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Bitcoin Businesses The Almighty Buck

NYTimes: Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment. (nytimes.com) 117

An anonymous reader shares a report: The price of Bitcoin has hit record highs in recent months, more than doubling in price since the start of the year. Despite these gains, Bitcoin is on the verge of losing its position as the dominant virtual currency. The value of Ether, the digital money that lives on an upstart network known as Ethereum, has risen an eye-popping 4,500 percent since the beginning of the year (alternative source). With the recent price increases, the outstanding units of the Ether currency were worth around $34 billion as of Monday -- or 82 percent as much as all the Bitcoin in existence. At the beginning of the year, Ether was only about 5 percent as valuable as Bitcoin. The sudden rise of Ethereum highlights how volatile the bewildering world of virtual currency remains, where lines of computer code can be spun into billions of dollars in a matter of months. [...] The two-year old system has picked up backing from both tech geeks and big corporate names like JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft, which are excited about Ethereum's goal of providing not only a digital currency but also a new type of global computing network, which generally requires Ether to use. In a recent survey of 1,100 virtual currency users, 94 percent were positive about the state of Ethereum, while only 49 percent were positive about Bitcoin, the industry publication CoinDesk said this month.
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NYTimes: Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment.

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:08AM (#54654495)

    Buy tulip bulbs now! Get rich quick!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ether is an entirely new and DIFFERENT SORT OF tulip. Nothing to with that boring old Buttcoin tulip.
      I pledge 100 kg of cheese for the next batch!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bitcoin has and is being used as well as expanding into the real world.

      Ether seems more like an investment with the hype of a startup but has no products. More like a pyramid scheme... there must be many pyramid scammers trying to get their own block chain... IT WILL HAPPEN. Maybe not Ether... but somebody will win the honor of 1st to do the scam.

      Most people are thinking currency investment trading and simply having your coins get higher value than bitcoin doesn't mean a great deal.

    • Another kleptocurrency? The way things are going we'll all have one of our own.

  • Clearly.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:09AM (#54654499)

    The rich have way too much money sitting around. They're investing in nothing backed by nothing on the promise that it might one day be something. It's insane. What ever happened to investing in building something?

    • Re:Clearly.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:24AM (#54654611)
      Has little to do with the rich. Unless you consider the rich to be :

      Chinese who have spare cash and don't want to put it into a bank account (which can be seized) or buy an apartment in a ghost town.
      Indians who lost a lot of their saved (off-the-books) cash. (You may like the idea of reducing corruption and the black-market economy ... but not everyone agrees with you. And black market economy includes the poor okra farmer selling his own veggies.)
      Or perhaps you missed the socialist paradise of Venezuela? What if you feared that?
      Or maybe you lived in Egypt or Cyprus and you had problems accessing your own "safe","secure", "bank-held" currency.
      Or maybe you live in places where these events no longer look far-fetched to you and you want to squirrel a little away.

      It's not the big movers who are raising the price of BTC. It's the small guys.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        And all of these people will learn the hard lesson that a deflationary currency is bad for their economy. If people really start to switch to deflationary e-currencies on a large scale, we really might see a world economic crash. It's somewhat insane that people pushing ecoins make headlines about how much they have increased in value, which, it turns out, is actually a very bad thing for a currency because it discourages investment in things that have real economic value. i.e. it destabilizes the econom

    • They're investing in nothing backed by nothing on the promise that it might one day be something

      They are investing in having an entry added to the majority of the many copies of the block-chain that uniquely identifies them as owning a quantity of nothing tangible. It is backed by cryptography and the greed of all the people who are trying furiously to mine more of them. There are currently many people willing to trade these "nothings" for a lot of money, especially since they offer many unique properties and some guarantees that are not available in traditional bank notes. Which component of all this

      • They are speculating with something that they have two contradictory hopes about:

        1. They hope that the value skyrockets so that the value of the amount of it that they have will increase dramatically.

        2. They hope that the value will stabilize enough that people will start using it as a currency.

        Basically, they are hoping that somebody else will be more stupid than they are.

        • I'll settle for rising asymptotically to a stable level. And plenty of people are already using it as a currency. The network is doing about 3-4 transactions per second right now. Compare to Western Union which does 31 transactions per second, it's not a huge gap.

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      When BTC first got started, I mined a bunch of them. Well, not a bunch - like 28. I then forgot about them - for quite a while. Finally, they hit like $450 each and I wasn't sure how I'd realize the income and pay taxes on it, so I got pretty high and donated them to EFF. I don't want to say that I regret my choice. No, I don't want to say that.

      I have changed my view, however. If you need money and have spare compute power, get in early and hoard 'em. They probably won't all pan out, but it's seems like a r

      • According to Google, 1 Bitcoin equals 2696.84 US Dollars. Multiplied by 28 equals 75511.52 US Dollars.

        You're welcome.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I'm still not really regretting it. I probably would still donate it, even at the current price. My accountant is an angry old lady. She has yelled at me, multiple times. It is easier just to donate it - then I never have to tell her. I just can't write it off.

          • If you mined those coins, then there's no way to tie them to you. Why worry about taxes?

            In any case, taxes should be easy to calculate. Use either the short-term or long-term capital gains rate against the current value of the coins (since you acquired them for $0).

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Ethics. I don't mind paying taxes. I kinda like paying some of them.

            • If you mined those coins, then there's no way to tie them to you. Why worry about taxes?

              Nobody's coming after him because of bitcoin. If he'd kept the bitcoin and sold it for $75K, the IRS would be very interested in his acquisition of that amount in dollars.

    • The rich have way too much money sitting around.

      You don't get to be rich by letting your money "sit around".

      What ever happened to investing in building something?

      In America, the NIMBYs will not let you build anything.

      • You don't get to be rich by letting your money "sit around".

        If you let it "sit around" in an S&P 500 index fund for a very long time, you can.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's becoming increasingly difficult to mine bitcoins and is becoming less profitable. I suspect that Ethereum mining can still be profitable and a lot of the activity is based on people mining and then needing to trade/buy/etc. to use the mined currency.

  • Good Day To You Sir! (Score:1, Informative)

    by airrage ( 514164 )

    I seem to only comment every few years...so just thought I would log back in and say hello. I shall now go back to my experiments. Good day to you sir!!

    by airrage on Thursday June 18, 2015 @04:10PM...
    by airrage on Friday January 21, 2011 @04:26PM

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anything the banks invest/invent or have a big stake in might just as well be avoided. Ether is one such thing. Bitcoin can be improved, and it's the only 'free and open' currency out there without stupid cocks being in control of it.

  • we already had this slashvertisement

    i don't think this is even sourceforge's doing, it's just slipping in submitted

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Baron_Yam ( 643147 )

      I do my best to mark every crypto/blockchain submission in the firehose as 'stupid' - because everyone here should have enough brain cells to put together to have figured out why it's all shit that can't possibly work.

      Most of the posters here do nothing but mock these submissions, though there are a few dedicated cultists... and even so they tend to have low discussion participation levels.

      Yet Slashdot keeps approving the stupid things. There must be a cryptocultist among the editors. I can't imagine it's

      • Slashdot was recently purchased by a group who have high hopes of deriving revenue from operating it. It hasn't been a 'hobby' of the owner for well over a decade, but the domain name and database of user IDs keeps getting passed around to 'interested operators' trying to accomplish various things from owning it.

        Right now it appears to be operated by clickbait operators.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't Ethereum the digital currency that arbitrarily rolled back transactions because they didn't like them? Or maybe they liked them too much? In any case, even the ability to roll back transactions make this a non-starter.

  • You won't be able to use your currency because there will be so many types, that you'll first hafta get it converted.

  • Video card prices... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:37AM (#54654709)

    There's a new gold rush in crypto currency that is causing video card prices to go up as everyone and their mother tries to mine the latest and greatest from the ether.

    http://www.pcgamer.com/it-looks-like-cryptocurrency-mining-is-driving-up-nvidia-graphics-card-prices-too/ [pcgamer.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Move over Etherium: Latinum is here to stay.

  • My brain is still spinning!

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tx ( 96709 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:42AM (#54654735) Journal

    Bitcoin is on the verge of losing its position as the dominant virtual currency

    In terms of actually being used as a currency, i.e. people using it to buy and sell things, I don't think I've personally come across anywhere accepting Ether. I've bought software, VPN service, pharmaceuticals (no, the legal kind) with bitcoin, which seems to be widely accepted. Surely before you can say that Ether is replacing bitcoin as the "dominant virtual currency", it would have to gain widespread acceptance as an actual currency, rather than just something to get speculators excited.

    • Long term I see Bitcoin being used as 'currency' the same way gold is used. With the size of the blockchain and amount of time it takes to do much on Bitcoin it's much more useful as a 'gold'.

      If Ether has speed advantage it'll start being used for transactions. Hopefully Ether (or competitor) will take off as a digital cash with faster transactions. Imagine trying to checkout of a grocery store with Bitcoin or waiting around with your independent pharmaceutical representative while you wait for Bitcoin conf

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bitcoin transaction fees are nearly $4 per transaction now from what I've read. This is due to the fact that the network is at capacity. Nobody is going to continue to use it at those prices. Ethereum can handle more transactions per second and block times are only 15 seconds as opposed to Bitcoin's 10 minutes. Ethereum is superior as a payment system at the moment.

  • Pump and Dump (Score:5, Interesting)

    by randomErr ( 172078 ) <ervin DOT kosch AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:46AM (#54654763) Journal

    This kind of jump, especially against an well established currency sounds like a Soros-esce pump and dump scheme. The idea is simple:

    * Buy a bunch of currency which drives the cost of buying more currency up with another currency or precious metals
    * When the currency hits its peak sell off all of your stock of said currency
    * When the currency crashes buy back your stock back for pennies on the dollar or what every your currency's equivalent is.
    * Rinse and repeat until you become an enemy of the state

    Give it 6 months and you'll see a huge crash and then it will normalize at about 1/3 of its current value. After that look for gradual but steady increase in price.

    • > Give it 6 months and you'll see a huge crash and then it will normalize at about 1/3 of its current value. After that look for gradual but steady increase in price.

      Exactly. We even have a graph of the bubble. [wikimedia.org]

      I guess we're in the mania phase.

      --
      Oh look, it is Bitcoin Tuesday [slashdot.org] ... starting back in 2015.

      • I guess we're in the mania phase.

        Hearing the amount of negativity, I guess we're still in the early adopter phase. Sure, there's a certain amount of mania, but still very limited as a percentage of the population.

    • Rinse and repeat until you become wealthy and respectable.

      FTFY.

  • bullets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @11:51AM (#54654793)

    Notes on Ethereum
    -Key man risk of 22 year old kid. Benign dictatorship akin to Torvalds.
    -Supply isn't limited like Bitcoin, annual inflation.
    -Currently hugely overvalued due to ICOs, not to say it doesn't have some value .Money is what people believe it is.
    -Its blockchain is huge, bloated and doesn't currently scale very well. Network clogs quickly.
    -Smart contracts are promising, interesting technology that have some very useful cases but very specific cases. Prediction markets are gold for this. Put a blockchain on it is the new put a bird on it.
    -Enterprise use is mostly vapourware. Banks all trust each other and know each other. The Gov knows itself. They just need better databases. Consultants and innovation theatre practioners looking for a passing bandwagon. What back office is left to automate?
    -Premine for the insiders
    -Not immutable. Read about the ideological split between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Gresham's law gone wild. The bad money turned into the good money and good money the bad. Could be argued Etheruem should actually be $20.
    -Bitcoin has been a ridiculous bubble for 9 years. Keep thinking that. If it fell to $1000 the longterm trend still holds. Better money will win.

    • Re:bullets (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ras ( 84108 ) <russell-slashdot@s t u a r t . id.au> on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @06:37PM (#54657583) Homepage

      After a few 1000 words of crap, we finally get a post that sums up the situation. I wish I had mod points.

      You could have expanded on the ICO's though. They are driving this current bubble. ICO's are to ETH as Bitcoin is to real currency, which is to say where Bitcoin is a virtual currency whose value is measured in fiat currencies, the value of ICO's is measured in ETH's. Since ETH's is a virtual currency I guess you could say ICO's are virtual-virtual, or virtual squared. They are an idea within an idea - they are about as real as a virtualised CPU in Minecraft.

      Perhaps one example will make it obvious what is going on. Golem is an Ethereum ICO, whose ambition is to become a market place for CPU cycles. They an awesome looking web site [golem.network] (if you are into CSS candy), but no working software, no hardware, no users. They put a ETH market cap on themselves of $302M.

      Here is a list of the top 10 ICO's [medium.com]. Being merely an idea expressed in a virtual space, ICO's can breed at the rate of rumours in a girl's school. Which is pretty much what is happening, and it's driving an Ethereum bubble.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @12:26PM (#54655001)

    (Tin-foil hatter) "There's a global conspiracy to keep the US dollar strong! Billionaires man, the 1% control it all! And they lobby to maintain anonymous cash to fund illegal cartels! Millions laundered every day! I mean, have you ever seen something so artificially inflated before? There's nothing else that can even touch that shit!"

    (Cryptocurrency) "Hold my beer and watch this."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unlike Bitcoin it is not decentralized

  • Ethereum is a good step on the road towards a block-chained cryptocurrency, that will actually take off... but I don't think it currently has what it takes. The next step, which learns from Ethereum, and addresses problems, might be the one that makes it big.
  • What I have learned. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    - Not only are 4+ GB graphics card (GPU) prices going up, high wattage power source units (PSU) are on back order and prices are going up. (2 GB GPUs and lower have hit obsolescence with popular coins like Ethereum).

    - Asic mining has made Bitcoin mining all but irrelevant for the Average Joe. But speculating, trading, holding, mining, and supporting other currencies that do not benefit from Asic mining and trading some to hedge your bet with Bitcoin is possible. Bitcoin is still the gold standard. As it

  • Until somebody can solve the big problem with all digital currencies they are destined to be technological playgrounds and not true digital currencies.

    Currently all digital currencies are extremely concentrated in very hands, much more so than even fiat currencies.

  • By which I mean, they're not environmentally sustainable. The current volume of Bitcoin is $9 billion, and it's estimated that the power used to mine the coins and keep the currency afloat requires the full output of a mid-sized nuclear power plant. There's no reason to think the Ether would be any different.

    The cryptocurrency that wins is the one that uses "proof of useful work" instead of "proof of work" to secure the blockchain. One such scheme is REM [iacr.org], but even that requires trusting Intel.
  • by kiminator ( 4939943 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @05:17PM (#54657039)

    A currency is most useful if its value is stable: if the dollar in my pocket will buy me roughly the same amount of goods a month or a year from now, then that dollar is useful because I can make a promise for an exchange a year from now based on that dollar.

    Imagine, for example, if your rent had been defined in terms of a number of Bitcoins per month for a year. The price of Bitcoins fluctuations so much over the course of a year that you might end up paying vastly more for rent by the end of the year than you paid at the start, or conversely you might end up paying vastly less. No reasonable person or entity would dare writing a long-term contract based on Bitcoin. And the rapidly fluctuating values make it dubious for most products, as they'd have to readjust the value frequently.

    Maybe the concept of a blockchain could be useful as a medium of exchange, such that the buyer converts their money to Bitcoins and the seller converts it directly to the currency of their choice upon receipt. But I doubt it. It seems overly-complicated for the task.

    If Bitcoins crash, and Ethereum takes over, then it's only a matter of time before Ethereum crashes and the next cryptocurrency takes over. But none of these currencies will ever replace government-backed currencies. Because they can't assure stable value.

    • But none of these currencies will ever replace government-backed currencies. Because they can't assure stable value.

      So, how's that working for the Venezuelan Bolivar ?

  • Isn't it funny how almost all the upvoted posts are saying something like "crypto is crap, it's a mirage that's about to vanish!"

    Do we live in a world of deluded fools where only the commenters on Slashdot can see that the emperor has no clothes? There may be a lot of hype around crypto, but almost everyone you talk to has a negative view and says it's a balloon that's about to pop.

    So... who are the idiots buying this stuff that don't have the brains of the highly elite Slashdot readership? Why can't they

  • So you would make money when they have their massive collapse.

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