Bitcoin Rises Over $500 – Is it a valid asset?

Bitcoin has breached the $500 mark as the US Congress convenes its first hearing on “Virtual Currencies.”

 From Zero Hedge:

Finally, for those curious what a “fair value” on Bitcoin may be, here is what we presented [13]a week ago, courtesy of Global Macro Investor’s Raoul Pal:

So yes: Bitcoin is volatile. Very. That much is clear. But what is not so clear, and perhaps a key reason for this volatility, is just what the fundamental, or intrinsic value of BitCoins is when one strips away the pure euphoric momentum to the upside or downside.

To answer that question, we go to Raoul Pal, head of the Global Macro Investor, [14]and his November 1st recommendation to “Buy Bitcoins”(when BTC was $210 so nearly a 100% return in 1 week) which among other things attempts to “value BTC using a macro framework” or, in other words, the first supply-demand driven fair value assessment of BTC.

His take, and price target, in a nutshell:

A fudge, but not a stupid one

Let’s use a broad guesstimate. One Bitcoin should theoretically be worth 700 ounces of gold or pretty close to $1,000,000, if we adjust existing supply of both to equal eachother.

One BTC is currently worth 0.14 ounces of gold.

That gives BTC an upside of 5000 times to equal the current price of gold, supply adjusted. Clearly, I and everyone else believes that Gold may well be much higher than here in the next 5 to 10 years, thus versus the US Dollar the upside for BTC could be multiples of that.

Now, before you shake your head, simply go back to the chart of Gold versus the US Dollar and just recognise that it has risen 8750% since the 1920s. And just remember that Microsoft rose 61,000% from its IPO to it’s peak.

Considering what we know about the world, I personally believe that Bitcoin may well explode in value as more and more people begin to use it.

If you stuck $5,000 into Bitcoins and each Bitcoin did go up to a gold equivalent of let’s say, only 100 ounces of gold (not the potential fair value of 700), then at current prices your Bitcoin stash would be worth $3.3m.

Now that’s what I call a tail-risk option. It’s either worth zero or it’s worth a truly outstanding amount of money.

I bet you never thought you’d see this in a macro publication. But I’m serious. This just might work.

Bitcoin.pdf

The majority of new Bitcoin demand is coming from China, a region with it’s own problems of government surveillance and technical intervention.  Also in New York it is being considered to give businesses licenses to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment:

On Friday, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced it will be holding a public hearing on virtual currency regulation, specifically considering whether a certification called “BitLicense” might help manage the spread of online currencies like Bitcoin. The new license would require consumer protection services, as well as anti-money laundering requirements, designed to make the currency less useful in cases of fraud and criminal activity.

The announcement emphasized that no decision has been made on the license, but the idea has raised crucial questions among both Bitcoin fans and Bitcoin skeptics. Thus far, Bitcoin exchanges have mostly evaded the money transmission regulations that banks and other currency exchanges are required to uphold, and many worry that the introduction of those regulations might make the currency less appealing, causing its value to decline. But for regulators, it’s a necessary step towards bringing Bitcoin into the mainstream and avoiding large-scale fraud within the community, like the million-dollar TradeFortress heist that occurred earlier this month. As the Department of Finance put it, “it is in the long-term interest of the virtual currency industry to put in place appropriate guardrails that protect consumers, root out illegal activity, and safeguard our national security.”

It’s too early to tell how the hearings and further developments may play out, but the fact that Bitcoin has risen to all time highs before the hearings shows that traders (in this case users, not everyone buying Bitcoins is doing it as an investment) are voicing their opinion by buying.

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies flash-crashed Saturday night, one day after the US Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) sent subpoenas four cryptocurrency exchanges in an ongoing probe into bitcoin manipulation that began in late July - following the launch of bitcoin futures on the CME, according to the Wall Street Journal
CME’s bitcoin futures derive their final value from prices at four bitcoin exchangesBitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and KrakenManipulative trading in those markets could skew the price of bitcoin futures that the government directly regulates.
In delay reaction, Bitcoin fell as much as $433 or 5.6% in Saturday night trading, with some noting that the flash crash happened shortly after a 90th ranked crypto exchange, Coinrail, had suffered a "cyber intrusion", and was likely the more relevant catalyst for the crypto price drop.
While major Cryptocurrencies were down from 4.5 - 5.5%, Bitcoin Cash dropped over 8.4%. 
The CTFC subpoenas were issued after several of the exchanges refused to voluntarily share trading data with the CME after being asked last December. Of note, the CFTC regulates the CTC. 
According to the WSJ, the CME, which launched bitcoin futures in December, asked the four exchanges to share reams of trading data after its first contract settled in January, people familiar with the matter said. But several of the exchanges declined to comply, arguing the request was intrusive. The exchanges ultimately provided some data, but only after CME limited its request to a few hours of activity, instead of a full day, and restricted to a few market participants, the people added.
What is curious, is that if there was indeed manipulation since the launch of bitcoin futures, it was to the downside, as the price of cryptos peaked around the time the crypto futures were launched, and are down well over 50% in the 6 months since.
Coinbase in particular has been under the watch government regulators. On February 23, Coinbase sent an official notice to around 13,000 customers to notify them they were legally required to turn over their information to the IRS
The IRS had initially asked Coinbase in July 2017 to hand over even more detailed information on every one of its then over 500,000 users in an attempt catch those cheating on their taxes. However, another court order in Nov. 2017 reduced this number to around 14,000 “high-transacting” users, which the platform now reports as 13,000, in what Coinbase calls a “partial, but still significant, victory for Coinbase and its customers.”
Coinbase told the around 13,000 affected customers that the company would be providing their taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records from 2013-2015 to the IRS within 21 days. Coinbase’s letter to these customers encourages them “to seek legal advice from an attorney promptly” if they have any questions. Their website also states that concerns may also be addressed on Coinbase’s Taxes FAQ. The ongoing legal battle between Coinbase and the US government dates back to November, 2016, when the IRS filed a “John Doe summons” in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
On Feb. 13, personal finance service Credit Karma released data showing that only 0.04 percent of their customers had reported cryptocurrencies on their federal tax returns. 
And in April, former New York Attorney General, Eric "we could rarely have sex without him beating me" Schneiderman, launched a probe of 13 major cryptocurrency exchanges according to the Wall Street Journal - claiming that investors dealing in the fast-growing markets often don’t have the basic facts needed to protect themselves.
Former AG Schneiderman’s office said the program, called Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative,  is part of its responsibility to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial markets, and its goal is to ensure that investors can have a better understanding of the risks and protections afforded them on these sites.
CFTC Commissioner: Crypto is a "modern miracle"
While the CFTC, IRS and New York Attorney General's office are all cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges, it seems to all be part of the government's embrace of virtual currencies.  Last week CFTC Commissioner Rostin Benham called cryptocurrencies a "modern miracleat the Blockchain For Impact Summit held at the UN in New York last week. 
But virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere.  Let me repeat that:  these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet.  Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival.  And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations.
We are witnessing a technological revolution.  Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle. -Rostin Benham
Rostin hinted at the upcoming legal action against the exchanges during his speech:
Under the CEA and Commission regulations and related guidance, exchanges have the responsibility to ensure that their Bitcoin futures products and their cash-settlement process are not readily susceptible to manipulation and the entity has sufficient capital to protect itself.  The CFTC has the authority to ensure compliance. In addition, the CFTC has legal authority over virtual currency derivatives in support of anti-fraud and manipulation including enforcement authority in the underlying markets.

Meanwhile, the official Bitcoin website removed references to Coinbase, Blockchain.com and Bitpay, according to Crypto News - only one of which, Coinbase, was subpoenaed. 
http://Bitcoin.org  just removed/censored the 2 largest US Bitcoin companies (@BitPay Payment processing and @coinbase Bitcoin Exchange). It’s a good move: Bitcoin Core is obviously no longer Bitcoin, and should ideally be removed from both @BitPay and @coinbase too.

The CFTC officially recognized bitcoin as a commodity in September of 2015 when it went after Coinflip for operating a platform for trading bitcoin options without the proper authorization. Since the agency effectively asserted its dominance over the bitcoin market with that decision, this is the first time it has given its blessing to an bitcoin options trading platform. Expect a burst of institutional trading activity to follow - especially since they approved institutional options trading in July
This post sponsored by Total Cryptos @ www.totalcryptos.com  

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