Crypto Blog – Bitcoins & Other Virtual Currencies

News & Opinion on Bitcoins and Alt Cryptocurrencies

Latest Posts

HYIP’s – All Scam & Hype?

If you compare a HYIP (High Yield Investment Programme) to a visit to the casino, chances are you are going to lose money, maybe more. Most HYIP schemes turn into a scam at some point and many users will lose money.

So why do they exist and (like the casino) are there any tips to give you an edge over the ‘bank’?

Firstly, they should be treated as an extreme gamble and you should never, ever invest more money than you can afford to lose. If you are tempted, then use a very small amount and spread it around a few different schemes. Most of the sites are anonymous and if they disappear you will have next to no chance of recovering your investments.

HYIP schemes usually offer returns far in excess of what you can get from traditional savings schemes and often claim to trade in Forex or gold or other stocks to legitimise their business models.

We did some research to look at schemes currently paying and displaying some degree of longevity.

Before we get on the the HYIP’s that have been around for a while there is a new programme that is unique in the way it operates. Lara With Me works as a chatbot and users need to download the telegram software or browser plugin to interact with the scheme. It offers 3% per day but has only been running a few weeks so invest with caution.

Programmes that have been running a little longer (and are currently paying) include:

Ardex Funds – Investments in a range of sectors. Although they offer smaller returns they have been online since December 2015.

Billionearn.com SCAM stopped paying 17/9/16 – An exotic looking site online since March 2015. They offer a multitude of investment plans.

Forex Paradise – Their programmes usually involve a longer wait for payouts but again have been online since February 2014. As the name suggests, Forex trading is their claimed income source.

Agilital – Again, Forex and Alternative Asset Investments are the claimed trading vehicles. Online since April 2016 and currently trading. Like some of the other programmes they offer compounding.

Poker Adv – Poker bots that allegedly earn profits from custom built software allowing a passive income for investors. Online since October 2015 and currently paying.

This post will be updated when any of the above schemes turn bad!

 

Cryptsy Implodes with Bizarre Blog Statement

High profile online crypto exchange Cryptsy (the subject of much speculation over the last few weeks), finally published a blog ‘addressing’ the issues it has been having. The foremost requirement in the minds of customers was an explanation detailing the reasons withdrawals have not been possible recently.

In a bizarre blog post Cryptsy admitted that the previously published ‘phishing’ attack was not the reason for the current issues and instead claimed that a Hack in 2014 by the Devs behind Lucky7coin had caused the platform to lose thousands of bitcoins. The blog by Paul Vernon also went on (incredibly) to say that it saw no need to inform customers about the hack as it thought it could ‘recover the funds’ through profitable trading conditions!

Vernon is offering a 1000 btc reward for information directly leading to a recovery of the missing funds.

The blog at http://blog.cryptsy.com states that the site is looking for a resolution:

“Here are our options:

1. We shut down the website and file bankruptcy, letting users file claims via the bankruptcy process and letting the court make the disbursements.

– or –

2. Somebody else comes in to purchase and run Cryptsy while also making good on requested withdrawals.

– or –

3. If somehow we are able to re-aquire the stolen funds, then we allow all withdrawal requests to process.

I’m obviously open to any other ideas people may have on this.

If you have information, you can email reward@cryptsy.com”

Our view:

Another major setback for crypto and a spectacular failure by Cryptsy.

 

Crypto Faucet Awards 2015

Let’s face it Crypto Faucets can be hit and miss. We’ve tested hundreds over the last few months and have come up with a robust list of sites that give good rewards, almost 100% reliability and regular consistent payouts. Grab some free crypto at our recommended faucets before everyone else joins the crypto party!

Best Bitcoin Faucets

Winner:
Moon Bitcoin – Pays out as often as you like (your total grows in between claims) Visit Site
2nd:
Bitcoin Zebra – 1k to 3k BTC satoshis every hour plus great bonus chance Visit Site
3rd:
Bitcoinker – Pays every 5 mins 1.2k to 3k satoshis Visit Site
4th:
Free Bitcoin – Every hour – chance of big bonus Visit Site
New Kid On The Block:Bonus Bitcoin – Up to 5,000 satoshi every 15 minutes plus bonus and specials Visit Site

Best Dogecoin Faucets

Winner:
Moon Dogecoin – Pays out as often as you like (your total grows between claims) Visit Site
2nd:
Free Dogecoin – Every hour – chance of big bonus Visit Site
New kid on the block:
Blue Doge – 15-700,000 doge every 30 mins Visit Site

Best Litecoin Faucet

Winner:
Moon Litecoin – Pays out as often as you like (your total grows between claims) Visit Site
2nd:
Field Litecoin – Pays out as often as you like (your total grows between claims) Visit Site

Best AudioCoin Faucet

Winner:
Free Crypto – ADC and Multi coin faucet (choose your coin) Visit Site
2nd:
Bleutrade ADC Faucet Regular ADC payouts for Bleutrade users Visit Site

Best Bitcoin Wallet

Winner:
Xapo – has quickly grown to become wallet of choice (with great mobile app) Visit Xapo

Mining Sweden – Bringing transparency to Cloud Mining

New cloud mining sites are appearing regularly. Many are looking like obvious scams. Hashocean recently launched using staff photo’s copied from another company. Multimine.net launched and seemingly disappeared within a couple of weeks.

Combine these with recent high profile failed or ponzi collapses such as Hashie, PB Mining, AM Hash, Rockminer and the future and/or reputation of cloud mining is at the lowest ebb ever. Out of all the cloud mining companies we’ve tried, only Hashnest and SCloud have stood the test of time. Even Hashnest shut down the miners for several days when BTC was hovering around the $200 mark.

Our usual advice is to make sure you undertake due diligence before investing any money in these companies. Look for contact details, transparency of ownership (very difficult to find in the crypto world), details of hardware (certified photo’s videos etc).

Once you decide to try a new cloud mining company out, invest in a starter pack up to $50 (or a free test account) and so limit your exposure as much as possible. Once payouts start make sure you check the forums and news sections to keep track of any changes in difficulty, BTC price etc.

We’ve heard good news (and also sceptical comments) about a new mining platform Mining Sweden, whcih is attempting to bring transparency and legitimacy to Cloud Mining.

The platform was launched via crypto forums hashtalk, bitcointalk and litecointalk and others. Whilst there are still questions about hardware and farm size we decided to try out Mining Sweden on a small scale and up to now payouts have been as regular as clockwork.

Mining Sweden is concentrating on SHA256 mining and pays out weekly. We’ve had 2 payments (both exactly on time) and the site is moving to daily payments at some point. The ROI from buying their VIP Shares is longer at 300+ days but they do offer a 25% share in company profits after 1 year when you buy these limited edition VIP shares.

Again – please do your own research and don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose. We’ll keep this post updated with our own progress using these sites.

LTC Gear – Signs Of Life?

ltcgear pending
Specialist fpga cloud mining company LTCGear have had a turbulent few months.

Many users felt that LTCGear was ‘different’ to other cloud mining companies in that the site’s owner (Chris S) had successfully developed his own specialised chips to efficiently mine Litecoin.
If fact, using the litecoin talk forum (and latterly his own website) as a conduit he partially succeeded in developing retail versions of his boards.

When cloud mining came to the fore in mid-2014 he began to sell shares in in own farm in the form of qAsics (each qAsic being the equivalent of 100 kh). Some unfulfilled hardware orders were converted to these qAsics which paid out in the form of weekly payments. Rewards were outstanding with ROI claims of 6-8 weeks.

Understandably many new users were attracted through affiliate schemes and special offers. During Summer and Autumn of 2014 the products were frequently out of stock. This gave the site more plausibility and dispelled a lot of murmurings about the site underpinning a ponzi scheme.

Around the time of Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2014 there was a huge sale of discounted qAsic packs. It is now claimed by the site’s owners that a hack occurred whereby the proceeds of these sales were diverted to rogue BTC addresses leading to the loss of a considerable amount of BTC and also a large amount of fake shares. Most of these fake shares ‘could’ then have been sold on to other users using the open trading system that has since been terminated.

The last reported payments to users was on December 19th. Since then there has been minimal contact from Chris and the ponzi claims have once again been rife. (As a caveat – many respected users of the Litecoin forum have steadfastly stuck by Chris and the site in the midst of the storm that has been created). The ruours were not helped by cryptic messages posted on the site. ETA’s were posted regularly and deadlines came and went. The site went down, came back with black screen and new ETA. New servers were deployed. Mysterious maintenance tasks were reported. The database that has been ‘completely scrambled’ was undergoing manual repair.

All the non-communication was fuelling the negative sentiment across the forums. Just last week on 13th Feb, Chris appeared online to host a Q&A session with his concerned customers. He reiterated the severity of the hack and claimed all was nearly resolved and that users would see their balances within 7 days.

The saga appears to be reaching a conclusion with even hardened supporters accepting that this could be the deadline that needs to be met. We shall see. Check back next week for an update.

Ponzis, Scams, Theft and The Price Of Bitcoin

Christmas 2014 will go down in history as a time when hackers, thieves and ponzis changed everything. As I write this post BTC has sunk to $186 (and was considerably lower earlier in the day), major cloud mining operations have powered down their farms (cex.io and hashnest) and unless the price recovers the whole BTC landscape will irreversibly change.

What has caused the current issues?

Around Christmas Eve several cloud mining operations including PB Mining, Hashie, Hashprofit and LTC Gear suffered hacks or operational issues with a net effect of halting payments to customers. The circumstances and validity of each issue no doubt vary but the consensus seems to be that PB mining could well have been a ponzi although the operators claim the closure was a result of blackmail and personal threats. Hashie claimed a hack although the way they dealt with the aftermath screamed incompetance or ponzi. Hashprofit claimed a db breach although in hindsight this looks like a solid ponzi and finally LTC Gear more believably claimed a hack but the jury is still out as the website has still to recover and they are several weeks behind with payments.

To compound matters, the large exchange Bitstamp had a major breach/hack involving the theft of $5 million worth of Bitcoin. Clearly evoking memories of the Mt. Gox situation, the markets reacted badly to an already depressed value.

So what next?

Some are predicting a crash of epic proportions and the death of bitcoin (many of these doommongers are from traditional financial institutions who are threatened in the extreme by cryptocurrency). Their insecurity is manifesting itself into unprecedented attacks during the ongoing slump. Witness this Guardian article (very naive in it’s assumption that Bitcoin has no use)

Our View

Cryptocurrency is in an embryonic stage similar to the birth of the internet. Such great ideas will always prosper even though the naysayers will do their utmost to put a ‘spanner in the works’. Our philosophy is to sit tight, buy bitcoin and ride out the slump.

 

Show Me The Josh! Garza Lays Out His Blueprint For Paycoin

Fast growing cloud mining site zen miners have been hit by a number of issues over the past 30 days.

All was looking hunky dory in August when Gaw took an $8 million stake in the cloud mining company. It looked like a match made in heaven – the most successful asic mining hardware company jumping into bed with a progressive cloud hashing operation. Coupled with the $1 million purchase of the coveted BTC.com domain it was no wonder that CEO Josh Garza was being touted in some quarters as the next Steve Jobs!.

Josh Garza
Garza has been making all the right noises. Almost evangelical and philanthropic (not unlike Jobs) with his public announcements of new features and a customer first policy.

Customers lapped it up, and why wouldn’t they. The company were innovating cloud mining with ‘Hashlets’ – virtual miners that you could buy through Gaw or Zen and instantly activate into pools that were paying handsome daily amounts of BTC.

Then things started to go ever so slightly wrong. Just after announcing a ton of new features Josh and the team went to a BTC conference in Vegas. At around the same time – the platform (and new features) were hit with a host of new bugs. It was unfortunate for many reasons. Being short staffed back at base, the zen support team were struggling to cope with an increasing number of support tickets and the lack of any ‘announcements’ or updates was causing a PR meltdown.

As soon as the Vegas trip ended, Garza continued with the compulsively premature announcements. Seemingly following the Mark Zuckerberg mantra of ‘move fast, break things’ the CEO made apologies for ongoing bugs at the same time as announcing a raft of new features under his own self titled slogan ‘ignore them and innovate’.

The hashlet marketplace, new prime hashlet features, double dipping all sounded like adventurous but welcome features to the zen cloud. Then the world fell in. Zen suffered a double wammy.

First the market leading mining pool Zenpool was hit by falling daily payouts. This was rationalized by Garza as an issue concerning contract negotiations with a large company leasing hashing power from them. Speculation on some bitcoin forums alleged that Zen/Gaw may have lost a large contract. Miners on the zencloud were less than impressed with a daily reward that almost overnight fell from 0.0006 BTC per MH to 0.0003 BTC per MH.

A few days later the company was hit by an even bigger issue. Resellers of the flagship Prime Hashlets were selling 1MH prime hashlets at around the $50 mark. When buyers activated some of these prime hashlet codes they actually received 25MH instead of 1MH (around $1250 worth). Some users were successful in exploiting the issue by buying more primes and/or splitting the prime into 1MH chunks and quickly selling on the marketplace.

It is unclear how much money Zen lost during the exploit but we can safely assume it was ‘significant’ if the reply and explanation that Garza posted on the hashtalk forum is anything to go by.

Legal action was announced against any miners that had taken part in the exploit unless all monies/hashlets were returned. It is unclear how much of the missing BTC was recovered although Garza claimed that over half the people involved had been traced in his statement.

It was a difficult period for innocent users as the site went offline and withdrawals were frozen for a short time.

In true Maverick spirit, Garza and Zen continued with their plans for Project Prime and Hashbase. A Hashpool was introduced where users could mine Hashpoints instead of Bitcoins. Garza promised that these hashpoints would more than make up for the drop in the Zenpool payouts. A new ‘Hashcoin’ was mooted and speculation began to grow that Gaw’s new coin would be the foundation of Project Prime and Hashbase.

hashcoin.com
The Hashcoin (latterly Paycoin XPY) ICO was finally announced after widespread rumours that companies like Amazon and Walmart were already on board as partners and that the coin would be the biggest crypto coin launch of all time. A coin that would be relatively immune to severe price fluctuations and would have ‘near instant’ transaction confirmations.

So let’s have a look at the details that were included in the launch

Partners

Conspicuous by their absence in the announcement, the rumoured big hitters were not named. it’s possible that negotiations are ongoing and the ‘why hashcoin’ section has a statement reading ‘HashCoin launches with more merchant acceptance than any other cryptocurrency in history.

Transactional Immutability

Yeah, i had to look that up too! This is the explanation behind the near instant confirmation of transactions. The mathematical formulae behind this innovation are beyond the scope of this blog but i’m sure it will be dissected in the coming days. If it does indeed work then it will be a major breakthrough for Gaw’s mission to bring crypto transactions into the realm of widespread adoption. For now if you are brave you could read the white paper here.

Price Fluctuation Protection

This was the claim that interested me the most and I was eager to see the detail. It turned out to be the least interesting section of the launch. The currency will have a Coin Adoption Fund (CAF) with a ‘sole mandate to promote mass adoption for merchants, miners, and the general public’.

In practice this ‘fund’ is likely to be used to control ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ orders to stabilise the price.

Existing miners at Zen and the ICO (initial coin offering)

Here’s the good news for existing Gaw/Zen customers and a delivery on a promise made by Garza a couple of weeks ago. Zen users will get first dibs on the coin along with institutional investors. All the ‘Hashpoints’ mined will be eligible for exchange against paycoins at the rate of 400 points to 1 coin. This second stage of the ICO will enable miners to purchase the coins at a discounted rate (similar to a conventional share option scheme). The public ICO will see the coins priced at around $20 each and (with the help of CAF) the price should be sustainable in the short to medium term.

This represents a very good deal for loyal Gaw/Zen customers and could prove to be a masterstroke by Garza. The plans for the coin are very ambitious and Garza has been forging an almost cult like status amongst zen cloud users. The next few months are going to be incredibly interesting to see if Gaw/Zen can pull off one of the most ambitious projects the crypto currency world has ever seen.

Update: The coin hit the markets mid December. As of writing the coins were trading for around $10 each on Cryptsy ahead of the ‘guaranteed’ $20 per coin buyback floor at Paybase. (Due to launch Monday 22nd December)

The Price Of Bitcoin & Market Manipulation

Bitcoin advocates and the markets in general have been bemused by the recent downward spiral of the Bitcoin price. What is behind the fall?

Bitcoin price graph

Speculation is rife that it is actually Bitcoin investors have been driving down the price with strategic sells.

Coindesk reported that the drop only ‘hard bottomed’ when the price hit $300.

On Sunday October 5th bitcoin’s price plummeted below the 18-month average purchase price of $337.60, causing widespread concern amongst traders. Early Monday when the Asian markets opened a sell order of 26,000 BTC appeared on Bitstamp. The price fell to $300 and then something strange happened. In the traditional stockmarket parlance a ‘Buy, Buy, Buy’ bull market arose with investors eager to snap up the supply.

Many Bitcoin experts such as Adam O’Brian of BTC Solutions have speculated that the 26,000 BTC sell order was the work of an individual investor trying to lower the market price so that they could buy the BTC back for a bargain price. This form of manipulation is not uncommon in FIAT currencies and if true it does give BTC enthusiasts some comfort in that the underlying causes of the drop are not based on wider issues or problems.

PoolAxe could be the answer to your mining software woes!

Configuring your mining array can be fiddly and frustrating. I’ve personally used cgminer, bfg miner and UI’s such as macminer and Asteroid with varying degrees of success.

Fall over pools sometimes don’t kick in or overclocking can be difficult to set up. To solve these endless configuration headaches Cryptaxe have come up with an all-in-one miner monitoring, configuration and control suite.

The exciting part is that the software is available (in beta form) for LINUX, OSX and WINDOWS.

You can also monitor your configuration and miners with the accompanying Android app.
Join in with the beta at www.cryptaxe.com

x11 Coin Cloud Mining at Crypto Coins Trade

Trade all your coins
One cloud mining operation sneeking under the radar is Crypto Coins Trade.

We are well down the road with the larger cloud mining services such as CEX.io, scrypt.cc and zencloud. With a turbulent market it is important to buy and sell at the right time and x11 coins could be something to explore as an alternative to SHA256 and Scrypt.

The site enables you to try before you buy with 5khs of free mining power for 10 days and allows mining of SHA256, Scrypt and interestingly X11 coins. You can buy mining power with paypal and (like other sites) trade your mining power with other users once purchased.

The site looks to be well run and we’ll report back on ROI in a future update. Find out more here.