Charlie Lee jokingly predicts $14 LTC price, market reacts

Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, tweeted on Monday that he expected Litecoin to hit $14/coin when SegWit* activates. The prediction was tongue-in-cheek, based on obviously funny math, but that didn’t stop cryptocurrency traders from reacting. Litecoin’s price rose 10% shortly after Lee’s tweet, and it’s been steadily climbing since then—to about $12/coin at the time of this post.

*SegWit is a soft fork of Litecoin’s code base that will potentially bring about many benefits if/when it passes. For the fork to happen, 75% of miners need to signal support for SegWit over a two-week period. As of right now, it appears that roughly 70% of miners are on-board.

Expect my Ethereum mining guide next week!

My ridiculous 8-GPU mining frame with a couple lonely Radeon RX 470 cards, mining ethereum.

Look what I’ve been up to today—the UPS guy dropped off some new hardware to play with! Unfortunately it’s not everything I that was hoping for (the popular 6+ GPU mining motherboards I mentioned in a recent post are sold out everywhere), but it’s enough to get started with.

I’m already up and mining ETH on a couple RX 470 GPUs under the latest LTS release of Xubuntu. Still lots of optimization to do, but the process was a lot less painful than my first experience with litecoin mining back in 2013.

I’m celebrating a friend’s wedding out of town this weekend, but I’ll be back next week. Look for the first sections of my detailed Ethereum mining guide then!

Coinbase to finally offer support for Litecoin?

A press release from New York’s Department of Financial Services dated yesterday reveals that Coinbase has been granted approval to offer Litecoin services to its users.

Coinbase is widely regarded as the premier Bitcoin exchange. Last July, they added support for Ethereum, prompting many to wonder when (or if) support for Litecoin was coming. The press release seems to be confirmation that Coinbase is at least laying the groundwork for LTC support.

GPU Mining: back in style?

Ethereum 3 month price history

Ethereum: 3 month price history

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. =) The GPU mining craze all but died three years ago with the rise of ASIC hardware for scrypt (litecoin) miners. But if the last few weeks are any indication, it looks like we may be in for a major resurgence in popularity.

Bitcoin is currently trading at over $1200—a roughly 400% increase in the past year. Equally interesting is the performance of a couple alternative cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is at ~$32 (up 300% in the last year), with a market cap of $3 billion—about 15% of Bitcoin! Dash is at $100 (+250% over the last year, with much of that gain in the past week).

Dash is based on the X11 algorithm, which means ASIC hardware dominates its mining scene—and getting your hands on an X11-capable ASIC miner is currently fairly difficult, as they’re mostly sold out everywhere. But Ethereum is exclusively minable with modern consumer-grade video cards, and it’s currently quite profitable to do so.

Read on for some “back of the napkin” numbers regarding Ethereum GPU mining profitability, and some current hardware suggestions.

Get $250 back on $500 worth of purchases at Amazon!

Hi readers, I’ve been busy on a couple projects and consequently MIA the past few months. For those of you still visiting the site, I just thought I’d pass along a deal that seems ridiculously good, just in time for the holiday season: apply for a Chase Freedom Visa card and get $200 + $25 + 25 back ($250 total) after spending $500 at Amazon within 3 months. That amounts to a whopping 50% cash back on your first $500 of purchases, which should give you some extra cash to invest into your cryptocurrency addiction. =)

You can see how the deal breaks down by visiting the application page, but you’ll get $200 just for spending $500 in the first three months. You can make the purchases anywhere, but the card happens to earn you 5% cash back at Amazon this quarter, so that’s an additional $25. And you get an additional $25 when you add an authorized user to the card and they make their first purchase in 3 months.

You need to apply for the card by December 18th, but you have until mid-March to make the $500 in purchases. You can cancel the card without penalty after earning the rewards, of course.

Newegg begins accepting Bitcoin

This morning, Newegg announced that they’ve started accepting Bitcoin on their website (via BitPay), making them one of the largest and most popular internet retailers to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon to date. Newegg’s homepage is currently prominently featuring Bitcoin, and they’ve created a helpful “about Bitcoin” page on their site to help educate those that want to learn more about it. Bitcoin is even currently appearing at the top of the “payment options” list during Newegg’s checkout process—ahead of credit cards, Paypal, and other methods.

I’m surprised it took Newegg this long, but it’s nice to finally see them embrace cryptocurrency. I’m curious to see what kind of impact this will have on their business—Newegg really seems like an ideal candidate for Bitcoin adoption, given the nature of their products and techno-enthusiast customer base. Hopefully this turns into a major success story for them.

Xapo CEO predicts $1 Million Bitcoin price

The Wall Street Journal posted a short interview with Wences Casares, CEO of bitcoin startup Xapo, regarding his thoughts on the future of bitcoin. Casares predicts that one decade from now, a single bitcoin will be worth somewhere between half a million dollars and a million dollars.

That’s quite the lofty predication, and one that isn’t entirely surprising coming from a guy that runs a business that depends on people buying and holding bitcoins. However, Casares is far from the first person to make such a prediction, and there are fairly rational models that support single bitcoin valuations in the 5 to 6 figure range.

I’ve personally stated many times that I believe the far future (5+ years, in technology) of bitcoin only holds two possibilities: it either fails to catch on and its value drops to zero, or adoption reaches a critical mass and its value skyrockets far beyond where it is today. A scenario where bitcoin simply stagnates and plateaus at a value of several hundred dollars (or a somewhere in the low four figures) is the only unreasonable one to me. I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see a 5- or 6-figure bitcoin price in a decade, just like I wouldn’t be astonished if bitcoin was no longer around. So I suppose a 7-figure valuation isn’t out of the realm of possibility, either.

Regardless of what happens in the future, it’ll probably be interesting to look back at the days of the ~$500 bitcoin.

KNC announces 100 Mh/sec scrypt mining rigs

Yesterday, KnCMiner began accepting pre-orders for their first ASIC scrypt-based mining rigs. Dubbed the “Titan”, KnCMiner claims that each unit will be capable of mining scrypt-based coins (Litecoin, etc) at a rate of at least 100 Mh/sec—far in excess of what GPU-based rigs are capable of today. KnCMiner hasn’t shared power consumption estimates thus far, but each unit will apparently run on a single standard ATX power supply (which is supplied by the customer). The units are scheduled to begin shipping in Q2 or Q3 of 2014, and the pre-order price is set at $9,995 per rig.

There are a handful of other companies that have announced that they’re actively developing ASIC scrypt miners, but KnCMiner is the only one that has a proven track record in this area. KnCMiner’s popular Bitcoin ASIC rigs shipped on time to pre-order customers, and performed in excess of initial estimates—so there is no reason to assume that they won’t be able to deliver on their promises with the Titan.

TechCrunch reported that KnCMiner sold $2 million worth of Titan pre-orders in four hours, so interest in the rigs is apparently quite high.

Edit 3/21: As reader sapientlife points out, ASIC scrypt miners by Gridseed are already available for purchase. The Gridseed miners aren’t very powerful, however—they’re capable of mining scrypt coins about half as fast as a single high-end GPU, for nearly the same up-front cost. However, they’re quite a bit more power efficient than GPU mining (GPUs will use about 10 times as much power at the same hashing speed). Whether or not a Gridseed ASIC beats out GPUs for you depends on electricity costs in your area.

Newsweek seemingly outs Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto

In a story published this morning, Newsweek has finally exposed the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Or at least, Newsweek believes that it has.

The story is an odd account of a perhaps over-zealous journalist ambushing a man at his house in California, and proceeding to ask him questions about Bitcoin that he mostly refuses to answer. At no point does this man actually confirm that he is the creator of Bitcoin, and the story’s author doesn’t provide any actual proof to her claim. Only the shared name (most in the Bitcoin community have always assumed that “Satoshi Nakamoto” is a pseudonym) and the fact that this man has apparently done some classified technical work during his career are submitted as evidence that Bitcoin’s creator has been found.

Newsweek went so far as to publish photos of the man and his house in the article—which seems more than a bit irresponsible given that Satoshi allegedly has access to about half a billion dollars worth of bitcoin. That kind of wealth will likely bring him all sorts of attention for the rest of his life, as well as make him a potential target for criminals looking to get their hands on his private keys.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Newsweek finds itself on the receiving end of a good deal of backlash over the story. It’s big on speculation, light on actual facts, and recklessly cavalier toward Nakamoto’s personal privacy.

Edit 6PM: Nakamoto has reportedly officially denied being the creator of Bitcoin. Some folks over in the /r/Bitcoin subreddit have found some of Nakamoto’s Amazon product reviews and compared them to posts written by the real Satoshi—the difference in writing style is quite obvious. It’s looking more and more like Newsweek royally screwed up and turned some random poor guy’s life upside down for nothing.

Edit 7:30PM: The AP posted the details of Nakamoto’s denial. Apparently he’d never even heard of Bitcoin before Newsweek contacted him.

Edit 3/17: Nakamoto has officially denied being the creator of Bitcoin via a written statement from his lawyer. Lawsuit incoming!

Mt. Gox shuts down

mtgox-whiteMt. Gox has been offline since late yesterday evening, just a few hours after I wrote that something like this was probably imminent. Most are interpreting the unavailability of Mt. Gox’s website as a sign that they’ve shut down for good, and unfortunately that’s probably a safe bet.

CNBC posted a good write-up of the events leading up to Gox’s demise this morning. Ars Technica published a short article about the shut down as well.

Hopefully none of you had any money trapped in Gox. This should serve as yet another reminder that cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t banks and should never be treated as such. When exchanges fail—and an absurdly high percentage of them do—you’ll likely be left without recourse, so don’t trust a third party to hold your money any longer than necessary. Store the majority of your cryptocurrency in secure offline wallets, and transfer to exchanges only long enough to execute your trades.

This news will likely have a negative impact on cryptocurrency prices. BTC is down about 20% this morning already, and you can expect it to continue to drop throughout the week as the news makes it way through mainstream media outlets. For the more speculatively-minded folks among us, the next few weeks may present an excellent opportunity to pick up some bitcoins at heavily discounted prices.

Edit: Erik Voorhees posted some eloquent thoughts about the situation over on reddit.