Russia is reportedly planning to replace the U.S. dollar with Bitcoin as its reserve currency in a bid to limit the impact of US sanctions imposed on the country.

Last week, the cryptocurrency news site Micky quoted a Russian economist with ties to the Russian government as saying that U.S. sanctions on the country are forcing Russia and certain oligarchs to “dump U.S. assets and U.S. dollars and invest hugely” in Bitcoin.

Vladislav Ginko, an economist at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, a state-funded institution, said the transition from dollars to Bitcoin could begin in February. “I believe that [the time] is coming when other countries will start doing that and Russia has a brilliant chance to invest into heavily oversold Bitcoin,” Ginko said.

Congress has imposed sanctions on Russia following the assertion of US intelligence agencies determined that the country interfered with the 2016 Presidential election and again in the wake of the poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed interest in Bitcoin, saying last June that the cryptocurrency “has its place in the world.” A report in the Telegraph said that from dollars to Bitcoin may involve an intermediary cryptocurrency, likely a token created by a Russian bank, before Russia could buy Bitcoin through a crypto exchange.

On Monday, Mickey also reported “a large and unusual increase” in the volume of OTC Bitcoin purchases placed by Russian nationals, indicating further interest in Bitcoin inside Russia. Bitcoin was trading at $3,649.78 late Monday, up 4% in the previous day.

*This post is credited to Fortune

In general, most of the crypto-related firms are located between the United States and Europe. However, Asia is also playing an important role in attracting these kinds of companies. Indeed, Japan is becoming one of the main countries in terms of cryptocurrency adoption and usage.

One of the main reasons behind the success of Japan expanding crypto adoption is related to the fact that the country has a cash-based society. Although the country at the forefront of the technology world, cashless transactions are just 20 percent of all the transactions in the country.

The government has been trying to boost the mobile payments industry, something that would create several opportunities for virtual currencies and increased adoption in the future.

The country has also implemented different regulations to the crypto space. This allows companies to know where they are operating and how they are able to protect investors. During the last few years, Japanese exchanges experienced the worst hacks ever registered by the crypto space. One of them is the popular Mt. Gox back in 2014. The second one happened at the beginning of 2018 and affected the cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.

Since that moment, the government started to impose stricter regulations around digital assets and blockchain technology. Back in April 2017, authorities amended banking law in order to include cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. In this way, Business and companies knew how to better deal with digital assets in the country.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are taxed in Japan. However, as they were recognized as a payment method, the government has eliminated consumption tax on the sale of this virtual currency. Now, companies can accept cryptocurrencies in an easier and better way.

Here are many different companies and small retail shops accepting digital currencies as a means of payment. This includes one of the largest retailers in the country, Yamada Denki, which is now accepting Bitcoin for purchases made by customers. GMO is also allowing employers to receive a part of their salary in Bitcoin.

Not only big companies are starting to handle Bitcoin and crypto payments. Music schools or hotels are also starting to get involved in the market. During 2018, the space grew substantially in Japan and is expected to continue growing in the future.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, the Japanese Yen (JPY) surpassed the US dollar as the most traded currency against Bitcoin. This shows that Japan is a very active player in the market.

Although some other regulations have been imposed in the space, there are more than 190 companies trying to enter the Japanese cryptocurrency market. According to the country’s top financial regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA), around 190 firms are waiting for approval to start operating in the country.

*This post is credited to BitcoinExchangeguide

Malaysian cryptocurrency regulation comes into effect on Tuesday, Reuters reports on Monday, Jan. 14.

The Malaysian finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, reportedly said today that the Capital Markets and Services Order 2019 would become effective on Jan. 15. According to Reuters, the new regulation classifies digital currencies, tokens and crypto-assets as securities, placing them under the Securities Commission’s authority.

Starting from Tuesday, any person operating unauthorized initial coin offerings (ICOs) or digital asset exchanges in Malaysia will be reportedly facing a 10-year jail sentence and a 10 million ($2.4 million) ringgit fine.

According to Malaysian news outlet The Star, Eng noted the positive outlook of the Ministry of Finance on the cryptocurrency industry, stating:

“The Ministry of Finance views digital assets, as well as its underlying blockchain technologies, as having the potential to bring about innovation in both old and new industries.”

Namely, Eng noted that the ministry believes digital assets offer both an alternative fundraising method and a new asset class for investors.

As Cointelegraph reported, the Malaysian government was still undecided whether to legalize cryptocurrencies just two days ago.

Still, it has reportedly been clear since November of last year that Malaysia will enact regulations for cryptocurrency and ICOs in Q1 2019, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

*This post is credited to CoinTelepgraph

The world can’t seem to define crypto, and that is a problem. Not that there aren’t a million different explanations floating around the internet distinguishing money system coins from utility tokens from security tokens, there are. The big problem arises from how all these different crypto entities are being treated by nearly everyone in the space, longtime hodler and newcomer alike. No matter the function, all crypto is being handled in the same, investment-minded manner, and it is holding the technology back.

Cryptocurrencies were originally a fringe technology. Your tech-savvy friend might have owned some Bitcoin early on, but they also might have owned a large collection of comic books or action figures, which didn’t scream to the rest of the world “this person is really onto something.” Crypto existed more conceptually than as an actual system to transact in. Who can forget the famous 10,000 bitcoin for a pizza story? At the time, crypto was simply an experiment in peer-to-peer transaction.

As this fringe community began to grow, so did cryptocurrencies’ value, both in price and public understanding. Like in nearly all modern money systems, the value of a cryptocurrency is derived from a mutual understanding that it functions as a store of value. Borderless, peer-to-peer transfer sweetened the deal, offering something more efficient than fiat currencies. Momentum began to build … then crypto “mooned.”

Even the most ardent crypto enthusiasts could not have predicted the mainstream blow-up in 2017 (even though they might claim otherwise). Overnight, everyone and their grandmother was suddenly caught up in crypto mania. Wild speculation sent prices through the roof. A mad scramble took place to swipe up as much crypto as possible before the prices soared into the stratosphere forever.

Fortunes plopped on to unsuspecting crypto owners’ laps overnight, but this unexpected blessing has also become crypto’s biggest curse. The rapid rise of crypto, especially cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, fundamentally changed the way the systems were meant to operate, scrapping usable transaction functions by forcing them to behave as investments. The wave of FOMO also wildly miseducated the public on what crypto entities could be, forcing nearly all cryptographic tokens, no matter their function, into the same “this is an investment” bag.

Crypto’s success is holding the entire industry hostage.

As mainstream interest drove prices up, early adopters found their meager holdings turn into teetering piles of virtual gold, like an entire community winning the lottery simultaneously. The rest of the world watched in awe and hoped to do the same, buying crypto and crossing their fingers, driving prices higher and higher.

The early adopters, the ones that were buying pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoins less than a decade ago, were now caught between a rock and a hard place. Why would you spend your cryptocurrency holdings if its value would continue to skyrocket?

This perception stripped Bitcoin of its original function: a better way to transact.

You can blame newcomers’ speculative ventures for driving up prices and thus undermining the transactional utility of cryptocurrencies. But their real (and unavoidable) sin was naively buying into anything and everything blockchain-related, blowing the crypto bubble bigger and bigger until it popped.

The crypto community shares a good portion of the blame, too, for selling anything blockchain-related (working or not, investment or utility token, etc.) to the newcomers in an effort to make a quick buck. It didn’t take a PhD in economics to realize the market behavior was unsustainable by early 2018, but if you didn’t “get in while the getting was good,” then someone else would, leaving all participants in a catch-22.

As the market cooled and prices declined, participants were forced to make a decision: cash out or hunker down and wait for peak value to return. Either way, using crypto to transact was not an option.

“Hodl” cries within the crypto community rang from rooftops to Reddit forums. The boom gave early crypto enthusiasts a taste of the forbidden fruit. But these same people weren’t hodling 10 years ago. They were pioneering a new way to transact.

The cryptocurrency boom essentially kneecapped digital coins. A new way to transact became a new way to get rich. Cash essentially turned into stocks.

Right now, the road forward is unclear. If you hold crypto, no matter your personal philosophy, the market dictates that you treat it like an investment, not cash. Unfortunately, what is learned first is learned best, and the world’s introduction to crypto may have doomed daily transaction functions for almost all current cryptocurrencies. But there is a silver lining.

If the world wants to treat crypto like a security, why not let it? While it is nonsensical to treat currencies (like Bitcoin) or utility tokens (like Ether) as securities, rolling out tokens designed explicitly as securities presents a way to use the revolutionary technology that powers cryptographic tokens.

Security Token Offerings (STOs) could offer an asset class for the digital age, backed by the value of the underlying company and allow token owners to take advantage of traditional benefits like profit-sharing and voting rights as well as new perks, like discounts and rewards for owning tokens and engaging with the company in other ways, like ordering its goods, or using its services.

Hopefully we will one day see stable crypto transactions, but right now, public perception of all crypto assets, regardless of intended function, is too set in stone to make that transition. Security tokens aren’t the answer to crypto’s daily transaction paralysis, but they will give the world a concrete reason to purchase tokens and hodl on.

Once security tokens are firmly established, maybe we’ll be able to loosen our hold on our other crypto assets and buy some pizza with Bitcoin again …

*This post is credited to VentureBeat

In the last 48 hours, the volume of the crypto market has dropped from $15 billion to $13 billion as the Bitcoin price fell below the $3,600 mark.

Analysts have started to demonstrate concerns regarding the declining volume of digital assets and the potential scenario of cryptocurrencies free falling without significant sell pressure from bears.

Is $3,000 Inevitable For Bitcoin?

Generally, traders in the crypto market expect a lackluster year with low volatility, at least until cryptocurrencies escape the last stage of a 12-month-long bear market and initiate a strong accumulation phase.

In the short-term, however, many traders envision most cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin testing key support levels in a low price range.

A cryptocurrency trader Josh Rager wrote:

As the volume continues to slowly descend Bitcoin could see more sideways ranging This could last for days or weeks until a decrease in buyers, currently holding up the market, at these levels. Nice support below $3,000 with lots of buyers waiting there.

Currently, following an intense sell-off on January 11, the crypto market is demonstrating stability in the range of $122 to $124 billion.

But, the combined valuation of all cryptocurrencies in the global market is down nearly $100 billion since November 2017 and the asset class is struggling to demonstrate signs of a trend reversal.

Considering the lack of momentum of cryptocurrencies and the inability of dominant digital assets in the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum to breakout of important resistance levels, a cryptocurrency technical analyst DonAlt suggested that 2019 may turn out to be a boring and a low volatile year.

“I’ve been relatively inactive this year – for one reason – there just hasn’t been too much to trade. I wouldn’t be surprised if ’19 plays out like this, boring, choppy and frustrating to trade. The worst thing you can do is force trades when your system doesn’t give you any,” the analyst said.

As Bitcoin approaches the low $3,000 region, similar to its corrective rally in mid-December, it may initiate a relatively sharp recovery triggered by big buy walls on major cryptocurrency-to-fiat exchanges such as Coinbase and Bitstamp.

How About Other Cryptocurrencies?

If Bitcoin continues to fall below $3,500 and possibly to its 12-month low at $3,122, cryptocurrencies with low market caps and daily volumes are expected to experience intensified downward price movements against both Bitcoin and the U.S. dollar.

Digital assets that have shown strong upward price movements in the past several weeks due to product launches and protocol upgrades including TRON and Ethereum have already begun to drop in value, affected by the negative sentiment surrounding the short-term trend of the cryptocurrency market.

The price movement of Bitcoin, until the January 11 correction, was seen as a positive short-term breakout above $4,000. But, based on the intensity of the sell-off over the past week, it will likely have a minimal impact on the performance of the asset class in the weeks to come.

*This post is credited to CCN

Participants in Mongolia’s Bitcoin mining industry plan to significantly expand the scope of their operations, local media report January 11.


JAPAN’S GINCO DOUBLES DOWN ON MONGOLIA

The East Asian country, known for its cheap electricity and being home to the world’s northernmost desert, will see one of its miners almost treble in size this year alone, despite the ongoing Bitcoin bear market.

“The business environment is increasingly harsh, but we can still produce a profit,” Yuma Furubayashi, CEO of Ginco  Mongol told Nikkei Asian Review.

Ginco is originally from Japan, where is offers cryptocurrency wallets, but operates two mining facilities in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

As Bitcoin $3660.57 +0.04% dropped in value over 2018, miners have felt the pinch, with a lower price impacting on the profitability of minting new coins, though mining difficulty has adjusted since.

As Bitcoinist reported, China bore the brunt of the downturn, images appearing on social media of vast numbers of mining rigs being dumped due to being too expensive to keep running.

Bitmain, the Chinese giant which has traditionally held a monopoly over the market, has sparked multiple rumors about its debts, senior management reshuffles and plans to fire up to half its 2500 workers.

A Washington County is Taking Steps to Halt Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining

BEAR MARKET BULLS

When raw materials need to be as cheap as possible, it is thus countries like Mongolia that are set to profit.

Although it only started in October, Ginco Mongol plans to increase the number of units it has dedicated to Bitcoin mining from 600 to 1600 by the end of the year. In an interview prior to the launch, Yuma also revealed ideas for spin-off projects, including miner repair services.

With the legal situation regarding mining also a gray area in China, it is little surprise that the Bitcoin industry is spreading more evenly across multiple countries worldwide. Increasingly, it is eco-friendly schemes in places as varied as Spain and Canada which plan to contribute to the market.

However, in future, the world’s Bitcoin mining crown will likely belong to Paraguay, the country’s government signing off on plans to build the largest mining farm on the planet under a project dubbed the ‘Golden Goose.’

*This post is credited to Bitcoinist

Just days ago, Ethereum World News reported that the CEO of Civic, South African entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, took to CoinTelegraph’s video arm to claim that he expects for the “crypto winter” to ravage on for a few months, noting that “there’s more pain to come.” Lingham explained that he expects for Bitcoin (BTC) to fall under $3,000, before “things get better,” citing his “gut feeling” created by many years in this budding industry.

Days later, the industry insider, who has become a controversial figure in recent months, took to up-and-coming business news outlet Cheddar to talk about his aforementioned prediction, elaborating on his harrowing comment.

Speaking to Cheddar’s hosts, Lingham, who appears on South Africa’s version of reality TV show Shark Tank, noted that the crypto market en-masse is definitely trying to find a bottom, but will likely break to new lows if $3,150 is retested.

Lingham, echoing his own previous comments, then added that “the reality is” that cryptocurrencies will likely trade sideways for “another month or two,” as this market attempts to determine in which direction it wants to head.  He went on to note that sideways trading is actually a net negative for cryptocurrencies, explaining that such price action (or lack thereof) kills industry momentum.

In a post on Twitter, which came after his Cheddar guest appearance, Lingham took to his soapbox to convey more of his comments on this budding market.

The Civic chief noted that eventually, this market will rise again, but only once the “pain of the recent fall” becomes a distant memory, likely hinting that he expects for this industry to remain in a lull for multiple months, if not upwards of a year. He added that investors and pundits shouldn’t underestimate the “power of psychology” in free markets, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin (BTC) Slated To Fall Lower, Say Analysts

Lingham isn’t the only crypto leader with expectations that not only could Bitcoin fall lower, but that this market downturn could extend longer than others may initially expect.

In a recent Twitter thread, Murad Mahmudov, a Princeton graduate with hopes of opening a crypto hedge fund, noted that Bitcoin at $4,100 was encountering “titanium level” resistance, drawing attention to a “cluster” of sell-side pressure and long-term trend lines that BTC was struggling to break out of. Closing off the thread, which covered market conditions in-depth, Mahmudov, who has quickly become a well-respected crypto commentator, noted that “all in all,” he expects that this bear market could “surprise” us by extending “longer than most expect.”

And just days earlier, while featured on Tone Vays’ Youtube channel, the trader noted that considering Bitcoin’s previous price cycles, there’s a high likelihood that BTC will fall below to $2,400 to reach the $1,800-$2,400 range before truly bottoming. Willy Woo, an independent Australian crypto researcher, somewhat corroborated this sentiment, using his set of proprietary indicators to accentuate that Bitcoin’s short-term fundamentals are lacking. Woo noted that “there’s not a lot of on-chain volumes.

*This is credited to EthereumWorldNews

Bitcoin birthed the concept of blockchain technology, and now even organizations as technologically advanced as NASA are considering its benefits. Yet cryptocurrency is often described as a fad, a bubble, and even worthless.

NASA Eyes Hyperledger Blockchain for Air Traffic Management

Ronald J. Reisman, an aero-computer engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center, has put forward blockchain to solve issues of privacy and the prevention of spoofing, denial of service, and other attacks.

He says a new system due for implementation in 2020, the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), does not provide for the protection of flight plans and positions and other state data. Reisman believes blockchain has the answer in the form of an engineering prototype built using a permissioned blockchain.

The use of an open source permissioned blockchain framework to enable aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication with Air Traffic Services, Operations Support, or other authorized entities.

The proposed framework uses “certificate authority, smart contract support, and higher-bandwidth communication channels” to ensure private communication between aircraft and authorized participants.

He details how the prototype could be “economically and rapidly deployed” at scale. Reisman bases the proposal on the use of Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain he says has been developed away from fintech and designed for enterprise use.

Many Blockchains Lack Cohesion

nasa blockchain air traffic control

Interestingly, he appears to have considered other chains. He describes these chains as lacking cohesion and flexibility due to the platforms design limitations:

Ethereum claims a >80% market share, followed by other platforms, including (in order of market share popularity): Waves, Bitcoin Fork, Stratis, Graphene, Hyperledger, Ethereum Classic, Maidsafe, Litecoin Fork, NEO, and Rootstock.

Reisman further says his paper:

Proposes to leverage an industrial-strength open-source enterprise-blockchain framework called Hyperledger Fabric to demonstrate potential solutions to vexing technical issues that threaten the adoption of ADS-B by Military, Corporate, and other aircraft operators who do not want their operations and movements discernable by the general public.

And although his approach “is not perfected” it is “based on available technology,” says the paper. This could be interpreted as a mark of approval of readiness for the wider use of blockchain globally.

But Cryptocurrency is a Fad?

Cryptocurrency and even blockchain are dismissed as a fad by many. Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Shiller called bitcoin a fad when it first reached a record high of nearly $6,000 in October 2017. Martin Walker of the Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa) called blockchain a fad as well. And Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, famously called bitcoin “a fraud.” There are many examples and similar, dismissive, comments towards bitcoin and the concept of cryptocurrency.

It’s true that blockchain adoption is increasing far and away from mainstream cryptocurrency adoption. This is further illustrated by its permeation into even NASA’s technological considerations.

But how can the concept of cryptocurrency, or digital money, be considered a fad? Its underlying technology looks set to be implemented at every level of technological infrastructure.

Cryptocurrencies have a long way to go before they are used in the same way as fiat currency. One or many might emerge as a common currency for transactions. An emerging new mainstream currency may or may not end up being bitcoin.

Blockchain Use will Bolster Crypto Adoption

The point is, cryptocurrency cannot simply be dismissed. Every technology we use in the future could either be based on or interact with blockchain. Sooner or later, if blockchain becomes a foundational technology, so too must money become blockchain-based.

The ongoing adoption of blockchain by banks, governments, enterprises, and even space agencies like NASA is laying the ground for cryptocurrency use to become mainstream. The question is not if crypto is a fad, but how long will it take cryptocurrency to catch up.

That will depend much on global regulation and ultimately its use. A new report by the bank of central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, reveals 70% of banks are researching the issue of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). But so far few are in any rush to make the move.

*This post is credited to CCN

The Bitcoin community has been electrified by claims that Russia could soon plough billions into Bitcoin to protect its national wealth from US sanctions.

Speculation about Moscow’s plans to become a huge cryptocurrency investor has sparked hopes that 2019 will be the year in which Bitcoin recovers from its disastrous collapse in value.

However, both Russia and the crypto world are known to be filled with smoke and mirrors so there’s no way of telling whether Putin really is planning to become a Bitcoin mega-investor.

The rumours started on the back of an article on an Australian cryptocurrency website called Micky, which spoke to a Russian economist and cryptocurrency expert who predicted his country would start to invest in Bitcoin.

‘US sanctions may be mitigated only through Bitcoin use,’ the Russian is quoted as saying. ‘Because of US sanctions, Russia’s elite is forced to dump US assets and US dollars and invest hugely into Bitcoins.

‘The Central Bank of Russia sits on $466 billion of reserves and has to diversify in case there are limited opportunities to do it in the future.’

Of course, this is not a cast-iron guarantee that Russia really will start to invest in Bitcoin.

But if it does pump billions into the virtual market, you can expect price rises to be fast and dramatic.

The past year has been dismal for Bitcoin. At the end of 2017, one coin was worth a whopping $20,000 but it’s now worth just over $3.600.

And the Russia rumours failed to lift Bitcoin from its slough of despond. which took a major 10% nosedive today.

*This post is credited to Metro UK

I am someone who is always intrigued as to how things are marketed. It occurred to me after giving a lecture at the University of Cyprus, that there was currency even in hotel names which pertained to other cities, countries, or non-national historical figures. As I walked around Nicosia, I spotted hotels with names like Cleopatra Hotel, Europa Plaza Hotel, Xanthis Inn, Central Park Residence, and so forth. Then I started to think about it and many hotels the world over maintain a currency in their reference to “somewhere else,” as if being a hotel was not enough of a luxury in itself. And it hit me that somehow, bizarrely, such names would attract people just for the novelty. You can stay in Hotel Venezia in Rome, in Venice check into Hotel Tokio, in Tokyo sleep a night at Hotel New York, and in New York book into Hotel Wales. This form of referentiality to something outside the product made me think back to how capitalism functions whereby exchange-value of commodities takes on a value of its own, as if its own currency.

Marx defines value as a social process of objectification of labor whereby, in the market, labour becomes represented indirectly as the “exchange-value” of commodities. This exchange value takes on “independence” in money, the canonical form of value. Money becomes the necessary  condition for exchanging commodities and their production. In other words, the labor theory of value (LTV), a central concept of Marx’s Capital (1867) maintains that the value of a commodity can be measured by the average number of labor hours required to produce a specific commodity. Marx argues that this theory explains the value of all commodities, including the commodity of waged labor. And Marx’s theory of money links money’s role as a universal medium of exchange to other commodity’s exchange values, which includes the value of the ability to work itself, labour-power.

Until 1971 the classical money theory of Marx and Ricardo easily accommodated financial systems around the planet as paper notes were merely symbols for gold. But since the end of the gold standard in 1971, a new system came into play. I turned to Paul Cockshott, economist and Honorary Research Fellow at University of Glasgow, for more answers to my questions. Cockshott explains how, since 1971, dollar bills or Euro hold any value since the end of the gold standard:

The best explanation for this is given by economists like Wray and Knapp, who put forward the state theory of money. This is not initially expressed in terms of labour but can be converted into a description in terms of labour. Their claim is that the Euro circulates because European law states that all tax debts in the eurozone must be settled in euros. This concept is brought out most clearly in the work of one of that school Matther Forestater who asks how the British were able to enforce the circulation of their colonial currencies in their African empire. He shows that they did it by imposing taxes that had to be rendered in the colonial coin and not in the traditional cowries used as money. This forced the peasants to sell crops to the British merchants for these coins to get the coins for the tax. They designate something that only the state is allowed to issue as the only thing they will accept for tax debts.

Cockshott goes on to tell me that in this way money is established through “the process of state appropriation of surplus labour” discussing how Wray and Forstatters view the shift from early feudalism which charges corvée (forced labour exacted in lieu of taxes)  to a system which commutes labor duties into taxes in state money, forcing the monetarization of the whole economy. In his paper co-authored with David Zachariah, “Conservation laws, financial entropy and the Eurozone crisis,” the contemporary extrapolation of older monetary systems through the Euro is explained:

The empire or state imposes the circulation of its token currency by obliging the producers to pay taxes in money. Since the producers must ‘render unto Caesar’, they are forced to sell their product to the employees of Caesar. The state creates money tokens with which it pays its employees. The state employees willingly work for the state in return for these tokens knowing that these tokens will enable them to command the labour of others in their turn. The state thus breaks down the self-sufficient or barter economies of the countryside and enforces the spread of commodity exchange.

What is interesting in this understanding of currency is that labor is what fundamentally backs up currency today. Labor is a real “thing,” if you will, where names of hotels are just glitter. How then does capital arise from the symbolic thrill of an empty product, of the new when there is nothing tangible—neither the gold standard, nor labor—to back it up?

Here is where I return to my hotel “being there” theory whereby the cryptocurrency market has had to rely almost entirely on its branding and presentation as credible such that today, these new monetary products are either billed under the umbrella of national identity or they are still caught up in the early millennial cloud or a version of an e-something nomenclature. While the symbolic force of dot.com-esque names of blockchain companies, mining providers, and trading platforms (eg. CloudHashing, BTC-e, etoro) is quite powerful, we should not underestimate the way that bitcoin can be sold under the guise of national identity, such as Bitcoin Suisse, Mexico Coin and the e-Krona. Even Bilbao has recently announced its plans for a blockchain system, and French tobacco shops as of 1 January are selling bitcoin through KeplerK. Still, as more and more municipalities think about jumping onto what some call a “ponzi scheme” and what many others claim blockchain is a “gamble.”  Yet, most people are questioning the ethics of blockchain from the way it hosted online, to the over-reliance on servers and the damaging effects on the environment, to its potential links to criminal activities. In seeing the rise of blockchain amidst a widening skepticism of these commodities, I have to ask myself if the new trend of using nationalist names on more recent blockchain offerings is not part of a larger scheme to make these products less suspicious while framing them—albeit counterintuitively—as “safer.”

Bitcoin for many is still a matter of believing in it or not regardless of the façade which references a new era of believability or the more traditionalist approach of the longstanding symbolism linked to the durability of the nation-state. In the end, the liquidity of this digital currency could end up meeting the dreams of its investors or reveal the lie that many claim it is. But, like George from “Seinfeld” tells Jerry, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

*This post is credited to Forbes