All posts in “cryptocurrency”

This company is encouraging employees to take part of their salary in Bitcoin

How much of your salary would you be willing to stake on bitcoin?
How much of your salary would you be willing to stake on bitcoin?

Image: Shutterstock / REDPIXEL.PL

With cryptocurrency values to continuing to skyrocket, at least one company is going to try to give its employees an incentive to invest in Bitcoin by offering it as a salary option. 

Japanese internet company GMO Internet Group will be rolling out the system in February 2018, according to a report from Coindesk. Employees will have the option to choose a portion of their monthly salary, ranging from 10,000 yen ( around $89) to 100,000 yen (or $888), to be paid to them in Bitcoin. 

GMO will also throw in a 10% bonus, as an incentive to encourage more investment, and the entire process will use GMO’s own cryptocurrency referred to as “GMO coin.”

The move makes sense for GMO. The company is already in the Bitcoin business and is launching an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018. 

But just as important are the concerns about the growing cryptocurrency bubble and what that could mean for these employees if or when that bubble bursts. While the proposed amounts seem relatively small, they add up over a year, especially the higher limits. 

Given what we know and, more importantly, don’t know about Bitcoin, would you be willing to bank anywhere from $1,000 to some $10,500 on cryptocurrency that few, if any, really truly understand? 

With all the attention cryptocurrency has received, some are starting to see it more and more as a legitimate form of currency and, like the seller of this Miami condo, are trying to use it exclusively for transactions. 

Others, like the online gaming platform Steam, are more incredulous and rolling back their decision to accept Bitcoin given the volatility of the marketplace.

Of course, maybe this will all pan out for GMO and others around the world hoping that cryptocurrency stabilizes enough to become a relatively widespread, legitimate form of accepted currency. 

But that’s a big maybe, especially if you’re a low-level employee and your own money’s at stake. For now, viewing the investment opportunity with a dose of skepticism probably isn’t a bad thing at all.

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How to be the most insufferable person at your ugly Christmas sweater party

If you’re still browsing thrift stores in search of an outfit for an upcoming ugly Christmas sweater party, look no further. 

The ugliest (and, I’m sorry to say, the most insufferable) sweaters on the market are these pullovers emblazoned with the cryptocurrency logo of your choice. 

Hodlmoon, “home of the ugly crypto sweaters,” offers six cryptocurrency-inspired designs, including bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin

And though each sells for $59.99 a pop, customers can also make their purchase using bitcoin or litecoin. (Per their price breakdown, $59.99 converts to 0.00354359 bitcoin and 0.1891 litecoin.) 

As for whether or not donning a cryptocurrency sweater amounts to a kind of humblebrag, that likely depends on how much you’ve got in your bitcoin wallet. 

Image: hodlmoon

Image: hodlmoon

Image: hodlmoon

[H/T: Boing Boing]

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Facebook Messaging VP David Marcus joins Coinbase board


Coinbase is growing up fast — or at least trying to. As an emblem of its current effort to accommodate the massive demand on its platform, the mainstream U.S. cryptocurrency exchange just added Facebook Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus to its board of directors. Coinbase announced the news in a post on Medium.

With unprecedented trading volumes and bitcoin at an astronomical all-time high, it’s a critical — and challenging — time for Coinbase. While Facebook and Coinbase may not share a lot of obvious overlap, bringing someone onto the team who has a hand in scaling software to massive proportions certainly can’t hurt.

“I’ve been involved with, and fascinated by cryptocurrencies since 2012, and I’ve witnessed how Coinbase has started democratizing access to this new asset class,” Marcus said in the Medium post. “I’m convinced that what the company is working on has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world, and I’m looking forward to working with Coinbase and its leadership team to help make this vision a reality.”

Beyond his experience at Facebook, Marcus served as president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014. He joined PayPal after selling his mobile payments startup Zong to the company (owned by eBay) in 2011. Marcus will maintain his role at Facebook while serving in an advisory capacity at Coinbase.

“David brings first hand knowledge of building impactful, trusted mobile-first products at scale,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in the announcement. “His experience will add breadth and depth to the Coinbase board and will help the leadership team as the company focuses on becoming the most popular, and safest place to buy and sell digital currencies.”

Disclosure: The author holds a small position in some cryptocurrencies. It’s definitely not enough for a Lambo.

Bitwise Investments raises $4M to launch its crypto index fund


Last month San Francisco-based Bitwise Investments announced a passively managed index fund comprised of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. The fund rebalances once a month, and all assets are held in cold storage. Essentially its an easy way for investors to gain some passive exposure to cryptocurrency without having to worry about which ones to choose and how to buy and store them.

Today the startup announced they’re raising $4M in seed funding to build out the team and work on developing new investment products. Investors include Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst, Naval Ravikant, Elad Gil and others. Bitwise is also accepting investors as of today, with baskets being created every two weeks going forward.

The startup plans to use the funding to hire 10 new employees – five on the engineering side and five on investors relations and business development. While five engineers seems like a lot for a small passively managed fund, Bitwise wants to build out a software platform so it can stand out from other traditional asset management firms. This means the startup will provide products like a real-time dashboard for investors (as opposed to a monthly emailed PDF) but also focus on complicated engineering issues like optimizing cold storage procedures.

Right now investors have to be U.S-based and accredited since it’s a private investment vehicle and not an ETF. The minimum investment is $10,000 – which is generally much less than a crypto-focused hedge fund would require. Going forward they’re planning on launching a Cayman Island vehicle so international investors can participate.

You can read more about Bitwise Investments and and their first fund in our original launch post here.

Featured Image: Li-Anne Dias

Even Coinbase thinks you should maybe chill for a goddamn minute on Bitcoin

The good times will always be here!
The good times will always be here!

Image: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Bitcoin. It’s pretty great, amirite? But, ya know, could you maybe just chill the fuck out on it for a single goddamn second?

I mean, jeez, this rocket ship is on a one-way trip to the cryptocurrency moon — that much we know for sure — but, what if, and just bear with me here for a second ’cause this is gonna sound crazy, what if it’s not?

Sure, Bitcoin is hitting record highs seemingly every day now, and if there’s one thing spending BTC at dark-web marketplaces has taught me it’s that monumental highs feel like they’ll last forever. But perhaps it’s time to cut our unbridled exuberance with some downers. 

Thankfully, the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is here to do just that. In a Dec. 7 blog post, the company’s co-Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong reminded us to perhaps take a deep breath before we click that “buy” button. 

Titled “Please invest responsibly — an important message from the Coinbase team,” the message reads as part warning and part reminder that, much like with love, there are no guarantees in Bitcoin. A section titled “Be an educated investor” really drives this home. 

We also wanted to remind customers of some of the risks associated with trading digital currency,” writes Armstrong. “Digital currencies are volatile and the prices can go up and down. Due to the rapidly changing price of digital currencies, some customers may not have sell limits that are sufficient relative to the value of total digital currency they are storing on Coinbase.”

Sell limits are restrictions Coinbase places on your account limiting the amount (in terms of USD) that a person can sell in a given amount of time. You might, say, have a sell limit of $10,000 per week. If you’re holding onto $100,000 worth of BTC, and things take a sudden turn for the worse… well, you could be left holding a bag whose value quickly evaporates before your very eyes.

Coinbase really really really wants you to remember that.  

Oh, and also, while Coinbase is probably stoked that it’s the second most popular app in the App Store according to App Annie, popularity brings with it its own set of headaches. 

“The last few weeks has seen an unprecedented increase in the price of digital currencies,” explains Armstrong. “More people are engaging with our platform than ever and that bodes well for the future of the digital currency. At the same time, it does create extreme volatility and stress on our systems.”

That stress could manifest as “the inability to buy or sell for periods of time” — something that might present a problem during these aforementioned extremely volatile times. 

So breathe deeply, slow your Bitcoin trading roll, and cut it out with all the stress already. Your wallet will thank you. That it, unless, Bitcoin keeps increasing in value. Then it won’t thank you.  

Man, I really need to buy some Bitcoin.

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