Markets start to welcome cannabis projects as regulations soften around the world

As more countries become more open-minded in adopting the use of cannabis for multiple applications, particularly medical treatment, markets in North America and Europe are witnessing an unprecedented inflow of companies and projects working with hemp products.

Cannabis-derived plants can offer a multitude of uses. Hemp, a ‘softer’ plant of the cannabis species, is a very useful crop that can be turned into everything from clothes to shoes, paper, animal feed and building insulation.

But the current cannabis market craze is largely focused on the area of medical and healthcare products. Cannabis-related products are used for preventing Alzheimer’s, decreasing anxiety symptoms, treating effects of autism and epilepsy, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea and even helping prevent cancer.

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023.

Sales of hemp products in the US reached $1bn (£760m) in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, with the US having legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas ̶ welcome news for farmers.

Furthermore, the data from New Frontier shows forecasts for US sales of hemp products reaching $2.6bn by 2022. At the same time, it predicts global hemp industry sales to jump to $5.7bn by 2020 — from $3.7bn in 2018.

The hype is indeed real, so much so that a university in the US is now offering a degree in Marijuana studies, within its Chemistry school.

A success story: Canada

The flagship of cannabis market prosperity is Canada. The country legalised recreational cannabis use in October last year and since, the market has witnessed impressive growth and companies moving towards the sector.

Just a couple weeks ago, the FT reported that the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index fund has grown to $1.3bn in assets, making the world’s first cannabis exchange traded fund set to become the second most profitable ETF in Canada, after returning more than 50 per cent so far this year.

Canada is also home to the leader in the global cannabis industry, Canopy Growth Corp., with a market value north of $16 billion.

Carol Pepper, advisor at Pepper International, told CNBC that legalisation of pot in Canada had “blown through expectations”. The numbers impressed investors and bankers around the world, which seem to inspire a European wave of openness towards cannabis projects.

Market Opportunity in Europe and the UK

In light of the massive growth in Canada, markets in Europe and the UK are welcoming the inflow of so-called “pot stocks”. According to Bloomberg, cannabis medical companies have shown significant interest in listing in European markets, including the UK.

In the region, the medicinal cannabis market in 2028 will be valued at Euro 55 billion, with the recreational cannabis market worth 60 billion Euros across both primary and secondary services to the cannabis industry, assuming that all European countries have passed legislation by 2023.

In November 2018, the UK government gave the go-ahead for specialist doctors to start prescribing cannabis-based medicines. This led to the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions.

If cannabis stocks are ̶ for the moment ̶ a niche market, loosening in regulation in the UK has been seen as positive for the markets and offers the chance for pot stocks to go mainstream.

At the moment, the biggest marijuana company is London’s Sativa Investments Plc at about 26.8 million pounds ($33.6 million) on the NEX Exchange, but this scenario is set to change throughout 2019.

It has recently been reported that Jacana, which grows medical-use cannabis in Jamaica, is considering a stock market float on AIM later this year. The company raised $20m (£15.08m) in private investment in 2018.

Other companies showing plans to list are European Cannabis Holdings, responsible for helping in the arrival of the first legal shipment of marijuana in Britain earlier this year, and Emmac Life Sciences.

Nick Davis, chief executive of law firm Memery Crystal, which is advising cannabis companies to enter the London market, said to This is Money that there are many companies targeting both the main market and the AIM.

‘I think this will be the year that there are a significant number of listings — though it’s predicated on no change to regulation here. ‘I’d be surprised if there weren’t a dozen companies across AIM and the main market by the year-end,’ he commented.

Bloomberg also hints at other European companies that are signalling to make an early move into the cannabis scene: Paris-based Gour Medical AG, which plans to produce medical cannabis products for animals; StenoCare A/S from Denmark and Dermapharm Holding SE from Germany both focusing on medical and pharmaceutical cannabis applications.

Markets start to welcome cannabis projects as regulations soften around the world

As more countries become more open-minded in adopting the use of cannabis for multiple applications, particularly medical treatment, markets in North America and Europe are witnessing an unprecedented inflow of companies and projects working with hemp products.

Cannabis-derived plants can offer a multitude of uses. Hemp, a ‘softer’ plant of the cannabis species, is a very useful crop that can be turned into everything from clothes to shoes, paper, animal feed and building insulation.

But the current cannabis market craze is largely focused on the area of medical and healthcare products. Cannabis-related products are used for preventing Alzheimer’s, decreasing anxiety symptoms, treating effects of autism and epilepsy, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea and even helping prevent cancer.

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023.

Sales of hemp products in the US reached $1bn (£760m) in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, with the US having legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas ̶ welcome news for farmers.

Furthermore, the data from New Frontier shows forecasts for US sales of hemp products reaching $2.6bn by 2022. At the same time, it predicts global hemp industry sales to jump to $5.7bn by 2020 — from $3.7bn in 2018.

The hype is indeed real, so much so that a university in the US is now offering a degree in Marijuana studies, within its Chemistry school.

A success story: Canada

The flagship of cannabis market prosperity is Canada. The country legalised recreational cannabis use in October last year and since, the market has witnessed impressive growth and companies moving towards the sector.

Just a couple weeks ago, the FT reported that the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index fund has grown to $1.3bn in assets, making the world’s first cannabis exchange traded fund set to become the second most profitable ETF in Canada, after returning more than 50 per cent so far this year.

Canada is also home to the leader in the global cannabis industry, Canopy Growth Corp., with a market value north of $16 billion.

Carol Pepper, advisor at Pepper International, told CNBC that legalisation of pot in Canada had “blown through expectations”. The numbers impressed investors and bankers around the world, which seem to inspire a European wave of openness towards cannabis projects.

Market Opportunity in Europe and the UK

In light of the massive growth in Canada, markets in Europe and the UK are welcoming the inflow of so-called “pot stocks”. According to Bloomberg, cannabis medical companies have shown significant interest in listing in European markets, including the UK.

In the region, the medicinal cannabis market in 2028 will be valued at Euro 55 billion, with the recreational cannabis market worth 60 billion Euros across both primary and secondary services to the cannabis industry, assuming that all European countries have passed legislation by 2023.

In November 2018, the UK government gave the go-ahead for specialist doctors to start prescribing cannabis-based medicines. This led to the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions.

If cannabis stocks are ̶ for the moment ̶ a niche market, loosening in regulation in the UK has been seen as positive for the markets and offers the chance for pot stocks to go mainstream.

At the moment, the biggest marijuana company is London’s Sativa Investments Plc at about 26.8 million pounds ($33.6 million) on the NEX Exchange, but this scenario is set to change throughout 2019.

It has recently been reported that Jacana, which grows medical-use cannabis in Jamaica, is considering a stock market float on AIM later this year. The company raised $20m (£15.08m) in private investment in 2018.

Other companies showing plans to list are European Cannabis Holdings, responsible for helping in the arrival of the first legal shipment of marijuana in Britain earlier this year, and Emmac Life Sciences.

Nick Davis, chief executive of law firm Memery Crystal, which is advising cannabis companies to enter the London market, said to This is Money that there are many companies targeting both the main market and the AIM.

‘I think this will be the year that there are a significant number of listings — though it’s predicated on no change to regulation here. ‘I’d be surprised if there weren’t a dozen companies across AIM and the main market by the year-end,’ he commented.

Bloomberg also hints at other European companies that are signalling to make an early move into the cannabis scene: Paris-based Gour Medical AG, which plans to produce medical cannabis products for animals; StenoCare A/S from Denmark and Dermapharm Holding SE from Germany both focusing on medical and pharmaceutical cannabis applications.

Markets start to welcome cannabis projects as regulations soften around the world

As more countries become more open-minded in adopting the use of cannabis for multiple applications, particularly medical treatment, markets in North America and Europe are witnessing an unprecedented inflow of companies and projects working with hemp products.

Cannabis-derived plants can offer a multitude of uses. Hemp, a ‘softer’ plant of the cannabis species, is a very useful crop that can be turned into everything from clothes to shoes, paper, animal feed and building insulation.

But the current cannabis market craze is largely focused on the area of medical and healthcare products. Cannabis-related products are used for preventing Alzheimer’s, decreasing anxiety symptoms, treating effects of autism and epilepsy, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea and even helping prevent cancer.

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023.

Sales of hemp products in the US reached $1bn (£760m) in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, with the US having legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas ̶ welcome news for farmers.

Furthermore, the data from New Frontier shows forecasts for US sales of hemp products reaching $2.6bn by 2022. At the same time, it predicts global hemp industry sales to jump to $5.7bn by 2020 — from $3.7bn in 2018.

The hype is indeed real, so much so that a university in the US is now offering a degree in Marijuana studies, within its Chemistry school.

A success story: Canada

The flagship of cannabis market prosperity is Canada. The country legalised recreational cannabis use in October last year and since, the market has witnessed impressive growth and companies moving towards the sector.

Just a couple weeks ago, the FT reported that the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index fund has grown to $1.3bn in assets, making the world’s first cannabis exchange traded fund set to become the second most profitable ETF in Canada, after returning more than 50 per cent so far this year.

Canada is also home to the leader in the global cannabis industry, Canopy Growth Corp., with a market value north of $16 billion.

Carol Pepper, advisor at Pepper International, told CNBC that legalisation of pot in Canada had “blown through expectations”. The numbers impressed investors and bankers around the world, which seem to inspire a European wave of openness towards cannabis projects.

Market Opportunity in Europe and the UK

In light of the massive growth in Canada, markets in Europe and the UK are welcoming the inflow of so-called “pot stocks”. According to Bloomberg, cannabis medical companies have shown significant interest in listing in European markets, including the UK.

In the region, the medicinal cannabis market in 2028 will be valued at Euro 55 billion, with the recreational cannabis market worth 60 billion Euros across both primary and secondary services to the cannabis industry, assuming that all European countries have passed legislation by 2023.

In November 2018, the UK government gave the go-ahead for specialist doctors to start prescribing cannabis-based medicines. This led to the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions.

If cannabis stocks are ̶ for the moment ̶ a niche market, loosening in regulation in the UK has been seen as positive for the markets and offers the chance for pot stocks to go mainstream.

At the moment, the biggest marijuana company is London’s Sativa Investments Plc at about 26.8 million pounds ($33.6 million) on the NEX Exchange, but this scenario is set to change throughout 2019.

It has recently been reported that Jacana, which grows medical-use cannabis in Jamaica, is considering a stock market float on AIM later this year. The company raised $20m (£15.08m) in private investment in 2018.

Other companies showing plans to list are European Cannabis Holdings, responsible for helping in the arrival of the first legal shipment of marijuana in Britain earlier this year, and Emmac Life Sciences.

Nick Davis, chief executive of law firm Memery Crystal, which is advising cannabis companies to enter the London market, said to This is Money that there are many companies targeting both the main market and the AIM.

‘I think this will be the year that there are a significant number of listings — though it’s predicated on no change to regulation here. ‘I’d be surprised if there weren’t a dozen companies across AIM and the main market by the year-end,’ he commented.

Bloomberg also hints at other European companies that are signalling to make an early move into the cannabis scene: Paris-based Gour Medical AG, which plans to produce medical cannabis products for animals; StenoCare A/S from Denmark and Dermapharm Holding SE from Germany both focusing on medical and pharmaceutical cannabis applications.

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.

Digibyte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

DigiByte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

On January 10th, DigiByte celebrated its 5th anniversary and completed 8.000.000 blocks and has become the largest, fastest and most secure blockchain in current existence. DigiByte has a history of constant improvement, living up to its motto of the forward-thinking coin.

Over its 5-year journey, DigiByte has repeatedly improved, setting itself apart from other cryptocurrencies with multiple blockchain firsts such as SegWit, MulitAlgo Mining and DigiShield.

“I’d argue that the DigiByte we have today is the most advanced blockchain in the world , with the most steadfast secure set up,” said DigiByte founder Jared Tate in a reflection of the coin’s five years of development.

DigiByte has one of the strongest use cases in the cryptocurrency market: DGB can support over 48 million transactions a day: 10 times the current transaction capacity of the top 50 blockchains by market cap.

Over recent months, we have seen significant progression for DigiByte, such as the implementation of ASIC Protection for Next-Generation Blockchain Mining to further decentralise the DGB network, as well as the listing on Bitfinex, one of the largest and most important crypto exchanges.

Strong community

Throughout these five years, DigiByte has attracted more and more followers because of its genuine intention to create a financial system centered around people and social value. The community-driven effort and the tremendous faith that all those involved in DGB have in the project are the key factors that make DGB so unique and compelling.

DigiByte today has one of the most connected and engaging communities in the crypto space. DGB followers have set up foundations and networks to spread the word about the mass adoption potential of DigiByte.

Last November, DigiByte enthusiasts based in the UK and Europe had the chance to meet each other for the first time and talk to Jared himself at the first UK DigiByte Event,held in central London.

Decentralisation at the heart of DigiByte

More than a cryptocurrency, DigiByte offers the most reliable blockchain structure to support transactions at an uninterrupted global level.

In fact, the ultimate objective for DigiByte is to re-build the infrastructure of the internet today. Founder Jared Tate believes that an efficient blockchain can solve 90–95% of the security vulnerabilities in the internet today. The centralised databases which support the current system, such as Facebook, Google and YouTube, act as a catalyst for single points of failure. When all the valuable information is stored in one single place, vulnerabilities to hacks and breaches increase, as well as allowing surveillance and data control from central institutions.

The solution to fix the current system would, therefore, be to build a decentralised architecture for the internet, supported by sophisticated and advanced blockchain structures. A decentralised framework is user-centered, not relying on intermediary platforms to connect users and services.

In order to support this new internet model, DigiByte is built in 3 blockchain layers:

- Applications layer: The top layer of DGB to be used in everyday, real-world applications, such as DApps and Smart Contracts

- Digital Asset Layer/ Public Ledger Layer: The layer in which all DGB transactions are stored in an immutable public ledger, providing maximum security.

  • Core Protocol Layer: The bottom layers, made of decentralised nodes across the planet, where all communication and operation procedures occur.

What’s next?

The DGB community has plenty to look forward to into the near future. The first global DigiByte Summit will take place in Amsterdam on 19th April 2019. The theme of the Summit is ‘The Power of Decentralisation’ and its agenda will expand on the multitude of possibilities and uses enabled by decentralised technologies.

Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services — official PR for DigiByte commented: “Cassiopeia is thrilled to be organising and hosting the first ever DigiByte Summit next April. DigiByte represents the true power of decentralised technologies: It offers top security, performs transactions faster than any other crypto and has one of the strongest use cases in the crypto market. Blockchain technology has unlocked a new era where decentralised networks and markets empower individuals and change society and the global economy.”

Registrations are open to DigiByte Global Summit here

In the long-run, DGB investors can be cheerful as crypto analysts say that Digibyte has the potential to reach $1 as the coin develops and its features become more sophisticated over time.

More than that, we are likely to see the increasing deployment of DigiByte platform to projects such as Antum and V-ID, which power blockchain to provide verification and digital identity services.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming exclusive interview on FinancialFox news with Josiah Spackman, DigiByte Foundation Ambassador. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Digibyte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

DigiByte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

On January 10th, DigiByte celebrated its 5th anniversary and completed 8.000.000 blocks and has become the largest, fastest and most secure blockchain in current existence. DigiByte has a history of constant improvement, living up to its motto of the forward-thinking coin.

Over its 5-year journey, DigiByte has repeatedly improved, setting itself apart from other cryptocurrencies with multiple blockchain firsts such as SegWit, MulitAlgo Mining and DigiShield.

“I’d argue that the DigiByte we have today is the most advanced blockchain in the world , with the most steadfast secure set up,” said DigiByte founder Jared Tate in a reflection of the coin’s five years of development.

DigiByte has one of the strongest use cases in the cryptocurrency market: DGB can support over 48 million transactions a day: 10 times the current transaction capacity of the top 50 blockchains by market cap.

Over recent months, we have seen significant progression for DigiByte, such as the implementation of ASIC Protection for Next-Generation Blockchain Mining to further decentralise the DGB network, as well as the listing on Bitfinex, one of the largest and most important crypto exchanges.

Strong community

Throughout these five years, DigiByte has attracted more and more followers because of its genuine intention to create a financial system centered around people and social value. The community-driven effort and the tremendous faith that all those involved in DGB have in the project are the key factors that make DGB so unique and compelling.

DigiByte today has one of the most connected and engaging communities in the crypto space. DGB followers have set up foundations and networks to spread the word about the mass adoption potential of DigiByte.

Last November, DigiByte enthusiasts based in the UK and Europe had the chance to meet each other for the first time and talk to Jared himself at the first UK DigiByte Event,held in central London.

Decentralisation at the heart of DigiByte

More than a cryptocurrency, DigiByte offers the most reliable blockchain structure to support transactions at an uninterrupted global level.

In fact, the ultimate objective for DigiByte is to re-build the infrastructure of the internet today. Founder Jared Tate believes that an efficient blockchain can solve 90–95% of the security vulnerabilities in the internet today. The centralised databases which support the current system, such as Facebook, Google and YouTube, act as a catalyst for single points of failure. When all the valuable information is stored in one single place, vulnerabilities to hacks and breaches increase, as well as allowing surveillance and data control from central institutions.

The solution to fix the current system would, therefore, be to build a decentralised architecture for the internet, supported by sophisticated and advanced blockchain structures. A decentralised framework is user-centered, not relying on intermediary platforms to connect users and services.

In order to support this new internet model, DigiByte is built in 3 blockchain layers:

- Applications layer: The top layer of DGB to be used in everyday, real-world applications, such as DApps and Smart Contracts

- Digital Asset Layer/ Public Ledger Layer: The layer in which all DGB transactions are stored in an immutable public ledger, providing maximum security.

  • Core Protocol Layer: The bottom layers, made of decentralised nodes across the planet, where all communication and operation procedures occur.

What’s next?

The DGB community has plenty to look forward to into the near future. The first global DigiByte Summit will take place in Amsterdam on 19th April 2019. The theme of the Summit is ‘The Power of Decentralisation’ and its agenda will expand on the multitude of possibilities and uses enabled by decentralised technologies.

Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services — official PR for DigiByte commented: “Cassiopeia is thrilled to be organising and hosting the first ever DigiByte Summit next April. DigiByte represents the true power of decentralised technologies: It offers top security, performs transactions faster than any other crypto and has one of the strongest use cases in the crypto market. Blockchain technology has unlocked a new era where decentralised networks and markets empower individuals and change society and the global economy.”

Registrations are open to DigiByte Global Summit here

In the long-run, DGB investors can be cheerful as crypto analysts say that Digibyte has the potential to reach $1 as the coin develops and its features become more sophisticated over time.

More than that, we are likely to see the increasing deployment of DigiByte platform to projects such as Antum and V-ID, which power blockchain to provide verification and digital identity services.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming exclusive interview on FinancialFox news with Josiah Spackman, DigiByte Foundation Ambassador. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

NeuroTrader: Harnessing biodata to optimise real-time trading performance

There are many factors one should consider before making decisions in the trading process. Whereas research about company performance, market outlook and stock trends are certainly important, there is also a psychological element that is very often overlooked by investors, which holds them back from gaining better returns from their trading activities.

Trading activity, often assumed to be based on logical and analytical behaviour in order to balance out the inherent risk and possible gains, is often strongly impacted by the trader’s state of mind. Stress, excitement and overstimulation are among the many variables which can lead to risky trading decisions and potential losses. The forces affecting trading decisions are indeed multifactorial but directly impact the outcomes.

Very often, financial losses can be attributed to poor decision making arising from fear, trepidation and anxiety, each of which show specific biological patterns. When investors get too emotionally involved with trading, they are more apt to take greater risks, which quite possibly lead to less favourable returns. Financial gains, on the other hand, tend to result from clarity and optimism, which have their own biological patterns, better known as “biomarkers”.

Emotions such as fear and greed are common in a trader’s daily life. Stocks and markets are, after all, fluid systems and bad news is bound to crop up. however, these emotions are misleading and as result, compromise trading performance. In order to ensure better results, traders should discipline themselves to override their instincts and move past the emotional response. This reflects on the figures; only 5% of traders make a profit at the end of the year.A reliable solution to prevent emotions from hindering optimal trading performance is a tool which provides insights into the trader’s neurosystem, informing smarter decisions. But is there such a solution without resorting to algorithms or robots?

NeuroTrader is a suite of software applications which can enhance traders’ decision-making effectiveness with wearable technology. Based on the concept of trading as a peak performance sport, NeuroTrader is creating the science of optimal decision making.

Real-time monitoring of the traders and their biodata provides an opportunity to mitigate risk, optimise performance and create stable and consistent rates of return as a function of the traders’ biological responses to price and market sentiment.

NeuroTrader is the system to help investors make better choices based on clinical analysis and objectivity. By analysing biodata collected via wearable technology, NeuroTrader can discern different human performance states and therefore inform trading decisions based upon the biological state of the trader, providing an advanced risk-management tool for every trade.

Neurotrader is initiating its pilot program in February next year, in which it will be monitoring 100 traders globally over a 6-month period. The NeuroTrader team, with 10 years of research and testing in the field, expect the platform to mitigate on average 20% of trading errors.

The industry has already taken the route of eliminating humans from trading and using machine learning to improve trading results, but the problem for financial institutions is that they have misunderstood the limitations of these technologies.

“There is a perfect middle ground where machines assist human performance; this is a paradigm-shift where machines serve people to achieve greater heights, not to make them redundant,” says Ken Medanic, the creator and founder of NeuroTrader.

NeuroTrader promises to be one of the first technologies to improve behavioural patterns in trading activity — suitable for both individuals and institutional investors. Hear more about this exciting tool in person. Don’t miss NeuroTrader’s presentation at Cassiopeia Investor Symposium! Register here

NeuroTrader: Harnessing biodata to optimise real-time trading performance

There are many factors one should consider before making decisions in the trading process. Whereas research about company performance, market outlook and stock trends are certainly important, there is also a psychological element that is very often overlooked by investors, which holds them back from gaining better returns from their trading activities.

Trading activity, often assumed to be based on logical and analytical behaviour in order to balance out the inherent risk and possible gains, is often strongly impacted by the trader’s state of mind. Stress, excitement and overstimulation are among the many variables which can lead to risky trading decisions and potential losses. The forces affecting trading decisions are indeed multifactorial but directly impact the outcomes.

Very often, financial losses can be attributed to poor decision making arising from fear, trepidation and anxiety, each of which show specific biological patterns. When investors get too emotionally involved with trading, they are more apt to take greater risks, which quite possibly lead to less favourable returns. Financial gains, on the other hand, tend to result from clarity and optimism, which have their own biological patterns, better known as “biomarkers”.

Emotions such as fear and greed are common in a trader’s daily life. Stocks and markets are, after all, fluid systems and bad news is bound to crop up. however, these emotions are misleading and as result, compromise trading performance. In order to ensure better results, traders should discipline themselves to override their instincts and move past the emotional response. This reflects on the figures; only 5% of traders make a profit at the end of the year.A reliable solution to prevent emotions from hindering optimal trading performance is a tool which provides insights into the trader’s neurosystem, informing smarter decisions. But is there such a solution without resorting to algorithms or robots?

NeuroTrader is a suite of software applications which can enhance traders’ decision-making effectiveness with wearable technology. Based on the concept of trading as a peak performance sport, NeuroTrader is creating the science of optimal decision making.

Real-time monitoring of the traders and their biodata provides an opportunity to mitigate risk, optimise performance and create stable and consistent rates of return as a function of the traders’ biological responses to price and market sentiment.

NeuroTrader is the system to help investors make better choices based on clinical analysis and objectivity. By analysing biodata collected via wearable technology, NeuroTrader can discern different human performance states and therefore inform trading decisions based upon the biological state of the trader, providing an advanced risk-management tool for every trade.

Neurotrader is initiating its pilot program in February next year, in which it will be monitoring 100 traders globally over a 6-month period. The NeuroTrader team, with 10 years of research and testing in the field, expect the platform to mitigate on average 20% of trading errors.

The industry has already taken the route of eliminating humans from trading and using machine learning to improve trading results, but the problem for financial institutions is that they have misunderstood the limitations of these technologies.

“There is a perfect middle ground where machines assist human performance; this is a paradigm-shift where machines serve people to achieve greater heights, not to make them redundant,” says Ken Medanic, the creator and founder of NeuroTrader.

NeuroTrader promises to be one of the first technologies to improve behavioural patterns in trading activity — suitable for both individuals and institutional investors. Hear more about this exciting tool in person. Don’t miss NeuroTrader’s presentation at Cassiopeia Investor Symposium! Register here

How tech can help unleash our full trading potential

NeuroTrader harnesses biodata to monitor and optimise real-time trading performance.

Trading activity, generally assumed to be based on cool logic and analysis to balance out itsinherent risk, is often significantly impacted by the individual trader’s state of mind. Stress, excitement and overstimulation are among the many variables which can lead to risky trading decisions and potential losses. The forces affecting trading decisions are multifactorial. Very often, financial losses can be attributed to poor decision making brought about by fear, trepidation and anxiety, each of which demonstrates specific biological patterns. Financial gains, on the other hand, tend to result from clarity and optimism, which also have their own biological patterns, better known as “biomarkers”. When traders get too emotionally involved, they are more apt to take greater risks, very possibly leading to less favourable returns.

Is there a reliable solution to safeguard human trading performance which does not involve resorting to algorithms or robots?

NeuroTrader is a suite of software applications which can enhance traders’ decision-making effectiveness with wearable technology. Based on the concept of trading as a peak performance sport, NeuroTrader is creating a science around optimal decision making for traders globally. Monitoring the traders and their biodata in real-time, the system provides an opportunity to mitigate risk, optimise performance and create stable and consistent rates of return based on the traders’ biological responses to price and market sentiment.

NeuroTrader is the system to help investors and traders make better choices based on clinical analysis and objectivity. By analysing biodata collected via wearable technology, NeuroTrader can discern a variety of human performance states and therefore inform trading decisions based upon the trader‘s biological state, providing an advanced risk-management tool for every trade.

Cassiopeia: Tell us a bit about how the idea was conceived: why and how did you start NeuroTrader?

NeuroTrader: The inception of the idea dates back to university in 2002. Specialising in finance, I was taking “Investment analysis and portfolio management”. Working on an assignment to develop a portfolio of shares and track it’s performance, I deviated from the guidelines and developed a software application that correlated a portfolio of 19 futures contracts which produced an annualised return of 88% and a win-to-loss ratio of 50%. The interesting thing about the software was that, in addition to collecting price and buy/sell data, I was recording my subjective experience of the market, in effect, I was tracking my decision-making process through qualitative analysis.

Though the financial performance results were very good, I needed to understand why I got 50% of the trades wrong. In 2007, I created another software program that started to experiment with the use of qualitative analysis as a primary decision-making metric in the investing and trading process. The problem I found was that qualitative analysis is subjective and changes with our moods and experiences, as perception is a constantly shifting state of environmental appraisal, therefore the system could not be standardised across multiple users/traders.

In 2009, I recognized that the qualitative psychological reasons for making an investment or trade could be quantified as a biological response using biofeedback technology. In 2014, I moved to California to learn about neurofeedback and biofeedback. In 2016, we moved to Montreal to gain a better understanding of wearable technology, and it was then that we released our first alpha version of NeuroTrader at the Canadian Annual Derivatives Conference organised by the TMX group and the Montreal Derivatives Exchange.

So, in short, the primary reason for developing NeuroTrader is to limit losses and optimise gains by incorporating the psychological and biological aspects of our decision-making process. In the retail trader market, only 5% of traders make a profit at the end of the year! As the estimated number of retail traders in the world is 50 million, that means that 47.5 million people need a solution to their pain point: losing money.

Cassiopeia: Can you explain how your wearable technology and devices work and how data is transferred and analysed?

NeuroTrader: The device wraps around your finger; it measures your heart rate, peripheral temperature and skin conductivity. Via Bluetooth connectivity, it sends the biodata to the PC/laptop where the desktop application then sends the biodata to the server to be integrated with price. It is at this point of server-side integration that our behavioural models begin the process of assessment, in effect seeking opportune entry signals.

Cassiopeia: The AI that you have implemented in this product is an unsupervised learning algorithm, since the data can vary from person to person. How would you describe its efficiency?

NeuroTrader: It is still a little early to state empirical performance figures and give mathematical guarantees, hence the initiation our “pilot programme” on the 11th February where we will be monitoring 100 traders globally over a 6-month period. This is going to be a very interesting time as we will be publishing our results on what is the largest behavioural finance experiment to date in the world. I believe we will provide a lot of new knowledge about financial market decision-making and demystify many old — perhaps invalid — assumptions. Based on my 10 years of research and testing in the field, I am confident that we will mitigate on average 20% of trading errors.

Cassiopeia: Data privacy and protection is a highly sensitive topic these days, especially with breaches by top companies such as Facebook. With the system that you have created, how do you ensure that your customers’ biometric data stays private and confidential?

NeuroTrader: In addition to the standard data protection tools, we use the same methods as those for medical data where the biodata is not matched to the users’ name but is logged as a number.

Cassiopeia: As you have claimed, there is no other product like yours currently on the market, so you are using an exclusive technology. How do you plan on keeping this idea unique and patented, in case it gets copied?

NeuroTrader: We filed our first patent application in 2016 and are entering into the national phase in February. We are aware that people will follow suit and we can’t do much to stop that. Most importantly, I recently heard a leading innovator say that if people are copying your product, it is not something to be afraid of but rather it is a sign that you are doing something worth copying, something of value. In addition, I come from the mindset that innovation is infinite and as long as we foster constant innovation, we will always be developing exceptional products in the field of optimal decision-making and as a result, maintain a leadership position. Having accepted this fact, we are primarily focused on building a culture that stays ahead of the curve with constant innovation as our response to competition.

Cassiopeia: A lot of wearable technology devices these days offer occasional updates with bug fixes and patches. What updates and other functionality can we expect from NeuroTrader in the near future?

NeuroTrader: The first is the establishment of our online hedge fund. This is another world first as we track and manage our traders remotely allocating capital and managing the fund based upon their biological state. We will use our NeuroTrader hedge fund as our showcase product to demonstrate to our potential institutional clients what we can do for them. The second is eye-tracking technology, which will be incorporated in the second half of next year.

Cassiopeia: It’s a known fact that AI has evolved in leaps and bounds. The question regarding this is, why not simply create a unique, supervised algorithm that makes trading decisions on its own without human intervention? Do you think eliminating the human element could help minimise the potential for error in the system? Why/why not?

NeuroTrader: The industry has already taken the route of eliminating humans from trading. The major retrenchments of human traders over the last few years has been covered in the media: there was an article in The Financial Times last Thursday about more traders being fired, and we all know of the abandonment of trading floors, the most iconic being UBS’s 36,000 sq. ft. trading floor in Stamford Connecticut. The enormous investment into mathematicians to programme trading systems is public knowledge, as is the investment into machine learning to decipher price movement and predict future price points. This is where the industry currently stands. The problem for financial institutions is that they have misunderstood the limitations of machine learning and AI. Within 2 years the major banks will start the “en masse” investment into peak performance technologies such as ours as we make our results public and as we lead the way forward, building a new culture and understanding that human performance is unmatched if it is harnessed and guided correctly. There is a perfect middle-ground where machines assist human performance; this is a paradigm-shift where machines serve people to achieve greater heights, not to make them redundant.

Cassiopeia: Apart from the general conditions of a human trader, the individual concerned may have some relevant medical history. How do you plan to take such factors into account while reading & transmitting the biometrics in real time?

NeuroTrader: Our focus at NeuroTrader is on “proximal development”: we focus on incremental progress in achieving competencies. Regardless of where you are physically or biologically, you can always take a step forward in the desired direction toward peak performance, where peak performance is a personal and subjective experience. We can’t all run as fast as Usain Bolt regardless of how much we train but we all can learn to run faster than we already do. So, in general, we want to see improvements in each individual’s biodata as a response to market price and volatility. Just like going to the gym, everyone at NeuroTrader works at their own pace and is tracked individually toward the goal of peak performance.

Cassiopeia: Trading and stock markets are a huge field in themselves. Up to now, traders have been used to working methodically, but your technology allows the algorithm to make decisions on the user’s behalf by monitoring his/her vital signs. Are there any rules and regulations to keep in mind here? Also, in another hypothetical scenario, if everyone starts using this technology and every decision ends up being optimal, there would, in theory, be no more stock market crashes. Is that feasible in the real world?

NeuroTrader: Firstly, in terms of rules and regulations, our technology is a performance-enhancing technology. Those individuals and institutions that interact with the financial markets still have to observe and comply with their national laws and internal compliance. As for the future of the financial markets, I can state that the markets are inherently efficient by design. We experience price volatility because people interact with the markets emotionally, thereby distorting the intrinsic price of an asset. The illusion is that by creating automated/algorithmic high-frequency trading systems, we circumvent the emotional bias of humans, but this negates the fact that algorithmic trading is designed with the same human fears as those employed when some trades discretionally. Further, algorithms can only mimic what happened in the past, therefore they perpetuate the same volatility of fear and greed.

In the next 5 years, traders will be predominantly trading in a peak performing state with the use of wearable technology simply because of the financial gains available. As more people trade in an optimal state, the markets will become less influenced by fear and greed and become more efficient. The more rational — and most importantly, self-regulated — traders and investors become, the more efficient the market will become, and we will increasingly begin to invest based on seeking value. Value becomes the primary objective and motivator of our decisions; not greed/fear. A less volatile market implies no more crashes as the fear-based traders and investors are the minority and can no longer dictate price movements.

Cassiopeia: Since the system helps people make optimal decisions based on trading in real time, do you think it would be desirable to extend this technology to other areas of human decision making?

NeuroTrader: We have already been asked to leverage our technology for the purpose of “high-stake negotiations” and for the medical industry.

Cassiopeia: Neural networks are an important concept in the field of AI and data mining. Could you please shed some light on the different software applications that you are using and how they correspond to neuroscience?

NeuroTrader: We use and experiment with a vast array of mathematical tools; their correlation to neuroscience is linked to the predominance of mapping results with rewards-based incentives. All our software applications are proprietary. We do not use anything we did not build ourselves. So, when we speak of neural networks, we are talking about cognitive conditioning and the way neuroscience tries to explain the learning process. Utilising this model, which attempts to replicate neurological pathways and clusters, we too are continually evolving our algorithms to develop more effective behavioural pathways that when all is said and done, increase the probability of successful trades and mitigate those trades that have a higher propensity of being loss making.

As technology and AI are further integrated into hedge funds, we see that the human element is a fundamental part of trading. NeuroTrader promises to be one of the first technologies to improve behavioural patterns in trading activity — suitable for both individuals and institutional investors. Hear more about this exciting tool from Ken Medanic, the creator and founder of NeuroTrader.

Don’t miss Neurotrader’s presentation at our Investor Symposium! Register here