Their Goal: Make Cryptocurrency Less Scary

If you have a tough time with the idea of putting even a dollar of your net worth into a digital cryptocurrency — Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and the like — no sensible person would blame you.

Aside from the price fluctuations, there’s the question of who’s protecting those digital assets. Is it an institution like QuadrigaCX, an exchange for cryptocurrency run from its founder’s laptop, which reportedly lost $140 million in customer funds after the founder died in India in December? Or one like Tokyo-based Coincheck, which had $532 million in cryptocurrency stolen by hackers in January 2018?

“Every time I see one of these exchanges get hacked, or the founder take off with money in some kind of scam, it’s another reminder of how immature this industry is,” says Matthew Walsh, a former Fidelity Investments vice president who helped launch a private fund that invested in cryptocurrency there. “It’s bordering on a joke how immature the infrastructure is — and how dangerous it is.”

But for a growing group of venture capital firms and startup companies in Boston, the dangerous and mostly unregulated realm of cryptocurrency represents an opportunity. They see these digital currencies — which can store value and operate independently of government-controlled monetary systems — eventually becoming as safe for investors as a Bank of America money market fund. That, however, is going to require a lot of new technology. Which they plan to build and sell.

Walsh’s new venture capital firm, Castle Island Ventures, is among them. After he and cofounder Nic Carter left Fidelity, they raised $30 million to invest in what Walsh says is a “whole new category of infrastructure” required to make cryptocurrency safer and more reliable.

Sharon Goldberg and Ethan Heilman cofounded Arwen, a Boston startup trying to make cryptocurrency exchanges more secure.

“The reason we launched the fund is we think a lot of these cryptocurrencies will be investible assets,” Walsh says — even if they don’t feel that way to most mainstream investors today.

Castle Island has already invested in six startup companies, Walsh says, and other local firms like General Catalyst, First Star Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, and Underscore VC have also been writing checks to fledgling cryptocurrency companies.

Highland and Underscore helped incubate a startup called Arwen, founded by a Boston University computer science professor and her doctoral student.

“We’re in the early days,” says Arwen CEO Sharon Goldberg. “But let’s go back to 1999 and using credit cards on the Internet. Nobody wanted to put their credit card number into a website. But you do today, because you trust the encryption. You see that little lock in your browser.”

Goldberg is taking a sabbatical from teaching to build the company, which has eight employees and earlier this month moved out of Underscore’s space into its own office.

She points out that cryptocurrency is designed to be a “decentralized” system — there’s no central bank regulating how much of it there is, just software code running on computers. Yet if you want to exchange one kind of cryptocurrency for another, or turn cryptocurrency into dollars or yen, you need to entrust that transaction to a centralized exchange. “Centralized exchanges are the way to trade this decentralized currency,” Goldberg says. “It’s strange.”

So Arwen is creating a layer of technology that would enable you to convert one currency into another securely, even if the exchange gets hacked or goes offline in the middle of a trade. Arwen’s technology is based on something called an “atomic swap,” which Goldberg explains using the metaphor of a briefcase full of cash. If two people intend to swap briefcases filled with two different kinds of currency, the risk is that you hand your briefcase to the other person and they run off. An atomic swap ensures that each person get the other person’s briefcase, even if the other person tries to split.

Late last month, Arwen launched a “sandbox” environment for demonstrating the technology, and Goldberg says the company is talking with prospective customers. “The majority of our customer calls are outside of the US,” Goldberg says. “In Japan, for instance, there are just a massive number of companies creating ways to buy cryptocurrencies.”

Why is the United States behind? “Regulation is stronger here, and other institutions are more trustworthy,” she says.

Arwen is working on “an important problem” and it could prove “a key missing piece needed to get wider adoption of crypto assets as a real investment asset class,” says Drew Volpe of Boston-based First Star Ventures.

Volpe’s firm last year put money into Everbloom, which is building its own cryptocurrency exchange that tries to solve the issues of trust and reliability “from the ground up.” Everbloom, he explains, is a decentralized exchange that never has to take ownership of the asset itself — similar to Arwen’s approach, the trades happen “trader to trader” using the same atomic swap idea.

Two things could happen to make holding and trading cryptocurrencies more trustworthy, observes Boris Revsin, managing director of Republic Labs, a firm that has made recent investments in the cryptocurrency sector.

One is that trusted financial services brands like Fidelity or Charles Schwab will launch cryptocurrency-related products and services and “offer recourse if something terrible happens” to your money, he says.

But the other is that non-brand name exchanges that today are not trustworthy could start to incorporate technology from Arwen or other companies like it, and begin to build trust with investors.

Either of those scenarios, Revsin says, could encourage more asset managers and investors to move some of their assets into cryptocurrency.

In case you haven’t been tracking it closely, the price of Bitcoin is down almost 60 percent from February 2018. But over two years, the price has risen 240 percent, and more than 800 percent over three years. It’s a risky place to keep your wealth today — but investors and entrepreneurs are betting that just as credit card transactions on the Internet became more trustworthy, that will change.


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Author: Scott Kirsner
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Four Industries That Will Boost Cryptocurrency Adaptation in 2019

Crypto traders and investors are always seeking different ways to build adaptation in the cryptocurrency community. As crypto lovers agree that the technology is still in its early infancy and will need to evolve well enough to be considered more than just a bubble, which will further ease the process of regulatory, adaptation comes to mind as the only factor that would make this happen.

The ideal world imagined by crypto fans is one where cryptocurrency becomes a universal currency and to achieve that, massive adaptation has to become a milestone that the cryptocurrency space achieves as often as possible. While cryptocurrency can function in any industry, these four have shown themselves to be not just some of the most effective 2018 but has also created a pathway for continuation in 2019.

Art/Entertainment

The entertainment industry has been one of the most flexible industries that shines the spotlight on cryptocurrencies. Most users declared that their knowledge of crypto was birthed from movies and comedic pieces that portrayed the unsteady movement of the cryptocurrency market. From as far back as 2014, the entertainment industry has been pioneering Bitcoin and crypto in general.

Visual art has also been a strong tool that deploys the swift and easy to use the technology of crypto to purchase iconic artworks. Earlier this year, a visual art painting of late Andy Warhol valued at $5.6 million was auctioned for sale via Bitcoin.

Luxury

The art of purchasing luxurious belongings through cryptocurrencies has been in the limelight since 2013 and this tradition is not slowing down anytime soon. Arguably one of the most promising ways to build adaptation in the crypto space revolves around this. It was earlier revealed that the Lamborghini has seen an upsurge in crypto payments, this comes as no surprise seeing that the Lamborghini is an emblem of wealth in the crypto space. Swiss watch brand also made a big move this year after releasing its $25,000 luxurious “P2P” wrist watch which was exclusive to BTC users. This trend will definitely boost user adaptability come 2019. Even CZ of Binance went on to commend Hublot’s marketing strategy, expressing his interest in having a watch for the Binance BnB token sometime later.

Tech

Seeing that 2018 began with leading tech companies boycotting cryptocurrency ads and ended with some of these very same companies going as far as developing their own coin, it is no doubt that tech companies are coming to terms with the usefulness of cryptocurrencies. In 2019, this growth is only certain to increase as more and more tech-related firms have continued to eye crypto. One notable trend of 2018 was the act of purchasing tech products via cryptocurrencies. HTC also fully adopted this pattern when it released its 2018 mobile phone flagship dubbed “Exodus 1”. Not only was it accompanied by the Zion digital wallet, but it was also exclusive to BTC and Ether users only.

Sport

It is still perplexing to know that even if sports remains one of the most lucrative industries for digital technology to thrive, cryptocurrency and sport is still largely limited to gambling, which is not the best route to gaining more users. However, this industry is likely to boost the crypto scene in 2019 seeing that exchanges and tokens are getting more involved in bridging the gap between crypto and sport. Recently, Tron’s Justin Sun had sparked rumors of merging Tron and Basketball when he revealed his guest appearance for the niTron event. Most recently, the Litecoin network is also partnering with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for the upcoming 232 matches.

Conclusion: As these industries continue to shape the path for massive adaptation in the cryptocurrency, diversification is becoming more than just a myth. And this goes on to prove that cryptocurrency is here to stay.


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Author:  Adrian Klent
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Litecoin Creator Correctly Predicted Price Crash Back in December Last Year

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin predicted back in December that Litecoin could crash to $20. Now in November, we are pretty close to seeing that price in reality.

It is no secret that Charlie sold all of his Litecoin holdings at the peak price, he received a lot of backlash from the community at the time and to this day people still criticize him. But it is less known that he predicted a multi-year bear market with Litecoin’s price dropping to as low as $20.

Charlie Tweeted:

“Ok, sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit… Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can’t handle LTC dropping to $20, don’t buy!”

Unfortunately, a lot of people ignored Charlee’s advice and were in the Euphoric stage at the time. But his prediction is pretty much on track to be true.

Even though the price more than doubled in a week after his prediction, it has dropped over 93% from the peak price of $366 to a low of $27 rhyming the previous bear market.

Litecoin’s Price After Charlie’s Prediction:

Image Source: Coinmarketcap

It turns out that Charlie took the right decision of selling the top at the time. He has justified his selling multiple times saying that it has nothing to with his belief in Litecoin but has to do with having a conflict of interest.

He wrote at the time:

“it is conflict of interest for me to hold LTC and tweet about it because I have so much influence. I have always refrained from buying/selling LTC before or after my major tweets, but this is something only I know. And there will always be a doubt on whether any of my actions were to further my own personal wealth above the success of Litecoin and crypto-currency in general,”


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Author: Shrikar
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$62 Million LTC Transaction Settled for Just 50 Cents

Transaction fees are a very common topic in the cryptocurrency industry. Digital transactions are designed to be cheaper compared to bank wires. In the case of Litecoin, a new $62 million transaction was settled for just $0.50.

Low Litecoin Transaction Fees

Over the past few years, there has been plenty of Bitcoin-related scrutiny. Most of the concerns have to do with the network’s transaction fees. Today, the average fee for sending BTC is just under $0.37 – a far cry from late December 2017’s $25 – $55 average fees.

In the case of Litecoin, fees have almost always remained low – even for very large transactions. Recently, one user transferred $62 million worth of Litecoin for just $0.50 in fees. With a bank wire, fees can be as high as $45, if not more, because of the vast amount of money being moved around. This makes cryptocurrencies a cheap and acceptable option for global money transfers in this digital age.

The transaction itself is part of moving the funds to a multisignature account. Wallet security is critical in the cryptocurrency industry. This “upgrade’ confirms the funds’ owner wants to keep the money safe at all times. With such low transaction fees, there is no reason not to explore additionally secure options. Despite having numerous transaction inputs, the total cost did not exceed $0.45. A very strong sign of how efficient Litecoin can be when moving vast amounts of money over the network.

Cheaper Transactions are Possible

This news comes at an interesting time as several weeks ago a Bitcoin transaction worth $194m was broadcasted for $0.10. This makes Bitcoin more efficient than Litecoin in this regard. Every transaction on this level only represents a snapshot of the actual transaction fees. When timed correctly, money can be moved at nearly no extra cost.

The war for cheaper transaction fees is still ongoing. Overall costs have declined for all currencies bar Bitcoin Cash in recent weeks. That is a bit surprising, as Bitcoin Cash is often touted as the “better” Bitcoin. Its larger block sizes and faster transaction times have their own merit. However, fees have risen to $0.0285 in recent days. That is cheaper than Bitcoin but more expensive than Ethereum, Litecoin, and XRP.

Bitcoin developers still have their work cut out for them. The average transaction fee for Bitcoin still sits at $0.36. That is far too high compared to the other top cryptocurrencies. This is a steep decline from transaction fees of $1.30 in September 2018, though As the Lightning Network becomes more commonplace, these fees are expected to drop even further. Ethereum is also slated to undergo a scaling fork in 2019.


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Author: JP BUNTINX
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Bitcoin and Altcoins Consolidating Gains Above Key Supports

Bitcoin price
A fresh correction wave was initiated from well above the USD 6,600 level in bitcoin price . BTC/USD traded below the USD 6,575 level and tested the USD 6,550 support (the previous resistance). The price is currently consolidating and it seems like there could be a renewed upside above USD 6,580 in the near term.
On the flip side, if there is an extended downside correction, the price may perhaps test the next major support at USD 6,500. The overall price action is positive as long as bitcoin is above USD 6,550 and USD 6,500.

Ethereum price
Ethereum price also corrected lower recently and traded below the USD 220 level. ETH/USD tested the USD 215 level and it is currently consolidating. If it stays above USD 215, there might be an upward move above the USD 220 level.
If not, the price could slide further towards the USD 208 support, which was a significant barrier for buyers previously and now it is likely to hold losses.

Bitcoin cash and ripple price
Bitcoin cash price started a sharp downside correction below the USD 600 level. BCH/USD is down more than 4% and it is currently heading towards the USD 570 support. If there are further losses, the price may well test the USD 550 support. On the upside, an initial resistance is near USD 600, above which the price may retest USD 630.
Ripple price is slightly under pressure as it failed to stay above the USD 0.530 and USD 0.525 support levels. The next major support awaits near USD 0.500 where XRP/USD will most likely find a strong buying interest. On the upside, the previous supports at USD 0.525 and USD 0.530 might act as resistances.

Other altcoins market today
Despite the recent correction in bitcoin, a few small cap altcoins traded higher between 5%-8%, including POLY, WAX, BAT and NPXS. Out of these, POLY is up around 8% and WAX gained roughly 7%.
To sum up, it seems like bitcoin is correcting recent gains, but there are many supports on the downside between USD 6,560 and USD 6,500. If there is a downside break below USD 6,500, there are chances of a sharp decline in BTC/USD. Similarly, ethereum must stay above the USD 208 and USD 202 support levels. If not, there is a risk of a fresh bearish wave below USD 200.


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Author: Aayush Jindal
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Bitcoin and Ethereum Stuck in a Tiny Range

During the past few days, bitcoin traded in a tight range above the USD 6,400 support. BTC/USD climbed above the USD 6,500 resistance, but it failed to gain momentum above the USD 6,550 and USD 6,600 resistances. Similarly, ethereum price traded in a range above the USD 200 handle. ETH/USD needs to surpass the USD 208 and USD 210 hurdles to move into a bullish zone. Overall, the current price action (UTC 08:20 AM) indicates that both major cryptocurrencies are preparing for the next big move, which is likely to ignite a lot of volatility in the market.

Bitcoin price
There is a strong support formed near the USD 6,400 level in bitcoin price . BTC/USD is currently trading in a USD 100 range, with an immediate resistance at USD 6,490. A successful close above the USD 6,490 and USD 6,500 resistance levels is likely to set the pace for an extended upward move towards USD 6,550. However, the price must break the USD 6,600 weekly resistance for a larger rally in the coming days.
On the flip side, an immediate support is at USD 6,450. If the price breaks the USD 6,450 support, it could visit the main weekly support near USD 6,400, below which sellers are likely to take control.

Ethereum price
Ethereum price is confined in a range above the USD 200 support. ETH/USD is facing many hurdles near the USD 206, USD 208 and USD 210 levels. Therefore, a daily close above USD 210 is needed for an upside acceleration.
On the other hand, if there is a downside break below the USD 200 support, the price is likely to decline sharply towards the USD 185 pivot level.

Bitcoin cash and ripple price
Bitcoin cash price is currently consolidating below the USD 440 resistance, which was a support earlier. BCH/USD must break the USD 450 and USD 460 weekly resistances to climb towards USD 500 this week. If not, there is a risk of a downside break towards the USD 400 support in the near term.
Ripple price is trading with a bullish bias above the USD 0.440 and USD 0.450 supports. As long as XRP/USD is holding gains above the USD 0.440 support, it is likely to trade higher towards USD 0.500 and USD 0.520.

Other altcoins market today
Most altcoins traded in a range during the past few hours, but a few were up between 5%-15%, including NXT, POLY, MGO, FUN, IOST, REP and PAY.
Overall, bitcoin and ethereum are stuck in a tiny range and it seems like both are preparing for the next big move. If BTC/USD surpasses the USD 6,600 resistance, there could be a rally towards USD 7,000 or USD 7,200. Conversely, a daily close below USD 6,400 may well push the price towards USD 6,000 and USD 5,800.


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Author: Aayush Jindal
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Litecoin Fees to be Reduced 10x to “Half a Cent” with the LTC Core 0.17 Release

Litecoin fees are about to get reduced 10 times with the new Litecoin Core launch due to a surge in its fees after Litecoin hit its all-time high (ATH) at $320.

Litecoin to Lower Fees to “half a cent” with the Next Litecoin Core Release

The upcoming launch of Litecoin Core 0.17 will reduce the network fees about 10 times. According to the latest medium release:

“The average transaction fee as it stands on the network is Ł0.001 per KB or ~$0.05. With the announced changes that will soon become Ł0.0001 per KB or ~ $0.005, half a cent and back at 2015 levels.”

The Litecoin fees have been constantly on a dropping down with a few exceptions on the way as shown in the chart below:

Litecoin Avg. Transaction Fee historical chart, Source: bitinfocharts

This move has been taken by the core developers in response to the constant hike in the fees to over $0.10 on average per transaction and then further jumping just above $1 as the Litecoin price peaked at $320. Currently, at about $53, Litecoin is down by 85 percent from its all-time high (ATH) in January beginning.

Adrian Gallagher, the core lead developer further shared about this development:

“To encourage more adoption and usage of Litecoin, I think lowering the fees are good thing. We’re not even close to block limits and the block size on disk is pretty small (20GB) relative to other coins. Technically people can already adjust their fees right now to the one above because of the more relaxed min relay/dust relay fee. I also don’t think it will be too much longer before this bear market is over (3–6 months) so it will lay down the foundation for a fee rate which we can grow into proactively rather than reactively.”


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Author: Abhinav Agarwal
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Litecoin trading on Gemini’s platform goes live tomorrow

Last week Gemini announced that it would be supporting Litecoin as a token on its platform. This week, the altcoin will be available officially for trading.

In case you missed the news last week, cryptocurrency trade exchange Gemini is going to be offering for Litecoin.

The trading of the Bitcoin hardfork will commence tomorrow 16th October at 09h30 EDT.

Further detailed in a post by the VP of engineering at Gemini Eric Winer, users could start depositing Litecion into their Gemini accounts over the weekend. Winer explained:

“Litecoin (LTC) is the fourth digital asset available on the Gemini platform, joining Bitcoin, Ether, and Zcash. As a result, we will be offering the following new trading pairs and services”

With regards to other tokens, Winer also stated that the team had planned to announce Bitcoin Cash support at the same time as the Litecoin announcement. He explained that the controversial Bitcoin Cash has been receiving a great deal of uncertainty within the altcoin’s community:

There has been much uncertainty lately within the Bitcoin Cash community about one or more possible hard forks arriving in mid-November. Some of those forks lack the replay protection feature that would be required for Gemini to safely support Bitcoin Cash. Because of this situation, we are delaying our launch of Bitcoin Cash deposits, withdrawals, and trading until late November, after the forks have passed and we can evaluate the health of the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.”


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Author: REBECCA LEIGHTON
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Litecoin Price Makes Slight Gain in Wake of Gemini Listing

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has announced that effective Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9:30am EDT, customers will be able to deposit litecoin into their Gemini accounts. The New York-based startup headed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss made the announcement on Friday via a post on its website.

Anticipated Market Impact

In the announcement post, Eric Winer, Gemini’s VP of engineering, stated that traders can begin their transactions using litecoin from Tuesday, Oct. 16, and this development was done to further push the vision of making the platform the foremost trading and exchange program in the world. Litecoin (LTC) is the fourth digital asset available on the Gemini platform, joining bitcoin, ether, and zcash.

Litecoin is a widely traded asset and goes through regular boom and bust cycles. It is a fork of the original Bitcoin source code and it nurses the ambition to propagate the use of cryptocurrency for daily transactions, similar to the payment methods of the traditional banking system (e.g., cash, debit, and credit cards) by offering faster and cheaper transactions than the Bitcoin blockchain.

Listing on the Gemini marketplace will see litecoin interact with Wall Street movers and shakers, which will also boost the coin’s interaction with the fiat economy. The anticipated pairing with the greenback will see a spike in LTC liquidity and a diversification of investment for its holders since this is an ideal gateway to fiat.

LTC Price Sees Slight Uptick

LTC/USD | Bitfinex

The litecoin price saw a slight uptick on Friday following its listing on Gemini, which currently ranks as the world’s 39th-largest exchange, rising about two percent to a present value of $53.79. Contrast that with 0x, which rose nearly 20 percent following its listing on Coinbase Pro yesterday.

Gemini Sees Growth, Plans Bitcoin Cash Integration

According to Winer, Gemini’s user base has increased substantially for both retail and institutional investors, based on its status as one of the most highly regulated exchanges under the NYDFS “BitLicense” framework.

He said:

“Though we have a steady increase into our user base and have plans to take on more crypto currencies, we still continue to grow with a “security-first” approach. We have worked closely with the appropriate regulatory bodies to gain approval for litecoin trading and custody service and we are excited to provide our customers with a safe, secure, and compliant method to buy, sell, and store these digital assets.”

The announcement also mentioned that there is a plan to offer support for bitcoin cash (BCH). This has been put on hold because of uncertainty within the bitcoin cash community about one or more possible hard forks arriving in mid-November. He said a proper announcement in this regard will be made in the latter part of November after the potential fork dates have passed and a proper evaluation has been performed on the health of the bitcoin cash ecosystem.

Featured Image from Shutterstock. Charts from TradingView.


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Author: David Hundeyin
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Abra Now Lets You Invest in a Cryptocurrency Index Fund Token

Cryptocurrency wallet and exchange Abra have unveiled their collaboration with Bitwise Asset Management, allowing Abra customers to invest in a cryptocurrency token that tracks Bitwise’s large-cap crypto index.

Abra, Asset Manager Collaborate on Cryptocurrency Index Token

Users of the Abra app now have the ability to buy and sell the Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Token (BIT10). BIT10 is a cryptocurrency token based on the Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index run by Bitwise Asset Management. The BIT10 token enables customers to own tokens whose value tracks an index of 10 different large cap cryptocurrencies. Professionals at Bitwise oversee the index the token is based on, ensuring that the combination of crypto assets is up to specifications.

BIT10 is only available on the Abra app, with each token representing price action based on the above-mentioned index of 10 separate crypto assets. The 10 assets are picked by Bitwise, according to their status as high market cap assets. The chosen assets are managed and adjusted on a monthly basis, so as to provide the most effective combination of criteria.

There is only a $5 minimum investment in the BIT10, with no limitations as far as time periods for buying and selling. The index token provides the public with an accessible way to become involved in cryptocurrency markets, and gain exposure to the price movements of many different significant crypto assets, without the need for time-consuming research and constant portfolio management.

Matched with Simplicity and Accessibility

Source: Abra/Twitter

Pairing BIT10 with the Abra platform may prove to be an optimal combination for gaining further mainstream interest — which the crypto space needs more of at the moment, based on a report showing that only 8% of Americans and 9% of Europeans owned some type of cryptocurrency as of March 2018.

The Abra app is a place where individuals can go to easily buy or trade 28 different cryptocurrencies via 50 different fiat currency options. Abra envisions “an open, global financial system that is easily accessible to everyone.” Abra also utilizes the ability for users to control their own private keys — unlike many cryptocurrency investing apps — giving them added security and control.

Cryptocurrencies are complicated, with much of the public seeing the whole sector as confusing. Abra places importance on simplicity, with a greater likelihood of public involvement if things are clear and straightforward. Abra Founder and CEO Bill Barhydt explained, “We created the BIT10 token to allow greater access to cryptocurrency investing by making the experience simple and accessible.”

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that simplicity helps market growth. Apple, for example, has heartily shown the effectiveness of simplicity time and time again, taking a potentially confusing device like the smartphone, and making it mainstream, achieving a profit share of four times the size of its closest smartphone competitor.


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