Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Crypto Diversification & New Public Good

If you've been watching decentralized virtual currency developments at all over the past week or so, you've run into some interesting news.  Litecoin has shot up again, edging over $37 USD per LTC on the btc-e exchange as of the time I'm writing this post, and is approaching $39 (well over 241 CNY) on the OKC exchange. (Note: by the time this post was finished, litecoin was at over $40 USD on that exchange.)  In the process, jurisdictional arbitrage is providing users of various alt-coins with newly found wealth, even if they are not cashing out to their fiat currency of choice.  Five days ago, news broke in Forbes describing litecoin breaking the billion dollar mark for market capitalization, with namecoin breaking a 100 million dollar mark. Four days ago, the Guardian talked up not one, not two, but nine alt-coins, including quarkcoin -- which has now increased by over 500% in value. (It's also dropped quite a bit in value and has generated controversy over early mining efforts.  You can track what's happening with quarkcoin in real time at Cryptocoincharts.)  That's a coin that can be mined just with your CPU, and word on the street is that in addition to the areas where quarkcoin (and many other alt-coins) can be traded at present (Cryptsy, Coins-e, Bter, and Btc38), it is anticipated that quarkcoin (and other lesser known coin not yet in currency pairs on most exchanges) will be traded on btc-e as well, beginning at some point between December 15 - 20, 2013.
Bill Still (who will film the Dec. 19 Keiser report on Dec. 16, 2013) does a pretty good job of explaining quarkcoin, and covers it in an interview with Kolin, one of the quarkcoin developers.  (Kolin has a perspective on bitcoin (referring to it as "fantastically centralized") that I don't agree with, since bitcoin is a decentralized protocol. However, I've put the video here, so you can decide what you think. In my view, we will see development of many more coin types in the near future, and people who watch these developments closely, enter new markets early, and trade out at the right times, will be well-positioned to benefit.)

You would be right if you are thinking that you should engage in some 'crypto diversification.'  Beyond bitcoin, the march of decentralization has led to a proliferation of protocols, and huge surges of interest in the same.  But what about that new public good and the corresponding protocol development I alluded to in the prior post?  And, what are some ways to easily mine - to produce for yourself - namecoin, quarkcoin, and the like?

One way which people have found to produce namecoin (which is now over 8.35 USD per NMC on btc-e) has been to participate in cloud mining.  One service I've been examining which is reasonable for short-term production without going out and spending money on gear is - which enables shared mining with your investment.  The end result is you end up with bitcoin, but also will receive NMC, IXC, and DVC for your investment in GH/s, which can also be traded on that site.  If you use the site, watch the value shifts in GH/s - your GH/s decrease in value over time, but can be sold with orders that you set, at the prices you specify.  The site recently had a rough day during which user's deposits were not being shown, but the administrators remedied the problem, the deposits arrived, and the site is now performing well.

If you are interested in mining your own namecoin, calculate the cost, and follow the road to the bitcointalk discussion of how you can do that - for ease of use, consider the bitminter client and pool.  If you already are using the namecoin client (especially if you have been using the same namecoin-qt for a while), make sure and update - to Q.3.72 or higher - before December 8th to address the discovered vulnerability.

Mining quarkcoin using your CPU is not difficult, though the hash rate is low.  You can find out more on CPU mining quarkcoin here - read through the thread to get an idea of your options.  There's a pretty good step-by-step guide on mining quarkcoin on a forum, here.  It will be interesting to see what happens with this coin, which is very new and experimental.

So, now for that item mentioned in the previous post - which was described as a "new protocol to enable decentralization and expansion of a giving economy, with various options for the users."
You can link to it on github here.  Note that it is conceptual and primarily intended to be applied to any decentralized virtual currency system, though it could be employed in any number of systems completely outside of that category.  Contribute, and enjoy!  The endeavor, known as the ABIS protocol, cannot show progress unless interested users and developers alike participate in its development.  The ABIS protocol, currently in concept stage, will soon have more content as well as translations in various languages, for ease of posting in different fora around the world.

Recommended reads:
Cryptocurrency Market Capitalizations (Lists known decentralized virtual currencies, compares market capitalization, updated in real time - story about this site on Forbes)
Bitcoin, Explained (by Duncan Elms, on youtube)
Bitcoin Wisdom: LTC / CNY values on the OKcoin exchange
Bitmunition - Ammo for bitcoin, international orders
Cryptsy, an exchange for nearly any decentralized virtual currency you can think of.  (Note: Cryptsy has an well-designed chart function for viewing any currency pair you like, allowing you to easily view it in 6-hour, 1-day, 1-week, 1-month, or 'All', with Price/Volume or Depth view.)
Cryptocoincharts - Analyze what's been happening with nearly any decentralized currency in real time, look at its history, before you invest time, money, energy, etc. in it.
Retailers experience a decline in sales, but BitPay experiences a 6,260% increase on 'Bitcoin Black Friday'
Back It Up: Bitcoinpaperwallet
Don't Panic: due to price increases, Bitcoinity switches to milli-bitcoin unit to describe bitcoin's value.
Read PIMCO's July 2013 post, 'Alternatives for Today's - and Tomorrow's - Market Challenges'
(Decentralization and Diversification go Hand in Hand)
Zeroblock: Watch bitcoin volume in real-time, compare exchanges, check its market capitalization, more.

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