMT. Close. These horror stories created by artificial intelligence are the stuff of nightmares …

iStock

“Some people will get a pay rise while others are trapped in low-pay, low-productivity sectors. To avoid inequality rising, the government should look at ways to spread capital ownership and make sure everyone benefits from increased automation.”

Mathew Lawrence, senior research fellow for the IPPR, said care needed to be taken that the economic benefits of automation did not just help the few.

“Managed well, though, with a strategy to increase adoption of technologies in the everyday economy and new models of ownership to spread the benefits, automation could help create a future of shared economic plenty,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told the Guardian that the government wanted “to seize the opportunities and overcome the obstacles” from automation.

“Government is working closely with industry to ensure the benefits of new technologies are felt across different sectors of the economy up and down the country, while creating new high-skill, well-paid jobs,” the BEIS said.

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