Bitcoin for Beginners: Three Things to Know Before You Buy

Bitcoin, blockchain technology, and digital currencies as a whole have made such a big splash in the news cycles over the past couple of years, and for newcomers in the space, it can be overwhelming to gain a proper sense of footing. That’s why I wanted to provide three important takeaways for prospective consumers to know before deciding to invest in this rapidly evolving space.

Digital Currencies are Built on Decentralized Technology

Following the financial crisis of 2008, people lost trust in the centralized banking system and began to demand a new currency that was not controlled by a central authority. Shortly thereafter, Bitcoin was born. Capped at a maximum of 21 million coins, Bitcoin’s limited supply means that it is not subject to the same inflation or manipulation that face government-issued currencies.

Furthermore, unlike traditional financial transactions which are verified by a third party, such as a bank, bitcoin transactions are built on blockchain technology, a decentralized database run by a global network of computers that contains a public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Each connected network receives a copy of the blockchain, and transactions are verified by the community as a whole and not a centralized authority.

In an age where data security and privacy is more important than ever, many businesses and tech companies have developed an interest in implementing decentralized technology, including Facebook. “Many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it. There are important counter-trends to this — like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year.

Not all crypto investments are stored the same way

If you decide to buy bitcoin or other digital currencies, there are several different ways in which your investment can be stored.

  1. Online. Often referred to as a “hot wallet”, bitcoin wallets that are kept online and connected to the internet. If you store money with Coinbase, that is an example of a hot wallet. Since they are connected to the internet, hot wallets are more vulnerable to hackings, but on the upside, they are very accessible if you want to buy or sell a small amount of a particular digital currency.
  2. Hardware wallets. Often referred to as offline cold-storage wallets, many cryptocurrency companies store investments in hardware wallets, which can include physical thumb drives such as Trezor and Ledger. While these are less vulnerable to hackings than hot wallets, physical crypto wallets are fragile and at risk of being damaged, lost, or stolen.
  3. BitGo Offline, Digital Cold-Storage Wallets. BitcoinIRA.com has an exclusive relationship with BitGo, the leader in multi-signature encryption and digital security for offline, digital, cold-storage wallets. Security keys are kept with BitGo, BitcoinIRA.com’s custodian Kingdom Trust, as well as with a backup key provider for premium security.

Suggested Articles


It can be volatile

Bitcoin is frequently compared with gold: both are decentralized, alternative assets that are removed from government and stock market fluctuations. But unlike gold, which has maintained a relatively consistent price trajectory in recent years, Bitcoin has been rather volatile. However, in my opinion, this is normal for an emerging technology: gold has been around for thousands of years, while Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole have only been around since 2009.

Furthermore, 2018 has been a year of major regulation for space, which has also been a strong factor in current volatility. “I think institutional investors have gained a lot of interest, and they haven’t really come into crypto yet because there is still some regulatory uncertainty,” said Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder and bitcoin bull Tom Lee.

However, with much more acceptance from mainstream financial institutions in recent months, as well as increasing clarity from regulators, Lee still believes it is “completely reasonable” that Bitcoin will climb up to  $25,000 by the end of 2018.

Cryptocurrency may be a complex space, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. I hope that these three main points help clarify questions that crypto beginners may have as well as affirm all of the exciting developments and advancements that are happening in the field.

This article was written By Chris Kline, Co-founder, and COO at Bitcoin IRA

Nebula-AI (NBAI): The convergence of AI and Blockchain

The blockchain space is full of projects without a clear use case and clear value, but, as we’ll see, there are also projects which are quite the opposite. Nebula-AI (NBAI) is creating a decentralized AI computing platform which will make AI DAPPS (which they call DAI Apps) a reality. The first product and demo that they released is Quant-AI: A cutting-edge trading price prediction tool. In this article, we’ll dive into the specifics of this project and take a look at Quant AI and the broader concept of DAI Apps.

Thanks to the use of GPUs and parallel computing for algorithms like machine learning (ML) AI has finally become widely viable. This created a huge industry which infiltrated into our daily lives. Every time you are talking to your virtual personal assistant (Alexa, Siri or Google assistant) or Facebook suggests you which friends to tag in your photos, AI is working behind the scenes.

AI is more than one of the many buzzwords we hear in the tech world. AI is often proposed as some sort of panacea for all sort of problems, which it is not. Still, its potential is so great that the estimated value for the AI market worldwide in 2018 is over $7 billion, in 2020 it is expected to grow to $17 B and in 2025 it is estimated to hit $90 B.

This technology is already overwhelmingly used in many industries. In medicine it is used to predict heart attacks or diagnose mental health problems from speech patterns (and AI actually seems to manage both those things better than human experts), in finance it is used for quantitative financial analysis and price prediction (an example of this is Quant AI itself) and the list could go on. AI is not only Alexa and Google Assistant, it is going to be a really important part of our modern lives way sooner than most expect.

Current issues of the AI industry

There are some big issues with how AI services work nowadays which Nebula-AI is trying to solve. Before explaining how those are being addressed let’s take a look at what are the problems that the AI space is currently struggling with.

Centralization and control

Since the infrastructure, which provides the service is completely centralized, it is also completely dependent upon the hosting company. Cloud providers such as Google or Amazon could decide to cease offering their services at any given moment. That means there is no guarantee that the service that you are using will exist in the future. This could jeopardize your business processes.

Data privacy

Since AI development is linked to cloud services the data is completely centralized. Giving too much of your data to one single company can lead to great problems when this data is exploited. This topic has been brought into mainstream discussion lately after Cambridge Analytica has used the data it obtained from Facebook to influence the outcome of the US elections. This incident gives great insight into how broad the consequences of Big Data misuse can be.

Lack of talent and a high barrier to entry

This technology is demonstrating its ever-growing potential and its development is actually rapid, but it could be exponential. Two major issues are slowing down the development of this space: the lack of AI talent and the high cost of AI development.

The lack of talent in this space means that the top talent is reportedly paid up to 1.9 million dollars. No startup can afford to pay that much. This means that only big, established and well-funded companies can afford to recruit good AI researchers which limits not only the speed of development but also the democratization of this technology. And that, given the great potential of AI is a serious issue in and of itself.

AI deployment is very expensive, in part because of the need for great amounts of computing power needed. The maintenance of large data centers is pretty costly. A high cost creates a high barrier to entry for startups, researchers, and developers that are trying to get started in this space.

How Nebula AI addresses the problems of the AI industry

Democratizing AI computing and storage

NBAI lets people pay for distributed computing power on shared machines with their tokens. This solves a number of issues. The most apparent among those is the efficiency since in this system no idle resources are being paid for. That’s in part obtained by sharing the resources with other users. But that’s not the only advantage of decentralization.

Decentralized encrypted data storage

With NBAI no central organization has access to all your data. That is obtained by the combined usage of IPFS, multiple private keys for access control and data verification which makes sure the data cannot be tampered with. This way you can be sure that your data won’t be misused or even accessed by who shouldn’t have access to it.

AI engineer training center in Montreal

NBAI has established an AI training center in Montreal where people with a background in mathematics or programming can learn fundamentals about artificial neural networks and how they’re being used for machine learning, as applied to speech and object recognition, image segmentation, modeling language etc.

A blockchain for AI computing

Most of us already do know that blockchain mining consumes lots of electricity and computing power. Actually, Bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than Ireland and it has been predicted that this blockchain mining will account for 0.5% of worldwide electricity use by the end of 2018. What many people don’t know is that this computing power is used only for the purpose of securing the blockchain.

That is a really huge amount of computing power that could be put to better use. That being said, the inefficiency of Proof-of-Work based blockchains is beyond the scope of this article. What I wish to point out is that such blockchains create a distributed computing network which is already really efficient at what it is doing. Sure, there are ways to operate a blockchain with way less computing power using other consensus algorithms. Still, the amount of computing power obtained by those networks is quite remarkable.

That’s the case because miners themselves profit more if their nodes are efficient. What NBAI envisions is that such miners could actually perform AI calculations instead simple hash calculations in order to obtain tokens.

Another big advantage of this approach is that many GPU mining machines can be converted to NBAI AI computing machines. This can potentially accelerate the network growth because many miners hold potential future nodes of the network. Still, since building decentralized networks takes time, NBAI has deals in place with large-scale third-party data centers in Quebec. This will ensure the system will be operational immediately when launched.

NBAI system architecture

Helix (Until 2018 Q3)

The first Ethereum independent blockchain (and phase) of the NBAI project is called Helix. Proof-of-Work (Ethash algorithm) will be used to secure this blockchain. Using an independent chain has many advantages. For the most part, with its own chain, the project will suffer from fewer traffic delays and some fundamental underlying proprieties of the blockchain can be tailored specifically for the very peculiar needs of such a system.

That means that the Gas (transaction) cost will be different in order to motivate miners to get profit through AI calculations instead of traditional Proof-of-Work mining. The way that it will work for nodes is that they can obtain tasks from the task pool by smart contracts. Then, after they performed the task, they submit the result and receive the token rewards. Another fundamental propriety which will be altered is the mining difficulty. This will be done in order to increase the speed of generating blocks and adjust the token production.

Still, PoW is really inefficient and has a limited scalability. Also, nobody ever solved Proof-of-Work’s 51% attack vulnerability. Those are probably the main reasons why this consensus algorithm is only used in the first phase of the project.

Orion (2019 Q1 onwards)

A fundamental property of distributed computing is that the closer the distance between nodes, the lower the cost of communication and the higher the computational efficiency. This propriety is the basis for the new consensus algorithm which is being developed by NBAI: Proof-of-Group (PoG). In PoG consensus systems and token incentives are used to ensure both efficiency and security.

In the PoG system, there are two different kinds of nodes: work nodes and ledgers. The role of a work node is to compute artificial intelligence tasks. The ledger, in addition to normal calculation, can also be responsible for allocating subtasks to all work nodes in the area (called a virtual working group). The task results are then written onto IPFS. After that is done the completed contract is verified by the ledger.

Self-organized efficient network architecture

In order to ensure an efficient communication between nodes of the virtual working groups an algorithm which creates a self-organized network topography which is efficient has been developed. Here is how it works.

When a new work node joins the system, it searches for nearby nodes. If it finds nodes with fast response time it joins them and becomes one of the worker nodes of the virtual working group. If the node doesn’t find any nodes with an acceptable response time it elects itself as a ledger. Nearby nodes will have a faster response time and will work together under a single ledger that coordinates them. Such a system ensures the highest possible network efficiency and generates an efficient network design.

No 51% attack vulnerability

The working groups compose a ledger network which uses the Byzantine consensus system for the joint ledger. This solution ensures complete safety against 51% attacks (which PoW doesn’t) and higher efficiency. Such attacks recently had some pretty bad effects on some cryptocurrencies. The most notable example is Bitcoin Gold (BCG).

Nebula AI use cases

There are a lot of potential applications for a more efficient and privacy-conscious AI computing service. Some possible applications are biomedical imaging, protein structure calculation (a generating task), computational marketing and various kinds of analysis of big data like social media feeds.

What’s more, this project offers more than just potential to speculate about. The team has developed some functional demos which run on their testnet that can actually show us some examples of what the system is capable of. Those are the aforementioned Quant AI and the Sentiment Analysis DAI Apps.

Demos offered by Nebula AI

Quant AI

One demo that the NBAI team has developed to demonstrate the potential of the system that they are creating is called Quant AI. Quant AI is a DAI App on the NBAI testnet which predicts the Ethereum trading price. This tool analyzes time series and trains deep learning models based on AI algorithm to forecast real-time trends and implement automatic trading of cryptocurrencies.

Advanced AI trading price prediction is something that has been accessible only to few people so far and now thanks to this initiative will become widely available and will be developed further. That’s the potential of blockchain democratization applied to AI.

Sentiment Analysis

The sentiment analysis DAI App is a natural language processing DAI App developed by NBAI. This tool helps users classify the polarity of a given text and extract the attitude of the writer. It is currently used as a price prediction model for trading, evaluation of consumer inclination, online conversations positioning and content inclinations.

Social media are gold mines of public opinion on any given topics. Such data can be monetized in various ways amongst which predicting market movements is the most obvious one. An example of how this tool can be used is given by this sentiment analysis of the subreddits of the main cryptocurrencies (the example given has actually been obtained using a less accurate algorithm which isn’t based on an artificial neural network).

Analysis

This is one of the projects that look promising from the get-go but only get better as you continue getting to know them more. AI is a huge industry which is currently booming and is still so new that has a lot of space for improvement and suffers from various issues. NBAI sure won’t solve all the problems that this space is facing right now but it is actually addressing some of them.

Speculative value

From a speculative point of view, their token is just as promising as their project in general. Computing power is constantly getting cheaper (both from a hardware cost and electricity consumption standpoint) so the amount of work that you will be able to get done with the same number of tokens is going to grow over time. At the same time, also the number of users willing to pay for such a service is probably going to grow drastically. That is also confirmed by the AI service market value estimates.

More AI applications are going to be developed over time and more AI applications become possible as the amount of processing power available increases. It is hard to imagine how the NBAI token could become worthless. Sure, there is always the possibility that the whole system fails for some reason but the presence of actually functional product demos on the testnet makes it appear way less likely for this project than for most other ICOs. The ICO concluded on 20th April with $5,874,054 gathered.

No investment is 100% safe

Still, this system is under development and a lot of things can go wrong (Cryptocurrency and ICOs are always really speculative and risky investments. The NBAI whitepaper actually explains it pretty well at the very beginning in the “Risk statement” section.

One thing worth pointing out is that the very presence of such a detailed risk statement is a big plus since it demonstrates responsibility on the team’s part. You should never trust a project that claims your investment will be 100% safe and guarantees returns. That being said, the risk statement still says the truth and you should only invest what you can afford to lose.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are some other projects that bring AI to the blockchain. Sure, every one of them has its own strengths and weaknesses but there definitely is some overlap. So, to put it shortly there are two main things that can go wrong with this project:

  1. The system could fail or an unsurmountable issue could stop the development.
  2. Too much of the market could be lost to the competitors or could not be “taken” from the centralized counterparts.

Study Proves That Bitcoin Prices Are Highly Influenced By Social Media’s “Silent Majority”

The researchers claim that positive comments about the cryptocurrency by users on social media platforms are likely to increase the upside potential of the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is arguably the most popular and most controversial cryptocurrency in the market and this has a lot to do with it being the first digital coin to be launched. Its performance has attracted world recognition. For example, it was valued at around $500 in 2014 and it managed to surge above $19,000 before losing its gains and is now valued at around $6,200.

The team of researchers involved in the study at the Stevens Institute of Technology discovered that the value of Bitcoin can be manipulated easily through public sentiments especially through social media. However, according to the research findings, it is the silent majority that has a bigger impact on the price of Bitcoin and not the vocal minority.

The team of researcher involved in the study was led by Professor Feng Mai. The professor and his team were determined to prove his theory that periods characterized by a lot of positive sentiments had an influence on the surging Bitcoin prices.

The comments and tweets posted by highly active users on social media platforms do not have much of an impact on the price of Bitcoin. However, comments by the silent majority usually cause a significant impact on price movement for the cryptocurrency. The researchers compiled and evaluated data collected over a span of two years from Bitcointalk, the most popular Bitcoin forum in the world.

How the researchers came to the conclusion?

The collected comments were grouped into positive, negative and other categories based on sentiments through natural language techniques. The researchers also collected Twitter data spanning months. This includes more than 3.4 million tweets about Bitcoin. The changes to the price of Bitcoin were also compared to the type of conversations happening around the time of the changes. The team of researchers involved in the study also discovered that the price of Bitcoin can also affect the type of conversations taking place on social media platforms especially the talk by those who frequently post content related to Bitcoin.

“Vocal users of social media may sometimes have a certain agenda, in this case hyping or boosting the price of Bitcoin because they themselves have invested in it,” stated Professor Mai.

The professor further pointed out that most of the comments relating to Bitcoin on social media are biased because they were posted by people who have invested in the cryptocurrency. This means that they do not reflect the actual value of the cryptocurrency. The researchers concluded from the study that the silent majority are the real influencers. This is the first research study proving the link between social media and the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Social media thus plays a significant role in the price of digital coins.

Top Three Trends in Crypto to Watch Right Now

By now, just about everyone has heard of cryptocurrency. The global crypto industry is evolving at a rapid pace and trends are changing constantly. As the co-founder and COO of BitcoinIRA.com, the world’s largest and most secure cryptocurrency IRA platform, I am acutely aware of how quickly space is changing. From changes in regulation to widespread adoption of blockchain technology, here we will explore the top three crypto trends to watch right now.

  1. The regulatory and decentralized technology sectors are working together

2018 has been a year of regulatory measures for the cryptocurrency space. In March, the SEC released a statement requiring all crypto trading platforms to register with the SEC as securities in order to continue operating. Also this year, Facebook, Twitter, and Google all placed bans crypto advertising.

Many crypto enthusiasts, who flocked to this formerly unregulated sector because of its decentralization and anonymity, initially feared that the increase in regulatory measures would infringe upon all they valued about crypto in the first place. But with time, it is becoming clearer that this is not the case: in fact, the regulators and innovators in the decentralized technology space are in fact working together.

In February of this year, Chairman of the CFTC J. Christopher Giancarlo set the precedent for a cooperative relationship between the two sectors when he advocated for a “do no harm” approach to regulating cryptocurrency. “I believe that ‘do no harm’ is the right overarching approach for distributed ledger technology… With the proper balance of sound policy, 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 may have seemed idealistic at the time, the government’s regard for decentralized, distributed technology has actually stayed relatively consistent over the last several months. Just last week, William Hinman, the director of the division of finance for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) publicly declared that Ethereum is not a security. This came on the heels of a similar statement that SEC chair Jay Clayton made in April. “Based on my understanding of the present state of ether, the Ethereum network, and its decentralized structure, current offers and 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, Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of major Ethereum application company ConsenSys, expressed gratitude for the SEC’s decision. “Ether and other next-generation consumer utility tokens will continue evolving the web towards networks that are more fair, secure, and evenly distributed. ConsenSys looks forward to continuing to engage with regulators around the globe to promote responsible adoption of this transformative technology” Lubin said, demonstrating the decentralized sector’s commitment to cooperation and transparency.

In my opinion, these announcements clear up some of the “regulatory uncertainty” that Tom Lee thought to be contributing to price stagnation in the crypto space and are a big win for the crypto industry as a whole.

  1. ICOs have taken a hit.

According to ICOData.io, ICO funding decreased from roughly $1.48 billion in January to around $288 million so far in June. June isn’t over yet, but that is a huge decline and cannot be ignored.

The SEC still considers most tokens purchased through ICOs to be securities, and that looming threat of regulation has likely discouraged some investors from participating in funding rounds.

Additionally, the SEC has cracked down on fraudulent ICOs in recent months, even going as far as launching its own illegitimate ICO as a warning to potential investors. Moreover, The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation into ICOs and discovered that investors sank more than $1 billion into 271 ICOs that had clear red flags. All of these factors have likely played a role in the decrease in ICO funding across the industry. It is possible things will pick back up once the dust settles, but for now, launching and promoting a successful ICO is going to be an uphill battle.


Suggested Articles


  1. Blockchain technology is on the rise.

There’s a misconception among those that are new to crypto that blockchain technology is only used for decentralized digital payment transactions, and that’s just not true. Blockchain technology can be leveraged for a variety of purposes, tracking transactions of all kinds, and it is soaring in popularity. The size of the global blockchain market is projected to reach $2.3 billion by 2021 and some of the world’s most prominent companies are already leveraging the emerging tech. One particularly exciting example is IBM Blockchain, a platform that enables companies from a wide range of industries – from retail to insurance – to reap the efficiency and transparency benefits that blockchain offers. And just yesterday, retail giant Walmart was awarded three blockchain-related patents. The first is for a medical records system that would enable patient data to be stored in a distributed ledger. The second is for a blockchain-based energy network, and the third is to allow consumers to securely control or limit access to a real or virtual space by leveraging cryptographic keys stored on a blockchain. So why does this matter for crypto? Because blockchain and crypto go hand-in-hand, so increased adoption of blockchain is inherently good for crypto.

These three trends will likely continue impacting the crypto industry in the coming weeks and months, but as with anything in crypto, there’s no telling what will happen next. The only thing we know for certain is that you can’t be certain of anything – and to me, that makes coming to work each day extremely exciting.

This article was written By Chris Kline, Co-founder, and COO at Bitcoin IRA

Interview with Ke Xu, CEO & Founder of ONO

  • How was the idea of ONO born?

I think to a large degree, ONO is the culmination of my career, which began with Bitcoin, and was furthered by social networking. I started out with cryptocurrency during my university days, back in 2013, when I had purchased mining rigs with a friend and began mining Bitcoin. We’d amassed as many as 20,000 BTC, which at the time was a small fortune, and had ended up selling it off as the value of BTC rose. Back then BTC was valued between $600 to $700 USD, and we figured it might peak, then again, hindsight is 20/20. That experience first gave me the taste of not just cryptocurrency itself, but also the blockchain technology that Satoshi had first introduced through Bitcoin. Ultimately it was the technology that I’d seen the potential in, and would later become a core part of how we’ve developed ONO.

After graduating from university, I launched a social network called ERA, which introduced the idea of rewarding the community members based on the user’s contributions, skills, and social clout. It was an early example of a novel concept that of rewarding content creators, amid major social networks that were entirely focused on monetizing its user’s data. The ERA was a novel concept at the time and attracted 10 million users before we’d sold it to Cheetah Mobile.

Following the acquisition, I started Nome Tech, which gave me the chance to return to my blockchain and cryptocurrency roots. We began developing blockchain apps, and our first hit was CryptoDogs – the Chinese equivalent of CryptoKitties.

But it was from here I realized, with the way social networks were becoming bigger than themselves, and the power of these social networks were centralized in the hands of their creators, the easy route toward monetization was by taking advantage of user data, while acting as a publisher while offering the original content creators little-to-nothing in return. So this is where I saw an opportunity to radically change how social networking was governed, and thus ONO was born.

  • Can you explain your product to people?

ONO is the first global decentralized social network. From its interface, ONO offers similar services that you’d find on average social networks. Core features include messaging, in-app games, and public posts – similar to what you might find on social networks like Twitter or Facebook.

But its underlying governance and reward system sets ONO apart.

Ultimately, in the nature of decentralization, ONO is governed by its users, who can vote through a referendum (a feature within the app itself) to dictate future features, how illicit content is managed, and more. At the same time, we reward users that share high-quality content with ONOTs, which is our virtual currency and can be used to buy and sell virtual goods within the platform.

  • As the company had successfully fundraised through a presale, what has already been done and what are you going to create from the money collected through the ICO?

We recently announced $16 Million in Series A funding from leading traditional and blockchain VCs including INBlockchain, China Growth Capital, Purple Cow Fund, Green Pine Capital Partners, Korea Investment Partners and Grand Shores. However, we didn’t initially go the ICO route, although these days it seems to be the easy way out, but for a few good reasons.

The future of our social network and community lies in a community that believes in our vision, which is to build a decentralized social network. However because the power of influencing the future of ONO lies ultimately in the hands of its elected Super Partners, and these Super Partners are elected by community members who vote using ONOTs, we didn’t want to give speculative crypto owners the opportunity to manipulate the economy, and instead initially opted to raise our funding from traditional VCs.

However, more recently we had discovered an aggressive black market of speculators selling ONOTs solely for its cryptocurrency value, so we’re planning on combating this by offering a pre-sale of our ONOT token, which we anticipate will restore balance to our community.

  • How does ONO differ from similar services? How can your innovative service change social networking, particularly in China?

Unlike any social network available today, ONO’s governance is centered around a group of 51 individuals, we refer to as Super Partners, who are elected through community votes. These people are what you could consider as power users who would collectively decide on new features, how illicit content within the social network is managed, and more.

At the same time, with our vision to build a community based on a reward system that incentives quality content, ONO rewards users that consistently share high performing content on their channels with ONOTs.

  • ONO will launch its service through the EOS platform; how significant is that for your investors?

While we’re in the running for EOS, and we’re excited for the possibilities that EOS offers to its partners, we’ve ultimately decided to establish our own Mainnet using the EOS.io open source software.

  • How can anyone join ONO?

Currently ONO has 280,000 users, but in the vein of ensuring that our initial early adopters are a group that would build an engaging community, in fact, our app is only available as an invite-only beta, which you can apply to join through our website, ono.chat.


Suggested Articles


  • Why did you need a Token Sale?

Our token, the ONOT, was being sold on the black market by speculators, and as a measure to combat and curb any opportunities for individuals to game the system, we will be offering a token sale to users.

  • What are your plans for the future?

We’re excited to see the rapid adoption of ONO, even among beta users, and we’re planning for the upcoming launch of the international version of ONO in the coming month. At the same time, with international investors, and users, we’re looking to expand the team to further build out a global ONO ecosystem.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) In Trouble For Sharing Data With Chinese Company

The social media giant has data partnerships with four electronic manufacturers from China including Huawei which has been flagged as a security threat by U.S Intelligence officials. Huawei is believed to have a close relationship with the Chinese government which is why it is seen as a national security threat by U.S officials who have been worried about Huawei devices being used to spy on American secrets.

Facebook entered into the data sharing partnerships as early as 2010 and the other Chinese companies involved are TCL, Oppo and Lenovo. The partnerships are still ongoing despite the concerns expressed by security officials in the U.S but Facebook reported in a recent interview that it will terminate its deal with Huawei.

Facebook also provides data access to other companies including Samsung Electronics, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) among others. Most of the companies are smartphone manufacturers while others such as Amazon collect data to improve their digital and online services.

Such deals allowed Facebook to secure an early lead in the mobile market as early as 2007 even before mobile phone apps became popular. However, things really took off well when the onset of smartphones Facebook officials revealed that the deals with Chinese manufacturers granted provided it with access that is similar to what Blackberry had been offering. This means the company could collect detailed information on user devices and also on all their friends. The information collected includes relationship status, education history, work and interests.

The social media giant also told U.S intelligent officials that the data it provided to Huawei was stored on phones and not on its servers. According to Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner, this is not the first time that there has been concerns about Huawei. He stated that there was a previous report by the House Intelligence Committee in 2012 regarding the close relationship between electronic manufacturers such as Huawei and China’s Communist Party.

Huawei reportedly received millions of dollars in funding from China’s policy banks in order for it to expand its business across Africa, Europe, and South America. Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei also happens to be a former engineer for the People’s Liberation Army.

Warner stated that he was eager to know more about how Facebook made sure that user information was not sent to Chinese servers. Facebook vice president Francisco Varela defended the company stating that all of the integrations between Facebook and the four Chinese companies were controlled from the beginning and that the company made sure that it approved everything that was constructed.

The recent concerns about how Facebook has been handling data come just a few weeks after its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by government officials about the firm’s involvement with Russians who are believed to have meddled with the U.S Presidential elections. However, the company managed to get out of that situation although Zuckerberg had to answer a lot of questions.

Google Has Offered work to Ethereum’s Founder, Vitalik Buterin

An interesting offer

The offer is even more interesting than it appears at first glance. Before explaining the basis of this statement, however, it is better to review the information that is publicly available.

vitalik butterin google

In its original tweet, Vitalik did not hide the recruiter’s name, email address or profile image. It was a short e-mail, and a part of it was cropped out of the screenshot he posted. The translated text is: “I hope you’re fine and enjoying the weekend” and in the line below “Google makes sense for you now or in the near future”.  The tweet was then deleted, perhaps because of concerns about the privacy of the recruiter due to the uncensored screenshot.

That being said, only 41% of the survey respondents were in favor of the proposal received from Buterin. I, personally, would be very surprised if this offer was accepted. In particular, because Ethereum is developing rapidly and dynamically and remains among the most promising cryptocurrencies (according to many the most promising) and therefore offers great opportunities to its founder. However, if this proposal were to be accepted, the consequences on the price of ETH would surely not be slight ones. This is because Vitalik is a kind of frontman to the Ethereum project, a guide for the entire community.

Analysis

Recently, however, Google has not shown a positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies and ICOs. In particular, it decided to prevent access to advertisements on its AdWords platform. During the same month, however, news emerged that Google is working on its own blockchain. Its goal is to provide cloud and transactional services.

The blockchain is well suited to improve the security of existing solutions offered such as Google Drive. It would, therefore, make sense to expect the founder of Ethereum to be responsible for the development of such a project. In addition, Google has invested in several other blockchain-based solutions, such as Ripple, LedgerX or Veem. In short, Google has shown great interest in the sector and not without good reason.

Google, in fact, like Facebook (which has created its own team dedicated to the development blockchain, not to mention the fact that they are already the first rumors about a facecoin) is a company that has the ability to make a mainstream cryptocurrency. Actually, thanks to its undoubted influence on the smartphone market, Google could be even more advantaged than Facebook is. In fact, this company has a number of unique possibilities offered by controlling an entire ecosystem of operating systems and services in which it could integrate its blockchain.

Google’s advantages

In fact, Google could not only integrate blockchain authentication within its services or use it for the storage of the most sensitive data (which would be a very advantageous step given the recent scandals regarding Facebook). It would also be possible to integrate a wallet directly into the Android operating system, theoretically also a full node or even formulate specific hardware requirements to ensure efficiency and security. Thus, making all future Android smartphones something similar to what is being designed by Huawei, Sirin Labs or HTC. Such a scenario would make mass adoption much faster

Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL): Rising Costs Overshadows Ad Revenue Growth Triggering Sell-off

Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares tumbled despite the search giant reporting first-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates. Concerns about rising costs and contracting margins is the latest headwind that appears to have triggered sell-off of the stock.

Google Q1 Results

The tech giant posted a 26% increase in Q1 revenue that came in at $31.1 billion. Operating income was up 22% coming in at $7 billion. Earnings per share surged to $9.39 a share, against consensus estimates of $9.28 a share.

Advertising business accounted for a huge chunk of the search giant revenue, on increasing 20% year-over-year to $26.64 billion. Growth in ad sales suggests privacy concerns which have become rampant in the wake of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) scandal have not yet had any impact on the tech giant business.

Growth in advertising revenue according to the company underscores the fact that mobile search and programmatic advertising are growing. Sales from the cloud business was nearly $4.3 billion an increase from $3.2 billion reported a year earlier.

Despite the high growth in revenue, a surge in operating expenses continues to raise serious concerns among investors. Long-term capital expenditure in the quarter nearly tripled to $7.3 billion from $2.5 billion a year earlier. In its defense, the company attributed the surge to an increase in cost for acquiring streaming rights for YouTube’s new TV service and marketing of new products.

During the quarter, the company also increased expenditure on major projects such as real estate properties and computers. About $2.4 billion of capital expenditure was used to purchase the Chelsea Market building in New York.

Rising Operation Costs

Traffic acquisition costs which include money spent on phone manufacturers to run ads and services hit $6.28 billion in the quarter accounting for 24% of advertising revenues. Operating expenditure in the quarter was up 27% to $10.7 billion, attributed to an increase in research and development costs.

Increased capital expenditure saw the company operating margins shrink from 27% to 22%. First quarter operating margin was the smallest for the tech titan since 2012.

Even with the drop, Google announced that the upward spending trajectory is set to continue.

“The opportunity set ahead of us is quite extraordinary, and we remain focused on investment to support long-term revenue and profit growth. We have both the business confidence to invest appropriately in the next phase of innovation as well as clarity about some very compelling opportunities,” said Ruth Porat Google Chief Financial Officer.

Google appears to have bought a leaf out of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) playbook when it comes to capital expenditure in pursuit of long-term growth opportunities. Google executives insist that spending is necessary if the company is to install powerful computers and internet cables to keep up with the growing YouTube demand and data analytics tools within the Google cloud services.

Google is also ramping up investments on non-advertising related investments given that digital marketing has come under pressure over privacy concerns in recent months

While Google shares have risen by more than 20% over the past one year, increasing selling pressure threatens to erode a good chunk of the gains

U.S Dollar Strong as Treasury Yields Rise, Earnings Reports in Focus

A busy earnings reports week is ahead of us with Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter, and other tech giants in focus. Existing Home Sales numbers will come from the States today. The ECB is later this week. And the U.S will publish GDP results on Friday.

Cautious Mode Greets European Markets, German Manufacturing Improved

European equities have started tentatively, proving broad market sentiment remains in a cautious mode. The Footsie and Dax have not been able to make significant gains, even as their respective currencies have become cheaper. The Pound and Euro remain under pressure against the U.S Dollar and are testing important support levels. German Manufacturing figures were better than expected via the Purchasing Managers Index, and Services numbers provided a slightly better result than forecasted. Wall Street struggled on Friday and is expected to have moderate losses when the three major Indexes open via early calls from the Futures Markets. Asian stocks declined slightly today, with the Nikkei and Hang Seng losing ground.

A busy week starts today with Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Twitter, Microsoft and more will release first quarter reports.

European Central Bank Plays Waiting Game, Patience Needed for Reversals

The U.S Dollar has been strong the past few trading sessions, which opens the door to speculative action developing the remainder of this week. The European Central Bank will make its Monetary Policy pronouncements and hold their monthly Press Conference on Thursday. However, in developing news the ECB has let it be known via leaks, that it wants more time to analyze the economy of the European Union and will sit tight with its polity until July. Recent inflation data from the continent has been soft. Traders seeking reversals in forex will need to practice risk management over the next several days, and they should also keep in mind U.S Gross Domestic Product numbers will be released this Friday which will certainly shake the broad markets.

Analysts Clamoring for Higher Crude Oil, Buyer Active in Energy Sector

U.S Crude Oil is challenging long-term values and is attracting attention from a variety of commodity players. Hedge fund analysts are clamoring around the commodity with the belief it could climb up to 80.00 U.S Dollars per barrel. For the moment U.S Crude Oil is near 68.00 Dollars and should be monitored.

Canadian Wholesale Statistics, U.S Manufacturing & Services Data Coming

Existing Home Sales data will come from the U.S at 14:00 GMT and investors will be interested to see the report’s outcome.

  • 12:30 PM GMT, Canada, Wholesale Sales
  • 13:45 PM GMT, U.S, Flash Manufacturing PMI
  • 14:00 PM GMT, U.S, Existing Home Sales

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at SuperTraderTV.

SuperTraderTV Academy is a leader in investing and stock trading education. Sign up for a class today to learn proven strategies on how to trade smarter.

“A Fresh Fear is Lurking on Global Financial Markets”

The message from Tom Elliott, deVere Group’s International Investment Strategist, comes as market volatility has increased in recent weeks.

Mr. Elliott comments: “A fresh fear is lurking on global financial markets – and it is not about trade wars.

“It is that global GDP growth may have peaked in the current growth spurt, that began in early 2016.”

He continues: “Add to this three other key factors to add to investors’ nervousness.

“One, the ongoing fear that a trade war will break out between the U.S. and other major economies. Although the trade dispute with China has eased a little in recent days, largely due to Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, making a conciliatory speech last week.

“Two, the apprehension that a new wave of regulation will impact on the business models of some of America’s largest quoted companies, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

“And three, growing tensions between the U.S., the UK, and France with Russia, and others, following Friday night’s attack on Syrian installations.”

He goes on to explain: “However, fundamentals remain supportive for stocks. Consensus estimates for global corporate earnings growth in the first quarter are at 15 percent over the previous year, while for the S&P 500 index it is 17 percent.

“The beleaguered U.S. tech sector is expected to see 22 percent earnings growth, which will help soothe investors’ nerves.

“Despite the prospect of two, maybe three, more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year, and probably one from the Bank of England in May, monetary policy remains loose by historical standards in all the main economies.

“This supports risk assets, buy keeping borrowing costs low for companies and their customers, and by keeping ‘risk-free’ rates low and unattractive relative to the expected returns from stocks.”

Mr. Elliott concludes: “Despite new geopolitical concerns, our investment positioning remains unaltered.

“We favor a long-term, multi-asset approach to investing, whereby investors choose a suitable combination of global equities and bonds – depending on their risk profile and investment horizon – and leave the portfolio unchanged. Too frequent rebalancing ensures winners are sold and losers are bought – which financial history, and common sense, supports.”

Bitcoin Out! Why Google Finally Banned Bitcoin Advertisements

The crackdown on cryptocurrencies has begun. From Facebook and Twitter to Google – advertising Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been banned! Just days ago, Google decided to also ban and remove all crypto mining extensions for their browser Chrome, writes Coindesk.com.

The rumor mills are as always running at full speed in forums and everyone has their own conspiracy theory for why these social media giants and now Google have decided to pull the plug on these types of advertisements. If you want the real reason which led to the ban, you have to first understand the big bad world of scammers. In this article, we will shed light on the issues that led to Google’s decision and why this could actually turn out to be a good thing for cryptocurrency investors and the community of traders!

Cryptocurrency Robot Scams – Tip of the Iceberg

One of the biggest issues with “free advertising” is that anyone can push anything they wish to fulfill their own agenda. In today’s world where Facebook was forced to create ‘fact checkers” due to being accused of promoting fake news that may have affected the outcome of the previous U.S election, you can be sure that misleading ads are also being pushed by financial crooks.

Speaking of fake news and misleading advertisement, cryptocurrency robot scams are the most common among Bitcoin Trading Scams. Such services always guarantee easy money with cryptocurrencies and the Google AdSense has been plagued with endless numbers of fraudulent cryptocurrency trading ads. These scams are in the majority of cases not even actual cryptocurrency trading software but offer CFD’s trading with an unregulated broker. The scam robots often use popular and catchy names such as the Bitcoin Robot, Bitcoin Bonanza, Bitcoin Millionaire or Bitcoin Code as reported by ThatSucks.com.. Who is behind these robots is never known. It could be an unlicensed broker or a rogue affiliate who runs many types of different financial scams on the internet. Since it is fairly easy for scammers to set up robot scams, thanks to white-label robot services, they constantly re-brand and create new robots. This happens so often that massive numbers of traffic are being directed to scams instead of trusted services.

What would you do about millions of “easy money ads”? Ads which all have one thing in common; they offer extreme wealth with zero risk and no prior knowledge and target newbie investors. This has to stop of course and the easiest way is to ban the cryptocurrency investment ads altogether! I say again, most of the ads are directing traffic to bucket shops where investors lose a lot of money. Therefore, a ban can save investors from getting ripped off. Instead of getting lured in by an ad, people interested in trading and learning about Bitcoin and other altcoins will have to seek information first. With the scam ads removed, there is a bigger chance that new investors end up finding well-established and prominent cryptocurrency websites and trading-related forums with valuable and honest education and offers. This seems like a positive step forward.

Join our Telegram Channel

Initial Coin Offerings – Educated Investment or Just FOMO?

In a cryptocurrency market that is heavily driven by FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out, many investors make instant and very costly financial decisions. One of which is investing in ICO’s, Initial Coin Offerings. Today, there are services that allow you to create and run your own ICO within minutes! This is both amazing and scary at the same time. It is amazing from a technical perspective but scary that anyone can set up an ICO with no actual value and then run away with the investor’s funds. Now let’s also add to this, the well-known fact that ICO’s can raise 10’s of millions within hours of launching, it should be a no-brainer that it certainly has and will keep attracting scammers. Restricting ICO ads could restrict scammers from attracting beginners by spamming ads on social media and other platforms using AdSense. As a result, it could leave more room for professional and original ICO’s to dominate the market for new tokens and innovations.

Mining Scams – Is Your PC Infected?

Another big step taken by Google to protect the average surfers was to ban and remove all mining extensions for their browser Google Chrome. The reason for this move is “Cryptojacking” which is a process where a malicious extension runs in the background, using the surfer’s CPU to mine one or various coins for the issuer of the extension without the user’s consent, as it was reported at news.bitcoin.com. There is a debate of whether this really is profitable for the crypto jackers or not. Regardless, if something steals your power and slows down your PC it is called a virus and who wouldn’t want to get rid of it? I for one don’t want a slower computer and a higher electricity bill so I’m glad Google is taking actions.

There is Hope – New Policy Updates!

In June 2018, Google will restrict their policies for advertising financial services.

– Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)

advertisers offering Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting will be required to be certified by Google before they can advertise through AdWords. Certification is only available in certain countries” – Google Adwords Policy

Well, turns out it’s not all bad news. On the contrary, this is a big plus! Advertisers will be offered to apply for certification. For example, exchanges and brokers who wish to offer cryptocurrencies must obtain a license from a financial regulator in the country/countries they are targeting before they can run ads. In addition, they must ensure that they comply with all the Adwords policies. The process for requesting certifications already started in March 2018. This should give regulated services enough time to apply for a certificate.

As you can see, this is not a war against the blockchain industry. Cryptocurrency and trading-related ads will not be totally banned but rather just restricted. With fake ads not being able to spam the web, there is hope that regulated and licensed financial services will have an advantage over the scammers.

Not a Fight against Cryptocurrencies

After going through the facts, it is obvious that there are problems in the world of cryptocurrencies. It’s all still in the beginning stage and with new technology and new investment opportunities, new types of scams also follow. Something needed to be done. At first sight, anyone who doesn’t know about all the scams in this industry might think that this is yet another blow by the “big boys”, the bankers, the governments and the social media giants because “they are scared of blockchain technology and wish to stop it”. As I mentioned earlier, there are many rumors like that and many pessimists are angered by the recent policies. However, reflecting on the problems we discussed in this article, it is not too hard to accept the steps taken by Google and other platforms. Remember that this is not a total ban and blockade against cryptocurrencies. Because reliable and licensed services will still remain in business with certified ads.

The next time you see an ad after the new policies kick in, another banner with a catchy name tempting you to click on it to earn money with Bitcoin, Forex trading or any other financial business, you can be sure that the people behind it are licensed and regulated and the ad is certified by Google. You can also view this as a step that encourages more and serious investors into the market – people who used to be reluctant towards investing due to all the scams. In conclusion, knowing the market is regulated and monitored can only benefit the future of cryptocurrency and trading industry.

Wild Trading Yesterday and More to Come, Asian and European Shares Rise as Trade Tensions Ease

A possibility of negotiations between China and U.S regarding their trade feud has helped sentiment short term in the broad markets. Tomorrow’s inflation data from the U.S will be an important factor in forex.

Wall Street Reverses Higher, Broad Market Sentiment Being Tested

U.S equities opened Wednesday’s trading with declines and appeared headed for additional poor results. However, reports circulating about China and the U.S showing signs of willingness to negotiate regarding their trade disagreements reversed sentiment quickly in the broad markets. And Wall Street was able to turn in a winning session. And Japan has produced gains today. The broad markets remain fragile and there are other concerns generating headwinds for investors. Facebook and Tesla have been two of the big stories this week, but Deutsche Bank in Germany is also being watched. China equities are closed today and tomorrow – including the Shanghai Shenzhen and Hang Seng composites. Investors will continue to have their sentiment tested in the coming days.

Wage Data from States on Friday a Key, U.S Dollar Slightly Weaker

The U.S Dollar has weakened moderately versus the Pound and Euro as risk appetite has improved in the broad markets short term. However, tomorrow’s inflation report from the U.S via the Average Hourly Earnings remains a centerpiece for traders. And until the results are known, most short-term positions will be purely speculative. If the results from the wage numbers are weaker than expected the U.S Dollar could lose additional value. However, if there is a strong outcome, the Euro and Pound could decline. The Yen should be watched closely as it trades near resistance.

Commodities Hit by Trade Noise, U.S Crude Oil Climbs on Momentum

The commodity markets have seen fast results within a wide range of products as the trade battle between China and the U.S has caused ramifications. U.S Crude Oil, however, is still within a known range and did see valued added yesterday. In the coming days, Crude Oil may gather additional momentum and test resistance near 65.00 U.S Dollars a barrel.

U.K Services Numbers Coming Today, U.S Earnings Data Tomorrow

The U.K’s Services Purchasing Managers Index will be the highlight today at 8:30 GMT. And tomorrow’s Average Hourly Earnings at 12:30 from the U.S will be a focal point for investors.

  • Thursday 8:30 AM GMT, U.K, Services PMI
  • Thursday 12:30 PM GMT, Canada, Trade Balance
  • Friday 12:30 PM GMT, U.S, Average Hourly Earnings
  • Friday 12:30 PM GMT, U.S, Non-Farm Employment Change

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at SuperTraderTV.

SuperTraderTV Academy is a leader in investing and stock trading education. Sign up for a class today to learn proven strategies on how to trade smarter.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) Responds With New Data-Sharing Policies After Cambridge Analytica Scandal

In a bid to calm the privacy storm, the executive says they will make it possible for people to know whether Cambridge Analytica accessed their data starting April 9. The Cambridge Analytica disclosure tool will appear at the top of users News Feeds as Facebook looks to settle the matter once and for all.

Changes After Cambridge Analytica Breach

One of the changes that Facebook is making will see increased restrictions to APIs on the platform. App developers will no longer be able to scrape data touching on religious preference as well as political affiliation among others

Facebook has also confirmed that it will approve any app that asks users to share their check-ins, groups, photos and videos data. The tech giant also plans to block apps from collecting user’s personal information using the Facebook Login tool.

In addition, the embattled social giant will no longer allow people to search for other Facebook users using their phone numbers.

Cambridge Analytica Data Breach

It is alleged that Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data from 87 million Facebook users through an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’.  The app offered personality quizzes and once installed was able to siphon Facebook user’s data as well as that of their close friends.

It has since emerged that the scam might have started a few years back when hackers harvested email addresses and phone numbers on the ‘Dark Web’. The hackers went on to use automated computer programs to feed the numbers and addresses in Facebook’s ‘search boxes’ in a bid to gain access to full names of people associated with the details.

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped.” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook has already acknowledged that as many as 270,000 people could have downloaded the app. Zuckerberg in a call with reporters said they have taken stock of people who used the malicious app and analyzed the number of friends they had at the time.

“We didn’t put out the 50 million number. That came from other parties. We wanted to wait until we had the full understanding,” Zuckerberg explained, adding, “I’m quite confident it’s not more than 87 million,” said Mr. Zuckerberg.

Amidst the remarks, Facebook finds itself in hot water over the way it misreports crucial details. The company is being taken to task over the way it increases estimates of misdoings.  The company is fresh from confirming that it has shut down nearly 300 additional Facebook and Instagram accounts and pages, linked to Internet Research Agency, a Russian Propaganda Group.

This is the first time that the giant social media company is acknowledging Instagram users were also affected by the Russian propaganda during the hotly contested U.S election.

Join our Telegram Channel

Amazon Ready To End Alphabet and Facebook Advertising Duopoly

According to, Alex DeGroote, a media analyst at Cenkos Securities, the e-commerce giant advertising business is growing at an impressive rate and could be worth $20 Billion by 2020.

Growing Search Ad Business

Amazon advertising business is currently valued at about $3 billion amounting to about 1.5% of North America Advertising business. Given the strength at which its search business is growing, the tech giant could amass a substantial amount of market share by 2020.

According to the analyst, Amazon’s competitive edge in the advertising business look set to continue growing, given the massive amount of products listed in its platform. An increase in the number of companies listing products in the platform should continue strengthening the company’s search business, a key to growing the advertising business.

“I think Amazon will do a retail search and take Google to the cleaners on retail search using their estate. Slowly over time, you will use Amazon as your retail search engine rather than Google,” said Mr. DeGroote.

Amazon faces an uphill task to dethrone Google given that its search ad business could account for about 80% of the overall market. However, recent developments indicate that the retailer could soon put the search giant at ease as the race of search ad revenues heats up.

Amazon’s Search Ad Threat

Reports indicate that Amazon has stepped up ad products in search and video as it moves to break status quo at the top. Its efforts appear to be paying off, having emerged that one of the world’s largest advertising firm is planning to increase its advertising spending on Amazon by $100 million, to $300 million this year.

Amazons ambitions in taking Google and Facebook head-on, cannot be taken lightly. The tech giant has been known to have a disruptive effect in industries it sets foot in. It has already made a name for itself as a book-seller. If the amount of time it took to be a heavyweight in the cloud computing space is anything to go by, then Google and Facebook should be worried.

Unlike other companies, Amazon has the financial muscle to take on the big players in the advertising business. The fact that it owns a site that attracts millions of people from all over the world also gives it access to the much-needed traffic, needed to build a profitable advertising business.

Stock Rating

Growing ad revenues is one of Amazon’s core objective this year, seen as a critical contributor to sales in North America. The sentiments have been received well in Wall Street with major brokerage firms remaining confident about the retailers advertising ambitions.

Analysts at Citi Research have since increased their share price target of Amazon’s stock to $1600, from $1400, buoyed by the way the company is moving to diversify its business and revenue streams. Analysts at J.P. Morgan also remain upbeat about the e-commerce giant’s advertising aspirations which they say could make it a $1 trillion company.

Join our Telegram Channel

Facebook Must Have a Moral Duty, It’s a Social Network!

While Cambridge Analytics is facing heavy scrutiny over the use of the data acquired from Facebook Inc., the bigger finger should be pointed directly at Zuckerberg and the company’s board that has spent the last 18-months and more dodging serious questions over the company’s affiliations with companies and governments and the use of ads during the 2016 U.S Presidential Election.

Congress, the financial markets, Facebook shareholders and even Facebook’s users have yet to hear from the Facebook Inc. board concrete answers on how the Russians were able to use Facebook to influence voters with targeted ads during the election campaign. Yesterday, Zuckerberg interviewed for CNN and responded to the big Facebook scandal.

Even more disturbing is how Facebook attempted to get ahead of the weekend news that was going to lift the lid on the Cambridge scandal by announcing the suspension of Cambridge Analytica from Facebook on Friday. The spin doctors hard at work to limit yet more damage to the Facebook Inc. brand.

The fact that Facebook Inc. execs were fully aware of the news due to hit UK and U.S readers on Sunday brings into question Zuckerberg and the team’s moral compass. In a normal world, the CEO of a $500bn would not be allowed to be so evasive to questioning. Why Congress is willing to accept such elusiveness is also surprising, particularly when considering how financial institutions are punished for the breach of rules and regulation related to sanctioned countries. Fines in the billions of Dollars and personal liability for those at fault common outcomes to such actions in recent years.

The world’s 4th richest person should not be untouchable and the more than 50m Facebook users would likely agree that the punishment for top execs at the social network company, that has become all too anti-social, should be more than the loss in share value in the early part of the week.

Facebook Inc. has become too big for users to ditch for an alternative social networking site that doesn’t exist. Perhaps it’s time for a new platform to be rolled out using blockchain technology that would undoubtedly win the hearts of the privacy-conscious.

User information is just not safe and the fact that the U.S government is unwilling to drag Zuckerberg and co across hot coals suggests that targeted advertising is here to stay and, as for users’ personal information, clearly no issue on that front.

Looking at Facebook’s top 10 shareholders, we’re unlikely to see many ditch their holdings in response to the latest scandal, with asset management companies accounting for the lion’s share, nor are we likely to see any rumblings at the next AGM, barring the odd activist who may have brought some Facebook shares back in the day.

If companies are not able to self-govern and ensure the protection of its users’ data, their customers’ data, not to mention ensure that the use of targeted ads for political gain are made public and not concealed, then there is a moral duty for the U.S government to enforce such code of ethics.

Investors have been too kind to Facebook Inc. this time around, with speculators bargain hunting and, why not when considering the slide, but capital is at risk, particularly if the U.S government takes the boldest of steps and decides to shut it down. Now that would be a lesson in morality…

Crypto Update: Cryptocurrencies Rise Again as G20 Calls for Regulation

The G20 meetings in Argentina have finished and did not produce a unified mandate regarding cryptocurrencies which may have helped nervous sentiment in the market calm. Twitter has announced a ban of crypto adverts which will start in two weeks.

Cryptocurrencies Escape Sharp Claws of Governments at G20

While governments participating in the G20 meetings certainly spoke about the need to create recommendations to monitor criminal activity in cryptocurrencies,   the lack of a call for unified action helped nervous speculators rest easier. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney also was quoted as saying cryptocurrencies do not pose a serious threat to the broad financial markets. However, Carney’s comments may prove to be a backhanded compliment, because while he has said Blockchain offers an interesting technology for transactions, he has been critical of cryptocurrency values in the past.

Bitcoin Rallies from Lows with Solid Climb, More Turbulence Will Develop

Bitcoin has climbed from its lows made early this week and is trading close to 9000.00 U.S Dollars per coin. The G20 meetings appear to have helped Bitcoin short term. Important support looks to be around 7500.00, while key resistance resides near 9800.00 Dollars for Bitcoin. Volatility is a constant companion for cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin’s ability to gain momentum the past two days is an indicator more turbulence will develop near term.

Bitcoin 4H Chart
Bitcoin 4H Chart

Twitter Joins Ban of Cryptocurrency Adverts on Social Media

Twitter is reportedly set to follow in the footsteps of Facebook and Google and ban cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering advertisements. Social media’s impact on the popularity of cryptocurrencies and its related businesses have helped create a dynamic environment for digital assets. The announcement from Twitter will reportedly take effect in two weeks.

Blockchain Conference in Kiev on Friday

A Blockchain conference will take place in Kiev on Friday, and participants are been promised a good educational and networking event.

  • March 23rd, Ukraine, International Blockchain UA Conference in Kiev

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at SuperTraderTV.

SuperTraderTV Academy is a leader in investing and stock trading education. Sign up for a class today to learn proven strategies on how to trade smarter.

US Futures Steady after Tech Sell-Off, Facebook and Fed Meeting in Focus

Facebook continues to be in the headlines after yesterday’s massive sell-off. The U.S Federal Reserve will issue its interest rate decision tomorrow.

Asian Equities Mixed After Bad U.S Session, U.K Inflation Data Lower

European stocks have been mostly negative early. Except for the Footsie Index from the U.K which has seen a bit of buying develop, after inflation data published this morning came in below expectations. The Pound has been slightly weaker after the British Consumer Price Index numbers produced a result of 2.7% compared to the estimate of 2.8%. Asian equities were mixed today. After starting off with steep losses the Nikkei and Topix were able to come off lows. Both Indexes finished with declines, but day finished with a flurry of buyers on the Tokyo exchanges. Wall Street is anticipated to open with losses following yesterday’s poor performance. Facebook will be watched closely after yesterday’s stark selling. The NASDAQ Index produced the worst of the declines yesterday and should be monitored.

Fed Expected to Increase Interest Rate Tomorrow, Euro Range Trading

The U.S Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Statement will be issued tomorrow. An interest rate hike is widely anticipated, but the quarter of a point increase has largely been factored into forex already. If the Fed doesn’t raise interest rates tomorrow it would provide a shockwave. However, it is the outlook concerning additional increases the remainder of the calendar year from the Fed, which will cause an impact. Another factor to focus on is Thursday’s Bank of England monetary policy publication. The Euro has traded in range versus the U.S Dollar this morning and is near 1.2335.

Gold Relinquishes Gains This Morning, Fast Conditions Expected to Build

Gold has lost a bit of value early this morning as it trades near 1314.00 U.S Dollars an ounce. Fast conditions are expected to build for the precious metal over the next day because of the U.S Federal Reserve’s report tomorrow.

The second Day of G20 Getting Started, Canadian Consumer Data Coming

Canada will release its Wholesale Sales data at 12:30 GMT and this could impact the Canadian Dollar in forex.

  • All Day Argentina, G20 Meetings Second Day in Buenos Aires
  • 12:30 PM GMT, Canada, Wholesale Sales

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at SuperTraderTV.

SuperTraderTV Academy is a leader in investing and stock trading education. Sign up for a class today to learn proven strategies on how to trade smarter.

Equities under Fire as Traders React Nervously to Facebook Data Report, Eyes on Fed

Asian equities have struggled this morning. Inflation data will come from the U.K today via the Consumer Price Index.

NASDAQ Leads Slump in Equities, Facebook Implications Hurt Value

Global equity markets have declined. Wall Street took another step backward on Monday as the three major Indexes produced wicked selling. The NASDAQ led the slump and lost nearly 1.85 percent of value. The Dow Jones and S&P also found few buyers. Japan and other Asian markets have declined sharply this morning as risk adverse sentiment builds. It will be a light day of data from the U.S, but the U.K will publish plenty of inflation numbers and Germany will see a Business Sentiment reading. Facebook led the party of losers on Monday, as investors have grown concerned about reports implicating Facebook mishandled user data. European equities will be extremely cautious and face pressure today.

Pound & Euro Gain on Brexit Transition Deal, Yen Loses Some Value

Forex proved noteworthy on Monday. A transition deal between the U.K and E.U was announced regarding the Brexit. The Pound and Euro gained against the U.S Dollar upon the announcement. International politics continues to cause a storm on the broad markets. And tomorrow’s U.S Federal Reserve Monetary Policy Statement is being heavily anticipated. The Yen actually lost value against the U.S Dollar yesterday as investors may have come to the conclusion the Japanese currency has gotten too strong. Forex will definitely provide fireworks in the coming days and traders need to be braced.

Gold Gains Highlights its Recent Struggles, Buyers Remain Tentative

Gold found the ability to climb off lows on Monday. The precious metal is near 1316.00, highlighting its recent struggles as it remains near key support ratios. Resistance appears around the 1324.00 mark, but buyers have proven tentative the past two weeks and traders will need to monitor Gold intently.

U.K Inflation Data Coming, German Business Sentiment Reading

The U.K will see plenty of inflation data, and leading the way will be the Consumer Price Index reading at 9:30 GMT.

  • All Day Argentina, G20 Meetings in Buenos Aires, 2nd Day
  • 9:30 AM GMT U.K, Consumer Price Index
  • 10:00 AM GMT Germany, ZEW Economic Sentiment

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at SuperTraderTV.

SuperTraderTV Academy is a leader in investing and stock trading education. Sign up for a class today to learn proven strategies on how to trade smarter.

Robust Jobs Report Underpins Crude Oil, Drives NASDAQ to Record High

Copper prices spiked to their lowest level since February 9 on Friday before rebounding to close higher for the session. The wicked price action was fueled by escalating tensions over U.S. metal imports.

May Comex High Grade Copper settled at $3.1360 up $0.0570 or +1.85%.

Comex High Grade Copper
Daily May Comex High Grade Copper

Traders were primarily reacting to U.S. President Donald Trump’s signing of a 25-percent import tariff on steel and 10-percent tariff on aluminum, with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico.

Reactions to Trump’s tariffs, which are expected to begin within 15 days, was mixed, triggering the wide two-sided trade.

According to Reuters, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she feared a “tit-for-tat” escalation of trade retaliation over the U.S. tariffs that would sap business confidence and investment, while Chinese metal associations called on Beijing to retaliate.

Reuters also reported that investment bank Nomura, played down the impact on exports from top steel and aluminum maker China, noting that the “U.S. share of China’s total steel and aluminum exports was only around 16 percent.”

U.S. Economic Reports

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the economy added 313,000 jobs in February, well above the 200,000 estimate. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%. Traders were looking for a drop to 4.0%. Average hourly earnings remained a concern, coming in at 0.1%, below the 0.2% forecast. Essentially, wages grew less than expected, rising 2.6 percent on an annualized basis.

U.S. Equity Markets

The major U.S. stock indexes surged on Friday, driving the NASDAQ Composite to a record high after February jobs growth soundly beat expectations.

E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index
Daily June E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index

The tech-weighted index rose by 1.8 percent to 7.560.81 and hit intraday and closing records, erasing all of last month’s correction. The NASDAQ-100 Index, which is composed of the 100 largest companies in the NASDAQ Composite, also hit a record high. Friday’s session marked the first time since January 26 that either index reached a record high.

The NASDAQ’s strength was driven by strong performances in Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

Comex Gold
Daily April Comex Gold

Gold

Gold prices rebounded on Friday to close higher after initially dropping following the release of nonfarm payrolls data that far exceeded expectations. The price action was essentially driven by a two-sided trade in the U.S. Dollar.

Gold was also driven lower early in the session on the news that President Trump was prepared to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un sometime before May in what would be the first face-to face encounter between the countries’ leaders and could mark a breakthrough in a stand-off over the North’s nuclear weapons.

WTI Crude Oil
Daily May West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil

Crude Oil

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil settled sharply higher, finishing up 3.10% and 2.88% respectively. Investors temporarily cast aside worries over rising U.S. production to focus on the strong jobs data, and optimism that Trump’s proposed meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could ease geopolitical tensions.

While the jobs data reflects the country’s strong economic conditions, and growth, which should lead to increased energy demand, the market was also supported by the news that Libya’s 70,000 barrels per day El Feel oilfield stayed shutdown despite the Petroleum Facilities Guard saying it had reached a deal to reopen it, according to a field engineer and local mediator.

How to Trade CFD’s with the Right Leverage?

The capital markets represent an excellent arena for investors to trade securities. Robust volatility provides the backdrop to make money by speculating that the price of a security will rise or fall. One of the issues investors face is that to make money you need to have money.  Historically, if you wanted to participate in share trading of equities or equity indices you needed to have enough capital to purchase shares. Fortunately, there are now products that allow you to speculate on the direction of a security without purchasing or short-selling that security, known as contracts for differences (CFD’s).

What is a Contract for Differences?

A contract for differences (CFD) is an agreement between two parties that provides access to the risk of an underlying instrument. The CFD will pay the difference in the price between where the contract was purchased and where it was sold. There is no physical exchange for the underlying product. So, if you purchase a CFD on crude oil you do not have to accept delivery of the crude oil. It is solely a financial instrument that pays the difference in price.  So, all you are really trading is the profit and loss based on the movements of an underlying instrument.

Stock shares, indices, commodities, as well as currencies can be traded using contract for differences. These instruments are cost effective and that is one reason they are very popular. Some of the most popular CFDs including Wall Street Indices, German Indices, along with commodities such as crude oil and gold. It is important to find a reliable broker to trade CFD’s.

Let’s compare the process of trading a contract for difference relative to the purchase of shares of a stock like Facebook. If you purchase shares, prior to execution you would need to have the amount of capital in your account to buy the shares. At approximately $180 per share, 10-shares of Facebook would cost $1,800 dollars. U.S. laws only allow you to leverage your account once you have purchased shares. For example, once you buy these shares, your broker would allow you to borrow 50% of the value of the shares ($900 in this example), to purchase more shares. So, to purchase another 10-shares, you would only need to post another $900 instead of $1,800.

If you are trading a CFD on Facebook shares, your broker would only require a margin amount that would cover the potential change in the price of the stock. The calculation of your margin requirement would be based on an algorithm that basically attempts to define the maximum loss you might experience in one-day. For example, if a 3-standard deviation move in Facebook shares was $20 per share, then your broker would ask you to post $20 multiplied by the number of CFDs you own.

The calculation of your profit or loss on a CFD is very straightforward. All you need to do is subtract the price that you purchase the CFD from the price that you sold the CFD and multiply that by the of CFD you own.

What is Leverage?

There are pros and cons to trading CFDs and most of the arguments for trading these products surround the concept of trading using leverage. Leverage makes trading of CFDs more efficient than trading shares of stocks or indices, but it also increases the risks associated with your trading strategy.

By trading using leverage, you can increase your returns substantially. Leverage can range from 2-1 to 400 – 1. Leverage of 10-1 means that for every $10 you post in margin you control $100 in notional value. In our Facebook example, if you use margin that is 10-1, for every share of Facebook you would need to post $18. Since CFD trading is focused on the potential loss that you could experience, the amount of capital you need to have to generate robust returns is a lot smaller than the amount you would need if you were trading shares.

Leverage also allows you to maximize your returns. Here is an example of the difference in what you would make using a CFD on the S&P 500 relative to purchasing the index. At the current price of 2,700, you would need $2,700 to purchase 1 S&P 500 contract. If the index increased to 3,000, you would make 300 or 11% (3,000 – 2,7000) / 2,700.

If you employed leverage into your calculation the returns would be more significant. For example, if you employed leverage of 10 to 1, you would need to post $270 to purchase an index that is 2,700.  If you made $300 if the index moved to 3,000 from 2,700 you return would be 111% = ($300 / 270).

Leverage can help you generate significant returns, but there is also increased risk when using highly leveraged products. Using the same example, if the price of the S&P 500 declined from 2,700 to 2,400, you would lose 11% without leverage. If you used the leverage of 10 to 1, your loss would be more than the $270 you had in your account, wiping out your entire account!

In practice, prior to losing this amount, you would get a call from your broker, requesting that you immediately put up more capital. This is referred to as a margin call.  When you receive this notification, you only have a small window to increase your capital otherwise your broker will liquidate your position before you fall short of the minimum required in your account to hold on to your positions.

The Benefits and Risk of CFD’s

There are many pros and cons of trading CFDs. CFDs allow you to have access to products that you might never be able to trade especially if you have a small account. For example, if open a $500 account, and wanted to focus on trading Facebook shares, you would only be able to purchase 2-shares. When trading CFD, you might be able to employ leverage of 10 to 1, allowing you to theoretically have access to $5,000 in Facebook shares. Since you are only trading the difference between where you buy, and you sell, your broker can afford to provide leverage up to the point where you could theoretically lose $500 dollars.

Another benefit of CFDs relative to shares is the relative ease in which CFDs can be traded short. When you short shares or indices, you need to borrow the shares and plan to pay back the shares when the price moves lower. In many instances, the cost to borrow shares can be significant. The less liquid the shares the costlier it is to borrow those share for the purposes of short selling. A standard cost to borrow shares is 6% per annual.  So, if you borrowed $1,000 for a year and the price of the stock you are shorting did not move, you would lose $60 per share.

When you trade using CFDs you do not have to borrow shares, because the instrument has the capabilities on its own to provide you with a short position which speculates that the underlying instrument will move down in price. When you sell CFD, all you need is a buyer of that CFD to allow you to create a profit that is your entry price minus your exit price.

When you trade CFD shares you can place your order with a broker or use an online electronic exchange. Your broker acts as a dealer and will immediately place your order when you call. Most brokers will, in fact, take the counterparty risk, which means that in many instances you are also taking counterparty risk. While you might not believe this to be the case, you are taking the risk that your broker is able to pay you your profit when you withdraw your capital. This does not necessarily mean that the broker is trading against you, instead, it means that the broker will ensure that you get paid when you have a winning trade. If your broker is unable to collect margin at a sufficient rate, you expose yourself to credit risk.

Finding a Good and Reliable Broker

There are several good brokers that execute CFDs, but few that are completely neutral. Many take positions against you and therefore they have a rooting interest in the price moving against you. It’s important to find a 100% market neutral trader, that allows you to trade against the market and not your broker. You should also look for a broker that has a wide range of platform choices. This includes a downloadable platform such as MT4, as well as a web platform that will allow you to access your account wherever there is access to the internet. If you like to chart CFDs, make sure your platform has an excellent charting package. You also want to make sure that you can trade when you are on the go.  Finding a broker that also has a good mobile platform that will allow you to trade when you need to and not only when you are home or in your office. InterTrader is one of the most reliable and well-reputed brokers to offer CFD’s trading with a user-friendly trading platform and low commissions compared to competitors.

What is the Right Leverage to Trade CFD’s?

Using the right leverage is an important part of determining the trading strategy you want to employ. Too much leverage will increase the risks of ruin, while too little leverage will hinder your opportunity to generate the returns you are looking for.

You need to initially determine what type of trading strategy you want to use to generate returns. For example, if you are looking to scalp the market searching for small changes in the price of an asset, you will need significant leverage to create robust returns. On the other hand, if you are employing a trend following a strategy where you are looking for large moves that might take some time, you might need less leverage to generate the returns you are looking for.

You also need to analyze the underlying products that are used to create a CFD. For example, the movements in the forex markets are relatively tame compared to shares, commodities, and indices. Forex markets generally have relatively low historical volatility. To generate robust returns in the forex markets you need to increase the leverage you are using.  For shares or indices which have significant historical volatility, you should consider using lower levels of leverage.

Summary

Contracts for differences are a trading instrument that allows you to speculate on the direction of an asset. CFDs are different than trading the underlying asset as you are investing in the difference between where you purchase your CFD and where you sold it. So, as opposed to having to buy a security, you only have to post enough margin to allow you to cover a loss that outside the normal range of losses you could experience. The leverage employed when you trade CFDs allows you to generate excellent returns, but the risks are also significant which means you need to be careful when employing leverage. Prior to depositing money at a broker, you should look for one that is 100% neutral so you are trading against the market and not your broker.