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Thread: All Information About Bitcoin

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    Bitcoin Day' Proves Argentina's Crypto Love Is Alive and Well

    Bitcoin may not yet have "conquered" Argentina, but it's certainly making in-roads.

    That much was obvious last week at "Bitcoin Day" in Buenos Aires, where 500 attendees took part in an event aimed at serving a growing demand for information on the technology. Held in the heart of the city's Almagro neighborhood, the conference served a reminder of how the country is still the leader in regional adoption, even if other developments in Latin America (like Colombia's possible petro cryptocurrency) may have stolen the spotlight of late.

    For example, Chile's Guillermo Torrealba, CEO of the cryptocurrency services firm Buda, contrasted his efforts to achieve banking support in Argentina with experiences elsewhere.

    "There are even banks here that have executives that are exclusively dedicated to cryptocurrency companies," Torrealba said. Compared with his home country, the situation, he said, is night and day.

    "In Chile last week, all commercial banks have decided to close the accounts to all the cryptocurrency companies at the same time. They killed the industry," he told CoinDesk.

    Still, that's not to say there isn't optimism that other countries will follow in Argentina's progressive footsteps.

    Torrealba expects government or judicial intervention to ultimately end the blockade, asserting that countries like Peru are already pursuing a different strategy, seeking to observe and learn.

    "We believe that it is not long before the traditional financial industry will come looking for us in order to begin to use our infrastructure," he said.
    But in Argentina, that might already be happening.

    Gonzalo Blousson, CEO of digital notary startup Signatura, for one, acknowledged progress is being made. Already, Argentina is registering official bulletins on the blockchain, a development he credits to a vibrant local community that has been evangelizing for the tech for years.

    He told CoinDesk:

    "We used to call the companies to tell them what blockchain is about. Today they call us to improve their processes."

    That said, there was a significant amount of interest in another question - if and when the bitcoin price (down more than 60 percent on the year) would begin to rise again.

    For this, a talk by Carlos Maslaton, head of treasury at Xapo, satisfied, with dialogue on how financial entities are wary of bitcoin because it "generates competition" in the financial markets.

    But he notably went on to urge banks to "open their minds a little," suggesting that the crowd in attendance was reason enough that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are, if nothing else, a new market for their services. (Maslaton said he wasn't expecting such a strong turnout after the decrease of bitcoin price.)

    Still, if Maslaton doesn't see banks as the enemy, he believes bitcoin still has regional threats.

    Asked by a Venezuelan about his opinion on the petro cryptocurrency, he went so far as to call it a "fraud."

    "No currency of these characteristics can be issued by a government. Precisely the idea of cryptocurrencies is that it they are not to be issued by a government," he said, adding:

    "In the hands of Maduro and the criminals who run Venezuela, what else can I say..."

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    Bitcoin Price Moves Closer to $7,000 as Cryptocurrency Market Posts Small Gain

    The bitcoin price has been relatively stable over the past 48 hours, in the $6,800 region. After a minor drop from $7,100 to $6,700, the bitcoin price has been able to sustain its resistance level, rebounding from its decline.



    Bitcoin to $7,000

    At this juncture, a potential move to the $7,000 region for bitcoin is likely, given that the dominant cryptocurrency has avoided a further drop from the $6,700 mark to $6,500. On April 9, traders expected the bitcoin price to drop down to the low $6,000 region, if bitcoin dropped to $6,700. But, bitcoin was able to prevent a drop to $6,500 and rebound from that level.

    For bitcoin investors, a key level to watch is $7,200, as breaking that support level could lead to a potential price surge to $7,500, a level that is still considered as a gateway for bitcoin to the $8,000 region. Bitcoin has avoided a big drop in value by rebounding from its recent price fall.

    While the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Williams’ Percent Range point signify oversold conditions for bitcoin, the two momentum oscillators have shown oversold conditions over the past two weeks. Hence, during this period of extreme volatility, the RSI and WPR can be considered as useful indicators, but are not sufficient to predict the price trend of bitcoin.

    Exponential Moving Average (EMA) suggests an upward trend in the short-term, if the bitcoin price can hold its current level at $6,850. Volumes on major cryptocurrency exchanges including Bitfinex, Bithumb, and Binance (BTC-to-USDT) remain relatively strong, demonstrating that the demand towards bitcoin is growing slowly.

    For several weeks already, technical analysis has pointed towards a bear cycle for bitcoin, at least in the short-term. For the most part, that has been true, given that the price of bitcoin has declined from $7,300 to $6,850 within a 7-day period.

    Startups, cryptocurrency exchanges, and institutional investors have begun to take advantage of this bear cycle, to further increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

    This week, Roger Ver revealed a demonstration of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb’s digital currency kiosks installed all across South Korea at restaurants, cafes, and stores. The kiosks of Bithumb accept 11 cryptocurrencies listed on the platform, including bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, Ripple, and more.

    Increasing Adoption

    At the moment, in spite of the rapidly growing adoption of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum as legitimate payment methods, it is difficult to spend digital currencies directly at stores and merchants, without secondary products like debit cards.

    In the mid-term, the installation of cryptocurrency kiosks and ATMs by influential companies like Bithumb to further improve the adoption of cryptocurrencies and allow merchants to directly accept digital currencies will significantly increase the value of cryptocurrencies as decentralized financial networks and a medium of exchange.
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    Above $8K: Bitcoin Aims Higher After Price Breakout

    Bitcoin (BTC) clocked a 2.5-week high of $8,225 on Bitfinex earlier today and could soon scale the $8,500 mark, the technical charts indicate.

    Prices jumped close to 14 percent on Thursday and moved above the $8,000 mark for the first time since March, according to Bitfinex. The sharp rally was reportedly fueled by the unwinding of the short trades (also known as short liquidation).

    Moreover, BTC margin shorts (sell BTC trades) on Bitfinex stood well above December highs. As such, there was always a risk of short liquidation and bitcoin price rise. That said, the margin longs (buy BTC) registered a decline as well, thus putting a question mark on the sustainability of gains.

    However, volume analysis suggests the rally is here to stay. The total trading volume across all exchanges jumped above $8 billion yesterday, according to CoinMarketCap. Also, the trading volume on Bitfinex hit a two-week high.

    Further, the price chart analysis indicates a short-term bearish-to-bullish trend change, so, the cryptocurrency looks set to extend the rally. As of writing, bitcoin is changing hands at $8,100 on Bitfinex - up 18 percent on a 24-hour basis.

    BTC closed yesterday above $7,500, confirming a double bottom bullish breakout and the falling wedge reversal (bullish pattern). The breakout was also backed by strong volumes.

    Momentum studies show a 5-day moving average (MA) and 10-day MA trending north, indicating bullish setup. The relative strength index (RSI) has moved above 50.00 (into the bullish territory).

    So, the tide has turned in favor of the bulls, at least for the short-term.

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    Resistance Ahead: Bitcoin Bulls Must Break $8,500

    A move above resistance at $8,500 would provide confirmation bitcoin's bear market has ended, the technical charts indicate.

    Over the weekend, the cryptocurrency clocked a three-week high of $8,458 on Bitfinex, adding credence to the short-term bull reversal confirmed last Thursday. Further, the 30 percent rally from $6,425 (April 1 low) proved that the much-feared "death cross" indicator was in fact a bear trap.

    Still, the job is only part done, as bitcoin (BTC) has yet to violate the descending trendline established since Dec. 17.

    As seen in the chart above, the descending trendline, representing a series of lower price highs over the last four months, is still intact. The trendline hurdle is seen around $8,500. The 50-day moving average (MA) is also lined up at 8,516.

    A high volume break above the confluence of the trendline and the 50-day MA could be considered the final confirmation of the bearish-to-bullish trend change.

    That said, BTC's first attempt to scale the key resistance failed - running out of steam at $8,415 and falling back to $8,100 this morning. As of writing, the ascending (bullish biased) 5-day MA is capping the downside in prices.

    There may be clues as to the reason for the retreat in the short-duration chart below.

    The bearish relative strength index (RSI) divergence is a slightly worrying sign for the bulls and could yield a drop to $7,700-$7,600 range.

    However, such a decline would likely be short-lived, as the 5- and 10-day MAs are biased to the bulls (trending north). While, last Thursday's over $1,000 rally confirmed a double bottom bullish reversal and falling wedge breakout (bullish pattern).

    Furthermore, the weekly chart below indicates that bitcoin has established the ascending 50-MA as a strong support, meaning that only a close below that line would revive the bearish view.

    Many traders/analysts are of the opinion that only a move above $11,700 would signal a long-term bull market reversal.

    While that may be true, a convincing move above $8,500 (falling trendline hurdle as seen in the daily chart) could be considered as an advance indicator of an impending break above $11,700. That's because the breach of the trendline hurdle would signal the end of the downtrend from bitcoin's December all-time high of around $20,000.

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    Amazon Sees Bitcoin Use Case in Data Marketplaces

    Amazon has won a patent for a streaming data marketplace that could allow subscribers to receive real-time cryptocurrency transaction data.

    The patent describes a system in which individuals and organizations can put streaming data feeds up for sale, to which customers can then subscribe. It was granted to Amazon Technologies, a subsidiary of the e-commerce and cloud computing giant, on Tuesday.

    Adding on to that base, the filing says, developers could "build real-time dashboards, capture exceptions and generate alerts, drive recommendations, and make other real-time business or operational decisions."

    Amazon's filing lists a number of potential use cases for the marketplace, including "web site click-streams, marketing and financial information, manufacturing instrumentation and social media, operational logs, metering data and so forth" - yet it includes one notable use case focused on the cryptocurrency market.

    It argues that individual data streams may not be so valuable on their own, using bitcoin and cryptocurrency transaction data as an example. Yet by combining this data with information from additional sources, "the data stream may become more valuable."

    The patent states:

    "For example, a group of electronic or internet retailers who accept bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream."
    The filing also mentions the marketplace's potential appeal to law enforcement.

    "For example, a law enforcement agency may be a customer and may desire to receive global bitcoin transactions, correlated by country, with ISP data to determine source IP addresses and shipping addresses that correlate to bitcoin addresses," Amazon wrote. "The agency may not want additional available enhancements such as local bank data records. The streaming data marketplace may price this desired data out per GB (gigabyte), for example, and the agency can start running analytics on the desired data using the analysis module."

    If Amazon decides to build the marketplace out, the centralized offering could pose a competitive threat to startups who are building similar yet more decentralized marketplaces.

    Henri Pihkala, CEO of Streamer - one of the startups in question - told CoinDesk in an email that "data marketplaces aren't a new idea," but that "what is novel, is creating a space that finally gives users ultimate control over the data they create through their actions in the digital realm."

    "If that's Amazon's ultimate vision, then bravo, but something might suggest it's not in the company's DNA to think like that," he added.

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    The Craigslist of Crypto Is Making Millions Where Bitcoin Is Needed Most

    $27 million.

    That's how much revenue LocalBitcoins is now generating annually off a business that started back in 2011, all with an investment of just a few thousand dollars. One of the longest-running and most controversial bitcoin companiess, the decidedly low-fi website now has roughly 20 employees worldwide and 4 million registered accounts.

    And reflecting the global tide, 40 percent of those users have signed up in the last six months.

    All that is according to Nikolaus Kangas, the CEO of the company, who started the venture with his brother Jeremias at a time when there weren't many options outside meeting up face-to-face to trade bitcoin. But the online portal continues to thrive even as the landscape of polished VC-backed exchanges (and even bleeding-edge decentralized alternatives) matures.

    Sure, the peer-to-peer marketplace accounts for only a sliver of worldwide bitcoin trading - last week, it handled $62 million in trades, according to Coin.Dance estimates. This may be less than a top-20 exchange does in a day, but the service is gaining traction in markets that are generally overlooked by mainstream providers.

    "We are the most global platform out there," Kangas said. "Our goal is to improve the global trade possibilities, to serve people who have limited access to financial services."

    And, it turns out, even though LocalBitcoins tends to be more expensive (since sellers set their own prices), the company is much needed.

    Indeed, Coin.Dance shows that Venezuelan transactions spiked to a new all-time high this month, as did usage in Tanzania and Peru - all countries that are struggling to recover from banking industry slumps. During the peak week of April 14, LocalBitcoins' trading volume in these three nations combined was worth roughly $55 million - more than six times the value of U.S. trading on LocalBitcoins in the same week.

    And when the Bank of Montreal restricted customers from making cryptocurrency purchases, LocalBitcoins activity in Canada spiked.

    It's these instances that make LocalBitcoins so valuable, even in an environment where growing awareness of institutional traders and their high-value swaps (average transactions on LocalBitcoins are just $450) are stealing the limelight.

    And that's paid off. The peer-to-peer exchange, which charges a 1 percent transaction fee, took in more than €22 million (roughly $27.2 million) of revenues in 2017, more than triple the amount from 2016, according to Kangas.

    Despite the market dip since December, when bitcoin's price peaked at $19,783, he said trading volume has continued to grow.

    Nikolaus told CoinDesk:

    "If you compare us to those big altcoin exchanges that were making $100 million per day or something like that last fall, we are kind of a small player. But I think we are solving a basic problem of how to buy or sell bitcoin for fiat currency."

    Not always easy
    And that basic problem was even more apparent in 2011 when the brothers first started in on the idea.

    Nikolas, a Finnish programmer, was fascinated by bitcoin - a new stateless currency meant to take power away from the banks, and maybe even governments. But every website he went to that provided services for Finnish buyers was awful in that they were hard to use. The Kangas brothers wanted to change that.

    So having saved up a year's worth of living expenses and with a few thousand dollars to spend on server fees, the brothers launched LocalBitcoins.

    Yet, the journey for LocalBitcoins hasn't always been easy.

    The company has tested several products over the years, including a merchant billing service in 2014, but none of those gained traction like its bread and butter - P2P exchange.

    On top of that, LocalBitcoins was the platform in the middle of more than half a dozen criminal cases associated with LocalBitcoins traders. For instance, last year, the U.S. Department of Justice sentenced a father-son duo of LocalBitcoins users, Michael and Randall Lord, to several years in prison for operating an unlicensed money transmission business.

    And Reddit is full of testimonies about scammers and hackers exploiting inexperienced LocalBitcoins' users.

    Nikolaus said the team is very concerned about criminal activity on the site and cooperates with authorities to investigate any crimes that use the platform.

    Yet, just like Craigslist horror stories haven't stopped people from using the internet marketplace, instances like these connected to LocalBitcoins haven't slowed the platform's usage. In fact, the $27.2 million in revenue LocalBitcoins took in last year was more than triple its profits from 2016.

    Even with bitcoin's recent price dip (after December highs close to $20,000 a coin), Nikolaus said trading volume continues to grow.

    Compliance for a non-bank
    That said, Nikolaus remains steadfast in its interest in staying on the right side of the law.

    "We want to follow all the current regulations and laws, but right now it is quite unclear," he said.

    What is clear, though, is that at least in the U.S. the company has to report certain transactions as suspicious. This includes transactions over $10,000 and any transactions set up obviously to circumvent that limit.

    Everything else - complying with local regulations - is up to the buyer and seller.

    In this way, LocalBitcoins has set itself up to be only a technology provider and not a complicit party to any unlawful actions users of its technology might participate in. This outsourcing of compliance responsibility is one of the reasons the company has been able to stay afloat, even in the face of competition from well-funded startups.

    Because LocalBitcoins facilitates generally trades of smaller amounts, they rarely attract scrutiny.

    For instance, when the Investor Protection Bureau of the New York Attorney General's Office sent an inquiry letter this month to more than a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini - exchanges that function more like banks -- P2P platforms like LocalBitcoins were notably absent from the dragnet.

    It seems it helps to be local.

    For example, Iranian blockchain researcher Ziya Sadr in Tehran routinely uses LocalBitcoins to sell cryptocurrency. Since sanctions keep Iranian banking customers from accessing foreign markets, he told CoinDesk, Iranian traders use LocalBitcoins to find local sellers who accept wire transfers from Iranian banks.

    As mentioned before, it's these kinds of markets, which are cut off from the rest of the world, that need P2P crypto exchanges like LocalBitcoins.

    Roman Snitko, CTO of a new P2P exchange called Hodl Hodl, noticed a similar trend on his platform. Russians, who lack centralized exchange options, were some of the first users to flock to Hodl Hodl.

    Speaking to this need, then, Snitko told CoinDesk:

    "In countries without centralized exchanges, I think P2P trading will play a significant role."

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    Bitcoin Resistance Rises to $8,460 After Unconvincing Breakout

    Bitcoin (BTC) saw small gains last night, but the weak move did little to further the bull case.

    The target resistance level to beat yesterday (long-term descending trendline) was $8,285. A high volume close (as per UTC) above that mark would have signaled a long-term bullish trend reversal.

    The daily chart below shows bitcoin closed yesterday at $8,273 on Bitfinex, meaning the breakout remained elusive. However, a new 24-hour candle (as per UTC) opened above the descending trendline support (seen today at $8,230), creating a false picture of a bullish breakout.

    So, while it appears as though the bull breakout has happened, the move is more of a sideways breach (unconvincing breakout) of the long-term trendline hurdle.

    As such, the major level to watch out for on the high side is now $8,460 (April 15 high). A convincing move above that level would establish higher highs and higher lows pattern (bullish setup) and would likely confirm a longer-term bull reversal.

    The risks of a pullback are still high, given the unconvincing breakout. A failure to hold above the descending trendline support (former resistance) of $8,230 could yield a drop to $7,823 (April 17 low).

    The key levels to watch out for in the next day or two are resistance at $8,460 (April 15 high) and support at $7,823 (April 17 low).

    As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $8,310 on Bitfinex.

    View
    A daily close (as per UTC) above $8,460 would open up upside towards $9,000-$9,177 (March 21 high).
    A move below $7,823 would indicate the rally from the April. 1 low of $6,425 has ended and could yield a sell-off to $7,200-$7,000.

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    How To Invest In Bitcoin

    Create A Bitcoin Wallet-Today buying and selling BTC is easier for beginners than ever.As your first step ,you'll want to sign up for something called a bitcoin wallet ..like it name suggest, your wallet is a digital account that makes it fairly easy and convenient for you to buy,store and sell your BTC-think of it like a universal Bitcoin checking account ..Unlike a checking account, however ,starting a Bitcoin wallet usually takes less than one minute,can be done online, and it's quite easy....Sites like coinbase.com,Coinmkt.com,Blockchain.info and Hivewallet.com are just a few examples of reputable ,reliable and user friendly sites for beginners to create their first wallet....
    Link Your Bank Account To Your Wallet-once you have a wallet, it's time for you to fill it with BTC. Typically, to do this, you'll need to supply the financial details for a real-world bank account just like you would if you were setting up a PayPal acount or signing up for another online payment service. Usually you'll need at least your Bank account number, the routing number for the account ,and your full name as it appears on the account. You can almost always find these on your online banking account or on your paper checks.... Note that you may also be asked to provide contact information ,like a phone number ...To be clear, linking your Bank account to your Bitcoin wallet is not any more of a risk to your personal security than it is to shop online ..Virtually, all reputable Bitcoin services make a point to advertise their high standards for security and encryption ..While Bitcoin services have been targeted by hackers in the past, so to have many major online retailers.
    Buy BTC With Money From Your Bank-once you've supplied your Bank information and it's been verified by the Bitcoin service ,it should be fairly easy to start purchasing BTC and adding it to your wallet.Usually,on your wallet page, there should be an optional label "Buy Bitcoin" or something similar -clicking this should take you through a straight forward transaction process that uses money from your bank account to purchase BTC...Note that the price of Bitcoin can(and does) change from day to day,sometimes significantly .Because Bitcoin is a relatively new form of currency, it's market has yet to become stable. The current dollar to BTC exchange rate should be clearly listed when you buy it -as of October 2014,1 BTC was equal to about $350....
    Use Your BTC To Buy From Retailers That Accept It-In recent years, an increasing number of businesses have begun to accept BTC as a valid form of payment .Though these businesses still represent a minority ,some major names have already made the transition ..Below is just a short list of online vendors that accept BTC.
    Amazon
    Wordpress
    Overstock.com
    Bitcoin.travel
    Subway
    Zappos
    Whole foods
    Victoria's secret ....
    If you're market savy(or lucky) ,you can conceiveably generate value for yourself this way by buying BTC when it's price is low,then purchasing goods when the value of BTC is high to get a favourable deal on the goods.You can then sell these goods to make profit or simply keep them...
    Sell Your BTC To Another User-Unfortunately,selling BTC isn't quite as easy as buying it .There is no easy way to "cashout"your Bitcoins and receive money in your bank account-instead,you'll have to find a buyer who's willing to pay for them with money (or goods /services ).in general ,one of the easiest ways to do this is to sign up with an online Bitcoin market place .Once you find a buyer, you will complete the transaction through the website but will otherwise deal directly with him/her.To use this method ,you'll usually have to register a seller account and verify your identity in a process separate from the one used to create your wallet....In the US,CoinCola,CoinBase and LocalBitcoins are three websites that offer this sort of selling service .In the UK, BitBargain and Bittylicious are two reputable options... In addition, some sites like purse. Io allow sellers to give BTC to buyers who then uses their own money to purchase goods online and send them to the seller-in essence, this is a roundabout way of using BTC to buy from vendors that do not accept the currency...

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    How The Tiny Nation Of Georgia Became A Bitcoin Behemoth

    Since long before anyone can remember, the big, fertile slopes of the Alazani Valley in eastern Georgia have been planted with grape vines. It's the heartland of wine-making in the country that invented it 8,000 years ago. But in recent months, the valley has been going through a new kind of ferment, because of bitcoin.

    "You see that building there with the power line outside," says Bezhani Buzhaidze, pointing to an abandoned-looking, cinder block storehouse in his hometown of Telavi, the hub of Georgian wine country. "That's being turned into a data center for mining cryptocurrencies."

    It's another sign of how this tiny former Soviet republic of fewer than 4 million people has become a virtual printing press for this new money you can't see.

    Cryptocurrency mining is the digital equivalent of minting real money, except that anyone with the right hardware and software can do it, by taking part in what amounts to a giant virtual competition. Think of it like a lottery, where computers linked across the Internet compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles, with the number of players constantly rising. The owner of the computer that finds the right solution is rewarded with a "block" of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, which is then registered and verified on a decentralized database system known as the blockchain.

    In practice, it involves a kind of constant digital bombardment to find these solutions, 24 hours a day, consuming huge amounts of electricity. And thanks to its cheap hydropower and low regulation, Georgia is now ranked second in the world for cryptocurrency mining — behind only China.

    A single U.S.-based technology company called Bitfury has been accounting for much of this mining activity, from a vast data center filled with computer servers which it opened on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi. It has generated plenty of controversy too over claims that it received overly generous terms for its electricity bills. But scores of smaller data centers have now sprouted up, with many more people mining from home with processors bought online from China.

    One Georgian political party has even started raising funds by mining cryptocurrency via the computers of willing supporters. And because electricity has traditionally been more heavily subsidized in the Alazani Valley, wine country has been seeing a kind of digital gold rush.

    Hoodie-wearing Buzhaidze is one of the growing army of home prospectors. He signed up last summer, as he watched the price of bitcoin surge, borrowing several thousand dollars from his father to buy three graphic cards, the backbone of any home mining operation. Ever since, they have been churning away 24 hours a day in the family living room, a constant low hiss emitting from their cooling fans.

    "See, here, I've made about $14 so far today," Buzhaidze says, scrolling through brightly colored graphs and figures on an app on his smartphone. Late last year, he was making an average of $800 a month mining a currency called Zcash, with the extra electricity load costing about $80.

    His earnings are down now from the highs of last year, but it is still a healthy supplement to his monthly salary working at an online marketing company in Telavi.

    Part of the attraction, Buzhaidze admits, is "easy money." Four of his friends also have home-mining rigs. "Everyone is doing it," he says smiling. But he adds he is also attracted by the libertarian promise of cryptocurrencies. "We won't need banks any more," he says. "It will be good for society."

    That is the question. Is this crypto boom going to help or hinder Georgia, a country still struggling with widespread poverty?

    "Exercise caution"

    Some see an opportunity for Georgia to vault ahead, by embracing the technology and libertarian philosophy underpinning cryptocurrencies. But skeptics fear the country has become an outsourcing center for the global crypto craze, creating few jobs and no lasting gain if it all comes crashing down.

    The National Bank of Georgia, the equivalent of the Federal Reserve, has issued a warning, urging people to "exercise caution" about investing in virtual currencies.

    "This is high-tech gambling," says professor Gocha Tutberidze, a former regulatory official with the bank, who now teaches at the European University in Tbilisi. "The profits just go offshore," he says, to big players like Bitfury.

    It certainly looks that way on Bitfury's website, which has videos showing executives enjoying ritzy gatherings on the private tropical island of British billionaire Richard Branson. The company reportedly earned over $90 million in revenue last year, though how much of that was profit is not public. It has positioned itself as a one-stop shop for all aspects of the business, making its own mining chips and software, and consulting other organizations that want to set up data centers or use blockchain technology. While it has offices in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Bitfury is registered in the Cayman Islands and releases only minimal financial information.

    It has an outsize presence in Georgia. According to Bitfury's own figures, it was using around 28 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per month for its mining operations here, equal to the average consumption of 120,000 Georgian households, or 10 percent of the population. But it pays significantly less per unit, which has fueled charges that Georgia is getting ripped off.

    Opposition politicians have claimed that the country's richest man, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, is a hidden beneficiary. An investment fund linked with the billionaire tycoon loaned money to Bitfury when it first arrived. But the company's lawyer in Georgia, Eprem Urumushavili, says the loan was repaid, and denies any financial ties remain. However, the vice chairman of Bitfury's board, George Kikvadze, also has a senior role on Ivanishvili's fund.

    Perhaps hoping to sidestep all this controversy, Bitfury recently announced it had sold its main data center to a Chinese concern. But its logo is still emblazoned on the building. And it remains the landlord, according to Urumashvili, as the company runs the surrounding tax-free zone where the data center operates.

    Bitfury has had unfair press, its lawyer says, insisting that it is looking far beyond mining bitcoin in Georgia. Last year, it helped the government become the world's first to start using a blockchain-based database to secure public records — with the company providing server space and technical expertise.

    As with cryptocurrencies, records encrypted on a blockchain are distributed across countless computers, with no single entity having control, making the system both more resilient and harder to tamper with. It began with a property registry. Next will come marriage certificates and other personal records.

    Bitfury has also been talking to the authorities in nearby Ukraine about using blockchain technology to run future elections there. Advocates say this will make it much harder to hack the voting process, in light of allegations that Russia tried to do just that in previous Ukrainian polls, even before accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

    One small, ultra-libertarian Georgian opposition party has more radical ideas. If it ever gains power, the party Girchi — which translates as "pinecone" — wants to issue a national Georgian cryptocurrency allowing citizens to buy unused state assets, including large areas of land. "We want to privatize it all," says the party leader, Zurab Japaridze. Every Georgian citizen, he adds, would get an allowance of what they are calling, no surprise, "pinecoin."

    He sees longer-term political benefits too, helping the party build a new constituency of libertarian-minded supporters.

    Japaridze says they have had discussions with an outside technology company he won't name about the mechanics of creating a pinecoin cryptocurrency. He envisions a day when there will be no central banks, and property deeds worldwide will be stored on a giant blockchain database with no government or other entity having control. That, he claims, will both give owners greater protection from attempts to disenfranchise them, as well as boost overall transparency: "I should be able to look up who owns a piece of land in Bogotá, Colombia," he says.

    Girchi believes it is the first party to raise funds via cryptocurrency mining. When supporters log on to its website, they are given the choice of allowing their computer processors to be used to mine Monero, a newer virtual coin being marketed for its extreme anonymity. One of Japaridze's team came up with the idea. And when he attended a recent global conference of like-minded political groups, he says delegates there told him it was the first time any party had tried to raise funds this way. It has only raised a few hundred dollars so far, he says, but "it has also helped boost our reputation for innovation with younger voters."

    Such ideas are "just the beginning," says Luka Kobalia, co-founder of a Tbilisi-based company called Blockmentor, which provides training for businesses seeking to use blockchain technology in their operations. Everything about the way the economy functions is going to change, he says.

    Facebook groups now regularly advertise conferences and gatherings to share ideas, addressed by people who call themselves "blockchain evangelists." Recent events have been standing room only, with people actually listening to the speakers and not looking at their phones.

    Georgia's finance sector has been sitting on the fence over cryptocurrencies, but some institutions are already invested. The country's Liberty Bank now offers a means of buying and selling the best-known cryptocurrencies via its eMoney service. But it is still a long way from the point where this virtual money replaces so-called fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, or Georgia's lari.

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    The man who called the bitcoin bottom now sees this

    After sinking over 60 percent from its December high to its February low, bitcoin is showing signs of life.

    The cryptocurrency is now up about 35 percent since it sank below $6,900 on Feb. 5, and one market watcher who correctly called the rally says there's even more room to run.

    After the Feb. 5 low, Blue Line Futures President Bill Baruch told CNBC's "Trading Nation" he saw a move up back up to $10,000. At that time, bitcoin was trading around $7,200. Tuesday morning, bitcoin was trading above $9,200, representing roughly 28 percent upside since that time. Here's his latest bull case.

    • Participation in the rally has been broad-based, with several so-called alt-coins gaining in value recently. This is seen as a bullish catalyst for the entire cryptocurrency space.

    • Bitcoin has seen a bounce from its 2018 lows even in the face of ongoing regulatory concerns, including a new inquiry from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into exchanges like Gemini and Coinbase's GDAX exchange.

    • The $10,000 level has represented strong resistance, but once that level is breached to the upside, Baruch sees a trade around $11,500 per coin.

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