The top cryptocurrencies to invest in 2017

We think these altcoins should be part of your 2017 investment portfolio

Sia

The cloud storage industry is currently dominated by DropBox, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. These companies have taken the lion’s share of customers in the file hosting space however this is very likely to change. A small and fairly unknown blockchain startup going by the name of Sia aims to end this monopoly by redefining the technology and processes behind cloud storage.

The current methods of storage rely on massive data centres and server farms to both store and retrieve data. This centralised approach creates a number of issues. For example:

Control – One company having full control over your data.

Ownership – Who owns your data and how will they use it, sell it and profit off of it.

Security – Centralisation means bugs, malpractice and hackers can target very specific companies and infrastructure. In fact DropBox lost 68 customer million passwords not so long ago and for a short period of time and any user could access the data of other users at will.

Scalability – Each organisation needs to operate massive data centres to fulfill the storage and processing needs.

As these companies become even bigger the issues above become compounded.

The blockchain technology behind Sia is completely new for the industry and takes a more decentralised approach to solve the issues above.

When a customer uploads a file to the network it is automatically encrypted and split up into hundreds of tiny pieces. Only the uploader has the private keys to decrypt and view this data. All these encrypted pieces of data are then uploaded across many hosts and duplicated for impeccable redundancy.

With Sia storage is no longer controlled or owned by a company. Instead anyone can become a file hoster by leasing spare unused hard drive space to store encrypted data. File hosters and uploaders create a sort of digital handshake called a ‘smart contract’ which manages the storing of data between the two parties and pays the renter for the hard drive being used by the uploader.

With Sia clearly solving very real storage issues and making great progress with the project we believe it is a great time to invest in the project.

A $1,000 investment today would get you 113,000 Sia.

Ripple

Ripple takes blockchain technology and applies it to the traditional banking sector, resulting in trustworthy, verified, scalable, instant and cheap banking transactions.

For example the current Faster Payments banking service is an initiative between several banks to reduce the time of transfers between registered bank accounts. However transfers outside of that scheme take much longer and are routed through third party intermediaries. This process is not only risky but also labour and time intensive. Ripple solves these problems.

At the time of writing over 100 banks across the globe are trialling Ripple’s blockchain technology. Some of these banks include Santander, UniCredit and most recently the world’s largest Islamic bank, Al Rajhi Bank.

We think the technology behind Ripple will likely become the financial industry standard in the not too distant future.

Ripple has been within the top ten 24 hour volume across all cryptocurrencies and assets for several months now and it’s XRP currency has reached highs of $0.40.

A $1,000 investment today would get you 5,400 Ripple.

Stratis

The Microsoft backed Stratis platform is known as the C# equivalent to Ethereum. It enables programmers to produce decentralised, smart contract based apps very quickly and easily using a tried and tested programming language that has stood the test of time.

This opens it up to an already massive developer base with little to no additional learning required, giving it a clear edge over Ethereum.

Stratis is also poised to release its long awaited TumbleBit service and smart contracts in Q3 of this year and is developing the “Breeze Wallet”, a wallet feature that aims to boost privacy of both Bitcoin and Stratis users.

In the last month Stratis saw significant highs followed by a very quick drop. The coin reached all time highs of $11 but currently trades at $3. This is an ideal opportunity to buy in whilst the price is still low.

A $1,000 investment today would get you 160 Stratis.

Golem

Golem is on track to becoming the world’s first decentralised supercomputer. It utilizes the Ethereum blockchain to harness the unused/ idle power of millions of connected resources and turns it into sellable computing power.

Many companies and individuals require a service like this and currently have resort to small scale farms that can take days to process/ render and cost a small fortune.

For example games developers, film studios, data mining operations and medical researchers have to use vast amounts of processing power to complete very specific tasks. With Golem all these companies will have an always accessible, affordable supercomputer at their fingertips.

With its vast processing power Golem can also be used for making predictions across different industries such as betting, stock markets and even environmental changes.

Anyone with a computer can lease their unused processing power and in return get paid in GNT tokens. These tokens can be re-used, transferred to an exchange for trading or sold for more traditional currencies such as USD/GBP.

When taking a step back and assessing Golems end goal it offers a very unique investment opportunity not seen with any other project. It has many real world, life changing uses and the possibilities are endless.

Sitting at just $0.23 cents Golem is criminally cheap right now.

A $1,000 investment today would get you 3,500 Golem.

Monero

Monero is somewhat of a crypto veteran. The coin doesn’t mince its words and does one thing, albeit extremely well. It is currently the most secure and private coin on the market.

Anyone looking to make a safe long term investment would be wise to invest in it. The coin is seen as the ‘gold standard’ for privacy conscious users looking to stay permanently in the shadows. In fact Monero is in the top 5 most used cryptocurrencies for day to day purchases and traded across the Dark Web making it one of the few coins that is actually used as a currency.

A $1,000 investment today would get you 24 Monero.

Verge

Verge is an interesting (and possibly controversial) entry.

Like Monero it is aimed at users who take privacy seriously and combines Tor and i2p technologies to increase blockchain anonymity.

The project has one of the most active communities with a huge development team regularly ticking off new and exciting features on the roadmap. In June alone Seven major new features were pushed live.

Everything from Tor based Android wallets to RSK Smart Contracts are planned for July making this coin one to watch, especially at its current price. Despite recent price volatility the project is moving at a very quick pace and we believe this will be reflected in its price very soon.

So that’s it! There are many other projects we would have liked to add and others that ‘sound great’ (ICO frenzy anyone!!). As these projects mature and show their progress they will also be assessed and our verdicts shared. Good luck.

A $1,000 investment today would get you 324,000 Verge.

Handmade cosmetic brand Lush is now accepting Bitcoin

Fancy a long invigorating soak?

Handmade ethical cosmetics retailer Lush has recently started accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment for online shoppers.

The retailer operates around 1,000 physical stores across 49 countries worldwide and has suggested its online adoption will likely influence its in store Bitcoin rollout.

Lush said in a statement that Bitcoin was introduced as part of their “wider strategy to delve into the Blockchain community and provide an ethical viewpoint on its possibilities”.

The firm claims that it would allow them to create more ways of working with a wider range of suppliers, some of whom are from developing countries. Providing an alternative method in these regions will open up new new markets and make transactions more transparent with little to no exchange rates or fees.

The Bitpay ecommerce solution has been utilised and will allow the platform to handle customers who wish to pay with Bitcoin.

Lush is headquartered in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom. The company was founded by Mark Constantine, a trichologist and Liz Weir.

Lush is expected to make $1 billion in global sales by 2017.

So whether you would like to treat yourself to a long relaxing soak or just smell like a million bucks with Bitcoin, grab yourself one of the many awesome sounding bath bombs from: https://uk.lush.com/products/bath

German bank adopts blockchain technology for Africa project

German state-owned development bank KfW has for the first time confirmed its use of Blockchain technology to improve transparency across its budgetary funds.

The bank is a running a pilot project in the African region on behalf of the The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) who will utilise Blockchain technology for greater transparency and auditing purposes.

The use of blockchain technology will allow the provider to create a fully auditable paper trail showing detailed plans of the work carried out, procurement, contracts, tenders and releasing funds for the project.

At this stage it does not appear that the bank is utilizing any of the more prominent open-source Blockchain technologies such as Ethereum and according to the press release have instead partnered with TruBudget, an independent software house who have developed their own blockchain implementation.

At this stage we have been unable to verify TruBudget’s internally developed blockchain (which somewhat defeats the purpose of transparency and openness).

The project hopes that the new technology will benefit the common good with schools, hospitals and other organisations receiving allocated funds in a transparent auditable manner as opposed to current systems that can lead to misuse, misallocation and terrorist funding.

Ethereum bounces back

Despite reaching all time highs of around $400 in mid June, Ethereum has been slowly declining. It hits its lowest price of $130 last Sunday. The coin has seen a lot of volatility and panic although this now looks to be abating.

Its steady incline over the last 48 hour period looks promising as it hits $190 at the time of writing. This trend is expected to continue with the price breaching $200 by the end of the week.

ethereum price chart

There is no one reason for Ethereum’s recent decline but the biggest culprit seems to be the Bitcoin split. This has caused panic and uncertainty for many traders across all altcoins resulting in a sea of red.

Also the millions of ETH being raised and dumped for fiat through the recent ICO frenzy has also fueled investor uncertainty and driven down the price.

Even now the recent Tezo Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is worrying many traders with the fear that the project will dump the $200 million equivalent raised on the market in the very near future.

The market cap has dropped from $36 billion to $14 billion. That’s a $22 billion loss with a two-month period.

Top UK Judge wants to update the law to deal with blockchain and smart contracts

A top judge in the United Kingdom says that without a doubt there should be an update to the current legislation so that blockchain and smart contracts are included.

Crypto-currencies are on the rise in the online world and seeing this, many lawmakers including the judge have realised that there should be a law for them as current rules and regulations don’t cover the new technology.

The Lord Chief Justice for England and Wales, John Thomas is the highest senior judge in the UK who declared the importance of making such changes.

At the end of last month, the top judge spoke during an event that is held twice every year by the UK Law commission, which is the government’s authority in looking after different legal developments in the country.
John Thomas’s speech mentioned strict reforms regarding the digital currency especially in the light of events and their effect on the global economy. He further mentioned how imperative it is for the British Government to keep abreast of the digital economy. He also commented on the steps taken by the European Commission to be up to date with the digital currencies such as Bitcoin. He said that the European Commission’s efforts to progress itself towards a digital economy is something what the UK government should also aim for.

In his own words he said:

“Certainly, the European Commission takes the view that legislative change will be needed to deal with new forms of contract such as the block-chain and smart contracts. I have no doubt that we must consider whether our law (as it will then be) will need similar legislative updating.”

While this statement of his doesn’t show an active pursuit in digital currency reforms, it certainly is a way towards progress and a new way of carrying out transactions online to become normalised.

Why does crypto-currency matter?

Countries like the USA, Japan and some countries Europe are legalising smart contracts and crypto currencies. This however, has only happened in a few states such as Vermont, Arizona and Delaware. This indicated that block-chain based signatures getting accepted by many places and merchants are looking towards a more digitised form of currency as well, be it in Europe or in the Americas.

Although Judge Thomas isn’t actively pursuing this method of transaction, his approval and acceptance of such payment modalities signifies something like this in the near future, especially given his designation at such a high place.

ICO Ziber – What’s worth special attention?!

From a bunch of knowledge and information that we get every day, it is difficult to single out something useful. Why is this happening? Because the most of ICO conducted today is a pure fraudulence. And most investors understand it perfectly well. The investment approaches of Warren Buffett or Paul Graham don’t work here.

First of all, these gurus considered the profit that the business can give and tried to buy such a business at an easy rate. With ICO it’s useless to search for profit, in most cases it simply does not exist. This is not about a cheap price. Most of distributions are simply filled with investors’ money. Why are they doing that? Everyone is waiting for a sharp increase in the cost of tokens after posting on the exchanges. And, it is true that most investors are still right, which is almost impossible on the usual stock exchanges.

What is the problem? The problem is only one – another bubble inflates more and more. Everyone gets that it will burst, but no one knows when it will be. It can happen tomorrow, maybe in 3-4 years. Let’s see what happens at the time of this burst. Most companies that don’t really produce anything else and don’t generate additional profit can break up tens of times … more truly, the cost of tokes will be reduced.

Who will survive? Only those companies who bring real profit that you can feel your hands. Are there such companies and such ICO? Yes, there are. They are a few ones, but, in theory, “classical investors” should be on a manhunt for these companies. One of such companies is Ziber. The presentation will be held in a few days on July 15.

What does Ziber do? The project team combined the blockchain technology and IP telephony. If the technological problem is solved (the Ziber representatives stated it), the service will be a killer of Skype, Viber and hundreds of IP-telephony companies. The cost call will make up 0.5-2 cents, where for most countries it seems completely insignificant actual earnings. But it just so seems to you, if you don’t know real numbers. And the numbers tell the stories best. The market is approaching a turnover of $100 billion annually.

Once again! It’s about a new company that has made a technological breakthrough on the market with a turnover of $100 billion! Even if it gets net profit in the amount of $5 billion you will baulk at the idea of its future value on the basis of P/E within 2-3 years. Moreover, Ziber will generate real profit, but not virtual one.

By the way, let’s get back to Buffett, who also likes investing in the team. Ziber doesn’t have any problems with it! That only decision to distribute 10% of free tokens to all owners of Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets. A brilliant marketing trick that gives us a hope that will be ahead of the game.

Ziber ICO: https://ziber.io/#ico

Blockchain storage provider SIA scoops $400k grant

Nebulous the firm behind Sia has been awarded a $400,00 grant from China-based investment firm INBlockchain.

In a press release the company stated that the funds will be used to aid further development of the SIA platform, which has been rumoured to be struggling with funds over the last few months.

“We are thrilled to receive INBlockchain’s generous grant and look forward to continuing Sia development,” said David Vorick, cofounder and CEO of Nebulous.

“This grant means Sia does not need to focus on fundraising, and can focus entirely on delivering strong technology.”

Sia’s technology is based around decentralising file hosting through the company’s own Blockchain which manages smart-contracts for the renters looking to host files and the hosters who provide storage space at a flexible cost.

The company aims to be the backbone storage layer of the internet.

At the time of writing Siacoin is priced at $0.007479 with a 24 hour trading volume of $10,923,300, although the price is around 40% down over the last 7 days.

Thousands of Austrian post offices will soon sell Bitcoin

Nearly 2,000 post offices across Austria are planning to facilitate the easy purchase of Bitcoin and other digital currencies for customers.

The partnership between Austrian-based digital currency platform Bit Panda and the national post office Österreichische Post AG will bring cryptocurrencies to the masses, taking away the complex process of buying them.

Cash amounts of 50, 100 and 500 Euro can be exchanged for the required cryptocurrency at participating Post Offices, customers will then receive a digital code to access their wallet at Bit Panda.

Bitpanda is considered to be one of the largest Bitcoin platforms. It was founded in Vienna in 2014 and currently has over 300,000 users.

Bitpanda is hoping – also thanks to the post-cooperation – to grow to a transaction volume of 200 million euros.

“Digital currencies will become central points in our daily lives, but they are not in conflict with classical currencies,” says Bitpanda co-founder Eric Demuth in a press release.

Billions stolen from South Korean Bitcoin exchange

Bithumb, the fourth largest Bitcoin exchange in the world was recently hacked resulting in Billions of Won being stolen.

According to the Korean Internet & Security Agency (KISA), earlier this year personal computers owned by staff at the exchange were infiltrated by an unknown 3rd party. Personal information was exploited by the hackers to obtain access to more than 3,000 individual accounts. Servers located at Bithumb’s headquarters were not comprised.

“It is an accident caused by an external infringement on the personal computer of the employee who is not related to the server of the head office.” “Some users Personal information leaked, he explained. However, some customers were found to have been stolen because of the disposable password (OPT) used in electronic financial transactions.” said Dr. Bitsum

Bithumb is South Korea’s largest virtual currency exchange, with annual transactions worth hundreds of billions of won. The cumulative amount of Bitcoin traded at Bithumb last year reached over 2 trillion won.

Bithumb’s 24 hour trading volume on the 4th of July exceeded 100,000 Bitcoin.

https://www.bithumb.com/

On June 29th 2017 Bithumb was made aware of the hack and subsequently reported it to the authorities a day later. At the time of writing hundreds of Bithumb customers no longer have access to their funds and have filed a complaint with the National Police Agency’s cybercrime report center.

Bithumb have promised to compensate its users for loss of personal information amounting to $870 per user (despite losses exceeding this amount), although the company is still investigating and has also hinted at further damages being announced.

Once made aware of the issue the exchange acted quickly in reporting to three government and state agencies. It is still unclear how widespread the damage is.

Due to the laws surrounding Bitcoin and digital currencies in the country it is not yet known if Bithumb will be facing any criminal charges.

XBT Provider announces agreement with Bitcoin firm Xapo

XBT Provider AB has announced a custodial partnership with Xapo, a firm well know across the cryptocurrency industry revolutionising the possibility of spending cryptocurrency via traditional debit cards.

Bitcoin held in cold storage on behalf of investors in XBT Provider’s ETN will now be secured by Xapo.

XBT Provider has surpassed $100 million in assets under management.

“The team of professionals at XBT Provider has deep expertise in digital currency and extensive experience in financial services. We are excited to partner with them as they make bitcoin broadly available to investors outside of the U.S.,” said Wences Casares, CEO of Xapo.

XBT Provider recently announced their fund on the UK’s largest stock exchange Hargreaves Lansdown, giving investors the ability to purchase Bitcoin as an ETN.