What you’re about to read is wildly opinionated.
But hey, it’s Friday. And it’s time to get a MASSIVE market forecast in front of you. After all, I want YOU to be ahead of the big story before it shows up on the nightly news.
My publisher, Matt Insley — who rarely writes his own articles these days — felt that this story was too important not to be heard.
This is a story the mainstream media isn’t covering.
And millennials aren’t going to get the memo either, before it’s too late.
But, mark my words…

This is the death of Bitcoin…

The Coming Deathblow…For Bitcoin

Over last year we saw a random “pop culture”/news story hit the wire…
The world’s foremost TV/movie streaming company, Netflix, was hacked. And the trail of breadcrumbs leading away from the crime scene leads me to a shocking conclusion.
The hack was simple and deliberate. A hacker by the name of “thedarkoverlord” gained access to the upcoming season of a popular Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black.”
Long story short, the hacker stole TV content and threatened to give it away online before Netflix’s intended release date. Unless Netflix paid a “modest” ransom of around $50,000.
Another ho-hum hacking story, right? Not so fast. This is where the story takes a turn.
Any good movie-watcher knows that when a ransom is demanded, it’s not the money that matters… it’s the getaway.
After all, how are you supposed to ransom $1 Million (or in this case $50k) pick it up from a gas station trash can and actually GET AWAY with it?
Ah ha! That’s the hard part.
You see, the Netflix ransom was demanded in mysterious and untraceable Bitcoin.
And it’s becoming more common practice to demand ransom in Bitcoin, too. This from the NYT:
“Those threats have increased with the advent of ransomware, malicious software that encrypts victims’ data and prevents them from accessing it until they pay a ransom, often hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.”
If you don’t know the story about Bitcoin I’ll get you caught up.
With my opinion of course…
The “cryptocurrency” holds a lot of technology.  And to really understand it, you need to know about “blockchain.” (Keep up here. Times are changing and knowing about things like blockchain matter in today’s market, as you’ll see…)
Blockchain is a “distributed database” that continuously evolves. Think of it as a growing list of records that can’t be tampered with. Or for a real world example, pretend for a second that every single U.S. dollar bill in America was catalogued electronically in an online database by serial number. From the second it comes off the printing press the bill’s “history” is on record. Every transaction, continuously updated.
Importantly, blockchain doesn’t require anyone’s legal name or actual address, either – in that sense it’s anonymous.
Okay. So that’s what blockchain brings to the table… solid technology that can track transactions and keep tabs on digital currency.
And over the years the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has gone through the roof…

All said, Bitcoin is impressively-encrypted, money-transferring technology. From my perch, calling it a “currency” is a little generous.
Looking through the lens of a technology, that’s where things get interesting with this Netflix/Bitcoin story.
History shows that with great technology comes great responsibility.
The revolver and semi-automatic weapons…
Military weaponry…

Even the advent of the internet…
With each of these impressive technologies came a sinister downside…
Bitcoin is no different. If you look under the hood you’ll see that what really makes Bitcoin tick is less-talked-about, more sinister transaction record. Oh if that blockchain could talk!
Money laundering. Illegal transfers. Moving money outside of U.S. sanctions. Funding offshore accounts. Funding illegal online gambling… are just a few of the HUGE black-market forces that underpin bitcoin.
So, the Silicon Valley logic that bitcoin is free market technology and you can use it to protect against inflation… invest… pay friends… shop… etc… is NOT the whole picture. It’s also why I’m all puffed-up about Bitcoin.
And mark my words, coming soon the script on Bitcoin is going to flip…
Similar to the disruptive technologies I listed above, Bitcoin will undergo the standard lifecycle of development… and I believe that will include swift, sweeping government regulation. Similar to gun control, car insurance, cyber regulation and more…
However, unlike most of those other technologies, I don’t think Bitcoin will survive this deathblow of regulation.
Here’s an example of what I mean…
The Netflix example above was, for all intents and purposes, harmless. Yes, hacking and demanding a ransom is illegal. But, the large scale ramifications aren’t that big.
That’s all going to change when the bad guys up the game.
For instance, what if someone hacks a more important/vital piece of U.S. infrastructure? Instead of the latest season of “Orange Is The New Black”?
Or, worse…
What if American lives are at stake. What if ransoms for high-value kidnappings come tethered to one nasty little reoccurring detail… “pay us in Bitcoin.”
That’s when the encrypted emperor will be stripped naked. Bitcoin will bear the full brunt of a media and government onslaught. It won’t be pretty.
Mind you, this could happen overnight. Just like the Netflix news a few days ago.
All it takes is large-scale ransom disaster… and swift action by congress. And that $30B in crypto-cash market cap could be wiped out.
After all, we’ve seen this exact type of action before. Much like the sanctions against countries like Russia or Iran… or the financial regulation changes for say, online gambling.
You see, right now you can transfer money directly from U.S. bank accounts, through a third party, into Bitcoin.
But, like a sock puppet, the U.S. Government controls the banking system — as well as the credit system.
Add it all up and one single emotional, urgent, media-driven government regulation could destroy the financial transaction that funds cryptocurrency.
It’ll be the death blow to Bitcoin. And it’s not just me saying it either…
I just heard an interview from Agora Financial’s Chief Technology Officer, Ray Blanco, who shares my same concerns about Bitcoin:

“I look at bitcoin right now, I see huge risk. Blockchain advances all get figured out in the years ahead regardless. Bitcoin itself, it’s doomed. The end is near. Soon as Congress has a reason, they figure out how to shut it down. You mark my words. Too many banks have too much to lose. And if we know one thing, it’s that big banks and Congress are part of the same beast.”

Just wait until the next hack comes to light — and the victim is a bit more important than a Netflix series.
This is a story you won’t find in the mainstream. And if you or any loved ones are playing around with Bitcoin accounts, this is your fair warning. This Bitcoin disaster could happen overnight. Any day.
I bet it’s only a matter of time.

By Matt Insley, Daily Reckoning

Important Lessons Learned From Crypto’s Red Week

It’s been a rough ride recently for crypto traders. As of this morning, 49 out the largest 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap were in the red over the past 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com. The No. 1 crypto, bitcoin, has dropped over 60% since its meteoric rise to $19,343 in mid-December. As I write, the coin is sitting at $7,360. Fast action, speculation and the dream of striking it rich spurred the herd into a buying frenzy three months ago. But the hard reality of the volatile crypto market has turned many of those starry-eyed speculators into regretful ones. And now it seems that every other day a new headline sends the crypto market into more of a tizzy. U.S. Banks Clamp Down on Crypto Trading Last week the majority of U.S. banks announced plans to cut off services to companies and individuals who work with crypto. Details of each bank’s initiatives vary, but most announced plans to either shut down trader’s bank accounts, turn their off crypto-loaded debit cards, shut down merchant accounts or freeze associated assets. Whether this is the root cause of crypto’s current continued downtrend is yet to reveal itself, but there is something big going on that points to more than just a “normal” market correction. I reached out to Rich Jacobs, our newest resident crypto expert, to get his take. He told me this: “Most of us in the crypto world would love to see widespread adoption of bitcoin and other crypto tokens. For that to happen, attracting large sums of money from institutional investors is a must. Problem is the U.S. dollar, the euro and other fiat currencies have minimal volatility compared with crypto. They provide a safe harbor, or hedge, against massive fluctuations in the crypto market.” It’s an excellent point with regard to the current state of uncertainty. The value of any coin is ultimately based on its utility. Right now paper money is still more useful. Things are of course changing to the contrary, but the road forward is proving much rougher than expected right now. Which is why I want to reiterate what I believe is your much safer but potentially even more lucrative option for playing the crypto craze. The Blockchain Revolution Two weeks ago I attended the World Crypto Economic Forum in San Francisco in order to dig deeper into the current state of blockchain tech and what’s on the horizon: I can tell you, hands down, there are a ton of new ideas out there. The amount of startups with new applications for the blockchain technology is dizzying. Blockchain tech, as we’ve previously covered, is already being used to streamline financial operations with a potential impact that could save companies billions. But there are other applications too. Blockchain can be used in health care and education. And let’s not forget that once the major exchange markets begin utilizing this tech, the entire world of investing could turn on its ear. But a lesser-known application of blockchain tech is as a global property registry where you can buy and sell real estate anywhere in the world. For example, perhaps you want to become a real estate investor but you don’t want to be tied down to one piece of property. Blockchain could allow you to do what is called “fractional ownership.” You could own 10% of an apartment building in California and 5% of a duplex in Florida. This totally changes the game in terms of monetizing the real estate market. And blockchain tech ensures that all transactions are recorded, verified and processed faster than ever. There are billions of people in the world that could benefit from these types of applications because they would be able to extract real value from their real estate. Of course, this is just one of many ideas out there. But as more startups get ready to go public there will plenty of opportunities to capitalize on for big money.

Source: By technology profits

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